on Job 3 :1
After this opened Job his mouth - After the seven days' mourning was over, there being no prospect of relief, Job is represented as thus cursing the day of his birth. Here the poetic part of the book begins; for most certainly there is nothing in the preceding chapters either in the form or spirit of Hebrew poetry. It is easy indeed to break the sentences into hemistichs; but this does not constitute them poetry: for, although Hebrew poetry is in general in hemistichs, yet it does not follow that the division of narrative into hemistichs must necessarily constitute it poetry.
In many cases the Asiatic poets introduce their compositions with prose narrative; and having in this way prepared the reader for what he is to expect, begin their deevans, cassidehs, gazels, etc. This appears to be the plan followed by the author of this book. Those who still think, after examining the structure of those chapters, and comparing them with the undoubted poetic parts of the book, that they also, and the ten concluding verses, are poetry, have my consent, while I take the liberty to believe most decidedly the opposite.
Cursed his day - That is, the day of his birth; and thus he gave vent to the agonies of his soul, and the distractions of his mind. His execrations have something in them awfully solemn, tremendously deep, and strikingly sublime. But let us not excuse all the things which he said in his haste, and in the bitterness of his soul, because of his former well established character of patience. He bore all his privations with becoming resignation to the Divine will and providence: but now, feeling himself the subject of continual sufferings, being in heaviness through manifold temptation, and probably having the light of God withdrawn from his mind, as his consolations most undoubtedly were, he regrets that ever he was born; and in a very high strain of impassioned poetry curses his day. We find a similar execration to this in Jeremiah, Jeremiah 20:14-18, and in other places; which, by the way, are no proofs that the one borrowed from the other; but that this was the common mode of Asiatic thinking, speaking, and feeling, on such occasions.
on Job 3 :1
After this - Dr. Good renders this, "at length." It means after the long silence of his friends, and after he saw that there was no prospect of relief or of consolation.
Opened Job his mouth - The usual formula in Hebrew to denote thc commencement of a speech; see Matthew 5:2. Schultens contends that it means boldness and vehemency of speech, παῤῥησία parrēsia, or an opening of the mouth for the purpose of accusing, expostulating, or complaining; or to begin to utter some sententious, profound, or sublime maxim; and in support of this he appeals to Psalm 78:2, ard Proverbs 8:6. There is probably, however nothing more intended than to begin to speak. It is in accordance with Oriental views, where an act of speaking is regarded as a grave and important matter, and is entered on with much deliberation. Blackwell (Life of Homer, p. 43) remarks that the Turks, Arabs, Hindoos, and the Orientals in general, have little inclination to society and to general conversation, that they seldom speak, and that their speeches are sententious and brief, unless they are much excited. With such men, to make a speech is a serious matter, as is indicated by the manner in which their discourses are commonly introduced: "I will open my mouth," or they "opened the mouth," implying great deliberation and gravity. This phrase occurs often in Homer, Hesiod, Orpheus, and in Virgil (compare Aeneid vi. 75), as well as in the Bible. See Burder, in Rosenmuller's Morgenland, "in loc."
And cursed his day - The word rendered "curse" here, קלל qâlal is different from that used in Job 1:11; Job 2:9. It is the proper word to denote "to curse." The Syriac adds, "the day in which he was born." A similar expression occurs in Klopstock's Messias, Ges. iii.
Wenn nun, aller Kinder beraubt, die verzweifelude Mutter,
Wuthend dem Tag. an dem sie gebahr, und gebohren ward, fluchet.
"When now of all her children robbed, the desperate mother enraged
Curses the day in which she bare, and was borne."
on Job 3 :1
3:1 His day - His birth - day, in vain do some endeavour to excuse this and the following speeches of Job, who afterwards is reproved by God, and severely accuseth himself for them, chap.38:2 40:4 13:3,6. And yet he does not proceed so far as to curse God, but makes the devil a liar: but although he does not break forth into direct reproaches of God, yet he makes indirect reflections upon his providence. His curse was sinful, both because it was vain, being applied to a thing, which was not capable of blessing and cursing, and because it cast a blame upon God for bringing that day, and for giving him life on that day.