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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Job 19

Verse 1

Then Job answered and said,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 2

How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?

How long ... - retorting Bildad's words (Job 18:2). Admitting the punishment to be deserved, is it kind thus ever to be harping on this to the sufferer? And yet even this they have not yet proved.

Verse 3

These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.

These - prefixed to numbers emphatically (Genesis 27:36). Ten - i:e., often (Genesis 31:7).

Make yourselves strange - rather, stun me [ haakar (H1970)] (Gesenius). (See margin for a different meaning).

Verse 4

And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.

Erred. The Hebrew expresses unconscious error [ shaagaah (H7686)]. Job was unconscious of willful sin.

Remaineth - literally, passeth the night [ taaliyn (H3885)]. An image from harbouring an unpleasant guest for the night. I bear the consequences.

Verse 5

If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach:

Magnify ... - speak proudly (Obadiah 1:12; Ezekiel 35:13).

Against me - emphatically repeated (Psalms 38:16, "When my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me").

Plead ... reproach. The English version makes this part of the protasis, 'if' being understood, and the apodosis beginning at Job 19:6 'If ye wish to magnify yourselves against me, and to reproach me with my shame (i:e., my sufferings), know that these my calamities have befallen me, not by my own fault, but God has overthrown me, etc. Umbreit takes it, If ye would become great heroes against me in truth, ye must prove (evince,) against me my guilt, or shame, which you assert.' In the English version "reproach" will mean Jobs calamities which they "pleaded" against him as a "reproach," or proof of guilt.

Verse 6

Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net. Compassed ... net - alluding to Bildad's words (Job 18:8). Know that it is not that I, as a wicked man, have been caught in my "own net:" it is God who has compassed me in His-why, I know not.

Verse 7

Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.

Wrong - violence: brought on him by God.

No judgment - God will not remove my calamities, and so vindicate my just cause: and my friends will not do justice to my past character (Habakkuk 1:2, "How long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even ... of violence, and thou wilt not save").

Verse 8

He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.

Image from a benighted traveler (Job 3:23; Lamentations 3:7; Lamentations 3:9).

Verse 9

He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.

Stripped ... crown. A crown is an emblem of all that imparts to one grace and dignity. The image is from a deposed king, deprived of his robes and crown: appropriate to Job, once an emir, with all but royal dignity (Lamentations 5:16, "The crown is fallen from our head;" Proverbs 4:9; Psalms 89:39).

Verse 10

He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.

Destroyed ... on every side - `shaken all round, so that I fall in the dust:' image from a tree uprooted by violent shaking from every side (Umbreit) The last clause accords with this (Jeremiah 1:10).

Mine hope - as to this life (in opposition to Zophar, Job 11:18): not us to the world to come (Job 19:25; Job 14:15).

Removed - uprooted. The tree, when merely cut above, may revive, but not when torn up by the roots: so is my hope utterly gone (Job 14:7; Job 14:9; Job 14:19-20).

Verse 11

He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.

Enemies - (Job 13:24, "Wherefore holdest thou me for thine enemy?" Lamentations 2:5).

Verse 12

His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.

Troops - calamities advance together like hostile troops (Job 10:17, note).

Raise up ... way. An army must cast up a way of access before it, in marching against a city (Isaiah 40:3).

Verse 13

He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.

Brethren - nearest kinsmen, as distinguished from "acquaintance." So "kinsfolk" and "familiar friends" (Job 19:14) correspond in parallelism. The Arabic proverb is, 'The brother' - i:e., the true friend-`is only known in time of need.'

Estranged - literally, turn away with disgust [ zaaruw (H2114)]. Job again unconsciously uses language prefiguring the desertion of Jesus Christ (Job 16:10; Luke 23:49, "All his acquaintance, and the women ... stood afar off;" Psalms 38:11, "My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore, and my kinsmen stand afar off").

Verse 14

My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.

Failed - `cease' to come to me.

Verse 15

They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.

They that dwell ... - rather, sojourn; male-servants, sojourning in his house [ gaareey (H1481)]. Mark the contrast. The stranger, admitted to sojourn as a dependent, treats the master as a stranger [ zaar (H2114)] in his own house.

Verse 16

I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.

Servant - born in my house (as distinguished from those sojourning in it), and so altogether belonging to the family. Yet even he disobeys my call.

