Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Job 3

Ellicott's Commentary for English ReadersEllicott's Commentary

Verse 1


(1) After this opened Job his mouth.—There is a striking similarity between this chapter and Jeremiah 20:14-18, so much so that one must be borrowed from the other; the question is, which is the original? Is Jeremiah the germ of this? or is this the tree from which a branch has been hewn by Jeremiah? Our own conviction is that Job is the original, inasmuch as this chapter is indispensable to the development of the poem; but in Jeremiah the passage occurs casually as the record of a passing mood of despair. It is, moreover, apparently clear that Jeremiah is quoting Job as he might quote one of the Psalms or any other writing with which he was familiar. He was applying to daily life the well-known expression of a patriarchal experience, whereas in the other case the words of Job would be the ideal magnifying of a commonplace and realistic experience.

Verse 4

(4) Regard.—Literally, require, ask for, and so manifest care about. (Comp. Deuteronomy 11:12.)

Verse 5

(5) Stain.—Literally, redeemi.e., claim as their rightful inheritance. The other meaning enters into this word, as in Isaiah 63:3; Malachi 1:7.

Blackness of the dayi.e., preternatural darkness, inopportune and unexpected darkness, like that of eclipses, &c.

Verse 6

(6) Let it not be joined.—Rather, let it not rejoice among, as one of the glorious procession of nights.

Verse 8

(8) That curse the day—i.e., Let those who proclaim days unlucky or accursed curse that day as pre-eminently so; or let them recollect that day as a standard or sample of cursing. “Let it be as cursed as Job’s birth day.”

These people are further described as being ready to arouse leviathan (Authorised Version, “raise up their mourning”), or the crocodile—persons as mad and desperate as that. Let the most hopeless and reckless of mankind select that day as the one which they would choose to curse. This seems to be Job’s meaning.

Verse 9

(9) The dawning . . .—Literally, the eyelids of the dawn.

Verse 12

(12) Preventi.e., “Why was I nursed with care instead of being allowed to fall to the ground and be killed?”

Verse 14

(14) Desolate places—i.e., gorgeous tombs and splendid sepulchres, which, being tenanted only by the dead, are desolate; or it may mean that the places so built of old are now ruined and desolate. In the former sense it is possible that the Pyramids may here be hinted at.

Verse 16

(16) Untimely birth.—Another condition which would have relieved him from the experience of suffering.

Verse 17

(17) There—i.e., in the grave, the place indicated, but not distinctly expressed.

Verse 18

(18) The oppressor.—As this is the word rendered taskmaster in Exodus, some have thought there may be an allusion to that history here.

Verse 20

(20) Wherefore is light given.—Comp. the connection between life and light in Psalms 36:9 and John 1:4.

Verse 23

(23) Hedged in.—The same expression was used in an opposite sense in Job 1:10.

Verse 25

(25) For the thing which I greatly feared . . .—Comp. Proverbs 28:14. It means that he had always had in remembrance the uncertainty and instability of earthly things, an yet he had been overtaken by a calamity that mocked his carefulness and exceeded his apprehensions.

Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/job-3.html. 1905.
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