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Bible Commentaries
Job 16

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Job Chapter 16

Job 16:1 "Then Job answered and said,"

Job 16:2 "I have heard many such things: miserable comforters [are] ye all." I would have to agree with Job. They were no comfort to him at all. They were even worse than the world around him. They had known him well, and had talked of the LORD with him many times. This reminds me so much of what happens to someone in the church, who is going through difficulties. The brothers and sisters in Christ should build them up and help them through the difficulty, but more often they do harm to them. Christians have a tendency to kill their wounded.

Job 16:3 "Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?" Why did this friend think that he was capable of judging Job? Job did not want to hear any more words from this friend. We must be careful when we are judging this Scripture, and make sure we have not been like Job’s friend. When someone is sick, it does not mean they have sinned. Jesus proved this, when he healed the blind man. The apostles asked Jesus who had sinned, he or his parents, and Jesus said neither had. The blindness was so that God could be glorified in the restoration of the sight.

Job 16:4 "I also could speak as ye [do]: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you."

Job 16:5 "[But] I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage [your grief]." This is so true. The tongue is a weapon that can build a person up, or can cut them to pieces. His friends were not true friends. They had used their friendship to get an audience with Job, and then proceeded to tear him apart. Job could do the same thing to them, but he did not. He could have accused them of evil doing, because what they were doing to him was certainly evil.

Job 16:6 "Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and [though] I forbear, what am I eased?" The word "asswaged" means restrained. His speech did not bring him relief from his sorrow, or his suffering. If he did not say anything at all, that did not help either.

Job 16:7 "But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company." His friends could have been company to him and helped him forget a little of the pain, instead they added to his pain.

Job 16:8 "And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, [which] is a witness [against me]: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face." The pain was showing in his face. He was wrinkled from pain and looked even older than he was. He was losing weight and that made him look wrinkled, as well.

Job 16:9 "He teareth [me] in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me." There is no physical hurt as bad, as when friends have turned against you. Their accusations and terrible remarks were tearing Job to pieces.

Job 16:10 "They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me." We spoke earlier how Job was a type of Christ. They struck Jesus, as they struck Job, here. Both were smitten without a cause.

Job 16:11 "God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked." Again, Job was not aware that his attack was of Satan. We do know that God allowed the attack, but the actual attack was of Satan. Job was right in his estimation that God had turned him over to the wicked. It would have been much easier to endure, had Job known that it would end, and that this was an attack of the devil, not God.

Job 16:12 "I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken [me] by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark." Job had been at ease. He had been blessed mightily of God. He felt that he was at peace with God. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, he was attacked on every side. The greatest grief that Job suffered was the loss of his children. He was marked for attack. He thought God had shaken his life completely up.

Job 16:13 "His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground." This description is no worse than what actually happened. This was one of the worst attacks on anyone in the Bible. Job believed he suffered a judgement of God. He had no idea why.

Job 16:14 "He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant." This just means that one attack was followed by another.

Job 16:15 "I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust." The sackcloth had become Job’s permanent garment, ever since the problems came to him. He had sat in a bed of ashes, magnifying his humble attitude, and increasing his mourning. The horn symbolizes power, so we might say that he had lost his power, and sat in the ashes of humbleness.

Job 16:16 "My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids [is] the shadow of death;" It is not unusual for a person who is extremely sick to have great dark circles around their eyes. These circles could be called the shadow of death. His crying would cause his face to look bad. It would be swollen and red, probably.

Job 16:17 "Not for [any] injustice in mine hands: also my prayer [is] pure." Job was still contending that he had not sinned, that he was aware of. He felt that he had clean hands and a pure heart. The prayer of Job was pure, because it came from a pure heart.

Job 16:18 "O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place." We know, from Genesis, that the innocent blood of Abel cried out from the ground. This was a statement from Job, that his blood was innocent of wrong doing. His cry should not hide, but be heard of the Almighty.

Job 16:19 "Also now, behold, my witness [is] in heaven, and my record [is] on high." The witness of Job in heaven was God. Job felt sure that his record in heaven was clean. If no one else knew the truth, God did.

