Job 19:1-29. Job's Reply to
2. How long, &c.—retorting Bildad's
18:2). Admitting the
punishment to be deserved, is it kind thus ever to be harping on this
to the sufferer? And yet even this they have not yet proved.
3. These—prefixed emphatically to
ten—that is, often (Ge 31:7).
make yourselves strange—rather,
"stun me" [Gesenius]. (See
Margin for a different meaning [that is, "harden yourselves
4.erred—The Hebrew expresses
unconscious error. Job was unconscious of wilful sin.
remaineth—literally, "passeth the
night." An image from harboring an unpleasant guest for the night. I
bear the consequences.
5. magnify, &c.—Speak proudly (Ob 12;
against me—emphatically repeated
plead … reproach—English
Version makes this part of the protasis, "if" being understood, and
the apodosis beginning at Job 19:6.
Better with Umbreit, If ye would become
great heroes against me in truth, ye must prove (evince) against
me my guilt, or shame, which you assert. In the
English Version "reproach" will mean Job's calamities,
which they "pleaded" against him as a "reproach," or proof of
6. compassed … net—alluding to
Bildad's words (Job 18:8).
Know, that it is not that I as a wicked man have been caught in my
"own net"; it is God who has compassed me in
His—why, I know not.
7. wrong—violence: brought on him by
no judgment—God will not remove my
calamities, and so vindicate my just cause; and my friends will not do
justice to my past character.
8. Image from a benighted traveller.
9. stripped … crown—image from a
deposed king, deprived of his robes and crown; appropriate to Job, once
an emir with all but royal dignity (La 5:16; Ps 89:39).
10. destroyed … on every
side—"Shaken all round, so that I fall in the dust"; image
from a tree uprooted by violent shaking from every side [Umbreit]. The last clause accords with this (Jer 1:10)
mine hope—as to this life (in
opposition to Zophar, Job 11:18);
not as to the world to come (Job 19:25; Job 14:15).
11. enemies—(Job 13:24; La
12. troops—Calamities advance together
like hostile troops (Job 10:17).
raise up … way—An army must
cast up a way of access before it, in marching against a city
13. brethren—nearest kinsmen, as
distinguished from "acquaintance." So "kinsfolk" and "familiar friends"
19:14) correspond in
parallelism. The Arabic proverb is, "The brother, that is, the true
friend, is only known in time of need."
estranged—literally, "turn away with
disgust." Job again unconsciously uses language prefiguring the
desertion of Jesus Christ (Job 16:10; Lu 23:49; Ps 38:11).
15. They that dwell, &c.—rather,
"sojourn": male servants, sojourning in his house. Mark the contrast.
The stranger admitted to sojourn as a dependent treats the master as a
stranger in his own house.
16. servant—born in my house (as
distinguished from those sojourning in it), and so altogether belonging
to the family. Yet even he disobeys my call.
mouth—that is, "calling aloud";
formerly a nod was enough. Now I no longer look for
obedience, I try entreaty.
17. strange—His breath by elephantiasis
had become so strongly altered and offensive, that his wife turned away
as estranged from him (Job 19:13; 17:1).
children's … of mine own
body—literally, "belly." But "loins" is what we should
expect, not "belly" (womb), which applies to the woman. The "mine"
forbids it being taken of his wife. Besides their children were dead.
3:10 the same words "my womb"
mean, my mother's womb: therefore translate, "and I must entreat
(as a suppliant) the children of my mother's womb"; that is, my own
brothers—a heightening of force, as compared with last clause of
19:16 [Umbreit]. Not only must I entreat suppliantly my
servant, but my own brothers (Ps 69:8). Here too, he unconsciously foreshadows
Jesus Christ (Joh 7:5).
18. young children—So the Hebrew
21:11). Reverence for age is
a chief duty in the East. The word means "wicked" (Job 16:11). So Umbreit has it here, not so well.
I arose—Rather, supply "if," as Job
was no more in a state to stand up. "If I stood up (arose), they would
speak against (abuse) me" [Umbreit].
19. inward—confidential; literally, "men
of my secret"—to whom I entrusted my most intimate
20. Extreme meagerness. The bone seemed to
stick in the skin, being seen through it, owing to the flesh drying up
and falling away from the bone. The Margin, "as to my flesh,"
makes this sense clearer. The English Version, however,
expresses the same: "And to my flesh," namely, which has fallen
away from the bone, instead of firmly covering it.
skin of my teeth—proverbial. I have
escaped with bare life; I am whole only with the skin of my
teeth; that is, my gums alone are whole, the rest of the skin of my
body is broken with sores (Job 7:5; Ps 102:5). Satan left Job his speech, in hope
that he might therewith curse God.
21. When God had made him such a piteous
spectacle, his friends should spare him the additional persecution of
their cruel speeches.
22. as God—has persecuted me.
Prefiguring Jesus Christ (Ps 69:26).
