Job 7, Exegetical Notes from Abner Chou

Job 7:1

Job continues his response to Eliphaz, but transitions from addressing his friends to focusing on God. In light of God, Job re-engages his previous questions (Job 2:11; Job 2:20; Job 2:23). He says that he still thinks God is cruel. He knows God has the right to do anything to Job, but he doesn’t see His compassion right now. God is like a slave-driver who causes Job to suffer.

Job 7:3-4

Job isn’t sure he will wake up. He has absolute uncertainty about everything, even his own existence.

Job 7:5

He has worms in his skin.

Job 7:6

His days are swift because the nights are so terrible. He wants the day to drag by for a break from his nightly pain, but there is no hope. The day always ends. The pain keeps coming.

Job 7:7

Job just wants to know that God cares. Does He care? Does He realize how fragile Job is and how much it hurts?

Job 7:8-10

Job reiterates his situation to God and throws all his hope on Him. He knows that people will fade but God will always see him. Death is permanent and no one in this world can save us from it. It is ultimately powerful because no one can stop it. That is why he appeals to GOD here.

Job 7:11

Job isn’t bitter against God; he is just bitter, period, and He just wants to talk to God.

And now here comes the second and third wish (remember, the first wish was in Job 6:8-10, i.e. Death).

Job 7:12-19: The Second Wish: Pick on Someone Your Own Size, God!

Job 7:12

“Sea monster” (c.f., Leviathan). Job isn’t this beast. His point is that he is so small why is God picking on him? Pick on somebody your own size, God!

Job 7:13

God picks on him even in his sleep.

Job 7:17

“What is man…” this phrase is also in Psalm 8. Job is saying this in the context of God picking on him, but in Psalm 8, David’s point is that even though he is lowly, God cares…the total reverse of Job. And Hebrews 2:6-9 picks up on this Psalm, saying Jesus is the man who has dominion over everything. “David is thankful God picks on man because ultimately that provides a way for us to one day gain control over creation through Christ.” Job says “Quit picking on me!” but the irony of his wish is that the very reason of his wish will be his reward in the end.

Job wonders if God is compassionate, and He is. This is why:

Job 7:20-21: Third Wish: Pardon/“Passover” my Sin

Job’s point is: if God is going to focus so much on me, why not forgive me? If He really cares about me, why doesn’t He forgive me? It feels like He cares in all the wrong ways.

“Why then do you not pardon…” same word here for Passover. The irony is that Job’s wishes are setting up for what God is and will be doing. Job knows forgiveness would make God’s scrutinizing of him loving, and in fact, Job actually gets his wish, but he might not find that out till he dies. These wish statements are compiling.1


  1. Eliphaz is a failure of a friend. He can’t assess what’s right in front of him (so much for being a historian); his cause and effect scheme doesn’t work.
  2. He starts to posit a new system, other than the DR Principle. He isn’t sure it is right, but he wants a system where God is merciful and loving and forgiving of sin.

    • This new system is the Gospel.
    • The reason this is so important is because then you start to show how the Gospel really does answer the deepest questions people have in suffering. Here is a man enduring the worst possible suffering. And these are the questions he has, and he needs ultimate epistemological certainty in those answers.
  1. You don’t really figure this out until the next 7 chapters, but this is the key. ↩︎