Billeder på siden

headlong, is overthrown. V. 14. They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope in the noonday as in the night, afflicted with blindness by God, being punished for their impertinent behavior in vaunting their own wisdom. V. 15. But He saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, that is, from the sword which proceeds out of their mouth in the form of wicked slander, and from the hand of the mighty, the strong who delight in violence and bloodshed. V. 16. So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth. Believers may at all times and in all circumstances place their full confidence in Jehovah, knowing that He will always work deliverance from every evil work, no matter how hopeless the outlook.

ELIPHAZ ADMONISHES JOB TO BEAR HIS TRIAL PATIENTLY. - V. 17. Behold, happy is the man, the mortal, in all his feebleness, whom God correcteth, since such an action on the part of God shows His fatherly interest. Therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty, by a want of submission, by a rebellious attitude; v. 18. for He maketh sore and bindeth up, in order to heal the wound which He has inflicted, Hos. 6, 1; Deut. 32, 39; He woundeth, and His hands make whole. Cp. Prov. 3, 11-13; Ps. 94, 12. V. 19. He shall deliver thee in six troubles, in a great number of afflictions; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee, Ps. 91, 10. The believer, trusting in the goodness and mercy of Jehovah, is safe at all times. V. 20. In famine He shall redeem thee from death, Ps. 33, 19, and in war from the power of the sword, so that it cannot strike and kill. V. 21. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue, from all slander and reviling, which would not be able to detract from his good name, Ps. 31, 20; Jer. 18, 18; neither


Job's Reply to Eliphaz.

JOB DEFENDS HIS DESIRE FOR DEATH. — V. 1. But Job answered and said, v. 2. Oh, that my grief were throughly weighed, namely, the suffering which he was enduring, and my calamity, the bitter and unexplainable affliction, laid in the balances together! Both pans being thus adjusted, his misfortunes would be found to outweigh his sorrows, his complaint. V. 3. For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea, his woe

shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh, no matter what catastrophe threatens, Ps. 32, 6. V. 22. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh, knowing that they are powerless to harm him; neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth, who in ancient times were often a severe scourge. V. 23. For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field, who would not harm the fertility of the soil nor interfere with its tilling; and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee, harming neither him nor his flocks and herds. V. 24. And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle, the tent where he dwelled and all his possessions, shall be in peace, altogether safe and uninjured; and thou shalt visit thy habitation and shalt not sin, rather, in reviewing thy household, thou findest no gap, nothing would be missing of all his property. V. 25. Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, plentiful in numbers, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth, this being considered a very great blessing throughout the Bible, just as childlessness was regarded as a lack of blessing and even as a curse. V. 26. Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, in a ripe old age, in unbroken vigor, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season, dead ripe, and carried up to the threshing-floor, yielding up its riches of grain. V. 27. Lo this, we have searched it, found out by careful investigating; hear it and know thou it for thy good, the warning being again addressed to Job, lest he once more murmur and complain. Note that Eliphaz speaks the truth, but not all the truth, for the application of his statements to the case of Job did not follow. It is a dangerous conclusion to infer that a fellowChristian is under God's wrath just because he is suffering misfortunes.

was heavy beyond measure; therefore my words are swallowed up, rather, "they raved," they were spoken rashly. Although the greatness of his misery explained his complaining, yet he himself confessed that this fact did not really justify his untamed sorrow, his foolish raving. His better knowledge told him that he should not indulge his grief, but the

unequaled greatness of his misery drove his tongue to the complaint which he made. V. 4. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the sickness, pains, and plagues which God inflicted upon him, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit, like a venom whose burning heat dried up his soul; the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me, like an attacking army storming a citadel, Is. 42, 13. Job now argues that the demand which wanted him to submit without a murmur is unnatural. V. 5. Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass, literally, "by the fresh grass"? Or loweth the ox over his fodder? That is, even an irrational beast will not groan or utter discontented cries if it is fully provided with food; much less would Job lament without sufficient cause. V. 6. Can that which is unsavory, tasteless, be eaten without

salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg? In either case the lack of flavor, the insipid taste, tends to make the food nauseating; even so Job cannot relish his present sufferings, which to him are like a loathsome food. V. 7. The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat, or, What my soul abhorred to touch, that is to me as my loathsome food; he had to smell and touch the putrid matter of leprosy day after day. V. 8. Oh, that I might have my request, literally, "that it might come," be fulfilled; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! He was crying and longing for release from his misery. V. 9. Even that it would please God to destroy me, snuffing out his life by an early death; that He would let loose His hand and cut me off! The picture is that of the cutting of a cord or string, which was synonymous with death. It was an intense, an impatient desire for death. V. 10. Then should I yet have comfort, he would find consolation in this fact; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow. Let Him not spare, rather, "I would leap up in unsparing pain," due to its excessive force which promised him no respite; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One. The fact that he had not denied the Lord was Job's confidence in the midst of all distress and misery, even if the pain it caused him should be practically unbearable. V. 11. What is my strength that I should hope, continue to wait, persevere as heretofore? And what is mine end that I should prolong my life, literally, "lengthen my soul," be patient? His strength was completely gone, and therefore he looked forward to death with eager impatience. V. 12. Is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh of brass? He certainly did not have the power of endurance which inorganic matter possesses. V. 13. Is not my help in me, rather, "Is not the nothingness of my help with me,' ," that is, Am I not utterly helpless? And is wisdom driven quite from me? His well-being, his prospect of strength in the future, of an eventual recovery, had been driven away from him and thus utterly lost. An early death was the only hope he cherished, and that he desired with an intense longing. A Christian will always be ready for death, but it would be wrong for him to demand death at the hands of God. We must at all times submit our will to that of our heavenly Father.

JOB CRITICIZES ELIPHAZ FOR HIS CONDUCT. V. 14. To him that is afflicted pity should be showed from his friend, or, to him who is melting on account of the fierceness of his misery, and therefore in despair, gentleness should be shown by his friends; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty, rather, even if he should, or, lest he should, forsake the fear of the Almighty. Friends worthy of the name should stand by one who is in misery

and distress, lest he give way entirely to despair and forsake the Lord. V. 15. My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, false and treacherous as a torrent, as an arroyo in the wilderness, which presents a dry bed at just the time when water is most needed, and as the stream of brooks they pass away, torrents which overflow one day and disappear on the next, absolutely unreliable; v. 16. which are blackish, turbid, dark, foul, by reason of the ice, as the melting ice is carried down by the spring floods, and wherein the snow is hid, seeming to offer a solid surface to stand on, but in reality altogether treacherous; v. 17. what time they wax warm, they vanish, after the short spring flow, which seemed to carry so much promise, their bed is soon parched; when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place, altogether extinguished. To this characterization of unreliable friends Job adds a description of the disappointment which filled his heart on account of the attitude of his visitors. V. 18. The paths of their way are turned aside, their course winds hither and thither, just like that of the arroyos in the wilderness; they go to nothing, and perish, vanishing out in the desert wastes, sinking from sight, failing men when they are most in need of water. V. 19. The troops of Tema looked, the caravans of a nomadic tribe in Northern Arabia, the companies of Sheba waited for them, hoping to obtain water for their parched lips. In Job's picture his friends are the unreliable arroyos, while he is the thirsty traveler searching for a drink of cooling water. V. 20. They were confounded because they had hoped, put to shame on account of their confident hope, just as Job was in this instance; they came thither, and were ashamed, red with shame on account of the deceit which they finally perceived, betrayed by a lying brook. V. 21. For now ye are no thing, they had shown that they did not exist as real friends; ye see my casting down, and are afraid, full of terror and dismay, fearing to identify themselves with one whom they believed struck down by the wrath of God. V. 22. Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance? He had not asked any sacrifice from them, had not even desired a gift from them; he had expected only the sympathy of true friends. V. 23. Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty, of the oppressor? He had never yet asked for such a proof of their friendship; therefore he was all the more sorely disappointed at their failing to show even the least friendly interest in him and compassion for him. V. 24. Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; he was willing to be set right and to cease his complaint; and cause me to understand wherein I have erred, this being preferable to any silent or open

