Job 27

CHAPTER XXVII

Job strongly asserts his innocence; determines to maintain

it, and to avoid every evil way, 1-7.

Shows his abhorrence of the hypocrite by describing his

infamous character, accumulated miseries, and wretched end,

8-23.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXVII

Verse 1. Continued his parable] After having delivered the

preceding discourse, Job appears to have paused to see if any of

his friends chose to make any reply; but finding them all silent,

he resumed his discourse, which is here called meshalo, his

parable, his authoritative weighty discourse; from mashal,

to exercise rule, authority, dominion, or power.-Parkhurst. And

it must be granted that in this speech he assumes great boldness,

exhibits his own unsullied character, and treats his friends with

little ceremony.

Verse 2. Who hath taken away my judgment] Who has turned aside

my cause, and has not permitted it to come to a hearing, where I

might have justice done to me, but has abandoned me to the harsh

and uncharitable judgment of my enemies? There appears to be a

great want of reverence in these words of Job; he speaks with a

degree of irritation, if not bitterness, which cannot be

justified. No man should speak thus of his Maker.

Verse 3. All the while my breath is in me] As Job appears to

allude to the creation of Adam, whom God made out of the dust of

the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so

that he became a living soul, the whole of Job's assertion may be

no more than a periphrasis for As long as I live and have my

understanding. Indeed nishmathi may be rendered my mind

or understanding, and ruach Eloah, the breath of God, the

principle of animal life, the same that he breathed into Adam; for

it is there said, Ge 2:7, He breathed into his nostrils,

nismath chaiyim, the breath of lives, or that principle from

which animal and spiritual life proceeds; in consequence of which

he became lenephesh chaiyah, an intelligent or rational

animal.

Verse 4. My lips shall not speak wickedness] As I have hitherto

lived in all good conscience before God, as he knoweth, so will I

continue to live.

Verse 5. God forbid] chalilah lli, far be it from me,

that I should justify you-that I should now, by any kind of

acknowledgment of wickedness or hypocrisy justify your harsh

judgment. You say that God afflicts me for my crimes; I say, and

God knows it is truth, that I have not sinned so as to draw down

any such judgment upon me. Your judgment, therefore, is pronounced

at your own risk.

Verse 6. My righteousness I hold fast] I stand firmly on this

ground; I have endeavoured to live an upright life, and my

afflictions are not the consequence of my sins.

My heart shall not reproach me] I shall take care so to live

that I shall have a conscience void of offense before God and man.

"Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence

toward God;" 1Jo 3:21. This seems to be Job's meaning.

Verse 7. Let mine enemy be as the wicked] Let my accuser be

proved a lying and perjured man, because he has laid to my charge

things which he cannot prove, and which are utterly false.

Verse 8. What is the hope of the hypocrite] The word

chaneph, which we translate, most improperly, hypocrite, means a

wicked fellow, a defiled, polluted wretch, a rascal, a knave,

a man who sticks at nothing in order to gain his ends. In this

verse it means a dishonest man, a rogue, who by overreaching,

cheating, &c., has amassed a fortune.

When God taketh away his soul?] Could he have had any well

grounded hope of eternal blessedness when he was acquiring earthly

property by guilt and deceit? And of what avail will this property

be when his soul is summoned before the judgment-seat? A righteous

man yields up his soul to God; the wicked does not, because he is

afraid of God, of death, and of eternity. God therefore takes the

soul away-forces it out of the body. Mr. Blair gives us an

affecting picture of the death of a wicked man. Though well known,

I shall insert it as a striking comment on this passage:-

"How shocking must thy summons be, O death!

To him that is at ease in his possessions;

Who, counting on long years of pleasures here;

Is quite unfurnished for that world to come!

In that dread moment how the frantic soul

Raves round the walls of her clay tenement;

Runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help,

But shrieks in vain! How wishfully she looks

On all she's leaving, now no longer hers!

A little longer, yet a little longer,

O, might she stay, to wash away her stains,

And fit her for her passage! Mournful sight!

