Job 19:1-29

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Job responded to Bildad. In his comments, he included Eliphaz and Zophar. (19:1)

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had not comforted Job. Therefore, he raised the rhetorical question about how long they would pain or torment (“weary”) him (literally, “my soul”) and crush him with their words. (19:2)

All three men had reproached Job, attributing his suffering to presumed serious failure to live an upright life. Up to this point, only five of their lengthy speeches have been quoted. Therefore, the reference to their reproaching Job “ten times” could signify doing so repeatedly or a complete number of times. In the Septuagint, there is no mention of “ten times.” It quotes Job as attributing his suffering to God. “Only know that the Lord has made me thus.” This could mean that Job believed that God had reduced him to the afflicted state in which he found himself. (19:3)

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar made assumptions about Job based on his distressing circumstances, but they had no evidence that he had made himself guilty of serious transgression. Considering the severity of Job’s affliction, they should have been ashamed to add to his pain. But, as he said to them, they were not ashamed to deal harshly with him or to wrong him. According to the Septuagint, they spoke against him. The words “not shaming me” could indicate that the three men did not restrain themselves from shaming Job, failing to show him respect. They “pressed” upon him or were hostile to him, adding to his distress. (19:3)

In case he had indeed erred or gone astray, Job pointed out that his error “lodged” or remained with him. It would be a matter of his concern alone. He would be accountable for his actions and would have to bear the consequences. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar would not be injured or affected. (19:4; see the Notes section regarding the additional words in the Septuagint.)

Job accused Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar of magnifying or exalting themselves against him, reproving him as an interior lacking in understanding and as one guilty of serious wrongdoing. They argued or decided against him that his “reproach,” or the humiliation that had resulted from his calamities and suffering, was deserved. The Septuagint represents Job as saying, “But you assail me with reproach.” (19:5)

Job felt that he did not deserve to be submitted to great suffering. Therefore, he said to his companions that they should “know” or recognize that God had wronged (troubled [LXX]) him. He likened what had befallen him to having a net encircle him, and he attributed this action to God. (19:6)

Job cried out, “Violence!” This apparently was regarding the violent or harsh treatment to which he had been subjected. But there was no answer from God. Job called out for help, but justice was not rendered in his case. He received no assistance. (19:7; see the Notes section regarding the Septuagint rendering.)

Job referred to God as having “walled up” his “way” so that he could not pass, being prevented from getting out of the distressing state in which he found himself. The Septuagint indicates that Job could not escape from his completely hemmed-in condition. He felt that God had set “darkness” upon his “paths,” making it impossible for him to see a way out of his distress. According to the Septuagint, God had put darkness upon Job’s face, depriving him of any hope that relief would come. There was absolutely nothing that brightened Job’s day. (19:8)

Job spoke of God as having stripped him of “glory” and taken the “crown” from his head. His “glory” could designate his wealth, and his “crown” could refer to the dignified standing that he had formerly enjoyed. Both had ended for him. (19:9)

Job represented God as having broken him down (ripped him apart [LXX]) round about or on every side. Regarding the result of this action, he said, “I am gone” (“I was gone” [LXX]). This suggests that he had been reduced to a state of utter ruin. Job’s “hope” had been “pulled up,” uprooted, or “cut down” (LXX) “like a tree,” ceasing to exist. (19:10)

In view of his great suffering, Job spoke of God as having “kindled” his “anger” against him and reckoned him as his “adversary,” as a man toward whom he was intensely hostile. According to the Septuagint, God treated Job horribly in his anger. (19:11)

Job described what had happened to him as if God had led an enemy force against him. His “troops” had come together against Job and besieged him, encamping around his “tent.” (19:12; see the Notes section regarding the Septuagint rendering.)

