Job Chapter 10
Verses 1-7: Job correctly identified himself as “not wicked”, but he hid his increasingly strong declaration of innocence in accusations against God.
Job 10:1 “My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.”
Compare the note at (Job 7:16). The margin here is: “cut off while I live.” The meaning in the margin is in accordance with the interpretation of Schultens. The Chaldee also renders it in a similar way: My soul is cut off. But the more correct interpretation is that in our common version; and the sense is that his soul or that he himself was disgusted with life. It was a weary burden, and he wished to die.
“I will leave my complaint upon myself”: The literal sense is, I will give way to it; I will not restrain it (compare Job 7:11).
“I will speak in the bitterness of my soul” (see the notes (Job 7:11).
Job begins this by saying that he really did not want to live in the pain and suffering. His worst pain was that of his heart feeling that he might have displeased God. He was sick in his soul with bitterness toward his hopeless life.
Job 10:2 “I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; show me wherefore thou contendest with me.”
“Condemn me”: Not the condemnation of Job’s soul, but Job’s physical suffering as a punishment. He held nothing back in his misery (verse 1), but asked God to show him why all this had happened.
Job wanted to know what God had condemned him for that he might repent. He loved God so much that he wanted to be back in fellowship with God. I do not believe that Job even cared about all of the wealth. His hurt was that he might have unknowingly offended God.
Job 10:3 “[Is it] good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?”
“The work of thine hands”: This is a biblical expression identifying what someone produces, in this case man, as created by God (compare 14:15; Psalm 102:25; Heb. 1:10).
Job believed that God was oppressing him, who had spent his time doing the will of God and had let the wicked go free. Job had no idea what was going on.
Verses 4-7: “Seest thou as man seeth”: Because he believed he was innocent, Job facetiously, somewhat sarcastically, asked if God was as limited in His ability to discern Job’s spiritual condition as were Job’s friends. He concluded by affirming that God did know he was innocent and that there was no higher court of appeal (verse 7).
Job 10:4 “Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?”
No, “eyes of flesh” cannot see in the dark: but darkness hides not from God. Eyes of flesh are but in one place at a time, and can see but a little way. But the eyes of the Lord are in every place, and run to and fro through the whole earth. Eyes of flesh will shortly be darkened by age, and shut up by death. But the eyes of God are ever the same, nor does his sight ever decay.
“Or seest thou as man”: Man sees the outside only, and judges by appearances: but thou seest my heart.
Job was expressing the superiority of God to man here. His eyes were not as those of man. God sees into the heart of man. Man can only see the physical. God sees into the heart and soul, as well as the physical. He is above man, and His judgements are above man’s.
Job 10:5 “[Are] thy days as the days of man? [are] thy years as man’s days,”
In short-lived man, shortsightedness and prejudice are excusable, but not in one whose days are unlike man’s days who’s “years endure throughout all generations” (Psalm 102:24). Such a one ought to be above all human infirmity.
“Are thy years as man’s days?” We should have expected “as man’s years.” But it marks the disparity more strongly to say, “Are thy years not greater in number even than man’s (literally, “a strong man’s) days?”
Of course, the answer to this is no. God is eternal. Man’s days are numbered. Most of mankind can expect to live about 70 years on the earth. God is forever. He is the Beginning and the Ending.
Job 10:6 “That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?”
Art thou governed by human passions and prejudices, that thou dost thus seem to search out every little obliquity and error? Job here evidently refers to the conduct of man in strictly marking faults, and in being unwilling to forgive. And he asks whether it is possible that God could be governed by such feelings as these.
Job 10:7 “Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and [there is] none that can deliver out of thine hand.”
Or “in”, or “upon thy knowledge it is that I am not wicked”. It is a thing well known, quite clear, and manifest, without making such a search and inquiry. Not that he thought himself without sin, and could appeal to the omniscience of God for the truth of that. For he had confessed before that he was a sinner, and wicked, as to his nature and birth, and the many infirmities of life (see Job 7:20). But that he was not that wicked person, and a hypocrite, as his friends took him to be, and as might be concluded from the sore afflictions that were upon him. He did not live in sin, nor indulge himself in a vicious course of life. Sin did not have dominion over him, and he had not secretly cherished any reigning iniquity, and lived in the commission of it. And for the truth of this he could appeal to the searcher of hearts.
“And there is none that can deliver out of thine hand”: That is, out of his afflicting hand, until he is pleased to release him from it himself. For this is not to be understood of deliverance from the avenging hand of justice, from hell and wrath, and everlasting destruction. For there is one that can and does deliver his people from sin and Satan; from the world, the law, its curses and condemnation, and from wrath to come.
In the very same statement that Job said God inquirest of Job’s iniquity. He said God knew that he was not wicked. The heart of Job was pure. Job also knew that no one could deliver him out of the hands of God.
Verses 8-12: Again, he returned to the question “Why was I born?” The answer that God had created him is given in magnificent language, indicating that life begins at conception.
