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their eldest brother's house, at one of their customary banquets; v. 14. and there came a messenger unto Job and said, The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside them, grazing in the meadows near by, v. 15. and the Sabeans, a nomadic tribe of Northeastern Arabia, fell upon them, and took them away, took everything along as welcome plunder; yea, they have slain the servants, those in charge of the work, with the edge of the sword, sparing none whom they could find; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee, the only survivor of the
V. 16. While he was yet speaking, before he had even finished his message of misfortune, there came also another and said, The fire of God, evidently a shower of fire and brimstone, is fallen from heaven and hath burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, completely destroying also this part of Job's possessions; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. V. 17. While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, The Chaldeans, at that time a nomadic tribe living near the Euphrates, made out three bands, attacking in three divisions, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword, sparing none; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. V. 18. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, a fourth messenger of evil, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house; v. 19. and, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, a violent tornado from the east or northeast, and smote the four corners of the house, taking
hold upon the whole house or tent at one time, and it fell upon the young men, upon all the young people there assembled, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. In each case the messenger implies that his escape was effected only with the greatest difficulty, and each message increases the sense of the greatness of the calamity. V. 20. Then Job, who was more deeply affected by the information of the death of his children than by the loss of his entire property, arose and rent his mantle, showing the violence of his grief, and shaved his head, another sign of deep mourning among certain ancient nations, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, in the attitude of the most humble and submissive adoration, v. 21. and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither, that is, into the bosom of the earth, from which man was originally made, departing as poor and as helpless as when he came. The Lord, the great Jehovah, gave, from Him had all the blessings come which Job had enjoyed, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord! This is an example of most patient submission, of bowing to the will of the Lord in childlike trust and in firm confidence. It is in this sense that all believers must learn to think of God as praiseworthy at all times, whether His wisdom sees fit to give or to take away. V. 22. In all this Job sinned not, not even in questioning God's decrees, nor charged God foolishly, attributing senseless or foolish acting to God. It is this phase of Job's character, a patient submission to the will of God at all times, which believers should be zealous
CHAPTER 2. The Severer Trial and the Visit of Job's centrating his attention upon him, that there Friends.
is none like him in the earth, a perfect JOB STRICKEN. WITH A SEVERE DISEASE. and an upright man, one that feareth God V.1. Again there was a day, some time after
and escheweth evil? Cp. chap. 1, 1. And Satan had exhausted his efforts to shake the still, in spite of the severe affliction which had piety of Job by the destruction of his property come upon him, he holdeth fast his integand the slaughter of his children, when the rity, to his piety and to the perfection of his sons of God, the angels, as ministers of Jeho. righteousness before men, although thou vah, came to present themselves before the movedst Me against him to destroy him Lord, and Satan came also among them without cause, namely, by giving Satan perto present himself before the Lord, as on
mission to send such great misfortunes upon the previous occasion, chap. 1, 13. V. 2. And him, part of which included the use of the the Lord said unto Satan, From whence forces of nature, which God, in a manner of comest thou? And Satan answered the speaking, placed at his disposal. Note the Lord and said, just as he had done before, divine irony in the language of Jehovah, esFrom going to and fro in the earth and pecially as contrasted with the baffled sneering from walking up and down in it, in his of Satan. V. 4. And Satan answered the restless, ceaseless endeavor to harm the works Lord and said, in the rage due to his failure, of the Lord and to lead men into sin. V. 3. Skin for skin; yea, all that a man hath And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou will be give for his life. The meaning of considered My servant Job, namely, by con- this proverbial saying is that nothing outward
is so dear to a man but that he will gladly give it for something similar; the life of a man, however, cannot be replaced, and therefore a man will sacrifice everything else for the sake of his life. V. 5. But put forth Thine hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, striking at him even from a distance in making a pass for his life, and he will curse, renounce and reject, Thee to Thy face. V.6. And the Lord, willing to permit even this test of Job's integrity, of the sincerity of his righteousness and piety, said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand, namely, to alllict with severe diseases; but save his life, the latter could be imperiled in the proposed test, but he must not be deprived of it. V.7. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown, the disease being the worst form of leprosy, with horrible ulcers or boils and a swollen condition of the joints, which rendered the afflicted person almost helpless. V.8. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal, evidently to relieve the intolerable itching of the festering sores; and he sat down among the ashes, to indicate that he was submerged in grief and mourning. The few words paint a picture of such utter degradation and misery after the great happiness which Job had enjoyed, that the contrast is extremely shocking. It is but seldom that a believer is so severely tried as was Job, and therefore his example serves to encourage and inspire the children of God for all times.
