Job 16:1-17 – Job Hits Back

Miserable comforters are you all.

Job 16:1-17 (NKJV)

Then Job answered and said:

“I have heard many such things; Miserable comforters are you all! Shall words of wind have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? I also could speak as you do, If your soul were in my soul’s place. I could heap up words against you, And shake my head at you; But I would strengthen you with my mouth, And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.

“Though I speak, my grief is not relieved; And if I remain silent, how am I eased? But now He has worn me out; You have made desolate all my company. You have shriveled me up, And it is a witness against me; My leanness rises up against me And bears witness to my face. He tears me in His wrath, and hates me; He gnashes at me with His teeth; My adversary sharpens His gaze on me. They gape at me with their mouth, They strike me reproachfully on the cheek, They gather together against me. God has delivered me to the ungodly, And turned me over to the hands of the wicked. I was at ease, but He has shattered me; He also has taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces; He has set me up for His target, His archers surround me. He pierces my heart and does not pity; He pours out my gall on the ground. He breaks me with wound upon wound; He runs at me like a warrior.

“I have sewn sackcloth over my skin, And laid my head in the dust. My face is flushed from weeping, And on my eyelids is the shadow of death; Although no violence is in my hands, And my prayer is pure.”

Job gets back to his original theme – his immense suffering. He makes two simple points:

  • They aren’t comforting him.
  • Nothing he can do will be comforting either.

This trumps everything they’ve said. Lest they forget, they came here to comfort Job. Even if they were right on their theological points, they should have stuck a cork in it.

Job also notes that his friends are not comforting him the way he would have comforted them if their roles were reversed. If they’d just stop for a minute and reflect on what they’re doing, they’d realize how inappropriate their actions are.


We do something similar with sharing the gospel. As important as the gospel is, not every situation is the right time to bring it up. When people are suffering, the right thing to do is address their suffering.

The gospel somehow manages to bring itself up. Don’t push it; let God run the show.

Salvation is always a major miracle – the supernatural transformation of a heart. So, with the Holy Spirit clearly involved, you can count on minor miracles to set the stage.

You are part of a team and you’re not the team leader. Relax; the team leader is awesome.

Let the leader show His stuff.


All the weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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