Have you not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Poured me out as milk.—An allusion to the embryo. (See Psalm 139:13-16.)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.
It then circulates through the system, and either continues fluid as milk in its simple state, or is rendered solid as milk is in its caseous or cheese-state, according to the nature of the organ which it supplies with its vital current." True as this is, however, as a matter of physiology, now well understood, a doubt may arise whether Job was acquainted with the method thus described, in which man is sustained. The idea of Job is, that God was the author of the human frame, and that that frame was so formed as to evince his wonderful and incomprehensible wisdom. A consultation of the works on physiology, which explain the facts about the formation and the growth of the human body, will show that there are few things which more strikingly evince the wisdom of God than the formation of the human frame, alike at its origin, and in every stage of its development. It is a subject, however, which cannot, with propriety, be pursued in a work of this kind.
and curdled me like cheese? that of the female being mixed with, and heated by the male, is hardened like the curd of which a cheese is made, and begins to receive a form as that, and becomes an embryo: and naturalists (k) make use of the same expressions when speaking of these things; and in this way most interpreters carry the sense of the words; but Schultens observes that milk is an emblem of purity and holiness, see Lamentations 4:7; and so this may respect the original pure formation of man, who came out of his Maker's hands a pure, holy and upright creature, made after his image and in his likeness, created in righteousness and holiness, and so, like milk, pure and white; or rather the regeneration and sanctification of Job personally, and which might be very early, as in Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and others; or however, he was filled and adorned with the gifts and graces of the spirit of God, was washed and cleansed, and sanctified and justified; and had his conversation in the world in all simplicity and godly sincerity, being preserved from gross enormities in life; was a man that feared God and eschewed evil, and had not only the form of godliness, but the power of it; and was established and confirmed in and by the grace of God, and was strong in the exercise of it; and from hence he argues with God, should such a vessel of grace, whom he had made so pure and holy, and had so consolidated and strengthened in a spiritual and religious way, be crushed and destroyed at once?Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10–12. These verses refer to the formation of the child in the womb, from conception to full growth, cf. Psalm 139:13-16.Verse 10. - Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? "Didst not thou" i.e., "form me as an embryo in the womb, gradually solidifying my substance, and changing soft juices into a firm though tender mass?"
That Thou rejectest the work of Thy hands,
While Thou shinest upon the counsel of the wicked?
4 Hast Thou eyes of flesh,
Or seest Thou as a mortal seeth?
5 Are Thy days as the days of a mortal,
Or Thy years as man's days,
6 That Thou seekest after my iniquity,
And searchest after my sin?
7 Although Thou knowest that I am not a wicked man,
And there is none that can deliver out of Thy hand.
There are three questions by which Job seeks to exhaust every possible way of accounting for his sufferings as coming from God. These attempts at explanation, however, are at once destroyed, because they proceed upon conceptions which are unworthy of God, and opposed to His nature. Firstly, Whether it gives Him pleasure (טּוב, agreeable, as Job 13:9) when He oppresses, when He despises, i.e., keeps down forcibly or casts from Him as hateful (מאס, as Psalm 89:39; Isaiah 54:6) the work of His hand; while, on the contrary, He permits light to shine from above upon the design of the wicked, i.e., favours it? Man is called the יגיע of the divine hands, as though he were elaborated by them, because at his origin (Genesis 2:7), the continuation of which is the development in the womb (Psalm 139:15), he came into existence in a remarkable manner by the directly personal, careful, and, so to speak, skilful working of God. That it is the morally innocent which is here described, may be seen not only from the contrast (Job 10:3), but also from the fact that he only can be spoken of as oppressed and rejected. Moreover, "the work of Thy hands" involves a negative reply to the question. Such an unloving mood of self-satisfaction is contrary to the bounty and beneficence of that love to which man owes his existence. Secondly, Whether God has eyes of flesh, i.e., of sense, which regard only the outward appearance, without an insight into the inner nature, or whether He sees as mortals see, i.e., judges, κατὰ τῆν σάρκα (John 8:15)? Mercier correctly: num ex facie judicas, ut affectibus ducaris more hominum. This question also supplies its own negative; it is based upon the thought that God lookest on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Thirdly, Whether His life is like to the brevity of man's life, so that He is not able to wait until a man's sin manifests itself, but must institute such a painful course of investigation with him, in order to extort from him as quickly as possible a confession of it? Suffering appears here to be a means of inquisition, which is followed by the final judgment when the guilt is proved. What is added in Job 10:7 puts this supposition aside also as inconceivable. Such a mode of proceeding may be conceived of in a mortal ruler, who, on account of his short-sightedness, seeks to bring about by severe measures that which was at first only conjecture, and who, from the apprehension that he may not witness that vengeance in which he delights, hastens forward the criminal process as much as possible, in order that his victim may not escape him. God, however, to whom belongs absolute knowledge and absolute power, would act thus, although, etc. על, although, notwithstanding (proceeding from the signification, besides, insuper), as Job 17:16 (Isaiah 53:9), Job 34:6. God knows even from the first that he (Job) will not appear as a guilty person (רשׁע, as in Job 9:29); and however that may be, He is at all events sure of him, for nothing escapes the hand of God.
That operation of the divine love which is first echoed in "the labour of Thy hands," is taken up in the following strophe, and, as Job contemplates it, his present lot seems to him quite incomprehensible.
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