Job 7:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard?

New Living Translation
Am I a sea monster or a dragon that you must place me under guard?

English Standard Version
Am I the sea, or a sea monster, that you set a guard over me?

New American Standard Bible
"Am I the sea, or the sea monster, That You set a guard over me?

King James Bible
Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Am I the sea or a sea monster, that You keep me under guard?

International Standard Version
Am I the sea, or a sea monster, that you keep watching me?

NET Bible
Am I the sea, or the creature of the deep, that you must put me under guard?

New Heart English Bible
Am I a sea, or a sea monster, that you put a guard over me?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Am I the sea or a sea monster that you have set a guard over me?

JPS Tanakh 1917
Am I a sea, or a sea-monster, That Thou settest a watch over me?

New American Standard 1977
“Am I the sea, or the sea monster,
            That Thou dost set a guard over me?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Am I a sea, or a dragon, that thou settest a watch over me?

King James 2000 Bible
Am I a sea, or a sea monster, that you set a watch over me?

American King James Version
Am I a sea, or a whale, that you set a watch over me?

American Standard Version
Am I a sea, or a sea-monster, That thou settest a watch over me?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou hast enclosed me in a prison?

Darby Bible Translation
Am I a sea, or a sea-monster, that thou settest a watch over me?

English Revised Version
Am I a sea, or a sea-monster, that thou settest a watch over me?

Webster's Bible Translation
Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?

World English Bible
Am I a sea, or a sea monster, that you put a guard over me?

Young's Literal Translation
A sea -monster am I, or a dragon, That thou settest over me a guard?
Study Bible
Job Continues: Life Seems Futile
11"Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 12"Am I the sea, or the sea monster, That You set a guard over me? 13"If I say, 'My bed will comfort me, My couch will ease my complaint,'…
Cross References
Ezekiel 32:2
"Son of man, take up a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him, 'You compared yourself to a young lion of the nations, Yet you are like the monster in the seas; And you burst forth in your rivers And muddied the waters with your feet And fouled their rivers.'"

Ezekiel 32:3
Thus says the Lord GOD, "Now I will spread My net over you With a company of many peoples, And they shall lift you up in My net.
Treasury of Scripture

Am I a sea, or a whale, that you set a watch over me?

I a sea.

Job 7:17 What is man, that you should magnify him? and that you should set …

Job 38:6-11 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner …

Lamentations 3:7 He has hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he has made my chain heavy.

a whale.

Job 41:1-34 Can you draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord …

(12) Am I a sea, or a whale . . .?--This very hard verse it seems most reasonable to explain, if we can, from Scripture itself: e.g., in Jeremiah 5:22 we read, "Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea?" The writer was probably familiar with Egypt when the Nile, which is still called the sea, was carefully watched and guarded by dykes that its overflow might not destroy the land. So Job exclaims, "Am I like the sea, or one of its monsters--like that Leviathan which Thou hast made to take his pastime therein, that Thou keepest guard over me and makest me thy prisoner continually, shutting me up on every side so fast in prison that I cannot get free?"

Verse 12. - Job now begins his complaint, which is wholly addressed to God. The heads of it are:

(1) that he is confined and restrained, allowed no liberty (ver. 12);

(2) that he is terrified by visions in the night (vers. 13, 14);

(3) that he is not "let alone" (ver. 16);

(4) that so much attention is paid to him (vers. 17-19);

