Job 14, Exegetical Notes from Abner Chou

Job begins to get specific, focusing on two things: 1) Why his friends are wrong—they don’t understand his pain or the world, and 2) How could God prove Himself to be right?

Job 14:1-2

Man’s frailty causes Job to think…

Job 14:3

Why is God so bent on hurting and evaluating people if they are just so weak and vulnerable? This is another question about God’s goodness.

Job 14:4

Man is so weak he could never appear clean before God. There’s no way anyone can clean up their life before God. It’s cruel to expect that they can when man is so frail and pathetic. (But the irony is this: yes, only God can make us clean, but He did so in Jesus. He is our only hope. Think of the NT parables of Jesus and the lepers. Jesus breaks Levitical Law and touches the unclean, who other men won’t even approach, and something reverse happens. Jesus makes the unclean clean—but Job doesn’t know that.)

Cleanliness is even more than forgiveness; it’s total acceptance.

Job 14:5

The problem is man ultimately will die and when you’re dead you are inherently unclean.

Job 14:6

Job is saying, God just stop picking on us. We can’t become clean. Just stop looking at me and let me be. Job pleads for non-intervention but what he really needs is intervention. He doesn’t know that because he’s still thinking in the box.

Job 14:7

This is particularly a slam against Bildad. Reading nature doesn’t work because trees are even resilient in the harshest circumstances: trees can grow back; people can’t.

Job 14:10

People die and stay dead…forever. He just disappears (at least to human eye).

Job 14:13

Job expresses another wish. He is envisioning the future when he is dead, when he is in the afterlife. He wants 3 things: 1) God to hide him there from Himself, 2) to be protected from His wrath, and 3) to have a day in court. Job is asking for a resurrection. That’s the only way to make the unclean clean.

Be careful in how you apply the resurrection. One danger is we don’t talk about this at all. We forget to mention the big things. But on the other hand, these things don’t take care of all your problems either. These big realities (like resurrection) tell us things about God and that gives us the anchor we need. We know God has the prerogative, but is He right in his goodness and love etc? the answer is yes, even if we can’t explain it, because we know the ultimate answers (like resurrection).

Job 14:14

This verse shows you that vs. 13 is a wish. Job knows resurrection is impossible but he still wishes for it. He doesn’t believe it, but it’s the desperate wish of a man who is suffering.

Job 14:15

If God would give resurrection, Job would know He actually loves him.

Job 14:16

Everything starts to come together and Job sees that if God would make him clean, then God’s insane focus on humanity wouldn’t be God picking on him—it would be God as caring and it would be desirable. The resurrection would purify Job and he would be sinless in the eyes of God and that would make it all OK.

Job 14:17

Job’s sin would be gone. Solving the problem of death is equal to solving the problem of sin.

Job 14:18-22

Job says, Alas, it’s just a dream.

At the end he attacks Bildad again because he talks about nature. It’ll all pass away. Nature is relentless. There’s no hope for man.

Job talks about what happens after he dies. He’s assuming his wish isn’t true, so he thinks that after he dies God will throw him away because He doesn’t believe God is good (or at least not here where he is speaking emotionally about it). And in the end it’s just you by yourself. Death is final. It separates you from everyone and everything and nothing can reverse it. What he wishes for is impossible. No one can make that happen. But if God could, He would be good.