JOB REBUKES HIS WIFE. – V. 9. Then said his wife, whose trust in God was evidently not as strongly for ded as that of the sufferer, unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? He was clinging to a virtue which, as she supposed, availed him nothing at this time. The astonishment shown by Job's wife is that found in all unbelievers and false Christians when they cannot explain to their own satisfaction every act of God and every misfortune which befalls them. Curse God and die. She wanted him to renounce
God, all his trust in Jehovah, and then give up the struggle for life or suffer the penalty of blasphemy. V. 10. But he, sharply reproving her for her lack of trust in the goodness of Jehovah, said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh, in a godless and impious manner, which he, as his words imply, would not have expected from her. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive, accept and willingly bear, evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. If there was a temptation to murmur in the heart of Job, he had so far fought it down. V. 11. Now, when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place: Eliphaz, the Temanite, probably from Idumea, and Bildad, the Shuhite, in the desert east of the Dead Sea, and Zophar, the Naamathite, that is, from a region in Lower Arabia; for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him, they met together by appointment and traveled to Job's home to bring him some form of consolation, if that were possible. V. 12. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off and knew him not, did not recognize their friend in this formless mass of diseased flesh, they lifted up their voice and wept, in sympathy over their friend's suffering; and they rent every one his mantle and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven, that is, they threw up handfuls of dust as high as possible to signify that the misery of Job cried to heaven, and then let it fall back on their heads to show the depth of their grief. V. 13. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him, their sympathetic sorrow being too great for utterance; for they saw that his grief was very great, that the aflliction of his pain was unbearable. It is altogether commendable for friends to sympathize with a sufferer, mingling their own tears with his and showing that they truly feel for him, Rom. 12, 15.
him by God, cp. Jer. 20, 14, v. 3. Let the day JOB CURSES THE DAY OF His BIRTH. — Up perish wherein I was born, and the night till now Job had suppressed all thoughts of in which it was said, There is a man-child rebellion against God, every notion of dissatis- conceived, rather, “the night which said," for faction and impatience with the ways of Jeho- that night is personified as the witness and vah. But now he gives evidence of weakness. messenger of evil. V. 4. Let that day be V. 1. After this opened Job his mouth, in darkness, be covered with the everlasting the formal manner, with deliberation and shadows of death; let not God regard it gravity, after the custom of the ancient sages, from above, in any way inquire after it, as and cursed his day, namely, the day of his though interested in such an execrable time, birth. V. 2. And Job spake and said, in a neither let the light shine upon it, it should wild and bold outburst, which showed that he be shut out forever from the light of God's was impatient with the afflictions laid upon presence. V.5. Let darkness and the shadow
of death stain it, the thickest darkness, the deepest death-gloom reclaiming and covering it as an unclean thing; let a cloud dwell upon it, encamping over it, obscuring and hiding it forever; let the blackness of the day terrify it, the thought being that, just as a day seems all the gloomier and more dismal after it has once been lit up by a flash of light, so the dismal bitterness of darkness should settle upon the day of his birth as a form of retribution for permitting his being born. V. 6. As for that night, let darkness seize upon it, everlasting darkness holding it in its possession; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, rather, “let it not be glad of its existence among the days of the year,” as one of a joyful troop of nights which march by in glittering procession; let it not come into the number of the months, it should be omitted and forgotten, as utterly detestable. V. 7. Lo, let that night be solitary, or, more forceful, “See, that night!” Let it be barren, and therefore utterly desolate, without a cheering voice; let no joyful voice come therein, not a single jubilant shout, as over the happy birth of a welcome child. V. 8. Let them curse it that curse the day, the sorcerers of old, whose ban was thought to bewitch a day so as to make it a day of misfortune, who are ready to raise up their mourning, literally, “those who are skilful in rousing up leviathan,” the great dragon of whom the ancients believed that he devoured the sun and the moon at the time of eclipses, whom the heathen sorcerers tried to drive away with their incantations. All the men who had influence over the powers of evil should join in cursing the nig of Job's conception. V. 9. