Job laments how he has become a laughingstock to his neighbors. He then turns to God and expresses his sorrow.
Job laments what has happened to him: “I have become a brother to jackals…” (v. 29)
III. Important Verses
v. 1: But now those younger than I deride me, [Men] whose fathers I would have disdained to put among my sheep dogs.
vv. 9-10: Now I am the butt of their gibes; I have become a byword to them. They abhor me; they keep their distance from me; They do not withhold spittle from my face.
v. 18: With great effort I change clothing; The neck of my tunic fits my waist.
vv. 20-21: I cry out to You, but You do not answer me; I wait, but You do [not] consider me. You have become cruel to me; With Your powerful hand You harass me.
vv. 25-26: Did I not weep for the unfortunate? Did I not grieve for the needy? I looked forward to good fortune, but evil came; I hoped for light, but darkness came.
1-15. Even men of low stature mock Job
16-19. Job’s pitiful state
Chapter 30 is the second part of Job’s final speech. While he described the “good old days” in the previous chapter, here he describes his present wretched state (vv. 1-19). He then turns to God and expresses his frustrations and his sorrow (vv. 20-31). In terms of genre, the chapter has many similarities to the complaint/petition genre found in the book of psalms. For example, Job describes his enemies (human in vv. 9-14 and divine in vv. 18-23), a common element in the complaint/petition genre. In terms of form/structure, note the three instances of ve‘attah in vv. 1, 9, and 16.
Job begins his lament in v. 1: “But now those younger than I deride me, [Men] whose fathers I would have disdained to put among my sheep dogs.” Clines writes (p. 996): “Now he is dishonored, derided even by his inferiors. It is, evidently, bad enough to be scorned by one’s peers or one’s superiors, but to be derided by one’s inferiors is a double tribulation.” As one might expect, to call a man a dog is a way of belittling him in the Hebrew Bible. For example, see 1 Sam. 17:43: “And the Philistine called out to David, ‘Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks?’ The Philistine cursed David by his gods.” Also see 2 Kings 8:13: “‘But how,’ asked Hazael, ‘can your servant, who is a mere dog, perform such a mighty deed?’ Elisha replied, ‘The LORD has shown me a vision of you as king of Aram.’” Also see 2 Sam. 3:8.
Vv. 25-26 are the reason for Job’s despondency: “Did I not weep for the unfortunate? Did I not grieve for the needy? I looked forward to good fortune, but evil came; I hoped for light, but darkness came.” Clines quotes Rowley as saying (p. 1009): “While Job disputes the view of the friends that virtue leads to happiness, he shares with them the view that it ought to.” In other words, Job wanted the friends to be correct so that he could live a peaceful life, but his life experiences have proved them wrong. For verses which utilize a similar light/dark metaphor as v. 26, see Jer. 13:16, “Give honor to the LORD your God Before He brings darkness, Before your feet stumble On the mountains in shadow — When you hope for light, And it is turned to darkness And becomes deep gloom,” and Isa. 59:9, “That is why redress is far from us, And vindication does not reach us. We hope for light, and lo! there is darkness; For a gleam, and we must walk in gloom.”
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Clines, Job 21-37 (Word Biblical Commentary)
Hakham, Sefer Iyov (Daat Mikra [Hebew])
Photo taken from http://www.digitalapoptosis.com/archives/NY/jackals.jpg