JOB'S DEATH WISH
New American Standard Version, Updated
(C)opyright 1995 by the Lockman Foundation
This speech must be compared
with Job's last speech to his friends. In that speech Job displays,
in a strange way, a desire to live. In his suffering he grows from
a wish for death to a wish for life.
|Afterward Job opened his mouth and cursed
the day of his birth.
And Job said,
|I. Editor's Summary: The Cursing of the Day of Birth
1. In this section Job comes very close
to doing what Satan wagered.
2. What he did do was curse God's way and work.
3. What he did not do is curse God.
4. It is of interest that the word (qalal/is
only found on the lips of Job in this book (3:1, 7:6, 9:25, 24:18, 40:4).
|Let the day perish on which I was to be born,
And the night which said, 'A boy is conceived.'
| A. A General Curse of His
Birth and Conception
5. Compare this verse with the NIV version.
How does the NIV version remove the reference to sexual activity?
|May that day be darkness;
Let not God above care for it,
Nor light shine on it.
Let darkness and black gloom claim it;
Let a cloud settle on it;
Let the blackness of the day terrify it.
| B. The Specific
Curse of the Day of His Birth
6. What Job is asking for is that
God undo the created order on his behalf. As you read the speeches
of Job's friends see if they make this point.
|As for that night, let darkness seize it;
Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; Let it
not come into the number of the months.
Behold, let that night be barren;
Let no joyful shout enter it.
Let those curse it who curse the day,
Who are prepared to rouse Leviathan.
Let the stars of its twilight be darkened;
Let it wait for light but have none,
And let it not see the breaking dawn;
The Specific Curse of the Night of His Conception
7. Not only a curse but a curse upon his
parents sexual pleasure (i.e.. the joyful shout)
8. Please note that to Job Leviathan is a demonic
character that is invoked in curses. The last topic that God covers
is Leviathan. Leviathan is going to be understood in that context
in the same way as he is presented here. Read the Leviathan section
and see what God says about arousing him (Job 41). Again we see that
in dealing with his creatures whether good (Job) or evil (Satan) God returns
a creatures words to him.
|Because it did not shut the opening of my mother's womb,
Or hide trouble from my eyes.
|| D. The Reason for the Curse
9. It is of interest that Job wanted
all of his life obliterated, both the good and the bad, because the evil
was so great.
|Why did I not die at birth,
Come forth from the womb and expire?
Why did the knees receive me,
And why the breasts, that I should suck?
|II. The Cursing of Self: Why did I Not Die
A. The Questioning of His
10. Usually the scene described
for us is considered to be one of beauty. When a child was born the
mother would be in a squatting position, draw the newly born child on to
her lap, and offer the child the breast. It was a moment of intense
|For now I would have lain down and been quiet;
I would have slept then, I would have been at rest,
| B. The Result: Peace for a Weary
11. Comparatively speaking his pain was greater
than the pain his mother would have felt if he had died at birth.
The despair of a mother losing an infant would have been better than his
|With kings and with counselors
of the earth,
Who rebuilt ruins for themselves;
Or with princes who had gold,
Who were filling their houses with silver.
| C. People With Whom He would Share
12. The point seems to be that all
find rest from earthly endeavors in death.
13. These appear to be people
who his culture would call successful, but they too are victims of death
and life. In life they did great things, but were brought down.
|Or like a miscarriage which is discarded,
I would not be,
As infants that never saw light.
There the wicked cease from raging,
And there the weary are at rest.
The prisoners are at ease together;
They do not hear the voice of the taskmaster
2. The Small
14. The would represent people
who were unsuccessful in life, but for whom death gave them a reward of
freedom. They were the victims not only of life, but of the preceding
|.The small and the great are there,
And the slave is free from his master.
The Conclusion of the Section
|Why is alight given
to him who suffers,
And life to the bitter of soul,
Who along for death, but there is none,
And dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
Who rejoice greatly,
And exult when they find the grave?
Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
And whom God has hedged in?
|III. Why Do People
Like Me Continue to Live?
A. His Questioning
15 The section seems to look
at Job as not an isolated incident, but as a part of a larger group.
16. Notice that Job maybe has been hearing Satan's
temptation. Satan in his first encounter with God had accused Job
of hedging (hedging = building a barrier around) Job in to keep evil
out, but here Job uses the same idea to describe the barrier that keeps
evil in. God has thus been maligned by both Job and Satan.
This speech of Job in my opinion is as close as Job comes to saying what
Satan wants and this phrase is the worst part of this speech.
|For my groaning comes at the sight
of my food,
And my cries pour out like water.
For what I fear comes upon me,
And what I dread befalls me.
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet,
And I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.
| B. His Condition: Physical &
17. If modern medical and psychological
principles were applied to him what would the doctors of those disciplines
say of his condition?
18. A question I have is whether or not Job
is only referring to his immediate condition when he speaks of what he
fears or is he speaking of the larger context? Remember he feared
his children would be condemned by God for their parties and he would take
measures to prevent that. What he dreaded came upon him: his children
were struck down while partying. My answer is that it is an ongoing
process starting with his children and moving into his paranoid present.