Job Chapter Nineteen
This chapter covers Job’s answer to Bildad’s second discourse. Though his spirit was grieved and much heated, and Bildad was very peevish, yet he have him leave to say all he designed to say, and did not break in upon him in the midst of his argument.
Read Job 19:1-7
v1-2. “THEN JOB ANSWERED AND SAID, HOW LONG WILL YE VEX MY SOUL, AND BREAK ME IN PIECES WITH WORDS?”
Job’s friends, most recently Bildad in his second discourse has passed a very severe censure upon him as a wicked man because he was so grievously afflicted. Now he tells him how he took it to be condemned so by his friends that know his real character. Bildad had twice begun with a “how long”, so therefore Job, being now to answer him directly, begins with a “how long.” How long are you going to vex my soul?
They were his friends; they came to comfort him, pretended to counsel him for the best; but with a great deal of gravity, and affectation of wisdom and piety, they set themselves to rob him of the only comfort he had now left in a good God, a good conscience, and a good name. This cut him to his heart.
v3. “THESE TEN TIMES HAVE YE REPROACHED ME: YE ARE NOT ASHAMED that YE MAKE YOURSELVES STRANGE TO ME.”
Instead of comforting me, you have reproached me, given me a bad character and laid to my charge things that I didn’t do, didn’t know and wouldn’t have done. Job was an upright, faithful servant of God, they were supposed to be his friends. But they treated him as a stranger might have, as though they did not know the type of lifestyle that he had lived, rebuking and condemning him. Doing so purely because instead of seeing the Job they knew before they see that he is now burdened with these afflictions.
v4. “AND BE IT INDEED that I HAVE ERRED, MINE ERROR REMAINETH WITH MYSELF.”
And if it be indeed that I have erred, that I am in the wrong through ignorance or mistake, which may well be supposed concerning men since error cleaves to humanity, and we must be willing to suppose it among ourselves. It is foolishness to think of ourselves as infallible. When I say that I have done no great wickedness to bring on the kind of affliction that I’m suffering I speak according to the best of my judgment, with all sincerity, and not from a spirit of contradiction.
v5. “IF INDEED YE WILL MAGNIFY yourselves AGAINST ME, AND PLEAD AGAINST ME MY REPROACH:”
Job declares that they have magnified themselves, made themselves better that they really are and have insulted him with their assumption of lofty wisdom and superior knowledge. They had used his afflictions against him as an argument supporting the notion that he is a wicked man. They should have pleaded for him his integrity, and helped him to take the comfort of that under his affliction, and so have pleaded against his reproach.
v6. “KNOW NOW THAT GOD HATH OVERTHROWN ME, AND HATH COMPASSED ME WITH HIS NET.”
Job wanted his friends to understand three things. That his trouble was very great; he was overthrown, and could not help himself, enclosed in a net, and could not get out. That God was the author of his troubles, and that in it, he fought against Job. That he could not obtain any redress for his grievances.
v7. “BEHOLD, I CRY OUT OF WRONG, BUT I AM NOT HEARD: I CRY ALOUD, BUT there is NO JUDGMENT.”
Job has complained of his pain, but got no ease from it – he begged to know the cause of his affliction, but was not allowed to discover it – he appealed to God’s tribunal for the clearing of his innocence, but could not obtain a hearing, much less a judgment, upon his appeal: so therefore he cries out of wrong, but it is not heard.
Read Job 19:8-22
v8. “HE HATH FENCED UP MY WAY THAT I CANNOT PASS, AND HE HATH SET DARKNESS IN MY PATHS.”
Job says God has fenced up his way that he cannot pass. He has now no way left to help himself either to get out of his troubles or to ease himself under them. Any way he turns, any way he would go his way is hedged up. He cannot do what he would do, its out of his reach, out of his sight, God hath darkened his paths and no one can tell him how long. Like the psalm for the sons of Korah:
Psalms 88:8 “THOU HAST PUT AWAY MINE ACQUAINTANCE FAR FROM ME; THOU HAST MADE ME AN ABOMINATION UNTO THEM: i am SHUT UP, AND I CANNOT COME FORTH.”
v9. “HE HATH STRIPPED ME OF MY GLORY, AND TAKEN THE CROWN from MY HEAD.”
Job looks back on his former prosperity and has decided that God has put an end to that. He has stripped him of his glory, his wealth, honor, power, and all the opportunity he had of doing any good. His children were his glory but he has lost them; and whatever was a crown to his head God has taken from him; and all his honor has been laid in the dust.
v10. “HE HATH DESTROYED ME ON EVERY SIDE, AND I AM GONE: AND MINE HOPE HATH HE REMOVED LIKE A TREE.”
He concludes that his hope is quite gone, lost and undone for this world; my hope he hath removed like a tree cut down, or plucked up by the roots, which will never grow again.
v11. “HE HATH ALSO KINDLED HIS WRATH AGAINST ME, AND HE COUNTETH ME UNTO HIM AS one of HIS ENEMIES.”
Job’s lamentation is much the same as that of Jeremiah’s lamentation for Israel.
