Job 19 (New Living Translation)
One of my trusted advisers has suggested that I offer an abbreviated study on Job. So we will be looking at only 13 chapters of Job, instead of the full 42. It seems to me a merciful thing to do for you, my readers! (You are, of course, welcome to read the whole book on your own!)
Job’s Sixth Speech: A Response to Bildad
1Then Job spoke again: 2 “How long will you torture me?
How long will you try to crush me with your words?
3 You have already insulted me ten times.
You should be ashamed of treating me so badly.
4 Even if I have sinned,
that is my concern, not yours.
5 You think you’re better than I am,
using my humiliation as evidence of my sin.
Matthew 7:1-5 (English Standard Version)
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
6 But it is God who has wronged me,
capturing me in his net.
7 “I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me.
I protest, but there is no justice.
8 God has blocked my way so I cannot move.
He has plunged my path into darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished.
He has uprooted my hope like a fallen tree.
11 His fury burns against me;
he counts me as an enemy.
12 His troops advance.
They build up roads to attack me.
They camp all around my tent.
In Job 19:8-12, Job recounts the reverse progression of an ancient siege and conquering of a city; yet the irony was that Job was not like a mighty city, but only like a humble tent.
We can see the reverse progress starting at Job 19:8:
- Captivity (I cannot pass; and He has set darkness in my paths).
- Dethronement (taken the crown from my head)
- Being like a wall torn down (He breaks me down on every side)
- Being like an uprooted tree (my hope He has uprooted like a tree)
- Having a siege set against him (build up their road against me)
- Being surrounded (they encamp all around my tent)
13 “My relatives stay far away,
and my friends have turned against me.
14 My family is gone,
and my close friends have forgotten me.
15 My servants and maids consider me a stranger.
I am like a foreigner to them.
16 When I call my servant, he doesn’t come;
I have to plead with him!
17 My breath is repulsive to my wife.
I am rejected by my own family.
If it were not enough that he has lost so much, now even the friends and family remaining to him are distancing themselves from him. This rejection is even a heavier burden to bear! As the little poem goes:
Sticks and stones are hard on bones.
Aimed with cruel art,
Words can sting like anything.
But silence breaks the heart.
18 Even young children despise me.
When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me.
19 My close friends detest me.
Those I loved have turned against me.
20 I have been reduced to skin and bones
and have escaped death by the skin of my teeth.
The expression by (or with) the skin of one’s teeth, which means ‘by an extremely narrow margin; just barely; scarcely’ is an example of a literal translation of a phrase in another language. It’s also another example of a Biblical expression gaining currency in mainstream usage.
The Biblical source of this phrase is the following passage, where Job is complaining about how illness has ravaged his body: “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth” (Job xix.20, in the King James Version). The point here is that Job is so sick that there’s nothing left to his body. The passage is rendered differently in other translations; the Douay Bible, for example, which is an English translation of the Vulgate (St. Jerome’s fourth-century Latin translation), gives: “My bone hath cleaved to my skin, and nothing but lips are left about my teeth.”
The phrase, which first appears in English in a mid-sixteenth-century translation of the Bible, does not appear to become common until the nineteenth century. At this point by the skin of one’s teeth is the usual form, as if the teeth actually have skin that is so fine you can barely tell. (An interesting parallel is the nineteenth-century Americanism fine as frog’s hair, meaning ‘very fine’, based on a similar assumption.)
21 “Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy,
for the hand of God has struck me.
22 Must you also persecute me, like God does?
Haven’t you chewed me up enough?
23 “Oh, that my words could be recorded.
Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument,
24 carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead,
engraved forever in the rock.
25 “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
26 And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!
27 I will see him for myself.
Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
I am overwhelmed at the thought!
from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael
Job 19:26-27 — In my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.
I shall see God for myself, and not another; not a stranger is the KJV margin. I shall not have to learn to know and love Him, for it will be the God who has led me all my life long — and not another.
No stranger’s face will meet us on the day we die. We shall be awakened by the vision of His face — only His.
A little girl was slowly dying in her home in India. A Christian doctor who was called to see her told her of our Lord Jesus. After a little while she began to understand and love Him. One day she said: “I don’t know anyone in heaven. I shall feel very shy there.”
“But you know our Lord Jesus,” said the doctor. “You won’t be shy with Him.” She was comforted. Soon after that she saw Him — not another, not a stranger, but the Lord who loved her and gave Himself for her.
“I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” from Messiah, by George Frederich Handel, 1741. It is performed here at King’s College Chapel, conducted by Stephen Cleobury with the King’s College Choir, Cambridge & Academy of Ancient Music, Ailish Tynan, soloist.
28 “How dare you go on persecuting me,
saying, ‘It’s his own fault’?
29 You should fear punishment yourselves,
for your attitude deserves punishment.
Then you will know that there is indeed a judgment.”
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.