|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:8-22 How doleful are Job's complaints! What is the fire of hell but the wrath of God! Seared consciences will feel it hereafter, but do not fear it now: enlightened consciences fear it now, but shall not feel it hereafter. It is a very common mistake to think that those whom God afflicts he treats as his enemies. Every creature is that to us which God makes it to be; yet this does not excuse Job's relations and friends. How uncertain is the friendship of men! but if God be our Friend, he will not fail us in time of need. What little reason we have to indulge the body, which, after all our care, is consumed by diseases it has in itself. Job recommends himself to the compassion of his friends, and justly blames their harshness. It is very distressing to one who loves God, to be bereaved at once of outward comfort and of inward consolation; yet if this, and more, come upon a believer, it does not weaken the proof of his being a child of God and heir of glory.
Verse 8. - He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass (comp. Job 3:25; Job 13:27; Hosea 2:6), and he hath set darkness in my paths. Job complains of the want of light; in his heart he cries, Ἐν δὲ φάει καὶ ὄλεσσον. Nothing vexes him so much as his inability to understand why he is afflicted.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass,.... A metaphor taken from travellers, who not only meet with obstacles and obstructions in their way, which make it difficult; but sometimes with such enclosures and fences, that they are at a full stop, and cannot pass on, and know not what course to steer: the people of God are not inhabitants of this world, but pilgrims, strangers, and sojourners in it, and travellers through it; they are bound for another country, and are travelling to it; and though their way for far most part is indeed troublesome, but generally passable, or made so; yet sometimes not only is their way hedged up with afflictions, and they hedged about with them, that they cannot easily get out, and get through and pass on; and it is with much difficulty, and with being much scratched and torn, they do brush through; but they also at other times find God has built up a wall against them, and enclosed them with hewn stones, and so fenced up their way that they cannot pass on; such difficulties present as seem insurmountable, and they are at a standstill, and know not what way to take; which was now Job's case, see Lamentations 3:5; and this may not only respect the way of his walk in this world, but his way to God, either to the throne of his grace, or the tribunal of his justice: the way to God, as on a throne of grace, is only through Christ, the living way; which, though more clearly revealed under the Gospel dispensation, and therefore called a new way, yet was known under the former dispensation, and made use of; in which saints may have access to God with boldness and confidence: but sometimes this way seems by unbelief to be fenced up, though it is always open; and especially when God hides his face, and is not to be seen, nor is it known where to find him, and how to come up to his seat; and which also was Job's case, Job 23:3; and whereas he was very desirous of having his cause heard and tried at the tribunal of God, his way was so shut up, that he could not obtain what he so much desired, and knew not therefore how to proceed, and what course to take:
and he hath set darkness in my paths; and was like a traveller in a very dark night, that cannot see his way, and knows not what step to take next; so good men, though they walk not in the ways of darkness, in a moral sense, as unregenerate men do; yet even while they are walking in the good ways of truth and holiness, and while they are passing through this world, God sometimes withdraws the light of his countenance from them, so that they walk in darkness, and have no light, which is very uncomfortable walking; and when God may be said to put darkness into their paths, he not granting them the light of grace and comfort they have sometimes enjoyed; and so it is with them when under such dark dispensations of Providence, as that they cannot see the end of God in leading them in such ways; and then their case is such as it now was Job's; that they cannot see any way of getting out of it; as the Israelites at the Red sea, and Paul and the mariners when in a storm, and all hope of being saved was gone.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. Image from a benighted traveller.
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