Job 36:20

20 Do not long for the night, to drag people away from their homes.[a]

Job 36:20 in Other Translations

20 Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.
20 Do not long for the night, when peoples vanish in their place.
20 Do not long for the cover of night, for that is when people will be destroyed.
20 And don't think that night, when people sleep off their troubles, will bring you any relief.
20 Do not long for the night when nations will disappear from their places.

Job 36:20 Meaning and Commentary

Job 36:20

Desire not the night
Either in a literal sense, which Job might do; not for secrecy to commit sin, as the thief, murderer, and adulterer do; Elihu had no such suspicion of Job; nor for ease and rest, which he expected not; nor would his sores admit thereof; his nights were wearisome, and when come he wished they were gone, ( Job 7:2-4 ) ; but either for retirement, that he might muse and consider, and endeavour to search and find out the reason of God's dealing with men, in cutting off sometimes such great numbers together. Elihu suggests, that such a search was altogether vain and to no purpose; he would never be able to find out the reason of these things: or rather for shelter from the eye and hand of God; as nothing before mentioned could ward off his stroke, so neither could the night or darkness preserve from it; see ( Psalms 139:11 Psalms 139:12 ) . Or else the words may be taken in a figurative sense; either of the night of calamity and distress, he might be tempted to desire and wish for, to come upon his enemies; or rather of the night of death, he wished for himself, as he often had done; in doing which Elihu suggests he was wrong; not considering that if God should take him away with a stroke, and he not be humbled and brought to repentance, what would be the consequence of it;

when people are cut off in their place;
as sometimes they are in the night, literally taken; just in the place where they stood or lay down, without moving elsewhere, or stirring hand or foot as it were. So Amraphel, and the kings with him, as Jarchi observes, were cut off in the night, the firstborn of Egypt, the Midianites and Sennacherib's army, ( Genesis 14:15 ) ( Exodus 12:30 ) ( Judges 7:9 ) ( 2 Kings 19:35 ) ; and so in the night of death, figuratively, the common passage of all men, as Mr. Broughton observes, who renders the words, "for people's passage to their place".

Job 36:20 In-Context

18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside.
19 Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts sustain you so you would not be in distress?
20 Do not long for the night, to drag people away from their homes.
21 Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction.
22 “God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him?

Cross References 1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The meaning of the Hebrew for verses 18-20 is uncertain.
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.