Job 3:9
Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:
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(9) The dawning . . .—Literally, the eyelids of the dawn.

Job 3:9. Let the stars of the twilight thereof, &c. — That adorn the heavens with so much beauty and lustre, never be seen that night. Let it look for light, but have none — Let it wait with the greatest impatience for some pleasing refreshment from thick, heavy clouds hanging over it; but let not the smallest degree of light appear; neither let it see the dawning of the day — Neither let it perceive the least glimpse of those bright rays, which, with so much swiftness, issue from the rising sun.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 stars of the twilight thereof be dark - That is, be extinguished, so that it shall be total darkness - darkness not even relieved by a single star. The word here rendered "twilight" נשׁף nesheph means properly a breathing; and hence, the evening, when cooling breezes "blow," or gently breathe. It is used however, to denote both the morning and the evening twilight, though here probably it means the latter. He wishes that the evening of that night, instead of being in any way illuminated, should "set in" with total darkness and continue so. The Septuagint renders it, "night.

Let it look for light, but have none - Personifying the night, and representing it as looking out anxiously for some ray of light. This is a beautiful poetic image - the image of "Night," dark and gloomy and sad, anxiously looking out for a single beam or a star to break in upon its darkness and diminish its gloom.

Neither let it see the dawning of the day - Margin, more literally and more beautifully, "eyelids of the morning." The word rendered "dawning" עפעפים ‛aph‛aphı̂ym means properly "the eyelashes" (from עוּף ‛ûph "to fly"), and it is given to them from their flying or fluttering. The word rendered "day" שׁחר shachar means the aurora, the morning. The sun when he is above the horizon is called by the poets the eye of day; and hence, his earliest beams, before he is risen, are called the eyelids or eyelashes of the morning opening upon the world. This figure is common in the ancient Classics, and occurs frequently in the Arabic poets; see Schultens "in loc." Thus, in Soph. Antiq. 104, the phrase occurs, Ἁμέρας βλέφυρον Hameras blefaron. So in Milton's Lycidas,

" - Ere the high lawns appeared

Under the opening eyelids of the dawn,

We drive afield."

Job's wish was, that there might be no star in the evening twilight, and that no ray might illuminate that of the morning; that it might be enveloped in perpetual, unbroken darkness.

9. dawning of the day—literally, "eyelashes of morning." The Arab poets call the sun the eye of day. His early rays, therefore, breaking forth before sunrise, are the opening eyelids or eyelashes of morning. Let the stars, which are the glory and beauty of the night, to render it amiable and delightful to men,

be covered with thick darkness, nd that both in the evening twilight, as is here expressed, when the stars begin to arise and shine forth; and also in the further progress of the night, even till the morning begins to dawn, as the following words imply.

Let it look for light, but have none; let its darkness be aggravated with the disappointment of its hopes and expectations of light. He ascribes sense or reasoning to the night, by a poetical fiction usual in all writers.

The dawning of the day, Heb. the eyelids of the day, i.e. the morningstar, which ushers in the day, and the beginning, and consequently the progress, of the morning light, and the day following. Let this whole natural day, consisting of night and day, be blotted out of the catalogue of days, as he wished before. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark,.... Either of the morning or evening twilight; both may be meant, rather the latter, because of the following clause; the sense is, let not these appear to adorn the heavens, and to relieve the darkness of the night, and make it more pleasant and delightful, as well as to be useful to travellers and sailors:

let it look for light, but have none; that is, either for the light of the moon and stars, to shine in the night till daybreak, or for the light of the sun at the time when it arises; but let it have neither; let the whole time, from sun setting to sunrising, from one twilight to another, be one continued gross and horrible darkness; here, by a strong and beautiful figure, looking is ascribed to the night:

neither let it see the dawning of the day; or, "let it not see the eyelids of the morning" (l), or what we call "peep of day"; here, in very elegant language, the dawn of morning light is expressed, which is like the opening of an eye and its lids, quick and vibrating, when light is let in and perceived; or this may be interpreted of the sun, the eye of the morning and of light, and of its rays, which, when first darted, are like the opening of the eyelids.

(l) "palpebras aurorae", Montanus, Mercerus, &c.

Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it {g} see the dawning of the day:

(g) Let it be always night, and never see day.

9. the twilight thereof] that is, the morning twilight of that night. Let its morning stars, that should herald its day, go out—as the next clause explains: let it look for the light of a day that never breaks.

see the dawning of the day] lit. behold the eyelids of the morning. This beautiful figure looks like an idea from Western poetry, just as the chamber of the Sun, Psalm 19:5. All commentators quote the parallel from Sophocles, χρυσέας ἁμέρας βλέφαρον, Antigone, 103.Verse 9. - Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; i.e. "let not even the light of a star illuminate the morning or evening twilight of that night; let it be dark from beginning to end, uncheered even by the ray of a star." Let it look for light, but have none. Again a personification. The night is regarded as consciously waiting in hope of the appearance of morning, but continually disappointed by the long lingering of the darkness. And let it not see the dawning of the day; rather, as in the margin and in the Revised Version, let it not behold the eyelids of the morning (compare Milton's 'Lycidas,' "Under the opening eyelids of the morn," and Soph., 'Antigone,' χρυσσέης ἁμέρας βλέφαρον). 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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