Job 14

Listen to Job 14

Job Continues: Death Comes Soon to All

1 "Man who is 1born of a woman is 2few of days and 3full of trouble.
2 He comes out like 4a flower and 5withers; he flees like 6a shadow and continues not.
3 And do you 7open your eyes on such a one and 8bring me into judgment with you?
4 Who can bring 9a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.
5 Since his 10days are determined, and 11the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,
6 12look away from him and leave him alone,[a] that he may enjoy, like 13a hired hand, his day.
7 "For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.
8 Though its root grow old in the earth, and 14its stump die in the soil,
9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out 15branches like a young plant.
10 But a man dies and is laid low; man breathes his last, and 16where is he?
11 17As waters fail from a lake and a river wastes away and dries up,
12 so a man lies down and rises not again; till 18the heavens are no more he will not awake or be 19roused out of his sleep.
13 Oh that you would 20hide me in 21Sheol, that you would 22conceal me 23until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my 24service I would 25wait, till my renewal[b] should come.
15 You would 26call, and I would answer you; you would long for the 27work of your hands.
16 For then you would 28number my steps; you would not keep 29watch over my sin;
17 my transgression would be 30sealed up in a bag, and you would cover over my iniquity.
18 "But the mountain falls and 31crumbles away, and 32the rock is removed from its place;
19 the waters wear away the stones; the torrents wash away the soil of the earth; so you destroy the hope of man.
20 You prevail forever against him, and he passes; you change his countenance, and send him away.
21 His sons come to honor, and he 33does not know it; they are brought low, and he perceives it not.
22 He feels only the pain of his own body, and he mourns only for himself."

Job 14 Commentary

Chapter 14

Job speaks of man's life. (1-6) Of man's death. (7-15) By sin man is subject to corruption. (16-22)

Verses 1-6 Job enlarges upon the condition of man, addressing himself also to God. Every man of Adam's fallen race is short-lived. All his show of beauty, happiness, and splendour falls before the stroke of sickness or death, as the flower before the scythe; or passes away like the shadow. How is it possible for a man's conduct to be sinless, when his heart is by nature unclean? Here is a clear proof that Job understood and believed the doctrine of original sin. He seems to have intended it as a plea, why the Lord should not deal with him according to his own works, but according to His mercy and grace. It is determined, in the counsel and decree of God, how long we shall live. Our times are in his hands, the powers of nature act under him; in him we live and move. And it is very useful to reflect seriously on the shortness and uncertainty of human life, and the fading nature of all earthly enjoyments. But it is still more important to look at the cause, and remedy of these evils. Until we are born of the Spirit, no spiritually good thing dwells in us, or can proceed from us. Even the little good in the regenerate is defiled with sin. We should therefore humble ourselves before God, and cast ourselves wholly on the mercy of God, through our Divine Surety. We should daily seek the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and look to heaven as the only place of perfect holiness and happiness.

Verses 7-15 Though a tree is cut down, yet, in a moist situation, shoots come forth, and grow up as a newly planted tree. But when man is cut off by death, he is for ever removed from his place in this world. The life of man may fitly be compared to the waters of a land flood, which spread far, but soon dry up. All Job's expressions here show his belief in the great doctrine of the resurrection. Job's friends proving miserable comforters, he pleases himself with the expectation of a change. If our sins are forgiven, and our hearts renewed to holiness, heaven will be the rest of our souls, while our bodies are hidden in the grave from the malice of our enemies, feeling no more pain from our corruptions, or our corrections.

Verses 16-22 Job's faith and hope spake, and grace appeared to revive; but depravity again prevailed. He represents God as carrying matters to extremity against him. The Lord must prevail against all who contend with him. God may send disease and pain, we may lose all comfort in those near and dear to us, every hope of earthly happiness may be destroyed, but God will receive the believer into realms of eternal happiness. But what a change awaits the prosperous unbeliever! How will he answer when God shall call him to his tribunal? The Lord is yet upon a mercy-seat, ready to be gracious. Oh that sinners would be wise, that they would consider their latter end! While man's flesh is upon him, that is, the body he is so loth to lay down, it shall have pain; and while his soul is within him, that is, the spirit he is so loth to resign, it shall mourn. Dying work is hard work; dying pangs often are sore pangs. It is folly for men to defer repentance to a death-bed, and to have that to do which is the one thing needful, when unfit to do anything.

Cross References 33

  • 1. Job 15:14; Job 25:4; Matthew 11:11
  • 2. Job 10:20; Job 16:22; Genesis 47:9; Psalms 39:5; Psalms 89:47
  • 3. See Job 5:7
  • 4. Psalms 103:15; Isaiah 40:6, 7; James 1:10; 1 Peter 1:24
  • 5. Psalms 37:2; Psalms 90:6
  • 6. See Job 8:9; Job 17:7; Psalms 109:23
  • 7. [Psalms 8:4; Psalms 144:3]
  • 8. Job 22:4; Psalms 143:2
  • 9. Job 15:14; [Psalms 51:5; John 3:6]
  • 10. [Job 7:1; Psalms 39:4]
  • 11. Job 21:21
  • 12. Job 7:19
  • 13. Job 7:1
  • 14. Isaiah 11:1
  • 15. [Job 29:19]
  • 16. Job 29:7
  • 17. Isaiah 19:5
  • 18. Deuteronomy 11:21; Psalms 89:29; [Psalms 72:5; Matthew 5:18]
  • 19. [John 11:11]
  • 20. [Psalms 27:5; Psalms 31:20]
  • 21. See Job 21:13
  • 22. [Psalms 27:5; Psalms 31:20]
  • 23. [Isaiah 26:20]
  • 24. Job 7:1
  • 25. Job 13:15
  • 26. Job 13:22
  • 27. See Job 10:3
  • 28. Job 31:4; Job 34:21
  • 29. [Job 10:6]
  • 30. Deuteronomy 32:34; [Hosea 13:12]
  • 31. Isaiah 34:4
  • 32. Job 18:4
  • 33. [Ecclesiastes 9:5]

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Probable reading; Hebrew look away from him, that he may cease
  • [b]. Or relief

Chapter Summary


Job, having turned himself from his friends to God, continues his address to him in this chapter; wherein he discourses of the frailty of man, the shortness of his life, the troubles that are in it, the sinfulness of it, and its limited duration, beyond which it cannot continue; all which he makes use of with God, that he would not therefore deal rigorously with him, but have pity on him, and cease from severely afflicting him, till he came to the end of his days, which could not be long, Job 14:1-6; he observes of a tree, when it is cut down to the root, yea, when the root is become old, and the stock dies, it will, by means of being watered, bud and sprout again, and produce boughs and branches; but man, like the failing waters of the sea, and the decayed and dried up flood, when he dies, rises not, till the heavens be no more, Job 14:7-12; and then he wishes to be hid in the grave till that time, and expresses hope and belief of the resurrection of the dead, Job 14:13-15; and goes on to complain of the strict notice God took of his sins, of his severe dealings with men, destroying their hope in life, and removing them by death; so that they see and know not the case and circumstances of their children they leave behind, and while they live have continual pain and sorrow, Job 14:16-22.

Job 14 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.