As we enter this Job 10 commentary, we remind ourselves that we saw in chapter 9 Job agreeing with Bildad that generally God does reward good and punish evil. And yet, we also saw Job diverging from Bildad’s opinions by asserting that he (Job) is the exception to this rule of how God runs the world.
Job 10 Commentary | No Holding Back
And so, we’re going to see Job continue to express his struggle with God’s dealings with him. And he’s not going to hold back. Verse 1.
KJV Job 10:1 My soul is weary of my life;
I will [leave my complaint upon myself/give full vent to my complaint/complain without restraint];
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
And here’s one thing he’s going to say as he vents his complaint and bitterness of soul. Verse 2.
2 I will say unto God,
Do not condemn me;
[shew/tell] me wherefore thou contendest with me.
So, Job is demanding that God stop condemning him. And that’s what he’s doing – in Job’s mind. But in reality we know that God is not condemning Job.
And then Job demands of God that he tell Job why he’s fighting against him.
And so, Job is really starting to get aggressive with God.
Job 10 Commentary | Aggressive Questioning
And Job’s aggressive questioning of God continues in verse 3.
3 Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress,
that thou shouldest [despise/reject] the work of thine hands,
[and/while you] [shine/look favorably/smile] upon the [counsel/schemes] of the wicked?
And this is what Job has concluded that God does.
But, that’s confusing to Job, because Job and his friends have believed firmly that God does not work this way. They believe that God rewards good and punishes bad pretty much immediately. At least, this always happens eventually in this life according to their mindset.
So, to suggest that God does the opposite is just a revolutionary thought. Job’s friends would think that what Job is saying here is heretical – sacrilegious – scandalous.
And Job would have agreed with them. Until he became the exception to the rule of their natural theology that we call Retribution Theology.
So, Job is asserting that God is despising him while treating the wicked favorably. That’s not the way that God should work – Job argues!
Job 10 Commentary | Maybe God’s Wrong…
And Job knows that what he’s about to say is totally ridiculous. But he’s going to suggest it anyway in verse 4. What can explain the fact that – to Job – God is not acting in keeping with how he thinks God acts? He asks…
4 Hast thou eyes of flesh?
or seest thou as [man/a human being] seeth?
5 Are thy days as the days of [man/a mortal]?
are thy years as man’s [days/years],
So, Job is confronting the God of the universe and suggesting that he is really acting like a mere mortal who can be mistaken in his judgement.
That’s pretty risky. What Job is suggesting is that God is mistaken in his judgement of things. How much longer before he simply abandons God – curses him to his face, if you will? Though, we’re not told, we can imagine that Satan is really enjoying where this conversation is heading.
Job 10 Commentary | Mistaken
And so, here’s where Job is going with his assertion that God is acting like a mere mortal in having this mistaken perception as to how Job ought to be treated. Verse 6.
6 That thou [enquirest after/seek for/search out] mine [iniquity/guilt],
and [searchest after/inquire about] my sin?
And Job’s insinuation is that – if God were fully aware of the situation, he wouldn’t be doing this – searching out Job’s iniquity and sin. Because – according to verse 7 – Job is innocent.
7 [Thou knowest that/According to your knowledge/Although you know] I am not [wicked/guilty];
[and/Yet] there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.
And so, now Job is actually coming to the place where he is entertaining the thought of having someone else deliver him from God’s power. He’s starting to look at God as though he were so misguided in the way he’s treating him, that he’s starting to wonder if there’s someone who might help protect him from this God – whom he’s worshipped and served and trusted these past decades of his life.
And I think that’s about the lowest that Job goes for now. I sense that he’s been sinking deeper and deeper into entertaining unworthy thoughts about God. But thankfully he’s not going to stay there.
Job 10 Commentary | God Was Good
Because starting in verse 8, Job brings back to his memory – and God’s – how God has been his helper and protector and creator. And in light of God’s past mercies to him – he asks for God to return to his merciful dealings with Job.
8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me [together round about/altogether];
yet thou dost destroy me.
And what a contrast that is.
Job is calling to mind the fact that God created him in the womb. And that’s a beautiful thought and calls to mind how powerful and wonderful God is.
But then, the very thing that God so masterfully created, he’s now utterly destroying.
It doesn’t make sense to Job. He can’t understand God’s ways.
And, rather than seeking God’s wisdom in his suffering, Job keeps trying to work through in his mind God’s ways and he tries to make some sense of them.
Job 10 Commentary | Back to Dust
But what God’s doing makes no sense to Job. God formed him from the dust – as it were – and it looks like God is returning him to dust. Verse 9.
9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay;
and wilt thou bring me into dust again?
Then Job goes on to speak in more poetic detail of how God formed him in verse 9.
10 Hast thou not poured me out as milk,
and curdled me like cheese?
And that might sound like Job is being negative. But as I read this statement in context, I don’t think his statement in verse 10 is negative. I think he’s simply speaking of God’s creating him. As milk has to be curdled to make cheese – so, too, does the human body need to be formed and fashioned in the womb.
Job 10 Commentary | Creating
And that goes along with what we have in verse 11, where Job continues to speak of God creating and forming him.
11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh,
and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.
So, Job is appealing to the fact that God has so mercifully and skillfully created him.
What being is going to destroy something he created? And created so intimately and skillfully, at that!
I think that’s what Job’s doing here – he’s appealing to God’s special relationship with him – in order to find mercy with this God who – in Job’s mind – is punishing and mistreating him.Tags: Old Testament Poetry Old Testament Wisdom