Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass? or lows the ox over his fodder?
The patriarch introduces this illustration to prove to his friends that his complainings were not in vain. His troubles were not imaginative. This quaint subject is instructive and interesting to all. It teaches two lessons.
I. HE WHO IS SATISFIED DOES NOT COMPLAIN. He goes straight on to the enjoyment of the possession he has acquired. The ox or the ass that has abundance of food does not make lamentation. Job meant to say that this was the case with him. If he were only reaping the fruit of his conduct, he would not complain; or even if his suffering had been the result of sinful indulgence, or came to him from evil doing, or thinking, he would have submitted. But he suffered greatly, knowing at the same time that he was altogether innocent. He had not received his just reward, and therefore he did complain.
II. EMPLOYMENT IS THE ROOT OF CONTENT. Laziness breeds contention. The man who has honest work to do, and does it, eats and is satisfied. It is your hungry, idle men who are agitators. It is so —
1. Because the busy man has no time for brooding on his cares. The ass or the ox at his food has something to occupy his attention, and has therefore not a moment to spare for braying.
2. Because he has no opportunity for shallow noise. If he wished to bray or low, the very fact of having his mouth full would prevent him. So men whose hands are full of employment, cannot cast down the work they are engaged upon, for the mere sake of airing their grievances. When the wild ass has been well filled, and when the ox has finished his fodder, then they will waste their time in mischief and discontent. The proper remedy for restless agitation is plenty of work, and the labour which is ever necessary to procure and prepare our daily wants.
(J. J. S. Bird.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?