Job 19


‘Then Job replied: “How long will you torment me and crush me with words? Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me. If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone. If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me and use my humiliation against me, then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. “Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. He has stripped me of my honour and removed the crown from my head. He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies. His troops advance in force; they build a siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent.’ Job 19:1-12

Job’s Response

It’s not surprising that we find Job telling his friends that everything they have said to him so far, has been really hurtful.

Job says they have tormented him, crushed him with their words, they have reproached him ten times, which isn’t literally ten times but speaks of completeness, they have completely reproached him. They have shamelessly attacked him and have not been able to prove any of their accusations against him.

Job says to them, if what they are saying is true, that God is punishing him for sin, then God has wronged him. However, Job doesn’t believe this, he believes there is another explanation for what has happened to him.

Job describes how he has gone from top to bottom, that is, he has been stripped of his honour, and everyone assumed that he had sinned.

Back in Job 14:7, there was hope in that the tree was only cut down, leaving the roots to produce another tree. But here, the tree is plucked up with its roots. There was no hope of another tree. He complains that God’s army had been set against him.

He goes on once again to repeat one of his five main arguments, ‘I want to talk with God.’ He has no idea why he is suffering, hence, why he wants to speak to God to get some answers, he believed that God had unjustly brought punishment upon him.

‘He has alienated my family from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have gone away; my closest friends have forgotten me. My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner; they look on me as on a stranger. I summon my servant, but he does not answer, though I beg him with my own mouth. My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family. Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me. All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.’ Job 19:13-20

Here, Job again repeats another of his five arguments, ‘you friends aren’t helping me’. Most commentators believe this is the saddest section in all the speeches of Job because these verses tell us in a more detailed way exactly what is happening to Job.

1. His brothers and his relatives no longer have anything to do with him, Job 19:13-14 / Job 19:17.

2. His household servants ignore him, Job 19:15-16.

3. His relationship with his wife and brothers is strained, Job 19:17.

4. Children do not like him, Job 19:18.

5. Other acquaintances have become his enemies, Job 19:19.

Notice how Job is physically deteriorating, he has become but ‘skin and bones’. He believes his life is hanging on only by the skin of his teeth. He was alone in his suffering, and that loneliness brought him great despair, no one was there for him.

‘Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me. Why do you pursue me as God does? Will you never get enough of my flesh? “Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever!  I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! “If you say, ‘How we will hound him, since the root of the trouble lies in him,’ you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.” Job 19:21-29

It’s not surprising that Job now cries out for some kind of compassion from his friends. Job’s hope and honour are gone and now, he’s greatly discouraged. Why are his friends treating him this way?

Job wishes for a record of his suffering to be written on a scroll so that future generations might have a witness of his innocence. The good news is that we do, God added it to his inspired Word, the Bible so that we can read of his innocence.

Job wishes that the record have the permanence of that written in rock with the lasting nature of an iron tool.

Job expresses his confidence that his redeemer lives. The redeemer was a close relative who would claim and raise up the posterity of a deceased brother, Exodus 6:6 / Exodus 15:13.

God was Job’s redeemer and Job believed he will be defended and vindicated by God. By saying God will take his stand on the earth, Job indicates a faith that his vindication will be while the world still stands.

Job is either expressing his confidence in the afterlife, believing he will see God after his flesh is gone or he is expressing his confidence that while still in the flesh, he shall see God, which would be equal to Job’s seeing his vindication while still alive.

He knows there is some kind of benefit from seeing God, the question is, when? In his lifetime or the afterlife, 1 Corinthians 15. Job does believe he will personally experience the joy of seeing his God, which causes him to nearly faint just thinking about such a great event.

His friends up to this point have become self-appointed judges, juries and executioners. However, Job once again is concerned for their eternal welfare.

They must be aware that they, too, will face God in judgment, Matthew 7:1 / James 3:1. They were due the same suffering as Job for their sinful behaviour and the words they had spoken to Job.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Whether or not Job might have understood the full implications of all the wonderful revelation God gave him in these precious verses, we cannot tell. An apostle explained that the inspired writers of the Old Testament did not always know what their holy words meant, 1 Peter 1:10-12, but what is truly important is that we ourselves should truly understand and appreciate them. Surely, in these few verses, we have stood within the Holy of Holies of Divine Revelation.’

Go To Job 20