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'CHAP. XVI. Job here complains of the ill usage of his friends ; largely represents
the melancholy condition he was in ; but still maintains and pleads his own innocence, 1 2 ?
WHEN Job answered and said, I have heard many such
things : miserable comforters (are) ye all ; these are only idle refietitions, and increase, instead of lessen my misery. 3 Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth the
that thou answerest ? it is great folly and confidence to repeat 4 such impertinent things over and over again. I also could speak
as ye (do :) if your soul were in my souls stead, I could heap
up words against yoụ, and shake mine head at you ; I could in. 5 suli and mock you, [Bụt) I would not do it, I would strengthen
you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should assuage
[your grief ;) I would do all I could to comfort and sunport you ; 6 but Though I speak, and have complained of my trouble, and de: fended my innocence, my grief is not assuaged: and though] I
forbear, what am I eased ? though I am silent, yet am I accused 7 and condemned. But now he hath made me weary ; God hath
tired me out with successive troubles : thou hast made desolate
all my company; my children and servants are destroyed, my re8 lations and friends are unkind. And thou hast filled me with
wrinkles, though I am nos old, (which) is a witness (against me:) and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my
facę, shows plainly the greatness of my afflictions and miseries. As 9 for Eliphaz, He teareth (me) in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth, he tears my character, and treats me with rage and cruelty ; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes
upon me ; looks as if he would dart lightening from his cyes 10 10 destroy me ; yea, there are many who have done 80 ; They have
gaped upon me with their mouth, like wild beasts ; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully, treated me with scorn ; they have gathered themselves together against me; or, as it
may be rendered, they have like wild beasts filled themselves with 'll me, eaten me up and devoured ine. God hath delivered me to the
ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked to use 12 me at their pleasure. I was at ease, in firosperous and healthy
circumstances, but he hath broken me asunder : he hath also taken (me) by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, as a strong man
would a child, and set me up for his mark, to shoot his arrows at. 13 His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins
asıinder, and doth not spare, afflicts me with pains and torment of body; he poureth out my gall upon the ground; he has mortally
wounded me, as if my bowels were shed upon the ground; I am 14 quite in a hopeless condition. He breaketh me with breach upon
breach, as the walls of a town are broken down by some mighty
engine, he runneth upon me like a giant, and I can make no resiste 15 ance. I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, I am glad even of
sarkcloth to cover my broken skin, and defiled my horn in the dust, 16 all my authority and honour is lost. My face is foul with weep
ing, and on my eyelids [is] the shadow of death, I look like a dy17 ing man ; Not for [any] injustice in mine hands, it is not because
I have done injustice to any man : also my prayer (is) pure ; it
proceeded from a sincere and upright heart, like water flowing 18 from a clear fountain, () earth, if I have been guilty of bloodshed,
or any injury to men, conceal it not, but disclose it, cover not thou my blood, let me die a violent death, let me have no burial, let the dogs lick my blood, and let my cry have no place, let neither God
nor man regard my complaints ; but these imprecations are all 19 needless, for Also now, behold, my witness [is] in heaven, and
my record [is] on high ; the great God is witness of my sincerity 20 and innocency. My friends scorn me : [but) mine eye poureth
out (tears) unto God ; amidst all this scorn I appeal to God, and 21 entreat him to vindicate me. O that one might plead for a man
with God, as a man (pleadeth) for his neighbour! I am 60 sure
of the goodness of my cause, that I wish for nothing so much as to 92 have it fairly tried, as causes are tried among men, When a few
years are come, then I shall go the way (whence] I shall not return; this is my comfort under my afflictions, that I shall soon die, and get for ever out of the reach of them,
1. ROM hence we are taught, that when we see persons afflict
ed, it is good to put our souls in their souls' stead ; to think how we should be affected with such distresses, and how we should expect and like to be treated. This would prevent our doing or saying any thing to aggravate their affliction ; and engage our friendly attempts to strengthen them with good words, and by kind offices to assuage their grief. In this and every instance of social duty, whatever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also the same unto them.
