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JOB 19

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Job Feels Insulted Job Trusts in His Redeemer Reply of Job Job Faith At Its Height in Total Destruction
19:1-6
(2-6)
19:1-6
(2-6)
19:1-12
(1-12)
19:1-12
(1-12)
19:1-12
(2-12)
Everything Is Against Him        
19:7-12
(7-12)
19:7-12
(7-12)
     
19:13-22
(13-22)
19:13-20
(13-20)
19:13-22
(13-22)
19:13-22
(13-22)
19:13-22
(13-22)
Job says, "My Redeemer Lives" 19:21-22
(21-22)
     
19:23-29
(23-29)
19:23-29
(23-29)
19:23-29
(23-29)
19:23-27a
(23-27a)
19:23-29
(23-29)
      19:27b-29
(27b-29)
 

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. Job 18 repeats the traditional theology (the two ways) that Job is obviously a sinner and this must be the basis for his predicament. Bildad made the accusation, "Job, why are you rocking the boat?" (cf. Job 18:4)

 

B. Job 19 is similar to Job 16 (i.e., Job 16:19; 15:25-27). Job believes in a heavenly advocate (i.e., also Elihu in Job 33:23-28).

 

C. Note the four pressures that relate to Job's circumstances.

1. the response of his three friends, Job 19:2-5

2. God's silence, Job 19:7-12

3. rejection by family and friends, Job 19:13-19

4. his physical disease (Job 19:20-22) 

 

D. For Job there are several things that cause him suffering (see C) but the two that hurt the most are

1. God's silence, Job 19:7

2. God's treating him as an enemy, Job 19:11b

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:1-6
 1Then Job responded,
 2"How long will you torment me
 And crush me with words?
 3These ten times you have insulted me;
 You are not ashamed to wrong me.
 4Even if I have truly erred,
 My error lodges with me.
 5If indeed you vaunt yourselves against me
 And prove my disgrace to me,
 6Know then that God has wronged me
 And has closed His net around me."

19:2 "How long will you torment me" Job reacts to the continuing railing accusations of his three friends.

▣ "me" This is the Hebrew word nephesh (BDB 659). See full note at Gen. 35:18 online.

▣ "crush" This verb (BDB 193, KB 221, Piel imperfect) denotes a violent activity (cf. Ps. 72:4; 89:10; Pro. 22:22) and is parallel to "torment" (BDB 387, KB 385, Hiphil imperfect). Both imperfect verbs denote continuing verbal hostility.

19:3 "ten times" This is not literal. It is an idiom for a full number of times (cf. Gen. 31:7; Num. 14:22). See SPECIAL TOPIC: SYMBOLIC NUMBERS IN SCRIPTURE.

▣ "insulted. . .wrong" These are two strong terms.

1. The first, BDB 483, KB 480, Hiphil imperfect, means to put to shame, insult, humiliate (cf. Job 11:3).

2. The second word is more doubtful, BDB 229, KB 245, Hiphil imperfect, and is found only here. From the parallelism it must refer to the insulting words of the three friends. TEV has "abuse me."

 

19:4-6 The point of these verses is that Job's friends have been playing God. They have accused him of wrong doing without any evidence, just their traditional "two ways" theology.

Job warns them that God will deal with them by the standard of their own theology. To falsely accuse someone in the Mosaic covenant meant you took on yourself the punishment you accused another person of falsely.

19:4 "if I have truly erred" This is a condition contrary to reality (BDB 64, "even if. . .") but conceded to for the sake of argument. Job has asserted his innocence several times (i.e., Job 9:21; 10:7; 16:17).

19:5b "And prove my disgrace to me" The RSV has "and make my humiliation an argument against me"; TEV has "and regard my troubles as proof of my guilt." These fit the context better than the NASB. The argument of the three friends is that Job must have sinned because look at what happened to him. God does not afflict the innocent, only the guilty (i.e., the two ways, Deut. 30:15,19; Psalm 1).

19:6 "Know then that God has wronged me" "Know" is a Qal imperative. This wrong is described in Job 19:7-12. Bildad asserted in 18:8 that the wicked are caught in their own nets. Job asserts emphatically that it is not because of his sin but because of the actions ("net") of God (cf. Job. 19:7-12).

Job clearly and repeatedly accuses God of treating him unfairly, unjustly. This is a shocking and serious charge. I think this is the main subject of the entire book! Is God unjust in how He treats His human creatures? The Pauline focus on Genesis 3 nor the rabbinical focus on Genesis 6 can form an answer to Job's question. If God causes all things (i.e., sovereignty) and evil, bad, unfair things occur, what is the source of these things? Although the book of Job brings up the question, it gives no answer, except God is sovereign!

▣ "And has closed His net around me" This military/hunting term (BDB 844 II) may allude to Bildad's usage in Job 18:8-10.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:7-12
 7"Behold, I cry, ‘Violence!' but I get no answer;
 I shout for help, but there is no justice.
 8He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass,
 And He has put darkness on my paths.
 9He has stripped my honor from me
 And removed the crown from my head.
 10He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone;
 And He has uprooted my hope like a tree.
 11He has also kindled His anger against me
 And considered me as His enemy.
 12His troops come together,
 And build up their way against me
 And camp around my tent."

