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Bible Commentaries
Job 6

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Job Chapter 6

Job 6:1 "But Job answered and said,"

Job 6:2 "Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!" In this, Job gave his answer to the accusations of Eliphaz. Job felt that he was being unjustly judged by his friends. They had not suffered the great loss that he had, and there was no way for them to understand his grief. The amount of his grief was understandable, if you weighed it against the calamities that had happened.

Job 6:3 "For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up." Job said that some of his statements might have been a little rash. His troubles were more than the weight of all the sand of the sea, however. His words were but nothing covered by the calamities.

Job 6:4 "For the arrows of the Almighty [are] within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me." His greatest wound in all of this was in his heart. He felt that the Almighty had taken his spirit. He was fully aware that all of this had to be allowed by the Almighty. His heart was broken, because he had loved the Almighty with everything he was.

Job 6:5 "Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?" Now, this was an explanation of his complaining. He had never complained before, because he had nothing to complain about. The answer to the question above is no. The wild ass brays when he is hungry, and there is no food. The ox lows when their is no fodder to eat. Now, that everything is taken away from Job, he cried out in pain for what used to be.

Job 6:6 "Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there [any] taste in the white of an egg?" The flavor of food is enhanced by the salt on it. The whites of eggs do not have any flavor. His life had lost its pleasantness, as well. The loss of his children had taken the joy out of his life. This disease had caused his life to be a dread, and nothing pleasant.

Job 6:7 "The things [that] my soul refused to touch [are] as my sorrowful meat." We see that Job was explaining his terrible life now, but was, also, answering Eliphaz who had no right to judge him.

Job 6:8 "Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant [me] the thing that I long for!"

Job 6:9 "Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!" Eliphaz had spoken of God granting long life to those who loved God. That was the very thing that Job did not want. It would be no life at all, without his health, and his children to share it.

Job 6:10 "Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One." Job knew that he would be in heaven with his LORD, if he died, because he had not denied Him. It appears, that Job had spread the good news of God. He had never hidden his belief in God. Notice, the change of the name that Job called God, here. The Holy One means that he recognized the holiness of God. He knew there was a reason for everything that was happening, and that as bad as it was, it was the right thing for Job.

Job 6:11 "What [is] my strength, that I should hope? and what [is] mine end, that I should prolong my life?" Job realized that he was very ill. He knew that all of his strength was gone. Why would he want to live in a body filled with sickness?

Job 6:12 "[Is] my strength the strength of stones? or [is] my flesh of brass?" Job could not pretend that his body would be as strong as a rock, or his flesh as brass. He was sick, and his flesh was weak.

Job 6:13 "[Is] not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?"

Job 6:14 "To him that is afflicted pity [should be shewed] from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty." He had received no help from his friends. They wanted him to help himself. True friends should be comforters, not an accusers. True friends would have known Job well enough, to know that he was not involved in sin. They should have believed in Job. They did not. They brought railing accusations against him. We say they, because Eliphaz was speaking for all three of them. Job had not forsaken the fear of the Almighty, but if he had, they still could have shown him some trust and love, instead of joining the crowd who criticized him.

Job 6:15 "My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, [and] as the stream of brooks they pass away;" Their friendship for him had left like the water in a brook flows to a lower place. It was not stable, but went away.

Job 6:16 "Which are blackish by reason of the ice, [and] wherein the snow is hid:"

Job 6:17 "What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place." This was another way of expressing their transient loyalty to him. When the ice is frozen it stays right there. When trouble comes {it waxes warm}, it melts and runs off. Their friendship could not stand the heat of this time.

Job 6:18 "The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish." Job was calling them good-time friends. Their friendship dissolved at the very first sign of trouble.

Job 6:19 "The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them." The troops of Tema were speaking of Arabs, descended from Ishmael. They were nomads. They were here today, and gone tomorrow. The troops did not all go in at once. Sheba waited behind.

Job 6:20 "They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed." Job had looked for friends who loved him, and would stand beside him. He was ashamed of his friends, when they did not stand beside him in his sorrow. These caravans came to sell, and were disappointed when their benefactor was no more.

Job 6:21 "For now ye are nothing; ye see [my] casting down, and are afraid." As far as Job was concerned these so-called friends were nothing in his eyes. They stood against Job for fear they might be incriminated.

