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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Job 42

 

 

Verse 1

JOB’S SECOND AND LAST REPLY, Job 42:2-6.

In recognising the almightiness of God — his infinite power in its relations not only to the diversified types of evil, but to evil itself — Job declares God to be just and wise, and in all things governed by the highest principles of right. At the contemplation of the inmost harmony in the divine Being between almightiness, justice, goodness, and wisdom, and by contrast his own rampant folly and wickedness, he abhors himself, and repents in dust and ashes, Job 42:2-6.

The reply links itself for the most part with Job 40:7-14, which contains the challenge of the Almighty respecting the control and government of the world, in connexion with which the amplification in Job 40:15-24 and chap. 41 furnishes living criteria — ugly touchstones for the proudest human reason. “If even that which is apparently most contradictory, rightly perceived, is so glorious, his affliction is also no such monstrous injustice as he thinks. On the contrary, it is a profoundly elaborated thought, (mizimmah,) a well-digested counsel, (‘heisah,) of God.” — Delitzsch.


Verse 2

2. Thought מזמה, signifies meditation, thinking, thence purpose or plan, very frequently in a bad sense. Comp. Job 21:27 ; Psalms 10:2; Psalms 21:12; Proverbs 14:17; Proverbs 24:8; Jeremiah 23:20; Jeremiah 30:24. “Perhaps this ambiguous word is selected designedly, in order to express the thought, that, from the circumscribed nature of Job’s views, the plans of God appeared to him to be bad, while to the Allwise they continued unhindered, and, as they originated from him, the Fountain of all good, they would at length be understood in the most favourable light. The Almighty can prosecute a plan which appears to the human understanding bad, (mezimmah,) for it is in his power to transform the bad into good.” — Umbreit.

Withholden from thee — Literally, cut off from thee. Compare Genesis 11:6, where the same word is rendered “restrained.” He whose wondrous plans have been wrought out in the formation of the colossi of the brute creation is also the author of affliction, in whose varied features Job now sees marks of divine wisdom. The divine plan in sorrow impresses him as never before. He sees most vividly that his afflictions came forth from the all powerful, and therefore irresistible, will of God. The power of God is the postulate from which he reasons out to the entire being of Deity. One diameter measures all the other diameters of the same circle: so the possession of one infinite attribute implies that all the other attributes of that Being must be infinite. Hence the stress Job lays on the infinite power of God.


Verse 3

3. Who is he… without knowledge — He repeats God’s reproof, (Job 38:2,) as if he would say, I am the man — the man of folly, arrogance, and sin, who measured himself with the Most High, and blasphemously arraigned his ways and dispensations. Or else, such is his confusion when overwhelmed with shame and contrition, that he fails in the expression of coherent thought. He repeats with variation, (to wit, the change of מחשׁיךְ, darkeneth, into מעלים, hideth, and the omission of bemillin, “with words,”) and perhaps automatically, the first words the voice of God uttered after the storm. The reader may be reminded of the confusion of Elihu at the commencement of his first address. See Job 32:6 and p. 198. Schultens calls this reply of Job “graceful and weighty,” (venusta ac gravis,) and regards it as an acknowledgment which honours God by the use of his own language in such a manner as to turn the divine reproof into a confession on Job’s part of ignorance, and even intentional perverseness, which seems to be implied in מעלים, a word which he (Schultens) regards as more reverential. For a similar repetition, implying condemnation, see Numbers 16:3 ; Numbers 16:7, in which Moses repeats the words of the sons of Levi, “too much upon you.”


Verse 4

4. Hear, I beseech… declare thou unto me הודיעני . Literally, make me to know. This verse cites the words of God, (Job 38:3; Job 40:7,) showing the profound impression they had made upon Job. Umbreit and Hitzig, on the other hand, against most commentators, represent Job as reproducing the substance of his own foolish demands of God. “Job’s want of understanding,” says the former, “was shown by this demand addressed to God. God alone could thus speak to Job, but not Job to him.” Such an interpretation loses its force upon a proper view of the last word, hodhi’heni, “make me to know;” or, “declare thou unto me.” Job is not “anxious to put questions to Jehovah in order to penetrate deeper into the knowledge of the divine power and wisdom:” (thus Delitzsch.) On the contrary, he would sit docile at the feet of the Almighty. True contrition is always attended with a teachable disposition. The proud Saul, arrested of God, is ready to go anywhere to be taught by God. (Acts 9:6.)


