Job 3:3
Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
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Job 3:3. Here the metrical part of this book begins, which in the original Hebrew is broken into short verses, and is very beautiful, thus: שׂאבד יום אולד בוJobad jom ivaled bo, והלילה אמר הרה גברVehalailah amar horah geber.

Let the day perish wherein I was born, And the night which said, A man child is conceived.

Let the day perish, &c. — So far from desiring, according to the general and prevailing custom, that my birth-day should be celebrated; that any singular tokens of joy and gratulation should be expressed on it, in remembrance of my coming into the world, my earnest and passionate desire is, that it may not so much as be reckoned one of the days of the year, but that both it and the remembrance of it may be utterly lost. And the night in which it was said — With joy and triumph, as happy tidings, There is a man-child conceived — Or rather, brought forth, as the word הרה, harah, signifies, (1 Chronicles 4:17,) for the exact time of conception is commonly unknown to women themselves, and certainly is not wont to be reported among men, as this day is supposed to be. Indeed, this latter clause is only a repetition of the former, expressing that, whether it was day or night when he was born, he wished the time to be forgotten. Heath translates the words, And the night which said, See, a man-child is born; and he observes, from Schultens, “that the bearing of a son was considered a matter of great consequence among the Arabians; the form of their appreciation of happiness to a new-married woman being, ‘May you live happy, and bring forth male children.’“

3:1-10 For seven days Job's friends sat by him in silence, without offering consolidation: at the same time Satan assaulted his mind to shake his confidence, and to fill him with hard thoughts of God. The permission seems to have extended to this, as well as to torturing the body. Job was an especial type of Christ, whose inward sufferings, both in the garden and on the cross, were the most dreadful; and arose in a great degree from the assaults of Satan in that hour of darkness. These inward trials show the reason of the change that took place in Job's conduct, from entire submission to the will of God, to the impatience which appears here, and in other parts of the book. The believer, who knows that a few drops of this bitter cup are more dreadful than the sharpest outward afflictions, while he is favoured with a sweet sense of the love and presence of God, will not be surprised to find that Job proved a man of like passions with others; but will rejoice that Satan was disappointed, and could not prove him a hypocrite; for though he cursed the day of his birth, he did not curse his God. Job doubtless was afterwards ashamed of these wishes, and we may suppose what must be his judgment of them now he is in everlasting happiness.Let the day perish - "Perish the day! O that there had never been such a day! Let it be blotted from the memory of man! There is something singularly bold, sublime, and "wild" in this exclamation. It is a burst of feeling where there had been long restraint, and where now it breaks forth in the most vehement and impassioned manner. The word "perish" here יאבד yo'bad expresses the "optative," and indicates strong desire. So the Septuagint, Ἀπόλοιτο Apoloito, "may it perish," or be destroyed; compare Job 10:18. "O that I had given up the ghost." Dr. Good says of this exclamation, "There is nothing that I know of, ia ancient or modern poetry, equal to the entire burst, whether in the wildness and horror of the imprecations. or the terrible sublimity of its imagery." The boldest and most animated of the Hebrew poets have imitated it, and have expressed themselves in almost the same language, in scenes of distress. A remarkably similar expression of feeling is made by Jeremiah.

Cursed be the day wherein I was born:

Let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed!

Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying,

"A man child is born unto thee,"

Making him very glad.

Be that man as the cities which yahweh overthrew and repented not!

Yea, let him hear the outcry in the morning,

And the lamentation at noon day!

3. the night in which—rather "the night which said." The words in italics are not in the Hebrew. Night is personified and poetically made to speak. So in Job 3:7, and in Ps 19:2. The birth of a male in the East is a matter of joy; often not so of a female. Let the remembrance of that day be utterly lost; yea, I heartily wish that it had never been. Such wishes are apparently foolish and impatient, and yet have been sometimes forced from wise and good men in grievous distresses, not as if they expected any effect of them, but only to show their abhorrency of life, and to express the intolerableness of their grief, and to give some vent to their passions. In which it was said with joy and triumph, as happy tidings. Compare Jeremiah 20:15. Conceived; or rather, brought forth, as this word is used, 1 Chronicles 4:17; for the time of conception is unknown commonly to women themselves, and doth not use to be reported among men, as this day is supposed to be.

