Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 30:21

"You have become cruel to me; With the might of Your hand You persecute me.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blasphemy;   Doubting;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cruel;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Cruelty;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou art become cruel to me - Thou appearest to treat me with cruelty. I cry for mercy, trust in thy goodness, and am still permitted to remain under my afflictions.

Thou opposest thyself - Instead of helping, thou opposest me; thou appearest as my enemy.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 30:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-30.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thou art become cruel to me - Margin, turned to be. This language, applied to God, seems to be harsh and irreverent, and it may well be inquired whether the word cruel does not express an idea which Job did not intend. The Hebrew word אכזר 'akzâr is from an obsolete root כזר - not found in Hebrew. The Arabic root, nearly the same as this, means to break with violence; to rout as an enemy; then to be enraged. In the Syriac, the primary idea is, that of a soldier, and thence it may refer to such acts of violence as a soldier commonly commits. The word occurs in Hebrew in the following places, and is translated in the following manner. It is rendered “cruel” in Deuteronomy 32:33; Job 30:21; Proverbs 5:9; Proverbs 11:17; Proverbs 12:10; Proverbs 17:11; Proverbs 27:4; Isaiah 13:9; Jeremiah 6:23; Jeremiah 50:42; Jeremiah 30:14; and fierce in Job 41:10. Jerome renders it, mutatus mihi in crudelem - “thou art changed so as to become cruel to me;” the Septuagint renders it, ἀνελεημόως aneleēmonōs - unmerciful; Luther, Du bist mir verwandelt in einem Grausamen- “thou art changed to me into a cruel one;” and so Umbreit, Noyes, and translators generally. Perhaps the word fierce, severe or harsh, would express the idea; still it must be admitted that Job, in the severity of his sufferings, is often betrayed into language which cannot be a model for us, and which we cannot vindicate.

With thy strong hand - Margin, the strength. So the Hebrew. The hand is the instrument by which we accomplish anything; and hence, anything which God does is traced to his hand.

Thou opposest thyselph against me - - תשׂטמני tiśâṭamēniy The word שׂטם śâṭam means to lie in wait for anyone; to lay snares; to set a trap; see Job 16:9, where the same word occurs, and where it is rendered “who hateth me,” but where it would be better rendered he pursues, or persecutes me. The meaning is, that God had become his adversary, or had set himself against him. There was a severity in his dealings with him as if he had become a foe.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 30:21". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-30.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 30:21

Thou art become cruel to me.

Job’s grievance against God

He says that God, who formerly had been kind to him, was now become cruel in His actings and dispensations toward him; and whereas He was wont to support him, He did now employ His power, as an enemy, in opposition to him. Job, in expressing his sorrow and resentments, is too pathetic, and expresseth much passion and weakness, for which he is reproved by Elihu. Considering this complaint in itself, it teacheth--

1. It is the way of God’s people to take up God as their chief party in all their troubles.

2. God may seem, for a time, not only not to hear godly supplicants, but even to be a severe foe to them. “Thou art become cruel.”

3. It is a character of a godly man, that he is sadly afflicted with any sign of God’s indignation, or even with the want of an evidence of God’s favour and affection in trouble. Wicked men look rather to their lot in itself, without minding God’s favour, or anger, in it.

4. Whether the wicked think of God’s favour, who never knew it, yet the want of it will be sad to the godly, who have tasted by experience how sweet it is.

5. As God’s power, when He lets it forth in effects, is irresistible and unsupportable for any creature to endure it, however fools do harden themselves, so godly men will soon groan under the apprehension thereof. It is indeed a characteristic of godly men that they are sensible of their own weakness, and therefore are soon made to stoop under the mighty hand of God. Learn--

(1)
All men by nature are apt to have hard thoughts of God in trouble.

Misunderstanding God

The only safe, sure way of avoiding this terrible peril is to study reverently and carefully what He has told us about Himself. It is a common temptation to accept the statements of others when they have the semblance of authority, and are asserted stoutly, as if they must be true. We may, and we ought, each of us, to become personally acquainted with our Heavenly Father. But our only hope of learning to know Him lies in patiently, lovingly, studying His character as revealed to us in Jesus Christ. His providences, too, often are such that we misunderstand them. Few of us are allowed to walk only in the light of conscious, joyous peace. Most of us sometimes are at a loss how to interpret the Divine dealings with us. There are occasions in some lives when God Himself seems to render it almost impossible to obey Him. Undoubtedly the object of such trying experiences is to develop a mightier faith. There must be always one possible next step forward in the path of duty; or, if there be actually none, this must be because the time to take it has not come, and patient, prayerful waiting is the present duty. We may misunderstand the meaning of what is ordained for us, but we need not misunderstand its purpose. Those who have a faith strong enough to feel that behind the tangled scheme of human affairs God sits calmly directing all things, are wisest and happiest. His providences are meant to teach this, at the least. When the last analysis has been worked out it becomes apparent that the great central, fundamental evil which we most need to guard against, is this of misunderstanding our Heavenly Father. If we can learn to see things from His point of view, to look upon life, duty, pleasure, eternity, as He looks upon them, we shall be assured of safety and peace. Otherwise we never can be. (Christian Age.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 30:21". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-30.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thou art become cruel to me,.... Or "turned", or "changed"F7תהפך "mutatus es", V. L. Tigurine version; "versus es", Beza, Piscator; so Drusius, Cocceius, Vatablus, Michaelis, Mercerus, Schultens. , to be cruel to me. Job suggests that God had been kind and gracious to him, both in a way of providence, and in showing special love and favour to him, in a very distinguishing manner; but now he intimates his affections were changed and altered, and these were alienated from him, and his love was turned into an hatred of him; this is one of the unbecoming expressions which dropped from his lips concerning God; for the love of God to his people is never changed; it remains invariable and unalterable, in all dispensations, in every state and condition into which they come; there may be some of God's dispensations towards them, which may have the appearance of severity in them; and he may make use of instruments to chastise them, which may use them cruelly; but even then his heart yearns towards them, and, being full of compassion, delivers out of their hands, and saves them, Jeremiah 30:14;

