Job 30


‘But now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs. Of what use was the strength of their hands to me, since their vigour had gone from them? Haggard from want and hunger, they roamed the parched land in desolate wastelands at night. In the brush they gathered salt herbs, and their food was the root of the broom bush. They were banished from human society, shouted at as if they were thieves. They were forced to live in the dry stream beds, among the rocks and in holes in the ground. They brayed among the bushes and huddled in the undergrowth. A base and nameless brood, they were driven out of the land. “And now those young men mock me in song; I have become a byword among them. They detest me and keep their distance; they do not hesitate to spit in my face. Now that God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me, they throw off restraint in my presence. On my right the tribe attacks; they lay snares for my feet, they build their siege ramps against me. They break up my road; they succeed in destroying me. ‘No one can help him,’ they say. They advance as through a gaping breach; amid the ruins they come rolling in. Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud.’ Job 30:1-15

Job Continues With His Final Defence

In the previous chapter, Job spoke about what God gave him and in this, he speaks about what God took away from him.

Notice he begins by using the words, ‘but now’, he uses these words to contrast the way things used to be. Those who were disadvantaged were the ones who greatly benefited from Job’s charity work but now they are the very people who mock and taunt him. He once held a position that was envied by all, but now he was in a situation that was despised by all.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘To have associated with my dogs in guarding my flock. That is, they were held in less esteem than his dogs. This was the lowest conceivable point of debasement. The Orientals had no language that would express greater contempt of anyone than to call him a dog, Deuteronomy 23:18 / 1 Samuel 17:43 / 1 Samuel 24:14/  2 Samuel 3:8 / 2 Samuel 9:8 / 2 Samuel 16:9 / 2 Kings 8:13 / Isaiah 66:3’.

Job says he is a byword and those he once helped are now spitting in his face. It’s possible he’s exaggerating with his words, but he clearly tells us why they are now treating him the way they are.

He says that ‘God has unstrung his bow’, etc, which probably refers to how he felt God had punished him. The disadvantaged would feel they need to treat Job in this manner because he has been rejected by God, Job 19:19-22.

Watson, in his commentary, says the following.

‘These people were gaunt with hunger and vice, herded in the wilderness where alone they were allowed to exist, eating salt-wort and broom-roots for food. The appearance of one of them prompted cries of ‘thieves and robbers’.

They lived in caves, and among the rocks, like wild asses, they brayed in the scrub and gathered among the nettles. Base men, children of fools, having dishonoured humanity, had been whipped out of the land. Even these abhorred Job, mocking him in song and byword, even spitting in his face.’

‘And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest. In his great power God becomes like clothing to me; he binds me like the neck of my garment. He throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes. “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me. You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me. You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm. I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living. “Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress. Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me. I go about blackened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help. I have become a brother of jackals, a companion of owls. My skin grows black and peels; my body burns with fever. My lyre is tuned to mourning, and my pipe to the sound of wailing.’ Job 30:16-31

As far as Job is concerned, his physical condition is enough evidence that God has rejected him.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The bones are often represented in the Scriptures as the seat of acute pain, Psalms 6:2 / Psalms 22:14 / Psalms 31:10 / Psalms 38:3 / Psalms 42:10 / Proverbs 14:30 / Job 20:11. The meaning here is, that he had had shooting or piercing pains in the night, which disturbed and prevented his rest. It is mentioned as a special aggravation of his sufferings that they were ‘in the night’, a time when we expect repose.’

Physically, he’s in a lot of pain but he’s all in a lot of pain emotionally. He cries out to God for help but receives nothing but silence and he claims that God has been cruel.

Remember it is Satan who is causing him all the pain, not God. He’s basically asking God, why is He treating him this way? What is the reason for it?

Job is again reminded of the treatment he has received from his fellow men. He has wept for others when he saw them suffering, but now, who weeps for him? When he expected men to do good towards him, he ended up waiting in vain, for the good never came. This is a picture of how Job is feeling.

Job mentions that his skin grows black, which is probably a reference to black leprosy, Job 17:7.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘By my mournful and continual cry, I resemble the jackals or hyenas. To the daughters of howling, generally understood to be the ostrich, for both the jackal and the female ostrich are remarkable for their mournful cry, and their attachment to desolate places.’

The lyre was used to make cheerful sounds, but now it plays notes of lament, Isaiah 5:12, likewise the pipe, Isaiah 5:12.

Go To Job 31