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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Job 19

 

 

Verses 1-29

Job 19:3. These ten times have ye reproached me. A form of speech which puts a certain number for one less certain. Job had no doubt noticed about ten principal arguments levelled against him.

Job 19:6. Know now that God hath overthrown me. Cease then from your asperities, and leave me in his hands. So is the sense of Job 19:21-22.

Job 19:12. His troops came against me; the Sabeans and Chaldeans, to take away my cattle, as in chap. 1. He sent them to strip me of my patriarchal glory and crown.

Job 19:17. I entreated for the children’s sake of mine own body. The LXX, children by concubines. Others say, the grandchildren of Job.

Job 19:23-24. Oh that my words were printed in a book—that they were graven with a pen of iron, and lead in the rock. Pliny, lib. Job 13:11, mentions the ancient method of writing on the leaves of the palm tree. The Egyptians wrote much on the leaf of the papyrus. In India they write on the prepared leaves of the tallypot: all imperfect, when compared with European manuscripts. Dr. Dyer, a physician of Bristol, lent me Fasciculos, a Latin work on Swedish antiquities, Stockholm 1746, in which I found that a Swedish prince of the seventh century had caused the actions of his father to be cut in a prominent rock. But Job’s prayer seems to be, that his grand and full assurance of faith in a living Redeemer might be cut on his sepulchre.

Job 19:25. For I know that my Redeemer liveth. ואני ידעתי גאלי חי ואחרון על עפר יקום Ve-ani yadaati goëli chai ve-acheron âl âphar yakum, which Schultens thus translates. Enimvero ego novi, vindicem meum vivum; eumque novissimum supra pulverem staturum. Ostervald has judiciously observed, that prophecies respecting the Messiah are expressed with great brevity, and therefore are more obscure than historic passages. The veil of futurity was uplifted sufficiently for the support of faith, and no further. As this hope was Job’s last and best refuge, let us give his words a particular consideration, as sent down to us by the above translator, and others. The connecting particle is variously read. Ve-ani yadaati, for I know; but Cocceius prefers, truly I know; Goëli chai, that my Redeemer liveth. We find three other readings of this word.

(1) It is joined with Jehovah. Isaiah 40:14; Isaiah 43:1. Exodus 3:6. “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”

(2) In Hosea 13:14, “I will redeem them from death.” Jacob, in blessing Joseph and his two sons, said, “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil bless the lads.” Genesis 48:16. The idea of a deliverer or Saviour, as often repeated in the psalms, is understood chiefly here.

(3) In the following words it designates affinity, to which the right of redemption belonged: “Boaz said to Ruth, there is a nearer Goel [kinsman] than I.” Job 3:9-13; Job 4:4; Job 4:6; Job 4:14. The word Vindicator, in the above version of Schultens, is equally proper, for the nearest kinsman was the avenger of innocent blood; and Job, conscious of his innocence, felt a confidence in his breast, that God would avenge his wrongs, and grant him his righteousness in the land of the living. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Ambrose seem to coincide, that Job expected restoration to his former splendour in the present life, as well as a resurrection from the dead in the world to come.

The Hebrew, ve-acheron, the latter time or day, being used by the prophets for the Messiah’s time or days, fully demonstrates the meaning of Job.—See Deuteronomy 4:30; Deuteronomy 31:29. Joel 2:28-29. Jeremiah 23:20; Jeremiah 33:16. Ezekiel 38:16. Daniel 2:28; Daniel 10:14.—âl âphar yakum, upon or over the dust he shall stand. Job foresaw that his Redeemer should be clothed with flesh, being the seed of Abraham, and walk on earth in humble life, as in Psalms 85:11. Isaiah 53:2. Others say, as Grotius, He shall stand in the camp, and avenge the wrongs of his saints. Others again, understanding dust in the sense of Psalms 30:9, “Shall the dust (the dead) praise thee,” refer this immediately to the resurrection.

Job 19:26-27. And though after my skin be thus broken, yet shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me. SCHULTENS.—Worms, used as an expletive in the English, is destitute of ancient authority, and derogatory to the text. Two or three German reformers have inferred worms, from the Hebrew nikpoo, ulcers, which waste the body. On this most important prophecy, the grand pillar of Job’s support, and of christian hope, the critics, conformably to their notions and creeds, have indulged in much variation of opinion. But the general succession is one full and decided consent, that Job speaks here of the Redeemer’s incarnation, and also of the resurrection of the dead at the final advent. What else can comfort the afflicted and the dying, from whom all earthly hope is for ever fled?

The second opinion is that of Mercer, Drusius, and other Arians, that Job here makes a confession of faith, and firm belief and trust in God, Bildad having tacitly reproached him with a species of atheism in “not knowing God:” Job 18:21. They therefore allow him to say, I do indeed believe in God, and in his providence, though he hath thus afflicted me. By consequence, though Job was the fifth from Abraham in Ishmael’s line, he knew little of the grand promise of Abraham’s covenant, that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed; or if he knew of it, his rational christianity was so cold that he did not think proper to trust his cause into the avenger’s hands. These expositions totally lose sight of Job’s words concerning “the latter day,” a hope ever brightening on the church.

The concluding opinion of all the faithful has been, a general consent that Job had a perfect knowledge of the person of Christ, as his Goël, always rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth. The Christ, the Son of God, whose goings forth were of old from everlasting: the Messiah, who from the womb of the morning had the dew of his youth. He viewed the glorious person of Christ as the θεανθρωπου, God and man, the WORD made flesh, and standing upon the dust, as introductory to his death and resurrection, and his advent on the clouds of heaven.

These are the comments which the church of Rome, as in Biblia Magna, and other writings, and which the most learned men of the Lutheran communion have sent down to us. These are coincident with confessions of faith, which the learned and pious bishop Bull has collected out of the christian fathers of the first three centuries. First, of the pre-existence of Christ before the virgin Mary, and consequently before the world. Secondly, that he is one substance with the Father. Thirdly, that he is co- eternal with the Father. Fourthly, that the subordination of the Son to the Sire, refers merely to God the Father as the fountain of Deity. These four points are demonstrated beyond all the subtleties of modern apostasy. The faith of the ancient church was the foundation and the unshaken rock of the christian temple.

Job 19:29. Be ye afraid of the sword. Satan had done all he was allowed to do to the body of Job; and now he had set those religious and public characters most grievously to afflict his mind. But to kill Job with grief might have been to them a sin unto death by sickness, or by the sword.

REFLECTIONS.

From Job’s glorious confession of faith, and full assurance of hope, we see the certainty of the truth of religion, and the confidence which good men may attain in the present life. Holy men knew that the Redeemer lived, by his frequent appearances, by his inspirations and gifts of the covenant, and by the fulfilment of his promises; as he said to the Jews in Babylon, “Then shall ye know that I am the Lord, when I have opened the grave of your captivity, and brought you into your own land, oh my people.”

We cannot but remark the great delicacy of Job in reserving this refuge and confession of faith till the height of argument came to extremities. Here was the golden shield of victory; here also was the sword by which he threatened his misguided opposers. In like manner the christian in time of tribulation, shall not be ashamed to confess his hope, because the love of God, in trying times, shall be peculiarly shed abroad in his heart. It shall come with instantaneous emanations, with an unction, with seals and earnests of heaven, as stated by St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 1:20; and in the sixth collect after Trinity Sunday. Oh Lord, while we read of so much grace, let our souls taste of the hidden manna.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 19:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/job-19.html. 1835.

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