World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Job Reaffirms His Innocence
Then Job answered:
“I have heard many such things;
miserable comforters are you all.
Have windy words no limit?
Or what provokes you that you keep on talking?
I also could talk as you do,
if you were in my place;
I could join words together against you,
and shake my head at you.
I could encourage you with my mouth,
and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.
“If I speak, my pain is not assuaged,
and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?
Surely now God has worn me out;
he has made desolate all my company.
And he has shriveled me up,
which is a witness against me;
my leanness has risen up against me,
and it testifies to my face.
He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me;
he has gnashed his teeth at me;
my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.
They have gaped at me with their mouths;
they have struck me insolently on the cheek;
they mass themselves together against me.
God gives me up to the ungodly,
and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
I was at ease, and he broke me in two;
he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;
he set me up as his target;
his archers surround me.
He slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy;
he pours out my gall on the ground.
He bursts upon me again and again;
he rushes at me like a warrior.
I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin,
and have laid my strength in the dust.
My face is red with weeping,
and deep darkness is on my eyelids,
though there is no violence in my hands,
and my prayer is pure.
“O earth, do not cover my blood;
let my outcry find no resting place.
Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven,
and he that vouches for me is on high.
My friends scorn me;
my eye pours out tears to God,
that he would maintain the right of a mortal with God,
as one does for a neighbor.
For when a few years have come,
I shall go the way from which I shall not return.
Eliphaz had represented Job's discourses as unprofitable, and nothing to the purpose; Job here gives his the same character. Those who pass censures, must expect to have them retorted; it is easy, it is endless, but what good does it do? Angry answers stir up men's passions, but never convince their judgments, nor set truth in a clear light. What Job says of his friends is true of all creatures, in comparison with God; one time or other we shall be made to see and own that miserable comforters are they all. When under convictions of sin, terrors of conscience, or the arrests of death, only the blessed Spirit can comfort effectually; all others, without him, do it miserably, and to no purpose. Whatever our brethren's sorrows are, we ought by sympathy to make them our own; they may soon be so.
Here is a doleful representation of Job's grievances. What reason we have to bless God, that we are not making such complaints! Even good men, when in great troubles, have much ado not to entertain hard thoughts of God. Eliphaz had represented Job as unhumbled under his affliction: No, says Job, I know better things; the dust is now the fittest place for me. In this he reminds us of Christ, who was a man of sorrows, and pronounced those blessed that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Job's condition was very deplorable; but he had the testimony of his conscience for him, that he never allowed himself in any gross sin. No one was ever more ready to acknowledge sins of infirmity. Eliphaz had charged him with hypocrisy in religion, but he specifies prayer, the great act of religion, and professes that in this he was pure, though not from all infirmity. He had a God to go to, who he doubted not took full notice of all his sorrows. Those who pour out tears before God, though they cannot plead for themselves, by reason of their defects, have a Friend to plead for them, even the Son of man, and on him we must ground all our hopes of acceptance with God. To die, is to go the way whence we shall not return. We must all of us, very certainly, and very shortly, go this journey. Should not then the Saviour be precious to our souls? And ought we not to be ready to obey and to suffer for his sake? If our consciences are sprinkled with his atoning blood, and testify that we are not living in sin or hypocrisy, when we go the way whence we shall not return, it will be a release from prison, and an entrance into everlasting happiness.