Job 19 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. 19. Job’s Reply to Bildad
Bildad wrote under the picture which he had drawn, these are the habitations of the wicked, and held it up before Job. It was meant for him, for all that is specific in it is borrowed from the circumstances of his case. The terrible distemper, the “firstborn of death,” that consumes the sinner’s limbs, is too plain an allusion to his leprosy to be misunderstood by him ( Job 19:13). The brimstone that burns up the sinner’s habitation ( Job 19:15), though there may lie in it a distant reference to the cities of the plain, is also the fire of God that fell on Job’s cattle and their keepers (ch. Job 1:16). The tree dried up at the roots and withered in the branches ( Job 19:16) reminds Job easily enough of his own wasted state and of the sad calamities that had blighted his home. The horror and detestation of men ( Job 19:20) is but a picture of what was passing before the eyes of the disputants, and is a touch of ruthless severity, which brings Job utterly to the dust; for while in his former speech (ch. 16 17) he is able in the strong sense of his innocence to resent the treatment of men he is here wholly broken by it (ch. Job 19:21). Every sentence of Bildad’s speech carries with it the charge, Thou art the man.
Against this application Job’s whole soul protests. Yet he realizes from Bildad’s words, more clearly than ever he had done before, his dreary isolation, God and men being alike estranged from him, which he laments in most pathetic words. But so profound and unalterable is his consciousness of his innocence, that at the moment when he has entered step after step into the thickest darkness he makes a sudden leap out into the light, and rises by an inspiration, whether from above or from the depths of the human spirit, to the assurance that his innocence shall yet be revealed, that God will yet publicly appear for him, and that he shall see God and he melts away, overcome by the joyful anticipation.
The order of thought is well marked:
First, Job 19:2-6, some preliminary words, as usual, of a personal kind, though these are here fewer, the speaker’s mind being filled with greater things. He gives brief expression to his impatience of his friends’ diatribes, and repudiates the inferences they drew from his calamities: his calamities were due to God, who had perverted his right.
Second, Job 19:7-27. This reference to God leads over to the theme of the whole chapter, which is nothing but God. The sufferer’s mind wrestles with his thought of God the thought of Him as the author of his present terrible fate, from which he rises by a sudden revulsion to the thought of Him as One who must yet appear as his vindicator and joy. This part has three steps:
Consult other comments:
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".