the final speech of Job covers six chapters, we provide the following
structure to help the reader follow it:
Job (9) Part 1: Attack - Rebuke of the ‘friends' for only God
knows the truth'
Job (9) Part 2: Defence -
Job's Personal Integrity
& the fate of his enemies
Job (9) Part 3: Interlude:
Where Wisdom is Found
Job (9) Part 4: The Past
- Job looks back almost nostalgically
(9) Part 5: The Present - Roles
Reversed & a Resultant Wreck
Job (9) Part 6: Final Defence
- Job's Final Words of Self-Vindication
Job 30: Roles Reversed & a Resultant Wreck
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.]
He had once employed the poor of society
now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have
disdained to put with my sheep dogs.
Of what use
was the strength of their hands to me, since their vigor had gone
want and hunger, they roamed the parched land in desolate
wastelands at night.
In the brush
they gathered salt herbs, and their food was the root of
the broom bush.
banished from human society, shouted at as if they were thieves.
forced to live in the dry stream beds, among the rocks and in
holes in the ground.
brayed among the bushes and huddled in the undergrowth.
and nameless brood, they were driven out of the land.
Now the roles are reversed and they simply mock him
now those young men mock me in song; I have become a
byword among them.
me and keep their distance; they do not hesitate to spit in my
God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me, they throw off restraint
in my presence.
On my right
the tribe attacks; they lay snares for my feet, they build
their siege ramps against me.
up my road; they succeed in destroying me. ‘No one can help him,'
as through a gaping breach; amid the ruins they come rolling in.
Now his life is one of fear and suffering and disgrace
me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes
like a cloud.
now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me.
my bones; my gnawing pains never rest.
This surely is the work of God who is leading him towards death
his great power God becomes like clothing to me; he binds me like
the neck of my garment.
me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes.
out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely
look at me.
turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack
snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in
know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for
all the living.
All of his goodness has been swept away, now only suffering remains
no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his
I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the
Yet when I
hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came
inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me.
He has become a physical wreck crying for help
about blackened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly
and cry for help.
I have become
a brother of jackals, a companion of owls.
My skin grows
black and peels; my body burns with fever.
My lyre is
tuned to mourning, and my pipe to the sound of wailing.
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.
has Job been saying in this chapter ?
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].
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