on Job 3 :23
To a man whose way is hid - Who knows not what is before him in either world, but is full of fears and trembling concerning both.
God hath hedged in? - Leaving him no way to escape; and not permitting him to see one step before him. There is an exact parallel to this passage in Lamentations 3:7, Lamentations 3:9 : He hath hedged me about that I cannot get out. He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone. Mr. Good translates the verse thus: To the man whose path is broken up, and whose futurity God hath overwhelmed. But I cannot see any necessity for departing from the common text, which gives both an easy and a natural sense.
on Job 3 :23
Why is light given "to a man uhose way is hid?" That is, who does not know what way to take, and who sees no escape from the misery that surrounds him.
Whom God hath hedged in - See Notes, Job 1:10. The meaning here is, that God had surrounded him as with a high wall or hedge, so that he could not move freely. Job asks with impatience, why light, that is, life, should be given to such a man? Why should he not be permitted to die? This closes the complaint of Job, and the remaining verses of the chapter contain a statement of his sorrowful condition, and of the fact that he had now been called to suffer all that he had ever apprehended. - In regard to the questions here proposed by Job JObadiah 3:20-23, we may remark, that; there was doubtless much impatience on his part, and not a little improper feeling. The language shows that Job was not absolutely sinless; but let us not harshly blame him. What he says, is a "statement" of feelings which often pass through the mind, though they are not often expressed. Who, in deep and protracted sorrows, has not found such questions rising up in his soul - questions which required all his energy and all his firmness of principle, and all the strength which he could gain by prayer, to suppress? To the questions themselves, it may be difficult to give an answer; and it is certain that none of the friends of Job furnished a solution of the difficulty. When it is asked, why man is kept in misery on earth, when he would be glad to be released by death, perhaps the following, among others, may be the reasons:
(1) Those sufferings may be the very means which are needful to develope the true state of the soul. Such was the case with Job.
(2) They may be the proper punishment of sin in the heart, of which the individual was not fully aware, but which may be distinctly seen by God. There may be pride, and the love of ease, and self-confidence, and ambition, and a desire of reputation. Such appear to have been some of the besetting sins of Job.
(3) They are needful to teach true submission, and to show whether a man is willing to resign himself to God.
(4) They may be the very things which are necessary to prepare the individual to die. At the same time that people often desire death, and feel that it would be a relief, it might be to them the greatest possible calamity. They may be wholly unprepared for it. For a sinner, the grave contains no rest; the eternal world furnishes no repose.
One design of God in such sorrows may be, to show to the wicked how "intolerable" will he future pain, and how important it is for them to be ready to die. If they cannot bear the pains and sorrows of a few hours in this short life. how can they endure eternal sufferings? If it is so desirable to be released from the sorrows of the body here, - if it is felt that the grave, with all that is repulsive in it, would be a place of repose, how important is it to find some way to be secured from everlasting pains! The true place of release from suffering for a sinner, is not the grave; it is in the pardoning mercy of God, and in that pure heaven to which he is invited through the blood of the cross. In that holy heaven is the only real repose from suffering and from sin; and heaven will be all the sweeter in proportion to the extremity of pain which is endured on earth.
on Job 3 :23
3:23 Hid - From him; who knows not his way, which way to turn himself, what course to take to comfort himself in his miseries. Hedged in - Whom God hath put as it were in a prison, so that he can see no way or possibility of escape.