Job believed that God had put his “brothers” or relatives far from him. Persons who knew him or his intimate acquaintances had become like total strangers. Avoided by everyone, he had been left without any comfort from relatives or acquaintances. The Septuagint indicates that Job’s “brothers” or relatives who had distanced themselves acknowledged strangers rather than him. With reference to Job, his “friends” had become “merciless,” treating him like an outcast. (19:13)

Individuals who were close to Job, probably his relatives, forsook him (literally, “ceased” [took no notice of him (LXX)]), and those who knew him, his intimate acquaintances, or (according to the Septuagint) persons who knew his “name” forgot him. They ignored him and gave no consideration to his need for comfort. To them, he was like a man who no longer lived. (19:14)

“Guests” in Job’s house and his maidservants regarded him like a stranger. “In their eyes,” he had become a foreigner. The Septuagint contains the expression “neighbors of my house.” This probably designates Job’s nearest neighbors. (19:15)

Slaves or servants were expected to obey their master’s command and to perform the tasks he assigned to them. For a servant of Job not even to respond to his calling him revealed gross disrespect. The servant treated Job as if he had no authority over him and as if he did not even exist. “With [his] mouth,” Job implored or begged his servant. The implication is that even then his servant did not respond. (19:16)

Job referred to his “spirit” as having been loathsome to his wife. This could mean that his breath was foul or that he himself had become loathsome to her. The expression “sons of my womb” could designate offspring that came from the same womb as Job did and so could apply to his brothers. To them, Job was repulsive. According to the Septuagint, the relatives were “sons” of Job’s concubines. (19:17; see the Notes section for additional comments about the Septuagint rendering.)

Youths or “young children” were expected to respect their elders, but they “rejected” or despised Job. Whenever he stood up, they spoke against him. (19:18; see the Notes section regarding the Septuagint rendering.)

Job’s closest confidants (“men of his intimate group” [“the ones knowing (him)” (LXX)]) abhorred him. Persons whom he loved turned against him. Not a single one of his friends stood by him. All forsook him like a man to be shunned. (19:19)

Job’s “bone” clung to his “skin” and a thin layer of “flesh.” This suggests that all his bones had become visible, with virtually only the skin covering them. The Septuagint represents Job as saying that his “flesh” decayed in or under his “skin.” (19:20)

The expression about escaping with the “skin of one’s teeth” has come to be understood as meaning barely escaping with one’s life. It is not likely, however, that this is the significance of the Hebrew words. They appear to describe how Job perceived his physical condition. Perhaps the thought is that he saw himself as a man who, in his diseased state, had been left as mere skin and bones, with even his teeth being visible through his skin. The Septuagint rendering is, “But my bones are held in the teeth.” Although obscure, this Greek rendering indicates that the translator did not understand the Hebrew text to relate to a narrow escape. (19:20)

Directing his words to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, Job pleaded, “Have compassion for me, have compassion for me, O you my companions (friends [LXX]), for God’s hand has touched me.” He believed that God (the Lord [LXX]) had used his “hand” or power against him to afflict him, and so his companions should have looked upon him as an object of pity. (19:21)

Job had concluded that God afflicted him. Therefore, when he directed his attention to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, he raised the rhetorical question, “Why do you pursue,” persecute, or torment “me like God [the Lord (LXX)] does?” With their hurtful words and misrepresentations, they had torn into Job’s “flesh.” So his question was whether this did not satisfy them and prompt them to change their attitude toward him. (19:22)

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar completely discounted everything that Job had said. This may be his major reason for desiring that his words would be committed to writing (forever [“into to the age”], LXX), inscribed in a scroll. If the reference is to a metal scroll, the Hebrew word for “inscribed” (chaqáq [“cut in”]) would be especially appropriate. (19:23; see the Notes section.)

Job wished that a permanent record would be made of his words, being inscribed with an “iron stylus and lead,” hewn into rock for all time to come. This could mean that, with an iron stylus, the impressions would be made in rock and then filled in with lead. (19:24; see the Notes section.)

Job was certain that he was innocent and, therefore, believed that he would be vindicated. This appears to be reflected in his words, “And I know my redeemer” or repurchaser (one who would see to his vindication) “lives.” According to the Septuagint, Job knew that this one “is eternal,” indicating that he believed that the eternal God would effect his release or liberate him “upon the earth.” The Hebrew text (“and coming after me, he will arise upon the dust”) could suggest that, although Job would die and return to the dust, his redeemer or repurchaser would there “arise upon the dust” and vindicate him. (19:25)

Job is quoted as saying, “And after my skin, which they have struck off — this: And from my flesh, I will see God.” Perhaps the reference is to the ravages of the affliction that destroyed Job’s skin. Nevertheless, he appears to have been so sure of his future vindication as a man who had lived uprightly that he spoke of seeing God, apparently in the role of his vindicator, and this would be certain even “from” or apart from his “flesh or without his physical organism remaining. (19:26; see the Notes section regarding the Septuagint rendering.)

