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Job expostulates with God concerning his afflictions: he complains of life, but wishes for a little ease before his death.
Before Christ 1645.
Job 10:1. I will leave my complaint upon myself— I will not keep my complaint within myself. Houbigant. See the note on the 1st verse of the preceding chapter.
Job 10:3. That thou shouldest despise, &c.— That thou shouldest hate or destroy the work of thine hands, and give countenance to, or favour the counsel of the wicked? Houbigant and Heath.
Job 10:4. Hast thou eyes of flesh— Schultens observes, that eyes of flesh are here used for eyes of envy and hatred; and that to see, in the next clause, signifies to envy.
Job 10:7. Thou knowest that I am not wicked— Flagitious. Houbigant. Guilty of atrocious and enormous crimes. It would be injurious to the character of Job, says Mr. Peters, should we interpret in a severe and rigorous sense, as it is certain his friends too often did, his frequent protestations of his innocence and his bold appeals to the supreme Judge to prove and try him; for where he is thus strenuous in affecting his integrity, it is only in opposition to the notion which those mistaken friends had entertained of him; namely, that he had been guilty of some gross sins which he had the art to hide from the world, and that he was in reality a wicked man, and a hypocrite in his behaviour. This is what Job utterly denies and disclaims; though he nowhere arrogates to himself perfect innocence, or freedom from sin.
Job 10:8. Yet thou dost destroy me— And wilt thou tear me to pieces? Heath.
Job 10:10. Hast thou not poured me out as milk, &c.— See Pliny, Hist. Nat. l. 7. c. 15.; see also this and the following verses finely elucidated in Scheuchzer, Physique Sacree, tom. vi. p. 39.
Job 10:13. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart— And all the while didst thou treasure up these things in thy heart, I find by experience that this was thy purpose, Job 10:14. That if I should sin, thou wouldst observe me, and wouldst by no means acquit me from mine iniquity. Schultens.
Job 10:15. If I be wicked, woe unto me! &c.— i.e. "I cannot, will not hope for any temporal deliverance upon account of my righteousness, as you, my friends, are endeavouring to persuade me, from a mistaken principle; and according to which, if no such deliverance should happen, you are still resolved to condemn me as a wicked man." The latter clause of this verse, I am full of confusion, &c. should be rendered thus, I am full of ignominy; and those who are spectators of my affliction even pride themselves against me, and insult me; Job 10:16. Thou huntest me as if I were a lion, and repeatest thy marvellous assaults upon me: that is, in short, "Thou sufferest my friends to attack and worry me in their turns, as the hunters usually do a stout lion when they surround him on all sides, and attack him one after another." See ch. Job 16:11; Job 16:13. I am persuaded that we should be very sensible of the beauty of this comparison had we lived in Job's days, and been with him at the hunting down of a lion. This circumstance of his friend's haughty behaviour towards him, their even priding themselves against him, and insulting him, was so insupportable, that he proceeds, Job 10:18 addressing himself to God: Wherefore then, &c.?—I should have expired, and no eye had seen me; "I should neither have undergone the reproaches which I now suffer, nor would these spectators of my affliction have incurred the guilt of this their hard usage of me; Job 10:19. I should have been as though I had never been; a mere abortion, carried directly from the womb to the grave, Job 10:20. Are not my days few? cease then."—The Hebrew is, יחדל ימי מעט הלא halo meat iamai iachadal, Will not the little of my days cease? Is it not a very short time that I have to live? In the next verses we have a gloomy prospect indeed: but it should be remembered, that the Easterns in general, and the Hebrews in particular, took their ideas of death, for the most part, from their places of sepulchre, which were large caves in rocks, where no light was admitted, except through the entrance. See Bishop Lowth's Prelections, Lect. 7. Heath renders the last verse of this chapter, A land, the darkness of which is as the thick darkness of the shadow of death; where there are no constellations, but its brightest ray is as the thick darkness.
Job 10:17. Thou renewest thy witness— Accusations. Heath. Literally, says he, thy evidences; but, being a judicial term, it signifies indictments, charges: the phrase is somewhat analogous to the term in the English law, thou revivest thy bill. The word rendered changes is a military term, importing the leading on fresh troops to the attack to relieve those who were fatigued. Heath renders this latter clause, Thou devisest an army of new torments to inflict me.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, Though in general Job acknowledged himself a sinner, and unable to stand the severity of God's judgment; yet, when he considered his own integrity in general, and the uncommon weight of his afflictions, he seemed to feel an argument for impatient complaint, and charges God foolishly.
1. He repeats his passionate wish for death; My soul is weary of my life, burdened with afflictions, and longing to be rid of them in the grave. I will leave my complaint upon myself; I must complain, though I lay the blame on myself; such anguish cannot be suppressed, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. Note; To be weary of life before God sends a discharge, is to be unfaithful to the post that he hath given us to maintain.
2. He resolves to inquire of God the cause of his sufferings, I will say unto God, Do not condemn me, or account me wicked, deal with him as if he really was such as his friends suggested, and who, while his troubles continued, would be confirmed in their suspicions. Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me; he was not conscious of having wilfully offended, and therefore fain would know the design that God proposed in the heaviness and continuance of his calamities. Note; (1.) It becomes us in suffering times to inquire into their cause, that we may answer their end. Though we may know nothing of ourselves, particularly to condemn us, he that judgeth us is the Lord, who sees what we overlook, and whose ways and thoughts are as much above ours as the heaven is higher than the earth. (2.) When we suffer the rod of correction, we need especially pray to be saved from the condemnation of sin. Every other burden is supportable; that intolerable.
