Job 19:21
Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends; for the hand of God has touched me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Have pity upon me.—Now comes once more an exceeding great and bitter cry. (Comp. Job 16:20.)

Job 19:21. Have pity, have pity upon me, O ye my friends — For such you have been, and still pretend to be; and, therefore, fulfil that relation; and, if you will not help me, yet, at least, pity me. “Nothing can be more pathetic,” says Dr. Dodd, “than the repetition in this passage, as well as the immediate application to his friends; as if he had said, ‘You, at least, with whom I have enjoyed so intimate and friendly a correspondence; you, who more especially should exert the tender office of consolation, do you have some pity upon me, since the hand of God hath so fearfully afflicted me.’“19:8-22 How doleful are Job's complaints! What is the fire of hell but the wrath of God! Seared consciences will feel it hereafter, but do not fear it now: enlightened consciences fear it now, but shall not feel it hereafter. It is a very common mistake to think that those whom God afflicts he treats as his enemies. Every creature is that to us which God makes it to be; yet this does not excuse Job's relations and friends. How uncertain is the friendship of men! but if God be our Friend, he will not fail us in time of need. What little reason we have to indulge the body, which, after all our care, is consumed by diseases it has in itself. Job recommends himself to the compassion of his friends, and justly blames their harshness. It is very distressing to one who loves God, to be bereaved at once of outward comfort and of inward consolation; yet if this, and more, come upon a believer, it does not weaken the proof of his being a child of God and heir of glory.Have pity on me - A tender, pathetic cry for sympathy. "God has afflicted me, and stripped me of all my comforts, and I am left a poor, distressed, forsaken man. I make my appeal to you, my friends, and entreat you to have pity; to sympathize with me, and to sustain me by the words of consolation." One would have supposed that these words would have gone to the heart, and that we should hear no more of their bitter reproofs. But far otherwise was the fact.

The hand of God hath touched me - Hath smitten me; or is heavy upon me. The meaning is, that he had been subjected to great calamities by God, and that it was right to appeal now to his friends, and to expect their sympathy and compassion. On the usual meaning of the word here rendered, "hath touched" (נגעה nâga‛âh from נגע nâga‛ ), see the notes at Isaiah 53:4.

21. When God had made him such a piteous spectacle, his friends should spare him the additional persecution of their cruel speeches. O ye my friends; for such you have been, and still pretend to be; and therefore fulfil that relation; and if you will not help me, yet at least pity me.

Hath touched me, i.e. smitten or afflicted me sorely, as this word is oft used; as Job 1:11 Psalm 104:32. Have pity upon me, have pity upon me,.... Instead of calumny and censure, his case called for compassion; and the phrase is doubled, to denote the vehemence of his affliction, the ardency of his soul, the anguish of his spirits, the great distress he was in, and the earnest desire he had to have pity shown him; and in which he may be thought not only to make a request to his friends for it, but to give them a reproof for want of it:

O ye my friends; as they once showed themselves to be, and now professed they were; and since they did, pity might be reasonably expected from them; for even common humanity, and much more friendship, required it of them, that they should be pitiful and courteous, and put on bowels of mercy and kindness, and commiserate his sad estate, and give him all the succour, relief, and comfort they could, see Job 6:14;

for the hand of God has touched me; his afflicting hand, which is a mighty one; it lay hard and heavy upon him, and pressed him sore; for though it was but a touch of his hand, it was more than he could well bear; for it was the touch of the Almighty, who "toucheth the hills, and they smoke", Psalm 104:32; and if he lays his hand ever so lightly on houses of clay, which have their foundation in the dust, they cannot support under the weight of it, since they are crushed before the moth, or as easily as a moth is crushed.

Have pity upon me, have {m} pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.

