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Job 19. Job’ s Answer.— Here the gradual progress of Job’ s soul towards faith reaches its climax ( Job 19:25 f.). It is to be remembered that Job’ s problem is in reality twofold: it has a personal side, the problem of his individual relation to God, but also a more general aspect, the problem of the Divine providence. In this chapter we read the solution of the first half on the basis of a great venture of faith; the second half is really never fully solved.
Job 19:1-6 . Job sorrowfully remonstrates with his friends. Even if he has sinned, his sin cannot hurt them ( Job 19:4). But the truth is that it is God who is responsible for Job’ s calamity ( Job 19:6).
Job 19:7-20 . Complaint of God’ s dealings. In Job 19:17 it is better to follow RV text and supply “ mother’ s” than mg., and translate instead of “ womb,” “ body.” Job’ s children were all dead, unless he had others by concubines; Job 31:1, however, is against this. In Job 19:20 b the exact meaning of the “ skin of my teeth” is not certain.
Job 19:21 f. Appeal to the friends. They, however, fail the suppliant. In Job 19:23 accordingly he turns to posterity and anticipates that history will justify him. Let his words be written in a book, or better still for durability, graven in the rock with an iron stylus and then filled in with lead.
Job 19:25-27 . This, however, is impracticable. So Job turns to God. “ But I know that my Vindicator lives, and that as my successor he shall stand up ( i.e. appear for me) upon the dust” ( i.e. “ my grave” ). When Job dies as a martyr, there will be One to vindicate him. So far the sense is clear. In Job 19:26, however, most unfortunately the text is badly corrupt. The literal translation of the first line is “ and, after my skin, they have destroyed, this.” All translations are more or less guesses. “ The second line may bear quite opposite meanings. The word translated ‘ from’ may mean ‘ without’ or it may mean ‘ in,’ since ‘ from’ may mean ‘ away from’ or ‘ from the standpoint of’” (Peake). Probably we should translate “ without,” referring the passage to an experience after death. Job expresses his confidence that not only will God appear as his vindicator, but that he will see Him. Not only will his character be cleared, but he will know it.
Job 19:27 a is put best taken as mg. It will be the old familiar Friend, not the present Enemy, whom Job will see. In Job 19:27 b Job says I faint “ either with longing for or anticipation of the Divine vision. ( Cf. Dante in Paradise, Paradiso, xxxiii. 132).
Job 19:28-29 . “ The last two verses bring us back from heaven to earth. They are difficult and probably corrupt” (Peake). Job warns the friends to beware of punishment ( Job 19:29). Read in Job 19:28, “ If ye say, How will we persecute him, and find the root of the matter in him” ( i.e. the real cause of his affliction). In Job 19:29 the general sense only is clear: the text requires emendation.
Job 19 is the watershed of the book. Here is solved the first great problem— how Job in his misery can maintain faith in God. He does it by drawing upon the future. After his death God will vindicate him and he himself will be permitted to see his Vindicator. Sheol cannot finally hold one who on earth has enjoyed communion with God. The stages by which Job reaches this conclusion are marked in Job 7:8-21, Job 14:13-15, Job 16:18-21, Job 19:25 f. After Job 19 we descend, as Christian descended from the house Beautiful into the Valley of Humiliation, once more into the region of doubt and perplexity. The second great problem still remains unsolved. Is there a possible justification of God’ s providence in general?
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 19". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent