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Bible Commentaries
Job 16

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-5

Job’s disgust with his friends 16:1-5

Job said his visitors had said nothing new to help him (Job 16:1). He picked up Eliphaz’s word (translated "mischief" in Job 15:35) and used it to describe him and his companions as "sorry," pain-inflicting comforters (an oxymoron, Job 16:2). Eliphaz’s words had not brought the consolation he had promised (Job 15:11). Job charged his visitors with being the real windbags (Job 16:3; cf. Job 8:2; Job 15:2). He claimed that he himself would provide more comfort than they were delivering, which Eliphaz had previously admitted Job could do (Job 4:4).

Verses 1-16

2. Job’s second reply to Eliphaz chs. 16-17

This response reflects Job’s increasing disinterest in the words of his accusers. He warned them and then proceeded to bewail his isolation.

Verses 6-17

Job’s distress at God’s hand 16:6-17

Job’s friends did not cause his greatest discomfort, however; from Job’s perspective God did. Most of the verses in this pericope are easy to understand. A better translation of Job 16:6 b might be, "And if I hold back, it does not leave me."

"Job’s assumption that God was angry with him [in Job 16:9] implies that Job subconsciously felt that God was punishing him for some unknown sin of which Job was unaware. He wished that God would reveal this to him (Job 10:2)." [Note: Parsons, p. 154. Cf. 34:9; 35:3.]

Evidently Job had suffered abuse at the hands of young people who harassed him at the city dump where he was staying (Job 16:11). A defeated animal often thrusts its horn or horns in the dust. Job compared himself to such an animal (Job 16:15). Again he admitted no action or attitude worthy of his intense suffering (Job 16:17).

Job’s desire for a representative in heaven 16:18-17:2

Job called on the earth not to cover his blood (Job 16:18) so it might cry to God for vindication (cf. Genesis 4:10). Job did not want people to forget his case when he died. He wanted someone to answer his questions and to vindicate his innocence even if he was not alive to witness it. The witness/advocate to which he referred (Job 16:19) seems to be some heavenly witness other than God since he called this person a man (Job 16:21). [Note: See ibid., pp. 148-49.] Some commentators, however, believed Job had God in mind. [Note: E.g., Hartley, p. 264.] Certainly the God-man, Jesus Christ, our advocate with the Father, is the person whom God provided to meet this need. However, Job did not have revelation concerning Him as far as the text indicates. Job longed for someone to plead with God for him since God was apparently ignoring his cries. Moreover, Job’s companions were not pleading his case as true friends should have done (Job 16:20; Job 17:2).

"With increasing clarity Job is seeing that satisfactory answers might be gained only when he has more direct dealings with God after death." [Note: Andersen, p. 183.]

"In all the movement of this great answer it would seem as though outlines of the truth were breaking upon Job." [Note: Morgan, p. 208.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Job 16". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/job-16.html. 2012.
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