Job 6:1 ¶ But Job answered and said,
Job 6:2 Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!
Job 6:3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.
Job 6:4 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.
Job begins to speak in response to the counsel of Eliaphaz. He declares that if his grief could be weighed, it would prove heavier than all the sands of the sea; that is why is the first words he spoke before them were so rash. He feels he is experiencing an ongoing attack of arrows from God Almighty that have poisoned his spirit. Job’s inward suffering is as great as, if not greater than, his physical suffering.
Job is just being transparent about how he feels. He feels like God is against him, and he just can’t figure out why. Coffman used a good quote from The Expositor’s Bible: "The evil-doer knows why he suffers; the martyr is sustained by the truth for which he suffers; but Job suffered without either support or explanation."
Job 6:5 Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?
Job 6:6 Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?
Job 6:7 The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.
The obvious answer to all of these questions is “No.” It’s to the point that he has no appetite. I can relate to being so distressed that I have no appetite, and I have never experienced calamity that is comparable to Job’s.
Job 6:8 ¶ Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
Job 6:9 Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!
Job 6:10 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.
Job 6:11 What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?
Job 6:12 Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass?
Job 6:13 Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?
It seems that Job wished that God would just go ahead and kill him. If he did, he could at least take comfort in the fact that he had not denied God’s word. He feels that there is no reason to hope, no reason to keep on living. He is not made of brass, nor does he possess the strength of stone. Implied—I am made of flesh; I am weak; I have feelings. I am without ability to help myself. It’s just hard for Job to see beyond his pain—both physical and mental.
Job 6:14 ¶ To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.
The translations certainly read differently with this verse. Job is certainly rebuking Eliphaz, saying that a true friend should be expected to show kindness and mercy to a friend that is suffering. The last part of the verse is where the translations vary. Maybe there is a kernel of truth in them all.
NASB: “So that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty.”
NIV: “even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”
NLT: “but you have accused me without the slightest fear of the Almighty.”
CJB: “even to one who abandons Shaddai.”
NRSV: “Those who withhold kindness from a friend forsake the fear of the Almighty.”
Job 6:15 My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away;
Job 6:16 Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:
Job 6:17 What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.
Job 6:18 The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.
Job 6:19 The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.
Job 6:20 They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.
Job 6:21 For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.
Job feels that Eliphaz has not proven himself faithful as a friend. (The use of the plural may indicate that Job assumes the friends all agree.) He compares his faithfulness to a brook that changes in accordance with the seasons. He compares them to a caravan looking for water and finding none; their hopes were disappointed. He intimates that when they found Job in worse condition than they expected, it frightened them. That fear changed their response to one of censure because they believed he had sinned, and they feared God’s hand of judgment against them if they supported him.
Job 6:22 ¶ Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance?
Job 6:23 Or, Deliver me from the enemy’s hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?
Job is basically saying, “Did I ask for your help?”
Job 6:24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
Job 6:25 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?
Job 6:26 Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?
Job asks his friends to tell him what he has done wrong, and he will no longer complain. He recognizes that the truth can sometimes be painful. However, they have yet to identify a reason to rebuke him. He wonders how they can rebuke him for rash words uttered in response to his desperate hopeless circumstances.
Job 6:27 Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.
Job 6:28 Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie.
Job 6:29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it.
Job 6:30 Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?
Job tells them they are hurting an already bereaved man (from the Hebrew); they’ve dug a deeper hole for the pit he is in. He urges them to look at him. Do they really think he is lying? They should not assume he is guilty and completely dismiss all his years of righteous living. Do they really think he can’t discern right from wrong?
Job expected comfort from his friends, but the first words he hears are words of rebuke based on assumed guilt as evidenced by what appears to them to be God’s judgment against him. He knows that he is innocent of sin that would justify such judgment. He thought that a lifetime of righteous living should have made them realize that he was man that needed their comfort and mercy—not their censure. The problem is that they were looking through the lens of limited human understanding, not realizing that a greater spiritual conflict was at work. That is a truth that we all have a hard time remembering and embracing.