Job 7:15
So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) So that my soul maketh choice of strangling and death rather than a life like this. Literally, than these my bones, or, as some take it, a death by these my members: a death inflicted by myself, suicide.

Job 7:15. So that my soul chooseth strangling — The most violent death, so it be but certain and sudden, rather than such a wretched life. Hebrews מעצמותי, megnatsmothai, rather than my bones — That is, than my body, the skin of which was everywhere broken, and the flesh almost consumed, so that little remained but bones.

7:7-16 Plain truths as to the shortness and vanity of man's life, and the certainty of death, do us good, when we think and speak of them with application to ourselves. Dying is done but once, and therefore it had need be well done. An error here is past retrieve. Other clouds arise, but the same cloud never returns: so a new generation of men is raised up, but the former generation vanishes away. Glorified saints shall return no more to the cares and sorrows of their houses; nor condemned sinners to the gaieties and pleasures of their houses. It concerns us to secure a better place when we die. From these reasons Job might have drawn a better conclusion than this, I will complain. When we have but a few breaths to draw, we should spend them in the holy, gracious breathings of faith and prayer; not in the noisome, noxious breathings of sin and corruption. We have much reason to pray, that He who keeps Israel, and neither slumbers nor sleeps, may keep us when we slumber and sleep. Job covets to rest in his grave. Doubtless, this was his infirmity; for though a good man would choose death rather than sin, yet he should be content to live as long as God pleases, because life is our opportunity of glorifying him, and preparing for heaven.So that my soul - So that I; the soul being put for himself.

Chooseth strangling - Dr. Good renders it "suffocation," and supposes that Job alludes to the oppression of breathing, produced by what is commonly called the night-mare, and that he means that he would prefer the sense of suffocation excited at such a time to the terrible images before his mind. Herder renders it, death. Jerome, suspendium. The Septuagint, "Thou separatest (ἀπαλλάξεις apallaceis) my life from my spirit, and my bones from death;" but what idea they attached to it, it is impossible now to tell. The Syriac renders it, "Thou choosest my soul from perdition, and my bones from death." The word rendered strangling (מחנק machănaq) is from חנק chânaq, to be narrow, strait, close; and then means to strangle, to throttle, Nahum 2:12; 2 Samuel 17:23. Here it means death; and Job designs to say that he would prefer even the most violent kind of death to the life that he was then leading. I see no evidence that the idea suggested by Dr. Good is to be found in the passage.

And death rather than my life - Margin, as in Hebrew, bones. There has been great variety in the exposition of this part of the verse. Herder renders it, "death rather than this frail body." Rosenmuller and Noyes, "death rather than my bones;" that is, he preferred death to such an emaciated body as he then had, to the wasted skeleton which was then all that he had left to him. This is probably the true sense. Job was a sufferer in body and in soul. His flesh was wasting away, his body was covered with ulcers, and his mind was harassed with apprehensions. By day he had no peace, and at night he was terrified by alarming visions and spectres; and he preferred death in any form to such a condition.

15. Umbreit translates, "So that I could wish to strangle myself—dead by my own hands." He softens this idea of Job's harboring the thought of suicide, by representing it as entertained only in agonizing dreams, and immediately repudiated with horror in Job 7:16, "Yet that (self-strangling) I loathe." This is forcible and graphic. Perhaps the meaning is simply, "My soul chooses (even) strangling (or any violent death) rather than my life," literally, "my bones" (Ps 35:10); that is, rather than the wasted and diseased skeleton, left to him. In this view, "I loathe it" (Job 7:16) refers to his life. Chooseth; not simply and in itself, but comparatively, rather than such a wretched life.

Strangling; the most violent, so it be but a certain and sudden death.

Rather than my life, Heb. than my bones, i.e. than my body, formerly the soul’s dear and desired companion; or than to be in the body, which commonly consists of skin, and flesh, and bones, but in Job was in a manner nothing but a bundle of boiles; for his skin was every where broken, and his flesh was quite consumed, as he oft complains, and his bones also were not free from pain and torment; for as Satan’s commission reached to Job’s bones, Job 2:5, so doubtless his malice and wicked design would engage him to execute it to the utmost.

