|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-5 Eliphaz had represented Job's discourses as unprofitable, and nothing to the purpose; Job here gives his the same character. Those who pass censures, must expect to have them retorted; it is easy, it is endless, but what good does it do? Angry answers stir up men's passions, but never convince their judgments, nor set truth in a clear light. What Job says of his friends is true of all creatures, in comparison with God; one time or other we shall be made to see and own that miserable comforters are they all. When under convictions of sin, terrors of conscience, or the arrests of death, only the blessed Spirit can comfort effectually; all others, without him, do it miserably, and to no purpose. Whatever our brethren's sorrows are, we ought by sympathy to make them our own; they may soon be so.
Verse 3. - Shall vain words have an end? literally, as in the margin, words of wind; i.e. words which pass by a man "as the idle wind which he regards not." Will his friends never bring their futile speaking to a close? Or what emboldeneth thee that thou anwerest? rather, what provoketh thee? (Revised Version) Job had begged that his friends would be silent (Job 13:5, 13). He supposes that they would have complied with his wish if he had not provoked them, but professes an inability to see what provocation he had given. His last speech, however, had certainly not been conciliatory (see Job 12:1-3; Job 13:4, 7, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Shall vain words have an end?.... Or "words of wind" (k), vain empty words, great swelling words of vanity, mere bubbles that look big, and have nothing in them; here Job retorts what Eliphaz had insinuated concerning him and his words, Job 15:2; and he intimates such worthless discourses should have an end, and a speedy one, and not be carried on to any length, they not bearing it; and wishes they were at an end, that he might hear no more of them; and suggests that it was weak and foolish in them to continue them; that if they could speak to no better purpose, it would be best to be silent:
or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest? when men are engaged in a good cause, have truth on their side, and are furnished with arguments sufficient to defend it, this animates and emboldens them to stand up in the defence of it, and to answer their adversaries, and to reply when there is occasion; but Job could not imagine what should encourage and spirit up Eliphaz to answer again, when he had been sufficiently confuted; when his cause was bad, and he had no strong reasons to produce in the vindication of it; or "what has exasperated" or "provoked thee" (l) to make reply? here Job seems to have thought that he had said nothing that was irritating, though it is notorious he had, such were his grief and troubles; and so well assured he was of his being in the right, that the harsh and severe words and expressions he had used were not thought by him to have exceeded due bounds, such as Job 12:2.
(k) "verbis venti", Beza, Bolducius, Mercerus, Schmidt, Michaelis. (l) "quid exacerbat te", Junius & Tremellius; so Codureus, Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. "Words of wind," Hebrew. He retorts upon Eliphaz his reproach (Job 15:2).
emboldeneth—literally, "What wearies you so that ye contradict?" that is, What have I said to provoke you? &c. [Schuttens]. Or, as better accords with the first clause, "Wherefore do ye weary yourselves contradicting?" [Umbreit].
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