Job 10:22
A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.
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10:14-22 Job did not deny that as a sinner he deserved his sufferings; but he thought that justice was executed upon him with peculiar rigour. His gloom, unbelief, and hard thoughts of God, were as much to be ascribed to Satan's inward temptations, and his anguish of soul, under the sense of God's displeasure, as to his outward trials, and remaining depravity. Our Creator, become in Christ our Redeemer also, will not destroy the work of his hands in any humble believer; but will renew him unto holiness, that he may enjoy eternal life. If anguish on earth renders the grave a desirable refuge, what will be their condition who are condemned to the blackness of darkness for ever? Let every sinner seek deliverance from that dreadful state, and every believer be thankful to Jesus, who delivereth from the wrath to come.A land of darkness - The word used here (עיפה ‛êyphâh) is different from that rendered "darkness" השׁך chôshek in the previous verse. That is the common word to denote darkness; this seldom occurs. It is derived from עוּף ‛ûph, to fly; and then to cover as with wings; and hence, the noun means that which is shaded or dark; Amos 4:13; compare Job 17:13; Isaiah 8:22; Isaiah 9:1.

As darkness itself - This is still another word אפל 'ôphel though in our common version but one term is used. We have not the means in our language of marking different degrees of obscurity with the accuracy with which the Hebrews did it. The word used here אפל 'ôphel denotes a THICK darkness - such as exists when the sun is set - from אפל 'aphêl, to go down, to set. It is poetic, and is used to denote intense and deep darkness; see Job 3:6.

And of the shadow of death - I would prefer reading this as connected with the previous word - "the deep darkness of the shadow of death." The Hebrew will bear this, and indeed it is the obvious construction.

Without any order - The word rendered order (סדרים sedārı̂ym) is in the plural. It is from סדר, obsolete, to place in a row or order, to arrange. The meaning is, that everything was mingled together as in chaos, and all was confusion. Milton has used similar language:

- "A vast immeasurable abyss."

- "dark, wasteful, wild."

Ovid uses similar language in speaking of chaos: "Unus chaos, rudis indigestaque moles."

And where the light is as darkness - This is a very striking and graphic expression. It means that there is no pure and clear light. Even all the light that shines there is dark, sombre, gloomy - like the little light of a total eclipse, which seems to be darkness itself, and which only serves to render the darkness more distressing. Compare Milton:

"A dungeon horrible on all sides round,

As one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames

No light; but rather darkness visible

Served only to discover sights of woe."

Par. Lost, 1.

The Hebrew here literally is, "And it shines forth (יתפע yatopha‛) as darkness:" that is, the very shining of the light there, if there is any, is like darkness! Such was the view of Job of the abodes of the dead - even of the pious dead. No wonder he shrank back from it, and wished to live. Such is the prospect of the grave to man, until Christianity comes and reveals a brighter world beyond the grave - a world that is all light. That darkness is now scattered. A clear light shines even around the grave, and beyond there is a world where all is light, and where "there is no night," and where all is one bright eternal day; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5. O had Job been favored with these views of heaven, he would not have thus feared to die!

22. The ideas of order and light, disorder and darkness, harmonize (Ge 1:2). Three Hebrew words are used for darkness; in Job 10:21 (1) the common word "darkness"; here (2) "a land of gloom" (from a Hebrew root, "to cover up"); (3) as "thick darkness" or blackness (from a root, expressing sunset). "Where the light thereof is like blackness." Its only sunshine is thick darkness. A bold figure of poetry. Job in a better frame has brighter thoughts of the unseen world. But his views at best wanted the definite clearness of the Christian's. Compare with his words here Re 21:23; 22:5; 2Ti 1:10. A land of darkness; either in things, without any succession of day and night, winter and summer; or among persons, where great and small are in the same condition, Job 3:19.

Where the light is as darkness; where there is no difference between light and darkness, where the day is as dark as the night, where there is nothing but perpetual and uninterrupted darkness. A land of darkness, as darkness itself,.... Not merely like it, but truly so; as gross thick darkness, like that of Egypt, that might be felt; even blackness of darkness, which is as dark as it possibly can be; not only dark, but darkness, extremely dark:

and of the shadow of death; which is repeated for the illustration and confirmation of it, as having in it all kind of darkness, and that to the greatest degree:

without any order, or "orders" (i); or vicissitudes and successions of day and night, summer and winter, heat and cold, wet and dry; or revolutions of sun, moon, and stars, or of the constellations, as Aben Ezra; and whither persons go without any order, either of age, sex, or station; sometimes a young man, sometimes an old man, and the one before the other; sometimes a man, sometimes a woman; sometimes a king, prince, and nobleman, and sometimes a peasant; sometimes a rich man, and sometimes a poor man; no order is observed, but as death seizes them they are brought and laid in the grave, and there is no order there; the bones and dust of one and the other in a short time are mixed together, and, there is no knowing to whom they belong, only by the omniscient God:

and where the light is as darkness; were there anything in the grave that could with any propriety be called light, even that is nothing but darkness; darkness and light are the same thing there: or when "it shineth it is darkness" (k); that is, when the sun shines brightest here, as at noon day, it is entire darkness in the grave; no light is discerned there, the rays of the sun cannot penetrate there; and could they, there is no visive faculty in the dead to receive them; all darkness is in those secret places.

(i) "et non ordines", Pagninus, Montanus, Bolducius, Mercerus; "sine ordinibus", Cocceius, Schmidt. (k) "splendet", Beza, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any {u} order, and where the light is as darkness.

(u) No distinction between light and darkness but where there is very darkness itself.

22. without any order] There Chaos reigns; cf. the beautiful description of the effect of light upon the earth, ch. Job 38:12-14.

the light is as darkness] The light in that region is

No light, but rather darkness visible.

