Job 3


‘After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said: “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it. May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm it. 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. May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it. May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn, for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes.’ Job 3:1-10

Job Speaks

If an enemy slanders us it hurts, but it hurts 1000 times more when brethren or close friends say we are guilty of a crime we never committed.

Here we have the lowest level in Jobs’s condition, in the first trial he still worshipped God, Job 1:20-21, in the second trial he did not sin with his lips, Job 2:10, but from now on he cannot be submissive any longer.

If his theology is correct, he is the worst of sinners, but he knows he is not and if he listens to the testimonies of his heart, that he is a sinner, then his whole theology that he has built his life upon must be wrong.

That theology in part is this, that only things like this happen to the sinful and the wicked, John 9:2. It is the same theology that his friends hold as well.

After seven days, and in despair because of his situation, Satan prepares a new temptation for him. Job broke the silence by cursing the day he was born, in numerous ways.

He personifies the day and night, God originally brought the light into existence out of darkness and so Job wishes that his life remained shrouded in darkness. As far as his birthdate is concerned, he would prefer if there was no such day.

The firm moorings of life are gone and his ship is adrift. He even calls on the mythology of his day to come forth and curse all that pertained to his existence.

The word, ‘Leviathan’ is used 5 times in the Old Testament, Job 41:1 / Psalm 74:14 / Psalm 104:26 / Isaiah 27:1. They are large aquatic animals, sea monsters.

Some biblical scholars say that they were real animals, others assume it is a mythical animal, basing their assumptions on old Canaanite and Phoenician literature in which a similar creature was known as Lothan, one capable of destroying world order and it was only the experts in magic that were able to conjure it up.

Job cries out of his soul because he doesn’t know what is happening to him. So there is a striking resemblance between Job here and Jeremiah, Jeremiah 20:14.

Although both wish they were never born they never contemplate suicide. They may question God’s wisdom but they won’t opt to take the precious life that God has given them.

‘Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed? For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest with kings and rulers of the earth, who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day? There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest. Captives also enjoy their ease; they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout. The small and the great are there, and the slaves are freed from their owners.’ Job 3:11-19

If the day of his birth cannot be blotted out, then he wishes he was stillborn.

Death is described as lying down, being quiet or at rest. Death in the Bible is spoken of as sleep, John 11:11-16 / 1 Thessalonians 4:14. The term sleep in these passages is used to describe death in the body.

Only the body sleeps in death, Daniel 12:2. It is clear that a part of a person that is placed in the ground sleeps, the body sleeps in death and not the spirit.

In the New Testament, the word for sleep is ‘koimaomai’, which literally means to lie down. The word, ‘koimeterion’ is used for strangers coming to lie down for the night at an inn.

The Old Testament’s understanding of death is not as full as the New, because of what is revealed in the New Testament, 2 Timothy 1:9-10. In the Old Testament references to ‘Sheol’, are used in the sense of the grave. So far as the early Hebrews understood, life ended in the grave, at death, Genesis 37:35 / Ecclesiastes 9:5 / 1 Samuel 28:19.

It comes from a root word meaning to penetrate or go down deep. When Job or his friends talk about death, they mean you are free from pain and misery, they mean no more life.

In death, kings and princes lie in rest from their burdens of leadership. If he could suffer death, he too would be at rest from his burdens. Even prisoners are free in prison from those who oppressed them outside prison. In death, the slave is free from the demands of his master.

Notice again, that Job never thought about suicide, he understood that it was God who gives and takes.

‘Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? For sighing has become my daily food; my groans pour out like water. What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job 3:20-26

Now Job asks the question, ‘why me Lord?’ He sees himself as a man groping in darkness not knowing where he is going or what he is about. Hedged in, hemmed in, in turmoil and misery.

Earlier Satan accused God of making a hedge around Job, Job 1:10, now Job uses the same terminology to blame God, for the first time, for his hedged position. He is struggling with his faith and begins to question his faith. If he hasn’t done before Job has certainly sinned with his lips now.

We can sympathise, but indeed his complaint is rash and abruptly spoken without much thought. Questioning God must not be rash or sinful.

The desperate utterances of Job here are not inspired by God. But it is an inspired record of what Job and his friends thought and said. What they say is not from God because they are not consistent with the truth, and sometime they may even border on blasphemy.

Although Satan is introduced as an adversary in the life of the Christian, 1 Peter 5:8, we must never forget that it is God who is controlling our existence and the existence of the universe, Genesis 18:25 / Ephesians 1:11-12.

Go To Job 4