Introduction: Job Longs for Death (3:1-26)
Job Curses the Day of His Birth (3:1-10)
Job’s life had been thoroughly steeped in devastation, grief, pain, suffering, and misery. He experienced wave after wave of unbelievable misfortune and tragedy. Each wave worked in concert with the previous to wear him down financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Finally, after many days of unbearable pain and unbroken silence, Job spoke in the presence of his friends. His bottled up anguish found expression in lamentation. His words betrayed the dark misery of his heart. They reveal that even God’s finest can become discouraged and lose perspective on life. Job did not attempt to mask his feelings or to impress his friends with a stoic piety. He spoke honestly. Elmer B. Smick comments, “God prefers that we speak with him honestly, even in our moments of deepest gloom, than that we mouth innocuous clichés far removed from reality.” While Job openly “cursed the day of his birth,” he never cursed God as Satan had hoped. He wished that the day of his birth had never been on the calendar.
Job wished that the day of his birth had never existed. If he had never been born he would never have experienced the awful events of the previous weeks and months. Job wished that the day of his birth had been barren (3:7). He wished that a curse would be pronounced upon it and that it would not exist on the calendar or that it would be swallowed by Leviathan (3:8). He wished that the sun had never come up on the day of his birth (3:9). Job cursed the day of his birth because it did not shut his mother’s womb (3:10).
Job Wishes He Had Died At Birth (3:11-19)
Since the day of his birth however, had occurred, Job then asked why he had not died at birth (3:11-12). It would have been better, said Job, to die at birth than to live only to experience the tragedies that had befallen him. Death would have meant rest (3:13). It would have given Job the opportunity to go to glory along with kings, counselors, and princes (3:14-15). Death would have meant relief (3:16-19), like that experienced by prisoners freed from having to hear the voice of their taskmaster or slaves from their masters.
Job Questions Why His Life Is Continued (3:20-26)
Since Job had been born and had not died at birth, he next wished that he could die in the midst of his present sufferings. Notice the four levels of Job’s suffering.
First, Job suffered intellectually. Job asked why light is given “to him who suffers” (3:20). He wondered why a suffering person was given extended life. Job longed for the relief of death more than a man searching for treasure longed for the discovery of that treasure (3:21-22).
Second, Job suffered spiritually. Job felt trapped (or hedged in) in a maze (3:23). He felt that God had hedged him in and rendered him incapable of escaping from his trials.
Third, Job suffered physically. He completely lost his appetite (3:24).
Fourth, Job suffered emotionally. The nightmare he was living was no dream, it was real (3:25-26). . .his family, fortune, and health were gone.