Job 15-21 part 5
The first cycles of speeches have ended, but now the second cycle of speeches begin. This time their hostility will increase and the sparks will fly. Job’s friends are not being helpful at all.
Eliphaz begins his tongue lasing in:
"Should a wise man answer with empty knowledge, And fill himself with the
east wind? 3 Should he reason
with unprofitable talk, Or by speeches with which he can do no good? 4 Yes, you cast off fear, And
restrain prayer before God. 5
For your iniquity teaches your mouth, And you choose the tongue of the
crafty. 6 Your own mouth
condemns you, and not I; Yes, your own lips testify against you.
Eliphaz is saying that
Job is full of hot air and saying whatever comes to his mind. He accuses him of
not praying to God, and he believes that his sin whatever it is has caused him
to be crafty with his words, but his own words have condemned him, and they
testify against him.
In verse 7 – 16, Eliphaz
accuses Job of making himself wiser than aged and wiser than all who were
before him. He wants Job to understand that his friends are just as wise as he
is and he wishes Job would listen to their wisdom. He accuses Job of turning
his spirit against God in all the rash words he has been saying. He tells Job
that he cannot be as righteous as he thinks he is and he says that men like Job
drink iniquity like water. That insult had to sting when Job heard it.
In verse 17 – 26, Eliphaz
says based on his personal observations from the past and the traditions of the
fathers, he comes to the same conclusion, only the sinful suffer. He
illustrates this by describing a man who is defiant to God who will run
stubbornly against him with a strong shield, but a man that does this will have
all kinds of pains that he cannot explain, and his life will be full of turmoil
and fear. He goes on to say in:
"Though he has covered his face with his fatness, And made his waist
heavy with fat, 28 He dwells
in desolate cities, In houses which no one inhabits, Which are destined to
become ruins. 29 He will not
be rich, Nor will his wealth continue, Nor will his possessions overspread the
It easy to see that
Eliphaz is describing Job and he accusing him getting fat and wallowing in his
possession because he believes Job has put his trust and faith in his wealth,
which is why he suffering now. Of course we know that is not the case. Then
Eliphaz continues on through the end of the chapter talking about how those who
trust in futile things deceive themselves, and they will not be able to escape
the darkness. He gives several illustration from agriculture that show what
will happen if Job keeps on denying his sin. Eliphaz ends his speech with these
Job 15:34 For the
company of hypocrites will be barren, And fire will consume the tents of
bribery. 35 They conceive
trouble and bring forth futility; Their womb prepares deceit."
Even though Eliphaz has
it all wrong when it comes to Job, one thing that is true about his statements
is that we must not put our trust in futile things because they can deceive us
and cause us to live a life a sin, and if we don’t put trust in God and follow
Him, then we will never escape the darkness of sin either.
Next, Job replies back in
chapters 16 and 17.
Job 16:2 "I
have heard many such things; Miserable comforters are you all! 3 Shall words of wind have an end?
Or what provokes you that you answer? 4
I also could speak as you do, If your soul were in my soul's place. I
could heap up words against you, And shake my head at you; 5 But I would strengthen
you with my mouth, And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.
is not happy with his friends at all because they are miserable comforters.
They continue to hurl accusations against him that are not true. He tells them
that if they were in his position he could easily say the same things they were
and act just like them, but he says he wouldn’t be like. No, he would be a true
friend and encouraging them and brings them words of comfort to relive their
grief because that is friend should do.
verses 6-10, Job doesn’t know whether to be silent or to speak because he
doesn’t find comfort in either one. He accuses God of wearing him our and
shriveling him up and his suffering body testifies against him. He says,
Job 16:9 He tears me in His wrath, and hates me;
He gnashes at me with His teeth; My adversary sharpens His gaze on me.
thinks God hates him and since he is weak, his enemy is ready to attack him and
take him over and beat him on his cheek.
verses 11-14, he accuses God of giving him to the ungodly and turning him over
to the wicked. He was happy before all this started, but now he says God has
shattered him and taken him by the neck and shook him until he was scattered
into small pieces. When I think about that imagery it reminds of how do will
take a object in his mouth and shake to death. He accuses God of putting a target on him and
surrounding him with His archers.
believes that God has not pity for him even though God has pierced his heart
and causes him to break out with wounds on top of wounds.
verses 15-19, He talks about how he has sackcloth on his skin and head is in
the dirt and he is weeping so much that is face is flush. He continues to
defend his innocence saying he is not violent and his prayers are pure and he
is sure that there is a witness in heaven that can attest to his righteousness.