That God afflicts is no reason that man is to add to a sufferer's
affliction (Zec 1:15).
satisfied with my flesh—It is not
enough that God afflicts my flesh literally (Job 19:20), but you must "eat my flesh"
metaphorically (Ps 27:2);
that is, utter the worst calumnies, as the phrase often means in
23. Despairing of justice from his friends in
his lifetime, he wishes his words could be preserved imperishably to
posterity, attesting his hope of vindication at the resurrection.
printed—not our modern printing, but
lead—poured into the engraven
characters, to make them better seen [Umbreit]. Not on leaden plates; for it was "in the
rock" that they were engraved. Perhaps it was the hammer that was of
"lead," as sculptors find more delicate incisions are made by it, than
by a harder hammer. FOSTER (One Primeval Language) has shown
that the inscriptions on the rocks in Wady-Mokatta, along Israel's
route through the desert, record the journeys of that people, as Cosmas
Indicopleustes asserted, A.D. 535.
for ever—as long as the rock
25. redeemer—Umbreit and others understand this and Job 19:26, of God appearing as Job's avenger
before his death, when his body would be wasted to a skeleton.
But Job uniformly despairs of restoration and vindication of his cause
in this life (Job 17:15, 16). One hope alone was left, which the
Spirit revealed—a vindication in a future life: it would be no
full vindication if his soul alone were to be happy without the
body, as some explain (Job 19:26)
"out of the flesh." It was his body that had chiefly suffered:
the resurrection of his body, therefore, alone could vindicate his
cause: to see God with his own eyes, and in a renovated body
19:27), would disprove the
imputation of guilt cast on him because of the sufferings of his
present body. That this truth is not further dwelt on by Job, or
noticed by his friends, only shows that it was with him a bright
passing glimpse of Old Testament hope, rather than the steady
light of Gospel assurance; with us this passage has a definite
clearness, which it had not in his mind (see on Job 21:30). The idea in "redeemer" with Job is
Vindicator (Job 16:19; Nu 35:27), redressing his wrongs; also including
at least with us, and probably with him, the idea of the
predicted Bruiser of the serpent's head. Tradition would inform him of
the prediction. Foster shows that the
fall by the serpent is represented perfectly on the temple of Osiris at
Philæ; and the resurrection on the tomb of the Egyptian Mycerinus,
dating four thousand years back. Job's sacrifices imply sense of sin
and need of atonement. Satan was the injurer of Job's body; Jesus
Christ his Vindicator, the Living One who giveth life (Joh 5:21, 26).
at the latter day—Rather, "the Last,"
the peculiar title of Jesus Christ, though Job may not have known the
pregnancy of his own inspired words, and may have understood merely
one that comes after (1Co 15:45; Re 1:17). Jesus Christ is the last. The
day of Jesus Christ the last day (Joh 6:39).
stand—rather, "arise": as God is said
to "raise up" the Messiah (Jer 23:5; De 18:15).
earth—rather, "dust": often associated
with the body crumbling away in it (Job 7:21; 17:16); therefore appropriately here. Above
that very dust wherewith was mingled man's decaying body shall
man's Vindicator arise. "Arise above the dust," strikingly expresses
that fact that Jesus Christ arose first Himself above the
dust, and then is to raise His people above it (1Co 15:20,
23). The Spirit intended in
Job's words more than Job fully understood (1Pe 1:12). Though He seems, in forsaking
me, to be as one dead, He now truly "liveth" in heaven;
hereafter He shall appear also above the dust of earth. The Goel
or vindicator of blood was the nearest kinsman of the slain. So Jesus
Christ took our flesh, to be our kinsman. Man lost life by Satan the
"murderer" (Joh 8:44),
here Job's persecutor (Heb 2:14).
Compare also as to redemption of the inheritance by the kinsman
of the dead (Ru 4:3-5; Eph 1:14).
26. Rather, though after my skin (is no more)
this (body) is destroyed ("body" being omitted, because it was so
wasted as not to deserve the name), yet from my flesh (from
my renewed body, as the starting-point of vision, So 2:9, "looking out from the windows")
"shall I see God." Next clause [Job 19:27] proves bodily vision is meant,
for it specifies "mine eyes" [Rosenmuller, 2d ed.]. The Hebrew opposes
"in my flesh." The "skin" was the first destroyed by
elephantiasis, then the "body."
27. for myself—for my advantage, as my
not another—Mine eyes shall behold
Him, but no longer as one estranged from me, as now
my reins—inward recesses of the
be consumed within me—that is, pine
with longing desire for that day (Ps 84:2; 119:81). The Gentiles had but few revealed
promises: how gracious that the few should have been so explicit
(compare Nu 24:17; Mt 2:2).
28. Rather, "ye will then (when the Vindicator
cometh) say, Why," &c.
root … in me—The root of pious
integrity, which was the matter at issue, whether it could be in
one so afflicted, is found in me. Umbreit, with many manuscripts and versions, reads
"in him." "Or how found we in him ground of contention."
29. wrath—the passionate violence with
which the friends persecuted Job.
bringeth, &c.—literally, "is sin
of the of the sword"
that ye may know—Supply, "I say
judgment—inseparably connected with
the coming of the Vindicator. The "wrath" of God at His appearing for
the temporal vindication of Job against the friends (Job 42:7) is a pledge of the eternal wrath at the
final coming to glorify the saints and judge their enemies (2Th
1:6-10; Isa 25:8).