(5) that he is made a butt for God's arrows (ver. 20); and

(6) that he is not pardoned, but relentlessly persecuted (ver. 21). Am I a sea, or a whale? rather, Am I a sea or a sea-monster? Am I as wild and uncontrollable as the ocean, as fierce and savage as a crocodile or other monster of the deep? Do I not possess reason and conscience, by which I might be directed and guided? Why, then, am I treated as if I were without them? The sea must be watched, lest it break in upon the land; in Egypt there had been many such breaches, as the configuration of the coast, with its narrow belts of sand and its vast lagoons, shows; and crocodiles must be watched, lest they destroy human life; but is there any need that I should be watched, restrained, coerced, hedged in on every side (Job 3:23)? Am I so dangerous? Surely not. Some liberty therefore might have been safely given to me, instead of this irksome restraint. That thou settest a watch over me; or, a guard; i.e. a set of physical impediments, which leave me no freedom of action. Am I a sea, or a whale,.... Like the restless sea, to which very wicked, profligate, and abandoned sinners are compared, that are continually casting up the mire and dirt of sin and wickedness; am I such an one? or like the raging sea, its proud waters and foaming waves, to which fierce and furious persecutors and tyrannical oppressors are compared; did I behave in such a manner to the poor and distressed in the time of prosperity? nay, was I not the reverse of all this, kind and gentle to them, took their part, and rescued them out of the hands of those that oppressed them? see Job 29:12; or like its tossing waves, which attempt to pass the bounds that are set to them; am I such an one, that have transgressed the laws of God and then, which are set as boundaries to restrain the worst of men? and am I a whale, or like any great fish in the ocean, the dragon in the sea, the leviathan, the piercing and crooked serpent? an emblem of cruel princes, as the kings of Egypt and Assyria, or antichrist, Isaiah 27:1; see Psalm 74:13. The Targum is,"as the Egyptians were condemned to be drowned in the Red sea, am I condemned? or as Pharaoh, who was suffocated in the midst of it for his sin, since thou settest a watch over me?''or, as another Targum,"am I as the great sea, which is moved to extreme parts, or the leviathan, which is ready to be taken?''or else the sense is, have I the strength of the sea, which subsists, notwithstanding its waves are continually heating, and which carries such mighty vessels upon it, and would bear down all before it, if not restrained? or of a whale, the leviathan, whose flakes of flesh are joined together, and his heart as firm as a stone, and as hard as a piece of the nether millstone, and laughs at the spear, the sword, and the dart? no, I have not; I am a poor, weak, feeble creature, whose strength is quite exhausted, and not able to bear the weight of the chains and fetters of afflictions upon me; or rather the principal thing complained of, and which he illustrates by these metaphors, is, that he was bound with the cords of afflictions, and compassed with gall and travail, and hedged in hereby, that he could not get out, as the church says, Lamentations 3:5; or could not get released from his sorrows by death, or otherwise; just as the sea is shut up with bars and doors, that its waves can come hitherto, and no further; and as the whale is confined to the ocean, or surrounded with vessels and armed men in them, when about to be taken; and thus it was with Job, and of this he complains:

that thou settest a watch over me? which Jarchi and others understand of Satan; and though in his hands, he was not suffered to take away his life; but besides him may be meant all his afflictions, calamities, and distresses, in which he lay fettered and bound, in which he was shut up as in a prison, and by which he was watched over and guarded; and from which he could make no escape, nor get a release. 12. Why dost thou deny me the comfort of care-assuaging sleep? Why scarest thou me with frightful dreams?

Am I a sea—regarded in Old Testament poetry as a violent rebel against God, the Lord of nature, who therefore curbs his violence (Jer 5:22).

or a whale—or some other sea monster (Isa 27:1), that Thou needest thus to watch and curb me? The Egyptians watched the crocodile most carefully to prevent its doing mischief.7:7-16 Plain truths as to the shortness and vanity of man's life, and the certainty of death, do us good, when we think and speak of them with application to ourselves. Dying is done but once, and therefore it had need be well done. An error here is past retrieve. Other clouds arise, but the same cloud never returns: so a new generation of men is raised up, but the former generation vanishes away. Glorified saints shall return no more to the cares and sorrows of their houses; nor condemned sinners to the gaieties and pleasures of their houses. It concerns us to secure a better place when we die. From these reasons Job might have drawn a better conclusion than this, I will complain. When we have but a few breaths to draw, we should spend them in the holy, gracious breathings of faith and prayer; not in the noisome, noxious breathings of sin and corruption. We have much reason to pray, that He who keeps Israel, and neither slumbers nor sleeps, may keep us when we slumber and sleep. Job covets to rest in his grave. Doubtless, this was his infirmity; for though a good man would choose death rather than sin, yet he should be content to live as long as God pleases, because life is our opportunity of glorifying him, and preparing for heaven.
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