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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 10

 

 

Verse 1

Job 10:1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

Ver. 1. My soul is weary of my life] Because it is a lifeless life. Mortis habet vires, a death more like. Life is sweet, and every creature maketh much of it, from the highest angel in heaven to the lowest worm on earth. The Scripture setteth it forth as a sweet mercy, Genesis 45:28, Lamentations 3:39, Esther 7:3, Jeremiah 39:18; Jeremiah 51:5. But God can so embitter it with outward and inward troubles, that it shall become a burden. "I am weary of my life" (saith good Rebekah, Genesis 27:46), and "What good shall my life do me?" David, forced to be in bad company, cries, Oh that I had the wings of a dove, &c. Woe is me that I sojourn in Meshech, &c. Elijah, fleeing from Jezebel, requested for himself that he might die, saying, "It is enough, Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers," 1 Kings 19:4. No: but God had provided some better thing for him (as the apostle speaketh in another case, Hebrews 11:40), for he was shortly after translated and taken out of the reach both of Jezebel, whom he feared, and of death, which he desired. Sed multi magni viri sub Eliae iunipero sedent, saith one, many good men sit under Elijah’ juniper, wishing to be out of the world, if God were so pleased, that they might rest from their labours, and be rid of their many burdens and bondages; as, in the mean while, they rather endure life than desire it, as holding it little better than hell, were it not for the hopes they have of heaven hereafter.

I will leave my complaint upon myself] Liberty I will take to complain, whatever come of it. I will lay the reins in the neck, and let my passions have their full swing at my peril. See the like Job 13:3. Verum Iob hac in re nimius, saith Mercer, but Job was to blame in doing and saying thus; and it is to be attributed to the infirmity of the flesh, wherewith, although the spirit do notably combat, yet the flesh seemeth sometimes and in some sort to get the better. Nimis augusta res est, nuspiam errare, saith one; Triste mortalitatis privilegium est, licere aliquando peccare, saith another. The snow like swan hath black legs; and in many things we offend all: gold is not to be refused because it wanteth some grains, and hath a crack, &c.

I will speak in the bitterness of my soul] And so seek to ease my grief by giving a vent unto it. But it is evident that such outbursts and overflowings of the gall and spleen come from a fulness of bad humours.


Verse 2

Job 10:2 I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.

Ver. 2. I will say unto God, do not condemn me] You may say so as a humble suppliant, but not as holding yourself innocent, and therefore harshly dealt with. The Hebrew is, Do not make me wicked; rather do good, O Lord, to those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts; but lead me not forth with the workers of iniquity, as a malefactor is led forth to execution, Psalms 125:5.

Show me wherefore thou contendest with me] i.e. Quare sic me affigas, saith Vatablus, why thou thus afflictest me, whether for sin or for trial; and this Job desired to know, not to satisfy his curiosity, but his conscience, as one well observeth; and that the world might be satisfied, the rash judgment of his friends confuted, and answered by a determination from heaven.


Verse 3

Job 10:3 [Is it] good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?

Ver. 3. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress?] It is the guise of wicked judges to take this counsel, to follow this course; whom thou, being a most just and righteous judge, canst not confirm or encourage by thine own example, as it were by a light shining from above. Thus Job rhetoricateth; his complaints are high, yet ever with an alloy or mixture of modesty (Beza).

That thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands] i.e. Me, thy poor creature, wilt thou do and undo? make a man, and unmake him again for thy mind’s sake? Builders use not to ruin what they have built; artificers love and plead for their own handiwork; fathers foster their children with all tenderness. Some authors dote upon their own doings, as Laurentius Valla did upon his logic, as if there had been none such, calling it, in a bravado, Logicam Laurentinam; and as Campian the Jesuit did upon his ten leaden reasons, which he deemed and boasted to be unanswerable, Heliodorus would rather be unbishoped than yield that his Ethiopic history (a toilsome toy, but the brat of his brain) should be abolished. The saints are "God’s building," 1 Corinthians 3:9; handy work, Ephesians 2:10; "children," Romans 9:26; "epistles known and read of all men," 2 Corinthians 3:2-3. This if we plead, when sorely afflicted (as the Church did, Isaiah 64:8, and David, Psalms 138:8, and Job here), we may have anything. See that notable text, Isaiah 45:11, and that other, Isaiah 59:16.

