Job 29


‘Job continued his discourse: “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness! Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil. “When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square, the young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet; the chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands; the voices of the nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. The one who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing. I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth. “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house, my days as numerous as the grains of sand. My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches. My glory will not fade; the bow will be ever new in my hand.’ Job 29:1-20

Job’s Final Defence

It may be useful to give a basic outline of the next three chapters, which are a part of Job’s final discourse.

Job’s former condition, Job 29.

Job’s present condition, Job 30.

Job’s final claim to innocence, Job 31.

In this chapter, Job reflects on the days of his life and thinks about his family and possessions. He begins by speaking about the good old days when his relationship with God was strong and secure.

He says, he enjoyed God’s protection, God’s guidance, God’s friendship and God’s blessings. What happened? Why did he suddenly lose that relationship with his God? Matthew 18:12 / Matthew 25:30 / Jude 13.

Perhaps, when God finally does speak to him, he responds the way he does because he has finally re-established contact with God.

Job also speaks about his position in the community, where he enjoyed an influential position as a judge, he enjoyed the respect he received from everyone.

Job discusses the basis for this treatment, that is, he was a kind and considerate man, hence, why people treated him with the utmost respect and honour. his conduct was admirable because people liked what they saw in him and heard from him.

He cared for the poor, Proverbs 24:11-12, and the disadvantaged, Isaiah 1:17, he was righteous in conduct, he went out of his way to help the handicapped and he would risk personal injury to fight the wicked. All of which was probably a response to Eliphaz’s accusation back in Job 22:5-11.

Because of the life he led, Job felt confident and secure and he knew he was being the kind of man God wanted him to be, Psalm 1:3. We must note he isn’t being arrogant here, he simply understands that God deals favourably with those who honour Him. It brings no pleasure to God to see His children suffering.

‘People listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel. After I had spoken, they spoke no more; my words fell gently on their ears. They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain. When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. I chose the way for them and sat as their chief; I dwelt as a king among his troops; I was like one who comforts mourners.’ Job 29:21-25

These last verses summarise the discussion, reiterating why Job had his well-deserved respect. He was the kind of man whom people greatly respected what he had to say, they believed what he said. They accepted him as a leader and followed his lead.

Despite feeling disgraced because all these things had been taken away from him, he maintained his trust in God.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

1. He was vindicating himself from charges of enormous guilt and hypocrisy. To meet these charges, he runs over the leading events of his life and shows what had been his general aim and purpose. He reminds them, also, of the respect and honour which had been shown him by those who best knew him, by the poor the needy, the inhabitants of his own city, the people of his own tribe. To vindicate himself from the severe charges which had been alleged against him, it was not improper thus to advert to the general course of his life and to refer to the respect in which he had been held. Who could know him better than his neighbours? Who could be better witnesses than the poor whom he had relieved and the lame, the blind, the sorrowful, whom he had comforted? Who could better testify to his character than they who had followed his counsel in times of perplexity and danger? Who would be more competent witnesses than the mourners whom he had comforted?

2. It was a main object with Job to show the greatness of his distress and misery, and for this purpose, he went into an extended statement of his former happiness, and especially of the respect which had been shown him. This he contrasts beautifully with his present condition, and the colours of the picture are greatly heightened by the contrast. In forming our estimate of this chapter, we should take this object into the account, and should not charge him with a design to magnify his own righteousness, when his main purpose was only to exhibit the extent and depth of his present woes.

3. It is not improper for a man to speak of his former prosperity and happiness in the manner in which Job did. He does not speak of himself as having any merit, or as relying on this for salvation. He distinctly traces it all to God, Job 29:2-5, and says that it was because he blessed him that he had enjoyed these comforts. It was not an improper acknowledgement of the mercies which he had received from his hand, and the remembrance was fitted to excite his gratitude. And although there may seem to us something like parade and ostentation in thus dwelling on former honours, and recounting what he had done in days that were past, yet we should remember how natural it was for him, in the circumstances of trial in which he then was, to revert to past scenes, and to recall the times of prosperity, and the days when he enjoyed the favour of God.

4. It may be added that few people have ever lived to whom this description would be applicable. It must have required uncommon and very remarkable worth to have made it proper for him thus to speak, and to be able to say all this so as not to be exposed to contradiction. The description is one of great beauty and presents a lovely picture of patriarchal piety, and of the respect which then was shown to eminent virtue and worth. It is an illustration of the respect that will be, and that ought to be, shown to one who is upright in his dealings with people, benevolent toward the poor and the helpless, and steady in his walk with God.

Go To Job 30