King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Job 16

Job reproves his friends. (1-5) He represents his case as deplorable. (6-16) Job maintains his innocency. (17-22)

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Job reproves his friends

1 Then Job answered and said,

2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.

3 Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?

4 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.

5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.

He represents his case as deplorable

6 Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?

7 But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.

8 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.

9 He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.

10 They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.

11 God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.

12 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.

13 His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.

14 He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant.

15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.

16 My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death;

Job maintains his innocency

17 Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.

18 O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.

19 Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.

20 My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.

21 O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!

22 When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Comforters. “Job’s friends or comforters,” are become proverbial, to denote people who do the contrary to what they seem to promise. H. — Never did men sustain worse the character of comforters. They all magnify their knowledge and piety, and make the most absurd application of their principles to Job’s condition. C. — He was not ignorant that tyrants and wicked men were often, may generally till the age in which he lived, visited with visible judgments. H.

Ver. 3. Windy, inconclusive arguments. They all entertain a mean opinion of their adversaries, as they did not agree in the application of the propositions. Hence though they might be true, they were nothing to their present purpose. C. xv. 3. H. — Trouble. You can speak without any pain: but the case is far different with me. M. — Heb. “what emboldeneth thee to answer?” H. — Who asks thee for advice? C. — True friends will give it without upbraiding, or laying false crimes to the charge of any one. W.

Ver. 4. My soul. If you had experienced my state of misery, (H.) I surely would not have behaved thus to you. C.

Facile, cum valemus, recta consilia ægrotis damus:

Tu si hic sis, aliter sentias. Terent. Andria.

Ver. 5. Wag, or shake my head out of pity. C. xlii. 11. Nah. iii. 7. The same sign often indicates astonishment or contempt. Ps. xxi. 8. Matt. xxvii. 28. C.

Ver. 7. But. Heb. “If I speak,” &c.

Ver. 8. Limbs. Heb. “company,” (H.) or family. The assemblage of my limbs is also disordered by the leprosy.

Ver. 9. Against me, in your opinion, as if I were guilty of lies. Heb. “my leanness bears witness, my falsehood has risen up against me and answered me to my face;” which may be understood in the same sense as the argument of Eliphaz. He is designated by the false speaker; (C.) unless we explain it of the wrinkles, which falsely indicated that Job was advanced in years, or of the malady; whence it was gathered that he must be a criminal. M. — Prot. “my leanness riseth up.” H.

Ver. 11. Cheek. His friends seemed so enraged, as to be disposed to do so. C. — These expressions were strikingly verified in Christ. M. — The outrages may also be attributed to the devil; (C.) or, by personification, to the malady of Job. M.

Ver. 14. Lances. Heb. “archers.” Sept. “they have encompassed me, throwing lances into my veins, or loins, not sparing,” &c. H. — Bowels. Heb. and Sept. “gall,” being afflicted with a dysentery. S. Thomas explains it of his children, who were slain. H.

Ver. 16. Flesh. Heb. “horn.” Sept. “strength.” H. — I have lost all my beauty and splendor, and have put on the garments of penance. C.

Ver. 17. Dim. Heb. and Sept. “covered with the shadow of death,” (H.) greatly impaired. Some have almost lost their sight by weeping; and death seemed ready to close Job’s eyes. C.

Ver. 18. Hand, which has not been defiled with any injustice. M. — When. Heb. “and my prayer was pure.” I never neglected this sacred duty, (C. i. 5.) as my friends accuse me. C. xv. 4. H. — They continued in their false accusation: so he repeats the same true answer. W.

Ver. 19. In thee. Let the cry of my blood, which issues from my wounds, and the injury which my reputation has suffered, come before the throne of God. Calumny is a species of murder. See Gen. iv. 10. C. — If I be really guilty, I am willing to remain unburied. Let the dogs lick up my blood. Cajet. — Cry. Let the hills re-echo my sufferings. Pineda.

Et quodcumque meæ possunt narrare querelæ,

Cogar ad argutas dicere solus aves. Propertius.

Ver. 21. Full. Heb. “scorners.” Therefore I appeal to inanimate things; and, above all, to God, who cannot give a wrong judgment.

Ver. 22. Judged. Heb. “might plead.” H. — Earthly judges may be compelled to pronounce sentence publicly. Job is afraid lest the justice of his cause should remain undecided, till death overtook him, v. 23. Pineda.

Ver. 23. Years. Heb. and Sept. “of number.” Pauperis est numerare pecus. H. — Like a man under affliction, Job repeats what he had said. C. xiv. 5. M. and C. x. 20. H.