on Job 14 :22
But his flesh upon him shall have pain - The sum of the life of man is this, pain of body and distress of soul; and he is seldom without the one or the other, and often oppressed by both. Thus ends Job's discourse on the miserable state and condition of man. The last verse of the preceding chapter has been differently translated and explained. Mr.
Good's version is the following, which he vindicates in a learned note: -
For his flesh shall drop away from him;
And his soul shall become a waste from him.
The Chaldee thus: "Nevertheless his flesh, on account of the worms, shall grieve over him; and his soul, in the house of judgment, shall wail over him." In another copy of this version it is thus: "Nevertheless his flesh, before the window is closed over him, shall grieve; and his soul, for seven days of mourning, shall bewail him in the house of his burial." I shall give the Hebrew: -
אך בשרו עליו יכאב
Ach besaro alaiv yichab,
ונפשו עליו תאבל
Venaphsho alaiv teebal.
Which Mr. Stock translates thus, both to the spirit and letter: -
But over him his flesh shall grieve;
And over him his breath shall mourn.
"In the daring spirit of oriental poetry," says he, "the flesh, or body, and the breath, are made conscious beings; the former lamenting its putrefaction in the grave, the latter mourning over the mouldering clay which it once enlivened."
This version is, in my opinion, the most natural yet offered. The Syriac and Arabic present nearly the same sense: "But his body shall grieve over him; and his soul be astonished over him."
on Job 14 :22
But his flesh upon him shall have pain - Dr. Good renders this, "his flesh shall drop away from him." This is evidently a representation of the state of the man after he was dead. He would be taken away from hope and from his friends. His body would be committed to the grave, and his spirit would go to the world of shades. The image in the mind seems to have been, that his flesh would suffer. It would be cold and chill, and would be devoured by worms. There seems to have been an impression that the soul would be conscious of this in its distant and silent abode, and the description is given of the grave as if the body were conscious there, and the turning back to dust were attended with pain. This thought is that which makes the grave so gloomy now. We think of ourselves in its darkness and chilliness. We insensibly suppose that we shall be conscious there. And hence, we dread so much the lonely, sad, and gloomy residence in the tomb. The meaning of the word rendered "shall have pain" - כאב kâ'ab - is "to be sore, to be grieved, afflicted, sad." It is by the imagination, that pain is here attributed to the dead body. But Job was not alone in this. We all feel the same thing when we think of death.
And his soul within him shall mourn - The soul that is within him shall be sad; that is, in the land of shades. So Virgil, speaking of the death of Lausus, says,
Tum vita per auras
Concessit moesta ad manes, corpusque reliquit.
Aeneid x. 819.
The idea of Job is, that it would leave all the comforts of this life; it would be separate from family and friends; it would go lonely and sad to the land of shades and of night. Job dreaded it. He loved life; and in the future world, as it was presented to his view, there was nothing to charm and attract. There he expected to wander in darkness and sadness; and from that gloomy world he expected to return no more forever. Eichhorn, however, has rendered this verse so as to give a different signification, which may perhaps be the true one.
Nur uber sich ist er betrubt;
Nur sich betrauert er.
"His troubles pertain only to himself; his grief relates to himself alone." According to this, the idea is that he must bear all his sorrows alone, and for himself. He is cut off from the living, and is not permitted to share in the joys and sorrows of his posterity, nor they in his. He has no knowledge of anything that pertains to them, nor do they participate in his griefs. What a flood of light and joy would have been poured on his soul by the Christian hope, and by the revelation of the truth that there is a world of perfect light and joy for the righteous - in heaven! And what thanks do we owe to the Great Author of our religion - to him who is "the Resurrection and the Life " - that we are permitted to look upon the grave with hearts full of peace and joy!
on Job 14 :22