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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Job

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FRAMEWORKS: Job 3: Job wishes he had never been born

 

v.1-10 Job wishes for the day of his birth never to have happened

v.11-17 Job wishes he had been still-born

v.18-26 Death means no physical anguish

[Preliminary Comments: In the experience of extreme pain, discomfort and anguish, the reality is that we can wish we'd never been born, or that we could die now to stop the torment. In another context Elijah considered himself as good as dead [1 Kings 19:4]. In his anguish Job pours out a regret for ever having been born and reflects on how the dead avoid all the anguish he now feels. Perhaps the point of this chapter is to reveal the reality of the awfulness of what Job was going through.]

 

 

v.1-10 Job wishes for the day of his birth never to have happened

 

v.1 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 

v.2 He said: 

v.3  “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!' 

v.4 That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it. 

v.5 May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm it. 

v.6 That night—may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months. 

v.7 May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it. 

v.8 May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. 

v.9 May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn, 

v.10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes. 

 

[Notes: These verses might be summarized as, “I wish I've never been born, I wish history had no record ever of me, that there had been no celebration even of my birth.”

 

 

v.11-17 Job wishes he had been still-born

 

v.11 “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? 

v.12 Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed? 

v.13 For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest 

v.14 with kings and rulers of the earth, who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, 

v.15 with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. 

v.16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day? 

v.17  There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest. 

 

[Notes: These verses might be summarized as, “If I had to be conceived, I wish I'd died at birth, for that way I would never have grown up and been around to suffer anguish, just like any others who died prematurely.”

 

 

v.18-26 Death means no physical anguish

 

v.18  Captives also enjoy their ease; they no longer hear the slave driver's shout. 

v.19 The small and the great are there, and the slaves are freed from their owners. 

v.20  “Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, 

v.21 to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, 

v.22 who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? 

v.23 Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? 

v.24 For sighing has become my daily food; my groans pour out like water. 

v.25  What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. 

v.26 I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

 

[Notes: Now the lament focuses on the heart of the matter; death delivers from the anguishes of life on this fallen world. Prisoners and slaves are released by death but why is it that sometimes people have to live on in great anguish, death seeming elusive? What is the point in this, those in great anguish being denied death. There is, even as we say this, something that occurs again and again – a refusal in Job's thinking to countenance the thought of suicide. He may ask God to kill him but he won't do it himself, for that seems to cross the boundary for the righteous who trust themselves to the sovereignty of the Lord.

 

Lessons:

1. Job is not denounced by the Lord for being honest. In this chapter he fully vents his anguish. Perhaps we need to learn to be honest when things are not going well, and share our anguish with our friends who we hope will a) understand, b) empathize with us and c) pray for us.

2. In the light of what follows, those of us who may become onlookers when a friend is in such anguish, need to learn not to be ‘instant-fixers' who come up with answers but are simply there for them, however vociferous their outpouring.]

  

CONTINUE to Chapter 4