Job 14

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[a] 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.
6 So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired laborer.
7 “At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.
8 Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil,
9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.
10 But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more.
11 As the water of a lake dries up or a riverbed becomes parched and dry,
12 so he lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep.
13 “If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me!
14 If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal[b] to come.
15 You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made.
16 Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin.
17 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.
18 “But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place,
19 as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy a person’s hope.
20 You overpower them once for all, and they are gone; you change their countenance and send them away.
21 If their children are honored, they do not know it; if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it.
22 They feel but the pain of their own bodies and mourn only for themselves.”

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 52

  • 1. Job 15:14; Matthew 11:11
  • 2. S Job 10:20
  • 3. S Genesis 3:17; S Job 7:2; Job 5:7; Ecclesiastes 2:23
  • 4. Psalms 103:15; S James 1:10
  • 5. Psalms 37:2; Psalms 90:5-6; Isaiah 40:6-8
  • 6. Job 8:9; Psalms 39:4; Psalms 102:11; Psalms 109:23; Psalms 144:4; Ecclesiastes 6:12
  • 7. S Job 4:20; Psalms 49:12
  • 8. Psalms 8:4; Psalms 144:3
  • 9. S Job 7:18; Psalms 143:2
  • 10. Psalms 51:10
  • 11. S Job 4:17; Ephesians 2:1-3
  • 12. S Job 9:30; John 3:6; Romans 5:12; Romans 7:14
  • 13. Job 24:1; Psalms 31:15; Psalms 139:16
  • 14. Job 21:21; Psalms 39:4; Psalms 90:12
  • 15. Acts 17:26
  • 16. S Job 7:19
  • 17. Job 7:1,2; Psalms 39:13; Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 21:16
  • 18. Job 19:10; Job 24:20; Psalms 52:5
  • 19. Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 53:2; Isaiah 60:21
  • 20. Isaiah 6:13
  • 21. Isaiah 6:13; Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 53:2
  • 22. Job 29:19; Psalms 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8; Ezekiel 31:7
  • 23. Leviticus 26:4; Ezekiel 34:27; Zechariah 10:1
  • 24. ver 12
  • 25. S Job 10:21; Job 13:19
  • 26. S 2 Samuel 14:14; Isaiah 19:5
  • 27. ver 10
  • 28. Psalms 102:26; Revelation 20:11; Revelation 21:1
  • 29. Acts 3:21
  • 30. S Job 7:9
  • 31. Psalms 30:5; Isaiah 26:20; Isaiah 54:7
  • 32. S Genesis 8:1
  • 33. Job 6:8
  • 34. S Job 7:1
  • 35. S 2 Kings 6:33
  • 36. S Job 13:22
  • 37. S Job 10:3
  • 38. S Job 10:4; Psalms 139:1-3; Proverbs 5:21; Jeremiah 16:17; Jeremiah 32:19
  • 39. Job 10:6; 1 Corinthians 13:5
  • 40. Jeremiah 32:10
  • 41. S Deuteronomy 32:34
  • 42. S Job 9:30; S Job 13:23; Hosea 13:12
  • 43. Ezekiel 38:20
  • 44. Job 18:4
  • 45. Ezekiel 13:13
  • 46. S Genesis 7:23
  • 47. S Job 7:6
  • 48. S Job 4:20
  • 49. S Job 7:10; Job 8:18; S Job 12:19; Job 27:19; James 1:10
  • 50. Job 21:21; Ecclesiastes 9:5; Isaiah 63:16
  • 51. Psalms 38:7; Isaiah 21:3; Jeremiah 4:19
  • 52. Job 21:21

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew "me"
  • [b]. Or "release"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JOB 14

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