Job Excuses His Desire for Death.
1. appointed time—better, "a warfare,"
hard conflict with evil (so in Isa 40:2; Da 10:1). Translate it "appointed time" (Job 14:14). Job reverts to the sad picture
of man, however great, which he had drawn (Job 3:14), and details in this chapter the
miseries which his friends will see, if, according to his request
6:28), they will look on him.
Even the Christian soldier, "warring a good warfare," rejoices when it
is completed (1Ti 1:18; 2Ti 2:3; 4:7, 8).
2. earnestly desireth—Hebrew,
"pants for the [evening] shadow." Easterners measure time by the length
of their shadow. If the servant longs for the evening when his wages
are paid, why may not Job long for the close of his hard service, when
he shall enter on his "reward?" This proves that Job did not, as many
maintain, regard the grave as a mere sleep.
3.—Months of comfortless misfortune.
I am made to possess—literally, "to be
heir to." Irony. "To be heir to," is usually a matter of joy; but here
it is the entail of an involuntary and dismal inheritance.
Months—for days, to express its long
Appointed—literally, "they have
numbered to me"; marking well the unavoidable doom assigned to him.
4. Literally, "When shall be the flight of the
night?" [Gesenius]. Umbreit, not so well, "The night is long extended";
literally, "measured out" (so Margin).
5. In elephantiasis maggots are bred in the
sores (Ac 12:23; Isa 14:11).
clods of dust—rather, a crust of dried
filth and accumulated corruption (Job 2:7, 8).
my skin is broken and …
loathsome—rather, comes together so as to heal up, and again
breaks out with running matter [Gesenius]. More simply the Hebrew is, "My
skin rests (for a time) and (again) melts away" (Ps 58:7).
6. (Isa 38:12). Every day like the weaver's shuttle
leaves a thread behind; and each shall wear, as he weaves. But Job's
thought is that his days must swiftly be cut off as a web;
without hope—namely, of a recovery and
renewal of life (Job 14:19; 1Ch 29:15).
7. Address to God.
Wind—a picture of evanescence (Ps 78:39).
shall no more see—rather, "shall no
more return to see good." This change from the different wish in Job 3:17, &c., is most true to nature.
He is now in a softer mood; a beam from former days of prosperity
falling upon memory and the thought of the unseen world, where one is
seen no more (Job 7:8), drew
from him an expression of regret at leaving this world of light (Ec 11:7); so Hezekiah (Isa 38:11). Grace rises above nature (2Co 5:8).
8. The eye of him who beholds me (present, not
past), that is, in the very act of beholding me, seeth me no more.
Thine eyes are upon me, and I am
not—He disappears, even while God is looking upon him. Job
cannot survive the gaze of Jehovah (Ps 104:32; Re 20:11). Not, "Thine eyes seek me and I am not
to be found"; for God's eye penetrates even to the unseen world (Ps 139:8). Umbreit unnaturally takes "thine" to refer to one of
the three friends.
9. (2Sa 12:23).
the grave—the Sheol, or place of
departed spirits, not disproving Job's belief in the resurrection. It
merely means, "He shall come up no more" in the present order of
10. (Ps 103:16). The Oriental keenly loves his
dwelling. In Arabian elegies the desertion of abodes by their occupants
is often a theme of sorrow. Grace overcomes this also (Lu 18:29; Ac
11. Therefore, as such is my hard lot, I will
at least have the melancholy satisfaction of venting my sorrow in
words. The Hebrew opening words, "Therefore I, at all events,"
express self-elevation [Umbreit].
12. Why dost thou deny me the comfort of
care-assuaging sleep? Why scarest thou me with frightful dreams?
Am I a sea—regarded in Old Testament
poetry as a violent rebel against God, the Lord of nature, who
therefore curbs his violence (Jer 5:22).
or a whale—or some other sea monster
27:1), that Thou needest thus
to watch and curb me? The Egyptians watched the crocodile most
carefully to prevent its doing mischief.
14. The frightful dreams resulting from
elephantiasis he attributes to God; the common belief assigned all
night visions to God.
translates, "So that I could wish to strangle myself—dead by my
own hands." He softens this idea of Job's harboring the thought of
suicide, by representing it as entertained only in agonizing dreams,
and immediately repudiated with horror in Job 7:16, "Yet that (self-strangling) I loathe."
This is forcible and graphic. Perhaps the meaning is simply, "My soul
chooses (even) strangling (or any violent death) rather than my life,"
literally, "my bones" (Ps 35:10);
that is, rather than the wasted and diseased skeleton, left to him. In
this view, "I loathe it" (Job 7:16)
refers to his life.
16. Let me alone—that is, cease to
afflict me for the few and vain days still left to me.
17. (Ps 8:4; 144:3). Job means, "What is man that thou
shouldst make him [of so much importance], and that thou shouldst
expend such attention [or, heart-thought] upon him" as to make him the
subject of so severe trials? Job ought rather to have reasoned from
God's condescending so far to notice man as to try him, that there must
be a wise and loving purpose in trial. David uses the same words, in
their right application, to express wonder that God should do so much
as He does for insignificant man. Christians who know God manifest in
the man Christ Jesus may use them still more.
18. With each new day (Ps 73:14). It is rather God's mercies, not our
trials, that are new every morning (La 3:23). The idea is that of a shepherd taking
count of his flock every morning, to see if all are there [Cocceius].
19. How long (like a jealous keeper) wilt thou
never take thine eyes off (so the Hebrew for "depart from") me?
Nor let me alone for a brief respite (literally, "so long as I take to
swallow my spittle"), an Arabic proverb, like our, "till I draw my
20. I have sinned—Yet what sin can I do
against ("to," Job 35:6)
thee (of such a nature that thou shouldst jealously watch and deprive
me of all strength, as if thou didst fear me)? Yet thou art one who
hast men ever in view, ever watchest them—O thou Watcher
(Job 7:12; Da 9:14) of men. Job had borne with patience his
trials, as sent by God (Job 1:21; 2:10); only his reason cannot reconcile the
ceaseless continuance of his mental and bodily pains with his ideas of
the divine nature.
set me as a mark—Wherefore dost thou
make me thy point of attack? that is, ever assail me with new pains?
[Umbreit] (La 3:12).
21. for now—very soon.
in the morning—not the resurrection;
for then Job will be found. It is a figure, from one seeking a sick man
in the morning, and finding he has died in the night. So Job implies
that, if God does not help him at once, it will be too late, for he
will be gone. The reason why God does not give an immediate sense of
pardon to awakened sinners is that they think they have a claim on God