3. He presumes to expostulate with God on his case. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldst oppress? can it be agreeable to thy perfections to take pleasure in tormenting me? that thou shouldst despise the work of thine hands, and be indifferent to my sorrows, though thy creature by nature, by grace thy servant too? and shine upon the counsel of the wicked, prosper their devices against the righteous, or, by the continuance of his afflictions, seem to approve the hard censures of the world and his friends. Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth? Looking farther than outward appearances, they condemn me; wilt thou do like them, who seest the secrets of the heart, and knowest my innocence? Are thy days as the days of man, whose life is short, his purposes mutable, and his researches after truth, through the imperfection of his faculties, tedious? that thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin? continuing his anguish, as if to draw from him a confession of his guilt, as from a person under the torture; which seemed to Job severe and needless, persuaded of God's all-seeing eye and unerring wisdom, and assured of his own uprightness before him. Thou knowest that I am not wicked, chargeable with open or allowed iniquity, nor hypocritical in my professions; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand. No power could rescue him from God's hand, and therefore, he need not be bound with these cords of affliction, as if to prevent his escape. Note; (1.) It is difficult under extraordinary troubles to be silent, and not impeach, by murmuring, God's goodness or his righteousness. (2.) The sense of God's omniscience should ever fill our minds with reverence and godly fear before him. Who will not dread the sin which darkness promises to cover when God's eye is there? (3.) Resistance against God is vain; to struggle against his corrections is but to torment our own souls.
2nd, Having called himself the work of God's hands, he here enlarges on that consideration; begs God to remember his own past favours and his frailty, as a reason against the severity of those sufferings which threatened to destroy him. Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about, yet thou dost destroy me, for under these troubles I must quickly sink. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay, thou art my potter, I am moulded at thy will, brittle as the clay; remember it, for I cannot stand under such strokes of correction, but must be broken to pieces. And wilt thou bring me into dust again? delight to make and unmake me, give me a momentary existence, only to bring me to a miserable end? especially after being so fearfully and wonderfully made. Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and fenced me with bones and sinews, carried on the formation of my body till I breathed vital air: thou hast granted me life, and with it numberless mercies, and favour, thy gifts of nature, and the better portion of thy grace: and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit, kept me long amid the dangers that surround me, and supported and preserved the life thou didst bestow; and these things hast thou hid in thine heart: amidst all thy apparent mercies lay concealed the miseries which I endure. I know that this is with thee, thou alone canst assign the reasons of thy conduct, which to me appears strange and mysterious. Note; (1.) The curious structure and formation of the human body should lead us to an admiration of the hand that made it. (2.) All our mercies of nature, providence, and grace, are derived from God, and he should be acknowledged by us in all with thankfulness, and a grateful return made to him in bounden love and service. (3.) Though sometimes we cannot reconcile God's former dealings or his promises with our present afflictive dispensation, he will appear at last righteous in his word, and just in all his works.
3rdly, The more Job went on to complain, the warmer his words grew.
1. He reflects upon the severity of God's inquiry, and the rigour of his sentence. If he took one false step, it was marked as if God's eye was over him for evil. Full of confusion through his anguish, he scarcely knew what or how to speak, and therefore begs God to look upon his affliction in mercy before it quite overwhelmed him; for, instead of abating, the waters of trouble swelled daily higher: he was hunted with afflictions, as the fierce lion pursues his prey; and these so repeated and strange, that he was an astonishment to others, and a wonder to himself. Every day fresh calamities, as new evidences, arose to testify his guilt, and the increasing indignation against him; his changes were only from evil to worse; and war from heaven, earth, and hell, seemed to assault him. Note; (1.) If God be strict to mark what is amiss, who may abide it? (2.) Woe to the impenitent! whether prosperity or adversity attend them here, misery, intolerable as eternal, must be their portion hereafter. (3.) If a child of God seem sunk in uncommon calamities, let him not despair; though the dispensation is grievous, it is for the trial of his faith. (4.) Reflections upon God, as being hard and severe, are very sinful.
2. He renews his impatient desire of death, but begs that God would give him some short respite from his afflictions before he dropped into the grave. He expostulates with God, why he so unkindly drew him into a world so miserable;—wishes as before, chap. Job 3:11 to have died from the womb, that no eye might have seen his misery, and that he might have departed as one that had never been. He urges the shortness of his days, as a plea for some moments' comfort before death should close his eyes in darkness, and lay him in the grave, whence there could be no return to earth again; where no succession of days and years cheered the melancholy scene, no distinction of age, sex, or station appeared, no beam of light ever pierced the dreadful gloom, but shadows of death, dark and dismal, were perpetually extended over it. Note; (1.) Every moment's respite and ease that we enjoy here should be regarded as a mercy from God. (2.) The shorter our days are, the more need have we to improve them. (3.) The grave affords to sense a very melancholy prospect; but to the righteous there ariseth up light in the darkness; and faith can look through the thick cloud, and behold those glories beyond, in prospect of which we can say, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 10". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13