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark, refusing to be the heralds of the dawn and thereby continuing the darkness; let it look for light, but have none, condemned to the everlasting curse of darkness; neither let it see the dawning of the day, literally, “the eyelashes of the dawn,” by which it might be refreshed and filled with pleasure; v. 10. because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, thus hindering his being conceived and born, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes, for if he had never been born, he would not now have been afficted with this suffering. It was an impatient outburst which, although not directed at God outright, yet had the effect of a challenge of His providence and government of the world, and therefore was just as objectionable as similar outbursts on the part of believers to-day.
Job LONGS FOR DEATH. – V. 11. Why died I not from the womb, immediately after birth? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? V. 12. Why did the knees prevent me? “Prevent" is here used in the old sense of anticipate, be ready for, said of the father, who took the new-born child on his lap, joyfully acknowledging his
Or why the breasts that I should suck? Said of the readiness, of the anxious longing, of the mother to nurse her child, to give him the food needed in order to sustain life. V. 13. For now should I have lain still and been quiet, not bothered with any of the misery which he was now suffering; I should have slept, in the untroubled sleep of the grave; then had I been at rest, v. 14. with kings and counselors of the earth, the highest officers of the state, the royal advisers and ministers, which built desolate places for themselves, who erected for themselves what proved to be, not palaces, but ruins; (“The paths of glory lead but to the grave”;) v. 15. or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver, those who heaped up countless treasures for themselves; v. 16. or as an hidden, untimely birth I had not been, he would not exist at all, as infants which never saw light. All of them, the builders of great palaces, the rich millionaires, together with the still-born babes, they all enter into the rest of the grave, whether this be decorated with a structure upon whose ruins men gaze with wondering surprise, or whether it be a hole in the ground whose very location is afterward forgotten. V. 17. There the wicked cease from troubling, no longer being engaged in raging; and there the weary, those who suffered misery and trouble in this life, be at rest, removed from everything that wearied out
their strength. V. 18. There the prisoners rest together, as many as there may be; they hear not the voice of the oppressor, no taskmaster, or overseer, threatens them any longer. V. 19. The small and great are there, for death makes all men equal; and the servant is free from his master. The very thought of the rest and quiet of the grave, with its surcease from sorrow and misery, is fascinating to Job; he lingers over the thought before continuing his complaint in which he desires death for himself. V. 20. Wherefore is light, namely, the light of life, given to him that is in misery and life unto the bitter in soul, why should God continue them in this miserable life, v. 21. which long for death, but it cometh not, and dig for it, with frantic desire, more than for hid treasures, v. 22. which rejoice exceedingly, in an excess of jubilation, and are glad when they can find the grave? It is a cry of extreme anguish which longs for deliverance by death and is unable to explain why this coveted deliverance is denied. V. 23. Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, the light of life continued to a man as helpless and forsaken as Job, and whom God hath hedged in, so that he is unable to find deliverance? V. 24. For my sighing cometh before I eat, instead of eating and enjoying his food he is constrained to groan in his misery, and my roarings are poured out like the waters,
in a steady, unremittent flow, without relief. V. 25. For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, if he but thought of a terrible thing, he was immediately struck by it, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me, if he dreaded a thing, he was immediately overtaken by it, he was obliged to endure all that he had ever considered frightful. V. 26. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet, he was
troubled then that he had neither respite nor
