Job 14:22
But his flesh on him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.
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Job 14:22. But his flesh upon him shall have pain — Or, while his flesh is upon him; and his soul within him — While the soul is clothed with, or united to, the body, he feels sharp pains in his body, and bitter grief in his soul. Dying work is generally hard work; dying pangs sore pangs. It is folly, therefore, for men to defer their repentance to a deathbed, and to have that to do, which is the one thing needful, when they are really unfit to do any thing. But it is true wisdom, by making our peace with God in Christ, and keeping a good conscience, to treasure up comforts, which will support and relieve us against the pains and sorrows of a dying hour. 14:16-22 Job's faith and hope spake, and grace appeared to revive; but depravity again prevailed. He represents God as carrying matters to extremity against him. The Lord must prevail against all who contend with him. God may send disease and pain, we may lose all comfort in those near and dear to us, every hope of earthly happiness may be destroyed, but God will receive the believer into realms of eternal happiness. But what a change awaits the prosperous unbeliever! How will he answer when God shall call him to his tribunal? The Lord is yet upon a mercy-seat, ready to be gracious. Oh that sinners would be wise, that they would consider their latter end! While man's flesh is upon him, that is, the body he is so loth to lay down, it shall have pain; and while his soul is within him, that is, the spirit he is so loth to resign, it shall mourn. Dying work is hard work; dying pangs often are sore pangs. It is folly for men to defer repentance to a death-bed, and to have that to do which is the one thing needful, when unfit to do anything.But his flesh upon him shall have pain - Dr. Good renders this, "his flesh shall drop away from him." This is evidently a representation of the state of the man after he was dead. He would be taken away from hope and from his friends. His body would be committed to the grave, and his spirit would go to the world of shades. The image in the mind seems to have been, that his flesh would suffer. It would be cold and chill, and would be devoured by worms. There seems to have been an impression that the soul would be conscious of this in its distant and silent abode, and the description is given of the grave as if the body were conscious there, and the turning back to dust were attended with pain. This thought is that which makes the grave so gloomy now. We think of ourselves in its darkness and chilliness. We insensibly suppose that we shall be conscious there. And hence, we dread so much the lonely, sad, and gloomy residence in the tomb. The meaning of the word rendered "shall have pain" - כאב kâ'ab - is "to be sore, to be grieved, afflicted, sad." It is by the imagination, that pain is here attributed to the dead body. But Job was not alone in this. We all feel the same thing when we think of death.

And his soul within him shall mourn - The soul that is within him shall be sad; that is, in the land of shades. So Virgil, speaking of the death of Lausus, says,

Tum vita per auras

Concessit moesta ad manes, corpusque reliquit.

Aeneid x. 819.

The idea of Job is, that it would leave all the comforts of this life; it would be separate from family and friends; it would go lonely and sad to the land of shades and of night. Job dreaded it. He loved life; and in the future world, as it was presented to his view, there was nothing to charm and attract. There he expected to wander in darkness and sadness; and from that gloomy world he expected to return no more forever. Eichhorn, however, has rendered this verse so as to give a different signification, which may perhaps be the true one.

Nur uber sich ist er betrubt;

Nur sich betrauert er.

"His troubles pertain only to himself; his grief relates to himself alone." According to this, the idea is that he must bear all his sorrows alone, and for himself. He is cut off from the living, and is not permitted to share in the joys and sorrows of his posterity, nor they in his. He has no knowledge of anything that pertains to them, nor do they participate in his griefs. What a flood of light and joy would have been poured on his soul by the Christian hope, and by the revelation of the truth that there is a world of perfect light and joy for the righteous - in heaven! And what thanks do we owe to the Great Author of our religion - to him who is "the Resurrection and the Life " - that we are permitted to look upon the grave with hearts full of peace and joy!

22. "Flesh" and "soul" describe the whole man. Scripture rests the hope of a future life, not on the inherent immortality of the soul, but on the restoration of the body with the soul. In the unseen world, Job in a gloomy frame anticipates, man shall be limited to the thought of his own misery. "Pain is by personification, from our feelings while alive, attributed to the flesh and soul, as if the man could feel in his body when dead. It is the dead in general, not the wicked, who are meant here." This is man’s condition; he is miserable both when he dies, because he dies without hope of returning to life, as he had discoursed before; and (as he now adds) whilst he lives, whilst his flesh is upon him, and his soul within him; whilst the soul is clothed with or united to the body, he feels sharp

