Appeal to the Justice, Knowledge, and Goodness of God
Job 10:1-22
My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint on myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.…

In his extremity of maddening pain and in his contempt of life, Job resolves to give full way once more to words (ver. 1). And as they pour forth in full flood from the bottom of his heart, we perceive that he has in reality truer and juster thoughts about God than those expressed in the preceding chapter. He proceeds to appeal one by one to the highest perfection which can be associated with the Divine Name.


1. To his reasonableness and justice. (Ver. 2.) "Condemn me not unheard, without cause assigned; make clear to my mind, which cannot deny its convictions, my guilt and its nature." Taking the analogy of our Lord's reasoning in the sermon on the mount, if to condemn a man without cause is felt to be an odious injustice - if it is a cardinal point in a just earthly constitution (e.g. as expressed in our Habeas Corpus Act) that no man be seized and kept in prison without speedy opportunity of being confronted with his accusers - how can we ascribe such conduct to him who sits on the eternal throne?

2. To his equity. (Ver. 3.) Can it be right that God should, on the one hand, cast down the weak and innocent, and, on the other, exalt and favour the unprincipled and the wicked? This would not be to hold even the scales, the eternal emblem of justice. The true solution to the question is given by Christ. God is good to all alike. The great gifts of nature - sunshine and rain - are common to good and evil, just and unjust. And as to spiritual blessings, which are of their nature conditional on human will and seeking, God is as good to all as their own state and disposition will suffer him to be. Are, then, the sufferings of the good contrary to his justice? Not so; but they come under that higher law which Job and his friends have yet to learn, that suffering is one of the forms and manifestations of Divine goodness in the education of human beings.

3. Appeal to his omniscience. (Ver. 4.) God sees all things, from all beginnings, to all ends. He is not a short-sighted tyrant who is tempted to force by torture a confession of guilt from an unhappy prisoner against whom he has only a suspicion but no evidence. God knows that Job is innocent. But this fact should put an end to his murmurs, could he be wholly true to his higher faith in God. The right which God knows he will in the end declare, and will be seen to have throughout defended and protected.

4. Appeal to his eternal duration. (Vers. 5, 6.) The calm and ever-abiding existence of God must surely free him from those temptations to which short-lived man is subject. Hurry, impatience, haste, impetuosity, are characteristics of humanity, because men know they have much to do, and but a short time in which to do it. Therefore the tyrant will snatch quickly at revenge for any affront or injury he may have suffered. But who can escape the power and the penalties of the Eternal? Once more: God knows he is innocent (ver. 7)!


1. Comparison of the Creator and the creature to the potter and his work. (Ver. 8.) The potter's artistic work is a work on which care, thought, elaboration, have been spent; it is a" thing of beauty," and he designs it to be a "joy for ever." He will not wantonly destroy it, will not bear to see it so destroyed. Can we believe otherwise of God and his work? A most true and telling analogy, and on which may be founded an argument for the immortality of the soul. Had that idea come within the horizon of Job's vision, his analogy would have afforded him profound comfort.

2. Contrast between the careful production and preservation and the seeming reckless destruction of the creature. (Vers. 10-17.) On the one hand we see (vers. 10, 11) the marvellous production and development of the bodily life from the embryo to the distinct and fully developed form, arranged with all the apparatus and mechanism of nutrition and of movement. What dazzling evidences of the thought which God has lavished upon his chief work do all the discoveries of physiology unfold! We may read side by side with this passage Psalm 139., and Addison's noble hymn, "When all thy mercies, O my God." Then there is the endowment of this marvellous framework with the great gift of life, and manifold rich enjoyments, and its preservation through all the dangers of youth to the present moment (ver. 12). But how dread the other side of the contrast! Behind this elaborate design there was concealed from the first, as it seems to Job's gloomy reflection, a deliberate purpose of destruction - the reckless annihilation of this splendid work of Divine art (ver. 13). Rather, if we do but rectify these perverted reasonings of a morbid and distressed mood, what noble and irresistible arguments do we derive from experience and from the science of our physical life for God's eternal interest in that which is here contained in it - the soul which partakes of him, and cannot perish! Then follows a terrible picture of the relation in which the patriarch, in his misery, supposes himself to stand to God. He is in a "tetralemma," or net, from which he can see no escape.

(1) If he commits the smallest error (ver. 14), those all. searching eyes follow him with their ceaseless watch, and will exact the penalty of every fault.

(2) If he should commit iniquity (ver. 5) - that he has done so, however, before these sufferings, he must most solemnly deny - then he will be justly chastened.

(3) But even if he were in the right, he must appear as a guilty one; cannot dare, freely and proudly, to raise his head - because full of ignominy, and with his own eyes beholding his humiliation (ver. 15).

(4) And should this innocent and insulted head, unable longer to endure the ignominy, rise in freedom and in pride - as Job is now doing, in fact, by. the tone of his speech - then God, wroth with his resistance, will send afresh the severest sufferings upon him; will hunt him like a lion; will reveal himself in fresh marvels of woe and judgment (ver. 16); will produce fresh witnesses, in the shape of new pains, as accusers against him. Like hosts pouring one after another against one beleaguered city, so will these troubles thickly come on (ver. 17).

III. RENEWED BURST OF DESPONDENCY, IMPRECATIONS ON LIFE, CRAVING FOR REST. (Vers. 18-22.) Once more he wishes that he had never been (vers. 18, 19, repeated from Job 3:11, etc.). Once more he urges his strong petition that he may enjoy one brief respite during these few short days that remain, free from the unceasing torment (ver. 20), before he sinks for ever into the lower world.


1. It is the "land of darkness and of gloom, like to midnight" (vers. 21, 22).

2. Therefore it is the land of disorder and of confusion, where none who is accustomed to light and order can feel himself at home.

3. Though there be even there a slight change of day and night, yet even if it be bright there, it is as gloomy as midnight upon earth. We may compare those impressive pictures of the lower world and the state of the departed which we find in the 'Odyssey' (11.) -

"Never the sun, that giveth light to man,
Looks down upon them with his golden eye,
Or when he climbs the starry arch, or when
Slope toward the earth, he wheels adown the sky;
But sad night weighs upon them wearily." In bondage through fear of death. The knowledge of another and a better life - denied to Job - is evidently the one thing needed to satisfy an honest mind, cast down in extreme suffering, overwhelmed in mystery, yet unable to renounce its faith in the justice and goodness of God. Christianity, by bringing life and immortality to light, spreads a great radiance over the world. It is the firm grasp of this Divine idea which enables man to support suffering with calmness and patience. Let this idea be taken away, and - as we see from the painful tone of those in our day who seriously put the question, "Is life worth living? - even ordinary suffering may be resented as intolerable. LESSONS.

1. Confidence founded on our relation to God as a faithful Creator." He cannot desert the work of his own hands.

2. His goodness in the past is an argument for trust for the time to come.

3. Insoluble perplexities are due to our own ignorance of the complete conditions of life. God is the most misunderstood of beings.

4. Every revelation is to be eagerly received, every habit of mind encouraged, which induces us to look on life as a good, death as a gain, and the scene beyond as one of eternal brightness for all faithful souls. - J

Parallel Verses
KJV: My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

WEB: "My soul is weary of my life. I will give free course to my complaint. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

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