And shine upon the counsel of the wicked?] That is, favour and further their designs. God makes his sun to shine upon such, but himself never shineth upon them. He may be angry enough with men, though they outwardly prosper; yea, to prosper in sin is a most heavy judgment. See Zechariah 1:15. {See Trapp on "Zechariah 1:15"}


Verse 4

Job 10:4 Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?

Ver. 4. Hast thou eyes of flesh?] Which see but the surface of things, and not that neither in the dark. Hast thou not fiery eyes, Revelation 1:14, that need no outward light, but see by sending out a ray, and pierce the inward parts also? Hast thou not made the eye? yea, the optic virtue in the eye, which seeth all and is seen of none? If the sun be the eye of the world, God is much more. The Greeks give him his name from seeing, because he seeth through and through; eyes he hath, but not of flesh; he seeth, but not as man.

Or seest thou as man seeth?] Art thou subject to error, ignorance, partiality, popularity, &c.? Proceedest thou not according to truth (yea, truth in the inward parts), and not according to opinion or appearance? Of a judge it is said, that he doth neque suspicere, nec despicere, nec respicere, nec circumspicere, neither look up nor down, nor this way nor that, but straight forward to the cause, and not to the person. Of a just law it is said, that it is a heart without affection, an eye without lust, a mind without passion, a treasurer which keepeth for every man what he hath, and distributeth to every man what he ought to have; so and much more than so is God, whatever thoughts might arise sometimes in Job’s heart to the contrary.


Verse 5

Job 10:5 [Are] thy days as the days of man? [are] thy years as man’s days,

Ver. 5. Are thy days as the days of man?] Art thou mortal and short lived, as sorry man is, that thou proceedest in this sudden and severe manner, as if thou shouldest not have time enough to try me, and to take an order with me? Art not thou eternal, and dost thou not know in the indivisible moment of thine eternity, all what hath been, is, and shall be? "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world," Acts 15:18; yea, long before. The truth is, neither foreknowledge nor remembrance are properly in God, since all things, both past and future, are present with him, Romans 4:17, 2 Peter 3:8, Jeremiah 1:5-7, Psalms 139:2; and all things without him are but as a point or ball, which with as much ease he discerneth as we turn our eyes.

Are thy years as man’s days] It is well observed that God’s time is set out by years, man’s by days; his time is so short, that it is reckoned by the shortest complete time, a day. The days of our years are threescore and ten, Psalms 90:10. As for God, he is not only the Ancient of days, Daniel 7:9, but the day’s Ancient, for he made the day.


Verse 6

Job 10:6 That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?

Ver. 6. That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, &c.] viz. By strong pains and mighty terrors, as judges sometimes make inquisition by torture, to find out treason or other heinous offences. What, wouldest thou that I should confess myself a wicked person?


Verse 7

Job 10:7 Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and [there is] none that can deliver out of thine hand.

Ver. 7. Thou knowest that I am not wicked] A lewd liver, and a rank hypocrite, as these men would make of me. A sinner I am, but I allow not, wallow not in any known sin; there is no way of wickedness found in me; hypocrisy reigns not in my heart: Haeret in regenitis peccatum, saith one, sin abideth in the best; yet they may not, they must not be called wicked. Julian, the apostate, affirmed that Peter’s halting at Antioch was so taxed by Paul that Peter must needs be a hypocrite (Cyril, lib. 9, in Julian); but this cavil and calumny can never be proved from Paul’s words, for not every one that through infirmity dissembleth sometimes is presently a hypocrite. It is upon thy knowledge, saith Job, that however I am weak, yet wicked I am not; my great scum is not in me, Ezekiel 24:11-12. The good heart admits not the mixture of any sin; like right wine or honey, as the scum ariseth, it ever casteth it out; as spring water worketh itself clean; as the sea will endure no poisonous thing, but casts it up upon the shore; so a Christian cleareth himself of sin. Well, it may cleave to it for a while, as dross doth to silver, but it entereth not into the frame and constitution; Job is confident of that, and will venture all upon it.

