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Job’s Fourth Speech (Job 16, 17)
See introductory remarks on Job 15-21.
1-5. Job retorts scornfully that he too could offer such empty ’comfort’ if he were in the friends’ place.
2. The friends can do nothing but repeat their exasperating commonplaces.
3. Shall vain words, etc.] i.e. ’will you never stop?’
5. Job would have acted very differently (Job 4:3-4; Job 29), giving no mere lip-comfort.
6-17. Job enlarges on the wrath of God and the enmity of man. Neither speech nor silence brings him relief.
7-9. These vv. seem to refer to the hostility of God, Job 16:10 to that of man. In Job 16:7-9 Job varies between complaint of God in the third person and direct address to Him.
7b. Perhaps a reference to the loss of his family (Job 1:18-19).
13. Archers] RM ’arrows.’
Reins] i.e. kidneys.
14. With breach upon breach] with one blow after another, as a battering-ram makes breaches in a wall.
15. Sackcloth] the sign of mourning.
Horn] the emblem of pride and strength.
17. Not for any injustice] RV ’although there is no violence.’ Cp. the suffering Servant of Jehovah in Isaiah 53:9.
18. Conscious of his innocence and yet of his impending death, which seems a token that he is condemned as guilty, Job invokes the earth not to conceal his blood, but to let it cry aloud for justice. The idea that the earth would not absorb innocent blood occurs also in Genesis 4:10; Ezekiel 24:7, Ezekiel 24:8.
8. No place] RV ’no resting place.’ Let it be heard everywhere!
19-21. Rejected by men who count him guilty, Job is for a moment cheered with a bright vision of a ’witness in heaven,’ one who will vouch for and testify to his innocence (Job 16:19). From Job 16:20-21 RV it is supposed that Job has an intuition that the God who now seems to be his enemy is after all the God of love, in communion with whom his past life has been spent, and to Him he turns:
’But thou giv’st leave, dear Lord, that we Take shelter from Thyself in Thee; And with the wings of Thine own Dove Fly to the sceptre of soft love.’ (Crashaw, quoted by cheyne.)
We see here a development of the idea of a ’daysman’ or mediator first mentioned in Job 9:33. There it appears as a longing impossible to be realised. In this chapter it turns into a definite hope, and in Job 19:25-27 it rises to a certainty. It is evident from Job 16:22; Job 17:1-3, Job 17:13-16 that Job does not expect this vindication before his death, which seems at hand.
19. Also now] RV ’Even now.’ My record] RV ’he that voucheth for me.’
21. ’RV ’0 that he (God) would maintain the right of man with God, and of a son of man with his neighbour.’ Some render the second half of the sentence, ’as a mortal man does for his neighbour.’
22. Connected in subject with Job 17:1, Job 17:2. Some by a slight correction read in the first line, ’For the mourning-women shall come.’
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Job 16". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19