2. These mournful complaints, should make us very thankful that this case is not ours. To have acute pain of body, joined to the loss of substance, and of near relations, and all this aggravated by the scorn and unkindness of friends, is as deplorable a case as we can well conceive, and should excite our gratitude to God for his distinguishing goodness to us.
3. It is a great comfort to good men to be able to appeal to God for their integrity and piety; especially when they are slandered by men. If we can truly say that no injustice towards men is in our hand, and that our devotions have been pure and sincere, we may comfortably pour out our prayer before God, and depend on him to vindicate our character, when men censure us. Let us then so act that we inay always be able to say, My witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.
4. The view of death, which is given in the close of the chapter, should never be forgotten. A long and important journey is boforo us; we must leave every thing behind, houses, substance, friends, and borly too; the separate spirit must go to another world, to a state of happiness or misery. This way we all are to go, in a few years at most, perhaps a few days. There is no putting off the journey when the summons comes; we can never return, either to improve a good state, or mend a bad one. Let us think of this, and prepare for it; that the expectation of it may not be our terror but our joy. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might, for there is neither knowledge, nor device, nor working in the grave, to which thou art going.
In this chapter Job, from the consideration of his approaching death,
earnestly desires God to judge his cause ; because his friends were unfit for it, and had passed such censures upon him, as well as given him foolish advice, to hope for prosperity, when he had nothing to expect but death,
my days are extinct, cut off in the midst, the graves (are ready) for me, I am just going to the sepulchre of my fathers, 2 [Are there] not mockers with me instead of friends ? and doth
not mine eye continue in their provocation ? my thoughts are so 3 fixed on them that I can think of nothing else. Lay down now,
put me in a surety with thee ; who [is] he [that] will strike
hands with me ? therefore, Lord, do thou undertake my cause, 4 and appoint some one io do right on both sides. For thou hast
hid their heart from understanding : therefore shalt thou not
exalt (them ;) these are incompetent judges, therefore thou shalt 5 not exalt them to this honour, He that speaketh flattery to (his)
friends when he should reprove them, even the eyes of his chil
dren shall fail, in vain expectation of meeting with a sincere 6 friend, He hath made me also a byword of the people, that is,
Eliphaz hath made me contemptible ; and aforetime, or before
them, I was as a tabret, I was argued with only to make them diver. 7 sion. Mine eve also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my mem
bers [are) as a shadow ; sorrow hath almost blinded me, and 8 shrunk me in a shadow, Upright (men) shall be astonied at
this my affliction and ill trearment, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite, and oppose the pernicious inferences
he may craw from my sufferings, and the censures he may throw 9 on God and religion because I am thus affiicted. The righteous
also shall hold on his way, he shall not be moved by my sufferings or my friends' censures ; and he that hath clean hands shall be
stronger and stronger; shall persevere and improve in religion, 10 notwithstanding his own sufferings. But as for you all, do ye
return, and come now ; consider the matter over again ; for I cannot find (one) wise (man) among you, who judges aright
11 the merits of the case : but do it quickly, for My days are past,
my purposes are broken off, I am a dying man, my projects and designs are all come to an end, [even} the thoughts of my heart ;
in the Hebrew, the possessions, the things which my heart was 12 most fond of. They change the night into day, my calamities
deprive me of rest by night : the light [is] short because of darka ness, neither can I enjoy the light by day, through the darkness
and gloominess of my thoughts ; there is a perpetual night in my 13 mind. If I wait for prosperous days, as you would have me, 104
the grave [is] mine house : I have made my bed in the dark. ness ; I expect nothing but the grave, where I shall rest in quiet.