Verse 5

5. Now mine eye seeth thee — This vision of God is by no means to be taken literally, for there is no indication that God disclosed himself otherwise than through the veil of the terribly majestic cloud which apparently accompanied the storm out of which God spoke. (See note on Job 37:22; Job 38:1.) In the immediate presence of the glory of God, which, as it draws near, startled Elihu in vain strives to describe, Job’s consciousness is quickened by the reproofs of God, so that it beholds him in a new light. His whole being, too, is filled with light reflected from the newly-disclosed attributes of Deity. Before the eye of the soul God, the powerful, appears a wise, just, and loving God; the Almighty One (El) is revealed as Jehovah, unfolding to his stricken servant the heart of Deity. What he had before known of God had been vague, a mere hearing of the ear. Now he apprehends God through the stronger sense of spiritual sight — a sense which more than all others expresses the cognizant recipient soul — and at the sight is overwhelmed with confusion and unspeakable humiliation. “In seeing God Job sees himself; for the light that discovers God’s glory and excellence discovers Job’s meanness and vileness.” — Dr. Clarke.


Verse 6

6. I abhor myself אמאס . As in Job 7:16, (which see,) the object of the verb abhor is not given. Hengstenberg conceives the object of his loathing (“despising,” or “recantation,” thus Zockler and Hitzig) to be his earlier speeches. The Septuagint and Vulgate, with more reason, supply myself, the former of which adds, by way of explanation, ετακην, I am dissolving, (compare Job 19:27,) such is the violence of his emotion.

In dust and ashes — “In a sense that is absolutely proper the book forms a περιοδος, a period or circuit.” — Vilmar. The trial found Job a spiritual monarch seated upon his throne of ashes — resigned, submissive to the will of God. “He sat down among the ashes.” Job 2:8. Now, as the purifying fires have burned their utmost, we find him brought around to his former ground of supremacy. The last recorded words — “ashes” — that fall from his lips are of the deepest significance — the same Hebrew word, epher, being employed as in Job 2:8. The allotment of the divine will he accepts, though it be but dust and ashes. Hengstenberg interprets it: “I, who have sat until now in dust and ashes because of grief on account of my misfortunes, will continue so to do, but from another reason, because of grief on account of my sin.” “Here,” says the quaint Thomas Adams, “we may consider three degrees of mortification — the sickness, the death, and the burial of sin. ‘I abhor myself’ — there sin is sick and wounded; ‘I repent’ — there it is wounded and dead; ‘in dust and ashes’ — there it is dead and buried.” — Sermon in loc., entitled, “The Sinner’s Mourning Habit.” See also University Sermons of W.H. Mill — “Job Penitent.”


Verse 7

Historical Conclusion Epilogue. Job 42:7-17.

JEHOVAH’S ADDRESS TO ELIPHAZ AND HIS FRIENDS. Job 42:7-8.

7. The Lord (Jehovah) said to Eliphaz the Temanite, etc. — While Job, penitent in dust and ashes, abhors himself, the three friends, we may imagine — like the Pharisee — contemplate themselves admiringly and Job’s repentance approvingly. The voice of God startles them from their self-complacency. That voice this time means them. They are the great offenders. They have not spoken to God that which is right. They have compromised the truth by maintaining one-sided dogma (Jesuit-like) for the glory of God. The self-righteousness with which they still tower above Job serves only to draw down the burning wrath of God.

The thing that is right — This is to be understood as predicated not of the arguments and positions maintained by Job during the course of the debate, but of the twofold confession made by Job. (Job 40:4, and Job 42:2-6.) Aben Ezra rightly deemed that the commendation “pertains solely to the confession which Job had made unto God and the others had not.” The construction of דבר (piel form) with אלי, spoken concerning me, is precisely that which in the same verse is rendered spoken unto Job, and should have been translated similarly. Yet it is not to be overlooked that the best German exegetes agree in rendering the el, concerning; with exceptions, however, such as Rosenmuller, who follows the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Syriac in reading el, before, in the presence of, and Arnheim and Gesenius, who translate elayi, unto me. Thus also Drusius, Fry, Coleman, Tayler Lewis. The Hebrew, we think, makes this clear: for it is not what Job said of God, but אלי, unto or before (thus Noldius, p. 48) God, which he now commends. The word נכונה, nekonah, rendered right, means also that which stands fast, (Hitzig,) which agrees with the root idea of koun, “to be firm,” “to stand upright.” The same word is used of the day in Proverbs 4:18, and means, according to Gesenius, (Thes., p. 667,) the stable (part) of the day — “the meridian hour, when the sun seems to stand immovable on the height of the heaven.” True humility is the pedestal on which the maturest piety stands, and only can stand.

