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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

Job 42

 

 

Verses 1-17

Notes

Job . "A piece of money." According to Gesenius and others, קשׂיִטָה (kesitah), from the unused root קָשַׂט = قَسَطٰ (kasata) to "be just or true;" whence قسْط (Kistoon) "balances;" a certain weight of money, equal to about four shekels (Gen 42:35; Gen 33:19, compared with Job 23:16). According to SCHULTENS, a stater, or lump of gold exactly weighed. SEPTUAGINT: "A lamb." So ABULWALID and ABEN EZRA. VULGATE: "A sheep." So SYRIAC, ARABIC, and COVERDALE. LUTHER: "A flne groschen." MARTIN and DIODATI: "A piece of money." So the early translators and expositors in general. GROTIUS and MERCER, after the Rabbins: "A coin with the figure of a sheep struck upon it." SCOTT: "Some species of current coin," from Gen 33:19, compared with Act 7:16. HUFNAGEL: "Apparently a piece of silver, not a coin. NOTES: "Probably a lump of silver of a certain weight. UMBREIT: "The metal weighed out, not coined. MICHAELIS: "A weight which cannot be defined." LEE: "Not a stamped coin but a certain weight. CAREY: "A weight in the form of a lamb, used for weighing money; "as seen on Egyptian monuments, one being weighed against three rings. TOWNSEND: "Something weighed; each piece weighing four shekels." KITTO: "Probably a present of silver, the value of a Iamb." BARTH: "A piece of money; a weight of gold or silver: a coin probably with the figure of an animal upon it." FAUSSET: "The term used instead of a shekel: a mark of antiquity. MAGEE and HORN: "Good reason to understand it as signifying a lamb." WEMYSS: "A girdle." BOOTHROYD: "Term derived from a Hebrew word denoting ‘to be pure,' hence ‘pure metal,' proved money." GRTNŒUS: "Symbol of Job's tried fidelity."

THIRD GREAT DIVISION OF THE POEM.—THE CONCLUSION

The Almighty's address immediately followed by the catastrophe of the poem,—the repentance of Job, and the consequent change of his condition. What the three friends, and Elihu himself, had failed to do, Jehovah's voice at once accomplishes. "Where the word of a king is, there is power." No explanation given by the Almighty of the mystery of Job's sufferings, and those of other good men, or of the prosperity of the ungodly in this world. By the mere exhibition of the Divine perfections, objection is silenced and discontent removed; while the objector confesses his error, and deeply humbles himself on account of his presumtion and folly.

From verse seven to the end, the narrative is given in prose, in the same style as the introduction in the first two chapters. The chapter stands connected with the preceding parts of the book, as the capital of the magnificent column of which the introduction is the base.

I. Job's Repentance. Job .—"Then Job answered the Lord," &c. Repentance the happy fruit of sanctified affliction (Isa 27:9). Job's repentance expressed in few words. God requires not many words, but much faith. We have—

1. A believing acknowledgment of God's omnipotence. Job .—"I know that Thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee (Marg, ‘no thought of thine can be hindered'; or, ‘no purpose is too high for Thee' [to accomplish]." One of Job's errors, apparently, that he had, in his heart at least, doubted God's omnipotence, as if He were unable either to punish the wicked as they deserved, or to deliver His servants out of trouble, or keep them from falling into it. Much of this secret infidelity lurking in the natural heart. Apparently easy and natural to believe that God is almighty and able to "do all things." Easy to profess it, but not so easy to act always upon the belief, and to have our heart and life powerfully influenced by it. The belief of God's almightiness at the bottom of all true religion. The faith that characterized the worthies of the Old Testament (Hebrews 11). Noah believed that God could destroy the world by a flood, and preserve himself and his family by the ark; Abraham, that He could give him a son when Sarah was past child-bearing, and that He could raise that son from the dead; Moses, that He could open a way for Israel through the Red Sea; Joshua, that He-could cause the walls of Jericho to fall to the ground; Shadrach, Me-shach, and Abednego, that He could deliver them from the fiery furnace; Mary, that, without her knowing a man, God could, according to His Word, make her the mother of the promised Saviour. This faith directed, in the New Testament, to Christ. "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean." "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" "If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said unto him: If thou canst believe; all things are possible to him that believeth." The Roman centurion commended for believing that Jesus had but to speak the work, where He was, and his servant should be healed. When God speaks, faith—

"Laughs at impossibilities,

And cries, It shall be done."

Mighty works wrought by means of faith in God's almightiness. The part of such faith to "remove mountains." "Nothing shall be impossible to you." The virtue of faith, that it arms itself "with that omnipotence it trusts." Faith honours God, and God honours it (Rom ). Hence, through faith, men "subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens" (Heb 11:33-34). Peace and restfulness of heart the fruit of such faith. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee" (Isa 26:3). The character of unbelief and infidelity that it doubts God's omnipotence. "If the Lord should open windows in heaven might this thing be." "Why should it be thought an incredible thing, that God should raise the dead?"

God's "thoughts" only known to us as they are revealed by Him. When known, faith rests assured that they shall be accomplished; however unlikely and impossible they may appear to carnal reason. His "thoughts" or purposes respect—

(1) Himself;

(2) His Son, Jesus Christ;

(3) His Church as a whole;

(4) Each individual member of that Church;

(5) The creation at large (Rom ). His thoughts those of an infinite and eternal Being, who sees the end from the beginning; of one perfect in knowledge, wisdom, justice, goodness, and truth. His thoughts the foundation of His procedure, and the plan according to which He acts in Providence.

The front of Job's offending in God's sight, and that of which he has now so deeply to repent,—his unworthy thoughts of God, and especially his unbelief in regard to God's almightiness. Observe—

(1) Grievous sin often in the heart in reference to God, when none may appear in the life in reference to men.

