Page images
PDF
EPUB

son.

of death stain it, the thickest darkness, the

Or why the breasts that I should deepest death-gloom reclaiming and covering it suck! Said of the readiness, of the anxious as an unclean thing; let a cloud dwell upon longing, of the mother to nurse her child, to it, encamping over it, obscuring and hiding it give him the food needed in order to sustain forever; let the blackness of the day ter life. V. 13. For now should I have lain still rify it, the thought being that, just as a day and been quiet, not bothered with any of the seems all the gloomier and more dismal after misery which he was now suffering; I should it has once been lit up by a flash of light, so have slept, in the untroubled sleep of the the dismal bitterness of darkness should settle grave; then had I been at rest, v. 14. with upon the day of his birth as a form of retribu kings and counselors of the earth, the tion for permitting his being born. V.6. As highest officers of the state, the royal advisers for that night, let darkness seize upon it, and ministers, which built desolate places everlasting darkness holding it in its posses for themselves, who erected for themselves sion; let it not be joined unto the days of what proved to be, not palaces, but ruins; the year, rather, “let it not be glad of its ex (“The paths of glory lead but to the grave”;) istence among the days of the year,” as one v. 15. or with princes that had gold, who of a joyful troop of nights which march by filled their houses with silver, those who in glittering procession; let it not come into heaped up countless treasures for themselves; the number of the months, it should be v. 16. or as an hidden, untimely birth I omitted and forgotten, as utterly detestable. had not been, he would not exist at all, as V.7. Lo, let that night be solitary, or, more infants which never saw light. All of forceful, “See, that night!” Let it be barren, them, the builders of great palaces, the rich and therefore utterly desolate, without a cheer millionaires, together with the still-born babes, ing voice; let no joyful voice come therein, they all enter into the rest of the grave, not a single jubilant shout, as over the happy whether this be decorated with a structure birth of a welcome child. V. 8. Let them upon whose ruins men gaze with wondering curse it that curse the day, the sorcerers of surprise, or whether it be a hole in the ground old, whose ban was thought to bewitch a day whose very location is afterward forgotten. so as to make it a day of misfortune, who are V. 17. There the wicked cease from troubready to raise up their mourning, liter ling, no longer being engaged in raging; and ally, “those who are skilful in rousing up there the weary, those who suffered misery leviathan,” the great dragon of whom the an. and trouble in this life, be at rest, removed cients believed that he devoured the sun and from everything that wearied out their the moon at the time of eclipses, whom the strength. V. 18. There the prisoners rest heathen sorcerers tried to drive away with together, as many as there may be; they their incantations. All the men who had in hear not the voice of the oppressor, no fluence over the powers of evil should join in taskmaster, or overseer, threatens them any cursing the night of Job's conception. V. 9. longer. V. 19. The small and great are Let the stars of the twilight thereof be there, for death makes all men equal; and dark, refusing to be the heralds of the dawn the servant is free from his master. The and thereby continuing the darkness; let it very thought of the rest and quiet of the grave, look for light, but have none, condemned to with its surcease from sorrow and misery, is the everlasting curse of darkness; neither let fascinating to Job; he lingers over the thought it see the dawning of the day, literally, "the before continuing his complaint in which he eyelashes of the dawn," by which it might be desires death for himself. V. 20. Wherefore refreshed and filled with pleasure; v. 10. be is light, namely, the light of life, given to cause it shut not up the doors of my him that is in misery and life unto the mother's womb, thus hindering his being con bitter in soul, why should God continue them ceived and born, nor hid sorrow from mine in this miserable life, v. 21. which long for eyes, for if he had never been born, he would death, but it cometh not, and dig for it, not now have been afflicted with this suffering. with frantic desire, more than for hid treasIt was an impatient outburst which, although ures, v. 22. which rejoice exceedingly, in an not directed at God outright, yet had the effect excess of jubilation, and are glad when they of a challenge of His providence and govern can find the grave? It is a cry of extreme ment of the world, and therefore was just as anguish which longs for deliverance by death objectionable as similar outbursts on the part and is unable to explain why this coveted deof believers to-day.