Job finishes this chapter saying:
Job 16:20 My friends scorn me; My eyes pour out tears
to God. 21 Oh, that one
might plead for a man with God, As a man pleads for his neighbor! 22 For when a few years are
finished, I shall go the way of no return.
Job wishes he had someone
that would go before God and plead his case for him. Again, this is something
we are fortunate to have through Jesus as:
Hebrews 9:24 For
Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies
of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for
Jesus is our advocate (1
Jn. 2:1) and He will be there for us to help us plead our case, something Job
longed for. So, we should be very thankful with what we have been given through
Job continues his speech
in chapter 17.
Job 17:1 "My
spirit is broken, My days are extinguished, The grave is ready for
me. 2 Are not mockers with
me? And does not my eye dwell on their provocation? 3 "Now put down a pledge for
me with Yourself. Who is he who will shake hands with me? 4 For You have hidden their heart
from understanding; Therefore You will not exalt them. 5
He who speaks flattery to his friends, Even the eyes of his children
Job’s suffering and the loss of his family has broken his spirit and on top of that his friends are mocking him and provoking him with their words. He wants God to be his vindicator because he believes his friends cannot understand his innocence because God has blinded them from the truth. He doesn’t believe that God will exalt them, but bring misfortune on them and their children.
In verse 6-9 Job complains that God has made him a byword that is man of ridicule who people would spit in his face. Even though Job’s eyes have grown dim from sorrow and the upright would be appalled by him being made to suffer when he has done no wrong. He is not going to allow his suffering to keep him from following the righteous path.
Job finishes his speech talking about his death.
Job 17:11 My days
are past, My purposes are broken off, Even the thoughts of my
heart. 12 They change the
night into day; 'The light is near,' they say, in the face of
darkness. 13 If I wait for
the grave as my house, If I make my bed in the darkness, 14 If I say to corruption, 'You are
my father,' And to the worm, 'You are my mother and my sister,' 15 Where then is my hope?
As for my hope, who can see it? 16
Will they go down to the gates of Sheol? Shall we have rest
together in the dust?"
Next Bildad speaks and he
furious about Job’s response and like Eliphaz he will continue to attack Job
with his words.
"How long till you put an end to words? Gain understanding, and
afterward we will speak. 3
Why are we counted as beasts, And regarded as stupid in your sight? 4 You who tear yourself in anger,
Shall the earth be forsaken for you? Or shall the rock be removed from its
As this discussion goes on we can see that Job wants his friends to be quiet, but his friends refuse to be silent because they are confident that they are right about Job and they want him to repent, which is why Bildad wants to know how long Job is going to stop trying to justify himself with empty words.
He demands to know why Job considers them as being stupid like animal, and he tells Job that he has torn himself that is brought his own suffering on him because he refuses to acknowledge his sin.
Through the end of the chapter Bildad tells Job the inevitable consequences of the wicked, which is all pointed at Job. He says the light of the wicked will be extinguished and he will live in darkness. His prosperity will end, the steps of his strength will be shortened and his evil council he has given to others will come back to devour him.
By his wicked ways a man will get caught in his own net and he will be punished by a snare or a noose. No matter where he goes, there will be trap for him. His whole existence will be full of terror.
Job 18:12 His
strength is starved, And destruction is ready at his side. 13 It devours patches of his skin;
The firstborn of death devours his limbs.
In other words, Job’s
suffering, due to his iniquity, is going to devour him. He goes on to say how
the wicked will be uprooted from his tent and paraded before the king of
terrors. His possessions will belong to those who are not his own kin, and
brimstone will be scattered on his dwelling place.
Job 18:16 His
roots are dried out below, And his branch withers above. 17 The memory of him perishes from
the earth, And he has no name among the renowned. 18 He is driven from light into
darkness, And chased out of the world. 19
He has neither son nor posterity among his people, Nor any remaining in his
dwellings. 20 Those in the
west are astonished at his day, As those in the east are frightened. 21 Surely such are the
dwellings of the wicked, And this is the place of him who does
not know God."
Bildad gives a depressing
picture of what will happen to the wicked and how they will be treated and
remembered, and remember all of this is directed at Job, and he accuses Job
indirectly of not knowing God.
