|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:20-26 Job was like a man who had lost his way, and had no prospect of escape, or hope of better times. But surely he was in an ill frame for death when so unwilling to live. Let it be our constant care to get ready for another world, and then leave it to God to order our removal thither as he thinks fit. Grace teaches us in the midst of life's greatest comforts, to be willing to die, and in the midst of its greatest crosses, to be willing to live. Job's way was hid; he knew not wherefore God contended with him. The afflicted and tempted Christian knows something of this heaviness; when he has been looking too much at the things that are seen, some chastisement of his heavenly Father will give him a taste of this disgust of life, and a glance at these dark regions of despair. Nor is there any help until God shall restore to him the joys of his salvation. Blessed be God, the earth is full of his goodness, though full of man's wickedness. This life may be made tolerable if we attend to our duty. We look for eternal mercy, if willing to receive Christ as our Saviour.
Verse 20. - Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery? Why, Job asks, is the miserable man forced to continue on the earth and see the light to-day? Why is he not sent down at once to the darkness of the grave? Surely this would have been better. Man often speaks as if he were wiser than his Maker, and could have much improved the system of the universe, if he had had the arranging of it; but he scarcely means what he says commonly. Such talk is, however, foolish, as is all captious questioning concerning the ways of God. The proper answer to all such questioning is well given by Zophar in Job 11:7, 8, "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell (Sheol); what canst thou know?" And life unto the bitter in soul (see the comment on ver. 11, ad fin.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery,.... That labours under various calamities and afflictions, as Job did, being stripped of his substance, deprived of his children, and now in great pain of body and distress of mind; who, since he died not so soon as he wished he had, expostulates why his life is protracted; for that is what he means by light, as appears from the following clause, even the light of the living, or the light of the world; which though sweet and pleasant to behold to a man in health, yet not to one in pain of body and anguish of mind, as he was, who chose rather to be in the dark and silent grave; this he represents as a gift, as indeed life is, and the gift of God: the words may be rendered, "wherefore does he give light?" (y) that is, God, as some (z) supply it, who is undoubtedly meant, though not mentioned, through reverence of him, and that he might not seem to quarrel with him; the principle of life is from him, and the continuance and protraction of it, and all the means and mercies by which it is supported; and Job asks the reasons, which he seems to be at a loss for, why it should be continued to a person in such uncomfortable circumstances as he was in; though these, with respect to a good man as he was, are plain and obvious: such are continued in the world under afflictions, both for their own good, and for the glory of God, that their graces may be tried, their sins purged away or prevented, and they made more partakers of divine holiness; and be weaned from this world, and fitted for another, and not be condemned with the world of the ungodly:
and life unto the bitter in soul; whose lives are embittered to them by afflictions, comparable to the waters of Marah, and to wormwood and gall, which occasion bitterness of spirit in them, and bitter complaints from them; see Job 13:26.
(y) "quare dat", Cocceius, Schmidt, Schultens, Michaelis. (z) So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. vid. Schultens in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Job 3:20-26. He Complains of Life because of His Anguish.
20. Wherefore giveth he light—namely, God; often omitted reverentially (Job 24:23; Ec 9:9). Light, that is, life. The joyful light ill suits the mourners. The grave is most in unison with their feelings.
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