Delitzsch, with many others, renders the word nekonah, what is correct, and tamely interprets it to “consist of his having denied that affliction is always a punishment of sin, and his holding fast the consciousness of his innocence, without suffering himself to be persuaded of the opposite. That denial was correct, and this truthfulness was more precious to God than the untruthfulness of the friends who were zealous for the honour of God.”

My servant Job — The honourable title he bore at the outset of his trial (Job 1:8) is now restored, and four times repeated as he comes forth from the ashes of repentance. The title was also conferred upon Moses (Numbers 12:7) and upon the Messiah. Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 52:13.


Verse 8

8. A burnt offering — This differs from the burnt offering required by the Mosaic ritual. That it should be the same in kind and number with that offered by Balaam, a Gentile prophet, (Numbers 23:1-2,) and that there should be the twofold recognition of the sacred and complete number seven, points to an ante-Mosaical, if not patriarchal, period for the life of Job. The profound solemnity thus given to the sacrifice about to be offered, and the mortifying announcement that “the friends” should find forgiveness through the intercession and priesthood of the leprous Job, must have made them painfully alive to the folly of their conduct. According to Grotius, in loc., the Hebrews think that the holocaust was the only form of sacrifice prevailing to the time of Moses. See Job 1:5.

My servant Job shall pray for you — The intercessory prayer which Job is directed to offer also suggests a pre-Mosaical economy as that under which he lived. Genesis 20:7; Genesis 20:17. The Mosaic law prescribes grandly significant rites and ceremonies, but without specific directions for prayer. See, however, Leviticus 16:21; Deuteronomy 26:10-13.

For him will I accept — Literally, only his face will I lift up; that is, regard favourably. The expression takes its rise from the favour granted by an Oriental prince to a suppliant, who is graciously bidden to rise from his prostration, and thus lift up his face. Compare Job 13:8; Job 32:21; Genesis 19:21. This profound principle of the divine economy — the power of the good to intercede for the sinful — had been already portrayed by Eliphaz with great beauty, (Job 22:29-30,) and in patriarchal times was announced by God himself to the Egyptian king, Abimelech. Genesis 20:7. Compare Genesis 18:32; Genesis 26:24; Exodus 32:7-14; Deuteronomy 9:7-29. In a world where the life of each is made to depend upon the kind offices and interposition of another, as is the case throughout the infantile period of human existence, the patriarchal usage of intercession by one being for another is one which fully comports with the demands of our reason. The whole scheme of society is subsequently so arranged as to make the services of others indispensable to each — a principle so universally true that no one attains to the higher bliss of life without the co-operation of others. His own richest temporal blessings God, for the most part, bestows through the medium of others; and by making human beings the channels for the outflow of divine beneficence, so arranges that they themselves shall be benefited and ennobled. All beneficence, human or divine, then, fails to fulfil its mission unless it brings with it manifold blessings — even as rays of light, whose end may be to give life and sustenance to the unpretending plant, scatter blessings along their entire path. The culminating hour of prayer, when Job gains the highest victory over himself by praying for the three friends, and more especially for the genteel and venerable leader Eliphaz, who most deeply maligned him, becomes the culmination of his distress and the turning point of his “captivity.” See Job 42:10.

Lest I deal with you after your folly — Literally, that I may not do with your folly, which Hitzig supposes to be spoken after the manner of men, and to refer to possible precipitate action on the part of God. The views of Delitzsch and Dillmann, which Hitzig calls “wooden,” are to be preferred. They take folly by synecdoche for “the punishment of folly,” in like manner as השׂאת or עין, sin, is used for the penalty of sin — the former of whom reads, in accordance with our Authorized Version, that I recompense not unto you your folly.


