Job 14:1-22. Job Passes from
His Own to the Common Misery of Mankind.
1. woman—feeble, and in the East looked
down upon (Ge 2:21). Man
being born of one so frail must be frail himself (Mt 11:11).
few days—(Ge 47:9; Ps
90:10). Literally, "short of
days." Man is the reverse of full of days and short of trouble.
2. (Ps 90:6; see
on Job 8:9).
3. open … eyes upon—Not in
graciousness; but, "Dost Thou sharply fix Thine eyes upon?" (See on Job 7:20; also see on Job
1:7). Is one so frail as man worthy of such constant watching on
the part of God? (Zec 12:4).
4. A plea in mitigation. The doctrine of
original sin was held from the first. "Man is unclean from his birth,
how then can God expect perfect cleanness from such a one and deal so
severely with me?"
5. determined—(Job 7:1; Isa 10:23; Da 9:27; 11:36).
6. Turn—namely, Thine eyes from watching
him so jealously (Job 14:3).
accomplish—rather, "enjoy." That he
may at least enjoy the measure of rest of the hireling who though hard
worked reconciles himself to his lot by the hope of his rest and reward
7. Man may the more claim a peaceful life,
since, when separated from it by death, he never returns to it. This
does not deny a future life, but a return to the present
condition of life. Job plainly hopes for a future state (Job
14:13; Job 7:2). Still, it is
but vague and trembling hope, not assurance; excepting
the one bright glimpse in Job 19:25.
The Gospel revelation was needed to change fears, hopes, and glimpses
into clear and definite certainties.
9. scent—exhalation, which, rather than
the humidity of water, causes the tree to germinate. In the antithesis
to man the tree is personified, and volition is
poetically ascribed to it.
like a plant—"as if newly planted"
[Umbreit]; not as if trees and plants
were a different species.
10. man … man—Two distinct
Hebrew words are here used; Geber, a mighty man:
though mighty, he dies. Adam, a man of earth: because earthly,
he gives up the ghost.
wasteth—is reduced to nothing: he
cannot revive in the present state, as the tree does. The cypress and
pine, which when cut down do not revive, were the symbols of death
among the Romans.
11. sea—that is, a lake, or pool formed
from the outspreading of a river. Job lived near the Euphrates: and
"sea" is applied to it (Jer 51:36; Isa 27:1). So of the Nile (Isa 19:5).
fail—utterly disappeared by drying up.
The rugged channel of the once flowing water answers to the
outstretched corpse ("lieth down," Job 14:12) of the once living man.
12. heavens be no more—This only implies
that Job had no hope of living again in the present order of the
world, not that he had no hope of life again in a new order of things.
102:26 proves that early
under the Old Testament the dissolution of the present earth and
heavens was expected (compare Ge 8:22). Enoch before Job had implied
that the "saints shall live again" (Jude 14; Heb 11:13-16). Even if, by this phrase,
Job meant "never" (Ps 89:29) in
his gloomier state of feelings, yet the Holy Ghost has made him
unconsciously (1Pe 1:11, 12) use language expressing the truth, that
the resurrection is to be preceded by the dissolution of the heavens.
14:13-15 he plainly passes to
brighter hopes of a world to come.
13. Job wishes to be kept hidden in the grave
until God's wrath against him shall have passed away. So while God's
wrath is visiting the earth for the abounding apostasy which is to
precede the second coming, God's people shall be hidden against the
resurrection glory (Isa 26:19-21).
set time—a decreed time (Ac 1:7).
14. shall he live?—The answer implied
is, There is a hope that he shall, though not in the present order
of life, as is shown by the words following. Job had denied (Job
14:10-12) that man shall live
again in this present world. But hoping for a "set time," when God
shall remember and raise him out of the hiding-place of the grave
14:13), he declares himself
willing to "wait all the days of his appointed time" of continuance in
the grave, however long and hard that may be.
appointed time—literally, "warfare,
hard service"; imlying the hardship of being shut out from the
realms of life, light, and God for the time he shall be in the grave
change—my release, as a soldier at his
post released from duty by the relieving guard (see on Job 10:17) [Umbreit and
Gesenius], but elsewhere Gesenius explains it, "renovation," as of plants in
14:7), but this does not
accord so well with the metaphor in "appointed time" or "warfare."
15. namely, at the resurrection (Joh 5:28; Ps
have a desire to—literally, "become
pale with anxious desire:" the same word is translated "sore longedst
after" (Ge 31:30; Ps 84:2), implying the utter unlikelihood that
God would leave in oblivion the "creature of His own hands so fearfully
and wonderfully made." It is objected that if Job knew of a future
retribution, he would make it the leading topic in solving the
problem of the permitted afflictions of the righteous. But, (1) He did
not intend to exceed the limits of what was clearly revealed;
the doctrine was then in a vague form only; (2) The doctrine of God's
moral government in this life, even independently of the
future, needed vindication.
16. Rather, "Yea, thou wilt number my steps,
and wilt not (as now) jealously watch over my sin." Thenceforward,
instead of severe watching for every sin of Job, God will guard him
against every sin.
number … steps—that is, minutely
attend to them, that they may not wander [Umbreit] (1Sa 2:9; Ps 37:23).
17. sealed up—(Job 9:7). Is shut up in eternal oblivion, that
is, God thenceforth will think no more of my former sins. To
cover sins is to completely forgive them (Ps 32:1; 85:2). Purses of money in the East are
sewest up—rather, "coverest"; akin to
an Arabic word, "to color over," to forget wholly.
18. cometh to naught—literally,
"fadeth"; a poetical image from a leaf (Isa 34:4). Here Job falls back into his gloomy
bodings as to the grave. Instead of "and surely," translate "yet";
marking the transition from his brighter hopes. Even the solid mountain
falls and crumbles away; man therefore cannot "hope" to escape decay or
to live again in the present world (Job 14:19).
out of his place—so man (Ps 103:16).
19. The Hebrew order is more forcible:
"Stones themselves are worn away by water."
things which grow out of—rather,
"floods wash away the dust of the earth." There is a gradation
from "mountains" to "rocks" (Job 14:18), then "stones," then last "dust of the
earth"; thus the solid mountain at last disappears utterly.
20. prevailest—dost overpower by
changest countenance—the change in the
visage at death. Differently (Da 5:9).
21. One striking trait is selected from the
sad picture of the severance of the dead from all that passes in the
9:5), namely, the utter
separation of parents and children.
22. "Flesh" and "soul" describe the whole man.
Scripture rests the hope of a future life, not on the inherent
immortality of the soul, but on the restoration of the body with
the soul. In the unseen world, Job in a gloomy frame anticipates, man
shall be limited to the thought of his own misery. "Pain is by
personification, from our feelings while alive,
attributed to the flesh and soul, as if the man could feel in his body
when dead. It is the dead in general, not the wicked, who are meant