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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 5

 

 

Verse 1

Job 5:1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?

Ver. 1. Call now, if there be any that will answer thee] The beginning of this chapter is hard, saith Mercer, till you come to the seventh or eighth verses, and then all is plain and easy. That which Eliphaz driveth at here is, to drive Job out of all good conceit of his own condition, and to persuade him that never any good man suffered such hard and heavy things as he, or, at least, suffered them so untowardly and impatiently. Call, I pray thee, saith he, call over the roll, look into the records of former saints, and see if thou canst find among them all such another knotty piece as thyself, that needed so much hewing, and made such a deal of complaining. Was there ever the like heard of? Call now, if there be any one answerable to thee. Broughton rendereth it, Call now, if there be any one that will defend thee, that is, be thy patron or advocate, in word, or in the example of their lives.

And to which of the saints wilt thou turn?] q.d. Thou art alone, neither mayest thou hope to meet with thy match in the matter or manner of thine afflictions, unless it be among hypocrites and graceless persons, as Job 5:2. The Septuagint read it, To which of the angels wilt thou look? and the Popish commentators think they have here an unanswerable ground for their doctrine of invocation of saints and angels. But did not the buzzards take notice of an irony here, and that Eliphaz assureth Job that it would be in vain for him to call to any saint? &c. Is it not plain, or probable, at least, that he here meaneth the saints living in this world? or if not, yet is Gregory the Great of no authority with them, who acknowledgeth none other to be called upon, here meant, but God; and that the saints are mentioned to Job in derision, as if it were a ridiculous thing to call to them departed out of this life, who cannot hear us.


Verse 2

Job 5:2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

Ver. 2. For wrath killeth the foolish man] Such as thou art, Job; hot and hasty, pettish and passionate, fretting thyself to do evil, and so provoking God to fall foul upon thee as a just object of his wrath, to thine utter ruin, without repentance. Surely, with the froward God will show himself froward, Psalms 18:26. Neither hath ever any one hardened himself against the Lord and prospered, Job 9:4. For what reason? he is wise in heart, and mighty in strength, as it is there, every way able to overly master an adversary: if he but turn his own passions loose upon him, such as are wrath and envy, they will soon dispatch him. How many are there who, like sullen birds in a cage, beat themselves to death! Did not Bajazet do so? and was Diodorus any wiser (Laert. lib. 2)? or Homer, who died for anger that they could not resolve certain questions put unto them? or Terence, who drowned himself for grief, that he had lost certain comedies that he had composed? We read of some, that, out of discontent, they turned atheists, as Diagoras, Lucian, Porphyry, &c.; and of others, that, missing of bishoprics, or other church preferments, they turned heretics in sui solatium: were not these great sinners against their own souls, like the angry bee, who, to be revenged, loseth her sting, and soon after her life? Died they not like fools indeed, that died of the sullens, and so were deeply guilty of suicide? especially if their wrath were bent against God, if they howl against heaven; such are at once twice slain; slain with the wrath of God, and with their own.

And envy slayeth the silly one] Him that is under the power of his passions, et minima afflictione ab officio abducitur, saith Mercer, and is turned off from duty by every light affliction; such a one doth envy at another man’s prosperity, Aγηνορια δε μιν εκτα (De Ajace, Homer). It is the same with wrath, nisi quod vehementius est, but that it is somewhat worse, saith the same author, as being a most quick sighted and sharp fanged malignity. Hence that of Solomon, Wrath is cruel, and anger outrageous; but who can stand before envy? Proverbs 27:4. It is the rottenness of the bones, Proverbs 14:30. And like the serpent porphyrius, it drinks the most part of its own venom. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 14:30"}


Verse 3

Job 5:3 I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.

Ver. 3. I have seen the foolish taking root] q.d. I grant that wicked men are not always presently punished, sed Nemesis in tergo; et subito tollitur, qui diu toleratur. God’s wrath is such as no wicked man can avert or avoid. This had Eliphaz well observed, "I have seen"; he had set a memorandum on God’s just judgments, and marked his spits with his own stars, as one speaketh. Eliphaz was a man of much experience. See Job 4:8. In him that was true which Elihu saith should be, that days spake, and multitude of years taught wisdom, Job 32:7. Only herein he is mistaken, that he misapplieth all to Job, arguing from his outward condition to his inward; as if, therefore, he were wicked, because seemingly wretched. Thus the gloss he set was viperous, eating out the bowels of the text; it was a truth of God that he uttered, and the same in sense with that of David, Psalms 37:35; and that of Solomon, Proverbs 23:18. But why should he thus writhe it and wrest it, to make the tune sound to his own key? St Peter speaketh of some that wrest the Scriptures, 2 Peter 3:16, putting them upon the rack, and making them speak that which they never thought. And Tertullian saith of others, that they do murder the Scriptures for their own turns, and to serve their own purposes, Caedem scripturarum faciunt. The make a slaugter of the scriptures. But let us hear Eliphaz: "I have seen," saith he, and what more sure than sight? Numbers 16:14, "the foolish," the wilful fool, and perhaps he points at some one such rich fool as is mentioned Luke 12:20, not unknown to Job, and, as Eliphaz deemeth, a fit parallel for him, "taking root," dwelling alone in the earth, confirmed and settled in a fair estate, in a prosperous condition, as Nebuchadnezzar, that goodly tree, thought himself, Daniel 4:4; Daniel 4:22, {see Jeremiah 12:2} and Dionysius, tyrant of Sicily, who conceited that his kingdom was bound fast unto him with chains of adamant; but he was soon after cast out, and thereby convinced of singular folly (Aelian. Var. Hist. lib. 2). A tempest, or, at least, an axe, of Divine vengeance, can easily fell these rooted fast and best fruited trees, and lay them low enough, as he did Nebuchadnezzar, that club of the nations and rod of God’s wrath, Isaiah 14:4-8, Daniel 4:22, &c., and Attila, the conquering Hun, who called himself the wrath of God and scourge of the world, and arrogantly said, that the stars of heaven fell before him, and the earth trembled (Jovius), but was soon after rooted up by impartial death in the midst of his nuptial solemnities, Subita morte extinctus est, sanguine copiose in fauces exundante et ex ore erumpente. He died suddenly, much blood pouring from his throat and his mouth.