And there is none (or nothing) that can deliver out of thine hand] q.d. Thus thou, Lord, knowest it to be with me, that I have no wicked heart; but for this I expect not to be delivered, for thou canst still find matter in me for which to lay thine hand upon me: but the more I submit myself the more mild shouldest thou surely be in thy dealings toward me; as a lion to a man crouching to him. As Paul said, "I know nothing by myself; yet am I not thereby justified," 1 Corinthians 4:4; so Job saith, Lord, thou knowest nothing by me, yet hereby I cannot be delivered (Junius).


Verse 8

Job 10:8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.

Ver. 8. Thine hands have made me] Or, throughly and accurately wrought me, as it were, with much pains and labour; thou hast exactly fashioned all my members: not that God either hath hands, or putteth himself to pains; for he doth his work without either tool or toil, Isaiah 40:28. But this is attributed to him after the manner of men, to show the curious workmanship showed in man’s creation, the masterpiece of all his works of wonder. This David sweetly singeth of, Psalms 139:1-24, and Galen admireth in that excellent book of his, De usu partium humani corporis, setting forth the praises of that God whom he knew not, and singing a hymn unto him. Man, saith one, is cura divini ingenii, he is God’s escutcheon, wherein he hath portrayed all the titles of the most excellent beauties of the world. The sun, moon, and stars are but the works of God’s fingers, Psalms 8:3, but man is the work of his hands, Psalms 139:14. He is the most beautiful building of a most wise architect, saith Euripides; the bold attempt of daring nature, saith another heathen; the greatest of all miracles, saith a third. David, speaking of him, and of God’s goodness to him, begins to wonder before he speaketh, and stops speaking, but not to wonder, Psalms 8:1; Psalms 8:9.

And fashioned me together round about] A metaphor from potters, who make their work by turning it around till it be all finished, Jeremiah 18:3. Thou hast fashioned me, and made me in every point, so Broughton rendereth it. Totum me, non dimidium, Thou hast made the whole, and every part of me, from top to toe, not my nails excepted (as Mercer hath it), with extraordinary care and cunning, bestowing upon me mercies enough between head and foot to till a volume. Who is there, saith Galen, which, looking but upon the skin only of man’s body, wondereth not at the artifice of the Creator? but especially he was amazed at the manner of the motion of the lungs by systole and diastole, and would needs offer hecatombs to that God, whosoever he were, that was author of so admirable and excellent a piece of work.

Yet thou dost destroy me] And this seemeth strange to me. Dost thou yet destroy me? so some read this text; wilt thou swallow me up quick and devour me, as the greater fishes do the lesser? See the note on Job 10:3. Carest thou not that I am tby workmanship, created unto good works? Ephesians 2:10; one in whom thou hast erected the fair fabric of the new man? for this also Job may here very likely refer to.


Verse 9

Job 10:9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?

Ver. 9. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay] Remembrance and foreknowledge are not properly in God. {See Trapp on "Job 10:4"} But he is said to remember us when he relieveth us, Psalms 136:23; Psalms 9:18, 1 Samuel 1:19. "That thou hast made me," &c., viz. in those protoplasts, my first parents, formed out of the ground, Genesis 2:7, whence the heathen philosopher could say, that man is nothing else but a piece of clay weakly made up: or thou hast wrought me like clay, sc. in the womb, where thou hast framed and formed my body, as the potter worketh his clay, well tempered, into an earthen vessel, πηλος κομφως πεφυραμενος (Arrian. in Epict.). Here, then, Job inminds the Lord (by the matter whereof he was made) of the frailty, vility, and impurity of his nature ( Lutum enim conspureat omnia, sic et. caro), to move him to a mitigating of his misery. See Psalms 103:14; Psalms 78:39.

Wilt thou bring me into the dust again?] viz. By those grievous torments; or, And that thou wilt bring me into dust again; for so thou hast said, To dust shalt thou return, Genesis 3:19. And it is appointed for all men once to die, Hebrews 9:27. Oh, therefore, that I might have some small rest and respite before I go hence, and be no more seen, Psalms 39:12-13.