Job could not fathom why God would give him life and bother to have cared for his well-being in the past, only to “destroy” him now (Psalm 119:73). He likened such treatment to a cheese maker pouring out “milk” and giving it time to “curdle, only to discard it (10:10).
Job 10:8 “Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.”
I.e. all of me; all the faculties of my soul, and all the parts of my body, which are now overspread with sores and ulcers. I am wholly thy creature and workmanship, made by thee and for thee.
“Thou dost destroy me”: Or swallow me up, to wit, without cause, or any eminent provocation of mine. As if thou does delight in doing and undoing, in making and then destroying your creatures which does not become thy wisdom or goodness.
Job 10:9 “Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?”
I.e. of the clay; the note of similitude here expressing the truth of things (as it does John 1:14), and elsewhere. Or, as a potter maketh a vessel of the clay; and so this may note both the frailty of man’s nature. Which of itself decays and perishes, and doth not need such violent shocks and storms to overthrow it. And the excellency of the Divine artifice, commended from the meanness of the materials out of which it was made. Which is an argument why God should not destroy it.
“Wilt thou bring me into dust again?” Will You now causelessly and violently destroy thy own work? But the words are and may be read without an interrogation.
“And thou wilt bring me into dust again”: Out of which I was made: I must die by the course of nature, and by the sentence of thy law; and therefore while I do live give me some ease and comfort.
Job was aware that he was no more than putty in the hands of the LORD. The LORD made him, and the LORD could destroy that clay and start again. Job was saying in this, “I am in your hands to do with as you wish”. The Creator can do with His creation as He wishes.
Verses 10-11: A reference to the development of the embryo from its origin in the womb.
Job 10:10 “Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?”
Thus he modestly and accurately describes God’s admirable work in forming the fetus in the womb, out of a small and liquid substance, gradually coagulated and condensed. As milk is curdled into cheese, into the exquisite frame of man’s body.
Job 10:11 “Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.”
Covered my inward and nobler parts, which are first formed. So he proceeds in describing man’s formation gradually.
“And fenced me with bones”: The stay and strength of the body; and some of them, as the skull and ribs, enclose and defend its vital parts.
Job was fully aware that God started with a shapeless form and made him. His skin and flesh were brought on to the bones that God had formed. He was but a clay doll, until God breathed the breath of life into him. His body, spirit, and soul were all from God.
Job 10:12 “Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.”
Thou didst not only give me a curious body, but also a reasonable soul: thou did at first give me life, and then maintain it in me. Both when I was in the womb, (which is a marvelous work of God), and afterward, when I was unable to do anything to preserve my own life.
“And favor”: Thou didst not give mere life, but many other favors, such as nourishment by the breast, education, knowledge, and instruction.
“Thy visitation”: The care of thy providence watching over me for my good, and visiting me in mercy.
“Preserved my spirit”: My life, which is liable to manifold dangers, if God did not watch over us every day and moment. Thou hast since done great things for me, given me life, and the blessings of life, and daily deliverances. And will you now undo all that you have done? And shall I, who have been such an eminent monument of thy mercy, now be a spectacle of thy vengeance.
Job using words like “granted” showed that he knew his very existence was of God. He looked back with appreciation to the wonderful life he had before, and realized it was by the grace of God.
Verses 13-16: Job wondered if God had planned in His divine purpose not to be merciful to him.
Job 10:13 “And these [things] hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this [is] with thee.”
Job implies that his sense of God’s goodness is embittered by the thought that while showing him such kindness, He had in reserve for him the trials and sorrows under which he was then laboring. while showering good upon him, He intended eventually to overwhelm him with affliction. This was the purpose He had hidden in His heart.
This is speaking of the foreknowledge of God, who knows everything even before it happens. Job was not complaining to God about his troubles, but was saying that God knew about them.
Job 10:14 “If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.”
If I commit the least sin.
“Then thou markest me”: Thou does not connive at, or pass by my sins, but does severely and diligently observe them all, that thou mayest punish me.
“And thou wilt not acquit from my iniquity”: Pardon, pity, and help me, but are resolved to punish me with rigor: words of great impatience and distrust. But he was so oppressed and overwhelmed with his troubles that it seems he could not look up with any comfort or confidence. Without were fighting’s, within were fears, so that between both he was full of confusion.
Job had been fully aware that the wages of sin was death. He was careful to sacrifice for his children in the chance that they might have sinned. He was fully aware of the penalty for sin. He tried to live a righteous life.
Job 10:15 “If I be wicked, woe unto me; and [if] I be righteous, [yet] will I not lift up my head. [I am] full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;”
Meaning an ungodly hypocrite, as my friends esteem me, then I am truly and extremely, and must be eternally, miserable.
“Righteous”: I.e. an upright and good man: so, whether good or bad, all comes to one; I have no relief.