in detail. V. 8. Even as I have seen, they him. But instead of showing him in what re
that plow iniquity, sowing mischief in their spect his position was wrong, they proceed ac
fields, and sow wickedness, misery and ruin cording to the assumption that Job must be for others, reap the same. “Whatsoever a guilty of some special fault or sin, and chide man soweth, that shall he also reap,” Gal. 6, him accordingly. V. l. Then Eliphaz, the
7.8. V. 9. By the blast of God they perish, Temanite, answered and said, v. 2. If we
as God breathes upon them in anger, and by essay to commune with thee, wilt thou be the breath of His nostrils are they congrieved? Eliphaz wanted to be sure from sumed, like plants which a burning wind the outset taat Job would not misunderstand scorches, so that they shrivel up and wither his friends if they ventured some suggestions,
away. V. 10. The roaring of the lion, as he that he would not be insulted or offended if goes forth to seize and tear his prey, and the they spoke a word in his behalf. But who
voice of the fierce lion, of the roarer who can withhold himself from speaking? He shows his angry temper, and the teeth of the felt that he must express his opinion at this young lions are broken. V. ll. The old time. V. 3. Behold, thou hast instructed
lion, he who enjoys the fulness of adult many, namely, with words of loving reproof strength, perisheth, wanders about helplessly, and admonition, and thou hast strength- for lack of prey, and the stout lion's ened the weak hands, causing the slack whelps are scattered abroad, rather, the hands to take up their tasks with new vigor.
whelps of the lioness. Lions of every age and V.4. Thy words have upholden him that of every condition of strength are mentioned was falling, and thou hast strengthened
in order to picture the destruction of the the feeble knees, by holding men upright
haughty sinner with all his household. Eliwho were about to sink down, figuratively
phaz now draws a conclusion which he exspeaking, by his moral support, by his encour- presses very carefully. V. 12. Now, a thing agement. V. 5. But now it is come upon
was secretly brought to me, it came to him thee and thou faintest; now that misfor- in a stealthy, mysterious manner, and mine tune, in turn, had struck Job, all his fine ad- ear received a little thereof, a faint whisper monitions to others were forgotten, and he was
or lisp, as from an oracle, which he hardly faint and impatient. It toucheth thee and
dared utter. V. 13. In thoughts from the thou art troubled, confounded, seized with
visions of the night, in pictures such as the terror, filled with feebleness and despondency thoughts paint in dreams, when deep sleep when suffering came to his own door. V. 6.
falleth on men, when the spirit of man seems Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy to penetrate into superhuman realms, v. 14. hope, and the uprightness of thy ways? fear came upon me and trembling, meeting or, “Is not thy piety, thy confidence, and thy
him in such a way as to cause a shudder to hope the righteousness of thy ways?” Eliphaz
pass over him, which made all my bones to implied that Job surely did not have an evil shake, in a deep and fearful agitation. V. 15. conscience, that he certainly could and should Then a spirit passed before my face, glidremember the uprightness of his life, which his ing or flitting before him like the apparition friend was not prepared to question. V.7. Re- of an angel; the hair of my flesh stood up, member, I pray thee, who ever perished as in sudden, extreme terror; v. 16. it stood being innocent? Or where were the right- still, but I could not discern the form eous cut off? This overemphasis on the safety thereof, it had the shadowy indistinctness of the upright shows that Eliphaz intended to which creates such an impression of awe; an voice his doubts concerning the unvarying image was before mine eyes, there was piety of Job, trying to convey the idea that silence, and I heard a voice, rather, a lispthere must have been, after all, something that ing murmur and a voice, a lisping or murmur
ing voice, saying, v. 17. Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? The thought contained here is this, that whoever censures the government of God, as Job had done in his complaint, thereby claims to be more just than God and thus becomes guilty. V. 18. Behold, He put no trust in His servants, the ministering angels; and His angels he charged with folly, to the very spirits of light He imputes error, they cannot compare with Him in holiness and purity; v. 19. how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, frail men with material, earthly bodies, whose foundation is in the dust, out of which their bodies were originally framed, which are crushed before the moth, utterly consumed as though they were nothing but moths! V. 20.
