In the speech that Eliphaz had finished, the only new invective was that of adding to the list of Job’s supposed sins that he is also an extreme hypocrite due to his refusal to admit his wickedness. Job addresses them as the “miserable comforters” they are and declares that if their roles were reversed, he would try to ease their pain instead of making them more miserable. He would rather they would have just kept silent as when they first arrived.
In the following verses, while he says that God has worn him out, and that his state bears witness of his sins in the eyes of those around him, he seems to have at last concluded that it is not God Himself that has done all of these things to him. Instead, he says that God has allowed it to happen, and that he has given him up to the hands of the wicked and evil that are tormenting him (verse 11). And the fact that he still believes that he is not wicked both confuses and saddens him.
How utterly hopeless a feeling it must be to believe that in the face of all that tragedy, not only has mankind turned their backs on him, but the Lord has abandoned him as well. Now, it sounds like all that he has to look forward to is a few more years just waiting to die. Job is deep in the clutches of depression, the depth of which we could never really know.
But that is not the whole story here. In the midst of all this depression and despair, Job not only has hope, he is certain about his assurance. Job feels that God has abandoned him to evil, yet he speaks with certainty in verses 19-21 of one who will intercede for him: “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high.” And then: “my eye pours out tears to God, that he would argue the case of a man with God.”
Through it all, Job know through divine inspiration, that it is God Himself that will intercede for him.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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