Job Bewails His Birth

31 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said: 3 "May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, 'A boy is conceived!' 4 That day-may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it. 5 May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm it. 6 That night-may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months. 7 May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it. 8 May those who curse days[1] curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. 9 May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn, 10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes.

11 "Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? 12 Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed? 13 For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest 14 with kings and rulers of the earth, who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, 15 with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. 16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day? 17 There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest. 18 Captives also enjoy their ease; they no longer hear the slave driver's shout. 19 The small and the great are there, and the slaves are freed from their owners.

20 "Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, 21 to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, 22 who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? 23 Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? 24 For sighing has become my daily food; my groans pour out like water. 25 What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. 26 I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil."

Eliphaz Rebukes Job

41 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: 2 "If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking? 3 Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. 4 Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. 5 But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. 6 Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?

7 "Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? 8 As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. 9 At the breath of God they perish; at the blast of his anger they are no more. 10 The lions may roar and growl, yet the teeth of the great lions are broken. 11 The lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.

12 "A word was secretly brought to me, my ears caught a whisper of it. 13 Amid disquieting dreams in the night, when deep sleep falls on people, 14 fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake. 15 A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end. 16 It stopped, but I could not tell what it was. A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice: 17 'Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker? 18 If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, 19 how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundations are in the dust, who are crushed more readily than a moth! 20 Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces; unnoticed, they perish forever. 21 Are not the cords of their tent pulled up, so that they die without wisdom?'

51 "Call if you will, but who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn? 2 Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple. 3 I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed. 4 His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender. 5 The hungry consume his harvest, taking it even from among thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth.

6 For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. 7 Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. 8 "But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. 9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. 10 He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside. 11 The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. 12 He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13 He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. 14 Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night. 15 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. 16 So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.

17 "Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.[2] 18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. 19 From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you. 20 In famine he will deliver you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. 21 You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes. 22 You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the wild animals. 23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you. 24 You will know that your tent is secure; you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing. 25 You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth. 26 You will come to the grave in full vigor, like sheaves gathered in season. 27 "We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself."

Job Reproaches His Friends

61 Then Job replied: 2 "If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! 3 It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas- no wonder my words have been impetuous. 4 The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God's terrors are marshaled against me. 5 Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass, or an ox bellow when it has fodder? 6 Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there flavor in the sap of the mallow[3] ? 7 I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill.

8 "Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, 9 that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life! 10 Then I would still have this consolation- my joy in unrelenting pain- that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. 11 "What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? 12 Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? 13 Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?

14 "Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. 15 But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow 16 when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow, 17 but that stop flowing in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from their channels. 18 Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go off into the wasteland and perish. 19 The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope. 20 They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed. 21 Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid.

22 Have I ever said, 'Give something on my behalf, pay a ransom for me from your wealth, 23 deliver me from the hand of the enemy, rescue me from the clutches of the ruthless'? 24 "Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. 25 How painful are honest words! But what do your arguments prove? 26 Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat my desperate words as wind? 27 You would even cast lots for the fatherless and barter away your friend. 28 "But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face? 29 Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.[4] 30 Is there any wickedness on my lips? Can my mouth not discern malice?

Job Remonstrates with God

71 "Do not mortals have hard service on earth? Are not their days like those of hired laborers? 2 Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired laborer waiting to be paid, 3 so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me. 4 When I lie down I think, 'How long before I get up?' The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn. 5 My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering. 6 "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and they come to an end without hope.

7 Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again. 8 The eye that now sees me will see me no longer; you will look for me, but I will be no more. 9 As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so one who goes down to the grave does not return. 10 He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more. 11 "Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 12 Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard? 13 When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, 14 even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions, 15 so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. 16 I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.

17 "What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, 18 that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? 19 Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant? 20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?[5] 21 Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more."

Bildad Affirms God's Justice

81 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: 2 "How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind. 3 Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? 4 When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin. 5 But if you will seek God earnestly and plead with the Almighty, 6 if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state. 7 Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.

8 "Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned, 9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow. 10 Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding? 11 Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? 12 While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. 13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. 14 What they trust in is fragile[6] ; what they rely on is a spider's web. 15 They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold. 16 They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden; 17 it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks and looks for a place among the stones. 18 But when it is torn from its spot, that place disowns it and says, 'I never saw you.' 19 Surely its life withers away, and[7] from the soil other plants grow.

