Scales for Misery
Job 6:2
Oh that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!

At length Job has an opportunity to reply to his friend's harangue, and he at once touches on its weak point by implication. Eliphaz has not been sufficiently sympathetic; he has not duly appreciated Job's "abysmal and boundless misery." His wise precepts may apply to some extent to the afflictions of ordinary men, but they are vitiated by his failure to enter into the abnormal distresses of Job. The cursing of his day, which has been wrung out of Job by very anguish of soul, is misjudged by his censor, because the awful depth of that anguish is not appreciated. Therefore Job longs for some scales by which his misery may be weighed, that the lack of appreciation by Eliphaz may be corrected.


1. That he may be understood. You cannot understand a man till you know how be feels. Words are more than descriptions of bare facts; they may be utterances of the heart. To comprehend their import we must enter into the feelings of the speaker. We should study the needs and troubles of those whom we desire to understand in order to help them.

2. That he may be fairly judged. Eliphaz had made the most galling charges against Job, partly because he was utterly below understanding the afflicted man's overwhelming grief. We are unjust with those who are incomprehensible to us. Christ's executioners did not know him, and he prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). The mob that yelled at him anti hounded him to death had not the least conception of his Gethsemane agony.

3. That he may receive sympathy. Sympathy helps us to understand one another. But without some preliminary knowledge we can have no kind of sympathy. Ignorant, well-meant attempts at sympathy hurt rather than heal, and chafe the very wounds they are intended to soothe.

II. IT IS NOT EASY TO FIND SCALES IN WHICH SUFFERING CAN BE WEIGHED. Where shall we look for a standard of measurement? We cannot judge by outside tokens of grief; for some are reserved and self-restrained, while others are demonstrative in their abandonment to grief. We cannot judge by the measure of the events that have caused the suffering; for some feel the same calamity much more keenly than it would be felt by others. Each sufferer is tempted to think that his troubles surpass all others. We can only understand a man in so far as we can succeed in putting ourselves in his place. But only Christ can do this perfectly. His incarnation is a guarantee of his complete comprehension of human sin and sorrow; so that the sufferer who is misapprehended by his most intimate earthly friends may be assured of the perfect sympathy of his Saviour. Moreover, with his own thoughts the sufferer might measure his grief in a way which would help him to apprize it more justly than by wild conjectures. Suppose he measured it against his blessings: is it so vastly greater? Or suppose he weighed it with his deserts: is it so immensely heavier? Or suppose he compared it with what Christ suffered for him: is there really any comparison between the Christian's roughest cross and the awful cross of his Saviour? - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!

WEB: "Oh that my anguish were weighed, and all my calamity laid in the balances!

Heaping Up One Scale
Top of Page
Top of Page