Lamentations 2:5 “THE LORD WAS AS AN ENEMY: HE HATH SWALLOWED UP ISRAEL, HE HATH SWALLOWED UP ALL HER PALACES: HE HATH DESTROYED HIS STRONG HOLDS, AND HATH INCREASED IN THE DAUGHTER OF JUDAH MOURNING AND LAMENTATION.”
How doleful are the accents of his complaints! He hath kindled his wrath against me, which flames and terrifies me, which burns and pains me. What is the fire of hell but the wrath of God? Seared consciences will feel it hereafter, but no not fear it now. Enlightened consciences fear it now, but shall not feel it hereafter. Job’s present apprehension was that God counted him as one of his enemies; and yet, at the same time, God loved him, and gloried in him, as his faithful friend. It is a gross mistake, but a very common one, to think that those who are visited with afflictions such as Job’s show an indication that they are the enemies of God. But on the contrary those that God loves he chastens, and those that are his sons in thee faith he disciplines. The wise man tells us:
Proverbs “CHASTEN THY SON WHILE THERE IS HOPE, AND LET NOT THY SOUL SPARE FOR HIS CRYING.”
v12. “HIS TROOPS COME TOGETHER, AND RAISE UP THEIR WAY AGAINST ME, AND ENCAMP ROUND ABOUT MY TABERNACLE.”
It did not trouble him so much that his miseries came upon him in troops, but that they were God’s troops, and it seemed as if God fought against him and intended his destruction. God’s troops, these afflictions, encamped around his earthly tabernacle (body), as soldiers laid siege to a strong city, cutting off all provisions from being brought into it and battering it continually; this was Job’s tabernacle besieged.
v13. “HE HATH PUT MY BRETHREN FAR FROM ME, AND MINE ACQUAINTANCE ARE VERILY ESTRANGED FROM ME.”
Like the psalm of David during some of his darkest hours:
Psalms 31:11 “I WAS A REPROACH AMONG ALL MINE ENEMIES, BUT ESPECIALLY AMONG MY NEIGHBOURS, AND A FEAR TO MINE ACQUAINTANCE: THEY THAT DID SEE ME WITHOUT FLED FROM ME.”
Job complains of the unkindness of his relations and of all his old acquaintances. God has laid those afflictions upon me which frighten them from me and make them stand aloof from my sores. Again like David:
Psalms 38:11 “MY LOVERS AND MY FRIENDS STAND ALOOF FROM MY SORE; AND MY KINSMEN STAND AFAR OFF.”
v14. “MY KINSFOLK HAVE FAILED, AND MY FAMILIAR FRIENDS HAVE FORGOTTEN ME.”
Even his familiar friends, whom he was mindful of, had now forgotten him, had forgotten both his former friendliness to them and his present miseries. They had heard of his troubles, and designed him a visit; but truly they forgot it, so little affected were they with it. Now, his inward friends, the men of his secret, whom he was most intimate with and laid in his bosom, not only forgot him, but abhorred him. They kept as far off from him as they could, because he was poor and could not entertain them has he used to do, and because he was sore and a loathsome spectacle.
v15-16. “THEY THAT DWELL IN MINE HOUSE, AND MY MAIDS, COUNT ME FOR A STRANGER: I AM AN ALIEN IN THEIR SIGHT. I CALLED MY SERVANT, AND HE GAVE me NO ANSWER; I ENTREATED HIM WITH MY MOUTH.”
Even his servants didn’t heed him; if he called to them they would not come at his call, but pretended that they did not hear him. If he asked them a question, they would nothear, they would not bother to give him an answer. Job had been a good master to them, and did not turn them away when they pleaded with him for some cause, and yet they were rude to him now, and despised his cause when he pleaded with them.
v17. “MY BREATH IS STRANGE TO MY WIFE, THOUGH I ENTREATED FOR THE CHILDREN'S sake OF MINE OWN BODY.”
We would think when all forsook him, that his wife should have been tender of him: but she was not. She wanted him to curse God and die, as she tried to persuade him to do, his breath was strange to her too; she did not care for coming near him, nor took any notice of what he said. Though he spoke to her, not with the authority, but with the tenderness of a husband, did not command but entreated her, yet she did not regard him.
v18. “YEA, YOUNG CHILDREN DESPISED ME; I AROSE, AND THEY SPAKE AGAINST ME.”
Even the little children of his servants who were born in his house, who were his servants by birth, despised him, and spoke against him; though he arose in civility to speak friendly to them, or with authority to check them, they let him know that they neither feared nor loved him.
v19. “ALL MY INWARD FRIENDS ABHORRED ME: AND THEY WHOM I LOVED ARE TURNED AGAINST ME.”
Again we parallel the words of David in his times of despair, words that parallel those of Jesus when betrayed:
Psalms 41:9 “YEA, MINE OWN FAMILIAR FRIEND, IN WHOM I TRUSTED, WHICH DID EAT OF MY BREAD, HATH LIFTED UP his HEEL AGAINST ME.”
