Job 14 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Job 14)

Verse 1

[1] Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

Man — A weak creature, and withal corrupt and sinful, and of that sex by which sin and all other calamity was brought into the world.

Verse 2

[2] He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

Flower — The flower is fading, and all its beauty soon withers and is gone. The shadow is fleeting, and its very being will soon be lost in the shadows of night. Of neither do we make any account, in neither do we put any confidence.

Verse 4

[4] Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

Not one — No man. This is the prerogative of thy grace, which therefore I humbly implore.

Verse 5

[5] Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;

Determined — Limited to a certain period.

With thee — In thy power and disposal. Thou hast appointed a certain end of his days, beyond which he cannot prolong his life.

Verse 6

[6] Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.

Turn — Withdraw thine afflicting hand from him, that he may have some present ease.

'Till — He come to the period of his life, which thou hast allotted to him, as a man appoints a set time to an hired servant.

Verse 8

[8] Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;

Die — To outward appearance.

Verse 9

[9] Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

Scent — By means of water. Scent or smell, is figuratively ascribed to a tree.

Verse 10

[10] But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?

Man — Two words are here used for man. Geber, a mighty man, tho' mighty, dies. Adam, a man of earth, returns to it. Before death, he is dying daily, continually wasting away. In death, he giveth up the ghost, the spirit returns to God that gave it. After death, where is he? Not where he was: his place knows him no more. But is he nowhere? Yes, he is gone to the world of spirits, gone into eternity, gone, never to return to this world!

Verse 11

[11] As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:

As — So it is with man. Or thus, as when the waters fail from the sea, when the sea forsakes the place into which it used to flow, the river which was fed by it, decayeth and drieth up without all hopes of recovery.

Verse 12

[12] So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.

Lieth — In his bed, the grave.

'Till — Until the time of the general resurrection, when these visible heavens shall pass away.

Verse 13

[13] O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!

The grave — The grave is not only a resting-place, but an hiding-place to the children of God. He hides them in the grave, as we hide our treasure in a place of secrecy and safety. Hide me there, not only from the storms of this life, but for the glory of a better.

Until thy wrath be past — As long as our bodies lie in the grave, there are some fruits of God's wrath against sin: until the set time comes, for their being remembered, as Noah was remembered in the ark, Genesis 8:1. Our bodies shall not be forgotten in the grave, there is a time set for their being enquired after.

Verse 14

[14] If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Shall he live? — He shall not in this world. Therefore I will patiently wait 'till that change comes, which will put a period to my calamities.

Verse 15

[15] Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

Answer thee — Thou shalt call my soul to thyself: and I will chearfully answer, Here I am: knowing thou wilt have a desire to the work of thy hands - A love for the soul which thou hast made, and new-made by thy grace.

Verse 16

[16] For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?

Numbereth — Thou makest a strict enquiry into all my actions.

Verse 17

[17] My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.

Sealed — As writings or other choice things, that they may all be brought forth upon occasion, and not one of them forgotten. Thou keepest all my sins in thy memory. But herein Job speaks rashly.

Verse 18

[18] And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.

And — As when a great mountain falls, by an earthquake or inundation, it moulders away like a fading leaf, (as the Hebrew word signifies) and as the rock, when by the violence of winds or earthquakes it is removed out of its place, and thrown down, is never re-advanced: and as the waters by continual droppings, wear away the stones, so that they can never be made whole again: and as thou wastest away, by a great and violent inundation, the things which grow out of the dust of the earth, herbs, and fruits, and plants, which once washed away are irrecoverably lost; in like manner, thou destroyest the hope of man: when man dies, all hope of his living again in this world is lost.

Verse 20

[20] Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.

Prevailest — When once thou takest away this life, it is gone forever.

Sendest — To his long home.

Verse 21

[21] His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.

Knoweth not — Either is ignorant of all such events: or, is not concerned or affected with them. A dead or dying man minds not these things.

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