Job 19

Job’s Fifth Response[a]

Chapter 19

God Has Wronged Me.[b] 1 Job then answered with these words:

2 “How much longer will you torment me
and oppress me with your words?
3 You have reproached me now ten times,
and you mistreat me shamelessly.
4 And even if it were true that I have erred,
the fault would be completely mine.
5 “If indeed you want to exalt yourselves above me
and use my humiliation against me,
6 know that God has wronged me
and cast his net over me.
7 Even when I protest that I have been wronged,
no one comes forward to support me,
and I receive no justice when I cry out for help.
8 “He has blocked my path so that I cannot pass,
and he has shrouded my way in darkness.
9 He has deprived me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He assails me on every side until I succumb;
he has uprooted my hope like a tree.
11 He has inflamed his anger against me
and looks upon me as his enemy.
12 His troops move forward as a single force;
they have surrounded me with siegeworks
and encamped around my tent.
13 “He has caused my brethren to turn against me;
my friends are completely estranged from me.
14 My relatives and my companions now ignore me,
and those who were guests in my house have forgotten me.
15 Even my serving girls regard me as a stranger;
I have become an alien in their eyes.
16 When I summon my servant, he does not respond,
no matter how much I plead with him.
17 “My wife finds my breath repulsive;
my stench is loathsome to my relatives.
18 Even young children despise me;[c]
when I approach, they turn their backs on me.
19 All of my dearest friends abhor me;
those I love have turned against me.
20 I have become just skin and bones
and have escaped with only my gums.[d]
21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity on me,
for the hand of God has touched me.
22 Must you pursue me just as God does?
Will not my flesh ever be enough to satisfy you?[e]

I Know That My Redeemer Lives[f]

23 “How I wish that my words might be written down
and inscribed on a scroll!
24 How I wish that with an iron chisel and with lead
they were engraved in stone forever!
25 “But I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the end he will stand upon the dust.
26 After my awakening, he will call me close to him,
and then from my own flesh I will see God.
27 I will see him with my own eyes;
my eyes, not those of another, will behold him.
How my heart within me yearns for that moment!
28 “As for you who say,
‘How we will persecute him,
for the root of the trouble lies in him,’
29 beware of the sword that is pointed toward you,
for the avenger of wickedness is the sword,
and then you will know that there is indeed a judgment.”

Footnotes

  1. Job 19:1 Though persecuted by God and condemned by humans, Job remains certain that he will someday see his cause triumphant and God himself acting as his defender.
  2. Job 19:1 Job is not going to justify himself before his friends any longer; it is the justice of God and not his own that is at issue. Job lets forth an ardent lamentation, an appeal for pity.
  3. Job 19:18 Even young children despise me: this fact was a great embarrassment in a patriarchal society, which insisted that its elders be respected and honored (see Ex 20:12).
  4. Job 19:20 The translation of this verse is uncertain. Most commentators believe it means “I am nothing and possess nothing except my skin and bones.”
  5. Job 19:22 To eat someone’s flesh meant to mistreat him and especially to slander him (see Ps 27:2).
  6. Job 19:23 This is regarded as the best-known and most-beloved passage in the Book of Job as well as the culmination of Job’s understanding of his situation and his relationship with God. At the end of his life, Job is convulsed by a cry of hope, which he utters like a challenge, and also by the prospect of meeting his God, whom he will really see with his own eyes (Job 42:5).
    God is Job’s defender; originally, a goel was a close relative of somebody slain, who had to avenge that relative’s blood, raise up a posterity to the dead man’s wife, and redeem his property. Job, therefore, expects a liberation.
    The Vulgate Latin translation interpreted this as resurrection of the body after death. The direct meaning of the Hebrew text may be extended, in a Christian perspective, to include the resurrection, but the Book of Job does not perceive this so clearly.

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