Chapter 19 - The Second Cycle of Speeches - Job
Job reacts to his friend's cruelty
God is the Author of Job's troubles
Job is utterly isolated
A plea for pity
Job's confidence in his eventual vindication
Job warns his friends
Bildad's brutal academic assault on Job seems to have pulled
Job into a clearer realm of thought. The impact of Bildad's vitriol, instead of
launching the expected counter-attack, sees Job almost at peace with himself.
Sure, he is despised, isolated and a source of revulsion, but Job is confident
If anything, his friends should be careful (19:28-29) and show
pity as true friends (19:21).
- God is responsible for his
- His friends are wrong;
- He will be ultimately
For all its description of Job's rejection by all, including
those who were once close to him, Chapter 19 is ordered, clear and strangely
beautiful to read. His affirmation of the resurrection (19:25-26) is a moving
statement of supreme faith despite extremely adverse conditions.
19:1-7         Job reacts to his friend's cruelty
Job's opening reaction is a response to Bildad's opening
remark, "How long till you put an end to words?" (18:2 NKJV). How long will it
be before Job stops using words to ensnare the unsuspecting? Job sees it from
an entirely different perspective - "How long will ye vex (yaga)
my soul and break me in pieces with words?" (19:2). It is not Job's words that
are out-of-line. It is the words of Bildad and his companions. They vex
("mentally trouble" TWOT). They break in pieces.
How long has this been going on? For Job it seems like an
eternity - "ten times ye have reproached me." It is not as if Job has kept
count. Rather, he uses an idiom that means "many times" (see Gen 31:7,41; Num
14:22). Yes, many times they had shamed him, and they were not at all ashamed
that they had "hardened themselves against him" (AVmg - see also RSV, NKJV, JB
"Anyway," continues Job, "Even if I had gone astray it's none
of your business!" (19:4). Job openly resented their interference in his
personal dilemma. To Job it was obviously something to be resolved with God.
It is not their problem and if anything amiss was responsible then Job will have
to pay the penalty. It is, in Job's opinion, not his friend's right to
pronounce judgment (19:22). That right rests with God.
They had been quick to accuse Job. According to Bildad, Job
had been caught in his own schemes (18:8-10). Job, while using a different word
to the six employed by the erudite Bildad, exclaims in verse 6 that God had
overthrown (awat) him, God had compassed him with His net
(masod - "the net of the hunter" Ges).
19:6 is crucial in understanding Job's mind. The sentiments
expressed are interpreted in a number of ways. TWOT states that, "Since he is
convinced of his innocence, he concludes that God has perverted his rights
(19:6). There is simply no justice (19:7), he contends." Reichert agrees with
this conclusion. I believe that the context leads us to a different
interpretation. Yes, he had been sorely afflicted (19:7-12) but he has not to
this point in time been pronounced guilty by God. He is addressing the
accusations of his companions, who were insistent that Job's woes were
self-inflicted and a sure sign of his malevolence. Instead, Job is waiting to
hear from God and he is confident that God will declare him innocent. The
judgment of Job has been merely delayed. Indeed, interprets Delitzsch, if Job's
friends are correct, and Job is suffering on account of flagrant sins that Job
considers unproven, then God has wronged him. Perhaps this is what Job is
Awat means to "bend, curve, pervert" (Ges) and
is used by Bildad in 8:3 - "doth the Almighty pervert justice?" - and is picked
up by Elihu in 34:12. The answer to Bildad's question is unmistakably "No!"
Job is not accusing God of perverting his rights. He is at pains to point out
that his circumstances are from God. As Andersen translates "God has made me
crooked." And it is God who will ultimately vindicate Job.
