Job 3:13
For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,
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Job 3:13-14. For now should I have lain still, and been quiet — Free from those torments of body, and that anguish of mind, which now oppress me. With kings and counsellors of the earth — I had then been as happy as the proudest monarchs, who, after all their great achievements, go down into their graves; which built desolate places for themselves — Who distinguished themselves for a while, and to show their great wealth and power, and to leave behind them a glorious name, and perpetuate their memories, with great labour and expense erected pompous and magnificent buildings; and, to render themselves the more famous, raised them up in places which seemed before to be forsaken, and abandoned to entire desolation.3:11-19 Job complained of those present at his birth, for their tender attention to him. No creature comes into the world so helpless as man. God's power and providence upheld our frail lives, and his pity and patience spared our forfeited lives. Natural affection is put into parents' hearts by God. To desire to die that we may be with Christ, that we may be free from sin, is the effect and evidence of grace; but to desire to die, only that we may be delivered from the troubles of this life, savours of corruption. It is our wisdom and duty to make the best of that which is, be it living or dying; and so to live to the Lord, and die to the Lord, as in both to be his, Ro 14:8. Observe how Job describes the repose of the grave; There the wicked cease from troubling. When persecutors die, they can no longer persecute. There the weary are at rest: in the grave they rest from all their labours. And a rest from sin, temptation, conflict, sorrows, and labours, remains in the presence and enjoyment of God. There believers rest in Jesus, nay, as far as we trust in the Lord Jesus and obey him, we here find rest to our souls, though in the world we have tribulation.For now should I have lain still - In this verse Job uses four expressions to describe the state in which be would have been if he had been so happy as to have died when an infant. It is evidently a very pleasant subject to him, and he puts it in a great variety of form. He uses thc words which express the most quiet repose, a state of perfect rest, a gentle slumber; and then in the next verses he says, that instead of being in the miserable condition in which he then was, he would have been in the same state with kings and the most illustrious men of the earth.

I should have lain still - - שׁכב shâkab. I should have been "lying down," as one does who is taking grateful repose. This is a word of less strength than any of those which follow.

And been quiet - - שׁקט shâqaṭ. A word of stronger signification than that before used. It means to rest, to lie down, to have quiet. It is used of one who is never troubled, harassed, or infested by others, Judges 3:11; Judges 5:31; Judges 8:25; and of one who has no fear or dread, Psalm 76:9. The meaning is, that he would not only have lain down, but; would have been perfectly tranquil. Nothing would have harassed him, nothing would have given him any annoyance.

I should have slept - - ישׁן yâshên. This expression also is in advance of those before used. There would not only have been "quiet," but there would have been a calm and gentle slumber. Sleep is often representcd as "the kinsman of death." Thus, Virgil speaks of it:

"Tum consanguineus Leti sopor - "

Aeneid vi. 278.

So Homer:

Enth' hupnō cumblēto chasignēto thanatoio -

Iliad, 14:231.

This comparsion is an obvious one, and is frequently used in the Classical writers. It is employed to denote the calmness, stillness, and quiet of death. In the Scriptures it frequently occurs, and with a significancy far more beautiful. It is there employed not only to denote the tranquility of death, but also to denote the Christian hopes of a resurrection and the prospect of being awakened out of the long sleep. We lie down to rest at night with the hopes of awaking again. We sleep calmly, with the expectation that it will be only a temporary repose, and that we shall be aroused, invigorated for augmented toil, and refreshed for sweeter pleasure. So the Christian lies down in the grave. So the infant is committed to the calm slumber of the tomb. It may be a sleep stretching on through many nights and weeks and years and centuries, and even cycles of ages, but it is not eternal. The eyes will be opened again to behold the beauties of creation; the ear will be unstoppod to hear the sweet voice of fricndship and the harmony of music; and the frame will be raised up beautiful and immortal to engage in the service of the God that made us; compare Psalm 13:3; Psalm 90:5; John 11:11; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:10. Whether Job used the word in this sense and with this understanding, has been made a matter of question, and will be considered more fully in the examination of the passage in Job 19:25-27.

Then had I been at rest - Instead of the troubles and anxieties which I now experience. That is, he would have been lying in calm and honorable repose with the kings and princes of the earth.

