Job 7:1 ¶ Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?
Job 7:2 As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work:
Job 7:3 So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.
Job 7:4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.
Job 7:5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.
Job 7:6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.
Job goes on to compare the life of a man on the earth to those of a hired man. The worker looks forward to the shadows of evening (the end of each work day) and his coming paycheck. Job has been enduring months of destruction and ruin filled with nights of pain and misery with nothing good to anticipate. He lay down at night thinking about how long it will be before morning since he knows his night will be full of tossing and turning until daybreak. His flesh is covered with maggots, dirt and disgusting sores. His days move (from the Hebrew for “swifter”) back and forth like a weaver’s shuttle (day and night, day and night, etc.) with no hope for the future.
Job 7:7 ¶ O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.
Job 7:8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not.
Job 7:9 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.
Job 7:10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.
As you continue to read the rest of this chapter, it is obvious that Job has turned his address to God. Foolish though it be, Job presumes to remind God, his Creator, that his life is like a breath of wind; he never expects to experience pleasure again. He compares the death of a man to a cloud that vanishes from sight. He will never be seen again on this earth.
Job 7:11 Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Job insists that he cannot be silent; he must express the sorrow and heaviness of his spirit and soul that accompanies the pain in his body.
Job 7:12 Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?
I’m note sure what Job is saying here. Maybe—What have I done to get your attention? Do I pose a danger to others?
Job 7:13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint;
Job 7:14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:
Job 7:15 So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.
Job 7:16 I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.
Job says that when he thinks about the comfort of his bed at night, he gets nightmares and terrifying visions that he believes are from God. He would rather die. He hates his life and no longer wants to live in such a state. He asks God to just leave him alone; his life is useless.
Job 7:17 ¶ What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
Job 7:18 And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?
As Job continues to talk to God, he wonders why God honors man and gives him so much attention every moment of every day.
Maybe the psalmist was familiar with these verses.
Psalms 8:4 “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
Psalms 144:3–4 “LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.”
I have often pondered about God’s omniscience and omnipresence in the life of each of those that trust Him—let alone the rest of mankind. Why would He be so interested in me, certainly one of those insignificant parts of the bride of Christ? Oh how thankful I am, however, to know that He is!
Job 7:19 How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?
Job 7:20 I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?
Job 7:21 And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.
Job is basically asking God how long he is going to have to suffer His judgment; can’t He let up for even an instant? (Bullinger notes that “till I swallow down my spittle” is an Arabic idiom meaning “for one instant.”)
Job wants God to reveal how he has sinned, why he is being punished. He wants to know why he won’t forgive his sin. Job realizes that he is bound to die soon, so God won’t have to bother with him anymore.
I liked this observation from Stedman: “In every time of trial there are two purposes in view: Satan has his purpose, and God has his. Satan's purpose here was to use the pain of Job's illness to afflict his body; to use the priggish, well-intentioned comfort of his friends to irritate his soul; and to use the silence of God to assault his spirit and to break his faith. But God's purpose is to teach Job some truths that he never knew before, to deepen his theology, and help him understand God much better. God's truth was to answer Satan in the eyes of all the principalities and powers of the whole universe, and to prove him wrong in his philosophy of life God's purpose was also to provide a demonstration for all the sufferers in all the ages that would follow that God knows what he is doing.”
I also liked this quote from Spurgeon, though I am not sure I would volunteer to embrace his conclusion: “Job was not being punished; he was being honored. God was giving to him a name like that of the great ones of the earth. The Lord was lifting him up, promoting him, putting him into the front rank, making a great saint of him, causing him to become one of the fathers and patterns in the ancient Church of God. He was really doing for Job such extraordinarily good things that you or I, in looking back upon his whole history, might well say, ‘I would be quite content to take Job’s afflictions if I might also have Job’s grace, and Job’s place in the Church of God.’”