Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 11:16

"For you would forget your trouble, As waters that have passed by, you would remember it.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Righteous;   Thompson Chain Reference - Afflicted, Promises, Divine;   Afflictions;   Comfort;   Comfort-Misery;   God's;   Promises, Divine;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Zophar;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Forget;   Waters;   Zophar;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Because thou shalt forget thy misery - Thou shalt have such long and complete rest, that thou shalt scarcely remember thy labor.

As waters that pass away - Like as the mountain floods, which sweep every thing before them, houses, tents, cattle, and the produce of the field, and are speedily absorbed by the sandy plains over which they run, so shalt thou remember thy sufferings: they were wasting and ruinous for the time, but were soon over and gone.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 11:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And remember it as waters that pass away - As calamity that has completely gone by, or that has rolled on and will return no more. The comparison is beautiful. The water of the river is borne by us, and returns no more. The rough, the swollen, the turbid stream, we remember as it foamed and dashed along, threatening to sweep everything away; but it went swiftly by, and will never come back. So with afflictions. They are soon gone. The most intense pain soon subsides. The days of sorrow pass quickly away. There is an outer limit of suffering, and even ingenuity cannot prolong it far. The man disgraced, and whose life is a burden, will soon die. On the checks of the solitary prisoner doomed to the dungeon for life, a “mortal paleness” will soon settle down, and the comforts of approaching death will soothe the anguish of his sad heart. The rack of torture cheats itself of its own purpose, and the exhausted sufferer is released. “The excess (of grief) makes it soon mortal.” “No sorrow but killed itself much sooner.” Shakespeare. When we look back upon our sorrows, it is like thinking of the stream that was so much swollen, and was so impetuous. Its waters rolled on, and they come not back again; and there is a kind of pleasure in thinking of that time of danger, of that flood that was then so fearful, and that has now swept on to come back no more. So there is a kind of peaceful joy in thinking of the days of sorrow that are now fled forever; in the assurance that those sad times will never, never recur again.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 11:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-11.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 11:16

Thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.

Comfort from the future

Job’s misery was extreme, and it seemed as if he could never forget it. He never did forget the fact of it, but he did forget the pain of it. Nothing better can happen to our misery than that it should be forgotten in the sense referred to in our text; for then, evidently, it will be clean gone from us. It will be as it is when even the scent of the liquor has gone out of the cask, even when the flavour of the bitter drug lingers no longer in the medicine glass, but has altogether disappeared. If you look carefully at the connection of our text, I do not doubt that you will experience this blessed forgetfulness. When we are in pain of body, and depression of spirit, we imagine that we never shall forget such misery as we are enduring. And yet, by and by, God turns towards us the palm of His hand, and we see that it is full of mercy, we are restored to health, or uplifted from depression of spirit, and we wonder that we ever made so much of our former suffering or depression. We remember it no more, except as a thing that has passed and gone, to be recollected with gratitude.

I. I am not going to limit the application of the text to Job and his friends, for it has also a message for many of us at the present time; and I shall take it, first, with reference to the common troubles of life which affect believing men and women. These troubles of life happen to us all more or less. They come to one in one shape, and perhaps life thinks that he is the only man who has any real misery; yet they also come to others, though possibly in another form. The Lord of the pilgrims was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”; and His disciples must expect to fare even as their Master fared while here below; it is enough for the servant if he be as his lord. You, who are just now enduring misery, should seek to be comforted under it. Perhaps you will ask me, “Where can we get any comfort?” Well, if you cannot draw any from your present experience, seek to gather some from the past. You have been miserable before, but you have been delivered and helped. There has come to you a most substantial benefit from everything which you have been called to endure. Let us gather consolation also from the future. If, as the apostle truly says, “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous,” recollect how he goes on to say, “Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” “Thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.” How will that be?

1. Well, first, by the lapse of time. Time is a wonderful healer.

2. Ay, but there is something better than the lapse of years, and that is when, during a considerable time, you are left without trial. That is a sharp pain you are now enduring; but what if you should have years of health afterwards? Remember how Job forgot his misery when, in a short time, he had double as much of all that he possessed as he had before. There is wonderfully smooth sailing on ahead for some of you when you are once over this little stretch of broken water.

