Job 16:1 ¶ Then Job answered and said,
Job 16:2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.
Job 16:3 Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?
Job responds yet again, telling Eliphaz that he is repeating himself. By the way, he notes, you all are miserable comforters. I liked the NIV for verse 3: “Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?”
In other words, it is obvious you aren’t helping me, so why don’t you just be quiet.
Job 16:4 I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
Job 16:5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.
Job 16:6 ¶ Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?
Job admits that he could speak to them with the same attitude and lack of compassion if their positions were reversed—but he wouldn’t. He would try to speak words of encouragement and comfort. I liked the NLT for verse 6: “But as it is, my grief remains no matter how I defend myself. And it does not help if I refuse to speak.”
In other words, I understand where you are coming from, but it isn’t helpful. Can’t you at least show a little compassion?
I liked Guzik’s observation: “One of the great advantages of personal suffering is that it makes the sufferer far more sympathetic towards others who suffer. Those who otherwise would have been harsh and strict towards those suffering will often find themselves much more willing to give strength and comfort towards others who suffer similar grief.”
Job 16:7 But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.
Job 16:8 And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.
Job 16:9 He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.
Job 16:10 They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.
Job bemoans the fact that God has grieved him and destroyed his family (from the Hebrew for “company”); He has become Job’s enemy. He has destroyed (from Hebrew for “wrinkles”) his body, turning it into a bag of bones that testifies against him, causing others to stare and treat him with cruel contempt.
Reminds me of an old saying that is sad but so often true, men have a propensity to “kick a man when he is down.”
Job has made one very large wrong assumption. God is not his enemy although He has allowed Satan to attack Job.
Job 16:11 God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.
Job 16:12 I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.
Job 16:13 His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.
Job 16:14 He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant.
Job believes that God has given him over to the wicked. He feels broken and attacked from every side. It’s like he is being hit over and over again.
This is essentially true; however, we know that God has decreed that Satan must preserve Job’s life.
Job 16:15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.
Job 16:16 My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death;
Job 16:17 ¶ Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.
Job 16:18 O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.
Job points out that he sits helpless in sackcloth and dust. His face is red from crying, and his eyes are marked with the shadow of death. Still, he maintains, I am innocent and my prayer is sincere.
I think verse 18 is saying that he doesn’t want to die until he is proven innocent. If so, that is a distinct change from the beginning when he was wishing he could just die. If he does die, however, he wants his blood to cry out in innocence from the ground like Abel’s.
Genesis 4:9–10 “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”
Job 16:19 Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.
Job 16:20 My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.
Job 16:21 O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!
Job 16:22 When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.
Job clings to the fact that he is confident that God knows he is innocent. His friends mock him, and his cry is that God will answer him. If only he had an intercessor that could help him! He knows it won’t be long (from Hebrew for “years) before he dies.
How blessed we are to know that we have an advocate with the Father in heaven!
1 John 2:1–2 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Hebrews 7:22–25 “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament….this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Chuck Smith made a good application: “Many times we are accused of things of which we are not at all guilty. Someone has totally misread our thought, our ideas, our motivations. They’ve imputed wicked, evil motivations to us when they weren’t there. But my witness is in heaven; God knows the truth about me. And that’s to me a comfort. That God keeps the books. He knows the truth. He knows what’s in my heart. He keeps the records.”