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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Job 6

 

 

Verses 1-13

Job 6:1-13. Job in his reply deals first of all with the charge of impatience. He catches up the word used by Eliphaz (Job 5:2), and declares that his impatience does but balance his calamity (Job 6:1 f.). The dreadfulness of the latter is that it is from God Himself (Job 6:4). The image is that of poisoned arrows, whose points have penetrated (within me). Job's spirit drinks their poison, so that he cannot help roaring. No creature complains without reason, no more does he (Job 6:5). What is loathsome and unbearable is thrust upon him (Job 6:6 f.) So keenly does he feel the truth of what he is saying that he forgets his defence, and once more cries passionately for death (Job 6:8-10), Patience, he says, is impossible; he is not stone or brass (Job 6:11 f.). All resource is at an end with him.


Verses 14-27

Job 6:14-27. Job's Sorrowful Disappointment in his Friends.—He begins by citing a proverb. The despairing man who is slipping from religion, looks for help and sympathy from his friends. The friends, however, have proved like a brook that disappoints the thirsty caravan (Job 6:15-20). When the thaw comes, the brooks are swollen black with broken ice and melting snow (Job 6:16). But in summer they dry up (Job 6:17), and the caravan, finding no water where they expected, as a last desperate resource turn aside from the path into the desert to look for water, and perish miserably (Job 6:18). Tema (Isaiah 21:14*) and Sheba (Job 1:15*) are Arabian tribes. The whole simile of the brook is very fine. Its point is that Job's friends have been effusive in their friendship in the days of his prosperity, when he did not need their help. Now in his adversity and his dire need they fail him. With Job 6:21 Job turns directly to the friends. They are terror-stricken by his calamity. Yet he had not asked from them so much as a ransom in money from some powerful oppressor (Job 6:22 f.). All he asks is real instruction. Let them explain to him the error of his speech, and he will cease from his complaint. Job cannot feel that Eliphaz has said anything to the purpose. In Job 6:27 he bursts out into strong invective. The friends would cast lots over the fatherless, and bargain over their friend. The fatherless is to be understood as the child of the debtor. "After his death the ruthless creditors cast lots for the possession of the child as a slave" (Davidson).

Job 6:14 is difficult: in the above exposition "despairing" is substituted for "ready to faint." Duhm reads, "He who withholdeth kindness from the despairing forsaketh the fear of the Almighty," and regards the verse as a gloss on Job 6:15 f.

Job 6:15. Instead of "pass away" translate "overflow."

Job 6:21. Neither text nor mg. is satisfactory in the first clause. Emend "so have ye been to me."

Job 6:27 does not seem very suitable in present context. Perhaps it should follow Job 6:23.


Verses 28-30

Job 6:28-30. Job appeals to his friends to give him a fair hearing. Let them look him in the face (Job 6:28). We must imagine, says Duhm, that during Job's speech, and especially during the last sharp sayings, they have exhibited their disapproval by turning away from him. Surely (Job 6:28) is the formula of oath—literally, "if I shall lie to your face" (then may evil befall me) (cf. Job 1:11).

Job 6:29 means "Turn to me and hear me: it is not injustice to complain as I do."

Job 6:30 means "Cannot I correctly discern the nature of my calamity (and perceive its injustice)?" The first clause means the same as the second—has my tongue become perverted so that it cannot tell good from bad?

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 6:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/job-6.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 16th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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