Job 7:11
Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
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Job 7:11. Therefore I will not refrain, &c. — Since my life is so vain and short, and, when once lost, without all hopes of recovery. I will plead with God for pity before I die; I will not smother my anguish within my breast, but will ease myself by pouring out my complaints.7:7-16 Plain truths as to the shortness and vanity of man's life, and the certainty of death, do us good, when we think and speak of them with application to ourselves. Dying is done but once, and therefore it had need be well done. An error here is past retrieve. Other clouds arise, but the same cloud never returns: so a new generation of men is raised up, but the former generation vanishes away. Glorified saints shall return no more to the cares and sorrows of their houses; nor condemned sinners to the gaieties and pleasures of their houses. It concerns us to secure a better place when we die. From these reasons Job might have drawn a better conclusion than this, I will complain. When we have but a few breaths to draw, we should spend them in the holy, gracious breathings of faith and prayer; not in the noisome, noxious breathings of sin and corruption. We have much reason to pray, that He who keeps Israel, and neither slumbers nor sleeps, may keep us when we slumber and sleep. Job covets to rest in his grave. Doubtless, this was his infirmity; for though a good man would choose death rather than sin, yet he should be content to live as long as God pleases, because life is our opportunity of glorifying him, and preparing for heaven.Therefore I will not refrain my mouth - The idea in this verse is, "such is my distress at the prospect of dying, that I cannot but express it. The idea of going away from all my comforts, and of being committed to the grave, to revisit the earth no more, is so painful that I cannot but give vent to my feelings." 11. Therefore, as such is my hard lot, I will at least have the melancholy satisfaction of venting my sorrow in words. The Hebrew opening words, "Therefore I, at all events," express self-elevation [Umbreit]. Since my life is by the common condition of mankind so vain and short, and, when once lost, without all hopes of recovery, and withal extremely miserable, I will plead with God for pity and relief before I die; knowing that I must now speak, or else for ever after hold my peace, as to requests of this nature. I will not smother my bitter anguish within my own breast, which will make it intolerable, but I will give it vent, and ease myself by pouring forth complaints, and expostulating with my God, who, as I hope, will hear and help me one way or other. Therefore I will not refrain my mouth,.... From speaking and complaining; seeing, besides the common lot of mankind, which is a state of warfare, sorrow, and trouble, and is as much as a man can well grapple with, extraordinary afflictions are laid upon me, which make life insupportable; and seeing I enjoy no good in this present life, and am shortly going where no temporal good is to be expected, and shall never return to this world any more to enjoy any; therefore I will not be silent, and forbear speaking my mind freely, and uttering my just complaint, for which I think I have sufficient reason: or "I also will not refrain my mouth" (c); in turn, as a just retaliation, so Jarchi; since God will not refrain his hand from me, I will not refrain my mouth from speaking concerning him; since he shows no mercy to me, I shall utter my miserable complaints, and not keep them to myself; this was Job's infirmity when he should have held his peace, as Aaron, and been dumb and silent as David, and been still, and have known, owned, and acknowledged the sovereignty of God, and not vented himself in passion as he did:

I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; or "in the straitness" (d) of it; he was surrounded on all sides with distress, the sorrows of death compassed him about, and the pains of hell got hold upon him; he was like one pent up in a narrow place, in a close confinement, that he could not get out of, and come forth from; and he felt not only exquisite pains of body from his boils and sores, but great anguish of soul; and therefore he determines to speak in and "of" (e) all this, to give vent to his grief and sorrow, his passion and resentment:

I will complain in the bitterness of my soul; his afflictions were like the waters of Marah, bitter ones, very grievous and disagreeable to flesh and blood, and by which his life and soul were embittered to him; and in and of (f) this he determines to complain, or to utter in a complaining way what he had been meditating on, as the word (g) signifies; so that this was not an hasty and precipitate action, but what upon deliberation he resolved to do; to pour out his complaint before God, and leave it with him, in a submissive way, would not have been amiss, but if he complained of God and his providence, it was wrong: "why should a living man complain?" not even a wicked man, of "the punishment of his sin", and much less a good man of fatherly chastisements? We see what the will of man is, what a stubborn and obstinate thing it is, "I will, I will, I will", even of a good man when left to himself, and not in the exercise of grace, and under the influence of it; the complaint follows, by way of expostulation.

(c) "etiam ego", Vatablus, Beza, Piscator, Bolducius, Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens; "vicissim", Noldius, p. 222. (d) "in angustia", Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt; "in arcto", Cocceius; "in angusto", Schultens. (e) "De angustia", Vatablus, Drusius, Mercerus, Piscator. (f) "de amaritudine", Drusius, Piscator, Mercerus. (g) "meditabor et eloquar", Michaelis.

Therefore I will not {g} refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

(g) Seeing I can by no other means comfort myself I will declare my grief in words, and thus he speaks as one overcome with grief of mind.

11. Job heaps image upon image to set before himself and the eye of God the brevity of life, the weaver’s shuttle (Job 7:6), the wind (Job 7:7), the morning cloud (Job 7:9, Hosea 6:4), ending with a pathetic reference to his home which shall see him no more (Job 7:10). These regrets altogether overmaster him and, combining with his sense of the wrong which he suffers and his impatience of the iron restraints of human existence, hurry him forward, and he resolves to open the floodgates to the full stream of his complaint (Job 7:11): Therefore I will not refrain my mouth, i. e. therefore I also, I on my side, will not refrain.Verse 11. - Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; rather, I moreover will not refrain my lips; that is, "You may do as you like under affliction, I claim the right of complaining." Job has already pointed out that nature teaches the animals to complain when they suffer (Job 6:5). Why, then, should not he? Complaint is not necessarily murmuring; it is sometimes merely expostulation, which God allows (comp. Psalm 4:2; Psalm 77:3; Psalm 142:2, etc.). I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Extreme "anguish" and "bitter" suffering excuse complaints that would otherwise be, blare-able (comp. Job 6:2-4). 4 If I lie down, I:think:

When shall I arise and the evening break away?

And I become weary with tossing to and fro unto the morning dawn.

5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of earth;

My skin heals up to fester again.

6 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle,

And vanish without hope.

Most modern commentators take מדּד as Piel from מדד: the night is extended (Renan: la nuit se prolonge), which is possible; comp. Ges. 52, 2. But the metre suggests another rendering: מדּד constr. of מדּד from נדד, to flee away: and when fleeing away of the evening. The night is described by its commencement, the late evening, to make the long interval of the sleeplessness and restlessness of the invalid prominent. In נדדים and מדד there is a play of words (Ebrard). רמּה, worms, in reference to the putrifying ulcers; and גּוּשׁ (with זעירא )ג, clod of earth, from the cracked, scaly, earth-coloured skin of one suffering with elephantiasis. The praett. are used of that which is past and still always present, the futt. consec. of that which follows in and with the other. The skin heals, רגע (which we render with Ges., Ew., contrahere se); the result is that it becomes moist again. ימּאס, according to Ges. 67, rem. 4 equals ימּס, Psalm 58:8. His days pass swiftly away; the result is that they come to an end without any hope whatever. ארג is like κερκίς, radius, a weaver's shuttle, by means of which the weft is shot between the threads of the warp as they are drawn up and down. His days pass as swiftly by as the little shuttle passes backwards and forwards in the warp.

Next follows a prayer to God for the termination of his pain, since there is no second life after the present, and consequently also the possibility of requital ceases with death.

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