Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day and support a great cause!
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary

- Job

by Daniel Whedon


Intended for Popular Use











Copyright 1881, by PHILLIPS & HUNT. New York.


WITH the issue of Dr. Hibbard’s work on the Psalms, almost simultaneously with this present sixth volume of the entire set, there will remain for future publication four volumes two on the Pentateuch and two on the Greater and the Minor Prophets. These are in preparation, and thus the whole will, we trust, be completed during the present General Conference quadrennium.

In order that the Psalms might be embodied in a single volume we have transposed the positions of Psalms and Job, a change of the customary order which will produce no practical inconvenience.

We trust that the present volume will be received with no less favour than its predecessors.



To the Book of Job a foremost position is assigned in the Septuagint Version of the Hebrew Scriptures; its claims to a like place in the realm of mind are quite universally recognised. It enters the Hebrew Canon with the face of an alien; its voice, however, is the voice of the sons of God. Born outside of the Israelitish fold, it is clad in the garb of a nomade; but its language is true Archaic Hebrew. Its thoughts, experiences, and trials, are representative in their character, and in a greater or less degree have been the common heritage of our race. In a significant sense, it is the experience-book of humanity. No one can read its pages without deep feelings of sympathy, for each one brings to their perusal a kindred experience. The author of the poem, however, no more truly dwells apart upon the mount of song, unapproached by the most gifted geniuses of earth, than does, in like manner, its hero, apart in the valley of humiliation, a sufferer from temptations and discipline which unite to make him from among the Old Testament saints the most conspicuous herald and type of his divine and suffering Master. The hero of the work, and the work itself, answer one to the other in the character of uniqueness, and justify Hitzig in calling Job “a great creation.” Its sublime conceptions and massive thoughts form a precious urn at which genius, in every age, has lighted its fires. Carlyle thus acknowledges these obligations: “A noble book! all men’s book! Such living likenesses were never since drawn. Sublime sorrow, sublime reconciliation; oldest choral melody as of the heart of manhood; so soft and great as the summer midnight, as the world with its suns and stars. There is nothing written, I think, of equal literary merit.”

The Problem and Purport of the Work.

The Book may be regarded as a Theodicy a vindication of the moral government of God in its relations to men. It treats of evil concretely, and sets before us its unfolding through the experience of a man conspicuous for piety. Its key-note is the question, Wherefore is evil? a question which is among the first to perplex, and the last to leave, the mind. Many stalwart minds have subsequently striven for its further solution among whom the most eminent is Leibnitz, with his theory of Optimism but have signally failed. The question stands where it stood at the close of this, the first and most elaborate of ancient theodicies. The idea of the work is simple and godlike; it is, to speak to man through man’s experiences, making a human life the text the greatest conceivable sufferings of a righteous being the lesson-leaf, from which shall be elucidated the deeper principles of the divine government. The consideration of the afflictions of the righteous carries with it the possibly more impenetrable mystery the prosperity of the wicked. This mystery comes out in bold relief in the discussion before us; for the spectacle of a prostrate Job constantly suggests its contrary that of the triumphant sinner. The author of the work looks boldly into both of these excrescences of evil the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked and shows that they are consistent with a regime of righteousness, wisdom, and love.

Extreme suffering, exasperated by unsympathetic bitterness of debate, goads the hero of our book to the utterances of passionate doubt, defiant summons of God to judgment, and aspersions upon the divine goodness, which Hengstenberg does not scruple to call blasphemies for which little justification can be offered. The trial lays bare a human heart as nowhere else in the Scriptures. With a like shudder to that with which Dante looked down into depths his own imagination had evoked, do we look into these real seething fires of passion and doubt. At last they burn themselves out, and disclose Job penitent in the ashes, bewailing the vileness and weakness of his nature, and exhibiting the noblest traits of incorruptible integrity. We rejoice in the issue of the trial, for it forever relieves human nature from the aspersion cast upon it by the foe of man, that man serves his God solely as a hireling.

There underlies the discussion an ancient theory of rewards and punishments which antedates the days of Moses, and was common to the ancient world, and, therefore, should hardly have been christened the Mosaic theory: moreover, the book is confessedly written outside of Israel, and there does not appear upon its pages any undisputed reference to Mosaic law (Thorah) or Mosaic institutions. The refutation of this theory of retributive justice, Hirtzel, Umbreit, De Wette, and Renan conceive to be the chief object of the book. On the contrary, the treatment of this topic is but as a side issue, and is not a polemic against any supposed principle of Mosaism. All the speakers agree in the fact that wickedness is punished and virtue rewarded in this world. This furnishes an adequate basis for the dogma of a future adjustment of life’s ills, and, resolutely kept before the mind of Job, (Job 19:25-27,) eminently contributes to the restoration of complete faith in God. From the moment of the sublime inscription upon the everlasting rock, the heaving fires begin to subside. Throughout the remainder of the debate the chiseled words of undying faith are ever before the eye, like the flag of a beleagured fortress. They occasion little remark on the part of the co-disputants, because they could be reached only by the demolition of outlying fortifications. (See note on Job 20:4.)

Equally one-sided and unsatisfying is the view of Schlottman, Hengstenberg, Canon Cook, and A.B. Davidson, who regard the main object of the work to be the test of human virtue by subjecting it to the most fiery temptations; as well as the theory of Stuhlmann, Hupfeld, Merx, and Rodman, that the book is designed to rebuke all disposition to arraign the purposes and dealings of Providence, and to teach unconditional submission to the divine will. The more gratifying and sublime view of Ewald, that the work proposes the solution of life’s ills through the disclosure of immortal life, and the certainty, that spirit is eternal, magnifies a secondary consideration into a primary object. To teach these, or doctrines kindred to these as seen in the views of others, is not the chief aim of the book; they are embraced within, and germane to, the broader view accepted and defended by Bunsen ( God in History, 182) and Hitzig, ( Einleitung, xxiii,) that the book is essentially a theodicy; but not unfolded, as the latter would maintain, “from the standpoint of the Hebraic religion, on whose outer limits Koheleth plants himself.” On the contrary, the Book of Job springs from the heart of the patriarchal religion, which for ages was the only true religion of the world. In common with an Abraham and a Melchisedek, Job was a Gentile, whose soul had been moulded within no narrow limits of Sinai or its local institutions. His awful strugglings with doubt, his wavering but finally triumphant faith in Deity, his solemn appeals to the Godhead for vindication and relief, the forecasting of his soul for an incarnation of a Divine Helper and a future filling out of the present life, belong to man as man, and have in them a universality of need and hope out of which sprang the priesthood whose insignia he bore an “order,” a “similitude,” after which finally “ariseth another Priest,” the one Great High Priest of our race. (Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 7:15.) The Book of Job, more than any other book of the Hebrew Scriptures, is a gospel, and, of all those Scriptures, most strikingly anticipates the mission and teaching of Christ. Under the increased light of modern exegesis it shines more brightly than ever before with precious evangelical doctrinal. Its twofold culmination in the sublime inscription of faith and hope, (Job 19:25-27,) and in “the heart-power of God” as the infinite solvent of life’s ills, (Job 36:5,) furnishes a twofold vinculum, binding the promise of the Garden with its fulfilment on the Cross. “The highest and immovable resting-point of Job’s faith is that of the Gospel, although without that full recognition of God’s eternal love for man which the Gospel brings. Philosophically, it is the ground taken by the German philosophers from Leibnitz to Hegel, though without their dialectic formularization.” BUNSEN, ibid., 185. Fundamental truths which, after the lapse of ages, Christ “brought into light,” ( φωτισυς , 2 Timothy 1:10,) are here in embryo. This book is an expansion of the primeval promise; its pages contain the essential features of the revelation first given to man.

The Historical Reality of the Book.

An extreme view has been held by some of the ablest commentators, (Maimonides, Rosenmuller, Hengstenberg, Merx,) that the book has no historic basis. They assign the entire work to the sphere of the imagination, to which belong the parables and the allegories of the Bible. Of such an estimate of Job, it has been observed by Ewald, (pp. 15, 16,) with whom Dillmann agrees, that “the invention of a history from the very commencement, the production from the poet’s own brain of a person who is yet said to be historical, is a thing so forced and so remote that it is altogether foreign to the early period of every nation, so that it first takes shape gradually in the latest centuries of an ancient history, and has never come fully and prominently forward till recent times.” Against the allegorical hypothesis it may be also urged, that it does not accord with the subsequent scriptural recognitions of Job in Ezekiel 14:14; Ezekiel 14:20; James 5:11, in the latter of which it is impossible that an imaginary being should have been set forth by the Spirit as an example of patience; that it is inconsistent with the work itself, for its substratum has the ring which belongs to the real; and that it is alien not only to the age in which such an allegory must have been written, but to any of the periods to which it has been assigned.

The theory now generally accepted by critics, (with the exception, however, of such scholars as Schultens, Dr. Lee, Carey, Bishop Wordsworth, Dr. A. Clarke, Tayler Lewis, etc., who maintain the reality of the whole work,) and almost unanimously by recent German commentators, is, that the work unites the historical and the ideal. By these it is regarded as a splendid creation of genius resting upon a foundation of fact. The real and the ideal are so fused together that it is difficult (impossible, say some) to distinguish the one from the other. “The history is not all fact,” says Davidson, “much of it is poetry; the poetry is not allegory, much of it is fact.” FAIRBAIRN’S Bib. Dictionary, 919.

The modern theory, if we may rely upon Keil, ( Introd. to Old Testament, 1. 485, 486,) holds the book to be “an old legend wrought up and sustained throughout with poetic freedom;” and this is the opinion, he says, “of all recent critics and expositors.” Both the theories under consideration certainly belong to comparatively modern times; for Jewish rabbins, the fathers of the Church, together with the older theologians, held to the strict historical character of the work.

Of the various reasons given for this modern theory we shall be able to consider only the more important:

1 . The artistic and unnatural part assigned to Satan. With respect to this, it may be sufficient here to reply, that a close examination of the historical accounts of the temptation of Eve, which took place through the serpent, and that, too, in the garden of Eden, will disclose features of striking resemblance to the Satanology of Job. See Excursus I, II, and p. 289 .