with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me; God has a strong hand and arm, and none like him, and sometimes he puts forth the strength of it, and exerts his mighty power in afflicting his people, and his hand presses them sore, and they can scarcely stand up under it; and then it becomes them to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, and patiently bear it; and sometimes they take him to be their adversary, an enemy unto them, and filled with hatred of them, indignation against them, setting himself with all his might and main to ruin and destroy them; and this is a sad case indeed, to have such apprehensions of God, though unjust ones; for, as if God be for us, who shall be against us? so if he be against us, it signifies little who is for us; for there is no contending with him, Job 9:3.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 30:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-30.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Thou art become o cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.

(o) He does not speak this way to accuse God, but to declare the vehemency of his affliction, by which he was carried beside himself.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 30:21". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-30.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.

Turned — As if thou hadst changed thy very nature, which is kind, and merciful, and gracious.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 30:21". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-30.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 30:21 Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.

Ver. 21. Thou art become cruel to me] Mutatus es mihi in tyrannum, thou art turned tyrant towards me, so Brentius rendereth it; and the like he had said before, Job 16:13; Job 19:8-10, out of the vehemency of his pain, and the sense of his flesh, which should have been silenced, and faith exalted; the property whereof is to pick one contrary out of another (as life out of death, assurance of deliverance out of deepest distresses, Deuteronomy 32:36), and to persuade the heart that God concealeth his love, out of increased love, and in very faithfulness afflicteth his darlings, that he may be true to their souls, Psalms 119:75.

With thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me] Thou hatest me, Satanically hatest me; Intestinum odium exerces adversum me (Tremell.); and accordingly thou dost practise all thy might upon me. Thus Job in his heat; and that he may not seem to rage without reason, he subjoineth.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 30:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-30.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 30:21. Thou art become cruel to me, &c.— This appears to be one of the most exceptionable passages in all Job's speeches. There seems to be a great want of decency, or of delicacy at least, in the expression, if the Hebrew words carry the same force with the English. But the turn of the sentence in the original is somewhat different, תשׂטמני ידךֶ בעצם לי לאכזר תהפךֶ tehapek leakzar li beotsem yadeka tistemeni which is literally thus: Thou art become cruel to me; with thy strong hand thou hatest me: to hate with the hand, is something very different from hating with the heart, and is a plain direction to us how the passage ought to be understood; namely, Thou hast dealt with me as if thou hatest me; or as men use to deal with those whom they hate. As for the other expression, thou art become cruel to me, it is remarkable that the same word is used Jeremiah 30:14 where God himself declares how he had dealt with his own people, and expresses it in the following terms: I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one. What shall we say? Does the Hebrew word carry a softer sense than the English? Or have we softer ears than the ancients? Or is there a mixture of both in the case? It is not my purpose to vindicate every daring thought or ardent expression which occurs in the speeches of this afflicted man; but we shall certainly judge amiss, if we think every thing wrong which will not suit with the politeness of our manners. If we flatter ourselves that we excel in this respect, it is certain that we fall short in others; and it were happy for us if, with Job's simplicity, we could reach those noble heights of piety which are so conspicuous in his speeches and his character throughout. Some of his commentators have fallen very hard upon him, and given him little better quarter than his three friends. It is well for him that he had a better advocate to plead his cause than any of them; for as to any thing highly criminal in Job's speeches, it is what the infallible judge himself acquits him of. See chap. Job 42:7-8. Peters.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 30:21". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-30.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Become cruel, Heb. turned to be cruel; as if thou hadst changed thy very nature, which is kind, and merciful, and gracious; and such thou hast been formerly in thy carriage to me; but now thou art grown severe, and rigorous, and inexorable.

Thou opposest thyself against me; thy power wherewith I hoped and expected that thou wouldst have supported me under my troubles thou usest against me.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 30:21". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-30.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

21.Harsh and unjustifiable charges against God, which Elihu justly reproves, Job 33:10.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 30:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-30.html. 1874-1909.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Job feels that God has not merely been passively absent but actively cruel to him as well.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 30:21". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-30.html. 1999-2014.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.
become cruel
Heb. turned to be cruel.
7:20,21; 10:14-17; 13:25-28; 16:9-14; 19:6-9; Psalms 77:7-9; Jeremiah 30:14
thy strong hand
Heb. the strength of thy hand.
6:9; 23:6; Psalms 89:13; 1 Peter 5:6
Reciprocal: Job 13:24 - holdest me;  Job 33:10 - he counteth;  Job 40:2 - he that reproveth

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 30:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-30.html.