Job 42CHAPTER XLII Job humbles himself before God, 1-6. God accepts him; censures his three friends; and commands Job to offer sacrifices for then, that he might pardon and accept them, as they had not spoken what was right concerning their Maker, 7-9. The Lord turns Job's captivity; and his friends visit him, and bring him presents, 10, 11. Job's affluence becomes double to what it was before, 12. His family is also increased, 13-15. Having lived one hundred and forty years after his calamities, he dies, 16, 17. NOTES ON CHAP. XLII Verse 2. I know that thou canst do every thing] Thy power is unlimited; thy wisdom infinite. Verse 3. Who is he that hideth counsel] These are the words of Job, and they are a repetition of what Jehovah said, Job 38:2: "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" Job now having heard the Almighty's speech, and having received his reproof, echoes back his words: "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge Alas, I am the man; I have uttered what I understood not; things too wonderful for me, that I knew not. God had said, Job 38:3: "Gird up now thy loins like a man; I will demand of thee, and answer thou me." In allusion to this, Job exclaims to his Maker, Job 42:4: "Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will ask of THEE, and declare THOU unto ME." I acknowledge my ignorance; I confess my foolishness and presumption; I am ashamed of my conduct; I lament my imperfections; I implore thy mercy; and beg thee to show me thy will, that I may ever think, speak, and do, what is pleasing in thy sight. Things too wonderful] I have spoken of thy judgments, which I did not comprehend. Verse 5. I have heard of thee] I have now such a discovery of thee as I have never had before. I have only heard of thee by tradition, or from imperfect information; now the eye of my mind clearly perceives thee, and in seeing thee, I see myself; for the light that discovers thy glory and excellence, discovers my meanness and vileness. Verse 6. I abhor myself] Compared with thine, my strength is weakness; my wisdom, folly; and my righteousness, impurity. "I loathe myself when thee I see; And into nothing fall." Repent] I am deeply distressed on account of the imaginations of my heart, the words of my tongue, and the acts of my life. I roll myself in the dust, and sprinkle ashes upon my head. Job is now sufficiently humbled at the feet of Jehovah; and having earnestly and piously prayed for instruction, the Lord, in a finishing speech, which appears to be contained in Job 40:1-14, perfects his teaching on the subject of the late controversy, which is concluded with, "When thou canst act like the Almighty," which is, in effect, what the questions and commands amount to in the preceding verses of that chapter, "then will I also confess unto thee, that thy own right hand can save thee." In the fifth verse of the fortieth chapter, Job says, "ONCE have I spoken." This must refer to the declaration above, in the beginning of this chapter, (xlii.) And he goes on to state, Job 40:5: "Yea, TWICE; but I will proceed no farther." This second time is that in which he uses these words: after which he spoke no more; and the Lord concluded with the remaining part of these fourteen verses, viz., from Job 40:7-14, inclusive. Then the thread of the story, in the form of a narration is resumed at Job 42:7. Verse 7. After the Lord had spoken these words] Those recorded at Job 40:7-14; he said to Eliphaz, who was the eldest of the three friends, and chief speaker: Ye have not spoken of me-right. Mr. Peters observes, "It will be difficult to find any thing in the speeches of Eliphaz and his companions which should make the difference here supposed, if we set aside the doctrine of a future state; for in this view the others would speak more worthily of God than Job, by endeavouring to vindicate his providence in the exact distribution of good and evil in this life: whereas Job's assertion, Job 9:22, 'This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked,' which is the argument on which he all along insists, would, upon this supposition, be directly charging God that he made no distinction between the good and the bad. But now, take the other life into the account, and the thing will appear in quite a contrary light; and we shall easily see the reason why God approves of the sentiments of Job, and condemns those of his friends. For supposing the friends of Job to argue that the righteous are never afflicted without remedy here, nor the wicked prosperous on the whole in this life, which is a wrong representation of God's providence; and Job to argue, on the other hand, that the righteous are sometimes afflicted here, and that without remedy, but shall be rewarded in the life to come; and that the wicked prosper here, but shall be punished hereafter, which is the true representation of the Divine proceedings; and here is a very apparent difference in the drift of the one's discourse, and of the