2 . The mechanical look of the round and sacred numbers of the prose portions of the work. It may be rejoined that round numbers are commonly, indeed almost invariably, used in the Scriptures. Compare 2 Chronicles 35:7-9; 1 Chronicles 5:21; Numbers 31:32-34, etc. In the first two citations we have multiples similar to those in Job; for instance, exactly ten times as many sheep as bullocks, five times as many sheep as camels, and twenty-five times as many camels as asses, etc. The sacred numbers appear frequently in the statistics of the Bible. Job’s 7,000 sheep and seven sons may be paralleled with the 7,000 who did not bow the knee to Baal, (1 Kings 19:18;) the 7,000 who conquered the Syrians, (1 Kings 20:15;) and the 7,000 carried captive to Babylon, (2 Kings 24:16.) Comp. 1 Chronicles 12:25; 1 Chronicles 18:4; 1 Chronicles 19:18, etc. For the use of 3,000, see Judges 15:11; 1 Samuel 13:2; 1 Samuel 25:2, etc.; and 1 Kings 4:32, in which mention is made of 3,000 proverbs, which were spoken by Solomon. That the employment of the sacred numbers does not imply artificial structure may be further illustrated in the account of the deluge. Clean beasts were taken into the ark by sevens, the fowls of the air also by sevens; the pause before the deluge began lasted seven days; the ark rested in the seventh month, and Noah stayed seven days before he sent forth the dove a second time. Three sons with their three wives were saved in the ark; the human race was. saved by fours. (Concerning the seven days of mourning with Job, see note on Job 2:13.)

3 . The highly artistic structure of the book. “The book,” it is urged, “falls into three divisions, namely: the prologue, the discourses, and the epilogue. The prologue and epilogue, again, contain each three principal points; and the discourses fall into three divisions those of Job and his three friends, those of Elihu, and those of Jehovah. The dialogues consist of three courses, and each course consists of thrice two speeches. Finally, in the discourses of Elihu, and in those of Jehovah, we can again distinguish three principal parts.” KOSTER, Hiob., p. 5. Courtesy the laws of which nowhere in the world are more perfect than in the East would require that an opportunity should be given to each of the three speakers, in their order, to make reply to Job. In the plausible analysis just given no estimate is taken of the two “heavenly cabinets;” the four messengers of misfortune; the six temptations, (thus Delitzsch;) the one lamentation; the one monologue; the four speeches of Elihu; the two replies of Job to Deity; and the one divine address to Eliphaz and his friends. Moreover, for the completion of the third triad Job and his three friends are constructed into one, and in the fourth no account is taken of the failure of Zophar.

4 . The argument we are considering presents a more serious phase in the profound thought of the poem, with its highly poetical mode of expression. Such speeches as those of Job and his friends do not belong to debate, though among giant minds. No chance gathering anywhere in the world could have brought together four such minds as these must have been who communed with stricken Job. The parallelisms, the supposed strophic arrangements, the dramatic evolution of a plan which embraces, not only the thought, but the actors themselves, the perfection of skill all the speakers display in the structure and adornment of their discourses, to say nothing of the exquisite dove-tailing of one speech with another, are beyond the power of any extempore address. Such is the purport of this, the most important of the arguments, to which we have endeavoured to give its fullest force. It is to be borne in mind that the Oriental mind is highly poetical. It associates directly and constantly with nature, which with the Oriental never loses its freshness and life. From habitual observation and reflection the mind becomes stored with images and compacted thought. For the preservation of such thought in the form of apothegms, or even of long poems, as in the Wolfian theory of the Iliad, memory takes the place of books. The Oriental has always been master of the art of improvisation; the Arabs as Schultens, a competent judge, affirms have a wonderful facility for extemporaneous effusions in verse. Dr. Kitto, who cites in illustration the Romance of Antar, remarks: “Nothing is more remarkable among the Semitic nations of Western Asia, even at this day, than the readiness of their resources, the prevalence of the poetical imagination and form of expression, and the facility with which the nature of this group of languages allows all high and animated discourse to fall into rhythmical forms of expression; while the language, even of common life and thought, is replete with poetical sentiments and ideas.”

See further, KITTO’S Daily Bib. Illus., in loc.

Then, too, there may have been a considerable interval of time between the addresses. From evidences in the work itself, the interview extended through a long period. (See note on chap. Job 42:10.) Seven days of silence preceded its commencement. There are indications which lead some to the opinion that at times the debate was suspended. (See note on xxiii, 2.)

With the Oriental, time is of comparatively little moment, even at the present day; of much less value was it when life was measured by the century. These visitors, being men of rank, were masters of their time. It would not be extravagant to suppose that the intervals spoken of may have been devoted to the consideration and preparation of the reply. Admit so simple a theory as this, and a mountainous difficulty is much lessened, if not removed.

In reply it may be further remarked

1 . That all theories concerning the book are fraught with embarrassments. Quite as serious difficulties may be pressed upon those who deny, as upon those who affirm, the strictly historical character of the book. This is evident from the confusion of view among the critics of our age as to where they will drive the ploughshare through the work, separating the real from the ideal. No two agree upon the breadth of historical basis, or upon the invention of the so-called poet or poets, whose task it was to reinvest with life the traditions of the past.

2 . That the portions supposed to have been invented are introduced with credentials of truth similar to those which mark the portions generally admitted to be real. Of the former the theophany is foremost in significance. No greater strength of asseverance belongs to the opening declaration, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job,” than to the declaration, “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind.” No indication is given that Jehovah’s address to Job is a mere chimera of some unknown poet’s brain; no indication that while Job may have uttered the sublime language of resignation in the prologue, (Job 1:21,) that God did not utter the most wondrous challenge ever given to man, (Job 40:7-14.) The epilogue is generally assumed to be true history. What greater reason is there for regarding as true Job’s answer, “I know that thou canst do every thing,” (Job 42:2,) than his response in the midst of Jehovah’s addresses, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee?” (Job 40:4.) To introduce Jehovah as a speaker in an imaginary colloquy, and to put language into his mouth which he never uttered, is not only without parallel in the Scriptures, but would have shocked a true Hebrew, and been sufficient to exclude the work from the canon. See page 281.

3 . That the fusion theory makes requisitions which are hardly in keeping with the general theory of a divine revelation. It confessedly makes of the author what may be called a trimmer. The most recent German writers virtually acknowledge this. The circumstances of the history are assumed to have taken place some eight, ten, or twelve centuries before the book called Job was written. The task the author takes upon himself is, to make the work conform to the life, customs, and manners of such a remote period; from within Israel to write outside of Israel; himself breathing the spirit of Judaism, to prevent the intrusion of its spirit, its laws, and its institutions. He must avoid all historical events of the intervening centuries, guard against anachronisms, of which even so skilful a writer as Sir Walter Scott was guilty when he also planted the scene of his work in a distant age. To such an extent was this spirit of watchfulness carried, that, according to Ewald, (page 57,) the word Jehovah was eschewed in the debate. In the wide range of illustrations, drawn from nature and art, there is not one which has not been subjected to a strict ordeal. German commentators dwell upon the exquisite skill with which the poet has discharged his task. (Dillmann, xxi, xxii; Zschokke, xvi; Zockler, page 234.) Canon Cook justly observes, ( Speaker’s Com., p. 9,) “It should be borne in mind that no ancient writer ever succeeded in reproducing the manners of a past age, or in avoiding allusion to those of his own; this is true even of the Greek dramatists, and, indeed, of writers of every country and age before the eighteenth century. The attempt was not even made. To use M. Renan’s words, ‘antiquity had not an idea of what we call local colouring.’” Renan plants himself against the German idea, and denies that “at a remote epoch a Hebrew should have entertained the singular idea of composing a patriarchal poem, and displayed such perfection in the design that his work does not strike a single discordant note, nor in a single place betray the artificial system which has presided over its composition.” Etude, etc., xviii, 19.

4 . That the arguments which have been considered fail, in that they ignore or deny for the Book of Job a possible substratum of the miraculous. They are really akin to the reasoning of Hengstenberg, (KITTO, Cyc., 608:) “God’s speaking out of the clouds would be a miracle, without an object corresponding to its magnitude, and having a merely personal reference, while all the other miracles of the Old Testament are in connexion with the theocratical government, and occur in the midst, and for the benefit of, the people of God.” This citation loses its force when once it is admitted that one Gentile, (Job,) as well as another Gentile, (Abraham, Genesis 12:1,) might be visited with a message of mercy, and that God might address the one upon the clearing up of a storm, or from out of the whirlwind even, as properly as the other through “a horror of great darkness.” Genesis 15:12. The fact that the book is in the canon gives it the same rights, immunities, and laws with the rest of the Bible. The same general principles are to be employed in its interpretation. Certainly, there is nothing more questionable in the exact doubling of the sheep, camels, oxen, and she-asses, than in the feeding of a multitude with “seven loaves and the fishes,” and the final taking up of exactly seven baskets full. If the latter is accounted for on the ground that it was miraculous, why may not the former? If the historical reality of the work is affected by the exact correspondence in the former case, why not in the latter in the reproduction of the sacred number, seven? As worthy an occasion exists for the miraculous in the doubling of Job’s possessions as in the multiplying of the bread. (See note on Job 42:12.) No less enlarged lessons of faith, hope, and charity may be gathered from the piety of Job, outside of “the theocratical government,” “for the benefit of the people of God,” than from the miraculous calling of Abraham into “connexion with the theocratical government.”

The leading features of the book of Job find a parallel in early Bible history: its doctrine of Satanology in that of the garden; the trial of Job in that of Abraham; and the theophany in those made to the patriarchs, and even that to an Egyptian king, Abimelech. The author of the following work holds the book of Job to be strictly historical. The great debate, he conceives, took place as described; its arguments and illustrations were substantially as they have been transmitted to us; but whether in poetical form may still be an open question. It is not unreasonable to suppose that the author of the Book of Job may have listened to the discussion, and been assisted in its transcription by the same eternal Spirit who in after ages brought to the remembrance of the evangelists the words of Christ. John 14:26.

The Name and Residence of Job, and the Age in which he Lived.

