Job 16

1 Then Job answered, 2 “I have heard many such things. You are all miserable comforters! 3 Shall vain words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? 4 I also could speak as you do. If your soul were in my soul’s place, I could join words together against you, and shake my head at you, 5 but I would strengthen you with my mouth. The solace of my lips would relieve you. 6 “Though I speak, my grief is not subsided. Though I forbear, what am I eased? 7 But now, God, you have surely worn me out. You have made desolate all my company. 8 You have shriveled me up. This is a witness against me. My leanness rises up against me. It testifies to my face. 9 He has torn me in his wrath, and persecuted me. He has gnashed on me with his teeth. My adversary sharpens his eyes on me. 10 They have gaped on me with their mouth. They have struck me on the cheek reproachfully. They gather themselves together against me. 11 God delivers me to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked. 12 I was at ease, and he broke me apart. Yes, he has taken me by the neck, and dashed me to pieces. He has also set me up for his target. 13 His archers surround me. He splits my kidneys apart, and does not spare. He pours out my gall on the ground. 14 He breaks me with breach on breach. He runs on me like a giant. 15 I have sewed sackcloth on my skin, and have thrust my horn in the dust. 16 My face is red with weeping. Deep darkness is on my eyelids. 17 Although there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure. 18 “Earth, don’t cover my blood. Let my cry have no place to rest. 19 Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven. He who vouches for me is on high. 20 My friends scoff at me. My eyes pour out tears to God, 21 that he would maintain the right of a man with God, of a son of man with his neighbor! 22 For when a few years have come, I shall go the way of no return.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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.

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