And suddenly I cursed his habitation] His house, which he held his castle, together with his family, Job 5:4, and his family provisions, Job 5:5. All these Eliphaz suddenly (even when he was in the ruff of all his jollity, in the height of his flourish) cursed, Heb. pierced, or bored through, not so much by a malediction as a prediction, Male ominatus sum iis, I foresaw and foretold that that happiness would not hold long; I ominously divined it; I both thought it and spake it. Pium non decent dirae; cursing men are cursed men; but a godly person may presage a curse, and foretell it, according to that, Proverbs 3:33, "The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked," yea, the flying roll of curses, that is ten yards long and five yards broad, shall remain in the midst of it, and consume it, Zechariah 5:4. Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation, and the fire of God shall kindle it; so that his roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off, &c., Job 18:15-16.


Verse 4

Job 5:4 His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither [is there] any to deliver [them].

Ver. 4. His children are far from safety] This is one principal root of wicked men, viz. their children, which have their very name in Hebrew from building, because by them the house is built up, and way made to greatest honours by friendships and affinities of other great families. These are far from safety, that is, they are in a great deal of danger (Lavater); or, by their intemperance, they run into many diseases and disasters; by their evil practices they come under the lash of the law, and without repentance under the danger of damnation too; salvation is far from them, Psalms 119:155, Isaiah 59:11.

They are crushed in the gate] That is, they are cast in judgment, all goes against them, and sentence pronounced upon them, as it befell Haman’s children, and David’s enemies, Psalms 109:7.

Neither is there any to deliver them] None to plead for them, or rescue them, Proverbs 31:8-9; none to extend mercy to them, nor any to favour those fatherless children, Psalms 109:12, and that because their fathers were pitiless, Job 5:13-14, Haman for instance.


Verse 5

Job 5:5 Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance.

Ver. 5. Whose harvest the hungry eateth up] This is another root of the wicked one, his estate, against which God raiseth up a rout of needy wretches to pillage him. These are as a sweeping rain, that leaveth no food, Proverbs 28:1. These, as lean lice, bite hardest, and, as sparrow hawks, are extremly greedy: Malesuada fames putteth them upon it. These harpies seize upon his very harvest ad maiorem cruciatum et miseriam, to the more crude and wretched, pulling the meat out of his mouth, as it were, and not suffering him to roast that which he took in hunting, Proverbs 12:27. He shall meet with greatest disappointment, and come to that poverty which he so studiously shunned, singing that doleful ditty,

- En queis consevimus agros?

Aλλοι μεν σπειρουσ , αλλοι δ αυ αμησονται.

See this threatened Leviticus 26:19, Deuteronomy 28:33, Isaiah 1:6, Micah 6:15.

And taketh it even out of the thorns] Creeping through the midst of the thorns and bushes wherewith it is fenced and hedged in, to steal it away. Hunger, we say, breaks through stone walls: the Rabbis sense it thus, He that comes out of the thorns, that is, every base fellow, carrieth away the store of this rich oppressor (Scultatus). The armed man carrieth it away, so the Vulgate after the Septuagint. Mr Broughton reads it thus, The hungry shall eat up his harvest which he had gotten through the thorns, that is, not without a great deal of care, and much pains in stubbing up the thorns, that he might not sow amongst them.

And the robber swalloweth up their substance] Or, the thirsty shall drink up their substance, as gold thirsty Babel did Hezekiah’s treasure for his coming so near the garb and guise of the wicked in his ostentation. The thirsty shall swill up their wealth, so Broughton rendereth it: so that neither their esculenta food, nor poculenta drink shall escape the spoiler, but there shall be a clean riddance of all; the enemy shall play at sweepstake, he shall sup up all ( שׁאף) as the Hebrew hath it, and as Eliphaz would have Job consider that the Chaldeans and Sabeans had done his substance.


Verse 6

Job 5:6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;

Ver. 6. Although addiction cometh not forth of the dust] It cometh not by fate or blind fortune, it haps not as it may that men suffer. Philistines indeed will say, haply, It is a chance, 1 Samuel 6:9, a common occurrence, that had a time to come in, and must have a time to go in; but every Naomi will in such case conclude, "The hand of the Lord is gone out against me," Ruth 1:13, and carry her sails accordingly, Job 5:20-21; and every good soul will cry out, I will bear the indignatiou of the Lord (who is the efficient cause of all my miseries), because I have sinned against him, which is the meritorious cause. The word here rendered affliction signifieth also iniquity; and well it may, since they are tied together with chains of adamant, as that heathen said; Flagitium et flagellum sunt sicut acus et filum, saith another. Man weaves a spider’s web of sin out of his own bowels, saith a third; and then he is entangled in the same web; the troubles which ensnare and wrap about him are twisted with his own fingers. "Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him?" Amos 3:5. Turdus sibi malum cacat, Of the blackbird’s dung is made the bird lime whereby he is taken; so out of the dung of men’s sins are made the lime twigs of their punishment.


Verse 7

Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Ver. 7. Yet man is born unto trouble] Which is the natural fruit of his sin; and a piece of the curse. He hath in him a πανσπερμια, a common seminary of all sin, and this he brings into the world with him; what wonder, then, though troubles come trooping in upon him on every side, as if he were born for no other end but to suffer, and that as naturally as fire ascendeth? Sure it is, that sin doth as naturally and ordinarily draw and suck judgments to it as the loedestone doth iron, or turpentine fire. Some read the words thus, Man is born to sin, and so consequently to trouble; for sin usually ends tragicly and troublesomely. Hence the same word, both here and that in the former verse, signifies both sin and sorrow; and man, by reason of his birth blot, hath a birthright to them both, he is even born to them. The devil, when he speaketh lies, speaketh of his own, John 8:44. And we, when either we do evil, we work de nostro et secundum hominem, of our own, and according to men, 1 Corinthians 3:3; or when we suffer evil, we suffer nothing but what is human and incident to men, 1 Corinthians 10:13. The very heathen could say as much; witness that of Xenophon, παν προσδοκαν δει ανθρωπον οντα, It behoveth him that is no more than a man to expect all sorts of troubles; and that of Demosthenes, It is fit for men to hope the best, but bravely to bear the worst, as that which is common to all mankind; and that of Isocrates, O μεμνημενος, &c., He that remembereth that he is a man will not be discontented at whatsoever trouble befalleth him; and that of Herodotus, πας εστιν ανθρωπος συμφορα, every man is miserable. For this it was likely that God, to keep Ezekiel lowly in the abundance of revelations, calleth him so oft son of man. And when the French king, being prisoner to Charles V, saw written upon the wall that emperor’s motto, plus ultra, more beyond, further yet, and underwrote, Hodie mihi, cras tibi, Today for me, tomorrow for you, I am now thy prisoner, thou mayest hereafter be mine; the emperor came after him, and subscribed, I confess I am a man, and may soon suffer anything incident to mankind, Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto (J. Manl. loc. com. 175).

