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Job 6-9 Listen
1 But Job answered and said,
2 Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!
3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.
4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.
5 Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?
6 Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?
7 The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.
8 Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
9 Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!
10 Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One.
11 What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?
12 Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass?
13 Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?
14 To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.
15 My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away;
16 Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:
17 What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.
18 The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.
19 The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.
20 They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.
21 For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.
22 Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance?
23 Or, Deliver me from the enemy’s hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?
24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
25 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?
26 Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?
27 Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.
28 Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie.
29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it.
30 Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?
This Job monologue is two chapters long ending with chapter 7. He takes off with rapid-fire metaphors: a set of scales weighing his grief against his calamity (verse 2), grief heavier than the sand of the sea (verse 3), poison arrows being shot at him by God (verse 4), a donkey doesn't complain when he has food, nor does an ox (verse 5), bad food must have salt and the white of an egg has no taste (verse 6). Job was on a metaphorical roll. Then in verses 8-9 he simply requests that God let him die. In verses 14-30, Job expresses his disappointment in his friends at the lack of compassion they seem to be showing. Verse 15 reveals that he's not happy with their boiler-plate counsel when he says they have "dealt deceitfully as a brook." He asks in verse 24, "Where did I go wrong?" In other words, if Job said he had not sinned, he had not sinned (verses 28-30). Job's friends just want him to plea bargain and get it behind him. One problem: Job's innocent!
1 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?
2 As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work:
3 So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.
4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.
5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.
6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.
7 O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.
8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not.
9 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.
10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.
11 Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12 Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?
13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint;
14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:
15 So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.
16 I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.
17 What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
18 And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?
19 How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?
20 I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?
21 And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.
He continues to rant about his situation. Well, who could blame him really. In the first couple of verses he puts a very negative connotation on life for every human being. He's not sleeping well (verse 4) and his sores are festering and oozing (verse 5)...YUK! Maybe sleep will give him comfort (verses 13-14). Nope...bad dreams! He sees no hope of being healed or ever having any kind of quality of life again. In verse 20 Job proclaims that he has a bullseye on his back for the arrows God is shooting at him (refer to 6:4 above). In this chapter Job starts out addressing his friends, but seems to end up addressing God about his hopeless condition. Now, don't forget the problem. Job's friends are sure he is being chastised for sin. Job cannot think of any sin he has committed. They persist that he should just confess to sin anyway. Job just maintains that he doesn't mind confessing sin, but what sin (verses 20-21)? Hang on; this back-and-forth dialogue about sin versus no sin goes on down through chapter 37.
Bildad weighs in. (Job 8)
1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
2 How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?
3 Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?
4 If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;
5 If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;
6 If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.
7 Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.
8 For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:
9 (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)
10 Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?
11 Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?
12 Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.
13 So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish:
14 Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider’s web.
15 He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.
16 He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden.
17 His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones.
18 If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.
19 Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.
20 Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:
21 Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.
22 They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.
Did Bildad start out by essentially calling Job a bag of hot air (verse 2)? He indicates that Jobs suffering was the proof that Job must have sinned. Since God cannot be unjust (verse 3), one must assume Job and his family (verse 4) had gotten what they deserved. Job should plead for mercy (verse 5). Then, if he deserves it (verse 6), God will restore him (verse 7). In other words, even if you don't know what you have done to sin against God, go ahead and repent anyway. Here's Bildad's philosophy in verse 20, "Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:" Bildad is emphasizing their doctrinal contention that Job would not be in the position he is were it not for the fact that he is an evil doer. In short, "Job...just repent from your sin so we can all go home!" One more thing Bildad points out to Job in verse 21: One day you'll look back on this ordeal and just laugh, and if you're worried about the pleasure your enemies are getting from your tough times, their day is coming. Bildad seems sincere here; he just can't conceive that all of this could be happening to a man without sin for which he was being judged by God.
1 Then Job answered and said,
2 I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?
3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.
4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?
5 Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.
6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.
7 Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
8 Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
9 Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
11 Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
12 Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?
13 If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.
14 How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?
15 Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.
16 If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.
17 For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.
18 He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.
19 If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?
20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
21 Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.
22 This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.
23 If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.
24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?
25 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.
26 They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.
27 If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself:
28 I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.
29 If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?
30 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;
31 Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.
32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.
33 Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.
34 Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:
35 Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.
Job does acknowledge that he agrees with the theology expressed by Bildad - that bad things happen to bad people (verse 2). He's still at a loss though, because he has no knowledge of having committed sin. He then concludes that he would not even be able to get a hearing before God because of his insignificance. He's reluctant to boast of his righteousness (verse 20); that act alone would demonstrate that he was not righteous. You will see some apparent cynicism in Job's tone here. Job is one defeated man! This answer to Bildad, Job's woe-is-me dialogue, continues into Job 10 (see notes).