liverance is denied. V. 23. Why is light JOB LONGS FOR DEATH. – V. 11. Why died I given to a man whose way is hid, the light not from the womb, immediately after birth? of life continued to a man as helpless and forWhy did I not give up the ghost when saken as Job, and whom God hath hedged I came out of the belly? V. 12. Why did in, so that he is unable to find deliverance ? the knees prevent me? “Prevent” is here V. 24. For my sighing cometh before I eat, used in the old sense of anticipate, be ready instead of eating and enjoying his food he is for, said of the father, who took the new-born constrained to groan in his misery, and my child on his lap, joyfully acknowledging his 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 repose; yet trouble came, it was coming upon him in an endless stream.

Thus even believers are sometimes overwhelmed by impatience, giving way to expressions which are full of accusations against God. A Christian should always be prepared to die, but he should not impatiently desire death at any time. He is ill prepared for death who is un. willing to live.

SO

CHAPTER 4. The First Rejoinder of Eliphaz. merited an extraordinary punishment at the Job having thus given way to his impatience,

hand of God. This thought is now elaborated his friends thought it their duty to correct

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. 11. 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 tloughts 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 They are destroyed, beaten into small pieces be more just than God? Shall a man be and thus returned to dust, from morning to more pure than his Maker! The thought evening, their life being but an extremely contained here is this, that whoever censures short span of time; they perish forever the government of God, as Job had done in his without any regarding it, soon dead and complaint, thereby claims to be more just than rapidly forgotten. V. 21. Doth not their exGod and thus becomes guilty. V. 18. Behold, cellency which is in them go away? They He put no trust in His servants, the minis die, even without wisdom, literally, “Is it tering angels; and His angels he charged not: torn away is their cord !” the picture with folly, to the very spirits of light He im being taken from the quick striking of a tent. putes error, they cannot compare with Him in Without having found true wisdom in their holiness and purity; v. 19. how much less in lives, having lived in short-sightedness and them that dwell in houses of clay, frail folly all their days, men die, they are cut off men with material, earthly bodies, whose and taken away, Ps. 90, 9. 10. Remembering foundation is in the ist, out of which their this, the Christian will at all times be conbodies were originally framed, which are strained to pray: "So teach us to number our crushed before the moth, utterly consumed days that we may apply our hearts unto wisas though they were nothing but moths! V. 20. dom.”

CHAPTER 5. The Conclusion of the First Speech of punishment of the Lord. V. 6. Although afilicEliphaz.

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. 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 be 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, Eliand an impatient murmuring against misfor. phaz on his part, would seek unto God, and tune would only challenge the anger of G

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

headlong, is overthrown. V. 14. They meet shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it with darkness in the daytime and grope in cometh, no matter what catastrophe threatens, the noonday as in the night, afflicted with Ps. 32, 6. V. 22. At destruction and famine blindness by God, being punished for their im thou shalt laugh, knowing that they are pertinent behavior in vaunting their own wis. powerless to harm him; neither shalt thou dom. V. 15. But He saveth the poor from be afraid of the beasts of the earth, who in the sword, from their mouth, that is, from ancient times were often a severe scourge. the sword which proceeds out of their mouth V. 23. For thou shalt be in league with the in the form of wicked slander, and from the stones of the field, who would not harm the hand of the mighty, the strong who delight fertility of the soil nor interfere with its tillin violence and bloodshed. V. 16. So the poor ing; and the beasts of the field shall be hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her at peace with thee, harming neither him mouth. Believers may at all times and in all nor his flocks and herds. V. 24. And thou circumstances place their full confidence in shalt know that thy tabernacle, the tent Jehovah, knowing that He will always work where he dwelled and all his possessions, shall deliverance from every evil work, no matter be in peace, altogether safe and uninjured; how hopeless the outlook.