Job 6:22 "Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance?"

Job 6:23 "Or, Deliver me from the enemy’s hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?" The answer to all of this was no. He had not asked for any help at all from them, even though everything had been taken from him. He did not even ask for them to intervene with the Almighty for him. They had come of their own freewill with no comfort for Job in the physical, or in the spiritual sense.

Job 6:24 "Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred." Now, Job told them, if he was wrong about them, he would say no more. He could not understand what he had done to cause their friendship to not mean more to them.

Job 6:25 "How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?" Had they spoken truth, he would have gladly listened. They had done nothing to help. They had just given him less hope, than he had before they came.

Job 6:26 "Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, [which are] as wind?" He wanted to know just exactly what he had done, that they knew of, that would have given the impression he was a sinner man? It seems, they were not blaming him for his actions, but for his words.

Job 6:27 "Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig [a pit] for your friend." This was a way Job had of expressing their lack of feeling for those in need. They had given him no way out. They had already dug his grave in their thoughts.

Job 6:28 "Now therefore be content, look upon me; for [it is] evident unto you if I lie." Job was saying they should know in their own hearts, that he was telling them the truth.

Job 6:29 "Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness [is] in it." It is as if Job was telling them to start all over again, and examine this. They would find that this was not because of any iniquity in Job’s life. Job reminded them that he had lived righteous before the LORD. If they had taken the time to check all of this out, before they started their criticism, they would have known he had done nothing to deserve this.

Job 6 Questions

1. Oh that my grief were ___________ weighed?

2. What was Job doing in this chapter?

3. Why could his friends not understand his grief?

4. How could you understand his great grief?

5. He compared the weight of his grief with what?

6. The arrows of the __________ were within him.

7. What was his greatest wound?

8. Doth the wild ass ________ when he hath grass?

9. What is Job 6:5 explaining?

10. The flavor of food is enhanced by ________.

11. What had taken the joy of Job’s life away?

12. What was the desire of Job, in verse 9?

13. It would be no life for Job without what two things?

14. When did Job feel he would have comfort?

15. What question did he ask in Job 6:11?

16. What strong things did he compare his strength to in Job 6:12?

17. Where did his friends expect him to get help from?

18. True friends should be _________.

19. Eliphaz was speaking for whom?

20. What did Job compare the friends deceit with in Job 6:15?

21. What were Job 6:16 and Job 6:17 describing?

22. What was Job calling his friends in Job 6:18?

23. Who were the troops of Tema?

24. What did he call them in Job 6:21?

25. What questions did he ask them in Job 6:22 and Job 6:23?

26. What was the answer to those questions?

27. What did Job say he would do, if he was wrong about them?

28. Had they spoken truth, he would have gladly _________.

29. What specific sin could they accuse him of?

30. What should these friends have done, before they started their criticism?

Verses 1-7

Job 6:1-7

Job 6

JOB’S REPLY TO ELIPHAZ:

JOB DEFENDS THE RASHNESS OF HIS LAMENT

Job 6:1-7

"Then Job answered and said,

Oh that my vexation were but weighed,

And all my calamity laid in the balances!

For now it would be heavier than the sand of the seas;

Therefore have my words been rash.

For the arrows of the Almighty are within me,

The poison whereof my spirit drinketh up:

The terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.

Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass?

Or loweth the ox over his fodder?

Can that which hath no savor be eaten without salt?

Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?

My soul refuseth to touch them;

They are as loathsome food to me."

These words of Job are, "Strong and coherent, contrasted with those of Eliphaz, which are incoherent and without the backbone of any clear conviction, turning hither and thither." These words of Job were spoken out of deep disappointment and pain in what Eliphaz had said. Eliphaz had applied such words as fool, godless man, confounded and impatient to Job," bringing him no comfort whatever.

"Oh that my vexation were but weighed" (Job 6:1). Job’s contention here is that the weight of his vexations greatly outweighs the alleged rashness and impatience of his words.

"The arrows of the Almighty are within me" (Job 6:4). "Job here, for the first time, distinctly names God as the author of his afflictions." The perplexity and distress of Job came from his bewilderment concerning why God was wounding him. "The evil-doer knows why he suffers; the martyr is sustained by the truth for which he suffers; but Job suffered without either support or explanation."

"Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass" (Job 6:5)? Here Job appealed to the behavior of animals, the cries of which arise from their distress. The same should be accepted as the allowable behavior of men. "Job argues that he has the right to bray like a hungry wild ass, or to bellow like a hungry bull."

"Or is there any taste in the white of an egg" (Job 6:6)? The RSV renders the last five words of this, in the slime of the purslane. But that rendition is a blunder because, "Most modern readers never heard of the purslane." "The purslane is a plant, the flower of which, as it fades away, resolves into an insipid mucilaginous jelly. It is that tasteless jelly which is alluded to here."

"My soul refuseth to touch them" (Job 6:7). This refers to the insipid, tasteless food just mentioned; but what did Job mean? Kelly thought that Job was comparing, "His flat and tasteless existence," to that tasteless food. Heavenor suggested that Job was comparing his tasteless life to "Insipid and saltless food." However, Pope wrote that, "The figure of taste is most appropriate as applied to the arguments of Eliphaz"; and, although Rawlinson stated that either meaning is appropriate, we strongly prefer Pope’s understanding of the place.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 6:1-2. Job made no direct reply to the speech of Eliphaz, for he believed that his own problem was underestimated. Grief were thoroughly weighed means that his grief deserved a fairer consideration.

Job 6:3. If the grief of Job could be literally weighed it would be found to outweigh the sand of the seashore. Words swallowed up means he did not have words to express his grief fully.

Job 6:4. Arrows is used figuratively and refers to the afflictions that Job was suffering. Within me has reference to the manner of wounding with an arrow. If a man could find an opening in the armor of another, he could get his arrow through that opening and within the victim or into his body.

Job 6:5. A beast will not complain when he has what he needs. Job reasoned that his complaints were just because he lacked the comforts of life.

Job 6:6. The complaints of Job were just and as reasonable as it would be to object to food that had been improperly seasoned, or not seasoned at all.

Job 6:7. This verse gives us a terrible picture of the unfortunate condition of Job. Because all of his property had been destroyed and his family and friends were no more, there was no one to provide him with food. Such a condition compelled him to eat things that he formerly would not even have touched with his hands.

Verses 8-13

Job 6:8-13

Job 6:8-13

JOB REAFFIRMS HIS DESIRE TO DIE

"Oh that I might have my request:

And that God would grant me the thing that

I long for!

Even that it would please God to crush me;

That he would let loose his hand and cut me off!

And be it still my consolation,

Yea, let me exult in pain that spareth not,

That I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

What is my strength, that I should wait?

And what is mine end, that I should be patient?

Is my strength the strength of stones?

Or is my flesh of brass?

Is it not that I have no help in me,

And that wisdom is driven quite from me."

"Be it still my consolation ... I have not denied the words of the Holy One" (Job 6:10). The fearlessness of Job in his contemplation of death is very significant. "He had nothing to fear in death; his conscience was clear; and the commandments of God he had never denied."

"What is my strength that I should wait" (Job 6:11). "What Job is saying in this and the next verse is that, "I am a human. I am a weak, frail, faltering human"; I am not made of brass or stone; this is more than I can bear. Therefore, I pray for God to take me home. "Job’s resources were all spent; he had no endurance left."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 6:8-9. The substance of this verse is a wish of Job that he might be allowed to die. He would prefer death to life under such fearful conditions as were then overwhelming him. But it would be a sin for a man to destroy himself, therefore Job’s wish was that God would destroy him by some kind of miraculous means.

Job 6:10. Job believed that man was conscious and could be happy after death. See the comments on Job 3:13-17 for this phase of the subject. But the present verse does not reach that far with the subject. Job means that whatever method God would see fit to use in bringing about his physical destruction, it would be pleasant compared with what he was then suffering. The reason for such a conclusion was the provocation that Eliphaz was adding to the situation by his false reasoning. I have not concealed, etc., means he had never evaded any of the words of God, therefore there were no hidden truths that would make Job dread anything from God.

Job 6:11-12. In these verses Job says practically the same things he has already said. He does not think he has much to live for, therefore it would be just as well for God to take him out of this world.

Job 6:13. This verse is in the form of a question, but it really means to express an assertion. It is about the same as if Job would say: "Help and wisdom have forsaken me, and there is none of it with me."

