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Bible Commentaries
Job 14

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Job 14:4 . Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Then seeing we are all stained with original and actual sin, why should Zophar, without the least proof, almost say that Job’s afflictions were the visitations of sins which exceeded the strokes? Presumptions which inflict the deepest wounds, are sins which provoke the Lord.

Job 14:5 . His days are determined. Two things are to be noted here, that the death of man is determined because of sin, and that his days and months are numbered. But the decrees of God are in his own hands; he can add to the days of Hezekiah, and he can shorten the days of tribulation for the elect’s sake. So it would seem Job understood the sentence on man; for in Job 14:13 he prays the Lord for a speedier release, and to be hid in the grave.

Job 14:7 . There is hope of a tree. By a beautiful climax Job expresses his hope in the resurrection of the dead. The oak sends forth shoots after it is felled; the daily and equinoctial tides return; the dry beds of rivers in tropical climates flow again with a swoln stream in the rainy season; and as men awake from sleep, so shall be the resurrection of the dead. If there be no future state, the only comfort of dying men, Job must have been devoid of reason to use all these most consoling figures of speech. See Job 19:25.

Job 14:11 . As the waters fail from the sea, which washes down promontories, and carries the depositions to calmer places, so that seaports, like Canterbury, become inland towns; so man is buried in the grave till the heavens are no more, and then the dead shall rise again.

Job 14:14-15 . If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. The LXX, εως παλιν γενωμαι , “till I am made anew,” by a resurrection from the dead. Our judicious Poole, from the words which presede and those which follow, refers this passage to the hopes which Job had of the resurrection of the dead. In this hope he was comforted to wait, all the days of his appointed time; literally, as in chap. Job 7:1, “all the days of his warfare,” till he should enter into peace; till thou shalt call, and I will answer thee.

Job 14:17 . My transgression is sealed up in a bag. Hosea apparently applies this figure of speech to the sin of Ephraim: Hosea 13:12. The gloss of the elder critics is to the sealing up of gold and silver in bags; others refer it to tribunals, where papers of indictment are opened against offenders. In the year 1820, we had much noise in England about a “green bag.”

Job 14:19 . The waters wear the stones, by warring against the contour cliffs. Critics refer this, as in Schultens, to the deluge of Noah, which made the mountains fall, as in Job 14:18. The ancients knew much of the destruction of the earth’s surface by diluvian tides. See on Genesis 8:3.


Job reserves the strength of his arguments to the close, and completely refutes the fine promises of Zophar concerning peace in the present world, and having light in old age clearer than noon. He gives us a portrait of life, as short and full of trouble.

Here is also an instructive view of death. It is a removal out of this world, and there is no recovery, like that of a plant, which may grow again; it is a great and awful change; the body changes its appearance when sick, and especially when it has been a little while dead. The soul removes to a new world, to new company, and has no more concern with earth. Let us think of this change, get ready for it, wait patiently till it comes, and in a word so live, that it may be a happy and glorious change to us.

We have an instructive view of the grave. It is a hidingplace to God’s people, a shelter from every storm. When oppressed with calamity, or when God foresees distress coming, then he sends them away, lodges them safe in the grave, and hides them from thousands of sins, sorrows and distresses, which they foresaw not. The grave is a chamber of repose to the saints. It is God’s work to hide men there. Let this reconcile good men to an abode in the grave, and teach them silence and submission when their pious friends are lodged there.

We have here a cheering aspect of the resurrection. Man lieth down, and riseth not till the heavens are no more; then he shall rise. God calls, and each of his servants shall answer, readily and joyfully, “Here I am.” God will have regard to the work of his grace in the hearts, and the work of his hands on the bodies of his saints, and will awake them again to a new and immortal life. The well grounded expectation of this is very comfortable to the saints under all the afflictions of life, and in the nearer views of death.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 14". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/job-14.html. 1835.
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