Book of Job
Book of Job Death Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
He said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.' (NRSV 1.21)
And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. (KJV 1.21)
Sound familiar? This is a pretty famous quote right here—you've probably heard it more like it appears in the King James version: "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away." Why do people say that so much? Well, because it's one of life's Big Questions. If the Lord has the power to give, why does he, um, taketh away?
But Job doesn't ask that question—he just throws it out there as a statement: hey, it happens. Wait, what? It happens? His entire family just died, and he doesn't make a peep. When does he start to pipe up? Once the wrath of God starts to affect him physically. You'd think the death of his family would do it, but no, it's those pesky sores.
'Why did I not die at birth,
come forth from the womb and expire?
Why were there knees to receive me,
or breasts for me to suck?
Now I would be lying down and quiet;
I would be asleep; then I would be at rest
with kings and counsellors of the earth
who rebuild ruins for themselves' (NRSV 3:11-14)
Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?
Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?
For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,
With kings and counsellors of the earth, which build desolate places for themselves; (KJV 3:11-14)
How's that for depressing? Well, at least death gets a nice review. If you die, you get to hang out with kings and get a good night's sleep. Not too shabby.
At this point, Job's life is so horrible and painful that he starts to wonder what things would be like on the other side. Let's be honest—we could slap this in the middle of a Shakespeare play and no one would know the difference.
'Can mortals be righteous before God?
Can human beings be pure before their Maker?
Even in his servants he puts no trust,
and his angels he charges with error;
how much more those who live in houses of clay,
whose foundation is in the dust,
who are crushed like a moth.
Between morning and evening they are destroyed;
they perish for ever without any regarding it.' (NRSV 4:17-20)
Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?
They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it. (KJV 4:17-20)
This is humans we're talking about here. That's right. Those people who are destroyed and "perish for ever without any regarding it"? That's us. Enemies of God may get the worst of it, but according to this passage, we all go back to dust. Hmmm.