others'. For Job, in this view, speaks worthily of God, and the rest unworthily. The best moral argument that mankind have ever had to believe in a life to come, is that which Job insists on-that good and evil are, for the most part, dealt out here promiscuously. On the contrary, the topic urged by his friends, and which they push a great deal too far, that God rewards and punishes in this world, tends, in its consequences, like that other opinion which was held by the stoics in after times, that virtue is its own reward, to sap the very foundation of that proof we have, from reason, of another life. No wonder, therefore, that the sentiments of the one are approved, and those of the other condemned." Verse 8. Take-seven bullocks and seven rams] From this it appears that Job was considered a priest, not only in his own family but also for others. For his children he offered burnt-offerings, Job 1:5; and now he is to make the same kind of offerings, accompanied with intercession, in behalf of his three friends. This is a full proof of the innocence and integrity of Job: a more decided one could not be given, that the accusations of his friends, and their bitter speeches, were as untrue as they were malevolent. God thus clears his character, and confounds their devices. Verse 10. The Lord turned the captivity of Job] The Vulgate has: Dominus quoque conversus est ad poenitentiam Job; "And the LORD turned Job to repentance." The Chaldee: "The WORD of the Lord ( meymera dayai) turned the captivity of Job." There is a remark which these words suggest, which has been rarely, if at all, noticed. It is said that the Lord turned the captivity of Job WHEN HE PRAYED FOR HIS FRIENDS. He had suffered much through the unkindness of these friends; they had criticised his conduct without feeling or mercy; and he had just cause to be irritated against them: and that he had such a feeling towards them, several parts of his discourses sufficiently prove. God was now about to show Job his mercy; but mercy can be shown only to the merciful; Job must forgive his unfeeling friends, if he would be forgiven by the Lord; he directs him, therefore, to pray for them, Job 42:8. He who can pray for another cannot entertain enmity against him: Job did so, and when he prayed for his friends, God turned the captivity of Job. "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." Some suppose that Job, being miraculously restored, armed his servants and remaining friends, and fell upon those who had spoiled him; and not only recovered his own property, but also spoiled the spoilers, and thus his substance became double what it was before. Of this I do not see any intimation in the sacred text. Verse 11. Then came there unto him all his brethren] "Job being restored to his former health and fortunes, the author," says Mr. Heath, "presents us with a striking view of human friendship. His brethren, who, in the time of his affliction, kept at a distance from him; his kinsfolk, who ceased to know him; his familiar friends, who had forgotten him; and his acquaintance, who had made themselves perfect strangers to him; those to whom he had showed kindness, and who yet had ungratefully neglected him, on the return of his prosperity now come and condole with him, desirous of renewing former familiarity; and, according to the custom of the Eastern countries, where there is no approaching a great man without a present, each brings him a kesitah, each a jewel of gold." See Job 42:12. A piece of money] kesitah signifies a lamb; and it is supposed that this piece of money had a lamb stamped on it, as that quantity of gold was generally the current value for a lamb. See Clarke on Ge 33:19, where the subject is largely considered. The Vulgate, Chaldee, Septuagint, Arabic, and Syriac, have one lamb or sheep; so it appears that they did not understand the kesitah as implying a piece of money of any kind, but a sheep or a lamb. Earring of gold] Literally, a nose-jewel. The Septuagint translate, τετραδραχμονχρυσου, a tetra-drachm of gold, or golden daric; but by adding καιασημου, unstamped, they intimate that it was four drachms of uncoined gold. Verse 12. The Lord blessed the latter end of Job] Was it not in consequence of his friends bringing him a lamb, sheep, or other kind of cattle, and the quantity of gold mentioned, that his stock of sheep was increased so speedily to 14,000, his camels to 6000, his oxen to 2000, and his she-asses to 1000? Mr. Heath takes the story of the conduct of Job's friends by the worst handle; see Job 42:11. Is it not likely that they themselves were the cause of his sudden accumulation of property? and that they did not visit him, nor seek his familiarity because he was now prosperous; but because they saw that God had turned his captivity, and miraculously healed him? This gave them full proof of his innocence, and they no longer considered him an anathema, or devoted person, whom they should avoid and detest, but one who had been