(2) The cause of bitter repentance to a child of God, to find that he has sinned by indulging unworthy thoughts of his heavenly Father.

(3) Much of God's Word and works intended to teach His children that He is able to do all things.

God's right as well as might probably included in Job's acknowledgment. A maxim in law, that a man can only do what he has a right to do. God not only can, but justly may, do whatever He pleases. Has a sovereign right over all His creatures. May dispose of them and deal with them as He pleases. Job tempted at times to question this right, or, at least, to doubt whether it was righteously exercised. His language at the commencement of his trials not maintained to the close—"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." God's pleasure in regard to His creatures, always and necessarily only what is right.

2. Humble acceptance of Divine reproof. Job .—"Who is he that hideth (or obscureth) counsel (or wisdom) without knowledge (or which is beyond his knowledge)?" Supply: Thou speakest justly; I am that foolish and presumptuous person. Reference to the Almighty's question in chap. Job 38:2. Observe—A truly penitent heart humbly accepts of God's reproof. An impenitent one rejects it and maintains its own innocence. Israel's sin greatly aggravated in God's sight by saying, when reproved by Him: "I am innocent" (Jer 2:35). The fifty-first Psalm David's penitent acceptance of the Divine reproof. Adam's impenitence seen in charging his sin upon Eve, and Eve's in charging hers upon the serpent. Saul), instead of accepting Samuel's reproof, laid his sin upon the people (1Sa 15:1-26. To accept the punishment of our iniquity a proof of a humbled heart (Lev 26:41.)

3. Penitent acknowledgment of ignorant and rash speaking. Job .—"Therefore (this being true of me, I acknowledge that) I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." Observe:—

(1) Much of our discontent and murmuring at God's procedure, the result of ignorance. Asaph's acknowledgment: "So foolish was I, and ignorant; I was as a beast before Thee" (Psa ).

(2) Most of what we say of God, except as guided by His Spirit, that which we do not understand. Our words concerning God and His dealings in Providence mostly only the prattling of a child, without its innocence.

(3) God's purposes and ways in Providence, "too wonderful" for us, in our present state, to comprehend. His thoughts "a great deep." For that deep, human reason unable to furnish a sounding-line. The part of piety and faith to trust God without seeking to trace Him; and to be assured that He does all things well, however much appearances may appear to speak to the contrary. Even God's dealings in reference to ourselves often "too wonderful" for us; much more those dealings in reference to the world at large. His operations in respect to outward and common things often such as we know not; much more those in respect to the renewing of our nature and the salvation of our soul. "As thou knowest not the way of the Spirit (or of the wind, Joh ), nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the work of God, who maketh all" (Ecc 11:5).

4. His desire to take the place of a humble inquirer and learner. Job .—"Hear, I beseech Thee, and I will speak: I will demand (or ask) of Thee, and declare (or tell) Thou unto me" [things of which I am so ignorant]. Observe—

(1) The mark of true repentance to desire to know the Lord's will. "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"

(2) Man's proper place, in relation to God and His dealings, that of a learner and inquirer.

(3) A humble, docile, and childlike spirit, man's true nobility. The spirit and posture of a child, that of the great philosopher whose name has become inseparably connected with the achievements of modern science.

(4). Enough in God and His ways to give room for inquiry and learning throughout eternity. Into the mystery of redemption with its glorious results, the angels represented as desiring studiously to look.

(5) Wise to take all our difficulties, whether in regard to Providence or grace, His work or His Word, to God Himself for their solution. God His own interpreter. Those the most proficient in knowledge who go most to God and His Word for instruction. The disciples to be imitated who inquired in private the meaning of the Master's teaching in public. "What may this parable mean?"

(6) Necessary to be inquirers and learners ourselves in order to be teachers of others.

(7) In Divine things especially, nothing rightly known except as we are taught it of God. Divine teaching the special bestowment on God's elect, and the first step in a man's salvation (Joh ). That teaching imparted to the humble (Mat 11:25; Isa 28:9; Psa 25:9). The privilege of a child of God through life (Psa 16:7; Psa 32:8).

5. His confession to a different kind of knowledge of God from what he had before. Job .—"I have heard of thee (or ‘heard thee') by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee." A perception of God's visible glory probably vouchsafed to Job, as to Isaiah in the temple with similar results (Isa 6:1-5). An inward and spiritual apprehension of the Divine perfections doubtless mainly intended. This the object of the Almighty's address. Observe—

(1) Knowledge of God and His Son different in different persons, and in the same person at different periods. That difference twofold: (i) In degree. Among believers, some are babes in knowledge, others full-grown men (Heb .) All our knowledge here comparatively that of a child (1Co 13:9-11. Knowledge obtained by "seeing," much more clear and satisfactory than that by "hearing." Same contrast in chap. Job 29:11; Psa 48:8. Much of our knowledge here obtained by hearing or report. Hence rather faith than knowledge. Knowledge hereafter rather from seeing than hearing. "They shall see God." "Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face." "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (ii.) In kind. This difference probably, as well as the former, indicated in the contrast. The difference between a believer's knowledge of God and that of an unbeliever, one of kind rather than of degree. The believer sees with the eye of faith what before he had only heard by report. Knowledge of Divine things by mere report rather that of a blind man in relation to colours. A knowledge of Christ after the flesh the utmost that a man in his unrenewed state can attain to. This superseded in a believer by a spiritual divinely given knowledge (2Co 5:16; Gal 1:15; Mat 16:17). The testimony of the men of Sychar: "Now we believe, not because of thy saying; for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." Mere traditional and educational knowledge of Divine things to be distinguished from that which is spiritual and saving. The defectiveness of the former as compared with the latter exhibited in Job's case. The invitation of the Gospel: "Come and see." "Taste and see that the Lord is good." The knowledge of the believer an experimental one,—not only a hearing, but a tasting of the salvation of God. "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1Pe 2:3).

