Job 42


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.


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


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


Kezia] ketsiah, cassia, a well-known aromatic plant.


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


"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


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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