Job 16:20 "My friends scorn me: [but] mine eye poureth out [tears] unto God." Job’s friends were no friends at all. Job’s only true friend was God. Job had cried buckets of tears, since this trial had begun.

Job 16:21 "O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man [pleadeth] for his neighbour!" To me, this is saying that Job wanted to have as personal a relationship with God, as he had with a neighbor. His plea would be heard and understood, because God would know of his plight. Jesus took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us, that He might relate better to the problems we face in our flesh.

Job 16:22 "When a few years are come, then I shall go the way [whence] I shall not return." Job was so sick that he felt death was very near.

Job 16 Questions

1. What did Job call his friends in Job 16:2?

2. What do Job’s friends remind the author of?

3. Why did this friend think he had the right to judge Job?

4. How did Jesus prove that someone who is sick has not necessarily sinned?

5. What could Job have done to these friends, if they had been in his place?

6. The tongue is a _________.

7. It can __________ up of _______ down.

8. What does "asswaged" mean?

9. Instead of comforting Job, his friends added to his _______. 10. The pain was showing in his ________.

11. What was tearing Job to pieces?

12. In Job 16:10, we see Job as a type of ________.

13. Who allowed this attack of Satan on Job?

14. How could this have been easier for Job to endure?

15. What was the greatest loss that Job felt?

16. Job believed he suffered a Judgement of ________.

17. The sackcloth had become Job’s __________ garment.

18. The horn symbolizes ____________.

19. Job felt that he had ________ hands and a ______ heart.

20. Who was Job’s only true friend?

21. In Job 16:21, Job wanted a __________ relationship with God.

Verses 1-5

Job 16:1-5


Job 16



Eliphaz had just finished blasting Job with his allegations that, "If Job had been as good as he claimed to be, he would never have had all those troubles. Since the troubles came, they meant, of course, that Job was wicked; and now that he would not even admit it, he was, in addition to everything else, a hardened hypocrite." It is difficult to imagine a more unjust, unfeeling or more evil personal assault upon a suffering human brother than was this devil-inspired diatribe by Eliphaz against Job.

"There was absolutely nothing new in the speech that Eliphaz had just concluded, if we except the bitterness and invective in it." "Eliphaz was merely repeating what he and the others had already said; but, instead of being silent as Job had begged them to be (Job 13:5)," they were merely adding to his troubles by forcing their words upon him.

Job 16:1-5



Job 16:1-5

"Then Job answered and said,

I have heard many such things:

Miserable comforters are ye all.

Shall vain words have an end?

Or what provoketh thee that thou answerest?

I also could speak as ye do;

If your soul were in my soul’s stead,

I could join words together against you,

And shake my head at you,

But I would strengthen you with my mouth,

And the solace of my lips would assuage your grief."

"Miserable comforters are ye all" (Job 16:2). Job in these words rejected the speeches of his friends as worthless to him.

"Shall vain words have an end" (Job 16:3)? This was Job’s way of asking if they were ever going to shut up!

"I could speak as ye do ... but I would strengthen you ... assuage your grief" (Job 16:4-5). Job promised here, that if their roles should be reversed, he would comfort instead of torment them, as they were doing him.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 16:1-2. Miserable is rendered "troublesome" in the margin and it is supported by the lexicon. It means that the speeches which they made on pretense of consoling him were only a bother to him. They did not tell him anything but what he knew, and it had no bearing on his situation.

Job 16:3. Vain words were those that were empty or useless, and their words were such because they did not touch the subject, much less solve the problem.

Job 16:4. This verse shows the wellknown idea expressed in the statement, "Put yourself in my place and see how it will appear to you." If that were done, Job would have as much reason to reproach the "friends" as they professed to have against him.

Job 16:5. But if Job could actually exchange places with them, he would speak real words of comfort to them instead of debasing them as they were doing him.

Verses 6-8

Job 16:6-8

Job 16:6-8


"Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged;

and though I forbear, what am I eased?

But now he hath made me weary:

Thou hast made desolate all my company.

And thou hast laid fast hold on me,

Which is a witness against me:

And my leanness riseth up against me.

It testifieth to my face."