Her very eyes weep blood; and every groan

She heaves is big with horror. But the foe,

Like a stanch murderer, steady to his purpose,

Pursues her close, through every lane of life,

Nor misses once the track, but presses on;

Till, forced at last to the tremendous verge,

At once she sinks to everlasting ruin."

THE GRAVE.

The Chaldee has, What can the detractor expect who has gathered

together ( mamon dishkar, the mammon of unrighteousness)

when God plucks out his soul? The Septuagint: τιςγαρεστινετι

ελπιςασεβειοτιεπεχειμηπεποιθωςεπικυριονειαρασωθησεται;

"For what is the hope of the ungodly that he should wait for?

shall he, by hoping in the Lord, be therefore saved?" Mr. Good

translates differently from all the versions:-

"Yet what is the hope of the wicked that he should prosper,

That God should keep his soul in quiet?"

I believe our version gives as true a sense as any; and the words

appear to have been in the eye of our Lord, when he said, "For

what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose

his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Mt 16:26.

Verse 11. I will teach you by the hand of God] Relying on Divine

assistance, and not speaking out of my own head, or quoting what

others have said I will teach you what the mind of the Almighty

is, and I will conceal nothing. Job felt that the good hand of his

God was upon him, and that therefore he should make no mistake in

his doctrines. In this way the Chaldee understood the words,

beyad El, by the hand of God, which it translates

binbuath Elaha, by the prophecy of God. Those who reject the

literal meaning, which conveys a very good sense, may adopt the

translation of Mr. Good, which has much to recommend it: "I will

teach you concerning the dealings of God."

Verse 12. Ye yourselves have seen it] Your own experience and

observation have shown you that the righteous are frequently in

affliction, and the wicked in affluence.

Why then are ye thus altogether vain?] The original is very

emphatical: hebel tehbalu, and well expressed by Mr.

Good: "Why then should ye thus babble babblings!" It our

language would allow it, we might say vanitize vanity.

Verse 13. This is the portion of a wicked man] Job now commences

his promised teaching; and what follows is a description of the

lot or portion of the wicked man and of tyrants. And this

remuneration shall they have with God in general, though the hand

of man be not laid upon them. Though he does not at all times show

his displeasure against the wicked, by reducing them to a state of

poverty and affliction, yet he often does it so that men may see

it; and at other times he seems to pass them by, reserving their

judgment for another world, that men may not forget that there is

a day of judgment and perdition for ungodly men, and a future

recompense for the righteous.

Verse 14. If his children be multiplied] As numerous families

were supposed to be a proof of the benediction of the Almighty,

Job shows that this is not always the case; for the offspring of

the wicked shall be partly cut off by violent deaths, and partly

reduced to great poverty.

Verse 15. Those that remain of him] seridaiv, his

remains, whether meaning himself personally, or his family.

Shall be buried in death] Shall come to utter and remediless

destruction. Death shall have his full conquest over them, and the

grave its complete victory. These are no common dead. All the

sting, all the wound, and all the poison of sin, remains: and so

evident are God's judgments in his and their removal, that even

widows shall not weep for them; the public shall not bewail

them; for when the wicked perish there is shouting.

Mr. Good, following the Chaldee, translates: Entombed in

corruption, or in the pestilence. But I see no reason why we

should desert the literal reading. Entombed in corruption gives no

nervous sense in my judgment; for in corruption are the high and

the low, the wicked and the good, entombed: but buried in death is

at once nervous and expressive. Death itself is the place where he

shall lie; he shall have no redemption, no resurrection to life;

death shall ever have dominion over him. The expression is very

similar to that in Lu 16:22, as found in several

versions and MSS.: The rich man died, and was buried in hell;

and, lifting up his eyes, being in torment, he saw, &c. See my

note there.

