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THE BOOK OF JOB.
INTRODUCTION. The Book of Job bears the name of the to have lived in the age of the patriarchs, to patient sufferer whose history is rightly re whom he may have been remotely related. His garded as the great example of ready sub story, however, occurred just before the chilmission to the will of God. The purpose of dren of Israel were delivered from the bondage the book is to discuss the question, the great
of Egypt. and perplexing problem, why the righteous God The Book of Job is obviously divided into inflicts suffering on a good man while many a three parts. After the prolog, which tells of godless person seems to be enjoying nothing Job's piety and good fortune, of his subsequent but the greatest good fortune. The question misfortune, and how he bore up under it, there is answered in such a manner as to show that follows the main part of the narrative, altoJob is a righteous man, that his faith and gether in poetical form. We have here the dispatience are exemplary, that his sufferings pute between Job and his friends concerning were sent upon him not as a punishment, but the cause of his calamities, followed by the as a wholesome chastisement, to prove, test, vindication of God's righteousness in His gove and purify his faith, and that they, in the last ernment of the world, and finally by the interanalysis, served for the glorification of God. vention of God Himself, who reproves Job and It was not because Job had committed some ex gives the solution of the problem which was traordinary sin that he was afflicted with such challenging the faith of Job. extraordinary suffering, but because the Lord, The author and the date of the book cannot in His sovereign majesty, chose to apply such be fixed with certainty. It has been ascribed measures for the highest spiritual welfare of to Moses, to Job himself, to Solomon, and to His servant.
some prophet at the time of Israel's greatest Although the Book of Job, with the excep glory. It cannot be dated before Moses nor tion of the introduction, is a poem, one of the later than about the eighth century before grandest productions, not only of Hebrew Christ. The Book of Job is so obviously a poetry, but of the literature of all ages and unit, as the entire outline and form indicate, all nations, it is nevertheless founded on his.
that its integrity cannot be questioned with torical fact and contains actual historical ma
any degree of plausibility.1) terial. The prophet Ezekiel, chap. 4, 14. 20, as well as James, the brother of the Lord, chap.
1) Cp. Fuerbringer, Einleitung in das Alte 5, 11, refer to Job as a historical person. The Testament, 45–49; Concordia Bible Class, land of Uz, in which Job lived, was probably a April, 1919, 54–57; Theol. Monthly, 1921, district of Northern Arabia. He himself seems 161 ff.
CHAPTER 1. Job Loses His Great Good Fortune. ability as leader. V. 2. And there were born JOB'S WEALTH AND PIETY. – V. 1. There unto him seven sons and three daughters, was a man in the land of Uz, in Northern a great blessing of God; for children, accordArabia, toward the Euphrates, whose name ing to Scriptures, are special gifts of His kind. was Job, generally considered a descendant of ness, Ps. 127 and 128. V. 3. His substance Aram, Gen. 22, 21, and therefore related to the also, that is, his possessions, his wealth, was patriarchs, although very distantly; and that seven thousand sheep, and three thousand man was perfect and upright, his moral in camels, and ive hundred yoke of oxen, tegrity and blamelessness resulting in the true and five hundred she-asses, and a very righteousness of life, and one that feared great household, very many servants, these God and eschewed evil, his heart being dis being needed to maintain an establishment of posed in the right manner toward God and such princely magnitude, so that this man everything good, and therefore also filled with was the greatest of all the men of the loving regard for all men. Job seems to have East, he outranked in wealth and power all been an emir, or chief, of the country, both on the inhabitants of this section of Arabia. V. 4. account of his wealth and on account of his And his sons went and feasted in their Popular Commentary, Old Test., II.
houses, every one his day, they observed Lord said unto Satan, in His omniscience the custom of celebrating the several birth familiar with the evil intent of Satan, Hast days in the family, or some other special holi thou considered My servant Job, literally, days, with banquets connected with wine “'set thy heart upon him," that there is none drinking; and sent and called for their like him in the earth, a perfect and an upthree sisters to eat and to drink with
right man, standing out among men both for them, for the sons had establishments of their the piety of his heart and for the righteousown, while the unmarried sisters lived at home
ness of his life, one that feareth God and with their mother. These invitations were escheweth evil? V. 9. Then Satan anregularly issued and as regularly accepted. swered the Lord and said, Doth Job fear V.5. And it was so, when the days of their God for naught? That is, Dost Thou supfeasting were gone about, when the annual
pose he is pious and God-fearing without good period of these festivals had come to a close,
reason, without reward or profit? Satan's when every one of the brothers had arranged sneering implication was, of course, that Job and celebrated his feast, that Job sent and
feared God only because he had been so abunsanctified them, to atone for probable trans.
