14:3-4 Job wondered why God would spend so much time scrutinizing poor, powerless, short-lived mankind (7:17; 13:28-14:2). He could not understand why God seemed determined to bring him to judgment (7:19-20; 13:23-27). Actually, no one can be totally pure before God. Job never claimed to be sinless (7:21; 10:14-15); he merely insisted that he had done nothing to deserve his suffering (13:12-19).
14:7-12 The sleep of death is as permanent as the heavens (Dt 11:20-21; Ps 89:28-29). In other contexts this speaks to the fact that earthly life is irrevocably lost upon death, but here Job seemingly expresses that he has no hope of afterlife.
14:13 In his despair Job continues to shift his stance. He now entertains the possibility that death might not end it all. Perhaps in time God’s anger against him would pass, then he would remember Job favorably—that is, act on Job’s behalf. This implies Job will have an ongoing existence beyond the grave. By Sheol Job referred to the grave (see notes at 7:9-10; 26:5-6).
14:14-15 Job felt that if there was hope of life after death, he could endure his present struggle (7:1-5). The Hebrew word translated relief is used elsewhere to denote a change (Jdg 14:12-13). Job hoped for change to a new life of fellowship and communion with God. This is indicated by his use of the call-answer motif (Jb 13:22; Ps 102:1-2; Is 65:24).
14:16-17 Under these new and better conditions, Job would no longer experience God’s scrutiny to determine his faults (7:17-19; 10:6; 13:27). His sins would be sealed up, never to be brought up again.
14:18-21 In his depression Job saw only God’s oppressive might and the prospect of a painful future calamity followed by a dismal state of death.