Matthew Henry's Commentary
Then Job answered and said,
16:1-5 Eliphaz had represented Job's discourses as unprofitable, and nothing to the purpose; Job here gives his the same character. Those who pass censures, must expect to have them retorted; it is easy, it is endless, but what good does it do? Angry answers stir up men's passions, but never convince their judgments, nor set truth in a clear light. What Job says of his friends is true of all creatures, in comparison with God; one time or other we shall be made to see and own that miserable comforters are they all. When under convictions of sin, terrors of conscience, or the arrests of death, only the blessed Spirit can comfort effectually; all others, without him, do it miserably, and to no purpose. Whatever our brethren's sorrows are, we ought by sympathy to make them our own; they may soon be so.
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?
16:6-16 Here is a doleful representation of Job's grievances. What reason we have to bless God, that we are not making such complaints! Even good men, when in great troubles, have much ado not to entertain hard thoughts of God. Eliphaz had represented Job as unhumbled under his affliction: No, says Job, I know better things; the dust is now the fittest place for me. In this he reminds us of Christ, who was a man of sorrows, and pronounced those blessed that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
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.
16:17-22 Job's condition was very deplorable; but he had the testimony of his conscience for him, that he never allowed himself in any gross sin. No one was ever more ready to acknowledge sins of infirmity. Eliphaz had charged him with hypocrisy in religion, but he specifies prayer, the great act of religion, and professes that in this he was pure, though not from all infirmity. He had a God to go to, who he doubted not took full notice of all his sorrows. Those who pour out tears before God, though they cannot plead for themselves, by reason of their defects, have a Friend to plead for them, even the Son of man, and on him we must ground all our hopes of acceptance with God. To die, is to go the way whence we shall not return. We must all of us, very certainly, and very shortly, go this journey. Should not then the Saviour be precious to our souls? And ought we not to be ready to obey and to suffer for his sake? If our consciences are sprinkled with his atoning blood, and testify that we are not living in sin or hypocrisy, when we go the way whence we shall not return, it will be a release from prison, and an entrance into everlasting happiness.
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.