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Job Replies: My Complaint Is Bitter


Then Job answered:


“Today also my complaint is bitter;

his hand is heavy despite my groaning.


Oh, that I knew where I might find him,

that I might come even to his dwelling!


I would lay my case before him,

and fill my mouth with arguments.


I would learn what he would answer me,

and understand what he would say to me.


Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?

No; but he would give heed to me.


There an upright person could reason with him,

and I should be acquitted forever by my judge.



“If I go forward, he is not there;

or backward, I cannot perceive him;


on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him;

I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.


But he knows the way that I take;

when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.


My foot has held fast to his steps;

I have kept his way and have not turned aside.


I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;

I have treasured in my bosom the words of his mouth.


But he stands alone and who can dissuade him?

What he desires, that he does.


For he will complete what he appoints for me;

and many such things are in his mind.


Therefore I am terrified at his presence;

when I consider, I am in dread of him.


God has made my heart faint;

the Almighty has terrified me;


If only I could vanish in darkness,

and thick darkness would cover my face!


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Verses 1–7

Job appeals from his friends to the just judgement of God. He wants to have his cause tried quickly. Blessed be God, we may know where to find him. He is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself; and upon a mercy-seat, waiting to be gracious. Thither the sinner may go; and there the believer may order his cause before Him, with arguments taken from his promises, his covenant, and his glory. A patient waiting for death and judgment is our wisdom and duty, and it cannot be without a holy fear and trembling. A passionate wishing for death or judgement is our sin and folly, and ill becomes us, as it did Job.

Verses 8–12

Job knew that the Lord was every where present; but his mind was in such confusion, that he could get no fixed view of God's merciful presence, so as to find comfort by spreading his case before him. His views were all gloomy. God seemed to stand at a distance, and frown upon him. Yet Job expressed his assurance that he should be brought forth, tried, and approved, for he had obeyed the precepts of God. He had relished and delighted in the truths and commandments of God. Here we should notice that Job justified himself rather than God, or in opposition to him, ch. 32:2. Job might feel that he was clear from the charges of his friends, but boldly to assert that, though visited by the hand of God, it was not a chastisement of sin, was his error. And he is guilty of a second, when he denies that there are dealings of Providence with men in this present life, wherein the injured find redress, and the evil are visited for their sins.

Verses 13–17

As Job does not once question but that his trials are from the hand of God, and that there is no such thing as chance, how does he account for them? The principle on which he views them is, that the hope and reward of the faithful servants of God are only laid up in another life; and he maintains that it is plain to all, that the wicked are not treated according to their deserts in this life, but often directly the reverse. But though the obtaining of mercy, the first-fruits of the Spirit of grace, pledges a God, who will certainly finish the work which he has began; yet the afflicted believer is not to conclude that all prayer and entreaty will be in vain, and that he should sink into despair, and faint when he is reproved of Him. He cannot tell but the intention of God in afflicting him may be to produce penitence and prayer in his heart. May we learn to obey and trust the Lord, even in tribulation; to live or die as he pleases: we know not for what good ends our lives may be shortened or prolonged.