As the sparks fly upward] Heb. The sons of the quick or live coal lift up to fly. The Vulgate hath it, As the birds fly upward; the Septuagint, As the young vultures fly upward. Sparks and birds fly upward naturally, and by a principle of their own, they need not be taught it; so here. Birds, though they have more of the earth than of the other three elements, Genesis 2:19, yet are light (which is a wonder), and delight in high flying, and this is innate to them; so is it to man, as man, to be in trouble, Job 14:1. Some of the Hebrews by sparks, or sons of the quick coal, here understand the devils, and make this to be the sense; like as sin is connatural to men, so doth God stir up the devils, to whom it is as natural to flutter up and down here for the punishment of such as sin; Sed hoc friget, but this is cold, saith Mercer; but this is not likely to be the meaning.


Verse 8

Job 5:8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:

Ver. 8. Surely I would seek unto God] Not let fly at him, as thou hast done, cursing thy birthday, and wishing thyself out of the world. Assure thyself, this that thou takest is not the way to get off with comfort, but rather to return by repentance unto him that smiteth thee, and to seek the Lord of hosts, Isaiah 9:12, since else his anger will not turn away, but his hand will be stretched out still (as the prophet there hath it); for is it fit that he should lay down the bucklers first? or that we should stand upon terms, and capitulate with him, and not stoop unto him by a humble yieldance? especially since,

- Deus crudelius urit

Quos videt invitos succubuisse sibi (Tibul. Eleg. i. 8).

God burns more severely those he sees to have laid themselves down in envy. The way to disarm God’s heavy indignation, is to submit to his justice, and to implore his mercy, Hosea 5:14, to flee from his anger to his grace. Blood letting is a cure for bleeding, and a burn a cure against a burn; and running to God is the way to escape him; as to close and get in with him that would strike you doth avoid the blow: and this is the thing I would do, were I in thy case, saith Eliphaz here. He doth not vaunt (as Olympiodorus mistaketh his meaning), but advise Job to humble himself, and confess his sins, and sue for pardon of sin and release of punishment; to kiss the rod, and not to bite it; to drink from God’s cup willingly and at first, when it is full (as Mr Bradford, martyr, hath it), lest if he linger, he drink at length of the dregs with the wicked.

And unto God] The righteous judge, as the word importeth, who πασι δικαια νεμει, μηδε κρισιν ες χαριν ελκει (Phocyl.), neither hateth nor feareth any man (as it was said of Trajan the emperor, but more truly of God): he proceedeth according to truth, not according to opinion or appearance, and greatly scorneth to look at displeasure, revenge, or recompense.

Would I commit my cause] Put my case and condition, by self resignation, and humble supplication. This David did notably, 2 Samuel 15:25-26, Psalms 142:2, and counsels all to do accordingly, Psalms 55:22. Cast thy burden (or thy request) upon the Lord by virtue of this writ or warrant.


Verse 9

Job 5:9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:

Ver. 9. Which doth great things and unsearchable] The better to persuade Job to take his counsel, he entereth into a large description of God’s attributes, his power, wisdom, justice, mercy, &c., all which are clearly seen in his works of wonder as in a mirror, or as on a theatre. These he is ever in doing, as the word here signifieth; and showeth himself great in great things, and not little in the least, dum nemora culicis et pulicis disponit (Aug.), yea, he useth to be greater in smaller things than in bigger. The soul is more operative in ants than in elephants; in dwarfs than in giants. So he delights to help his people with a little help, Daniel 11:34 (that through weaker means they may see his greatest strength), to magnify his power in pardoning their many and mighty sins, Numbers 14:17-18, Micah 7:18; to illustrate his power in their perseverance and wonderful preservation amidst a world of evils and enemies, John 10:29, 1 Peter 1:5; to fulfil his promises, seem they never so improbable or impossible, Jeremiah 32:14-15; to answer prayers that look as if lost, and to do for his people exceeding abundantly above all that they can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in them, Ephesians 3:20. All this Eliphaz would have Job to consider, that he might not cast away his confidence, but seek to God, and turn his talk to him, as Beza turneth the foregoing words.

And unsearchable] Heb. And no search, for they are fathomless, and past finding out, Romans 11:33. This Eliphaz might say, to stop Job’s curiosity; and to humble him for his sin, in inquiring too much into the reason of God’s so severe dealing with him, Job 3:1-26; in prying too far, or too boldly, into the secret workings of God. It should suffice us to know that the will of God is the rule of right, that his judgments are sometimes secret, always just; that it is extreme folly to reprehend what we cannot comprehend (we may as soon comprehend the sea in a cockleshell as the unsearchable things of God in our narrow and shallow understandings); that at the last day all things shall be cleared up, and every mouth stopped, when exquisite reasons of all God’s proceedings (which now seem not so well carried) shall be produced, and wisdom shall be justified of her children.

Marvellous things] Such as the wisest may well wonder at. God is the only Thaumaturgus, the great wonder worker; and these marvels are more ordinary than the most are, either at all either aware of, or affected with. To let pass those wonders of the creation (for which, see Psalms 136:4-7), Canst thou tell how the bones grow in her that is with child, saith Solomon? Ecclesiastes 11:5. Mirificatus sum mirabilibus operis tuis, so Montanus rendereth that of David, Psalms 139:14, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works," &c. Galen, that great naturalist, was much amazed at the motion of the lungs in man’s body, and would needs offer sacrifices therefore to that God whom he knew not (Fernel. de abd. Rer. Caus.). Who can give a natural reason of the strength of the lower limbs, of the heat in the stomach, of the colours in the rainbow, of the ebbing and flowing of the sea, or but of this ordinary occurrence, that chaff is so cold, that it keeps snow hidden within it from melting, and in addition, so warm, that it hasteneth the ripening of apples? Well might Eliphaz say, that God doth marvellous things without number.


