Job 14


‘Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure. Do you fix your eye on them? Will you bring them before you for judgment? Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired labourer. “At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As the water of a lake dries up or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so he lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep.’ Job 14:1-12

Job Continues With His Response

This chapter is a repetition of what Job has said before. For a short time, he forgets about his predicament and turns to his friends and now is back to his predicament ‘woe is me’.

He says mortals are born of a woman, their days are few and filled with trouble, Genesis 47:9. He finds it strange that divine strictness should rest on someone as frail as he is. The existence is fleshly and he asks, who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing.

Job might simply be identifying himself with the rest of humanity. Yet in the context of where it sits, what he really is saying is that God cannot judge someone as clean as he must be, Romans 3:23. Further to that, he says since man’s life is only a breath and the least God can do is look away briefly and give me a rest.

He goes on and he pictures the futility of life. He contrasts the fate of things with the fate of people. Out of the top, the fate of things to come.

Job questioned why God would be so concerned with individuals who were like a blooming flower that soon passes away, Acts 17:26. A tree that is cut down can come back but man is just destroyed and is buried.

Job’s words concerning ‘the heaven are no more’, appear to indicate that those who rest in death will not rise out of their sleep until the heavens are no more, 2 Peter 3:10-13.

We must remember, in the Old Testament the idea of death is vague, Job 3:12-19 / Job 10:21-22 / Job 14:20-22, and the idea of eternal life is never really taught. It was Jesus who brought life and immortality to light, 2 Timothy 1:10.

‘If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me! If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin. “But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place, as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy a person’s hope. You overpower them once for all, and they are gone; you change their countenance and send them away. If their children are honoured, they do not know it; if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it. They feel but the pain of their own bodies and mourn only for themselves.” Job 14:13-22

Here Job wishes that God would hide him until His wrath has passed by and then he could remember him again. From Job’s heart escapes the deep hope felt by all mankind if a man dies shall he live again.

Moffat, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Job could cope if he could hope for a life after, beyond the grave. These are the words of a man who can’t let go of his faith even though the present dealings and sufferings with him are a complete mystery to him. And like he has done before he sees God as watching his every move. He sees God as one who pulverises the mightiest works of nature and stalks Job.  How thrilled Job would have been to hear the word of Jesus ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, John 14:6.’

Job still feels that God’s rule is arbitrary and not in line with justice. he regards his friends as ill-advised councillors and so he wishes to speak with God personally. It would seem that Job on the surface was convinced by his friends that in life the good are rewarded and the evil punished.

Therefore, his own circumstance is causing him conflict, and he turns to God with a bitter complaint. And he wants to discuss things with God because He is greater and just and at least He will listen to what he has to say.

He wants to prove that he is innocent. In doing so before God he thinks God will take his life but he will accept that. Job is saying a hypocrite would want an audience with God, he wouldn’t stand a chance.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This is indeed a sad and mournful picture of our lives upon earth. The notion that men continue to live on in the lives of their children is contradicted by the fact that whatever happens to them is unknown to the deceased. Man’s brief life is subjected to the very same erosive and destructive elements in our world that can wear down the mountains, and even wash away the stones, so ‘little by little, man’s hope is destroyed, drop by drop’. But it should not be overlooked that Job in this paragraph is pointing men away from the prospects as they are in this life and in the direction of the eternal things of God. The man who establishes his hope in this world only is a fool. It is a race he cannot win, a hope that he shall never realize, a trial that shall never end, and a warfare that he absolutely cannot win.’

Go To Job 15