-Job answers in a confounded manner telling his friends that they are “sorry comforters,” every single one of them. He saw no limit to their “windy words.” He wondered what plagued them that they would answer in such a way. He maintains that if the roles were reversed, he could carelessly speak thus against them and shake his head negatively at them, but to the contrary he would strengthen them with his mouth and give solace with his lips to lessen their pain instead (Job 16:1-5).
-Job feels like the LORD has shattered him in this time of conflict. Though he speaks, his pain is not lessened. We’ve all felt that that at times if we admit it. He questions that if he holds back, “what has left me?” Job claims that God has “exhausted” him and “laid waste” all his company. He felt like the Almighty had “shriveled” him up, leaving him dried out and full of “leanness.” These things were witnessing and testifying against him. God’s anger had “torn” him and “hunted” him down in this beaten man’s thoughts and words. Job felt “gnashed at” by the LORD’s teeth in this personification of the literature. God was “glaring” at him in his mind. Then, he turns his attention back to his friends (plural). “They,” he says, “have gaped at me with their mouth, they have slapped me on the cheek with contempt; they have massed themselves against me.” He then, almost humorously, says, “God hands me over to ruffians and tosses me into the hands of the wicked.” Job remembered when he was at ease and the world was good. But, then the LORD “shattered” him. In Job’s words, he tells of how God “grasped” him by the neck and “shook” him to pieces setting him up as a “target.” He felt the ridicule of the accusers, just like Jesus would in a later time. Job believed the “arrows” of God surrounded him and without mercy his kidneys were “split open.” Graphic language here, but it was not literal. He went on to say that the LORD had poured out his “gall (mĕrerah- bile, symbolically as from bitterness) on the ground.” The Almighty has “broken through” him with “breach after breach.” Job felt God running at him “like a warrior.” He was overwhelmed with sadness and grief. The emotion was intense. The phrase, “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin and thrust my horn in the dust,” refers to his giving up of authority and hope. He concludes, “My face is flushed from weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids, although there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure (Job 16:6-17).”
-He now begs the LORD for mercy from: 1) the torment of his distress, and 2) the affliction his friends are bringing to the chaos. He wants not the earth to cover his blood, nor let there be a resting place for his cry. His witness is in Heaven, and his Advocate is “on high.” He chastises his friends as “scoffers” and keeps weeping before the LORD wondering if a man can plead his case with the Almighty as “a man with his neighbor.” He finishes with the fact that after a few short years, he will go the way of no return, speaking of the grave (Job 16:18-22).
-*Application* At this point, we could surmise that Job seems to be in a hopeless and helpless situation being compounded by worthless friends and bad advice. Nihilism appears to be ruing the day. The question we must ask ourselves here as we delve into this is: How much should we buy in to the words being spoken over us? Job is going through an identity crisis because of the negativity he is receiving from his friends, or might we call them counterparts? We can almost feel the drain ourselves as we empathize with Job’s plight. This world can be a beast with a sucking out of life and passion. Who we are depends on what God says about us, not the nonsense from the crowd of uninformed witnesses. We must not let discouragement get to us. We must trust our identity to the LORD (2 Corinthians 5:17, Revelation 21:5). For great movie tie-ins to this concept, watch the films “Eddie the Eagle” or “Hidden Figures.”
Verses to Memorize: Job 16:16-17