Job 16

1 Forsooth Job answered, and said,
2 I have oft heard such things; all ye be heavy comforters (the only comfort that all of ye offer is more torment).
3 Whether words full of wind shall have an end? either anything is dis-easeful to thee, if thou speakest (it)?
4 Also I might speak things like to you, and I would, that your soul were for my soul; and I would comfort you by words, and I would move mine head on you; (I could also speak words like you, and if you were in my place, I could discomfort you with such words, and I could wag my head at you.)
5 I would (rather) make you strong by my mouth, and I would move my lips as sparing you. (But I would rather make you strong with my mouth, yea, with encouraging words, and I would rather move my lips to say things to comfort you.)
6 But what shall I do? If I speak, my sorrow resteth not; and if I am still, it goeth not away from me.
7 But now my sorrow hath oppressed me, and all my limbs be driven into nought.
8 My rivellings say witnessing against me, and a false speaker is raised up against my face, and against-saith me. (My wrinkles testify against me, and a liar is raised up before me, and speaketh against me.)
9 He gathered together his strong vengeance in me, and he menaced me, and he gnashed against me with his teeth; mine enemy hath beheld me with fearedful eyes. (He gathered together his strong vengeance against me, and he threatened me, and he gnashed against me with his teeth; my enemy hath looked at me with eyes full of hatred.)
10 They opened their mouths upon me, and they said shame to me, and they smote my cheek; and they be filled with my pains (and they gathered themselves together against me).
11 God hath closed me together at the wicked, and hath given me to the hands of wicked men. (God hath enclosed me with the wicked, and hath given me into the hands of the wicked.)
12 I, that rich man and famous sometime, am all-broken suddenly; he held my noll; he hath broken me, and hath set me as into a sign. (I, that rich and sometimes famous man, am suddenly all-broken; he held me by the neck; he hath altogether broken me, and hath set me up like a target.)
13 And he hath (en)compassed me with his spears, he hath wounded altogether my loins; he hath not spared me, and he hath shed out mine entrails into the earth. (And he hath surrounded me with his spears, he hath deeply wounded my loins; he hath not spared me, and he hath poured out my bowels upon the ground.)
14 He hath beaten me with wound upon wound; and he as a giant hath fallen in upon me (and he hath fallen in on me like a giant).
15 I sewed together a sackcloth upon my skin; and I covered my flesh with ashes.
16 My face swelled of weeping (My face swelled from weeping), and mine eyelids waxed dark.
17 I suffered these things without (any) wickedness of mine hand, or work, (and) when I had clean prayers to God.
18 Earth, cover thou not my blood, and my cry find not in thee a place of hiding. (O earth, do not thou cover up my blood, and let not my cry for justice find any place of rest.)
19 For, lo! my witness is in heaven; and the Knower of my conscience is in high places.
20 O! my friends, full of words; mine eye droppeth (out tears) to God.
21 And I would, that a man were deemed so with God, as the son of man is deemed with his fellow. (And I wish, that there was someone to plead with God for me, like the son of a man who pleadeth for his fellow, or for his friend.)
22 For lo! short years pass, and I go a path, by which I shall not turn again (by which I shall not 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.

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

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.