Verse 10

Job 10:10 Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?

Ver. 10. Hast thou not poured me out as milk] Or, melted me, that is, made me of some such thing as liquid and white milk. Generationem hominis describit (Vatab.). Man is a very mean thing in his first conception, modestly here set forth by the making of cheeses.

Unde superbit homo, cuius conceptio turpis,

Nasci poena, labor vita, necesse mort?

Where comes man’s pride, I am conceived in sorrow, I am born as a penalty, I work for life, and needs die.

Concerning man’s formation in the womb see the Naturalists, and Lactantius de Opifieio Dei, cap. 12, but especially Psalms 139:13-16, where, and in this text, there is enough spoken to satisfy us about this great natural mystery, saith Mercer. That is a good moral that one maketh of it; God strains out the motes of corruption from a godly man, while his heart is poured out like milk with grief and fear, whereby the iniquity of Jacob is purged, and this is all the fruit to take away his sin, Isaiah 27:9.

And curdled me like cheese?] Sic castissimo ore, et elegantibus metaphoris, saith an interpreter; i.e. Thus, in a most modest manner, and with elegant metaphors, doth Job, as a great philosopher, set out man’s conception in the womb. Aristotle (whose manner is obscurioribus obscura implicare, as Bodin observeth) hath some such expression as this, but nothing so clear and full (Bodin. Theat. Natur., 434. Arist. de Gen. Anim. cap. 20).


Verse 11

Job 10:11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.

Ver. 11. Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh] Out of that soft and liquid substance (the slime of my parents’ loins), grossed first into a rude fleshy mass, and consolidated, thou hast made not only a thin skin and firm flesh, but also hard bones and knitting nerves; and all this for a garment or guardment to those more noble inward parts, the brain, heart, liver, &c., which Job here accounts to be the man, when he saith, "Thou hast clothed me," that is, my vital parts, with the upper garment of skin, and with the under garment of flesh, all which, and the rest of the parts, both similar and organical, are in their origin but the same matter which God hath thus diversified, and all by the book, Psalms 139:16. Had he left out any member in his common place book, thou hadst wanted it, saith one.

And hast fenced me with bones and sinews] Bones are the pillars of the body, giving it stability, straightness, and form. The Rabbis say, there are as many of them in man’s body as there are affirmative precepts in the law, that all his bones may say, Lord, who is like unto thee? &c., Psalms 35:10. By the sinews are the bones knit together, that upon them man may move from place to place as he pleaseth. Sense also and motion is by these, in their wonderful and inexplicable conjugations, conveyed to the rest of the parts. It is God alone that knoweth how the bones (think the same of the sinews, arteries, veins, gristles, flesh, and blood, &c.) do grow in the womb of her that is with child, Ecclesiastes 11:5. The anatomists find out every day almost new wonders; and an ancient styles man the miracle of miracles. Besides what is seen, God hath packed many rarities, mysteries, yea, miracles together in man’s chest. And surely, saith Mr Caryl, if all the angels in heaven had studied to this day, they could not have cast man into a more curious mould, or have given a fairer or more correct edition of him.


Verse 12

Job 10:12 Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.

Ver. 12. Thou hast granted me life] i.e. Into my body, thus formed and organized, thou hast infused a soul; that principle of life quickened me in the womb, and brought me alive out of it; which, because it is a miracle of mercy, therefore Job addeth favour, "thou hast granted me" (Heb. thou hast wrought with me) "life and favour." Thou hast dealt life and goodness unto me; that is, thou hast given me life accompanied with thy goodness and blessings: so Beza senseth it. Some understand it to be the reasonable soul; others to be the beauty of the body, according to Isaiah 40:6.

And thy visitation hath preserved my spirit] i.e. Thy good providence hath safe guarded me from innumerable deaths and dangers. Puerilitas est periculorum pelagus. Children are apt to run into mischief; and those of riper years are subject to a thousand disasters and evil occurrences. God’s special care is exercised over his, as is sweetly expressed, Psalms 121:1-8, Psalms 23:1-6 Davids pastorial psalm, Psalms 3:1-8 where David doubteth not of safety, though asleep, and in the midst of enemies, because God sustained him; when as Samson and Ishboshetb, asleep in the midst of friends, were circumvented, because deserted by him. Oh pray, pray, that the Lord Jesus Christ would be ever with our spirits; visit him in duty, that he may visit us in mercy.


