Job 16:1
Then Job answered and said,
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(1) Then Job answered.—Job, in replying, ceases to continue the argument, which he finds useless; but, after complaining of the way his friends have conducted it, and contrasting the way in which they have treated him with that in which he would treat them were they in his case, he proceeds again to enlarge upon his condition, and makes a touching appeal to Heaven, which prepares us for the more complete confession in Job 19. He ends by declaring that his case is desperate.

Job 16:1. Then Job answered and said — “Job, above measure grieved that his friends should treat him in this cruel manner, expostulates very tenderly with them on the subject. He tells them he should, in the like circumstances, have behaved to them in a very different way, Job 16:2. That he, as well as every one about him, was in the utmost astonishment, to find a man, whom he imagined his friend, accuse him falsely, and give him worse treatment than even his greatest enemies would have done. But that he plainly saw God was pleased to add this to the rest of his calamities; that he should not only be deprived of the comfort and assistance he might have expected from his friends, but that he should be used by them in a most relentless way, Job 16:7-14. That he had voluntarily taken on him all the marks of humility used by the guilty, though he was really innocent; that God above knew his innocence, though his friends so slanderously traduced him, Job 16:15-22. That he was sensible he was nigh his dissolution, otherwise he could return their own with interest, Job 17:1-3. That he made no doubt, whenever the cause came to a decision, the event would prove favourable to him. In the mean time, they would do well to consider what effect this their treatment of him must have on all mankind, and how great a discouragement it must be to the lovers of virtue, to see a man, whose character was yet unstained, on bare suspicion, dealt with so cruelly by persons pretending to virtue and goodness, Job 16:4-9. Would they but give themselves time to reflect, they must see that he could have no motive to hypocrisy; since all his schemes and hopes, with regard to life, were at an end, and, as he expected nothing but death, with what view could he play the hypocrite?” Job 16:10, to the end. — Heath.

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.They conceive mischief - The meaning of this verse is, that they form and execute plans of evil. It is the characteristic of such men that they form such plans and live to execute them, and they must abide the consequences. All this was evidently meant for Job; and few things could be more trying to a man's patience than to sit and hear those ancient apothegms, designed to describe the wicked, applied so unfeelingly to himself. CHAPTER 16


Job 16:1-22. Job's Reply.Job’s answer: his friends increase his misery, Job 16:1-8. His insulting enemies, Job 16:9-11. God’s power against him, Job 16:12-16. His innocence should cry to heaven, where it was known: he wisheth to plead with God, Job 16:17-21: Pleaseth himself with the prospect of death, Job 16:22.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Then Job answered and said. As soon as Eliphaz had done speaking, Job stood up, and made the following reply. Then Job answered and said,
Ch. Job 16:1-5. Job expresses his weariness of the monotony of his friends’speeches, and rejects their consolation, which is only that of the lip

Verses 1, 2.. - Then Job answered and said, I have heard many such things. There was nothing new in the second speech of Eliphaz, if we except its increased bitterness. Job had heard all the commonplaces about the universal sinfulness of man, and the invariable connection between sin and suffering, a thousand times before. It was the traditional belief in which he and all those about him had been brought up. But it brought him no relief. The reiteration of it only made him feel that there was neither comfort nor instruction to be got from his so-called "comforters." Hence his outburst. Miserable comforters are ye all! Job 16:1 1 Then began Job, and said:

2 I have now heard such things in abundance,

Troublesome comforters are ye all!

3 Are windy words now at an end,

Or what goadeth thee that thou answerest?

4 I also would speak like you,

If only your soul were in my soul's stead.

I would weave words against you,

And shake my head at you;

5 I would encourage you with my mouth,

And the solace of my lips should soothe you.