Unfortunately, God does not seem to hear the cry of Job. The
justice Job so vociferously seeks is not forthcoming (19:7). Job is confronted
by an overwhelming divine silence. It is important to note that Job does not
declare God has perpetrated an injustice. He complains that justice is slow to
19:8-12         God is the Author of Job's troubles
Instead of providing the necessary justice Job is seeking, God
has maintained unrelenting pressure on Job. God had:
The final metaphor in this section is an image of stupendous
overkill. Job is parked inside his tent (ohel - "tabernacle") and
on the outside God's armies are constructing vast siege works prior to
inflicting the final overthrow. God, by Job's assessment, is being
- Cut off all Job's means of escape (19:8 - see
also Lam 3:7; Hos 2:6);
- Enveloped Job in darkness
so that he can only grope around uncertainly
- Stripped him of his honour (19:9 Green,
- Removed Job's crown
(atara) of righteousness (19:9 - see 31:36 for the only other use
of atara in the Book of Job) as he was openly regarded as a
- Broken Job down as one would tear down a
building with no immediate prospect of being rebuilt (19:10 - "I am
- Uprooted his hope like a tree (19:10 -
see also 14:19);
- Kindled His anger against Job
- Counted Job as one of His enemies (19:11
- see also 16:9); and
- Assailed Job on every side
19:13-19         Job is utterly isolated
Job felt the hand of God like no other of his generation. But
that did not mean Job failed to consider his human relationships. The support
he desperately needed to cope with the travails instigated by God was
non-existent. This is not unlike the wholesale desertion of the Lord Jesus
Christ when his need for supportive company was at its greatest (Matt 26:56).
Christ's afflictions, along with Job's, were in accordance with God's will (Matt
Job's catalogue of former acquaintances who now abhorred,
avoided, forgot, mocked and turned against him is heart-rending.
Whereas Job's accusations against God may be overstated,
because he had not received any confirmation of his perceptions, the rejection
of Job by those who were previously close to him was evident and not a figment
of Job's paranoia. It was a devastatingly accurate inventory because they would
have accepted the orthodox theology of the day that affliction is directly
proportional to an individual's sin quotient.
Job's list, essentially an expansion of 16:7, included his
brethren (Psa 69:8), acquaintances (those who knew him - 42:11), kinsfolk,
sojourning guests who had received his hospitality, his personal attendant,
those of his family clan (AV "children ... of mine own body" 19:17), and closest
friends (Eliphaz and company, perhaps). Even young children, not old enough to
understand, despised him as they mirrored the attitude of their
His wife is also entered on the register of deserters. "My
breath is offensive to my wife" (19:17 NKJV).
Job is utterly alone. "He is despised and rejected of men; a
man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from
him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isa 53:4).
19:20-22         A plea for pity
God has delayed His justice. Job is a total social outcast
and, as he continues, he is an emaciated human being. He is a mere bag of bones
as there is nothing, it seems, between his flesh and his bones.
Furthermore, Job is "escaped with the skin of his teeth."
This unforgettable expression is now part of everyday vernacular and is used as
a proverb to connote a narrow escape. Job has not escaped. He is very much a
captive to his condition. The phrase has many interpretations with the more
popular suggesting that the disease has so ravaged him that even his teeth have
fallen out and all that remains are his gums.
Whatever the interpretation, Job, at the very least, expects
pity from the viewing public. He cannot comprehend the absence of compassion.
Twice he implores "Have pity on me" and he reverts to calling them "my friends."
If only they would remember that they are friends (2:11). They came as friends
to comfort their friend who had been touched by "the hand of God" (see comments
in 1:5 on the use of Tapeinosis).
But why would they pity somebody who, by their reckoning, was
being punished for sin? Job, in verse 22, in seeking their support, ironically
gives them reason to withhold it. If they were acting as God, surely this is a
good thing. No, it's not! In matters of final judgment, that right rests with
God (Rom 12:19-21). It was their role to comfort and, if any sin could be
identified, to assist in Job's rehabilitation.
Their original intentions could well have been those but they
are now tracking on a different wavelength. Now they are hounding Job in order
to win a theological debate. They had lost sight of larger issues, such as
compassion, by becoming absorbed in petty intellectual point-scoring.
19:23-27         Job's confidence in his eventual
"Ah, would that these words of mine were written
inscribed on some monument
with chisel and engraving tool,
cut into the rock for ever."
So they have been! Both in the Bible for us to read for our
instruction and in the Book of Life (Rev 20:12) for Job's vindication. And the
words that are penned in verses 25-27 shine like a halogen lamp in a dark
Job's faith has progressed to such an extent that he can
declare that his redeemer lives. Indeed He does as Job's redeemer is none other
than Yahweh, the instigator of Job's woes. It matters not what has happened to
him, he is certain that Yahweh lives and Yahweh will vindicate him. Yahweh will
"rise up" (Soncino) as a witness to Job's integrity and He will do so at the
last upon the "dust" (apar - Green, Soncino, Delitzsch).