(2) Much of God's dealing with believers and others, with a view to bring them to an experimental knowledge of Himself and His truth. This the object of His dealings with Job. "Now mine eye seeth thee." God often pleased to reveal Himself most in the rebukes of His providence. "I will allure her into the wilderness, and will speak comfortably to her" (Marg., ‘to her heart'—in an effectual way of instruction). Spiritual knowledge often one of the most blessed fruits of sanctified affliction. Often more knowledge of Divine things gained in one month or one week on a sick bed than in many years of previous experience. Such teaching one of the ends of affliction. "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law" (Psa ).

(3) A good man's knowledge of God and Divine things progressive. The hearing of God to conduct to the seeing of Him. The path of the just like the shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day. Knowledge under Divine teaching like the river in Ezekiel's vision—first up to the ankles, then the knees, then the loins, and at last a river to swim in. Saving knowledge like the restored sight of the blind man in the Gospel—first men seen as trees walking, then all things seen clearly. The greatest increase of knowledge awaiting the believer in another world. "Now I know in part (in fragments or piecemeal), but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1Co ).

(4) Danger of stopping short of a spiritual and experimental knowledge of God and Divine things. Job's "now" to be desired, whatever it may cost us. Paul's resolution—"Henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we him [so] no more" (2Co ). Professing Christians especially counselled by Christ to come to Him for the eye-salve of His Spirit, that they may anoint their eyes and see (Rev 3:7).

6. His self-abhorrence, as the result of his perception of the Divine perfections. Job .—"Wherefore I abhor myself (or, ‘I loath [my conduct and language]')." Observe—

(1) The result of the Divine manifestation and address immediate. But little time required for the Spirit's teaching. Nothing unnatural in sudden conversion. Conviction and conversion the effect of the same teaching as in the case of Job. Other examples of the same suddenness: Isaiah in the temple; Zacchus; the penitent thief; the three thousand on the day of Pentecost; Saul on the way to Damascus; the Ethiopian eunuch; the jailor at Philippi, &c.

(2) Job's language the effect of the apprehension of the Divine character and perfections. The natural effect of such apprehension is the perception of the enormity, of all sin, and the discovery of our own depravity in particular—more especially of our sinful thoughts and words in respect to God and His dealings with us. Similar effect in the case of Isaiah in the temple: "Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts" (Isa ). Same effect on Peter at the miraculous draught of fishes: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." That in ourselves and others which needs only to be rightly known to be abhorred.

"Vice is a monster of such hideous mien,

That, to be hated, needs but to be seen."

That is, to be seen as Job saw it, in the light of God's character and perfections. All sin in itself filthy and abominable. Probably seen to be such even by the lost,—"an abhorring to all flesh." The right abhorrence of sin and of ourselves, that accompanied with true repentance. Judas abhorred himself, and committed suicide.

(3) Self-abhorrence a part of true repentance. The pardoned and accepted penitent is ashamed and loathes himself for his sins (Eze ; Eze 36:25-32). Self-abhorrence a part of the believers sweetest experience, and will always accompany it.

(4) Sin infinitely loathsome to a holy God. Sin seen by God exactly as it is. If loathsome to Job, still infected with it, how much more to his spotless Creator! Hence (i.) The long-suffering patience and forbearance of God, in bearing with a world of sinners. (ii.) The riches of His grace in providing for such loathsome creatures a Saviour and a substitute in the person of His own Son, and in taking them again for His own children. (iii.) The mightiness and preciousness of the Holy Spirit's operation, that renews and sanctifies the objects of the Divine abhorrence.

(5) Not the least favourable sign when we are most loathsome in our own eyes. Cannot be worst with us when we see ourselves as God sees us. We are often worst when we think ourselves best. The Pharisee in the temple contrasted with the Publican. "God be merciful to me, a sinner," a better sign than—"God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are." Job most commended by God when most loathed by himself. The believer most beautiful in God's eyes when blackest in his own (Son ).

(6) Self-abhorrence a benefit to ourselves. Has the tendency—(i.) To keep us from pride. (ii.) To render us forbearing and compassionate towards others. (iii.) To prepare us to act as intercessors on behalf of fellow-sinners. Job not directed to pray for his three friends till he was brought to abhor himself.

7. His declaration of repentance and humiliation. Job .—"I repent in dust and ashes"—that is, sitting in them—a token of humiliation and repentance (Job 3:6; Luk 10:13). The catastrophe of the poem in these last words of Job. Probably one of the secret purposes of God in permitting the temptation and trials. Not intimated at the first; but "known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." One of God's objects in all the temptations and sufferings of his children, their perfection. That perfection connected with their self-humiliation and repentance (Eze 16:61-63; Eze 36:31). The aim of God in His dealings with His people, to humble them in order to their exaltation—to empty in order to fill them (Isa 57:15; Isa 66:2). Observe, in regard to

Repentance—

1. The Nature of it. A change of mind—of views, feelings, dispositions; with a corresponding change of conduct. This change mainly in relation to God: hence, "repentance toward God." Job's repentance inward, but manifesting itself outwardly, both in his words and actions, negatively and positively. No more murmuring and discontent with his lot. No more unworthy thoughts of God. No more bitterness against his three friends. "Fruits meet for repentance."

2. The Author of it. God himself, through the agency of the Holy Ghost. Repentance directed to God is a repentance proceeding from God. The exercise of it our own; the grace of it, God's. Every good and perfect gift, and true repentance among them, from the Father of lights. "Then hath God granted unto the Gentiles repentance unto life." "Peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." The Son of God the author of saving repentance equally with the Father. Christ "exalted by the Father's right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel and the remission of their sins." The Holy Ghost sent both by the Father and the Son for this purpose. God himself the Author of Job's repentance, when the three friends and Elihu had laboured for it in vain.