Job is represented as confidently expressing his hope of seeing God, apparently in the role of his vindicator. Whereas “another” or no stranger would see God, Job would. His own eyes would see him. Within Job, his “kidneys” or his deepest emotions, had failed. This could indicate that, as he longed for the time when he would “see” God, he was completely drained emotionally. (19:27; see the Notes section regarding the Septuagint rendering.)

Job’s words to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar may be rendered as a question, “How do we pursue” or persecute “him?” His answer was that, according to them, he himself was to blame, “the root of the matter being found in me.” (19:28; see the Notes section regarding the Septuagint rendering.)

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had falsely accused Job of being a wrongdoer whom God was punishing for his serious transgressions. He, therefore, warned them that their attacks against him would lead to punitive judgment. He represented this judgment as a “sword,” telling them that they should be in fear for themselves on account of the sword, for “wrath” would come upon “iniquities” calling for the “sword.” Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar would then know that there is judgment (shaddín). (19:29; see the Notes section.)


In verse 4, the Septuagint adds Job’s acknowledgment about speaking a “word” that is “unnecessary” or inappropriate. Then follows the phrase, “and my words stray and are not [spoken] at the [right] time.”

Verse 7 in the Septuagint does not mention violence. It quotes Job as saying, “I laugh at reproach, and I will not speak.” This could mean that Job ignored the reproach and remained silent.

The thought expressed in verse 12 of the Septuagint rendering depends on the meaning of the word peiratérion, which commonly designates a “trial” or “test.” It has also been understood to apply to a “marauder band.” Accordingly, either God’s “trials” or “marauder bands” had come together against Job “in [his] ways.” They surrounded him, “lying in wait.” It is possible that the phrase “in my ways” is to be linked to Job’s being surrounded in his ways or in every course that he chose to follow.

In verse 17, the Septuagint says that Job “entreated” his wife “and, flattering, summoned the sons of [his] concubines.”

Verse 18 in the Septuagint does not mention youths or young children. It may be understood to say that both Job’s wife and the sons of his concubines always (literally, “into the age” or forever) rejected him.

In verse 23, the Septuagint rendering expresses Job’s desire to have his words written as a question concerning who would do so.

In the third century CE, Origen did not find the initial phrase of verse 24 (“with an iron and lead stylus”) in the Septuagint available to him. He added it from the version of Theodotion and marked the addition accordingly. In the Septuagint, the concluding phrase is, “or be engraved in rocks.”

The Septuagint rendering of verse 26 seems to express Job’s hope of future restoration. With reference to what God would do, Job is quoted as saying, “to raise up my skin, [which] endured these things.” The text then continues, “For from the Lord, these things have been accomplished on me.” “These things” could designate all the developments that had affected Job.

Verse 27 of the Septuagint continues the thought about “these things” that were mentioned in the previous verse. They are things of which Job was aware in himself, which his “eye had seen and not another” eye, and all that had been completed for him in his “bosom.”

In the Septuagint the thought of verse 28 differs somewhat from the extant Hebrew text. “But even if you say, What shall we say before him?” The next phrase was not found in the Septuagint text available to Origen in the third century CE. He marked the words that he added from the version of Theodotion (“and the root of the matter we will find in him”).

In verse 29, there is a measure of uncertainty about the significance of the Hebrew expression shaddín. Renderings such as “judgment” or “judge” have the support of the Targum and the Vulgate (iudicium [“judgment”]). The Septuagint uses the word hýle (“matter” or “substance”).

According to the Septuagint rendering of verse 29, Job cautioned Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar about resorting to a “cover-up” or a concealment of the truth. He warned them, “For anger will come upon lawless ones, and then they will know where their matter,” substance, or basis “is.” The implication is that divine anger would be expressed against them. What they regarded as having substance would then be exposed as not having any basis.