Job 19

Job 19:1-12
19 Then Job replied:
2 “How long will you torment me
and crush me with words?
3 Ten times now you have reproached me;
shamelessly you attack me.
4 If it is true that I have gone astray,
my error remains my concern alone.
5 If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me
and use my humiliation against me,
6 then know that God has wronged me
and drawn his net around me.
7 “Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response;
though I call for help, there is no justice.
8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass;
he has shrouded my paths in darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honour
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone;
he uproots my hope like a tree.
11 His anger burns against me;
he counts me among his enemies.
12 His troops advance in force;
they build a siege ramp against me
and encamp around my tent.
Job’s response to Bildad’s second speech was desperate. The collective accusations from his friends brought such grief to Job that he cried again for a mediator. He affirmed his deep belief in the ultimate justice of Yahweh, even if His justice is not revealed immediately or in this life. Job’s words expressing hope in his “Redeemer” and his belief in the resurrection of the body are pivotal.

In verses 1-19 Job felt “strange” by God and abandoned by his “Close friends” and what remained of his “relatives”. No one stood up to defend him. All that was once strong in Job’s life – his family, his social standing, his wealth, his faith – was now broken. There was nothing to hold onto except God.

Job was anguished that friends had become defiant and relentless for mentors (verses 2-3). However, we begin to see deep faith in the midst of deep despair emerge in this passage. It seemed their attack would never end. Job mentions ten times here which is an expression for “never ending”. This was not a reluctant reproof of Job but rather a vicious assault on his character.

In verses 5-7: Job effectively was saying that if God sent him friends like Bildad, who needs enemies? Job’s fear was that there would be no justice..

They had shown Job no mercy at all. He reminded them that if he was being punished by God for whatever it was that he had done wrong. It was not their duty to add to his pain and suffering.

Job felt that he was being attacked but when he called for help, nobody came to assist.

Job compared himself to a city, the walls of which are attacked on every side and broken down. His ruin is complete and he perishes. He was torn up like a tree and all hope of life gone as a result. Job’s “hope” was no doubt, to lead a peaceful life walking with God, . surrounded by his relatives and friends, until old age. This hope had been “torn up by the roots”.

Job could have stood the calamities much better had he known where they had come from. His deepest hurt was believing that God’s wrath had been poured out upon him. He struggled to understand this.

The beauty of this section is we see an authentic wrestling with the goodness of God and a dismissiveness of his friends erroneous counsel. Job’s processing is desperate and courageous.
Job 19:13-22
13 “He has alienated my family from me;
my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
14 My relatives have gone away;
my closest friends have forgotten me.
15 My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner;
they look on me as on a stranger.
16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer,
though I beg him with my own mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife;
I am loathsome to my own family.
18 Even the little boys scorn me;
when I appear, they ridicule me.
19 All my intimate friends detest me;
those I love have turned against me.
20 I am nothing but skin and bones;
I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.
21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity,
for the hand of God has struck me.
22 Why do you pursue me as God does?
Will you never get enough of my flesh?
In Job’s suffering he felt completely abandoned. His friends were insulting him, his servants did not answer and even his wife would not come near him because his breath was so bad!!

Once his house had been a centre of the community and people came to celebrate but now everyone looked upon him as though he was not known to them. He was an outcast.
Job loved his friends and had been comforted by them at the beginning as they sat in silence with him but now their words were deeply hurtful. He pleaded with them to have pity and not abandon him as everyone else had done.
Job 19:23-29
23 “Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
25 I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
28 “If you say, ‘How we will hound him,
since the root of the trouble lies in him,’
29 you should fear the sword yourselves;
for wrath will bring punishment by the sword,
and then you will know that there is judgment.”
Job has endured incredible suffering beyond what most people suffer. He has experienced loss of everything he knew that we would ordinarily place our security in, abandonment of those closest to him, he has lost his reputation (I can relate to that – although for different reasons). He has lost his health, his wealth and has been wrestling with the spiritual issues that have caused him to feel abandoned and punished by God for no apparent reason.

…and yet something beautiful emerges from this passage. From the depths of degradation he expresses the confidence that if his case could only be recorded for posterity, future generations would judge him favourably (verses 23-24). Furthermore, he knows confidently that he has a “Redeemer” (verse 25, Hebrew goel), One who will champion his cause and vindicate him. The Redeemer is more than an arbiter (9:33) or a witness (16:19) but a Kinsman-Redeemer who will avenge him. Clearly, Job viewed God Himself as the Redeemer, and the Hebrew word is in fact used often of God (Exodus 6:6; Psalm 19:14; 72:14;  Isaiah 41:14; 43:14; 47:4; 49:26; Jeremiah 50:34). He had landed on a square of faith and absolute confidence that he would be vindicated by his just God.

“In my flesh” (verse 26) speaks of a resurrected body. Though it may also be translated “apart from my flesh,” as a spirit being, the emphasis of the original means “from the standpoint of my flesh,” in my resurrected body. Here is evidence of the Old Testament belief in the resurrection of the human body. Mind blowing!

Bildad said that everyone would forget the wicked man (Job 18:17-19). But Job did not want anyone to forget that he was innocent (Job 16:18). So Job wanted someone to write his words so that people would remember them always. Somehow the story was indeed recorded and passed on as the Book of Job. It may be the most ancient book that still exists. Job wanted a permanent record of the things that he and his friends discovered about God.

The three verses (Job 19:25-27), are the most emphatic words Job has spoken so far in this book.

It appears to be that Job is alluding to a strange kind of rock-inscription, of which, there do not appear to be any specimens. This presumably is one of the clues that tell us that this dates the book in the most ancient of times.

Job wished the characters of his record to be cut deep into the rock with an iron chisel, and the incision made to be then filled up with lead (compare the mediaeval “brasses”).
It is not exactly clear whether Job wanted the whole story recorded or just the words about the resurrection which clearly is a pivotal point in this story but also in ancient understanding of the story of God and man.

The Redeemer is the clear message of the gospel. See Luke 2:38; Romans 3:24; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12).

Up to this point Job had been doubtful whether he could ever prove himself innocent. He prayed. But he was not sure that God would ever help him. His wrestling with God brought him to a place of confidence.

Job was developing his thoughts. They are recorded in chapter 16:19-21. There, Job said that somebody in heaven was helping him. He described that person as a lawyer or a friend. Job probably meant God himself. In Job 14:7-9, Job remembered about trees. A tree that seems dead can often live again. And in Job 14:13-17, Job prayed that this would happen to Job himself.

The Hebrew word translated as redeemed is GOEL. In Hebrew thinking a GOEL frees someone by either of two particular methods. Either the GOEL may pay a debt for that person. Or the GOEL may fight to free the person. Some examples of further use are:
(1) In the Book of Ruth, Boaz freed Ruth. He loved her. So he paid her debts and he married her. He was her redeemer or GOEL.
(2) God is often called a GOEL or redeemer. For example, Psalm 19:14 and Isaiah 63:16.
(3) The Bible teaches that Jesus is our redeemer (1 Peter 1:18-19). When he died for us, he freed us from Satan’s power. The price for our freedom was paid at the cross. He took on death for us.
(4) In Job 19:25, Job uses this word to describe God. Even if God has to take Job from the grave to save him. God will rescue him, even if God must pay to rescue him. And God will rescue Job even if God must fight for Job. This was a metanoia (worldview change, mind change, repentance) .

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