Verse 9

THE ACCEPTANCE OF JOB TAKES PLACE IN THE ACT OF OFFERING SACRIFICE IN BEHALF OF HIS FRIENDS, Job 42:9-10 a.

9. Accepted Job — Literally, lifted up the face of Job, as in Job 42:8. Cocceius supposes that this acceptance was by some outward visible sign, perhaps in a mode similar to that in which Jerome conjectures God showed his respect unto Abel and his offering, by sending down fire to consume the sacrifices.


Verse 10

10. The Lord turned the captivity שׁב את שׁבית. An instance of paronomasia — an elegance, as the reader has seen, common in this book. (Note on Job 3:25.) The word rendered “captivity” is kindred with the preceding word, and literally signifies a turning, (thus Ewald, Dillmann, and Zockler,) so that the expression before us indicates a complete reversal of things: God overturns the misery of Job into joy, and replaces night with day. Compare Psalms 14:7; Psalms 126:1; Psalms 126:4. The long continuance of Job’s sufferings might well be called a captivity, if we accept the speculation of Chrysostom, Isidorus. Suidas, and others, that they lasted seven years, or adopt even the one year which Petavius assigns as their limit; but upon this subject the word of God is silent. Compare, however, Job 5:19, with Job 7:3 — on the latter of which see note.

When he prayed — In the very act of his praying for ethers (prep. ב, in, before the verb) his own salvation came. The spectacle partakes of the morally sublime. The man of God, on whom still rests a burden of sorrow and disease unmeasured by human words, bends himself before his God, not in prayer for himself, but for those who had done him ill. As suddenly as in after times to Naaman, descends the grace of the Almighty: the night of tribulation turns and passes away; the loathsome ulcers vanish, while (even as Elihu had wonderfully prophesied) “his flesh becomes fresher than a child’s,” (Job 33:25,) and the work of deliverance for soul and body is complete. Compare Job 11:15-17 . The Talmud thence derives the proverb, “He who prays for his fellow men always finds acceptance for himself first of all.”


Verse 10-11

RESTORATION OF JOB TO HIS FORMER DIGNITY AND HONOUR, Job 42:10 b, Job 42:11.

Twice as much — As in Isaiah 40:2, the consolation of Jerusalem is double the punishment inflicted upon her for her sins, (thus Vitringa,) so now the reward of Job is double all his losses. The restraint of love only intensifies its power when once the barrier is removed. The greatness of the reward now bestowed is correlative to the affection which had been so long concealed.


Verse 11

11. All his sisters — This is the first intimation given that Job had sisters; and as, consequently, they do not appear in the six classes Job enumerates of those who were estranged from him, (Job 19:13-14,) we may conjecture, at least, that they did not join in the general ill treatment of Job. It is deeply significant that no mention is made of Job’s wife after his return to prosperity. The last time she appears is in a painful allusion Job makes to her want of sympathy. Job 19:17.

All they that had been of his acquaintance — Literally, all his knowers. Same term as in Job 19:13. They bemoaned him — The Hebrew word noudh (same as in Job 2:11 — see note) expresses oneness of feeling with the sufferer, whether it be of grief or joy, and corresponds to our word sympathize. Friends who stood aloof from him as the accursed of God, (see note. Job 2:8,) gather around him as evidences are given of the removal of the divine ban. “Of Job’s adversities the loss of friends was last; of his prosperities the return of friends was first.” — Kitto.

A piece of money — The etymological signification of the word קשׂישׂה, kesitah, is probably a piece weighed out, from kasat, to divide, measure, or weigh, (Furst.) A similar word is the Arabic kistah, from the same root, signifying a pair of scales, a balance; notwithstanding which, in the ancient versions, kesitah was rendered lamb. This ancient reading is accounted for by some on the supposition that the kesitah was stamped with the image of a lamb, in accordance with an Egyptian and Assyrian custom of making weights in the form of bulls, lions, and other animals. (See note on Job 6:2 .) The most ancient coins of the Phoenicians, also, have the impress of a sheep. The Latin word for money, pecunia, finds its root in pecus, sheep or cattle. (Concerning the antiquity of coinage see RAWLINSON, Herodotus, 1:563-568.) The word appears, besides, in the Scriptures, only in Genesis 33:19, and Joshua 24:32, in both of which reference is made to the purchase of a “parcel of ground” by Jacob for a hundred kesitahs. That, these kesitahs could not have been sheep is probable from Acts 7:16, where we are told Jacob bought this piece of land for a “sum of money.” By comparing Genesis 33:19, with Genesis 23:16, Gesenius supposes the value of the kesitah to have been about four shekels. It is generally assumed to have been of silver. Hitzig, on account of its association with the earrings of gold, thinks it also was gold. As this word appears elsewhere in the scriptures only in connection with the patriarchs, its use here affords evidence of the remote origin of this book.