suffering under a strange dispensation of Divine Providence, and who was now no longer a suspicious character, but a favourite of heaven, to whom they should show every possible kindness. They therefore joined hands with God to make the poor man live and their presents were the cause, under God of his restoration to affluence. This takes the subject by the other handle; and I think, as far as the text is concerned, by the right one. He had fourteen thousand sheep] The reader, by referring to Job 1:3, will perceive that the whole of Job's property was exactly doubled. Verse 13. Seven sons and three daughters.] This was the same number as before; and so the Vulgate, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic read: but the Chaldee doubles the sons, "And he had fourteen sons, and three daughters." Verse 14. The name of the first Jemima] yemimah, days upon days. Kezia] ketsiah, cassia, a well-known aromatic plant. And, Keren-happuch.] keren happuch, the inverted or flowing horn, cornucopiae, the horn of plenty. The Chaldee will not permit these names to pass without a comment, to show the reason of their imposition: "He called the first Jemimah, because she was as fair as the day; the second Ketsiah, because she was as precious as cassia; the third Keren-happuch, because her face was as splendid as the emerald." Cardmarden's Bible, 1566, has the Hebrew names. The Vulgate has, "He called the name of one Day, of the second Cassia, and of the third The Horn of Antimony." The versions in general preserve these names, only the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic translate Jemimah, DAY; and the former for Keren-happuch has αμαλθαιαςκερας, the horn of Amalthea. This refers to an ancient fable. Amalthea was the nurse of Jupiter, and fed him with goat's milk when he was young. The goat having by accident her horn struck off, Jupiter translated the animal to the heavens, and gave her a place among the constellations, which she still holds; and made the horn the emblem of plenty: hence it is always pictured or described as filled with fruits, flowers, and the necessaries and luxuries of life. It is very strange how this fable got into the Septuagint. Coverdale is singular: The first he called 'Daye', the seconde 'Poverte', the thirde, 'All plenteousnes'. Verse 15. Gave them inheritance among their brethren.] This seems to refer to the history of the daughters of Zelophehad, given Nu 27:1-8, who appear to have been the first who were allowed an inheritance among their brethren. Verse 16. After this lived Job a hundred and forty years] How long he had lived before his afflictions, we cannot tell. If we could rely on the Septuagint, all would be plain, who add here, τα δεπανταετηεζησενδιακοσιατεσσαρακοντα; "And all the years that Job lived were two hundred and forty." This makes him one hundred years of age when his trial commenced. Coverdale has, After this lyved Job forty yeares, omitting the hundred. So also in Becke's Bible, 1549. From the age, as marked down in the Hebrew text, we can infer nothing relative to the time when Job lived. See the subscription at the end of the Arabic. Verse 17. Job died, being old and full of days.] He had seen life in all its varieties; he had risen higher than all the men of the East, and sunk lower in affliction, poverty, and distress, than any other human being that had existed before, or has lived since. He died when he was satisfied with this life; this the word seba implies. He knew the worst and the best of human life; and in himself the whole history of Providence was exemplified and illustrated, and many of its mysteries unfolded. We have now seen the end of the life of Job, and the end or design which God had in view by his afflictions and trials, in which he has shown us that he is very pitiful, and of tender mercy, Jas 5:11; and to discern this end of the Lord should be the object of every person who reads or studies it. Laus in excelsis Deo! Both in the Arabic and Septuagint there is a considerable and important addition at the end of the seventeenth verse, which extends to many lines; of this, with its variations, I have given a translation in the PREFACE. At the end of the Syriac version we have the following subscription:- "The Book of the righteous and renowned Job is finished, and contains 2553 verses." At the end of the Arabic is the following:- "It is completed by the assistance of the Most High God. The author of this copy would record that this book has been translated into Arabic from the Syriac language." "Glory be to God, the giver of understanding!" "The Book of Job is completed; and his age was two hundred and forty years." "Praise be to God for ever!" So closely does the Arabic translator copy the Syriac, that in the Polyglots one Latin version serves for both, with the exception of a few marginal readings at the bottom of the column to show where the Syriac varies. Masoretic Notes Number of verses, one thousand and seventy. Middle