Psalms 55:12-14 “FOR it was NOT AN ENEMY that REPROACHED ME; THEN I COULD HAVE BORNE it:: NEITHER was it HE THAT HATED ME that DID MAGNIFY himself AGAINST ME; THEN I WOULD HAVE HID MYSELF FROM HIM: BUT it was THOU, A MAN MINE EQUAL, MY GUIDE, AND MINE ACQUAINTANCE. WE TOOK SWEET COUNSEL TOGETHER, and WALKED UNTO THE HOUSE OF GOD IN COMPANY.
v20. “MY BONE CLEAVETH TO MY SKIN AND TO MY FLESH, AND I AM ESCAPED WITH THE SKIN OF MY TEETH.”
Job complains of the decay of his body; all the beauty and strength of it was gone. When those about him slighted him, if he had been in health, and at ease, he might have enjoyed himself. But he could take as little pleasure in himself as others took in him. He’s skin and bones, almost a perfect skeleton, little remained unbroken except the skin of his teeth, his gums and perhaps his lips, the rest was plagued by boils.
v21. “HAVE PITY UPON ME, HAVE PITY UPON ME, O YE MY FRIENDS; FOR THE HAND OF GOD HATH TOUCHED ME.”
Surely they ought to pity him. This is what he now begs in the most moving language that he can manage. If you will do nothing else for me, be sorry for me, and show some concern for me. My case is sad indeed for I have fallen into the hands of the living God and my spirit is touched with the sense of his wrath.
Psalms 38:1-2 “O LORD, REBUKE ME NOT IN THY WRATH: NEITHER CHASTEN ME IN THY HOT DISPLEASURE. FOR THINE ARROWS STICK FAST IN ME, AND THY HAND PRESSETH ME SORE.”
Hebrews “It is A FEARFUL THING TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE LIVING GOD.”
v22. “WHY DO YE PERSECUTE ME AS GOD, AND ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH MY FLESH?”
Why do you persecute me as God does? Surely his rebukes are enough for one man to bear; you need not add your wormwood and gall to the cup of affliction God has already put into my hands; it is bitter enough without that. God has a sovereign power over me, and may do what he pleases with me; but do you think that you may do so too?
Read Job 19:23-29
v23-24. “OH THAT MY WORDS WERE NOW WRITTEN! OH THAT THEY WERE PRINTED IN A BOOK! THAT THEY WERE GRAVEN WITH AN IRON PEN AND LEAD IN THE ROCK FOR EVER!”
Job here breaks off abruptly his complaints to triumph his comforts, which he does, not only for his own satisfaction, but for the edification of others. His friends now about him would have little regard to what he said, and had already proved that. He therefore wished that his words might be recorded for the generations to come. He wants them to endure like words carved into the rock with an iron pen and lead filled so that they might last through the generations.
v25-27. “FOR I KNOW that MY REDEEMER LIVETH, AND that HE SHALL STAND AT THE LATTER day UPON THE EARTH: AND though AFTER MY SKIN worms DESTROY THIS body, YET IN MY FLESH SHALL I SEE GOD: WHOM I SHALL SEE FOR MYSELF, AND MINE EYES SHALL BEHOLD, AND NOT ANOTHER; though MY REINS BE CONSUMED WITHIN ME.”
Job knows that his redeemer lives and that that redeemer will stand at the last days on this earth. He shall be raised up, or, He shall be, at the latter day upon the earth: it points at the incarnation; or, He shall be lifted up from the earth, or raised up out of the earth, resurrected as we commonly understand it. Job believes the happiness of the redeemed, and his own sharing in that happiness, that, as Christ’s second coming, believers shall be raised up in glory and so made perfectly blessed in the vision of God; and this he believes with application to himself. Whom I shall see myself, that is, see and enjoy, see to my own unspeakable comfort and satisfaction. I shall see him as mine.
v28. “BUT YE SHOULD SAY, WHY PERSECUTE WE HIM, SEEING THE ROOT OF THE MATTER IS FOUND IN ME?”
This is a word of caution to them not to proceed and persist in their unkind treatment of him. He had reproved them for what they had said, and now tells them what they should say for the reducing of themselves and one another to a better frame of mind, a better temper.
v29. “BE YE AFRAID OF THE SWORD: FOR WRATH bringeth THE PUNISHMENTS OF THE SWORD, THAT YE MAY KNOW there is A JUDGMENT.”
This was now a warning to them. Christ’s second coming will be very dreadful to those that are found smiting their fellow servants (Matthew 24:49). Therefore, you should be afraid of the sword, the flaming sword of God’s justice, which turns every way; fear, lest you make yourselves obnoxious to it. Good men need to be frightened from sin by the terrors of the Almighty, particularly from the sin of rashly judging their brethren.
Matthew 7:1-2 “JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED. FOR WITH WHAT JUDGMENT YE JUDGE, YE SHALL BE JUDGED: AND WITH WHAT MEASURE YE METE, IT SHALL BE MEASURED TO YOU AGAIN.”
James 3:1 “MY BRETHREN, BE NOT MANY MASTERS, KNOWING THAT WE SHALL RECEIVE THE GREATER CONDEMNATION.”