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Job 30:1 But now those who are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs- Job has just boasted of how his charitable giving earned him his righteousness: "I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy (by his charity). I (thereby) put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgement was as a robe and a diadem" (Job 29:13,14 AV). And yet Job's words of Job 30:1 certainly smack of arrogance. His charity was done to some whilst despising others and judging them. This works based, judgmental righteousness can so easily be our weakness.

Job 30:2 Of what use is the strength of their hands to me, men in whom ripe age has perished?-
Here in :2-9 we have a rather unpleasant streak in Job revealed. He clearly despised some men deeply, and it was deeply irksome to him that the children of those he had despised should now mock him. The way he speaks of these men indicates a deep disdain which is inappropriate in any man for other men, who are all made in the image of God. GNB "They were a bunch of worn-out men, too weak to do any work for me". Here we see the importance Job placed upon "work"; for it was also by works that he felt justified before God, and deserving of a better deal in life than what he was having. His finer insights into his sufferings are now absent, as he walls in the self pity of the moment. 

Job 30:3 They are gaunt from lack and famine. They gnaw the dry ground, in the gloom of waste and desolation-
"Waste and desolation" is the language of condemnation (s.w. Zeph. 1:15). But God makes the point that He sends rain "to satisfy the desolate and waste ground" (Job 38:27 AV)- the very place where the condemned lived whom Job despised in his prosperity (Job 30:3 s.w.). But God doesn't despise even the most desperate of society. He sends rain to cheer them whom the righteous despise. And this was to help Job be convicted of his own desperation, of how wrong he had been to despise others and trust that he was righteous; and to further convict him that God still sought to revive him, as He did those deserted lands.

Job 30:4 They pluck salt herbs by the bushes. The roots of the broom are their food-
This plant grows in the wilderness regions where the book of Job is set; the roots are famed as being bitter but nutritious for the desperately hungry and perishing Bedouin. Again we have evidence that Job was a historical person who lived where the prologue says he did.

Job 30:5 They are driven out from the midst of men. They cry after them as after a thief-
These desperate people whom Job so despised had been driven from their societies so that they wandered the deserts, surviving by eating wild roots, and robbing travellers and encampments like Job's. But now they were despising Job, so desperate and rejected was he. He was surely being taught how wrong he had been to despise even the spiritually desperate.

Job 30:6 so that they dwell in frightful valleys, and in holes of the earth and of the rocks-
AV "in the clifts of the valleys", where Moses cowered and saw the glory of Yahweh. And it was the faithful who lived in holes, caves and amongst the rocks (Heb. 11:38). The connections may mean that God is a God of the desperate- and Job had despised those on the bottom rung of society. But now he had been placed there, and would be saved if he repented of his former despising of the desperate.

Job 30:7 Among the bushes they bray; and under the nettles they are gathered together-
The impression is given that Job considered them as animals, braying under bushes and huddling together under nettles. This treating of human beings as less than human was deeply wrong, and was something which Job had to be convicted of when he finally realized the depth of his own desperation.

Job 30:8 They are children of fools, yes, children of base men- 
This was how Job had seen them, but now he was beneath even them (:9). He was being made to see that God has a saving purpose even for the desperate, those "without name" (Heb., NEV "base men"), treated by Job as if they were of no name, without personhood in his eyes. And he was now lower than them.  We recall how the Lord taught that such was the Divine value of the human person, that whoever called his brother a fool was in danger of Gehenna's condemnation (Mt. 5:22).

They were flogged out of the land- AV "viler than the earth". This was how Job had so utterly despised people; and we marvel at God's grace in still calling him "perfect" and without guile. This therefore had been by imputed righteousness and grace alone.

Job 30:9 Now I have become their song. Yes, I am a byword to them-
Job is presented as representative of the exiles, who were a song and byword to the Gentiles whom they had once despised. The Hebrew for "byword" is literally 'a word or speech'; and Job was the subject of the friends' speeches / words (s.w. about the speeches / words of the friends, Job 16:4; 19:2; 32:11). We must consider the possibility that Job considered these desperate Bedouin people to be somehow connected with the friends who were mocking him; see on :10. These people spat in Job's face (:10), just as it seems the friends did (see on Job 17:6). 

