Job 16:18
O earth, cover not you my blood, and let my cry have no place.
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(18) Let my cry have no place.—That is, “Let there be no place in the wide earth where my cry shall not reach: let it have no resting place: let it fill the whole wide earth.”

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.O earth - Passionate appeals to the earth are not uncommon in the Scriptures; see the notes at Isaiah 1:2. Such appeals indicate deep emotion, and are among the most animated forms of personification.

Cover not thou my blood - Blood here seems to denote the wrong done to him. He compares his situation with that of one who had been murdered, and calls on the earth not to conceal the crime, and prays that his injuries may not be hidden, or pass unavenged. Aben Ezra, Dr. Good, and some others, however, suppose that he refers to blood shed "by" him, and that the idea is, that he would have the earth reveal any blood if he had ever shed any; or in other words, that it is a strong protestation of his innocence. But the former interpretation seems to accord best with the connection. It is the exclamation of deep feeling. He speaks as a man about to die, but he says that he would die as an innocent and a much injured man, and he passionately prays that his death may not pass unavenged. God had crushed him, and his friends had wronged him, and he now earnestly implores that his character may yet be vindicated. "According to the saying of the Arabs, the blood of one who was unjustly slain remained upon the earth without sinking into it; until the avenger of blood came up. It was regarded as a proof of innocence." Eichhorn, "in loc" That there is much of irreverence in all this must, I think, be conceded. It is not language for us to imitate. But it is not more irreverent and unbecoming than what often occurs, and it is designed to show what the human heart "will" express when it is allowed to give utterance to its real feelings.

And let my cry have no place - Let it not be hid or concealed. Let there be nothing to hinder my cry from ascending to heaven. The meaning is, that Job wished his solemn protestations of his innocence to go abroad. He desired that all might hear him. He called on the nations and heaven to hear. He appealed to the universe. He desired that the earth would not conceal the proof of his wrongs, and that his cry might not be confined or limited by any bounds, but that it might go abroad so that all worlds might hear.

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!

My blood, so called not actively, to wit, his own blood; but passively or objectively, i.e. the blood of others shed by him, and lying upon his conscience. The earth is said to cover that blood which lies undiscovered and unrevenged; of which See Poole "Genesis 4:10", See Poole "Genesis 4:11"; See Poole "Isaiah 26:21", But, saith Job, if I be guilty of destroying any one man by murder or oppression, as I am traduced, O Lord, let the earth disclose it; let it be brought to light, that I may suffer condign punishment for it.

My cry; either,

1. Passively, to wit, the cries and groans which I have forced from others by my oppressions; let those cries have no place to hide them. Or rather,

2. Actively, the cry of my complaints to men, or prayers to God; let them find no place in the cars or hearts of God or men, if this be true: or, no place, i.e. no regard, or no power or success; in which sense God’s word is said not to have place in evil men, John 8:37; and Esau not to

find place of repentance, Hebrews 12:17, i.e. all his entreaties and tears could not prevail with his father to repent of and retract the blessing given from him to Jacob. 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.

O earth, cover not thou my {s} blood, and let my cry have no place.

(s) Let my sin be known if I am such a sinner as my adversaries accuse me, and let me find no favour.

18. God’s destructive enmity will bring Job to death, though there is no wrong in his hands and his prayer is pure (Job 16:17). This feeling makes him appeal to the earth not to cover his innocent blood. He shall die, but it is an unjust death, and his blood shall lie on the bosom of the earth open, appealing to heaven for vindication, and uttering an unceasing cry for justice.

let my cry have no place] i. e. no resting place, where it should cease and be dumb and penetrate no further. His “cry” is his cry for reparation, as in Genesis 4:10 “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” His “blood” is, of course, a figure; it does not imply actual bloodshed, but merely a wrongful death; but it cannot mean anything short of death, because the figure is taken from a violent death. The word is used in a similar way, Psalm 30:9, “What profit is there in my blood, in my going down to the pit”? where death at God’s hand from sickness seems referred to. On the idea that uncovered blood is blood calling for reparation see the remarkable passage Ezekiel 24:7-8; cf. Isaiah 26:21.

Ch. Job 16:18 to Job 17:9. Job, dying a martyr’s death, beseeches God that He would uphold his right with God and against men, and give him a pledge that He will make his innocence appear

In Job 16:12-14 Job described the terrible hostility of God, who dashed him to pieces, laid him in ruins and poured out his soul to the ground—brought him unto death. Then the other thought rose in his mind that all this befell him though he was innocent both in life and in spirit. Here he comes to the point at which he always loses self-control—when he realizes that in spite of his innocence he is held guilty. This is an overwhelming feeling, and under it Job either wildly challenges the rectitude of God, as in the first cycle of speeches; or he flings off from him altogether the form of things in the present world, and forces his way into another region, where such perversions cannot prevail and where the face of God, clouded here, must be clear and propitious. This second direction, entered upon first in ch. 14, is pursued in the present passage, and reaches its highest point in ch. 19. Already in ch. 10. Job had drawn a distinction between God of the present, who persecuted him as guilty though he was innocent, and God of the past, whose gracious care of him had been wonderful; though there he grasped at a frightful reconciliation of the contradiction: God of the present, who destroyed him, seemed the real God, and His past mercies were no true expression of His nature (see on Job 10:13 seq.). In ch. 14. Job reached out his hand into the darkness and clutched at another idea, a distinction between God of the present who would pursue him unto death, and God of the future—God when His anger should be over-past and He would yearn again towards His creature, the work of His hands (see on Job 14:13 seq.). This God of the future was God as He is in truth, true to His own past dealing and to man’s conceptions of Him. It is on this line of thought that the present passage moves.

