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Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Job 42

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 2

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. In the first clause ("I know that thou canst do everything") he owns God to be omnipotent over nature, as contrasted with his own feebleness, which God had proved (Job 40:15; Job 41:34); in the second ("no thought can be with-holden from thee") that Cod 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).

No thought - purpose, as in Job 17:11; but it is usually applied to evil devices (Job 21:27; Psalms 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 (James 1:13; James 1:17); but it is His prerogative to overrule evil to good.

Verse 3

Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

Job, in God's own words (Job 38:2), expresses his deep and humble penitence. Thou hast asked. "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?" I take the description home to myself: I am the man! God's word concerning our guilt should be engraven on our hearts, and form the goundwork of our confession. Most men, in confessing sin, palliate rather than confess. Job, in omitting 'by words' before "without knowledge" (Job 33:2), 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.

Verse 4

Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

When I said, "Hear ... and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me" (Job 13:22); my demand convicted me of being "without knowledge." God alone could speak thus to Job, not Job to God: therefore he quotes again God's words (Job 38:3; Job 40:7, "I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me") as the groundwork of retracting his own foolish words. My appeal was a presumptuous demand, instead of a suppliant prayer. God alone can demand.

Verse 5

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

Hearing of ear - (Psalms 18:44, margin.) Hearing and seeing are often in antithesis (Job 29:11; Psalms 48:8).

Seeth - not God's face (Exodus 33:20, "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live"), 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 until, "now," at its close.

Verse 6

Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Myself - rather, 'I abhor,' and retract the rash speeches I made against thee (Job 42:3-4). (Umbreit.)

Verse 7

And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

To Eliphaz - because he was the foremost of the three friends: their speeches were but the echo of his.

Right - literally, well-grounded [ nªkownaah (H3559), from kuwn (H3559), set in order], sure and true. Their spirit toward Job was unkindly, and to justify themselves in their unkindliness they used false arguments (Job 13:7; namely, that calamities always prove special guilt); therefore, though it was "for God" they spake thus falsely, God "reproves" them, as Job said He would (Job 13:10).

Like Job. 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."

Verse 8

Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

Seven - (see 'Introduction'). The number offered by the Gentile prophet Balaam (Numbers 23:1). Job plainly lived before the legal priesthood and Mosaic ritual. The patriarchs acted as priests for their families, and sometimes as praying mediators (Genesis 20:17), thus foreshadowing the true Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5): but sacrifice accompanies, and is the groundwork on which the mediation rests.

Him - rather, 'His person (face) only' [ kiy (H3588) 'im (H518) paanaayw (H6440)] (note, Job 22:30). The 'person' must be first accepted before God can accept his offering and work (Genesis 4:4, "The Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering"); that can only be through Jesus Christ.

Folly - impiety (Job 1:22; Job 2:10).

Verse 9

So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.

The forgiving spirit of Job foreshadows the love of Jesus Christ and of Christians to enemies (Matthew 5:44; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; Acts 16:24; Acts 16:28; Acts 16:30-31.)

Verse 10

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Turned ... captivity - proverbial for restored, or amply indemnified him for all he had lost (Ezekiel 16:53; Psalms 14:7, "When the Lord bringeth back the captivity of His people, Jacob shall rejoice, etc.; Hosea 6:11). Thus the future vindication of redeemed 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 Yahweh in person.

Twice - so the 'double' to be rendered to the afflicted literal and spiritual Jerusalem (Isaiah 40:2; Isaiah 60:7; Isaiah 61:7; Zech Twice - so the 'double' to be rendered to the afflicted literal and spiritual Jerusalem (Isaiah 40:2; Isaiah 60:7; Isaiah 61:7; Zechariah 9:12). "The Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends." As in Job's case, so in that of Jesus Christ, the glorious recompence follows the 'intercession' for enemies (Isaiah 53:12, "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he ... made intercession for the transgressors:" another feature in Job's history typical of Christ; because "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," Revelation 19:10).

Verse 11

Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.