Verse 13

Job 10:13 And these [things] hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this [is] with thee.

Ver. 13. And those things hast thou hid in thine heart] Legendum hoc cum stomacho, saith Mercer: And hast thou indeed hid these things in thine heart? What things meaneth Job? his afflictions, which God was long before preparing for him, and now took his time to lay load upon him, to be revenged on him at unawares, and at greatest advantage. If this be the sense of Job’s words (as some would conclude from the next verses), he was mightily mistaken; and this was atrox querimonia, a grievous complaint, and unworthy of God, who lieth not at the catch, nor pretendeth fair when he intendeth otherwise. A Cain may do so to Abel, Esau to Jacob, Absalom to Amnon, Joab to Amasa, &c. The Creator needs not daub or prevaricate thus with his creatures; if Job thought he did with him, Job was utterly out, though for confirmation he add, I know that this is with thee; I am sure that thou hast dealt thus closely and covertly with me, and that thy plagues have surprised me. Oh these still revenges! Merlin and others understand by those things hid in God’s heart, and which he was well assured could not have befallen him without God’s will and decree, the mercies which in the former verses Job had recounted and reckoned up, viz, his conception, quickening, preservation; all which he looked upon as love tokens coming out of the heart of God, and from the spring of special love. Here, then, we see whence we may fetch comfort when most hardly bestead; namely, from those effects whereby God sealed up his love to us in forming us in the womb; but especially in his covenant of grace, that beehive of heavenly honey, whereby he hath engaged to be our God even from the womb to the tomb; yea, to all perpetuity. Hereunto Job had respect, and so had David, Psalms 22:10-11; Psalms 25:10.


Verse 14

Job 10:14 If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.

Ver. 14. If I sin, then thou markest me] Though through human frailty only I offend ( et nimis dedignatur mortalitatem qui peccasse erubescit), thou soon notest it, thou followest me up and down, as it were, with pen, ink, and paper, to set down my faults (Euphorm.). How, then say some, that God sees not sin in his children? Job thought the Lord was overstrict with him (which yet could not be), and that he put no difference between him and those that were notoriously wicked, as the next words import.

And thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity] That is, from the punishment of mine iniquity. Verba diffidentis, saith Mercer; words spoken according to the judgment of the flesh, saith Diodati, which holdeth God’s visitations to be punishments and vengeances.


Verse 15

Job 10:15 If I be wicked, woe unto me; and [if] I be righteous, [yet] will I not lift up my head. [I am] full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;

Ver. 15. If I be wicked, woe unto me] Here he bringeth a dilemma, whereby he declareth himself every way miserable, saith Mercer; whether he be bad or good, suffer he must without remedy. "If I be wicked, woe unto me"; woe is the wicked man’s portion; tell him so from me, saith God, Isaiah 3:10-11. Though he love not to hear on that ear, but can bless himself in his heart, when God curseth him with his mouth, Deuteronomy 29:19. And a godly man setteth the terror of sin’s woes before his flesh, that slave, that must be frighted at least with the sight of the whip. Woe be to me, saith Paul, if I preach not the gospel, 1 Corinthians 9:16. Or if, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway, 1 Corinthians 9:27; which to prevent, he kept under his body (his corruption), and gave it a blue eye; for we are not debtors to the flesh, saith he, Romans 8:10. We owe nothing but stripes and menaces, cursing it in every respect, &c.

And if l be righteous, yet I will not llft up my head] indeed I cannot, because I am so bowed down with changes of sorrows, armies of afflictions: my pains are continued, and I shall surely sink under them; much ado I have now to keep head above water. Others make this a description of Job’s humility: "I will not lift up my head," viz. in pride, but humble myself to walk with my God, as that poor publican did who stood afar off, and would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, Luke 18:13.