I have said to corruption, Thou (art) my father : to the worm, (Thou art] my mother, and my sister ; I have made my.
self familiar with these objects, knowing that I am appointed io 15 corruption and death. And where [is] now my hope, which you
would have me entertain ? as for my hope, who shall see it ? 16 who shall see the happiness ycu encourage me to expect? They
shall go down to the bars of the pit, I and my hope together shall go down to the bars of the pit, which nothing shall be able to break open, when (our) rest together [is] in the dust ; you, and your encouragements, I, and my hopes, shall all be lodged together in the grave, and therefore I cannot entertain them,
1. ARENTS out of regard to their children should be upright
and conscientious, v. 5. Men that have been given to flattery and deceit, injure their children ; others are ready to think they will take after their fathers ; or, through resentment of what they suffered by the father's treachery, will neglect the children. The ill gotten gain of parents affects the credit and comfort of their posterity, and often brings a blast on all they have ; and children are too apt to learn their pernicious ways. Let parents be careful therefore to set a good example before them, to abhor dishonesty, fraud, lying, and Hattery; as they desire their children should be honest and sincere, and meet with friends and helpers when they are no more.
2. We learn to make a good use of the sufferings of others, especially of good men. There is something mysterious in such providences; the best of men may wonder why God inflicts such sufferings, or permits others to do it. Let the tribulations of Job, and other holy men, teach us to judge right of divine dispensations ; not to conclude that persons are wicked, because they are afflicted. And this should also teach us resolutely to oppose those who would draw consequences from their sufferings, dishonourable to God, and injurious to religion. Let us not be discouraged by what they or we suffer, but make it our care to hold on our way, and grow stronger and stronger. This is the duty of every one ; and such steadfastness and perseverance in religion is the best proof of our sincerity being accepted of God.
3. The speedy approach of death, and the great change it will occasion, should lead us to make it familiar to our thoughts. The graves are ready for us ; let us labour to be ready for them. Deatla breaks off all our schemes and purposes for this world ; we can then do nothing for posterity or for God ; therefore we should be diligent, and form such purposes and lay the chief stress on such, as death, instead of breaking will complete. The grave is our house, the house of our fathers, the only sure possession ; and we shall quickly go to it. Let us make the thought familiar. Amidst the most agreeable relations in life, let us remember to claim kindred with
and say to corruption, thou art my father. Let us think daily, especially at night, when we lie down upon our beds, how şoon we may make our bed in darkness ; that we may secure a happiness beyond the grave, and a joyful resurrection for this frail, vile, dying body.
4. It is no uncommon thing for very good men to conclude their case to be desperate and hopeless, especially when under the power of melancholy, or some other heavy affliction. So Job did ; and talks again and again in this gloomy strain. But it appears upon the whole that he was mistaken. Let this be a caution to us, not to indulge a melancholy, desponding frame ; and when any of our friends are in such unhappy circumstances, instead of mocking them, and increasing their distress, let us try every method of persuasion and encouragement, to lighten their burden and restore their joy. This is at once a substantial proof, and a noble exercise of a good understanding. Bear ye one another's burdens therefore, and thus fulfil thc law of Christ.
Here Bildud reproves Job for his scornful answers, and his impatience
under the dispensations of Providence ; he confidently asserts tha: wicked men are always miscrable, and therefore Job must be wicked. 1 WHEN answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, How long 2
ish words? mark, and afterwards we will speak; it will answer ne
good purpose to argue unless you will attend better, and pay greater 3 regard to what is said. Wherefore are we counted as beasts,
[and] reputed vile in your sight? you have no reason for such 4 an opinion, and it will be in vain 10 argue if you think so.
teareth himself in his anger, fretfulness andimpatience only galland chafe his mind : shall the earth be forsaken for thec? and shall the rock be removed out of his place ? shall God alter the rules
of his proceedings, which are fixed and unchangeable as the earth 5 itself ? He then enlarges on the misery of the wicked ; Yea, the
light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine ; nothing shall remain of all his honour, joy, and