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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Job 16

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The Book of Job

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET



Job 16:1-22. JOB'S REPLY.

      2. ( Job 13:4 ).

      3. "Words of wind," Hebrew. He retorts upon Eliphaz his reproach ( Job 15:2 ).
      emboldeneth--literally, "What wearies you so that ye contradict?" that is, What have I said to provoke you? &c. [SCHUTTENS]. Or, as better accords with the first clause, "Wherefore do ye weary yourselves contradicting?" [UMBREIT].

      4. heap up--rather, "marshal together (an army of) words against you."
      shake. . . head--in mockery; it means nodding, rather than shaking; nodding is not with us, as in the East, a gesture of scorn ( Isa 37:22 Jer 18:16 Mat 27:39 ).

      5. strengthen. . . with. . . mouth--bitter irony. In allusion to Eliphaz' boasted "consolations" ( Job 15:11 ). Opposed to strengthening with the heart, that is, with real consolation. Translate, "I also (like you) could strengthen with the mouth," that is, with heartless talk: "And the moving of my lips (mere lip comfort) could console (in the same fashion as you do)" [UMBREIT]. "Hearty counsel" ( Pro 27:9 ) is the opposite.

      6. eased--literally, "What (portion of my sufferings) goes from me?"

      7. But now--rather, "ah!"
      company--rather, "band of witnesses," namely, those who could attest his innocence (his children, servants, &c.). So the same Hebrew is translated in Job 16:8. UMBREIT makes his "band of witnesses," himself, for, alas! he had no other witness for him. But this is too recondite.

      8. filled. . . with wrinkles--Rather (as also the same Hebrew word in Job 22:16; English Version, "cut down"), "thou hast fettered me, thy witness" (besides cutting off my "band of witnesses," Job 16:7 ), that is, hast disabled me by pains from properly attesting my innocence. But another "witness" arises against him, namely, his "leanness" or wretched state of body, construed by his friends into a proof of his guilt. The radical meaning of the Hebrew is "to draw together," whence flow the double meaning "to bind" or "fetter," and in Syriac, "to wrinkle."
      leanness--meaning also "lie"; implying it was a "false witness."

      9. Image from a wild beast. So God is represented ( Job 10:16 ).
      who hateth me--rather, "and pursues me hard." Job would not ascrible "hatred" to God ( Psa 50:22 ).
      mine enemy--rather, "he sharpens, &c., as an enemy" ( Psa 7:12 ). Darts wrathful glances at me, like a foe ( Job 13:24 ).

      10. gaped--not in order to devour, but to mock him. To fill his cup of misery, the mockery of his friends ( Job 16:10 ) is added to the hostile treatment from God ( Job 16:9 ).
      smitten. . . cheek--figurative for contemptuous abuse ( Lam 3:30 Mat 5:39 ).
      gathered themselves--"conspired unanimously" [SCHUTTENS].

      11. the ungodly--namely, his professed friends, who persecuted him with unkind speeches.
      turned me over--literally, "cast me headlong into the hands of the wicked."

      12. I was at ease--in past times ( Job 1:1-3 ).
      by my neck--as an animal does its prey (so Job 10:16 ).
      shaken--violently; in contrast to his former "ease" ( Psa 102:10 ). Set me up (again).
      mark-- ( Job 7:20 Lam 3:12 ). God lets me always recover strength, so as to torment me ceaselessly.

      13. his archers--The image of Job 16:12 is continued. God, in making me His "mark," is accompanied by the three friends, whose words wound like sharp arrows.
      gall--put for a vital part; so the liver ( Lam 2:11 ).

      14. The image is from storming a fortress by making breaches in the walls ( 2Ki 14:13 ).
      a giant--a mighty warrior.

      15. sewed--denoting the tight fit of the mourning garment; it was a sack with armholes closely sewed to the body.
      horn--image from horned cattle, which when excited tear the earth with their horns. The horn was the emblem of power ( 1Ki 22:11 ). Here, it is
      in the dust--which as applied to Job denotes his humiliation from former greatness. To throw one's self in the dust was a sign of mourning; this idea is here joined with that of excited despair, depicted by the fury of a horned beast. The Druses of Lebanon still wear horns as an ornament.

      16. foul--rather, "is red," that is, flushed and heated [UMBREIT and NOYES].
      shadow of death--that is, darkening through many tears ( Lam 5:17 ). Job here refers to Zophar's implied charge ( Job 11:14 ). Nearly the same words occur as to Jesus Christ ( Isa 53:9 ). So Job 16:10 above answers to the description of Jesus Christ ( Psa 22:13 Isa 50:6, and Job 16:4 ). He alone realized what Job aspired after, namely, outward righteousness of acts and inward purity of devotion. Jesus Christ as the representative man is typified in some degree in every servant of God in the Old Testament.

      18. my blood--that is, my undeserved suffering. He compares himself to one murdered, whose blood the earth refuses to drink up until he is avenged ( Gen 4:10, 11 Eze 24:1, 8 Isa 26:21 ). The Arabs say that the dew of heaven will not descend on a spot watered with innocent blood (compare 2Sa 1:21 ).
      no place--no resting-place. "May my cry never stop!" May it go abroad! "Earth" in this verse in antithesis to "heaven" ( Job 16:19 ). May my innocence be as well-known to man as it is even now to God!

      19. Also now--Even now, when I am so greatly misunderstood on earth, God in heaven is sensible of my innocence.
      record--Hebrew, "in the high places"; Hebrew, "my witness." Amidst all his impatience, Job still trusts in God.

      20. Hebrew, "are my scorners"; more forcibly, "my mockers--my friends!" A heart-cutting paradox [UMBREIT]. God alone remains to whom he can look for attestation of his innocence; plaintively with tearful eye, he supplicates for this.

      21. one--rather, "He" (God). "Oh, that He would plead for a man (namely, me) against God." Job quaintly says, "God must support me against God; for He makes me to suffer, and He alone knows me to be innocent" [UMBREIT]. So God helped Jacob in wrestling against Himself (compare Job 23:6 Gen 32:25 ). God in Jesus Christ does plead with God for man ( Rom 8:26, 27 ).
      as a man--literally, "the Son of man." A prefiguring of the advocacy of Jesus Christ--a boon longed for by Job ( Job 9:33 ), though the spiritual pregnancy of his own words, designed for all ages, was but little understood by him ( Psa 80:17 ).
      for his neighbour--Hebrew, "friend." Job himself ( Job 42:8 ) pleaded as intercessor for his "friends," though "his scorners" ( Job 16:20 ); so Jesus Christ the Son of man ( Luk 23:34 ); "for friends" ( Jhn 15:13-15 ).

      22. few--literally, "years of number," that is, few, opposed to numberless ( Gen 34:30 ).

Commentary on Esther 1 ← Prior Book
Introduction to the Psalms Next Book →
Commentary on Job 15 ← Prior Chapter
Commentary on Job 17 Next Chapter →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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