For thou writest bitter things against me
Meaning not sins and rebellions, taken notice of by him, when his good deeds were omitted, as Jarchi; sin is indeed an evil and a bitter thing in its own nature, being exceeding sinful and abominable, and its effects and consequences; being what provokes God to anger most bitterly, and makes bitter work for repentance; as it did in Peter, who, when made sensible of it, wept bitterly, ( Matthew 26:75 ) ( Luke 22:62 ) ; sooner or later, sin, though it is a sweet morsel rolled about in the mouth for a while, yet in the issue proves the gall of asps within, ( Job 20:14 ) , bitter and distressing; and this God also puts down in the book of his remembrance, yea, writes it as with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond, ( Jeremiah 17:1 ) ; but that cannot be meant here, since Job was inquiring after his sins, asking what and how many they were, and would not allow of any being committed by him that were heinous and notorious; wherefore afflictions are rather here intended, which are bitter and grievous, and not joyous, and especially such as Job was afflicted with; see ( Ruth 1:20 Ruth 1:21 ) ; and these were written by the Lord in the book of his eternal purposes and decrees, and were the things he performed, which were appointed for Job, as he full well knew, and as all the afflictions of God's people are; and besides they were written in a judiciary way, and so against him; they were, as he apprehended, the sentence of a judge written down, and read, and pronounced, and according to it inflicted, and that with great deliberation as things are written, and in order to continue, as what is written does; and so denotes that a severe decree was gone forth against him, with design, and was and would be continued:
and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth;
which had been committed through weakness and ignorance; and which, it might have been thought, would not have been taken notice of and animadverted on; or rather which Job concluded had been forgiven and forgotten, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace, and would never have been brought into account any more; and yet these were not only remembered by the Lord, at least seemingly, by the afflictions that were endured; but they were by him brought to Job's remembrance, and the guilt of them charged upon him, and stared him in the face, and loaded his conscience, and filled him with reproach, and shame, as Ephraim, ( Jeremiah 31:19 ) ; and which is deprecated by the Psalmist, ( Psalms 25:7 ) ; and what aggravated this case and made it the more distressing was, that in Job's apprehension it was to continue with him as an inheritance, as the word F13 signifies, which abides with men in their families for ever; and some respect may be had to the corruption of nature, which is hereditary, and remains with men from their youth upwards.
F13 (ynvyrwt) "haereditare me facis", Beza, Schmidt, Michaelis; so Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Schultens; so the Targum and Ben Melech.