Job 16-18



16     Then Job replied:

2 “I have heard many things like these;

miserable comforters are you all!

3 Will your long-winded speeches never end?

What ails you that you keep on arguing?

Job is angry at his friends for jumping to conclusions that his sin caused his misery.  Sometimes being silent with someone who is suffering is the best thing. 

4 I also could speak like you,

if you were in my place;

I could make fine speeches against you

and shake my head at you.

5 But my mouth would encourage you;

comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

6 “Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved;

and if I refrain, it does not go away.

7 Surely, O God, you have worn me out;

you have devastated my entire household.

8 You have bound me—and it has become a witness;

my gauntness rises up and testifies against me.

9 God assails me and tears me in his anger

and gnashes his teeth at me;

my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes.

10 Men open their mouths to jeer at me;

they strike my cheek in scorn

and unite together against me.

11 God has turned me over to evil men

and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked.

12 All was well with me, but he shattered me;

he seized me by the neck and crushed me.

He has made me his target;

13 his archers surround me.

Without pity, he pierces my kidneys

and spills my gall on the ground.

14 Again and again he bursts upon me;

he rushes at me like a warrior.

15 “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin

and buried my brow in the dust.

16 My face is red with weeping,

deep shadows ring my eyes;

17 yet my hands have been free of violence

and my prayer is pure.

18 “O earth, do not cover my blood;

may my cry never be laid to rest!

19 Even now my witness is in heaven;

my advocate is on high.

20 My intercessor is my friend

as my eyes pour out tears to God;

21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God

as a man pleads for his friend.

22 “Only a few years will pass

before I go on the journey of no return.

17     My spirit is broken,

my days are cut short,

the grave awaits me.

2 Surely mockers surround me;

my eyes must dwell on their hostility.

3 “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.

Who else will put up security for me?

4 You have closed their minds to understanding;

therefore you will not let them triumph.

5 If a man denounces his friends for reward,

the eyes of his children will fail.

6 “God has made me a byword to everyone,

a man in whose face people spit.

7 My eyes have grown dim with grief;

my whole frame is but a shadow.

8 Upright men are appalled at this;

the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.

9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways,

and those with clean hands will grow stronger.

10 “But come on, all of you, try again!

I will not find a wise man among you.

11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered,

and so are the desires of my heart.

12 These men turn night into day;

in the face of darkness they say, ‘Light is near.’

13 If the only home I hope for is the grave,

if I spread out my bed in darkness,

14 if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’

and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’

15 where then is my hope?

Who can see any hope for me?

16 Will it go down to the gates of death?

Will we descend together into the dust?”


18     Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

2 “When will you end these speeches?

Be sensible, and then we can talk.

3 Why are we regarded as cattle

and considered stupid in your sight?

4 You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,

is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?

Or must the rocks be moved from their place?

5 “The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out;

the flame of his fire stops burning.

6 The light in his tent becomes dark;

the lamp beside him goes out.

7 The vigor of his step is weakened;

his own schemes throw him down.

8 His feet thrust him into a net

and he wanders into its mesh.

9 A trap seizes him by the heel;

a snare holds him fast.

10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground;

a trap lies in his path.

11 Terrors startle him on every side

and dog his every step.

12 Calamity is hungry for him;

disaster is ready for him when he falls.

13 It eats away parts of his skin;

death’s firstborn devours his limbs.

14 He is torn from the security of his tent

and marched off to the king of terrors.

15 Fire resides in his tent;

burning sulfur is scattered over his dwelling.

16 His roots dry up below

and his branches wither above.

17 The memory of him perishes from the earth;

he has no name in the land.

18 He is driven from light into darkness

and is banished from the world.

19 He has no offspring or descendants among his people,

no survivor where once he lived.

20 Men of the west are appalled at his fate;

men of the east are seized with horror.

21 Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;

such is the place of one who knows not God.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Bildad is drawing a false conclusion about evil men.  Yes, God will punish them eventually for all their sins.  Some may have more consequences in this life than others.  But it isn’t an immediate correction.  Bildad and Job’s other friends kept assuming that Job’s sin was the root cause of his torment. 

Job didn’t quite understand the cause, so he questioned God.  Sometimes we get answers in this life and sometimes we don’t.


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