3. And besides the lapse of time, and an interval of rest and calm, it may be--it probably is the fact with God’s people--that He has in store for you some great mercies. When the Lord turns your captivity, you will be like them that dream; and you know what happens to men who dream. They wake up; their dream is all gone, they have completely forgotten it. So will it be with your sorrow. Be of good courage in these dark, dull times, for, mayhap this text is God’s message to thy soul, “Thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.” It has bee so with many, many, many believers in the past. What do you think of Joseph sold for a slave, Joseph falsely accused, Joseph shut up in prison? But when Joseph found out that all that trial was the way to make him ruler over all the land of Egypt, and that he might be the means of saving other nations from famine, and blessing his father’s house, I do not wonder that he called his elder son “Manasseh.” What does that name mean? “Forgetfulness”--“for God,” said he, “hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.”

II. I should be greatly rejoiced if, in the second place, I might speak a cheering word to poor souls under distress on account of sin.

1. Well, now, I exhort you, first of all, to look to Christ, and lean on Christ. Trust in His atoning sacrifice, for there alone can a troubled soul find rest. There was never a man yet who, with all his heart, did seek the Lord Jesus Christ, but sooner or later found Him; and if you have been long in seeking, I lay it to the fact that you have not sought with a prepared heart, a thoroughly earnest heart, or else you would have found Him. But, perhaps, taking Zophar’s next expression, you have not stretched out your hands toward the Lord, giving yourself up to Him like a man who holds up his hands to show that he surrenders. Further, you may and you shall forget your misery, provided you fulfil one more condition mentioned by Zophar, and that is, that you are not harbouring any sin: “If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.” “Oh!” you say, “but how am I to do it?” Christ will help you. Trust Him to help you. Oh, do see that you let not wickedness dwell in your tabernacles, you who are the people of God, and you who wish to be His, if you would have Zophar’s words to Job fulfilled in your experience, “Then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.”

III. Now let me tell you how sweetly God can make a sinner forget his misery.

1. The moment a sinner believes in Jesus Christ with true heart and repentant spirit, God makes him forget his misery, first, by giving him a full pardon.

2. Next, he rejoices in all the blessings that God gives with His grace.

IV. This text will come true to the sickening, declining, soon-departing believer. If thou hast believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and if thou art resting alone upon Him, recollect that, in a very short time, “thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.” In a very, very, very short time, your suffering and sadness will all be over. I suppose the expression, “waters that pass away,” signifies those rivers which are common in the East, and which we meet with so abundantly in the south of France. They are rivers with very broad channels, but I have often looked in vain for a single drop of water in them. “Then,” perhaps you ask, “what is the use of such rivers?” Well, at certain times, the mountain torrents come rushing down, bearing great rocks, and stones, and trees before them, and then, after they have surged along the river bed for several days, they altogether disappear in the sea. Such will all the sorrows of fife and the sorrows even of death soon be to you, and to me also. They will all have passed away, and all will be over with us here. And then, you know, those waters that have passed away will never come back again. Thank God, we shall recollect our sorrows in heaven only to praise God for the grace that sustained us under them; but we shall not remember them as a person does who has cut his finger, and who still bears the scar in his flesh. We shall not recollect them as one does who has been wounded, and who carries the bullet somewhere about him. In heaven, you shall not have a trace of earth’s sorrow; you shall not have, in your glorified body, or in your perfectly sanctified soul and spirit, any trace of any spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 11:16". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-11.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Because thou shall forget thy misery,.... Former afflictions and distresses; having an abundance of prosperity and happiness, and long continued; and so, in process of time, the miseries and distresses before endured are forgotten; thus it was with Joseph in his advanced state, and therefore he called one of his sons Manasseh, Genesis 41:51; and as it is with convinced and converted persons and believers in Christ, who, under first convictions and awakenings, are filled with sorrow and distress, on a view of their miserable estate by nature; but when Christ is revealed to them as their Saviour and Redeemer, and the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts, and they have faith and hope in Jesus, and a comfortable view of heaven and happiness, and eternal life, by him, they forget their spiritual poverty, and remember their misery no more, unless it be to magnify the riches of the grace of God; see Proverbs 31:6;

and remember it as waters that pass away; either the waters of the stream in a river, which, when gone, are seen and remembered no more or as waters occasioned by floods in the winter season, which when over, and summer is come, are gone and are no more discerned; and as they pass from the places where they were, so from the minds of men: or it may be respect is had to the waters of Noah's flood, which, according to the divine promise and oath, should no more go over the earth, Genesis 9:15; and being past and gone, and no fear or danger of their returning, are forgotten.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 11:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-11.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Just as when the stream runs dry (Job 6:17), the danger threatened by its wild waves is forgotten (Isaiah 65:16) [Umbreit].