Job 19:1 Then Job
answered and said: 2
"How long will you torment my soul, And break me in pieces with words? 3 These ten times you have
reproached me; You are not ashamed that you have wronged me. 4 And if indeed I have erred, My
error remains with me.
Job is getting sick and
tired of his friends spewing out their accusations because they breaking him
into pieces. When Job says, “ten times you have reproached me” it does not mean
literally 10 times because this was an expression, which meant frequently. His
friends were not ashamed of how they had wronged him and even if Job sinned his
sin did not have anything to do with them, so they should not be so hard on
him. Of course Job believes that the only reason he is suffering is because God
has done him wrong.
Starting in verse 7 Job
directs his statements at God. He feels he has been wronged by God, but God will
not hear his plea of innocence. He accuses him of fencing him in and setting
darkness before his path. He believes that God wants to destroy him from ever
He accuses God of taking
his crown from his head and stripping him of his glory. He thinks God counts
him as an enemy, which has made his hope like an uprooted tree. He accuses God
of surrounding him with troops, and caused all his family, friends and even his
servants to abandon and ignore him. We also learn that Job had brothers.
Job 19:17 My
breath is offensive to my wife, And I am repulsive to the children of my own
body. 18 Even young children
despise me; I arise, and they speak against me.
19 All my close friends abhor me, And those whom I love have
turned against me. 20 My bone
clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped by the skin of my
teeth. 21 " Have pity on
me, have pity on me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has struck me! 22 Why do you persecute me as God does,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?
Job’s breath was bad
because of his disease, and it his appearance caused him to be repulsive even
to children. He has become so skinny that his skin is clinging to his bones and
he is only hanging on to life by the skin of his teeth. He begs his friends to
have pity on him and to stop persecuting him like God has done. This is a
depressing time for Job because he has no one to comfort him, not even his own
Job and his friends agree
that he is being persecuted by God, but his friends thinks its because of sin
in his life and Job thinks its because of God’s injustice.
Job 19:23 "
Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! 24 That they were engraved on a
rock With an iron pen and lead, forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall
stand at last on the earth;
Job goes to say that he
wished that he words written down, so they would last forever. Then he says
with confidence I know that my Redeemer lives, which is one of our songs in our
song book. Now a Redeemer could be your one of you kinfolk, but all of Job’s
kinfolks had abandoned him, so Job is talking about God here. He envisions God
standing on the earth and whether or not Job dies, he believes he will be vindicated
in the end.
While Job had no idea of
what would happen in the future, Jesus would end up becoming our kinsmen in the
flesh and He is our Redeemer (Lk. 1:68; Eph. 1:7).
Job 19:26 And
after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see
God, 27 Whom I shall see for
myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns
Although Job’s knowledge
of the afterlife was limited, he believes that at some point after he dies that
he will see God and he yearns and desires to be able to see Him. His statement
here may mean that he had some understanding about the general resurrection
that will happen on the final judgment day. In the final two verses, Job warns
Job 19:28 If you
should say, 'How shall we persecute him?' -- Since the root of the matter is
found in me, 29 Be afraid of
the sword for yourselves; For wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
That you may know there is a judgment."
Next, Zophar speaks out:
"Therefore my anxious thoughts make me answer, Because of the turmoil within
me. 3 I have heard the rebuke
that reproaches me, And the spirit of my understanding causes me to answer.
Zophar claims he has
listened well and considered the matter, and now that he understands things
better he is going give his answer. The entirety if Zophar speech revolves around what he says next:
"Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth, 5 That the triumphing of the
wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?
He tells Job the wicked
will perish like his own refuse, and he will disappear and not be found bu anyone.
His children will have to find favor with the poor because no one else will
help them. Even if the wicked man has lots of vigor in his bones he will be
brought low. If he keeps evil in his mouth the food he eats will be like the
poison of a cobra and turn his stomach.
If he swallows his riches,
God will make him vomit them up. He will suck the poison of cobras and be
destroyed by them. Everything he works for will be restored to someone else,
and he will find no pleasure in his business deals because he has violently
taken things from the poor. He will have nothing left to eat.
Then Zophar finishes his
Job 20:22 In his
self-sufficiency he will be in distress; Every hand of misery will come against
him. 23 When he is
about to fill his stomach, God will cast on him the fury of His wrath,
And will rain it on him while he is eating. 24 He will flee from the iron
weapon; A bronze bow will pierce him through.
