Job 19:1 ¶ Then Job answered and said,
Job 19:2 How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?
Job 19:3 These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.
Job 19:4 And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.
Job responds to Bildad by wondering how long they intend to grieve him and destroy him with their words. “Ten times” seems to be a reference to a continual action. Coffman states that it is an idiom that means often or frequently.
Job notes that they don’t seem sorry at all to be hurting (from Hebrew for “strange”) him. Job states that if he has sinned (possibly “in ignorance” from the Hebrew), it is his problem—not theirs.
Job 19:5 If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach:
Job 19:6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.
Job 19:7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.
Job recognizes that they believe they are in the right because Job’s circumstances seem to be evidence to that fact. He believes that God is sovereign and is responsible for turning his life upside down (from Hebrew for “overthrown”). Still, Job continues to insist that he is innocent even though no one will believe him.
Job 19:8 ¶ He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.
Job 19:9 He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.
Job 19:10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.
Job feels like God has imprisoned him in a dark place and taken everything good away from him. God has destroyed him to the point that he has no hope.
Job 19:11 He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.
Job 19:12 His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.
Job is most grieved that he feels like God has declared him to be His enemy, and he feels like a man under constant attack.
Job 19:13 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.
Job 19:14 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.
Job 19:15 They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.
Job 19:16 I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.
Job 19:17 My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children’s sake of mine own body.
Job 19:18 Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me.
Job 19:19 All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.
Job notes that all of his kinfolk and friends have turned against him. His own servants have turned against him and refuse to help him. Even Job’s wife couldn’t stand to be near him though he had been a loving father and faithful to pray for his children. Not even the children will have anything to do with him. Everyone he loves has turned against him.
The IVP New Bible Commentary summarizes it this way: “For Job’s suffering means to everyone who knows him that, despite everything they thought they knew about him, Job has been a dreadful sinner. It is dangerous to associate with such a wicked person.”
Job 19:20 My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.
Job 19:21 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.
Job 19:22 Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?
Job bemoans his physical condition. He appears as no more than a bag of bones and has barely escaped death to this point. Job pitifully calls for his friends to show him a bit of kindness and mercy. He wonders why they insist on adding to the grief and sorrows with which God has afflicted him.
Job 19:23 ¶ Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
Job 19:24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
Job 19:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
Job 19:26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Job 19:27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Suddenly, Job glimpses a bit of hope. He wishes that his words, his confident expectation for the future, could be recorded in a book for posterity (and they are). That hope: Job knows that his redeemer lives and will one day stand upon the earth. How much he knew about that redeemer is uncertain.
A redeemer makes reference to one who will deliver you from trouble and ransom you at his own expense. Context proves that he believes that redeemer to be God, though it is unlikely that he knew that it would be God the Son.
Job was also confident that even though his body be completely destroyed by worms, he would one day see God in the flesh with his own eyes. In fact, his heart is consumed with the desire for that time to come. Boy, can I relate with that desire!
Job continues to cling to the fact that he will one day be proven innocent before God. Why else would he look forward to seeing God face to face?
Exactly what Job knew about life after death and how he knew it are not explained. I think it is significant, however, that long before Jesus came to earth the truth of a coming redeemer and the resurrection to new life was known.
Job 19:28 But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?
Job 19:29 Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.
I think the NLT captures the heart of these verses: “How dare you go on persecuting me, saying, ‘It’s his own fault’? I warn you, you yourselves are in danger of punishment for your attitude. Then you will know that there is judgment.”
I liked this observation from Spurgeon: “There is another most comforting thought, - that our Vindicator will clear us from true charges as well as false ones. As for the false charges, what do they matter? It is the true ones that really concern us: can Christ clear us from them? Yes, that he can.”
I loved this quote from Stedman by an unknown poet; I have heard Ravi Zacharias use these verses many times. I agree that it is a good summary of the book of Job to this point.
“When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man;
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part,
When he yearns with all his heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch his methods, watch his ways --
How he ruthlessly perfects
Whom he royally elects.
How he hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows, converts him
Into trial shapes of clay
Which only God understands,
While his tortured heart is crying,
And he lifts beseeching hands.
How he bends but never breaks
When his good he undertakes.
How he uses whom he chooses,
And with every purpose, fuses him,
By every act, induces him
To try his splendor out.
God knows what he's about.”