3. The Means of it. The truth, as exhibited by the Holy Ghost. The exhibition of the truth regarding God and ourselves. The prodigal "came to himself"—had his eyes opened to the truth as to his conduct and condition, as well as to the character of his father, and said: "I will arise and go to my father." Job's repentance after the Divine exhibition of the truth to him regarding God and his own sin. The aim of the Almighty in his prolonged address and the manifestation of Himself. "After that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh" (Jer ). Ministers and preachers directed "in meekness to instruct those that oppose themselves, peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." Repentance and remission of sins to be preached in Christ's name. The preaching of Christ as the Father's gift of love to sinners, and as the sinner's Substitute through whom we are invited back to God, one of the most effectual means of producing "repentance unto life."

4. The Effects of it. The reception of blessing. Job prepared by his repentance for the turning of his captivity, with all the blessings that followed it. "Repentance into life." Job further prepared for becoming a blessing to others. Only directed to intercede for his friends when he repented himself. Deep personal repentance necessary as a preparation for usefulness to others. Christ's most useful and honoured servants usually those who have been brought through the deepest exercises of self-humiliation and repentance; witness Paul, Luther, John Bunyan. Isaiah's self-abasement and repentance in the temple preparatory to his answering: "Here am I send me." Peter's commission as a fisher of men preceded by his exclamation: "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."

II. The Divine Verdict. Job .—"And it was so that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz, the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee and against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken of me (Hebrew, ‘to me;' Greek Version, ‘before me,'—the controversy viewed as carried on in the presence of the Almighty as umpire, as all controversies should) the thing that is right (solid or true), as my servant Job hath" (Greek version, ‘against my servant Job'). Eliphaz particularly named in the verdict as having been the first and chief speaker, and probably the oldest and most distinguished of the three friends. Perhaps the others influenced by his sentiments and example. Responsibility connected with age, position, and attainments, Job spoken of by the Almighty as "my servant" in presence of the three friends, as before in the presence of Satan and the angels. Observe—

(1) God's judgment of his servants often very different from that of men, and even of their fellow servants.

(2) God never ashamed to acknowledge his faithful servants. One of the rewards of the faithful servant to be so acknowledged at the last day (Mat ; Rev 3:5).

(3) True godliness a thing that stands the fire. Comes out as it went in, only purer.

(4) God often most pleased with us when we are least pleased with ourselves. Job now loathing himself, and sitting in ashes. From the verdict itself observe—

1. All disputes sooner or later settled by God Himself. A reason for patience and forbearance, meekness and moderation in controversy. "Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart" (1Co ). One great lesson of the book to teach us to wait patiently for that day (Jas 5:7-11). The cause of God's servants sooner or later righted by God Himself. He who has a good and righteous cause may afford to wait.

2. God's decision often very different from man's expectation. The decision apparently expected by all but Job to be in favour of the three friends. God's judgment entirely the reverse. Job magnified and the friends mortified. "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." "Not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth" (2Co ). Job's cause essentially good, though marred by many unbecoming utterances; the friends' cause essentially bad, though supported by many precious and excellent truths.

3. God's views in regard to individuals and their conduct not to be readily gathered from appearances. The three friends seemed to be enjoying God's favour, and only Job to be lying under His displeasure. Exactly the reverse of the reality. So with Jesus, and the priests and rulers who condemned him. "We esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted" (Isa ). Men often stand differently in God's account from what they do in their own and that of their fellow men. "A light thing to be judged of you or of man's judgment" (1Co 4:4). God often most angry when there is least appearance of it. May be angry with men for what they are most proud of themselves.

4. God sometimes displeased with otherwise good men, and those bearing a high character for piety and morality. Such apparently the character of the three friends. What then the case of men living in constant and open rebellion against Him? "If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1Pe ).

5. God angry with men on account of things not rightly and truly spoken. God's displeasure as truly against sinful words as sinful actions. "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Mat ). The reason—"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Generally, as a man's words are, so is he.

6. God jealous of his own glory and the character of his servants. The things not rightly and truly spoken by the three friends were—

(1) In regard to God Himself. So English version.

(2) In regard to His servant Job. So Greek version. Their sin in regard to Himself, that they gave an unjust view of God as always visiting the ungodly in this life with tokens of his displeasure, and that the righteous are uniformly free from outward strokes. Their sin against Job the consequence of this—in making Job out to be a great, though perhaps secret, transgressor. The character of God's servants as dear to Him as His own. "He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye" (Zec ). God requires that we not only speak zealously for Him, but truthfully of Him.

7. God's anger against sins of omission as well as sins of commission. "Ye have not spoken," &c. Not enough that we do not speak stoutly and blasphemously against Him. Do we speak truly and faithfully of him?

III. The Direction. Job .—"Therefore take unto you seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept; lest I deal with you after your folly (or ‘impute folly to you, so as to punish it), in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, went and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job" [in his intercession for his friends, according to Job 42:8]. The direction twofold, having reference to both parties in the controversy; involving humiliation to the one, and giving honour to the other.

1. In reference to the three friends. These directed as penitents to seek pardon and reconciliation with God through Job's mediation. Observe—

(1) God reproves only in order to reconciliation

(2) Pardon and reconciliation with God possible under a dispensation of mercy. Our happiness that God's anger against us for sin may be turned away. Unspeakably awful were that anger to be everlasting. Yet this the case of all who continue impenitent, and who reject the Saviour that God has provided (Joh ).

(3) God takes the first step in the matter of a sinner's reconciliation with Him. Gives direction to Eliphaz about the means of securing it. Our quarrels with God begin on our part; reconciliation on His. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. Now then we are ambassadors of Christ as though God did beseech you by us" (2Co ).