"Though I speak ... and though I forbear" (Job 16:6). No matter if he speaks, or does not speak, Job finds no relief from his wretchedness either way.

"He hath made me weary ... thou has laid fast hold on me, which is a witness against me" (Job 16:7-8). Addressing God here in the third person (he) or directly in the second person (thou), Job allows in these words God’s perfect right to do unto him whatever God wills, admitting that his terrible condition is indeed a witness against him, in the eyes of men. Job elaborated the awful things God was doing to him, but without accusing God of any wrong; and he continued that line of thought throughout the next paragraph, yet insisting that he was not wicked.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 16:6. As the case stood, all of the remarks of Job were ignored although he had the facts on his side of the conversations.

Job 16:7. He and thou both refer to God because he had suffered the conditions to come upon Job. That applies even to the provocation caused by the desolate company that had come into his presence. This is the same thought as expressed by miserable comforters mentioned in Job 16:2.

Job 16:8. Job was so ill or undernourished that it was reflected by the emaciated appearance of his face.

Verses 9-17

Job 16:9-17

Job 16:9-17


"He hath torn me in his wrath, and persecuted me;

He hath gnashed upon me with his teeth:

Mine adversary sharpeneth his eyes upon me,

They have gaped upon me with their mouth;

They have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully:

They gather themselves together against me.

God delivereth me to the ungodly,

And casteth me into the hands of the wicked.

I was at ease, and he brake me asunder;

Yea, he hath taken me by the neck, and dashed me to pieces:

He hath also set me up for his mark.

His archers compass me round about;

He cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare;

He poureth out my gall upon the ground.

He breaketh me with breach upon breach,

He runneth upon me like a giant.

I have sowed my sackcloth upon my skin,

And have laid my horn in the dust.

My face is red with weeping,

And on my eyelids is the shadow of death;

Although there is no violence in my hands,

And my prayer is pure."

"God delivered me to the ungodly" (Job 16:11). Here there is profound understanding on Job’s part that God is good, and that all of the evil that has befallen him, while allowed by God and, in some incomprehensible manner, is actually God’s will; nevertheless the actual evil that came to him came finally at the hands of the ungodly.

There are magnificent overtones of Calvary itself in this remarkable chapter. Job 16:4 reveals that Job’s friends "did shake their heads" at him; Job said that God had "delivered him to the ungodly" (Job 16:11); "They gaped upon me with their mouth" (Job 16:10); "They gather themselves together against me" (Job 16:10); "They have smitten (my) cheek reproachfully" (Job 16:10); "And have laid my horn in the dust" (Job 16:15).

Now observe that all of these things were prophesied as events connected with the crucifixion of Christ in Psalms 22.

He will be forsaken by God (delivered to the ungodly).......Psalms 22:1

They shake the head at him.........Psalms 22:7

They gape upon him.................Psalms 22:13

They place him in the dust.........Psalms 22:15

The evil men surround him..........Psalms 22:16

Thus, it must be held as sublime fact that, "The Man of Sorrows in the Old Testament (Job) is in many respects a type of the Man of Sorrows (Christ) in the New Testament. The Psalmist David constantly applied statements regarding Job to the Messiah, as witnessed not only by Psalms 22, but also in Psalms 35:16 and in Psalms 37:12)."

Of special significance is the employment both in this chapter of Job and in Psalms 22 of the metaphor of wild animals attacking their prey. In Psalms 22, we have the "Strong bulls of Bashan"; and here much of the terminology is applicable to wild animals. "Several of the words used here are commonly used to describe the mutilations of their prey by rapacious animals, such as a lion."[5] It is a mistake, however, to understand any of this as either hatred, or disrespect for God. All of the terrible things that were happening to Job came upon him by the hands of the wicked, a fact made perfectly clear here in Job 16:11.

"There is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure" (Job 16:17). In these final verses of this paragraph, Job again affirmed his integrity in these verses. This Job knew to be a fact, and all of the cunning ingenuity of Satan himself, through his chosen instruments (Job’s friends), could not dislodge Job from this fundamental integrity.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 16:9-10. He and they in this paragraph are the "friends" who have been tantalizing Job with their false reasoning. Smitten me upon the check was said figuratively. They had not made any physical attack on Job, but their scornful reference to the wasted condition of his cheek was as bad as if they had struck him there.