Job 30:10 They abhor me, they stand aloof from me, and don’t hesitate to spit in my face-
This abhorrence of Job by the friends is related to the way they considered mankind to be "abominable and corrupt" (Job 15:16). "Abhor" is the same word as "abominable". The simple truth is as Job put it- God has a tender desire to man, the work of His hands (Job 14:15). And whatever we posit about human nature, we say about the Lord Jesus. He fully shared that nature and yet was holy, harmless and undefiled (Heb. 7:26). Man by nature, just standing there as flesh and blood before God, is not "abominable" to Him of himself. It is sin which is the problem; and sin is not inevitable. We must bear full responsibility for our sins and cannot just pass them off as an inevitable function of our humanity. The wrong view of human nature held by the friends affected their view of Job and people in practice. The lower our view of human nature, the more likely we are to despise human beings rather than value them and speak well of them because they are made in the image of God (James 3:9). In this experience of being spat at, Job again was experiencing the abuse of the suffering servant (s.w. Is. 50:6).  

We must consider the possibility that Job considered these desperate Bedouin people to be somehow connected with the friends who were mocking him; see on :9. These people spat in Job's face (:10), just as it seems the friends did (see on Job 17:6). 

Job 30:11 For He has untied his cord, and afflicted me; and they have thrown off restraint before me-
The desperate Bedouin were seen by Job as having been unleashed upon him by God when he brought affliction upon Job. He is therefore describing the marauding bands who came and stole his cattle in the prologue. And they have an undoubted connection with the friends. Job sees God as capable of binding and loosing him, untying the cords that restrain affliction and then binding them up again (Job 30:11). God's response is that indeed this is the case, and such binding and loosing is seen throughout the natural creation (s.w. Job 38:31; 39:5; 41:14). And therefore, Job and the exiles are to live in hope of being bound up in safety from affliction, just as God "untied His cord and afflicted me" in Job 30:11.

Job 30:12 On my right hand rise the rabble. They thrust aside my feet, they cast up against me their ways of destruction-
This sounds like these desperate Bedouins were in physical proximity to Job and were actually involved in his persecution (also :13). I have argued throughout the book that the satan figure morphs into the friends, and they actually perform part of the physical trials upon Job, with the Bedouin attackers of Job partly under the control- leading to Job to charge them with insincerity and hypocrisy. They are in fact guilty of all he is apparently suffering for, and so he becomes their representative saviour by the end of the book.

Job 30:13 They mar my path, they set forward my calamity-
These words would be so appropriate if the Bedouin Arab marauders whom Job is cursing were in fact under the control of the friends, into whom the Satan figure has morphed. Eliphaz was from the same area as the Sabeans of Job 1:15. Job's experiences were of "calamity" (s.w. Job 6:2) and affliction set in his "path" (s.w. Job 19:8). And the Bedouins he curses in Job 30:1-12 were those who had abused him in that "path" (Job 30:13). So it seems he has in view the Sabeans who had abused him in the prologue, and yet this section also has clear reference to the friends. Yet that "path" of affliction which God had given Job was the path of wisdom and relationship with Him which was indiscernible to the human eye (Job 28:7 cp. 28); the fact that the ultimate path is invisible to the secular, naked eye is a truth stamped upon the natural creation (Job 38:20), and yet after the affliction or trouble, this path shines clearly (Job 41:32). And this was to be Job's experience at his restoration, as it could have been likewise for the exiles.

Without anyone’s help-
The idea may be that they were unprovoked to do what they did to Job. But he has just used the term of how he helped those "without anyone's help" (s.w. Job 29:12); as if to say that in return for the grace he had shown them, they now persecuted him.

Job 30:14 As through a wide breach they come, in the midst of the ruin they roll themselves in-
"The ruin" is s.w. 'the desolate place', the wilderness from where these Bedouins came (Job 30:3). This is the same picture as in Job 1:15 of the Sabeans rolling in from the wilderness, associated with the whirlwind (:15), coming upon Job like waters (symbolic of enemy forces) gushing through a breach. The accusation of the friends / "sons of God" and the Satan was that God had made a fence around Job protecting him from misfortune (Job 1:10). God had agreed for this to be as it were 'widely breached'. And in came flooding the desert tribes to despoil Job. My point is that the desperate Bedouin whom Job here curses are associated with the friends, it is they who sent their own forces against Job, making him understandably accuse them of being hypocrites and false brethren.

Job 30:15 Terrors have turned on me. They chase my honour as the wind. My welfare has passed away as a cloud-
These Bedouin are associated with the whirlwind which struck Job (Job 1:15-18). "Chase" is the word translated "persecute" and is specifically applied by Job to the friends' persecution of him (Job 19:22,28), albeit under God's control (Job 13:25); for Satan's hand is God's hand, as the prologue makes clear. Again we have a fairly solid path of identification of the friends with the Satan and with the Bedouin marauders under their control, whom they sent against Job. 

Job 30:16 Now my soul is poured out within me. Days of affliction have taken hold on me-
Job "held fast" to God's footprints, even though he didn't see Him (Job 23:11), and yet he later realized that the afflictions God sent had taken hold [s.w. "held fast"] to him. We see here the mutuality between God and man, achieved through the experience of suffering brought by Him.