(4) With God alone, not only to say whether there should be reconciliation with Him on the part of sinners, but how the reconciliation was to be effected. "In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mat ). To be reconciled with God we must comply with God's prescription.

The friends directed to offer sacrifice. Repentance implied; yet the direction not to repent as Job had done, but to take a burnt-offering. No reconciliation between God and man without sacrifice. No reconciliation without forgiveness of sin, and no forgiveness without satisfaction to justice, and no satisfaction without sacrifice. Hence all covenants made by God with men accompanied with sacrifices. Animal sacrifices appointed before and under the Law of Moses as the means of reconciliation with God. These only types or figures, for the time, of the true sacrifice, the woman's Seed; the bruising of whose heel by the Serpent in his suffering and death was to take away sin (Gen ). Impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should make satisfaction for human transgression. Its object impressively to teach that without shedding of blood and the substitution of life for life, there is no remission (Heb 9:18-23). The promise of a Divine-human Saviour and Substitute never to be lost sight of. Every slaughtered victim but pointed to that Substitute.—Seven bullocks and seven rams here prescribed; to indicate

(1) The heinous-ness of sin which is to be atoned for;

(2) The sufficiency of the great Sacrifice provided to take it away;

(3) The insufficiency of every other. The same number frequently offered under the law (Lev ). Observe—All sin to be at once confessed and taken to the blood of Christ for its forgiveness. "If we confess our sin," &c. (1Jn 1:7; 1Jn 1:9). The conscience kept clean and peace maintained by constant confession to God (not to a priest), and faith in the sacrifice offered on Calvary.—The friends to go to Job with their offering. Thus expressing both their penitence and their faith. The act humbling to themselves, but honouring to Job. The first last, and the last first. Job had humbled himself before God; they must humble themselves before him. Having joined in accusing him, they must join in seeking his mediation. Job alone to be regarded in the matter of acceptance; yet the friends to "go" to him. So Christ alone regarded as the ground of a sinner's acceptance with God, yet sinners to go to Him in penitence and faith. "To him shall men come; in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory" (Isa 45:24-25). Job apparently to officiate as priest in presenting the friends' sacrifices to God. This usually done, before the law, by the head of the family or the eldest son; under the law, by Aaron and his sons after him, as types for the time being of the great Priest—one not after the order of Aaron, but of Melchizedec, who was at once both priest and king; and made a priest immediately by God himself, without either predecessor or successor in the office. Job here exhibited as another type of the great High Priest, through whom we draw nigh to God.

2. In reference to Job. Job directed to "pray" for the friends, and to mediate with God on their behalf, with a view to their pardon and acceptance. In a sinner's reconciliation with God, sacrifice not to be without prayers. As a priest, Job must pray as well as offer the sacrifice for the friends. So Christ, the true Priest of our profession, offered in he midst of this sacrifice on the cross, the prayer: "Father forgive them;" and on the night immediately preceding it, the prayer in the Upper Room—a specimen of the intercession which He is ever making for His people within the veil. In the prayer as well as in the sacrifice offered up by Job, the friends doubtless united. So we are exhorted, "having such an High priest who is passed into the heavens," to "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in every time of need" (Heb ). God's promise in regard to Job—"Him will I accept." Him, not you. Him, and you in him, or for his sake. So men accepted with God not in themselves or on their own account, but in Christ and on Christ's account. Believers made "accepted in the Beloved." "The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness sake." (Eph 1:6; Isa 42:21). Observe—

(1). Believers, being accepted in Christ, not only find acceptance for themselves in their prayers, but for others also. The honour put upon Job, that put upon all Christ's members, who in Him are made "kings and priests unto God."

(2) Acceptance with God the thing to be aimed at in all our prayers and services. Duties not only to be discharged and prayers offered, but their acceptance to be sought and looked for.

(3) Acceptance certain, where there is obedience to God's commands and faith in His Son. "Him will I accept." Acceptance itself certain—the time and manner of its manifestation with God Himself. Part of the Spirit's work to testify it. Also made known by its effects, and indicated in Providence. God's promise sufficient.

(4) The person to be first accepted, then the prayer or service. "Him," his person, "will I accept."

(5) God's method to accept and bless one man for the sake of another. So in temporal matters—God blessed Laban for Jacob's sake, and Potiphar for Joseph's sake (Gen ; Gen 39:5). This principle at the foundation of the Gospel and the scheme of redemption. Sinners pardoned, accepted, and blessed on Christ's account,—the whole plan of salvation. The Gospel thus found in Job as elsewhere in the Old Testament. The Scriptures testify of Christ.

Job honoured by being made a priest in behoof of his friends, after his deep humiliation, his severe suffering, and their proud contemptuous treatment of him. So with Christ—sufferings first, then "the glory which should follow." So with Christ's members—"If we suffer with Him, we shall also be glorified together." Job prepared, by his previous suffering and humiliation, for the honour now put upon him. Much of the painful discipline of God's children doubtless intended to qualify them for the exercise of their priestly office. Believers thus much more able to sympathize with others. "A deep distress hath humanized my soul."—Wordsworth. So Christ Himself suffered, that He might be a merciful High Priest. Prosperity, honour, and extensive usefulness, only safe when preceded by humiliation. Christ's most honoured servants usually those who have been most humbled under the mighty hand of God. "Before honour cometh humility." Job thus honoured after his rejection by his friends, a type of Christ exalted at God's right hand, as "a Priest upon His throne," after His rejection by the priests and rulers. "The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner."

