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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 42

 

 

Verse 2

Job 42:2. I know thou canst do every thing — Job here subscribes to God’s unlimited power, knowledge, and dominion, to prove which was the scope of God’s discourse out of the whirlwind. And his judgment being convinced of these, his conscience also was convinced of his own folly in speaking so irreverently concerning him. No thought can be withholden from thee — No thought of ours can be withholden from thy knowledge. And there is no thought of thine which thou canst be hindered from bringing into execution.


Verse 3

Job 42:3. Who is he that hideth counsel? — What am I, that I should be guilty of such madness? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not — Because my mind was without knowledge, therefore my speech was ignorant and foolish; things which I knew not — I have spoken foolishly and unadvisedly of things far above my reach. “The recollection of Job,” says Dr. Dodd, “in this and the two following verses, is inimitably fine, and begins the catastrophe of the book, which is truly worthy of what precedes. The interrogatory clause in the beginning of this verse is a repetition of what Jehovah had said; the latter part of this verse, and the fourth and fifth verses, are Job’s conclusions.”


Verse 4

Job 42:4. Hear, I beseech thee — Hear and accept my humble and penitent confession. I will demand of thee — Hebrew, אשׁאלךְ, eshaleka, interrogabo te, I will inquire, ask, or make my petition to thee. I will no more dispute the matter with thee, but beg information from thee. The words which God had uttered to Job by way of challenge, Job returns to him in the way of submission.


Verse 5

Job 42:5. But now mine eye seeth thee — “It is plain,” says Dr. Dodd, “that there is some privilege intended here that Job had never enjoyed before, and which he calls a sight of God. He had heard of him by the hearing of the ear, or the tradition delivered down from his forefathers; but he had now a clear and sensible perception of his being and divine perfections; some light thrown in upon his mind, which carried its own evidence with it; and which to him had all the certainty and clearness even of sight itself.” Poole thus paraphrases his words: “The knowledge which I had of thy nature, perfections, and counsels, was hitherto grounded chiefly upon the instructions of men; but now it is clear and certain, as being immediately inspired into my mind by this thy glorious appearance and revelation, and by the operation of thy Holy Spirit, which makes these things as evident to me as if I saw them with my bodily eyes.” “When,” adds Henry, “the mind is enlightened by the Spirit of God, our knowledge of divine things as far exceeds what we had before, as knowledge by ocular demonstration exceeds that by common fame.”


Verse 6

Job 42:6. Wherefore I abhor myself, &c. — The more we see of the glory and majesty of God, the more we shall see of the vileness and odiousness of sin, and of ourselves because of sin; and the more we shall abase and abhor ourselves for it; and repent in dust and ashes — Namely, sitting in dust and ashes. Job’s afflictions had brought him to the ashes, Job 2:8, He sat down among the ashes; but now a sense of his sins brought him thither. Observe, reader, true penitents mourn for their sins as heartily as ever they did for any outward afflictions; for they are brought to see more evil in their sins than in their troubles; and even those who have no gross enormities to repent of, yet ought to be greatly distressed in their souls for the workings of pride, self-will, peevishness, discontent, and anger, within them, and for all their hasty, unadvised speeches; for these they ought to be pricked in their hearts, and in bitterness, like Job. Observe, also, that self- loathing is always the companion of true repentance. They shall loathe themselves for the evils they have committed, Ezekiel 6:9. It is not sufficient that we be angry at ourselves for the wrong and damage we have, by sin, done to our own souls; but we must abhor ourselves, as having, by sin, made ourselves odious to the pure and holy God, who cannot look upon iniquity but with abhorrence. If sin in general be truly an abomination to us, sin in ourselves will especially be so; the nearer it is to us, the more loathsome it will appear to be, and the more we shall loathe ourselves on account of it. We shall conclude our observations on the poetical part of this book with Dr. Young’s excellent paraphrase on the four preceding verses:

“Thou canst accomplish all things,

Lord of might;

And every thought is naked to thy sight.

