Job 3

Listen to Job 3

Job Laments His Birth

1 After this Job 1opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.
2 And Job said:
3 2"Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, 'A man is conceived.'
4 Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it.
5 Let gloom and 3deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.
6 That night--let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months.
7 Behold, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry enter it.
8 Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up 4Leviathan.
9 Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none, nor see 5the eyelids of the morning,
10 because it did not shut the doors of my mother's womb, nor hide trouble from my eyes.
11 "Why 6did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire?
12 Why did 7the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?
13 For then I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept; then I would have been at rest,
14 with kings and counselors of the earth who 8rebuilt ruins for themselves,
15 or with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver.
16 Or why was I not as a hidden 9stillborn child, as infants who never see the light?
17 There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at 10rest.
18 There the prisoners are at ease together; they hear not the voice of 11the taskmaster.
19 The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master.
20 "Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to 12the bitter in soul,
21 who 13long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for 14hidden treasures,
22 who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave?
23 Why is light given to a man whose 15way is hidden, whom God has 16hedged in?
24 For my sighing comes 17instead of[a] my bread, and my 18groanings are poured out like water.
25 19For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.
26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes."

Job 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

Job complains that he was born. (1-10) Job complaining. (11-19) He complains of his life. (20-26)

Verses 1-10 For seven days Job's friends sat by him in silence, without offering consolidation: at the same time Satan assaulted his mind to shake his confidence, and to fill him with hard thoughts of God. The permission seems to have extended to this, as well as to torturing the body. Job was an especial type of Christ, whose inward sufferings, both in the garden and on the cross, were the most dreadful; and arose in a great degree from the assaults of Satan in that hour of darkness. These inward trials show the reason of the change that took place in Job's conduct, from entire submission to the will of God, to the impatience which appears here, and in other parts of the book. The believer, who knows that a few drops of this bitter cup are more dreadful than the sharpest outward afflictions, while he is favoured with a sweet sense of the love and presence of God, will not be surprised to find that Job proved a man of like passions with others; but will rejoice that Satan was disappointed, and could not prove him a hypocrite; for though he cursed the day of his birth, he did not curse his God. Job doubtless was afterwards ashamed of these wishes, and we may suppose what must be his judgment of them now he is in everlasting happiness.

Verses 11-19 Job complained of those present at his birth, for their tender attention to him. No creature comes into the world so helpless as man. God's power and providence upheld our frail lives, and his pity and patience spared our forfeited lives. Natural affection is put into parents' hearts by God. To desire to die that we may be with Christ, that we may be free from sin, is the effect and evidence of grace; but to desire to die, only that we may be delivered from the troubles of this life, savours of corruption. It is our wisdom and duty to make the best of that which is, be it living or dying; and so to live to the Lord, and die to the Lord, as in both to be his, ( Romans 14:8 ) . Observe how Job describes the repose of the grave; There the wicked cease from troubling. When persecutors die, they can no longer persecute. There the weary are at rest: in the grave they rest from all their labours. And a rest from sin, temptation, conflict, sorrows, and labours, remains in the presence and enjoyment of God. There believers rest in Jesus, nay, as far as we trust in the Lord Jesus and obey him, we here find rest to our souls, though in the world we have tribulation.

Verses 20-26 Job was like a man who had lost his way, and had no prospect of escape, or hope of better times. But surely he was in an ill frame for death when so unwilling to live. Let it be our constant care to get ready for another world, and then leave it to God to order our removal thither as he thinks fit. Grace teaches us in the midst of life's greatest comforts, to be willing to die, and in the midst of its greatest crosses, to be willing to live. Job's way was hid; he knew not wherefore God contended with him. The afflicted and tempted Christian knows something of this heaviness; when he has been looking too much at the things that are seen, some chastisement of his heavenly Father will give him a taste of this disgust of life, and a glance at these dark regions of despair. Nor is there any help until God shall restore to him the joys of his salvation. Blessed be God, the earth is full of his goodness, though full of man's wickedness. This life may be made tolerable if we attend to our duty. We look for eternal mercy, if willing to receive Christ as our Saviour.

Cross References 19

  • 1. Job 33:2; Psalms 78:2
  • 2. [Job 10:18, 19]; See Jeremiah 20:14-18
  • 3. Job 10:21, 22; Job 12:22; Job 24:17; Job 28:3; Job 34:22; Job 38:17; Psalms 23:4; Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:16
  • 4. Job 41:1
  • 5. Job 41:18
  • 6. Job 10:18, 19
  • 7. Genesis 30:3; Genesis 50:23; Isaiah 66:12
  • 8. [Isaiah 58:12]
  • 9. Psalms 58:8; Ecclesiastes 6:3; [1 Corinthians 15:8]
  • 10. Job 17:16
  • 11. Exodus 3:7
  • 12. Proverbs 31:6
  • 13. Revelation 9:6
  • 14. Proverbs 2:4
  • 15. Isaiah 40:27
  • 16. [Job 1:10]; See Job 19:8
  • 17. [Psalms 42:3; Psalms 80:5; Psalms 102:9]
  • 18. Psalms 22:1; Psalms 38:8
  • 19. [Proverbs 10:24]

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


In this chapter we have an account of Job's cursing the day of his birth, and the night of his conception; Job 3:1-3; first the day, to which he wishes the most extreme darkness, Job 3:4,5; then the night, to which he wishes the same and that it might be destitute of all joy, and be cursed by others as well as by himself, Job 3:6-9; The reasons follow, because it did not prevent his coming into the world, and because he died not on it, Job 3:10-12; which would, as he judged, have been an happiness to him; and this he illustrates by the still and quiet state of the dead, the company they are with, and their freedom from all trouble, oppression, and bondage, Job 3:13-19; but however, since it was otherwise with him, he desires his life might not be prolonged, and expostulates about the continuance of it, Job 3:20-23; and this by reason of his present troubles, which were many and great, and came upon him as he feared they would, and which had made him uneasy in his prosperity, Job 3:24-26.

Job 3 Commentaries

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