|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:1-6 Job here excuses what he could not justify, his desire of death. Observe man's present place: he is upon earth. He is yet on earth, not in hell. Is there not a time appointed for his abode here? yes, certainly, and the appointment is made by Him who made us and sent us here. During that, man's life is a warfare, and as day-labourers, who have the work of the day to do in its day, and must make up their account at night. Job had as much reason, he thought, to wish for death, as a poor servant that is tired with his work, has to wish for the shadows of the evening, when he shall go to rest. The sleep of the labouring man is sweet; nor can any rich man take so much satisfaction in his wealth, as the hireling in his day's wages. The comparison is plain; hear his complaint: His days were useless, and had long been so; but when we are not able to work for God, if we sit still quietly for him, we shall be accepted. His nights were restless. Whatever is grievous, it is good to see it appointed for us, and as designed for some holy end. When we have comfortable nights, we must see them also appointed to us, and be thankful for them. His body was noisome. See what vile bodies we have. His life was hastening apace. While we are living, every day, like the shuttle, leaves a thread behind: many weave the spider's web, which will fail, ch. 8:14. But if, while we live, we live unto the Lord, in works of faith and labours of love, we shall have the benefit, for every man shall reap as he sowed, and wear as he wove.
Verses 1-21. - In this chapter Job first bewails his miserable fate, of which he expects no alleviation (vers. 1-10); then claims an unlimited right of complaint (ver. 11); and finally enters into direct expostulation with God - an expostulation which continues from ver. 12 to the end of the chapter. At the close, he admits his sinfulness (ver. 20), but asks impatiently why God does not pardon it instead of visiting it with such extreme vengeance (ver. 21). Verse 1. - Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? rather, Is there not a warfare (or, a time of service) to man upon earth? Has not each man a certain work appointed for him to do, and a certain limited time assigned him within which to do it? And thus, Are not his days also like the days of an hireling? Since the hireling is engaged to do a certain work in a certain time.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth?.... There is a set time for his coming into the world, for his continuance in it, and for his going out of it; this is to man "on earth", with respect to his being and abode here, not in the other world or future state: not in heaven; there is no certain limited time for man there, but an eternity; the life he will enter into is everlasting; the habitation, mansion, and house he will dwell in, are eternal; saints will be for ever with Christ, in whose presence are pleasures for evermore: nor in hell; the punishment there will be eternal, the fire will be unquenchable and everlasting, the smoke of the torments of the damned will ascend for ever and ever; but men's days and time on earth are but as a shadow, and soon gone; they are of the earth, earthly, and return unto it at a fixed appointed time, time, the bounds of which cannot be passed over: this is true of mankind in general, and of Job in particular; see Job 14:1; the word "Enosh" (i), here used, signifies, as is commonly observed, a frail, feeble, mortal man; Mr. Broughton renders it "sorrowful man"; as every man more or less is; even a man of sorrows, and acquainted with griefs, is attended with them, has an experience of them: this is the common lot of mankind; and if anything more than ordinary is inflicted upon them, they are not able to bear it; and these sorrows death at the appointed time puts an end to, which makes it desirable; now, seeing there is a set time for every man's life on earth, and there was for Job's, of which he was well assured; and, by all appearance of things, and by the symptoms upon him, this time was near at hand; therefore it should not be thought a criminal thing in him, considering his extraordinary afflictions, and which were intolerable, that he should so earnestly wish the time was come; though in his more serious thoughts he determined to wait for it: some render the words, "is there not a warfare are for men on earth?" (k) the word being so rendered elsewhere, particularly in Isaiah 40:2; every man's state on earth is a state of warfare; this is frequently said by the stoic philosophers (l); even so is that of natural and unregenerate men, who are often engaged in war with one another, which arise from the lusts which war in their members; and especially with the people of God, the seed of the woman, between whom and the seed of the serpent there has been an enmity from the beginning; and with themselves, with the troubles of life, diseases of body, and various afflictions they have to conflict and grapple with: and more especially the life of good men here is a state of warfare, not only of the ministers of the word, or persons in public office, but of private believers; who are good soldiers of Christ, enter volunteers into his service, fight under his banners, and themselves like men; these have many enemies to combat with; some within, the corruptions of hearts, which war against the spirit and law of their minds, which form a company of two armies in militating against each other; and others without, as Satan and his principalities and powers, the men the world, false teachers, and the like: and these are properly accoutred for such service, having the whole armour of God provided for them; and have great encouragement to behave manfully, since they may be sure of victory, and of having the crown of righteousness, when they have fought the good fight of even though they are but frail, feeble, mortal, sinful men, but flesh and blood, and so not of themselves a match for their enemies; but they are more than so through the Lord being on their side, Christ being the Captain of their salvation, and the Spirit of God being in them greater than he that is in the world; and besides, it is only on earth this warfare is, and will soon be accomplished, the last enemy being death that shall be destroyed: now this being the common case of man, to be annoyed with enemies, and always at war with them, if, besides this, uncommon afflictions befall him, as was Job's case, this must make life burdensome, and death, which is a deliverance from them, desirable; this is his argument: some choose to render the words, "is there not a servile condition for men on earth" (m) the word being used of the ministry and service of the Levites, Numbers 4:3; all men by creation are or ought to be the servants of God; good men are so by the grace of God, and willingly and cheerfully serve him; and though the great work of salvation is wrought out by Christ for them, and the work of grace is wrought by the Spirit of Christ in them, yet they have work to do in their day and generation in the world, in their families, and in the house of God; and which, though weak and feeble in themselves, they are capable of doing, through Christ, his Spirit, power, and grace: and this is only on earth; in the grave there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge; when the night of death comes, no man can work; his service, especially his toilsome service, is at an end; and as it is natural for servants to wish for the night, when their labours end, Job thought it not unlawful in him to wish for death, which would put an end to his toils and labours, and when he should have rest from them:
are not his days also like the days plan hireling? the time for which a servant is hired, whether it be for a day or for a year, or more, it is a set time; it is fixed, settled, and determined in the agreement, and so are the days of man's life on earth; and the of an hireling are few at most, the time for which he is hired is but and as the days of an hireling are days of toil, and labour, and sorrow, so are the days of men evil as well as few; his few days are full of trouble, Genesis 47:9; all this and what follows is spoken to God, and not to his friends, as appears from Job 7:7.
(i) "mortali", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "misero et aerumnoso homini", Michaelis. (k) "militia", Montanus, Tigurine version, Schultens; so V. L. Targum. (l) Vid. Gataker. Anotat. in M. Antonin. de seipso, p. 77, 78. (m) "Conditio servilis", Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Job 7:1-21. Job Excuses His Desire for Death.
1. appointed time—better, "a warfare," hard conflict with evil (so in Isa 40:2; Da 10:1). Translate it "appointed time" (Job 14:14). Job reverts to the sad picture of man, however great, which he had drawn (Job 3:14), and details in this chapter the miseries which his friends will see, if, according to his request (Job 6:28), they will look on him. Even the Christian soldier, "warring a good warfare," rejoices when it is completed (1Ti 1:18; 2Ti 2:3; 4:7, 8).
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