The Word Made Fresh
1Job replied, 2“How long are you going to strike at me and try to break me apart with your words? 3You’ve covered me with your accusations ten times now. Shouldn’t you be ashamed to treat me like this? 4Even if I have made mistakes, they only have to do with me, not you. 5If you insist on puffing yourselves up and using my shame against me, 6remember that God has already punished me and wrapped me in a net.
7“I can scream about having been treated wrongly, but I get no response. I don’t receive justice even though I beg for help. 8God has walled me in so that I can’t move and has hidden every route of escape in darkness. 9God has taken away my honor and has done away with my status. 10God has broken me down completely and taken away my hope like an uprooted tree. 11God’s anger is hot against me, and I am treated like an enemy. 12God has sent an army against me to camp around me and wall me in.
13“God has even separated me from my family and kept people I know away from me. 14My family and my friends have failed me. 15My maidservants and others in my house have forgotten me and treat me like a stranger, or like a foreigner. 16I call a servant, but he doesn’t pay any attention. I have to beg. 17My breath stinks and drives my wife away. My own brothers think I’m hideous. 18Even children are repulsed. When I try to stand up, they make fun of me. 19My closest friends hate me. People I love have turned away from me. 20My bones stick out beneath my skin and I am barely alive.
21“Have pity for me, my friends! I am held in God’s grip! 22Why do you pursue me like God? Isn’t my suffering enough for you? 23I wish there was a record of my words written on a scroll, 24or engraved on a rock in lead with an iron pen to last forever.
25“Still, I know that my Redeemer is alive, and in the end will stand on my grave, 26and after my body is destroyed, I will see God even without my flesh. 27I will see God myself, and I will look at God with my own eyes, not through someone else’s. I long for this with all my heart! 28You are wondering how you can prosecute me since the root of the matter lies within me, 29but know that you should fear the worst for yourselves because anger brings punishment, and you will learn that there is judgment.”
1-12: Job, for his part, attributes all his suffering to God. Whereas before the imagery he used was from the court of law, now his imagery is more varied and colorful. God has “closed the net around me;” “there is no justice;” God has “walled up my way;” “has stripped my glory from me;” “uprooted my hope like a tree.” In verse 12 the imagery is of warfare, with troops, siege works and encampments.
13-22: Job’s grief continues: his family has turned away from him, even his wife. Servants ignore him. Friends have forsaken him. Children taunt and laugh at him. It is a pitiful picture. He begs his three friends to have pity on him.
23-29: Job wishes his words were written down (they were!) so that after he dies his defense can still be made. He longs for a Redeemer (next-of-kin who vindicates the death of the innocent) who will stand up for him after he is gone. And Job insists that he will see God. He ends with what sounds like a threat against Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar: if they continue to torment Job, they will suffer God’s wrath, he warns.
Job switches between questioning God and scolding his friends. The book of Job is a good lesson for us; it should teach us that we should not question or accuse God when things go wrong in our lives. It should also teach us not to lecture those who are going through difficult times.