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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 42

 

 

Verse 1

CHAP. XLII.

Job humbleth himself before God, who, preferring Job's cause, accepteth him, and commands his friends to make due submission. He blesses the latter end of Job, doubling all his fortunes.

Before Christ 1645.


Verse 2

Job 42:2. I know that thou canst do every thing I know that thou art able to do every thing, and that wisdom cannot be attained without thee. Heath. And that there is no design which thou canst not accomplish. Houbigant.


Verse 3

Job 42:3. Who is he that hideth counsel, &c.— Who is he that pretends to disclose the wisdom which is incomprehensible? Surely I spoke what I did not understand; wonders beyond my reach, which I could not know. Heath. The recollection of Job in this and the two following verses is inimitably fine, and begins the catastrophe of the poem, which is truly worthy of what precedes. The interrogatory clauses, in the beginning of this and the next verses, are repetitions of what Jehovah had said; the latter of this verse, and the 5th and 6th verses, are Job's conclusions.


Verse 5

Job 42:5. I have heard of thee, &c.— It is plain that here is same privilege intended, which 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 the mind, which carried its own evidence with it, and of which, perhaps, we can form no notion; but which to him had all the certainty and clearness even of sight itself: In short, some manifestation of the Deity made to him in vision, such as the prophets had, and from whence they derived their very name of Seers. There is a pleasure in observing the accomplishment of that wish of Job's, chap. Job 19:23 when we peruse this book; an accomplishment in a higher and better sense than he himself could possibly have hoped for when he made it. Oh, that my words were now written, &c.! Had they been graven on a rock, they might have remained for some few ages; but in this divine poem they will live for ever. Peters.


Verse 6

Job 42:6. Wherefore I abhor myself Wherefore I am ready to drop into dissolution. Heath. See the note on chap. Job 3:24. As a supplement to which, we add here, that the Chaldee paraphrast had such a sense of the greatness of Job's affliction, with respect to the loss of his children, that he thinks of it sometimes where Job did not. His paraphrase on the present verse is this, "Now mine eye seeth thee; wherefore I have cast away my riches, and am comforted for my sons, which are as dust and ashes." Nevertheless, at Job 42:13 to make amends to Job for this part of his suffering in the happy turn of his condition, he bestows upon him no less than fourteen sons, and perhaps would have doubled the number of his daughters too, had not their names, expressly mentioned, set bounds to his liberality. The reader will see from what is here represented to him as a specimen, that these Targums, to which the Jews attribute the same authority, in a manner, as to the Hebrew Scriptures, are not without their errors and reveries. However there are two things for which they are greatly valuable; as they help to ascertain the meaning of the Hebrew text; and, as they give us, interspersed, the common opinions of the Jews of those times wherein the paraphrases were made. Peters.


Verse 7

Job 42:7. For ye have not spoken of me, &c.— Mr. Peters has proved, beyond contradiction, that this is properly translated, ye have not spoken of me that which is right. See also Job 42:8 in which there is a repetition of the same declaration in express terms by God himself, that Eliphaz and his companions had not spoken of him the thing which was right, and that Job had. Now, it will be difficult to find any thing in their speeches which should make the difference here supposed, if we set aside the doctrine of a future state; for in this view the others would speak more worthily of God than Job, by endeavouring to vindicate his Providence in the exact distribution of good and evil here in this life. Whereas Job's assertion, chap. Job 9:22. This is one thing, therefore I said it; he destroyeth the perfect and the wicked, (which is the argument upon which he all along insists,) would upon this supposition be directly charging God in the same reproachful terms which Achilles uses to Agamemnon in Homer; that with him,