20 "Surely God does not reject one who is blameless or strengthen the hands of evildoers. 21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. 22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more."

Job's Inability to Answer God

91 Then Job replied: 2 "Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God? 3 Though they wished to dispute with him, they could not answer him one time out of a thousand. 4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? 5 He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. 6 He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. 7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. 8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. 9 He is the Maker of the Bear[8] and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. 10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. 11 When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him. 12 If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, 'What are you doing?' 13 God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.

14 "How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? 15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy. 16 Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing. 17 He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. 18 He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery. 19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him[9] ? 20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty. 21 "Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life.

22 It is all the same; that is why I say, 'He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.' 23 When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent. 24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it?

25 "My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. 26 They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey. 27 If I say, 'I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,' 28 I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent. 29 Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain? 30 Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with cleansing powder, 31 you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me. 32 "He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. 33 If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, 34 someone to remove God's rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. 35 Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

Job Bemoans His Condition

101 "I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I say to God: Do not declare me guilty, but tell me what charges you have against me. 3 Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the plans of the wicked? 4 Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees? 5 Are your days like those of a mortal or your years like those of a strong man, 6 that you must search out my faults and probe after my sin- 7 though you know that I am not guilty and that no one can rescue me from your hand?

8 "Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? 9 Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? 10 Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, 11 clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? 12 You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. 13 "But this is what you concealed in your heart, and I know that this was in your mind:

14 If I sinned, you would be watching me and would not let my offense go unpunished. 15 If I am guilty-woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in[10] my affliction. 16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me. 17 You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger toward me; your forces come against me wave upon wave. 18 "Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me. 19 If only I had never come into being, or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave! 20 Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment's joy 21 before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and utter darkness, 22 to the land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder, where even the light is like darkness."

Zophar Accuses Job of Iniquity

111 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied: 2 "Are all these words to go unanswered? Is this talker to be vindicated? 3 Will your idle talk reduce others to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock? 4 You say to God, 'My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.' 5 Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you 6 and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.

7 "Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? 8 They are higher than the heavens above-what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below-what can you know? 9 Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea. 10 "If he comes along and confines you in prison and convenes a court, who can oppose him? 11 Surely he recognizes deceivers; and when he sees evil, does he not take note? 12 But the witless can no more become wise than a wild donkey's colt can be born human.[11]

13 "Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, 14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, 15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. 16 You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. 17 Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. 18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. 19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. 20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp."

Job Affirms God's Power and Wisdom

121 Then Job replied: 2 "Doubtless you are the only people who matter, and wisdom will die with you! 3 But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things? 4 "I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered- a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless! 5 Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.

6 The tents of marauders are undisturbed, and those who provoke God are secure- those God has in his hand.[12] 7 "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. 11 Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?

12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? 13 "To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. 14 What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; those he imprisons cannot be released. 15 If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. 16 To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his. 17 He leads rulers away stripped and makes fools of judges. 18 He takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth[13] around their waist. 19 He leads priests away stripped and overthrows officials long established. 20 He silences the lips of trusted advisers and takes away the discernment of elders. 21 He pours contempt on nobles and disarms the mighty. 22 He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light. 23 He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. 24 He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste. 25 They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.

Job Defends His Integrity

131 "My eyes have seen all this, my ears have heard and understood it. 2 What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. 3 But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God. 4 You, however, smear me with lies; you are worthless physicians, all of you! 5 If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom. 6 Hear now my argument; listen to the pleas of my lips. 7 Will you speak wickedly on God's behalf? Will you speak deceitfully for him? 8 Will you show him partiality? Will you argue the case for God? 9 Would it turn out well if he examined you? Could you deceive him as you might deceive a mortal? 10 He would surely call you to account if you secretly showed partiality. 11 Would not his splendor terrify you? Would not the dread of him fall on you? 12 Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay.

13 "Keep silent and let me speak; then let come to me what may. 14 Why do I put myself in jeopardy and take my life in my hands? 15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely[14] defend my ways to his face. 16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless person would dare come before him! 17 Listen carefully to what I say; let my words ring in your ears. 18 Now that I have prepared my case, I know I will be vindicated. 19 Can anyone bring charges against me? If so, I will be silent and die. 20 "Only grant me these two things, God, and then I will not hide from you: 21 Withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors. 22 Then summon me and I will answer, or let me speak, and you reply to me.

