Job's Second Speech
In Job 6 & 7, the great patriarch responds to Eliphaz's first speech.

Job believes his words are fully justified. His grief and calamity, if weighed, would be heavier than the sand of the sea (cf. 6:1-3)! Job maintains his innocence, and explicitly declares in 6:29 - "My righteousness still stands!" He wants his friends to acknowledge this.

It would seem he is willing to accept whatever may come from Almighty God, but in the process of seeking understanding, Job will express himself. "Does the wild donkey bray when it has grass?" (6:5). The meaning here is that Job would not complain if there was really no cause for it.

Job still longs for death. He begs God to crush him and cut him off. Job wishes to triumph over his anguish in death (6:8-10).

He had hoped his friends would refresh him, but they are only disappointing him and causing his desperation to increase. "What strength do I have, that I should hope? And what is my end, that I should prolong my life?" (Job 6:11).

The dialogue of Job's friends is not helpful but harmful to him. A better rendering of 6:14 appears to be - "To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, otherwise he might forsake the fear of the Almighty." When these friends came to him, no doubt Job's spirit was lifted and he was encouraged, in much the same way as a traveler spots water and hopes to be refreshed soon. However, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar promise much but deliver very little rejuvenation to Job--like an illusion of water in the desert.

Job asked his friends in 6:22,23 - "Did I ever say, 'Bring something to me'? Or, 'Offer a bribe for me from your wealth'? Or, 'Deliver me from the enemy's hand'? Or, 'Redeem me from the hand of oppressors'?" His point is that he had never asked for financial or physical assistance from them, but surely he could use some spiritual and emotional aid at the present time!

"Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forceful are right words! But what does your arguing prove?" (6:24,25). In other words, friends, show me where I have sinned and I'll be quiet! Job understands that the truth is sometimes forceful and painful (e.g., Acts 2:37). But, the arguments of his friends were not such because he knew their words were untrue. He goes on to suggest that they are as heartless as one who sells the orphaned children of a debtor. Job insists he is not lying about his innocence. He begs his friends to revise their opinion of him.

Job continues speaking in Chapter 7. His theme is clear. He doesn't have the strength to hold on much longer. He views death as the only way out, and the sooner it comes the better. He has endured "months of futility" (7:3). At least the hired man receives his wages after suffering through hard service, and the servant is granted a break in the shade in due time, but Job cannot find any rest. His physical and mental suffering is excruciating. "My flesh is caked with worms and dust, my skin is cracked and breaks out afresh" (7:5).

Starting in 7:11, Job speaks passionately to God, hoping He would grant his request for death. He utters some things here that he will later regret (cf. 42:3). He believes God is constantly harassing him and even that He is pursuing him in his dreams.

Job 7:17-21 reads:

"What is man that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart on him, that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment? How long? Will You not look away from me, and let me alone till I swallow my saliva? Have I sinned? What have I done to You, o watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, so that I am a burden to myself? Why then do You not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust, and You will seek me diligently, but I will no longer be."

I find Job 7:17 intriguing due to its similarity to Psalm 8:4. Although the initial question is similar, the meaning is very different. The Psalmist wonders what there is about man that causes God to smile so benevolently upon him, while Job asks what there is about man that makes God "hound" him so! Job doesn't believe he has sinned and he wants some answers from God. He even accuses God of treating him like a target (cf. 6:4). The chapter closes with Job disrespectfully telling God, in essence: "I'll soon be gone and you won't have me to kick around anymore."

Dear listeners, even though we, like Job, don't have all the answers in our lives, we should never be disrespectful toward God or challenge His authority. We can still maintain our faith in Him by casting our cares upon Him (cf. I Pet. 5:7).