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Job 19:23. “O that my words were now written!” The “words” understood as either—
(1) Those now to be uttered. So JEROME, PISCATOR, CARYL, HENRY, &c. As an everlasting monument of his faith in the resurrection.—MAYER. Such as would come within the inscription on a rock; therefore, those contained in Job 19:25-27.—SCOTT. Or
(2) Those which he had already uttered in defence of his innocence. So MERCER, NOYES, &c. All the declarations he had already made of his integrity, together with his solemn appeals to God.—WEMYSS. BARTH, in his “Bible Manual,” combines both: “The words of his lamentation and sorrow misunderstood by his friends, as well as those of his hope, which he was now about to utter.” GREGORY understood not so much his “words,” as his sufferings. “Words” put for the things themselves.—POLYCHROMIUS. Instead of “written,” WEMYSS and KITTO would read “recorded.” CAREY: “Engraven.” SCOTT says: “Written, perhaps, on linen: painting on linen very ancient among the Egyptians; the use of papyrus a later invention.”
“O that they were printed in a book!” בַּסֵּפֶר (bassçpher) “in the, or a, book;” סֵפֶר (sçpher) from סָפַר (sâphar) to shave, engrave, write. וְיֻחָקוּ (veyukhâkoo) “and were printed, or engraved;” Hophal form of חָקַק (khâkak) to cut, make an incision, engrave. So GESENIUS. PISCATOR, however, thinks that the verb חקק does not mean to “engrave,” but to “delineate” or “paint,” and refers to Isaiah 30:8; Isaiah 19:16; Ezekiel 6:1. MERCER observes that the order of the words is inverted, and translates: “That they might be engraven in a book.” JUNIUS and TREMELLIUS: “Carved out.” PAGNINUS: “Written out.” SCULTETUS thinks that the first clause indicates simple writing; the second, writing in an entire book, or among histories or public records. So SCHULTENS understands בַּסֵּפֶר: “in a public record, in which more remarkable events were registered.” J. H. MICHAELIS translates: “Who will put them into the book, that they may be engraven?” GRYNŒUS: “Engraven for eternal remembrance in all time to come.” ADAM CLARKE: “Fairly traced out in a book, formed either of the leaves of the papyrus or on a sort of linen cloth.” KITTO: “Engraven on a tablet of wood, earthenware, or bone.” SCOTT observes that letters were supposed by Sir Isaac Newton to have been invented by the Edomites, from whom Moses learned them when he fled into Midian. NOYES renders the words: “O that they were marked down in a scroll!” CONANT: “In the book, where all might read them,” as indicated by the presence of the article. CAREY thinks some particular book intended, perhaps that part of the Bible then extant, containing the records of the Creation and the history of the Antediluvian World. ZÖCKLER, however, thinks this unnecessary, and translates: “In a book,”—any book, or skin prepared for writing.
“That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” יַחָצִבוּן (yekhatsebhoon), Niphal, or passive form of חָצַב (khatsable), to cut, or cut out; “were cut.” So GESENIUS and J. H. MICHAELIS. KITTO: “Graven.” WEMYSS: “Sculptured.” BOOTHROYD: “Cut deep.” לָעַד (la-adh) from עָדָה (‘adhah, to pass); עַד (adh), primarily, a passage or progress; then perpetuity. GROTIUS conjectures the reading to have been לְעֵד (le’-edh) “for a testimony,” which agrees with the version of the Septuagint. בְּעֵט (be-et), “with a pen;” עֵט (çt) being, according to Gesenius, a pen for writing on stone or metal. “And with lead,” i.e., poured into the letters carved with the iron pen for greater distinctness. So JARCHI, PISCATOR, BOCHART, JUNIUS, SCHULTENS, UMBREIT, and most of the moderns. The TIGURINE version, however: “In lead.” So the VULGATE: “With a plate of lead.” LUTHER: “Upon lead.” A. CLARKE: “On leaden tablets.” WEMYSS, BOOTHROYD, and KITTO: “On rolls of lead.” TOWNSEND quotes PAUSANIAS, who says that near Helicon he was shown some leaden tablets, on which were engraven the works of HESIOD. TIRINUS observes that writing tablets among the ancients were made not only with wax, but lead, as is seen in the ancient tombs of Fabricius and Valesius, near Naples. It is known that with the Romans public acts were inscribed on leaden plates, as well as brazen ones. PLINY (“Nat. Hist., xiii. 11) says: “Formerly people wrote on the leaves of the palm and the inner bark of certain trees: afterwards, public monuments were written on reals of lead; and soon after, private ones on linen and wax.” SCULTETUS observes that for security against fire, Job wishes the inscription to be also in a rock. So MERCER, PISCATOR, JUNIUS, and TREMELLIUS. PAGNINUS and MONTANUS, however, translate: “In stone.” PINEDA: “On a pillar of stone.” CODURCUS and SCHULTENS think the allusion is to sepulchral pillars, with epitaphs inscribed on them. SEB. SCHMIDT translates: “On tables of stone.” POCOCKE remarks that hieroglyphical characters are cut in the rock in the tombs of the kings at Thebes. SCOTT observes, from GREAVES, that an inscription of one line in the same characters is found in the second pyramid. LEE, after SCHULTENS and HALES, notices that it was customary with the ancient Arabs of Yemen to inscribe their precepts of wisdom on the rocks, in order 10 preserve them. HUFNAGEL observes that Orientals appear to have been accustomed to make inscriptions on the rocks. NIEBUHR saw such in his travels. Those high up on the rocks, at the Nahr el Kelb, near Beyroot, now pretty well known. A. CLARKE remarks that all the modes of writing then in use are apparently alluded to in this passage.
Job 19:25. “For I know,” &c. Various opinions as to the nature and object of Job’s present declaration. It has been viewed
(1) as a confession of his faith, in opposition to the calumnies of his friends So DRUSIUS, &c. More especially of his faith in the promised Redeemer. So SCHULTENS, MICHAELIS, ROSENMÜLLER, HALES, GOOD, PYE SMITH, &C. Of his faith in a future judgment for the vindication of his character. So SCOTT. Of his faith and hope in reference to the resurrection of the body. So CAREY, &C. Of his faith in the Redeemer, and an assured expectation of a happy resurrection.—CARYL. M. HENRY calls it “Job’s creed or confession of his faith,” declaring that he sought a better country (Hebrews 11:14), and appealing to the coming of the Redeemer. A. CLARKE says: “Job speaks prophetically; pointing out the future redemption of mankind by Jesus Christ, and the general resurrection of the human race.” Dr. CHALMERS observes that—” To the consolations of a good conscience, Job adds those of a far-seeing faith.” Others view it as
(2) the declaration of an expectation which the close of the book thorns to have been fulfilled. So KITTO. An expression of the conviction that he should himself see the restoration of his honour and health; and that, although reduced to a perfect skeleton, he should be gladdened by an appearance of God on his behalf, and not on that of the others. So CHRYSOSTOM, JOHN of Damascus, and some of the early Greek Fathers; also some of the Reformed, as MERCER, GROTIUS, LE CLERC; those on the Continent with rationalistic tendencies, as JUSTI, KNOBEL, HIRZEL, STICKEL; supernaturalists, as DATHE, DÖDERLEIN, BAUMGARTEN-CRUSIUS, KNAPP, AUGUSTI, UMBREIT; even some of the directly orthodox, as v. HOFFMANN and HAHN; and in our own country WEMYSS, STUART, BARNES. Some regard it as
(3) the expression of his hope of seeing God in a spiritually glorified condition beyond the grave. So EWALD, SCHLOTTMANN, DELITZSCH, DILLMANN, ZÖCKLER, DAVIDSON in his Introduction; and of Jewish interpreters, ARNHEIM and LOWENTHAL.
The force of the Copula at the beginning of the sentence has been variously understood. “For:” as in our English version. So the VULGATE, DUTCH, GENEVA, COVERDALE, and SCHULTENS. “Since,” or “because:”—the older Hebrew interpreters. “Indeed:” so the SYRIAC, ARABIC, CASTALIO, PISCATOR, COCCEIUS, JUNIUS, and TREMELLIUS. “But:” LUTHER, DE WETTE, EWALD, LEE, CONANT, &C. DIODATI has: “Now.” MERCER and PAGNINUS: “ALEB.” MONTANUS: “And truly.” SCULTETUS: “Yet”—notwithstanding my complaints. MENOCHIUS and DRUSIUS: “Yet,”—whatever you object to me, and although you continue wicked. DELITZSCH: “But yet.” COLEMAN: “Verily.” PYE SMITH: “Surely.” FRY: “That.” ZÖCKLER: “And.” PINEDA observes: “The expression יָדַעְתִּי (yadha’ti) ‘I know,’ excludes all doubt, as in Genesis 48:19.” SCULTETUS: “Implies the faith which is both knowledge and trust.” GRYNŒUS and HIRZEL: “The conviction that will not be shaken by opponents.” The “I,” emphatic—“I know, if you do not,” So FAUSSET, HIRZEL: “I, for my part,” in opposition to those who deny him. GRYNŒUS: “I, in whom the arrows of God and man are now sticking, as in a wicked person.”
