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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Job 6

Verses 1-30

JOB - CHAPTER 6

JOB’S REPLY TO ELIPHAZ’S FIRST ADDRESS

Verses 1-30:

Verses 1-3 begin Job’s response to Eliphaz. He lamented that Eliphaz had not weighed or given valid consideration to the misfortunes that had befallen him in the loss of all his possessions, his children, his wife’s infideity, and his weight of afflictions of sores that had covered his body for these many days, and caused his grief. Else Eliphaz would have sympathized with and comforted him, instead of scolding, censuring, and accusing him of harboring hidden sin in his heart, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Because of any lack of sympathy from Eliphaz his weight of grief was like sand of the sea, so heavy that it kept him from expressing his grief in words one could understand, Job 37:19-20; Psalms 40:5.

Verse 4 states that the "arrows of the Almighty," or instruments of avenging in warfare were in Job’s heart, like poison arrows used to hasten pain and death, in his departing spirit, Psalms 38:3. Job lamentingly confessed that the terrors of divine wrath cut painfully through his soul, like recurring waves of an army in array, Judges 20:33; See also Deuteronomy 32:23; Psalms 7:13; Psalms 18:14; Psalms 21:12; Psalms 45:5.

Verse 5 rhetorically asks whether a wild ass brays when he has grass or an ox lows when it has fodder for food. The implied answer is, they do not. Job would argue that his complaint over his misfortune was therefore not without merit, yet, he compared himself with brute beasts which have not the spirit to restrain them in hunger, as man has, 1 John 4:4; 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Verses 6, 7 further sets forth Job’s reply to the harsh words of Eliphaz by asserting that one cannot possibly like a thing that is distasteful, can he? a thing like meat or the white of an egg, so tasteless without salt. His miseries of soul were like disgusting food that one had to endure to survive. His food or staff of his life was like bitter tears, hard to bear, much as later expressed by David, Psalms 42:3; Psalms 80:5. Such Job contends made a valid basis for his complaint and desire to die, Job 3:1-12.

Verses 8, 9 express a longing outcry of Job’s desire for immediate death; but a cry for death is often a coward’s way out of immediate trouble. Often the wicked cry for it, not considering that "after this the judgment," Hebrews 9:27. He desired that God would simply withhold His hand of mercy totally letting Satan take his life, which God had forbidden, Job 1, 12, Job 2:6. He asked that he be "cut off," a term used for cutting off a bolt of cloth from the loom of the weaver, as a finished product; But Job was not yet a "finished product," Isaiah 38:12; Romans 8:28-29.

Verse 10 asserts that Job would find comfort in the thought of dying, being cut off from life; He would harden or set himself, leaping with joy for the pain of death, because speedy death would bring him face to face with an holy God, whose commands he had no knowledge of not keeping. As God is holy so man has an obligation to be holy. And Job, in reply to Eliphaz’s insinuations that he was an hypocrite, covering personal sins, here denied it, without guilt, shame, or fear, Psalms 119:46; Acts 20:20; Acts 20:27; Leviticus 19:2.

Verse 11 poses Job’s question of why he should go on suffering longer, with no normal hope to live under the terrible malady of disease and sores, all but gone. Why, he asks should he live longer to bear his hopeless calamity, Ecclesiastes 7:8; Eliphaz’s claim was vain, Job 5:11.

Verses 12, 13 continue an expression of his seemingly hopeless state; No further strength of help exists for him, he says. And deliverance, healing, or liberation from the plague was without a gleam of hope.

Verse 14 asserts that real pity or love should be shown by a friend to one who is afflicted, not needling and unfounded charges of hypocrisy; for a friend "loveth at all times," and a brother is born for adversity, Proverbs 17:17. This pity should be shown all men, but especially a brother or a friend, See? 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Proverbs 10:12. He is due it, unless he has renounced the Almighty, is the idea, James 2:13; Psalms 19:9.

Verses 15, 16 charge that Job’s friends had turned false, claiming to bring help as friends, but increased his sorrow instead, disappointed him, rather than seeking to help him bear his burdens, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Galatians 6:1-2. These pretended brethren and friends are compared with cascading brooks in rainy seasons, dark by reason of melting ice, then disappointing, of no help, when the dry season comes. Such was a vivid picture of mourning caused to Job by the accusatory nature and the unsympathetic words of Eliphaz; There was no living waters, refreshing,, living hope in the words of Eliphaz; See Isaiah 58:11; Jeremiah 15:18; Jeremiah 2:13; Psalms 25:14.