(For name, see page 14; for residence, see page 13.) The time in which Job lived. Most critics of the present age unite in ascribing to Job a very remote antiquity. According to the greater number (Lowth, Umbreit, Zockler, Lee, Carey, etc.) he lived, or is represented as living, in patriarchal times; others (as Wordsworth,) make him a contemporary of Moses. Some few assign him to the age of Solomon, and some, even to the times of Ezra. That Job lived in patriarchal times, at least prior to the age of Moses, may be argued in general from the resemblance of the customs and manners portrayed in the book to those appearing in Genesis. Also the names, the lineage, and the countries of all the personages mentioned in the work link themselves with the times of the patriarchs. (See notes on Job 1:1; Job 2:11 and Job 32:2.) Great length of life is assumed to be characteristic of the Jobean period. (Job 15:10; note on Job 42:16.) Job’s riches, like those of Abraham, lay in his flocks and herds, and were in other respects similar. (See note Job 1:3.) The sacrifices consisted of burnt offerings, which the head of the family offered rather than an official priest: (see notes on Job 1:5, and Job 42:8:) the musical instruments, and even the money mentioned, are the same as those of the patriarchal age: (see notes Job 21:12, and Job 42:11:) the mode of writing and sculpture spoken of are, unquestionably, pre-Mosaic: (note, Job 19:23:) and the idolatry incidentally alluded to is the most ancient of idolatries, and yet at that time seems to have been an innovation, since it was liable to punishment. (Note on Job 31:26-27.) Without further specification of particulars, a very remote period may be argued from the admission of the book into the canon. Reasoning from a human standpoint, this could hardly have taken place unless Job had lived prior to the law.

The rigid exclusiveness of the Mosaical dispensation would not have brooked the idea that after its establishment any human being could attain to the piety of Job outside of the Mosaic fold. The Jew would need no enlightenment to see that a co-existing religion, capable of producing such fruit, rich and ripe with the divine approval, practically questioned the necessity of liturgical religion, nay, the very being of Mosaism itself. And just as readily would he admit that a religion which produced an Abraham and a Melchisedek might culminate in a Job. See CAREY, Commentary on Job, p. 16.

The Time when the Book of Job was Written.

The eras fixed upon by leading scholars for the production of the Book of Job, are (1) the Babylonish exile; (2) the Assyrian invasion; (3) the Davidic-Solomonic age the so-called Augustan age of Hebrew literature; (4) the Mosaic; and (5) the Patriarchal. To the first of these periods, (about 588 B.C.,) notwithstanding it has the strong endorsement of Gesenius, Umbreit, and De Wette, it may be objected that the book is cited by Bible writers who lived anterior to the period of captivity; that the works of that age are marked by a class of Chaldaisms from which Job is free; and stamped by “a rigid Mosaism, and an exalted devotion and patriotism,” (Renan,) which would be incompatible with a book like that of Job. In the language of Eichhorn, “Let him who is fit for such researches only read a writing tainted with Aramaisms, and next the Book of Job; they will be found as diverging as east and west.” But so little is so late a period as this worthy of serious consideration, that Renan affirms that there is not now a single Hebraist who does not place the composition of the work at least a hundred years before the Captivity. ( Etude, 37.)

Ewald, Merx, and Hitzig, find in the catastrophe which befell Israel (720 B.C.) the calamitous soil out of which sprang Job, a national work for the consolation of stricken Israel. Renan makes the author a contemporary of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah, towards 770 B.C. The strongest arguments for this period (that of the Assyrian invasion) are also made use of in favour of the Solomonic era of authorship, an era preferred by Schlottmann, Keil, Delitzsch, and Davidson. They are substantially twofold the points of coincidence between Job and the writers of their respective periods, and its philosophico character. With one class of critics a late period is assigned for the author because he borrows his thoughts from preceding or contemporary writers; with another class of critics an earlier period is found because later writers borrowed from him. Wondrous criticism to accomplish such diverse results!

The book, also, is claimed to be a production of the Israelitish Hhokmah a school of thought which reached its maturity in the times of Solomon. The argument assumes that the thought, or the chief current of thought of a scriptural work at least of Job must have its well-spring in the age in which it was written. In other words, the prevalent school of thought determines the bard and his work. Magnificent tributes to Wisdom, (Hhokmah,) peculiar eschatological ideas or words, are found, for instance, in the Proverbs, and a deep melancholic view of thought characterizes, say, the Ecclesiastes, (Koheleth,) or his times, and the conclusion is drawn that any other works with like characteristics must take their rise out of the same soil. The theory of inspiration which underlies this and kindred reasoning can be compounded in no other proportion than as a minimum of the divine and a maximum of the human. The argument, when reduced to its essence, practically denies the inspiration of the work. Job is vastly in advance of any age before Christ to which it can be assigned. Jewish literature has nothing to compare with it. No age of literature, as such, was equal to its production. For aught that can be shown, the patriarchal age carried within itself no less potency for such a work than the Solomonic. And yet the objection is urged, that so massive and mature a work does not comport with the dawn of a people’s civilization. On the contrary, in solitary grandeur Homer and Dante arise respectively out of the twilight of Grecian and Italian civilization, and bear witness that the dawn also is the natal hour of genius. Unquestionably, civilizations had flourished and decayed before Job came upon the scene. The citations he makes from lost literatures do no discredit to his work. And if so it indeed be that genius needs stimulus, it is plain it was not wanting to Job.

This leads us to remark that stronger reasons than for any subsequent period, we think, can be adduced for the pre-Mosaic origin of the Book of Job, (Stuhlmann, Bertholdt, Eichhorn,) or at least for its production prior to the giving of the law; thus J.D. Michaelis, Ebrard, Stier, Cowles, and Canon Cook, of whom all but the last regard Moses as its author. For this statement we assign the following reasons:

1 . The knowledge of religious subjects displayed in the Book of Job is in perfect accord with that of the earliest records of the Bible. The views it takes of God, of man, the doctrine of retribution, the Messiah, and even of Satan himself, together with eschatology in general, breathe the spirit of the patriarchal rather than that of any other period of the Israelitish history. The leading facts of Genesis, such as the fall, (xxxi, 33,) the deluge, (xxii, 16,) and the doom of Sodom, (Job 18:15-21,) are alluded to, while no allusion is made to patent facts in the same line of illustration transpiring after the giving of the law. As will appear in the progress of this work, the early ages were radiant with religious light. The modern and trivial objection that the Book of Job sheds too much light on religious subjects to have been written before Moses, is now scouted by proofs which tomb and temple, parchment rolls and clay tablets, long lost libraries and the mouldering ruins of the past, hold forth to the astonished gaze of the present age.

2 . More remarkable, and as yet otherwise unaccounted for, is the fact that Mosaism and its institutions are nowhere referred to in the work. The criticism of the age admits its authorship by a Hebrew. The linguistic argument makes this undeniable. An ordinary view of the case would pronounce the writing of a lengthy treatise on a religious subject by a Jew of the ancient school, which should nowhere display a trace of Judaism, a moral impossibility. It may be questioned whether even Lord Beaconsfield could write a political novel without somewhere disclosing his Jewish extraction. See page 8.

3 . The linguistic features of the poem identify it with the earlier rather than with the later periods of the Hebrew language. These features are twofold its Arabisms and its Aramaisms. In respect to these, the argument lies in a nutshell the Arabisms do point to a comparatively early time; the Aramaisms may indicate a late period for the writing of the work. The Hebrew language is pre-eminently distinguished for its fixedness. So competent a judge as Julius Furst remarks: “As a whole it (the Hebrew language) shows so great stability and unchangeableness such a stamp of uniformity that after the period of antiquity no essential modification of it, such as is found in the Indo-European languages, can be recognised.” So marked is this uniformity, that Movers went so far as to maintain that a single hand retouched almost all the writings of the Hebrew canon, in order to reduce them to a uniform language. (Cited by Renan, Hist. des Langues Semitiques, p. 111.) Such considerations lead critics who would assign the work to a later age, to depreciate the argument based upon its language. But the veriest tyro cannot fail to be impressed by the numerous archaisms of expression, and the many words which appear exclusively in Job. The key to their proper interpretation was unquestionably found by Schultens in the Arabic language. They yield solely to a solution which assumes that the work was written at a period when the separation of the Hebraic and Arabic dialects was taking place. The Arabic, richest of the Semitic dialects, has preserved the words which the poorer Hebrew dialect sloughed off in the course of the ages.

The Aramaisms alluded to are words of outside origin, supposed to be from the Chaldee and Syriac languages. The appearance of these in Job, upon the hypothesis even of its great antiquity, is no more than might have been expected from the considerations that all these dialects had probably one common origin; that intertribal association was no less intimate in ancient than in subsequent times; and that similar Aramaisms are found in the song of Deborah and in the Pentateuch. Aramaisms appear for the most part in the poetical portions of the Scriptures, and were evidently employed for purposes of ornament and strength. The class appearing in Job and the Pentateuch differ essentially from later Aramaisms, when the Chaldee and Syriac languages became degenerate and corrupt, and “thereby prove the antiquity and originality of the Book of Job.” (See Havernick, “Introduction to Old Testament,” pp. 176, 177.)

4 . The style of Job is that of the most ancient fragments of poetry concise, rugged, and abrupt. Its main feature is its parallelism of members, or its thought-rhythm, an expressive term given by continental writers. Ewald calls it “the echo of the whole sense, where the same sense, which has been poured forth as a complete proposition in the first member, mounts up again in the second in order to exhaust itself more thoroughly.” This, he says, makes “the most powerful and beautiful concord.” With variations of form, parallelism of members is common to all Hebrew poetry. The objection that the book of Job could not spring from a patriarchal or pre-Mosaic age because of its poetical structure may be met by an examination of the oldest song extant the song of Lamech, Genesis 4:23. This will show a structure no less artistic and elaborate than that of Job. Herder (Hebrew Poetry, 264,) points out a similar parallelism of members, and even a designed assonance. The first four lines end in the same way, in Yodh resting in Hhirik, and thus make a semi-rhyme. Even admit the strophic arrangement of Job concerning the extent and even the existence of which critics are still divided, but which is adopted in the ensuing analysis of Job for convenience’ sake and you have a style in no respect more artificial than that of Lamech, whose antiquity even the iconoclast Ewald admits to be very great.

As respects the authorship of the work, the most considerable claimants are Job himself, (who of all, unquestionably possessed the greatest capabilities,) Elihu, Moses, Heman the Ezrahite, Solomon or some one of his court, and Hezekiah. Hebrew traditions attribute it to Moses. Hirtzel and Hitzig agree in thinking that its author must have been a Hebrew and have lived in Egypt. The doubts which embarrass the question of the time of the writing of the poem are such as to render unprofitable any prolonged consideration of the more difficult question concerning its author.

