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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Job 6

Verses 1-7

Job’s reason for complaining 6:1-7

Job said he complained because of his great irritation. His calamities were as heavy as wet sand (Job 6:2-3). The Hebrew word translated "iniquity" in Job 6:2 occurs only here in the Old Testament. We should probably translate it "calamity" or "misfortune." Job implied that his words of complaint were nothing in comparison to his suffering. His situation was harder for him to bear because he believed his misfortune came from God.

"The God he had known and the God he now experiences seemed irreconcilable." [Note: Rowley, p. 58.]

Job refused to accept his trials without something to make them bearable, namely, complaining. Similarly a person refuses tasteless food without salt (Job 6:6-7).

Verses 1-21

2. Job’s first reply to Eliphaz chs. 6-7

Job began not with a direct reply to Eliphaz but with another complaint about his condition. Then he responded to Eliphaz’s speech but addressed all three of his friends. The "you" and "yours" in Job 6:24-30 are plural in the Hebrew text.

Verses 8-13

Job’s desperate condition 6:8-13

Job longed for death. He wished God would release him from his enslavement to life (cf. Psalms 105:20) and snip off his life as a weaver cuts thread (Job 6:9).

"Life is like a weaving, and only God can see the total pattern and when the work is finished." [Note: Wiersbe, p. 20.]

Job affirmed his faithfulness to God’s words (Job 6:10) but acknowledged that he had no hope and no help to live. Job 6:13 should read as an affirmation rather than as a question: "Indeed my help . . . and deliverance is driven from me."

"The fact that Job speaks about God in the third person should not be permitted to give the wrong impression. He is actually praying, not talking to Eliphaz. Such a convention is common in the respectful address to a superior." [Note: Andersen, p. 129.]

Verses 14-23

Job’s disappointment with his friends 6:14-23

"If, up to this point, Job has been praying, or at least soliloquizing, now he makes a more direct attack on the friends (the ’you’ in Job 6:21 is plural)." [Note: Ibid., p. 130.]

"Eliphaz has attacked Job’s complaint; Job now attacks Eliphaz’ ’consolation.’" [Note: Kline, p. 468.]

Job’s friends had not been loyal to him when they judged him as they had. "Kindness" in Job 6:14 is literally "loyalty." Consequently, Job was close to forsaking his fear of God. Job’s friends should have encouraged and supported him. Instead they proved as disappointing as a wadi. A wadi is a streambed that is full of water in the rainy season, but when the heat of summer comes it dries up completely. Job replied that his friends were no help in his distress.

Evidently, Job’s friends were afraid of him (Job 6:21) in the sense that they feared that if they comforted him, God would view them as approving of his sin and would punish them as well. [Note: Rowley, pp. 73-74. Cf. Andrew Blackwood Jr., A Devotional Introduction to Job, p. 65.]

"Verse 21 is the climax of Job’s reaction to his friends’ counsel [thus far]. They offered no help." [Note: Smick, "Job," p. 901.]

"There is no act of pastoral care more unnerving than trying to say the right thing to someone hysterical with grief. It is early in the day for Job to lose patience with them. But the point is not whether Job is unfair: this is how he feels. The truth is already in sight that only God can speak the right word. And Job’s wits are sharp enough to forecast where Eliphaz’s trend of thought will end-in open accusation of sin. Hence he gets in first with a pre-emptive strike, anticipating in the following denials his great speech of exculpation in chapter 31." [Note: Andersen, p. 133.]

Verses 24-30

Job’s invitation to his friends 6:24-30

Next, Job invited his friends to identify the sin for which they believed God was punishing him. [Note: See Westermann, pp. 97-99, for a discussion of Job’s claim of innocence.] So far Eliphaz had only alluded to it. Job welcomed specific honest criticism, not arguments based on insinuations (Job 6:25). In Job 6:30 Job seems to be claiming the ability to know whether his afflictions were the result of sin or not, as a person can distinguish different tastes in his or her mouth.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Job 6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/job-6.html. 2012.