They are destroyed, beaten into small pieces and thus returned to dust, from morning to evening, their life being but an extremely short span of time; they perish forever without any regarding it, soon dead and rapidly forgotten. V. 21. Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? They die, even without wisdom, literally, "Is it not: torn away is their cord ?” the picture being taken from the quick striking of a tent. Without having found true wisdom in their lives, having lived in short-sightedness and folly all their days, men die, they are cut off and taken away, Ps. 90, 9. 10. Remembering this, the Christian will at all times be constrained to pray: "So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
CHAPTER 5. The Conclusion of the First Speech of punishment of the Lord. V. 6. Although afficEliphaz.
tion, every kind of misery and evil, cometh ANSWERING A POSSIBLE OBJECTION ON JOB's not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble PART. – V. 1. Call now, if there be any that spring out of the ground, that is, the miswill answer thee, rather, “will any one re
fortunes of men are not like accidental weedy ply?” Having complained against God as growths; v.
7. 7. yet man is born unto trouble, though he were just and God unjust, will Job man, being enticed by his own lust, inherited find any one to intercede for him or to help since the time of Adam, commits sin and as him in his trouble? And to which of the a consequence brings misery upon himself, as saints wilt thou turn Would he find so the sparks fly upward, carried up on high by much as a single angel to take his part? He the heat engendered in the flame. So much for whom God will not help no creature can help, man's natural condition. V. 8. I, that is, Eli. and an impatient murmuring against misfor- phaz on his part, would seek unto God, and tune would only challenge the anger of God. unto God would I commit my cause, leavV. 2. For wrath killeth the foolish man, ing everything in the hands of the most high grief slays the complaining fool, and envy God, and not in any way impatient of His slayeth the silly one, his own impatient re- government, v.9. which doeth great things pining brings destruction upon himself. V. 3. and unsearchable, whose ways are beyond I have seen the foolish taking root, like a finding out and therefore beyond question on luscious plant in rich soil, as though his pros- the part of men; marvelous things without perity would endure forever; but suddenly number, all of which are beyond the grasp of I cursed his habitation, that is, a sudden de- the human mind; v. 10. who giveth rain struction at the hand of God occurred, which upon the earth and sendeth waters upon showed that his apparently prosperous dwell- the fields, the open land outside the cities, as ing was, after all, under God's curse, Ps. 73, the water of springs and brooks irrigates the 18. 19. V. 4. His children are far from land, v. 11. to set up on high those that be safety, they were without help, when the curse low, namely, by pouring out His blessings of God descended upon him, and they are upon them, that those which mourn may be crushed in the gate, neither is there any exalted to safety, raised up to prosperity, to deliver them, the reference being to the enjoy the rich benefits showered upon them. gate as the place of judgment in the Oriental V. 12. He disappointeth the devices of the cities. V. 5. Whose harvest the hungry crafty, bringing all their schemes to naught, eateth up, namely, that of the man whom the so that their hands cannot perform their Lord cast down from the height of his pros- enterprise, cannot realize what they wanted perity, and taketh it even out of the thorns, to accomplish, not bring about anything solid the very last gleanings of the harvest of the or lasting, no matter how great their success wicked being swept away in the calamity which may seem for a while. V. 13. He taketh the befalls him, and the robber swalloweth up wise in their own craftiness, so that they their substance, literally, "the thirsty," or, are shown to be fools before Him and their "those who lay snares, swallow his wealth”; plans result in ruin to themselves, and the he is deprived of all he has, which was obtained counsel of the froward, those who try to be either by deceit or by outright robbery, as a cunning in setting aside His will, is carried