accusation on their part. V. 25. How forcible are right words, such as are based upon sound knowledge! But what doth your arguing reprove? What Job missed so sorely in the case of his friends was this, that they did not substantiate their accusations, that they judged merely according to their feelings. V. 26. Do ye imagine to reprove words, were they trying to fasten only upon the words which his misery pressed out of his mouth, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind? They had his blameless conduct to judge him by and should draw no conclusions from his present complaints. V. 27. Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, like unrelenting creditors they would cast lots for the orphans left by a debtor to make them bondservants, and ye dig a pit for your friend, trafficking or bargaining for him, to sell him as a slave; they were traitors to the cause of true friendship. V. 28. Now, therefore, be con

tent, look upon me, they should be pleased to scrutinize his face closely; for it is evident unto you if I lie, they would be able to read in his face whether he were really the hypocrite they supposed him to be. V. 29. Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. They should turn from their present position of unfriendly suspicion and make a careful examination of his case, so that they would do no wrong, but find the evidence of his righteousness. V. 30. Is there iniquity in my tongue? Had he actually, thus far in his complaint, spoken wrong? Cannot my taste discern perverse things? Was his palate, figuratively speaking, in such a poor condition that they believed him to have lost all consciousness of guilt, or that he could no longer understand the meaning of his misfortunes? True friends are a blessing, but false friends destroy a person's faith in humanity.


Job Renews His Lamentation. THE GENERAL MISERY OF HUMAN LIFE. V. 1. Is there not an appointed time, warfare, a fixed and wearing service, to man upon earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling, one who works for wages? The figure is that of a man drafted for military service, and then of a man who has hired out to perform a certain task, the idea being that in either case man longs for the end of the labor appointed to him. V. 2. As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, as the slave eagerly looks forward to the rest after the completion of his work, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work, for he also, after receiving his wages, may rest, v. 3. so am I, instead of enjoying the expected rest, spoken in irony, made to possess months of vanity, this time of wretchedness was allotted to him, and wearisome nights are appointed to me, they have been dealt out to him without his desire, although he has not done anything to merit them to this degree. V. 4. When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise and the night be gone? The sleeplessness caused by his terrible illness made him wish that the night would soon fly away. And I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day, weary with his restless rolling about in the endeavor to find rest. V. 5. My flesh is clothed with worms, maggots breeding in the ulcers, and clods of dust, the crust of dried filth covering his entire body; my skin is broken and become loathsome, whenever the skin made an attempt to heal, to come together, to become hard and stiff, the festering sores broke open again. V. 6. My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle and are spent without hope, vanish without hope of

deliverance, just as the web on the loom of the weaver is cut off. V. 7. O remember that my life is wind, his days are like a breath of air, which is soon wafted away, Ps. 78, 39; mine eye shall no more see good, will not return to see good fortune or prosperity; an early death would put an end to his chances of happiness in this life. V. 8. The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more, he would soon pass from the circle of those whom he had formerly considered his friends; Thine eyes are upon me, namely, those of the Lord, and I am not; even if He should turn to Job in sympathy in order to help him, it would be too late, since he knew he would soon be removed from the land of the living. Such bitterness of soul as here shown by Job is not compatible with true trust in the Lord.

JOB ARRAIGNS GOD. - V. 9. As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, the vapor disappearing in the dry air of the wilderness, so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more, if he is once in the realm of the dead, he cannot return to the former life on earth. V. 10. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place, his home, know him any more, this earthly life is past forever, so far as he is concerned. V. 11. Therefore, since God had practically abandoned him to dwell in the realm of the dead, I will not refrain my mouth, put no restraint on his speech; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, in the bitterness and pain which possessed his soul; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul, because his soul was so disturbed and troubled; he threw aside, for once, the awe which he ordinarily showed in the presence of God. V. 12. Am I a sea or a whale, some monster of the

