Job 10

CHAPTER X

Job is weary of life, and expostulates with God, 1-6.

He appeals to God for his innocence; and pleads on the weakness

of his frame, and the manner of his formation, 7-13.

Complains of his sufferings, and prays for respite, 14-20.

Describes the state of the dead, 21, 22.

NOTES ON CHAP. X

Verse 1. My soul is weary of my life] Here is a proof that

nephesh does not signify the animal life, but the soul or

immortal mind, as distinguished from chai, that animal life;

and is a strong proof that Job believed in the distinction between

these two principles; was no materialist; but, on the contrary,

credited the proper immortality of the soul. This is worthy of

observation. See Job 12:10.

I will leave my complaint] I still charge myself with the cause

of my own calamities; and shall not charge my Maker foolishly: but

I must deplore my wretched and forlorn state.

Verse 2. Do not condemn me] Let me not be afflicted in thy

wrath.

Show me wherefore thou contendest] If I am afflicted because of

my sins, show me what that sin is. God never afflicts but for past

sin, or to try his followers; or for the greater manifestation of

his grace in their support and deliverance.

Verse 3. Is it good unto thee] Surely it can be no gratification

to thee to distress the children of men, as if thou didst despise

the work of thy own hands.

And shine upon the counsel] For by my afflictions the harsh

judgments of the wicked will appear to be confirmed: viz., that

God regards not his most fervent worshippers; and it is no benefit

to lead a religious life.

Verse 4. Hast thou eyes of flesh!] Dost thou judge as man

judges? Illustrated by the next clause, Seest thou as man seeth?

Verse 5. Are thy days as the days of man] enosh, wretched,

miserable man. Thy years as man's days; gaber, the strong

man. Thou art not short-lived, like man in his present imperfect

state; nor can the years of the long-lived patriarchs be compared

with thine. The difference of the phraseology in the original

justifies this view of the subject. Man in his low estate cannot

be likened unto thee; nor can he in his greatest excellence,

though made in thy own image and likeness, be compared to thee.

Verse 6. That thou inquirest] Is it becoming thy infinite

dignity to concern thyself so much with the affairs or

transgressions of a despicable mortal? A word spoken in the heart

of most sinners.

Verse 7. Thou knowest that I am not wicked] While thou hast this

knowledge of me and my conduct, why appear to be sifting me as if

in order to find out sin; and though none can be found, treating

me as though I were a transgressor?

Verse 8. Thine hands have made me] Thou art well acquainted with

human nature, for thou art its author.

And fashioned me together round about] All my powers and

faculties have been planned and executed by thyself. It is thou

who hast refined the materials out of which I have been formed,

and modified them into that excellent symmetry and order in which

they are now found; so that the union and harmony of the different

parts, ( yachad,) and their arrangement and completion,

( sabib,) proclaim equally thy wisdom, skill, power, and

goodness.

Yet thou dost destroy me.] vatteballeeni, "and thou

wilt swallow me up." Men generally care for and prize those works

on which they have spent most time, skill, and pains: but,

although thou hast formed me with such incredible skill and

labour, yet thou art about to destroy me! How dreadful an evil

must sin be, when, on its account, God has pronounced the sentence

of death on all mankind; and that body, so curiously and skilfully

formed, must be decomposed, and reduced to dust!

Verse 9. Thou hast made me as the clay] Thou hast fashioned me,

according to thy own mind, out of a mass of clay: after so much

skill and pains expended, men might naturally suppose they were to

have a permanent being; but thou hast decreed to turn them into

dust!

Verse 10. Hast thou not poured me out as milk] After all that

some learned men have said on this subject, in order to confine

the images here to simple nutrition, I am satisfied that

generation is the true notion. Respicit ad fetus in matris utero

primam formationem, quum in embryonem ex utriusque parentis semine

coalescit.-Ex semine liquido, lac quodammodo referente, me

formasti.-In interpretando, inquit Hieronymus, omnino his accedo

qui de genitali semine accipiunt, quod ipsa tanquam natura

emulget, ac dein concrescere in utero ad coalescere jubet. I make

no apology for leaving this untranslated.

The different expressions in this and the following verse are

very appropriate: the pouring out like milk-coagulating, clothing

with skin and flesh, fencing with bones and sinews, are well

imagined, and delicately, and at the same time forcibly,

expressed.

If I believed that Job referred to nutrition, which I do not, I

might speak of the chyle, the chylopoietic organs, the lacteal

vessels, and the generation of all the solids and fluids from this

substance, which itself is derived from the food taken into the

stomach. But this process, properly speaking, does not take

place till the human being is brought into the world, it being

previously nourished by the mother by means of the funis

umbilicus, without that action of the stomach by which the chyle

is prepared.

Verse 12. Thou hast granted me life and favour] Thou hast

brought me from my mother's womb; given me an actual existence

among men; by thy favour or mercy thou hast provided me with the

means of life; and thy visitation-thy continual providential care,

has preserved me in life-has given me the air I breathe, and

furnished me with those powers which enable me to respire it as an

agent and preserver of life. It is by God's continued visitation

or influence that the life of any man is preserved; in him we

live, move, and have our being.

