Job 6:8
Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
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(8) Oh that I might have my request.—Baffled in the direction of his fellow-creatures, he turns, like many others, to God as his only hope, although it is rather from God than in God that his hope lies. However exceptional Job’s trials, yet his language is the common language of all sufferers who think that relief, if it comes, must come through change of circumstances rather than in themselves in relation to circumstances. Thus Job looks forward to death as his only hope; whereas with God and in God there were many years of life and prosperity in store for him. So strong is this feeling in him, that he calls death the thing that he longs for, his hope or expectation. (Comp. Job 17, where even the hope that he had in death seems to have passed away and to have issued in blank hopelessness.)

Job 6:8-9. O that I might have my request! — The thing which I so passionately desired, and which, notwithstanding all your vain words, and weak arguments, I still continue to desire, and beseech God to grant me. The thing that I long for! — Hebrew, תקותי, tickvati, my hope or expectation. That it would please God to destroy me — To end my days and calamities together: that he would let loose his hand — Which is now, as it were, bound up or restrained from giving me that deadly blow which I desire. O that he would not restrain it any longer, and suffer me to languish in this miserable condition, but give me one stroke more and quite cut me off. Mr. Peters has justly observed, that “these two verses, as well as Job 6:11, with many more that might be quoted to the same purpose, are utterly inconsistent with Job’s believing that God would restore him to his former happy state;” as Bishop Warburton contended, that he might lay a foundation for an interpretation of the noted passage in Job 19:25-27, different from that commonly received, and might explain it, not of Job’s hope of immortality, but of his expectation of a restoration to temporal prosperity.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.Oh that I might have my request - To wit, death. This he desired as the end of his sorrows, either that he might be freed from them, or that he might be admitted to a happy world - or both.

Would grant me the thing that I long for - Margin, "My expectation." That is, death. He expected it; he looked out for it; he was impatient that the hour should come. This state of feeling is not uncommon - where sorrows become so accumulated and intense that a man desires to die. It is no evidence, however, of a preparation for death. The wicked are more frequently in this state than the righteous. They are overwhelmed with pain; they see no hope of deliverance from it and they impatiently wish that the end had come. They are stupid about the future world, and either suppose that the grave is the end of their being, or that in some undefinable way they will be made happy hereafter. The righteous, on the other hand, are willing to wait until God shall be pleased to release them, feeling that He has some good purpose in all that they endure, and that they do not suffer one pang too much. Such sometimes were Job's feelings; but here, as in some other instances, no one can doubt that he was betrayed into unjustifiable impatience under his sorrows, and that he expressed an improper wish to die.

8. To desire death is no necessary proof of fitness for death. The ungodly sometimes desire it, so as to escape troubles, without thought of the hereafter. The godly desire it, in order to be with the Lord; but they patiently wait God's will. My request, i.e. the thing which I have so passionately desired, and, notwithstanding all your vain words and weak arguments, do still justly continue to desire, to wit, death, as is expressed Job 6:9, and more largely Job 3. And that I might have my request,.... Or that it "might come" (m); that it might go up to heaven, enter there, and come into the ears of the Lord, be attended to, admitted, and received by him, see Psalm 18:6; or come to Job, be returned into his bosom, be answered and fulfilled; the same with the desire that "cometh", which is, when the thing desired is enjoyed, Proverbs 13:12; or that what he had requested would come, namely, death, which is sometimes represented as a person that looks in at the windows, and comes into the houses of men, and seizes on them, Jeremiah 9:21; and this is what Job wishes for; this was his sole request; this was the thing, the one thing, that lay uppermost in his mind, and he was most importunately solicitous for:

and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! death, as the following words explain it; this is not desirable by nature, but contrary to it; it is itself a penal evil, the sanction and curse of the law; it is an enemy, and a very formidable one, the king of terrors; and, though a very formidable, one, is desired by good men from a principle of grace, and with right views, to be rid of sin, and to be with Christ; yet it often is done by persons in melancholy, sullen, and humorous fits, when they cannot have what they would, as in Rachel, Elijah, and Jonah, Genesis 30:1; and because of sore troubles and afflictions, which was the present case of Job; though it must be said that it was not, as is frequently the case with wicked men, through the horrors of a guilty conscience, which he was free of; and he had faith, and hope of comfort in another world, and in some degree he submitted to the will and pleasure of God; though pressed with too much eagerness, importunity, and passion: and it may be observed, that Job did not make request to men, to his servants, or friends about him, to dispatch him, as Abimelech and Saul did; nor did he lay hands on himself, or attempt to do it, as Saul, Ahithophel, and Judas: the wretched philosophy of the stoics was not known in Job's time, which not only makes suicide lawful, but commends it as an heroic action; no, Job makes his, request to the God of his life, who had given it to him, and had maintained it hitherto, and who only had a right to dispose of it; he asks it as a favour, he desires it as a gift, he had nothing else to ask, nothing was more or so desirable to him as death.

