Job continues his reply to Eliphaz
v1 My spirit suffers. My life is short. Soon, I must die. v2 Everybody insults me. And I watch their cruel actions.
Job thought that he was dying. His friends were with him. But they did not speak kind words to him. Instead, they accused him of many evil deeds.
v3 God, promise to be fair to me! Nobody else will protect me. v4 You have caused the people not to know the truth. So, you will not allow them to succeed. v5 Nobody should oppose his friends for a reward. Even the children of such a person deserve to suffer.
Job’s friends could not help Job. And Job thought that God was attacking him (Job 16:9-14). But Job still respected God. And Job still trusted God. So Job asked God for help (Job 16:19-21).
In fact, God did not cause Job’s problems. The devil was responsible for Job’s troubles.
Job’s friends did not know that Job was innocent. And Job thought that God had caused this situation. So Job prayed that God would declare him innocent.
Job was right to say that such a person is very evil. But we do not believe that the person’s children should suffer. Each person is responsible for his own evil deeds. (See Ezekiel chapter 18.) So each person must confess his own evil deeds to God. And each person must invite Jesus into his life (John 1:12; John 3:18).
v6 When people curse, they use my name. They spit at me. (That is, they splash me with water from their mouths.) v7 My eyes are weak because of my tears. My whole body seems as weak as a shadow.
Job was innocent, but he suffered greatly. Jesus was also innocent, and he too suffered greatly. Sometimes Job’s words remind us about Jesus’ death. See also Psalm 22 and Isaiah chapter 53. The authors of these books wrote these passages before Jesus was born. But these chapters describe well the troubles that Jesus suffered for us. Jesus died so that God would forgive our evil deeds (1 Peter 2:24).
The effects of Job’s troubles
v8 Good people are surprised to see this. But my troubles cause innocent people to act against evil people. v9 Good men continue their good behaviour. And innocent people become stronger and stronger.
Job’s situation impressed other people powerfully. Good people admired Job’s attitudes. Job’s troubles did not frighten them. Instead, their determination to do the right things increased.
Paul had a similar experience when he was in prison. See Philippians 1:12-14.
Job says that his friends are not wise
v10 But speak again! Try to prove that I am guilty! And I will prove that you are not wise.
v11 My life is short. My plans have failed. And I have no hope.
v12 These men (Job’s friends) pretend that the night is the day. It is so dark. But they say, ‘The light will come soon.’
v13 But my grave will become the home for my body. I will be like someone who sleeps in the darkness. v14 My family will not surround my body. Instead, the tiny animals that destroy dead bodies will surround me. v15 I have no hopes for the future. You can see that my situation is hopeless. v16 There is no hope for a dead man. So, my body will lie, without hope, in my grave.
As Job spoke about other good people, he himself felt more confident. He was not afraid of his friends’ speeches. He knew that they supposed him to be an evil man. So he told them to speak their opinions clearly. He felt ready to reply.
Job accused his friends. They said that his life would get better (Job 11:15-19). But Job’s troubles were real troubles.
Job expected to die soon. He did not realise that his spirit would then go to heaven. Later, he would start to understand this (Job 19:26-27).
Job knew what happens to dead bodies. And he thought that he was almost dead. He had no hope for the future. He did not know that God would rescue him (Job 42:10-17). Job simply wanted to prove that he was innocent. He wanted to show that he did not deserve these troubles.