Job prepares for his death (Job 17:1-17:2)

“My spirit is broken.

My days are extinct,

The grave is ready for me.

Surely there are mockers about me.

My eye dwells on their provocation.”

Job, like a sick old man, said that his spirit was broken. He was in a state of despair. His days were gone. Get the grave ready! People still mocked him. He saw all the various provocations around him. He wanted it all to end.

Job describes his difficult human life (Job 7:1-7:6)

“Do not human beings have a hard service on earth?

Are not their days like the days of a laborer?

Are not their days like a slave who longs for the shadow?

Are not their days like laborers who look for their wages?

So I am allotted months of emptiness.

Nights of misery are apportioned to me.

When I lie down I say.

‘When shall I arise?’

But the night is long.

I am full of tossing until dawn.

My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt.

My skin hardens.

Then my skin breaks out again.

My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle.

They come to their end without hope.”

This was a man in despair. He had a hard mortal life. He was like a day laborer who got paid by the day, assuming that he worked. He was like a paid mercenary. He was a like a slave who only looked for shade. All that he could hope for was his paid wages. His months were empty. His nights were miserable.   When he lay down, all he could think of was when he would get up. He tossed and turned all night long with little sleep. His flesh was full of worms and dirt. His skin hardened and then broke out again. His days went by like a weaver’s spinning wheel. In the end, there was no hope in his hopeless hard human life.

The prayer of Tobit (Tob 3:1-3:6)

“Then with much grief and anguish of heart, I wept. With groaning I began to pray.

‘You are righteous, O Lord

All your deeds are just.

All your ways are mercy and truth.

You judge the world.

Now, O Lord, remember me.

Look favorably upon me.

Do not punish me for my sins.

Do not punish me for my unwitting offences.

Do not punish me for those offences

That my ancestors committed before you.

They sinned against you.

They disobeyed your commandments.

So you gave us over to plunder, exile, and death.

We became the talk, the byword, an object of reproach,

Among all the nations,

Among whom you have dispersed us.

Now your many judgments are true

In exacting penalty from me for my sins.

We have not kept your commandments.

We have not walked in accordance with truth before you.

Now deal with me as you will.

Command my spirit to be taken from me.

So that I may be released from the face of the earth and become dust.

For it is better for me to die than to live,

Because I have had to listen to undeserved insults.

Great is the sorrow within me.

Command, O Lord,

That I be released from this distress.

Release me to go to the eternal home.

Do not, O Lord,

Turn your face away from me.

For it is better to die

Than to see so much distress in my life

And to listen to insults.”

This is a prayer of despair and distress, yet a hope for eternal life. Tobit admitted that he was a sinner and that his ancestors have sinned. He believed that God was just, truthful, and merciful. He and his people were in exile, plundered, and dying because they had failed to keep the commandments of God. They were an object of reproach scattered among the various countries. After admitting that God is just, Tobit then wanted out of this life with its undeserved insults. He said the words of despair that it is better to die than to live. He wanted his eternal home, not this life of sorrow and distress. Better to die than continue all this distress and insults. Suddenly this righteous man is now depressed.