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Deeper Commentary

Job 3:1 After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed the day of his birth- Job although righteous was representative of a condemned Israel, whose "days" were likewise "cursed" (s.w. Is. 65:20). This is the essence of the representative nature of the work of the Lord Jesus, the suffering servant who description took Job as its prototype. He was ultimately innocent and yet representative of a cursed people, and like Job, through His intercession for sinners He could bring salvation for them.

Job 3:2 Job responded-
The idea of 'response' is yet another indication that Job was present at the dialogue between God and the Satan.

Job 3:3 Let the day perish in which I was born, the night in which it was said, ‘There is a boy conceived’-
Heb. 'the night which said...'. He personifies darkness as a being, and sees himself as having been born out of that darkness. A great theme of the book of Job is that God brings light out of darkness, and is in control of the darkness; see on :4. 

Job 3:4 Let that day be darkness. Don’t let God from above seek for it, neither let the light shine on it-
Job sees a chasmic difference between light and darkness; but the end of the book reveals the truth specifically taught to the exiles in Is. 45:5-7, that both light and darkness were from God.  

Job 3:5 Let darkness and the shadow of death claim it for their own. Let a cloud dwell on it. Let all that makes black the day terrify it-
An allusion to the blackness caused by the desert sandstorms called "khamsin", which appeared to turn day into thick darkness. God noted that allusion, and appears at the end of the book in such a whirlwind, to reveal the light of His grace.


Job 3:6 As for that night, let thick darkness seize on it. Let it not rejoice among the days of the year. Let it not counted in the number of the months-
The "thick darkness" continues the allusion to the "khamsin" whirlwind sandstorm (see on :5), which brings a palpably "thick darkness".

Job 3:7 Behold, let that night be barren. Let no joyful voice come therein-
More than wishing that his existence and birth would be somehow cancelled, the desire that his day of birth be "barren" would suggest "let no one be born in it". The restoration prophecies repeatedly use the word for "joyful voice" to speak of the joy which would again come from the restoration of Zion (Is. 61:7; 65:14; Jer. 31:7 and often). The blackness of despair which Job experienced was that of the exiles, and yet it could all be turned around, as happened for Job.

Job 3:8 Let them curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan-
Job says that the friends who came to mourn with him were “ready to raise up Leviathan” – or, as it can also be translated with allusion to the friends, “to raise up their mourning” (see A.V.). They thought that Leviathan, the ‘Satan’ figure they believed was real, could be blamed. But Job continually sees God as the ultimate source of what had happened to him, and understood the whole matter in terms of ‘how can a man be just with God’ rather than ‘how can a man get Satan off his back?’. A key passage is Job 9:24: “If it be not he, who then is it?” (R.V.); or as the G.N.B. puts it: “If God didn’t do it, who did?”. After all the theories of ‘Who’s responsible for all this evil in Job’s life?’, Job concludes that the source simply has to be God – and not anyone else. See on Job 1:1; 9:24.

Job 3:9 Let the stars of its twilight be dark. Let it look for light, but have none, neither let it see the eyelids of the morning-
The stars of the morning rejoiced for joy at Israel's creation (Job 38:7 s.w. :7). Job wishes this to all be somehow annulled. But God's joy in creating His people would be finally justified in His restoration of them, as happened with Job. 

Job 3:10 because it didn’t shut up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor did it hide trouble from my eyes-
"Trouble" is the word used of Joseph's "trouble" (Gen. 41:51). Job was failing to see that his trouble had marvellously passed away and he was totally restored. God would save Israel from their "trouble" if they repented (Dt. 26:7 s.w.). "Trouble" is the word used in Is. 53:11 of the suffering servant's "travail of... soul". Again, Job was the prototype for the suffering servant.

Job 3:11 Why didn’t I die from the womb? Why didn’t I give up the spirit when my mother bore me?-
This whole depressive lament is more or less repeated by Jeremiah when in depression (Jer. 20:17,18). We can learn from that how we should turn to Biblical precedent and example even in the darkest times of depression. But further, we see how Job's experiences are again understood as the prototype for those of the righteous remnant at the time of Judah's sufferings at the hands of the Babylonians.


Job 3:12 Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breast, that I should nurse?-
Job in the nadir of depression wishes that his mother had not placed him as her newborn child on her knees, nor offered her breast to him.

