Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 3. Ten times; very often. — Oppress me. Hebrew word occurs no where else, and is variously translated. It may signify, “to dig a pit for me,” chap vi. 27., and Psalm vi. 6. Job repeats nearly what he had said before, only with greater vehemence. He admits that Providence treats him in an unusual manner. Yet he still retains an assured hope, and arraigns his adversaries before the divine tribunal. (Calmet) — Yet he rather hesitates; (ver. 4, 6.) and this species of ignorance is the folly of which he, at last, accuses himself, chap. xlii. 3. It was no real fault, chap. xlii. 8. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. With me. I alone am answerable for it. But I am no wiser for your remarks. If I have sinned, have I not been sufficiently punished? (Calmet) — Septuagint, “Yea, truly, I was under a mistake; and the mistake still remains with me, to have spoken a word which was not becoming. But my speeches are erroneous and importunate.” He talks thus ironically. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. Reproaches, which I endure, as if they were a sure proof of your assertion. (Haydock) — I must therefore refute you. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. With an equal judgment. St. Gregory explains these words thus: Job being a just man, and truly considering his own life, thought that his affliction was greater than his sins deserved; and in that respect, that the punishment was not equal, yet it was just, as coming from God, who gives a crown of justice to those who suffer for righteousness’ sake, and proves the just with tribulations, as gold is tried by fire. (Challoner) — He knew that God would surely give a just reward, 2 Timothy iv. (St. Gregory xiv. 16.) (Worthington) — The friends of Job had too contracted a notion of Providence, supposing that the virtuous could not be afflicted. Job allowed that the ordinary rules were not here observed. Hebrew, “the Lord hath perverted or overthrown me.” (Calmet) — This gave him no small uneasiness. If the thing had been as plain as it appears now to us, he might have refuted all with a bare denial. (Houbigant)
Ver. 7. Hear. Jeremias makes the same complaint, Lamentations iii. 8. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Troops: (latrones) “free-booters,” (Haydock) or “soldiers.” (Sanctius) — Those nations made a practice of plundering one another’s territories, without any declaration of war. Mercury and Autolychus are praised for thefts of this description. (Odys. xix.) See Judges xi. 3. Septuagint, “his temptations (Calmet; or militia; peirateria) came rushing together upon me; lying down (Haydock) in ambush, (Calmet) they surrounded my paths.” (Haydock)
Ver. 17. Entreated. Protestants add, “for the children’s sake of mine own body.” Septuagint, “I invited with flattering speeches the sons of my concubines. (18) But they cast me from them for ever. When I arise, they speak against me.” (Haydock) — Interpreters generally suppose that Job speaks of the children by his inferior wives: though he might have some at home by the first wife, who were not old enough to be invited to the feast, with those who were destroyed. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Fools; wicked men, (Menochius) or the meanest of the people, (Calmet) whom (Haydock) these unnatural children (Calmet) resembled. Hebrew, “young children.” (Protestants) (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Some. Hebrew, “men of my secret.” Septuagint, “who knew me;” my most intimate friends. — And he. Hebrew and Septuagint, “They whom I love are.” (Haydock) — These ungratefully joined with the rest, in turning their backs on their benefactor. (Worthington)
Ver. 20. Teeth. I am like a skeleton, so strangely emaciated, and my flesh corrupted: even my bones are not entire. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “I have escaped with the skin of my teeth.” Only my gums are left. My bones cut the skin. Symmachus, “I tore my skin with my teeth.”