The Integrity of the Book.

The critical spirit of the present age has chosen four portions of the book for its assaults. The less weight is to be accorded to these assaults because of the fact that the most critical minds of the skeptical class antagonize one the other to such an extent that their criticisms prove mutually destructive. It is alleged that the prose portions have been added subsequently to the production of the main part of the work, the so-called “poetical kernel.” Objections are also made against other portions, to wit: the passage in Job 27:11-23, on the ground that Job contravenes his own views, (see p. 172;) as well as against the discourses of Elihu and the Behemoth section, both of which, criticism urges, are unworthy of the master spirit which produced Job. (See Excursus vi, pp. 196-198, and Excursus viii, pp. 280, 281 . ) But, as will he readily remarked, objectors against Job proceed upon the hypothesis that the book, as a whole, is artificial, a theory which has already been sufficiently considered. These objections have been so often refuted (see especially Hahn’s Hiob, pp. 10-22) that we shall content ourselves with remarking that the removal of either of these larger portions would prove a palpable mutilation. Take, for instance, from the work its prologue and epilogue, and there remains, to use the figure of Delitzsch, the trunk of a statue, evidential indeed of thought, nay of genius, but without head or feet.

Exegetical Works.

The following are the editions of the most important of the commentaries referred to:

Carey, C.P. The Book of Job. London, 1858.

Clarke, Dr. Adam. (New edition.) New York, 1844. Conant, Dr. T.J. The Book of Job. New York, 1856.

Cook, Canon F.C., in the Speaker’s Commentary. New York, 1874. Davidson, A.B. Commentary on the Book of Job. Vol. I. Edinburgh, 1862. Delitzsch, F. Bible Commentary on the Book of Job. Two vols. Edinburgh, 1866.

Dillmann, Aug. Hiob. Leipzig, 1869.

Ewald, Heinrich. Das Buch Ijob. Gottingen, 1854.

Good, John Mason, M.D., F.R.S. Book of Job. London, 1812. Hahn, H.A. Commentar uber das Buch Hiob. Berlin, 1850.

Hengstenberg, C.W. Das Buch Hiob. Erster Theil. Berlin, 1870. Zweiter Theil. Leipzig, 1875.

Hirtzel, Ludwig. Hiob. Durchgesehen von Olshausen. Leipzig, 1852. Hitzig, Ferdinand. Das Buch Hiob. Leipzig, 1874.

Lewis, Dr. Tayler, in Lange’s Commentary. Dr. Philip Schaff, Editor. New York, 1874.

Noyes, Dr. G.R. New Translation of Book of Job. Boston, 1861. Renan, Ernst. Le Livre de Job. Paris, 1864.

Scott, Thomas. Book of Job, in English Verse. London, 1773. Schultens, Albert. Liber Jobi. Two volumes. Lugd. Bat. 1737.

Zockler, Otto, in Lange’s Commentary.

Dr. Philip Schaff, Editor. New York, 1874.

Umbreit, F.W.C. Book of Job. Two volumes. Edinburgh, 1836. Wordsworth, Bishop Christopher. Book of Job. London, 1867.

The commentaries of Barnes, Wemyss, Dr. Samuel Lee, Drusius, Samuel Wesley, Chappelow, Corderus, Peters, Grotius, Stickel, Zachokke, (Roman Catholic Commentary, 1875,) Andrea, Dachsel, Eichhorn, Heiligstedt in Maurer, and Spanheim, as well as others, have also been more or less consulted.



Arcturus, Job 9:9; Job 38:32.

Aurora. See Dayspring.

Chambers of the south, Job 9:9.

Dayspring, Job 38:12-14.

Dragon, the, constellation of, Job 3:8; Job 26:13; Excursus x, p. 292.

Earth, ends of the, Job 37:3; Job 38:13. the, self-suspended, Job 26:7; Excursus x, p. 292. the, shape of, Job 26:7; Job 37:3; Excursus x, p. 291.

Eclipses, ancient knowledge of, Job 3:8; Excursus x, p. 291.

Heavens, the, destruction of, Job 14:12.

Mazzaroth, Job 38:32.

Mezarim, Job 37:9.

Moon, Job 25:5; Job 31:26.

Ocean, creation of, Job 38:9-10; stability of, Job 38:11.

Orion, Job 9:9; Job 38:31.

Pleiades, Job 9:9; Job 38:31.

Points, cardinal, Job 23:8-9.

Sheol, place of, Job 26:5; Job 38:17; Excursus iii, p. 72.

Sky, strength of, Job 37:18.

Space, ( tohu,) Job 26:7.

Stars, chaps. Job 3:9; Job 9:7; Job 22:12; Job 25:5; Job 38:7.

Sun, Job 8:16; Job 9:7; Job 30:28; Job 31:26.

Universe, extent of, Job 26:14.

Zodiac, the, the signs of, Job 38:32; Excursus x, p. 293.


Alkali, Job 9:30.

Barley, Job 31:40.

Cassia, Job 42:14.

Cedar, Job 40:17.

Cockle, Job 31:40.

Corn, Job 5:26; Job 24:6; Job 39:4.

Flag, Job 8:11.

Grape, Job 15:33.

Grass, Job 5:25; Job 6:5; Job 40:15.

Juniper, Job 30:4.

Mallow, Job 30:4.

Nettle, Job 30:7.

Olive, Job 15:33.

Palm tree, Job 14:7.

Papyrus, Job 8:11; Job 9:26; Job 19:23.

Reed, Job 40:21.

Rush. See Papyrus.

Thistle, Job 31:40.

Thorn, Job 5:5; Job 41:2.

Trees, lotus, Job 40:21-22.

Trees, shady. See Lotus trees.

Vine, Job 15:33.

Wheat, Job 31:40.

Willows, Job 40:22.


Clouds, balancing of, Job 37:16. bright, Job 37:11; Job 37:21. freighted with rain, Job 26:8. guidance of, Job 37:12. height of, Job 20:6; Job 35:5. mantle of, Job 38:9. murky, Job 3:5; Job 22:13-14; Job 37:11. number of, Job 38:37. spreadings of, Job 36:29.

Cyclone, Job 1:19.

Dew, Job 29:19; Job 38:28.

Earthquake, Job 9:5-6; Job 26:11.

Flood, the, Job 22:16-18.

Frost and its effects, Job 37:10; Job 38:29. God, fire of, Job 1:16; Job 20:26.

Hail, Job 38:22.

Ice, Job 6:16; Job 38:29-30. formation of, Job 37:10; Job 38:30.

Light, its dwelling-place, Job 38:19.

Lightning, Job 28:26; Job 37:3; Job 38:25.

Ocean, stability of, Job 38:11.

Rain, Job 5:10; Job 28:26; Job 29:23; Job 36:27; Job 37:6; Job 38:28; Job 38:37.

Simoon, Job 4:9. Sirocco, Job 37:17.

Snow, Job 6:16; Job 9:30; Job 24:19; Job 37:6; Job 38:22. formation of, Job 38:22.

Storm, Job 21:18; Job 27:21.

Thunder, Job 26:14; Job 28:26; Job 36:29; Job 37:1-5; Job 38:25.

Vapour clouds, Job 36:27.

Waters, weight of, Job 28:25; Job 38:11.

Whirlwind, Job 1:19; Job 37:9; Job 38:1.

Wind, Job 21:18; Job 30:15; Job 30:22; Job 37:21. East, Job 15:2; Job 27:21; Job 38:24. South, Job 37:9; Job 37:17.

Winds, weight for, Job 28:25.


Brass, ( i.e., Copper,) Job 6:12; Job 28:2; Job 40:18; Job 41:27.

Brimstone, Job 18:15.

Copper, tempered, Job 20:24. Crystal, Job 28:17.

Gold, Job 3:15; Job 22:24; Job 23:10; Job 28:1; Job 28:6; Job 28:17; Job 31:24; Job 36:19; Job 42:11.

Iron, Job 19:24; Job 20:24; Job 28:2; Job 40:18; Job 41:27.

Lead, Job 19:24.

Ophir, gold of, Job 22:24. Rock, ( i.e., flint,) Job 28:9.

Silver, Job 3:15; Job 22:25; Job 27:16-17; Job 28:1.

Steel, ( i.e., Brass or Copper,) Job 20:24.


Coral, Job 28:18. Onyx, Job 28:16. Pearl, Job 28:18. Ruby, Job 28:18.

Sapphire, Job 28:6; Job 28:16. Topaz, Job 28:19.


Asp, Job 20:14; Job 20:16.

Ass, Job 24:3. she, Job 1:3; Job 1:14; Job 42:12. wild, Job 6:5; Job 11:12; Job 24:5; Job 39:5-8.

Behemoth. See Hippopotamus.

Bull, Job 21:10. wild, Job 39:10.

Bullock, Job 42:8.

Camel, Job 1:3; Job 1:17; Job 42:12.

Cow, Job 21:10.

Crocodile, Job 3:8; Job 42:0; Excursus 8.

Dog, shepherd’s, Job 30:1.

Dragon. See Jackal.

Eagle, Job 9:26; Job 39:27-30.

Goat, wild, Job 39:1.

Grasshopper. See Locust.

Hawk, Job 39:26.

Hind, Job 39:1.

Hippopotamus, Job 40:15-24; Excursus 8.

Horse, Job 39:18-25.

Jackal, Job 30:29.

Leviathan. See Crocodile.

Lion, Job 4:10; Job 10:16; Job 28:8; Job 38:39.

Lion, whelps of, Job 4:11; Job 28:8.

Locust, Job 39:20.

Moth, Job 4:19; Job 27:18.

Ostrich, Job 39:13-16; Job 30:29. Owl, Job 30:29.

Ox, Job 6:5; Job 24:3; Job 40:15.

Oxen, draught, Job 1:3; Job 1:14; Job 42:12.

Peacock. See Ostrich.

Phoenix, Job 29:18.

Rahab, Job 9:13; Job 26:12.

Ram, Job 42:8.

Raven, Job 38:41.

Reem. See Wild bull.

Sheep, Job 1:3; Job 1:16; Job 31:20; Job 42:12.

Spider, Job 8:14.

Stork, Job 39:13. Tannin, Job 7:12.

Unicorn, See Wild bull.

Viper, Job 20:16.

Vulture, Job 28:7.

Whale. See Tannin.

