|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:13-22 Job resolved to cleave to the testimony his own conscience gave of his uprightness. He depended upon God for justification and salvation, the two great things we hope for through Christ. Temporal salvation he little expected, but of his eternal salvation he was very confident; that God would not only be his Saviour to make him happy, but his salvation, in the sight and enjoyment of whom he should be happy. He knew himself not to be a hypocrite, and concluded that he should not be rejected. We should be well pleased with God as a Friend, even when he seems against us as an enemy. We must believe that all shall work for good to us, even when all seems to make against us. We must cleave to God, yea, though we cannot for the present find comfort in him. In a dying hour, we must derive from him living comforts; and this is to trust in him, though he slay us.
Verses 14-28. - The appeal is now to God; but Job prefaces it by excusing his boldness (vers. 14-19). Verse 14. - Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth! An obscure phrase, to be explained by the parallel in the second member of the verse. The general meaning is, "Why do I jeopardize everything - my body, taking it as it were between my teeth; and my soul, taking it as it were in my hand?" Neither idea will bear minute analysis; but the latter, at any rate, was known to the Greeks (Athen., 'Deipnosoph.,' p. 569), and is common in English. And put my life in my hand (comp. Judges 12:3; 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21; Psalm 119:109).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth,.... Or bite my lips, to keep in my words, and refrain from speaking? I will not do it:
and put my life in my hand? or, expose it to danger by a forced silence; when I am ready to burst, and must if I do not speak; I will not thus endanger my life; it is unreasonable I should, I will speak my mind freely and fully, that I may be refreshed; so Sephorno interprets it of Job's putting his hand to his mouth, that he might be silent; and of putting a forcible restraint upon himself, that he might not declare what was upon his mind; see Job 13:19; but others, as Bar Tzemach, take the sense to be, what is the sin I have committed, that such sore afflictions are laid upon me; that through the pain and distress I am in, I am ready to tear off my flesh with my teeth, and my life is in the utmost danger? and some think he was under a temptation to tear his own flesh, and destroy himself; and therefore argues why he should be thus hardly dealt with, as to be exposed to such a temptation, and thrown in such despair, which yet he laboured against; but rather the meaning is, in connection with the preceding verse, let whatsoever will come upon me, "at all events, I will take my flesh in my teeth, and I will put my life in my hand" (l); I will expose myself to the greatest dangers which is the sense of the last phrase in Judges 12:3; come life, come death, I will not fear; I am determined to speak out my mind let what will be the consequence; and with this bold and heroic spirit agrees what follows.
(l) "Super quocunque eventu", Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. A proverb for, "Why should I anxiously desire to save my life?" [Eichorn]. The image in the first clause is that of a wild beast, which in order to preserve his prey, carries it in his teeth. That in the second refers to men who hold in the hand what they want to keep secure.
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