Job 7:7

Hebrew Bible

6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. 7 Remember that my life is but a breath, that my eyes will never again see happiness. 8 The eye of him who sees me now will see me no more; your eyes will look for me, but I will be gone. 9 As a cloud is dispersed and then disappears, so the one who goes down to the grave does not come up again.

James 4:14

New Testament

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into this or that town and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” 14 You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes. 15 You ought to say instead, “If the Lord is willing, then we will live and do this or that.”

 Notes and References

"... James now restates his point, perhaps knowing that some of his read­ers will have been confused by his ellipsis: 'What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.' The question deals with the merchants' ignorance of what kind of life they may have: is it a long life? A profitable life? They do not know. Why? Because the life of a hu­man being is 'a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.' Once again, James's focus is the transitoriness of life, and he draws on a stock im­age — a mist or vapor in the sky that under the heat of the day dissipates and disappears. When Abraham looked down the plain toward Sodom, he saw a dense smoke, like 'smoke from a furnace' (Genesis 19:28). The sacrificial incense gave off a 'smoke' (Leviticus 16:13). But we are closer to James's sense of transitoriness with Hosea 13:3 and Wisdom 2:4-5 ... Acts 2:19 refers to portents in the sky, one of which is 'smoky mist.' (See also Job 7:7; Psalm 39:5-6; Wisdom 5:13; Sirach 11:19; 4 Ezra 4:24) Agrarian cultures watch the weather, and few things are as noticeable as va­porous clouds that bring no rain. These puffs of mist appear for a while and then disappear ..."

McKnight, Scot The Letter of James (p. 373) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011

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