Job 16:20
My friends scorn me: but my eye pours out tears to God.
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(20) My friends scorn me.—Or, as an apostrophe, “Ye my scorners who profess and ought to be my friends: mine eye poureth out tears unto God that He would maintain the right of man with God, and of the son of man with his neighbour;” or, “that one might plead for man with God as the son of man pleadeth for his neighbour”—this is what he has already longed for in Job 9:33.

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.My friends scorn me - Margin "are my scorners." That is, his friends had him in derision and mocked him, and he could only appeal with tears to God.

Mine eye poureth out tears unto God - Despised and mocked by his friends, he made his appeal to one who he knew would regard him with compassion. This shows that the heart of Job was substantially right. Notwithstanding, all his passionate exclamations; and notwithstanding, his expressions, when he was urged on by his sorrows to give vent to improper emotions in relation to God; yet he had a firm confidence in him, and always returned to right feelings and views. The heart may sometimes err. The best of people may sometimes give expression to improper feelings. But they will return to just views, and will ultimately evince unwavering confidence in God.

20. Hebrew, "are my scorners"; more forcibly, "my mockers—my friends!" A heart-cutting paradox [Umbreit]. God alone remains to whom he can look for attestation of his innocence; plaintively with tearful eye, he supplicates for this. My friends, who should defend me from the scorns and injuries of others,

scorn me; so this word is used Psalm 119:51 Proverbs 3:34 19:28. I pour forth my prayers and tears to God, that he would judge me according to my innocency, and plead my righteous cause against you. My friends scorn me,.... Not that they scoffed at his afflictions and calamities, and at his diseases and disorders, that would have been very brutish and inhuman, but at his words, the arguments and reasons he made use of to defend himself with, see Job 12:4;

but mine eye poureth out tears unto God; in great plenty, because of his very great sorrows and distresses, both inward and outward; and it was his mercy, that when his friends slighted and neglected him, yea, bore hard upon him, and mocked at him, that he had a God to go to, and pour out not only his tears, but all his complaints, and even his very soul unto him, from whom he might hope for relief; and what he said, when he did this, is as follows.

My friends {u} scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.

(u) Use painted words instead of true consolation.

20.  My friends scorn me:

Mine eye poureth out tears unto God,

20. scorn me] lit. are my scorners, or, mockers—instead of being my witnesses, cf. Job 12:4, Job 16:4-5. Because his friends mock him and no sympathy or insight is to be looked for from them (Job 16:7, Job 17:4), his eye droppeth—he appeals with tears to God; cf. Isaiah 38:14. What Job desires of his Witness is that he would see right done him both with God and with men—with God who wrongly held him guilty, and against men, his fellows, who founding on God’s dealing with him held him guilty also and were his mockers. On first clause of Job 16:21 cf. Job 13:15, Job 23:7. The “man” and “son of man” to whom Job refers is himself; there is nothing mystical in the phrase “son of man,” which means merely “man,” Hebrew poetry requiring for its parallelism such variety of expression.

20, 21. Job now names his Witness and states what he hopes for from Him.Verse 20. - My friends scorn me; literally, my scorners are my companions; i.e. I have to live with those who scorn me (comp. ch. 30:1-13). But mine eye poureth out tears unto God. It is not to his "friends" or "companions," or "comforters," or any human aid, that Job turns in his distress. God alone is his Refuge. Forced by his woes to pass his time in weeping and mourning (see ver. 16), it is to God that his heart turns, to God that he "pours out his tears." Hardly as he thinks God to have used him, bitterly as he sometimes ventures to complain, yet the idea never crosses him of looking for help or sympathy to any other quarter, of having recourse to any other support or stay. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15), expresses the deepest feeling of his heart, the firmost principle of his nature. Nothing overrides it. Even "out of the depths" his soul cries to the Lord (see Psalm 130:1). 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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