Twice Bildad had began his speeches with "How long?" (8:2; 18:2). Now Job throws back at him and his friends his own "How long?" "Rather than helping, their bitter words had only added to his vexation, causing him to feel pulverized under the emotional weight" (Zuck p. 85).
"These ten times": "Ten times" is an idiom meaning "often", they had repeatedly insulted him and they were not ashamed.
"Even if I have truly erred, my error lodges with me": Job argues that even "if" he had sinned, it was between him and God and was not their business.
"Their tactics were clear to Job: they were acting superior to him (12:3; 13:2)" (p. 85).
Job has news for his friends. He has not sinned, but God had wronged Job. His friends were arguing that God was punishing him and Job agrees-Job simply argues that God was punishing him for nothing. Bildad had argued that the godless man is caught in his own net (18:8), Job counters that he was caught in God"s net. Both Job and his friends regarded Job"s suffering as coming from God, but their reasons were different. The three friends looked upon these sufferings as a punishment for sin, Job looks upon the same sufferings and totally unfair actions.
Job"s cries for justice go unheard by both friends and God. "I"ve been wronged!"
According to Job, God had obstructed his path, darkened it, removed his place of prestige in the community, demolished him like a building, uprooted him like a tree, viewed Job as His enemy, and surrounded Job like a besieged city. "When Job added that the troops camped around his tent, he expressed the extreme unfairness of God"s actions. Why would numerous troops need to surround one meager man in a mere tent?" (Zuck p. 86). Bildad had described the troubles of the wicked, and Job responds that all his troubles were caused by God, and not his own doing.
Because of his sufferings Job has lost family and friends. This section of Scripture reveals another consequence of his suffering, isolation and loneliness.
Even the servants in his household are removing themselves from Job. "It is bitter humiliation to be ignored by his personal attendant when he called him and even begged him" (Zuck p. 87). "His social status has been obliterated; even the slaves will not respond when he personally calls them" (Strauss p. 186).
"My breath is offensive to my wife": This is the only reference to Job"s wife outside of 2:9-10. Evidently as Job tried to find comfort in the arms of his wife, she would draw away from him, due to the bad breath caused by his illness.
"Even young children despise me": The very ones who should show respect for Job and his age. "Youngsters made fun of Job instead of showing the customary respect due to elders (30:1, 9-10)" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 741).
His best friends forsake him, those he thought would never turn against him. "Job lacked even the solace that normally comes from friends and loved ones in times of affliction" (p. 741).
He continues to lose weight and he has barely eluded death thus far, just by the "skin of his teeth". "The essence is-"I have nothing but my bones and the skin on my teeth"" (Strauss p. 187).
Here is a plea for mercy from his friends. They did not need to persecute and attack him, for God was already doing a good and thorough job. "And are not satisfied with my flesh?" It seems like his friends are like wild animals and will settle for nothing less than his flesh.
"Just after Job was at his lowest ebb, he rose to his highest peak. Forlorn, wracked by pain, and maligned by both God and people, he then mounted in spirited confidence to a future vindication of his cause. This is a magnificent burst of faith" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 741). "But it is just here, when everything is blackest, that his faith like the rainbow in the cloud shines with a marvelous splendor" (Zuck p. 88). "This chapter is a skyscraper among the forty-two chapters of Job that form the beautiful skyline of this poetic masterpiece" (p. 84).
"Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!" This is actually what really did happen. God had the account of Job"s suffering written for all time. Since Job thinks that he will die before all of this is resolved, he cries out that this case would not be forgotten, but recorded in a book.
"That with an iron stylus and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!" He wanted his story carved into solid rock and then the letters carved filled with lead. "This memorial would allow future generations to judge the justice of his case" (Zuck p. 89). "An ancient example of the use of lead in stone is Darius I"s Behistun Inscription" (Strauss p. 189).
"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives": The term "Redeemer" means "to lay claim to a person or thing, to free or deliver". "A redeemer in the Old Testament was a person who provided protection or legal preservation for a close relative who could not do so for himself (Lev. 25:23-25; Ruth 4:4-15)" (Zuck p. 89). "It was his responsibility to restore the fortune, liberty, and name of his relative, when necessary, and to redress his wrongs, especially to avenge the shedding of innocent blood" (Jackson p. 52).
The question is Who is this Redeemer in which Job has placed all his hopes? Job had complained that God had become his enemy (), is Job now saying that in spite of the fact that God is against him, that ultimately God will vindicate him? Although he expected death, he was confident that a defender, a redeemer, or protector was alive and would certainly take up his cause and vindicate him. Christians need to remember that the One who has restored our liberty is Jesus Christ!
"And at the last He will take His stand on the earth": Millennial writers seek to interpret this as meaning that Jesus will rule on the earth at the end of time, but the Bible has the earth being destroyed at the last day (2 Peter 3:9-10). Zuck notes that the words "at the last" in the Hebrew is an adjective, and it describes the Redeemer as the "last one", or "He who comes last or later". "God will have the final say, as it were" (p. 90). Others see this verse as teaching the coming of Christ and His death upon the cross for our deliverance. Yet Job is not talking about a deliverance from sin, for he claims to be innocent, but rather a vindication of his innocence.
"Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God": This is a powerful insight into Job"s understanding and what men knew about God and His truth in ancient times. Job expects to "see God", but apart from his physical body. Here is the doctrine that man survives the death of the body, and that man is conscious apart from the body. The expression "from my flesh" does not mean "from the vantage point of being in the body", for Job has just declared that this happens after his skin is destroyed, rather he is talking about seeing God apart from his body.
Job clearly expects to see God after death. And he would see God and not someone else. "He himself would see God, face to face, and he would not be a stranger or enemy to God, as he was then" (Zuck p. 91). "When he sees Him, He will appear as a friend, not as an enemy or stranger" (Strauss p. 191). "My heart faints within me!" So overcome with the thought of seeing God, that Job declares such a thought too wonderful for him. "It is wonderful, but not too wonderful to be possible" (Strauss p. 192). "He was emotionally drained by the very thought of meeting God and having Him once and for all vindicate rather than vitiate his cause" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 742). One thing is absolutely clear, Job knew that he would exist as a conscious person after the death of his body. "In this time of storminess in Job"s life, moments like these help us to see why Jehovah"s trust in him was justified (1:8; 2:3); truly, he is a man of genuine faith" (Jackson p. 52). Do our hearts almost faint with the thought of seeing God?
In these final two verses of this chapter Job gives his critics a warning. If they continued in their efforts to accuse him of sin, then God would certainly strike them down with the sword. Job agrees that God does punish sinners, and they would be the sinners in this instance for they are guilty of attacking the an innocent man.
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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 19". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany