Job 1:21

21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Job 1:21 Meaning and Commentary

Job 1:21

And said, naked came I out of my mother's womb
Either literally, where he was conceived and lay, and from whence he came into the world, though he afterwards wishes he never had, or had died as soon as he did, ( Job 3:10-12 ) , and so it is expressive of his birth, and the circumstance of it; or figuratively, his mother earth, from whence the first man sprang, and so all his posterity with him, being as he of the earth, earthly, see ( Ecclesiastes 12:7 ) , which sense is mentioned by Jarchi and Aben Ezra; but the first sense seems best: the nakedness referred to is not of the mind or soul, being destitute of righteousness and holiness, with which the following clause will by no means agree, but nakedness of body; and therefore as soon as a child is born, one of the first things done to it is to wrap it in clothes provided for it, see ( Ezekiel 16:4 ) ( Luke 2:7 ) and also a being without the things of this life; the apostle's words are a proper comment on these, and explain them, and perhaps these are referred to by him, "we brought nothing into this world", ( 1 Timothy 6:7 ) , this shows the necessity of the early care of Providence over us, and what reason we have to be thankful for unknown mercies at the time of birth, and in the state of infancy, ( Psalms 22:9 ) ( 71:6 ) and what obligations children lie under to parents, and what benefits they receive from them at their first entrance into the world, and which they should religiously requite when through old age they stand in need of their assistance, ( 1 Timothy 5:4 ) , and this may also serve to abate the pride of man, who will have no reason to boast of his riches, nor of his fine clothes, when he considers his original nakedness; and more especially the use of it may be, and which seems to be the use Job made of it, to make the mind easy under the greatest losses. Job considered he did not bring his substance, his servants, and his children into the world with him; and now they were taken from him, he was but as he was when he came into the world, and not at all the worse; he knew how to be abased, and to abound, and in both was content:

and naked shall I return thither;
not into his mother's womb in a literal sense, which was impossible, ( John 3:4 ) , but to the earth, and to the dust of it, ( Genesis 3:19 ) ( Ecclesiastes 12:7 ) , pointing to it with his finger, on which he now lay; meaning that he should go to the place appointed for him, the grave, the house of all living, ( Job 30:23 ) , and so the Targum here has it,

``to the house of the grave,''

where he should lie unseen, as in his mother's womb, till the resurrection morn; which would be a kind of a regeneration of him, when he should be delivered up from thence, and enjoy a state of happiness and glory: he should descend into the grave as naked as he was born, respecting not so much the nakedness of his body, as being stripped of all worldly enjoyments, see ( Ecclesiastes 5:15 ) and he says this in his present view of things; he thought once he should have died in his nest, ( Job 29:18 ) , in the midst of all his prosperity, and left a large substance to his children; but now all was taken away, and for the present had no hope or expectation of a restoration, as afterwards was; but whereas he was now naked and bare of all, he expected he should continue and die so: or this is said with respect to the common case of men, who it is certain cannot carry anything out of the world with them, either riches or honour, but must leave all behind them, ( 1 Timothy 6:7 ) ( Psalms 49:16 Psalms 49:17 ) which may serve to loosen the minds of men from worldly things, not to set their eyes and hearts upon them, nor to put their trust and confidence in them; and good men may part with them, especially at death with pleasure, since they will have no further use of them, and will have a better and a more enduring substance in their stead:

the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;
all outward enjoyments, all the good things of this world, are the Lord's, and at his dispose; the earth, and the fulness of it; kingdoms, nations, countries, houses and lands, the beasts of the field, and cattle on a thousand hills; the gold and silver, and all the riches of the earth: and these are the gifts of his providence to the sons of men; nor have they anything but in a way of giving and receiving; and even what they enjoy, through diligence and industry, is owing to the blessing of God; and who gives not in such sort as that he loses his property in what is given; this he still retains, these are talents which he puts into the hands of men to use for themselves and others, and for which they are accountable to him; and they are but stewards, with whom he will hereafter reckon, and therefore has a right to take away when he pleases; and both Job ascribes to God, not only the giving, but the taking away: he does not attribute his losses to second causes, to the Sabeans and Chaldeans, to the fire from heaven, and the wind from the desert, but to God, whose sovereign will and overruling hand were in all; these were but the instruments of Satan, and he had no power but what was given from God; and therefore to the counsel of his will, who suffered it, Job refers it, and for that reason sits down satisfied and quiet. This is all to be understood of temporal things only; for of spiritual things it cannot be said that God gives and takes away; such gifts are without repentance, and are irreversible, ( Romans 11:29 ) , the Targum is,

``the Word of the Lord hath given, and the Word of the Lord and the house of his judgment hath taken away;''

the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions add,

``as it pleased the Lord, so it is done:''

blessed be the name of the Lord;
for all his blessings and mercies; for all the gifts of nature and providence that had been bestowed, which could not be claimed, and of which he knew himself unworthy; and for the continuance of them so long with goodness and mercy had followed him all the days or his life hitherto, and still he had mercies to bless God for; his wife was still with him, he had some servants left, his own life was spared; he continued as yet in health of body, and therefore could sing of mercy as well as judgment; nor is there any state on earth a man can be in, but there is something to bless God for; wherefore the apostle's exhortation will always hold good, "in everything give thanks": ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ) ; besides the name, the nature, the perfections, of God are always the same, and therefore always to be celebrated, and blessing, honour, and glory, are to be ascribed to him continually, in every state and condition of life; wherefore the Arabic version adds, "from henceforth, and for ever"; which agrees with ( Psalms 72:19 ) ; and thus Job, instead of cursing God, blesses him, and proves the devil to be a liar, as he was from the beginning; and shows his superiority over him through the power of divine grace; this evil one could not touch him, he was overcome by him, and his designs defeated.

Job 1:21 In-Context

19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

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The King James Version is in the public domain.