III We have here Job cursing his birth day, and complaining that he was born, ver. 1-10. Complaining that he did not die as soon as he was born, ver. 11-19. Complaining that his life was continued, now he was in misery, ver. 20-26.
Verse 1. His day - His birth-day, in vain do some endeavour to excuse this and the following speeches of Job, who afterwards is reproved by God, and severely accuseth himself for them, chap. xxxviii, 2; xl, 4; xiii, 3, 6. And yet he does not proceed so far as to curse God, but makes the devil a liar: but although he does not break forth into direct reproaches of God, yet he makes indirect reflections upon his providence. His curse was sinful, both because it was vain, being applied to a thing, which was not capable of blessing and cursing, and because it cast a blame upon God for bringing that day, and for giving him life on that day.
Verse 3. Let the day - Let the remembrance of that day be utterly lost.
Verse 4. Darkness - I wish the sun had never risen upon that day, or, which is all one, that it had never been; and whensoever that day returns, I wish it may be black, and gloomy, and uncomfortable. Regard - From heaven, by causing the light of the sun which is in heaven to shine upon it.
Verse 5. Death - A black and dark shadow like that of the place of the dead, which is a land of darkness. Slain - Take away its beauty and glory. Terrify - That is, men in it. Let it be always observed as a frightful and dismal day.
Verse 6. Darkness - Constant and extraordinary darkness, without the least glimmering of light from the moon or stars. Be joined - Reckoned as one, or a part of one of them.
Verse 8. The day - Their birth-day: when their afflictions move them to curse their own birth-day, let them remember mine also, and bestow some curses upon it. Mourning - Who are full of sorrow, and always ready to pour out their cries, and tears, and complaints.
Verse 9. The stars - Let the stars, which are the glory and beauty of the night, be covered with thick darkness, and that both in the evening twilight, when the stars begin to shine; and also in the farther progress of the night, even 'till the morning dawns. Look - Let its darkness be aggravated with the disappointment of its expectations of light. He ascribes sense or reasoning to the night, by a poetical fiction, usual in all writers. Dawning - Hebrew. the eye-lids of the day, the morning-star which ushers in the day, and the beginning, and progress of the morning light, let this whole natural day, consisting of night and day, be blotted out of the catalogue of days.
Verse 10. It - The night or the day: to which those things are ascribed which were done by others in them, as is frequent in poetical writings. Womb - That it might never have brought me forth. Nor hid - Because it did not keep me from entering into this miserable life, and seeing, or experiencing, these bitter sorrows.
Verse 12. The knees - Why did the midwife or nurse receive and lay me upon her knees, and not suffer me to fall upon the bare ground, 'till death had taken me out of this miserable world, into which their cruel kindness hath betrayed me? Why did the breasts prevent me from perishing through hunger, or supply me that should have what to suck? Thus Job unthankfully despises these wonderful mercies of God towards poor helpless infants.
Verse 14. Kings - I had then been as happy as the proudest monarchs, who after all their great achievements and enjoyments, go down into their graves. Built - Who to shew their wealth and power, or to leave behind them a glorious name, rebuilt ruined cities, or built new cities and palaces, in places where before there was mere solitude and wasteness.
Verse 16. Hidden - Undiscerned and unregarded. Born before the due time. Been - In the land of the living.
Verse 17. There - In the grave. The wicked - The great oppressors and troublers of the world cease from their vexations, rapins and murders. Weary - Those who were here molested and tired out with their tyrannies, now quietly sleep with them.
Verse 18. The oppressor - Or, taskmaster, who urges and forces them to work by cruel threatenings and stripes. Job meddles not here with their eternal state after death, of which he speaks hereafter, but only their freedom from worldly troubles, which is the sole matter of his present discourse.
Verse 19. Small and great - Persons of all qualities and conditions. Are there - In the same place and state, all those distinctions being forever abolished. A good reason, why those who have power should use it moderately, and those that are in subjection should take it patiently.
Verse 20. Light - The light of life. Bitter - Unto those to whom life itself is bitter and burdensome. Life is called light, because it is pleasant and serviceable for walking and working; and this light is said to be given us, because it would be lost, if it were not daily renewed to us by a freshgift.
Verse 21. Dig - Desire with as much earnestness as men dig for treasure: but it is observable, Job durst not do anything to hasten or procure his death: notwithstanding all his miseries, he was contented to wait all the days of his appointed time, 'till his change came, chap. xiv, 14.
Verse 22. Glad, &c. - To be thus impatient of life, for the sake of the trouble we meet with, is not only unnatural in itself, but ungrateful to the giver of life, and shews a sinful indulgence of our own passion. Let it be our great and constant care, to get ready for another world: and then let us leave it to God, to order the circumstances of our removal thither.
Verse 23. Hid - From him; who knows not his way, which way to turn himself, what course to take to comfort himself in his miseries. Hedged in - Whom God hath put as it were in a prison, so that he can see no way or possibility of escape.
Verse 24. Before, &c. - Hebrew. before the face of my bread, all the time I am eating, I fall into sighing and weeping, because I am obliged to eat, and to support this wretched life, and because of my uninterrupted pains of body and of mind, which do not afford me one quiet moment. Roarings - My loud outcries, more befitting a lion than a man. Poured out - With great abundance, and irresistible violence, and incessant continuance, as waters flow in a river, or as they break the banks, and overflow the ground.
Verse 25. Feared - Even in the time of my prosperity, I was full of fears, considering the variety of God's providences, the changeableness of this vain world, God's justice, and the sinfulness of all mankind. And these fears of mine, were not in vain, but are justified by my present calamities.
Verse 26. Quiet - I did not misbehave myself in prosperity, abusing it by presumption, and security, but I lived circumspectly, walking humbly with God, and working out my salvation with fear and trembling. Therefore in this sense also, his way was hid, he knew not why God contended with him.