on Job 16 :18
O earth, cover not thou my blood - This is evidently an allusion to the murder of Abel, and the verse has been understood in two different ways:
1. Job here calls for justice against his destroyers. His blood is his life, which he considers as taken away by violence, and therefore calls for vengeance. Let my blood cry against my murderers, as the blood of Abel cried against Cain. My innocent life is taken away by violence, as his innocent life was; as therefore the earth was not permitted to cover his blood, so that his murderer should be concealed, let my death be avenged in the same way.
2. It has been supposed that the passage means that Job considered himself accused of shedding innocent blood; and, conscious of his own perfect innocence, he prays that the earth may not cover any blood shed by him. Thus Mr. Scott: -
"O earth, the blood accusing me reveal;
Its piercing voice in no recess conceal."
And this notion is followed by Mr. Good. But, with all deference to these learned men, I do not see that this meaning can be supported by the Hebrew text; nor was the passage so understood by any of the ancient versions. I therefore prefer the first sense, which is sufficiently natural, and quite in the manner of Job in his impassioned querulousness.
on Job 16 :18
O earth - Passionate appeals to the earth are not uncommon in the Scriptures; see the notes at Isaiah 1:2. Such appeals indicate deep emotion, and are among the most animated forms of personification.
Cover not thou my blood - Blood here seems to denote the wrong done to him. He compares his situation with that of one who had been murdered, and calls on the earth not to conceal the crime, and prays that his injuries may not be hidden, or pass unavenged. Aben Ezra, Dr. Good, and some others, however, suppose that he refers to blood shed "by" him, and that the idea is, that he would have the earth reveal any blood if he had ever shed any; or in other words, that it is a strong protestation of his innocence. But the former interpretation seems to accord best with the connection. It is the exclamation of deep feeling. He speaks as a man about to die, but he says that he would die as an innocent and a much injured man, and he passionately prays that his death may not pass unavenged. God had crushed him, and his friends had wronged him, and he now earnestly implores that his character may yet be vindicated. "According to the saying of the Arabs, the blood of one who was unjustly slain remained upon the earth without sinking into it; until the avenger of blood came up. It was regarded as a proof of innocence." Eichhorn, "in loc" That there is much of irreverence in all this must, I think, be conceded. It is not language for us to imitate. But it is not more irreverent and unbecoming than what often occurs, and it is designed to show what the human heart "will" express when it is allowed to give utterance to its real feelings.
And let my cry have no place - Let it not be hid or concealed. Let there be nothing to hinder my cry from ascending to heaven. The meaning is, that Job wished his solemn protestations of his innocence to go abroad. He desired that all might hear him. He called on the nations and heaven to hear. He appealed to the universe. He desired that the earth would not conceal the proof of his wrongs, and that his cry might not be confined or limited by any bounds, but that it might go abroad so that all worlds might hear.
on Job 16 :18
16:18 Earth - The earth is said to cover that blood, which lies undiscovered and unrevenged: but saith Job, if I be guilty of destroying any man, let the earth disclose it; let it be brought to light. Cry - Let the cry of my complaints to men, or prayers to God, find no place in the ears or hearts of God or men, if this be true.