But, O! thy ways are wonderful, and lie

Beyond the deepest reach of mortal eye.

Oft have I heard of thine almighty power;

But never saw thee till this dreadful hour.

O’erwhelm’d with shame, the Lord of life I see,

Abhor myself, and give my soul to thee.

Nor shall my weakness tempt thine anger more;

Man was not made to question, but adore.”


Verse 7

Job 42:7. After the Lord had spoken these words unto Job — Jehovah, having confounded all the false reasonings of Job, and sufficiently humbled his pride, now proceeds to the condemnation of the principle upon which his three friends had proceeded in all their speeches, which principle he declares not to be right. The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite — God addresses him, because he was the eldest of the three, had spoken first, and by his example had led the rest into the same mistake which he himself had committed; My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends — Elihu is not hre reproved, because he had dealt more mercifully with Job than these three had done, and had not condemned his person, but only rebuked his sinful expressions; for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right — Because they had laid it down as a certain maxim, that all (without exception) who were afflicted with such grievous calamities as Job was, must needs be under the wrath of God, as being guilty of some notorious crime; and that all who passed through life in prosperity must needs be accounted as righteous in the sight of God: whereas God wills that we should know he does not judge of men according to their condition in this life, but according to their spirit and conduct; and should always be assured that he is averse to the wicked, however prosperous they may be, and always approves of and regards the righteous, whatever afflictions they may suffer; because the divine wisdom and goodness often see most wise reasons, which we cannot comprehend, why the righteous should struggle with adversities even all their life long, and the wicked have every outward and temporal good through the whole course of their lives. As my servant Job hath — What Job said may be reduced to three principal heads: 1st, He maintained that he was innocent, that is, that he was guilty of no flagrant crime, which should be the cause of his being afflicted more grievously than others; and this was nothing more than the truth. 2d, He maintained that though God often inflicted exemplary punishment on the wicked, and remarkably prospered the righteous; yet sometimes he suffered the righteous to be in affliction and trouble, and the wicked to flourish; which cannot be denied to be often the case. 3d, We find Job, notwithstanding his great afflictions, still holding fast and professing his confidence in the divine goodness. These, then, being the assertions which Job had made, and these not being repugnant to, but according with, the ways of divine providence, God approved of them rather than of what his friends had advanced, who were in an error as to their notions of God’s counsels and dispensations. However, we are not to conclude from this expression that God approved of all that Job had said; for, without doubt, being too sensibly affected with the severity of his afflictions, particularly when the false and uncharitable surmises of his friends were added to them, he sometimes had spoken less reverently of God than he ought to have done, and for this the Lord had severely reproved him.


Verse 8

Job 42:8. Therefore take now seven bullocks, &c. — To make an atonement for what you have said amiss. It seems they were each of them to bring seven bullocks and seven rams, which were to be wholly offered up to God as a burnt-offering; for before, the law of Moses, all sacrifices, even those of atonement, appear to have been wholly burned, and therefore were called burnt-offerings. They thought, doubtless, that they had spoken wonderfully well, and had done a righteous act in pleading God’s cause; but they are told quite the contrary, that God was displeased with them, required a sacrifice from them, and threatened, if they did not bring it, he would deal with them according to their folly. Many times is God angry at that in us which we ourselves are ready to be proud of; and sees much amiss in that which we think was well done. And go to my servant Job — Whom, though you condemned him as a hypocrite, I own for my faithful servant. And offer up a burnt-offering — By the hand of Job, whom I hereby constitute your priest, to pray and sacrifice for you. Lest I deal with you after your folly — Lest my just judgment take hold of you for your false and foolish speeches.


Verse 9

Job 42:9. So Eliphaz, &c., did as the Lord commanded — 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. And as Job prayed and offered sacrifice for those who had grieved and wounded his spirit, so Christ prayed and died for his persecutors, and ever lives making intercession for transgressors.


