Job 16

Job Says Friends Are Sorry Comforters

1 Then Job answered,
2 "I have heard many such things; 1Sorry comforters are you all.
3 "Is there no limit to 2windy words? Or what plagues you that you answer?
4 "I too could speak like you, If I were in your place. I could compose words against you And 3shake my head at you.
5 "I could strengthen you with my mouth, And the solace of my lips could lessen your pain.

Job Says God Shattered Him

6 "If I speak, 4my pain is not lessened, And if I hold back, what has left me?
7 "But now He has 5exhausted me; You have laid 6waste all my company.
8 "You have shriveled me up, 7It has become a witness; And my 8leanness rises up against me, It testifies to my face.
9 "His anger has 9torn me and hunted me down, He has 10gnashed at me with His teeth; My 11adversary glares * at me.
10 "They have 12gaped at me with their mouth, They have 13slapped me on the cheek with contempt; They have 14massed themselves against me.
11 "God hands me over to ruffians And tosses me into the hands of the wicked.
12 "I was at ease, but 15He shattered me, And He has grasped me by the neck and shaken me to pieces; He has also set me up as His 16target.
13 "His 17arrows surround me. Without mercy He splits my kidneys open; He pours out 18my gall on the ground.
14 "He 19breaks through me with breach after * breach; He 20runs at me like a warrior.
15 "I have sewed 21sackcloth over my skin And 22thrust my horn in the dust.
16 "My face is flushed from 23weeping, 24And deep darkness is on my eyelids,
17 Although there is no 25violence in my hands, And 26my prayer is pure.
18 "O earth, do not cover my blood, And let there be no resting place for my cry.
19 "Even now, behold, 27my witness is in heaven, And my advocate is 28on high.
20 "My friends are my scoffers; 29My eye weeps to God.
21 "O that a man might plead with God As a man * with his neighbor!
22 "For when a few years are past, I shall go the way 30of no return.

Job 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

Job reproves his friends. (1-5) He represents his case as deplorable. (6-16) Job maintains his innocency. (17-22)

Verses 1-5 Eliphaz had represented Job's discourses as unprofitable, and nothing to the purpose; Job here gives his the same character. Those who pass censures, must expect to have them retorted; it is easy, it is endless, but what good does it do? Angry answers stir up men's passions, but never convince their judgments, nor set truth in a clear light. What Job says of his friends is true of all creatures, in comparison with God; one time or other we shall be made to see and own that miserable comforters are they all. When under convictions of sin, terrors of conscience, or the arrests of death, only the blessed Spirit can comfort effectually; all others, without him, do it miserably, and to no purpose. Whatever our brethren's sorrows are, we ought by sympathy to make them our own; they may soon be so.

Verses 6-16 Here is a doleful representation of Job's grievances. What reason we have to bless God, that we are not making such complaints! Even good men, when in great troubles, have much ado not to entertain hard thoughts of God. Eliphaz had represented Job as unhumbled under his affliction: No, says Job, I know better things; the dust is now the fittest place for me. In this he reminds us of Christ, who was a man of sorrows, and pronounced those blessed that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Verses 17-22 Job's condition was very deplorable; but he had the testimony of his conscience for him, that he never allowed himself in any gross sin. No one was ever more ready to acknowledge sins of infirmity. Eliphaz had charged him with hypocrisy in religion, but he specifies prayer, the great act of religion, and professes that in this he was pure, though not from all infirmity. He had a God to go to, who he doubted not took full notice of all his sorrows. Those who pour out tears before God, though they cannot plead for themselves, by reason of their defects, have a Friend to plead for them, even the Son of man, and on him we must ground all our hopes of acceptance with God. To die, is to go the way whence we shall not return. We must all of us, very certainly, and very shortly, go this journey. Should not then the Saviour be precious to our souls? And ought we not to be ready to obey and to suffer for his sake? If our consciences are sprinkled with his atoning blood, and testify that we are not living in sin or hypocrisy, when we go the way whence we shall not return, it will be a release from prison, and an entrance into everlasting happiness.

Cross References 30

  • 1. Job 13:4; Job 21:34
  • 2. Job 6:26
  • 3. Psalms 22:7; Psalms 109:25; Zephaniah 2:15; Matthew 27:39
  • 4. Job 9:27, 28
  • 5. Job 7:3
  • 6. Job 16:20; Job 19:13-15
  • 7. Job 10:17
  • 8. Job 19:20; Psalms 109:24
  • 9. Job 19:11; Hosea 6:1
  • 10. Psalms 35:16; Lamentations 2:16; Acts 7:54
  • 11. Job 13:24; Job 33:10
  • 12. Psalms 22:13
  • 13. Isaiah 50:6; Lamentations 3:30; Acts 23:2
  • 14. Job 30:12; Psalms 35:15
  • 15. Job 9:17
  • 16. Job 7:20; Lamentations 3:12
  • 17. Job 6:4; Job 19:12; Job 25:3
  • 18. Job 20:25
  • 19. Job 9:17
  • 20. Joel 2:7
  • 21. Genesis 37:34; Psalms 69:11
  • 22. Psalms 7:5
  • 23. Job 16:20
  • 24. Job 24:17
  • 25. Isaiah 59:6; Jonah 3:8
  • 26. Job 27:4
  • 27. Genesis 31:50; Job 19:25-27; Romans 1:9; Philippians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:5
  • 28. Job 31:2
  • 29. Job 17:7
  • 30. Job 3:13

Footnotes 8

Chapter Summary


This chapter and the following contain Job's reply to the preceding discourse of Eliphaz, in which he complains of the conversation of his friends, as unprofitable, uncomfortable, vain, empty, and without any foundation, Job 16:1-3; and intimates that were they in his case and circumstances, tie should behave in another manner towards them, not mock at them, but comfort them, Job 16:4,5; though such was his unhappy case, that, whether he spoke or was silent, it was much the same; there was no alloy to his grief, Job 16:6; wherefore he turns himself to God, and speaks to him, and of what he had done to him, both to his family, and to himself; which things, as they proved the reality of his afflictions, were used by his friends as witnesses against him, Job 16:7,8; and then enters upon a detail of his troubles, both at the hands of God and man, in order to move the divine compassion, and the pity of his friends, Job 16:9-14; which occasioned him great sorrow and distress, Job 16:15,16; yet asserts his own innocence, and appeals to God for the truth of it, Job 16:17-19; and applies to him, and wishes his cause was pleaded with him, Job 16:20,21; and concludes with the sense he had of the shortness of his life, Job 16:22; which sentiment is enlarged upon in the following chapter.

Job 16 Commentaries

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