Job 10:9
Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?
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(9) Into dust.—Comp. Psalm 22:15.

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.

10:8-13 Job seems to argue with God, as if he only formed and preserved him for misery. God made us, not we ourselves. How sad that those bodies should be instruments of unrighteousness, which are capable of being temples of the Holy Ghost! But the soul is the life, the soul is the man, and this is the gift of God. If we plead with ourselves as an inducement to duty, God made me and maintains me, we may plead as an argument for mercy, Thou hast made me, do thou new-make me; I am thine, save me.Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay - There is evident allusion here to the creation of man, and to the fact that he was moulded from the dust of the earth - a fact which would be preserved by tradition; see Genesis 2:7. The fact that God had moulded the human form as the potter moulds the clay, is one that is often referred to in the Scriptures; compare Romans 9:20-21. The object of Job in this is, probably, to recall the fact that God, out of clay, had formed the noble structure, man, and to ask whether it was his intention to reduce that structure again to its former worthless condition - to destroy its beauty, and to efface the remembrance of his workmanship? Was it becoming God thus to blot out every memorial of his own power and skill in moulding the human frame? 9. clay—Job 10:10 proves that the reference here is, not so much to the perishable nature of the materials, as to their wonderful fashioning by the divine potter. As the clay, i.e. of the clay; the note of similitude here expressing the truth of things, as it doth John 1:14, and elsewhere, as hath been before observed. Or, as a potter maketh a vessel of the clay; and so this may note both the frailty of man’s nature, which of itself decays and perisheth, and doth not need such violent shocks and storms to overthrow it; and the excellency of the Divine artifice, commended from the meanness of the materials out of which it was made; which is an argument why God should not destroy it.

Wilt thou bring me into dust again? wilt thou now causelessly and violently destroy thy own work? But the words are and may be read without an interrogation, and

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 whilst I do live give me some ease and comfort.

Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay,.... Not of the clay, though man was made originally of the dust of the earth, and the bodies of men are houses of clay, earthen vessels, and earthly tabernacles, but "as the clay"; either as the clay is wrought in the hand of the potter, and worked into what form, and made into what vessel he pleases, so are men in the hand of God, made by him in what form, and for what use and end he thinks fit; or rather this denotes not the likeness of the operation, but the likeness of the matter of the human body to clay: not for the impurity of it; for though man is in a state and condition comparable to the mire and clay, this he has brought himself into by sin, and not the Lord; he made man upright, but man has made himself sinful and polluted; but for the brittleness of it; as a vessel made of clay is brittle and easily broke to pieces, and cannot bear much weight, or any heavy stroke; so the body of man is weak and frail, and feeble; its strength is not the strength of stones, and its flesh brass, but clay: and this Job humbly entreats the Lord would "remember", and that "now" (h); immediately; and deal mildly and mercifully with him, since he was not able to bear the weight of his hand, which would soon, crush him and break him to pieces; not that God forgets this, for he remembers man's frame and composition, that he is but dust; that he is flesh, and a wind or vapour that passes away: but he may seem to do so, when he sorely afflicts, and his hand lies heavy, and he does not remove it, but continues it, and rather in creases the affliction; and therefore, as the Lord allows his people to put him in remembrance, Job here desires that he would show himself, in his providential dealings with him, that he was mindful of his natural frailty and infirmity; see Job 7:12 Psalm 78:3,

and wilt thou bring me into dust again? to the dust of death; to the original of which he was made; and that so soon, and at once; or, "and unto dust will return me?" as Mr. Broughton and others (i), according to the original sentence, "dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return", Genesis 3:19; and which Job expected, and will be the case of all men, Ecclesiastes 12:7; and therefore he thought that this might suffice, that it was enough that he should die in a little while through the course of nature, and therefore desires he might have some respite and ease while he did live; he could not see there was any occasion to press him so hard, and follow him so close with afflictions one after another, or be so rough with him and quick upon him; since in a short time his brittle clay would break of itself, and he should drop into the dust and lie decaying there, as it was of old decreed he should.

(h) "nunc", Drusius; so the Targum. (i) "reducturus", Schmidt, Schultens; "reduces me?" V. L. Beza, Michaelis; "redire facies me?" Pagninus, Montanus, Bolducius.

Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as {l} the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?

(l) As brittle as a pot of clay.

9. The figure is that of a potter who has lavished infinite care upon his vessel, and now reduces his work of elaborate skill and exquisite ornament into dust again.

