Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Then Job answered and said,Job 16:2
In no respect was Mrs. Grote's knowledge of the human heart more apparent than in her intercourse with a mariner. With the unfailing freshness she put into all she said, she called herself 'a good affliction woman'. In the first place she admitted the reality of the trial, without which no one attempting to help—no matter in what—can be either just or kind. Then she dealt in no commonplaces on any subject in the world, least of all on that of deep grief. She knew that nothing could soothe which had not the ring of truth. There was therefore no prescribing this or that nostrum (which prescribes here never proved) for the cure of sorrow—no pharisaical reproofs for its supposed indulgence. Diversion of thought was given in the least suspected way: the languor of the mind stimulated by healthy counter-interests; while as to cases where the anguish was still fresh, no words ever more truly hit the mark; 'Let the wound bleed'.
—Lady Eastlake's Mrs. Grote: A Sketch, p. 156.
It is a barbarous part of inhumanity to add unto any afflicted parties misery, or endeavour to multiply in any man a passion whose single nature is already above his patience. This was the greatest affliction of Job, and those oblique expostulations of his friends a deeper injury than the downright blows of the devil.
—Sir Thomas Browne.
In the introduction to A Mortal Antipathy, Dr. O. W. Holmes describes the case of a doctor 'who was the subject of a slow, torturing, malignant, and almost necessarily fatal disease'. During his illness 'his wife, who seemed in perfect health, died suddenly of pneumonia. Physical suffering, mental distress, the prospect of death at a near, if uncertain, time always before him, it was hard to conceive a more terrible strain than that which he had to endure. When, in the hour of his greatest need, his faithful companion, the wife of many years of happy union, whose voice had consoled and cheered him, was torn from him after a few days of illness, I felt that my friend's trial was such that the cry of the man of many afflictions and temptations might well have escaped from his lips: "I was at ease, but He hath broken me asunder: He hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for His mark. His archers compass me round about, He cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; He poureth out my gall upon the ground." I had dreaded meeting him for the first time after this crushing blow. What a lesson he gave me of patience under sufferings which the fanciful description of the Eastern poet does not picture too vividly.'
References.—XVI. 22.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiii. No. 1373. XVII. 1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, No. 2868. XVII. 9.—J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (4th Series), p. 125. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiii. No. 1361. J. Clifford, Daily Strength for Daily Living, p. 325.
I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.
Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?
I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.
Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?
But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.
And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.
He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.
They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.
God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.
I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.
His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.
He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant.
I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.
My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death;
Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.
O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.
Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.
My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.
O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!
When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.