|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:17-22 Job's condition was very deplorable; but he had the testimony of his conscience for him, that he never allowed himself in any gross sin. No one was ever more ready to acknowledge sins of infirmity. Eliphaz had charged him with hypocrisy in religion, but he specifies prayer, the great act of religion, and professes that in this he was pure, though not from all infirmity. He had a God to go to, who he doubted not took full notice of all his sorrows. Those who pour out tears before God, though they cannot plead for themselves, by reason of their defects, have a Friend to plead for them, even the Son of man, and on him we must ground all our hopes of acceptance with God. To die, is to go the way whence we shall not return. We must all of us, very certainly, and very shortly, go this journey. Should not then the Saviour be precious to our souls? And ought we not to be ready to obey and to suffer for his sake? If our consciences are sprinkled with his atoning blood, and testify that we are not living in sin or hypocrisy, when we go the way whence we shall not return, it will be a release from prison, and an entrance into everlasting happiness.
Verse 18. - O earth, cover not thou my blood! There was a widespread belief in the ancient world that innocent blood, spilt upon the ground, cried to God for vengeance, and remained a dark blot upon the earth till it was avenged, or until it was covered up. Job apostrophizes the earth, and be-seethes it not to cover up his blood when he dies, as he expects to do, shortly. And let my cry have no place; i.e. let it have no hiding-place, but fill earth and heaven. Let it continue to be heard until it is answered.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O earth, cover not thou my blood,.... This is an imprecation, wishing that if; he had been guilty of any capital crime, of such acts of injustice that he ought to be punished by the judge, and even to die for them, that his blood when spilt might not be received into the earth, but be licked up by dogs, or that he might have no burial or interment in the earth; and if he had committed such sins as might come under the name of blood, either the shedding of innocent blood, though that is so gross a crime that it can hardly be thought that Job's friends even suspected this of him; or rather other foul sins, as injustice and oppression of the poor; the Tigurine version is, "my capital sins", see Isaiah 1:15; then he wishes they might never be covered and concealed, but disclosed and spread abroad everywhere, that all might know them, and he suffer shame for them; even as the earth discloses the blood of the slain, when inquisition is made for it, Isaiah 26:21;
and let my cry have no place; meaning if he was the wicked man and the hypocrite he was said to be, or if his prayer was not pure, sincere, and upright, as he said it was, then he desired that when he cried to God, or to man, in his distress, he might be regarded by neither; that his cry might not enter into the ears of the Lord of hosts, but that it might be shut out, and he cover himself with a cloud, that it might not pass through, and have any place with him; land that he might not meet with any pity and compassion from the heart, nor help and relief from the hand of any man.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. my blood—that is, my undeserved suffering. He compares himself to one murdered, whose blood the earth refuses to drink up until he is avenged (Ge 4:10, 11; Eze 24:1, 8; Isa 26:21). The Arabs say that the dew of heaven will not descend on a spot watered with innocent blood (compare 2Sa 1:21).
no place—no resting-place. "May my cry never stop!" May it go abroad! "Earth" in this verse in antithesis to "heaven" (Job 16:19). May my innocence be as well-known to man as it is even now to God!
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