Job 16:21
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New International Version
on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.

New Living Translation
I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends.

English Standard Version
that he would argue the case of a man with God, as a son of man does with his neighbor.

New American Standard Bible
"O that a man might plead with God As a man with his neighbor!

King James Bible
O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I wish that someone might arbitrate between a man and God just as a man pleads for his friend.

International Standard Version
crying for him to arbitrate between this man and God; as a human being does with his fellow neighbor.

NET Bible
and he contends with God on behalf of man as a man pleads for his friend.

New Heart English Bible
that he would maintain the right of a man with God, of a son of man with his neighbor.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But my witness will plead for a human in front of God. The Son of Man will plead for his friend!

JPS Tanakh 1917
That He would set aright a man contending with God, As a son of man setteth aright his neighbour!

New American Standard 1977
“O that a man might plead with God
            As a man with his neighbor!

Jubilee Bible 2000
O that a man might dispute with God, as he can with his neighbour!

King James 2000 Bible
O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbor!

American King James Version
O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbor!

American Standard Version
That he would maintain the right of a man with God, And of a son of man with his neighbor!

Douay-Rheims Bible
And O that a man might so be judged with God, as the son of man is judged with his companion!

Darby Bible Translation
Oh that there were arbitration for a man with +God, as a son of man for his friend!

English Revised Version
That he would maintain the right of a man with God, and of a son of man with his neighbour!

Webster's Bible Translation
O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!

World English Bible
that he would maintain the right of a man with God, of a son of man with his neighbor!

Young's Literal Translation
And he reasoneth for a man with God, And a son of man for his friend.
Verse 21. - Oh that one might plead for a man with God! The original here is obscure. It may mean, Oh that he (i.e. God himself) would plead for a man with God! i.e. would become a Mediator between himself and man, plead for him, undertake his defence, and obtain for him merciful consideration. Or, nearly as in the Authorized Version, Oh that one might plead for man (i.e. mankind at large) with God! interest him on their behalf, and obtain a merciful judgment for them. The former rendering is to be preferred. As a man pleadeth for his neighbour; literally, as a son of man (or, as the Son of man) pleadeth for his neighbour. If we take the simpler rendering, "as a son of man," then the meaning is simply, "Oh that God would plead for man with himself, as a man is wont to plead for his fellow-man!" But if we prefer the other rendering, "as the Son of man," a Messianic interpretation will be necessary. (So Professor Lee and Dr. Stanley Leathes) But Messianic interpretations of passages that do not require them, and that have no such traditional interpretation, require extreme caution. Oh that one might plead for a man with God,.... That is, that one might be appointed and allowed to plead with God on his account; or that he be admitted to plead with God for himself; or however, that there might be a hearing of his case before God, and that he would decide the thing in controversy between him and his friends, when he doubted not but it would be given on his side:

as a man pleadeth for his neighbour; using great freedom, and powerful arguments, and having no dread of the judge, nor fear of carrying the cause for his neighbour; so Job wishes, that either one for him, or he himself, might be freed from the dread of the divine Majesty, and might be suffered to speak as freely to his case as a counsellor at the bar does for his client. The words will admit of a more evangelic sense by observing that God, to whom Job says his eye poured out tears, at the close of Job 16:20, is to be understood of the second Person in the Godhead, Jehovah, the Son of God, the Messiah; and then read these words that follow thus, "and he will plead for a man with God, and the Son of man for his friend"; which last clause perhaps may be better rendered, "even the Son of man", &c. and so they are expressive of Job's faith, that though his friends despised him, yet he to whom he poured out his tears, and committed his case, would plead his cause with God for him, and thoroughly plead it, when he should be acquitted. The appellation, "the Son of man", is a well known name for the Messiah in the New Testament, and is not altogether unknown in the Old, see Psalm 80:17; and one part of his work and office is to be an advocate with the Father for his friends, whom he makes, reckons, and uses as such, even all the Father has given him, and he has redeemed by his blood; for these he pleads his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, to the satisfaction of the law, and justice of God, and against Satan, and all enemies whatever, and for every blessing they want; and for which work he is abundantly fit, because of the dignity of his person, his nearness to God his Father, and the interest he has in him. Gussetius (l) goes this way, and observes that this sense has not been taken notice of by interpreters, which he seems to wonder at; whereas our English annotator on the place had it long ago, and Mr. Caryll after him, though disapproved of by some modern interpreters.

(l) Ebr. Comment. p. 320, 321. 21. one—rather, "He" (God). "Oh, that He would plead for a man (namely, me) against God." Job quaintly says, "God must support me against God; for He makes me to suffer, and He alone knows me to be innocent" [Umbreit]. So God helped Jacob in wrestling against Himself (compare Job 23:6; Ge 32:25). God in Jesus Christ does plead with God for man (Ro 8:26, 27).

as a man—literally, "the Son of man." A prefiguring of the advocacy of Jesus Christ—a boon longed for by Job (Job 9:33), though the spiritual pregnancy of his own words, designed for all ages, was but little understood by him (Ps 80:17).

for his neighbour—Hebrew, "friend." Job himself (Job 42:8) pleaded as intercessor for his "friends," though "his scorners" (Job 16:20); so Jesus Christ the Son of man (Lu 23:34); "for friends" (Joh 15:13-15).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.
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