Verse 13. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart] Thou

hast had many gracious purposes concerning me which thou hast not

made known; but thy visitations and mercy are sufficient proofs of

kindness towards me; though for purposes unknown to me thou hast

sorely afflicted me, and continuest to treat me as an enemy.

Verse 14. If I sin] From thee nothing can be hidden; if I sin,

thou takest account of the transgression, and canst not hold me

for innocent when thou knowest I am guilty.

Verse 15. If I be wicked] I must meet with that punishment that

is due to the workers of iniquity.

If I be righteous] I am only in the state which my duty to my

Creator requires me to be in; and I cannot therefore suppose that

on this account I can deserve any thing by way of favour from the

justice of my Maker.

I am full of confusion] I am confounded at my state and

circumstances. I know that thou art merciful, and dost not afflict

willingly the children of men; I know I have not wickedly departed

from thee; and yet I am treated by thee as if I were an apostate

from every good. I am therefore full of confusion. See thou to my

affliction; and bring me out of it in such a way as shall at once

prove my innocence, the righteousness of thy ways, and the mercy

of thy nature.

Verse 16. For it increaseth.] Probably this refers to the

affliction mentioned above, which is increased in proportion to

its duration. Every day made his escape from such a load of evils

less and less probable.

Thou huntest me as a fierce lion] As the hunters attack the king

of beasts in the forest, so my friends attack me. They assail me

on every side.

Thou showest thyself marvellous] Thy designs, thy ways, thy

works, are all incomprehensible to me; thou dost both confound and

overpower me. Mr. Good translates thus:-

"For uprousing as a ravenous lion dost thou spring upon me.

And again thou showest over me thy vast power."

Verse 17. Thou renewest thy witnesses] In this speech of Job he

is ever referring to trials in courts of judicature, and almost

all his terms are forensic. Thou bringest witnesses in continual

succession to confound and convict me.

Changes and war] I am as if attacked by successive troops; one

company being wearied, another succeeds to the attack, so that I

am harassed by continual warfare.

Verse 18. Wherefore then] Why didst thou give me a being, when

thou didst foresee I should be exposed to such incredible

hardships? See on Job 3:10, &c.

Verse 19. I should have been as though] Had I given up the ghost

as soon as born, as I could not then have been conscious of

existence, it would have been, as it respects myself, as though I

had never been; being immediately transported from my mother's

womb to the grave.

Verse 20. Are not my days few?] My life cannot be long; let me

have a little respite before I die.

Verse 21. I shall not return] I shall not return again from the

dust to have a dwelling among men.

To the land of darkness] See Clarke on Job 3:5. There are

here a crowd of obscure and dislocated terms, admirably expressive

of the obscurity and uncertainty of the subject. What do we know

of the state of separate spirits? What do we know of the spiritual

world? How do souls exist separate from their respective bodies?

Of what are they capable and what is their employment? Who can

answer these questions? Perhaps nothing can be said much better of

the state than is here said, a land of obscurity, like darkness.

The shadow of death] A place where death rules, over which he

projects his shadow, intercepting every light of every kind of

life. Without any order, velo sedarim, having no

arrangements, no distinctions of inhabitants; the poor and the

rich are there, the master and his slave, the king and the beggar,

their bodies in equal corruption and disgrace, their souls

distinguished only by their moral character. Stripped of their

flesh, they stand in their naked simplicity before God in that

place.

Verse 22. Where the light is as darkness.] A palpable obscure:

it is space and place, and has only such light or capability of

distinction as renders "darkness visible." The following words of

Sophocles convey the same idea: ιωσκοτοςεμοιφαος; "Thou

darkness be my light." It is, as the Vulgate expresses it, Terra

tenebrosa, et operta mortis caligine: Terra miseriae et

tenebrarum, ubi umbra mortis, et nullus ordo, sed sempiternus

horror inhabitat: "A murky land, covered with the thick darkness

of death: a land of wretchedness and obscurities, where is the

shadow of death, and no order, but sempiternal horror dwells

everywhere." Or, as Coverdale expresses this last clause, Wheras

is no ordre but terrible feare as in the darknesse. A duration not

characterized or measured by any of the attributes of time; where

there is no order of darkness and light, night and day, heat and

cold, summer and winter. It is the state of the dead! The place of

separate spirits! It is out of time, out of probation, beyond

change or mutability. It is on the confines of eternity! But

what is THIS? and where? Eternity! how can I form any conception

of thee? In thee there is no order, no bounds, no substance, no

progression, no change, no past, no present, no future! Thou art

an indescribable something, to which there is no analogy in the

compass of creation. Thou art infinity and incomprehensibility to

all finite beings. Thou art what, living, I know not, and what I

must die to know; and even then I shall apprehend no more of thee

than merely that thou art E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y!

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