2) Remember Words Of Grief Are Often As The Wind, Spoken Without Meaning:
Job 6:1-5 But Job answered and said, Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?
Job says, “I am crying out and you can see my misery and you show no pity at all. You act as if I’m not in trouble. I wouldn’t be crying out if I weren’t.” He points out that the longeared donkey out in the field doesn’t bray for something to eat when he is eating grass. So Job is saying that he wouldn’t be crying out if there were nothing hurting him. He says, “I’m hurting and I’m hurting bad.” [McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 2000, c1981.]
Later in the same chapter, Job states this:
Job 6:14-17 To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty. My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.
They were like an oasis in the desert that promised refreshing, but it never came, it was only a mirage - or like a frozen brook in the winter that looked safe enough to walk on, but instead cracked and broke underfoot.
The word for pity used in verse 14 means "kindness or mercy", and comes from a root word meaning "to bow (the neck only in courtesy to an equal), i.e. to be kind." Job's friends did not treat him like an equal - they looked down on him. Instead of having sympathy with what he was going through, they condemned him by their wrong assumptions about his situation. They mocked him, looked down upon him, accused him of being a hypocrite and a liar in his statements to them. Instead of seeking to strengthen his walk with the Lord, they despised the fact that he was struggling and his feet were ready to slip.
Job 12:2-5 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.
Job 6:24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
Job was saying he was teachable - he knew he was a sinner, but he also knew that he was not being chastised for some hidden sin in his life. Job wasn't afraid of answers, or of words offered in comfort and hope - but that wasn't what his friends brought him.
Job 6:21 For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.
Job 6:28-30 Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie. Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?
Some commentators make Job out to be self-righteous, but he was not. He knew he could not stand before God in his own righteousness. The problem was he was not aware of any specific sin in his life that God would be judging him for. Job held fast to his integrity. His friends wanted him to admit guilt on his part - but he knew he wasn't being chastised for unrepented sin, and to admit the opposite would be to lie just to meet the approval of his friends (and THAT would be sin!). His friends were afraid of the possibility that God could bring someone through a trial for no specific sin on their part - if so, what happened to Job could happen to them too! In their fear, they dealt harshly with their friend, rather than be a source of comfort to him.
Later, we do find Job justifying himself rather than the Lord God. He did not know why God was allowing his trials, and he knew it was not due to specific sin on his part, so he started to question God's goodness and justice and started to justify himself. He needed to keep trusting in the Lord regardless.
Job 32:1-3 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
Job 6:25-26 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?
The Hebrew word for forcible means "properly, to press, i.e. (figuratively) to be pungent or vehement; to irritate," and also includes the meanings of "grievous, sore." Job states his friends' words were strong and pressing upon him, they were weighty and powerful - but did not apply in his situation. He was desperate and was just letting out hot air.
The word used here for desperate means "to desist, i.e. (figuratively) to despond," and is in reference to being "in despair and without hope"; despond carrying the idea of giving up and no longer striving. Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives the following definitions for this word: "1. To be cast down; to be depressed or dejected in mind; to fail in spirits. 2. To lose all courage, spirit or resolution; to sink by loss of hope."
Job was despondent and was just venting his grief, but his friends reproved him as if his vain words were something of substance, and were more important to deal with than Job's situation. Job was looking for hope and letting out steam, empty words; however, they were looking for reasons to condemn him - not offering Job answers, but attempting to place blame squarely on him for his trials.
It is sad and interesting to note that Bildad later rips Job's words out of context and, instead of having pity on him and overlooking his empty words, he casts them back in Job's face:
Job 8:2 How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?
Even though Job basically states he was without hope (confident expectation), he was actually filled with it (looking forward to seeing his Saviour face to face, looking forward to the resurrection, looking forward to coming forth as gold at the end of these trials, etc.). Perhaps what was on the inside came out in his frustration with his friends, but the book of Job is filled with words of hope. Though he may have thought of giving up on the Lord, he never did. Yes, he took his eyes off the Lord here and there in his trials, but he never turned from (ie. rejected) the Lord. Though he may have given up on living at times, as he stated in several places, he persevered (the meaning of patience in the following verse) in his walk with the Lord:
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
We see that the Lord had pity on Job, even when his friends did not!