Mouth - i:e., calling aloud; formerly a nod was enough. Now I look no longer for obedience; I try entreaty.

Verse 17

My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body.

Strange. His breath, by elephantiasis, had become so strongly altered and offensive that his wife turned away as estranged from him (Job 19:13; Job 17:1).

Children ... of mine own body - literally, belly. But 'loins' is what we should expect, not 'belly' (womb), which applies to the woman. The "mine" forbids it being of his wife. Their children, besides, were dead (Job 1:19). In Job 3:10, the same words, 'my womb,' mean, my mother's womb: therefore translate, 'and I must entreat (as a suppliant) the children of my mother's womb' - i:e., my own brothers. A heightening of force as compared with last clause of Job 19:16 (Umbreit). Not only must I entreat suppliantly my servant, but my own brothers (Psalms 69:8) Here too, he unconsciously foreshadows, Jesus Christ (John 7:5) Maurer translates, 'I am offensive (stinking) to the children of mine own body'-namely, grand-children sprang from me [ chaanan (H2603), chanotiy (H2603), to be stinking]. His own children were dead (Job 1:19).

Verse 18

Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me.

Young children. So the Hebrew [ `ªwiyliym (H5759), from `uwl (H5763), to suck] means (Job 21:11). Reverence for age is a chief duty in the East. The word means 'wicked' (Job 16:11). So Umbreit has it here, not so well.

I arose - rather supply 'if' as Job was no more in a state to stand up. 'If I should stand up (arise), they would speak against (abuse) me' (Umbreit), (Ps. 1:20 , "Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother," etc.)

Verse 19

All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.

Inward - confidential-literally, 'men of my secret,' or intimacy (Psalms 25:14) - to whom I entrusted my most intimate confidence. 20. Extreme meagreness (Psalms 102:5, "my bones cleave to my skin;" cf. Lamentations 4:8). The bone seemed to stick to the skin, being seen through it, owing to the flesh drying up, and falling away from the bone. The margin, 'as to my flesh,' would mean, 'my bone cleaves to my skin, as (in health) it would do to my flesh;' which gives a clear sense. The English version expresses, "and to my flesh" - namely, and to the little flesh which remains, and which has fallen away from the bone, instead of firmly covering it. My bone cleaves to my skin and flesh together; whereas ordinarily the bones are joined by the flesh to the skin (margin, Psalms 102:5; Lamentations 4:8). My skin and flesh are so emaciated that the bones cleave closely to the skin, and are seen easily from without (Psalms 22:17). Christ, the Antitype, says, "I may tell all my bones."

Skin of my teeth. Proverbial. I have escaped with bare life; I am whole only with the skin of my teeth - i:e., my gums alone are whole, the rest of the skin of my body is broken with sores (Job 7:5). Satan left Job speech, in hopes that he (Job) might therewith curse God.

Verse 20

My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 21

Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.

When God had made him such a piteous spectacle, his friends should spare him the additional persecution of their cruel speeches.

Verse 22

Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?

As God - has persecuted me. Prefiguring Jesus Christ (Psalms 69:26). That God afflicts is no reason that man is to add to a sufferer's affliction (Zechariah 1:15).

Satisfied with my flesh. It is not enough that God afflicts my flesh literally (Job 19:20), but you must 'eat my flesh' metaphorically (Psalms 27:2) - i:e., utter the worst calamnies-as the phrase often means in Arabic (Galatians 5:15, "If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another").

Verse 23

Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! Despairing of justice from his friends in his lifetime, he wishes his words could be preserved imperishably to posterity, attesting his hope of vindication at the resurrection.

My words - vindicating my innocence.

Printed - not our modern printing, but engraven.

Verse 24

That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

Pen - graver.

Lead - poured into the engraven characters, to make them better seen (Umbreit). Not on leaden plates; because it was "in the rock" that they were engraved. Perhaps it was the hammer that was of "lead," as sculptors find more delicate incisions are made by it than by a harder hammer. Forster ('One Primeval Language') has shown that the inscriptions on the rocks in Wady-Mokatta, along Israel's route through the desert, record the journeys of that people, as Cosmas Indicopleutes asserted, 535 AD Whether his view be correct or not, the engraving of inscriptions on rocks is of very ancient date.

For ever. As long as the rock lasts; not perishable as a "book" (Job 19:23) would be.

Verse 25

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

For I - rather, 'Yet I know,' if you do not. The "I" is emphatic.

