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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary
Job 7



Verse 9


‘As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.’

Job 7:9

It is thus that man’s soul is at once darkened and agitated by his grief. There were times in his spiritual history when Job could say, ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth.’ Amid crowding cares he could then walk with buoyant step, anticipating the radiant joys of his eternal home. Faith was in direct and active operation. But at other times he fell from his steadfastness; he swerved from the simple word; he took counsel of his own heart and not of the Holy One, and the result was griefs which beclouded, or fears which distressed and distempered his soul.

I. This chapter suggests many particulars in which Job was a beacon to warn us where dangers lie.—While sore pained by his trials and wounded to the quick by the words of his friends, the patriarch not seldom gives utterance to sentiments which seem to challenge the awards of God only wise. Now, while we see him thus tossed like a dismantled vessel from wave to wave, let us try to be warned by his example, and repose with confidence which increases every day upon the sure word of the unchanging One. As well seek constancy in the wind as in the creature which sin has tainted; but all our experience of the creature’s insufficiency should just warn us to confide the more in Him with Whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. When this is done, our dwelling-place is better far than a munition of rocks. Let each hearer, then ask, ‘Am I abiding there?’

II. But to escape from the region of mere generalities, let us apply this to some specific examples.—There is a lone and widowed one. He who was her stay is in the grave; she and her fatherless little ones are left alone in a cold, inhospitable world. But amid her griefs she sees a Father’s hand at work. She recalls the promises made to the widow and the fatherless; she not merely recalls—she reposes upon them—and bread is provided and water made sure. Or, another is stretched upon a bed of languishing. A brief period more, and the verse of our present meditation is literally true of him. But he remembers Who it is that comforts even in the valley of the shadow of death. Remembering that, he leans his head upon the outstretched arm; and feeble, languid, fainting as the body may be, the soul can exclaim, ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’


‘In this lamentation there are two movements—first, a great complaint concerning the stress and misery of life (Job 7:1-10), and secondly, a complaint directed against God (Job 7:11-21). The toil of life is strenuous indeed. It is a warfare. A man is a hireling, a servant, whose labour issues in nothing, and whose rest is disturbed with tossing. Nothing is satisfying, for nothing is lasting, and figure is piled on figure to emphasise this: a weaver’s shuttle, wind, the look of the eye, the vanishing cloud. There is absolutely no ray of hope in this outlook on life.’


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Job 7:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

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