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Bible Commentaries
Job 3

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-26

Chapter 3

And finally Job spoke up. Job begins to curse the day of his birth.

Job opened his mouth, and he cursed his day ( Job 3:1 ).

Notice he didn't curse God; just the day in which he was born.

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a boy that is conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. As for the night, let darkness seize upon it ( Job 3:3-6 );

You notice the repetition of darkness, blackness, darkness. This is Hebrew poetry. It's that repetition and all of a thought and of an idea with amplification upon it.

Let that night be solitary, let no joyful sound come therein. Let them curse it as the curse of the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, and have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day: Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid the sorrows from mine eyes. Why died I not from the womb? ( Job 3:7-11 )

Why wasn't I stillborn?

why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of her belly? Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should nurse? For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest, With kings and counselors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves; Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver: Or as a hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light ( Job 3:11-16 ).

Why didn't I die where it would all be over with? I would have just been quiet. I would have never experienced anything.

There [he said] the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and the great are there; and the servant is free from his master. Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul; Which long for death, but it does not come; they dig for it more than for hid treasures; Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, which can find the grave. Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in? For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters. For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came ( Job 3:17-26 ).

Now let me point out, first of all, that you should not take the statements of Job in his misery and seek to develop from them biblical doctrine. For the Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, and others have taken these statements of Job here and they have developed the doctrine of soul sleep out of these statements of Job where he declares, verse Job 3:17 , "There the wicked cease from troubling; there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor." He's talking about the grave. "Why didn't I just die where even the wicked is at rest? Where nobody is troubled. Where there's silence. Where there's nothing." Remember now the context. This is Job, he's crying out of the misery of his own experience. These are not God's inspired truths that he is crying. These are his endeavors to understand God and the ways of God. Job is actually challenging God. "Why did God ever allow me to live? Why wasn't I born dead?" And the reason why you cannot take these statements of Job as he is talking about death where there is no trouble, where everybody is at rest and peace and so forth, the reason why you cannot take these for biblical doctrine is verified in the thirty-eighth chapter of the book of Job. For after the vain endeavor of man to understand what was going on, God finally came on the scene.

And in the thirty-eighth chapter, when God began to speak to Job, God began to question Job. He said, first of all, the first question, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" ( Job 38:2 ) Now what is expressed in Job is the greatest knowledge of the day. The philosophies of men and the wise men of that day. And God speaks of all of their speculations of being words without knowledge, which indeed they were. All of this counsel lacks real knowledge to it. It did. None of them really understood what was really going on behind the scenes. "Who is this that darkeneth words of counsel without knowledge?" And then in verse Job 3:17 , God said to Job, "Have the gates of death been opened unto you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of the death?" ( Job 38:17 ) Okay, Job, you've been talking about hey, I wish I were dead where everything is quiet, where there is no trouble. Where there are no problems. Everyone rests together. God said, "Wait, have the gates of death, have you been there? Do you know what's going on there? You know, you're talking, Job, with words that have no knowledge. You're talking of things you don't know about. You haven't been there. You don't know that that's the case."

Therefore, if you want to develop doctrine concerning what transpires to a person when he dies, you cannot go to the words of Job or to the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Nor even to the Psalms, because many times these men were speaking of things of which they did not know. Expressing the ideas, the thoughts, the wisdom of man and the limited knowledge of man. If you really want to know what happens beyond the grave, you better go to the words of Jesus. Who knows better than He? If you want to develop doctrine of what happens when a person dies, you have to go to the words of Christ or to the inspired words of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. God rebukes Job because he's talking about something that he knows nothing about. Talking about death and what he imagines what would be if he were dead. But God says, "You're wrong."

Now there are those blessed, misguided saints who are just as ignorant as Zophar and Bildad and Eliphaz who take the scripture where Job declared, "What the thing I feared, the thing I feared is come upon me," and they say that was Job's problem. He lacked faith and he was fearing these things all the time, and you know, what you say is what you get. And so Job had this fear which shows the lack of faith. Had he had enough faith, this never would have happened to him. That's as stupid and ignorant as Eliphaz or Bildad or any of the rest of them that were trying to understand Job's condition. These men showed the same ignorance. Only they have no excuse for their ignorance because God had told us in the beginning what was going on. At least Eliphaz and Bildad, Zophar, they have an excuse for their ignorance because they weren't able to read the first chapter of Job to know what was really happening. But it is, well, I can't get into that. But it is so...it's not biblical exposition. It is sheer stupidity to use this scripture, to say, "Well, you know, the person, because you were fearing this, this is why it happened to you and all. The thing that you fear is going to come upon you." That is not true. You can look at David and he said, "I know that one day Saul is going to kill me." That's a negative confession, Dave. What you say is what you get. No, Saul didn't kill him. You don't have to be worried about making some negative confession. It isn't that God is waiting and listening and you make some negative. "All right, you said it so I'm going to do it." What kind of a God is that?

In the same token, you can make a positive confession for something that is not good for you and God is gracious enough not to do it for you. You don't control God, and please don't try. The world is in enough of a mess now. And it would be even worse if I were the one that began to take over and ordered the things that were going to happen. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Job 3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/job-3.html. 2014.
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