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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 8–13
Verses 8–13

In these verses we may observe,

I. How Job eyes God as his Creator and preserver, and describes his dependence upon him as the author and upholder of his being. This is one of the first things we are all concerned to know and consider.

1. That God made us, he, and not our parents, who were only the instruments of his power and providence in our production. He made us, and not we ourselves. His hands have made and fashioned these bodies of ours and every part of them (Job 10:8), and they are fearfully and wonderfully made. The soul also, which animates the body, is his gift. Job takes notice of both here. (1.) The body is made as the clay (Job 10:9), cast into shape, into this shape, as the clay is formed into a vessel, according to the skill and will of the potter. We are earthen vessels, mean in our original, and soon broken in pieces, made as the clay. Let not therefore the thing formed say unto him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? We must not be proud of our bodies, because the matter is from the earth, yet not dishonour our bodies, because the mould and shape are from the divine wisdom. The formation of human bodies in the womb is described by an elegant similitude (Job 10:10; Thou hast poured me out like milk, which is coagulated into cheese), and by an induction of some particulars, Job 10:11. Though we come into the world naked, yet the body is itself both clothed and armed. The skin and flesh are its clothing; the bones and sinews are its armour, not offensive, but defensive. The vital parts, the heart and lungs, are thus clothed, not to be seen—thus fenced, not to be hurt. The admirable structure of human bodies is an illustrious instance of the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Creator. What a pity is it that these bodies should be instruments of unrighteousness which are capable of being temples of the Holy Ghost! (2.) The soul is the life, the soul is the man, and this is the gift of God: Thou hast granted me life, breathed into me the breath of life, without which the body would be but a worthless carcase. God is the Father of spirits: he made us living souls, and endued us with the power of reason; he gave us life and favour, and life is a favour—a great favour, more than meat, more than raiment—a distinguishing favour, a favour that puts us into a capacity of receiving other favours. Now Job was in a better mind than he was when he quarrelled with life as a burden, and asked, Why died I not from the womb? Or by life and favour may be meant life and all the comforts of life, referring to his former prosperity. Time was when he walked in the light of the divine favour, and thought, as David, that through that favour his mountain stood strong.

2. That God maintains us. Having lighted the lamp of life, he does not leave it to burn upon its own stock, but continually supplies it with fresh oil: “Thy visitation has preserved my spirit, kept me alive, protected me from the adversaries of life, the death we are in the midst of and the dangers we are continually exposed to, and blessed me with all the necessary supports of life and the daily supplies it needs and craves.”

II. How he pleads this with God, and what use he makes of it. He reminds God of it (Job 10:9): Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me. What then? Why, 1. “Thou hast made me, and therefore thou hast a perfect knowledge of me (Ps. 139:1-13), and needest not to examine me by scourging, nor to put me upon the rack for the discovery of what is within me.” 2. “Thou hast made me, as the clay, by an act of sovereignty; and wilt thou by a like act of sovereignty unmake me again? If so, I must submit.” 3. “Wilt thou destroy the work of thy own hands?” It is a plea the saints have often used in prayer, We are the clay and thou our potter, Isa. 64:8. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me, Ps. 119:73. So here, Thou madest me; and wilt thou destroy me (Job 10:8), wilt thou bring me into dust again? Job 10:9. “Wilt thou not pity me? Wilt thou not spare and help me, and stand by the work of thy own hands? Ps. 138:8. Thou madest me, and knowest my strength; wilt thou then suffer me to be pressed above measure? Was I made to be made miserable? Was I preserved only to be reserved for these calamities?” If we plead this with ourselves as an inducement to duty, “God made me and maintains me, and therefore I will serve him and submit to him,” we may plead it with God as an argument for mercy: Thou hast made me, new—make me; I am thine, save me. Job knew not how to reconcile God’s former favours and his present frowns, but concludes (Job 10:13), “These things hast thou hidden in thy heart. Both are according to the counsel of thy own will, and therefore undoubtedly consistent, however they seem.” When God thus strangely changes his way, though we cannot account for it, we are bound to believe there are good reasons for it hidden in his heart, which will be manifested shortly. It is not with us, or in our reach, to assign the cause, but I know that this is with thee. Known unto God are all his works.