I am full of confusion] Cast upon me by my friends, who reproach me for a hypocrite, and make my cheeks glow. The fulness of an aspersion may possibly put an innocent person to the blush; and it is the property of defamations to leave a kind of lower estimation many times, even where they are not believed. This was the confusion that Job complained of, the stomach of his mind was full of it, even to satiety and surfeit.

Therefore see thou mine affliction] My pressing and piercing affliction, see it and remedy it, as Psalms 119:153. Let not all my trouble seem little unto thee, as Nehemiah 9:32. See, Lord, see, behold, it is high time for thee to set in.


Verse 16

Job 10:16 For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me.

Ver. 16. For it increaseth] Heb. For it lifteth up itself; it even boileth up to the height, or it waxeth proud, as the proud surges of the sea. Broughton rendered it, Oh how it fleeth up! Why how? Surely, as a fierce lion, so it hunteth me; it riseth upon me, as a lion rampant doth upon his prey, or as a lion, when he is pursued, gives not place, hides not his head, but comes into the open fields as holding it a disgrace to withdraw; so some sense it: or,

Thou huntest me as a fierce lion] Tanquam leo. God, when he afflicteth men, is oft compared to a lion, Isaiah 38:13, Hosea 5:14; Hosea 13:7. Or, tanquam leonem, as if I were a ravening lion; so thou huntest me, setting thy nets and toils, making thy snares and pits ut capiar ad occisionem (so the Septuagint), that I may be taken and destroyed, as 2 Peter 2:12.

And again thou showest thyself marvellous upon me] Heb. And thou returnest. Here Job showeth, saith an interpreter, what a confidence he had, that God, returning to him in mercy, would do wonderfully for him in the end; the word turning here, and the turning his captivity, Job 42:10, so aptly answering the one to the other to approve this exposition. But others understand it to be the continued or repeated acts of Job’s affliction, una vice post aliam; as if he should say, thou clappest one affliction upon another; my pains know not only no period, but no pause; thou layest upon me extraordinary sorrows, as if thou wouldest declare in me alone, quam mirus sis artifex, what an excellent artisan thou art when thou pleasest, and what thou canst do against a poor creature; surely thou hast made my plagues wonderful, Deuteronomy 28:59. So the apostles were made a gazing stock, a theatre, a spectacle of human misery, 1 Corinthians 4:9.


Verse 17

Job 10:17 Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war [are] against me.

Ver. 17. Thou renewest thy witnesses against me] These fresh witnesses were devils, say some; Job’s friends, say others; his dolorous sufferings rather, saith Austin; those open witnesses of some secret wickedness in Job, as the world would esteem them. See Job 16:8, Ruth 1:21. Thus the Jews censured our Saviour, Isaiah 53:3-4; the barbarians Paul, Acts 28:4; and those in the Gospel them that perished by the fall of the tower of Siloam. And how many precious men as well as Job have been cast upon this evidence for traitors and rebels against the highest majesty? Junius thinks that when Job uttered the words of this text he felt some new pains growing upon him and increasing.

Thou increasest thine indignation upon me] Or within me, as Job 6:4, and this was it that put a sting into his sufferings; God’s heavy displeasure seemed to be kindled against him. Be not thou a terror unto me, O Lord, said Jeremiah, and then I shall do well enough with the rest.

Changes and war (or armies) are upon me, or against me] Variety of troubles come trooping aud treading, as it were, on the heels of one another: fluctus fluctum trudit, there is a continual succession of my sorrows, fresh forces sent against me, &c. We see, then, that Job complained not without cause, though he kept not always within compass, as appeareth by that which followeth.


Verse 18

Job 10:18 Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!

Ver. 18. Wherefore hast thou brought me forth out of the womb?] Why? but was not that a mercy? David esteemed it so, and gives God the glory, Psalms 22:9. But discontent is an utter enemy to thankfulness. The bird sings not till she have taken up her stand to her mind. Some men’s eyes are so bleared and glazed with tears for what they want, that they cannot see what good they have, cannot see mercies for blessings. Job here, in a distemper, wisheth himself (as he had done before, Job 3:1-26. "Who can understand his errors?" Psalms 19:12) either unborn, or presently dead, without the distance of one day between his birth and his burial. In quo errorem erravit non levem, vir alioqui pientissimus; this was a worse wish than if he had desired that his life might be presently taken away from him, for herein he showeth himseff unthankful to God for all his former benefits; and not so only, but angry with God for the good he had done him: thus we have seen dogs in a chase fly at their masters, and children in a pelt strike at their parents. But these were the voices of the flesh lusting against the spirit, which afterwards (being justly reprehended for them, first by Elihu, and then also by God himself) he repressed and repented of in dust and ashes, Job 42:6.

Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!] sc. With delight: for what pleasure is there in seeing a dead corpse, especially a stillborn child? See Genesis 23:4, with the note. This text teacheth us, saith an interpreter, what sad effects extreme grief and pain worketh in the very best: it distempereth their spirits, and so disturbeth them, that their complaints look like the blasphemies of the wicked, and they sometimes wish absurd things, dishonourable to God, and prejudicial to themselves.


Verse 19

Job 10:19 I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.

Ver. 19. I should have been as though I had not been] Here he sings the same song as Job 3:1-26, Job 4:1-21. It is hard to say how oft a child of God may discover the same infirmity. Our lives are fuller of sins than the firmament is of stars or the furnace of sparks.

I should have been carried from the womb to the grave] He makes mention of the grave as a desirable place, which yet in the two last verses he describeth as a place of darkness and disorder. Thus Job himself was in the dark, and in his passion he throweth out words without wisdom. Itaque solicite orandus est Deus, saith one here, God is therefore to be earnestly entreated, that when we are hard put to it with pain and misery, we may not give way to unruly passion, nor suffer our tongues to outlash, as they will be apt to do. See Psalms 39:1; confer Psalms 22:1-31, Psalms 77:1-20, Psalms 88:1-18, Psalms 89:1-52., and we shall see David well nigh as far out as Job in his complaints and wishes; but God can put a difference between the godly and sin in them, as between poison and the box that holdeth it. He can also pity them, as we do poison in a man, which yet we hate in a toad, &c.


Verse 20

Job 10:20 [Are] not my days few? cease [then, and] let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,

Ver. 20. Are not my days few?] And oh that they might not be also evil! since I shall not much trouble the world, oh that I might not find much trouble in the world! What man is he that would fain see good days? saith David, Psalms 34:12. What man is he that would not? saith Austin in answer to him. Job and David join in one and the same suit for a truce from trouble, since their time here was so very short, Psalms 39:13; Psalms 89:47.

Cease then, and let me alone] After he had vented his passions he falls again to his prayers. Ye have done all this wickedness (saith Samuel to the people who had been over importunate for a king), yet turn not aside from following the Lord, &c., 1 Samuel 12:20. Whilst prayer stands still, the whole trade of godliness stands still. Saints, though they have sinned, yet must not restrain prayer, but go home to God again with shame in their faces and tears in their eyes, and he will speak peace; only they must be sensible that their Father hath spit in their faces, &c.

That I may take comfort a little] A modest request. The poor man speaks supplications, begs a farthing. They who are lowly make low demands. Oh that I were but a door keeper! Oh that Ishmael might live in thy sight! &c.


Verse 21

Job 10:21 Before I go [whence] I shall not return, [even] to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;

Ver. 21. Before I go whence I shall not return] Before I go out of this world, never more to return hither to enjoy the comforts that are here to be had. Death is a departure hence, 1 Peter 1:15, Luke 9:31. And so the ancients (Irenaeus, Clement, and others) used to call it. I shall change my place, but not my company, said that dying saint who had here walked with God in uprightness, and was now to bid adieu to all worldly interests (Tertul.). The old Romans were wont to say of a dead friend, Abiit, et reversurus est, He is gone, and will come again. It seems hereby that they had some dark notions of a resurrection; whence also their poets called a dead body a soul; - animamque sepulchro condimus (Virg. Æneid). The Hebrews did the like, Numbers 5:2; Numbers 9:10; Numbers 19:11, Haggai 2:13-14, as having a more sure word of prophecy; and Job was clear in this point, firmly believing in the resurrection of his body, Job 19:26-27. It must needs be therefore that he speaks here of not returning into this world. See the like, Job 16:22, Psalms 39:13, 2 Samuel 12:23.

