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Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume Two
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[145] Book of Job. It seems to have been the custom of those that were counted their wise men in the early ages of the world, when they discoursed upon any head of wisdom, or delivered their minds on moral, spiritual, or philosophical subjects, to address each other in long set discourses, in a style at once lofty and poetical, dark and mysterious, which was their manner of teaching and discoursing. Now Job was one of those wise men that exercised himself very much in contemplation and instruction, and it seems that those that answered him were otherwise men that were his companions, that he used to converse with upon matters of wisdom before. And therefore we have so many of this kind of discourses with Job upon this notable occasion. These discourses were called parables. So Balaam took up his parable; so we read that Job continued his parable, chap. xxvii. 1. and xxix. 1. We read of this kind of speeches oftentimes in the Old Testament under the name of parables, as Prov. xxvi. 7, 9. “The legs of the lame are not equal, so is a parable in the mouth of fools. As a thorn goeth into the hand of the drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.” It was only they that were or would be accounted wise men, that used to utter their minds in such parables. Psal. xlix. 3, 4. “My mouth shall speak of wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. I will incline mine ear to a parable, I will open my dark saying upon the harp.” And Psal. lxxviii. 2. “I will open my mouth in a parable, I will utter dark sayings of old.”

[202] The Book of Job Extract out of Bedfords Scripture Chronology, p. 365, 366. “The place where Job lived is generally supposed to be Idumea, because we meet with a person called Uz, among the sons of Esau, Gen. xxxvi. 28. from whom a part of Idumea was anciently called the land of Uz, Lam. iv. 21. We meet also with Eliphaz the son of Esau, and Teman his son; Gen. xxxvi. 15.; and therefore it is probable that Eliphaz, the Temanite, the friend of Job, might be Jobab, one of the kings that reigned in the land of Edom. Gen. xxxvi. 34.

“But in answer to all this it may be considered that there is another Uz, the son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, Gen. xxii. 20, 21. who married Milcah, of the same family from which Isaac and Jacob took wives by the direction of their parents, and consequently most likely to be a family in which religion might be kept up in that purity as we find it to be in Job.

“As to the land of Uz, the Septuagint calls it Ausitis, but never calls that Uz in the land of Edom by this name. Nabor lived at Haran, on the south of the Euphrates, and no doubt his son might live with him, and his family give a name to this country; and we find in Ptolemy a people called Aisitæ, which the learned Bochart supposes should be written Ausitæ, who extended themselves from the river Euphrates southward into Arabia Deserta, and here both he and Bishop Patrick, our excellent commentator, supposes Job to have been born. Besides, Job is said to be one of the greatest of all the men of the east. Now the land of Uz, in Idumea, can in no respect be called the east. It lay almost north from Egypt, and south from Canaan, and south-west from the country of Midian, where Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, lived. But the south part of the country of Ausitis or Uz, lay not only east from Canaan, but eastward from all the countries in which the Israelites travelled whilst they were in the wilderness. As for the name of Eliphaz, it is not impossible but two men in different countries might have the same name, and then Eliphaz, the friend of Job, might not be the son of Esau from Teman, but the son of Ishmael from Tema, Gen. xxv. 13, 15. whom Abraham in his life-time sent eastward to inhabit the east country, Gen. xxv. 6. and where we find them in the neighbourhood of Uz. In those parts it is probable that Bildad the Shuhite, a son of Abraham, from Shuah by Keturah, (Gen. xxv. 1, 2.) might live, who was sent thither with the rest of his brethren, (as in the forementioned Gen. xxv. 6.) And as Buz was the brother of Uz, Gen. xxii. 20, 21. so Elihu the Buzite, being of that family, might well live in those parts, especially since he seems to be of a religious family, the son of Barachel, that is, he blesseth God, or God blesseth. Besides this, Elihu was of the kindred of Ram, or Aram, that is, a Syrian, as Laban was also called, Gen. xxviii. 5. who dwelt with his ancestors in Padan-aram, or the country of Aram. (But it is more probable that the Ram here mentioned is the Aram mentioned Gen. xxii. 21.) To this may be added that the Sabeans who took away Job’s oxen, and the Chaldeans who took away his cattle, were near neighbours to this part of the country of Uz, the son of Nahor; but lay so remote from Uz, in Idumea, that they could not make an excursion thither. It is allowed also that Job spoke the Arabic language in perfection, whence he is called the divine of the Arabians, and the book which goes under his name is full of Arabic words and phrases; and we may more rationally expect this language to be spoken in Arabia itself than in Idumea, and therefore there is little reason to think that Moses would call him Job in one place, and Jobah in another, where the difference of words is not only evident in every translation, but in the Hebrew language they do not begin with the same letter. The one y\*tt, and the other aai».” Thus far Bedford. It seems likely that the land of Uz where Job lived, was the latter Uz, or the Ausitis of the Septuagint, upon this account; it is much more probable that we should find so much of religion and piety, and of the presence of God, in the country of the posterity of Nahor, who is spoken of as a holy worshipper of the true God, whose covenant God was (Gen. xxxi. 53.) the God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, than in Idumea, among the posterity of so wicked a man as Esau, who is branded in Scripture for folly and impiety; of whom and his posterity it is recorded that God hated them; who was undutiful to his parents, and a persecutor; who began to struggle with Jacob in the womb, to signify that he and his posterity should be the enemies of the church, and whose posterity are always spoken of as the church’s enemies; so that oftentimes the children of Edom are put for all the church’s enemies. In general it is much more likely to find piety among the posterity of Ishmael, than of Esau; for there is no such promise concerning Esau that he should live before God, as there is concerning Ishmael. And accordingly we find Eliphaz in this book a holy man, of Ishmael’s posterity. Esau’s posterity, as they descended from a wicked father, so they chiefly descended from mothers of the accursed nations of Canaan that were Esau’s wives, and were the more likely on that account to have wickedness descend to them, and God’s curse entailed upon them.

