1 But Job answered and said,
2 "Oh that my grief were thoroughly 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 of which drinks up my spirit. The terrors of God set themselves in array against me.
5 Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass? Or does the ox low over his fodder?
6 Can that which is unsavory 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 food.
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 I should yet have comfort—I would even harden myself in sorrow, which does 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 my end that I should prolong my life?
12 Is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh of brass?
13 Is my help not in me? And is wisdom driven quite from me?
14 To him who is afflicted, pity should be shown from his friend, but he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
15 My brothers 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 in which the snow is hid.
17 In the time when they become 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 there and were ashamed.
21 For now you are nothing. You see my casting down and are afraid.
22 Did I say, 'Bring to me,' or, 'Give a reward for me from 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 in what I have erred.
25 How forcible right words are! But what does your arguing reprove?
26 Do you think to reprove words, seeing that the speeches of one who is desperate are as wind?
27 You even overwhelm the fatherless and you dig a pit for your friend.
28 Now therefore, be content, look upon me, for it is evident to you if I lie.
29 Return, I pray you, do not let it be iniquity. Yes, return again, for my righteousness is in it.
30 Is there iniquity in my tongue? Can my taste not discern perverse things?"
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This and the following chapter contain Job's answer to the speech of Eliphaz in the two foregoing; he first excuses his impatience by the greatness of his afflictions, which, if weighed by good and impartial hands, would be found to be heavier than the sand of the sea, and which words were lacking to express (verses 1-3); and the reason why they were so heavy is given, they being the arrows and terrors of the Almighty (verse 4); and by various similes he shows that his moans and complaints under them need not seem strange and unreasonable (verses 5-7); and what had been said not being convincing to him, he continues in the same sentiment and disposition of mind, and wishes to be removed by death out of his miserable condition, and gives his reasons for it (verses 8-13); and though his case was such as required pity from his friends, yet this he had not from them, but represents them as deceitful, and as having sadly disappointed him, and therefore he neither hoped nor asked for anything of them (verses 14-23); and observes that their words and arguments were of no force and weight with him, but harmful and pernicious (verses 24-27); and in his turn gives them some exhortations and instructions, and signifies that he was as capable of discerning between right and wrong as they, with which this chapter is concluded (verses 28-30).
[v.3] - "my words are swallowed up" - In other words, "I want words to express my grief."
[v.4] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "He complains of the trouble and terror of mind he was in as the sorest part of his calamity (verse 4). Herein he was a type of Christ, who, in his sufferings, complained most of the sufferings of his soul. 'Now is my soul troubled' (John 12:27). 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful' (Matthew 26:38). 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' (Matthew 27:46). Poor Job sadly complains here, 'The arrows of the Almighty are within me.' It was not so much the troubles themselves he was under that put him into this confusion, his poverty, disgrace, and bodily pain; but that which cut him to the heart and put him into this agitation, was to think that the God he loved and served had brought all this upon him and laid him under these marks of his displeasure. Note, Trouble of mind is the sorest trouble... The poison or heat of these arrows is said to drink up his spirit, because it disturbed his reason, shook his resolution, exhausted his vigor, and threatened his life; and therefore his passionate expressions, though they could not be justified, might be excused."
[v.6] - LXX: "Shall bread be eaten without salt? Or again, is there taste in empty words?"
[v.9] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "Observe, Though Job was extremely desirous of death, and very angry at its delays, yet he did not offer to destroy himself, nor to take away his own life, only he begged that it would please God to destroy him... However uneasy the soul's confinement in the body may be, it must by no means break prison, but wait for a fair discharge."
[v.11] - "What is our strength? It is depending strength. We have no more strength than God gives us; for in him we live and move." —Matthew Henry
[v.14] - "but he forsakes the fear of the Almighty" - That is, he who should have shown compassion forsakes the fear of the Almighty. "Inhumanity is impiety and irreligion." —Matthew Henry
[v.15] - "We cannot expect too little from the creature nor too much from the Creator... God will out do our hopes as much as men come short of them." —Matthew Henry
[v.16-18] - LXX: "16 They who used to reverence me, now have come against me like snow or congealed ice. 17 When it has melted at the approach of heat, it is not known what it was. 18 Thus I also have been deserted of all; and I am ruined, and become an outcast."
[v.16] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "Their pretensions are fitly compared to the great show which the brooks make when they are swollen with the waters of a land flood, by the melting of the ice and snow, which make them blackish or muddy."
[v.17-18] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "The disappointment of his expectation is here compared to the confusion which seizes the poor travelers when they find heaps of sand where they expected floods of water. In the winter, when they were not thirsty, there was water enough. Everyone will applaud and admire those who are full and in prosperity. But in the heat of summer, when they needed water, then it failed them; it was consumed; it was turned aside."
[v.19] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "His expectations from them, which their coming so solemnly to comfort him had raised, he compares to the expectation which the weary thirsty travelers have of finding water in the summer where they have often seen it in great abundance in the winter."
[v.22-23] - "It often happens that from man, even when we expect little, we have less, but from God, even when we expect much, we have more (Ephesians 3:20)." —Matthew Henry
[v.26] - "Do you imagine" - In other words, "Do you devise with a great deal of art?"
[v.28] - "it is evident to you" - Literally, "it is before your face."