Let the day perish wherein I was born,.... Here begins Job's form of cursing his day, and which explains what is meant by it; and it may be understood either of the identical day of his birth, and then the sense is, that he wished that had never been, or, in other words, that he had never been born; and though these were impossible, and Job knew it, and therefore such wishes may seem to be in vain, yet Job had a design herein, which was to show the greatness of his afflictions, and the sense he had of them: or else of his birthday, as it returned year after year; and then his meaning is, let it not be kept and observed with any solemnity, with feasting and other expressions of joy, as the birthdays of great personages especially were, and his own very probably had been, since his children's were, Job 1:4; but now he desires it might not be so for the future, but be entirely disregarded; he would have it perish out of his own memory, and out of the memory of others, and even be struck out of the calendar, and not be reckoned with the days of the month and year, Job 3:6; both may be intended, both the very day on which he was born, and the yearly return of it:

and the night in which it was said, there is a man child conceived; that is, let that night perish also; he wishes it had not been, or he had not been conceived, or for the future be never mentioned, but eternally forgotten: Job goes back to his conception, as being the spring of his sorrows; for this he knew as well as David, that he was shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin, see Job 14:4; but rather, since the particular night or time of conception is not ordinarily, easily, and exactly known by women themselves, and much less by men; and more especially it could not be told what sex it was, whether male or female that was conceived, and the tidings of it could not be brought by any; it seems better with Aben Ezra to render the word (w), "there is a man child brought forth", which used to be an occasion of joy, John 16:21; and so the word is used to bear or bring forth, 1 Chronicles 4:17; see Jeremiah 20:15; and, according to him, it was a doubt whether Job was born in the day or in the night; but be it which it will, if he was born in the day, he desires it might perish; and if in the night, he wishes the same to that; though the words may be rendered in a beautiful and elegant manner nearer the original, "and the night which said, a man child is conceived" (x); representing, by a prosopopoeia, the night as a person conscious of the conception, as an eyewitness of it, and exulting at it, as Schultens observes.

(w) "in lucem editus est vir", Mercerus; "creatus, progenitus", Drusius, so the Targum; "conceptus et natus est vir, vel mas", Michaelis; so Ben Melech. (x) "et nox quae dixit", Mercerus, Gussetius, Schultens.

Let the day {c} perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

(c) Men should not be weary of their life and curse it, because of the infinities that it is subject to, but because they are given to sin and rebellion against God.

3. night in which it was said] Rather, the night which said. The night is personified and cursed as a conscious agent, responsible for Job’s existence, comp. Job 3:10.

There is a man child conceived] Rather, a man; “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow; but as soon as she is delivered of the child she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world,” John 16:21.

Job 3:3 3 Perish the day wherein I was born.

And the night which said, A man-child is conceived!

4 Let that day become darkness;

Let not Eloah ask after it from above,

And let not the light shine on it.

5 May darkness and the shadow of death purchase it back;

Let a cloud lie upon it;

May that which obscures the day terrify it.

The curse is against the day of his birth and the night of his conception as recurring yearly, not against the actual first day (Schlottm.), to which the imprecations which follow are not pertinent. Job wishes his birth-day may become dies ater, swallowed up by darkness as into nothing. The elliptical relative clauses, Job 3:3 (Ges. 123, 3; cf. 127, 4, c), become clear from the translation. Transl. the night (לילה with parag. He is masc.) which said, not: in which they said; the night alone was witness of this beginning of the development of a man-child, and made report of it to the High One, to whom it is subordinate. Day emerges from the darkness as Eloah from above (as Job 31:2, Job 31:28), i.e., He who reigns over the changes here below, asks after it; interests Himself in His own (דּרשׁ). Job wishes his birth-day may not rejoice in this. The relations of this his birth-day are darkness and the shadow of death. These are to redeem it, as, according to the right of kinsmen, family property is redeemed when it has got into a stranger's hands. This is the meaning of גּאל (lxx ἐκλάβοι), not equals גּעל, inquinent (Targ.). עננה is collective, as נהרה, mass of cloud. Instead of כּמרירי (the Caph of which seems pointed as praepos), we must read with Ewald (157, a), Olshausen, (187, b), and others, כּמרירי, after the form חכליל, darkness, dark flashing (vid., on Psalm 10:8), שׁפריר, tapestry, unless we are willing to accept a form of noun without example elsewhere. The word signifies an obscuring, from כּמר, to glow with heat, because the greater the glow the deeper the blackness it leaves behind. All that ever obscures a day is to overtake and render terrible that day.

(Note: We may compare here, and further, on, Constance's outburst of despair in King John (3:1 and 3:4). Shakespeare, like Goethe, enriches himself from the book of Job.)

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