As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow
Either the shadow of some great rock, tree, or hedge, or any shady place to shelter him from the heat of the sun in the middle of the day, which in those eastern countries is hot and scorching; and very burdensome and fatiguing it is for servants and labourers to work in fields and vineyards, or in keeping herds and flocks in such countries, and at such a time of the day; to which the allusion is in ( Song of Solomon 1:7 ) ( Isaiah 25:4 ) ( 32:2 ) ( Matthew 20:12 ) . Wherefore they "gape" for, or "pant" after some shady place for refreshment, as the word F14 used signifies; or for the shadow of the evening, or the sun setting, when the longest shadow is cast, ( Jeremiah 6:4 ) ; and when the work of a servant is ended, and he retires to his house for refreshment and rest: and since now such a shadow in either sense is desirable, and not unlawful to wish for, Job suggests it ought not to be charged as a crime in him, that he should importunately desire to be in the shadow of death, or in the grave, where the weary are at rest; or to have the night come on him, when he should cease from all his toil and labour, sorrows and pains:
and as an hireling looketh for [the reward of] his work;
or "for his work" F15; either for new work, what was set him being done, or rather for the finishing of it, that he might have rest from it; or for the reward, the hire due to him upon its being done; so Job intimates he desired death with the same view, that he might cease from his works, which should follow him, and when he should have the reward of the inheritance, not in a way of debt, but of grace: nor indeed is it sinful to look or have respect unto the recompence of reward, in order to engage to go through service more cheerfully, or to endure sufferings more patiently, see ( Hebrews 11:26 ) ; for though the hireling is an emblem of a self-righteous person, that works for life, and expects it as the reward of his work, and of false teachers and bad shepherds, that take the care of the flock for filthy lucre's sake, see ( Luke 15:19 ) ( John 10:12 ) ; yet hiring is sometimes used, in a good sense, of good men, that are hired and allured by gracious promises and divine encouragements to labour in the Lord's vineyard, and may expect their reward; see ( Matthew 20:1 Matthew 20:2 Matthew 20:8 ) .
F14 (Pavy) "anhelabit", Montanus, Bolducius; "anhelat", Beza, Tigurine version, Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt, Schultens.
F15 (wlep) "opus suum", Beza Montanus, Bolducius, Schmidt, Schultens.