JOB CHAPTER 19
Job’s Reply to Bildad.
JOB REPROACHES HIS FRIENDS FOR THEIR SUSPICIONS. — V. 1. Then Job answered and said, v. 2. How long will ye vex my soul, torturing his mind with their accusations and insinuations, and break me in pieces, crushing him to the point of annihilation, with words? V. 3. These ten times, that is, very often, again and again, have ye reproached me, in attacking his innocence; ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me, stunning him without shame, trying to overwhelm him and render him stupid with their repeated charges. V. 4. And be it indeed that I have erred, for Job had no intention of denying his sinfulness in general, mine error remaineth with myself, he alone was conscious of it, he was not trying to lead others astray nor causing them to become partakers of his guilt. V. 5. If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, or, “will ye indeed boast yourselves against me?” and plead against me my reproach. If they were assuming his guilt without further proof, Job considered their procedure wrong; they should at least try to convict him with sound arguments. It is the way of meddling friends at all times to give themselves grave concern over a supposed transgression on the part of some one they know.
JOB COMPLAINS OF THE NEGLECT HE SUFFERS. — V. 6. Know now that God hath overthrown me, wresting him, treating him without proper regard for the justness of tile case, and hath compassed me with His net, like a wild beast which is so wound up in the meshes of the hunter’s net that it cannot move. V. 7. Behold, I cry out of wrong, crying out in complaint over the violence which he was experiencing, but I am not heard; I cry aloud, but there is no judgment, God will not vindicate his just cause, nor will his friends impartially examine and decide his case. V. 8. He hath fenced up my way, hedging it up so closely that there is no passage, that I cannot pass, and He hath set darkness in my paths, making it impossible for Job to continue his way. V. 9. He hath stripped me of my glory, the honor which his righteousness had formerly given him before men, and taken the crown, namely, that of his good name, from my head. Cp. Is. 41, 10; 42, 3. V. 10. He hath destroyed me on every side, like a building doomed for destruction, which is razed to the ground, and I am gone, both his prosperity and his health having been taken from him; and mine hope hath He removed like a tree, tearing it out, uprooting it entirely. V. 11. He hath also kindled His wrath against me, like a forest-fire, which devours everything in its path; and He counteth me unto Him as one of His enemies, regarding and treating him as the representative of all His foes and therefore concentrating all His hostility upon him. V. 12. His troops come together, the armies of God, the calamities and sufferings advance, and raise up their way against me, erecting bulwarks as they proceed to their attack, and encamp round about my tabernacle, besieging him on every side. V. 13. He hath put my brethren far from me, driving his nearest kinsmen away from him, and mine acquaintance, his very bosom friends, are verily estranged from me. V. 14. My kinsfolk, his house associates, those who lived with him under the same roof, have failed, remained away from him in his present misery, and my familiar friends have forgotten me, those whose confidence and respect he had formerly enjoyed. V. 15. They that dwell in mine house, the sojourners who partook of Job’s hospitality, and my maids, all his hired servants, count me for a stranger; I am an alien in their sight, an outsider, a man hailing from a strange country. V. 16. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer, treating his master with such contempt that he calmly ignored his call; I intreated him with my mouth, where formerly a beckoning nod was sufficient, Job was now obliged to beg for any service which he wished to have performed. V. 17. My breath is strange to my wife, the evil odor of his festering ulcers had caused his wife to turn from him with loathing, though I intreated for the children’s sake of mine own body, that is, the stench of his wounds had driven away also other relatives, probably grandsons, Job speaking of his great wretchedness in general terms. V. 18. Yea, young children, wicked youngsters, rude and impudent mockers, despised me, he had become a target of mockery on every side; I arose, and they spake against me, if he did arise to assert his former influence and authority, they made him the butt for their coarse jokes. V. 19. All my inward friends, his bosom friends, who enjoyed his confidence, abhorred me; and they whom I loved are turned against me. the reference being undoubtedly to the friends who had so openly spurned and attacked him. V. 20. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, he was wasted away to such a degree that his bones showed through his skin and his flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth, his gums at least not yet having been attacked by the fearful malady, so that he could still speak. V. 21. Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me, namely, in this terrible plague with which he was afflicted. He begs for a show of pity, since he is already suffering with the fearful disease, apparently the punishment of an angry God. V. 22. Why do ye persecute me as God, why should they assume divine authority in adding their persecution to that which the Lord had laid upon him, and are not satisfied with my flesh? Though they were gnawing at his very life with the tooth of suspicion and slander and thus devouring his very flesh, they did not yet seem to be satisfied, but were continuing their persecutions and increasing Job’s agony. It is the way of officious meddlers to continue their boring with bland and torturing persistence, thus adding to the misery of the afflicted.
JOB STATES HIS BELIEF IN FINAL VINDICATION. — V. 23. Oh, that my words were now written! those with which he protested his innocence. Oh, that they were printed in a book! inscribed in a writing-roll, to be kept for later generations as a record of his protest. V. 24. That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever! chiseled in the rock and the letters then filled with lead, as a witness to future generations. This hope, as Job knew, would not be fulfilled; he could not hope for a vindication of his righteousness before men. But he trusted in another fact, his faith was based upon another wonderful truth. V. 25. For I know that my Redeemer liveth, he had that conviction of faith which he, for his own person, held, that his Avenger, his Vindicator, his Redeemer, was even then living, not only as the Possessor, but as the very Source, of all true life, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, literally, “for as the last He will arise on earth.” The time will come when the Redeemer will appear as the Advocate and Vindicator of those who put their trust in Him, as the Savior who leads to the beholding of God. When He, on the Last Day, will step on this earth, the many millions of bodies that have returned to the dust will feel the influence of His almighty power, arise from their graves, and join the Redeemer, to be led by Him into everlasting glory. V. 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, literally, “and afterward will with my skin be surrounded this” (body). He is sure that there will be a glorious resurrection of the body on the Last Day, that the very skin which clothed him during his mortal life here on earth will again cover the flesh which has become subject to decay and corruption. Yet in my flesh shall I see God, literally, “Out of my flesh shall I behold God.” The body which, in the corruption of death, was stripped of its skin will once more be clothed with that covering, and then, from out of that same body, Job would see God. Job is so sure of this fact that he pictures the scene in concrete terms. V. 27. Whom I shall see for myself, literally, “behold unto me,” for my benefit, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, not a stranger. It is a beholding, a seeing, in the supernatural manner which is often connected with visions. It is a beholding of God in the bliss of eternal salvation. So great is Job’s longing for the wonderful revelation to which he is looking forward that he cries out: Though my reins be consumed within me, literally, “are consumed my reins in my abdomen,” it is a consuming anxiousness which filled Job in the midst of his great tribulation; he was eating out his heart in longing for the last great day of salvation. V. 28. But ye should say, Why persecute we him, if they should still insist upon pursuing him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? If they still persisted in charging him with guilt, with harboring in his own heart the root of the calamities which had befallen him, they should beware. V. 29. Be ye afraid of the sword, which the vengeance of God would bring upon them; for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, the crimes, the transgressions, of the sword are invariably overtaken by wrath, that ye may know there is a judgment, the slanderers and blasphemers will finally be laid low by the justice of the Lord, a statement which is full of consolation also in these last days of the world.