dantly blessed with wealth and honor, that it gressions by sacrifices of purification, and
was only this fact which caused him to feign rose up early in the morning and offered
a piety which he did not really feel. V. 10. burnt offerings according to the number
Hast not Thou made an hedge about him of them all, Job himself officiating as priest
and about his house and about all that he of the congregation of his family and making
hath on every side? Under such conditions, his offering at a time when the hearts would
Satan implies, it would be an easy matter for be most inclined to quiet contemplation; for Job said, It may be that my sons have
any person to make a show of piety. Thou
hast blessed the work of his hands, and sinned, forgetting the careful watch over
his substance, his wealth, especially that in every single word and act which quiet sobriety
cattle, is increased in the land; it las bedemands, and cursed God in their hearts,
come so numerous that it can no longer be conrenouncing or forgetting Him and His fear, as they abandoned themselves to their pleasure.
fined to a small area. Genuine piety loves God Thus did Job continually, he was wont to
for His own sake, regardless of special earthly do that as often as occasion demanded, every
blessings, without specific stipulation and
claim. Satan denied that Job's piety was of year. Job is an example of a pious father, who fears God and brings up his children in
this kind. V. 11. But put forth Thine hand the nurture and admonition of the Lord, who
now and touch all that he hath, namely, to also patiently corrects their faults and guides
smite, to injure, and destroy it, and he will them in the paths of righteousness.
curse Thee to Thy face, the form of the HeSatan Given PERMISSION TO AFFLICT JOB.
brew sentence showing that Satan affirmed his V. 6. Now, there was a day when the sons
statement as in the case of an oath: Verily, of God, God's own holy spirits, the angels
most surely. V. 12. And the Lord said unto ministering unto Him, came to present them
Satan, accepting the challenge contained in his selves before the Lord, the picture being
words, Behold, all that he hath is in thy that of a great monarch who daily assembles
power; only upon himself put not forth his ministers and servants about him, and
thine hand. Satan thereby received permisSatan,' the great adversary of God and men,
sion to deprive Job of all his property, of all came also among them. Although con
his immense wealth; but he was not allowed demned to the chains of hell, the devil, as the
to touch the person of Job. The obvious inprince of this world, has as much freedom as
tention of the Lord, in granting this permission the Lord permits him to have, not only in
to Satan, was to test the integrity and the governing his own subjects, but also in afflict
piety of Job, to prove his sincerity over against ing the children of God and in leading them
the devil's sneering insinuations.
It was into temptation, 1 Cor. 10, 13. V.7. And the
phase of the battle of light with darkness. So Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest
Satan went forth from the presence of the thou? The object of the question was to find
Lord, ready to begin his work of destruction, out whence the devil was just then coming,
for he is a murderer from the beginning; what he had most recently been trying to ac
plunder and destruction are his delight. The complish. Then Satan, who is bound in obe
thought that the Lord, in permitting misdience to the almighty Ruler of the universe,
fortune to come upon His children in this although most unwillingly, answered the
world through the hatred of Satan, has the Lord and said, From going to and fro in purpose of proving the sincerity of the bethe earth and from walking up and down
lievers should stimulate the latter to meet the in it. The words refer to the peculiar char. attacks of the devil with the spirit of true acteristic of Satan, for it is his custom to loyalty to their Father in heaven. roam about, seeking whom he might devour,
Job's GREAT AFFLICTION. – V.13. And there 1 Pet. 5, 8; he is a being without stability, was a day when his sons and his daughmalicious, intent upon evil. V. 8. And the ters were eating and drinking wine in
their eldest brother's house, at one of their hold upon the whole house or tent at one time, customary banquets; v. 14. and there came a and it fell upon the young men, upon all messenger unto Job and said, The oxen the young people there assembled, and they were plowing and the asses feeding be are dead; and I only am escaped alone to side them, grazing in the meadows near by, tell thee. In each case the messenger implies v. 15. and the Sabeans, a nomadic tribe of that his escape was effected only with the Northeastern Arabia, fell upon them, and greatest difficulty, and each message increases took them away, took everything along as the sense of the greatness of the calamity. welcome plunder; yea, they have slain the V. 20. Then Job, who was more deeply affected servants, those in charge of the work, with by the information of the death of his chilthe edge of the sword, sparing none whom dren than by the loss of his entire property, they could find; and I only am escaped arose and rent his mantle, showing the vioalone to tell thee, the only survivor of the lence of his grief, and shaved his head, an. massacre. V. 16. While he was yet speak other sign of deep mourning among certain ing, before he had even finished his message ancient nations, and fell down upon the of misfortune, there came also another and ground, and worshiped, in the attitude of said, The fire of God, evidently a shower of the most humble and submissive adoration, fire and brimstone, is fallen from heaven v. 21. and said, Naked came I out of my and hath burned up the sheep and the ser mother's womb, and naked shall I return vants and consumed them, completely de thither, that is, into the