Job 16:2

I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.

I have heard many such things,.... As those Eliphaz has been discoursing of, concerning the punishment of wicked men; many instances of this kind had been reported to him from his preceptors, and from his parents, and which they had had from theirs, as well as Eliphaz had from his; and he had heard these things, or such like, told "many times" from one to another, as Ben Gersom interprets it; or "frequently", as the Vulgate Latin version, yea, he had heard them his friends say many things of this kind; so that there was nothing new delivered, nothing but what was "crambe millies cocta", the same thing over and over again; insomuch that it was not only needless and useless, but nauseous and disagreeable, and was far from carrying any conviction with it, or tracing weight and influence upon him; that he only gave it the hearing, and that was all, and scarce with any patience, it being altogether inapplicable to him: that wicked men were punished for their sins, he did not deny; and that good men were also afflicted, was a very plain case; and that neither good nor hatred, or an interest in the favour of God or not, were not known by these things; nor could any such conclusion be fairly drawn, that because Job was afflicted, that therefore he was a bad man:

miserable comforters are ye all; his friends came to comfort him, and no doubt were sincere in their intentions; they took methods, as they thought, proper to answer such an end; and were so sanguine as to think their consolations were the consolations of God, according to his will; and bore hard upon Job for seeming to slight them, Job 15:11; to which Job here may have respect; but they were so far from administering divine consolation, that they were none at all, and worse than none; instead of yielding comfort, what they said added to his trouble and affliction; they were, as it may be rendered, "comforters of trouble", or "troublesome comforters" {k}, which is what rhetoricians call an oxymoron; what they said, instead of relieving him, laid weights and heavy pressures upon him he could not bear; by suggesting his afflictions were for some enormous crime and secret sin that he lived in the commission of; and that he was no other than an hypocrite: and unless he repented and reformed, he could not expect it would be better with him; and this was the sentiment of them one and all: so to persons under a sense of sin, and distressed about the salvation of their souls, legal preachers are miserable comforters, who send them to a convicting, condemning, and cursing law, for relief; to their duties of obedience to it for peace, pardon, and acceptance with God; who decry the grace of God in man's salvation, and cry up the works of men; who lay aside the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ, the consolation of Israel, and leave out the Spirit of God the Comforter in their discourses; and indeed all that can be said, or directed to, besides the consolation that springs from God by Christ, through the application of the Spirit, signifies nothing; for if any comfort could be had from any other, he would not be, as he is called, the God of all comfort; all the creatures and creature enjoyments, even the best are broken cisterns, and like the deceitful brooks Job compares his friends to, Job 6:15, that disappoint when any expectations of comfort are raised upon them.

{k} lme ymxnm "consolatores molestiae", Vatablus, Drusius, Mercerus, Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis; "molesti", Beza, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Codurcus, Tigurine version; "molestissimi", Schultens.