The speech of Eliphaz, as of the other two, is meant to be comforting. It is, however, primarily an accusation; it wounds instead of soothing. Of this kind of speech, says Job, one has now heard רבּות, much, i.e., (in a pregnant sense) amply sufficient, although the word might signify elliptically (Psalm 106:43; comp. Nehemiah 9:28) many times (Jer. frequenter); multa (as Job 23:14) is, however, equally suitable, and therefore is to be preferred as the more natural. Job 16:2 shows how כּאלּה is intended; they are altogether עמל מנחמי, consolatores onerosi (Jer.), such as, instead of alleviating, only cause עמל, molestiam (comp. on Job 13:4). In Job 16:3 Job returns their reproach of being windy, i.e., one without any purpose and substance, which they brought against him, Job 15:2.: have windy words an end, or (לו vel equals אם in a disjunctive question, Ges. 155, 2, b) if not, what goads thee on to reply? מרץ has been already discussed on Job 6:25. The Targ. takes it in the sense of מלץ: what makes it sweet to thee, etc.; the Jewish interpreters give it, without any proof, the signification, to be strong; the lxx transl. παρενοχλήσει, which is not transparent. Hirz., Ew., Schlottm., and others, call in the help of the Arabic marida (Aramaic מרע), to be sick, the IV. form of which signifies "to make sick," not "to injure."

(Note: The primary meaning of Arabic marida (root mr, stringere) is maceratum esse, by pressing, rubbing, beating, to be tender, enervated (Germ. dialectic and popul. abmaracht); comp. the nearest related maratsa, then maraza, marasa, maraa, and further, the development of the meaning of morbus and μαλαακία; - originally and first, of bodily sickness, then also of diseased affections and conditions of spirit, as envy, hatred, malice, etc.; vid., Sur. 2, v. 9, and Beidhwi thereon. - Fl.)

We keep to the primary meaning, to pierce, penetrate; Hiph. to goad, bring out, lacessere: what incites thee, that (כי as Job 6:11, quod not quum) thou repliest again? The collective thought of what follows is not that he also, if they were in his place, could do as they have done; that he, however, would not so act (thus e.g., Blumenfeld: with reasons for comfort I would overwhelm you, and sympathizingly shake my head over you, etc.). This rendering is destroyed by the shaking of the head, which is never a gesture of pure compassion, but always of malignant joy, Sir. 12:18; or of mockery at another's fall, Isaiah 37:22; and misfortune, Psalm 22:8; Jeremiah 18:16; Matthew 27:39. Hence Merc. considers the antithesis to begin with Job 16:5, where, however, there is nothing to indicate it: minime id facerem, quin potius vos confirmarem ore meo - rather: that he also could display the same miserable consolation; he represents to them a change of their respective positions, in order that, as in a mirror, they may recognise the hatefulness of their conduct. The negative antecedent clause si essem (with לוּ, according to Ges. 155, 2, f) is surrounded by cohortatives, which (since the interrogative form of interpretation is inadmissible) signify not only loquerer, but loqui possem, or rather loqui vellem (comp. e.g., Psalm 51:18, dare vellem). When he says: I would range together, etc. (Carey: I would combine), he gives them to understand that their speeches are more artificial than natural, more declamations than the outgushings of the heart; instead of מלּים, it is בּמלּים, since the object of the action is thought is as the means, as in Job 16:4 ראשׁי במּו, capite meo (for caput meum, Psalm 22:8), and בּפיהם, Job 16:10, for פּיּהם, comp. Jeremiah 18:16; Lamentations 1:17, Ges. 138† ; Ew. takes חהביר by comparison of the Arabic chbr, to know (the IV. form of which, achbara, however, signifies to cause to know, announce), in a sense that belongs neither to the Heb. nor to the Arab.: to affect wisdom. In Job 16:5 the chief stress is upon "with my mouth," without the heart being there, so also on the word "my lips," solace (ניד ἅπ. λεγ., recalling Isaiah 57:19, ניב שׂפתים, offspring or fruit of the lips) of my lips, i.e., dwelling only on the lips, and not coming from the heart. In ''אאמּצכם (Piel, not Hiph.) the Ssere is shortened to Chirek (Ges. 60, rem. 4). According to Job 16:6, כאבכם is to be supplied to יחשׂך. He also could offer such superficial condolence without the sympathy which places itself in the condition and mood of the sufferer, and desires to afford that relief which it cannot. And yet how urgently did he need right and effectual consolation! He is not able to console himself, as the next strophe says: neither by words nor by silence is his pain assuaged.

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