|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-10 For seven days Job's friends sat by him in silence, without offering consolidation: at the same time Satan assaulted his mind to shake his confidence, and to fill him with hard thoughts of God. The permission seems to have extended to this, as well as to torturing the body. Job was an especial type of Christ, whose inward sufferings, both in the garden and on the cross, were the most dreadful; and arose in a great degree from the assaults of Satan in that hour of darkness. These inward trials show the reason of the change that took place in Job's conduct, from entire submission to the will of God, to the impatience which appears here, and in other parts of the book. The believer, who knows that a few drops of this bitter cup are more dreadful than the sharpest outward afflictions, while he is favoured with a sweet sense of the love and presence of God, will not be surprised to find that Job proved a man of like passions with others; but will rejoice that Satan was disappointed, and could not prove him a hypocrite; for though he cursed the day of his birth, he did not curse his God. Job doubtless was afterwards ashamed of these wishes, and we may suppose what must be his judgment of them now he is in everlasting happiness.
Verse 5. - Let darkness and the shadow of death. "The shadow of death" (צלמות) is a favourite expression in the Book of Job, where it occurs no fewer than nine times. Elsewhere it is rare, except in the Psalms, where it occurs four times. It is thought to be an archaic word. Stain it; rather, claim it, or claim it for their own (Revised Version). Let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. The hot, stifling "blackness" of the khamsin wind is probably meant, which suddenly turns the day into night, spreading all around a thick lurid darkness. When such a wind arises, we are told, "The sky instantly becomes black and heavy; the sun loses its splendour, and appears of a dim violet hue; a light, warm breeze is felt, which gradually increases in heat till it almost equals that of an oven. Though no vapour darkens the air, it becomes so grey and thick with the floating clouds of impalpable sand, that it is sometimes necessary to use candles at noonday" (Russell, 'Ancient and Modern Egypt,' p. 55).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it,.... Let there be such darkness on it as on persons when dying, or in the state of the dead; hence the sorest afflictions, and the state of man in unregeneracy, are compared unto it, Psalm 23:4; let there be nothing but foul weather, dirt, and darkness in it, which may make it very uncomfortable and undesirable; some render the word, "let darkness and the shadow of death redeem it" (z), challenge and claim it as their own, and let light have no share or property in it:
let a cloud dwell upon it; as on Mount Sinai when the law was given; a thick dark cloud, even an assemblage of clouds, so thick and close together, that they seem but one cloud which cover the whole heavens, and obscure them, and hinder the light of the sun from shining on the earth; and this is wished to abide not for an hour or two, but to continue all the day:
let the blackness of the day terrify it; let it be frightful to itself; or rather, let the blackness be such, or the darkness of it such gross darkness, like that as was felt by the Egyptians; that the inhabitants of the earth may be terrified with it, as Moses and the Israelites were at Mount Sinai, at the blackness, tempest, thunders, and lightnings, there seen and heard: as some understand this of black vapours exhaled by the sun, with which the heavens might be filled, so others of sultry weather and scorching heat, which is intolerable: others render the words, "let them terrify it as the bitternesses of the day" (a); either with bitter cursings on it, or through bitter calamities in it; or, "as those who have a bitter (b) day", as in the margin of our Bibles, and in others.
(z) "vindicassent", Junius & Tremellius; "vendicent", Cocceius; "vindicent", Schultens. (a) "tanquam amaritudines dici", Schmidt, Michaelis; "velut amarulenta diei", Schultens; so the Targum. (b) "Velut amari diei", Mercerus; "tanquam amari diei", Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Let … the shadow of death—("deepest darkness," Isa 9:2).
stain it—This is a later sense of the verb [Gesenius]; better the old and more poetic idea, "Let darkness (the ancient night of chaotic gloom) resume its rights over light (Ge 1:2), and claim that day as its own."
a cloud—collectively, a gathered mass of dark clouds.
the blackness of the day terrify it—literally, "the obscurations"; whatever darkens the day [Gesenius]. The verb in Hebrew expresses sudden terrifying. May it be suddenly affrighted at its own darkness. Umbreit explains it as "magical incantations that darken the day," forming the climax to the previous clauses; Job 3:8 speaks of "cursers of the day" similarly. But the former view is simpler. Others refer it to the poisonous simoom wind.
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