verse, Job 22:16. Sections, eight. AT the close of a book I have usually endeavoured to give some account of the author, or of him who was its chief subject. But the Book of Job is so unique in its subject and circumstances, that it is almost impossible to say any thing satisfactorily upon it, except in the way of notes on the text. There has been so much controversy on the person and era of Job, that he has almost been reduced to an ideal being, and the book itself considered rather as a splendid poem on an ethic subject than a real history of the man whose name it bears. The author, as we have already seen in the preface, is not known. It has been attributed to Job himself; to Elihu, one of his friends; to Moses; to some ancient Hebrew, whose name is unknown; to Solomon; to Isaiah the prophet; and to Ezra the scribe. The time is involved in equal darkness: before Moses, in the time of the exodus, or a little after; in the days of Solomon; during the Babylonish captivity, or even later; have all been mentioned as probable eras. How it was originally written, and in what language, have also been questions on which great and learned men have divided. Some think it was originally written in prose, and afterwards reduced to poetry, and the substance of the different speeches being retained, but much added by way of embellishment. Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia, a writer of the fourth century, distinguishes between Job and the author of the book that goes under his name, whom he accuses of a vain ostentation of profane sciences; of writing a fabulous and poetical history; of making Job speak things inconsistent with his religion and piety, and more proper to give offense than to edify. As Theodore had only seen the Book of Job in the Greek version, it must be owned that he had too much ground for his severe criticism, as there are in that version several allusions to the mythology of the Greeks, some of which are cursorily mentioned in the notes. Among these may be reckoned the names of constellations in chapters ix. and xxxviii., and the naming one of Job's daughters Keren-happuch, the horn of Amalthea, Job 42:14. We need not confound the time of Job and the time of the author of the book that goes under his name. Job may have been the same as Jobab, 1Ch 1:35-44, and the fifth in descent from Abraham; while the author or poet, who reduced the memoirs into verse, may have lived as late as the Babylonish captivity. As to the language, though nervous and elevated, it is rather a compound of dialects than a regular language. Though Hebrew be the basis, yet many of the words, and frequently the idiom, are pure Arabic, and a Chaldee phraseology is in many places apparent. Whoever was the author, and in whatsoever time it may have been written, the Jewish and Christian Church have ever received it as a canonical book, recommended by the inspiration of the Almighty. It is in many respects an obscure book, because it refers to all the wisdom of the East. If we understood all its allusions, I have little doubt that the best judges would not hesitate to declare it the Idumean Encyclopaedia. It most obviously makes continual references to sciences the most exalted and useful, and to arts the most difficult and ornamental. Of these the notes have produced frequent proofs. The author was well acquainted with all the wisdom and learning of the ancient world, and of his own times; and as a poet he stands next to David and Isaiah: and as his subjects have been more varied than theirs, he knew well how to avail himself of this circumstance; and has pressed into his service all the influence and beauty of his art, to make the four persons, whom he brings upon the stage, keep up each his proper character, and maintain the opinions which they respectively undertook to defend. "The history," says Calmet, "as to the substance and circumstances, is exactly true. The sentiments, reasons, and arguments of the several persons, are very faithfully expressed; but it is very probable that the terms and turns of expression are the poet's, or the writer's, whosoever he may be." The authority of this book has been as much acknowledged as its Divine inspiration. The Prophet Ezekiel is the first who quotes it, Eze 14:14-20, where he mentions Job with Noah and Daniel, in such a way as makes his identity equal with theirs; and of their personal existence no one ever doubted. The Apostle James, Jas 5:11, mentions him also, and celebrates his patience, and refers so particularly to the termination and happy issue of his trials, as leaves us no room to doubt that he had seen his history, as here stated, in the book that bears his name. St. Paul seems also to quote him. Compare Ro 2:11, "For there is no respect of persons with God," with Job 34:19, "God accepteth not the person of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor; for they are all the work of his hands." 