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Bible Commentaries
Job 7

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-21

2. Job’s first reply to Eliphaz chs. 6-7

Job began not with a direct reply to Eliphaz but with another complaint about his condition. Then he responded to Eliphaz’s speech but addressed all three of his friends. The "you" and "yours" in Job 6:24-30 are plural in the Hebrew text.

Verses 1-6

Job’s miserable suffering 7:1-6

"The rest of Job’s speech is more like a soliloquy which turns into a remonstration against God Himself. His theme is once more the hard service that men have upon earth." [Note: Andersen, p. 134.]

"That Job speaks realistically about his pains here, in contrast to the unrealistic wish never to have been born that he uttered in his curse-lament (ch. 3), means that he is beginning to cope with his real situation." [Note: Hartley, p. 142.]

In this complaint (cf. ch. 3; Job 6:8-13), Job compared himself to a slave or hired servant, and concluded that he was in a worse condition. In Job 7:6, one Hebrew word occurs twice and reads, in English, first "shuttle" and then "hope." Job had run out of hope as a weaver’s shuttle runs out of thread.

Verses 7-21

Job’s prayer to God 7:7-21

Throughout his sufferings, Job did not turn away from God. Often people undergoing severe affliction do forsake Him. However, Job kept God in view and kept talking to God, even though he did not know what to ask, which was a major part of his torment. I believe this accounts for his ability to maintain his sanity and to come through his adversity finally. It is when people abandon God in their suffering that they get into serious trouble spiritually.

Job believed he would die soon. Yet he did not ask to die here as he had earlier (Job 3:20-22). This slight upturn in his feelings may be the result of his praying to God. [Note: Carter, 2:65.] Sheol (Job 7:9) refers to the grave in the Old Testament. The ancients thought it was the place where the spirits of people went when they died. Their condition there was a mystery in the patriarchal period. [Note: See H. C. Brichto, "Kin, Cult, Land and Afterlife-A Biblical Complex." Hebrew Union College Annual 44 (1973):1-54.]

Since his friends could not identify his sin, Job asked God why he was suffering. In this prayer Job complained that God would not leave him alone so he could die. Job felt God was hounding him for no apparent reason. God would not let Job alone long enough for him even to swallow his saliva (Job 7:19), a proverbial expression meaning "for a moment." He asked God to point out his sin if he had sinned (Job 7:20; cf. Job 6:24). Job believed he had done nothing worthy of such suffering (Job 7:21).

"I would suggest that the imagery of Job 7:12 . . . has been chosen by the poet to articulate precisely the main thrust of Job’s protest against God (i.e., the deity’s relentless surveillance), and in doing so the poet has created a text with clear mythologized content but without a strict parallel . . . he has molded general mythological ideas to suit his own purpose." [Note: David A. Diewert, "Job 7:12: Yam, tannin and the surveillance of Job," Journal of Biblical Literature 106:2 (1987):215. See also Elmer B. Smick, "Mythology and the Book of Job," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 13 (Spring 1970):101-8; and idem, "Another Look at the Mythological Elements in the Book of Job," Westminster Theological Journal 40 (1978):213-28.]

Some people are afraid to pray frankly and honestly to God, but Job had nothing to hide. He was open to God’s correction even though he believed God was dealing with him unjustly. In this, his prayer of complaint is a model for us. God understood Job’s chafed feelings and did not "kick him when he was down" for his bitter words.

I think Job reacted with hostility toward Eliphaz partly because of the way his friend tried to comfort him. Eliphaz assumed a position of having superior knowledge based on his personal experience. He forced Job into the mold of being a great sinner to keep his theory of retribution intact. Job did not appreciate being put down or made to look like a greater sinner than he was. He had formerly held Eliphaz’s theory, but now he believed that it was not always true. Job’s was a common reaction to counsel that comes from someone who claims greater experience, either direct or vicarious, even experience derived from Scripture. This approach often produces an overreaction. Job refused to admit he was a sinner at all, though later he did admit it. Such an approach also offends people who have considerable experience in life. Eliphaz had no reason to be surprised when the person he was trying to help rebuked him.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Job 7". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/job-7.html. 2012.
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