Job 30:17 In the night season my bones are pierced in me, and the pains that gnaw me take no rest-
This pain in the bones at night clearly looked ahead to that experienced by the Lord Jesus, the suffering servant based on Job, during the darkness of the crucifixion. Hezekiah, another possible fulfilment of the suffering servant, suffered likewise with bone pain at night (Is. 38:13).  

Job 30:18 By great force is my garment disfigured. It binds me about as the collar of my coat-
LXX "With great force my disease has taken hold of my garment: it has compassed me as the collar of my coat", AV "By the great force of my disease is my garment changed". Job offered sacrifice for his children as if he were the family priest, and he likely had a priestly garment which accompanied this. But this garment had become defiled by Job's skin disease, covered with blood and secretions; and in fact Job felt it was choking him. This is another hint that legal apparatus was unable to save Job, nor those who would follow his path to restoration and revival.

Job 30:19 He has cast me into the mire. I have become like dust and ashes-
Abraham, who would have been recent history for Job, had described the human condition as "dust and ashes". Job was dust and ashes anyway, but he feels he has "become" dust and ashes. Clearly, he is being made to realize his humanity, and God's final appearance will do this in ultimate terms. It is a denial of our humanity which leads people to a path in which they refuse to repent, reject any idea that they desperately need God, and leads to the pride of effectively playing God rather than accepting we are but dust and ashes.

Job 30:20 I cry to You, and You do not answer me. I stand up, and You gaze at me-
Job feels he has 'cried out' to God for justice and not been heard (Job 19:7; 30:20); and that there is nothing wrong with crying out to God in distress, it is a perfectly natural reaction (Job 24:12). One comment upon this is that the young ravens cry out to God for food and yet are not always heard (Job 38:41 s.w.). But God in the wider picture sustains all of creation by grace. Job did well to cry out to God even if there was no answer, because the hypocrites do not 'cry out' to God when they are facing judgment (Job 36:13 s.w.). Job feels hurt that God has not responded to his 'crying out' because he says that when the needy cried out to him, he had heard (Job 29:12 s.w.). But here we see his works based approach; he thought that his response to those who cried out to him meant that therefore God must respond to his crying out. And God is not so primitive. His apparent silence is because His response is not predicated upon human works and charity. It is by grace alone, as is taught in His final appearance to Job. The exiles likewise were to finally see the response to their crying out to God in the restoration (Is. 58:9), just as their representative Jonah cried out to God from the belly of sheol amidst the sea of nations, and was heard (s.w. Jonah 2:2).

Job 30:21 You have turned to be cruel to me-
As God (in the Angel of the presence) "was turned to be (Israel's) enemy" because of their sin (Is. 63:10).

With the might of Your hand You persecute me-
Satan asks God: "Put forth Your hand". The hand of God is an Angelic phrase. God agrees- "he is in your hand" (Job 2:6). Thus Satan's hand is God's hand, which in practice was articulated through an Angel, working through the friends and their Bedouin tribesmen who are the subject of this chapter. Job seems to emphasize the place of God's hand in bringing his trials- Job 2:5,6,10; 6:9; 10:7; 13:21; 19:21; 27:11 AVmg; 28:9. Job in Job 12:9 feels that in the same way as God's hand had created the natural creation- and the Angels did this- so that same Angelic hand was upon him for evil. "By His Spirit (God makes His Angels spirits) He hath garnished the Heavens; His hand hath formed the crooked serpent" (Job 26:13). Thus Job associates God's Spirit with His hand, which is Satan's hand. It seems far more fitting that this hand and spirit should be Angelic rather than human. For no one human being could bring these sufferings upon Job. The human Satan, the fellow worshippers, the sons of God, was reflected in an Angel in the court of Heaven. Again, it was Angelic work that formed the Heavens. Job recognized that his trials came from the hand of God, but knew that His hand would not kill him- "with Thy strong hand Thou opposest Thyself against me... howbeit He will not stretch out His hand to (bring me to) the grave" (Job 30:21,24 AV). This was exactly the brief given to satan- to try Job, but "preserve his life". The hand of God creating evil (Job 2:10,11) must surely refer to God's "Angels of evil" (Ps. 78:49) rather than to man- in the restoration context, the people and Cyrus had to be taught that no one except God (including human satans!) created evil (Is. 45:5-7).  See on Job 26:13.

Job 30:22 You lift me up to the wind, and drive me with it. You dissolve me in the storm-
Job recalls the whirlwind which had destroyed his family and encampment, in tandem with the attacks of the Bedouins (Job 1:19). But he insists that for all he has suffered, God was behind it. Job was representative of the exiles, who were likewise 'dissolved' in judgment (s.w. Is. 64:7).