(m) Seeing I have these just causes to complain, condemn me not as a hypocrite, especially you who should comfort me.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21, 22. Overcome by his sense of the terrible enmity of God, Job piteously cries out for the compassion of men. There is a strong antithesis between “ye my friends” and the “hand of God,” “God” (Job 19:22). The whole speech, even when the enmity of men is referred to (Job 19:13 seq.), is occupied with the thought of God, He is regarded as the cause of men’s abhorrence. Job for a moment seeks refuge with men from God’s severity.Verse 21. - Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O my friends. On the enumeration of his various woes, Job's appeal for pity follows. We must not regard it as addressed merely to the three so-called "friends" (Job 2:11) or "comforters" (Job 16:2), Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. It is an appeal to all those who are around him and about him, whose sympathies have been bither to estranged (vers. 13-19), but whose regard he does not despair of winning back. Will they not, when they perceive the extremity and variety of his sufferings, be moved to compassion by them, and commiserate him in his day of calamity? For the hand of God hath touched me. To the "comforters" this is no argument. They deem him unworthy of pity on the very ground that he is "smitten of God, and afflicted" (Isaiah 53:4); since they hold that, being so smitten, he must have' deserved his calamity. But to unprejudiced persons, not wedded to a theory, such an aggravation of his woe would naturally seem to render him a greater object of pity and compassion. 12 His troops came together,

And threw up their way against me,

And encamped round about my tent.

13 My brethren hath He removed far from me,

And my acquaintance are quite estranged from me.

14 My kinsfolk fail,

And those that knew me have forgotten me.

15 The slaves of my house and my maidens,

They regard me as a stranger,

I am become a perfect stranger in their eyes.

It may seem strange that we do not connect Job 19:12 with the preceding strophe or group of verses; but between Job 19:7 and Job 19:21 there are thirty στίχοι, which, in connection with the arrangement of the rest of this speech in decastichs (accidentally coinciding remarkably with the prominence given to the number ten in Job 19:3), seem intended to be divided into three decastichs, and can be so divided without doing violence to the connection. While in Job 19:12, in connection with Job 19:11, Job describes the course of the wrath, which he has to withstand as if he were an enemy of God, in Job 19:13. he refers back to the degradation complained of in Job 19:9. In Job 19:12 he compares himself to a besieged (perhaps on account of revolt) city. God's גדוּדים (not: bands of marauders, as Dietr. interprets, but: troops, i.e., of regular soldiers, synon. of צבא, Job 10:17, comp. Job 25:3; Job 29:25, from the root גד, to unite, join, therefore prop. the assembled, a heap; vid., Frst's Handwrterbuch) are the bands of outwards and inward sufferings sent forth against him for a combined attack (יחד). Heaping up a way, i.e., by filling up the ramparts, is for the purpose of making the attack upon the city with battering-rams (Job 16:14) and javelins, and then the storm, more effective (on this erection of offensive ramparts (approches), called elsewhere שׁפך סללה, vid., Keil's Archologie, 159). One result of this condition of siege in which God's wrath has placed him is that he is avoided and despised as one smitten of God: neither love and fidelity, nor obedience and dependence, meet him from any quarter. What he has said in Job 17:6, that he is become a byword and an abomination (an object to spit upon), he here describes in detail. There is no ground for understanding אחי in the wider sense of relations; brethren is meant here, as in Psalm 69:9. He calls his relations קרובי, as Psalm 38:12. ידעי are (in accordance with the pregnant biblical use of this word in the sense of nosse cum affectu et effectu) those who know him intimately (with objective suff. as Psalm 87:4), and מידּעי, as Psalm 31:12, and freq., those intimately known to him; both, therefore, so-called heart-or bosom-friends. בּיתי גּרי Jer. well translates inquilinin domus meae; they are, in distinction from those who by birth belong to the nearer and wider circle of the family, persons who are received into this circle as servants, as vassals (comp. Exodus 3:22, and Arabic jâr, an associate, one sojourning in a strange country under the protection of its government, a neighbour), here espec. the domestics. The verb תּחשׁבוּני (Ges. 60) is construed with the nearest feminine subject. These people, who ought to thank him for taking them into his house, regard him as one who does not belong to it (זר); he is looked upon by them as a perfect stranger (נכרי), as an intruder from another country.

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