The Trial of Job

Chapter 16

Job reproves his friends for unmercifulness, 1-16. He maintains his innocence, 17-22.

1 Then Job answered and said,

"I have heard many such things./
You are all miserable comforters.

Shall vain words have an end?/
Or what emboldens you that you answer?

I also could speak as you do./
If your soul were in my soul's stead,/
I could heap up words against you/
and shake my head at you.

But I would strengthen you with my mouth,/
and the moving of my lips would assuage your grief.

Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged./
And though I forbear, what am I eased?

But now he has made me weary./
You have made all my company desolate.

And you have filled me with wrinkles,/
which is a witness against me./
And my leanness rising up in me/
bears witness to my face.

He tears me in his wrath and hates me./
He gnashes upon me with his teeth./
My enemy sharpens his eyes upon me.

10 They have gaped upon me with their mouth./
They have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully./
They have gathered themselves against me.

11 God has delivered me to the ungodly/
and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.

12 I was at ease, but he has broken me apart./
He has also taken me by my neck, shaken me to pieces,/
and set me up for his mark.

13 His archers encompass me./
He cleaves my kidneys apart and does not spare./
He pours out my gall upon the ground.

14 He breaks me with breach upon breach./
He runs upon me like a giant.

15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin/
and defiled my horn in the dust.

16 My face is foul with weeping,/
and on my eyelids are the shades of death,

17 Although there is no injustice in my hands/
and my prayer is pure.

18 O earth, do not cover my blood,/
and let my cry have no place.

19 Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven,/
and he who vouches for me is on high.

20 My friends scorn me./
My eye pours out tears to God.

21 O that one might plead for a man with God/
as a man pleads for his neighbor!

22 When a few years have come,/
then I shall go the way from where I shall not return."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 16[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

This chapter and the following contain Job's reply to the preceding discourse of Eliphaz, in which he complains of the conversation of his friends, as unprofitable, uncomfortable, vain, empty, and without any foundation (verses 1-3); and intimates that were they in his case and circumstances, he would behave in another manner toward them, not mock at them, but comfort them (verses 4-5); though such was his unhappy case, that, whether he spoke or was silent, it was much the same; there was no alloy to his grief (verse 6); therefore he turns himself to God, and speaks to him, and of what he had done to him, both to his family, and to himself; which things, as they proved the reality of his afflictions, were used by his friends as witnesses against him (verses 7-8); and then enters upon a detail of his troubles, both at the hands of God and man, in order to move the divine compassion, and the pity of his friends (verses 9-14); which occasioned him great sorrow and distress (verses 15-16); yet asserts his own innocence, and appeals to God for the truth of it (verses 17-19); and applies to him, and wishes his cause was pleaded with him (verses 20-21); and concludes with the sense he had of the shortness of his life (verse 22); which sentiment is enlarged upon in the following chapter.

[v.2] - "miserable" - Or, "troublesome."

[v.4] - "heap up words against you" - Or, "join words together against you."

[v.5] - "the moving" - Or, "the solace." From John Gill's Exposition: "Words uttered by him, which are done by the moving of the lips, should be such as would have a tendency to allay grief, to stop, restrain, forbid, and lessen sorrow; at least that it might not break out in an extravagant way, and exceed bounds, and that his friends might not be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow."

[v.8] - "you have filled me with wrinkles" - From the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge: "If Job's disease were the elephantiasis, these words would apply most forcibly to the wrinkled state of the skin in that disorder."

[v.10] - Reference, Isaiah 50:6; Lamentations 3:30; Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29.

[v.16] - "foul" - Or, "red."

[v.18] - "place" - That is, a place of rest.

[v.19] - "he who vouches for me" - Literally, "my testifier."

[v.21a] - "O that one might plead for a man with God" - Jesus Christ is our Advocate (1st John 2:1) who pleads with God for His church.

[v.21b] - "neighbor" - Or, "friend."