Job 10:1-22

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Job’s “soul” or he himself loathed or was weary of his life on account of his distress. Therefore, he would not restrain himself in expressing his “complaint,” speaking out in his “bitterness” (literally, the “bitterness of my soul”). According to the Septuagint rendering, Job spoke of himself as “being wearied in [his] soul” or as having become worn out as by hard laboring. For this reason, he would, with groaning, “let loose [his] words” upon God. He would speak as one whom the bitterness of his soul (of his very being) had seized. (10:1)

Job asked God not to condemn him but to let him know why he was contending with him. The Septuagint quotes Job as saying to the “Lord, Teach me not to act impiously.” This is followed by the rhetorical question directed to God. “Why have you thus judged me?” This question indicates that Job regarded what had befallen him as a judgment from the Most High, but he did not consider it to have been fair. (10:2)

Job could not understand why it seemed good to God to oppress him or to submit him to great suffering. Regarding himself as the “work of [God’s] hands,” Job wondered how God could so despise the work of his hands, causing him to endure severe affliction. It seemed to Job that the wicked prospered, giving rise to his question as to why the Almighty did “shine upon” or favor the “counsel,” advice, or schemes of the wicked. (10:3)

Job considered what he had to endure to be a serious injustice. This moved him to direct the rhetorical questions to God, “Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see like a man sees?” Whereas Job was aware that men often fail to deal justly, he could not comprehend why God acted toward him as if he had eyes of flesh and looked at matters in the same manner as a man might see things. (10:4; see Notes section regarding the Septuagint rendering.)

Job regarded the Almighty as the source of the distress that he continued to experience. It seemed to him that the eternal God acted as if he were pressured by the shortness of life in his dealings with him. This appears to have prompted him to ask whether God’s “days” (“life” [LXX]) were like that of mortal man or whether his “years” were like man’s “days” or lifetime. (10:5)

The rhetorical question raised in the previous verse is continued, with the focus being on what Job perceived as God’s dealing with him. In view of what he had to endure, Job felt that the Most High was seeking out his “iniquity” and searching for his “sin” in order to treat him harshly. (10:6)

Job believed that the Almighty was responsible for his suffering despite his knowing that he was not guilty of having committed serious transgressions or, according to the Septuagint, had not been impious. Nevertheless, Job had been left without any recourse or hope of relief from his misery, for no one could deliver him out of God’s “hand” or power. (10:7)

Job could not understand why the Most High was afflicting him, as he recognized himself as the work of God’s hands. Yet, although Job was his creation, the Almighty was in the process of destroying him thoroughly (literally, swallowing him up or engulfing him). The Septuagint indicates that, after fashioning and making Job, God changed his mind and struck him. (10:8)

Job’s implied appeal to God was to be shown mercy because of being just a frail human. He implored the Almighty to remember that he had made him “out of clay” or the elements of the ground and that he would return him to the “dust” or these elements. (10:9)

Job seemingly linked his coming into existence to his father’s milky seminal fluid. He attributed to God the transformation that then took place in his mother’s womb to the curdling of the milky substance. Directing his words to the Almighty, Job raised the rhetorical question, “Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese?” (10:10)

With reference to what he perceived to be the divine working that shaped him in his mother’s womb, Job said regarding the Most High that he clothed him with “skin and flesh” and wove him together with “bones and sinews.” (10:11)

In the past, the Almighty had granted “life and unfailing love” (chésed) to Job. The Hebrew word chésed designates compassionate care and loving concern that expresses itself in action and, in the Septuagint, is here translated éleos (“mercy,” “pity,” or “compassion”). God’s “visitation” or watchful care had preserved Job’s “spirit,” possibly meaning Job’s “life principle.” (10:12)

The previous favorable circumstances had changed for Job. He had lost all his possessions, his children, and his health. This caused him to conclude that God always had in mind depriving him of everything and causing him to suffer. He is quoted as saying that God had “hidden” these things in his “heart” or within himself, and Job was sure about this, adding, “for this [was] with you” or “this was your purpose.” (10:13; see the Notes section regarding the Septuagint rendering.)

If or when he sinned, Job felt that God watched him, taking note of everything that he did. But the Almighty did not acquit him of his iniquity or “lawlessness” (LXX). Job apparently regarded his afflicted state as proof that he had not been forgiven any wrongs he may have committed. (10:14)

It appeared to Job that, regardless of how he conducted himself, he would experience affliction. If he acted wickedly or proved himself to be impious (LXX), “woe” to him. He would face calamity. If he revealed himself to be righteous or upright, he would not be able to raise his head like someone enjoying a noble standing. Job would be “sated with disgrace” and have to look upon his affliction or (based on another reading of the Hebrew verb) “be drenched with” it. According to the Septuagint, he would be “filled with dishonor.” (10:15)

If a person were to lift himself up or exalt himself, God would act against him. As Job said regarding himself, “Like a lion you hunt me and again act wondrously against me.” Job felt that the Almighty treated him like prey to be caught and destroyed and used his power to afflict him. The Septuagint represents Job as saying that God hunted him like a lion to be slaughtered and “again turned” to bring him to horrifying ruin. (10:16)

Job portrayed his situation like that of a man who is put on trial, with God “renewing” or bringing new witnesses against him. Moreover, the Almighty increased his vexation, or intensified his displeasure, against Job. The Masoretic Text concludes with an obscure wording that may literally be translated, “Changes and a host with me.” In the Septuagint, the verse concludes with the phrase, “You brought trials upon me.” The renderings of translations of the Hebrew text vary. “Changes and warfare [are] with me.” (Young) “Hardships assault me, wave after wave. (HCSB) “You bring fresh troops against me.” (ESV) “You always plan some new attack.” (GNT, Second Edition) (10:17)

In view of what Job perceived that God had done to him, he asked why he had brought him out of the womb. Job felt that he should have just died and no eye would have then seen him. (10:18)

If Job had died at birth, it would have been as if he had never existed. He would have been carried from the womb to the grave. (10:19)

Stressing the shortness of his life, Job raised the rhetorical question, “Are not my days few?” (“Is not my lifetime short?” [LXX]) Therefore, he longed for just a brief time of relief from his misery. Job wanted God to pause, to leave him alone to have respite. He yearned for God to turn attention away from him, permitting him to smile a little or to experience some welcome relief from his distress. According to the shorter text in the Septuagint, Job wanted God to grant him to “rest a little.” (10:20)

As Job believed that his life would soon end, he longed for a little relief from suffering before he would go to the realm of the dead, the “land of gloom and death’s shadow” (deep darkness) from which he would not return. (10:21)

The realm of the dead is portrayed as a “land of darkness” or, according to the Septuagint, a “land of eternal darkness, where there is no light.” In the Hebrew text, the description of the darkness is intensified. It is like the “gloom of death’s shadow and no order,” or a chaotic state where nothing can be recognized as having shape or form. The “land of darkness” is one where light is like darkness. In the Septuagint, this “land” is described as a place where the life of mortals cannot be seen. (10:22)


Printed texts of the Septuagint conclude verse 4 with the question, “Will you see like a man sees?” This question is not contained in the extant text of the Septuagint that was available to Origen (in the third century CE). He added it from the version of Theodotion and marked it accordingly. The added question is nearly identical to the preceding one and reads, “Do you behold like a mortal sees?”

In the Septuagint, the thought of verse 13 is expressed in a positive manner. With reference to God, Job said, “Because you have these things in yourself, I know that you are able to do everything, and nothing is impossible for you.” Based on the previous verse, “these things” would be the things God had granted to Job — life, mercy, and care. Within himself, the Almighty had the capacity to grant them according to his purpose.