Job 19:8
He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 19:8-9. He hath fenced up my way, &c. — So that I can see no means or possibility of getting out of my troubles. He hath set darkness in my paths — So that I cannot discern what course I ought to take. He hath stripped me of my glory — That is, of my estate, and children, and authority, and all my comforts. And taken the crown from my head — All mine ornaments.

19:8-22 How doleful are Job's complaints! What is the fire of hell but the wrath of God! Seared consciences will feel it hereafter, but do not fear it now: enlightened consciences fear it now, but shall not feel it hereafter. It is a very common mistake to think that those whom God afflicts he treats as his enemies. Every creature is that to us which God makes it to be; yet this does not excuse Job's relations and friends. How uncertain is the friendship of men! but if God be our Friend, he will not fail us in time of need. What little reason we have to indulge the body, which, after all our care, is consumed by diseases it has in itself. Job recommends himself to the compassion of his friends, and justly blames their harshness. It is very distressing to one who loves God, to be bereaved at once of outward comfort and of inward consolation; yet if this, and more, come upon a believer, it does not weaken the proof of his being a child of God and heir of glory.He hath fenced up my way - This figure is taken from a traveler, whose way is obstructed by trees, rocks, or fences, so that he cannot get along, and Job says it was so with him. He was traveling along in a peaceful manner on the journey of life, and all at once obstructions were put in his path, so that he could not go farther. This does not refer, particularly, to his spiritual condition, if it does at all. It is descriptive of the obstruction of his plans, rather than of spiritual darkness or distress.

And he hath set darkness in my paths - So that I cannot see - as if all around the traveler should become suddenly dark, so that he could not discern his way. The "language" here would well express the spiritual darkness which the friends of God sometimes experience, though it is by no means certain that Job referred to that. All the dealings of God are to them mysterious, and there is no light in the soul - and they are ready to sink down in despair.

8. Image from a benighted traveller. That I cannot pass, i.e. so that I know not what to say or do, and can see no means nor possibility of getting out of my troubles.

He hath set darkness in my paths; so that I cannot discern my way, or what course I should take.

He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass,.... A metaphor taken from travellers, who not only meet with obstacles and obstructions in their way, which make it difficult; but sometimes with such enclosures and fences, that they are at a full stop, and cannot pass on, and know not what course to steer: the people of God are not inhabitants of this world, but pilgrims, strangers, and sojourners in it, and travellers through it; they are bound for another country, and are travelling to it; and though their way for far most part is indeed troublesome, but generally passable, or made so; yet sometimes not only is their way hedged up with afflictions, and they hedged about with them, that they cannot easily get out, and get through and pass on; and it is with much difficulty, and with being much scratched and torn, they do brush through; but they also at other times find God has built up a wall against them, and enclosed them with hewn stones, and so fenced up their way that they cannot pass on; such difficulties present as seem insurmountable, and they are at a standstill, and know not what way to take; which was now Job's case, see Lamentations 3:5; and this may not only respect the way of his walk in this world, but his way to God, either to the throne of his grace, or the tribunal of his justice: the way to God, as on a throne of grace, is only through Christ, the living way; which, though more clearly revealed under the Gospel dispensation, and therefore called a new way, yet was known under the former dispensation, and made use of; in which saints may have access to God with boldness and confidence: but sometimes this way seems by unbelief to be fenced up, though it is always open; and especially when God hides his face, and is not to be seen, nor is it known where to find him, and how to come up to his seat; and which also was Job's case, Job 23:3; and whereas he was very desirous of having his cause heard and tried at the tribunal of God, his way was so shut up, that he could not obtain what he so much desired, and knew not therefore how to proceed, and what course to take:

and he hath set darkness in my paths; and was like a traveller in a very dark night, that cannot see his way, and knows not what step to take next; so good men, though they walk not in the ways of darkness, in a moral sense, as unregenerate men do; yet even while they are walking in the good ways of truth and holiness, and while they are passing through this world, God sometimes withdraws the light of his countenance from them, so that they walk in darkness, and have no light, which is very uncomfortable walking; and when God may be said to put darkness into their paths, he not granting them the light of grace and comfort they have sometimes enjoyed; and so it is with them when under such dark dispensations of Providence, as that they cannot see the end of God in leading them in such ways; and then their case is such as it now was Job's; that they cannot see any way of getting out of it; as the Israelites at the Red sea, and Paul and the mariners when in a storm, and all hope of being saved was gone.

He hath fenced up my way that I cannot {d} pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.

(d) Meaning, out of his afflictions.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. No outgo or escape was possible, for there rose a wall before him if he would move; neither was there any outlook, for thick darkness fell close about him. These images are common to express the extremest perplexity.

Verse 8. - He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass (comp. Job 3:25; Job 13:27; Hosea 2:6), and he hath set darkness in my paths. Job complains of the want of light; in his heart he cries, Ἐν δὲ φάει καὶ ὄλεσσον. Nothing vexes him so much as his inability to understand why he is afflicted. Job 19:8 7 Behold I cry violence, and I am not heard;

I cry for help, and there is no justice.

8 My way He hath fenced round, that I cannot pass over,

And He hath set darkness on my paths.

9 He hath stripped me of mine honour,

And taken away the crown from my head.

10 He destroyed me on every side, then Iperished,

And lifted out as a tree my hope.

11 He kindled His wrath against me,

And He regarded me as one of His foes.

He cries aloud חמס (that which is called out regarded as accusa. or as an interjection, vid., on Habakkuk 1:2), i.e., that illegal force is exercised over him. He finds, however, neither with God nor among men any response of sympathy and help; he cries for help (which שׁוּע, perhaps connected with ישׁע, Arab. s‛t, from ישׁע, Arab. ws‛, seems to signify), without justice, i.e., the right of an impartial hearing and verdict, being attainable by him. He is like a prisoner who is confined to a narrow space (comp. Job 3:23; Job 13:27) and has no way out, since darkness is laid upon him wherever he may go. One is here reminded of Lamentations 3:7-9; and, in fact, this speech generally stands in no accidental mutual relation to the lamentations of Jeremiah. The "crown of my head" has also its parallel in Lamentations 5:16; that which was Job's greatest ornament and most costly jewel is meant. According to Job 29:14, צדק and משׁפט were his robe and diadem. These robes of honour God has stripped from him, this adornment more precious than a regal diadem He has taken from him since, i.e., his affliction puts him down as a transgressor, and abandons him to the insult of those around him. God destroyed him roundabout (destruxit), as a house that is broken down on all sides, and lifted out as a tree his hope. הסּיע does not in itself signify to root out, but only to lift out (Job 4:21, of the tent-cord, and with it the tent-pin) of a plant: to remove it from the ground in which it has grown, either to plant it elsewhere, as Psalm 80:9, or as here, to put it aside. The ground was taken away from his hope, so that its greenness faded away like that of a tree that is rooted up. The fut. consec. is here to be translated: then I perished (different from Job 14:20 : and consequently he perishes); he is now already one who is passed away, his existence is only the shadow of life. God has caused, fut. Hiph. apoc. ויּחר, His wrath to kindle against him, and regarded him in relation to Himself as His opponents, therefore as one of them. Perhaps, however, the expression is intentionally intensified here, in contrast with Job 13:24 : he, the one, is accounted by God as the host of His foes; He treats him as if all hostility to God were concentrated in him.

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