|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 21. - Which long for death, but it cometh not; literally, which wait for death' anxiously and longingly (comp. Psalm 33:20). And dig for it more than for hid treasures; i.e. "seek it more earnestly than even they seek who dig for hid treasures." As Professor Lee remarks, "From the great instability of all Eastern governments, treasures were in Eastern countries often hid away" ('Book of Job,' pp. 200, 201). And hence treasure-seeking became a profession, which was pursued with avidity by a large number of persons. Even at the present day Orientals are so possessed with the idea, that they imagine every European, who is eager to unearth antiquities, must be seeking for buried treasure.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Which long for death, but it cometh not,.... Who earnestly desire, wistly look out, wish for, and expect it, and with open mouth gape for it, as a hungry man for his food, or as the fish for the bait, or the fishermen for the fish, as some (a) observe the word may signify; but it comes not to their wish and expectation, or so soon as they would have it; the reason is, because the fixed time for it is not come, otherwise it will certainly come at God's appointed time, and often in an hour not thought of; death is not desirable in itself, being a dissolution of nature, or as it is the sanction of the law, or the wages of sin, or a penal evil; and though it is and may be lawfully desired by good men, that they may be free from sin, and be in a better capacity to serve the Lord, and that they may be for ever with him; yet such desires should be expressed with submission to the divine will, and the appointed time should be patiently waited for, and should not be desired merely to be rid of present afflictions and troubles, which was the case of Job, and of those he here describes; see Revelation 9:6,
and dig for it more than for hid treasures; which are naturally hid in the earth; as gold and silver ore, with other metals and precious stones; or which are of choice concealed there from the plunder of others; the former seems rather to be meant, and in digging for which great pains, diligence, and industry, are used, see Proverbs 2:4; and is expressive of the very great importunity and strong desire of men in distressed circumstances after death, seeking diligently and pressing importunately for it; the sin of suicide not being known, or very rare, in that early time, or however was shunned and abhorred even by those that were most weary of their lives: some render it, "who dig for it out off hid treasures" (b); out of the bowels of the earth, and the lowest parts of it, could they but find it there: but the Targum, Jarchi, and others, understand it comparatively, as we do.
(a) So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. vid. Schultens in loc. (b) "e thesauris", Cocceius; "ex imis terrae latebris", Mercerus: "ex locis absconditis", Schmidt.
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