Job 3:18
There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.
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(18) The oppressor.—As this is the word rendered taskmaster in Exodus, some have thought there may be an allusion to that history here.

Job 3:18. There the prisoners rest together — That is, one as well as another; they who were lately deprived of their liberty, kept in the strongest chains and closest prisons, and condemned to the most hard and miserable slavery, rest as well as those who were captives in much better circumstances. They hear not the voice of the oppressor — Or exactor, or taskmaster, (as the word נגשׁ, nogesh, is translated Exodus 5:6,) who urges and forces them, by cruel threatenings and stripes, to labour beyond their strength. Job does not here take into consideration their eternal state after death, of which he speaks hereafter, but only their freedom from worldly troubles, which is the sole matter of his present discourse.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.There the prisoners rest together - Herder translates this, "There the prisoners rejoice in their freedom." The Septuagint strangely enough, "There they of old (ὁ αἰώνιοι hoi aiōnioi) assembled together (ὁμοθυμαδόν homothumadon) have not heard the voice of the exactor." The Hebrew word שׁאן shâ'an means "to rest, to be quiet, to be tranquil"; and the sense is, that they are in the grave freed from chains and oppressions.

They hear not the voice of the oppressor - Of him who exacted taxes, and who laid on them heavy burdens, and who imprisoned them for imaginary crimes. He who is bound in chains, and who has no other prospect of release, can look for it in the grave and will find it there. Similar sentiments are found respecting death in Seneca, ad Marcian, 20: "Mots omnibus finis, multis remedium, quibusdam votum; haec servitutem invito domino remittit; haec captivorum catenas levat; haec a carcere reducit, quos exire imperium impofens vetuerat; haec exulibus, in pairtam semper animum oculosque tendentibus, ostendit, nibil interesse inter quos quisque jaceat; haec, ubi res communes fortuna male divisit, et aequo jure genitos allure alii donavit, exaequat omnia; haec est, quae nihil quidquam alieno fecit arbitrio; haec est, ea qua nemo humilitatem guam sensit; haec est, quae nuili paruit." The sense in Job is, that all are at liberty in death. Chains no longer bind; prisons no longer incarccrate; the voice of oppression no longer alarms.

18. There the prisoners rest—from their chains. The prisoners rest together, i.e. one as well as another; they who were kept in the strongest chains and closest prisons, and condemned to the most hard and miserable slavery, rest as well as those who were captives in much better circumstances. Or,

in like manner, ( as this word oft signifies,) as those oppressors and oppressed do.

The oppressor, or, exacter, or taskmaster, who urgeth and forceth them by cruel threatenings and stripes to greater diligence in the works to which they are condemned. See Exodus 3:7 5:6,10,13. Job meddles not here with their eternal state after death, or the sentence and judgment of God against wicked men, of which he speaks hereafter; but only speaks of their freedom from worldly troubles, which is the only matter of his complaint and present discourse. There the prisoners rest together,.... "Are at ease", as Mr. Broughton renders the words; such who while they lived were in prison for debt, or were condemned to the galleys, to lead a miserable life; or such who suffered bonds and imprisonment for the sake of religion, at death their chains are knocked off, and they are as much at liberty, and enjoy as much ease, as the dead that never were prisoners; and not only rest together with those who were their fellow prisoners, but with those who never were in prison, yea, with those who cast them into it; for there the prisoners and those that imprisoned them are upon a level, enjoying equal ease and liberty:

they hear not the voice of the oppressor; or "exactor" (x); neither of their creditors that demanded their debt of them, and threatened them with a prison, or that detained them in it; nor of the jail keeper that gave them hard words as well as stripes; nor of cruel taskmasters, who kept them to hard service in prison, and threatened them severely if they did not perform it, like the taskmasters in Egypt, Exodus 5:11; but, in the grave, the blustering, terrifying, voice of such, is not heard.

(x) "exactoris", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c.

There the {m} prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.

(m) All they who sustain any kind of calamity and misery in this world: which he speaks after the judgment of the flesh.

18. the prisoners rest together] The “prisoners” are not those immured in prison, but captives driven to forced labour.

the oppressor] The taskmaster, Exodus 3:7. The prisoners are there all together, and they hear not the voice, the shouts and curses of the driver ch. Job 39:7).Verse 18. - There the prisoners rest together. "There those who in life were prisoners, condemned to work at enforced labours, enjoy sweet rest together." They hear not the voice of the oppressor; rather, of the taskmaster (comp. Exodus 3:7; Exodus 5:6, where the same word is used). The task. master continually urged on the wearied labourers with such words as those of Exodus 5:13, "Fulfil your works, fulfil your daily tasks. In the grave these hated sounds would not be heard. 10 Because it did not close the doors of my mother's womb,

Nor hid sorrow from my eyes.

11 Why did I not die from the womb,

Come forth from the womb and expire?

12 Why have the knees welcomed me?

And why the breasts, that I should suck?

The whole strophe contains strong reason for his cursing the night of his conception or birth. It should rather have closed (i.e., make the womb barren, to be explained according to 1 Samuel 1:5; Genesis 16:2) the doors of his womb (i.e., the womb that conceived concepit him), and so have withdrawn the sorrow he now experiences from his unborn eyes (on the extended force of the negative, vid., Ges. 152, 3). Then why, i.e., to what purpose worth the labour, is he then conceived and born? The four questions, Job 3:11., form a climax: he follows the course of his life from its commencement in embryo (מרהם, to be explained according to Jeremiah 20:17, and Job 10:18, where, however, it is מן local, not as here, temporal) to the birth, and from the joy of his father who took the new-born child upon his knees (comp. Genesis 50:23) to the first development of the infant, and he curses this growing life in its four phases (Arnh., Schlottm.). Observe the consecutio temp. The fut. אמוּת has the signification moriebar, because taken from the thought of the first period of his conception and birth; so also ואגוע, governed by the preceding perf., the signification et exspirabam (Ges. 127, 4, c). Just so אינק, but modal, ut sugerem ea.

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