Even to the land of darkness, &c.] {See Trapp on "Job 10:22"}


Verse 22

Job 10:22 A land of darkness, as darkness [itself; and] of the shadow of death, without any order, and [where] the light [is] as darkness.

Ver. 22. A land of darkness, &c.] This is not a description of hell, and of the state of the damned (as some would have it), for Job never meant to come there, no more than Jacob did, Genesis 37:35; Genesis 42:38; but it is such an elegant description of the grave, as exceedeth the phantasy of poet, and the rhetoric of all heathen orators. There is something like it in David’s Psalms, especially Psalms 88:11-12, where the grave is called a place of perdition, a land of forgetfulness, and of darkness, whereinto they who descend praise not God, Psalms 115:17. In respect of their bodies they do not, they cannot, Isaiah 38:18. Hell, indeed, is much more a land of darkness as darkness itself; it is that outer darkness, a darkness beyond a darkness, as the dungeon is beyond the prison; and the pains of hell are the chains of darkness. Now death is hell’s harbinger to the wicked, and hence it is so dreadful in the apprehension and approach of it, that men’s hearts do even die within them, as Nabal’s did, through fear of death; and they tremble thereat as the trees of the wood, or leaves of the forest, with Ahaz, Isaiah 7:2. Darkness, we know, is full of terror: the Egyptians were sorely frightened by their three days’ thick darkness, insomuch as that none stirred off his stool all that while, Exodus 10:23, and it was the more terrible, doubtless, because they had no warning of it, as they had of other plagues. How oft do men chop into the chambers of death (their long home, the grave) all on the sudden, as he that travelleth in the snow may do over head and ears into a clay pit! Death of any sort is unwelcome to nature, as being its slaughterman: but when sudden, it is so much the more ghastly; and those that desperately dare death to a duel cannot look it in the face with blood in their cheeks: only to those that are in Christ the bitterness of death is past, the sting of it pulled out, the property altered, as hath been already noted. Christ, the Sun of righteousness, saith a learned expositor here (Mr Caryl), lay in the grave, and hath left perpetual beams of light there for his purchased people. The way to the grave is very dark, but Christ hath set up lights for us, &c.

And of the shadow of death] The shadow is the dark part of the thing, so that the shadow of death is the darkest side of death, death in its most hideous and horrid representations; the shadow of death is the substance of death, or death with addition of greatest deadliness.

Without any order] Heb. And not orders. What then? confusion surely, without keeping to rules or ranks: men’s bones are mingled in the grave; whether they have been princes or peasants it cannot be discerned; Omnia mors aequat: as chessmen are put up all together in the bag when the game is ended, without distinction of king, duke, bishop, &c., so here. Junius rendereth it, expertem vicissitudinum, without any interchanges, distinctions, vicissitudes, or varieties (as of day, night, summer, winter, heat, cold, &c.) of which things consisteth the greatest part of the brevity of this world.

And where the light is as darkness] How great then must needs be that darkness? as our Saviour speaketh in another case, Matthew 6:23. Surely when, by the return of the sun, there is light in the land of the living, in the grave all is abyssed and sunk into eternal night; as the bodies of those two smothered princes were by their cruel uncle, Richard III, in the black deeps, a place so called at the Thames’ mouth. In the grave light and darkness are both alike; and as the images in Popish temples see nothing, though great wax candles be lighted up before them; so the clearest light of the sun shining in his strength would be nothing to those that are dead and buried. Let this be much and often thought on; mors tua, mors Christi, &c. thine deathe, the death of Christ &c. Cyrus, that great conqueror, lying on his death bed, praised God, saith Xenophon, that his prosperity had not puffed him up; for he ever considered that he was but mortal, and must bid adieu to the world. Charles V, emperor of Germany, caused his sepulchre and grave clothes to be made five years before his death, and carried them closely with him whithersoever he went. Samuel sent Saul newly anointed to Rachel’s sepulchre, 1 Samuel 10:2-4, that he might not become proud of his new honours, &c.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 10:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-10.html. 1865-1868.

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