13. lain … quiet … slept—a gradation. I should not only have lain, but been quiet, and not only been quiet, but slept. Death in Scripture is called "sleep" (Ps 13:3); especially in the New Testament, where the resurrection-awakening is more clearly set forth (1Co 15:51; 1Th 4:14; 5:10). Quiet; free from all those torments of my body and mind which now oppress me. For now should I have lain still, and been quiet,.... Signifying, that if the above had been his case, if he had died as soon as born, or quickly after, then he would have been laid in the grave, where he would have lain as still as on a bed; for such is the grave to dead bodies as a bed is to those that lie down and sleep upon it; a place of ease and quiet, where there is freedom from all care and thought, from all trouble, anxiety, and distress; nay, more so than on a bed, where there is often tossing to and fro, and great disquietude, but none to the body in the grave, that is still and silent, where there is no uneasiness nor disturbance, see Job 17:13,

I should have slept; soundly and quietly, which persons do not always upon their beds; sometimes they cannot sleep at all, and when they do, they are frequently distressed with uneasy thoughts, frightful dreams, and terrifying visions, Job 4:13; but death is a sound sleep until the resurrection morn, which Job had knowledge of, and faith in, and so considered the state of the dead in this light; death is often in Scripture expressed by sleeping, Daniel 12:2; which refers not to the soul, which in a separate state is active and vigorous, and always employed; but to the body, which, as in sleep, so in death, is deprived of the senses, and the exercise of them; on which account there is a great likeness between sleep and death, and out of which a man awakes brisk and cheerful, as the saints will at the time of their resurrection, which will be like an awaking out of sleep:

then had I been at rest; from all toil and labour, from all diseases and pains of body, from all troubles of whatsoever kind, and particularly from those he now laboured under; see Gill on Job 3:17.

For now should I have {i} lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,

(i) The vehemency of his afflictions made him utter these words as though death was the end of all miseries, and as if there were no life after this, which he speaks not as though it were so, but the infirmities of his flesh caused him to break out in this error of the wicked.

13. The words receive their pathos from the contrast of his present anguish, Job 3:26.Verse 13. - For now should I have lain still and been quiet. "In that case, I should now (עתָּה) have been lying still and resting myself," instead of tossing about, and being full of restlessness and suffering." I should have slept. The life in the intermediate state is called "sleep," even in the New Testament (Matthew 9:24; John 11:11; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 15:18, 51, etc.). Job, perhaps, imagined it to be, actually, a sound, dreamless slumber. Then should I have been at rest; literally, then (אז) would there have been rest for me." 6 That night! let darkness seize upon it;

Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;

Let it not come into the number of the month.

7 Lo! let that night become barren;

Let no sound of gladness come to it.

8 Let those who curse the day curse it,

Who are skilled in stirring up leviathan.

9 Let the stars of its early twilight be darkened;

Let it long for light and there be none;

And let it not refresh itself with eyelids of the dawn.

Darkness is so to seize it, and so completely swallow it up, that it shall not be possible for it to pass into the light of day. It is not to become a day, to be reckoned as belonging to the days of the year and rejoice in the light thereof. יחדּ, for יחדּ, fut. Kal from חדה (Exodus 18:9), with Dagesh lene retained, and a helping Pathach (vid., Ges. 75, rem. 3, d); the reverse of the passage Genesis 49:6, where יחד, from יחד, uniat se, is found. It is to become barren, גּלמוּד, so that no human being shall ever be conceived and born, and greeted joyfully in it.

(Note: Fries understands רננה, song of the spheres (concentum coeli, Job 38:37, Vulg.); but this Hellenic conception is without support in holy Scripture.)

"Those who curse days" are magicians who know how to change days into dies infausti by their incantations. According to vulgar superstition, from which the imagery of Job 3:8 is borrowed, there was a special art of exciting the dragon, which is the enemy of sun and moon, against them both, so that, by its devouring them, total darkness prevails. The dragon is called in Hindu râhu; the Chinese, and also the natives of Algeria, even at the present day make a wild tumult with drums and copper vessels when an eclipse of the sun or moon occurs, until the dragon will release his prey.

(Note: On the dragon rhu, that swallows up sun and moon, vid., Pott, in the Hallische Lit. Zeitschr. 1849, No. 199; on the custom of the Chinese, Kuffer, Das chinesische Volk, S. 123. A similar custom among the natives of Algeria I have read of in a newspaper (1856). Moreover, the clouds which conceal the sky the Indians represent as a serpent. It is ahi, the cloud-serpent, which Indra chases away when he divides the clouds with his lightning. Vid., Westergaard in Weber's Indischer Zeitschr. 1855, S. 417.)


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