Job 30:23 For I know that You will bring me to death, to the house appointed for all living-
In line with Job's emphasis that God is behind all his sufferings, perhaps the focus is upon "You". God would bring him to death, although the friends and their Bedouin friends wanted to- but God in the prologue had not permitted them to do this. See on :24.

Job 30:24 However, doesn’t one stretch out a hand to stop a fall? Or in his calamity therefore cry for help?-
LXX presents Job as suicidal: "Oh then that I might lay hands upon myself, or at least ask another, and he should do this for me". AV "Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction" would connect with the same phrase being used of Satan asking God to stretch out His hand against Job (Job 1:11); but telling Satan that Job must not be brought to the grave. Although the satan sought to move God to do so (Job 2:3). Again we have the impression that the satan was manifest through the Bedouin tribesmen described here, under the control of the friends; who did every conceivable evil to Job apart from taking his life.

Job 30:25 Didn’t I weep for him who was in trouble? Wasn’t my soul grieved for the needy?-
"Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor? When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness" (Job 30:25,26). Note the past tenses; even in the past, it seemed that evil came when he deserved blessing; but despite this, he hadn’t become inward looking; he had wept and grieved for the misfortune of others. "Weep with them that weep" (Rom. 12:15) seems to be quoting from here; as if to say: Job is really our pattern in all this. But again we note that Job is very works-based in his thinking; he thinks that his kindness to the needy ought to mean that his sufferings are cut short (:26). And thereby he is failing to discern the Divine path which no eye can see.

Job 30:26 When I looked for good, then evil came; when I waited for light, there came darkness-
Job understands that it is God who sends the good and evil, the light and the darkness, into his life (Job 30:26). Significantly, he states his faith that God even marks out the boundary between light and darkness (Job 26:10) – a similar idea in essence to the reassurance of Is. 45:5 that God creates both light and darkness. The ‘darkness’, however we experience and understand it, is framed and limited by God; it is not a power or being with independent existence outside the realm of God’s power. God confirms Job’s understanding later, when He says that it is He who can swaddle the sea [another figure for uncontrollable evil] in bands of darkness (Job 38:9) – as if to say that it is God who gives things like darkness and the sea their sinister appearance and perception by men; but He is in control of them, using them in His hand. See on Job 38:10.

Even if God slew him, Job would still be patient or wait (Job 13:15), he would 'patiently wait' for his "release" (AV "change") to come at some point after his death (Job 14:14), and waited for light to somehow come out of his current darkness (Job 30:26). This was the legendary "patience of Job" which we are bidden follow (James 5:11). He was impatient, but he was "patient" in the Hebrew sense of enduring in faith; faith that even if things didn't work out at all in this life, even if God was apparently unfair in this life, he would be finally restored at the resurrection. This was his 'endurance', and it is a parade example for all who struggle with the justice of God and the incomprehensible problem of suffering.

Job 30:27 My heart is troubled, and doesn’t rest. Days of affliction have come on me-
AV "My bowels boiled". This is the word used for the boiling of the exiles under Divine judgment (Ez. 24:5). God is able to make things boil in the natural creation and then make them perfectly still (Job 41:31 s.w.); and the message was that the days of affliction, the intense boiling of Job and later the exiles, could be made still in a moment.

Job 30:28 I go mourning without the sun. I stand up in the assembly, and cry for help-
The prologue described the sons of God in assembly. This would have included Job and the friends, the "sons of God". He appealed to them for comfort when they came to the next assembly, but instead he got the bitter condemnation and false accusation which is recorded in their speeches.

Job 30:29 I am a brother to jackals, and a companion to ostriches-
The concept of clean and unclean animals was known even before the flood, so Job is accepting that he has become ritually unclean. All this was necessary for him to come to realize that his restoration was not going to be upon the basis of obedience to the law, such as it was at the time. According to that, he was unclean. Likewise the exiles had broken the old covenant, and could only be saved by the grace of the new covenant offered to them through Jeremiah and Ezekiel. See on Job 31:7.

Job 30:30 My skin grows black and peels from me. My bones are burned with heat-
Again Job is presented as suffering as the exiles had (Lam. 5:10), possibly with allusion to leprosy (Lev. 13:31). The exiles could share Job's path to restoration if they too repented and were humbled.

Job 30:31 Therefore my harp has turned to mourning, and my pipe into the voice of those who weep
- No longer is Job able to rejoice as he once had, in his own strength and exaltation. The pictures painted of the mourning exiles in Lamentations is so clearly based upon Job. See on :30.