Job 14: If a man dies, shall he live again?

 Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands. Job 14:13-15

Job Muses on the Brevity of Life

1  “Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. 2  He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue. 3  And do You open Your eyes on such a one, And bring me to judgment with Yourself?

Job is helpless before God. Death is his only hope.  His only comfort is the assurance that in time God will remember him and he will be raised, his sins forgiven.  But until then, his hope, and he himself, is gone.

Life after death (13:16, 14:7-17). The OT does teach resurrection.  Here Job notes that the difference between the death of a man and cutting down a tree is that new life springs immediately from the tree.  But one day God will call and Job will answer.  Even so, Job’s speech ends in pathos. In this world he still has no hope and no future.

He also shall be my salvation, For a hypocrite could not come before Him. Job 13:16

Hope for a Tree

Job implies that life is better for trees than for people. When a tree falls, it can sprout again.  This is precisely the point of Isaiah’s beautiful prophecy (Is. 6:13).  The house of Jesse – that is, Israel – will be cut off, as one might cut down a great oak tree.  But in God’s great mercy, that tree will sprout new growth.  The “holy seed” is in the stump.  That new growth is the beautiful Branch (Is. 11:1), the Savior King whose name is Jesus.

7  “For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its tender shoots will not cease. 8  Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground, 9  Yet at the scent of water it will bud And bring forth branches like a plant.

Any Hope for a Man?

14:13 Job’s wish for the grave to be a temporary hiding place from God’s wrath differs dramatically from his earlier remarks concerning the grave.  He attributes the cause of his suffering  to God’s wrath because he assumes that the retrubution dogma that the righteous are always blessed and the wicked will eventually experience God’s judgment.

14:14 Job’s question if a man dies, shall he live again is answered with an emphatic “Yes” by Jesus and the NT authors  (John 11:23-26; 1 Cor. 15:3-57; Is. 26:19; Dan. 12:2).  But Job responds to his own question by a determination to wait for his change to come.  Since Job considers life hard, perhaps he is implying that he will wait for relief from his suffering through death to find out the answer.

10 But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last And where is he? 11 As water disappears from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dries up, 12 So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep. 13 “Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. 15 You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands.

16  For now You number my steps, But do not watch over my sin. 17  My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You cover my iniquity. 18  “But as a mountain falls and crumbles away, And as a rock is moved from its place; 19  As water wears away stones, And as torrents wash away the soil of the earth; So You destroy the hope of man. 20  You prevail forever against him, and he passes on; You change his countenance and send him away.  21  His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; They are brought low, and he does not perceive it. 22  But his flesh will be in pain over it, And his soul will mourn over it.”