Job 3:13 For now should I have lain down and been quiet. I should have slept, then I would have been at rest-
If Job had died as a newborn, he felt he would have "slept". He clearly understood death as unconsciousness, which shows that even in those early days, there was a clear understanding of death amongst the believers. For almost everyone else had ideas of an immortal soul consciously surviving death. But his whole argument is that death is unconsciousness. 

Job 3:14 with kings and counsellors of the earth, who built up waste places for themselves-
This is rather similar to the description of Babylon's king coming to the grave with "all the kings of the nations" in Isaiah 14. The depressed Jews in exile likewise saw their destiny beyond the grave as being identical with that of their Babylonian oppressors.

Job 3:15 or with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver-
Their houses could refer to their burial tombs.

Job 3:16 or as a hidden untimely birth I had not been, as infants who never saw light-
The description of Miriam in Num. 12:12 LXX is quoting from Job 3:16 LXX; as if both Job and Miriam represented apostate Israel. 

Job 3:17 There the wicked cease from troubling. There the weary are at rest-
Is. 57:20 identifies Job's troubled and 'not at rest' experience with that of the suffering, apostate Jews of the exile: "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt".

Job 3:18 There the prisoners are at ease together. They don’t hear the voice of the taskmaster-
Job in his depression feels as Israel suffering in Egypt (Ex. 3:7; 5:6,13), considering that death was the only way out of the misery of hearing the "voice of the taskmaster". But he fails to see that out of that misery they were redeemed and restored to their land. This is alluded to when attention is drawn to how God's creations "hear not the voice, the shouts and curses of the driver" (Job 39:7). God's people didn't have to "hear" the voice of the taskmaster; there was a way of redemption offered.

Job 3:19 The small and the great are there. The servant is free from his master-
Job was a master, but he now felt as a servant who wished to be free. Whose servant was he? Surely God's. Job even yearned to be free of God, a feeling he later expresses. But he never attempts to cut the ties totally; for he knows that by the nature of things, he can't. And he is later to be taught that those ties that bind were nothing less than God's love and saving grace.

Job 3:20 Why is light given-
Job recognizes that the light is a gift from God, and will be brought to realize throughout the book, and especially in the speeches of God and Elihu at the end, that the darkness likewise is a gift from Him. And this was the truth which the exiles had to learn (Is. 45:5-7 is addressed to them).

To him who is in misery, life to the bitter in soul- Hezekiah, a potential fulfilment of the suffering servant who was based upon Job, was likewise given life when he was "bitter in soul" (Is. 38:15,17).

Job 3:21 who long for death, but it doesn’t come; and dig for it more than for hidden treasures-
Job's desire for death was not fulfilled. And this stood for all time as a lesson of how the ties that bind in life, the sense of being hedged up and tied down in an unbearable position, are in fact the ties and cords of Divine love.

Job 3:22 who rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?-
This was in Job's imagination. For nobody surely commits suicide with joy, and a final fear of death is part of the human condition.

Job 3:23 Why is light given-
See on :20.

To a man whose way is hidden- see on Job 10:11,12; Is. 40:27. "Hidden" is "obscured" / "darkened", "placed under a cloud". Finally the cloud of the whirlwind appears at the end of the book and Job finally realizes that out of that comes the light of God's glory.

Whom God has hedged in?- Job is feeling confined, imprisoned, blocked in. But this was what happened to Judah in their judgment (Hos. 2:6); Job although righteous was the representative of Judah.


Job 3:24 For my sighing comes before I eat. My groanings are poured out like water-
But Job's "sighing" came to an end when he was restored. The same word is used of how the sighing of the captives in exile (Lam. 1:4,11,21,22) would likewise end when they were restored (Is. 35:10; 51:11).

Job 3:25 For the thing which I fear comes upon me, that of which I was afraid has happened to me-
Job's sufferings were a type of those of the Lord Jesus; and as for Job, so for the Lord, the sufferings of the cross were the thing which He had greatly feared all his life. Perhaps the thing which the Lord greatly feared, according to the Psalms, was feeling forsaken by God. And true enough to the Job type, this came upon Him.

Job 3:26 I was not at ease, neither was I quiet, neither had I rest; but trouble came
- There are some very evident ways in which Job spiritually grew. Here he originally says that his life previous to his afflictions had not been a life of ease; but as a result of his suffering, he realized that actually it had been "at ease" (Job 16:12).