The honour put upon Job God's highest testimony in favour of His servant. The Divine testimony—

(1) To his faith;

(2) To the sincerity of his repentance;

(3) To the uprightness and excellence of his general character. To be a priest and an intercessor for others, implies—

(1) Deep consciousness of the evil and demerit of sin which necessitates such an arrangement;

(2) High regard for the honour and interests of God, and the claims of His justice and government;

(3) Tender compassion and love towards those for whom the duty is exercised;

(4) A forgiving spirit towards those who are enemies to ourselves. Believers most Christlike when interceding for others. To pray for ourselves is human; to pray for others Divine. Job's general character and power as a man of prayer and intercession for others, indicated in the only other passage in the Old Testament where his name occurs. Mentioned as such in connection with Noah and Daniel, in Eze . The privilege and duty of believers in the New Testament to pray for others, and to mediate their reconciliation with God by publishing Christ and persuading men to be reconciled to God through Him (2Co 5:19-21). Only known in eternity how great the blessing derived by the world and individual men from the intercession of faithful and loving believers. In answer to their prayers, sickness removed and life spared; prison doors opened; nations preserved in tranquillity; preachers of the Gospel aided and blessed in their work; sinners awakened and souls saved (Gen 20:7; Gen 20:17; Jas 5:14-16; Act 12:4-7; 1Ti 2:1-2; Col 4:3-4; 1Jn 5:14-16; Jas 5:16-20).

Job's praying for his friends an evidence—

(1) Of the heartiness of his forgiveness of them;

(2) Of the sincerity of his repentance. His prayer the most effectual means of opening their eyes and softening their heart. Ministers often more useful by their prayers than by their preaching, Saul probably impressed more by Stephen's praying than by his disputing.

IV. Job's Deliverance. Job .—"And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when (or while) he prayed for his friends." Observe—

1. The Author of the deliverance. "The Lord turned," &c. Job's trouble began from Satan's malice; his deliverance, from God's mercy. No mischief done by the serpent, but can be undone by the woman's Seed. God able to deliver from Satan's malice, but Satan not able to hinder God's mercy. God Himself the deliverer both of His Church collectively and of His people individually. "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion," &c. (Psa ). "I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion: and the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work" (2Ti 4:17-18). See also 2Co 1:10.

2. The Deliverance itself. "Turned the captivity of Job." His trouble a captivity. His outward condition resembling such. Stripped of all his property; separated from his friends; sitting on an ash-heap, as in the mire of a dungeon; his body covered with sores and filth. Strictly a captivity, as being for the time delivered into Satan's hands, who treated him with all the rigour he was capable. Bodily affliction and outward trouble perhaps more frequently from Satan than we are aware. "Ought not this woman whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years," &c. (Luk ). Job's captivity an inward, as well as an outward one. Job, in his affliction, held bound by his own spirit, as well as the spirit of evil. To a child of God, the most real and painful captivity to be shut out from God's sensible favour and fellowship, and to be shut up in spiritual darkness and desertion. Job's captivity turned, as being now released both from Satan's hand and his multiplied sufferings, whether external or internal. His disease removed, according to Elihu's teaching (ch. Job 33:24-25). What His servants say in words, God Himself confirms by deeds. His disease probably removed as quickly as it had been inflicted. Diseases often instantaneously removed by the finger of God. Examples: The leprosy of Miriam, Gehazi, and the lepers in the Gospel. God's plaister as broad as Satan's sore. Job now also restored to the light of God's countenance and the sensible enjoyment of His favour and friendship. Also according to Elihu's doctrine (ch. Job 33:26). These deliverances and blessings followed by others afterwards narrated: plenty instead of poverty; the affection of friends instead of their alienation; a numerous and happy family instead of a desolate household.

The deliverance of Job a type—

(1) Of the deliverance wrought by the Father for Christ, in terminating His sufferings, raising Him from the dead, and exalting Him to His own right hand in glory.

(2) Of the deliverance of believers at death. Their departure a release; a harvest of joy after a seed-time of tears; a morning of gladness after a night of weeping.

(3) Of the deliverance to be wrought for the Church and for creation at large at the resurrection of the just,—the binding of Satan, the emancipation of the creature from the bondage of corruption, and the creation of the new heavens and the new earth "wherein dwelleth righteousness."

3. The Time of the deliverance. "When he prayed for his friends." Observe—

(1) We are often best promoting our own welfare when praying for that of others. According to the principles of the Divine government, that we should be most blessed ourselves when most solicitous about the happiness of our fellow-men. "The liberal soul shall be made fat." "He that watereth others shall be watered himself." "There is that scattered and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty." Selfishness the greatest hindrance to our happiness. The ocean receives the influx of rivers as it exhales its waters into the air. The earth receives rain as it gives its moisture to the plants that grow on it. The clouds are replenished as they distil their treasures on the earth. To seek mercy and deliverance for others often the shortest way of obtaining it ourselves.

(2) Job, in experiencing deliverance when praying for his so-called friends (often to him real enemies), typical of the Lord Jesus Christ. His deliverance and exaltation im mediately subsequent to His prayer, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."

V. Job's increased possessions. Job ; Job 42:12.—"Also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses." The "end of the Lord" now seen, "that the Lord is very pitiful" (Jas 5:11). God's thoughts towards his suffering people, "thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give them an expected end" (Jer 29:11). Job seen to be right in blessing God both while giving and taking away. God takes away from His own only in order to give more. Every apparent loss to a believer a real gain. As easy with God to give riches as to take them away. His to give power to get wealth, by blessing honest endeavours. Made Jacob rich in spite of all Laban's endeavours to prevent it. Easy with God to restore what either Satan or man may take from us. Observe—

(1) God takes care that none loses by serving Him. What is lost in God's service is made up with more than compound interest (Mat ). God a liberal rewarder. Gave Job not only as much as he had lost, but its double. Raised faithful. Joseph from a dungeon to a palace; and, from a slave, made him prime-minister of Egypt. Valentinian lost his tribuneship for Christ, and was ultimately made Emperor.

