Job 30 Summary: So, in Job chapter 29 we witnessed Job wishing for the “good old days.” He was reminiscing on all of the wonderful things that God used to do for him. And then he was contrasting what his life had become.
But he didn’t get too much into the details of how his life had changed for the worse. He left that until this chapter – chapter 30.
So, in Job chapter 30 we’re going to witness Job explaining to his friends how bad his life has become.
Additionally, we’ll also see Job complaining directly to God regarding what Job regards as God being cruel to him.
Job 30 Summary 1a
So, to begin, Job wants to let everyone know that he is being mocked by those younger than him.
KJV Job 30:1 But now they that are younger than I [have me in derision/mock me],
And of course, this is a bad thing – the younger mocking the older. And yet, I think we’re a bit desensitized as to how awful it really is because of our popular culture that promotes rebellion against every authority. But to Job and his culture, this kind of behavior was just completely unacceptable – and it’s likely that everyone would have agreed. Well, maybe everyone except these younger folks that are mocking Job.
Job 30 Summary 1b
And the really frustrating part of this for Job is that even the fathers of these kids – Job is now going to admit – were worthless fellows! And now their sons – even more worthless than they – are mocking him.
whose fathers I would have disdained [too much…] to have [set/put] with [the dogs of my flock/my sheep dogs].
So, Job is using greater to lesser logic. If the fathers of these kids who now mock him were too insignificant to be put with the dogs that watched Job’s sheep in the old days, then how much worse are the sons of these men?!
So, they were insignificant. And furthermore, the fathers of these young mockers were weak.
2 [Yea/Indeed/Moreover], [whereto/how even] might the strength of their hands profit me,
in whom [old age/vigor/strength] [was/had] perished?
So, these fathers were too old and feeble for their supposed strength to be of any use to Job in the old days when he wouldn’t have even employed them to work with his sheep dogs.
And, not only were these men contemptible and weak, they were also scrawny as a result of going hungry.
3 [For/From] want and [famine/hunger] they were [solitary/gaunt];
[fleeing into/who gnaw/they would gnaw] the [wilderness/dry ground/parched land] in former time desolate and waste.
So, these men from Job’s old days were weak and skinny and hungry. Job in times past – in his glory days – was far better-off than they were.
And these men who never could have worked for Job were so hungry – as we just saw – that they would go out to find whatever sustenance they could from the salt marshes.
4 Who [cut up/pluck] mallows by the bushes, [by the brush they would gather herbs from the salt marshes…]
and [juniper roots/the root of the broom shrub] [for/was] their [meat/food].
And whatever the exact references Job makes to various plants – the point is clear. These men that Job never would have dreamed of employing would have to scrape up their food from some pretty far-off places – because they were so worthless.
And that’s because Job says that these men from the old days were blights to their communities and were thus driven far from civilization.
5 They were [driven forth from among/driven from/banished from] [men/the community],
([they/people] [cried after/shout against/shouted after] them as [after/against/they would shout at] a thief;)
So, Job paints this picture of these men being chased off by society. And he’s not saying these things so that we would feel bad for them. Job is indicating and testifying how bad and worthless these men really were. They were bad guys.
And – as Job and his three friends would have believed – the fact that bad things were happening to them indicated the kind of people they were, generally.
So, because their communities drove these men of old away from them – they were forced to dwell in uninhabited waste places.
6 [To/So that they] [dwell/had to live] in [the clifts of the valleys/dreadful valleys/the dry stream beds],
in [caves/holes] of the [earth/ground], and [in/of/among] the rocks.
7 Among the bushes they brayed [i.e., like animals…];
under the nettles they [were/are] [gathered/huddled] together.
So, Job says that these men from the olden days – because they were rejected for their worthless ways – congregated in desolate places.
And these men themselves were children of men of similar character to themselves.
8 They were [children/sons] of [fools/senseless], [yea/and], [children of base men/nameless people]:
they were [viler than/scourged from/driven out of] the [earth/land]. [i.e., with whips…]
So, the fathers of the fathers of these children that Job references all the way back in verse 1 were fools and base and nameless. They were completely unnoteworthy – and even worse – according to Job.
Job 30 Summary 9
And even though these young men and their fathers are all so worthless and vile – yet, Job has been put in a position in which they feel free to mock him – this once-great man.
9 And now [am I/I have become] their [song/taunt song],
yea, I [am/have become] their byword.
So, this has been why Job has been talking about these young men’s fathers at such great length. He’s been setting this up for us. The fathers of these young men were so awful and vile. And certainly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as we say. And so, these young men have to be worse than even their deadbeat dads.
And yet – despite that fact – Job – who was once so favored and blessed by God – Job is now being mocked by these people.
And the reactions of these young men range from them just ignoring Job to them actually spitting in his face.
10 They [abhor/detest] me, they [flee/stand] [far/aloof] from me, [i.e., maintaining their distance…]
and [spare/refrain/hesitate] not to spit in my face.
And the question must be asked – why are these young men even able to abuse Job like this? The answer that Job cannot avoid is that God has made this happen.
11 Because he hath [loosed/untied] my [i.e., tent…] cord, and afflicted me,
[they/people] [have also let loose the bridle before me/throw off all restraint in my presence].
So, like a horse that’s been unbridled, these young men show no restraint in their behavior toward the suffering Job. They mock him and spit in his face. And this is all happening because God is allowing it – no, causing it to happen – from Job’s perspective.