Verse 10

Job 5:10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:

Ver. 10. Who giveth rain upon the earth] This is reckoned, and rightly, among the marvellous works of God. See Job 28:26, Jeremiah 10:13, Amos 5:8, Acts 14:17. Rain is the flux of a moist cloud, which being dissolved by little and little by the heat of the sun, lets down rain by drops out of the middle region of the air: this is God’s gift. For Hebrews 1:1-14. Decreeth it, Job 28:26 2. .Prepareth it, Psalms 147:8 3. Withholdeth it at his pleasure, stopping those bottles that should yield it, Amos 4:7 4. Sendeth it for the behoof and benefit of man and beast, as also for the demonstration of his power, wisdom, justice, and goodness, whereof he hath not left himself hereby without witness, Acts 14:17, while he weigheth these waters above the firmament by measure, so that not one drop falleth in vain, or in a wrong place. In those hot countries, where rivers were scant, rain was highly valued; they called it the husband of the earth, because the earth can no more bear fruit without it than a woman children without the company of a man. The Egyptians were wont in mockery to tell the Greeks that if their god (whom they called cloud gathering Jupiter, νεφεληγερετα Zευς) should forget to give rain they might chance to starve for it. See the reason, Deuteronomy 11:8-12. Egypt was watered with the foot as a garden, by sluices from the Nile: not so Canaan.

He sendeth waters upon the fields] Irrigat aquis universa, saith the Vulgate, He moisteneth all places with waters; by the showers which, falling upon the grouud, run hither and thither, he divideth the fields, as it were, into streets and highways, so Beza paraphraseth. Another thus, It is he himself who watereth it, as well by those waters which fall from heaven as by those which he hath hidden in its entrails, and whose secret drains produce in a thousand places sources and rivers. Some render it, upon the out places, and understand it as wilderness, to set forth God’s bounty. Others render it, upon the face of the streets, and will have it meant of navigable rivers, which, by the passage upon them, do, after a sort, make streets and highway ways through several countries, to the which also they convey many commodities.


Verse 11

Job 5:11 To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.

Ver. 11. To set up on high those that be low] By those rich rains whereby he fatteneth the earth, and makes it fruitful, giving them a whole country of corn, as he did that vir divitiarum qui animam etiam habuit triticeam, a man of wealth who moreover a spirit of grain. Luke 12:16. But God hath more ways than this to prefer men to riches, honour, and authority, as he did Joseph, David, Daniel, Mordecai, &c. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill, "that he may set him with princes," &c., Psalms 113:6-7. Let Job hear this, and know it for his good, as Job 5:27.

That those which mourn] As those do commonly who are in a low condition; and it is much if they murmur not. The word signifieth, such as are pullati, clad in mourner’s weeds, or that having lain among the pots, are smutched and sullied like so many black scullions, Psalms 68:13. Lo, these shall the Lord not only make to be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold, but shall also make them to mount up with wings as eagles, Isaiah 40:31. He shall exalt them to safety, saith Eliphaz here; yea, he shall safely exalt them to safety. Wicked men are oft exalted, Psalms 12:8, but then it is not to safety; - tolluntur in altum ut lapsu graviore ruant, they are lifted up, but for a mischief, that they may be brought down again with the greater poise, as Haman, and Pharaoh’s chief baker, whose head was lifted up, but to the gallows; the chief butler’s head was lifted up too, but after another manner. There is great difference between the advanced merit of the righteous and the wicked. Those God carrieth as the eagle doth her young on her wings, to exalt them to safety, to set them upon a rock that is higher than they; these he lifteth up as the eagle doth her prey in her talons, to dash them against some rock, and to destroy them.


Verse 12

Job 5:12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform [their] enterprise.

Ver. 12. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty] He vacateth and rendereth ineffectual the curious contrivances of the world’s wizards, full of serpentine subtilty, and so setteth his people in safety by out plotting their enemies; served he not Pharaoh so (who dealt craftily with our fathers, κατασοφισαμενος, saith Stephen, Acts 7:19)? and Saul, that subtle tyrant? and Herod, that crafty fox? Luke 13:32; and all the primitive and modern persecutors, to whom the old dragon had lent his seven heads to plot, and his ten horns to push against the people of God, but all to no purpose? God disappointed the devices of those malignants: so the Vulgate rendereth this text, which the Chaldee appropriateth to Pharaoh and his counsellors, who said, Come, and let us deal wisely; when as (in laying hard tasks upon the Israelites to keep them from increasing) they never dealt more foolishly; for who knows not that your labouring men have the most and the lustiest children.

So that their hands cannot perform their enterprise] They could not give their plots an actual being or subsistence. Their hands bring nothing soundly to pass, so Broughton rendereth it. Others thus, Their hands cannot perform their wisdom; that is, execute what they had projected. Perceive ye how we prevail nothing? said the Pharisees, John 12:19. Nomine Christianorum deleto qui Romp evertebant; the name of Christians being erased who Romp has destroyed. so those cruel crafties of the primitive times sounded the triumph beforehand, and engraved the victory upon the pillars of marble; but the Church may still sing as of old, "They are brought down and fallen; but we are risen, and stand upright." Charles V and the French king had covenanted the utter extirpation of the Lutheran faction throughout their dominions; but God found them other employment, and gave his Church a happy halcyon. And who knows not how God hath hitherto helped us of this nation against the power and policy of earth and of hell?


Verse 13

Job 5:13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.

Ver. 13. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness] Those wise to do evil, worldly wise, mere Machiavellians; for though the Florentine secretary was not born of some thousands of years after Eliphaz spoke this, yet the devil was well nigh as great a master then as now, and had his crafty cubs, students, and great proficients in that wisdom which St James affirmeth to be from beneath, and not from above (like the wings of the ostrich, it may help a man to outrun others upon earth, but helps not at all towards heaven); and further describeth it to be earthly, sensual, devilish. Earthly, as managing the lusts of the eyes unto the ends of gain; sensual, as managing the lusts of the flesh unto ends of pleasure; and devilish, as managing the pride of life unto ends of power: these subtle sirs, these profound politicians, that dig deep to hide their counsels, not from men only, but (which is impossible) from the Lord, Isaiah 29:15, that think they can work out anything ( πανουργια), 1 Corinthians 3:19, and that none can prevent them (as the apostle’s word from this text importeth), God takes and makes fools of them; he frustrateth the tokens of these liars, and maketh the diviners mad; he turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish, Isaiah 44:25. "Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: - they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof: the Lord hath mingeled a spirit of perversities in the midst thereof; and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit," Isaiah 19:11; Isaiah 19:13-14. Did ever any man deal so unwisely as Ahithophel, that oracle, 2 Samuel 17:23, curious to provide for his family after his death, and yet careless to preserve himself from eternal death? Was not this a madness even to a miracle? He should first (saith a reverend man) have set himself in order, and then he might have hanged his house with coverings of tapestry, Proverbs 7:16, and with embroidered work of Egypt, Ezekiel 27:7. And if he had bridled his anger when he saddled his ass he would not have broken the lantern of his body, and quenched the light of his life, he would not have put his house in order, and himself into such a desperate and irrecoverable confusion. But what saith Solomon? "His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins," Proverbs 5:22. "The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion, Selah." Mark and meditate, as one rendereth it, Psalms 9:16.

