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“O that I had gone out of the world before I was observed to have been in it.
“ Verse 19. ' I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.'
“ Such a quick passage out of this world would have prevented me from tasting the cup of sufferings of which I have drunk so deep: there would have been little trouble with me in this world.
“ Thus Job is again renewing his desire of death ; from which learn, that while the same stock of corruption remains in us, it will produce the same corrupt fruit as often as occasion and temptation offers.
“ Verse 20. “ Are not my days few ? Cease then and let me alone, that I may
take comfort a little.'
“ From the consideration of the shortness of life, and that much of his time was already gone, Job founds a petition for a mitigation or removal of his troubles. He seems to look upon himself as besieged or straitened with his afflictions, and he prays that God would grant a cessation, and give him some comfort the short time he had to remain.
“ It is said, Ps. Ixxxix. 47, · Remember how short
my time is : wherefore hast thou made all inen in vain?' Lord I have but a few days, and shall they be nothing but clouds and darkness ? While thine hand is upon me, the comfort and help of creatures is all in vain.
“ Hence learn the necessity of performing every duty in its season ; the fully of being
anxious to obtain the perishing things of this world; and that we should bear patiently our crosses as they pass along. But, above all, it points out the sin and danger of delaying to seek an interest in Christ, and so live ready for death and judgment.
Happy they who are taught of God so to number their days as to apply their hearts unto wisdom. They who are low make low demands.
“ Job only seeks comfort a little ; but why is he in such haste ? Besides that his days are few, he gives another reason in the next verse.
« Verse 21. . Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death.'
“A strange journey indeed, from which there is no hope of returning Job believed a resurrection by the power of God, but he knew there was no returning to this world, and to the business and enjoyments of it ; and that is the reason why men are so unwilling to depart.
“ It is the hope of being ever with the Lord in a house not made with hands, that makes the saints so cheerfully leave every present enjoyment, and put off the clay tabernacle without a sigh, to go to the land of darkness, save for the friends they leave behind.
- Verse 22.: A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, with'out any order, and where the light is as dark
“ This is the place where death dwells, and here is a description of it which exceeds the
fancy of poets, and the rhetoric of heathen orators. The spirit of God riseth to the height of eloquence in exhibiting that unpleasant region.
- The state of the dead is without any order, as it hath no changes. There is no difference in the grave between night and day, winter or summer, &c. and there is no rule in dying Here a child, and there a man ; here a rich man, and there a beggar; and as there is no order in going thither, so there is no distinction there : all mingle with the dust. How terrible is death and the grave to those who live and die in sin, and how should the hearts of believers be filled with gratitude to Christ, who, by his death, hath taken away the sting of death, and perfumed the grave for his people.
“ Thus Job concludes his reply to Bildad, and complains to God that his afflictions are continued.
“ In his replies to the following speakers his grace is often very conspicuous, yet his corrup. tion sometimes appears.
« Verse 1. " Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said.'
“ His name imports a walchman, and his designation signifies pleasant.
“ Like Eliphaz and Bildad, he first reproves Job, and then counsels him.
- Verse 2.5 Should not the multitude of words be answered ? and should a man full of talk be justified ?'
Eloquence is a gift of God, but verbosity is the vanity of man; sometimes it is a sin in the speaker, and a burden to the hearers ; but, in some cases, many words may be spoken and all few enough. We have no reason to think that Paul spake one word too many, though he continued his speech until midnight. To teach us to be more ready to hear than to speak, God has given us two ears and but one tongue.
“ When we speak much we are in danger of offending much; and he who has nothing but words to support him must needs fall.
“ Verse 3. • Should thy lies make men hold their peace ?' It is noble to show ourselves friends to truth, though we lose friends by it; and we must oppose error, though we get enemies by it. At sometimes it is prudent to be silent; but we must never forbear to testify against a lie, whether verbal, doctrinal, or practical.
666 And when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed ?'
“ Multitude of words is ill enough, and lies are far worse, but to mock is worst of all. Some say, Shall no man confute thee, and so put thee to shame?
“ Mockers shall be put to shame. Though they escape the censure they merit from men, they shall not escape the judgments of God.
- When truth is honoured it is easy to own it; but it is our duty and greatest honour to avow our attachment to Christ and his truths when they are despised and derided. It is no new thing for him that speaks truth to be counted a liar, or such as speak seriously to be reproached as mockers. Zophar gives the reason of this charge. - Verse 4. - For thou hast said
doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.'
Zophar manages his discourse more like an accuser than a comforter. He uses Job's words in a sense that he never intended. We are apt to put unsound glosses upon the words both of God and man.
“ Thus Zophar interpreted these words as a reflection upon the justice of God by Job.
“ Verse 5. • But O that God would speak, and open his lips against thee.'
“ As if Zophar had said, it is now my turn to speak unto thee, but I should rejoice if God would grant the petition thou hast presented to him, chap. ix. 15, and x. 2, even vouchsafe to speak unto thee himself; and I am certain, that as soon as he manifests himself to thee, and shows thee what thou art, thy courage will fail; for thou canst not stand a day of trial.
“ He is a wise man that keeps a lock and key at his lips: the lock of silence, and the key of discretion, to shut and open the lock upon every proper occasion of speech and silence.
“ The word of God in the hand of the spirit is invincible. O that God would speak.