Enjoy this free digital Job 7 summary from ExplainingTheBook.com in which we seek to explain verses 13-21 of Job, chapter 7. For comments on the first 12 verses of this chapter, see our Job 7 Commentary article.
Job 7 Summary | No Rest
And it seems to Job as if God will not leave him alone in peace. This watch that God has set over him is apparently in effect even when he tries to get some rest.
13 When I say,
My bed shall comfort me,
my couch shall ease my complaint;
14 Then thou scarest me with dreams,
and terrifiest me through visions:
So, Job says that God is sending dreams to him that terrify him and disturb his sleep.
Job 7 Summary | Effect of Sleep Deprivation
And here’s the effect of this sleep deprivation that God is working in Job’s life.
15 So that my soul chooseth strangling,
and death rather than my life.
16 I loathe it; I would not live alway:
let me alone; for my days are vanity.
Job doesn’t want to live forever. And so – in his mind – he might as well go now. That’s what he would choose – death – even if the way to that death was strangling.
Job 7 Summary | Job’s Psalm
And then, Job does something interesting in verses 17 and 18. He makes a statement that sounds very similar to one of the Psalms. You see if you can catch it.
17 What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him?
and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
And the part that sounds so familiar about verse 17 is those first three words – “what is man?”
It hearkens back to Psalm 8 – “what is man that thou art mindful of him?” But what the psalmist in Psalm 8 is doing is marveling at man’s place in God’s creation.
Job 7 Summary | Marveling
And Job marvels, alright! But here’s what he’s marveling about…
18 And that thou shouldest visit him every morning,
and try him every moment?
Psalm 8 is full of gratitude at God’s gracious dealings with mankind. That he created the awesomely expansive heavens. And yet he stoops down and takes notice of little weak helpless mankind.
Job 7 Summary | God Brings Suffering
But Job is focused on the fact that God is so involved in mankind – but in order to bring suffering to them.
19 How long wilt thou not depart from me,
nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?
What a pitiful picture. He wants to be left alone in order to do something that is so simple and so homely – swallowing one’s own saliva.
Job’s whole speech is full of reasons for both his friends and God himself to pity him and have mercy on him and to relent from treating him harshly.
Job 7 Summary | Sin
And Job ends this two-chapter monologue by speaking to the Lord about his own sin.
20 [If…] I have sinned; what [shall/have] I do unto thee, O thou [preserver/watcher] of men?
why hast thou set me as [a mark against thee/your target], so that I am a burden to myself?
21 And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity?
for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.
I think what’s happening here is that Job is acknowledging that he’s not sinless. That was the big charge from Eliphaz – that Job had sinned.
Job says here – yes, I do sin. But – verse 21 – why are you not pardoning my sin? Job confessed it to God. He offered sacrifice for it. Why is God not responding in the way that Job thinks he should and stop the suffering?
Because – after all – the three friends and Job himself are all believing that God’s ways are as follows: Do right, and God will bless. Sin, and God will destroy.
But Job is still a man of integrity – not sinless, but dealing with his sin in the appropriate way – and yet, God seems to be destroying him.
That just doesn’t make sense. God’s ways don’t make sense. And Eliphaz has done nothing to help Job to trust God’s wisdom.
Well, maybe Bildad will do better next time.