The two great ideas which fill Job’s mind in all this discourse are, first, the certainty of his speedy death under God’s afflicting hand; and second, the moral infamy and the inexplicable contradiction to his conscience which death in such circumstances carries with it. The first, his speedy death, Job accepts as inevitable, and he cannot restrain his contemptuous indignation at the foolishness of his friends, who talk as if something else were possible (Job 17:2-4; Job 17:10-16). But such a death under the hand of God meant to Job the reprobation of God and the scorn and abhorrence of men. And it is against this idea, not his mere death, that Job wrestles with all his might. This is the meaning of such a death; but it cannot be that God will allow this obloquy and injustice to overwhelm His innocent creature for ever. His blood will utter a ceaseless cry for reparation. And even now he has in heaven one who will witness to his innocence. And he prays to God that He would maintain his right with God and against men.

It is impossible to escape the conclusion that Job prays or hopes for this vindication not before but after death. For he contemplates dying an unjust death—his blood will cry for vengeance. His present unjust afflictions will bring him to the grave. But these fatal afflictions are just God’s witness to his guilt. Any interference of God, therefore, to declare his innocence cannot take place in this life, for an intervention of God to declare his innocence, all the while that He continued to declare him guilty by His afflictions, could not occur to Job’s mind.

The passage Job 16:18 to Job 17:9 embraces two sections similar to one another, each of which contains a fervent appeal to God, followed by words which support it, Job 16:18 to Job 17:2, and Job 17:3-9.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. 12 I was at ease, but He hath broken me in pieces;

And He hath taken me by the neck and shaken me to pieces,

And set me up for a mark for himself.

13 His arrows whistled about me;

He pierced my reins without sparing;

He poured out my gall upon the ground.

14 He brake through me breach upon breach,

He ran upon me like a mighty warrior.

He was prosperous and contented, when all at once God began to be enraged against him; the intensive form פּרפּר (Arab. farfara) signifies to break up entirely, crush, crumble in pieces (Hithpo. to become fragile, Isaiah 24:19); the corresponding intensive form פּצפּץ (from פּצץ, Arab. fḍḍ, cogn. נפץ), to beat in pieces (Polel of a hammer, Jeremiah 23:29), to dash to pieces: taking him by the neck, God raised him on high in order to dash him to the ground with all His might. מטּרה (from נטר, τηρεῖν, like σκοπός from σκέπτισθαι) is the target, as in the similar passage, Lamentations 3:12, distinct from מפגּע, Job 7:20, object of attack and point of attack: God has set me up for a target for himself, in order as it were to try what He and His arrows can do. Accordingly רבּיו (from רבב equals רבה, רמה, jacere) signifies not: His archers (although this figure would be admissible after Job 10:17; Job 19:12, and the form after the analogy of רב, רע, etc., is naturally taken as a substantival adj.), but, especially since God appears directly as the actor: His arrows ( equals הצּיו, Job 6:4), from רב, formed after the analogy of בּז, מס, etc., according to which it is translated by lxx, Targ., Jer., while most of the Jewish expositors, referring to Jeremiah 50:29 (where we need not, with Bttch., point רבים, and here רביו), interpret by מורי החצים. On all sides, whichever way he might turn himself, the arrows of God flew about him, mercilessly piercing his reins, so that his gall-bladder became empty (comp. Lamentations 2:11, and vid., Psychol. S. 268). It is difficult to conceive what is here said;

(Note: The emptying of the gall takes place if the gall-bladder or any of its ducts are torn; but how the gall itself (without assuming some morbid condition) can flow outwardly, even with a severe wound, is a difficult question, with which only those who have no appreciation of the standpoint of imagery and poetry will distress themselves. [On the "spilling of the gall" or "bursting of the gall-bladder" among the Arabs, as the working of violent and painful emotions, vid., Zeitschr. der deutschen morgenlnd. Gesellsch. Bd. xvi. S. 586, Z. 16ff. - Fl.])

it is, moreover, not meant to be understood strictly according to the sense: the divine arrows, which are only an image for divinely decreed sufferings, pressed into his inward parts, and wounded the noblest organs of his nature. In Job 16:14 follows another figure. He was as a wall which was again and again broken through by the missiles or battering-rams of God, and against which He ran after the manner of besiegers when storming. פּרץ is the proper word for such breaches and holes in a wall generally; here it is connected as obj. with its own verb, according to Ges. 138, rem. 1. The second פרץ (פּרץ with Kametz) has Ssade minusculum, for some reason unknown to us.

The next strophe says what change took place in his own conduct in consequence of this incomprehensible wrathful disposition of God which had vented itself on him.

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