And the counsel of the froward is carried headlong] More haste it maketh than good speed, though it be the counsel that is the extract of reason, the result of serious and sad debates (as Cicero defineth it, Lib. 2, de Invent.), because it proceedeth from froward persons, obtorti, contortuplicati, such as have one crafty device twisted within another, like a rope; such as of whom we use to say in a proverb, there never wanteth a new knack in a knave’s cap.


Verse 14

Job 5:14 They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night.

Ver. 14. They meet with darkness in the daytime] They are infatuated and besotted; a spirit of giddiness seizeth them; ita ut in re clarissima destituantur prudentia, saith Vatablus, so that they cannot discern things that are evident and clear as the sun at noon day; they have light without, but want light within; they lack discretion and judgment to do for the best: this was threatened, Deuteronomy 28:29, and accordingly fulfilled upon those blind Pharisees, as our Saviour often calleth them, and now upon that whole nation, Romans 11:18, 2 Corinthians 3:14. Since they crucified the Lord of glory, they never prospered in anything they uudertook, neither will they be driven out of that fool’s paradise of a sublime dotage whereinto they have long since wrought themselves: They had bribed our William Rufus to hear them and favour them in a disputation against the Christians; but they lost the day, and their money together. Rabbi Judah, surnamed The holy, was intimate with Antoninus Plus, the emperor, and thought to have proselyted him but it would not be. Rabbi David Reubenita and Rabbi Solomon Molchu set upon Charles V, in the year of grace 1530, to convert him to Judaism, but with ill success; for they were presently imprisoned, and shortly after executed, Rabbi Solomon at Mantua, and Rabbi David in Spain. How they are benighted in their expositions of Scripture, troubling those clear fountains with their ridiculous conceits and foolish fables, I need not relate. Neither are many of the Popish interpreters (as they will be accounted) much wiser, being judicially blinded, given over to an injudicious mind, Romans 1:28, to the efficacy of error, 2 Thessalonians 2:11, so that

They grope at noonday, as in the night] They have neither light nor sight left them, and this by a just hand of God upon them, because they closed up their eyes lest they should see, Acts 28:27, they would not receive the love of the truth, 2 Thessalonians 2:10. Therefore now it is hid from their eyes, and the light that is in them is darkness. Women and children see further into the mysteries of religion, than many of these learned doctors, these idol shepherds; God’s sword being upon their arm, and upon their right eye, Zechariah 11:17, that is, both upon their power and policy, so that they are like owls, that can see better in the dark than in the light; and like moles, that dig dexterously underground, but are blind above ground, neither do they ever open their eyes till the pangs of death are upon them.


Verse 15

Job 5:15 But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.

Ver. 15. But he saveth the poor from the sword] From the woe of war, from the hurt of it, not always from the smart of it; for all such promises as this of temporal deliverance are ever to be taken with exception of the cross, which yet shall be so sanctified, that the saints shall say, It was good for us to have been afflicted; provided that they may be poor in spirit (for God will save the humble person, Job 22:29), and sue in forma pauperis, as spiritual beggars, such as get their living by begging; the word signifieth needy and desirous of relief, very indigent, and therefore humbly suppliant for supply of things necessary. "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him (meaning himself), and saved him out of all his troubles," Psalms 34:6. "Forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever," Psalms 74:19. He will not, he cannot, for they are written upon the palms of his hands, so that he cannot look beside them. Who hath not heard bow graciously poor Geneva hath been preserved? Rochel relieved, as it were, by a miracle? A. D. 1573; Leyden rescued from the duke of Alva’s sword: that very night that he thought to have stormed it, the winds turned, the tide swelled, and the waters came in, and forced him to raise the siege. How well might these poor saved ones sit and sing with David, Psalms 68:20, "He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death."

From their mouth] Which is a sword, so some sense it; God saveth his poor from the sword of their enemies’ mouth, or the sword that comes out of their mouth. A gladio oris eorum, saith the Vulgate. David felt the false tongues of his enemies as a murdering weapon in his bones, Psalms 42:10. The tongue is thin, broad, and long, like a sword, it is also red like a flaming sword; by calumnies and false testimonies many are those that fall down wounded, Proverbs 12:6; Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 26:22. Korah and his complices stick not to object to the meekest of men with one breath, pride, ambition, and usurpation of authority, but; God vindicated his reputation. Mary was accused three times; the Pharisees accused her of presumption, Luke 7:39; Martha of carelessness, Luke 10:40; Judas of wastefulness, John 12:5; but Christ ever answered for her, and took her part. And was it not so with Job? Job 42:12-17; is there not a promise to all saints? Psalms 37:6.

From the hand of the mighty] God sayeth his, not only from the virulent tongues, but from the violent hands also of the mighty, that might overcome not right, that the poor fall not by his strong ones, or into his strong paws and parts, Psalms 10:10, where oppressors are fitly compared to lions lying in wait for their prey. Now to be thus saved from the slaying sword, the slandering tongue, and the oppressing hand, is complete salvation.


Verse 16

Job 5:16 So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.

Ver. 16. So the poor hath hope] How should it be otherwise? experience will breed confidence. Thou hast, thou wilt, is an ordinary Scriptural medium, Psalms 85:1-4, 2 Corinthians 1:10. So, the poor, helpless, hopeless person, who is pined away, spent and utterly exhausted and wasted, both for health and wealth, he hath hope ( spem maiorum et meliorum, greater and better, as Alexander said when he had given away all); and this holds head above water, makes wants plenitudes, and beguiles calamity, as good company doth the way. Neither is hope ever more highly elevated than when our state in all men’s eyes is at its lowest. I was brought low (or drawn dry, the same word as here), and he helped me, Psalms 116:6. "So he will regard the prayer of the destitute," Psalms 102:17. The Hebrew word there signifies a poor shrub that is in the wilderness low and slender, trod upon by beasts, unregarded, worthless; such a one looketh unto God and is lightened, Psalms 34:5, conceiveth lively hope, hope unfailable through faith unfeigned, having earnest expectation (as the word signifieth) of strong consolation; so that he can truly say with St Paul, When I am weak, then am I strong, 2 Corinthians 12:10. Such prisoners of hope can turn them to the strong holds, Zechariah 9:12.

