The Curse of Despair
Job 3:1
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.…

Job had endured bravely up to this moment. But when his courage broke down his despair swept all before it like an avalanche. Existence itself then seemed only a curse, and Job thought it a matter of regret that he had ever been brought into the world. In his despair he cursed the day of his birth.

I. THE CAUSES OF THE CURSE. Job was no mere dyspeptic pessimist. His utterance of despair was not simply bred from the gloom of a discontented mind. Nor was he a hasty, impatient man who rebelled against the first sign of opposition to his will. The curse was wrung out of him by a most terrible conjunction of circumstances.

1. Unparalleled calamities. He had lost nearly all - not property only, but children; not outside things only, but health and strength. He was bereft of almost everything in the world that promised to make life dear. Why then, should he value it any longer?

2. Long brooding over trouble. Job did not speak in haste. For seven days he had been sitting dumb with his three silent companions - dumb, but not unconscious. What an array of thoughts must have passed through his mind while he thus suppressed all utterance! Benumbed at first, perhaps, his mind must have gradually roused itself to take in all the truth. Thus he had time to realize it. Nothing is worse than to suffer without being able to do anything to meet and conquer our trouble. Action is a powerful antidote to despair. Inaction intensifies pain. Thought and imagination add tremendous horrors of the mind to the greatest external and bodily troubles.

3. Sympathy. The kind presence of his friends broke down Job's self-restraint. Men can bear in solitude with calmness; but sympathy opens the wells of emotion. This is best, for the heart that does not let out its pent-up feelings will break with concealed agony.


1. Its bitterness. Satan said, "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life" (Job 2:4). Now Job unconsciously answers the superficial word of the accuser, though from an unexpected point of view. Life itself may become so cruel as to be not worth living, as to be a curse rather than a blessing. But the trouble must indeed be great that can thus conquer and reverse a primary instinct of nature. The exceeding bitterness of future punishment will be that the life which has become dead, and yet which is not unconscious, must still be endured.

2. Its humiliation. Job cursed his day, only his day; he did not curse his God, nor the universe. He did not vent his agony in rage against the whole order of things. He confined it to his own miserable existence. At worst he only complained that he had been brought into being; he did not complain that the general order of the world was unjust. Here is a token of humility, patience, self-control. Weak sufferers rail against all things in earth and heaven. They take their experience as a sign of universal mismanagement. It is, indeed, difficult not to judge the universe by our own feelings.

3. Its mistake. Job's despair was very excusable. Yet it was an error. It was an outbreak of impatience, though sadly provoked and bravely limited. No man is able to judge of the worth of his own life. The life which is miserable to its owner may yet be serving some high Divine purpose, may yet be a blessing to mankind. This was the case with Job's. We cannot know the use and value of life till we see it as a finished whole and from the other side of the grave. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.

WEB: After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed the day of his birth.

The Cry from the Depths
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