Verses 17, 18 add that the stream of the brooks or rivulets grew more narrow and the water more shallow under the warmth and heat of the sun, so that their former cascading sounds availed nothing under the blast of the desert sun. Travelers, thirsty pilgrims would follow the winding paths of summer brooks only to perish, to die. So would any who listened to the counsel Eliphaz had spouted against Job, Matthew 7:15-20.

Verse 19 states that the troops or caravans of Tema were in the northern Arabian desert, where sons of Ishmael dwell, Genesis 25:15; Isaiah 21:14; Jeremiah 25:23, while the companies of Sheba waited for their companions to return from the distance, where they had gone on a vain quest for water, as described, v. 18.

Verse 20 adds that they were confounded when their friends returned pale, in despair, having found no water in the empty brooks. They returned with shame and blasted hopes. They had deceived, deluded expectations. This is what Job’s friends, Eliphaz and his others, had brought to him. Though hope makes "not ashamed," because it is anchored to "that one" within the veil, Jesus Christ, Romans 5:5; Hebrews 6:17-19.

Verse 21 concludes that Job’s false friends are "nothing," but like those disappointed and deluded searchers of dried up brooks, that offered no relief, no hope in or from his sufferings. He added that they had sat in stunned silence at his afflictions and were themselves afraid of what they had seen. They had lost presence of mind at the sight of Job’s frightful misery, rather than reach out to him, as false friends and false lovers, Psalms 35:11.

Verse 22 inquires of them, for the record, "did I say bring unto me," or "give a reward for me of your substance?" to redeem me from judgment? He did not. He only sought their affections, Job 42:11; Acts 20:33.

Verses 23, 24 further inquire if he had asked them to deliver him from his enemy’s hand or redeem him from the hand of the oppressor or the mighty? He had not. Their coming was of curiosity, their own idea. Then he ironically challenged them, as self appointed teachers, to teach him, if they were capable, and if they could give evidence he was in error, he would correct it. He was willing to hold his tongue, be silent, if they had any real Divine light to shed on his circumstance and need, Psalms 39:1.

Verse 25 affirms that right, proper, or wholesome words were to be respected, but generalized babblings and insinuations against his integrity before God prove nothing. They were like "clouds and wind without rain or water," 2 Peter 2:17; Judges 1:12. He simply asks, "just what will your arguings prove?"

Verse 26 inquires, do you think or imagine you can prove anything to reprove effectively, mouthing mere sentiments, making sentimental statements that are without rhyme or reason, as one shouting at the wind, or talking through his hat? In effect Job was saying that the speech of Eliphaz had been "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Verse 27 adds that the speech of Eliphaz did overwhelm the fatherless and dig a pit or open a pitfall for his friend. Neither was complimentary to the address of Eliphaz. He might hold the immature, the fatherless spellbound by his bombast, but it was of no iota of hope, help, pity for, or comfort to Job who needed such in his present plight. Eliphaz had set a net to entrap Job, like a bird or wild animal, instead of trying to lead him out of or help him in his afflicted state, Psalms 57:6. Would you trap me and feast on my miseries? he asked, Jeremiah 18:20; Proverbs 26:27; 1 Samuel 14:42; Psalms 22:18.

Verse 28 challenges Eliphaz to look directly into Job’s face, and be content or pleased to recognize that he is no hypocrite, else it would show in his face. Job was asserting his innocence of hypocrisy, a thing that Eliphaz had charged to him by insinuation, Job 4:7-9; Job 5:12-14.

Verse 29 recounts Job’s call to Eliphaz to return to soberness of reason and retract the charges of hypocrisy and hidden sin in his life, as a cause for his sufferings. The phrase "let it not be iniquity" means do not let your charge stand that I am unrighteous or an unjust person, suffering for personal sins, Leviticus 14:15. Job insists that his cause is a just one, Job 17:10.

Verse 30 inquires of Eliphaz whether or not he really believes that Job is a man of a perverse, dishonest, lying tongue; And he would like Eliphaz to state whether or not he thought Job had not palate taste buds, regarding taste of right and wrong, regarding testimony, Job 31:30; Proverbs 5:3; Psalms 52:4. The Lord is gracious to the afflicted, even when their friends fail them, Isaiah 41:17-18; Galatians 6:1-2.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 6". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-6.html. 1985.