The Trial of Job

Chapter 3

Job curses the day and services of his birth, 1-12. The ease of death, 13-19. He complains of life because of his anguish, 20-26.

1 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed his day. 2 And Job spoke, and said,

"Let the day perish in which I was born,/
and the night in which it was said,/
'There is a male child conceived.'

Let that day be darkness./
Do not let God regard it from above,/
neither let the light shine upon it.

Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it./
Let a cloud dwell upon it./
Let the blackness of the day terrify it.

As for that night, let darkness seize upon it./
Do not let it be joined to the days of the year./
Do not let it come into the number of the months.

Behold, let that night be solitary./
Let no joyful voice come therein.

Let them curse it who curse the day,/
who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.

Let the stars of its twilight be dark./
Let it look for light, but have none,/
neither let it see the dawning of the day,

10 Because it did not prevent my birth,/
nor hide sorrow from my eyes.

11 Why did I not die from the womb?/
Why did I not expire at the time of my birth?

12 Why did the knees receive me,/
or why the breasts so that I should be nursed?

13 For now I should have lain still and been quiet./
I should have slept. Then I would have been at rest,

14 With kings and counselors of the earth/
who built desolate places for themselves,

15 Or with princes who had gold,/
who filled their houses with silver.

16 Or why was I not as a hidden untimely birth,/
as infants which never saw light?

17 There the wicked cease from troubling,/
and there the weary are at rest.

18 There the prisoners rest together./
They do not hear the voice of the oppressor.

19 The small and great are there,/
and the servant is free from his master.

20 Why is light given to him who is in misery,/
and life to the bitter in soul,

21 Who long for death, but it does not come,/
and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,

22 Who rejoice exceedingly/
and are glad when they can find the grave?

23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hid/
and whom God has hedged in?

24 For my sighing comes before I eat,/
and my roarings are poured out like the waters.

25 For the thing which I greatly feared has come upon me,/
and that which I dreaded has come to me.

26 I was not in safety, neither did I have rest,/
neither was I quiet, yet trouble came."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 3[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

In this chapter we have an account of Job's cursing the day of his birth, and the night of his conception (verses 1-3); first the day, to which he wishes the most extreme darkness (verses 4-5); then the night, to which he wishes the same and that it might be destitute of all joy, and be cursed by others as well as by himself (verses 6-9); The reasons follow, because it did not prevent his coming into the world, and because he did not die on it (verses 10-12); which would, as he judged, have been a happiness to him; and this he illustrates by the still and quiet state of the dead, the company they are with, and their freedom from all trouble, oppression, and bondage (verses 13-19); but however, since it was otherwise with him, he desires his life might not be prolonged, and expostulates about the continuance of it (verses 20-23); and this by reason of his present troubles, which were many and great, and came upon him as he feared they would, and which had made him uneasy in his prosperity (verses 24-26).

[v.1] - "his day" - That is, the day of his birth.

[v.3a] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "Let us observe it, to the honor of the spiritual life above the natural, that though many have cursed the day of their first birth, never any cursed the day of their new birth, nor wish they never had had grace, and the Spirit of grace, given them... Job cursed his day, but he did not curse his God—was weary of his life, and would gladly have parted with that, but not weary of his religion; he resolutely cleaves to that, and will never let it go."

[v.3b] - Reference, Jeremiah 20:10, 14.

[v.5] - An alternate reading of this verse is as follows: "Let darkness and thick shadow overwhelm it. Let it be overcovered with clouds. And let the heat of the day burn it up."

[v.8] - "who are ready to rouse up Leviathan" - This text may also be rendered as, "who fall mourning."

[v.9] - "the dawning of the day" - Literally, "the eye-lids of the morning."

[v.11-12] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "What a weak and helpless creature man is when he comes into the world, and how slender the thread of life is when it is first drawn. What a merciful and tender care divine Providence took of us at our entrance into the world. What a great deal of vanity and vexation of spirit attends human life. If we had not a God to serve in this world, and better things to hope for in another world, considering the faculties we are endued with and the troubles we are surrounded with, we should be strongly tempted to wish that we had died from the womb."

[v.13] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "To desire to die that we may be with Christ, that we may be free from sin, and that we may be closed upon with our house which is from heaven, is the effect and evidence of grace; but to desire to die only that we may be quiet in the grave, and delivered from the troubles of this life, savors of corruption."

[v.17] - "the weary" - Literally, "the wearied in strength."

[v.19] - "The small and great are there" - This text may also be read as, "There the great and small are equal..."

[v.20-22] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "The continuance and period of life must be according to God's will, not according to ours. It is not fit that we should be consulted how long we would live and when we would die; our times are in a better hand than our own... It may be a sin to long for death, but I am sure it is no sin to long for heaven."

[v.21] - "long" - Or, "wait."

[v.23-26] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "To be thus impatient of life for the sake of the troubles we meet with is not only unnatural in itself, but ungrateful to the giver of life. Grace teaches us, in the midst of life's great comforts, to be willing to die, and, in the midst of its greatest crosses, to be willing to live."

[v.26] - "safety" - Or, "prosperity."