“My Redeemer liveth.” גֹּאְלִי (goali) from גָּאַל (gaal) to redeem, deliver; my Re-deemer. So GEEINIUS. COCCEIUS: From גָאַל (gaal) to claim as one’s own, as Psalms 119:154; Isaiah 43:1; Ruth 4:6; Psalms 74:2; Isaiah 48:20; used also of things sold and consecrated: hence to redeem; גוֹאֵל (goel), a relative who can claim or vindicate the honour, life, goods, &c., of another as his own (Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 3:13). SCULTETUS: Properly, a blood relation, who claims or recovers the alienated goods of a near relative, or himself from slavery, or demands his blood, if slain at the hands of the slayer (Numbers 35:12). GROTIUS: A deliverer, in a general sense. SCULTENS and ROSENMǙLLER: An avenger. GRYNŒUS and PYE SMITH: A deliverer or avenger; here pointing to the Messiah. UMBREIT: A blood-avenger—meaning God who should appear as his avenger before his death. LEE and HALES: An avenging Redeemer; viz. God, who should clear him of all charges. TOWNSEND: His Redeemer,
(1) As the restorer of his temporal prosperity;
(2) The vindicator of his innocence;
(3) The redeemer of his soul from sin and death: the several offices of the Goel united in the person of Jesus Christ, who took our nature and become our Kinsman. גוֹאל (goel) originally applied to a person whose duty it was to maintain the rights, interests, and reputation of a near relative, either by repurchasing his mortgaged inheritance, by marrying his widow and saving his family from extinction, by redeeming him from servitude, or by avenging his blood; applied elsewhere to God as a Deliverer from any kind of calamities. This believed, by some, to be the application here, without any reference to Christ. So MERCER, CALVIN, GROTIUS, LE CLERC, PATRICK, WARBURTON, HEATH, KENNICOTT, DATHE, DODERLEIN, Dr. WETTE, BARNES, &c. GESENIUS: גֹאֲלִי חַי (goali khai), “my Redeemer liveth,”—God Himself will deliver me from these calamities. STICKEL observes; גֹאַל (goel) here used without הַדָּם (haddam), “of blood;” hence employed in the more general sense of a judicially valid intercessor and deliverer of life and property. So OLSHAUSEN and CONANT. Here a deliverer, not an avenger of blood. On the other hand, FAUSSET observes: Job uniformly despairs of restoration and vindication in this life (chap. Job 17:15-16); therefore the allusion here to a vindication in a future life. According to MERCER, the Redeemer here is God the Father. So called as delivering the godly from their troubles. GROTIUS: The view of the Jews and Socinians; but the office only appropriately ascribed to God the Son, man’s Kinsman; and so always understood elsewhere. Redemption peculiarly ascribed to Christ. Job’s Redeemer the God-man, the “living one,” yet standing on the earth. SFEIFFER: The Incarnate Word. PINEDA, TIRINUS, SCULTETUS, &c.: The opinion of the fathers as well as of the earlier and modern evangelical interpreters in general. EPHREM SYRUS: A prediction of the incarnate Emmanuel. MUNSTER: “Of the Messiah, as the first-fruits of them that slept.” COCCEIUS: Christ is Redeemer, as
(1) Near of kin,
(2) Redeeming by that right;
(3) Taking the prey from the unrighteous possessor, and that without paying him any price;
(4) Paying a price to the true proprietor. All redemptions and deliverances of the Church and people of God ascribed to Christ, as Zechariah 9:11; Isaiah 43:9; Genesis 48:16. TOWNSEND observes: Job, in the age of error, may be considered as the faithful witness in his day to the hope of the Messiah. BARTLE, in his “Bible Manual,” remarks: Though having no well-defined conception of the Messiah as his Redeemer, Job yet expresses his expectation that God would prove a Redeemer to him, and the Vindicator of his innocence. PINEDA: In the expression “My Redeemer,” Job declares his singular love to Christ, as in the expression “My brother” (1 Kings 20:32). CARTWRIGHT: Job appropriates Christ to himself, and calls Him his own.
חַי (khai) “liveth” or “living;” always lives, is immortal and eternal. So DRUSIUS and MENOCHINS. CARTWBIGHT:” Liveth,” without distinction of time as past or future; God the Eternal I am: Christ, as God, lives from eternity, while, as man, believes to eternity: “Liveth,”—hath life in Himself as the Prince of life; also denotes His strength and power, as Psalms 38:19. COCCEIUS: “Job opposes the Redeemer’s life to his own death: perhaps, also, alludes to the death of the Redeemer Himself” (Revelation 1:18). SCULTFTUS; Although he shall die for me, yet is He the true and living God; the faith of the Old Testament saint is a true and saving faith in Christ (Genesis 48:16; Acts 4:12; Acts 15:11). JUNIUS: “My Redeemer liveth;” therefore, though men may bury my cause in oblivion, it remains safe with God. Others read: My Redeemer is the Living One. So SCOTT, PYE SMITH, DR. HENDERSON. HALES translates: My Redeemer is living. DR. THOMAS, in the “Homilist”: My living Redeemer; like אֵל חַי the living God,—having life in Himself.
“And that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” A clause very variously interpreted and understood. אַחֲרוֹן (akharon) from אָחַר (akhar, to remain, tarry, or be behind; here rendered “at the latter day;” properly “the last,” but may be used adverbially, with בְ or לְ understood, as in Isaiah 9:1; Isaiah 30:8, &c.; and then meaning “at last.” “At length he shall stand (or appear) on the dust,” i.e., on the earth. So GESENIUS, HEILIGSTEDT, MAURER, NOYES. Or “Over the tomb,” as EWALD, ZÖCKLER, and others. To witness for him: DELITZSCH. To protect him: FAUSSET. To deliver him: ZÖCKLER. Ancient translators seem to have read the verb variously; as אָקוּם “I shall rise.” So the VULGATE: “At the last day I shall rise from the earth.” יָקִים “He shall raise up.” So the SEPTUAGINT: “He shall raise up my skin on the earth.” יָקוּם “He shall stand up or appear.” So the SYRIAC and ARABIC: “In the end he shall appear on the earth.” The TARGUM: “And afterwards his redemption shall rise upon the earth.” In this way THEODORET read the word: “The last one shall rise upon the dust, or the tomb.” So most of the translators at and since the Reformation. LUTHER, however, following the Septuagint, has: “He shall hereafter awaken me out of the earth.” But the Dutch and French (MARTIN’S) versions: “He shall remain the last on the earth.” DIODATI’S Italian: “At the last day he shall stand over the dust.” VATABLUS: “He shall stand over the earth,” i.e., in heaven. GROTIUS, CASTALIO, LE CLERC: “At the last he shall stand over the dust,” or earth. MERCER, COCCEIUS, SCULTETUS: “The latter or last One, he shall stand over the dust,” i.e., on the earth, as being to remain for ever. The TIGURINE: “In the last time he shall stand over the dust,” applying his power over it. BROUGHTON: “He shall rise upon the dust,” i.e., from death. JUNIUS “The latter one or last man,” &c.,—living again in the resurrection and at the coming of Christ, compared with the former or first man, as in 1 Corinthians 15:42; perhaps Christ understood. MONTANUS: “The last one shall rise again from the dead,” alluding to Christ, the first-fruits of them that slept; or, “He shall stand over the dust,” i.e., those lying in the dust. COCCEIUS: “The last,” as never leaving us, or as remaining after all enemies are destroyed; or, last in life, alone immortal, ruling over death and the dust; or, as my deliverer, demanding me from the dust, having abolished the claim of death. SCULTETUS and GROTIUS: “Shall stand over the dust,” as conqueror, raising it to life. CODURCUS: “The last shall stand over the dust,” at the last judgment—the Son of God and the goel of our race. DRUSIUS and CARYL: “The last one,” viz., the Redeemer. So SCHULTENS: “The last man”—an epithet of Christ—“He shall stand over dust,”—the dust of the grave, to claim this flesh from the spoiled prison of death; shall come as the avenger of a good cause and of oppressed innocence, and will put the crown of righteousness upon my head. GRYNOEUS: “The last,” for, “At the last day.” So WEMYSS, GOOD, DATHE, DÖDERLEIN: “At last he shall appear on the earth.” HALES: “At the last day he shall stand over the dust,” i.e., over mankind—shall rise in judgment. FRY: “At the end he shall stand upon the earth.” LEE: “In the last age or hereafter” (the “last days” of the prophets and apostles). CONANT: In after time. So NOYES, BARNES, HENDERSON. KITTO: “Hereafter or at last.” Many of the moderns, however, prefer the other rendering of אַחֲרוֹן viz., “the last one.” So both the MICHAELISES, STICKEL, MAURER, HEILIGSTEDT, DE WETTE, DELITZSCH, SCOTT, PYE SMITH, Dr. ALEXANDER, FAUSSET. ZÖCKLER says: “As the last one,” surviving all, with special reference to Job himself. ROSENMÜLLER: “He shall stand to assist or avenge the dust, i.e., the dead.” HUFNAGEL, viewing עָפָר (‘aphar) as from i.e., “an enemy,” has: “He shall stand over or overcome my enemies.” A. CLARKE: He shall be manifest in the flesh, and shall stand over them who sleep in the dust, or who have been reduced to dust, CONANT: “He shall stand up,” &c„ as a judge, and will decide the case in my favour, as Psalms 12:5; Psalms 44:26; or, “On the dust,” i.e., on (he earth, including the sense of vileness. NOYES: “Dust,” probably emphatic, as constrasted with heaven, the residence of the Creator. DÖDERLEIN understands by “dust” the patriarch himself reduced to dust and ashes. So ZÖCKLER: “The dust of my decayed body or of my grave.” KENNICOTT: “Over this dust.” Dr. ALEXANDER: “By my dust.”
The drift of this sublime declaration thus variously understood. By most the sentence is viewed as declarative of Job’s assurance regarding the promised Redeemer and future resurrection of the body. CASTALIO. The reference is to the resurrection of Christ, to be followed by that of all men. The arguments in favour of this view, as given by COCCEIUS, SCHULTENS, and others: (l) The sublime preface;
(2) A final judgment threatened by Job to his friends (Job 19:26);
(3) His thoughts obviously lifted above this world, and the tone of his discourse now and henceforth more hopeful than before;
(4) All hope in this life already given up (Job 17:5);
(5) The opinion of the fathers, as Jerome, Augustine, Cyprian, Gregory, &c.;
(6) The interpretation of the Targum and the Septuagint;
(7) The wish that this testimony should be read after his death, perhaps on a sepulchral pillar;
(8) The certainty expressed by him as resting on the immovable foundation of faith, that his Redeemer would come;
(9) The simplicity of this interpretation;
(10) Its agreement with the argument and scope;
(11) The truth of the thing itself;
(12) The majesty of the words;
(13) The joyful hope exhibited by the patriarch;
(14) The oneness of the Spirit in patriarchs, apostles, and all the faithful. TOWNSEND observes: These words have always been interpreted by the Church as expressive of the patriarch’s faith and hope in a spiritual Redeemer, who should restore him after the death of his body; hence embodied by the Churches of Rome and England in their offices for the dead. LEE speaks of the passage as “a recognition of the first promise made to Eve, and therefore a prediction of the Messiah.” JEROME, in his Epistle to Pammachus, says: “None speaks so plainly of the resurrection after Christ, as Job does before Him” The passage was also applied by some of the Rabbis to the Messiah. Thus R. Hakkodesh: “God shall be seen in our flesh; as Job testifies. Out of my flesh I shall see God.” The reference to an existence beyond the grave, apart from the resurrection of the body, understood by some modern interpreters, as SCHLOTTMANN, ZÖCKLES, CONANT, &c.