u917?ν δε ιη τιμη η μεν κακος η δε και εσθλος . Iliad. ix. 399 that he made no distinction between the good and bad, the coward and the brave; which, in a ruler, is an error that reflects both upon his wisdom and his justice. But now, take into the account the life to come, and the thing will appear in a quite contrary light; and we shall easily see the reason why God approves of the sentiments of Job, and condemns those of his friends. For, suppose the friends of Job to argue (as seems to be the general tendency of their reasoning) that the righteous are never afflicted without remedy here, nor the wicked prosperous upon the whole in this life, (which is a wrong representation of God's Providence;) and Job to argue on the other hand, that the righteous are sometimes afflicted here, and that without remedy, but shall be rewarded in a life to come; and that the wicked prosper here, but shall be punished hereafter, which is the true representation of the divine proceedings; and here is a very apparent difference in the drift of the one's discourse, and of the others; for Job, in this view, speaks worthily of God; the rest unworthily. The best moral argument which mankind have ever had to believe a life to come, is this which Job insists upon, that good and evil are for the most part dealt out here promiscuously. On the contrary, the topic urged by his friends, and which they push a great deal too far, that God rewards and punishes in this world, tends in its consequence (like that other opinion which was held by the stoics in after-times, that virtue is its own reward) to sap the very foundation of that proof which we have from reason, of another life. No wonder, therefore, that the sentiments of the one are approved, and those of the other condemned. And, taking the matter in this light, I am almost led to conclude, that as God bestowed upon Solomon all other temporal advantages in reward for his asking wisdom, so he restored Job to his temporal prosperity and happiness, and gave him a long enjoyment and increase of it, as a recompence for his having so well defended the doctrine of a future state. Peters.


Verse 10

Job 42:10. The Lord turned the captivity of Job This phrase of turning, or causing to return the captivity, seems to have been overlooked, at least not thoroughly considered by the greater part of the commentators; some, however, have seen the whole force of the expression. The restitution was probably after this manner: Job, having been plundered, by the Sabaeans and Chaldeans, of his oxen, asses, and camels, was soon after so terribly afflicted in his person as to be utterly incapable of pursuing any measures in order to recover what had been violently taken from him. But on his miraculous recovery from his distemper, and his restoration to health and strength, he undoubtedly armed the servants of his family, and endeavoured to recover his own. His enemies, having heard of the terrible afflictions which had befallen him, in his person as well as in his possessions, were in full security, and under no apprehensions from him. His restoration therefore being instantaneous, as well as miraculous, he was enabled to fall unexpectedly on his enemies, and by God's particular blessing, not only to recover his own; but also, as a reparation for the injury they had done him, to take their stock of cattle likewise, by which means he was possessed of double the substance that he had before: so that not only his captivity returned, but Jehovah doubled his former riches. It was always esteemed among all nations just and honourable in war, for the injured person not only to recover his own from the persons who had injured him, but also to take whatever he could find belonging to the plunderer, by way of satisfaction for the injury. This appears clearly in the case of Abraham; See Genesis 14. That Job had a very large household, is plain from chap. Job 1:3 and that a great part of his household continued with him in the time of his affliction, though they treated him with great disrespect, is plain from several passages in chap. 19: And it is not improbable, that the men of the city, of whom he was principal in the time of his prosperity, (see chap. 29:) might on his restoration assist him in the recovery of his property, and in executing vengeance on his plunderers. Heath's Life of Job.


Verse 11

Job 42:11. Then came there unto him all his brethren, &c.— Job being restored to his former health and possessions, the author 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 kinsfolks, 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 shewn 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 a great man without a present, each brings him a קשׂיטה kesitah, 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. See Herbert's Travels, p. 124 where a Drawing of them will be found. The word קשׂיטה kesitah has much divided the commentators. See Genesis 33:19. There seems to be no doubt that it was a piece of money with the stamp or impress of a lamb upon it, as the original word signifies. Mr. Peters observes, that as Job's friends presented him only with a single piece of money, we may conclude that money was in those days a great rarity; and therefore we find no mention of it where the wealth of Job is reckoned up, but only of oxen, sheep, camels, &c. agreeable to the simplicity of those very ancient times. See Spanheim's Hist. Jobi, c. 11.


