Job 6

Job’s First Response[a]

Chapter 6

Impetuous Words.[b] 1 Job then answered with these words:

2 “If only my anguish could be weighed
and my misfortune placed with it on the scales.
3 They would then outweigh the sands of the sea—
hence, my words have been impetuous.
4 For the arrows of the Almighty[c] have pierced me,
and my spirit soaks in their poison;
God’s terrors are aligned against me.
5 “Does the wild donkey bray when it has grass?
Does an ox bellow when it has fodder?
6 Can tasteless food be eaten without salt?
Is there any flavor in the whites of eggs?
7 I refuse to even touch them;
they are like uncleanness in my food.

The Consolation of Death[d]

8 “Oh, that I might receive my request
and God would grant me what I hope for:
9 that it would please him to crush me,
cutting me off and ceasing to restrain his hand.
10 Such would be my consolation,
and I would exult in my unrelenting pain,
since I have never rebelled against the commands of the Holy One.
11 “Do I have the strength to continue to wait?
And what future awaits me should I decide to be patient?
12 Is my strength the strength of stone?
Is my flesh made of bronze?
13 How can I summon up the energy to survive?
All possible solutions to my plight are beyond my reach.

My Brethren Have Betrayed Me[e]

14 “One who despairs should have the support of his friends
even if he has forsaken the fear of the Almighty.
15 But my brethren have proved to be as treacherous as a torrent,
like watercourses that suddenly run dry;
16 they turn dark with ice
and swell with the thawing of the snow,
17 but they dry up in the hot season,
and in the heat vanish from their beds.
18 “Caravans wander off from their course;
they go into the wilderness and perish.
19 The caravans of Tema search for water;
the travelers from Sheba[f] move forward in hope.
20 But despite their confidence they are doomed to disappointment;
they arrive there, only to be frustrated.
21 In much the same way you have dealt with me;
you are stunned at my plight and are terrified.

Make Me Understand How I Have Been at Fault[g]

22 “Did I ever ask you to give me anything,
or to use your vast wealth to alleviate my travails,
23 or to rescue me from the hands of an oppressor,
or to ransom me from the power of ruthless men?
24 “Instruct me, and I will be silent;
make me understand how I have been at fault.
25 I can readily accept logical explanations,
but your arguments are without merit.
26 Do you think that your words should be embraced
whereas mine are so fragile that they can be borne away by a light breeze?
27 You would even cast lots for the fatherless
and sell your friend at a bargain price.
28 “Therefore, now I beg you to look at me,
for I will not lie to your face.
29 Consider what I have said,
and let no further injustice be inflicted upon me.
30 Does evil issue forth from my lips?
Would I not realize it if I spoke untruthfully?

Footnotes

  1. Job 6:1 Eliphaz’s words, despite their spiritual beauty, have remained theoretical. Is there any recourse outside of God?
  2. Job 6:1 Anyone who is without affliction cannot measure another person’s suffering. Just as a bow reaches an adversary, God’s chastisements pierce hearts; they are as frightening as his poisonous arrows (Deut 32:23; Ps 38:3; Lam 3:12-15; Ezek 5:16).
  3. Job 6:4 The arrows of the Almighty: (the Hebrew has the archaic Shaddai); the trials sent by God (see note on Ps 38:3).
  4. Job 6:8 Job has reached the end of his strength and his patience, and now waits only for death. His only consolation is that he will have remained faithful to God to the end.
  5. Job 6:14 Friendship is a refreshing source, but for the sick it is as rare as a spring for a caravan in the wilderness.
  6. Job 6:19 Tema . . . Sheba: Arabian commercial centers.
  7. Job 6:22 Job has a deep sense of his innocence. Hence, the pious proposals of his friends seem to him to be inconsiderate.