According to an opposite view, the reference is to a figurative resurrection of Job, and his restoration to a better condition in this life. So GROTIUS, MERCER, CALVIN, (who yet fluctuates between the two opinions,) CHRYBOSTOM, AMBROSE. THEOPHYLACT, &c. The argument in favour of this view, as given by MERCER, ROSENMÜLLER, BARNES and others:
(1) Its agreement with the history;
(2) Its harmony with other passages of Scripture where a resurrection is spoken of, as Ezekiel 37:0;
(3) The views of the Hebrew writers, who, in searching for proofs of the resurection, never mention this passage;
(4) The doctrine of the resurrection not likely to be found in this place of the Old Testament alone, nor in the Old Testament at all;
(5) Job’s restoration to prosperity and happiness solves the difficulty of suffering innocence;
(6) The expectation of restored health naturally kept by the poet before Job’s mind;
(7) The assurance of restoration natural to one conscious of suffering innocently;
(8) The language fairly interpreted not necessarily implying a reference to a future and literal resurrection;
(9) Such a view inconsistent with the argument, and with many other places in the book;
(10) The resurrection never referred to as a topic of consolation either by Job or his friends;
(11) Such a view wholly in advance of his age;
(12) All that the words fairly convey met by the supposition that they refer to the events at the end. STICKEL observes, that the decision of the mystery is given in the Epilogue without the immortality of the spirit being in the remotest manner touched; and adds, that Job’s vindication required to be on the earth, and before those who were acquainted with the matter, or the inscription would be meaningless. NOYES: The idea of the resurrection inconsistent with the general design, the course of the argument, the connection of the discourse, and several express declarations, as Job 7:7-8; Job 10:20-22; Job 14:0, passim. EWALD however, on the contrary, asserts: That through the certainty of that truth alone could the contest be victoriously carried on; while the more respectable of the reformed Biblical interpreters essentially agreed with the Vulgate in understanding the passage of a literal resurrection. So many Orientalists and Hebraists, as SCHULTEES, both the MLCHAELISES, WELTHAUSEN, ROSENMULLER, GOOD, &c. CONANT observes, that the views of early Christian fathers, who differed in their interpretation of the passage, are of little account on either side, having been based on the defective translations of the Septuagint, the Itala, and the Vulgate.
“And though after my skin worms destrey this body” וְאַחַר עוֹרִי נִקְּכּוּ זֹאת ‘on nikkepkoo zotk.) These words variously rendered and understood. נִקְּכּוּ (nikke-pkoo from נָקַף “to strike, or cut;” Piel from, to destroy; or, according to some, from נָקַף יָקַף “to surround.” GESENIUS, in 1829, rendered the passage: “After they have destroyed my skin (equivalent to, ‘After my skin has been destroyed’), this shall be,” viz., that God shall appear. In 1840, he preferred to render it: “After my skin, which they shall have destroyed, this shall be.” The SEPTUAGINT has: “he shall raise up my skin on the earth, which has endured such things.” The VULGATE, followed by COVERDALE and LUTHER: “Again I shall be surrounded with my skin.” TARGUM: “After my skin shall have been taken away, or burnt up, this shall be,” viz., that my Redeemer shall remain the last. SYRIAC: “After this has spread all over and around my body.” DIODATI: “However, after my skin, this body be corroded.” MARTIN: “When, after my skin, this shall have been devoured.” DUTCH: “After my skin has been eaten.” TIGURINE: “After they (the Trinity) have surrounded this with my skin.” CASTALIO: “After this (my body) shall be surrrounded with my skin.” MONTANUS and PAGNINUS: “After they have bruised this my skin.” MUNSTER: “After [worms] shall have gnawed this body.” JUNIUS: “After [worms] shall have pierced this, when I wake up,”—reading עוּרִי (‘oori) instead of עוֹרִי (ôri) PISCATOR: “Although after my skin they (worms) pierce this,”—supplying כי (chi), or אִם (im). MERCER: “After my skin (corroded and consumed with my whole body), they (the worms in my ulcers, or my extreme pains) have shaken this (viz., his body,—not named, as so deformed, but pointed to).” COCCEIUS: “After they have stripped this that remains of my skin, or this my skin,—the whole of it, even to this particle; or, after my skin has burst, there shall be this,—pointing to his body.” VATABLUS: “After my skin (has been perforated,) pains have broken this [mass of bones].” GROTIUS: “Although not only my skin, but also this (the fat that is under it), disease has consumed.” DE DIEU: “After my skin has been consumed, they (my redeemer) shall make this to follow,” viz., that I shall see God. SEB. SCHMIDT: “After my skin has ceased to be,” viz., after my death. CALOVIUS, and GERHARD: “After my being raised up, this (all I see with my bodily eyes) shall be destroyed.” J. H. MICHAELIS: “When, therefore, after my skin worms, shall have despatched this.” LE CLERC: “If after my skin they have crushed this to pieces.” HALES: “After my skin has been mangled thus.” SCHULTENS: “After they (my pains and ulcers) have bruised my skin in this manner.” STOCK: “After they shall have swathed my skin, even this.” KENNICOTT: “After they (my adversaries) have mangled me thus.” J. D. MICHAELIS, and SCOTT the translator: “My skin, which is thus torn, shall become another,” i.e., shall be renewed. DÖDERLEIN: “I shall cast away my skin,” understanding אחר for אאחר. WEMYSS: “Though this skin of mine is thus corroded.” GOOD: “After the disease has destroyed my skin.” PYE SMITH: “Has cut down my skin.” ADAM CLARKE: “After my skin they (diseases and afflictions) destroy this [wretched composition of misery and corruption].” ROSENMÜLLER: “When after my skin this [body] has been broken into fragments.” BOOTHROYD: “If after my skin this [body] be destroyed.” DE WETTE: “After my skin, which has been mangled, even this here.” So EWALD, HIRZEL, and ZÖCKLER. NOYES: “Though with my skin this body be wasted away.” DELITZSCH: “After my skin, which is thus mangled.” CONANT, SCHLOTSMANN, and CAREY: “After this my skin shall be destroyed.” BARNES: “Though after my skin the flesh be destroyed;” or, “after my skin has been pierced through thus.” FAUCETT: “Though after my skin (is no more), this [body] is destroyed,”—the body not deserving to be named. FRY: “After I awake shall this be brought to pass,”—reading, like Junius and Calovius, עוּרִי instead of עוֹרִי.
“Yet in my flesh shall I tee God.” מִבְּשָׂרִי (mibbesari),—literally, “from my flesh,”—variously translated and understood. The VULGATE has: “in my flesh.” The TARGUM:” Out of my body.” MARTIN (French): “From my flesh.” DIODATI (Italian): “With my flesh.” PAGNINUS, MONTANUS, MERCER, PISCATOR, JUNIUS and TREMELLIUS: “Out of my flesh.” CASTALIO: “From my body.” VATABLUS: “After my flesh has been wasted,” or, “After the affliction endured in my flesh.” So R. NACHMANN. MERCER: “Out of so great affliction of my flesh.” COCCEIUS: “Out of my flesh,” not put off, but received. CALVIN: “In my flesh,”—after I have been restored to a new state,—uncertain what. So GRYNOEUS: “Out of my revivified flesh.” BROUGHTON “From my flesh,—I being raised and clothed with flesh.” GUSSET: “Out of my flesh, as my abode. J. H. MICHAELIS: “From out of my flesh.” KENNICOTT: “Even in my flesh.” ADAM CLARKE: Either, “See Him in my renewed body,” or, “See Him as my kinsman in my flesh and blood,” FRY: “Of my flesh,” i.e., of my nature and kindred, as Genesis 2:23. LEE: “From or out of my flesh,” i.e., while still in it. KITTO: “In his flesh before he died, or in his flesh restored to soundness.” BARTH (Bible Manual): “When the flesh is raised up”—in the re-animated glorified body. FAUSSET and ROSENMULLER (Second Edition): “From my renewed body,” as the starting point of vision, as Song of Solomon 2:9,—the next clause proving bodily vision to be meant. STICKEL: “Without my flesh,”—as a mere skeleton; Job now comes to the point in which God, according to Satan’s desire, “touched his bone and his flesh;” with only his life spared. MAURER: “After my flesh has been all wasted away, yet still in the body.” So CHRYSOSTOM, UMBREIT, HIRZEL, HEILIGSTEDT, HAHN, NOYES, BARNES: “Yet even without my flesh,” COLEMAN: “Apart from my flesh.” EWALD: “Without my flesh,” i.e., as a glorified spirit. So VAIHINGER, SCHLOTTMANN, DILLMANN, DELITZSCH, ZOCKLER.
“I shall see God.” According to PISCATOR, CODURCUS, and others, Job foretells the incarnation of the Divine Word. MERCER: “I shall contemplate him,”—discern His power, providence, and goodness in preserving me.” GROTIUS: “Shall experience him propitious to me.” So HUFNAGEL and ROSENMULLER. COCCEIUS: “Shall behold him in beatific vision,” as Psalms 16:11; Psalms 17:15; Matthew 5:8; 1 John 3:2. MENOCHIUS: Shall see Christ with bodily eyes, but his Divine Esssence with the eyes of the mind. SCHULTENS: Shall then see God face to face, since access to him is denied me in this life; shall see God in glory,—not the God-man who is the Goel. SEB. SCHMIDT: Shall see God incarnate as the Messiah. DODERLEIN: From my condition, I shall understand that God wishes well to me and approves my life. LE CLERC: The expectation fulfilled when God spoke to him out of the whirlwind. STICKEL: Expresses the expectation of a vindication of his innocence before his death, though it should be only in the last moments of his life. So HOFMANN. NOYES: Shall see God interposing in my favour. DELITZSCH: Shall sec God spiritually after death; Job’s hope, not that of a resurrection, but of a life beyond the grave, and so a breaking through the idea of Hades. EWALD: Refers to the immortality of the soul in the spirit-world. Dr. THOMAS, in the Homilist: Refers to bodily, not mental, vision; the resurrection of the dead found taught here as resulting upon the advent of the Messiah. So AUGUSTINE: Job prophesies of the resurrection; “I shall be in my flesh when I see God.” So CLEMENS ROMANUS, ORIGEN, CYRILL of JERUSALEM, EPHREM SYRUS, AMBROSE, EPIPHANIUS, JEROME, LUTHER, &c.
