Enjoy this free digital Job 7 Commentary from ExplainingTheBook.com in which we seek to explain the first 12 verses of Job, chapter 7. For more information about verses 13-21 of this chapter, see our Job 7 Summary article.
Job starts chapter 7 with an apparent reference to the fact that his days are numbered – verse 1.
1 Is there not [an appointed/a hard] time to man upon earth?
are not his days also like the days of an hireling?
Well, how do hirelings consider their days? Verse 2…
2 As a servant earnestly desireth the [evening…] shadow,
and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work:
You probably know what it’s like to work somewhere that you don’t necessarily enjoy very much. When you’re in that position, it’s easy to find yourself watching the clock. Waiting for the bell. Hoping for 5:00!
Job 7 Commentary | Life
And that’s how Job feels – not about his work – but about his life. Verse 3.
3 So am I made to possess months of vanity,
and wearisome nights are appointed to me.
So, Job is looking for the end – not of his work shift – but of his days on earth. And yet, he’s been given this “gift” of months that he would really rather return – because they are vanity. Emptiness. Worthless in his estimation. And yet, he possesses them.
Job 7 Commentary | Nights
The same is true of his nights. He’d rather not need to experience the night time at all. Because his night time routine is miserable– verse 4…
4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone?
and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.
Add to this bedtime routine the fact that he still has this very extreme skin condition – verse 5.
5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust;
my skin is broken, and [become loathsome/festering].
And though his nights last forever – his days speed by – verse 6.
6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
and are spent without hope.
And it almost sounds positive that Job’s days are swift. At least, in contrast to his long drawn-out nights. And yet, Job is not pointing this out as a good thing. He’s pointing to the fleeting nature of his days. In addition, there would surely be an element of repetition worked into the metaphor about a weaver’s shuttle. It goes back and forth – back and forth – endlessly!
Job 7 Commentary | An Appeal for Understanding
And so – in light of all these terrible realities and how weak Job is, he once again appeals for an understanding response from his friends.
7 O remember that my life is wind:
mine eye shall no more see good.
8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more:
thine eyes are upon me, [and/but] I [am/will be] not.
Job can’t see his immediate situation ending in anything besides death.
Job 7 Commentary | Finality of Death
And then Job muses on the finality of death – which he expects to see soon.
9 As the cloud is [consumed/dispersed] and vanisheth away:
so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.
10 He shall return no more to his house,
neither shall his place know him any more.
Now, Job is not denying resurrection here. That’s not the realm of which he’s speaking.
He’s considering the fact that a man’s body – as it currently is – once it dies, it will never be that way again. The grave is a permanent place for a physical fallen body.
There is a resurrection of the body – and Job seems to testify of that reality later on in this book where he asserts that he will see God in his body. And yet, the resurrection body is similar to – but also different from – the body that’s put into the grave.
I don’t think any of us is hoping that when our bodies are raised we’ll be able to go back to our old homes and pick up life as usual. We’re certainly not hoping that this old corrupt body is what we’ll inhabit when we rise from the grave! We’re hoping for something far better.
And so, when Job points out the fact that when he dies he’s not coming back to his old life – he’s not denying that there is a resurrection. He’s saying that he’s not coming back in the same exact body which was laid in the grave to do the same exact routines that he did before his death.
Job 7 Commentary | No Holding Back
But because he foresees his death as something that is soon-to-come and because his life is now so miserable – he’s not going to hold back – verse 11.
11 Therefore I will not refrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
And actually – it appears that Job has shifted from addressing Eliphaz and the other two – to now addressing God directly.
12 Am I a sea, or a whale,
that thou settest a watch over me?
Job pictures his circumstances as if he were somehow dangerous in God’s sight. And if that weren’t the case, then why is God seeming to set this watch over him? Job feels like God is monitoring him as if he were some unpredictable and dangerous creature or force.Tags: Old Testament Poetry Old Testament Wisdom