And iniquity stoppeth her mouth] Iniquity, that is, the workers of iniquity, those worst sort of sinners (the word importeth men of manifold perverseness, Maligni et nocendi studiosi. Aquinas), amazed at godly men’s good successes, contrary to their expectations, shall stand speechless, as he did, Matthew 22:12, convicted of their wickedness, and confounded at God’s wonderful works. See the like Isaiah 52:15, Psalms 107:42, Micah 7:16, Jeremiah 8:14. Thus Jannes and Jambres were silenced and convinced, but not converted. No more are many today, who yet have as little to say as they. The full accomplishment of this promise is not to be looked for till the last day.


Verse 17

Job 5:17 Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

Ver. 17. Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth] This behold holds forth a paradox, a strange sight, viz. an afflicted man, a blessed man. This the world wondereth at, and can as little conceive of, or consent to, as the Philistines could of Samson’s riddle of meat out of the eater, &c. How can these things be, say they? It will never be, saith sense; it can never be, saith reason; it both can be, and will be, saith faith: the property whereof is to gather one contrary out of another; life out of death, happiness out of misery, assurance of deliverance out of deepest distresses, and to believe God upon his bare word, and that against sense in things invisible, and against reason in things incredible. What if the afflicted man be Enosh (that is the word here), a sorry, sickly, miserable man, so the world esteemeth him? yet blessed is the man (there he is called Geber, the gallant man) "whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law," Psalms 94:12. Oh the happiness, the μυρισμακαριοτης, the present and future happiness of that man whom God correcteth, and withal instructeth, chastening him with pain upon his bed, and in addition opening his ears to counsel, and sealing his instructions, Job 33:16; Job 33:19, disputing him out of his evil practices, with a rod in his hand.

Therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty] Fret not, faint not, be not so impatient as to think that either thy crosses come not from God, or not in mercy, or that he is not all sufficient to bear thee up under them, or to help thee out of them. Set not light by his love tokens (this is one of those two extremes Solomon warns us of, Proverbs 3:11, neither despise afflictions, nor despond under them). See my Treatise called God’s Love Tokens, and the Afflicted Man’s Lessons, p. 37-39, &c. Loth we are to take up the cross, and when called to carry it, we shrink in the shoulder: no chastening seemeth joyous, but grievous; as averse the best may be to it, as a sick man is to those physical slibber sauces; he had as soon have died almost as take them down. How then, alas! will wicked men do to drink off that cup of God’s wrath that hath eternity to the bottom? Psalms 75:8. Let the saints be content, and say, Ferre minora volo, ne graviora feram, I wish to bear the lessor so I will not bear the greater. "It is the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed," Lamentations 3:22, that we are set safe from the wrath to come, whatever here betideth us. It is the chastening of the Almighty, who could as easily crush us as correct. See Isaiah 13:6, Joel 1:15.


Verse 18

Job 5:18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.

Ver. 18. For he maketh sore, and bindeth up] As a surgeon maketh an incision to let out the imposthumed matter, and then heals up the wound again. God hath a salve for every sore, a medicine for every malady; he is both a Father and a Physician, he lanceth us not unless need be, 1 Peter 1:6. We are judged of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. Would we that God should let us alone to perish in our corruptions (as he did Ephraim, Hosea 4:14), and not meddle with us? or that he should scarf our bones before they are set, and lap up our sores before they are searched? this were a mercy more cruel than any cruelty, as a Father calls it. And yet most people are of that countryman’s mind, spoken of by Luther, who being on his sick-bed advised by his minister to take in good part his present pain, as a token of God’s love, answered, Ah quam velim alios amare, non me! If this be his love, I could wish he would love others, and not me (Luth. in Gen.).

He woundeth] This is more than to make sore or sick, like as Hebrews 12:6. Scourging is worse than chastening. God sometimes makes bloody wales upon the backs of his best children; he wounds them with the wound of an enemy, Psalms 68:21; Psalms 110:5, and leaves them all gore blood, as the word here used importeth, מחץ cruentavit. stained with blood.

And his hands make whole] He hath, as a chirurgeon should have, a lady’s hand, soft and tender, a father’s heart, relenting over his pained Ephraims, Hosea 11:8. He afflicteth not willingly, or from the heart, Lamentations 3:33; it goeth as much against the heart with him as against the hair with us; and evermore

Deiecit ut relevet, premit ut solatia praestet:

Enecat, ut possit vivificare Deus.


Verse 19

Job 5:19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.

Ver. 19. He shall deliver thee] Heb. Snatch thee away, or pull thee out, as a brand out of the fire, or as a prey out of the teeth of a wild beast. Thus God snatched Lot out of Sodom, David out of many waters, Paul out of the mouth of the lion, Jonah out of the belly of hell, &c. As birds flying, so will I defend Jerusalem, Isaiah 31:5. A metaphor from the eagle and other birds, which when they fly highest set a watchful eye upon the nest, to rescue their young ones in case of danger.

In six troubles] Or straits, such as enemies or other evils put men to. Israel at the Red Sea, for instance, where they were sorely distressed, encircled with troubles, neither was there any way of escape, unless they could have gone up to heaven, which because they could not, heaven came down to them and delivered them.

Yea, in seven] A certain number for an uncertain. Boundless deliverances will God grant to his people, even as oft as they shall need deliverance; enemies oft plough upon their backs, and God as often cuts their traces, Psalms 129:3-4. As Cato was two and thirty times accused, and two and thirty times cleared and absolved; so shall it be with the saints; and this not only at the end of the world, as Gregory and others interpret this text (as if by six and seven allusion were made to God’s creating the world in six days, and resting on the seventh; and so must his servants labour here under afflictions, and rest in heaven), but in this life present, where many are the troubles of the righteous (millions, some render it), but the Lord delivereth them out of all, Psalms 34:19; yea, in them all, as this text hath it, by his supporting grace, and those divine comforts, which, as blown bladders, bear them aloft all waters.

There shall no evil touch thee] sc. Tactu qualitativo, with a deadly touch. God chargeth afflictions as David did his captains concerning Absalom, Handle the young man gently for my sake. Touch not mine anointed, &c. Either touch them not at all, or not to hurt them. Troubles may touch the saints, but evils must not, 1 Corinthians 10:14.


Verse 20

Job 5:20 In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword.