Job 19:27. “Whom I shall see for myself.” “See,” repeated for emphasis: LEE. לִי (li), literally “for me or myself,” variously understood. The SEPTUAGINT renders the passage: “Which things I know in myself.” VULGATE: “Whom I myself shall see.” MERCER: “Whom I shall discern to be for me, by His kindness in preserving me.” SCULTETUS, “For me,” i.e., for my good. So MONTANUS, PISCATOR, PAGNINUS, and COCCEIUS. JUNIUS and TREMELLIUS: “The same that I shall see for me.” CASTALIO: “Whom I indeed myself shall see.” VATABLUS: “I shall enjoy the sight of Him to my salvation.” COCCEIUS: “Whom I shall see, not angry but abounding in love, to my life and joy, or as mine.” MUNSTER: “On my side.” So KENNICOTT, HALES, SCOTT, WEMYSS, BOOTHROYD, CODURCUS: “Whom I even contemplate as standing by me.” GROTIUS: “I, I say, with these eyes shall see him,”—לִי being emphatic. GRYNŒUS: “Whom I shall see as favourable to me, or as eternally mine.” J. D. MICHAELIS: “For myself.” So GOOD, BARNES, Dr. ALEXANDER. Dr. CHALMERS: “For myself and my own comfort.” Dr. THOMAS: “In my proper personality.” COLEMAN: “As my own.” NOYES: “As my friend.” KITTO: “Interposing on my behalf.” FAUSSET: “For my advantage.” SO HEILIGSTEDT, MAURER, PYE SMITH. ZOCKLER: “For my salvation.” DELITZSCH: “Whom I shall see, I, for my salvation.” DE WETTE: “Yea, I shall see Him myself.” CONANT: “Whom I, for myself, shall see.” So SCHLOTTMANN. SCOTT: “Expresses more explicitly and emphatically his faith that in a disembodied state be should see God.” CAREY: “Whom that I may see as my own,” the object of the desire in the last clause. BARTH: “Anticipates partly his justification, and partly compensation for his sufferings.” ADAM CLARKE: “Speaks as having a personal interest in the resurrection as in the Redeemer.”
“And my eyes shall behold.” The Septuagint translates רָאוּ (raoo) as past: “Which things mine eye hath seen.” So MONTANUS, CODURCUS and COCCEIUS: “My eyes have seen.” The latter explains by saying: “The eyes of my mind have seen and tasted beforehand in my heart the vision of God by the illumination of the Holy Spirit.” CODURCUS translates: “I myself have seen with these eyes;” and adds, “applying to himself the resurrection common to all the saints.” MERCER renders the verb as present: “Whom my eyes see—not corporcally but spiritually: I contemplate His power with the eyes of my mind.” JUNTUS, followed by CARYL, has: “Whom I myself shall see with these eyes, being restored, though now I be entirely dissolved.” MUNSTER has: “Inasmuch as I myself shall behold him,” SCHULTENS views the words as equivalent to—“I believe the resurrection especially of myself.” ROSENMULLER: “I shall see with the eyes of my renewed body.” HUFNAGEL: “I shall yet experience that God makes me happy.” Dr. THOMAS, in the Homilist, observes that רָאָה (raah) implies bodily vision.
“And not another.” זָר (zar) from זוּר (zoor) to “turn aside;” a stranger. The word differently understood. GESENIUS readers it here “an adversary.” “So PINEDA, BOLDUC, STICKEL, CAREY. MERCER, MONTANUS, and PAGNINUS: “A stranger.” So DE WETTE and MICHAELIS. CONANT observes that זָר denotes only a national enemy, and translates: “Another.” So SCHLOTTMANN. VATABLUS has: “Another,” with “for me” understood. So DRUSIUS, COCCEIUS, GROTIUS, MERCER: “I who know my pain and grief and not a stranger.” OSIANDER: “Not a hypocrite,” a stranger in faith and hope. SCULTETUS and CODURCUS: “In this body and not another,” as Isaiah 26:19. HENRY: “He and not another for him shall be seen;” or, “I and not another for me.” CARYL: “I myself, the very man who now speaks, and not changed into another;” intimating a personal resurrection. So GREGORY and BEZA. MAYER: “TO show that as Christ lives again after death, so shall all the faithful, and that in the same bodies in which they lived before.” GRYNŒUS: “Not only your eyes, who in this might think you had a precedency over me.” HALES: “Not estranged from me.” So KENNICOTT, DATHE, UMBREIT, WEMYSS, SCOTT, PYE SMITH. A. CLARKE: “Not a stranger, who has no relation to human nature.” BOOTHROYD: “Not another’s [eyes].” DELITZSCH: “I and not another person.”
“Though my reins be consumed within me,” כָּלוּ כִלְיוֹתַי בְחֵקִי (caloe chilyothai bekheki) literally: “My reins are consumed in my bosom.” So GESENIUS and others; understanding: “From desire and longing for this consummation.” The SEPTUAGINT has: “All things hare been fulfilled to me in my bosom.” VULGATE: “This my hope has been laid up in my bosom.” TARGUM: “My reins are consumed in my bosom.” SYRIAC: “My reins are consumed on account of my cause.” COVERDALE: “My reins are consumed within me, when ye say,” &c. GENEVA version: “My strength has been consumed and destroyed.” VATABLUS: “My bowels have failed from affliction.” SCULTETUS: “From sorrow and pain.” LE CLERC: “From indignation.” MERCER: “My reins have been consumed in my bosom”—בְּחֵקִי (in my bosom) expressing the greater violence of his pain. PISCATOR and others supply, as in our authorized version: “Although.” CODURCUS has: “My desires have been fulfilled in my bosom.” The TIGURINE translators view the expression as equivalent to: “Which alone is my desire.” Similarly, CARYL and HENRY: “I have nothing more to desire.” DE DIEU: “My reins are consumed with desire in my bosom,” as Psalms 84:3. So SCULTETUS: “I also faint with desire of seeing him.” COCCEIUS and SCHCLTENS: “With desire of seeing him clearly and openly.” Dutch annotators: “With desire of obtaining so great a blessing.” SEB. SCHMIDT connects with what follows: “Because ye say,” &c. SCHULTENS regards the words as part of the desired inscription. J. H. MICHAELIS: “From desire of him, or of it, my reins are consumed in my bosom.” So GREGORY: “I burn with desire of enjoying that wished-for time.” To the same effect, J. D. MICHAELIS, DATHE, ROSENMULLER, DE WETTE, PATRICK, WEMYSS, SCOTT, and ZOCKLER. A. CLARKE: “My reins, i.e., my desires are spent;” equivalent to: “Though now apparently at the point of death.” KENNICOTT: “All this have I made up in my own bosom.” PYE SMITH: “The thoughts of my bosom are accomplished.” BOOTHROYD: “Accomplished shall be the desires of my breast.” LEE: “When my reins,” &c.; connecting with the preceding. HOMILIST: “Should my reins have been consumed,” &c.
Job 19:18. “Seeing He root of the matter is found in me” For בִּי (bi) “in me,” upwards of a hundred of MSS. have בִּוֹ (bo) “in him.” The expression שֹׁרָש דּבָרָ (shoresh dabhar), literally, “the root of a word or matter,” very variously understood. The interpretations reduceable to four:—
(1) A ground of accusation;
(2) A ground of dispute;
(3) The true faith;
(4) A holy life. The first and second are the most probable, and now generally adopted: “[How] shall we find the root of the dispute or ground of accusation in him?” So GESENIUS, DELITSZCH, NOYES, CAREY, ZOCKLER, and others, reading נִמְצַא (nimlsa) as first person plural in Kal. The SEPTUAGINT has: “And find the root of the word in him.” VULGATE and TARGUM: “And let us find the root of a word against them.” LUTHER: “And find a matter against him.” COVERDALE: “We have found an occasion against him.” MARTIN (French): “Since the foundation of my words is found in me.” DIODATI (Italian): “Since the root of the word is found in me.’ So MONTANUS, MERCER, VATABLUS, PAGNINUS, PISCATOR, JUNIUS, and TREMELLIUS. COCCEIUS: “And the root of the matter has been found in me,” or is in me; change of person for “in him.” Mercer understands the expression as implying Job’s innocence. CODURCUS: “And that the cause of the quarrel is in me.” So DE DIEU, POOLE, and SCHULTENS. GRYNŒUS: “The cause,” &c. viz., that I am a wicked man, and so deserving the calamities. HUFNAGEL: “Why sought we the cause of his misfortune in himself.” AQUINAS, JEROME, BEDE, SANC-TIUS, understand by “The root,” &c, the words which Job had spoken, or some other charge which the friends brought against him. According to TIRINUS: “An occasion of calumniating him.” OSIANDER: “Of chiding him.” The Dutch annotators regard it as the affliction he endured, or the confession he had just made. COCCEIUS: “The ground of speaking boldly.” VATABLUS: “Truth and innocence.” PISCATOR: “Solid arguments.” GROTIUS: “A good foundation.” CODURCUS translates: “The root of the question;” and understands it of the faith and hope of the resurrection. According to the Assembly’s Annotations: “The root of the Divine Word, or promise of a Redeemer.” J. H. MICHAELIS and SEB. SCHMIDT understand the expression as: “The foundation of his faith.” KENNICOTT and SCOTT have: “The truth of the matter.” HALES, with the Dutch annotators: “The strength of the argument.” The TIGURINE: “The foundation of the matter of salvation.” CARTWRIGHT: “Integrity of heart; the grace of God; true faith.” So MAYER, SIMON, J. D. MICHAELIS, BARNES, and FAUSSET. LE CLERC: “The Word of God.” BARTH: “The assurance he has just expressed.” GOOD translates: “When the root of the matter is disclosed in me.” WEMYSS: “Since there is no ground of accusation in me.” FRY: “A ground of accusation is invented against me.”
JOB’S REPLY. BILDAD’S SECOND SPEECH
This chapter the crowning part of the controversy. Both in form and in fact the centre of the whole book. Like the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, the jewel in the ring. Job’s faith soars like an eagle through clouds and tempests into the open heaven, and gazes for a few moments on the sun. The culmination of all the preceding conflict. What follows of a considerably different character. Job afterwards descends again into the arena, but much more tranquillised in spirit.
I. His complaint of his friends’ continued reproaches and unkind treatment
Their treatment of him was—
1. Distressing (Job 19:2). How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces (‘bruise or pound me as in a mortar’) with words (unkind and reproachful words, or with speeches and recitations which contain only words instead of arguments)?” The bruising of Job’s sorrowful spirit the natural effect of his friends’ speeches; especially of their long-drawn and highly-coloured quotations about the late of the wicked. Job put down in them for a wicked man, suffering the righteous consequence of his sins, and threatened with still more dreadful ones. Bruised in soul by his friends’ words, as in body by Satan’s blows. His internal afflictions thus made to rival his external ones. More grievously robbed by his friends than by either Chaldeans or Sabeans. Worse to be robbed of our peace and good name than of our property. “Who steals my purse steals trash.” The experience of David, or whoever wrote Psalms 119:0 : “Bands of the wicked robbed me” (Psalms 119:61). Reproach the bitterest of Christ’s sufferings, next to the hiding of His Father’s face (Psalms 69:20). Job’s affliction reaches its height in this chapter, as also his faith and his consolation. Observe—
(1.) Truth misapplied as mischevious as error.
