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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Job 42

 

 

Verses 1-6


Job's Final Withdrawal

Job at last has learned his lesson. The convincing evidences of wisdom, power, and love which God has offered him, have led him to lay aside his pride of intellect and pride of innocence. He feels that he may safely trust, even though he may never fully understand, and with Abraham he may rest convinced that the Judge of all the earth must do right.

The difficulties of Job were the difficulties of the author and of the thoughtful men of his day. 'He had pondered the ethical and religious problem presented by the moral order of the world. With a flaming hatred of wrong and tender pity for the oppressed, he saw the triumph of the wicked and the misery of the just. He was familiar with the current doctrines, and knew how they ignored the most patent facts. A truly religious man, he had found his heart drawn to God by the irrepressible instinct for fellowship with Him, driven from Him by the apparent immorality of His government. He had known what it was to be baffled in his search for God and to feel himself slipping from the fear of the Almighty. An intellectual solution he had not been able to reach. But in humble submission to God's inscrutable wisdom, and in a profounder sense of fellowship with Him, he had escaped into the region of unclouded trust' (Prof. A. S. Peake's 'Job').

2b. RV 'And that no purpose of thine can be restrained.'

3. Job soliloquises. 'Well might God say to him (Job 38:2): Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge?' i.e. that misreads in his ignorance the real facts of divine providence. The point is that Job now agrees in God's estimate of himself.

4. Again he repeats God's words in Job 38:3 and Job 40:7.

5, 6. Job declares that he now understands God's relations towards man in a far deeper and truer sense than he had hitherto. At once he retracts and repents of all that he had said amiss. The sight of God, i.e. a clearer apprehension of His majesty and righteousness, humbles Job to the dust.

6. Abhor myself] RM 'loathe my words.'


Verses 7-17


The Epilogue

7-17. These vv. describe the happy ending to Job's trials and his restoration to prosperity. It is a sequel in full accord with the religious ideas of the Hebrews. With no clear idea of a future state, where compensation will be found for the ills of this world, long life and earthly happiness were regarded as the only evidence of God's favour and approval. The feeling that the happy ending spoils the effect is modern, but incorrect. For it would have made a very bad impression on the reader, if God had been represented as callously leaving Job to suffer, when the occasion for trial had passed away.

7-9. The friends receive the divine condemnation. 'The three friends had really inculpated the providence of God by their professed defence of it. By disingenuously covering up and ignoring its enigmas they had cast more discredit on it than Job, who honestly held them up to the light. Their denial of its apparent inequalities was more untrue and dishonouring to the divine administration as it is in fact conducted than Job's bold affirmation of them' (W. H. Green's 'Argument of the Book of Job unfolded'). At the same time there is a strange contrast between the judgment on Job expressed here and that expressed in the speech out of the storm, which supports the view that the prose portions were borrowed by the writer from an older book.

11. A piece of money] Heb. Kesitah, a very early word occurring only in Genesis 33:19 and Joshua 24:32. It was probably an uncoined piece of silver representing the value of a lamb as the LXX and Yulgate translate it. This, with the rings, 'constituted, I suppose, the nuzzur, or present, such as Orientals still make on paying a visit of ceremony' (Cox).

12. Note that the numbers are double those mentioned in Job 1:3, an indication of the ideal nature of this history of Job: see on Job 1:2. The prophets often allude to the double compensation in store for their afflicted people: Isaiah 61:7; Jeremiah 16:14-18; Zechariah 9:12.

14. These names contain allusions to feminine charms. Jemima means 'dove': cp. Song of Solomon 1:15. Keziah probably means 'cassia' or 'cinnamon,' a fragrant spice: cp. Psalms 45:8. Keren-happuch means 'a horn of eye paint.' It was a dye made of antimony with which the eyelashes were tinged, and was considered by Orientals to enhance the beauty of the eye: cp. 2 Kings 9:30; Jeremiah 4:30; Ezekiel 23:40.

15. Inheritance among their brethren] this was an unusual privilege to women: cp. Numbers 27:1-11.

17. In LXX a postscript is added, 'It is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up.' This is probably an addition made by some reader, who felt the inadequacy of any material compensation or reward.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Job 42:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/job-42.html. 1909.

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