Worm, Job 7:5; Job 17:14; Job 19:26; Job 21:26; Job 24:20; Job 25:6.



Alkali, Job 9:30.

Balance, Job 6:2; Job 31:6.

Bed, Job 7:13; Job 17:13; Job 33:15. Bottle, water, Job 38:37.

Candle, Job 18:6; Job 21:17; Job 29:3. Clay, Job 4:19; Job 13:12; Job 38:14. Clothing, Job 22:6; Job 24:7; Job 31:19. Coat, ( tunic.) Job 30:18.

Couch, Job 7:13. Crown, Job 31:36. Diadem, Job 29:14.

Garment, Job 13:28; Job 30:18; Job 38:9; Job 41:13. Gold, earring of, Job 42:11.

House, Job 1:13; Job 20:19; Job 21:9; Job 30:23, et seq. fire, Job 18:5. fuel, Job 20:7. light, Job 18:5-6.

Instruments, musical, harp, ( lyre,) Job 21:12. organ, ( pipe,) Job 21:12. timbrel, ( drum,) Job 21:12.

Jewels, (gold,) Job 28:17. Kesitah, Job 42:11.

Lamp, Job 12:5. Mantle, Job 1:20.

Mill, hand, Job 31:10. Mirror, Job 37:18. Money, Job 42:11.

Ointment, Job 41:31. Perfumery, Job 41:31. Robe, Job 29:14.

Seals, Job 38:14.

Shuttle, weaver’s, Job 7:6. Signet clay, Job 38:14. Table, Job 36:16.

Tent, Job 5:24; Job 18:6; Job 19:12; Job 20:26; Job 29:4, et seq.

Tokens, ( tessera,) Job 21:29. Turban. See Diadem.

Winepress, Job 1:13; Job 24:11.

Wine skin, Job 32:19.


Bread, Job 15:23; Job 22:7; Job 27:14; Job 28:5; Job 33:20; Job 42:11.

Butter, Job 20:17; Job 29:6. Cheese, Job 10:10.

Egg, Job 6:6. Grape, Job 15:33. Honey, Job 20:17.

Meat, (or, food,) Job 6:7; Job 20:14; Job 33:20; Job 36:31; Job 38:41.

Milk, Job 10:10; Job 21:24. Oil, Job 24:11; Job 29:6. Olive, Job 15:33.

Salt, Job 6:6.

Wine, Job 1:13; Job 1:18; Job 32:19.


Archer, Job 16:13.

Army, Job 25:3; Job 29:25.

Armed men, Job 39:21.

Arrow, Job 41:28. poisoned, Job 6:4.

Battle, Job 15:24; Job 39:25; Job 41:8.

Bow, Job 29:20.

Bow of steel, or cross-bow, Job 20:24.

Buckler, Job 15:26.

Bulwarks, Job 13:12.

Captains, Job 39:25.

Dart, Job 41:26; Job 41:29.

Habergeon, Job 41:26.

Iron weapon, Job 20:24.

Mounds or banks, Job 19:12. Net, Job 19:6.

Quiver, Job 39:23.

Shield, Job 15:26; Job 39:23. Siege, Job 19:12.

Sling-stones, Job 41:28.

Spear, Job 39:23; Job 41:26; Job 41:29.

Sword, Job 5:15; Job 5:20; Job 15:22; Job 19:29; Job 20:25; Job 27:14; Job 33:18; Job 36:12; Job 40:19; Job 41:26. Troops, Job 19:12.

Trumpets, Job 39:24-25. War horse, Job 39:19-25.

Wall, breaching of a, Job 16:14.

Whip, the, Job 5:21.


Abaddon, Job 26:6; Job 28:22; Excursus iii, p. 74. Abraham and Egypt, Excursus x, pp. 292, 293.

Accads, the, (Ancient Chaldaeans,) the literature of, Job 1:17; Excursus ix, pp. 283, 288; Excursus x, pp. 291, 294.

Apep, an Egyptian symbol of evil, Excursus x, p. 292. Astronomy and the Book of Job, Excursus x, pp. 290-294.

Egyptian and Chaldaean knowledge of, Excursus x, pp. 290-294. Birthdays, celebration of, Job 1:4.

Books, making of ancient, Job 19:23: Excursus x, pp. 293, 294. Brutes, worship of, in Egypt, Excursus ix, p. 286.

Burglary, mode of, Job 24:16. Caravans, Job 6:19; Job 21:29.

Chaldaea, its relations to Edom, (or Uz,) Job 1:17; Excursus 91, 92; Excursus 283, 284, 288.

Clothing, pawning of, Job 22:6; Job 24:9.

Contracts, ratifying of, Job 17:3.

Cornerstone, laying of, Job 38:6-7.

Cosmetics, use of, Job 42:14.

Dancing, Job 15:16; Job 21:11-12.

Daysman, (umpire.) Job 9:33; Excursus iv, p. 90.

Dead, Book of the, the Egyptian, Job 3:14; Job 7:10; Job 19:23; Excursus viii, p. 278; Excursus ix, p. 285. burial of the, Job 3:14-15; Job 17:14; Job 21:32-33. the, their want of knowledge, Job 14:21.

Death, gates of, Job 38:17. shadow of, Job 3:5. Demonology, Chaldaean, Excursus ix, pp. 289, 290.

Depravity, heathen view of, Job 11:12; Job 15:16; Job 25:4. Divining, the art of, Job 38:36.

Doors, pivot, Job 38:17.

Drunkenness, Job 1:13; Job 1:18; Job 12:25.

Edom, home of Job, Job 1:1; Excursus ix, pp. 281, 282.

Egypt, Job’s acquaintance with, Job 3:14; Excursus ix, p. 284. Elephantiasis. See Leprosy.

Embalming, the art of, allusion to, Job 40:13.

Fraternities, business, Job 41:6. of robbers, Job 12:6.

Gifts, the offering of, Job 42:11.

Glass, manufacture of, Job 28:17. God, sons of, Job 1:6; Job 38:7.

Head, shaving of the, Job 1:20. Hireling, Job 1:15; Job 7:2.

Horites, the, aborigines of Edom, treatment of, Job 24:2-8; Job 30:6-8.

Hospitality, fires of, Job 18:5.

Houses, clay, dwelling in, Job 4:19; Job 24:16.

Hunting, Job 18:8-10; Job 39:9; Job 40:24; Job 41:1; Job 41:7. Idolatry, Job 12:6; Job 31:26-27; Job 36:14; Excursus viii, pp. 278, 279; Excursus ix, pp. 286-288.

Idumaea. See Edom.

Immortality, Egyptian belief in, Job 3:14. Incantations, Job 3:8; Excursus ix, p. 289. Infanticide, Job 3:12.

Inheritance, laws of, Job 42:15.

Inscriptions, rock, Job 19:24. cuneiform, p. 249. hieroglyphic, Job 40:19; Excursus viii, p. 276; Excursus ix, p. 285. Instinct, Job 12:7; Job 28:7; Job 39:26.

Interpreter, the function of, Job 16:20; Job 33:23. Excursus 267.

Jehovah, the word, Job 1:21.

Kings, Job 3:14; Job 12:18; Job 29:25; Job 34:18; Job 36:7.

Landmarks, Job 24:2.

Leprosy, the, ( elephantiasis,) Job 2:7.

Letters, the origin of, Job 19:23.

Life, origin of Israelitish view, Job 10:8-12.

Mantle, rending of, Job 1:20.

Mediation, modes of, Excursus iv, p. 91.

Mediator, angel, Excursus vii, p. 207.

Medicine, knowledge of, Job 5:18; Job 13:4.

Merchants, Canaanite, Job 41:6.

Mining, Job 28:1-11.

Money, sealing of, Job 14:17.

Mourning, real and ceremonial, Job 2:11-13; Job 29:25.

Music, festive, Job 21:12.

Nets, use of, Job 41:1.

Nile, the river, Job 7:12; Job 8:11; Job 9:26.

Offerings, burnt, Job 1:5; Job 42:8.

Ophir, site of, Job 22:24. Papyrus, ships of, Job 9:26.

Petra, description of, Excursus ix, p. 282.

Phoenicia, (ancient Canaan,) Job 41:6; Excursus ix, pp. 282, 283.

Pit, punishment in, Job 33:18.

Ploughing, Job 1:14; Job 39:10. Polygamy, Job 27:15.

Poor, the, treatment of, Job 5:16; Job 20:19; Job 30:25; Job 31:16; Job 31:19; Job 34:19.

Potter, the, the skill of, Job 10:8-9; Job 33:6.

Princes, Job 3:15; Job 12:19; Job 12:21; Job 21:28; Job 29:9; Job 34:19.

Proceedings, judicial, Job 9:24; Job 9:33; Job 11:10; Job 13:18-27; Job 14:17; Job 17:3; Job 24:1; Job 29:7; Job 31:34-35.

Processions, funeral, Job 21:32-33.

Punishments, civil, stocks, Job 13:27; Job 33:11. fetters, cords, Job 36:8. beheading, Job 19:29; Job 36:12.

Pyramids, the, Job 3:14.

Raids, Chaldaean, ancient and modern, Job 1:17.

Ransom or atonement, Job 33:24; Job 36:18. Refining, the art of, Job 28:1.

Rephaim, the, Excursus iii, p. 73; Job 26:5.

Resurrection, heathen belief in, Job 3:14; Excursus v, pp. 137, 138; Excursus ix, p. 285.

Retribution, doctrine of, among the ancients, Job 4:8; Job 12:18; Job 15:20-22; Job 16:18; Job 19:4; Job 21:19; Job 21:30.

Robbing, a profession, Job 12:6; Job 24:2-3; Job 24:14; Job 30:5.

Sackcloth, wearing of, Job 16:15.

Sacrifices, Job 1:5; Job 42:8. human, Excursus ix, p. 287, 288. Sacrifice, vicarious, among the Chaldaeans, p. 288.

Satan, Excursus i and ii, pp. 33-36. Security, giving of, Job 17:3.

Sepulchres, rock, Job 3:14; Job 21:33.

Serpent-worship in Egypt, Excursus ix, p. 287. Service, postal, Job 9:25.

Shaddai, the word, Job 8:2.

Sheol, Job 10:22; Job 14:14; Job 26:5; Job 30:23; Excursus iii, pp. 72-74.

Sorcery, Job 3:8.