(2.) A sin not to soothe affliction; a still greater one to aggravate it. A high offence in God’s sight to “talk to the grief of those whom God has wounded” (Psalms 69:26). The part of the wicked to “help forward the affliction” of God’s suffering people (Zechariah 1:15).
2. Persistent (Job 19:3). “These ten (many) times have ye reproached me.” Each of the three friends had now attacked him, and two of them a second time. Their speeches all partaking of the same reproachful character Their harshness and vehemence only increased as they advanced. The complaint of David as typical of the Messiah, “Reproach hath broken mine heart” (Psalms 69:20).
3. Shameless. “Ye are not ashamed.” A sin to act harshly to any; a shame to act harshly to the afflicted; still more shameful when the afflicted one is a friend. An aggravation of any sin when it is committed without shame.
4. Their treatment was cruel. “Ye make yourselves strange to me,” margin, “harden yourselves against me”; or, “treat me cruelly;” or, “stun me” [with your reproaches]. Unfeeling conduct towards a friend held base even among the heathen. The light of nature teaches that “he who hath friends, must show himself friendly.” The effect of false religious views to render men cruel and unfeeling towards others. Religious persecutions especially malignant. True religion a religion of gentleness and love. The more of it, the more gentle and loving. The more of a false religion, the more cruel and unfeeling. Herod put one or two of Christ’s disciples to death because it pleased the Jews: Saul, with more religion, kept “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against them” (Acts 12:1-3; Acts 9:1).
II. He wards off their reproaches
Does so with three considerations—
1. That he suffers, alone, the effect of his error, if he has committed any (Job 19:4). “And be it indeed that I have erred (‘gone astray’ from God and His commandments), mine error (in the consequences of it) remaineth with myself.” Sufficient to a man to suffer the effect of his error, without his having to bear the additional pain of reproach. The reproach of friends often harder to bear than the violence of enemies.
2. That his offence, if committed, was an unconscious one. “Mine error.” Marked difference made in the law between sins committed presumptuously or deliberately and those committed in error or ignorance. Job’s among the latter. Such found in the best, “Who can understand his errors?” Yet even then calling for humiliation, and requiring the blood of atonement. One object of affliction to bring sins of ignorance to our consciousness in order to their confession. Many, perhaps most, of our sins, like letters, written with invisible ink, requiring the fire to bring them to view; or, like the characters traced with phosphorous, only made visible in the dark chamber of trouble. Cleansing to be sought “from secret faults” (Psalms 19:12).
3. That his afflictions were from the hand of God (Job 19:5). “If, indeed, ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me, my reproach (make my calamities which you reproach me with an argument to prove my guilt; or, prove to me my reproach, that I am guilty and suffer deservedly), know now (on the contrary, or, as a thing I fully admit, but which ought to move your pity), that God hath overthrown me (hath thrust me down and brought me low, doing it of His own free will and pleasure, without reference to any guilt of mine as the cause), and hath compassed me with His net,” (as a hunter the animal that he wishes to take). Bildad had said the wicked are entangled in a net: Job admits he was taken in a net; but that net was God’s. Observe:—
(1.) A Godly man sees and acknowledges God in his troubles, as well as in his triumphs. In the friend’s view, as well as Job’s, his afflictions from God; the difference, that in theirs, they were retributive; in his, arbitrary and mysterious. This pleaded by Job as a reason for their pity and more gentle treatment. Enough for God to lay on His hand, without man adding his also.—
(2.) That our afflictions are from God may be either an alleviation or an aggravation. An alleviation, when there is faith in His Fatherly love; an aggravation, when there is only apprehension of His wrath. The hand of a loving Father seen in our trouble takes away its sting; the apprehension of His anger exasperates the wound.—
(3.) Sin, and not suffering, in itself a “reproach.” Suffering no reproach, but as the effect of sin. “Sin, a reproach to any people.”
4. That he can obtain no redress from God (Job 19:7). “Behold, I cry out of wrong (of violence done to me in these afflictions sent without any guiltiness as the cause), but I am not heard: I cry aloud (from intensity of suffering and earnestness to be heard), but there is no judgment” (no impartial trial afforded of my case, and no redress of my wrongs). One of the hardest things spoken by Job in regard to God. Seemed to charge God foolishly. Even Moses, the meekest man on earth, “spake unadvisedly with his lips.” One of the sayings for which Job was at last reproved by God, and for which he humbled himself in dust and ashes. Yet the language in a sense true, though both rash and irreverent. According to God’s own testimony, Job was “destroyed without cause” (ch. Job 2:3). Job correct as to the fact itself; not correct as to the conduct he ascribes to God in the matter. God might have, as He actually had, the holiest, kindest, wisest, best reasons for treating, or allowing others to treat, him as He did. But to ascribe wrong or violence to his Creator was only the suggestion of his adversary, and enough to bring Job, as it did afterwards bring him, to the dust. Job’s language sinfully presents God in the view of the unjust judge in the parable. Observe—
(1.) God’s outward dealings not always the criterion of His character or His heart. Seems at times to wink at the sins of His enemies and to disregard the cry of His friends. May, however, bear long with His people, but in the end will avenge them. Their part to believe this, and still to cry and wait on (Luke 18:1-8).
(2.) God’s silence to His people’s cry one of their greatest trials. Experienced by David and by David’s Antitype (Psalms 22:1-2).
III. Enlarges on God’s severe treatment of him (Job 19:8-19). Specifies—
1. His bringing him into inextricable straits (Job 19:8). “He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.” Describes his troubles—
(1) Externally; as of the nature of ah impassable fence. By the character of his disease, excluded from society and confined to his ash-heap. His disease an incurable one. All his troubles apparently irremediable.
(2) Internally; his mind full of darkness and confusion. Saw no way of escape. Acknowledges that “the steps of his strength” were “straitened,” but straitened by God, for what cause he knew not. Observe—One usual way in which God afflicts and tries His people is to bring them into straits, out of which they can find no escape. Hedges up their way that they cannot find their paths (Hosea 2:6; Lamentations 3:7; Psalms 88:8). Thus shuts them up to Himself—(i.) to humble submission to Him; (ii.) to entire dependence upon Him.
2. His so deeply humbling and abasing him (Job 19:9). “He has stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.” Similar complaint in ch. Job 16:15. The change in his circumstances here ascribed directly to God. The Chaldeans and Sabeans, the fire and the whirlwind, and finally, the loathsome leprosy itself, only God’s instruments. Observe—
(1) The part of faith and piety, to view all our adversities, whatever the instruments, as coming from God himself (Psalms 66:11-12; Psalms 71:20).
(2) All earthly “glory,” such as a man can be stripped of by Divine Providence,—children, friends, wealth, fame, influence, rank. That only the true “glory” of which a man cannot be stripped, even by death itself. God himself the believer’s unfading glory (Isaiah 40:19).
(3) The brightest earthly crown such as may, like Job’s, be suddenly laid in the dust. The poorest believer the heir of “a crown that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:4). A man’s crown, whatever is his ornament and honour. For Job’s earthly crown, read ch. 29.
3. His utterly extirpating him and blighting his hopes (Job 19:10). “He hath destroyed me (‘plucked me up’) on every side, and I am gone; and mine hope he hath removed like a tree.” The figure that of a tree thoroughly torn up by the roots. Job’s case, both in regard to person and progeny, property and position. All his expectation of comfort, prosperity, and usefulness hopelessly blasted. For his hope, see chap. Job 29:18. The frustration of his hopes, a part of his trial (chap. Job 14:19; Job 17:11). Hard to give up our hopes and see our expectations blasted. All earthly hopes liable to disappointment. Job’s previous condition and character such as might warrant such hopes, if any could.
4. His treating him as an enemy (Job 19:11). “He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.” Job had lived, like Abraham, as the “friend of God;” had experienced his friendship and familiarity (chap. Job 29:4-5); had, like Enoch, “walked with God,” and sought to please Him (chap. Job 6:10). Intensely trying to be now treated by Him as an enemy (chap. Job 13:24). Yet God’s secret testimony of him: “My servant Job.” The same borne openly at the close of the trial. Observe—
(1) Love and hatred, on the part of God, and His estimate of individuals, not known from His dealings with men in this world (Ecclesiastes 9:1).
(2) Apprehended wrath on the part of God, the believer’s greatest trial.
5. His appearing to employ His creatures for his destruction (Job 19:12). “His troops (His creatures whom He employs as a general does his troops) come together (as if summoned from different quarters to the siege), and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.” The Sabeans and Chaldeans, lightning and whirlwind, hostile friends and neighbours, good and bad angels, all viewed as God’s armies, employed by Him for his destruction. All nature, animate and inanimate, rational and irrational, visible and invisible, capable of being employed as His forces, either for mercy or judgment. The Roman troops besieging Jerusalem spoken of as God’s armies (Matthew 22:7). So the swarms of locusts devastating Judæa (Joel 2:25). Creation but “a reservoir of means” made ready for the Creator’s use. Man being in rebellion against God,
“The very elements, though each be meant
The minister of man to serve his wants,
Conspire against him.”
Holy angels especially God’s troops (Psalms 103:21). These pitch their tent around God’s servants for their protection (Psalms 34:7; Psalms 91:10-11). Appeared now to do so around Job’s tabernacle for his destruction. “Blind unbelief is sure to err,” &c. Job’s affliction now apparently chronic. The ministers of destruction had not only raised up their way, as troops advancing to the siege, but had sat down around the beleaguered fortress.