(2) The faithful be-liever's latter end always better than his beginning. Bildad's words true of every believer (chap. Job ). A good man's last days and last comforts generally his best. At eventide light. The best wine reserved by God for his obedient children to the last. As yet unknown what He has prepared hereafter for them that love Him (1Co 2:9).

(3) God able to do more than we either ask or think. Job only asked to be shown why he was so severely afflicted and wherein he had sinned. God removes the affliction itself, and makes him twice as rich as he was be fore. Job only thought to remain practising repentance in dust and ashes. God not only withdrew him from his ash-heap, but restored him to more than his former dignity and prosperity.

(4) Believers often prepared for greater blessing by previous suffering and humiliation. Prosperity more difficult to bear than adversity, and requires preparation for it. Job prepared for his great increase of wealth by his previous troubles, and the self-abasement which preceded it. Believers prepared for being glorified with Christ by being made first to suffer with Him. Comfort in the thought that present troubles may be only the preparation for future triumphs.

(5) The history of the Church and the world, as well as of individual believers, foreshadowed in the experience of Job. The sufferings of the Church and of believers in this present time "not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed." The creation itself to be "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." The new earth "wherein dwelleth righteousness," to experience a blessing, and yield an abundance unknown since the entrance of sin (Rom ; 2Pe 3:13; Psa 67:4-7).

VI. The changed conduct of friends. Job .—"Then came unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord bad brought upon him; every man also gave him a piece of money (Greek version, ‘an ewe-lamb;' Latin version, ‘a sheep;' same word used only in Gen 23:19, and Jos 24:32), and every one an ear-ring of gold." This friendly conduct due to the favour of God. Included in the turning of Job's captivity. "When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him,"—much more his friends. Job's relations and acquaintances probably now more influenced by God's hand on them, than by the removal of His hand from him. God's favour shown to Jacob in turning Esau's heart towards him, and causing Jacob to "see His face as the face of an angel." God's hand formerly recognized by Job in the alienation of some of his friends; now doubtless acknowledged by him in the affection of others. The hearts of men, whether friends or enemies, "in the hand of the Lord, who turneth them whithersoever He will." The former alienation of friends no small ingredient in Job's cup of sorrow. Their present affection no trifling element in his restored happiness. Friendship the wine of life. "Poor is the friendless master of a world." Heaven itself sweetened by the presence of loving friends.

They "did eat bread in his house." No small joy to Job after his long isolation, that, his leprosy being now removed, he could have his friends partaking of a meal with him in his own house. Type of Jesus with His friends around Him at the marriage-supper of the Lamb. So also, after His resurrection, the scattered disciples gathered again to Him, and "ate and drank with Him" during the forty days of His sojourn with them (Act ).

The visit one of congratulation as well as condolence. "They bemoaned him and comforted him," &c. Talk of past griefs an enhancement of present joy. Observe—

(1) God gives not only compensation but consolation to His suffering children. "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you" (Isa ). God at no more loss for instruments to comfort His children than to correct them.

(2) Consolations come best in God's time. Satan's malice in keeping back these friends before, now over-ruled for the enhancement of Job's restored happiness.

(3) Patience to have her perfect work. "The Lord, after ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, strengthen, stablish, settle you." The consolation of these friends all the sweeter, now that Job, after the dark night is over, can rejoice in the sunshine of God's favour. Yet Job still a mourner and needing consolation. His hearth still desolate, with neither son nor daughter at his board. No absolute freedom from trouble till we reach the land where the inhabitants shall no more say, I am sick; and where all tears are wiped away.

They comforted him "over all the Lord had done unto him." God's hand in Job's troubles acknowledged by the friends as well as himself. Observe—

(1) God the Author and Dispenser of our trials, whatever the instruments. Safest and best in our trouble to regard the first cause, rather than secondary and subordinate ones. God to be acknowledged in all events as ordering all things by his His Providence, even to the fall of a sparrow. Evil, as well as good, from the Lord, however He may please to send it. Acknowledged even by Satan—"Put forth thine hand now," &c.

(2) Praise due to God for His grace in sustaining under past troubles, and His mercy in delivering out of them. These, as well as sending, the troubles, among the things which the Lord had done to Job. Such praise to mingle with our consolations. So Jethro, alter coming out to meet Moses, praised God on hearing of "all that the Lord had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and Low the Lord delivered them" (Exo ). A picture of heaven and the enhancement of its joy.

The friends brought presents to Job, according to the custom of the country. These probably intended—

(1) To testify their affection and esteem;

(2) To contribute to the restoration of his estate. The sincerity of our friendship and affection evinced by what it costs us. The extent of our sympathy with the suffering measured by what, according to our ability, we contribute to their relief.

VII. Job's Second Family. Job . "He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch. And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren." Children given to Job to take the place of the former one, and to sooth the sorrow for their removal. Given in the same number and proportion of sex. As easy with God to give children as riches. Observe—

(1) God's compassion and liberality towards His children. Job to have every loss made up to him, even to his deceased children. God keeps account of His servants' losses, in order to make them up, either here or hereafter.

(2) Pious children not lost but gone before. The reason why Job's cattle are doubled, but not his children. The former strictly lost, but not the latter. Those dying in the Lord not lost, but hidden from our view. Job's godly children, buried under the ruins of their dwelling, now only waiting to welcome him to the Father's house. All to be received again in body and spirit at the resurrection of the just. His children, therefore, really doubled, as well as his riches—ten with himself on earth, and ten with God in the better country. Precious comfort to pious parents in the death of their infant or believing children. These only separated from them for a time by a thin veil. The star goes out of sight with us only to shine in another hemisphere. Those not lost who are sleeping in Abraham's bosom. Those not to be considered as lost to us who are found to Christ. Those hardly absent who are in their Father's house. Such removals sanctified to believing parents. Children and friends departing in the Lord, only a part of the "plenishing" of our future home, making heaven more home-like. Help to make up the "sublime attractions of the grave." A purifying and elevating influence in the thought, that while a part of us is on earth, another part is glorified in heaven. The fact fitted to turn our natural sorrow into a sacred joy.