Spirit, ( rouahh,) origin of word, Job 4:15; Job 32:8. Stars, morning, Job 38:7.

Stranger, the, treatment of, Job 15:19; Job 31:32.

Strophes, arrangement of Book in, p. 11; Job 9:8; Job 36:22; pp. 184, l85.

Suicide foreign to the Hebrew mind, Job 6:9; Job 7:15. Time, shadow for marking, Job 7:2.

Tombs, burial in, Job 3:15; Job 14:13; Job 17:13.

Travellers, conveyancers of knowledge Job Job 21:29. tokens of, Job 21:29.

Treasures, hiding of, Job 3:21.

Typhon, or Set, Excursus viii, pp. 279, 280.

Visions, in patriarchal times, Job 4:12.

Wadies, Job 6:16-17; Job 11:16. Weaving, art of, Job 7:6.

Widows, treatment of, Job 22:9; Job 24:3; Job 24:21; Job 31:16.

Wine drinking, Job 1:13; Job 1:18.

Woman, her position, Job 1:4; Job 2:10. inheritance of, Job 42:15.

Worship, Phallic, Excursus ix, p. 287. Writing, art of, Job 19:23.



The word behemoth, in its Hebrew aspect, is generally assumed to be the plural form of behemah, “beast,” from baham, “to be mute,” (see note on Job 12:7,) and by some it is supposed to be used collectively for beasts in general, as in the Septuagint, ( θηρια ,) and in the Chaldee, ( בעיריא ;) the Syriac and Vulgate, like ourselves, meanwhile retaining the Hebrew word. On the assumption of such a derivation of the word, it may be regarded as “a plural of excellency,” a not uncommon form in the Hebrew for the superlative qualities of an object. The scholarship of the day, however, inclines to the view that this word behemoth, though it bears a Hebrew form, is an importation into that language from Egypt, (thus Dillmann and Hitzig;) its resemblance to the Coptic pehemaut, water ox, ( p, the; ehe, ox; mau, water,) having been noted by the best biblical scholars from the times of Jablonski to the present: for instance, Gesenius, Winer, Furst, Delitzsch, etc. In the hieroglyphs, the Nile-horse or ox (hippopotamus) was called apet or rert, the meaning of which was, according to Brugsch, “that which rolls or turns itself in the mud or water; that is, a beast that rolls in the mud.” Hieroglyph. Demot. Worterbuch, p. 867. The hieroglyphic representation of the hippopotamus as given by Canon Cook, and on page 262 of this work, is taken from the description of a fishing party in the times of the seventeenth or eighteenth dynasty, a period earlier than that of Moses, and is read by Birch, who follows Champollion, bechama, the resemblance of which to the word before us, behemoth, is unmistakable. It is proper to remark, however, that Brugsch transcribes it cheb.

The etymology, then, of the word behemoth, as seen through the more recent philological discoveries, points to the hippopotamus, and makes quite unnecessary any enlarged reference to the various speculations indulged in by various interpreters of behemoth. Drusius, Grotius, Schultens, J.D. Michaelis, Scott, Henry, P.H. Gosse, (Fairbairn’s Bib. Dic.,) suppose that the elephant is meant by behemoth; others, again, (as Professors Lee, Rosenmuller, W.F. Ainsworth, in Journal of Sacred Literature, 1859, p. 44,) regard the word as collective, and standing for beasts in general, while Dr. Good and a few others think that behemoth answers to some extinct pachyderm of the mammoth or mastodon species. On the supposition that no living species of the hippopotamus, as respects bulk, shape, or disposition, fills all the demands of this detailed description given in Job, it is not improbable that all the conditions may have been fulfilled by some one of the various species of the same animal living at the same time as Job. Six species of the hippopotamus have been found in the fossil state, and even in England one species has been discovered as much larger than his living congener as its companion, the mammoth, was larger than the living elephant. See Chambers’s Cyclopaedia, s.v. Rabbinical writers in the Talmud depicted this animal supposed by them also to be alluded to in Psalms 50:10 as a monster, every day devouring “the grass of a thousand hills,” destined himself in turn to furnish a feast for God’s people when the Messiah shall come. According to the legend, behemoth was created male and female; but the latter was destroyed, lest the earth should be unable to sustain their progeny, while the male is doomed to live on until all the faithful Israelites shall have been raised from the dead, at which time he himself shall be slaughtered. (See Kitto, Bib. Illus., in loc. Allen, Modern Judaism, p. 271. Samuel Wesley, Dissertationes, pp. 295-297.)

The word leviathan (Hebrew, livyathan) occurs five times in the Scriptures: Job 3:8; Job 41:1; Psalms 74:14; Psalms 104:26; Isaiah 27:1, and, with the exception of Job 3:8, is uniformly rendered leviathan. The term livyathan is from lavah, to “writhe,” “wind,” “twist;” a like meaning to which the cognate word in the Arabic and Syriac also bears. See on Job 41:1. The term, then, may be used in a by no means restricted sense, but one wide enough to embrace some unknown monster of the deep. Psalms 104:26. In Isaiah 27:0, verse 1, the word appears twice, first as the synonyme of “the piercing serpent,” nahhash bariahh, the “fleeing” or “fleet serpent,” from barahh “to flee,” (same as in Job 26:13; see note,) and secondly, as equivalent to “the crooked serpent,” nahhash hakallathon, from ‘hakal, “to twist,” “wind,” or “coil,” in allusion to the sinuosities into which serpents form themselves in order that rapid motion may be effected. Such an association of the term leviathan evidently indicates a wide use of the word for any great monster, whether of the ocean, (Psalms 104:26,) the air, (Job 26:13,) or the land. There can be but little doubt that here, and in Job 3:8, (on which see extended note,) as well as in Psalms 74:14, leviathan answers to the ancient crocodile. The number of names given to the crocodile in very ancient times points to a great variety of species, and “crocodiles which differ from all living species have also actually been found in Egyptian tombs.” Schmarda, cited by Delitzsch, ii, p. 366.

Among the many considerations that might be urged, that in neither case has the modern critic erred in his designation of behemoth and leviathan, is the interesting fact that the hippopotamus and crocodile appear together as typical monsters in the most ancient times; perhaps, because they were found together in the Nile, and also because of the profound impression which both of those monstrosities made upon that intelligent but most superstitious people, the Egyptians. Bochartus furnishes a formidable array of authorities and gives copious citations in illustration of this strange association of the two by the ancients. Among those who thus speak of behemoth and leviathan are Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, Pliny, Solinus, Philo, Pausanias, Marcellinus, etc. Clemens, according to Wilkinson, (v, p. 180,) substitutes the crocodile for the hippopotamus in the sentence which he cites from a temple at Dispolis. Bunsen ( Egypt’s Place, etc., 516) gives a hieroglyph in which the two are conjoined. According to Jewish traditions, a fierce battle is yet to be waged between behemoth and leviathan, in which neither shall be victorious; but when both shall fall exhausted, they shall be stabbed and slain by Messiah. (Allen, Modern Judaism, 270.)

An exceedingly difficult question, forced upon the commentator, is that of determining the significance of these two animals, of which the sacred writer gives so long and detailed a description. The cursory notes already given have glanced at some of the greatly diversified views held by ancient and modern writers. That these beasts are introduced into the address of Jehovah for the purpose of inculcating upon Job some deep ethical lesson is admitted by all those who do not, like Ewald, Simson, Furst, and Dillmann, go to the extreme of excluding the behemoth-leviathan section from the word of God. Delitzsch thinks that “these two descriptions are designed to teach Job how little capable of passing sentence upon the evil doer he is who cannot even draw a cord through the nose of the behemoth, and who, if he once attempted to attack the leviathan, would have reason to remember it so long as he lived, and would henceforth let him alone. It is, perhaps, an emblem that is not without connexion with the book of Job, that these, behemoth and livyathan, ( tannin,) in the language of the prophets and the psalms are the symbols of a worldly power at enmity with the God of redemption and his people.”… “To show Job how little capable he is of governing the world, and how little he would be in a position to execute judgment on the evil doer, two creatures are described to him two unslain monsters of gigantic structure and invincible strength, which defy all human attack.” Vol. ii, p. 384. Zockler, (in Lange,) whom Zschokke follows, regards them as “awe-inspiring examples for us; symbols, as it were, or pictorial embodiments, of the divine wrath.” He says, “After the repeated intimations which the passage itself conveys especially in Job 40:19; Job 41:10-11; Job 41:22; Job 41:25 concerning the presumptuous pride and the tyrannical ferocity of the two animals described, it is scarcely to be doubted that, according to the clearly defined and finally maintained purpose of the poet, these are to be regarded as symbols not merely of the power, but also of the justice, of God; or in other words, that the divine attribute of which the poet desires to present them as the vivid living mirror and manifesting medium, is omnipotence in the closest union with justice, (more particularly with punitive justice or wrath,) or omnipotence in its judicial manifestations.”

The Fathers of the Church, for instance, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Cyril, Gregory the Great, Jerome, ( Comment. on Job,) Olympiodorus, attached to leviathan a mystical sense, and conceived him to symbolize the Satan who appeared so prominently in the prologue of the book. The theory has been most unequivocally endorsed by Bishop Wordsworth, who approvingly cites Samuel Wesley, the latter of whom regarded leviathan “as an adumbration of the king of evil spirits;” and saw in him “a picture of the tyrannical oppressors of God’s people, who are types and instruments of Satan;” and deemed that “something greater and more terrible than a crocodile, and than any dragon of the earth or sea, or than Pharaoh himself, lies concealed in the words of Jehovah under the figure of leviathan.” Dissertationes in Librum Jobi, xxxviii, pp. 299-301. What makes the theory more impressive and worthy of consideration is, that the very word behemah, beast, appears again and again in the Scriptures as an unindividualized symbol of godless men. Psalms 49:12-20; Psalms 73:22; Jeremiah 5:8; comp. Psalms 68:30, (margin,) etc. The Scriptures, too, intimately associate Satan with the “serpent,” (Genesis 3:1; 2 Corinthians 11:3,) the “dragon,” (Revelation 13:2,) the “old serpent,” (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2;) in all which, we may remark, that it is the reptile or saurian creation which the spirit of evil has chosen through whom to work ruin to our race. But this theory, on the one hand, does not account for the associated prominence accorded to behemoth, (not to speak of the pacific disposition ascribed to him,) and on the other, attributes to Satanic leviathan a dominion, embracing the brute creation, which is quite too universal (Job 41:26) to comport with other representations of Scripture. Wordsworth vainly tries to account for the two in their conjoined capacity of Satanic medium, by the constrained view that “ behemoth represents the evil one acting in the animal and carnal elements of man’s own constitution, and that leviathan, symbolizes the evil one energizing as his external enemy. Behemoth is the enemy within us, leviathan is the enemy without us.”