Job’s three friends, strong in their traditional theory and unobservant of facts or indifferent to them, maintained that God’s rule of the world was righteous, by which they meant that He rewarded the righteous with outward good and dispensed severe suffering only to the great sinner. Job agreed with them that this ought to be the way in which God governed the world, and would be the way in which a just ruler would govern it. But his own experience and much that he could perceive taking place in the world convinced him that the world was not governed in this way in fact. This feeling not only disturbed but threatened to transform Job’s whole idea of God. His unbearable sufferings and this thought of God’s injustice together suggested to his mind the conception of the supreme Power in the world as an omnipotent, cruel Force, that crushed all, good and evil, alike, and mocked at the despair of the innocent. This is the tone of Job’s mind in ch. 9, in which he does not address God but speaks of Him in a kind of agitated soliloquy, as if fascinated by the omnipotent unmoral spectre which his imagination has conjured up. The difference between Job’s ways of thinking and those prevailing in our own day can readily be seen. In our day we have reached an ideal of God, to which, if there be any God, he must correspond. And even if we took the same pessimistic view of the world as Job did we should hesitate to believe that the conception was embodied in any Being; we should probably conclude that there was no God. But such a conclusion could not suggest itself to an Oriental mind. God’s existence and personality were things which Job could not doubt. Hence he had no help but invest God with the attributes of evil which he thought he saw reflected in the world.

It might seem that Job is now on the high road to renounce God, as Satan had predicted he would do. But Job does not find renouncing God quite so easy a thing. And he enters upon a course in ch. 10 which, though at first it appears to take him a step further in this direction, is really the beginning of a retreat. He endeavours to set before his mind as broad a view of God as he is able, in order that by thinking of all that he knows of God he may catch the end of some clue to his calamities. This makes him realize how much he is still sure of in regard to God. And first, he cannot doubt that He is all-knowing and omnipotent (Job 10:3-7). But he goes further. He cannot help seeing in the carefulness and lavish skill with which he was fashioned round about in all his being by the hands of God, not only wisdom, but a gracious Benevolence, and in the preservation of his spirit a Providence which was good. And he dwells on these things, not in the cold manner of a philosopher making an induction, but with all the fervour of a religious mind, which felt that it had fellowship with the Being whose goodness it experienced, and still longed for this fellowship. Yet God’s present treatment of him seemed in contradiction to all this. Thus Job balances God against Himself. Others have done the same, asking the question whether the order of the world inclines to the side of benevolence or of evil; and some have professed themselves unable to answer. So strong is Job’s present sense of misery that he concludes that the universal Ruler is evil. His present treatment of him displays His real nature, and His former goodness was but apparent (Job 10:13-17). Thus this singular method adopted by Job of balancing God against God seems to have led him further into darkness. Yet there is no other method by which he can reach the light; and though the balance inclines in one direction meantime, by and by it will incline in another. See notes on chap. Job 16:18 seq.Verse 22. - A land of darkness, as darkness itself; or, a land of thick darkness (see the Revised Version). And of the shadow of death, without any order. The absence of order is a new and peculiar feature. We do not find it in the other accounts of Hades. But it lends additional horror and weirdness to the scene. And where the light is as darkness. Not, therefore, absolutely without light, but with such a light as Milton calls "darkness visible."

יגאה is hypothetical, like וצדקתי, but put in the future form, because referring to a voluntary act (Ewald, 357, b): and if it (the head) would (nevertheless) exalt itself (גאה, to raise proudly or in joyous self-consciousness), then (without waw apod., which is found in other passages, e.g., Job 22:28) Thou wouldst hunt me like a shachal (vid., Job 4:10), - Job likens God to the lion (as Hosea 5:14; Hosea 13:7), and himself to the prey which the lion pursues-Thou wouldst ever anew show Thyself wonderful at my expense (תּשׁב, voluntative form, followed by a future with which it is connected adverbially, Ges. 142, 3, b; תּתפּלּא, with in the last syllable, although not in pause, as Numbers 19:12; Ewald, 141, c.), i.e., wonderful in power, and inventive by ever new forms off suffering, by which I should be compelled to repent this haughtiness. The witnesses (עדים) that God continually brings forth afresh against him are his sufferings (vid., Job 16:8), which, while he is conscious of his innocence, declare him to be a sinner; for Job, like the friends, cannot think of suffering and sin otherwise than as connected one with the other: suffering is partly the result of sin, and partly it sets the mark of sin on the man who is no sinner. תּרב (fut. apoc. Hiph. Ges. 75, rem. 15) is also the voluntative form: Thou wouldst multiply, increase Thy malignity against me. עם, contra, as also in other passages with words denoting strife and war, Job 13:19; Job 23:6; Job 31:13; or where the context implies hostility, Psalm 55:19; Psalm 94:16. The last line is a clause by itself consisting of nouns. וצבא חליפות is considered by all modern expositors as hendiadys, as Mercier translates: impetor variis et sibi succedentibus malorum agminibus; and צבא is mostly taken collectively. Changes and hosts equals hosts continuously dispersing themselves, and always coming on afresh to the attack. But is not this form of expression unnatural? By חליפות Job means the advancing troops, and by צבא the main body of the army, from which they are reinforced; the former stands first, because the thought figuratively expressed in תחדשׁ and תרב is continued (comp. Job 19:12): the enmity of God is manifested against him by ever fresh sufferings, which are added to the one chief affliction. Bttcher calls attention to the fact that all the lines from v. 14 end in , a rhythm formed by the inflection, which is also continued in v. 18. This repetition of the pronominal suffix gives intensity to the impression that these manifestations of the divine wrath have special reference to himself individually.
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