Earring נזם, (same as in Genesis 24:22 ; Genesis 24:47,) is thought by Schroeder, Rosenmuller, and Gesenius to have been a nose-ring, and seems to have been, according to Exodus 32:3, an ornament for men as well as women. Madden (Jewish Coinage, p. 3,) suggests that these rings may have been employed as a medium of exchange. Among the ancient Egyptians money consisted of rings of gold and silver, as represented on many of the monuments of Thebes. For a picture of these rings the reader is referred to page 60; also to WILKINSON’S Domestic Habits of the Egyptians, p. 92, for a like pictorial representation of scales, in which the weight bearing the impress of a sheep balances three rings. It is by no means improbable that three rings were of the value of one kesitah. Rings of gold are still used as a medium of exchange in Sennaar and neighbouring countries. It is the custom in Oriental countries, even to the present day, for those who go into the presence of the great to offer gifts, as a tacit recognition of their own inferiority. To such an extent is this system of symbolic gifts carried, that, according to Sir John Chardin, “It is the custom when one invites a superior, to make him a present after the repast, as it were in acknowledgment of his trouble. Frequently it is done before the repast — it being no augmentation of honour to come to the house of one who is an inferior. But they make no presents to equals or those that are below themselves.” See HARMER’S Observations, (Adam Clarke’s edition,) 296-326; also WINER, Rwb. 1:411, 412. Among the Hebrews, in some cases, presents were brought to monarchs upon their recovery from some great calamity, and served both as tokens of affection and of homage. After the restoration of King Hezekiah from his grievous malady, many brought gifts unto the Lord and presents to Hezekiah, “so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from henceforth.” 2 Chronicles 32:23. Compare Psalms 76:11, and Isaiah 39:1.


Verse 12

THE END OF JOB MORE BLESSED THAN THE BEGINNING. Job 42:12-17.

12. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job — The exact doubling of Job’s flocks and herds comes within the domain of the miraculous; its object, to show to all ages that the return of Job to prosperity was not a mere stroke of fortune, but the unmistakable result of divine interposition. “The visible evidence of God’s mercy in Job’s case… was a pledge of God’s unseen love to all who endure; and it was vouchsafed to Job as such. Besides, Satan had so contrived Job’s afflictions by an extraordinary coincidence of events, (which God permitted him to execute, chaps. 1 and 2,) that it might seem to Job’s friends and to the world that Job was stricken of God as a sinner, and that he might be accused (as he was by his friends) as guilty in God’s sight.” — Wordsworth.

Sheep… camels… oxen… and she asses — See note on chap. Job 1:3.


Verse 13

13. He had also seven sons and three daughters — The number of his children was not doubled; for the dead were with God. The omission is significant, and can only be accounted for by the belief in a reunion after death. (See p. 72, 73.) “God did not double his children to Job, in order that he might not despair of seeing again the children he had lost; and in order that he might know that, though they were taken from him, they were still alive; and that we also might know that Job, who had buried ten children, and was himself buried by ten others, passed at death, as it were, from one home to another, and all of them will stand with him together at the great day.” — Chrysostom.

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Verse 14

14. And he called the name — The grace and beauty of person of the three daughters are reflected in the descriptive names, given, not by the parent necessarily, but more probably by admiring friends. They were like the three graces of classic times. The subject of the word called is not defined. Sir Thomas Roe, the traveller, says of the Persians, “They call their women by the names of spices or odours, or of pearls or precious stones, or else by other names of pretty or pleasing signification.”

Jemima — (Sept., Day) was in former times supposed to be an Aramaic word. and to signify pure as daylight; but it is now regarded as kindred to the Arabic Jemaimat, which means a dove, and was given (so Delitzsch thinks) as a name “because of her dove’s eyes.” Compare Song of Solomon 2:14; Song of Solomon 5:2; Song of Solomon 6:9.

