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"If a Man Dies, Shall He Live Again?" (Job 13:20-14:22) March 9-10

In Job 13:20, Job launches into His appeal to God. He asks two things: (1) that God would stop terrifying him with unrelenting suffering (verse 21) and (2) that God would stop hiding Himself and reveal the specific charges He has against him (verses 22-24).

In verse 26, Job mentions the iniquities of his youth—showing that his life has not been completely sinless. But have not these been forgiven since he committed to a relationship with God? Yet his early period of waywardness is the only thing Job can think of that could merit what is now happening to him.

In verse 28 through 14:6, Job sinks back into despair, uttering a poem on the plight of man, agreeing with Eliphaz's assessment that a person is born for trouble and viewing himself as the premier example of that. In verses 7-12, which may be a continuation of the poem, Job implies that life is better for a tree than a person—because at least a tree cut down can sprout again while death marks the end for a human being, at least until far in the future.

This refocuses Job's thoughts for a moment on the future resurrection, which he clearly believes in. He asks that God would bring him the relief of the grave until His wrath is past—that God would then call him forth at the appointed time. "To capture the force of Job's meaning of halipati, ['my change' or] 'my renewal' [NIV]), we must note that the same root is used in v. 7 concerning the tree. There the NIV [and NKJV] translated it 'sprout.' A basic meaning is 'to have succession.' In this verse Job is speaking of succession after death, not the healing of his body in this life" (Expositor's Bible Commentary, footnote on verse 14). The Greek Septuagint translates this as a word meaning "rebirth."

But Job's flicker of hope is short-lived here. As the remainder of chapter 14 shows: "Job knew that eventually God would cover all his offenses and long for him as the beneficent Creator who delights in those he made. But despite his faith in God's power over death, Job was convinced that God would not even allow him the exquisite release of death.... The waters of suffering continue to erode till his bright hope was a dim memory (v. 19) and nothing mattered anymore but the pain of his body and the continual mourning of his soul (v. 22)" (note on 13:28-14:22). In this world, it appears that he, along with the rest of mankind, has no hope and no future.

Yet through all this, Job who was suffering inconceivable distress, still did not curse God's name. We can only begin to grasp the mental strain Job endured during his time of suffering.

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