Verse 14

Job 42:14. He called the name of the first Jemima Job, being restored to his family and friends, is afterwards blessed with a numerous issue, seven sons and three daughters. Of the former nothing remarkable is recorded; but the names of the daughters are preserved, and they are said to have been the most beautiful women of their time. Their names are certainly of Arabic extraction: the eldest was named ימימה Jemima, which in the Arabic signifies a dove. This name was given to women of the greatest beauty in the east. So Semiramis had her name from Semir-jemama two Arabic words, signifying the brown dove. For the same reason the dove was made the bird of Venus; and we find it placed on the head of the Syrian goddess, whom the Orientals imagine to be the same as Semiramis. The second takes her name קציעה Keziah from the Cassia aromatica, a spice in great reputation in early times, as may be seen Psalms 45:8. This was likewise agreeable to the Arabian customs, of naming their women from the products of the earth, as flowers, fruits, gums, and the like. The third was named הפוךֶ קרן Keren-happuch, rightly rendered, Cornu-stibii, the horn of stibium: the stibium was an ornamental colouring used by the women to make their eyebrows or eyelids black, which they esteemed very beautiful. See our note on 2 Kings 9:30. This daughter of Job had her name, probably, from the beautiful black colour of her eyelids and eyebrows. See Costard's Dissert. on the Mythological Astron. of the Ancients, and Heath's Life of Job.


Verse 15

Job 42:15. In all the land were no women found so fair Bishop Warburton, upon his allegorical plan, supposes, that as Job's wife was to represent the idolatrous wives, so the daughters in the allegory are to stand for the daughters of Israel; and to this end are described as beauties; nay, and fortunes too, for their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. "In short, the writer's desire was to recommend them as the most desirable parties; that so the men for the future might be induced to match at home, and not wander abroad for strange wives." This is the learned writer's notion. "Now," says Mr. Peters, "I would here desire to be allowed only one reasonable postulatum; namely, that the sons of Job may be supposed to represent the sons of Israel, as well as the daughters their sex; and then let him tell us why there is so wide a disproportion between them; for the sons of Israel seven, and the daughters three, does not amount to half a wife a-piece; and, I doubt, their beauty and their fortunes would scarcely be thought consideration enough, to make amends for that deficiency. The men would still have but too good an excuse to look out for strange wives."


Verse 16

Job 42:16. After this Job lived an hundred and forty years Mr. Le Clerc has urged, as an argument that this book is parabolical, that Job, according to this account, must have lived above two hundred years, and that this length of life will suit no time assigned for Job's existence. If, with Grotius, we say he lived while the Israelites wandered in the desert, the lives of men were then much shorter than two hundred years: if with others, that he lived soon after the Flood, the lives of men were then much longer: but now, if the life of man after the Flood shortened by degrees, I hope we may suppose a time between the other two points, which will agree very well with the life of Job: or, should we say that God lengthened out his life beyond the common term as an extraordinary favour, there can be nothing unlikely in this: nay, it is highly correspondent with the other instances of the divine bounty shewn to him. Peters. In the version of the LXX there is a considerable addition to the last verse of this chapter, a translation of which Mr. Wall has given us in his critical notes: It is as follows:—"Full of days: and it is written, that he shall rise again among those whom the Lord shall raise. He is signified in the Syriac book to have dwelt in the land of Ausitis, (Uz,) upon the confines of Edom and Arabia; and his name was Jobab: taking an Arabian woman to his wife, he had a son, whose name was Ennon; but his father was Zareh, or Zareth, a son of the sons of Esau. His mother's name was Bosorrah; so that he was in the fifth generation from Abraham. And these were the kings who reigned in Edom, in which country he also bare rule: The first was Balak the son of Beor, and the name of his city was Dennaba: after Balak Jobab, who is also called Job: and after him Asom, who was governor over the country of the Temanites. After him was Adad, the son of Barad, who slew Midian in the field of Moab; and the name of his city was Gethaim. The friends who came to him were Eliphaz, of the sons of Esau, the king of the Temanites; Bildad, the king of the Sauchaeites; and Sophar, the king of the Minaeites." We will close our observations on this celebrated book, with a Short view from Mr. Peters, of the

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 42:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-42.html. 1801-1803.

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