Kezia — (Sept., Casia) Cassia, or, fine as the fragrance of cassia, “as if woven out of the odor of cinnamon.” — Delitzsch. Comp. Psalms 45:8; Song of Solomon 1:3. This bark is something like cinnamon, but not so aromatic. Its Hebrew name, ketsiah, expresses the fact that it is stripped from the trees. Excessive fondness for perfumes is characteristic of the people of the East unto the present day. “The people of the Hedjaz, especially the ladies,” says Burckhardt, “steep rose-buds in water, which they afterward use for their ablutions.” — Arabia, 1:68.

Keren-happuch — (Septuagint, Amalthaea’s horn,) is literally a horn of paint — boxes of pigment in those days being, as is supposed, sometimes made of horn, or in the shape of a horn. Oriental ladies from very ancient times have painted their eyes, in order to produce an apparent enlargement of the eye, and to promote its brilliancy. The accompanying engraving is copied from the sarcophagus of Oimenepthah, and is supposed to represent an Egyptian goddess whose eyebrows and eyelids have been painted with a black dye.

To the bright and languishing expression thus produced the writer of the Proverbs (Proverbs 6:25) is supposed to refer when he says, “Neither let her [the wanton] take thee with her eyelids.” Horns containing pigment have been found in Egyptian sarcophagi, with silver, ivory, and wooden needles, and minute brushes for applying the cosmetic to the eye. The Assyrian monuments also give evidence of the prevalence of the same custom. The art, in later times, became meretricious, as may be seen in 2 Kings 9:30, (margin;) Jeremiah 4:30; Ezekiel 23:40. The Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 54:11) makes the colouring matter (stibium, Hebrews pouk,) used in painting the eye the ground of an exquisite figure — the very cement of the stones which compose the new Jerusalem, he prophesies, shall be stibium, thus intimating that, as with the human eye artificially decorated, the beauty of these stones shall stand forth in greater splendour because of the dark background in which they also are set. The name of Keren-happuch, says Hengstenberg, is an irony upon the use of cosmetics. See further in RUSSELL’S History of Aleppo, i, pp. 111, 366.


Verse 15

15. Inheritance among their brethren — According to Mosaic usage daughters inherited only when there were no sons in the family. The remonstrance of the five daughters of Zelophehad against the alienation of their father’s estate, gave rise to legislation through which property descended to daughters. Numbers 27:1-12. In case there were several sons the whole inheritance was divided equally among the sons, with the exception of the oldest, who received twice as much as either of his brothers. Deuteronomy 21:17. “Daughters, in case they were unmarried, were considered as making a part of the estate, and were sold by their brothers into matrimony.” — JAHN, Biblical Archaeology, sec. 168. The Athenian and the early Roman laws resembled the Mosaic in excluding females from inheritance when there were brothers; but in the case of the Greek a moral obligation devolved upon the brother to assign his sister a fortune corresponding to her rank. (See authorities cited in SMITH’S Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, s.v., Heres, p. 594. Eng. Edit.)

The indications are, that in patriarchal times daughters usually obtained a share in the paternal inheritance. This seems to be implied in the statement of Leah and Rachel, that there, was for them no portion nor inheritance in their father’s house. (Genesis 31:14.) Job, with princely magnanimity, includes his daughters among the sharers of the inheritance, not in a manner, as Kitto says, “showing that this power was rarely exercised,” but rather in keeping with ancient Arabian customs, which are perpetuated to the present day by Mohammedans. — SALE’S Prelim. Disc., sec. vi, and the Koran, Sura 4. An inscription of Esarhaddon, found at Kuyunjik, gives the names of eight Arabian sovereigns whom he put to death. Among them are two queens, Tapaa and Bailu. “This was a frequent custom,” says H.F. Talbot, speaking of the sovereignty of queens in the land of Arabia, (Records of the Past, vol. iii, page 107,) “according to the cuneiform inscriptions, but as far as I have observed: it was confined to that country.” Compare the account of the queen of Sheba, 1 Kings 10:1-13. In the French National Library is an ovoid bowlder of black basalt, known by the name Caillou Michaux, on which is an Assyrian inscription containing the law concerning landed property as a dowry for a woman on her marriage, and giving the whole measurement of the land to which the stone served as a boundary. — LENORMANT, Chaldaean Magic, 68. For a more detailed description, see Records of the Past, 9:92-95. An old Accadian incantation (see note, Job 1:17) says of the seven evil spirits, “Female they are not, male they are not;” on which Birch remarks, this order is in accordance with the position held by the woman in Accad; in the Accadian Table of Laws (see Records of the Past, Job 3:23) the denial of the father by the son is punished very leniently in comparison with the denial of the mother. (Compare Records of the Past, 9:148.) To account for the distinction made by Job between the sons and daughters, by which the names of the latter only are mentioned, Forster, (Geog. of Arabia, 2:66,) suggests “that the daughters of Job should not only become the mothers of nations, but that they should call the lands after their own names.” More probable than his speculations as to the other daughters, is the one that the name of Jemima is perpetuated in Jemima or Jemama, the name of the central province of the Arabian peninsula. “An Arab tradition, of immemorial standing,” says Forster, “has preserved and handed down the fact that the province of Jemama received its name from Queen Jemama, the first sovereign of the land, who could be no other than Jemima, the daughter of Job.” Consult art. “Inheritance” in FAIRBAIRN, Bib. Dic.; MICHAELIS, Laws of Moses, art. lxxviii; WINER, Rwb., art. “Erbschaft;” MAINE, Anc. Laws, 144-154; SPANHEIM, Hist. Jobi, cap. xv, sec. 18.