Concerning the penman of the book of Job, Bedford thinks that it was written originally by some person that belonged to Arabia, the country where the things were transacted and spoken, because the style is not like the rest of the books of Moses, or indeed to any other parts of the Old Testament, but more concise and obscure, and that there are such a vast number of Arabic words and phrases to be found in it. It has been observed by several that the book of Job abounded with Arabisms, so that Job has been called the Arabian divine. And he thinks that the substance of this book was written originally by Elihu, one of the speakers in it; first, because when Job’s friends who came to lament with him, and to comfort him, are mentioned, Elihu is not named among the number, because he himself was the historian and penman, who gave this account, and therefore he named not himself when he named the rest; and secondly, because he thought that he seems to speak of himself as the historian. Chap. xxxii. 15, 16, 17. “They were amazed, they answered no more, they left off speaking when I had waited, for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more. I said, I will answer also; I also will show mine opinion.”

It looks to me probable, chiefly on the former of these reasons, and if it was written originally by an inhabitant of the country, as the forementioned reason of the Arabic style argues strongly that it was, no person seems to be so likely as Elihu; for as it was doubtless at first written by an inspired person, and probably, therefore, by some person in that country of eminent piety and wisdom, for such were the persons that were wont to be inspired, and to be improved as the penman of holy inspired writings; and it probably also was some person that lived near the time when the things were transacted, for true religion vanished away out of Arabia not long after, and such men therefore were not there to be found; and it is not probable that there were any other persons of such eminent piety and wisdom as those mentioned in that book; but of them, be sure, no one was so likely to be the penman as Elihu, who stood most indifferent in the affair, and was most approved of by God in what he said and acted in it, of any of them. Bedford also thinks it probable that Moses, when he kept the flock of Jethro, the priest of Midian, might meet with this book; which seems the more probable, because priests, even in all nations, and in the most ancient times, used to be the keepers of books and records, especially those that were looked upon sacred; and it is very likely that a priest of Midian should have this book, for the Midianites were related to the people that dwelt in Job’s country, and particularly to one of the speakers in the affair, viz. Bildad, the Shuhite, for Shuah and Midian were brothers, being both the children of Abraham, by Keturah, Gen. xxv. 1, 2. And it was so early then that the relation was more fresh in their memory, and it is more likely still that Jethro should have such a book, he being a priest of the true God, like Melchizedek. And Moses might probably take the more notice of the book, for its being so adapted to his own improvement in the banished, afflicted circumstances he was then in, and also the circumstances of his brethren, the children of Israel, in their great affliction in Egypt, for whose sake Bedford supposes he translated it into Hebrew, to teach them patience under their afflictions, and added the historical part, or he might alter the phrasing of the historical part, and add such expressions as would make it more intelligible to his own people, which were needless in the country where the things were transacted.

[111] Job viii. 8. “For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself for the search of the fathers.” The people of God that lived before there was any written revelation, depended very much upon the teaching and tradition of their fathers; those that lived near the flood were but a few removes from Adam, they might have Adam’s own instructions, without having them through many hands; and those that lived in Job’s time they had doubtless abundance of traditions from the antediluvians, who might be instructed from Adam himself, and who, through their vast age, had abundant opportunity to acquire great knowledge and experience. It is very probable that much of the learning that was in the heathen world was the corrupted remains of what was declared to mankind by those that came out of the ark. Job lived in early days after the flood, and there is abundance of philosophy in this book, which in all probability they derived by tradition from their fathers, quoted in this book, as here in this place, and 15th chap 10, 18, 19. verses, there is a plain referring to tradition from the beginning of the world, or from the second beginning after the flood; it is evident, by the 19th verse, they quoted the fathers then as we do the Scriptures now.

[101] Job xxvi. 7. “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” By stretching out the north over the empty place in the former part of the verse, seems to be meant the extending the northern parts of the wide plain of the earth, as they took it to be, over an empty abyss of space, much the same as hanging the earth upon nothing in the latter part of the verse.

[115] Job xxxiii. 14, 15, 16. “For God speaketh once, yea, twice In a dream, in a vision of the night.” Also, chap. iv. 12, 13., &c. It was a common thing, before there was any written revelation, for God to reveal himself to holy men in visions and dreams. See Numb. xii. 6. Gen. xv. 1. and ver. 12, to the end. Gen. xlvi. 2, 16. “Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction.” By affliction, that is, when men will not hearken to God’s instructions and warnings in his word, (that in those days was wont to be given after this manner, and delivered from father to son,) then he chastens them in his providence to make them hear.

[149] Job xxxvi. 30. “Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.” In the original, the roots of the sea, by which he means the extreme parts of the sea, where the clouds and the sea meet in the horizon, and those parts of the sea that are below the horizon, which they conceived to be drawn down, which is agreeable to the metaphor used in the foregoing, wherein the clouds that overspread the skies are represented by the curtains of a tabernacle; he spreadeth his light upon it, that is, upon his tabernacle, upon those curtains, the clouds, which are like a bright covering on the inside of it.

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