Job xvi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. Comforters. “Job’s friends or comforters,” are become proverbial, to denote people who do the contrary to what they seem to promise. (Haydock) — Never did men sustain worse the character of comforters. They all magnify their knowledge and piety, and make the most absurd application of their principles to Job’s condition. (Calmet) — He was not ignorant that tyrants and wicked men were often, nay generally till the age in which he lived, visited with visible judgments. (Haydock)

Ver. 3. Windy, inconclusive arguments. They all entertain a mean opinion of their adversaries, as they did not agree in the application of the propositions. Hence though they might be true, they were nothing to their present purpose, chap. xv. 3. (Haydock) — Trouble. You can speak without any pain: but the case is far different with me. (Menochius) — Hebrew, “what emboldeneth thee to answer?” (Haydock) — Who asks thee for advice? (Calmet) — True friends will give it without upbraiding, or laying false crimes to the charge of any one. (Worthington)

Ver. 4. My soul. If you had experienced my state of misery, (Haydock) I surely would not have behaved thus to you. (Calmet)

Facile, cum valemus, recta consilia ægrotis damus:

Tu si hîc sis, aliter sentias. (Terent. Andria.)

Ver. 5. Wag, or shake my head out of pity, chap. xlii. 11., and Nahum iii. 7. The same sign often indicates astonishment or contempt, Psalm xxi. 8., and Matthew xxvii. 39. (Calmet)

Ver. 7. But. Hebrew, “If I speak,” &c.

Ver. 8. Limbs. Hebrew, “company,” (Haydock) or family. The assemblage of my limbs is also disordered by the leprosy.

Ver. 9. Against me, in your opinion, as if I were guilty of lies. Hebrew, “my leanness bears witness, my falsehood has risen up against me and answered me to my face;” which may be understood in the same sense as the argument of Eliphaz. He is designated by the false speaker; (Calmet) unless we explain it of the wrinkles, which falsely indicated that Job was advanced in years, or of the malady; whence it was gathered that he must be a criminal. (Menochius) — Protestants, “my leanness riseth up.” (Haydock)

Ver. 11. Cheek. His friends seemed so enraged, as to be disposed to do so. (Calmet) — These expressions were strikingly verified in Christ. (Menochius) — The outrages may also be attributed to the devil; (Calmet) or, by personification, to the malady of Job. (Menochius)

Ver. 14. Lances. Hebrew, “archers.” Septuagint, “they have encompassed me, throwing lances into my veins, or loins, not sparing,” &c. (Haydock) — Bowels. Hebrew and Septuagint, “gall,” being afflicted with a dysentery. St. Thomas Aquinas explains it of his children, who were slain. (Haydock)

Ver. 16. Flesh. Hebrew, “horn.” Septuagint, “strength.” (Haydock) — I have lost all my beauty and splendor, and have put on the garments of penance. (Calmet)

Ver. 17. Dim. Hebrew and Septuagint, “covered with the shadow of death,” (Haydock) greatly impaired. Some have almost lost their sight by weeping; and death seemed ready to close Job’s eyes. (Calmet)

Ver. 18. Hand, which has not been defiled with any injustice. (Menochius) — When. Hebrew, “and my prayer was pure.” I never neglected this sacred duty, (chap. i. 5.) as my friends accuse me, chap. xv. 4. (Haydock) — They continued in their false accusation: so he repeats the same true answer. (Worthington)

Ver. 19. In thee. Let the cry of my blood, which issues from my wounds, and the injury which my reputation has suffered, come before the throne of God. Calumny is a species of murder. See Genesis iv. 10. (Calmet) — If I be really guilty, I am willing to remain unburied. Let the dogs lick up my blood. (Cajetan) — Cry. Let the hills re-echo my sufferings. (Pineda)

Et quodcumque meæ possunt narrare querelæ,

Cogar ad argutas dicere solus aves. (Propertius)

Ver. 21. Full. Hebrew, “scorners.” Therefore I appeal to inanimate things; and, above all, to God, who cannot give a wrong judgment.

Ver. 22. Judged. Hebrew, “might plead.” (Haydock) — Earthly judges may be compelled to pronounce sentence publicly. Job is afraid lest the justice of his cause should remain undecided, till death overtook him, ver. 23. (Pineda)

Ver. 23. Years. Hebrew and Septuagint, “of number.” Pauperis est numerare pecus. (Haydock) — Like a man under affliction, Job repeats what he had said, chap. xiv. 5., (Menochius) and chap. x. 20. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Job expostulates with his friends: and appeals to the judgment of God.

1 Then Job answered, and said:

2 I have often heard such things as these: you are all troublesome comforters.

3 Shall windy words have no end? or is it any trouble to thee to speak?

4 I also could speak, like you: and would God your soul were for my soul.

5 I would comfort you also with words, and would wag my head over you.

6 I would strengthen you with my mouth, and would move my lips, as sparing you.

7 But what shall I do? If I speak, my pain will not rest: and if I hold my peace, it will not depart from me.

8 But now my sorrow hath oppressed me, and all my limbs are brought to nothing.

9 My wrinkles bear witness against me, and a false speaker riseth up against my face, contradicting me.

10 He hath gathered together his fury against me; and threatening me, he hath gnashed with his teeth upon me: my enemy hath beheld me with terrible eyes.

11 They have opened their mouths upon me, and reproaching me they have struck me on the cheek; they are filled with my pains.

12 God hath shut me up with the unjust man, and hath delivered me into the hands of the wicked.

13 I that was formerly so wealthy, am all on a sudden broken to pieces: he hath taken me by my neck, he hath broken me, and hath set me up to be his mark.

14 He hath compassed me round about with his lances, he hath wounded my loins, he hath not spared, and hath poured out my bowels on the earth.

15 He hath torn me with wound upon wound, he hath rushed in upon me like a giant.

16 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and have covered my flesh with ashes.

17 My face is swoln with weeping, and my eye-lids are dim.

18 These things have I suffered without the iniquity of my hand, when I offered pure prayers to God.

19 O earth, cover not thou my blood, neither let my cry find a hiding-place in thee.

20 For behold my witness is in heaven, and he that knoweth my conscience is on high.

21 My friends are full of words: my eye poureth out tears to God.

22 And O that a man might so be judged with God, as the son of man is judged with his companion!

23 For behold short years pass away, and I am walking in a path by which I shall not return.