Job Renews His Lamentation.

THE GENERAL MISERY OF HUMAN LIFE. — V. 1. Is there not an appointed time, warfare, a fixed and wearing service, to man upon earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling, one who works for wages? The figure is that of a man drafted for military service, and then of a man who has hired out to perform a certain task, the idea being that in either case man longs for the end of the labor appointed to him. V. 2. As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, as the slave eagerly looks forward to the rest after the completion of his work, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work, for he also, after receiving his wages, may rest, v. 3. so am I, instead of enjoying the expected rest, spoken in irony, made to possess months of vanity, this time of wretchedness was allotted to him, and wearisome nights are appointed to me, they have been dealt out to him without his desire, although he has not done anything to merit them to this degree. V. 4. When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise and the night be gone? The sleeplessness caused by his terrible illness made him wish that the night would soon flyaway. And I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day, weary with his restless rolling about in the endeavor to find rest. V. 5. My flesh is clothed with worms, maggots breeding in the ulcers, and clods of dust, the crust of dried filth covering his entire body; my skin is broken and become loathsome, whenever the skin made an attempt to heal, to come together, to become hard and stiff, the festering sores broke open again. V. 6. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and are spent without hope, vanish without hope of deliverance, just as the web on the loom of the weaver is cut off. V. 7. O remember that my life is wind, his days are like a breath of air, which is soon wafted away, Ps. 78, 39; mine eye shall no more see good, will not return to see good fortune or prosperity; an early death would put an end to his chances of happiness in this life. V. 8. The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more, he would soon pass from the circle of those whom he had formerly considered his friends; Thine eyes are upon me, namely, those of the Lord, and I am not; even if He should turn to Job in sympathy in order to help him, it would be too late, since he knew he would soon be removed from the land of the living. Such bitterness of soul as here shown by Job is not compatible with true trust in the Lord.

JOB ARRAIGNS GOD. — V. 9. As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, the vapor disappearing in the dry air of the wilderness, so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more, if he is once in the realm of the dead, he cannot return to the former life on earth. V. 10. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place, his home, know him any more, this earthly life is past forever, so far as he is concerned. V. 11. Therefore, since God had practically abandoned him to dwell in the realm of the dead, I will not refrain my mouth, put no restraint on his speech; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, in the bitterness and pain which possessed his soul; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul, because his soul was so disturbed and troubled; he threw aside, for once, the awe which he ordinarily showed in the presence of God. V. 12. Am I a sea or a whale, some monster of the deep, that Thou set test a watch over me? He felt himself watched, shut in, by God, like a dangerous creature which might threaten to overwhelm the world. V. 13. When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease, help bear, my complaint, a fact which is usually the case, v. 14. then Thou scarest me with dreams, shaking him thereby to prevent his resting in comfort, and terrifiest me through visions, in consequence of them, v. 15. so that my soul chooseth strangling, in wishing that the asthma which accompanied his illness might choke him, and death rather than my life, literally, “than these bones,” that is, in preference to having his body reduced to a skeleton. V. 16. I loathe it, he was disgusted with this life; I would not live alway, on account of the unendurable pain which he suffered. Let me alone, he asked God to withdraw His chastening hand from him; for my days are vanity, a puff of breath which vanishes away. V. 17. What is man that Thou shouldest magnify him? and that Thou shouldest set Thine heart upon him? -the bitter irony of this passage consists in Job’s asking why the great and majestic God should single out him, insignificant as he was, for the object of ever new and unceasing sufferings, -v. 18. and that Thou shouldest visit him every morning and try him every moment, putting his patience and power to a continuous test? V. 19. How long wilt Thou not depart from me, looking away from him, turning His attention to some other object upon which He might vent His wrath, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle, at least for a little instant, for one moment of time? V. 20. I have sinned; what shall I do unto Thee, O thou Preserver of men? The thought is really conditional: If I have sinned, what harm could thereby strike Thee; what detriment would be caused to Thy great glory and majesty! Why hast Thou set me as a mark against Thee, a target, or mark, for every blow, so that I am a burden to myself, which the Lord Himself would try to shake off? V. 21. And why dost Thou not pardon my transgression and take away mine iniquity, pardon his guilt, since the end was now so near? For now shall I sleep in the dust; and Thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be. He requests God’s immediate help, fearing that else he must die. The thought in the speech of Job is that of an accusation of cruelty on the part of God, an idea which may readily become blasphemous, if not driven away by a proper regard for the righteousness of God at all times.