My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.Job 10:1. My soul is weary of my life — My soul is weary of dwelling in this rotten and miserable body; or, I am, from my heart or soul, weary of my life. Sol. Jarchi’s comment is, My soul loathes itself because I am alive. The Hebrew, however, נקתה נפשׁי בחיי, naketa napshi bechaji, may be properly rendered, My soul is cut off while I live; that is, I am dead while I live; I am in a manner buried alive. I will leave my complaint upon myself — I will continue to complain: and will take upon my self the hazard of so doing, and be willing to bear it. Let what will come on me, I must give my sorrows vent. Thus Ab. Ezra, “I will not restrain my grief, but leave or suffer it to take its course.” I will speak in the bitterness of my soul — My extreme misery forceth my complaints from me.
I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.Job 10:2. I will say unto God, Do not condemn me — Hebrew, אל תרשׁיעני, al tarshigneeni, Do not pronounce me to be a wicked man; as my friends do; neither deal with me as such, as I confess thou mightest do, by thy sovereign power, and in rigorous justice: O discover my integrity by removing this stroke, for which my friends condemn me. Wherefore — For what ends and reasons, and for what sins; for I am not conscious to myself of any peculiar sins by which I have deserved to be made the most miserable of all men. When God afflicts, he contends with us: when he contends with us, there is always a reason for it. And it is desirable to know what that reason is, that we may forsake whatever he has a controversy with us for.
Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?Job 10:3. Is it good unto thee? — Dost thou take any pleasure in it, that those shouldest oppress? — By thy absolute and irresistible power, without regard to that justice and clemency by which thou usest to govern mankind. Shouldest despise the work of thy hands — Show thy contempt of thy creatures, either by denying them protection, or by destroying them. And shine upon the counsel of the wicked — That is, by the methods of thy providence seem to favour the practices of wicked men, to whom thou givest prosperity and success, while thou frownest upon me and other good men. Far be it from Job to think that God did him wrong. But he is at a loss to reconcile his providences with his justice. And so other good men have often been, and will be, until the day shall declare it.
Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?Job 10:4. Hast thou eyes of flesh? — No. Eyes of flesh cannot see in the dark: but darkness hideth not from God. Eyes of flesh are but in one place at a time, and can see but a little way. But the eyes of the Lord are in every place, and run to and fro through the whole earth. Eyes of flesh will shortly be darkened by age, and shut up by death. But the eyes of God are ever the same, nor does his sight ever decay. Or seest thou as man — Man sees the outside only, and judges by appearances: but thou seest my heart.
Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man's days,Job 10:5. Are thy days as the days of man? — Man’s time is short and uncertain, and therefore he must improve it, and diligently search out the crimes of malefactors, lest by death he lose the opportunity of doing justice: but thou art eternal, and seest at one view all men’s hearts, and all their actions, present and to come; and therefore thou dost not need to proceed with me in this manner, by making so long a scrutiny into my heart and life.
That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?Job 10:6-7. That thou inquirest, &c., and searchest after my sin — Keeping me so long upon the rack, to compel me to accuse myself. Thou knowest I am not wicked — That is a hypocrite, or an ungodly man, as my friends account me. There is none that can deliver, &c. — Thou art the supreme ruler of the world; therefore I must wait thy time, and throw myself on thy mercy, in submission to thy sovereign will. “It would be injurious to the character of Job,” says Mr. Peters, “should we interpret in a severe and rigorous sense, as it is certain his friends too often did, his frequent protestations of his innocence, and his bold appeals to the supreme Judge to prove and try him; for where he is thus strenuous in asserting his integrity, it is only in opposition to the notion which those mistaken friends had entertained of him, namely, that he had been guilty of some gross sins, which he had the art to hide from the world, but that he was in reality a wicked man, and a hypocrite in his behaviour. This is what Job utterly denies and disclaims, though he nowhere arrogates to himself perfect innocence or freedom from sin.”
Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.
Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.Job 10:8. Thy hands have made me, &c., round about — That is, all of me; all the faculties of my soul, and all the parts of my body, which are now overspread with sores and ulcers; I am wholly thy creature and workmanship, made by thee and for thee. Yet thou dost destroy me — Hebrew, תבלעני, teballegneeni, swallow me up; namely, without any eminent provocation of mine; as if thou didst delight in doing and undoing, in making and then destroying thy creatures.
Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?Job 10:9. Remember, thou hast made me as the clay — I was formed by thee as a potter makes a vessel of clay; so this may note both the frailty of man’s nature, which of itself decays and perishes, and doth not need such violent shocks to overthrow it; and the excellence of the divine artifice commended from the meanness of the materials; which is an argument why God should not destroy it. And will thou bring me? &c. — Or, rather, without an interrogation, thou wilt bring me into dust again — Out of which I was made: I must die by the course of nature, and by the sentence of thy law; and, therefore, while I do live, give me some ease and comfort.
Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?Job 10:10. Hast thou not poured me out as milk? — Thus he modestly and accurately describes God’s admirable work in forming the fœtus in the womb, out of a small and liquid substance, gradually coagulated and condensed, as milk is curdled into cheese, into the exquisite frame of man’s body.
Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.Job 10:11. Thou hast clothed me with skin — Covered my inward and more noble parts, which are first formed. So he proceeds in describing man’s formation gradually. And fenced me with bones — The stay and strength of the body; and some of them, as the scull and ribs, enclose and defend its vital parts.
Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.Job 10:12. Thou hast granted me life — Thou didst not only give me a curious body, but also a reasonable soul: thou didst at first give me life, and then maintain it in me: both when I was in the womb, (which is a marvellous work of God,) and afterward, when I was unable to do any thing to preserve my own life. And favour — Thou didst not give mere life, but many other favours, such as nourishment by the breast, education, knowledge, and instruction. Thy visitation — The care of thy providence watching over me for my good, and visiting me in mercy; preserved my spirit — My life, which is liable to manifold dangers, if God did not watch over us every day and moment. Thou hast hitherto done great things for me, given me life, and the blessings of life, and daily deliverances: and wilt thou now undo all that thou hast done? And shall I, who have been such an eminent monument of thy mercy, now be a spectacle of thy vengeance.
And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.Job 10:13. These things hast thou hid in thy heart — Both thy former favours and thy present frowns. Both are according to thy own will, and therefore undoubtedly consistent with each other, however they seem. When God does what we cannot account for, we are bound to believe there are good reasons for it hid in his heart. It is not with us, or in our reach, to assign the cause; but I know this is with thee.
If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.Job 10:14. If I sin — If I commit the least sin; then thou markest me — Thou dost not connive at, or pass by my sins, but dost severely and diligently observe them all, that thou mayest punish me. And thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity — Wilt not pardon, pity, and help me, but art resolved to punish me with rigour: words of great impatience and distrust. But he was so oppressed and overwhelmed with his troubles that it seems he could not look up with any comfort or confidence. Without were fightings, within were fears, so that between both he was full of confusion.
If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;Job 10:15. If I be wicked — That is, an ungodly hypocrite, as my friends esteem me; wo unto me — I am truly and extremely miserable; and, if I continue wicked, must be eternally so. And if I be righteous — An upright man; yet will I not, or yet can I not, lift up my head — Yet I have no comfort, nor hope of any good: so, whether I am good or bad, all comes to one. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction — I am confounded within myself, not knowing what to say or do. Let my extremity move thee to pity and help me.
For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me.Job 10:16. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion — Which hunteth after his prey with eagerness, and, when he overtakes it, falls upon it with great fury. Again thou showest — Hebrews ותשׁב תתפלא בי, vetashob tithpalla bi, Thou turnest again: Thou art marvellous, or, thou showest thyself marvellous upon, in, or against me. The lion tears its prey speedily, and so ends its torments; but thou renewest my calamities again and again, and makest my plagues wonderful, both for kind, and extremity, and continuance.
Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.Job 10:17. Thou renewest thy witnesses — Thy judgments, which are the evidences both of my sins and of thy wrath; and increasest thine indignation — That is, my miseries, the effects of thine indignation. Changes and war — Or, changes and an army, that is, many miseries succeeding one another, like companies of soldiers successively coming on to the attack in a battle. Or, changes may signify the various kinds, and an army the great number of his afflictions.
Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!
I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.
Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,Job 10:20-22. Are not my days few? Cease then, &c. — My life is short, and of itself hastens to an end; there is no need that thou shouldest grudge me some ease for so small a moment. Let me alone — Or lay aside, or remove thy hand or anger from me. That I may take comfort a little — Hebrews אבליגה, abligah, et recreabo me, I shall refresh, or strengthen myself: shall have some respite, some remission of my grief and pain, some consolation. Those that are not duly thankful for constant ease should think how welcome one hour’s ease would be if they were in constant pain. Before I go to the place whence I shall not return — Shall not come back into this world and life. At death we must bid a final farewell to this world: the body must then be laid where it will lie long; and the soul appointed to that state where it must be for ever. That had need to be well done which is to be done but once, and done for eternity. Even to the land of darkness, and the shadow of death — That is, a dark and dismal shade. Holy souls at death remove to a land of light, where there is no death; but their bodies they leave to a land of darkness, and the shadow of death. Of darkness, as darkness itself, &c. — He heaps up expressions here to show that he has as dreadful apprehensions of death and the grave as other men naturally have, so that it was only the extreme misery he was in that made him wish for it. Without any order — No order is observed in bringing people to the grave, not the eldest are brought first, not the richest, not the poorest, and yet every one in his own order, the order appointed by the God of life. All lie there on the same level, and there is no distinction between the prince and the peasant; but the servant is there free from his master: and in the grave there is perpetual night, and no succession of day. And where the light is as darkness — Where there is no difference between light and darkness; where the day is as dark as the night; where there is nothing but perpetual and uninterrupted darkness. In the grave there is no knowledge, no comfort, no joy, no praising God, no working out our salvation, for the night is come wherein no man can work. Let us consider this, and therefore walk and work while we have the light with us.
Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;
A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.