713.) Job 3

"Job Praying" by Marc Chagall, 1960.

Job 3 (New Living Translation)

One of my trusted advisers has suggested that I offer an abbreviated study on Job.  So we will be looking at only 13 chapters of Job, instead of the full 42.  It seems to me a merciful thing to do for you, my readers!  (You are, of course, welcome to read the whole book on your own!)

Job’s First Speech

1 At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth. 2He said:

3 “Let the day of my birth be erased,
and the night I was conceived.
4 Let that day be turned to darkness.
Let it be lost even to God on high,
and let no light shine on it.
5 Let the darkness and utter gloom claim that day for its own.
Let a black cloud overshadow it,
and let the darkness terrify it.

Birthdays are times of joy and celebration, yet Job wants the day of his birth — even the day of his conception! — to be blotted out in darkness.  God once said, “Let there be light.”  Job counters with, “Let there be darkness.”

6 Let that night be blotted off the calendar,
never again to be counted among the days of the year,
never again to appear among the months.
7 Let that night be childless.
Let it have no joy.
8 Let those who are experts at cursing—
whose cursing could rouse Leviathan—
curse that day.

In ancient days certain people could be hired to pronounce curses. 

Leviathan — a mythical sea monster or dragon that terrorized fishermen and sailors.

Psalm 104:26 (New International Version)

There the ships go to and fro,
   and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.


9 Let its morning stars remain dark.
Let it hope for light, but in vain;
may it never see the morning light.
10 Curse that day for failing to shut my mother’s womb,
for letting me be born to see all this trouble.

Job says it would be better not to be born, than to live when separated from God by his trouble.

There is a very deliberate and intricate interweaving of emotions, pain, hyperbole, and figurative language in this chapter which has to do with the nature of Hebrew poetry.  The repetitive cadence is like a hammer hitting one on the head over and over. The repetitive images produce a more pronounced indentation of pain.  The reader “feels” Job’s pain and is left with an indelible mental and emotional mark, just as a physical impact leaves a bruise or scar.

11 “Why wasn’t I born dead?
Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb?
12 Why was I laid on my mother’s lap?
Why did she nurse me at her breasts?
13 Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace.
I would be asleep and at rest.
14 I would rest with the world’s kings and prime ministers,
whose great buildings now lie in ruins.
15 I would rest with princes, rich in gold,
whose palaces were filled with silver.

One of the world’s most famous tombs, the Taj Mahal  is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India.  It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Memtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”

16 Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child,
like a baby who never lives to see the light?
17 For in death the wicked cause no trouble,
and the weary are at rest.
18 Even captives are at ease in death,
with no guards to curse them.
19 Rich and poor are both there,
and the slave is free from his master.

20 “Oh, why give light to those in misery,
and life to those who are bitter?
21 They long for death, and it won’t come.
They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure.

My former mother-in-law told me, after her husband had died, that she woke up each morning disappointed that she had not died in her sleep.  Every day was a burden, filled with her muffled calls welcoming death.  It was so sad to see her like that, especially when she refused any comfort from the Scriptures or conversation about the Lord.  She lived the last years of her life in such emptiness.  I contrast this with my father, who opens and closes each day now, at age 96, as he has for decades:  “This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it!”

22 They’re filled with joy when they finally die,
and rejoice when they find the grave.
23 Why is life given to those with no future,
those God has surrounded with difficulties?
24 I cannot eat for sighing;
my groans pour out like water.
25 What I always feared has happened to me.
What I dreaded has come true.
26 I have no peace, no quietness.
I have no rest; only trouble comes.”



“There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God” — a good reminder for us all!

Cleland B. McAfee was at Park Coll­ege, Park­ville, Mis­souri, for al­most 20 years as the chair of Christ­ian Phil­o­so­phy and col­lege chap­lain and choir di­rect­or.  One day in 1901, to his shock and horror, he received the news that diphtheria had just claimed the lives of his two beloved nieces. To comfort his own soul and the hearts of the suffering family, Cleland wrote this hymn. On the day of the double funeral, the Park College choir sang the hymn for the first time outside the quarantined house of his brother.  Cleland McAfee accomplished many good things in his lifetime, but he is remembered most for writing a simple message in the form of a song that reminds us that when bad things happen to good people, the best place to be is Near to the Heart of God.

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.


O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.


There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Chagall.  http://www.marcchagallprints.com/view_art.php?art_id=1481&min=0&max=10000000&portrait=&original=&sub=&sort_by=&sold=
birthday cake.  http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XoR_sAgtZQk/TtMeeK-E2WI/AAAAAAAAAOg/6JEE6q8d9LA/s320/Cake%2BCandles-birthday-cake-with-candles.jpg
Leviathan.  http://www.fybertech.com/4thread/tg_1319933/1205338766443.jpg
Taj Mahal.  http://wallpapers.free-review.net/63__Taj_Mahal%2C_Agra%2C_India.htm
Choose life.  http://www.odessaapartments-ukraine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/ChooseLifeLogo_colour.jpg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: