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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
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CHAPTER 42

Job 42:1-6. Job's Penitent Reply.

2. In the first clause he owns God to be omnipotent over nature, as contrasted with his own feebleness, which God had proved (Job 40:15; 41:34); in the second, that God is supremely just (which, in order to be governor of the world, He must needs be) in all His dealings, as contrasted with his own vileness (Job 42:6), and incompetence to deal with the wicked as a just judge (Job 40:8-14).

thought—"purpose," as in Job 17:11; but it is usually applied to evil devices (Job 21:27; Ps 10:2): the ambiguous word is designedly chosen to express that, while to Job's finite view, God's plans seem bad, to the All-wise One they continue unhindered in their development, and will at last be seen to be as good as they are infinitely wise. No evil can emanate from the Parent of good (Jas 1:13, 17); but it is His prerogative to overrule evil to good.

3. I am the man! Job in God's own words (Job 38:2) expresses his deep and humble penitence. God's word concerning our guilt should be engraven on our hearts and form the groundwork of our confession. Most men in confessing sin palliate rather than confess. Job in omitting "by words" (Job 38:2), goes even further than God's accusation. Not merely my words, but my whole thoughts and ways were "without knowledge."

too wonderful—I rashly denied that Thou hast any fixed plan in governing human affairs, merely because Thy plan was "too wonderful" for my comprehension.

4. When I said, "Hear," &c., Job's demand (Job 13:22) convicted him of being "without knowledge." God alone could speak thus to Job, not Job to God: therefore he quotes again God's words as the groundwork of retracting his own foolish words.

5. hearing of the ear—(Ps 18:44, Margin). Hearing and seeing are often in antithesis (Job 29:11; Ps 18:8).

seeth—not God's face (Ex 33:20), but His presence in the veil of a dark cloud (Job 38:1). Job implies also that, besides this literal seeing, he now saw spiritually what he had indistinctly taken on hearsay before God's infinite wisdom. He "now" proves this; he had seen in a literal sense before, at the beginning of God's speech, but he had not seen spiritually till "now" at its close.

6. myself—rather "I abhor," and retract the rash speeches I made against thee (Job 42:3, 4) [Umbreit].

Job 42:7-17. Epilogue, in prose.

7. to Eliphaz—because he was the foremost of the three friends; their speeches were but the echo of his.

right—literally, "well-grounded," sure and true. Their spirit towards Job was unkindly, and to justify themselves in their unkindliness they used false arguments (Job 13:7); (namely, that calamities always prove peculiar guilt); therefore, though it was "for God" they spake thus falsely, God "reproves" them, as Job said He would (Job 13:10).

as … Job hath—Job had spoken rightly in relation to them and their argument, denying their theory, and the fact which they alleged, that he was peculiarly guilty and a hypocrite; but wrongly in relation to God, when he fell into the opposite extreme of almost denying all guilt. This extreme he has now repented of, and therefore God speaks of him as now altogether "right."

8. seven—(See Introduction). The number offered by the Gentile prophet (Nu 23:1). Job plainly lived before the legal priesthood, &c. The patriarchs acted as priests for their families; and sometimes as praying mediators (Ge 20:17), thus foreshadowing the true Mediator (1Ti 2:5), but sacrifice accompanies and is the groundwork on which the mediation rests.

him—rather, "His person [face] only" (see on Job 22:30). The "person," must be first accepted, before God can accept his offering and work (Ge 4:4); that can be only through Jesus Christ.

folly—impiety (Job 1:22; 2:10).

9. The forgiving spirit of Job foreshadows the love of Jesus Christ and of Christians to enemies (Mt 5:44; Lu 23:34; Ac 7:60; 16:24, 28, 30, 31).

10. turned … captivity—proverbial for restored, or amply indemnified him for all he had lost (Eze 16:53; Ps 14:7; Ho 6:11). Thus the future vindication of man, body and soul, against Satan (Job 1:9-12), at the resurrection (Job 19:25-27), has its earnest and adumbration in the temporal vindication of Job at last by Jehovah in person.

twice—so to the afflicted literal and spiritual Jerusalem (Isa 40:2; 60:7; 61:7; Zec 9:12). As in Job's case, so in that of Jesus Christ, the glorious recompense follows the "intercession" for enemies (Isa 53:12).

11. It was Job's complaint in his misery that his "brethren," were "estranged" from him (Job 19:13); these now return with the return of his prosperity (Pr 14:20; 19:6, 7); the true friend loveth at all times (Pr 17:17; 18:24). "Swallow friends leave in the winter and return with the spring" [Henry].

eat bread—in token of friendship (Ps 41:9).

piece of money—Presents are usual in visiting a man of rank in the East, especially after a calamity (2Ch 32:23). Hebrew, kesita. Magee translates "a lamb" (the medium of exchange then before money was used), as it is in Margin of Ge 33:19; Jos 24:32. But it is from the Arabic kasat, "weighed out" [Umbreit], not coined; so Ge 42:35; 33:19; compare with Ge 23:15, makes it likely it was equal to four shekels; Hebrew kashat, "pure," namely, metal. The term, instead of the usual "shekel," &c., is a mark of antiquity.

earring—whether for the nose or ear (Ge 35:4; Isa 3:21). Much of the gold in the East, in the absence of banks, is in the shape of ornaments.

12. Probably by degrees, not all at once.

13. The same number as before, Job 1:2; perhaps by a second wife; in Job 19:17 his wife is last mentioned.

14. Names significant of his restored prosperity (Ge 4:25; 5:29).

Jemima—"daylight," after his "night" of calamity; but Maurer, "a dove."

Kezia—"cassia," an aromatic herb (Ps 45:8), instead of his offensive breath and ulcers.

Keren-happuch—"horn of stibium," a paint with which females dyed their eyelids; in contrast to his "horn defiled in the dust" (Job 16:15). The names also imply the beauty of his daughters.

15. inheritance among … brethren—An unusual favor in the East to daughters, who, in the Jewish law, only inherited, if there were no sons (Nu 27:8), a proof of wealth and unanimity.

16. The Septuagint makes Job live a hundred seventy years after his calamity, and two hundred forty in all. This would make him seventy at the time of his calamity, which added to a hundred forty in Hebrew text makes up two hundred ten; a little more than the age (two hundred five) of Terah, father of Abraham, perhaps his contemporary. Man's length of life gradually shortened, till it reached threescore and ten in Moses' time (Ps 90:10).

sons' sons—a proof of divine favor (Ge 50:23; Ps 128:6; Pr 17:6).

17. full of daysfully sated and contented with all the happiness that life could give him; realizing what Eliphaz had painted as the lot of the godly (Job 5:26; Ps 91:16; Ge 25:8; 35:29). The Septuagint adds, "It is written, that he will rise again with those whom the Lord will raise up." Compare Mt 27:52, 53, from which it perhaps was derived spuriously.

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