Job 30 Summary 12
And then, Job is going to turn his attention back from what God is doing that’s causing these bad things to happen to him – to calling to mind once more what these young men are doing to abuse him.
12 [Upon/On] my right hand rise [the youth/their brood/the young rabble];
they [push away/thrust aside] my feet, [they drive me from place to place…]
and [they raise up/build up] against me [the ways of their/their ways of] destruction. [siege ramps…]
13 They [mar/break up/destroy] my path,
they [set forward/profit from/succeed in] [my calamity/destroying me],
[they have/with] no [helper/assistant].
14 They [came upon me/come in] as a wide [breaking in of waters/breach]:
[in/amid] the [desolation/tempest/crash] they [rolled themselves upon me/roll on/come rolling in].
And I must admit that these claims that Job is making seem unrealistic or exaggerated. But I think we can assume that these things have actually happened to Job – they’re just not reported as happening in the narrative of this book.
So, young men are mocking him – spitting at him – resisting him in various ways. It seems like as Job has been destitute and weakened, youth have been taking advantage of him in various ways. And Job isn’t able to stop them.
Job 30 Summary 15
And of course it’s not just young men that are challenging Job and making his life hard.
There are other non-human realities that Job is going to complain about now.
15 Terrors are turned [upon/against/loose on] me:
they [pursue/drive away] my [soul/honor] [as/like] the wind:
and my [welfare/prosperity/deliverance] passeth away as a cloud.
16 And now my soul [is poured/pours itself] out [upon/within] me;
the days of [affliction/suffering] have taken hold upon me.
17 My bones are pierced in me [in/by] the night season:
and my [sinews/gnawing pains] [take no rest/never cease].
So, soul, mind, and body are all in turmoil for Job.
Job 30 Summary 18
And so, Job now is once again going to turn his discontentment with his situation toward the one whom he knows to be ultimately responsible for his misery – and that is God.
18 [By/With] [the great force/great power] of my disease [is my garment changed/my garment is distorted/my garment is grasped by God]:
[it/he] bindeth me about as the collar of my [coat/tunic].
So, Job is picturing God as if he were grabbing Job by the collar with great force and almost strangling him.
And Job will use another metaphor – God is throwing him into the mud.
19 He hath [cast/flung] me into the [mire/mud],
and I [am become like/have come to resemble] dust and ashes.
So, Job is filthy and he blames God for that.
And in the midst of all of this disgrace, Job feels as though God has totally abandoned him.
20 I cry [unto/out to] thee [i.e., for help…],
and thou dost not [hear/answer] me:
I stand up,
and thou [regardest me not/turn your attention against me/only look at me].
So, God only ignores Job in his suffering.
But I ask – has God ignored Job? Is God unaware of what Job is going through?
Not at all! God himself has done these things to Job. He knows all about it. And – in a way that makes no sense to Job or us – God cares about what’s happening to Job.
But Job doesn’t see it that way.
21 [Thou art/You have] become cruel to me:
with [thy strong hand/the might of your hand/the strength of your hand] thou [opposest thyself against/persecute/attack] me.
So, God is cruelly attacking Job. That’s how it seems to him.
And then Job pictures God tossing him into the air in a tempestuous storm.
22 Thou [liftest/pick] me up [to/on] the wind; thou [causest/make] me to ride upon it,
and [dissolvest/toss me about] [my substance/me in the strorm].
And what else could all of this eventuate in except for death?
23 For I know that thou [wilt bring/are bringing] me to death,
and to the [house appointed/house of meeting/meeting place] for all [the…] living.
So, Job is convinced that God is going to kill him in his miserable condition.
Job 30 Summary 24
And that causes Job to start arguing that he really doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment.
After all, it’s not right to kick a man when he’s down.
24 [Howbeit/Yet/Surely] [he will/one does] not stretch out his hand [to the grave/in a heap of ruins/against a broken man],
though [they/he] cry [out for help…] in his [destruction/disaster/distress].
And Job looks back on how he’s treated others who were in a situation similar to the one he’s in now.
25 [Did/Have] not I [weep/wept] for [him that was in trouble/the one whose life is hard/the unfortunate]?
was not my soul grieved for the [poor/needy]?
And yet, as Job is looking for this kind of mercy and help from God, the Almighty seems unwilling to give it.
26 When I [looked for/expected/hoped for] good,
[then evil/trouble] came unto me:
and when I [waited for/expected] light,
[there/then] came darkness.
Job 30 Summary 27
And then Job ends this chapter seeming to focus on the physical effects that his trial is having on him.
27 My [bowels/innards/heart] [boiled/are seething/is in turmoil], [and rested not/and cannot relax/unceasingly]:
the days of [my…] affliction [prevented/confront] me.
28 I [went/go about] [mourning/blackened] [without the sun/without comfort/but not by the sun]:
I [stood/stand] up, and I [cried/cry out] [for help…] in the [congregation/assembly].
Job is out beyond the realm of civilization.
29 I [am/have become] a brother to [dragons/jackals],
and a companion [to owls/of ostriches].
His body is burned and feverish.
30 My skin [is/turns/has turned] [black/dark] [upon/on] me,
and my [bones/body] [are burned/burn/is hot] with [heat/fever].
And as a result, whatever Job may have used in times past to rejoice is used solely for mourning now.
31 My harp [also/therefore] is [turned to/used for] mourning,
and my [organ/flute] [into/to/for] the [voice/sound] of them that weep.
So, Job’s life is very hard. Not only are people against him – but so is his God. The God hes worshiped for so long.
And Job will continue his defense in chapter 31.