6. His alienating from him his friends, domestics, and others (Job 19:13-15). “He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed (ceased from their kind offices as such), and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in my house (servants and dependents, or strangers partaking, according to Arab custom, of his hospitality and protection, ch. Job 31:17-18), and my maids (from whose sex more tenderness and respect might have been expected) count me for a stranger. I am an alien in their sight,”—instead of being regarded as the master in my own dwelling. A painful aggravation of adversity and affliction when relations are more kin than kind. Job enlarges on this distressing change in his domestic and social relations (Job 19:16). “I called my servant and he gave me no answer (thus treating me not only with disrespect but contempt): I entreated him (instead of commanding him, as a master) with my mouth” (with my own mouth instead of another’s, or with a loud call instead of a mere whisper; or rather, instead of summoning him with my hands,—servants in the East being summoned, not by the voice, but by clapping the hands). A still greater trial, however, than this humiliation in his own house, was his (Job 19:17). “My breath (or my spirit) is strange (odious and disgusting) to my wife (causing her to withdraw from all nearness to me and intercourse with me), though I entreated for the children’s sake of mine own body” (or, ‘and I stink in the nostrils of the children of my womb; i.e. of the womb that bare me, viz. my own brothers and sisters; or the children of my own body—either grandchildren, or the children of concubines; or, ‘my prayer is loathsome to the children,’ &c.). The contemptuous treatment extended beyond his own house (Job 19:18). “Yea, young children (possibly those of his slaves or domestics, or according to margin, ‘the wicked,’ the idle rabble, drawn from curiosity to such a spectacle of misfortune and disease) despise me; I arose (or ‘I rise’ or ‘stand up’ to speak, treating them with courtesy and respect, or commanding them away), and they spake against me.” Sad contrast with his former treatment (chap. Job 29:8-10; Job 29:21-23). One of the greatest indignities in the East to be treated by young persons and inferiors with disrespect. Deference to seniors and superiors a prominent feature in Oriental manners. Job 19:19.—“All my inward friends (Heb. ‘the men of my secret,’ my most intimate and confidential friends) abhorred me; and they whom I loved are turned against me.” Job’s treatment by his three friends a specimen of this part of his affliction, and probably now alluded to. Their feeling, instead of sympathy, one of abhorrence. Their abhorrence from—
(1) His loathsome disease;
(2) The appearance of his being treated as a wicked man and a hypocrite, whom Divine justice was only now overtaking and bringing his secret wickedness to light. A duty suggested by the light of Nature to withdraw from such. This treatment one of Job’s keenest sufferings. The bitter complaint of David and of David’s Antitype, Messiah. (Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:13-14; Psalms 55:20). This treatment, like his other trials, ascribed by the patriarch to God. So with David—“Lover and friend hast thou put far from me” (Psalms 38:11; Psalms 31:11; Psalms 69:8). “The Lord hath said unto him, Curse David” (2 Samuel 16:10). Observe—
1. The sinful and undutiful conduct of men to be ascribed to God only as secretly permitted, and for wise and holy ends providentially appointed, but neither as commanded nor instigated by Him. So Joseph’s treatment by his brethren, and the Crucifixion of Jesus by the Jews.
2. The bonds of affection and friendship in God’s hands. These He has but to loose and friends turn foes. The social as well as physical system under His control, and dependent on His will.
3. Satan a willing and powerful agent in producing evil as soon as he obtains permission. His part that of the tale-bearer, to “separate chief friends,” and “sow discord among brethren.” His name Diabolus, or Devil, “the slanderer,” indicative of his character and employment.
4. Evil latent in every heart, and only requiring the removal of restraints in order to its breaking forth. These restraints in God’s hand, who makes the wrath of man to praise Him, while the “remainder” of that wrath He restrains (Psalms 76:10).
5. Civil and domestic concord, and the dutiful conduct of subjects and inferiors, due to God’s overruling Providence. The sins of rulers and heads of families often punished by the removal of Providential restraints, and the abandonment of the heart of subjects and children to its own corruption. Hence insubordination, alienation, disobedience, discord. On the other hand, “when a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
6. Job, in these verses, a manifest type of God’s Righteous Servant, the Messiah, in His last sufferings. (Read Matthew 26:27).
IV. Touching appeal to his friends (Job 19:20-22).
1. Describes his reduced condition (Job 19:20). “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh (or ‘as to my flesh,’—his flesh gone, and his bones adhering to and appearing through his skin); and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth” (with only the skin about the teeth and gums left free from ulcers,—proverbial expression denoting extreme emaciation and peril of life). Satan goes the utmost length of his permission (ch. Job 2:6). Job’s emaciation already alluded to (ch. Job 16:8). The result partly of his disease, partly of his continued grief. Man’s beauty soon made to consume away under God’s rebukes (Psalms 39:11).
2. Entreats the pity of his friends (Job 19:21). “Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.” Job’s spirit calmer and more humble. The heart a flinty rock that could resist his appeal. Yet resisted by his friends. Left to himself man has “no flesh in his obdurate heart.” Pity no less his duty, and the want of it his sin (ch. Job 6:14). Job’s appeals for pity on the ground—
(1) Of their relation to him as his “friends.” Natural for a man in trouble to cast himself on the sympathy of his friends. Even an enemy will pity in deep distress. A brother born for adversity. Men bearing the name and profession of friends to be careful to act as such (Proverbs 18:24). Jesus the “Friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19); a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Appropriated by believers as their Friend (Song of Solomon 5:16). Touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). Precious privilege to possess a true and tried friend. Such to be grappled to our soul “with hooks of steel.”
“Poor is the friendless master of a world;
A world in purchase for a friend is gain.”
(2) On the ground of his great affliction. “The hand of God hath touched me.” When God smites, man should pity, not reproach. The heavier the blow, the more tender the sympathy. Observe—All Job’s afflictions but the touch of God’s hand. That touch all that Satan craved. Able in a moment to turn our joy into sorrow, our comeliness into corruption. Can in a few days strip us of our property, bereave us of our children, alienate our friends, deprive us of our health, and render us an object of loathing to all who see us. “A fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
3. Deprecates their severity (Job 19:22). “Why do ye persecute me as God (adding your groundless severity to His), and are not satisfied with my flesh” (which you see mangled and consumed, but will add your reproaches and thus lacerate my spirit as well). Appeals to conscience and humanity as well as to friendship and pity. God’s apparent severity towards any of His creatures no reason for man’s severity to his suffering fellow-creature. In all circumstances God makes humanity man’s duty. “To love mercy” one of the three grand requirements on the part of man (Micah 6:8). Mercy “twice blessed.” Neither man’s sins nor God’s strokes intended to turn the “milk of human kindness” into gall. The more God wounds in His Providence, the more man’s duty to heal with his pity, his prayers, and if need be, his purse. Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan to be the Christian’s practice as it was His own.
V. An impassioned wish (Job 19:23-24). “O that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book (or public register)! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” Observe—
1. Reference made to the various modes of writing then practiced—
(1) On linen or papyrus;
(2) On leaden tablets;
(3) On rocks or stone pillars, the characters formed with an iron graver and filled up with lead for greater preservation and distinctness. Papyrus rolls still exist from the remotest age of the Pharaohs. Such mode of writing common in the age of Cheops, the founder of the Great Pyramid, 2000 years before Christ. Montfaucon, in 1699, purchased a book in Rome entirely of lead. Wady Mokatteb, along the route of the Israelites in the Desert, full of inscriptions cut in the rocks. At Hisn Ghorab, on the shores of South Arabia, on a high rock terrace, is a large inscription of ten lines in Himyaritic characters, the letters four inches long by one-third of an inch broad, and one-tenth deep, cut in notches, and having apparently been “graven with an iron pen.” The inscription is made on a very light grey or lead-coloured stone, a vein of the quarry coming out on the face of the cliff. It is as follows: “We believed in the miracle-mystery, and in the resurrection-mystery, and in the nostril-mystery.” The name of Aws at the foot of the inscription indicates it to be a relic of the long-lost tribe of Ad, the son of Aws or Uz, the son of Aram and grandson of Shem, and connects it closely with the country in which Job lived.—(Sermons in Stones).
2. Reference to writing as already well known. Practised long anterior to the time of Moses. Originally in hieroglyphics; then in letters formed from these. Three kinds of writing practised among the ancient Egyptians—the hieroglyphic, the hieratic (used by the priests), and the demotic, used by the people. Printing originally by carving in stone. Printing by blocks long practised in China. Printing by types only invented in 1440 A.D.; the art begun at Haarlem, in Holland, and perfected at Mainz, in Germany. The first printed book, with a date, a Psalter printed by John Faust in 1457. The first printed Bible with a date, produced by the same person, in 1460.
3. Job’s spirit elevated to a high pitch of sublimity and faith. Looks into the future with calmness and triumph. His language that of conscious integrity, and of certainty as to his ultimate vindication. Desires the perpetuation of his words to all generations. His words either those in which he had already declared his innocence, or those in which he was about to declare the certainty of his faith in his Divine Redeemer and Vindicator. Wished to tell out his confidence and confession of Him, without the fear of having a single word to efface.
4. Job’s wish fulfilled to an extent undreamt of at the time. His words written in the imperishable records of Holy Scripture. Printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society fifty millions of times in more than a hundred languages, and spread over all the earth, during the last seventy years. The last language in which they have been printed, viz., in this present year 1875, by the Pilgrim-Mission Printing Press at St. Chrischona, near Bale, is the Amharic, the modern Ethiopic or Abyssinian, nearly related to the language which Job spoke. The Himyaritic, already mentioned, is closely allied to the Ethiopic and Hebrew; and the Amharic has chiefly helped to interpret it. May contain the remains of the language of the earlier races of Arabia, as the Adites and Amalekites, and is considered a form of Arabic which preceded the Ishmaelitic, the Kufic, and of course the ordinary Arabic of the Koran. Hmyar, from whom it has its name, was a grandson of Kahtan or Joktan, the brother of Peleg; and from him were all the princes descended who reigned in Yemen or Arabia Felix, till the time of Mahomed. His father Yarab is said to have been the inventor of the Arabic language and the progenitor of all the Arabs of Yemen. Abyssinia, whose language is the Amharic, is called by the natives Habesh, or ‘mixture,’ from the united descendants of Shem and Ham who peopled it, Ham having probably fled at once from his father’s presence across the Desert into Egypt, his posterity multiplying in the valley of the Nile and in Abyssinia.
All our words graven as in a rock for ever as a testimony either for us or against us. By our words, as well as by our deeds, we shall be justified or condemned at the final assize (Matthew 12:36-37; Jude 1:15).
