Job 16


‘Then Job replied: “I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.’ Job 16:1-5

Job’s Response

In the previous chapter, Eliphaz argued that Job wasn’t righteous and because he was suffering, this meant that Job must be wicked, Job 15:5-6. Job, here is going to argue that he is righteous and God can do whatever He wants.

Job begins by telling his friends that he is very disappointed in them, they are miserable comforters. He tells them, he could speak like them, if he were in their place, but he won’t and wouldn’t do that. In other words, Job is telling us they simply don’t understand, they simply aren’t capable of empathy.

Instead of bringing comfort to Job in his time of affliction, they added to Job’s affliction with their harsh words.

‘Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household. You have shrivelled me up—and it has become a witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me. God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes. People open their mouths to jeer at me; they strike my cheek in scorn and unite together against me. God has turned me over to the ungodly and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked. All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target; his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground. Again and again he bursts upon me; he rushes at me like a warrior. “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin and buried my brow in the dust. My face is red with weeping, dark shadows ring my eyes; yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure.’ Job 16:6-17

Notice that Job acknowledges that it is God who has struck him down. The problem Job has is that he feels like God is treating him like His enemy. We must note that time and time again, Job appears to be missing his relationship with God more than any other thing he has already lost.

Notice the different metaphors which Job uses to describe how he feels God is treating him.

1. A wild beast, Job 16:9.

2. An adversary, Job 16:9-10.

3. A traitor, Job 16:11.

4. A wrestler, Job 16:12.

5. An archer, Job 16:12-13.

6. A warrior, Job 16:13-14.

Notice also Job’s response to the way God has treated him, he has become a mourner and given himself over to the mercy of God. In other words, he refused to curse God.

He knows his hands haven’t committed any violent acts and he prays with a pure heart. Amidst all the agony of his dilemma, Job still maintained his innocence.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘There are magnificent overtones of Calvary itself in this remarkable chapter. Job 16:4 reveals that Job’s friends ‘did shake their heads’ at him. Job said that God had ‘delivered him to the ungodly’, Job 16:11. ‘They gaped upon me with their mouth,’ Job 16:10, ‘They gather themselves together against me’, Job 16:10. ‘They have smitten (my) cheek reproachfully’, Job 16:10, ‘And have laid my horn in the dust’, Job 16:15.’

Now observe that all of these things were prophesied as events connected with the crucifixion of Christ in Psalm 22.

He will be forsaken by God Delivered to the ungodly, Psalm 22:1. They shake their head at him, Psalm 22:7. They gape upon him, Psalm 22:13. They place him in the dust, Psalm 22:15. The evil men surround him, Psalm 22:16.’

‘Earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. “Only a few years will pass before I take the path of no return.’ Job 16:18-22

Job now repeats his earlier argument. He wants to address God and he doesn’t want to die without the truth being known. If blood was spilt, vengeance was to be carried out on the person who spilt the blood, Genesis 4:10-11 / Ezekiel 24:7-8, Job here, felt he was being unjustifiably killed.

He appeals to the earth and the heaven to be witnesses of his innocence and he is pretty confident that he does have a witness, Job 19:25-27.

Job knew at this point he couldn’t turn to his friends to defend him and so, in faith, he ends by focusing on God knowing that He would be the final judge of his righteousness, 1 Peter 1:10-12.

Go To Job 17