|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:8-13 Job had desired death as the happy end of his miseries. For this, Eliphaz had reproved him, but he asks for it again with more vehemence than before. It was very rash to speak thus of God destroying him. Who, for one hour, could endure the wrath of the Almighty, if he let loose his hand against him? Let us rather say with David, O spare me a little. Job grounds his comfort upon the testimony of his conscience, that he had been, in some degree, serviceable to the glory of God. Those who have grace in them, who have the evidence of it, and have it in exercise, have wisdom in them, which will be their help in the worst of times.
Verse 8. - Oh that I might have my request! Here the second point is taken up. Eliphaz has threatened Job with death, representing it as the last and most terrible of punishments (Job 4:9, 20, 21; Job 5:2). Job's reply is that there is nothing he desires so much as death. His primary wish would have been never to have been born (Job 3:3-10); next to that, he would have desired an early death - the earlier the more acceptable (Job 3:11-19). As both these have been denied him, what he now desires, and earnestly asks for, is a speedy demise. It is not as yet clear what he thinks death to be, or whether he has any hope beyond the grave. Putting aside all such considerations, he here simply balances death against such a life as he now leads, and must expect to lead, since his disease is incurable, and decides in favour of death. It is not only his desire, but his "request" to God, that death may come to him quickly. And that God would grant me the thing that I long for; literally, my expectation or wish. The idea of taking his own life does not seem to have occurred to Job, as it would to a Greek (Plato, 'Phaedo,' § 16) or a Roman (Pithy, 'Epist.,' 1:12). He is too genuine a child of nature, too simple and unsophisticated, for such a thought to occur, and, if it occurred, would be too religious to entertain it for a moment. Like Aristotle, he would feel the act to be cowardly (Aristotle, 'Eth. Nic.,' 5, sub fin.); and, like Plato (l.s.c.), he would view it as rebellion against the will of God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And that I might have my request,.... Or that it "might come" (m); that it might go up to heaven, enter there, and come into the ears of the Lord, be attended to, admitted, and received by him, see Psalm 18:6; or come to Job, be returned into his bosom, be answered and fulfilled; the same with the desire that "cometh", which is, when the thing desired is enjoyed, Proverbs 13:12; or that what he had requested would come, namely, death, which is sometimes represented as a person that looks in at the windows, and comes into the houses of men, and seizes on them, Jeremiah 9:21; and this is what Job wishes for; this was his sole request; this was the thing, the one thing, that lay uppermost in his mind, and he was most importunately solicitous for:
and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! death, as the following words explain it; this is not desirable by nature, but contrary to it; it is itself a penal evil, the sanction and curse of the law; it is an enemy, and a very formidable one, the king of terrors; and, though a very formidable, one, is desired by good men from a principle of grace, and with right views, to be rid of sin, and to be with Christ; yet it often is done by persons in melancholy, sullen, and humorous fits, when they cannot have what they would, as in Rachel, Elijah, and Jonah, Genesis 30:1; and because of sore troubles and afflictions, which was the present case of Job; though it must be said that it was not, as is frequently the case with wicked men, through the horrors of a guilty conscience, which he was free of; and he had faith, and hope of comfort in another world, and in some degree he submitted to the will and pleasure of God; though pressed with too much eagerness, importunity, and passion: and it may be observed, that Job did not make request to men, to his servants, or friends about him, to dispatch him, as Abimelech and Saul did; nor did he lay hands on himself, or attempt to do it, as Saul, Ahithophel, and Judas: the wretched philosophy of the stoics was not known in Job's time, which not only makes suicide lawful, but commends it as an heroic action; no, Job makes his, request to the God of his life, who had given it to him, and had maintained it hitherto, and who only had a right to dispose of it; he asks it as a favour, he desires it as a gift, he had nothing else to ask, nothing was more or so desirable to him as death.
(m) "ut veniat", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt, Michaelis; "utinam veniret", Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. To desire death is no necessary proof of fitness for death. The ungodly sometimes desire it, so as to escape troubles, without thought of the hereafter. The godly desire it, in order to be with the Lord; but they patiently wait God's will.
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