Job 16:20
My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto 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). Job 16:2018 Oh earth, cover thou not my blood,

And let my cry find no resting-place!! -

19 Even now behold in heaven is my Witness,

And One who acknowledgeth me is in the heights!

20 Though the mockers of me are my friends -

To Eloah mine eyes pour forth tears,

21 That He may decide for man against Eloah,

And for the son of man against his friend.

22 For the years that may be numbered are coming on,

And I shall go a way without return.

Blood that is not covered up cries for vengeance, Ezekiel 24:7.; so also blood still unavenged is laid bare that it may find vengeance, Isaiah 26:21. According to this idea, in the lofty consciousness of his innocence, Job calls upon the earth not to suck in his blood as of one innocently slain, but to let it lie bare, thereby showing that it must be first of all avenged ere the earth can take it up;

(Note: As, according to the tradition, it is said to have been impossible to remove the stain of the blood of Zachariah the son of Jehoiada, who was murdered in the court of the temple, until it was removed by the destruction of the temple itself.)

and for his cry, i.e., the cry (זעקתי to be explained according to Genesis 4:10) proceeding from his blood as from his poured-out soul, he desires that it may urge its way unhindered and unstilled towards heaven without finding a place of rest (Symm. στάσις). Therefore, in the very God who appears to him to be a blood-thirsty enemy in pursuit of him, Job nevertheless hopes to find a witness of his innocence: He will acknowledge his blood, like that of Abel, to be the blood of an innocent man. It is an inward irresistible demand made by his faith which here brings together two opposite principles - principles which the understanding cannot unite - with bewildering boldness. Job believes that God will even finally avenge the blood which His wrath has shed, as blood that has been innocently shed. This faith, which sends forth beyond death itself the word of absolute command contained in Job 16:18, in Job 16:19 brightens and becomes a certain confidence, which draws from the future into the present that acknowledgment which God afterwards makes of him as innocent. The thought of what is unmerited in that decree of wrath which delivers him over to death, is here forced into the background, and in the front stands only the thought of the exaltation of the God in heaven above human short-sightedness, and the thought that no one else but He is the final refuge of the oppressed: even now (i.e., this side of death)

(Note: Comp. 1 Kings 14:14, where it is probably to be explained: Jehovah shall raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day, but what? even now (גם עתה), i.e., He hath raised him up ( equals but no, even now).)


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