19:7-12 This strophe documents Job's accusations of God's activity in his life.

1. Job prays but God does not answer, Job 19:7a

2. Job shouts for justice but there is no response, Job 19:7b

3. God has "walled up" his way, Job 19:8a

4. God has darkened his path, Job 19:8b

5. God has stripped him of honor, Job 19:9a

6. God has removed his crown (i.e., good life), Job 19:9b

7. God "breaks him down on every side," Job 19:10a

8. God has "uprooted" his hope, Job 19:10b (cf. Job 7:6; 17:15)

9. God "has kindled His anger" against him, Job 19:11a

10. God "has considered" him an enemy, Job 19:11b

11. God's troops

a. came together

b. built a siege work

c. made camp against him, Job 19:12

 

19:9 "He has stripped my honor from me" Honor is from the Hebrew word kabod (BDB 458). This is the normal word for "glory." Its basic etymology is "to be heavy," therefore, it can mean "wealth" (see SPECIAL TOPIC: GLORY (DOXA) [OT]). The meaning in Job 19:9 seems to be (1) his good name or (2) children.

19:12 "His troops" This refers to a military company (cf. 2 Chr. 26:11). In poetic passages it is hard to know if the imagery is literal or figurative.

1. God's angelic army (i.e., Lord of Hosts, cf. Jos. 5:15)

2. imagery of opposition but no specificity

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:13-22
 13He has removed my brothers far from me,
 And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
 14My relatives have failed,
 And my intimate friends have forgotten me.
 15Those who live in my house and my maids consider me a stranger.
 I am a foreigner in their sight.
 16I call to my servant, but he does not answer;
 I have to implore him with my mouth.
 17My breath is offensive to my wife,
 And I am loathsome to my own brothers.
 18Even young children despise me;
 I rise up and they speak against me.
 19All my associates abhor me,
 And those I love have turned against me.
 20My bone clings to my skin and my flesh,
 And I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.
 21Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,
 For the hand of God has struck me.
 22Why do you persecute me as God does,
 And are not satisfied with my flesh?"

19:13 "brothers" This describes the pain of rejection Job experienced from the significant persons in his life.

1. brothers, Job 19:13,17b

2. acquaintances, Job 19:13 (cf. Job 16:20)

3. relatives, Job 19:14

4. intimate friends, Job 19:14 (cf. Job 12:4)

5. those who live in my house, Job 19:15-17

6. young children, Job 19:18

7. all my associates, Job 19:19

8. my friends, Job 19:21

This long list of Job's family and associates is purposeful to show that his go'el (i.e., kinsman redeemer) must come from

1. later posterity (but all of Job's children are dead)

2. heaven (i.e., either God Himself or an advocate at the heavenly council)

 

19:18b

NASB,
NKJV"I rise"
NRSV,
JPSOA,
REB"when I rise"
NJB"whenever I stand up"

The implication is that when Job tries to speak or defend himself the children speak negatively of him.

19:20 "I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth" This is a proverbial saying. It may mean he is on the verge of death.

19:21 "Pity me, pity me" These are Qal imperatives repeated for emphasis. Job seeks pity (BDB 335, KB 334) from his three comforters.

▣ "the hand of God has struck me" The "hand of God" is a Semitic idiom for the "activity of" or "power of" God (cf. Job 1:11; 2:5,6). See SPECIAL TOPIC: HAND.

The imagery of God with a physical human body is called anthropomorphism. The only vocabulary humans have is an earthbound, time bound, physical bound language. See SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD DESCRIBED AS HUMAN (ANTHROPOMORPHISM) (anthropomorphic language).

Job's affirmation that his problems come from God is both true and false.

1. The Bible asserts in very clear and recurrent places the full sovereignty of God. In this sense there is only one causality in human existence (cf. Isa. 45:7; Lam. 3:32-38; Amos 3:6b).

2. It was God who allowed "the accuser" to strike Job (cf. Job 2:6). Job's plight was in the will of God (for a larger purpose).

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:23-29
 23"Oh that my words were written!
 Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
 24That with an iron stylus and lead
 They were engraved in the rock forever!
 25As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
 And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
 26Even after my skin is destroyed,
 Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
 27Whom I myself shall behold,
 And whom my eyes will see and not another.
 My heart faints within me!
 28If you say, ‘How shall we persecute him?'
 And ‘What pretext for a case against him can we find?'
 29Then be afraid of the sword for yourselves,
 For wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
 So that you may know there is judgment."

19:23 "Oh that my words were written!

 Oh that they were inscribed in a book" This may be a reaction to Bildad's words in Job 18:17. Job wants a permanent record of God's injustice (cf. Job 19:23-24)! Job has asserted this several times (i.e., Job 9:23-24; 10:6-7; 16:11-13). This assertion would be shocking to Bildad but that is what he thinks Job is doing (cf. Job 8:3).