"Who could sink and settle to that point

Of selfishness—so senseless who could be,

As long and perseveringly to mourn

For any object of his love, removed

From this unstable wild, if he could fix

A satisfying view upon that state

Of pure, imperishable blessedness

Which reason promises, and Holy Writ

Ensures to all believers?"—Wordsworth.

Job, as made the father of a new family after his restoration, a type of Christ after His resurrection and ascension—receiving, as the eternal Father, or Father of eternity, the Gentiles as His children in the place of the Jews, who had previously constituted the covenant family, but who through unbelief were now for a time cut off. "Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been" (Isa ). "Instead of the fathers shall be the children."

Job's second daughters distinguished for the beauty of their persons. God not only gave children, but well-favoured ones. An enhancement of the gift. God's gifts to his tried people often come with a special mark of their origin upon them. A beautiful countenance pleasant to look upon. A reflection of the beauty which is in Him who is the sum and source of all beauty. Beauty vain as compared with grace, but in itself no mean gift and a fit accompaniment to a gracious spirit. A shadow or image of the beauty of holiness. The sweetest countenance, that which is lighted up by the inward grace of the Spirit. The beauty of the outward man made prominent in the Old Testament; that of the inward man in the New. New Testament females not praised for their beauty, but for their love and good works (Romans 16). Christ's second, or Gentile family, given Him after his ascension, distinguished for their spiritual beauty. The Holy Spirit only then given in his fulness. The promise then fulfilled: "Thy people shall be willing (liberal, princely, or free-will offerings) in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness" (Psa ).

The names of Job's second daughters recorded. A mark of honour. The names of many of Christ's daughters recorded in the New Testament; those of all of them in the Book of Life (Rom ; Php 4:3). The names of Job's daughters significant, and probably given to indicate at once the beauty of their person, and the sweetness of their disposition; as well as to commemorate the mercy of God in his own deliverance. "Jemima" denotes "a dove," or dovelike; but may include in it the idea of "day." "Kezia" is the Cassia, a fragrant spice. "Keren-happuch" is either "the Horn of Paint," or "the Inverted Horn;" according to the Greek version, the Horn of Plenty. Thus perhaps Job praised the God of his life for changing his night into day, giving him the oil of joy for mourning, and turning again his captivity as the streams in the south. True piety will not forget God's benefits.

Job's estate divided among his daughters as well as his sons. Indicative—

(1) Of his riches;

(2) Of the excellent character of his daughters;

(3) Of the harmony and love existing in his family. Job's second, no less than his first children, distinguished for their unity and mutual affection. Children a blessing when love unites them to one another, and to God as their common Father. Believing women, as well as men, made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ the Elder Brother. In Christ, neither male nor female, bond nor free (Gal ; Col 3:11).

Job's Age and Death. Job .—"After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons and his son's sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days." Observe—

1. His Age. His years thought to have been doubled as well as his estate. In this case, seventy years old at the time of his trouble, and two hundred and ten at the time of his death. Thus attained a greater age than either Abraham or Isaac. Hence earlier than either of them, though probably during part of his life contemporary with one, if not both. Corresponds with the internal evidence of the book. To be remembered in reading his speeches. His troubles all the more keenly felt as occurring before he had reached, for that period of the world, the meridian of life. His death not until he had reached, even for that period, a good old age. Length of days a part of wisdom's wages (Pro ). Job's short season of trouble and adversity succeeded by a long life of comfort and prosperity. God a rich rewarder of his faithful servants. Joseph thirteen years a slave; eighty a prime-minister. Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding, even an eternal weight of glory. Weeping endureth for a night, joy cometh in the morning of a nightless day. Short toil, long repose; short conflict, endless triumph. A temporary cross, an eternal crown. Every tear of God's faithful servants a seed which shall one day produce a rich harvest of ceaseless joy.

2. His Experience. Spared to see not only his children, but his children's children, "even to the fourth generation." The promise of the Old Testament (Psa ; Pro 17:6). Mentioned as the happiness of Joseph in Egypt (Gen 50:23). Job still more abundantly compensated for the loss of his former family. The words of Eliphaz made good in his experience (chap. Job 5:25). Died, not only old, but "full of days." Satisfied with the days given him, both as to their number and character. Now as willing to die as ever he had been wishful to live. Ready now, like Simeon, to depart in peace, his eyes having seen God's salvation. Had experienced the goodness of the Lord in the gooduess of the living; and now, like Jacob, waited for his salvation in a better world. Had, like David, "served his generation by the will of God;" and now ready, like a tired and happy child, to fall asleep. Comes to his grave, as Eliphaz had said, "like a shock of corn, fully ripe." The evening of his days a tranquil sun-down. At eventide light. Typical of millennial blessedness in the evening of the world. A numerous family of the "Everlasting Father," like the drops of dew from the womb of the morning. His children all in holy and happy fellowship. No more falling out of the brethren by the way. No adversary nor evil occurrent. No Canaanite in the house of the Lord. Satan bound, and no more allowed either to deceive the nations or molest the Church.

3. His Death. "So Job died." Piety no exemption from death. Till Christ Himself conies, the grave receives the members as well as the Head. Death to Job no king of terrors. The messenger from his Father's house with a—"Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of thy Lord." The good fight fought, the weary warrior only called off from the field. Had already experienced great deliverances, but was now to experience the greatest of all. A king and a priest on earth, Job died, like all believers, to exercise his royal and priestly office in a land never stained with tears, and in a temple never defiled with sin.

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Job 42:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/job-42.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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