2 Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!
3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.
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.
5 Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?
6 Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?
7 The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.
8 Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
9 Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!
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.
11 What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?
12 Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass?
13 Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?
14 To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.
15 My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away;
16 Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:
17 What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.
18 The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.
19 The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.
20 They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.
21 For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.
22 Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance?
23 Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?
24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
25 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?
26 Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?
27 Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.
28 Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie.
29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it.
30 Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?
Job justifies his complaints. (1-7) He wishes for death. (8-13) Job reproves his friends as unkind. (14-30)1-7 Job still justifies himself in his complaints. In addition to outward troubles, the inward sense of God's wrath took away all his courage and resolution. The feeling sense of the wrath of God is harder to bear than any outward afflictions. What then did the Saviour endure in the garden and on the cross, when he bare our sins, and his soul was made a sacrifice to Divine justice for us! Whatever burden of affliction, in body or estate, God is pleased to lay upon us, we may well submit to it as long as he continues to us the use of our reason, and the peace of our conscience; but if either of these is disturbed, our case is very pitiable. Job reflects upon his friends for their censures. He complains he had nothing offered for his relief, but what was in itself tasteless, loathsome, and burdensome.
8-13 Job had desired death as the happy end of his miseries. For this, Eliphaz had reproved him, but he asks for it again with more vehemence than before. It was very rash to speak thus of God destroying him. Who, for one hour, could endure the wrath of the Almighty, if he let loose his hand against him? Let us rather say with David, O spare me a little. Job grounds his comfort upon the testimony of his conscience, that he had been, in some degree, serviceable to the glory of God. Those who have grace in them, who have the evidence of it, and have it in exercise, have wisdom in them, which will be their help in the worst of times.
14-30 In his prosperity Job formed great expectations from his friends, but now was disappointed. This he compares to the failing of brooks in summer. Those who rest their expectations on the creature, will find it fail when it should help them; whereas those who make God their confidence, have help in the time of need, #Heb 4:16|. Those who make gold their hope, sooner or later will be ashamed of it, and of their confidence in it. It is our wisdom to cease from man. Let us put all our confidence in the Rock of ages, not in broken reeds; in the Fountain of life, not in broken cisterns. The application is very close; "for now ye are nothing." It were well for us, if we had always such convictions of the vanity of the creature, as we have had, or shall have, on a sick-bed, a death-bed, or in trouble of conscience. Job upbraids his friends with their hard usage. Though in want, he desired no more from them than a good look and a good word. It often happens that, even when we expect little from man, we have less; but from God, even when we expect much, we have more. Though Job differed from them, yet he was ready to yield as soon as it was made to appear that he was in error. Though Job had been in fault, yet they ought not to have given him such hard usage. His righteousness he holds fast, and will not let it go. He felt that there had not been such iniquity in him as they supposed. But it is best to commit our characters to Him who keeps our souls; in the great day every upright believer shall have praise of God.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
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