Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Job 16: Job Responds to Eliphaz    

What can you say when you speak the truth and no one believes you?

This post is part of an ongoing series on the book of Job. Click here to start at the beginning. At the end of each post you will find a link to the next.


I only have time for a very brief post today. Here is the beginning of Job's response to Eliphaz:

Then Job answered, “I have heard many such things; Sorry comforters are you all. Is there no limit to windy words? Or what plagues you that you answer?

"I too could speak like you, If I were in your place. I could compose words against you And shake my head at you. 

"I could strengthen you with my mouth, And the solace of my lips could lessen your pain. 

"If I speak, my pain is not lessened, And if I hold back, what has left me? 

"But now He has exhausted me; 

"You have laid waste all my company. You have shriveled me up, It has become a witness; And my leanness rises up against me, It testifies to my face." (Job 16:1-8)

Job: "I have heard many such things. ... What plagues you that you answer?" I think here that he meant that Eliphaz had not said anything that he, Bildad, and Zophar have not already hammered home. Job wondered why Eliphaz would even speak again. He added nothing new.

Job: "I could speak like you ... and shake my head at you." If the tables were turned, Job could sound just like them. By this he meant that he understood their religious base and why they spoke as they did.

Job: "I could strengthen you..." Here I would wish that the translators had added the word "but" so that this would read, "But I could strengthen you." Job again pleaded for a different track from his friends. 

Job: "If I speak, my pain is not lessened, and if I hold back what has left me?" Job does not realize it yet, but this is exactly one of the gifts that the Lord has given him. Job has nothing to lose. It is clear that his friends would have the same opinion of him whether he spoke or not. It would not matter what he said, except to say, "Have mercy on me a desperately wicked man." and so placate his friends. But Job's issue is first with God and only secondarily with his friends. He cannot ask God, "Have mercy on me a desperately wicked man."

Job: "But now He has exhausted me." Job feels exhausted, but in fact his spirit is becoming stronger.

Job: "You have laid waste all my company. You have shriveled me up." Job spoke to the Lord here and refers to destruction of his property and children and his disease."

Job: "It has become a witness; and my leanness rises up against me, it testifies to my face." What God has done is the source of Eliphaz, Bildad's and Zophar's condemnation.

What at least can be said is that Job has an accurate picture of his situation. When our troubles come, this is an important place to be.

Thursday: Job's speech continues

<>< Test Everything. Cling to what is good. ><>


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