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 11:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-11.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:

As waters — Thou shalt remember it no more, than men remember a land-flood, which as it comes, so it goes away suddenly.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 11:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-11.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 11:16 Because thou shalt forget [thy] misery, [and] remember [it] as waters [that] pass away:

Ver. 16. Because thou shalt forget thy misery] There being no fear left, or footstep thereof remaining to renew thy grief, Genesis 41:30. Remember thy former trouble thou shall, with thankfulness for a better condition now, but not otherwise; all the marks of former affliction shall be worn out. See Isaiah 65:13; Isaiah 65:16, so that thou shalt discount all the evil thou hast endured.

And remember it as waters that pass away] As a land flood soon gone, as a light cloud quickly over; or as Noah’s flood, which that good man thought upon, when it was past, with thankfulness to God, offering sacrifice for his safety. So shalt thou, Job; and as a man seldom thinketh how much water passeth by his habitation by day and by night, or if he do, yet it is no trouble to his mind, no more shall the remembrance of former miseries be to thine.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 11:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-11.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Thou shalt be free from fear, because thy great and settled prosperity shall banish out of thy mind all those sad and irksome thoughts of thy former calamities, which naturally engender fears of the continuance or return of them. Persons blessed with eminent deliverances, and a happy settlement, are frequently said in Scripture to

forget their former sorrows, as Genesis 41:51 Isaiah 54:4 John 16:21; not that they simply forget them, but because they have no sad or frightful remembrance of them; for remembering and forgetting in Scripture do not simply note acts of the mind, but also affections and practices suitable to them, as is well known.

Remember it as waters that pass away; thou shalt remember them no more than men remember either a land-flood, which as it comes, so it goes away, suddenly, and leaves few or no footsteps or memorials behind it; or the waters of a river, which as soon as they are out of sight are out of mind, because of the new waters which immediately come in their stead.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 11:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-11.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

b. Then the sorrows of the present shall be forgotten in the brightness of future life, Job 11:16-17.

16.Waters that pass away — He probably alluded to Job’s figure, (Job 6:15-17.) His grief, now so tumultuous, shall subside as completely as the waters of the mountain torrents. Of the wadies, or beds of such torrents, which are perfectly dry in the summer, Wilson, in his Lands of the Bible, enumerates eighty-five; while Ritter in his Geography speaks of as many as two hundred. Note Job 6:16. The figure is strikingly appropriate. Affliction is not like the river that flows on forever, but is like a torrent that rages for a brief winter day, and vanishes with the rising of the summer sun. God’s love has ordained that “the excess of grief makes it soon mortal.” But we are not to forget the law of the human mind, that leads it to take pleasure in remembering sorrows when they have once gone beyond the power of return. The joys of heaven will be heightened by the remembrance of life’s troubles, and the retrospective vision will be none the less bright that we can still see the rivers through which we have passed, (Isaiah 43:2,) though they be but dim lines in the distant vista. A few lines in the spectrum suffice to tell the make of clouds and storms as they still sweep over the surface of the sun. Thus shall the clouds and storms of life appear when once we have entered our heavenly home.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 11:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-11.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 11:16. Because thou shalt forget thy misery — Thy happiness shall be so great that it shall blot out the remembrance of thy past miseries; and remember it as waters that pass away — Thou shalt remember it no more than men remember either a land-flood, which, as it comes, so it goes away suddenly, and leaves few or no marks or memorials behind it; or the waters of a river, which pass by in constant succession.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 11:16". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-11.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Because. Syriac reads "For now".

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 11:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:

Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away. Just as when the stream runs dry (Job 6:17), the danger threatened by its wild waves is forgotten. "The former troubles are forgotten; they are hid from mine eyes" (Isaiah 65:16). (Umbreit.)

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 11:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-11.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
Because
Genesis 41:51; Proverbs 31:7; Ecclesiastes 5:20; Isaiah 54:4; 65:16; John 16:21; Revelation 7:14-17
as waters
6:15; Genesis 9:11; Isaiah 12:1,2; 54:9
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 11:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-11.html.