So that my soul chooseth strangling,.... Not to strangle himself, as Ahithophel did, or to be strangled by others, this being a kind of death inflicted on capital offenders; but rather, as Mr. Broughton renders it, "to be choked to death" by any distemper and disease, as some are of a suffocating nature, as a catarrh, quinsy, &c. and kill in that way; and indeed death in whatsoever way is the stopping of a man's breath; and it was death that Job chose, let it be in what way it would, whether natural or violent; so weary was he of life through his sore and heavy afflictions:

and death rather than my life; or, "than my bones" (i); which are the more solid parts of the body, and the support of it, and are put for the whole and the life thereof; or than these bones of his, which were full of strong pain, and which had nothing but skin upon them, and that was broken and covered with worms, rottenness, and dust; the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "and my bones death"; that is, desired and chose death, being so full of pain, see Psalm 35:10.

(i) "prae ossibus meis", Montanus, Tigurine version, Bolducius, Cocceius, Schmidt, Schultens; so Mercerus, Piscator, Michaelis.

So that my soul {k} chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.

(k) He speaks as one overcome with sorrow, and not of judgment, or of the examination of his faith.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. Consequence of the preceding, Job 7:14.

chooseth strangling] A sense of choking is one of the accompaniments of the disease, which is said to end sometimes in actual suffocation. Job refers to this symptom, saying that he is driven to desire that it might be really fatal. The parallel word death in the next clause shews that this is what he is driven to wish for, but he selects this form of death as one incidental to his disease, and one with which he had perhaps felt himself more than once threatened.

death rather than my life] lit. death rather than these my bones. So he describes the emaciated skeleton to which he was reduced.

Verse 15. - So that my soul chooseth strangling; i.e. "so that I would prefer strangling to such horrid dreams," which are worse than any physical sufferings. Some see here a reference to suicide: but this is s very forced explanation. Suicide, as already observed, seems never even to have occurred to the thoughts of Job (see the comment on Job 6:8). And death rather than my life; literally, rather than my bones. Death, that is, would be preferable to such a life as he leads, which is that of a living skeleton. Job 7:1512 Am I a sea or a sea-monster,

That thou settest a watch over me?

13 For I said, My bed shall comfort me;

My couch shall help me to bear my complaint.

14 Then thou scaredst me with dreams,

And thou didst wake me up in terror from visions,

15 So that my soul chose suffocation,

Death rather than this skeleton.

16 I loathe it, I would not live alway;

Let me alone, for my days are breath.

Since a watch on the sea can only be designed to effect the necessary precautions at its coming forth from the shores, it is probable that the poet had the Nile in mind when he used ים, and consequently the crocodile by תּנּין. The Nile is also called ים in Isaiah 19:5, and in Homer ὠκεανός, Egyptian oham ( equals ὠκεανός), and is even now called (at least by the Bedouins) bahhr (Arab. bahr). The illustrations of the book, says von Gerlach correctly, are chiefly Egyptian. On the contrary, Hahn thinks the illustration is unsuitable of the Nile, because it is not watched on account of its danger, but its utility; and Schlottman thinks it even small and contemptible without assigning a reason. The figure is, however, appropriate. As watches are set to keep the Nile in channels as soon as it breaks forth, and as men are set to watch that they may seize the crocodile immediately he moves here or there; so Job says all his movements are checked at the very commencement, and as soon as he desires to be more cheerful he feels the pang of some fresh pain. In Job 7:13, ב after נשׂא is partitive, as Numbers 11:17; Mercier correctly: non nihil querelam meam levabit. If he hopes for such repose, it forthwith comes to nought, since he starts up affrighted from his slumber. Hideous dreams often disturb the sleep of those suffering with elephantiasis, says Avicenna (in Stickel, S. 170). Then he desires death; he wishes that his difficulty of breathing would increase to suffocation, the usual end of elephantiasis. מחנק is absolute (without being obliged to point it מחנק with Schlottm.), as e.g., מרמס, Isaiah 10:6 (Ewald, 160, c). He prefers death to these his bones, i.e., this miserable skeleton or framework of bone to which he is wasted away. He despises, i.e., his life, Job 9:21. Amid such suffering he would not live for ever. הבל, like רוּח, Job 7:7.

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