“Yet will I not lift up my head”: Or, yet can I not, the future tense being used potentially. Yet I have no comfort, nor confidence, or hopes of any good. Lifting up the head or face is oft mentioned as a sign of comfort and confidence (as Psalm 3:3 Luke 21:28). As, on the contrary, grief and shame are described by its dejection or casting down.
“Confusion”: Or reproach, from my friends, and from others (Job 30:1). And from God too, who casts me off, and makes me contemptible. I have abundance of shame in the disappointment of all my hopes, and the continuance and aggravation of my misery, notwithstanding all my prayers to God to remove or mitigate it. And I am confounded within myself, not knowing what to say or do. Let my extremity move thee to pity and help me.
Job was confused because he knew he was not a wicked man. He was willing to accept punishment for sins that he committed. He did not quite understand, if God said he was righteous, why he must pay for sins he did not commit. In this again, he was a type of Christ who paid the price for sin on the cross, for every one of us when He had not sinned.
Job 10:16 “For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou showest thyself marvelous upon me.”
“As a fierce lion”: God is compared to a lion who savagely pursues his prey.
Job’s disease did not get any better, it just seemed to get worse every day. The sufferings of Job were not just ordinary diseases of their day. They were marvelous in that they were unknown.
Job 10:17 “Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war [are] against me.”
“Renewest thy witnesses”: Job said God seemed to be sending people to accuse him. With each witness came another wave of condemnation and increased suffering.
It seemed to Job that everything was happening to him at once. His animals and servants were lost in a war of sorts. His own friends had witnessed against him. The indignation of God seemed to be upon him, because his plight was worse and worse.
Verses 18-22: Since he had not been “carried” from the “womb” to the grave, Job asked for peace in his remaining days, and a peaceful path to “the grave”.
Job 10:18 “Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!”
“Brought me forth out of the womb”: Job returned to the question of why God allowed him to be born. This time he was not just lamenting the day of his birth, but he was asking God for the reason He allowed it to occur.
Job 10:19 “I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.”
So short an existence would have been the next thing to no existence at all, and would have equally satisfied my wishes.
This was just another way of saying, “Why was I ever born”?
Verses 20-22: “Since I was destined to these ills from my birth, at least give me a little breathing room during the brief days left to me, before I die,” he said. Death was gloomily described as “darkness.”
Job 10:20 “[Are] not my days few? cease [then, and] let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,”
My life is short, and of itself hastens apace to an end. There is no need that thou should push it forward, or grudge me some ease for so small a moment.
“Let me alone”: or, lay aside, or remove, thy hand or anger from me.
Job felt that he was near death and he wished that God would let him die now and stop some of this suffering. He was asking God to shorten his life.
Job 10:21 “Before I go [whence] I shall not return, [even] to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;”
“The land of darkness”: A reference to death.
Job was not speaking of heaven here, but of the darkness of the grave. He was even thinking that God might have found wrong in him so great, that he would go to hell when he died.
Job 10:22 “A land of darkness, as darkness [itself; and] of the shadow of death, without any order, and [where] the light [is] as darkness.”
Job did not deny that as a sinner he deserved his sufferings; but he thought that justice was executed upon him with peculiar rigor. His gloom, unbelief, and hard thoughts of God, were as much to be ascribed to Satan’s inward temptations, and his anguish of soul, under the sense of God’s displeasure, as to his outward trials, and remaining depravity. Our Creator, come in Christ our Redeemer also, will not destroy the work of his hands in any humble believer; but will renew him unto holiness, that he may enjoy eternal life. If anguish on earth renders the grave a desirable refuge, what will be their condition who are condemned to the blackness of darkness for ever? Let every sinner seek deliverance from that dreadful state, and every believer be thankful to Jesus, who deliverers from the wrath to come.
It was almost as if Job was saying, if I am going to hell where there is no light and all is total confusion, why delay it? Just let me go on and get this over with.
Job Chapter 10 Questions
- How did Job begin this chapter?
- What was his worst pain?
- Job wanted to know what God had ______________ him for.
- What did Job really care about, if it was not the loss of his wealth?
- Who did Job believe was oppressing him?
- What did Job call himself in verse 3?
- What is the answer to those questions?
- What can God see, that man cannot see?
- God is ___________.
- What is the approximate life span of mankind?
- In verse 7, Job said, “Thou knowest I am not _________”.
- Job was aware that he was no more than ______ in the hands of the LORD.
- The Creator can do with His __________ as He wishes.
- What did Job say that God started with, when he made him?
- What does “granted”, in verse 12, show?
- Verse 13 is speaking of the ________________ of God.
- If I sin, then thou __________ me.
- The wages of sin is _________.
- If I be wicked, ______ unto me.
- Job was confused because he knew he was not a _________ man.
- How was he a type of Christ, here?
- Thou huntest me as a fierce _________.
- It seemed that Job felt that everything was happening to him ___ ________.
- In verse 21 and 22, what is this place of darkness?