Job 6


‘Then Job replied: “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been impetuous. The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshalled against me. Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass, or an ox bellow when it has fodder? Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there flavour in the sap of the mallow? I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill.’ Job 6:1-7

Job’s Response

It appears that Job addresses all three of his friends. Job is upset and he gives an explanation of his complaint.

He admits he has spoken rashly and he knows from what his friends have said that he would have to admit that he committed some large sin, but he hasn’t, so he won’t admit to having done anything. He hasn’t sinned so why is it happening, he may have spoken rashly but he sees no other sin.

God has fired arrows into him for no apparent reason. Job felt that God had launched this attack against him, but he couldn’t understand why.

He gets stronger and says his friends are like animals needing comfort, they simply can’t understand his condition. If the friends could only see the totality of his suffering.

Job argued, then they would conclude that he was not complaining without cause. Braying and lowing are the results of dissatisfaction in the life of an animal, so he claimed the right to voice his dissatisfaction in reference to his predicament.

Then he turns to God and cries out to Him. The content of this prayer is not good, he prays for death and anticipates no joy afterwards. He said he had a right to desire happiness in his existence in life.

‘Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life! Then I would still have this consolation—my joy in unrelenting pain—that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?’ Job 6:8-13

He now gives the reason as to why he isn’t afraid to die, he thought death would bring him peace. Since Job was human, he wasn’t like stone or bronze, then wondered how much longer he could endure his present physical state. Job wonders how long he can bear to be patient.

He may be directly attacking his 3 friends here because anything he turns to is taken away. He came to the conclusion that because he had no hope for this life and no purpose for living, he may as well be dead, Romans 8:24-25.

‘Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow, but that stop flowing in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from their channels. Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go off into the wasteland and perish. The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope. They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed. Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid. Have I ever said, ‘Give something on my behalf, pay a ransom for me from your wealth, deliver me from the hand of the enemy, rescue me from the clutches of the ruthless’?’ Job 6:14-23

Here Job now reproaches his friends because they have shown him no proper kindness, especially at this time when his faith is being greatly tested. Surely he should have received some words of encouragement from them, I guess they are what are called, fair-weathered friends.

He says in some way they are frightened of him, because of his position. It appears that his situation in life has made been into an opportunity for them to expose their jealousy concerning his former prosperity.

His disappointment in his friends is portrayed as those in trading caravans who followed a path that was to lead to water. But the path led to despair, for there was no water awaiting thirsty souls.

Coffman, in his commentary, gives the following paraphrase of these verses.

‘Look, If I am a sinner, tell me what it was in which I sinned. Would I lie to you? Look me in the eye. Don’t get up and leave me. Stay here and help me. Am I so ignorant that I don’t know what sin is.’? No matter what you think, my trouble is not caused by my wickedness. You have criticized my words but it is silly to make a case based on the words of a man who is suffering desperately. Allowances must be made for words uttered in deep distress. Reconsider my case, for my cause, is righteous.’

‘Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. How painful are honest words! But what do your arguments prove? Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat my desperate words as wind? You would even cast lots for the fatherless and barter away your friend. “But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face? Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake. Is there any wickedness on my lips? Can my mouth not discern malice?’ Job 6:24-30

Job now issues the challenge, if they are so wise, then what is the terrible sin he committed. Reproof without proof is meaningless and perhaps dangerous, 1 Timothy 5:19.

Job goes over the top, he says they are heartless as slave sellers. He expected that his friends who came to him would bring words of comfort and exhortation but because his friends brought only words of judgment, he too had resorted to such words in order to counter the accusations that were made against him. After this, they surely got the point.

He then appeals to their sympathy and sincerity. It is not their fault that he is experiencing these difficulties, so then who is. Wicked men do reap what they sow, Galatians 6:7-8, but Job wasn’t reaping from what he had sown in wickedness.

Go To Job 7