Verses 11-16

Job 6:11-16

Job 6:11-16

THE BITTERNESS OF JOB’S COMPLAINT

"Therefore I will not refrain my mouth;

I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;

I will complain in the bitterness of my soul

Am I a sea, or a sea-monster,

That thou settest a watch over me?

When I say, My bed shall comfort me,

My couch shall ease my complaint;

Then thou scarest me with dreams,

And terrifiest me through visions:

So that my soul chooseth strangling, And death rather than these my bones.

I loathe my life; I would not live alway:

Let me alone, for my days are vanity."

The recurrence of the word `thou’ (Job 7:12; Job 7:14) indicates that we have a prayer here in which Job pours out the bitterness of his complaint to God Himself. The terrible dreams and nightmares that came to Job are thought by some to have been characteristic of the disease of Elephantiasis. This may nor may not have been the case.

One of the most significant things in Job is the frequency and persistence in which Job turns again and again to God. Even though Job recognizes God as his antagonist, "He still addresses him as Friend, the Unseen, the Author of his sorrows; but, through all of these agonized protests, there runs the perception that God cannot be entirely against him," and that God alone is the answer to all our misfortunes.

"So that my soul chooseth strangling and death" (Job 7:15). Nevertheless, "Job does not contemplate suicide. The case of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23) is the only bona fide case of suicide in the Old Testament. The instances of two warriors resorting to suicide (Judges 9:54; 1 Samuel 31:4) in order to escape dishonor are not quite the same as deliberate and premeditated suicide."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 7:11. Job gave Eliphaz to understand that his grief was too great to allow another the right to silence him.

Job 7:12. This is another verse in the form of a question but is meant for an assertion. Job meant to tell Eliphaz that his attempt to regulate or influence a man with such a volume of emotion as that now possessed by him (Job), would be like trying to curb the sea or its monsters.

Job 7:13-14. The speeches of Job were a mixture of replies to the false reasoning of his friends interspersed with descriptions of his troubles. In this paragraph he reported an experience similar to what he described in Job 7:4.

Job 7:15-16. Job would rather die than live on with the weight of sorrows then bearing down on him. The same thought was expressed in Job 7:8-10; but he will not do anything by violence in order to get release from this life.

Verses 14-23

Job 6:14-23

Job 6:14-23

JOB LEVELED HIS COMPLAINT AGAINST HIS FRIENDS

"To him that is ready to faint kindness should be showed from his friend;

Even to him that forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.

My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook,

As the channel of brooks that pass away;

Which are black by reason of the ice,

And wherein the snow hideth itself.

What time they wax warm, they vanish;

When it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.

The caravans that travel by the way of them turn aside;

They go up into the waste and perish.

The Caravans of Tema looked,

The companies of Sheba waited for them.

They were put to shame because they had hoped;

They came thither and were confounded.

For now ye are nothing;

Ye are a terror, and are afraid.

Did I say, Give unto me?

Or, Offer a present to me of your substance?

Or, Deliver me from the adversary’s hand?

Or, Redeem me from the hand of the oppressors?"

In these verses, Job not only replied to Eliphaz, but to all of his comforters.

"To him that is ready to faint should be showed kindness from his friend" (Job 6:14). This was the very thing his three friends had not shown Job. Job even went further and declared that such sympathy and kindness should be extended to a person, `if he had forsaken,’ God (Job 6:14). Hesser described this anguished cry as:

"One of the most pathetic lines in literature." This verse carries with it the strong implication that, "Eliphaz had let Job down." "Job’s friends had come to him physically, but they had disappointed him because they showed no pity."

"My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook" (Job 6:15). The type of brook to which Job compared his friends was that intermittent `wash’ or wady of the desert, sure to be dry if any one depended on it for water.

"The caravans of Tema ... companies of Sheba" (Job 6:19). These were probably well known examples of caravans that were lost in the desert because of the untimely failure of such `brooks.’ The tragedies that befell them, unknown to us, might have been remembered by many in Job’s generation.

DeHoff explained what Job meant by this remarkable simile. "When Job was in prosperity, his friends were loyal to him; but, when he was struck down with suffering, they rejected him." They were just like those undependable `brooks’ that had water in the winter time, but none at all when the water was needed.

"Ye are nothing" (Job 6:21). That was just Job’s way of saying his friends were worthless as far as any benefit to Job was concerned. The prodigal son in the parable also saw all of his friends forsake him when he ran out of money.

"Ye see a terror, and are afraid" (Job 6:21). Here Job gives the reason for his friend’s refusal to comfort him. "Their conduct is dictated by fear that, if they show compassion on Job, God may view it as criticism of his providence and suddenly plague them like Job."

"Did I say give unto me" (Job 6:21)? In this and the following two verses, "Job’s friends treat him like he had requested a loan, plenty of advice, but no hard cash." "Job desired only one thing of his friends, sympathy; and that he did not get."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 6:14. Job accused Eliphaz of overlooking the respect he should have for the Almighty. Because of having done that, he has not pitied Job as he should.

Job 6:15. In this passage Job recognized his three friends as his brethren. I wish the student to see my comments on Job 2:11.

Job 6:16-18. The sum of this paragraph is a comparison to the unsteady, temporary, off-and-on nature of many streams. They are uncertain as to their continuance, and just as one might think of refreshing himself by them they are gone. This would be particularly true of the streams that are fed by snow. When the sun’s rays would become warm they would soon disappear. That illustrated the fickleness of the friendship of Job’s brethren as he considered it.

Job 6:19-21. Troop of Tema means the caravans of the people of Tema who were descendants of Ishmael. They were wanderers and in their traveling would desire to obtain water for themselves and for their beasts. When these tourists thought of getting such refreshments from these streams they would be doomed to disappointment by their sudden disappearance. Likewise, just when Job would look to his friends for comfort they disappointed him.

Job 6:22-23. Job had not asked these friends to give him any of their property to replace what he had lost. He was willing to endure such a loss as that if they had only not made his lot more bitter by their false reasoning.

Verses 24-30

Job 6:24-30

Job 6:24-30

JOB’S DEMAND THAT HIS FRIENDS IDENTIFY HIS SINS

"Teach me, and I will hold my peace;

And cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

How forcible are the words of righteousness!

But your reproof, what doth it reprove?

Do ye think to reprove words,

Seeing that the speeches of one that is desperate are as wind?

Yea, ye would cast lots upon the fatherless,

And make merchandise of your friend.

Now therefore be pleased to look upon me;

For surely I shall not lie to your face.

Return, I pray you, let there be no injustice;

Yea, return again, my cause is righteous.

Is there injustice on my tongue?

Cannot my taste discern mischievous things?"

A paraphrase of this paragraph: "Look, If I am a sinner, tell me what it was in which I sinned. Would I lie to you? Look me in the eye. Don’t get up and leave me. Stay here and help me. Am I so ignorant that I don’t know what sin is.’? No matter what you think, my trouble is not caused by my wickedness. You have criticized my words; but it is silly to make a case based on the words of a man who is suffering desperately. "Allowances must be made for words uttered in deep distress." "Reconsider my case, for my cause is righteous."

"Return ... return" (Job 6:29). These words indicate that Job’s friends, at this juncture, were on the verge of getting up and departing from him; and Job pleaded with them not to impose such an injustice upon him, still insisting that he had done no wickedness that might have been the cause of his sufferings.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 6:24. Up to the present point in the conversation Eliphaz had not spoken anything to Job that he did not already know. That is why he said teach me and I will hold my tongue.

Job 6:25. Reprove is another form of "prove." Job meant that the argument of Eliphaz did not prove anything on the subject under consideration.

Job 6:26. Another meaning of reprove is "dispute." Job asked Eliphaz if his purpose was merely to dispute or contend against the words he was hearing. A man in as desperate condition as that of Job would likely give forth words like a whirlwind. But it would not be fair for a man to wage such a contest when he was in possession of all his good things and the other man was as downcast as Job.

Job 6:27. Job did not accuse Eliphaz of literally injuring the helpless as it is worded here. But such an act was an illustration of his unjust attacks on Job.

Job 6:28-30. This paragraph amounts to a challenge for Eliphaz to "get down to business" and come to the real issue. If Job was lying or making false claims it ought to be evident, and his friend was called upon to expose it.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 6". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-6.html.
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