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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

Job 42

 

 

Verse 2

Thou canst do; not only by power, (for that he always thought,) but also by right; about which he had in some sort doubted and disputed. It is a maxim in law, that a man can only do that which he hath a right to do.

Every thing; whatsoever it pleaseth thee to do with thy creatures.

No thought can be withholden from thee; he speaks either,

1. Of Job’s thoughts. Thou knowest me and all my sinful and unworthy thoughts of thy providential dealings with me, though I was not able to see the evil of them. Or,

2. Of God’s thoughts. Whatsoever thou thinkest or proposest to do thou canst or mayst do it; and neither I nor any of thy creatures can either restrain thee from it, or condemn thee for it, as I have boldly and wickedly presumed to do. So this last clause of the verse explains the former.


Verse 3

Who is he? i.e. what am I, that I should dare to do so? Ah silly audacious wretch that I am, that I should be guilty of such madness!

That hideth counsel without knowledge; which words are repeated out of Job 38:2, where they are explained.

Therefore; because my mind was without knowledge, therefore my speech was ignorant and foolish. Or, being sensible of my ignorance and rashness, I think fit to make this humble and ingenuous confession.

Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not; I have spoken foolishly and unadvisedly of things far above my reach, even of God’s infinite and sovereign majesty, and of his deep and unsearchable counsels and providence.


Verse 4

Hear and accept my humble and penitent confession and recantation.

I will demand of thee; or, and inquire, to wit, counsel or instruction, as a scholar doth of his master, as the following words note. I will no more saucily dispute the matter with thee, but beg information from thee. The words which God had uttered to Job by way of challenge, Job 38:3 40:7, Job returns to him again in way of submission.


Verse 5

The knowledge which I had of thy Divine nature, and perfections, and counsels, was hitherto dark, and doubtful, and conjectural, being grounded chiefly, if not only, upon the instructions and reports of other men; but now it is clear and certain, as being immediately inspired into my mind by this thy glorious apparition and revelation, and by the operation of thy Holy Spirit; which makes these things as certain and evident to me, as if I saw them with my bodily eyes.


Verse 6

I abhor, i.e. dislike, and detest, and loathe

myself, or my former words and carriage. One of these or some like supplement is necessary to complete the sense, and is clearly gathered from the following words.

In dust and ashes; sitting in dust and ashes; which hitherto I have done in token of my grief for my affliction; but now I desire and resolve to do in testimony of my penitence for my sins.


Verse 7

To Eliphaz the Temanite; as the eldest of the three, and because he spoke first, and by his evil example led the rest into the same mistakes and miscarriages.

Thy two friends, to wit, Bildad and Zophar, who are not excused, but severely reproved, although they, were drawn into the sin by Eliphaz’s authority and influence. Elihu is not here reproved, because he dealt more justly and mercifully with Job, and did not condemn his person, but only rebuke his sinful expressions.

As my servant Job hath; either,

1. As Job hath now spoken: you have not acknowledged your errors as he hath done. Or rather,

2. As Job did in his discourses with you; which is not to be understood simply and absolutely, (as is manifest from God’s censure upon Job for his hard and evil speeches of him,) but comparatively, because Job was not so much to be blamed as they; partly, because his opinion concerning the methods of God’s providence, and the indifferency and promiscuousness of its dispensations towards good and bad men, was truer than theirs, which was that God did generally reward good men and punish sinners in this life; partly, because their misbelief of God’s counsels and dealings with men was attended with horrid uncharitableness and cruelty towards Job, whom they wounded with bitter and injurious speeches, and condemned as a hypocrite, not only without sufficient evidence, as not being able to search his heart, but upon false and frivolous grounds, to wit, his sore afflictions, and against many evidences of piety which Job had given; and partly, because Job’s heavy pressures might easily cloud and darken his mind, and draw forth his impatience and passionate speeches; which although it did not wholly excuse Job, yet did certainly much extenuate his offences; whereas they were under no such temptations or provocations, either from God or from Job, but voluntarily broke forth into their hard, and severe, and untrue expressions concerning God’s counsels and Job’s conditions, thereby adding affliction to him whom God did sorely afflict, which was most unfriendly and inhuman.


Verse 8

Go to my servant Job; whom though you have censured and condemned as a hypocrite, I own for my faithful servant, human infirmity excepted.

Offer up by the hand of Job, whom I do hereby constitute your priest, to pray and sacrifice for you.

Him will I accept, to wit, on your behalf, as well as on his own.

Lest I deal with you after your folly; lest my wrath and just judgment take hold of you for your false and foolish speeches.


Verse 9

Did according as the Lord commanded them; showing their repentance by their submission to God, and to Job for God’s sake, and by taking shame to themselves.

The Lord also accepted Job, both for his friends and for himself, as the next verse explains it.


Verse 10

Turned the captivity of Job, i.e. brought him out of that state of bondage in which he had been so long held by Satan and by his own Spirit, and out of all his distresses and miseries. Or, returned Job’s captivity, i.e. the persons and things which had been taken from him; not the same which he had lost, but other equivalent to them, and that with advantage.

When he prayed for his friends; whereby he manifesteth his obedience to God, and his true love and charity to them, in being so ready to forgive them, and heartily to pray for them; for which God would not let him lose his reward.

Also; an emphatical particle. He not only gave him as much as he lost, but double to it.


Verse 11

Then, when Job had humbled himself, and God was reconciled to Job, he quickly turned the hearts of his friends to favour him, according to Proverbs 16:7; as during his impenitency, and for his trial and humiliation, lie had alienated their hearts from him, of which Job so sadly complains.

His brethren and his sisters; largely so called, according to the Scripture use of these titles, to wit, his kindred distinguished from his other acquaintance.

Did eat bread with him, i.e. feasted with him, as that phrase is commonly used in Scripture, to congratulate with him for God’s great and glorious favour already vouchsafed to him in so eminent a vision and revelation.

They bemoaned him; they declared the sense which they had of his calamities whilst they were upon him, although they had hitherto wanted opportunity to express it.

Over all the evil; or, concerning all the evil; which though it was bitter to endure when it was present, yet the remembrance of it revived in him by the discourses of his friends was very delightful, as is usual in such cases.

Every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold; partly to make up his former losses, and partly as a testimony of their honourable respect to him.


Verse 12

The Lord blessed Job, not only with spiritual, but also with temporal and earthly blessings.


Verse 14

Giving them such excellent names as signify their excellent beauty, of which see my Latin Synopsis.


Verse 15

Gave his daughters a share, and possibly an equal share, with his sons in his inheritance; which in so plentiful an estate he might easily do, especially to such amiable sisters, without the envy of their brethren; and which peradventure he did to oblige them to settle themselves amongst their brethren, and to marry into their own religious kindred, not to strangers, who in those times were generally swallowed up in the gulf of idolatry.


Verse 17

After God had turned his captivity, as is said Job 42:10.

Old and full of days; by which length of his days it seems most probable that he lived before the times of Moses, when the days of human life were much shortened, as he complains.

END OF VOL. I.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 42:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-42.html. 1685.

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