Job xiv.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Man. He exposes to God the common miseries of mankind. (Calmet) — They cannot avoid many miseries in their short life, yet may be brought to heaven. (Worthington)

Ver. 2. Shadow. Pulvis et umbra sumus. (Horace iv. Ode 7.) “Come then, ye men, whom nature condemns to spend your days in darkness, ye who resemble the leaves, are of little strength, formed of mud, shadow-like,…of a day’s duration, miserable mortals, men like dreams, attend to the immortals.” (Aristophanes, Avib.) — Most of these expressions occur in Job, Psalm ci. 12., Wisdom ii. 5., and Ecclesiastes ii. 23., &c.

Ver. 3. With thee. He seems beneath God’s attention: (Arist.[Aristotle?] Met. viii. 9.; Cicero, Nat. ii.) but as the knowledge and other attributes of the Deity are infinite, he must necessarily attend to the whole creation. The moral actions of men being also infinite in their object, tending to God, or contradicting his ordinances, they are not beneath the consideration of an infinite Being. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Seed, is not expressed in Hebrew, “unclean.” It may refer to Adam. There is no contagion in the seed to infect the soul, as Tertullian supposed; it in only unclean in the cause, as every person who is born according to the common course of nature, becomes a child of Adam, and partakes in his original sin. (The Scholastics) (Tirinus) — Only art. Essence itself. (Denis the Carthusian) — “The justification of the sinner is a greater miracle than the creation of the world.” (St. Augustine, ibid.) — The birth of Jesus Christ was free from stain; (Luke i. 35.) as was also the conception of his virgin Mother [Mary], by the power of God; (Menochius) and his grace, as it is piously believed. (Haydock) — He alone can purify man. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “who can produce what is clean out of the unclean? Not one.” Or Chaldean, “Is there not one?” Septuagint, “For who shall be pure from corruption? Not so much as one: (5) though his life be only of one day upon earth.” The more ancient Fathers have generally quoted the text in this manner, to prove original sin; (Haydock; St. Cyrian; Tertullian, St. Deo. Mag.[St. Leo the Great?] in Nat. i., &c.; Tirinus) and Bellarmine almost does the same, (Grat. iv. 4.) observing that the Septuagint have taken in three words from the following verse: “though his days are few.” Yet there are some words which are not in Hebrew, though the doctrine here maintained is indubitable. (Amama) — Job was fully convinced of it, and adduced it as plea for mercy. It also tends to keep us in the most profound humility and watchfulness, to resist the motions of concupiscence. (Calmet) — Man,

—–“Now too late,

Saw the rash error, which he could not mend;

An error fatal not to him alone,

But to his future sons, his fortune’s heirs.” (Blair’s Grave. Milton, x. 151.) (Haydock)

Ver. 6. Hireling, who rejoices at being permitted to rest a little. So, before death, suffer me to have some relaxation, chap. vii. 1.

Ver. 8. Dust. After being even exposed to the air, for a long time, some branches will take root, like the rose of Jericho, the willow, &c.

Ver. 9. Scent, or light touch, Daniel iii. 94. (Menochius)

Ver. 10. Is he? Will he naturally come to life again?

Ver. 11. Sea. There would be no supply of rain for the fountains. (Ecclesiastes i. 7.) All would continue dry: so when the blood is once gone, life is at an end. See 2 Kings xiv. 14. (Calmet) — The water cannot go back. (Menochius)

Ver. 12. Till. At that time, the general resurrection will take place. (Vatable) (Scultet.) — But people will never revive, according to the course of nature. In St. Matthew v. 18., and Psalm lxxi. 7., till is used in this sense. (Calmet)

Ver. 13. That thou mayst protect me in hell. That is, in the state of the dead; and in the place where souls are kept waiting for their Redeemer; (Challoner) and in the grave, where the body awaits the resurrection. (Haydock) — These words are repeated in the office for the dead, in the name of the souls in purgatory. (Denis the Carthusian, a. 34.) — They are adduced in proof of limbo. But sheol denotes also “the grave.” (Amama) — What then? The soul is not confined there. It must consequently be explained of the lower receptacle for souls, as well as of the grave. (Haydock)

Ver. 14. Dead. Shall one in a condition nearly as bad, like myself, be restored to health? Yes, I entertain this hope. (Calmet) — Thinkest thou, is not in Hebrew or Septuagint. The latter speaks (Haydock) clearly of the resurrection. (Calmet) — “For if a man die, shall he revive, having completed the days of his life? I wait (for thee) till I be again.” (Grabe) (Haydock) — Warfare. Chap. vii. 1.