VI. Job’s triumphant testimony and joyful assurance (Job 19:25-27). “For I know (Heb. ‘And,’—‘even, or also, I know,’) that my Redeemer liveth (or, ‘is living,’ or ‘is the living One’), and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth (or, that He at last,—hereafter, or as the last One,—shall arise upon the dust or earth,—or ‘shalt stand over the dust,’ viz., my dust, or the dust of the grave, or mankind); and though after my skin worms destroy this body (or, ‘and after my skin shall be mangled thus; or, ‘even this,’ pointing to it), yet in my flesh (Heb. ‘out of my flesh,’ i.e., as my habitation or point of vision,—or, ‘without my flesh,’ i.e., in a disembodied state) shall I see God; whom I (emphatic, ‘Even I myself’ shall see for myself—to my advantage, on my side, or as my own), and mine eyes shall behold and not another (or, ‘not estranged’ as he now appears to be); though my reins he consumed within me” (Heb. “my reins,—without ‘though’—are consumed in my bosom,” viz., either from disease, or, as margin, with desire for that day). One of the most remarkable and magnificent passages in the Bible. Observe—
(1) the solemnity with which in the previous verses it has been introduced;
(2) The place which it holds in the Book as the climax in Job’s speeches. Job’s faith here rises to its loftiest triumph. The words uttered when, to outward sense, all was cheerless despair. A glorious example of Christian faith. Job’s faith “the substance of (or what gives reality to) things hoped for, the evidence (or certain conviction) of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Believes what it sees not. Hopes even against hope, or contrary to all appearances against it. His faith and hope the cordial in his trouble. All calumny and suffering easily borne in the certain possession of a personal Redeemer and the assured hope of a blessed deliverance. The passage early incorporated in the Church’s burial service, as the expression of her faith and hope of a glorious resurrection. The opening words—
“I know that my Redeemer liveth,”
Among the most memorable sayings of Scripture. Worthy to be written in gems and gold. Perhaps more familiar to Christians than any other text either in the Old or New Testament. Repeated over the open sepulchre for hundreds of years, proclaiming death a conquered foe, and the grave rifled of its spoils. A cheering and joyous light to millions in the dark valley of trouble and of death itself. Job amply compensated for all his suffering in being made thereby the author of these blessed and imperishable words. Consider under the passage—
1. The assured knowledge which Job asserts: “I know.” The language of absolute certainty. The thing no mere guess, or conjecture, or vague hope. No hesitation or doubt about the matter. Known by Job as certainly as that the sun was shining in the heavens. His faith neither to be shaken by his terrible losses, nor his wife’s reproaches, nor his friends’ suspicions and accusations. Like the life-boat, which buried for a few moments in the surging billows, comes again to the surface. Christian faith is certain knowledge (Hebrews 2:1).
Job glories in his knowledge. I know. The “I” emphatic. I, who am so reduced in body and in circumstances, so despised, so wretched, so loathsome. I, who am standing on the very brink of the grave. I know, whatever you may do, and whatever your unfavourable opinion concerning me. I know it, as my unspeakable comfort and my glorious privilege. The believer’s knowledge of Christ something to glory in. “I know whom I have believed.”
The grounds and sources of this assurance. Both internal and external. Internally—
(1) Divine enlightenment. All true and saving knowledge of God as our Redeemer the result of Divine teaching (Isaiah 54:13). “No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonas; for flesh and blood hath not revealed this [knowledge of me] unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” “It pleased God to reveal his Son in me.” “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true” (Matthew 11:27; Matthew 16:17; Galatians 1:15-16; 1 John 4:20).
(2) Previous personal acquaintance with God, experience of His grace, and habitual walking with Him (Hosea 6:3).—Externally:
(1) The original promise in Eden. That promise one of a Redeemer who should avenge on the serpent, the devil, the injuries he had inflicted on the human race, to be claimed therefore by Job as his Redeemer. This promise the germ of all redemption acts and offices performed by Jehovah towards mankind. Handed down from father to son and extended through the world. Found in various tribes and nations in a distorted form. Preserved pure in the line of Shem. The Fall through the Serpent represented on the temple of Osiris at Phyle, in Upper Egypt. The resurrection exhibited on the tomb of Mycerinus in one of the Pyramids four thousand years ago.
(2) Enoch’s prophecy, preserved by tradition and quoted by Jude in his epistle (Job 19:14-15).
(3) Enoch’s translation to heaven before the Flood.
(4) The preservation of Noah and his family in the Ark.
(5) The continually offered sacrifices, which told of a Redeemer who by death should destroy him that had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). Observe—
(1) Job’s certainty as to a living Redeemer in that early age more than 2000 years before his appearance on the earth, a solemn witness against all unbelief in our own, nearly 2000 years after it.
(2) Job’s happiness and comfort in the knowledge of a personal Redeemer before he came, rather to be exceeded by our own so long after he has done so.
(3) The sweetest and surest knowledge of God as in Christ our own gracious Redeemer obtained in the time of trouble and affliction. At eventide light.
2. The contents of Job’s knowledge, or the thing asserted to be known. Has reference—
(1). To God. “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” &c. Regarding God, he knew—
(i.) That He was his Redeemer. The name (Heb. Goel), applied—(a) To the kinsman, whose duty under the law, was, as next-of-kin, to redeem a captive or enslaved relative; to buy back his sold or forfeited inheritance; to marry his childless widow if unmarried himself; and to avenge his innocent blood. The institution recognised and established in the Mosaic law, but doubtless in existence long before. Still existing more or less in the East. Like others under the law, typical of the Messiah and His redemption-work. The name applied—(b) To God as the Redeemer and Deliverer of His people, especially of Israel from Egyptian bondage and Babylonian captivity. Peculiarly applied—(c) To God the Son, who, as the promised Deliverer of the human race, should become incarnate as the woman’s seed, and through His own death bruise the Serpent’s head. The name not expressly applied to Him in the New Testament, but the thing every where. (See Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:12; Revelation 5:9). The name proper to a kinsman. Under the law, only such had the right to redeem. Pointed to the fact that He who was to be man’s Redeemer was to be also his Brother. The human kinsmanship of the Divine Redeemer, a subject of express prophecy: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man that it my fellow” (Zechariah 13:7). Such kinmanship ascribed to Him by the Apostle as necessary for His undertaking. “Forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he likewise himself also took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, and deliver them,” &c. (Hebrews 2:14). God the Son the Author of all redeeming acts towards Israel. (Psalms 68:17-18, compared with Ephesians 4:8-10).
God the Son regarded by Job more or less distinctly as his Redeemer, in—(a) Delivering him from troubles (so Jacob, Genesis 48:16); (b) Vindicating his character and avenging his wrongs; (c) Delivering him from death and the grave; (d) Delivering him from the hand of the great adversary, the devil. His words uttered under a deep sense of his wants and necessities. His spirit at the time more than ordinarily elevated and illuminated. His language, perhaps, primarily referring to the divine vindication of his character, out extending much beyond it. Appears to triumph over death and the grave, of which he had the nearest prospect. The language only understood in its fullest sense in New Testament times. Words uttered by the prophets with a meaning not fully apprehended at the time by themselves (1 Peter 1:10-12). Redemption the term most generally employed in the New Testament to designate the Saviour’s work. Viewed as redemption from the curse or condemning sentence of the Divine law (Galatians 3:13); the power of Satan, who had acquired a right over us through that sentence (Hebrews 2:14); death and hell, as the punishment awarded by the Divine law to transgression (1 Corinthians 15:56-57); and very specially from sin itself (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Ephesians 5:25-27; Matthew 1:21). Israel’s national and external redemption typical of that of mankind as sinners, by Jesus Christ. The great redemption by the Son of God effected—
(1) By purchase;
(2) By power. The price of human redemption the blood of Christ, His substituted suffering and death. The power employed in it that of the Holy Ghost, sent in virtue of the price paid upon the Cross. His power required—
(1) In quickening the soul to a new spiritual life;
(2) Preserving and perfecting it in the image of God.
Job declares his personal interest in the Redeemer: “My Redeemer.” The language—
(1) Of appropriation;
(2) Of faith;
(3) Of choice;
(4) Of love;
(5) Of knowledge and past experience;
(6) Of satisfaction. Something to say the Redeemer; more to say our Redeemer; most and best to say my Redeemer. Devils able to say the first; unsaved men the second; only saved believers the last. ‘My’ the word that links the lost sinner to the dying Saviour. I may well rejoice that Christ is a Redeemer; immensely more that He is my Redeemer. This little word, like the honey on the point of Jonathan’s staff, enlightens the eyes and puts strength into the soul. Inexpressibly more sweetness and satisfaction in two such words as “My God,” &c., than in all the pleasures of the world since its creation [John Brown of Haddington]. His last words were: “My Christ.” My does not engross the Redeemer, but claims its share in Him with others. Faith’s first act is to believe Christ to be a Redeemer; the second to take Him as my Redeemer The privilege as well as duty of each human soul thus to appropriate Christ as his Redeemer. The world’s as well as Israel’s sin and condemnation not to do so. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not; but to as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God” (John 1:11-12).
(ii.). Job asserts that this, his Redeemer, was living, or “the living One.” “My Redeemer liveth.” The Redeemer thus viewed as—(a) Personally living. (b) Continuing to exist beyond the bounds of time. Able, therefore, to redeem him from death and the grave. Lived to vindicate His character after his body had mingled with the dust. Able to save to the uttermost, or to the end. (c) The Mighty One. Life the expression of strength and power. “Mine enemies are lively, and they are strong.” Job’s Redeemer and our’s possessed of all power in heaven and earth. “Has power over all flesh to give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given Him” (John 17:3). (d) The Author and Giver of life. Having life in Himself and able to communicate it to others. The living and life-giving Redeemer set over against Job’s state as dying, or virtually dead. The epithet one proper to God. Called “the living God;” He that “liveth for ever and ever.” Appropriated by Christ: “I am He that liveth and was dead, and am alive for evermore.” Christ the Resurrection and the Life. The Way, the Truth, and Life. The true God and eternal life (Revelation 1:18; John 2:25; John 14:16; 1 John 5:20). A living and life-giving Redeemer our comfort in a dying body in a dying world, and with the remains of death in our soul. Christ, as our Redeemer, lives—(a) To plead our cause in heaven (Hebrews 7:25); (b) To send down supplies of needed grace (2 Corinthians 12:9); (c) To prepare a place for us in Paradise (John 14:2); (d) To attend to all our concerns (Hebrews 4:14-16); (e) To overcome all our enemies; (f) To deliver us out of all our troubles; (g) To give victory over temptation and sin; (h) To make us partakers of his life; (i) To receive us to Himself; (j) To come again in glory. Christ as an ever-living Redeemer, the hope and trust of the believer. That our Redeemer lives, an antidote against the fear of man, of troubles, of death, of judgment (Isaiah 51:12-13; Isaiah 43:2-3; Revelation 1:17-18). Our case safe in the hands of a living Redeemer. Enough for a dying saint that his Redeemer lives. One at least whom death cannot remove from us. His life a pledge of His people’s (John 14:19).
(iii.) That He should “stand (or rise up) at the last day (or ‘as the last one’) upon (or over) the earth.” Job elevated by the Holy Spirit to the place and office of a prophet. The book a part of those Scriptures which “testify” of Christ, and out of which Christ expounded to the disciples the things concerning Himself. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The prophets testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow (1 Peter 1:11). The testimony of Moses and the prophets that Christ should suffer, and should be the first that should rise from the dead (Acts 26:22-23). Job’s present language a prophecy, as well as the expression of his faith and assurance. Declares—
(1) That God as his Redeemer would one day appear on behalf of his suffering servant. “Standing” or “rising up” the Scripture expression for a a Divine appearance as the deliverer and avenger of His people (Psalms 7:6; Psalms 10:12; Psalms 12:5; Isaiah 33:10).
