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Because the final speech of Job covers six chapters, we provide the following structure to help the reader follow it:

26. Job (9) Part 1: Attack - Rebuke of the ‘friends' for only God knows the truth'

27. Job (9) Part 2: Defence - Job's Personal Integrity & the fate of his enemies

28. Job (9) Part 3: Interlude: Where Wisdom is Found

29. Job (9) Part 4: The Past - Job looks back almost nostalgically

30. Job (9) Part 5: The Present - Roles Reversed & a Resultant Wreck

31. Job (9) Part 6: Final Defence - Job's Final Words of Self-Vindication



FRAMEWORKS: Job 30: Roles Reversed & a Resultant Wreck


[Preliminary Comments: In the previous chapter he had looked back to his old life and the reputation he had once had. He now remember those poor of society that he had once employed [v.1-8] but who now look down on him, scorn and mock him [v.9-14] so all he has left is suffering and disgrace [v.15-17], a work of a God who now stands at a distance [v.18-23] having left him a weeping wreck [v.24-27], a physical wreck who can do nothing by cry for help [v.28-31]. The past may have been great but the present is terrible.]



v.1-8 He had once employed the poor of society


v.1  “But now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs. 

v.2 Of what use was the strength of their hands to me, since their vigor had gone from them? 

v.3 Haggard from want and hunger, they roamed the parched land in desolate wastelands at night. 

v.4 In the brush they gathered salt herbs, and their food was the root of the broom bush. 

v.5 They were banished from human society, shouted at as if they were thieves. 

v.6 They were forced to live in the dry stream beds, among the rocks and in holes in the ground. 

v.7 They brayed among the bushes and huddled in the undergrowth. 

v.8  A base and nameless brood, they were driven out of the land. 


v.9-14 Now the roles are reversed and they simply mock him


v.9   “And now those young men mock me in song; I have become a byword among them. 

v.10 They detest me and keep their distance; they do not hesitate to spit in my face. 

v.11  Now that God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me, they throw off restraint in my presence. 

v.12 On my right the tribe attacks; they lay snares for my feet, they build their siege ramps against me. 

v.13 They break up my road; they succeed in destroying me. ‘No one can help him,' they say. 

v.14 They advance as through a gaping breach; amid the ruins they come rolling in. 


v.15-17 Now his life is one of fear and suffering and disgrace


v.15 Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud. 

v.16  “And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me. 

v.17 Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest. 


v.18-23 This surely is the work of God who is leading him towards death


v.18  In his great power God becomes like clothing to me; he binds me like the neck of my garment. 

v.19 He throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes. 

v.20  “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me. 

v.21  You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me. 

v.22  You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm. 

v.23 I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living. 


v.24-27 All of his goodness has been swept away, now only suffering remains


v.24  “Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress. 

v.25  Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? 

v.26 Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. 

v.27 The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me. 


v.28-31 He has become a physical wreck crying for help


v.28  I go about blackened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help. 

v.29 I have become a brother of jackals, a companion of owls. 

v.30 My skin grows black and peels; my body burns with fever. 

v.31 My lyre is tuned to mourning, and my pipe to the sound of wailing.



[Concluding Comments: Read the chapter again and catch the anguish that is being expressed that had physical origins but now mixed with being a social outcast.


To summarise, what has Job been saying in this chapter ? He

•  remembers how he used to employ the poor of society [v.1-8],

•  but now the roles are reversed they just mock him [v.9-14],

•  and his life is just filled with fear and pain [v.15-17],

•  struggles with the thought that this is God who seems to be leading him rapidly towards death [v.18-23],

•  so all of his past goodness has gone, replaced by terrible suffering [v.24-27],

•  and he's just a terrible physical wreck crying out for help [v.28-31].


Facing how life can change for the worse is difficult at the best, terrible at the worst, and Job knows the worst. Again and again throughout this book so far, we are confronted with the awfulness of this testing time.]



Continue to Chapter 31