and thou shalt visit thy habitation and ELIPHAZ ADMONISHES JOB TO BEAR HIS shalt not sin, rather, in reviewing thy houseTRIAL PATIENTLY. – V. 17. Behold, happy is hold, thou findest no gap, nothing would be the man, the mortal, in all his feebleness, missing of all his property. V. 25. Thou shalt whom God correcteth, since such an action know also that thy seed shall be great, on the part of God shows His fatherly interest. plentiful in numbers, and thine offspring as Therefore despise not thou the chastening the grass of the earth, this being considered of the Almighty, by a want of submission, a very great blessing throughout the Bible, just by a rebellious attitude; v. 18. for He maketh as childlessness was regarded as a lack of blesssore and bindeth up, in order to heal the ing and even as a curse. V. 26. Thou shalt wound which He has inflicted, Hos. 6, l; Deut. come to thy grave in a full age, in a ripe 32, 39; He woundeth, and His hands make old age, in unbroken vigor, like as a shock of whole. Cp. Prov. 3, 11–13; Ps. 94, 12. V. 19. corn cometh in in his season, dead ripe, and He shall deliver thee in six troubles, in a carried up to the threshing-floor, yielding up great number of afflictions; yea, in seven its riches of grain. V. 27. Lo this, we have there shall no evil touch thee, Ps. 91, 10. searched it, found out by careful investigatThe believer, trusting in the goodness and ing; hear it and know thou it for thy mercy of Jehovah, is safe at all times. V. 20. good, the warning being again addressed to In famine He shall redeem thee from Job, lest he once more murmur and complain. death, Ps. 33, 19, and in war from the power Note that Eliphaz speaks the truth, but not of the sword, so that it cannot strike and kill. all the truth, for the application of his stateV. 21. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge ments to the case of Job did not follow. It is of the tongue, from all slander and reviling, a dangerous conclusion to infer that a fellow. which would not be able to detract from his Christian is under God's wrath just because he good name, Ps. 31, 20; Jer. 18, 18; neither is suffering misfortunes.

CHAPTER 6.
Job's Reply to Eliphaz.

unequaled greatness of his misery drove his JOB DEFENDS HIS DESIRE FOR DEATH. — - V.1. tongue to the complaint which he made. V.4. But Job answered and said, v. 2. Oh, that For the arrows of the Almighty are within my grief were throughly weighed, namely, me, the sickness, pains, and plagues which the suffering which he was enduring, and my

God inflicted upon him, the poison whereof calamity, the bitter and unexplainable afflic

drinketh up my spirit, like a venom whose tion, laid in the balances together! Both burning heat dried up his soul; the terrors pans being thus adjusted, his misfortunes

of God do set themselves in array against would be found to outweigh his sorrows, his me, like an attacking army storming a citadel, complaint. V. 3. For now it would be Is. 42, 13. Job now argues that the demand heavier than the sand of the sea, his woe which wanted him to submit without a murmur was heavy beyond measure; therefore my is unnatural. V.5. Doth the wild ass bray words are swallowed up, rather, “they when he hath grass, literally, “by the fresh raved,” they were spoken rashly. Although grass”? Or loweth the ox over his fodder? the greatness of his misery explained his com That is, even an irrational beast will not groan plaining, yet he himself confessed that this fact or utter discontented cries if it is fully prodid not really justify his untamed sorrow, his vided with food; much less would Job lament foolish raving. His better knowledge told him without sufficient cause. V. 6. Can that which that he should not indulge his grief, but the is unsavory, tasteless, be eaten without

salt? Or is there any taste in the white of and distress, lest he give way entirely to dean egg? In either case the lack of flavor, the spair and forsake the Lord. V. 15. My brethinsipid taste, tends to make the food nauseat ren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, false ing; even so Job cannot relish his present and treacherous as a torrent, as an arroyo in sufferings, which to him are like a loathsome the wilderness, which presents a dry bed at food. V.7. The things that my soul refused just the time when water is most needed, and to touch are as my sorrowful meat, or, as the stream of brooks they pass away, What my soul abhorred to touch, that is to me torrents which overflow one day and disappear as my loathsome food; he had to smell and on the next, absolutely unreliable;