Job, while certain he will die (19:26), is convinced of his
own resurrection. He will, despite the utter destruction of his body, see God.
Three times he affirms that he will see God and he expects to do so in a very
real way, complete with body and eyes. Yes, it will be "in his flesh"; surely
not the disease-riddled flesh that cloaked his frame but that of a regenerated
and cleansed immortal being. It will not be an act played out in his mind nor
will he see God only for God to dismiss him as a stranger. The expression "and
not another" more literally translates as "and not as a stranger" (Green, Roth,
RVmg). The inference is carried by the Jerusalem Bible with, "These eyes will
gaze on him and find him not aloof." "Yes," implies Job, "God will recognise me
as a friend."
What a remarkable outburst of sublime faith! He can declare
his faith even though his heart sinks and his emotions are spent (19:27). He is
completely wrung out. He has been through so much, more than any other of his
era, yet his assurance of a redeemer and his anticipation of the resurrection is
unabated. If anything, his awareness of both has been sharpened by his
19:28-29         Job warns his friends
Job, invigorated by his consideration of resurrection and
redemption, turns and warns his friends. Why should they be concerned? The
answer is simple, "There is a judgment" (19:29). This is not questioned, nor is
the doctrine of the resurrection or the concept of the redeemer. All were
understood by Job's learned acquaintances. Job has not introduced new concepts,
but his application of them in these verses would not have been appreciated by
As the New International Version renders, "If you say, 'How we
will hound him, since the root of the trouble lies in him,' you should fear the
sword yourselves." In other words, they were in danger of facing God's anger
because they persisted with incorrect assertions (42:7-9). They were being
advised, for their sakes, to release their pressure on Job. To be judged as
being in error after the vehemence of their speech would be a source of colossal
Will Zophar heed the warning of Job or merely heap more scorn
on the afflicted one?
Digression - The Redeemer (Heb. "Ga'al")
Hast Thou Considered My Servant Job - pages
Brother Klaus Papowski
Primary Hebrew Meaning
"to redeem from difficulty or danger"
- There is usually an emphasis in
ga'al on the redemption being the privilege or duty of a near
- Refers to the re-purchase of a field
which was sold in time of need (Lev 25:25), or the freeing of an Israelite slave
who sold himself in time of poverty (Lev
- Such purchase of, and restitution, was
the duty of the next of kin.
- As kinsman he had
the right to redeem anything which had been wrongfully acquired (Num
- As the avenger of blood (near-kinsman of
one slain) he had the right and duty to pursue the murderer and exact vengeance
(cp. Num 35:12-27; Deut 19:6; Josh 20:3).
- As the
vindicator he had the duty to vindicate violated rights (Ruth
- Ga'al, therefore,
conveyed the ideas of "Judgement" and
- The office of the Redeemer was in
existence in the time of Job, prior to the Law of
- Pre-eminently, as the redeemer of His
people, God was the "Ga'al" (Exod 6:6; Isa
- Job believed that his innocence gave him a
right to be vindicated, and since there was no kinsman prepared to stand on his
behalf, God would reveal Himself as Job's Vindicator (Job
- Job's Redeemer is Yahweh (Isa 43:14; 49:7;
54:5). He, therefore, was correct when he said that his "Redeemer
- Yahweh has redeemed through His
servant, the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa 49:6), and to that end he was exalted "to be
a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of
sins" (Acts 5:31).
- In Christ, "God was manifest
in the flesh" (1Tim 3:16), and through him became Redeemer to both Jews and
- Therefore, Job could speak of his
Redeemer (Yahweh) being revealed in "the latter day upon the earth". He will be
revealed in the person of His son.
- As the
"near-kinsman", the redeemer came to the aid of any member of the family who
fell into trouble.
- Yahweh could only be described
as a "Redeemer" ("Near-kinsman") to fallen man, by revealing Himself in one of
the race. This He did in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:14; 2Cor 5:19; 1Tim
- Job, therefore, could describe his
Redeemer as then living, and yet to be manifest in the earth in the latter day.
The former refers to Yahweh; the latter to His manifestation in Christ.