Ver. 20. In famine he shall redeem thee from death] They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger, Lamentations 4:9. Famine, therefore, is here set as the first and greatest of the six ensuing evils, the forest of God’s judgments, Ezekiel 6:11, Jeremiah 24:10; the certain harbinger of death, as here. From this so great a death God delivered Abraham, Genesis 12:12-20; Isaac, Genesis 26:6-12; Jacob and his family, Genesis 47:11-12; the poor widow, 1 Kings 17:9-16; the Israelites in the wilderness by quails; the Rochellers by a miraculous shoal of shellfish, cast up into their town in a strait siege, &c. There is a promise that the lions shall lack and suffer hunger, but so shall not any such as seek the Lord, Psalms 34:10. There shall be special provision made for such, and God shall redeem them from this evil by a wonderful separation, as he did in another case, Exodus 8:22 : either he will send them in meat or take away their stomachs, as she once said. Fides famem non formidat, Faith feareth no famine; having trusted God for a crown, she will not distrust him for a crust.

And in war from the power of the sword] Here is the saints’ safety, or their writ of protection. True it is, that the sword devoureth one as well as another, 2 Samuel 11:25, and pale death cutteth its way oftentimes through a wood of men, out of the mouth of a murdering piece, without distinction. But though the saints, with Josiah, be slain in battle, yet they die in peace, 2 Kings 23:29, with Job 22:20, for their eyes see not the evil that God bringeth upon others that outlive them, as it followeth there. Besides, they are gathered to their fathers, who enjoyed peace. Redeemed they are from the power or hands of the sword, which may kill them, but cannot hurt them; take away their head, but not their crown, αποκτειναι δυναται, βχαφαι δε ου.


Verse 21

Job 5:21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.

Ver. 21. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue] That is, from reproaches and slanders, which is a tongue smiting, Jeremiah 18:18, as smart as any hand smiting, and draws blood, Ezekiel 22:9. Backbiting is backbeating (Speed.). The devil is both a liar and a murderer, John 8:44. Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, was by the people of England thought to be doubly murdered (saith the chronicler), viz. by detraction and deadly practice. Plato commendeth that law of the Lydians that punished detracters like as they did murderers; because their words are swords, and their breath, as fire, devoureth, Isaiah 33:10. Now from such pests the Lord promiseth to hide his people, that either the traducer shall not find them, or not fasten upon them: Dabbar is the Hebrew for a word, Debher for a pest (Drus.). Some render the text thus, He shall be hid, cum vagabitur lingua, when the tongue wandereth or walketh about. Their tongue walketh through the earth, Psalms 73:9, it runs all the world over, and, like a mad dog, snaps at every one. Hence the Hebrew word Ragal, to defame or slander, Psalms 15:3, properly noteth a footing it up and down, a going to and fro to carry tales and rumours, 2 Samuel 19:27. Now from such a mischief, from the lash of such lewd tongues, God will hide his people under the hollow of his hand, because he knows that many a good heart is more afflicted with words than with blows, Psalms 42:3. St Paul reckoned that it were better for him to die than that any man should make his glorying void, that is, take away his good name, and so disable him from doing good by his ministry, 1 Corinthians 9:15.

Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh] Much less at the rumour of it, Matthew 24:6, Luke 24:6. Thou shalt walk about the world as a conqueror, being above fear, then when others are below hope. Noah like-thou shall be, - mediis tranquillus in undis, calm in the midst of the waves, and not as Magormissabib, a terror to thyself and all about thee, Jeremiah 20:3.


Verse 22

Job 5:22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

Ver. 22. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh] viz. By the force of thy faith, which (like perfect love) casteth out sinful fear; as grounding upon God’s infallible promises, and knowing that all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies, Psalms 25:10. All the passages of his providence are to such not only mercy, but truth; they come to them in a way of a promise, as bound to them by covenant; and hence their holy courage lifteth them up so far above dangers and fears, that they even laugh at them, as Leviathan laugheth at the shaking of the spear, Job 41:29. They famish famine, and destroy destruction itself; like as Christ Jesus, the Captain of their salvation, swallowed up death in victory; and as many of the martyrs baffled it, deriding their tormentors.

Neither shall thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth] i.e. Wild beasts, that devour men and cattle, as lions, bears, boars, wolves, &c., whereunto we may add those cannibals, man-eating persecutors, who eat up God’s people as they eat bread, Psalms 14:4. Such lycanthropi, or beasts in the shape of men, Paul fought with at Ephesus, and God had delivered him out of the mouth of that lion Nero, 2 Timothy 4:17, who yet afterwards martyred him. But the viper at Malta did him no harm; no more did the lions Daniel; neither would they meddle with some of the primitive martyrs, cast before them to be devoured.


Verse 23

Job 5:23 For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.

Ver. 23. For thou shall be in league with the stones of the field] Thou shall not dash thy foot against them (the Latins call a stone lapidem a laedendo pede, from hurting the foot that hitteth against them, Psalms 91:1-2.) They were wont of old to go barefoot (as Vatablus here noteth). And our chronicler telleth us of King Henry II, that, for a penance, going to Canterbury to the shrine of Thomas Becket, his bare feet with the hard stones were forced to yield bloody tokens of his devotion on the way. Or thus, the stones of the field shall not hinder thy harvest, as Matthew 13:6. Or being piled up for a mound, or wall, they shall not fall upon thee, and brain thee, as the stones of the wall of Aphek did the blasphemous Syrians, 1 Kings 20:33; as the town house did the insulting Philistines, 16:30; as the house did Job’s children, &c.; or, the stones out of the wall shall not cry out against thee, as Habakkuk 2:11, but all creatures shall be thy confederates; not only not hurting, but helping thee, all that may be. For as they are all armed against the wicked as rebels and traitors to the Divine majesty; so God hath promised to make a covenant for his saints with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, &c., Rebellis facta est; quia homo numini, creatura homini (Aug.), Hosea 2:18. {See Trapp on "Hosea 2:18"}

And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee] The tame beasts shall not only not mischieve thee (as some they have done: Euripides the poet was torn in pieces with dogs; horses have been the death of many, &c.), but shall be serviceable and profitable unto thee; some alive, not dead, as the dog, horse; some dead, not alive, as the hog; some both, as the ox, sheep, &c. Ambrose hath a very strange story of a man slain at Antioch by night, by a soldier, in hope of spoil; this man’s dog would not leave his master’s dead corpse, but lay howling by it till daylight; many came in the morning to see that sad sight, and the murderer among the rest came, that he might be the less suspected. The dog no sooner saw this soldier but he ran fiercely at him, and would never stop barking and baiting at him till he saw him apprehended and carried to prison, where he confessed the fact and was for the same deservedly executed (Amb. in Hexaem.).


Verse 24

Job 5:24 And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle [shall be] in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin.