pain in his body, and bitter grief in his soul. Seeing therefore the state of man upon earth is so vain and unhappy every way, Lord, give me some comfort to sweeten my life, or take away my life from me. But his flesh upon him shall have pain,.... Either he shall be chastened with strong pains on his sick and dying bed; which is the reason why he neither rejoices at the happiness of his family, nor is distressed at their misfortunes; having so much pain in his flesh and bones to endure himself; or, as Gussetius (x) renders it, "for this" his flesh and soul shall have pain and grief while he lives, because he cannot know how it will be with his family when he is dead; but rather this is to be understood of a man when dead; and so it is a continuation of the description of death, or of the state of the dead; thus Aben Ezra interprets it of his flesh upon him, that is, his body shall melt away, rot and corrupt, meaning in the grave; so the word is used of marring and destroying, in 2 Kings 3:19, to which the Targum inclines,

"but his flesh, because of worms upon him, shall grieve;''

and so Jarchi, troublesome is the worm to a dead man as a needle in quick flesh; pain and grief are by a prosopopoeia or personification attributed to a dead body; signifying, that could it be sensible of its case, it would be painful and grievous to it:

and his soul within him shall mourn; either while he lives, because of his afflictions and terrors, the days being come in which he has no pleasure, and the time of death drawing nigh; or his dead body, as the word is used in Psalm 16:10; said to mourn by the same figure; or his soul, because of his body being dead; or rather his breath, which at death fails and pines away (y).

(x) Ebr. Comment. p. 605. (y) "emarcida luget", Schultens.

But his {l} flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.

(l) Yet while he is in pain and misery.

22. But his flesh] Or, only. The prep. rendered here “upon him” is the same as that rendered “within him,” it means with him or in connexion with him, and the verse differs little from this, Only his flesh hath pain and his soul mourneth. The dead knoweth nothing of the upper world, only this can be said of him that his flesh hath pain and his soul mourneth; but the Hebrew expresses the idea more distinctly that his flesh and soul do these things in connexion with him. There are two ideas expressed: (1) that the body in the grave, being that of a still existing person, feels the gnawing and the wasting of corruption, cf. Isaiah 66:24, and that the soul in Sheol leads a mournful and dreary existence; and (2) that these elements of the person though separated still belong to the person.

The first circle of speeches, now completed, started from Job’s complaints in ch. 3. Job did not there name God nor make any open imputation against Him, but his bitter maledictions of the day of his birth and his impatient cry, Why gives He life to him that is in misery, (Job 3:20), shewed too well against whom it was that he “turned his spirit” (Job 15:12.)

Hence the three friends conceive that the first thing to aim at is to bring Job back to just and reverent thoughts of God. Therefore they dwell upon the attributes of God and contrast Him with man, hoping by this great thought of God to still the tumult in Job’s breast and bring him to take his right place before the Creator.

The friends all impress this thought of God upon Job, each, however, doing it in his own way. The oldest and most thoughtful of the three, Eliphaz, lays hold of the moral purity of God and His universal goodness. Bildad insists on the discriminating rectitude of God in His rule of the world. While Zophar magnifies the omniscience of the Divine insight, which guides God’s dealings with men. Each of these views is designed to meet some side of Job’s feeling as expressed in his complaints. Job answers these arguments for the most part indirectly. His own unmerited afflictions furnished the answer to them, and he mainly dwells on this. Only at last is he driven by the form in which Zophar puts the common argument of the friends directly to meet it. To their great argument of “God,” with which they thought to terrify and silence him, he replies that he does need to be taught regarding God. He is not inferior to them in knowledge of God; but it is just God that he desires to meet. He will go before Him to maintain his rectitude. He challenges God to make known the sins of which he has been guilty (Job 13:23).

However irreligious Job’s demeanour might seem to his friends (Job 15:4), it is obvious that he has struck from their hands the weapon they have hitherto been using against him. Their argument of “God” is exhausted. Job’s passionate proclamation that what he desires above all things is to meet God and maintain his ways to His face has convinced them that he is not to be vanquished with this weapon. Hence they are obliged to look about for others.Verse 22. - But his flesh upon him shall have pain. The best rendering is probably that which is placed in the margin of the Revised Version, only for himself his flesh hath pain, and for himself his soul mourneth. Nothing more is intended than to negative the idea that the future condition of his children will seriously affect a man who is suffering under God's afflicting hand, either in this life or afterwards. He cannot but be occupied solely with himself. His own sufferings, whether of body or mind, win absorb all his attention.

