Job 16-18…Turning to God
Today’s passage contains part of Job’s fifth speech. In the opening section (16:1–17), Job expresses his exasperation with his friends. He questions what kind of comforters they really are (16:4–6). We also find another honest expression of Job’s anger with God when he falsely accuses the Lord of turning him over to wicked men (16:11).
In the first part of today’s passage (16:18–17:2), Job implores the earth to avenge his suffering. In the cosmic courtroom, Job recognizes that creation bears witness to human actions. More importantly, Job realizes that the only one who can defend his case is to be found in heaven. The Hebrew word that translates as witness (v. 19) refers to one who knows the innocence of the accused and who will see that justice is done.
There is considerable debate concerning the Hebrew text in verse 20, which could either refer positively to God or negatively to Job’s friends. Either way, we see Job’s confidence that he would ultimately find justice, if not in this life, then beyond it. Despite the fact that his friends misunderstand him (17:3–12), implicit in Job’s words is his understanding that God is the One to whom he must turn.