It may help, in deciphering the hidden meaning of these two animals, to look a little more closely at the marks by which they are distinguished from the brute world which had previously passed in array before us. As before remarked, they are both amphibious, representatives of two modes of life which, because of its comprehensiveness gives them a greater claim upon our attention. Belonging, one of them to the class pachydermata, and the other to that of saurians, they, quite as much as any of the surviving creation, are linked with pre-adamite monsters and possibly with a regime of evil which is supposed by some to have preceded the period when the world came distinctly under our own recorded spiritual economy, connected with the garden of Eden. (See Kurtz’s Bible and Astronomy, section 18.) Both of them, consequently, belong to that portion of God’s creation which may be characterized as abnormal, grotesque, and monstrous. What is of greater significance yet, is, that they both figured most conspicuously in the mythologies and symbols of the ancient world. “The hippopotamus was said to have been a symbol of the western pole, or the region of darkness: distinct, of course, from that primeval darkness which covered the deep, and from which sprang the light supposed to have been seen by the Mygale, the emblem of Buto.” WILKINSON’S Ancient Egyptians, 5:181. For this reason, it may have been, that in astronomical representations the hippopotamus was assigned to the neighbourhood of the north pole, a place now filled by the dragon. Eusebius informs us, ( Praep. Evang. iii, chap. 12,) that the hippopotamus was seen figured in this view in the temple of Apollinopolis, standing with open jaws and gaping upwards as if to engulf the descending lights of heaven. Wilkinson ( Anc. Eg., 5:87, 88) refers to a well-known god with the head of a hippopotamus, who, he says, “may be one of the characters of the Egyptian Mars, the animal itself being worshipped at Papremis, the city of that deity.

I have only found him so represented in small pottery figures, but never in the sculptures, though the hippopotamus-headed goddess occurs in monuments of an early date. The connexion of the god Mars and this Typhonian animal is remarkable.” Compare Herodotus, 2:59-71. Plutarch, speaking of the symbolic figures to be seen in the porch of the temple of Minerva at Sais, introduces, last of all, the sea-horse [hippopotamus] as the symbol of impudence. The meaning of the entire series of symbols, he says, is this: “O you who are coming into the world, and who are going out of it, (that is, both young and old,) God hateth impudence.” De Iside, sec. 32. Horapollo (i, 56) assigns to the claws of the hippopotamus the signification of “injustice and ingratitude,” as well as to the whole animal the force of “time,” or “an hour.” What is of greater consideration, even yet, is the relation which the hippopotamus sustained to the soul in the infernal regions the Kerneter or Amenti “the place of the gods.” (Concerning Amenthes or Amenti, see p. 74, and Bunsen’s Egypt’s Place in History, 1:433.) If, after the deceased had been judged by Osiris and his forty-two deputies he was convicted of unpardonable faults, he became the prey of an infernal monster with the head of a hippopotamus. This monster was the goddess Thoueris devourer of souls. See further, Lenormant, Chald. Mag., p. 86. Also note Job 31:6. The significance of the discovery made by Schliemann at Hissarlik (which he supposes to have been ancient Troy) does not yet appear. “It is that of a brilliant red terra-cotta hippopotamus, at a depth of twenty-three feet. It is still an enigma how the animal was so well known here as to have been made of clay in a form quite faithful to nature.” Troy and its Remains, p. 228. On the wide diffusion of the hippopotamus in ancient times, see Meth. Quar. Revelation, 1877, p. 248; also, Murray’s Geog. Dist. of An., p. 165.

Not unlike the hippopotamus, a crocodile couching was, says Horapollo, a symbol of the west, and the tail of the crocodile was the hieroglyphic character which expressed darkness in the sacred sculpture of the Egyptians. On the contrary, “the crocodile was supposed by some to be an emblem of the sun, its number, sixty, being thought to agree with that luminary; and Clemens tells us, ( Strom., lib. v,) the sun was sometimes in a boat, and at others on a crocodile.” WILKINSON, Ibid., 5:233. The crocodile was peculiarly sacred to the god Sevek. Its worship did not extend to every part of Egypt: some places, considering it the representative of the evil being, bore the most deadly enmity to it, which led to serious feuds between neighbouring towns. Ibid., 5:229. “Nor, indeed,” says Plutarch, “has the crocodile itself those great honours paid it, without some probable show of reason for so doing. For, as this animal has no tongue, [see note, p. 267,] it has, on that account, been esteemed as the image, as it were, of the deity himself. For the divine reason stands not in need of speech, but,

Marching through still and silent paths,

The world administers with justice.

It is observed, likewise, as another property of this animal, that though, while it is in the water, its eyes are covered by a thin, pellucid membrane, which comes down from its forehead, yet it is able to see when it cannot be perceived that it sees, so that in this respect, likewise, it bears some resemblance to the first God. It is further remarked, that in whatever part of the country the female crocodile lays her eggs, so far will be the extent of the rise of the Nile for that season.” De Iside, etc., sec. 75.

Click image for full-size version

The crocodile also figured among the terrors which the Egyptian fancied the soul to encounter in its journeyings and transmigrations after the close of life. Chapter 32 of the Ritual of the Dead describes the departed as turning back four crocodiles, each one of which came from a different cardinal point.

The most important characteristic of these two animals, (behemoth and leviathan,) and one for which the preceding citations have prepared us, is, that they were typhonian a word which Luke uses (Acts 27:14) in describing the Euroclydon, when he calls it τυφονικος , a typhonic, “tempestuous” wind. In explanation of the word, Plutarch remarks: “Every thing that is of an evil and malignant nature, either in the animal, vegetable, or intellectual world, is looked upon in general as the operation of Typhon, as part of him, or as the effect of his influence.” See De Iside, 49.

“Furthermore,” says Plutarch. abruptly, “in the city of Apollo it is an established custom that every one must eat of a crocodile.” Modern travellers (Denon, 1. 16) speak of Egyptian temples (at Ombos) in which the paintings mostly related to the worship of the crocodile. The god, in one of the temples, bore in part the form of a man, only that it was surmounted by the crocodile’s head. The name given to this deity was Sevek.

It was a very generally embraced belief among the Egyptians that it was by taking on himself the form of a crocodile that Typhon escaped from Horus, the avenger of the murder of Osiris, his father. In an invocation of Horus we find the following: “Come to me quickly on this day to guide the holy bark, (the sun’s boat,) to force back… all crocodiles into the Nile. Shamelessness and sin (?) come and appear upon earth; but when Horus is invoked he destroys them. All mankind rejoice when they see the sun. They praise the son of Osiris, and the serpent turns back.” (From Brugsch, cited by Duncker, History of Antiq., 1:60.) The hieroglyph of Sevek was, according to Birch, a crocodile seated on a pylon. In this and other tropic hieroglyphics, “it appears from the ritual that there undoubtedly was an inward or esoteric meaning.” Hieroglyphics, p. 221. (On its typhonian character see note, Job 3:8.) In India, on each day of the great and horrible festival of Siva, the devotees worship the sun, pouring waters and flowers on a clay image of the alligator. (Ward, History, etc., of the Hindus, 1:26.) In South Africa, “if the Bakwains happened to go near to an alligator they would spit on the ground, and indicate its presence by saying, ‘There is sin.’” Livingstone.

The Egyptian mythology selected animals of hideous aspect, or of fierce and untamable disposition, or “the most senseless and stupid, such as the ass,” (Plutarch,) to stand as embodiments, or more properly as living representatives, of Typhon. The statement, however, which Bunsen makes ( Egypt, etc., 1:442) is not to be overlooked, and is to be accounted at its proper worth, that prior to the time of Rameses and his successor, about 1300 B.C., “Typhon is one of the most venerated and powerful gods; a god which pours blessings and life on the rulers of Egypt, just as the hateful Nephthys is called ‘the benevolent, protecting sister.’”

Unquestionably, at the head of typhonian animals stand the two, with a protracted description of which the address of the Almighty closes. They pre-eminently represent, according to Plutarch, “the wilder kind, the most fierce and untamable,” and are consequently devoted to Set or Typhon. (Compare Bunsen’s Egypt, 1:425-430.) At Hermopolis there is shown a statue of Typhon which represents a hippopotamus, on the back of which stands a hawk, (the sacred bird of Horus,) fighting with a serpent. (Plutarch, ibid.) Typhon usually appears on the monuments as a hippopotamus walking on its hind legs, and with female breasts; sometimes, with sword in hand, to show his evil nature. Sharpe, Egypt. Mythol., p. 8. On the seventh of the month Tybi, when the Egyptians celebrated the arrival of Isis from Phoenicia, they made cakes stamped with the form of a river-horse, bound. (Plutarch, ibid.) Mr. Birch has found, in the Book of the Dead, the word BABA, signifying the beast, ( behemah.)

as an epithet of Typhon. As we have before seen, Cheb or Chab was, according to Brugsch, the hieroglyph for hippopotamus. The word, he says, literally signifies “the concealed,” “the crooked.” In the form of Chebu, it bears the meaning of “morally crooked, distorted; hence, sin, error, badness.” In illustration, he cites from the Book of the Dead, “nen ar-a Chebu em ma-t.” “I have not committed iniquities in the tribunal of truth, (justice,) in sede veritatis: (justitiae.)” Hieroglyph. Demot. Worterbuch, pp. 1030, 1031.