Verse 16. Though he heap up silver] Though he amass riches in

the greatest abundance, he shall not enjoy them. Unsanctified

wealth is a curse to its possessor. Money, of all earthly

possessions, is the most dangerous, as it is the readiest agent to

do good or evil. He that perverts it is doubly cursed, because it

affords him the most immediate means of sinful gratification; and

he can sin more in an hour through this, than he can in a day or

week by any other kind of property. On the other hand, they who

use it aright have it in their power to do the most prompt and

immediate good. Almost every kind of want may be speedily

relieved by it. Hence, he who uses it as he ought is doubly

blessed; while he who abuses it is doubly cursed.

Verse 17. The just shall put it on] Money is God's property.

"The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord;" and

though it may be abused for a time by unrighteous hands, God, in

the course of his providence, brings it back to its proper use;

and often the righteous possess the inheritance of the wicked.

Verse 18. He buildeth his house as a moth] With great skill,

great pains, and great industry; but the structure, however

skilful, shall be dissolved; and the materials, however costly,

shall be brought to corruption. To its owner it shall be only a

temporary habitation, like that which the moth makes in its larve

or caterpillar state, during its change from a chrysalis to a

winged insect.

As a booth that the keeper maketh.] A shed which the watchman

or keeper of a vineyard erects to cover him from the scorching

sun, while watching the ripening grapes, that they may be

preserved from depredation. Travellers in the East have observed

that such booths or sheds are made of the lightest and most

worthless materials; and after the harvest or vintage is in,

they are quite neglected, and by the winter rains, &c., are soon

dissolved and destroyed.

Verse 19. The rich man shall lie down] In the grave.

But he shall not be gathered] Neither have a respectable burial

among men, nor be gathered with the righteous in the kingdom of

God. It may be that Job alludes here to an opinion relative to the

state of certain persons after death, prevalent in all nations in

ancient times, viz., that those whose funeral rites had not been

duly performed, wander about as ghosts, and find no rest.

He openeth his eyes] In the morning of the resurrection.

And he is not.] He is utterly lost and undone for ever. This

seems to be the plain sense of the passage; and so all the

versions appear to have understood it; but Reiske and some

others, by making yeaseph an Arabic word, signifying, not

the idea of gathering, but care, anxiety, &c., have quite altered

this sense of the passage; and Mr. Good, who copies them,

translates thus: Let the rich man lie down, and care not. I see no

manner of occasion to resort to this interpretation, which, in my

judgment, gives a sense inferior to that given above, or to the

following: The rich man shall lie down-go to his rest, fully

persuaded that his property is in perfect safety; but he shall not

be gathered, or he shall not gather-make any farther addition to

his stores: he openeth his eyes in the morning, when he is

not-marauders in the night have stripped him of all his

property, as in the case of Job himself; a case quite probable,

and not unfrequent in Arabia, when a hostile tribe makes a sudden

incursion, and carries off an immense booty. But I prefer the

first meaning, as it is obtained without crucifying the text.

Coverdale translates: When the rich man dyeth, he carieth

nothinge with him: he is gone in the twincklinge of an eye.

Verse 20. Terrors take hold on him as waters] They come upon him

as an irresistible flood; and he is overwhelmed as by a tempest in

the night, when darkness partly hides his danger, and deprives him

of discerning the way to escape.

Verse 21. The east wind carrieth him away] Such as is called by

Mr. Good, a levanter, the euroclydon, the eastern storm of

Ac 27:14.

Verse 22. God shall cast upon him] Or, rather, the storm

mentioned above shall incessantly pelt him, and give him no

respite; nor can he by any means escape from its fury.

Verse 23. Men shall clap their hands at him] These two verses

refer to the storm, which is to sweep away the ungodly; therefore

the word God, in Job 27:22, and

men in this verse, should be omitted. Ver. 22: "For it shall

fall upon him, and not spare: flying from its power he shall

continue to fly. Ver. 23. It shall clap its hands against him, and

hiss, veyishrok, shriek, him out of his place." Here the

storm is personified and the wicked actor is hissed and driven by

it from off the stage. It seems it was an ancient method to clap

the hands against and hiss a man from any public office, who had

acted improperly in it. The populace, in European countries,

express their disapprobation of public characters who have not

pleased them in the same manner to the present day, by hisses,

groans, and the like.

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