Verse 10

Job 42:10. And the Lord turned the captivity of Job — Brought him out of that state of bondage in which he had so long been held by Satan, and out of all his distresses and miseries. The words may be rendered, The Lord brought back Job’s captivity; that is, as some understand it, the persons and things that had been taken from him; not, indeed, the very same which he had lost, but others equivalent to them, and that with advantage. But the meaning seems principally to be, that all his bodily distempers were thoroughly healed, and probably in a moment; his mind was calmed; his peace returned; and the consolations of God were not small with him. When he prayed for his friends — Whereby he manifested his obedience to God, and his true love 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 the Lord gave Job twice as much, &c. — He not only gave him as much as he lost, but double to it.


Verse 11

Job 42:11. Then came unto him all his brethren — “The author here presents us with a striking view of human friendship. His brethren, who in the time of his affliction kept at a distance from him; his kins-folks, who ceased to know him; his familiar friends, who had forgotten him; and his acquaintance, who had made themselves perfect strangers to him; those, to whom he had shown kindness, and who yet had ungratefully neglected him; on the return of his prosperity, now come and condole with him, desirous of renewing their former familiarity, and, according to the custom of the eastern countries, where there is no approaching of a great man without a present, each brings him, קשׂישׂה, kesitah, (a piece of money, with the stamp, or impress, of a lamb upon it, as the original word signifies,) and each a jewel of gold. The word נזם, nezem, signifies properly a nose-jewel, which is commonly worn in the East to this day.” — Dodd.


Verse 12

Job 42:12. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job — Not only with spiritual, but also with temporal blessings. For he had fourteen thousand sheep, &c. — Just double to what they were, Job 1:3. This is a remarkable instance of the extent of the divine providence to things that seem minute as this, the exact number of a man’s cattle: as also of the harmony of providence, and the reference of one event to another: for known unto God are all his works, from the beginning to the end.


Verse 14

Job 42:14. And he called the name of the first, Jemima — Which the LXX., and Vulgate, as derived from יום, jom, interpret day. The Targum is, Her beauty was like that of the day. The name of the second, Kezia — Because she was precious like cassia, says the Targum. The meaning probably is, Pleasant as cassia, or fine spices. And the name of the third, Keren- happuch — Which the LXX. render, αμαλθαιας κερας, Amalthea’s horn, or, The horn of plenty. The Targum, however, says she was so called, because the brightness of her face was like that of an emerald. Hence some interpret the name, The horn, or child, of beauty.


Verse 15

Job 42:15. In all the land were no women found so fair, &c. — In the Old Testament we often find women praised for their beauty, but never in the New, because the beauty of holiness is brought to a much clearer light by the gospel. Their father gave them inheritance. &c. — 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, per- adventure, he did, to oblige them to settle themselves among 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 16-17

Job 42:16-17. After this Job lived a hundred and forty years — Some conjecture that he was seventy when his troubles came upon him: if so, his age was double, as his other possessions. And saw his sons, and his sons’ sons — Though his children were not doubled to him, yet in his children’s children they were more than doubled. As God appointed to Adam another seed instead of that which was slain, Genesis 4:25, so he did to Job with advantage. God has ways to repair the losses, and balance the griefs, of those who are deprived of their property, or are written childless, as Job was when he had buried all his children, and was robbed of all his sheep and cattle by the Chaldeans and Sabeans. So Job died, being old and full of days — He lived till he had enough of life, for he died שׂבע ימים, sebang jamim, satisfied with days; that is, satisfied with living in this world, and willing to leave it; not peevishly so, as in the days of his affliction, but piously so; and, as Eliphaz had encouraged him to hope, he came to his grave like a shock of ripe corn in its season. By the great length of Job’s days, namely, two hundred and ten years, it seems most probable that he lived before the time of Moses, for at and after that time the days of human life were much shortened, as that man of God complained, Psalms 90:10 .

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 42:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-42.html. 1857.

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