Job replies to Eliphaz’s second speech

Chapter 16

Job replies to Eliphaz’s second speech

v1 Job answered. He said:

v2 I have heard many such things. You are all hopeless comforters. v3 Stop your long speeches! You have no reason to go on. v4 If you suffered like me, I could speak like you. I could oppose you with many words. And I could insult you. v5 (But I would not behave like you.) Instead, I would encourage you. And I would comfort you with my words.

v6 But now, when I speak, I have no comfort for my pain. Or, if I am silent, I still suffer.

Chapter 16

Verses 1-6

Job’s friends wanted to help him. They tried to teach him about God. They tried to show Job his errors. And they wanted to encourage him.

But their words did not help Job. They never understood the real reasons for Job’s problems. And the friends did not believe that Job was a good man. So they blamed Job, although Job was innocent.

People who advise must be careful. They should make sure that they know the true facts. They should sympathise with someone who suffers. And they should pray carefully before they advise.

Job’s enemy

v7 I am weak, because of my enemy. He has ruined my family. v8 My troubles are like a witness who accuses me. My thin body seems to be evidence against me.

v9 My enemy hates me. He is like a wild animal that attacks me. He causes injuries. He stares at me. v10 But men insult me. They hit my cheek. They laugh at me. Together, they oppose me. v11 God handed me over to wicked men. v12 I was well, until he attacked me. He is like an enemy, who grasps my neck. v13 Or, he is like an army that shoots arrows at me. Or, he is like a soldier who cuts my body with a sword. I feel as if a knife is in my body. And the inside parts of my body spill out. v14 My enemy attacks me again and again. He is like a bold soldier.

v15 So, I wear poor clothes to show that I am sad. And I put ashes on my face. v16 But my face is red, because I cry. And dark marks surround my eyes. v17 But I am innocent. I do not suffer because of any evil deed. And so, I pray.

v18 Everybody should know that I am innocent. Even after I die, people should still know this. Nobody should forget this!

Verses 7-14

In these verses, Job described his troubles. He blamed his enemy for these troubles.

Job thought that God caused these troubles. Job did not know that the devil was responsible. But Job was very careful about his words. He knew that he should always respect God. So Job did not want to accuse God unfairly. And Job did not want to blame God. So Job only mentioned God once, in verse 11.

Job said that his enemy attacked him like a wild animal. Animals like dogs and lions are fierce. They do not just kill when they attack. They also cause terrible injuries and great pain.

And Job said that his enemy was like a bold soldier. Soldiers did not have guns at the time of the Bible. Instead, soldiers used swords to kill their enemies. If the sword was not sharp, it might be difficult to kill someone. The soldier might need to use the sword many times before the enemy died.

Job thought that God was attacking him. But Job also realised that wicked people caused his troubles (Job 1:15; Job 1:17). So, in verse 11, Job said that God allowed these wicked people to attack Job.

Verses 15-18

Job’s troubles seemed to prove that Job was guilty (verse 8). Job’s friends believed this (Job 22:4-11). But the Bible does not teach this idea (John 9:1-3). Job was sure that he was innocent. And God agreed (Job 1:8).

Job’s friend

v19 Listen!

Now, I have a witness in heaven. I have a lawyer in heaven. v20 He is my friend. He speaks to God on my behalf. And I cry to God. v21 Even now, my lawyer speaks to God. And my lawyer is my true friend.

v22 But I shall soon die. Only a few years of my life remain.

Verses 19-22

Job’s words in verses 7–18 seemed hopeless. But then Job spoke about his ‘friend’. Job did not say who this friend was. But Job did not mean Eliphaz, Bildad or Zophar. This friend was in heaven. He was like a lawyer, because he spoke to God on Job’s behalf.

Job lived centuries before Jesus was born. But we think that these words describe Jesus. Jesus sympathises with our troubles (Hebrews 4:15). He prays for us (Hebrews 7:25). He is our priest (Hebrews 7:24). Because of Jesus, we can be friends of God. Job did not know anything about Jesus. But Job thought that God was his friend. God would hear Job’s prayer. God would help Job. And God would prove that Job was innocent.

So Job thought that God was not merely Job’s enemy, but also his friend. This thought confused Job (Job 10:8-9). Job knew that God does many good things. So Job thought that God might also do some bad things (Job 2:10). God had given many good things to Job. So God could take these things away (Job 1:21). But Job believed that God would still deserve honour. And Job would continue to praise God, whatever happened. Job had this attitude because he was a genuine servant of God (Job 2:3).

But Job’s ideas were not all correct. God is our father in heaven. He looks after us (Matthew 6:9-13). Ordinary fathers look after their children. But God is much better than a human father (Matthew 7:9-11). God is kind and generous (Matthew 6:25-30). God does not do evil things. God loves us (John 3:16).