Darby's Bible Synopsis
Then Job answered and said,
The following commentary covers Chapters 4 through 31.
As to the friends of Job, they do not call for any extended remarks. They urge the doctrine that God's earthly government is a full measure and manifestation of His righteousness, and of the righteousness of man, which would correspond with it: a doctrine which proves a total ignorance of what God's righteousness is, and of His ways; as well as the absence of all real knowledge of what God is, or man as a sinner. We do not see either that the feelings of their hearts were influenced by communion with God. Their argument is a false and cold estimate of the exact justice of His government as an adequate manifestation of His relationship with man, though they say many true commonplace things which even the Spirit of God adopts as just. Although Job was not before God in his estimate of himself, he judges rightly in these respects. He shews that although God shews His disapprobation of the wicked, yet the circumstances in which they are often found overthrow the arguments of his friends. We see in Job a heart which, although rebellious, depends upon God, and would rejoice to find Him. We see, too, that when he can extricate himself, by a few words, from his friends, who, he is quite sensible, understands nothing of his case, nor of the dealings of God, he turns to God (although he does not find Him, and although he complains that His hand is heavy upon him), as in that beautiful and touching chapter 23, and the reasonings as to divine government, chapters 24, 21. That is to say, we see one who has tasted that God is gracious, whose heart, wounded indeed and unsubdued, yet claims those qualities for God-because it knows Him-which the cold reasonings of his friends could not ascribe to Him; a heart which complains bitterly of God, but which knows that, could it once come near Him, it would find Him all that it had declared Him to be, and not such as they had declared Him to be, or were themselves-could he find Him, he would not be as they were, He would put words in his mouth; a heart which repelled indignantly the accusation of hypocrisy; for Job was conscious that he looked to God, and that he had known God and acted with reference to Him, though God thought fit to bring his sin to remembrance.
I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.
Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?
I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.
Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?
But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.
And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.
He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.
They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.
God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.
I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.
His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.
He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant.
I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.
My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death;
Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.
O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.
Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.
My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.