Verse 9. - Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; rather, that thou hast fashioned me as day; i.e. "Thou hast formed me, as a potter fashions a pot out of clay." This is scarcely a reference to Genesis 3:19, but rather an early use of what became a stock metaphor (comp. Isaiah 29:16; Isaiah 30:14:; 45:9; 64:8; Jeremiah 18:6; Romans 9:21-2.9, etc.). And wilt thou bring us into dust again? After having fashioned me out of clay into a human form, wilt thou undo thine own work, crumble me into powder, and make me mere dust once more? Job 10:9 8 Thy hands have formed and perfected me

Altogether round about, and Thou hast now swallowed me up!

9 Consider now, that Thou has perfected me as clay,

And wilt Thou turn me again into dust?

10 Hast Thou not poured me out as milk,

And curdled me as curd?

11 With skin and flesh hast Thou clothed me,

And Thou hast intertwined me with bones and sinews;

12 Life and favour Thou hast shown me,

And thy care hath guarded my breath.

The development of the embryo was regarded by the Israelitish Chokma as one of the greatest mysteries (Ecclesiastes 11:5; 2 Macc. 7:22f.). There are two poetical passages which treat explicitly of this mysterious existence: this strophe of the book of Job, and the Psalm by David, Psalm 139:13-16 (Psychol. S. 210). The assertion of Scheuchzer, Hoffmann, and Oetinger, that these passages of Scripture "include, and indeed go beyond, all recent systemata generationis," attributes to Scripture a design of imparting instruction, - a purpose which is foreign to it. Scripture nowhere attempts an analysis of the workings of nature, but only traces them back to their final cause. According to the view of Scripture, a creative act similar to the creation of Adam is repeated at the origin of each individual; and the continuation of development according to natural laws is not less the working of God than the creative planting of the very beginning. Thy hands, says Job, have formed (עצּב, to cut, carve, fashion; cognate are חצב, קצב, without the accompanying notion of toil, which makes this word specially appropriate, as describing the fashioning of the complicated nature of man) and perfected me. We do not translate: made; for עשׂה stands in the same relation to ברא and יצר as perficere to creare and fingere (Genesis 2:2; Isaiah 43:7). יחד refers to the members of the body collectively, and סביב to the whole form. The perfecting as clay implies three things: the earthiness of the substance, the origin of man without his knowledge and co-operation, and the moulding of the shapeless substance by divine power and wisdom. The primal origin of man, de limo terrae (Job 33:6; Psalm 139:15), is repeated in the womb. The figures which follow (Job 10:10) describe this origin, which being obscure is all the more mysterious, and glorifies the power of God the more. The sperma is likened to milk; the חתּיך (used elsewhere of smelting), which Seb. Schmid rightly explains rem colliquatam fundere et immittere in formam aliquam, refers to the nisus formativus which dwells in it. The embryo which is formed from the sperma is likened to גּבינה, which means in all the Semitic dialects cheese (curd). "As whey" (Ewald, Hahn) is not suitable; whey does not curdle; in making cheese it is allowed to run off from the curdled milk. "As cream" (Schlottm.) is not less incorrect; cream is not lac coagulatum, which the word signifies. The embryo forming itself from the sperma is like milk which is curdled and beaten into shape.

The consecutio temporum, moreover, must be observed here. It is, for example, incorrect to translate, with Ewald: Dost Thou not let me flow away like milk, etc. Job looks back to the beginning of his life; the four clauses, Job 10:10, Job 10:11, under the control of the first two verbs (Job 10:8), which influence the whole strophe, are also retrospective in meaning. The futt. are consequently like synchronous imperff.; as, then, Job 10:12 returns to perff., Job 10:11 describes the development of the embryo to the full-grown infant, on which Grotius remarks: Hic ordo est in genitura: primum pellicula fit, deinde in ea caro, duriora paulatim accedunt, and by Job 10:12, the manifestations of divine goodness, not only in the womb, but from the beginning of life and onwards, are intended. The expression "Life and favour (this combination does not occur elsewhere) hast Thou done to me" is zeugmatic: He has given him life, and sustained that life amidst constant proofs of favour; His care has guarded the spirit (רוּח), by which his frame becomes a living and self-conscious being. This grateful retrospect is interspersed with painful reflections, in which Job gives utterance to his feeling of the contrast between the manifestation of the divine goodness which he had hitherto experienced and his present condition. As in Job 10:8., ותּבלּעני, which Hirzel wrongly translates: and wilt now destroy me; it is rather: and hast now swallowed me up, i.e., drawn me down into destruction, as it were brought me to nought; or even, if in the fut. consec., as is frequently the case, the consecutive and not the aorist signification preponderates: and now swallowest me up; and in Job 10:9 (where, though not clear from the syntax, it is clear from the substance that תשׁיבני is not to be understood as an imperfect, like the futt. in Job 10:10.): wilt Thou cause me to become dust again? The same tone is continued in the following strophe. Thus graciously has he been brought into being, and his life sustained, in order that he may come to such a terrible end.

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