23 How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin. 24 Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? 25 Will you torment a windblown leaf? Will you chase after dry chaff? 26 For you write down bitter things against me and make me reap the sins of my youth. 27 You fasten my feet in shackles; you keep close watch on all my paths by putting marks on the soles of my feet. 28 "So man wastes away like something rotten, like a garment eaten by moths.

Job Muses on the Brevity of Life

141 "Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. 2 They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure. 3 Do you fix your eye on them? Will you bring them[15] before you for judgment? 4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! 5 A person's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. 6 So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired laborer.

7 "At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. 8 Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, 9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. 10 But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. 11 As the water of a lake dries up or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, 12 so he lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep. 13 "If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me! 14 If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal[16] to come. 15 You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made.

16 Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. 17 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin. 18 "But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place, 19 as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy a person's hope. 20 You overpower them once for all, and they are gone; you change their countenance and send them away. 21 If their children are honored, they do not know it; if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it. 22 They feel but the pain of their own bodies and mourn only for themselves."

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Job 1:0

Complete     Concise

Chapter Contents

The piety and prosperity of Job. (1-5) Satan obtains leave to try Job. (6-12) The loss of Job's property, and the death of his children. (13-19) Job's patience and piety. (20-22)

Commentary on Job 1:1-5

(Read Job 1:1-5)

Job was prosperous, and yet pious. Though it is hard and rare, it is not impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. By God's grace the temptations of worldly wealth may be overcome. The account of Job's piety and prosperity comes before the history of his great afflictions, showing that neither will secure from troubles. While Job beheld the harmony and comforts of his sons with satisfaction, his knowledge of the human heart made him fearful for them. He sent and sanctified them, reminding them to examine themselves, to confess their sins, to seek forgiveness; and as one who hoped for acceptance with God through the promised Saviour, he offered a burnt-offering for each. We perceive his care for their souls, his knowledge of the sinful state of man, his entire dependence on God's mercy in the way he had appointed.

Commentary on Job 1:6-12

(Read Job 1:6-12)

Job's afflictions began from the malice of Satan, by the Lord's permission, for wise and holy purposes. There is an evil spirit, the enemy of God, and of all righteousness, who is continually seeking to distress, to lead astray, and, if possible, to destroy those who love God. How far his influence may extend, we cannot say; but probably much unsteadiness and unhappiness in Christians may be ascribed to him. While we are on this earth we are within his reach. Hence it concerns us to be sober and vigilant, Revelation 20:1. He has no power to lead men to sin, but what they give him themselves; nor any power to afflict men, but what is given him from above. All this is here described to us after the manner of men. The Scripture speaks thus to teach us that God directs the affairs of the world.

Commentary on Job 1:13-19

(Read Job 1:13-19)

Satan brought Job's troubles upon him on the day that his children began their course of feasting. The troubles all came upon Job at once; while one messenger of evil tidings was speaking, another followed. His dearest and most valuable possessions were his ten children; news is brought him that they are killed. They were taken away when he had most need of them to comfort him under other losses. In God only have we a help present at all times.

Commentary on Job 1:20-22

(Read Job 1:20-22)

Job humbled himself under the hand of God. He reasons from the common state of human life, which he describes. We brought nothing of this world's goods into the world, but have them from others; and it is certain we can carry nothing out, but must leave them to others. Job, under all his losses, is but reduced to his first state. He is but where he must have been at last, and is only unclothed, or unloaded rather, a little sooner than he expected. If we put off our clothes before we go to bed, it is some inconvenience, but it may be the better borne when it is near bed-time. The same who gave hath taken away. See how Job looks above instruments, and keeps his eye upon the First Cause. Afflictions must not divert us from, but quicken us to religion. If in all our troubles we look to the Lord, he will support us. The Lord is righteous. All we have is from his gift; we have forfeited it by sin, and ought not to complain if he takes any part from us. Discontent and impatience charge God with folly. Against these Job carefully watched; and so must we, acknowledging that as God has done right, but we have done wickedly, so God has done wisely, but we have done very foolishly. And may the malice and power of Satan render that Saviour more precious to our souls, who came to destroy the works of the devil; who, for our salvation, suffered from that enemy far more than Job suffered, or we can think.