Job 14:2

2 They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.

Job 14:2 in Other Translations

KJV
2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
ESV
2 He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.
NLT
2 We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.
MSG
2 We spring up like wildflowers in the desert and then wilt, transient as the shadow of a cloud.
CSB
2 He blossoms like a flower, then withers; he flees like a shadow and does not last.

Job 14:2 Meaning and Commentary

Job 14:2

He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down
As the flower comes from the earth, so does man; as it comes out of the stalk, so man out of his mother's womb; as the flower flourishes for a while, and looks gay and beautiful, so man while in youth, in health and prosperity. Job, doubtless, has respect to his own case before his troubles came upon him, when he was possessed of all that substance, which made him the greatest man of the east; when his children were like olive plants around his table, and his servants at his command, and he in perfect health of body: and as a flower flourishes for a little while, and then withers; no sooner is it come to its full blow, but presently decays; such is the goodliness of man, it fades away whenever God blows a blast upon it; yea, he is easily and quickly cut down by death, like a beautiful flower cut with the knife, or cropped by the hand, or trampled upon by the foot, see ( Psalms 103:15 ) ( Psalms 90:5 Psalms 90:6 ) ( Isaiah 40:6 Isaiah 40:7 ) ;

he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not;
either as the shadow of the evening, which is lost when night comes on; or the shadow on a dial plate, which is continually moving on; or, as the Jewish Rabbins say, as the shadow of a bird flying, which stays not, whereas the shadow of a wall, or of a tree, continues: a shadow is an empty thing, without substance, dark and obscure, variable and uncertain, declining, fleeting, and passing away; and so fitly resembles the life of a man, which is but a vapour, a bubble, yea, as nothing with God; is full of darkness, of ignorance, and of adversity, very fickle, changeable, and inconstant, and at most but of a short continuance.

Job 14:2 In-Context

1 “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.
2 They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
3 Do you fix your eye on them? Will you bring them before you for judgment?
4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!
5 A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Psalms 103:15; S James 1:10
  • 2. Psalms 37:2; Psalms 90:5-6; Isaiah 40:6-8
  • 3. Job 8:9; Psalms 39:4; Psalms 102:11; Psalms 109:23; Psalms 144:4; Ecclesiastes 6:12
  • 4. S Job 4:20; Psalms 49:12