Ver. 16. But. Hebrew, “Mark out, (Calmet) or dost thou not observe my sin?” This fills me with terror, (Haydock) unless thou shew mercy.

Ver. 17. Cured. Hebrew, “sewed up.” This method and sealing was in use to keep things of value, before locks were invented. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “thou hast noted if I had transgressed unwillingly, akon.” Yet God will not make us accountable for what we cannot help.

Ver. 19. Man. Hebrew and Septuagint, “the hope of man.” (Haydock) — He must not expect to be more privileged than all other things, which time consumes. (Calmet) — Job again deplores human misery. (Menochius)

Ver. 20. Strengthened. Septuagint, “driven away.” (Pagnin, &c.) — “Thou wilt treat him harshly.” (Calmet)

Ver. 21. Or dishonour. He cannot naturally be informed. (Menochius) — God may, however, reveal to souls departed, what may increase their accidental happiness or misery. (Haydock) — Hence the Church prays to the saints. Job is speaking chiefly of the body in the grave, and of what appear exteriorly. During life man cannot foresee the state of his children; nor in the other world, would their condition render him happy or otherwise. (Calmet) (Mercer) — Septuagint, “If his sons be many,…or….few, he knows not.” (Haydock) — He is not affected in the same manner as he would be, if living. (Worthington)

Ver. 22. Over. Hebrew, “within him.” (Haydock) — During life man is full of cares, and presently he is consigned to the dreary tomb, ver. 19. (Calmet)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Job declares the shortness of man’s days: and professes his belief of a resurrection.

1 Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries.

2 *Who cometh forth like a flower, and is destroyed, and fleeth as a shadow, and never continueth in the same state.

3 And dost thou think it meet to open thy eyes upon such an one, and to bring him into judgment with thee?

4 *Who can make him clean that is conceived of unclean seed? is it not thou who only art?

5 The days of man are short, and the number of his months is with thee: thou hast appointed his bounds which cannot be passed.

6 Depart a little from him, that he may rest, until his wished-for day come, as that of the hireling.

7 A tree hath hope: if it be cut, it groweth green again, and the boughs thereof sprout.

8 If its root be old in the earth, and its stock be dead in the dust:

9 At the scent of water, it shall spring, and bring forth leaves, as when it was first planted.

10 But man when he shall be dead, and stripped and consumed, I pray you where is he?

11 As if the waters should depart out of the sea, and an emptied river should be dried up:

12 So man, when he is fallen asleep, shall not rise again; till the heavens be broken, he shall not awake, nor rise up out of his sleep.

13 Who will grant me this, that thou mayst protect me in hell, and hide me till thy wrath pass, and appoint me a time when thou wilt remember me?

14 Shall man that is dead, thinkest thou, live again? all the days, in which I am now in warfare, I expect until my change come.

15 Thou shalt call me, and I will answer thee: to the work of thy hands thou shalt reach out thy right hand.

16 *Thou indeed hast numbered my steps, but spare my sins.

17 Thou hast sealed up my offences as it were in a bag, but hast cured my iniquity.

18 A mountain falling cometh to nought, and a rock is removed out of its place.

19 Waters wear away the stones, and with inundation the ground by little and little is washed away: so in like manner thou shalt destroy man.

20 Thou hast strengthened him for a little while, that he may pass away for ever: thou shalt change his face, and shalt send him away.

21 Whether his children come to honour or dishonour, he shall not understand.

22 But yet his flesh, while he shall live, shall have pain, and his soul shall mourn over him.



2: Job viii. 9.; Psalm cxliii. 4.

4: Psalm l. 4.

16: Job xxxi. 4. and xxxiv. 21.; Proverbs v. 21.