Ver. 22. Flesh? acting with the like inhumanity towards me. Am I not then sufficiently tormented in your opinion, that you insult over my distress? (Calmet)
Ver. 24. In a. Hebrew, “lead, in the rock for ever.” (Protestants) Septuagint have, “for ever,” after book, (ver. 23) and subjoins, “with a writing instrument of iron and (or) lead, or be engraven on the rocks for a memorial.” Grabe insinuates that before there was only, “and on lead, or be engraven on the rocks.” (Haydock) — Instrument, (celte) means “a chisel,” (Haydock) like cœlum from cœlo: ” I engrave.” (Pineda) — St. Jerome, (ad Pam.) and the late editor of his works, retain this word, as the older editions of St. Gregory did; (Calmet) though certe, “surely,” has been inserted instead, from several manuscripts by the Benedictines. (Haydock) — Ancient manuscripts and Latin Bibles have more generally the latter word. But the received editions are supported by many manuscripts (Calmet) and the Septuagint eggluthenai, expresses as much. Celtis est, gluthaion. (Amama). (Casaub. in Athen. vii. 20. p. 556.) — An inscription, in Dalmatia, has the same sense: Neque hic atramentum vel papyrus aut membrana ulla adhuc; sed malleolo et celte literatus silex. “Here as yet was neither ink, nor paper, nor any parchments; but a flint stone was lettered with a mallet and a chisel..” The former modes of writing were not, in effect, invented in the days of Job. (Calmet) — But it was long very usual to make use of lead. (Pineda) — What he desired to have written in such durable characters, (Haydock) was the following sentence, in proof of his unshaken confidence in God, and as a refutation of his friends, who accused him of despair and blasphemy, (Calmet) as also the whole history of his conflict. His desire has been granted. (Tirinus)
Ver. 25. Redeemer may be understood of the Deity, without confining it to the second Person; (Isaias xli. 14., and xlix. 7.; Piscator) though it may have a more peculiar reference to Christ: (Junius; Haydock) in whom he believed, as the Redeemer of all mankind. (Calmet) — Earth. Yea, ere long I shall be restored to health, (St. Chrysostom; Grotius) as an earnest and figure of the resurrection. Nothing is more common, in Scripture, than for the same prophecy to have a double accomplishment; one soon after it is made public, and another more sublime and remote. Job seemed to have no expectation of surviving his present misery, (ver. 7., and chap. vii. 7., and xxiv. 15.) unless God now revealed it to him, as a figure of his future resurrection, founded on the hope of our Saviour’s, which he expresses in much clearer terms. Hebrew, “I know that my Redeemer is living, and that he will raise himself one day upon the earth,” (Calmet) like a conqueror, (Haydock) or wrestler, having overthrown his antagonist: (Amama) or, “he will stand the last upon the earth, or dust,” (Piscator) ascending his throne, to judge all. (Deodat.) — Yet Luther translates, “and one day he will raise me up from the earth;” which is not conformable to the Hebrew. Others explain, “he….will place (26) this, my skin, after they (worms) shall have ruined it.” (Pagnin; Montanus) — But Amama suspects that the latter is not in earnest. Pineda defends the Vulgate and observes that yakum (Haydock) may signify, “will raise” himself, or “me;” the latter being at least a consequence of the former, if St. Jerome did not read it me in his copy. So St. Paul argues; If Christ be risen, we also shall rise again. Septuagint, “For I know that he is eternal, who will set me free,” (Haydock) by death, (Calmet; or redemption; ekluein) “upon the earth.”