25 It is drawn, and comes out of the body; Yes, the
glittering point comes out of his gall. Terrors come upon
him; 26 Total darkness is reserved
for his treasures. An unfanned fire will consume him; It shall go ill with him
who is left in his tent. 27
The heavens will reveal his iniquity, And the earth will rise up against
him. 28 The increase of his
house will depart, And his goods will flow away in the day of His
wrath. 29 This is the
portion from God for a wicked man, The heritage appointed to him by God."
As the other friends did,
Zophar has painted an ugly picture about what happens to a wicked man, and
while there are some truths to what he said, none of his statements apply to
Finally, Job gives his
final rebuttal in chapter 21 to the second cycle of speeches. In this speech,
Job will talk about what happens to the wicked with more wisdom than his
Job 21:2 "Listen
carefully to my speech, And let this be your consolation. 3 Bear with me that I may speak,
And after I have spoken, keep mocking. 4
"As for me, is my complaint against man? And if it were, why
should I not be impatient? 5
Look at me and be astonished; Put your hand over your mouth. 6 Even when I remember I am
terrified, And trembling takes hold of my flesh. 7 Why do the wicked live and become
old, Yes, become mighty in power?
Job wants them to listen
carefully, and if they don’t agree with his assessment, then they can keep on
mocking him. He admits that he has been impatient with them, but he asks them a
great question. Why do the wicked live and become old, Yes, become
mighty in power? If the wicked are doomed to a hard and short life, then why
are there wicked men who have become old and powerful.
He goes on to say how
sometimes the wicked prosper, have plenty of children and they have no problems
with their animals reproducing. Their children are happy and they dance with
Job 21:14 Yet they
say to God, 'Depart from us, For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.
Job makes a strong
argument against his friends’ view of the wicked.
Job 21:15-Who is
the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have if we
pray to Him?' 16 Indeed their
prosperity is not in their hand; The counsel of the wicked is far from
Again, Job goes back to the
thought of not being able to see the benefit of being good over being bad
because God has made the wicked people prosper. He goes on to ask how often
does the wicked suffer at the hand of God?
Can anyone teach God knowledge, Since He judges those on high?
I believe Job is
directing this thought to his friends because they keep trying to speak for God
even though they are speaking for themselves. They cannot teach God anything no
matter how right they think they are.
Job 21:23 One
dies in his full strength, Being wholly at ease and secure; 24 His pails are full of milk, And
the marrow of his bones is moist. 25
Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul, Never having eaten with
pleasure. 26 They lie down
alike in the dust, And worms cover them.
Job rightly says that
sometimes the wicked might die being healthy and wealthy, but they may also die
under miserable conditions, but in the end death will get them all as it eventually
gets everyone. Job’s argument is that you cannot judge someone spiritual based
on what is happening to them as they live on the earth. We certainly need to
understand this today, because good things happened to good and bad people and
bad things happen to good and bad people.
Finally Job says:
"Look, I know your thoughts, And the schemes with which you would
wrong me. 28 For you say,
'Where is the house of the prince? And where is the tent, The
dwelling place of the wicked?' 29
Have you not asked those who travel the road? And do you not know their signs? 30 For the wicked are reserved for
the day of doom; They shall be brought out on the day of wrath. 31 Who condemns his way to his
face? And who repays him for what he has done? 32 Yet he shall be brought to the
grave, And a vigil kept over the tomb. 33
The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him; Everyone shall follow him, As
countless have gone before him. 34
How then can you comfort me with empty words, Since falsehood remains in your
Job understands where
they are coming from, but they are wrong about their assessment about the
wicked because they do prosper and even when they go to the grave people
remember them and others follow their same path. Since this is true, how do
they expect Job to be comforted by the empty false words?
Job statement in verse 30
again shows that Job knew something about the final judgment day as he said, “For the wicked are reserved for the day of
doom; They shall be brought out on the day of wrath”.
That ends the 2nd
round of speeches. We have seen that Job’s friends have done their best to get
Job to see that God does punish the wicked and that he must be wicked, but Job
made it clear that they are as wrong as they can be.
Of course one important
lesson we have learnd from these speeches is that you cannot judge someone
spiritually based on what happens to them as they live their lives out on this
earth. A person could be poor and their health could be bad and everything
might seem to go wrong for them, yet they could still be spiritual strong,
while someone that has everything going for them could be spiritual bankrupt.