deep, that Thou settest a watch over me? He felt himself watched, shut in, by God, like a dangerous creature which might threaten to overwhelm the world. V. 13. When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease, help bear, my complaint, a fact which is usually the case, v. 14. then Thou scarest me with dreams, shaking him thereby to prevent his resting in comfort, and terrifiest me through visions, in consequence of them, v. 15. so that my soul chooseth strangling, in wishing that the asthma which accompanied his illness might choke him, and death rather than my life, literally, "than these bones," that is, in preference to having his body reduced to a skeleton. V. 16. I loathe it, he was disgusted with this life; I would not live alway, on account of the unendurable pain which he suffered. Let me alone, he asked God to withdraw His chastening hand from him for my days are vanity, a puff of breath which vanishes away. V. 17. What is man that Thou shouldest magnify him, and that Thou shouldest set Thine heart

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


The Speech of Bildad.

AN ADMONITION TO JOB TO REPENT OF HIS SIN. — V. 1. Then answered Bildad, the Shuhite, chap. 2, 11, and said, v. 2. How long wilt thou speak these things? An exclamation of impatience over the blasphemous impertinence which he read in Job's words. And how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? He made this comparison both on account of the emptiness and bluster of the wind and on account of its destructive tendency. V. 3. Doth God pervert judgment? Or doth the Almighty pervert justice? Would Job in his sober mind accuse God of injustice, either in principle or in act? V. 4. If thy children have sinned against him, namely, in celebrating their feasts and banquets, chap. 1, 5. 18, and he have cast them away for their transgression, abandoning them to the destructive hand of their own guilt, for sin will invariably punish the transgressor; v. 5. if thou wouldst seek unto God betimes, turning to Him with earnest, humble entreaty, and make thy supplication to the Almighty, with the object of rendering God gracious to himself; v. 6. if thou wert pure and upright, Bildad's inference being that this could not be the case in the circumstances, surely now He would awake for thee, arousing Himself for Job's protection and deliverance, and make the

shouldest visit him every morning and try him every moment, putting his patience and power to a continuous test? V. 19. How long wilt Thou not depart from me, looking away from him, turning His attention to some other object upon which He might vent His wrath, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle, at least for a little instant, for one moment of time? V. 20. I have sinned; what shall I do unto Thee, O thou Preserver of men P The thought is really conditional: If I have sinned, what harm could thereby strike Thee; what detriment would be caused to Thy great glory and majesty? Why hast Thou set me as a mark against Thee, a target, or mark, for every blow, so that I am a burden to myself, which the Lord Himself would try to shake off? V. 21. And why dost Thou not pardon my transgression and take away mine iniquity, pardon his guilt, since the end was now so near? For now shall I sleep in the dust; and Thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be. He requests God's immediate help, fearing that else he must die. The thought in the speech of Job is that of an accusation of cruelty on the part of God, an idea which may readily become blasphemous, if not driven away by a proper regard for the righteousness of God at all times.

habitation of thy righteousness prosperous, He would restore to Job the home and the possession which he had had as a righteous man, He would let him once more enjoy the fruits of his righteousness in peace. V. 7. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase, his prosperity would certainly be very great, he would once more flourish greatly. All this God would surely send upon Job if he were the righteous, pure, and upright man which he represented himself to be. Bildad's statement was an unconscious prophecy of that which afterwards really came to pass, chap. 42, 12.

AN ACCUSATION OF WICKEDNESS AGAINST JOB. Bildad was convinced that Job was, in some way, guilty of some special great transgression against the Lord, that his present affliction was the punishment for some specific wrong committed by him. Therefore he continued his harangue in this strain. V. 8. For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, generations of men which have gone before, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers, searching through the annals of history, finding out what the fathers had investigated and learned; v. 9. (for we are but of yesterday and know nothing, our own experience alone counts for nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow, the term of a single human life is insufficient to fathom