It was Job's complaint in his misery that his "brethren" and his "acquaintance" were "estranged" from him (Job 19:13): these now return with the return of his prosperity (Proverbs 14:20; Proverbs 19:6-7, "All the brethren of the poor do hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him"); the true "friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24, "There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother"). 'Swallow-friends leave in the winter and return with the spring' (Henry).

Eat bread - in token of friendship (Psalms 41:9).

Piece of money. Presents are usual in visiting a man of rank in the East, especially after a calamity (2 Chronicles 32:23, "Many brought presents to Hezekiah king of Judah," after the invasion of Sennacherib) [Hebrew, qªsiyTaah (H7192)]. Magee translates a lamb (the medium of exchange then, before money was used), as it is in margin of Genesis 33:19; Joshua 24:32. But it is from the Arabic Kasat, 'weighed out' (Umbreit), not coined; so Genesis 42:35; Genesis 33:19, compared with Genesis 23:15, makes it likely it was equal to four shekels: Hebrew [qaashaT], 'pure'-namely, metal (Bochart). The term, instead of the usual 'shekel,' etc., is a mark of antiquity.

Ring - whether for the nose or ear (Genesis 35:4; Isaiah 3:21). Much of the gold in the East, in absence of banks, is in the shape of ornaments.

Verse 12

So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.

Probably by degrees, not all at once.

Verse 13

He had also seven sons and three daughters.

The same number as before: perhaps by a second wife: in Job 19:17 his wife last mentioned.

Verse 14

And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.

Names significant of his restored prosperity (Genesis 4:25; Genesis 5:29). Jemima, daylight, after his "night" of calamity: but Maurer, 'a dove,' from an Arabic root. Kezia, cassia, an aromatic herb (Psalms 45:8): instead of his offensive breath and ulcers. Kerenhappuch, '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.

Verse 15

And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.

Inheritance among ... brethren - an unusual favour in the East to daughters, who, in the Jewish law, only inherited if there were no sons (Numbers 27:8), a proof of wealth and unanimity.

Verse 16

After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.

The Septuagint make Job live 170 years after his calamity, and 240 in all. This would make him 70 at the time of his calamity, which, added to 140 in the Hebrew text, make up 210-little more than the age (205) of Terah, father of Abraham, perhaps his contemporary. Man's length of life gradually shortened, until it reached threescore and ten in Moses' time (Psalms 90:10).

Sons' sons - a proof of divine favour (Genesis 1:23; Psalms 128:6; Proverbs 17:6, "Children's children are the crown of old men").

Verse 17

Full of days - fully 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, "Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of grain cometh in in his season;" Psalms 91:16; Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29). The Septuagint adds, 'It is written, that he will rise again with those whom the Lord will raise up' Compare Matthew 27:52-53, from which it perhaps was derived, being a forgery introduced after Christ's coming on earth.


(1) When a believer is once brought by affliction to thorough repentance, how he abhors himself and his past spirit words, and whole bearing toward God (Job 42:6). He recognizes now first the infinite perfections of Yahweh, and perceives how presumptuous he himself was in trenching upon the prerogative of the Almighty and All-wise One, having 'uttered things which he understood not; too wonderful for him, and which he knew not' (Job 42:2-3). God's omnipotence contrasts strangely with man's feebleness-God's perfect justice with man's vileness and inability to punish righteously proud sinners.

(2) God alone can "demand" an account from His creatures (Job 42:4); man must not presume to "demand" an account of God's doings, but take it for granted that they must be good and righteous just because they emanate from God, who cannot but do right.

(3) As Job's friends had to come to God for reconciliation through the intercession of him whom they had wronged (Job 42:8-9), so must we come through the intercession of that Saviour whom our whole race has dishonoured and crucified by sin. Union in Christ, the great sacrifice, outweighs all the lesser differences of opinion which, for a time, estrange Christian friends. If, instead of quarrelling, they would pray more for and with one another, God would unite them in an indissoluble bend of love.

(4) Job's case may teach us that the believer's last days are his bent days, whereas the unbeliever's only good things are in this passing perishing scene. Let us learn to wait for our good things at the future restoration of man, when Christ shall come so his great Vindicator, and meanwhile choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 42". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/job-42.html. 1871-8.
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