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Bible Commentaries

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Job 7

Verse 1

7:1 "Is not man forced to labor on earth, and are not his days like the days of a hired man?": "Job says that man is like a hired hand, destined to hard labor, like a slave who works in the hot sun and longs for the shade at the end of the day (7:2), and like a hired hand waiting to be paid. Man's existence is servitude, in which he is subject to continual toil and misery, and in which he hopes for some slight respite" (Zuck p. 39). Yet Job still wants to serve God. In contrast, when others feel like they are in this condition, they riot, revolt, and lash out in destructive ways.

Verse 3

7:3 "So am I allotted months of vanity": Instead of days, Job has been suffering for months, months of what seemed like meaningless and empty pain.

7:3-4 "The nights of trouble are appointed me": Instead of being able to at least get some rest at the end of the day, nighttime does not ease the pain, he spends the night tossing and turning. His life is actually worse than a slave, for at least a slave can sleep well at night (Ecclesiastes 5:12).

Verse 5

7:5 "My flesh is clothed with worms and a crust of dirt": "His flesh covered with worms, which had got into his open sores, and with dirty scabs (literally clods of dust). His skin hardened (or cracked)" (Zuck p. 40).

Verse 6

7:6 "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and come to an end without hope": Is Job contradicting himself here when he has first complained that life is too long (7:3-4), and now that life is far too brief? Could he be saying that as the weaver's shuttle runs out of thread, so now Job's existence is running out of hope? This verse also reveals that when Job lived weaving and the loom were in existence.

Verse 7

7:7 "Remember that my life is but breath": Life is as short as one breath. "My eye will not again see good": Life for Job as become hopeless, he believes now that he will never again see prosperity and other earthly blessings. "When he would die, he would no longer enjoy the good things of this life, perhaps this is an answer to Eliphaz, who had said that Job could be blessed again (5:19-26)" (Zuck p. 40).

Verse 8

7:8 "The eye of him who sees me will behold me no longer; your eyes will be on me, but I will not be": Is Job saying that God would no longer see him or is he saying that his life was so short that people would turn around and he would be gone?

Verse 9

7:9 "When a cloud vanishes, it is gone": Job's life was as temporary as a cloud, compare with James 4:13ff.

7:9 "So he who goes down to Sheol does not come up": He would go to Sheol, the place of the departed death, the "Hades" of the New Testament. He would come up no more, that is, return to a life on this earth. The dead stay dead (Luke 16:19ff; Ecclesiastes 9:1ff).

Verse 10

7:10 "He will not return again to his house, nor will his place know him anymore": Job is not saying that the dead cease to exist, but rather that they are completely removed from this earthly life

Verse 11

7:11 "Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul": Job will not remain quiet, it seems that he feels he has nothing to lose. After asking God to remember the brevity of his life, he now utters this complaint. "The suffering saint utters a bitter tirade against God, words which he later deeply regretted when he better understood the picture" (Jackson p. 38). Truly, the tongue can be very difficult to control (James 3:1ff).

Verse 12

7:12 "Am I the sea, or the sea monster, that You set a guard over me?": God had set limits to the sea (Genesis 1:10). Job complains that God either has him under guard, constantly watched, or is trying to muzzle him. He could be complaining that he was being guarded like a defeated enemy. He also might be complaining that God is acting like Job is a threat to Him, when this is not the case. In various mythologies of the time, a god or gods were said to overcome a sea monster and set a guard over him or her. Job borrows imagery from these ancient myths, without actually believing in them.

Verse 13

7:13-14 "If I say, 'My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint', then You frighten me with dreams and terrify me by visions": Job now accuses God of frightening him with nightmares so that he could not even escape from his suffering by sleep.

Verse 15

7:15 "So that my soul would choose suffocation, death rather than my pains": Job again expresses his desire to end his life-yet he never makes any effort to actually take his life. Even while enduring intense suffering, Job still knows that suicide is not an option.

Verse 16

7:16 "I waste away; I will not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath": This does not appear to be a desire for God to abandon him spiritually, but for God to stop harassing him physically, seeing that Job, in his mind, does not have much time left on this earth.

Verse 17

7:17 "What is man that You magnify him, and that You are concerned about him": This is exactly the same question that David posed in Psalm 8:3, yet Job and David come to completely opposite conclusions. David says that God is concerned about man because of man's dignity as being the pinnacle of creation, Job says that God pays much attention to man, so that He can harass man.

Verse 18

7:18 "That You examine him every morning and try him every moment?" "God, why are You devoting so much unfriendly attention to man in general, and specifically to Job? Overbearing inquisitiveness and unrelenting surveillance" (Strauss p. 72).

Verse 19

7:19 "Will You never turn Your gaze away from me, nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?" Job feels that he cannot get away from God's hostile watchfulness, even for a moment. God will not even turn away for a second, so Job can swallow his spit. This was a idiomatic expression that meant, "wait, or leave me alone for a least a moment".

Verse 20

7:20 "Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, so that I am a burden to myself?" Job now challenges God, as he did his friends (6:24). He wants an explanation for his suffering, "What is his sin?" "What has he done to merit such suffering?" He feels like God is using him for target practice.

Verse 21

7:21 "Why then do You not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust; and You will seek me, but I will not be"

Job asks if he has sinned, then why doesn't God forgive him? In addition, Job further says that if God is going to forgive Job, He had better do it quickly, for Job is about to die. The last line might be an allusion to when God sought for Adam and Eve in the garden. It seems to me that Job is basically saying, "When I die, You are not going to have me to push around anymore, and You will be sorry for how You treated me". "I'll soon be gone and you won't have me to kick around anymore" (Jackson p. 38).

Remember, even this book admits that Job is speaking rashly (6:3), desperately (6:26), and without understanding (42:3).

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 7". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dun/job-7.html. 1999-2014.