Wesley's Notes on the Bible
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.
3:1 His day - His birth - day, in vain do some endeavour to excuse this and the following speeches of Job, who afterwards is reproved by God, and severely accuseth himself for them, chap.38:2 40:4 13:3,6. And yet he does not proceed so far as to curse God, but makes the devil a liar: but although he does not break forth into direct reproaches of God, yet he makes indirect reflections upon his providence. His curse was sinful, both because it was vain, being applied to a thing, which was not capable of blessing and cursing, and because it cast a blame upon God for bringing that day, and for giving him life on that day.
And Job spake, and said,
Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
3:3 Let the day - Let the remembrance of that day be utterly lost.
Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.
3:4 Darkness - I wish the sun had never risen upon that day, or, which is all one, that it had never been; and whensoever that day returns, I wish it may be black, and gloomy, and uncomfortable. Regard - From heaven, by causing the light of the sun which is in heaven to shine upon it.
Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.
3:5 Death - A black and dark shadow like that of the place of the dead, which is a land of darkness. Slain - Take away its beauty and glory. Terrify - That is, men in it. Let it be always observed as a frightful and dismal day.
As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.
3:6 Darkness - Constant and extraordinary darkness, without the least glimmering of light from the moon or stars. Be joined - Reckoned as one, or a part of one of them.
Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.
Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.
3:8 The day - Their birth - day: when their afflictions move them to curse their own birth - day, let them remember mine also, and bestow some curses upon it. Mourning - Who are full of sorrow, and always ready to pour out their cries, and tears, and complaints.
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:
3:9 The stars - Let the stars, which are the glory and beauty of the night, be covered with thick darkness, and that both in the evening twilight, when the stars begin to shine; and also in the farther progress of the night, even 'till the morning dawns. Look - Let its darkness be aggravated with the disappointment of its expectations of light. He ascribes sense or reasoning to the night, by a poetical fiction, usual in all writers. Dawning - Heb. the eye - lids of the day, the morning - star which ushers in the day, and the beginning, and progress of the morning light, let this whole natural day, consisting of night and day, be blotted out of the catalogue of days.
Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.
3:10 It - The night or the day: to which those things are ascribed which were done by others in them, as is frequent in poetical writings. Womb - That it might never have brought me forth. Nor hid - Because it did not keep me from entering into this miserable life, and seeing, or experiencing, these bitter sorrows.
Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?
Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?
3:12 The knees - Why did the midwife or nurse receive and lay me upon her knees, and not suffer me to fall upon the bare ground, 'till death had taken me out of this miserable world, into which their cruel kindness hath betrayed me? Why did the breasts prevent me from perishing through hunger, or supply me that should have what to suck? Thus Job unthankfully despises these wonderful mercies of God towards poor helpless infants.
For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,
With kings and counsellers of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves;
3:14 Kings - I had then been as happy as the proudest monarchs, who after all their great achievements and enjoyments, go down into their graves. Built - Who to shew their wealth and power, or to leave behind them a glorious name, rebuilt ruined cities, or built new cities and palaces, in places where before there was mere solitude and wasteness.
Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver:
Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.
3:16 Hidden - Undiscerned and unregarded. Born before the due time. Been - In the land of the living.
There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.
3:17 There - In the grave. The wicked - The great oppressors and troublers of the world cease from their vexations, rapins and murders. Weary - Those who were here molested and tired out with their tyrannies, now quietly sleep with them.
There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.
3:18 The oppressor - Or, taskmaster, who urges and forces them to work by cruel threatenings and stripes. Job meddles not here with their eternal state after death, of which he speaks hereafter, but only their freedom from worldly troubles, which is the sole matter of his present discourse.
The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.
3:19 Small and great - Persons of all qualities and conditions. Are there - In the same place and state, all those distinctions being forever abolished. A good reason, why those who have power should use it moderately, and those that are in subjection should take it patiently.
Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;
3:20 Light - The light of life. Bitter - Unto those to whom life itself is bitter and burdensome. Life is called light, because it is pleasant and serviceable for walking and working; and this light is said to be given us, because it would be lost, if it were not daily renewed to us by a fresh gift.
Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;
3:21 Dig - Desire with as much earnestness as men dig for treasure: but it is observable, Job durst not do anything to hasten or procure his death: notwithstanding all his miseries, he was contented to wait all the days of his appointed time, 'till his change came, chap.14:14.
Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?
3:22 Glad, and c. - To be thus impatient of life, for the sake of the trouble we meet with, is not only unnatural in itself, but ungrateful to the giver of life, and shews a sinful indulgence of our own passion. Let it be our great and constant care, to get ready for another world: and then let us leave it to God, to order the circumstances of our removal thither.
Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?
3:23 Hid - From him; who knows not his way, which way to turn himself, what course to take to comfort himself in his miseries. Hedged in - Whom God hath put as it were in a prison, so that he can see no way or possibility of escape.
For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.
3:24 Before, and c. - Heb. before the face of my bread, all the time I am eating, I fall into sighing and weeping, because I am obliged to eat, and to support this wretched life, and because of my uninterrupted pains of body and of mind, which do not afford me one quiet moment. Roarings - My loud outcries, more befitting a lion than a man. Poured out - With great abundance, and irresistible violence, and incessant continuance, as waters flow in a river, or as they break the banks, and overflow the ground.
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
3:25 Feared - Even in the time of my prosperity, I was full of fears, considering the variety of God's providences, the changeableness of this vain world, God's justice, and the sinfulness of all mankind. And these fears of mine, were not in vain, but are justified by my present calamities.
I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.
3:26 Quiet - I did not misbehave myself in prosperity, abusing it by presumption, and security, but I lived circumspectly, walking humbly with God, and working out my salvation with fear and trembling. Therefore in this sense also, his way was hid, he knew not why God contended with him.