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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Job 20

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

Verses 1-29


1. With Eliphaz (chaps. 15-17) a. Speech of Eliphaz (chap. 15) b. Reply of Job (chaps. 16-17) 2. With Bildad (chaps. 18-19) a. Speech of Bildad (chap. 18) b. Reply of Job (chap. 19) 3. With Zophar (chaps. 20-21) a. Speech of Zophar (chap. 20) b. Reply of Job (chap. 21) The second series of the debate is in the same order as the first, and with the same question in view.


Eliphaz opens in chapter 15. Job is accused of vehemence and vanity; of casting off fear and restraining prayer; of arrogance and presumption.

God is vindicated by him, and the observation of the sages are quoted. A number of pithy and instructive sayings are used to show that wicked men are subject to sudden alarms and unhappy experiences.

Job replies, renewing his complaint of the way his friends have treated him, and of the intensity and injustice of his sufferings. His appeal is to God before whom his eyes pour out tears. In chapter 17 he prophecies that his trials will yet be a subject of amazement to good men.


Bildad speaks in chapter 18 repeating the former accusation. In his estimation the laws of God’s administration are fixed and it is an established principle that the wicked shall be punished in this life, which he illustrates by a number of maxims or proverbs. The student should enumerate these and distinguish between them.

There is nothing new in what Bildad says, but he is enforcing what he has previously advanced with greater emphasis.

In chapter 19 Job speaks more pathetically, exhibiting his character in a beautiful light. His language is sorrowful, his spirit tender and subdued. How long will his friends vex and crush him with their remarks? God has overthrown him, fenced up his way, put away his friends. Even his wife and children are estranged from him.

Then, there follows the most noble declaration in the book. Conscious of the importance of what he is about to say, he asks that his words might be engraved on the eternal rock, and then professes his confidence in God and his assurance that he would yet appear and vindicate his character. Though now consumed by disease, and though this process should go on till all his flesh was wasted away, yet he had the conviction that God would appear on the earth to deliver him, and that with renovated flesh and in prosperity, he would be permitted to see God for himself.


Zophar recapitulates the old arguments under a new form, and Job replies, closing the second series of the debate. All his strength is collected for this argument as though resolved to answer them once for all. He appeals to facts. The wicked live, grow old, become mighty in power, etc. They openly cast off God and prosper in an irreligious life, although, as he admits, there are some exceptions. They are reserved, however, for the day of destruction and a future retribution they cannot escape.


For questions, teachers are referred to what was said at the close of the preceding lesson. Examine the text of the chapters by the help of the various sentences and clauses of the lesson. Ask yourself or your classes for example:

1. In what language does Eliphaz accuse Job of vehemence and vanity?

2. How many verses are taken up with these accusations?

3. To how many sages of ancient times does he refer, or how many of their observations does he quote?

4. Point out the literary beauty of some of these observations.

5. Discover the verse of verses in which Job prophesies the acquaintance of later generations with the story of his trial.

6. Count and distinguish between the maxims or proverbs of Bildad.

7. Memorize Job 19:25-27 .

8. How many indisputable facts does Job refer to in chapter 21?

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Job 20". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/job-20.html. 1897-1910.
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