(m) "ut veniat", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt, Michaelis; "utinam veniret", Schultens.

Oh that I might have my {f} request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!

(f) In this he sins double, both in wishing through impatience to die, and also in desiring of God a thing which was not agreeable to his will.

8, 9. So keenly does Job realize the loathsomeness of his sufferings that he forgets his defence and breaks out into a passionate cry for death, which he calls the thing that he longs for.Verse 8. - Oh that I might have my request! Here the second point is taken up. Eliphaz has threatened Job with death, representing it as the last and most terrible of punishments (Job 4:9, 20, 21; Job 5:2). Job's reply is that there is nothing he desires so much as death. His primary wish would have been never to have been born (Job 3:3-10); next to that, he would have desired an early death - the earlier the more acceptable (Job 3:11-19). As both these have been denied him, what he now desires, and earnestly asks for, is a speedy demise. It is not as yet clear what he thinks death to be, or whether he has any hope beyond the grave. Putting aside all such considerations, he here simply balances death against such a life as he now leads, and must expect to lead, since his disease is incurable, and decides in favour of death. It is not only his desire, but his "request" to God, that death may come to him quickly. And that God would grant me the thing that I long for; literally, my expectation or wish. The idea of taking his own life does not seem to have occurred to Job, as it would to a Greek (Plato, 'Phaedo,' § 16) or a Roman (Pithy, 'Epist.,' 1:12). He is too genuine a child of nature, too simple and unsophisticated, for such a thought to occur, and, if it occurred, would be too religious to entertain it for a moment. Like Aristotle, he would feel the act to be cowardly (Aristotle, 'Eth. Nic.,' 5, sub fin.); and, like Plato (l.s.c.), he would view it as rebellion against the will of God. 1 Then began Job, and said:

2 Oh that my vexation were but weighed,

And they would put my suffering in the balance against it!

3 Then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea:

Therefore my words are rash.

4 The arrows of the Almighty are in me,

The burning poison whereof drinketh up my spirit;

The terrors of Eloah set themselves in array against me.

Vexation (כּעשׂ) is what Eliphaz has reproached him with (Job 5:2). Job wishes that his vexation were placed in one scale and his היּה (Keri הוּה) in the other, and weighed together (יחד). The noun היּה (הוּה), from הוה (היה), flare, hiare, signifies properly hiatus, then vorago, a yawning gulf, χάσμα, then some dreadful calamity (vid., Hupfeld on Psalm 5:10). נשׂא, like נטל, Isaiah 11:15, to raise the balance, as pendere, to let it hang down; attollant instead of the passive. This is his desire; and if they but understood the matter, it would then be manifest (כּי־עתּה, as Job 3:13, which see), or: indeed then would it be manifest (כּי certainly in this inferential position has an affirmative signification: vid., Genesis 26:22; Genesis 29:32, and comp. 1 Samuel 25:34; 2 Samuel 2:27) that his suffering is heavier than the unmeasurable weight of the sand of the sea. יכבּד is neuter with reference to והיּתי. לעוּ, with the tone on the penult., which is not to be accounted for by the rhythm as in Psalm 37:20; Psalm 137:7, cannot be derived from לעה, but only from לוּע, not however in the signification to suck down, but from לוּע equals לעה, Arab. lagiya or also lagâ, temere loqui, inania effutire, - a signification which suits excellently here.

(Note: ילע, Proverbs 20:25, which is doubly accented, and must be pronounced as oxytone, has also this meaning: the snare of a man who has thoughtlessly uttered what is holy (an interjectional clause equals such an one has implicated himself), and after (having made) vows will harbour care (i.e., whether he will be able to fulfil them).)

His words are like those of one in delirium. עמּדי is to be explained according to Psalm 38:3; חמתם, according to Psalm 7:15. יערכוּני is short for עלי מלחמה יערכי, they make war against me, set themselves in battle array against me. Bttcher, without brachylogy: they cause me to arm myself, put one of necessity on the defensive, which does not suit the subject. The terrors of God strike down all defence. The wrath of God is irresistible. The sting of his suffering, however, is the wrath of God which his spirit drinks as a draught of poison (comp. Job 21:20), and consequently wrings from him, even from his deepest soul, the thought that God is become his enemy: therefore his is an endless suffering, and therefore is it that he speaks so despondingly.

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