Job 6:11
What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?
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(11) Prolong my life.—This is the literal rendering; but some understand be patient, as in our phrase, long-suffering.

Job 6:11. What is my strength that I should hope? — My strength is so small and spent, that although I may linger a while in my torments, yet I cannot live long, and therefore it is vain for me to hope for such a restitution as thou hast promised me, Job 5:22. And what is my end? — What is the end of my life? Or, what is death to me? It is not terrible, but comfortable. That I should prolong my life? — That I should desire or endeavour to prolong it, by seeking unto God for that purpose. But, as desirous of death as Job was, yet he never offered to put an end to his own life. Such a thought will never be entertained by any that have the least regard to the law of God and nature. How uneasy soever the soul’s confinement in the body may be, it must by no means break the prison, but wait for a fair discharge.

6:8-13 Job had desired death as the happy end of his miseries. For this, Eliphaz had reproved him, but he asks for it again with more vehemence than before. It was very rash to speak thus of God destroying him. Who, for one hour, could endure the wrath of the Almighty, if he let loose his hand against him? Let us rather say with David, O spare me a little. Job grounds his comfort upon the testimony of his conscience, that he had been, in some degree, serviceable to the glory of God. Those who have grace in them, who have the evidence of it, and have it in exercise, have wisdom in them, which will be their help in the worst of times.What is my strength, that I should hope? - Job had hitherto borne his trials without apprehension that he would lose his constancy of hope, or his confidence in God. He here seems to apprehend that his constancy might fail, and he therefore wishes to die before he should be left to dishonor God. He asks, therefore, what strength he had that he should hope to be able to sustain his trials much longer.

And what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? - Various interpretations have been given of this passage. Some suppose it means, "What is the limit of my strength? How long will it last?" Others, "What end is there to be to my miseries?" Others, "How distant is mine end? How long have I to live?" Noyes renders it, "And what is mine end that I should be patient?" Rosenmuller supposes that the word "end" here means the "end of his strength," or that he had not such fortitude as to be certain that he could long bear his trials without complaining or murmuring. The phrase rendered "prolong my life," probably means rather "to lengthen the patience," or to hold out under accumulated sorrows. The word rendered life נפשׁ nephesh often means soul, spirit, mind, as well as life, and the sense is, that he could not hope, from any strength that he had, to bear without complaining these trials until the natural termination of his life; and hence, he wished God to grant his request, and to destroy him. Feeling that his patience was sinking under his calamities, be says that it would be better for him to die than be left to dishonor his Maker. It is just the state of feeling which many a sufferer has, that his trials are so great that nature will sink under them, and that death would be a relief. Then is the time to look to God for support and consolation.

11. What strength have I, so as to warrant the hope of restoration to health? a hope which Eliphaz had suggested. "And what" but a miserable "end" of life is before me, "that I should" desire to "prolong life"? [Umbreit]. Umbreit and Rosenmuller not so well translate the last words "to be patient." My strength is so small and spent, that although I may linger a while in my torments, yet I cannot live long, and therefore it is vain and absurd for me to hope for such a restitution of my strength and prosperity as thou hast promised to me, Job 5:22, &c.; and therefore I justly pray that God would take away my life.

What is mine end? either,

1. What is the end or period of my miseries? when may I expect it? I see no end of them; I know not how long I may pine and linger in them. Therefore, Lord, take me speedily away. Or,

2. What is the end of my life? or what is death to me? It is not terrible, but comfortable, as he said, Job 6:10. I need not those vain consolations which thou givest me of being kept from death, Job 6:20, or having life continued and health restored. Death is not the matter of my fear, but of my desire.

That I should prolong my life, to wit, by my seeking to God for it, as thou advisest me, Job 5:8. Why should I desire or endeavour the prolonging of my life? Or, that I should lengthen out my desire, to wit, of life, and those comforts of life which thou hast propounded to me. I desire not to live longer, though in the greatest splendour and prosperity, but to be dissolved, and to be with my God and Redeemer, Job 19:25. The Hebrew word nephesh, here rendered soul or life, oft signifies desire, as Genesis 23:8 Deu 23:24 Proverbs 23:2 Ecclesiastes 6:9.

What is my strength, that I should hope?.... For a perfect restoration of health, suggested by Eliphaz; since it was so sadly weakened by the present affliction, which made death more desirable than life lengthened out in so much weakness, pain, and sorrow; or "that I should bear" (w), such a weight and heavy load that lay upon him, and crushed him, and to which his strength was not equal; or continue and endure (x):

what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? what end can be answered by living, or desiring a long life? His children were gone, and none left to take care of and provide for; his substance was taken away from him, so that he had not to support himself, nor to be useful to others, to the poor; he had lost all power, authority, and influence, among men, and could be no more serviceable by his counsel and advice, and by the administration of justice and equity as a civil magistrate; and as to religious matters, he was reckoned an hypocrite and a wicked man by his friends, and had lost his character and interest as a good man; and so for him to live could answer no valuable end, and, therefore, he desires to die; for what is here, and in Job 6:12 said, contain reasons of his above request.

(w) , Sept. "ut sustineam", V. L. (x) "Ut durem", Junius & Tremellius.

What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine {h} end, that I should prolong my life?

(h) He fears lest he should be brought to inconveniences, if his sorrows should continue.

11. This verse should read,

What is my strength that I should wait?

And what is mine end that I should be patient?

His impatient cry for death and his despair are justified by his condition. “Mine end”—i. e. what can the end of my afflictions be but death? Why then should I wait?

11–13. With more calmness Job proceeds to describe his hopeless condition, carrying out in this indirect way his defence of his despair.

Verse 11. - What is my strength, that I should hope? Eliphaz had suggested that Job might recover and be restored to his former prosperity (Job 5:18-26). Job rejects this suggestion. His strength is brought too low; it is not conceivable that he should be restored, he cannot entertain any such hope. And what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? rather, that I should stretch out my spirit. Job cannot look forward to such an "end" as Eliphaz prophesies for him; therefore he cannot bring himself to wait on with patience. Job 6:1111 What is my strength, that I should wait,

And my end, that I should be patient?

12 Is my strength like the strength of stones?

Or is my flesh brazen?

13 Or am I then not utterly helpless,

And continuance is driven from me?

The meaning of the question (Job 6:11); is: Is not my strength already so wasted away, and an unfortunate end so certain to me, that a long calm waiting is as impossible as it is useless? נפשׁ האריך, to draw out the soul, is to extend and distribute the intensity of the emotion, to be forbearing, to be patient. The question (Job 6:11) is followed by אם, usual in double questions: or is my strength stone, etc. האם, which is so differently explained by commentators, is after all to be explained best from Numbers 17:28, the only other passage in which it occurs. Here it is the same as ה אם, and in Num. הלא אם: or is it not so: we shall perish quickly altogether? Thus we explain the passage before us. The interrogative ה is also sometimes used elsewhere for הלא, Job 20:4; Job 41:1 (Ges. 153, 3); the additional אם stands per inversionem in the second instead of the first place: nonne an equals an nonne, annon: or is it not so: is not my help in me equals or am I not utterly helpless? Ewald explains differently (356, a), according to which אם, from the formula of an oath, is equivalent to לא. The meaning is the same. Continuance, תּוּשׁיּה, i.e., power of endurance, reasonable prospect is driven away, frightened away from him, is lost for him.

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