Verse 16

16. After this lived Job a hundred and forty years — It does not appear from the Scriptures what was the age of Job at the time of his calamities. According to the Septuagint, his entire life was 240 years, (Codex Alex., 248 years,) from which deducting the Hebrew statement as above, there remain 100 years, (Septuagint 70) — a full, mature age, rich in experience and ripe in moral strength, with which to meet the onset of evil — an age, also, not far from that of Abraham when he was more directly tried of God. The speculation which is sometimes ventured upon, that the years of Job were also doubled, would make his entire age 210 years, if calculated on the basis of the Septuagint, which distinctly states that he was 70 when subjected to trial. His longevity then was truly patriarchal, as will appear from the following table: — Peleg lived 239 years Reu “ 239 “ Serug “ 230 “ Nahor “ 248 “ Terah “ 205 “ Abraham “ 175 “ Job say 210 “ Isaac lived 180 “ Jacob “ 147 “ Joseph “ 110 “ Moses “ 120 “ Joshua “ 110 “

“Supposing, then, the age of Job to have been somewhat unusual and extraordinary, it would fall in with the period somewhere in the line between Terah and Jacob; and, if so, he was probably co-temporary with the most distinguished of the patriarchs.” — Barnes.


Verse 17

17. Job died, being old and full of days — The Septuagint adds: “And it is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up.”

Also, “This man is described in [Gr. interpreted out of] the Syriac book as living in the land of Ausis, on the borders of Idumaea and Arabia; and his name before was Jobab; and, having taken an Arabian wife, he begot a son whose name was Ennon. And he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha, so that he was the fifth from Abraham. And these were the kings who reigned in Edom, which country he also ruled over: first, Balac, the son of Beor, and the name of his city was Dennaba; but after Balac, Jobab, who is called Job; and after him Asom, who was governor out of the country of Thaeman; and after him Adad, the son of Barad, who destroyed Madiam in the plain of Moab, and the name of his city was Gethaim. And his friends who came to him were Eliphaz, of the children of Esau, king of the Thaemanites; Baldad, sovereign of the Sauchaeans; Sophar, king of the Minaeans.” For Mohammedan views, see KORAN, Sura 21 and 38. Old and full of days — The formula is patriarchal, for the same Hebrew expression is used of the death of Isaac. Genesis 35:29. Compare Genesis 25:8. The word full, שׂבע, signifies also sated. The entire good which life can give, Job lived long enough to fully reap. Length of life, as a temporal blessing, is not so essential for us who enjoy the undimmed prospect of immortality. The man of God no longer counts upon years as a reward of virtue, nor upon the so-called enjoyment of life as the true fruition of well-doing. The ministration of sorrow, now unclouded, is recognised as a kind and wise agent of the Most High. Faith localizes the true harvest field in the life beyond. If life be for us but a handbreadth, it is long enough to answer its divine end — that of a gray, ever-dissolving, short lived dawn — to usher in an immortal day.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 42:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-42.html. 1874-1909.

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