The "Oh that" of Job 19:23a and b is characteristic of a wish. It is used eleven times in Job (cf. Job 6:8; 11:5; 13:5; 14:4,13; 23:3; 29:2; 31:35).

19:25-27 Again, the question comes up as to whom Job is referring.

1. God (cf. Ps. 19:14; Isa. 44:6)

2. a heavenly advocate (cf. Job 9:33; 16:19,21)

For those of us influenced by the NT, this heavenly advocate fits the role of Jesus. This same type of legal terminology is found in Rom 8:31-39. The problems in this text are

1. the difficulties of the MT of this passage in Job (UBS Text Project, pp. 51-52)

2. the sudden theology of an afterlife acquittal

3. the physicalness of both a dead Job and God/Vindicator

We must be careful not to read full blown NT theology into OT texts. Job has been seeking vindication in this life. He now feels he will die but still wants his name cleared and his reputation restored. It seems this text is addressing these issues and not resurrection (cf. Job 14:10-14) and afterlife in a NT sense. No NT author uses this passage in connection with the resurrection of the Messiah (i.e., Ps. 16:10) nor believers. Surely Daniel 12 asserts a resurrection and the NT asserts the resurrection of Jesus and of all believers (cf. I Corinthians 15).

19:25 "As for me, I" Notice the number of personal pronouns in Job. 19:25-27.

▣ "I know" This is the perfect tense. The OT word "know" speaks primarily of relationship, not concrete knowledge (cf. Gen. 4:1). See Special Topic: Know.

▣ "Redeemer" This is from the Hebrew word go'el (BDB 145, KB 169). It stands for the kinsman redeemer who can act either as a deliverer (cf. Ruth) or blood avenger (cf. Num. 35:19; Deut. 19:6). Here is another example of a possible title for God drawn from close kinship relationships.

▣ "lives" This is an adjective (BDB 311) not a verb. It is interesting that both the "Redeemer" of Job 19:25 and YHWH are characterized by the same concept. See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY.

▣ "at last He will take His stand on the earth" Job believed in God's ultimate justice. If it does not occur in this age, it will occur in the next. Someone will defend Job's innocence.

1. a relative (i.e., go'el, cf. Job 19:25a)

2. a heavenly advocate

 

NASB,
NKJV,
NRSV"earth"
NJB"on the dust of the earth"
REB"in the court"

The MT has "dust" (BDB 779). This may denote someone standing over Job's grave (i.e., dust used of the grave, cf. Job 7:21; 17:16; 20:11; 21:26) and defending him (i.e., giving a testimony, cf. REB).

19:26 "Even after my skin is destroyed" This is literally "they consumed." This seems to refer to the corruption of the body by worms or bacteria. Job expects to die soon (cf. Job 16:22; 17:1).

▣ "Yet from my flesh I shall see God" There are several alternate translations for the term.

1. "from my flesh," NRSV

2. "in my flesh," KJV, NIV

3. "from my flesh," RSV, JB

4. "without my flesh," ASV and NASB

5. the Hebrew term min seems to mean "from the vantage point of" not "without" (cf. Song of Songs 2:9)

See Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pp. 240-241 and NIDOTTE, vol. 2, pp. 57-58.

▣ "see. . .behold. . .my eyes will see" Notice the emphasis on physical sight. Job believes he will face God one day. The OT believed the life beyond was similar to this life.

Job has stated that only the innocent can stand before God, so maybe this is an allusion to that.

19:27a

NASB"Whom I myself shall behold"
NRSV"Whom I shall see on my side"
NJB"He whom I shall see will take my part"
REB"standing at my side"
L.B."Then he will be on my side!"

The difference is how to translate לי (BDB 511-518). For me the NRSV makes more sense of the context.

1. Job expects to one day have his face-to-face meeting with God.

2. Job desires to be friends with God again, as in Job 1, and not as an enemy.

3. Job believes he is innocent and one day God will acknowledge this also.

 

19:27b

NASB,
NKJV,
NRSV"and not another"
TEV"he will not be a stranger"
NJB"no stranger"

The MT has the Qal active participle of זור (BDB 266 I), which is the verb for "to be a stranger." The context seems to denote that a time will come, before or after Job's death, when the friendship between himself and God (Job 1) will be fully and completely restored. God will no longer be an enemy (i.e., Job 19:7-12).

▣ "heart" This is literally "kidneys." The ancients used the lower viscera to represent the seat of the emotions.

19:28-29 As Job expects to stand before God in justice, he warns his three friends that they will also stand before God and will be judged for their false accusations and harsh words.

19:29 "there is judgment" Some ancient versions (Syriac, Vulgate) see this as a spelling variant of "the Almighty" (BDB 994) instead of the noun "Judgment" or "a Judge" (BDB 192, which is the standard way to interpret the Hebrew [Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotian]).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Why does Job accuse God and not some other source for his predicament?

2. List the family relationships involved in Job 19:13-22. Why are they mentioned?

3. Who is the Redeemer?

4. Does the famous passage in Job 19:25-27 predict a resurrection?

 

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