After this opened Job his mouth - After the seven days' mourning was over, there being no prospect of relief, Job is represented as thus cursing the day of his birth. Here the poetic part of the book begins; for most certainly there is nothing in the preceding chapters either in the form or spirit of Hebrew poetry. It is easy indeed to break the sentences into hemistichs; but this does not constitute them poetry: for, although Hebrew poetry is in general in hemistichs, yet it does not follow that the division of narrative into hemistichs must necessarily constitute it poetry.
In many cases the Asiatic poets introduce their compositions with prose narrative; and having in this way prepared the reader for what he is to expect, begin their deevans, cassidehs, gazels, etc. This appears to be the plan followed by the author of this book. Those who still think, after examining the structure of those chapters, and comparing them with the undoubted poetic parts of the book, that they also, and the ten concluding verses, are poetry, have my consent, while I take the liberty to believe most decidedly the opposite.
Cursed his day - That is, the day of his birth; and thus he gave vent to the agonies of his soul, and the distractions of his mind. His execrations have something in them awfully solemn, tremendously deep, and strikingly sublime. But let us not excuse all the things which he said in his haste, and in the bitterness of his soul, because of his former well established character of patience. He bore all his privations with becoming resignation to the Divine will and providence: but now, feeling himself the subject of continual sufferings, being in heaviness through manifold temptation, and probably having the light of God withdrawn from his mind, as his consolations most undoubtedly were, he regrets that ever he was born; and in a very high strain of impassioned poetry curses his day. We find a similar execration to this in Jeremiah, Jeremiah 20:14-18, and in other places; which, by the way, are no proofs that the one borrowed from the other; but that this was the common mode of Asiatic thinking, speaking, and feeling, on such occasions.
After this - Dr. Good renders this, “at length.” It means after the long silence of his friends, and after he saw that there was no prospect of relief or of consolation.
Opened Job his mouth - The usual formula in Hebrew to denote thc commencement of a speech; see Matthew 5:2. Schultens contends that it means boldness and vehemency of speech, παῤῥησία parrēsia or an opening of the mouth for the purpose of accusing, expostulating, or complaining; or to begin to utter some sententious, profound, or sublime maxim; and in support of this he appeals to Psalm 78:2, ard Proverbs 8:6. There is probably, however nothing more intended than to begin to speak. It is in accordance with Oriental views, where an act of speaking is regarded as a grave and important matter, and is entered on with much deliberation. Blackwell (Life of Homer, p. 43) remarks that the Turks, Arabs, Hindoos, and the Orientals in general, have little inclination to society and to general conversation, that they seldom speak, and that their speeches are sententious and brief, unless they are much excited. With such men, to make a speech is a serious matter, as is indicated by the manner in which their discourses are commonly introduced: “I will open my mouth,” or they “opened the mouth,” implying great deliberation and gravity. This phrase occurs often in Homer, Hesiod, Orpheus, and in Virgil (compare Aeneid vi. 75), as well as in the Bible. See Burder, in Rosenmuller‘s Morgenland, “in loc.”
And cursed his day - The word rendered “curse” here, קלל qâlal is different from that used in Job 1:11; Job 2:9. It is the proper word to denote “to curse.” The Syriac adds, “the day in which he was born.” A similar expression occurs in Klopstock‘s Messias, Ges. iii.
Wenn nun, aller Kinder beraubt, die verzweifelude Mutter,
Wuthend dem Tag. an dem sie gebahr, und gebohren ward, fluchet.
“When now of all her children robbed, the desperate mother enraged
Curses the day in which she bare, and was borne.”
While thus giving way to your feelings, did you remember that you had a Father in heaven who gave His only Son to die for us that death might not be an eternal sleep? Did you remember that the Lord of life and glory passed through the tomb and brightened it with His own presence? Said the beloved disciple: “Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” The apostle well knew what he was talking about when he wrote these words; but when you give way to uncontrollable grief, is your conduct consistent with the comfort which they express? 5T 313.1
The Lord is gracious, merciful, and true. He has permitted the one of your household band who was the most innocent and the best prepared to rest through the perils of the last days. Oh! do not shut up your souls against melody and joy, mourning as though there were to be no resurrection of the dead, but praise God that for her there is no more death, no more trial, no more sorrow. She rests in Jesus until the Life-giver shall call forth His sleeping saints to a glorious immortality. 5T 313.2
F has a work to do, through the grace of God, to control her feelings. She knows that she is not in heaven, but in a world where death reigns and where our loved ones may be removed from us at any moment. She should feel that the great burden of life is to prepare for a better world. If she has a right hold on eternal life, it will not disqualify her for living in this world and nobly bearing life's burdens, but it will help her in the performance of self-denying, self-sacrificing duties. 5T 314.1Read in context »