Redeemer. Umbreit, etc., understand this and Job 19:25 of God appearing as Job's Avenger before his death, when his body would be wasted to a skeleton. But Job uniformly despairs of restoration and vindication of his cause in this life (Job 17:15-16). One hope alone was left, which the Spirit revealed-a vindication in a future life: it would be so full vindication if his soul alone were, to be happy without the body; as some explain (Job 19:26). 'out of the flesh.' It was his body that had chiefly suffered: the resurrection of his body, therefore alone could vindicate his cause: to see God with his own eyes, and in a renovated body (Job 19:27), would disprove the imputation of guilt cast on him because of the sufferings of his present body. That this truth is not further dwelt on by Job, or noticed by his friends only shows that it was with him a bright passing glimpse of Old Testament hope rather than the steady light of Gospel assurance; with us this passage has a definite clearness which it had not in mind (see note, Job 21:30). The idea in "Redeemer" [ go'eel (H1350)] with Job is Vindicator (Job 16:19; Numbers 35:27), redressing his wrongs; also including, at least with us, for whom (and not merely for Job) the Spirit designed this Scripture (Romans 15:4) and probably with him, the idea of the predicted Bruiser of the Serpent's head. Tradition would inform him of the prediction. Forster shows that the fell by the serpent is represented perfectly on the Temple of Osiris at Phyloe: end the resurrection on the tomb of the Egyptian Mycerinus, dating 4000 years back. Job's sacrifices imply sense of sin and need of atonement. Satan was the Injurer of Job's body: Jesus Christ his Vindicator, the Living One, who giveth life (John 5:21; John 5:26.)

At the latter day - rather, 'the Last,' agreeing in syntax with "my Redeemer," the special title of Jesus Christ, though Job may not have known the pregnancy of his own inspired words, and may have understood merely one that comes after (1 Corinthians 15:45; Revelation 1:17). Jesus Christ is the last; the day of Jesus Christ is the last day (John 6:39.)

Stand - rather, arise. As God is said to "raise up" the Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5; Deuteronomy 18:15).

Earth - rather, dust; often associated with the body crumbling away in it (Job 7:21; Job 17:16): therefore appropriately here. Above that very dust, wherewith, was mingled mane decaying body, shall man's Vindicator arise. 'Arise above the dust, strikingly expresses that fact that Jesus Christ arose first Himself above the dust, and then is to raise His people above it (1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:23). The Spirit intended in Job's words more than Job fully understood (1 Peter 1:11-12). Though He seems, in forsaking me, to be as one dead, He now truly "liveth" in heaven: hereafter He shall appear also above the dust of earth. The Go'el (H1352) or Vindicator of blood was the nearest kinsman of the slain. So Jesus Christ took our flesh, to be our kinsman, and to redeem the last inheritance. Men lost life by Satan the "murderer" (John 8:44), here Job's persecutor (Hebrews 2:14, "him that had the power of death, that is the devil") Men regains life by and in the Redeemer, Cf. also as of redemption of the inheritance by the kinsman to the dead (Ruth 4:3-5). Christ is our Boas (strength), who has already bought us, and gives us the Spirit as the 'earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession,' which shall be at "the redemption of the body,' when Christ shall raise the dead (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:14)

Verse 26

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God - rather, 'though after, my skin (is no more) this (body) is destroyed,' "body" being omitted, because it was so wasted as not to deserve the name; yet from my flesh [ mibªsaariy (H1320)] (from my renewed body, as the starting-point of vision (Song of Solomon 2:9, 'looking out from the windows') shall I see God." The next clause proves bodily vision is meant, because it specifies "mine eyes" (Rosenmuller, 2nd edition). The Hebrew opposes "in my flesh." The "skin"was the first destroyed by elephantiasis, then the "body." "In may flesh" - i:e. my present flesh-would not accord so well with "Flesh, and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50). It is 'from my flesh,' that I shall see God - i:e., from my renewed body, which Job contrasts with "this" [ zo't (H2063)], pointing to his poor emaciated frame, which he was soon to lay by. Rationalists contradict themselves; because they say Job expected to see God vindicating him with his eyes (Job 19:27), before death; and yet, in Job 19:26, that he should see God without his flesh (as the Hebrew [ min (H4480)] often means). Maurer, indeed, avoids this by explaining, 'without my flesh' -

i.e., after my flesh has been all wasted away, I shall yet before death see God. But this is a most unnatural sense. How could Job still live after his skin and flesh had beet destroyed? He certainly elsewhere never had such an expectation of deliverance in this life (cf. note, Job 19:25).