v. 16. touch the putrid matter of leprosy day after which are blackish, turbid, dark, foul, by day. V. 8. Oh, that I might have my re reason of the ice, as the melting ice is carried quest, literally, “that it might come,” be ful down by the spring floods, and wherein the filled; and that God would grant me the snow is hid, seeming to offer a solid surface thing that I long for! He was crying and to stand on, but in reality altogether treachlonging for release from his misery. V. 9. Even erous; v. 17. what time they wax warm, that it would please God to destroy me, they vanish, after the short spring flow, which snuffing out his life by an early death; that seemed to carry so much promise, their bed is He would let loose His hand and cut me

soon parched; when it is hot, they are conoff! The picture is that of the cutting of a sumed out of their place, altogether extincord or string, which was synonymous with guished. To this characterization of unreliable death. It was an intense, an impatient desire friends Job adds a description of the disapfor death. V. 10. Then should I yet have pointment which filled his heart on account of comfort, he would find consolation in this the attitude of his visitors. V. 18. The paths fact; yea, I would harden myself in sor

of their way are turned aside, their course row. Let Him not spare, rather, “I would winds hither and thither, just like that of the leap up in unsparing pain,” due to its excessive

arroyos in the wilderness; they go to nothforce which promised him no respite; for I

ing, and perish, vanishing out in the desert have not concealed the words of the Holy

wastes, sinking from sight, failing men when One. The fact that he had not denied the Lord

they are most in need of water. V. 19. The was Job's confidence in the midst of all distress

troops of Tema looked, the caravans of a and misery, even if the pain it caused him

nomadic tribe in Northern Arabia, the comshould be practically unbearable. V. 11. What

panies of Sheba waited for them, hoping to is my strength that I should hope, continue

obtain water for their parched lips. In Job's to wait, persevere as heretofore? And what is mine end that I should prolong my life,

picture his friends are the unreliable arroyos, literally, "lengthen my soul,” be patient? His

while he is the thirsty traveler searching for strength was completely gone, and therefore he

a drink of cooling water. V. 20. They were looked forward to death with eager impatience.

confounded because they had hoped, put to V. 12. Is my strength the strength of

shame on account of their confident hope, just stones? Or is my flesh of brass? He cer.

as Job was in this instance; they came tainly did not have the power of endurance

thither, and were ashamed, red with shame which inorganic matter possesses.

V. 13. Is

on account of the deceit which they finally per. not my help in me, rather, "Is not the noth

ceived, betrayed by a lying brook. V. 21. For ingness of my help with me,” that is, Am I not

now ye are no thing, they had shown that utterly helpless? And is wisdom driven

they did not exist as real friends; ye see my quite from me? His well-being, his prospect

casting down, and are afraid, full of terror of strength in the future, of an eventual re

and dismay, fearing to identify themselves with covery, had been driven away from him and one whom they believed struck down by the thus utterly lost. An early death was the only

wrath of God. V. 22. Did I say, Bring unto hope he cherished, and that he desired with an

me? or, Give a reward for me of your subintense longing. A Christian will always be

stance? He had not asked any sacrifice from ready for death, but it would be wrong for him them, had not even desired a gift from them; to demand death at the hands of God. We he had expected only the sympathy of true must at all times submit our will to that of friends. V. 23. Or, Deliver me from the our heavenly Father.

enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the JOB CRITICIZES ELIPHAZ FOR HIS CONDUCT. hand of the mighty, of the oppressor? He V. 14. To him that is afflicted pity should had never yet asked for such a proof of their be showed from his friend, or, to him who friendship; therefore he was all the more is melting on account of the fierceness of his sorely disappointed at their failing to show misery, and therefore in despair, gentleness even the least friendly interest in him and comshould be shown by his friends; but he for passion for him. V. 24. Teach me, and I will saketh the fear of the Almighty, rather, hold my tongue; he was willing to be set even if he should, or, lest he should, forsake right and to cease his complaint; and cause the fear of the Almighty. Friends worthy of me to understand wherein I have erred, the name should stand by one who is in misery this being preferable to any silent or open

« PreviousContinue »