13 Oh that Thou wouldst hide me in Shel,

That Thou wouldst conceal me till Thine anger change,

That Thou wouldst appoint me a time and then remember me!

14 If man dieth, shall he live again?

All the days of my warfare would Iwait,

Until my change should come.

15 Thou wouldst call and I would answer,

Thou wouldst have a desire for the work of Thy hands -

16 For now thou numberest my steps,

And dost not restrain thyself over my sins.

The optative יתּן מי introduces a wish that has reference to the future, and is therefore, as at Job 6:8, followed by futt.; comp. on the other hand, Job 23:3, utinam noverim. The language of the wish reminds one of such passages in the Psalms as Psalm 31:21; Psalm 27:5 (comp. Isaiah 26:20): "In the day of trouble He hideth me in His pavilion, and in the secret of His tabernacle doth He conceal me." So Job wishes that Hades, into which the wrath of God now precipitates him for ever, may only be a temporary place of safety for him, until the wrath of God turn away (שׁוּב, comp. the causative, Job 9:13); that God would appoint to him, when there, a חק, i.e., a terminus ad quem (comp. Job 14:5), and when this limit should be reached, again remember him in mercy. This is a wish that Job marks out for himself. The reality is indeed different: "if (ἐὰν) a man dies, will he live again?" The answer which Job's consciousness, ignorant of anything better, alone can give, is: No, there is no life after death. It is, however, none the less a craving of his heart that gives rise to the wish; it is the most favourable thought, - a desirable possibility, - which, if it were but a reality, would comfort him under all present suffering: "all the days of my warfare would I wait until my change came." צבא is the name he gives to the whole of this toilsome and sorrowful interval between the present and the wished-for goal, - the life on earth, which he likens to the service of the soldier or of the hireling (Job 7:1), and which is subject to an inevitable destiny (Job 5:7) of manifold suffering, together with the night of Hades, where this life is continued in its most shadowy and dismal phase. And חליפה does not here signify destruction in the sense of death, as the Jewish expositors, by comparing Isaiah 2:18 and Sol 2:11, explain it; but (with reference to צבאי, comp. Job 10:17) the following after (Arab. chlı̂ft, succession, successor, i.e., of Mohammed), relief, change (syn. תּמוּרה, exchange, barter), here of change of condition, as Psalm 55:20, of change of mind; Aquila, Theod., ἄλλαγμα. Oh that such a change awaited him! What a blessed future would it be if it should come to pass! Then would God call to him in the depth of Shel, and he, imprisoned until the appointed time of release, would answer Him from the deep. After His anger was spent, God would again yearn after the work of His hands (comp. Job 10:3), the natural loving relation between the Creator and His creature would again prevail, and it would become manifest that wrath is only a waning power (Isaiah 54:8), and love His true and essential attribute. Schlottman well observes: "Job must have had a keen perception of the profound relation between the creature and his Maker in the past, to be able to give utterance to such an imaginative expectation respecting the future."

In Job 14:16, Job supports what is cheering in this prospect, with which he wishes he might be allowed to console himself, by the contrast of the present. עתּה כּי is used here as in Job 6:21; כי is not, as elsewhere, where עתה כי introduces the conclusion, confirmatory (indeed now equals then indeed), but assigns a reason (for now). Now God numbers his steps (Job 13:27), watching him as a criminal, and does not restrain himself over his sin. Most modern expositors (Ew., Hlgst, Hahn, Schlottm.) translate: Thou observest not my sins, i.e., whether they are to be so severely punished or not; but this is poor. Raschi: Thou waitest not over my sins, i.e., to punish them; instead of which Ralbag directly: Thou waitest not for my sins equals repentance or punishment; but שׁמר is not supported in the meaning: to wait, by Genesis 37:11. Aben-Ezra: Thou lookest not except on my sins, by supplying רק, according to Ecclesiastes 2:24 (where, however, probably משׁיאכל should be read, and מ after אדם, just as in Job 33:17, has fallen away). The most doubtful is, with Hirzel, to take the sentence as interrogative, in opposition to the parallelism: and dost Thou not keep watch over my sins? It seems to me that the sense intended must be derived from the phrase אף שׁמר, which means to keep anger, and consequently to delay the manifestation of it (Amos 1:11). This phrase is here so applied, that we obtain the sense: Thou keepest not Thy wrath to thyself, but pourest it out entirely. Mercerus is substantially correct: non reservas nec differs peccati mei punitionem.

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