19 Job answered his friends in frustration.
2 Job: O how long! How long will you torture me and pound me with your chatter?
3 What is it now? Eight times? Nine times?
No, surely it’s ten times you have insulted me.
Ten times you’ve shamelessly acted to harm me.
4 Even if I have erred, my faults lie with me alone.
5 However, if you must exalt yourselves at my expense,
if you must proffer my own disgrace as evidence against me,
6 Then you ought at least to know that I have been wronged by God.
Yes, His net is closed about me.
7 Look! I cry out, “Violence!” but no response comes.
I shout for help, but justice eludes me.
8 He is a roadblock. He will not let me pass;
He has covered my roads in darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honor,
torn the crown off my head.
10 He comes at me from all sides, but I attempt to leave;
He rips out my hope as if it were a tree in dry ground.
11 His anger burns white-hot against me,
and He considers me His enemy.
12 His militia arrives to raise a siege ramp against me
and to surround my dwelling.
13 He has driven my relatives far from me;
I am cut off from my friends.
14 My entire family has failed me;
my best friends have forgotten me.
15 Everyone in my house, including my maidservants,
treats me like an outsider;
I am a stranger to them now.
16 When I send for my servant, he does not come.
I even plead with him with my own voice.
17 My breath is strange; even my wife avoids me;
I’m loathsome to my relatives; they can’t stand to be around me.
18 Even young children taunt me,
and when I seek to rise, they mock me.
19 My closest friends can no longer bear me,
and anyone I have ever loved has turned against me.
20 I am reduced to skin and bones;
I have barely escaped by the skin of my teeth.
21 Show me your pity, my friends, show me your pity!
For truly, I have been struck by the hand of God.
22 Why do you pursue me as God has done?
Is my emaciated body not satisfying enough for you?
23 What I would give to have my words taken down,
to have them inscribed for posterity on a scroll.
24 No! More than that!
To have them chiseled with iron filled with lead—
carved in stone for all eternity.
25 Besides, I know my Redeemer lives,
and in the end He will rise and take His stand on the earth.
26 And though my skin has been stripped off,
still, in my flesh, I will see God.
27 I, myself, will see Him:
not some stranger, but actually me, with these eyes.
Toward this end, my deepest longings pine away within my chest.
Literally, a redeemer “buys back” something that was taken away. In the Old Testament, kinsmen-redeemers are men who buy their relatives out of slavery, buy family property back from creditors, or marry their brothers’ widows to save the women from destitution. What is it that Job needs returned to him? Acknowledgment of his innocence and a renewed life. Because all of his family and friends have abandoned him, Job is trusting in his plea to God. As he did in chapter 16, Job is personifying his words and hoping in the redemptive power of his own argument.
Many millennia later, Christians do not have to trust in their own actions or persuasive reasoning to save their lives. Jesus redeemed all when He died on the cross—trading Himself to buy back our lives. He is the ultimate Redeemer.
28 Job: If you ask, “How will we pursue him
since the root cause of his suffering lies in him?”
29 You ought to fear the sword yourselves;
for the sword bears fury’s punishment
in order that you might realize there is, in fact, a judgment.