A radical change in Job is observable in this chapter. While he does not curse God, he comes close to it by cursing his own birth. Perhaps he is becoming more aware of the magnitude of his suffering.
Clearly his mind is occupied with death as can be seen in his three wishes. First, he wishes that he had never been born (vv. 1-10). Treating his day of birth as if it had autonomous existence, he wants it stricken from the calendar. He would have preferred to remain in his mother's womb.
Second, since he was conceived and did leave his mother's womb, he wishes that he might have been stillborn and taken his place in Sheol with the other dead (vv. 11-19). This chapter provides us with one of the best descriptions of Sheol found in the OT. Nowhere in this book is it suggested that the inequities Job suffered would be adjusted in the next world. Both reward and punishment must be experienced in this life. Death does not right the wrongs of earth; it simply ends them (vv. 17-18). Death is no respecter of persons. All ages and classes are found in Sheol. While the concepts of heaven and hell are yet to be developed, this chapter recognizes that death does not mean extinction (Andersen, 106).
Third, Job wishes that he could die now (vv. 20-26). Life is intolerable. Death is preferable but elusive (v. 21). It would be an occasion for celebration (v. 22), but Job does not have access to death because God has hedged him in. Perhaps Job anticipates the comforters' frenzied response to his outburst since he notes that trouble is coming.
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