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Job continues his discourse through this chapter. He seems, in what is here said, to be addressing himself more than his friends, and from the view he takes of the miseries of life to implore God for a mitigation of his sorrows.
(1) ¶ Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. (2) He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. (3) And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee? (4) Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. (5) Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; (6) Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.
What a striking enquiry? Who, from such a polluted creature as man, can bring forth anything clean? Precious JESUS! thou, and thou only; for a poor polluted sinner, washed in thy blood, will come forth clean, and the darkest creature in corruption be made whiter than snow.
(7) ¶ For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. (8) Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; (9) Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. (10) But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? (11) As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: (12) So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. (13) O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! (14) If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. (15) Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
There cannot be a question, from this most beautiful and striking passage, but that Job had the clearest apprehensions of a future state. He describes the vegetable production, and, in the instance of a tree cut down, shows that there is yet a principle of life in it. And can it be supposed, (it is as if Job had said) that man, at his dropping into the grave, hath no life, nothing further? But Job riseth to an higher evidence, when he adds a prayer that he might be hid, until the indignation was over past. And then he saith, when the LORD shall call, he will answer. The LORD cannot but have a desire to his own work. These are very strong testimonies in proof of Job's confidence in another state. But oh! how infinitely they fall short of what believers in JESUS are possessed of. Oh! thou precious LORD GOD! it is thou which hast brought life and immortality to light by thy gospel! And, Reader! let me beg of you to read what Paul the apostle delivered to the church of the Thessalonians, by way of animating their minds on this important subject: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 to the end.
(16) ¶ For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin? (17) My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity. (18) And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place. (19) The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man. (20) Thou prevailest forever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away. (21) His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them. (22) But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.
Job is here getting again into his old note of complaining. The poor man seems at times, when his whole soul felt warmed with the subject of divine love, to lose both a sight and sense of his own sorrows. But the clouds return after the rain. Probably some new pains of body, and distress of mind, breaking out afresh, like a captive awaking from sleep, whose refreshment, during that state of nature's forgetfulness, had been sweet, finds himself still in prison; so Job, after dwelling upon the LORD'S goodness, falls back again to the feeling of his own misery, and laments it. Alas! what is the sum total of life, but what Job observes, both in the opening and close of this chapter? Without an eye to JESUS, without an interest in JESUS, as an hireling's is his day, and that day a day only of trouble! Oh! how sweet that prayer; So teach us to number our days, as to apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalms 90:12 .
READER! while we contemplate, from the perusal of this chapter, the low and depressed state of our fallen nature, born to trouble, and but of short continuance; and while such a view tends, under divine teaching, to induce all that suitable and becoming frame of mind belonging to sinful, perishing, dying creatures, let us turn the leaf of the chapter also to that interesting part of it, and read of that GOD-man, who, to redeem our nature from those ruined circumstances, condescended to be born of a woman, and to be also of a few days upon earth, and those days full of trouble. Indeed, all the sorrows of the human state sink to nothing, when compared to the sorrows of JESUS, wherewith he was afflicted when he stood as our Surety, and when the LORD afflicted him in the day of his anger. He took upon him our sins; was made a curse, counted a deceiver, a blasphemer, a devil, nay, the prince of devils, when in the same moment his holy soul knew no sin, and in his mouth there was no guile. From the first assumption of our nature, JESUS became subject to the same feelings. He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross: and all the miseries incident to man's life the blessed JESUS bore. He drank deep of that cup, the cup of trembling: and endured a contradiction of sinners against himself, compared to which, all the unkindness of Job's friends is not to be mentioned. The reproaches of them that reproached me (saith JESUS, speaking of the blasphemies of men against GOD), are fallen upon me. And if the prophet Jeremiah, under the persecutions he sustained, cried out, Woe is me, my mother hath born me a man of contention to the whole earth, what might the LORD JESUS have said concerning the opposition which he met with from every quarter!
O thou blessed JESUS! May it be my consolation, in every little exercise which thou art pleased to call me to, in the contemplation of thine unequalled sorrows, to lose sight of my own. And may it form one of my most sanctified hours to be following thy steps to the garden, and to the cross. There may I be looking on JESUS, there see my LORD, and from that view gather instruction. And while I view thine agony and bloody sweat, hear thy dolorous cries, and behold thy love still remaining firm and unshaken to thy redeemed; oh! May thy HOLY SPIRIT lead forth my whole heart and soul in all the earnest affections of love and adoration.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 14". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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