Job 3

Job 3

Job Laments His Birth

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said:

  “Let the day perish on which I was born,
    and the night that said,
    ‘A man is conceived.’
  Let that day be darkness!
    May God above not seek it,
    nor light shine upon it.
  Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.
    Let clouds dwell upon it;
    let the blackness of the day terrify it.
  That night—let thick 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 cry enter it.
  Let those curse it who curse the day,
    who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.
  Let the stars of its dawn be dark;
    let it hope for light, but have none,
    nor see the eyelids of the morning,
  because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb,
    nor hide trouble from my eyes.
  “Why did I not die at birth,
    come out from the womb and expire?
  Why did the knees receive me?
    Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?
  For then I would have lain down and been quiet;
    I would have slept; then I would have been at rest,
  with kings and counselors of the earth
    who rebuilt ruins for themselves,
  or with princes who had gold,
    who filled their houses with silver.
  Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child,
    as infants who never see the light?
  There the wicked cease from troubling,
    and there the weary are at rest.
  There the prisoners are at ease together;
    they hear not the voice of the taskmaster.
  The small and the great are there,
    and the slave is free from his master.
  “Why is light given to him who is in misery,
    and life to the bitter in soul,
  who long for death, but it comes not,
    and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
  who rejoice exceedingly
    and are glad when they find the grave?
  Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
    whom God has hedged in?
  For my sighing comes instead of my bread,
    and my groanings are poured out like water.
  For the thing that I fear comes upon me,
    and what I dread befalls me.
  I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
    I have no rest, but trouble comes.”


Job 3 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

In this chapter, we see the pendulam swing completely in the opposite direction from where it began. The Job we were introduced to (who didn’t sin or charge God with any wrongdoing) has now allowed his deepest wounds to be verbalized.

He finally lets loose and the emotions that have been flooding his mind come rushing out. He wishes he was never born. He wishes he would have died as soon as he was born. He complains that he must continue to endure this life in pure misery. His bold and scathing response reveals just how low his heart has sunk.

Job’s target is his “day” and not his God. Though one could argue his heart was indirectly calling out God. This onslaught of his “day” includes cursing everything about the day he was born. In ancient times, it was believed that you could reverse the order of the universe by undoing each stage. It was also believed that the 7-day creation was similar to the creation of a person. This is why Job’s language contrasts the creation account and follows a specific day-by-day pattern.

Day I
Let it be darkness (Job 3:4)
Let there be light (Gen 1:3)

Day II
May God above not care about it (Job 3:4)
So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above the expanse (Gen 1:6)

Day IV
That night … let it not be counted in the days of the year (Job 3:6)
Let there be light … to divide between the day and the night and let them be signs … for years (Gen 1:14)

Day V
Those prepared to stir up Leviathan (Job 3:8)
And God created the great sea monsters (Gen 1:21)

Day VI
Why did I not die from the womb? (Job 3:11)
Let us make man (Gen 1:26)

For now I would be lying down and quiet, I would be asleep and at rest (Job 3:13)
And (God) rested on the seventh day from all his work … he sanctified it, because in it he rested (Gen 2:2-3)

So what does all this mean? Some have contended it’s simply Job’s harsh tone and speech of cursing creation instead of the Creator.

However, others have tied this phrase to spells and incantations of that time that were recited to reverse the path of life. This particular language is a reversal of a Babylonian Birth Incantation which inverts the language of creation and was believed to “unravel cords” binding the universe. Many of this time (even Jews) believed there was power in particular spoken language and would recite these phrases to try and gain control or access in a situation.

It’s hard to imagine that Job, even at this great point of suffering, would resort to witchcraft in order to improve his present circumstances. He has been an honorable and faithful man of God. There is no sacrifice he can offer to relieve his condition and taking his own life would go against the faith he’s professed in God. Is it possible that he felt he had no other options than to resort to a curse? That’s a tough question and I honestly don’t know where I’ve landed in it yet. I encourage you to study it yourself!

Whatever the case, Job does not curse God personally. He stops short of blaming the Creator, which is pretty amazing considering the circumstances. I can think of a handful of situations where I’ve had to apologize to God for blaming Him in my weakness. I am so thankful for his grace and mercy!

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