|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-6 Job enlarges upon the condition of man, addressing himself also to God. Every man of Adam's fallen race is short-lived. All his show of beauty, happiness, and splendour falls before the stroke of sickness or death, as the flower before the scythe; or passes away like the shadow. How is it possible for a man's conduct to be sinless, when his heart is by nature unclean? Here is a clear proof that Job understood and believed the doctrine of original sin. He seems to have intended it as a plea, why the Lord should not deal with him according to his own works, but according to His mercy and grace. It is determined, in the counsel and decree of God, how long we shall live. Our times are in his hands, the powers of nature act under him; in him we live and move. And it is very useful to reflect seriously on the shortness and uncertainty of human life, and the fading nature of all earthly enjoyments. But it is still more important to look at the cause, and remedy of these evils. Until we are born of the Spirit, no spiritually good thing dwells in us, or can proceed from us. Even the little good in the regenerate is defiled with sin. We should therefore humble ourselves before God, and cast ourselves wholly on the mercy of God, through our Divine Surety. We should daily seek the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and look to heaven as the only place of perfect holiness and happiness.
Verse 2. - He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down. Few similes are more frequently used in Scripture (comp. Psalm 103:15; Isaiah 28:1, 4; Isaiah 40:6, 7; James 1:10, 11; 1 Peter 1:24), and certainly none could have more poetic beauty. Eastern flowers do not often last much more than a day. He fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not (comp. Job 7:2; Job 8:9; 1 Chronicles 29:15; Psalm 102:11; Psalm 109:23; Ecclesiastes 6:12, etc.). Shadows are always changing; but the shadows which flee away the fastest, and which Job has probably in his mind, are those of clouds, or other moving objects, which seem to chase each other over the earth, and never to continue for a single minute in one stay.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down,.... As the flower comes from the earth, so does man; as it comes out of the stalk, so man out of his mother's womb; as the flower flourishes for a while, and looks gay and beautiful, so man while in youth, in health and prosperity. Job, doubtless, has respect to his own case before his troubles came upon him, when he was possessed of all that substance, which made him the greatest man of the east; when his children were like olive plants around his table, and his servants at his command, and he in perfect health of body: and as a flower flourishes for a little while, and then withers; no sooner is it come to its full blow, but presently decays; such is the goodliness of man, it fades away whenever God blows a blast upon it; yea, he is easily and quickly cut down by death, like a beautiful flower cut with the knife, or cropped by the hand, or trampled upon by the foot, see Psalm 103:15;
he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not; either as the shadow of the evening, which is lost when night comes on; or the shadow on a dial plate, which is continually moving on; or, as the Jewish Rabbins say, as the shadow of a bird flying, which stays not, whereas the shadow of a wall, or of a tree, continues: a shadow is an empty thing, without substance, dark and obscure, variable and uncertain, declining, fleeting, and passing away; and so fitly resembles the life of a man, which is but a vapour, a bubble, yea, as nothing with God; is full of darkness, of ignorance, and of adversity, very fickle, changeable, and inconstant, and at most but of a short continuance.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. (Ps 90:6; see on Job 8:9).
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