bosom of the earth, stroying also this part of Job's possessions; from which man was originally made, departand I only am escaped alone to tell thee. ing as poor and as helpless as when he came. V. 17. While he was yet speaking, there The Lord, the great Jehovah, gave, from Him came also another and said, The Chal had all the blessings come which Job had endeans, at that time a nomadic tribe living joyed, and the Lord hath taken away; near the Euphrates, made out three bands, blessed be the name of the Lord! This is attacking in three divisions, and fell upon an example of most patient submission, of the camels, and have carried them away, bowing to the will of the Lord in childlike yea, and slain the servants with the edge trust and in firm confidence. It is in this of the sword, sparing none; and I only am sense that all believers must learn to think escaped alone to tell thee. V. 18. While he of God as praiseworthy at all times, whether was yet speaking, there came also an His wisdom sees fit to give or to take away. other, a fourth messenger of evil, and said, V. 22. In all this Job sinned not, not even Thy sons and thy daughters were eating in questioning God's decrees, nor charged and drinking wine in their eldest broth God foolishly, attributing senseless or foolish er's house; v. 19. and, behold, there came acting to God. It is this phase of Job's char. a great wind from the wilderness, a vio. acter, a patient submission to the will of God lent tornado from the east or northeast, and at all times, which believers should be zealous smote the four corners of the house, taking
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 amiction 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 he 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 God, all his trust in Jehovah, and then give give it for something similar; the life of a up the struggle for life or suffer the penalty man, however, cannot be replaced, and there. of blasphemy. V. 10. But he, sharply reprovfore a man will sacrifice everything else for ing her for her lack of trust in the goodness the sake of his life. V. 5. But put forth of Jehovah, said unto her, Thou speakest Thine hand now and touch his bone and as one of the foolish women speaketh, in his flesh, striking at him even from a dis a godless and impious manner, which he, as tance in making a pass for his life, and he his words imply, would not have expected from will curse, renounce and reject, Thee to Thy her. What? Shall we receive good at the face. V.6. And the Lord, willing to permit hand of God, and shall we not receive, aceven this test of Job's integrity, of the sin cept and willingly bear, evil? In all this cerity of his righteousness and piety, said did not Job sin with his lips. If there was unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand, a temptation to murmur in the heart of Job, namely, to allict with severe diseases; but he had so far fought it down. V. ll. Now, save his life, the latter could be imperiled when Job's three friends heard of all this in the proposed test, but he must not be de evil that was come upon him, they came prived of it. V.7. So went Satan forth from every one from his own place: Eliphaz, the presence of the Lord and smote Job the Temanite, probably from Idumea, and with sore boils from the sole of his foot Bildad, the Shuhite, in the desert east of the unto his crown, the disease being the worst Dead Sea, and Zophar, the Naamathite, that form of leprosy, with horrible ulcers or boils is, from a region in Lower Arabia; for they and a swollen condition of the joints, which had made an appointment together to rendered the afflicted person almost helpless. come to mourn with him and to comfort V. 8. And he took him a potsherd to scrape him, they met together by appointment and himself withal, evidently to relieve the in traveled to Job's home to bring him some form tolerable itching of the festering sores; and of consolation, if that were possible. V. 12. he sat down among the ashes, to indicate And when they lifted up their eyes afar that he was submerged in grief and mourning. off and knew him not, did not recognize The few words paint a picture of such utter their friend in this formless mass of diseased degradation and misery after the great happi- flesh, they lifted up their voice and wept, ness which Job had enjoyed, that the contrast in sympathy over their friend's suffering; and is extremely shocking. It is but seldom that they rent every one his mantle and sprina believer is so severely tried as was Job, and kled dust upon their heads toward heaven, therefore his example serves to encourage and that is, they threw up handfuls of dust as inspire the children of God for all times. high as possible to signify that the misery of
JOB REBUKES His Wife. — V. 9. Then said Job cried to heaven, and then let it fall back his wife, whose trust in God was evidently on their heads to show the depth of their grief. not as strongly founded as that of the suf V. 13. So they sat down with him upon ferer, unto him, Dost thou still retain the ground seven days and seven nights, thine integrity? He was clinging to a virtue and none spake a word unto him, their which, as she supposed, availed him nothing sympathetic sorrow being too great for utterat this time. The astonishment shown by ance; for they saw that his grief was very Job's wife is that found in all unbelievers and great, that the aflliction of his pain was un. false Christians when they cannot explain to bearable. It is altogether commendable for their own satisfaction every act of God and friends to sympathize with a sufferer, min. every misfortune which befalls them. Curse gling their own tears with his and showing God and die. She wanted him to renounce 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. I. After this opened Job his mouth, in larkness, 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