Job 16:11. Job did not believe nor did he mean that God put him into the hands of the ungodly as a means of punishment. Yet he considered this opportunity for persecuting him as coming from God for some purpose not yet known to him.

Job 16:12-13. This paragraph is a. figurative description of the misfortunes that God had suffered to come upon Job. Taken by the neck was said in reference to a familiar practice in war. By getting hold of one’s neck it made it possible to use the sword more effectively in slaying the foe. Gall is bitter and when used figuratively refers to the bitterness of afflictions.

Job 16:14-15. This is some more description of Job’s misfortunes. When horn is used figuratively it refers to power or prosperity. The language means that Job’s fortunes had been reversed upon him.

Job 16:16. Through daily and constant weeping, Job’s face was stained with the mixture of briny tears and the pus from his sores. And he had spent so much time in this sorrowful crying that his eyelids were inflamed and swollen and had the appearance of one near death. I shall frequently ask the reader to turn back to the comments at Job 3:2-3 and consider them in connection with the places where Job seemed to take so much pains to describe the depth of his misfortunes and suffering.

Job 16:17. Again Job disclaimed any guilt that had called for this suffering.

Verses 18-22

Job 16:18-22

Job 16:18-22


"O earth, cover not thou my blood,

And let my cry have no resting place.

Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,

And he that voucheth for me is on high.

My friends scoff at me;

But mine eye poureth out tears unto God.

That he would maintain the right of a man with God,

And of a son of man with his neighbor!

For when a few years are come,

I shall go the way whence I shall not return."

Here we have a sudden burst of inspiration. Yes, indeed, "We have an advocate with the Father," even as an apostle would declare it in ages to come; but here the Lord suddenly revealed it to his beleaguered worshipper sorely oppressed by the devil and struggling with problems which no mortal man could handle alone. Job will again speak of this "Redeemer" in Job 19; but even here he is sure of his existence and fully confident Of his vindication at last in heaven itself. Note too that here is a clear acknowledgment of heaven’s existence and of the certainty of the saints being welcomed there when the probation of life has ended. This writer cannot explain why many writers do not even mention what is written here.

"O Earth, cover not thou my blood" (Job 16:18). This is a reference to the murder of Abel, another righteous man, who like Job, suffered only because he was righteous, and whom Job’s conceited friends had apparently never heard of. God said that Abel’s blood cried unto God for vengeance (Genesis 4:9); and here Job pleaded that his own innocent blood would cry to God for vengeance, and that the earth would not cover (prevent) it.

"When a few years are come, I shall go away whence I shall not return" (Job 16:22). Kelly, and others, have spoken of this verse as a "special problem." "Job here speaks of death as coming in `a few years’; but everywhere else in the book, he views death as imminent." Of course, some of the scholars are ready to `emend’ the place and make it say what they think it should have said. Why "emend it"? Was it not indeed the truth? Job lived to a full two hundred years of age, which, in God’s sight, was indeed "a few years." Let men understand that God in these verses spoke through Job.

Job himself might not fully have understood what God revealed through him in this place. The possibility of this is proved by the apostle Peter’s words in 1 Peter 1:10-12.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 16:18. The thought in this verse is that his blood should not be silenced. If it were covered then its cry would have no place. Instead of that, he wants his blood to be allowed to cry out for justice as did Abel’s in Genesis 4:10.

Job 16:19. Earthly "friends" had turned against Job and falsely accused him. But there was One on high who understood and would some day bear witness to his innocency.

Job 16:20. While Job’s friends scorned him and poured contempt on his tears, he would turn his face toward God who can "wipe away all tears." (Revelation 21:4.)

Job 16:21. Job’s friends had been pleading with him to confess to a guilt which he did not have. He prayed for someone to plead with God in behalf of the unfortunate.

Job 16:22. Job believed in another life after this, but he did not believe that mankind would again live on the earth. (Job 7:9-10.)

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 16". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-16.html.
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