Book Overview - Job
by Robert Hawker
THE BOOK OF JOB
IN my entrance upon every part of the Sacred Writings, I desire to keep constantly in view, the same solemn charge from the Lord as he delivered to Moses from the bush; and to take off the shoe, in token of profound humiliation, as one conscious that the place where I tread is holy ground. Lord! grant me every suited grace at all the steps I take, that my feet may not slide.
In opening this book of God, the Reader will, no doubt, be led to remark with me, how very different the stile of writing is, from any of the former scriptures we have hitherto noticed in this Commentary. It forms, indeed, a beautiful manner of conveying divine truths in the variety which the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to make use of upon this occasion; serves to manifest the riches of his grace in this particular, that while the methods are various for carrying on his gracious design, all result from one and the same Spirit, who divideth to every man severally as he will.
Respecting the writer of the book of Job, various have been the opinions of studious men on this point. Some have ascribed it to Job himself: others have pronounced Moses to have been the writer of it. Some have thought that it was Elihu; and a few others have fancied it was Isaiah. But I should think the thing impossible, respecting the latter. The antiquity of the book of Job is unquestionable; for the very latest period could not bring it further down than to about 1540 years before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; and certain it is, that Isaiah lived not at a greater distance from that era than 750 years. But I do not think it necessary to detain the Reader in this place with any further observations respecting the writer of the book of Job, or the period in which it was written. In the very opening of this commentary, I have (according to the best of my ability) stated the order in which the several books of the Bible, as appears to me, should be placed; to which therefore I refer.
I think it, however, more important to ascertain the reality of Job's character; as some have ventured to raise questions on this point, and have supposed that no such a person as Job ever lived. But that Job was a real person, and the writings which bear his name inspired, I venture to conclude, are both undeniably proved from other parts of the Bible. The apostle Paul makes a quotation from this book, and doth it in the same manner as is usually done, whenever one sacred writer borrows from another. It is written, saith the apostle; meaning in the word of God: see 1 Corinthians 3:19. And as to the existence of Job, the apostle James, refers to him as an illustrious example of patience, which would have been absurd, upon the presumption that Job never had existed. James 5:11. Nay, God himself, by his servant the prophet Ezekiel, classes Job with two others of his faithful servants, which puts us beyond all doubt of the reality of his person. Ezekiel 14:14, etc.
The great object intended by the Holy Ghost from this book in the church of God, as far as our discoveries have hitherto led, is, to manifest the sovereign grace and love of a faithful God to his exercised people, notwithstanding all the outward circumstances with which they are surrounded; and at the same time, to demonstrate, in the conduct of his afflicted ones, to what an extent of patience, and even joy, in trial, his grace can lead them. But, beside these general blessings, intended to be held forth to the church, there is a yet far more important purpose, to which the book of Job, and the character of Job, was intended to minister. I mean, in the beautiful representation he makes, as a type of the ever-blessed and adored Redeemer of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the sufferings of Job, and his patience under them, as far as grace enabled him to be victorious in his sorrows, the representation of Jesus may be considered. And, after his recovery, when the Lord appointed Job as an advocate for his friends, we may behold some sweet resemblance to our Lord's exaltation at the right hand of power, and becoming the glorious Intercessor for his people. Here it is, therefore, I would pre-engage the Reader's more awakened attention, when prosecuting the perusal of the book of Obadiah For, supposing (what I venture to believe was the case) that the Holy Ghost, in his blessed office of glorifying Jesus, was pleased, at so early an age of the church, to sketch some outlines of the Redeemer in a typical representation; surely it is our interest, and our duty, to be on the lookout for the sweet traces, that while our eyes behold, our hearts may be warmed in the gratifying discovery.
I think it only necessary to detain the Reader one moment further, to remind both myself and him, of the necessity of prayer, with suitable watching at the mercy-seat, that the minds of both may be under the divine teaching, that the further we enter into the study of these treasures of heavenly truth, our souls may be made more made more heavenly-minded from their blessed influence; and from breathing an atmosphere above the perishing things around us here below, we may, like the apostle, manifest the gracious effects these divine things, which are above, leave upon us, in having our conversation more in heaven, from whence we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Second Sunday after Epiphany