King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Job 14

Job speaks of man’s life. (1-6) Of man’s death. (7-15) By sin man is subject to corruption. (16-22)

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Job speaks of man’s life

1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

3 And doth thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?

4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;

6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.

Of man’s death

7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.

8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;

9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

10 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?

11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:

12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.

13 O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!

14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

By sin man is subject to corruption

16 For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?

17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.

18 And surely the mountains falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.

19 The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.

20 Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.

21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.

22 But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Man. He exposes to God the common miseries of mankind. C. — They cannot avoid many miseries in their short life, yet may be brought to heaven. W.

Ver. 2. Shadow. Pulvis et umbra sumus. Hor. iv. Ode 7. “Come then, ye men, whom nature condemns to spend your days in darkness, ye who resemble the leaves, are of little strength, formed of mud, shadow-like,…of a day’s duration, miserable mortals, men like dreams, attend to the immortals.” Aristoph. Avib. — Most of these expressions occur in Job, Ps. ci. 12. Wisd. ii. 5. Eccle. ii. 23. &c.

Ver. 3. With thee. He seems beneath God’s attention: (Arist. Met. viii. 9. Cicero, Nat. ii.) but as the knowledge and other attributes of the Deity are infinite, he must necessarily attend to the whole creation. The moral actions of men being also infinite in their object, tending to God, or contradicting his ordinances, they are not beneath the consideration of an infinite Being. C.

Ver. 4. Seed, is not expressed in Heb. “unclean.“ It may refer to Adam. There is no contagion in the seed to infect the soul, as Tertullian supposed; it in only unclean in the cause, as every person who is born according to the common course of nature, becomes a child of Adam, and partakes in his original sin. The Scholastics. T. — Only art. Essence itself. Carthus. — “The justification of the sinner is a greater miracle than the creation of the world.” S. Aug. ibid. — The birth of Jesus Christ was free from stain; (Luk. i. 35.) as was also the conception of his virgin Mother, by the power of God; (M.) and his grace, as it is piously believed. H. — He alone can purify man. C. — Heb. “who can produce what is clean out of the unclean? Not one.” Or Chal. “Is there not one?” Sept. “For who shall be pure from corruption? Not so much as one: (5) though his life be only of one day upon earth.” The more ancient Fathers have generally quoted the text in this manner, to prove original sin; (H. S. Cyp. Tert. S. Deo. Mag. in Nat. i. &c. T.) and Bellarmine almost does the same, (Grat. iv. 4.) observing that the Sept. have taken in three words from the following verse: “though his days are few.” Yet there are some words which are not in Heb. though the doctrine here maintained is indubitable. Amama. — Job was fully convinced of it, and adduced it as plea for mercy. It also tends to keep us in the most profound humility and watchfulness, to resist the motions of concupiscence. C. — Man,

“Now too late,

Saw the rash error, which he could not mend;

An error fatal not to him alone,

But to his future sons, his fortune’s heirs.” Blair’s Grave. Milton, x. 151. H.

Ver. 6. Hireling, who rejoices at being permitted to rest a little. So, before death, suffer me to have some relaxation. C. vii. 1.

Ver. 8. Dust. After being even exposed to the air, for a long time, some branches will take root, like the rose of Jericho, the willow, &c.

Ver. 9. Scent, or light touch. Dan. iii. 94. M.

Ver. 10. Is he? Will he naturally come to life again?

Ver. 11. Sea. There would be no supply of rain for the fountains. Eccle. i. 7. All would continue dry: so when the blood is once gone, life is at an end. See 2 K. xiv. 14. C. — The water cannot go back. M.

Ver. 12. Till. At that time, the general resurrection will take place. Vat. Scultet. — But people will never revive, according to the course of nature. In S. Matt. v. 18. Ps. lxxi. 7. till is used in this sense. C.

Ver. 13. That thou mayst protect me in hell. That is, in the state of the dead; an din the place where souls are kept waiting for their Redeemer; (Ch.) and in the grave, where the body awaits the resurrection. H. — These words are repeated in the office of the dead, in the name of the souls in purgatory. Carthus. a. 34. — They are adduced in proof of limbo. But sheol denotes also “the grave.” Amama. — What then? The soul is not confined there. It must consequently be explained of the lower receptacle for souls, as well as of the grave. H.

Ver. 14. Dead. Shall one in a condition nearly as bad, like myself, be restored to health? Yes, I entertain this hope. C. — Thinkest thou, is not in Heb. or Sept. The latter speaks (H.) clearly of the resurrection. C. — “For if a man die, shall he revive, having completed the days of his life? I wait (for thee) till I be again.” Grabe. H. — Warfare. C. vii. 1.

Ver. 16. But. Heb. “Mark out, (C.) or dost thou not observe my sin?” This fills me with terror, (H.) unless thou shew mercy.

Ver. 17. Cured. Heb. “sewed up.” This method and sealing was in use to keep things of value, before locks were invented. C. — Sept. “thou hast noted if I had transgressed unwillingly, akon.” Yet God will not make us accountable for what we cannot help.

Ver. 19. Man. Heb. and Sept. “the hope of man.” H. — He must not expect to be more privileged than all other things, which time consumes. C. — Job again deplores human misery. M.

Ver. 20. Strengthened. Sept. “driven away.” Pagnin, &c. — “Thou wilt treat him harshly.” C.

Ver. 21. Or dishonour. He cannot naturally be informed. M. — God may, however, reveal to souls departed, what may increase their accidental happiness or misery. H. — Hence the Church prays to the saints. Job is speaking chiefly of the body in the grave, and of what appear exteriorly. During life man cannot foresee the state of his children; not in the other world, would their condition render him happy or otherwise. C. Mercer. — Sept. “If his sons be many,…or…few, he knows not.” H. — He is not affected in the same manner as he would be, if living. W.

Ver. 22. Over. Heb. “within him.” H. — During life man is full of cares, and presently he is consigned to the dreary tomb, v. 19. C.