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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Job 14

 

 

Verses 1-22


Job's Third Speech (concluded)

1-6. Job pleads for God's forbearance on the grounds of man's shortness of life and sinful nature.

1, 2. The well-known Sentence in the Burial Service.

3. Open thine eyes] i.e. watch so vigilantly: cp. Job 14:16, Job 14:17.

4. Job pleads the innate sinfulness of man.

5, 6. Let man spend his days in peace, seeing that his time is but short: cp. Job 7.

7-12. A tree has a chance of a second growth after it is cut down. Not so man. With him death is final. Job here reaches the depth of despair.

13-22. Despairing of any return to God's favour before death, Job is seized with a longing to remain in the place of the departed (Sheol) until God's wrath is past, when he should be forgiven and restored to His favour. Notice how Job assumes that God's hostility to him will not be permanent. He pictures God as conscious of this and as, in view of the future love He would feel for him, sheltering him in Sheol from His present anger. Yet though he dwells upon a possible return from Sheol to life in fellowship with God, he does not dream that it is more than an enchanting thought. If only a man might die and live again! No, that is impossible.

14. Will I wait] RV 'would I wait.' Come] RV 'should come.'

15. RV 'Thou shouldest call and I would answer thee: Thou wouldest have a desire to the work of thine hands.'

16, 17. These vv. probably are not, as AV and RV take them, the present contrast to the glowing picture of the future that he has been wishing might be true, but a continuation of that picture. Render, 'For then Thou wouldest number my steps; Thou wouldest not watch over my sin; my transgression would be sealed up in a bag, and Thou wouldest cover over my iniquity.' God would number his steps in kindly care (cp. 'the very hairs of your head are all numbered'). He would no longer treasure up his sin against him, but bide it away out of sight.

18, 19. And] render, 'But.' Under God's visitation the hopes of men come to nought, like undermined mountains or water-worn rocks.

20-22. A description of what happens after the death change passes over the face and the spirit goes away to Sheol. The dead have lost all knowledge, all interest in the things of earth, even in the fortunes of their own children (cp. Sirach 19:5-6). In the grave the body passes through the painful process of decomposition, the pain of which is also felt by its shade in Sheol.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Job 14:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/job-14.html. 1909.

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