[ocr errors]

the eternal laws which govern the universe and determine its history;) v. 10. shall not they teach thee and tell thee, uttering their thoughts and experiences plainly, and utter words out of their heart? Note that the heart, as the seat of understanding, is here mentioned over against the words of Job as mere products of the lips. Bildad now introduces some of the sayings of the ancients. V. 11. Can the rush, the papyrus reed, grow up without mire, outside of the rich, moist marsh soil? Can the flag grow without water? V. 12. Whilst it is yet in his greenness and not cut down, namely, if growing in soil which is not continually moist, though rich enough otherwise, it withereth before any other herb. Swamp-plants may thrive for a while on dry ground, if there is enough water to start their growth, but as soon as moisture fails them, they immediately wither to the ground, even if all other plants are still in rich verdure. V. 13. So are the paths of all that forget God, in the midst of their apparent prosperity they suddenly fail; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish, the expectation of the ungodly, of him who has fallen away from the paths of righteousness, shall fail; v. 14. whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web, that in which the godless trust, on which they place their confidence, is like a spider's web, which is broken at the slightest touch. V. 15. He shall lean upon his house, thinking that his possessions, the object of his trust, are secure, but it shall not stand; he shall hold it fast, as he feels it collapsing beneath his weight, but it shall not endure, it will tumble into ruins with all his hopes. There follows another picture of the uncertainty of the godless person's trust. V. 16. He is green before the sun, like a succulent creeper in the sunshine, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden, the whole garden being overrun with his root-sprouts. V. 17. His roots are

wrapped about the heap, taking hold in piles of stones, and seeth the place of stones, having entwined himself between the stones by means of all his shoots, so that he embraces the entire house. So the godless person believes that nothing will cause him to lose the house of his good fortune. V. 18. If he destroy him from his place, namely, if the Lord takes his prosperity from him, then it, the former place of his happiness, shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee, his very native ground denying him and refusing to have anything more to do with him. V. 19. Behold, this is the joy of his way, thus his pretended joyful way of living comes to a sudden, disastrous end, and out of the earth shall others grow, out of the dust other men blessed with external prosperity will sprout, who, in turn, will crumble away as the first ones did. Bildad now again presents a contrast. V. 20. Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, He will not despise the pious man, the inference once more being that Job could not have been really pious, neither will He help the evil-doers, He will not grasp their hand to support them, v. 21. till He, or, while He will, fill thy mouth with laughing and thy lips with rejoicing. That, Bildad intimates, would have been the lot of Job always if he had not become guilty in some unusually bad way. V. 22. They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame, Jer. 3, 25; Ps. 35, 26; 109, 29; and the dwellingplace of the wicked shall come to naught, literally, "and the tent of the wicked, it is no more." Bildad here acts as though he were ready to give Job the benefit of the doubt and to take his part against the wicked, but the entire purpose of his reproof is evidently that of accusing Job of some heinous act, which he wanted him to confess. He also, like many others since his time, had not grasped the purpose of God's chastisement, but accused Job wrongfully.


Job's Reply to Bildad.

JOB'S DEFENSE AGAINST SUSPICION. - Both Eliphaz and Bildad had attempted to fasten upon Job some specific. wrong, seeking from him a confession to that effect. He therefore defends himself against this manner of drawing conclusions in his case. V. 1. Then Job answered and said, v. 2. I know it is so of a truth, namely, that God is righteous in all His doing, that He never perverts justice; but how should man, a mortal being, man in his mortality and weakness, be just with God? Even if mortal man should, in his own opinion, be in the right over against God, his own judgment is without value; for no man, as God plainly states, can be just in His sight. V. 3.

If he will contend with Him, if mortal man should dare to enter into litigation with the great God, he cannot answer Him one of a thousand; if man's case were brought to trial, God could and would so quickly embarrass and overwhelm him with questions that he would quickly stand there in mute shame, unable to justify himself in one item. V. 4. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength; those are two outstanding attributes of God. Who hath hardened himself against Him, stiffening his neck in foolish opposition, bidding Him defiance, and hath prospered? With His wisdom the Lord can confuse man, and with His strength He can overcome him; so no mortal can maintain his cause before God. V. 5.

« ForrigeFortsæt »