Ver. 26. And I. Septuagint, “But he will raise up my body or skin, which has sustained these things. This now has been accomplished for me by the Lord; (27) which I know within myself, which my eyes have seen, and not another. For all things are accomplished in my bosom.” I am as fully convinced of this glorious event, (Haydock) as if it were past. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “and though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Protestants, or in the margin, “After I shall awake, though this body be destroyed, yet out of,” &c. Various other interpretations are given. (Haydock) — But we had as well adhere to the Septuagint, Vulgate, &c. (Du Hamel) — God. Sixtus V and some other editions, add “Saviour.” (Calmet) — Job would see the Messias by the eyes of his posterity. (St. Augustine or Faustus, ser. 234. t. v. App.) (Sanctius) — He hoped also to see God face to face in glory (Calmet) though not by means of his corporeal eyes, (Haydock) and to be restored to favour, so that God would no longer turn his back on him, chap. xlii. 5. St. Gregory, when legate at Constantinople, convinced the patriarch Eutychius, by this text, that after the resurrection, our bodies would still be palpable, and not aerial only. (Calmet) — It contains an express profession of Job’s faith, on this head. We shall rise the same in substance. (Worthington)
Ver. 27. Myself. Hebrew, “for myself,” and for my comfort; not like the reprobate, who shall see their judge to their eternal confusion. Job insists so much on this point, that he shews he is not speaking merely of the divine favour being restored to him, in the re-establishment of his health and affairs, but that he raises his mind to something more solid and desirable, of which the former was only a faint representation. (Calmet) — “No one since Christ has spoken so plainly of the resurrection, as this man did before the coming of the Messias.” (St. Jerome, ad Pam.) — This. Hebrew, “though my reins be consumed within me;” (Protestants; Haydock) or, “my reins (desires and tender affections) are completed in my bosom.” (Calmet)
Ver. 28. Let us. Septuagint, “Why do we contend against him? and the root of the word (reason) we shall find in him.” He provokes us to speak thus. (Haydock) — Hebrew reads, “in me.” But the Chaldean, &c., “have him,” as the sequel requires; unless Job speak this in his own person. I am ready to answer you; or, have you really discovered in me any grounds for your virulent attack? (Calmet)
Ver. 29. Know. Septuagint, “And then they shall know that their power is nowhere;” or, “where is their substance?” (Grabe) (Haydock) — Job menaces his friends with God’s judgments, as they had done him. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Job complains of the cruelty of his friends: he describes his own sufferings: and his belief of a future resurrection.
1 Then Job answered, and said:
2 How long do you afflict my soul, and break me in pieces with words?
3 Behold, these ten times you confound me, and are not ashamed to oppress me.
4 For if I have been ignorant, my ignorance shall be with me.
5 But you set yourselves up against me, and reprove me with my reproaches.
6 At least now understand, that God hath not afflicted me with an equal judgment, and compassed me with his scourges.
7 Behold I shall cry, suffering violence, and no one will hear: I shall cry aloud, and there is none to judge.
8 He hath hedged in my path round about, and I cannot pass, and in my way he hath set darkness.
9 He hath stript me of my glory, and hath taken the crown from my head.
10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am lost; and he hath taken away my hope, as from a tree that is plucked up.
11 His wrath is kindled against me, and he hath counted me as his enemy.
12 His troops have come together, and have made themselves a way by me, and have besieged my tabernacle round about.
13 He hath put my brethren far from me, and my acquaintance, like strangers, have departed from me.
14 My kinsmen have forsaken me, and they that knew me have forgotten me.
15 They that dwelt in my house, and my maid-servants, have counted me a stranger, and I have been like an alien in their eyes.
16 I called my servant, and he gave me no answer, I entreated him with my own mouth.
17 My wife hath abhorred my breath, and I entreated the children of my womb.
18 Even fools despise me; and when I was gone from them, they spoke against me.
19 They that were some time my counsellors, have abhorred me: and he whom I loved most, is turned against me.
20 The flesh being consumed, my bone hath cleaved to my skin, and nothing but lips are left about my teeth.
21 Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you, my friends, because the hand of the Lord hath touched me.
22 Why do you persecute me as God, and glut yourselves with my flesh?
23 Who will grant me that my words may be written? who will grant me that they may be marked down in a book:
24 With an iron pen, and in a plate of lead, or else be graven with an instrument in flint-stone.
25 For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth.
26 And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I will see my God.
27 Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, and not another: this, my hope, is laid up in my bosom.
28 Why then do you say now: Let us persecute him, and let us find occasion of word against him?
29 Flee then from the face of the sword, for the sword is the revenger of iniquities: and know ye that there is a judgment.