Verse 27

Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

For myself - for my advantage, as my friend, vindicating my innocence and delivering me from all my calamities.

Not another. Mine eyes shall behold Him, but no longer as one estranged [ zaar (H2114)] from me, as now (Bengel). The English version is good sense: "Not another" - literally, not a stranger shall see God, while I am absent and dead.

Though - better omitted: my reins (inward recesses of the heart) are consumed within me (literally, in my bosom) -

i.e., pine with longing desire for that day (Psalms 84:2; Psalms 119:81). The Gentiles had but few revealed promises: how gracious that the few should have been so explicit! (cf. Numbers 24:17; Matthew 2:2.)

Verse 28

But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?

Rather, ye will then (when the Vindicator cometh) say, Why did we persecute him?

Root ... in me - the root of pious integrity, which was the matter at issue whether it could be in one so afflicted, is found in me. Umbreit, with many MSS. and versions, reads 'in him:' 'Why did we persecute him, or how found we in him ground for contention?' Noyes translates, 'Since ye say, How may we persecute him, and find ground of acusation against him? be afraid of the sword,' etc. The English version, however, accords well with the sense. 'Seeing the root of the matter is found in me, ye will then say (when the Vindicator comes,) Why did we persecute him?'

Verse 29

Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment. Be ye afraid of the sword - the punishment, about to be inflicted by the coming Judge. "Wrath (the passionate violence with which the friends persecuted Job) bringeth," etc.: literally, sin of the sword [ cheemaah (H2537) `ªwonowt (H5771) chaareb (H2719)].

That ye may know - supply, 'I say this.'

Judgement - inseparably connected with the coming of the Vindicator. The "wrath" of God at His appearing for the temporal vindication of Job against the friends (Job 42:7) is a pledge of the eternal wrath at the final coming to glorify the saints and judge their enemies (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Isaiah 25:8).

Judgment, [ shaduwn (H1779)]. Maurer reads [ Shaday (H7706)] 'the Almighty.'

Remarks:

(1) When God visits any with affliction, we should not add to it by magnifying ourselves against the sufferer, as though our exemption from trial were a proof of our religious superiority. Granting, even, that such a one has erred, it is he that to bear the chastisement of his error, not we (Job 19:4). The spirit of meekness, therefore, become us, considering ourselves, lest we also should be tempted (Galatians 6:1).

(2) In many cases, as in that of Job, affliction is no proof of God's displeasure at some special sin (Job 19:5-6), but is a testing of the faith of His children, "that the trial of their faith, being more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire may be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).

(3) Of all such trials none is so distressing to the believer as that, when he cries to heaven, God his Father seems at times to turn a deaf ear to supplications. But the discipline must not expect to be above his Master. Even the divine Son of God had once to complain, "O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent" (Psalms 22:2). No wonder, then, if the adopted children of God have at times to complain similarly - "Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through" (Lamentations 3:44) Our wisdom at such seasons is to trust God still, when we cannot see Him, and, with strong faith in His love to tell the accuser, "Rejoice not against me O my enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord ... until He plead my cause ... He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold His righteousness" (Micah 7:8-9).

(4) How uncertain is the friendship of the nearest relatives and acquaintances! (Job 19:14-19.) Adversity often turns those of our own household into adversaries. The very servant treats disrespect the fallen master. But if we can say, "The Lord is my helper ... the Lord who hath promised, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5-6), we may boldly say, "I will not fear what man shall do unto me." If we can say, Christ is "MY Redeemer," and "I know" that He liveth, we need not fear present suffering and approaching death. The shroud, the coffin, the worm, and corruption are terrible thoughts to the natural man; but the believer looks beyond the present gloom to the coming day when He who is "the Last" as well as "the First" shall stand triumphant over all the foes of man-death, hell, and Satan-and shall redeem man's body as He hath already redeemed his soul. "Fear not," saith He; "I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold. I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:17-18). Then shall those who persecuted the righteous (Job 19:28-29), bitterly reproach themselves for the past, when "the sword" of "judgment" is about to descend on them.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/job-19.html. 1871-8.