1Ti 6:7: "For we brought nothing into this world; and it is certain we can carry nothing out." Job 1:21: "Naked came I out of my mother's womb; and naked shall I return thither." Heb 12:5: "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him." Job 5:17: "Happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty." A similar saying is found Pr 3:11, probably all coming from the same source. See the comparisons from the writings of Solomon, in the preface. Job is to be found in the ancient martyrologies, with the title of prophet, saint, and martyr, and the Greek Church celebrates a festival in his honour on the fifth of May; and the corrupt Churches of Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Russia, and Muscovy, follow it in their worship of Saint Job! But no Church has proceeded so far both to honour and disgrace this excellent man as the Church of Rome. I shall quote the words of Dom. Calmet, one of the most learned and judicious divines that Church could ever boast of. "The Latins keep his festival on the tenth of May. This, next to the Maccabees, brothers and martyrs, is the first saint to whom the western Church has decreed public and religious honours, and we know not of any saint among the patriarchs and prophets to whom churches have been consecrated, or chapels dedicated in greater number, than to this holy man. We see abundance of them, particularly in Spain and Italy. And he is invoked principally against the leprosy, itch, foul disease, and other distempers which relate to these." See Baillie's Lives of the Saints. Calmet goes on to say that "there are several reputable commentators who maintain that Job was afflicted with this scandalous disease; among whom are Vatablus, Cyprian, Cisterc. Bolducius, and Pineda, in their commentaries on Job; and Desganges in Epist. Medicin. Hist. De Lue Venerea. The Latin Church invokes Saint Job in diseases of this nature; and lazarettos and hospitals, wherein care is taken of persons who have this scandalous distemper upon them, are for the most part dedicated to him." See Calmet's Dissertation sur la maladie de Job, and his Dictionary, under the article JOB. The conduct of this Church, relative to this holy man, forms one of the foulest calumnies ever inflicted on the character of either saint or sinner; and to make him the patron of every diseased prostitute and debauchee through the whole extent of the papal dominions and influence, is a conduct the most execrable, and little short of blasphemy against the holiness of God. As to their lazarettos, hospitals, and chapels, dedicated to this eminent man on these scandalous grounds, better raze them from their foundations, carry their materials to an unclean place, or transport them to the valley of the son of Hinnom, and consume them there; and then openly build others dedicated ad fornicantem Jovem, in conjunction with Baal Peor and Ashtaroth, the Priapus and Venus of their predecessors! If those of that communion should think these reflections severe, let them know that the stroke is heavier than the groan; and let them put away from among them what is a dishonour to God, a disgrace to his saints, and their own ineffable reproach. Of the disease under which Job laboured, enough has been said in the notes. On this head many writers have run into great extravagance. Bartholinus and Calmet state that he was afflicted with twelve several diseases; the latter specifies them. Pineda enumerates thirty-one or thirty-two; and St. Chrysostom says he was afflicted with all the maladies of which the human body is capable; that he suffered them in their utmost extremities; and, in a word, that on his one body all the maladies of the world were accumulated! How true is the saying, "Over-doing is un-doing!" It is enough to say, that this great man was afflicted in his property, family, body, and soul; and perhaps none, before or since his time, to a greater degree in all these kinds. On Job's character his own words are the best comment. Were we to believe his mistaken and uncharitable friends, he, by assertion and inuendo, was guilty of almost every species of crime; but every charge of this kind is rebutted by his own defense, and the character given to him by the God whom he worshipped, frees him from even the suspicion of guilt. His patience, resignation, and submission to the Divine will, are the most prominent parts of his character which are presented to our view. He bore the loss of every thing which a worldly man values without one unsanctified feeling or murmuring word. And it is in this respect that he is recommended to our notice and to our imitation. His wailings relative to the mental agonies through which he passed, do not at all affect this part of his character. He bore the loss of his goods, the total ruin of his extensive and invaluable establishment, and the destruction of his hopes in the awful death of his children, without uttering a reprehensible word, or indulging an irreligious feeling.
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