(2) That he would appear on or over the earth. Appears to be a double prophecy, viz., of the Redeemer’s incarnation and His coming to judgment. These often united in the prophets, being, as here, viewed together as one event. The first necessary to the second, the second the compliment of the first. His coming to suffer necessary in order to His coming to reign. His second coming completes what His first began. Christ called by the apostle, speaking of the resurrection of the dead, the last Adam, or second Man, as apparently here, the last or latter One (1 Corinthians 15:21-22; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Corinthians 15:47). The first Adam brought man’s body to the dust; and second comes to raise it from it. Observe—
(1) Faith comforts by turning the sufferer’s eye from God’s present dealings with him to his future ones.
(2) The consolation of the Church is—(i.) That Christ has suffered for our sins, the Just One in the room of the unjust; (ii.) That he has risen as the first-fruits of them that slept; (iii.) That to them that look for Him He will appear the second time without sin unto salvation; (iv.) That them that sleep in Jesus God will bring with Him (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:23; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:14).—The knowledge asserted by Job has reference also—
(2) To himself (Job 19:27). “And though after my skin, &c., yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself,” &c. The centre of his faith and hope, not only that his Redeemer lives, and should one day appear, but that as the result of it he should
Two ways of seeing God—(i.) Mentally and spiritually; (ii.) Physically and corporeally. God seen—(i.) In His character and works; (ii.) In His person. The former only our privilege here, while in the body; the latter, hereafter, out of the body and after the resurrection. God seen in His Person in His Son Jesus Christ. “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” In Christ is seen “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Isaiah, in vision, beheld the Lord (Jehovah) sitting on His throne in the temple (Isaiah 6:1). He beheld the “glory” of Christ (John 12:41). As distinct from the glorified Redeemer, at the right hand of the Father, Stephen beheld “the glory of God” (Acts 7:55). In heaven the angels always behold “the face” of the Father (Matthew 18:10). The vision of God, anticipated by Job, generally understood to be a corporeal one in His restored body. Appears to emphasize it in this view—“Whom mine eyes shall behold.” Christ, at His second appearing, the object of bodily vision. “Every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him.”
The prospect re-asserted and dwelt upon from its sweetness and certainty. I shall see God—see Him for myself—mine eyes shall behold Him. Contrasted with his present experience,—unable to perceive God. God hiding Himself from him, his greatest trial (ch. Job 13:24; Job 9:11; Job 23:8-9). Observe—(i.) The vision of God the blessedness of the glorified (Psalms 17:15; Matthew 5:8; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 22:4). Implies—
(1) A much higher and clearer knowledge of God (1 Corinthians 13:9-12).
(2) Enjoyment of immediate and uninterrupted fellowship with Him.
(3) More blissful consciousness of His favour and love.
(4) Fuller understanding of His providential dealings here.—(ii.) The nature of faith to believe that though God now hides His face, yet we shall again behold it (Micah 7:8; Habakkuk 3:17-19). Faith trusts in the dark and hopes for what it sees not.—(iii.) Joyful anticipation of seeing God the peculiar privilege of a believer. Implies—
(1) A conscious state of peace and reconciliation with God.
(2) A renewed nature, capable of delighting in God and in His fellowship.
(3) Purity of heart, and conscious integrity of character. Only the pure in heart capable of seeing God (Matthew 5:8). Evil cannot dwell with Him. A hypocrite shall not come before Him. To see God’s face, coupled with serving Him, the blessedness of the glorified (Revelation 22:4). The sight of God and the Lamb at His second appearing, the world’s greatest dread (Revelation 6:15-17). The comfort of believers that when God shall appear, it will be “for them,” as their Friend and Redeemer, for their full and everlasting salvation (Hebrews 9:28).
The appearing of his Redeemer, and the future sight of God as his friend, the object of Job’s intense longing. “My reins are consumed in my bosom”—with desire for that day (margin). Contrasted with the object of desire held forth by his three friends—health and prosperity in this life. The salvation of God, perfected at the Saviour’s second appearing, the Church’s desire both in the Old and New Testament. Jacob’s experience: “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord.” David’s: “My flesh shall rest in hope, for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” (wilt not leave me in the grave). “I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness.” Isaiah, and the Church in his day: “With my soul have I desired thee in the night;” the answer: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing ye that dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isaiah 26:9; Isaiah 26:19). The last words of the spouse in the Song: “Make haste, my beloved, and be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountain of spices.” Christ’s glorious appearing the blessed hope and desire of the early Christians, exposed as they were to death and all kinds of suffering for the truth’s sake. “The Spirit and the Bride said, Come—the Spirit in the Bride” (Revelation 22:17; Romans 8:23). In reply to the promise: “Behold, I come quickly;” the Church’s last recorded prayer is: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” The cry of the souls under the altar: “How long, O Lord, wilt thou not avenge our blood on the earth.”
The Lord’s second appearing, and the resurrection consequent on it, to be desired and longed for, as—
(1) The time of full redemption and salvation in body and soul to believers themselves;
(2) The same to their brethren in Christ, whether living or long departed;
(3) The time of deliverance to the whole creation from the bondage of corruption entailed upon them by man’s sin;
(4) The time when Christ shall be manifested in glory, and the kingdom of God shall fully come;
(5) The period for the creation of the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (Romans 8:19-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Peter 3:12-13).
“He whose car the winds are, and the clouds
The dust that waits upon his sultry march,
When sin hath moved him, and his wrath is hot,
Shall visit earth in mercy; shall descend
Propitious in his chariot paved with love;
And what his storms have blasted and defaced
For man’s revolt, shall with a smile repair.
Come then, and, added to thy many crowns,
Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth,
Thou who alone art worthy!”
VII. Addresses remonstrance and warning to his friends (Job 19:28-29).
1. The Remonstrance (Job 19:28). “But ye should say (or, ‘because ye say’) why persecute we him? (or, ‘how shall we persecute him,’) seeing the root of the matter is found in me,” (margin “and what root of matter is found in me?”—or, “and how shall we find a ground of accusation” [Heb. ‘the root of a word or thing’] against him?) The great offence of Job’s friends their persecution of a suffering brother. Their desire and aim to prove him a wicked man and deserving the calamities sent upon him. Sought therefore to find ground of accusation against him. Hence Job’s name: “the persecuted one.” In this, as in other things, a type of Christ. Job’s friends the representatives of the Scribes and Pharisees, priests and elders of the Jews (Matthew 12:13; Luke 11:54; John 8:6).
Bequeathed to all Christ’s members (John 15:20; 2 Timothy 3:12). Its endurance by the Church a characteristic of the reign of Antichrist (Revelation 11:2-5; Revelation 12:11-17). Satan the great persecutor. Persecution in accordance with the original promise of a Saviour (Genesis 3:15). May be either bloody or unbloody—from the openly profane or the professedly godly. Petty persecution in the family or the workshop often as trying as that of the dungeon and the scaffold. Almost one continued persecution of the Church from Jews and Pagans during the first three hundred years of its existence. The Church nursed in blood. That blood made the means of its increase. Like Israel in Egypt (Exodus 1:12). Ten great persecutions enumerated before the establishment of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. Persecution frequently that of one part of the professing Church by another. The dominant section often a persecutor of the rest. The spirit and ground of persecution—
(1) Enmity to the truth;
(2) Desire for supremacy;
(3) Intolerance of opposition;
(4) Blind and misguided zeal (Galatians 4:29; 3 John 1:9-10; John 16:2-3). Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, the mystical seven-hilled city, drunk with the blood of the saints (Revelation 17:6). Note in Rhemish Testament on this passage (Revelation 17:6),—“Their blood,” viz., that of heretics, “is not called the blood of saints, no more than the blood of thieves, mankillers, and other malefactors; for the shedding of which by order of justice, no commonwealth shall answer.” More blood shed in Christian persecutions than in Pagan ones. A long blood-stained history of Inquisitions, Crusades, Massacres, and Star-chambers. Between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries, about a million of non-conforming Albigenses and Waldenses put to death by armies sent for that purpose with the Pope’s blessing and the promise of eternal salvation. Nearly a million more suffered death on the same grounds, within fifty years after the institution of the order of the Jesuits in 1540. In the Netherlands, the Duke of Alva boasted that thirty-six thousand heretics had been put to death by the common executioner. Within thirty days from the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s day (1572), thirty thousand at least calculated to have been butchered in Paris and throughout France. Public thanks ordered by the Pope to be given in one of the churches at Rome, and a medal to be struck for its commemoration.
2. The threatening (Job 19:29). “Be ye afraid of the sword; for wrath (such as you manifest against me) bringeth the punishments of the sword (or, ‘is one of the iniquities [deserving and meeting with the punishment] of the sword’), that ye may know that there is a judgment.” The sword, the symbol of justice, here the justice of God (Romans 13:4; Deuteronomy 23:21). An invisible avenger takes the part of the persecuted and oppressed. Persecutors especially threatened in the New Testament. Christ’s second appearing especially terrible to such as smite their fellow servants (Matthew 24:49). A righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble His people (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10). The judgments of the last days especially inflicted on the persecutors of the saints (Revelation 18:6; Revelation 18:24). Observe:—
(1) Persecution a hard and terrible enterprise. Pagan persecutors noted as having generally died by horrible deaths. Charles IX., who authorized the Parisian massacre of 1572, died in despair in a bloody sweat. Christ’s words to Saul addressed to all persecutors: “It is hard for thee to kick. against the pricks.”
(2) The part of charity and piety to seek to turn persecutors from their sin, and so avert their doom.
(3) Anger against the servants of God, though shewn only in words, viewed by God as a sin equivalent to murder. The sin of Job’s friends. Hence to be atoned for by sacrifice at the close of the controversy.
(4) Men not secured from Divine judgment by a religious profession.
(5) The treatment given to Christs’s servants and brethren one great criterion by which men will hereafter be judged (Matthew 25:34-46).
(6) The comfort of God’s people that they can appeal from man’s judgment to God’s.
(7) A day coming when men’s character and doings will be clearly revealed (Malachi 3:18). Men to be “brought out in their blacks and whites” [S. Rutherford].
(8) A day of judgment terribly certain. (i.) From the testimony of Scripture. The first recorded inspired declaration such a testimony (Jude 1:14, Jude 1:15). Enoch’s prophecy doubtless known to Job. Such testimony greatly accumulated since then (Ecclesiastes 2:9; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 2:16; Romans 14:10; Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10. (ii.) From the universal voice of conscience. (iii.) From God’s providential dealings in the world. Sin punished here so far as to shew that God marks and punishes it; left unpunished, so far as to shew that “there is a judgment” to come.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Job 19". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26