Ver. 24. And thou shalt know] Thine own eyes shall see it, and thine experience seal to it; thou shalt be well assured of it. This is a sweet mercy: it is the sweetmeats of the feast of a good conscience, saith Latimer, to know that all shall go well with us here, and that our names are written in the book of life; to be able to conclude from temporal blessings to eternal, as David doth, Psalms 23:5-6; to have not only sustentation, but suavities spiritual sweets, as one speaketh.

That thy tabernacle shall be in peace] i.e. Thy house, household, and household stuff shall be in safety; and all shall be as well with thee as heart can wish. Or, thy tabernacle shall be peace. Thou shall be free from domestic dissensions. It is a sign of a Christian family, if the son of peace be there, and peace rest in it, Luke 10:6. This turneth water to wine, and the contrary: where envying and strife is there is confusion (or unquietness) and every evil work, James 3:16. Such a tabernacle is more like to a kennel of hounds than a family of Christians.

And thou shalt visit thy habitation] As a busy bishop, within thine own diocese, thou shall carefully inquire into the state of thy family, and take an account of all that are under thy roof; that God be sincerely served there, and all things well husbanded, Proverbs 27:26-27.

And shalt not sin] viz. By too much indulgence to children and servants, Eli’s sin, who brought up his children to bring down his house; or, thou shall not be found guilty, sc. of thy family’s faults imputed unto thee; or, thou shalt not miss, sc. of thy desire and expectation, but all shall go as well within doors as heart can wish.


Verse 25

Job 5:25 Thou shalt know also that thy seed [shall be] great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth.

Ver. 25. Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great] Thou shalt live to see thy children (whereof thou art now bereft) not only restored, but increased. Children are the seed, parents are but the husk, as it were: to have these multiplied is no small mercy, Psalms 128:3, especially when the wife is as the vine, and the children like olive plants, two of the best fruits, the one for sweetness, the other for fatness, 9:13; when they prove to be as arrows of a strong man, such as whose natural knottiness is reformed and smoothed by grace, such as for the workmanship of grace and holiness in their hearts and lives are become like the graving of a king’s palace, Psalms 144:12. What can better preserve Jacob (Job) from confusion, or his face from waxing pale, than if he might see his children, the work of God’s hands, framed and fitted by the word in regeneration, and the duties of new obedience? this would make religious parents to sanctify God’s name, even to sanctify the Holy One, and with singular encouragement from the God of Israel, Isaiah 29:22-23.

And thine offspring as the grass of the earth] Thy nephews shall be not only numerous, but innumerable, they shall also flourish, as grass in its prime.


Verse 26

Job 5:26 Thou shalt come to [thy] grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season.

Ver. 26. Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age] In a good old age, or (as the Hebrew hath it, Genesis 25:8) with a good hoar head, in an ευγηρια, when thou hast even a satiety of life, and art as willing to die as ever thou wast to dine, or to rise from table after a full meal. The Hebrews made a feast when they were past 60 years of age; and some of them observe that the numeral letters of Chelach (the word here used) make up sixty, but that is not a full old age; rather it is the beginning of it. Thou shalt die in lusty old age, so Broughton rendereth it, old, and yet healthy and comfortable, as was Moses, Deuteronomy 34:7; and Mr Dod, that Moses of our times. Of Mr Samuel Crook likewise it is recorded (in his Life by W. G.), that when he saw no more ability for labours he desired to die in a satiety and fulness of life; not as a meat loathed (as many times natural men do), but as a dish, though well liked, that he had fed his full of; few men having ever run so long a race without cessation or cespitation, so constantly, so unweariably, so unblameably. Lo, such a hoary head was a crown of glory, as being found in the way of righteousness, Proverbs 16:31. But so are not all that yet are long lived. A sinner may do evil a hundred times, and yet have his days prolonged, Ecclesiastes 8:12. Manasseh had the longest reign of any king of Judah. Pope John XXII held the mortality of the soul, and was otherwise erroneous and vicious, yet he lived longest of any pope, and died richest, A. D. 1335; howbeit he died tempore non sua, too soon for himself, Ecclesiastes 7:17; he went not to his grave in a good old age, ripe and ready.

As a shock of corn cometh in in his season] As grian when ripe is reaped, shocked up, and carried into the barn for the master’s use. Dei frumentum ego sum, I am God’s bread grain, said that ancient martyr.


Verse 27

Job 5:27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it [is]; hear it, and know thou [it] for thy good.

Ver. 27. Lo this, we have searched it, so it is] We are sure that all this is true, and may be trusted to, for we have tried it; we have not it only by tradition, neither take we it up upon trust from others; but we believe and know, as Peter spake, John 6:69; we believe, and therefore speak it, as Paul (after David), 2 Corinthians 4:13, Psalms 116:10. Thou mayest write upon this whole chapter, as those ancients did upon their oracles, φεος, φεος, God, God; or as John the divine did upon his Revelation, "These sayings are faithful and true," Revelation 22:6. Vera tanquam ex tripode, As true as gospel, as we say. Those that take upon them to teach others should go upon sure ground, and be masters of what they teach: how else will they teach with authority? Those also that come to hear must strive to find out that which St Luke calleth the certainty of things, Luke 1:4, and not be led by conjectural suppositions, or the tenets of their teachers, but be fully persuaded, Job 5:1.

Hear it] With utmost attention of body, intention of mind, retention of memory and practice: else all is lost.

And know thou it for thy good] Make thy best use of this our diligence and experience so freely and friendly communicated unto thee. Let not all this that hath been spoken be spilt upon thee, but prove every whit as profitable to thee as I conceive it seasonable for thee. Some knowing men are not a button the better for all they know. The devils are full of objective knowledge; but they get no good by it; no more do graceless men, that draw not their knowledge into practice, but detain the truth in unrighteousness: it swimmeth in their heads, but sinketh not into their hearts; it maketh them giddy, as wine fuming all up into the head, but never coming at the heart to cheer it. Such a man may cast out devils, and yet be cast to the devil; he may go to hell with all his unprofitable knowledge; like as a bull with a coronet aud garland goes to the slaughter. Unless a man hear and know for himself, he shall find no more comfort of it than a man doth of the sun when it shineth not in his own horizon; or than a traveller doth of the fatness of a far country which he only passeth through, and taketh a view of. If therefore thou be wise, be wise for thyself, Proverbs 9:12. Let thy knowledge be not only apprehensive, but effective, illightening, but transforming, [2 Corinthians 3:18] discursive, but experimental and practical. "For thereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments," 1 John 2:3.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 5:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-5.html. 1865-1868.

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