These varied, numerous, and necessarily abbreviated illustrations of the Egyptian view of embodied evil have been adduced, not with the supposition that specifically, or in detail, they were, or could be, known to Job, but simply to set before the reader in general the significance of behemoth and leviathan in ancient mythology, a significance of which Job who in his great lamentation (Job 3:8) naturally alludes to leviathan and the sorcerers, and who was profoundly versed in Egyptian matters, (see Excursus IX,) could not by any means have been ignorant. These two brutes, then, stood as types of evil; and one great lesson they taught Job may have been intimately connected with the subject of evil. These types of evil Job is called upon to comprehend and explain. That they belonged to the brute world would make the rebuke to Job more signal and humiliating. The rebuke assumes that the knowledge of that which is greater, should imply knowledge of that which is less. He who understands evil in its infinite relations to God, ought to understand it in its finite relations to earth. To illustrate by modern science: He who professes to unfold the cause of the magnetism of the interior of the earth should not stickle at the currents that play upon its surface. Job had pre-sumptuously challenged God to give account of his ways, (Job 13:20-28;) had defiantly charged upon him, that he had afflicted his servant beyond what was right, (Job 9:13-22;) in his murmurs and complaints had postulated a comprehensive knowledge of the unseen world of evil, (Job 16:9-14:) if he be so wise with respect to the spiritual and unseen the vast, throbbing currents of right and wrong which underlie the infinite moral world over which God rules and reigns, he must know all about evil in all its disclosures through the brute creation! “Behold behemoth!” Explain these typhonian creatures which live on the outskirts of the wide-extended sphere of hidden evil, (Job 40:20-22;) then Job may show reason for discoursing upon subjects which tower almost infinitely above every human understanding.

On account of greatly magnified difficulties which are supposed by some to adhere to the behemoth section, it has been regarded by De Wette, Ewald, and Stuhlmann as an interpolation, and attributed by them to the so-called “author of the Elihu section,” (on which see page 197,) and, to one’s surprise, assumed by Dillmann even, to be an addition from some “inferior Egyptian poet who undertook to describe monsters he had seen in his native land.” Ewald bases his objections to the section before us on the twofold ground of position, and of the different character existing between the description of these two and the earlier description of animals chapters 38 and 39. The first objection assumes that the sole object of this long delineation of the two animals is to set forth the power of God, and, therefore, should be connected with the first address, which had the same end in view, instead of being connected with the second address, which, it is also assumed, exclusively treats of the justice of God. Hirtzel replies that “the same objection holds against the challenge of God, (Job 40:9-14,) because it refers as little to the justice of God, but really is a question of power between Job and his Creator.” A consistent work of excision would then leave but two verses, (seven and eight,) for the second address of the Almighty. The stately tree which came forth from the divine hand in symmetrical proportion stands peeled and stripped, with a single, solitary, scragged bough. As to the second objection, it may be sufficient to indicate that a more close examination of the section shows the same artistic hand as in the earlier portions of the book. This may be tested by the comparison of unusual expressions and forms of Hebrew words, which it has in common with Job and his friends: for instance, “eyelids of the morning,”

Job 41:18 with Job 3:9: “children of pride,” Job 41:34 with Job 28:8; the personification in Job 41:22 with Job 17:2 and Job 29:19, literally, the dew lodged (passed the night) in every branch, branches of the body, for limbs, (Hebrew, baddim,) Job 41:12 with Job 18:13; the peculiar use of karah, to traffic, with על , in Job 41:6 and Job 6:27; the Jobesque use of על עפר , “upon the dust,” Job 41:33 and Job 19:25, (on which, see note;) the exceptional employment of אפיקים , with the meaning of “strong,” Job 41:15 and Job 12:21, (in each case see margin;) also of רפד , to “spread,” Job 41:30 and Job 17:13; the form העשׂו , Job 41:33, and צפו , Job 15:22, etc.

The theory above adduced, that the two animals stand as types of evil, meets objections raised against their long-drawn-out portraiture. From such a stand-point the space they fill in the work does not appear unseemly, even when compared with that accorded to animals not typhonic. Moreover, this theory brings forward into bold relief the subject of evil, which otherwise would not receive direct consideration in these discourses of Jehovah. Besides, if such a moral interpretation be not justifiable, it is to be specially remarked that a work which in other respects is perfect in its artistic and dramatic make, at the outset brought out into great prominence the emissary of evil only to thrust him, and the cause he so maliciously represented, entirely from the scene, unless, perchance, we are justified in fastening upon him oblique allusions to fiends who may have been human. (See notes on Job 16:9-11.) Since the chief objection to the behemoth section is artistic, it will suffice to offset it with the unquestionably unprejudiced view of Renan, (page 1,) who says, “We should guard ourselves from a desire to find in these ancient works our principles of composition and taste. The style of the fragment of which we speak (Job 40:15 to Job 41:34) is that of the better portions of the poem. Nowhere is the style ( la coup) more vigorous, the parallelism more sonorous; all indicates that this singular morceau is from the same hand, but not from the same jet, as the rest of the discourse of Jehovah.”



In the necessarily brief note on the land of Uz, (page 13,) we were led to adopt the ancient view, that the home of Job was in Edom, (Idumaea,) a country no less interesting from its associations with the tribe of Esau than from the rugged grandeur of its mountain scenery, with its rock city Petra, (Hebrew, Selah,) the tombs, temples, theatres, and even private dwellings of which, were cut in “the clefts of the rock.” Obadiah 1:3. These remain to the present day, a naked, solitary monument, as everlasting as the mountains themselves, to the truthfulness of the word of God.

Isaiah 34:6-15; Jeremiah 49:7-17; Ezekiel 25:13; Ezekiel 35:3-9; Obadiah 1:3-4; and Malachi 1:3-4. This land first appears in history as mount Seir, the home of the Horites. (Genesis 14:6.) In the course of time the Horites were overpowered by “the children of Esau,”

(Deuteronomy 2:12,) whereupon the country took also the name of Edom, (redness,) a name it afterward bore in the Scriptures. The Greeks called the same country ‘ Ιδουμαια , (Idumaea;) which Josephus regarded as “a softer and more elegant pronunciation” of what should be more properly written Αδωμα , (Adoma.) The length of Edom proper was about one hundred miles, and its breadth about twenty miles, on an average. For the most part it consisted of mountain ranges, not far from two thousand feet above the sea, though not without extended valleys and plateaus of arable land, which in ancient times unquestionably furnished a richness of soil answering to “the fatness of the earth” which Isaac, in prophetic vision, promised his wayward and disappointed son. (Genesis 27:39.) Even of the present condition of this mountainous country Dean Stanley writes: “The first thing that struck me in turning out of the ‘ Arabah up the defiles that lead to Petra was, that we had suddenly left the desert. Instead of the absolute nakedness of the Sinaitic valleys, we found ourselves walking on grass, sprinkled with flowers, and the level platforms on each side were filled with sprouting corn; and this continues through the whole descent to Petra, and in Petra itself. The next peculiarity was, when, after having left the summit of the pass, or after descending from mount Hor, we found ourselves insensibly encircled with rocks of deepening and deepening red. Red, indeed, even from a distance, the mountains of ‘ red’ Edom appear, but not more so than the granite of Sinai; and it is not till one is actually in the midst of them that this red becomes crimson, and that the wonder of the Petra colors fully displays itself” Sinai and Palestine p. 88. The approach to Petra, even from a distance, deeply impresses the traveller. “We wound,” says Laborde, “round a peak surmounted by a single tree.

The view from that point exhibited a vast, frightful desert a chaotic sea, the waves of which were petrified. Following the beaten path, we saw before us mount Hor, crowned by the tomb of the prophet, if we are to credit the ancient traditions preserved by the people of that country… But at length the road leads the traveller to the heights above one more ravine, whence he discovers within his horizon the most singular spectacle, the most enchanting picture, which nature has wrought in her grandest mood of creation.” Arabia Petraea, p. 154.

“You descend from wide downs,… and before you opens a deep cleft between rocks of red sandstone rising perpendicularly to the height of one, two, three hundred feet. This is the sik or ‘cleft;’ through this flows if one may use the expression the dry torrent, which, rising in the mountains half an hour hence, gives the name by which alone Petra is now known among the Arabs, wady Mousa, [valley of Moses.]… Follow me, then, down this magnificent gorge the most magnificent, beyond all doubt, which I have ever beheld. The rocks are almost precipitous… The gorge is about a mile and a half long, and the opening of the cliffs at the top is throughout almost as narrow as the narrowest part of the defile of Pfeffers.” STANLEY, Sinai and Palestine, p. 89.

For the spectacle which rises before the vision at the end of the long defile we refer the reader to the works of Robinson, Olin, Laborde, and Stanley.

It does not lie within our province to treat of the eventful history of the strange people who inhabited these mountainous heights. After filling an important page in the history of the world, at about the Christian era, not only the nation, but even the name of the country itself, Idumaea, quite disappeared from the knowledge of men.

The readiest route for the long lines of caravans, laden with merchandise, which in ancient times travelled from the Persian Gulf to Egypt, and thence probably to Ethiopia, lay along the boundaries of Idumaea, so that in the course of time Petra became an entre-pot of great importance. (See Strabo, xvi, ch. 4:24.) Communication with the seaports of Phoenicia on the one hand was no more difficult in ancient times than now; while, on the other hand, the desert lying between Idumaea and Chaldaea was traversed at the time when Job lived no less easily than at the present. (See note, Job 1:17.) If the commonly accepted view, that the home of Job was in the land of Edom, be the correct one, we have the key to the great knowledge Job possessed of the outer world, even though he may have lived in patriarchal times, seventeen or eighteen centuries before Christ. Recent discoveries show that long before the centuries mentioned a high civilization had been attained in Chaldaea as well as in Egypt, and that thus early discoveries had been made in the sciences and the arts corresponding to the great knowledge displayed in the book of Job. “There is no reason,” says Layard, “why we should not assign to Assyria the same remote antiquity we claim for Egypt. The monuments of Egypt prove that she did not stand alone in civilization and power. At the earliest period we find her contending with enemies already nearly, if not fully, as powerful as herself; and amongst the spoil from Asia, and the articles of tribute brought by subdued nations from the northeast, are vases as elegant in shape, stuffs as rich in texture, and chariots as well adapted to war, as her own. It is not improbable that she herself [Egypt] was indebted to the nations of Western Asia for the introduction of arts in which they excelled, and that many things in common use were brought from the banks of the Tigris.” See further, his Nineveh, 2:225-235; and George Smith’s Chaldaean Account, pp. 28-31, 312.

The language of Accad, the dead language of primitive Chaldaea, together with its institutions and civilization, served as a fountain-head of knowledge to a large portion of the very ancient world. The Phoenician never forgot that his ancestors once dwelt along the Persian Gulf, and even the Israelite traced his ancestral home to Ur of the Chaldees. (See Kenrick’s Phoenicia, pp. 48, 52.) “These Accadians were the earliest civilizers of Western Asia, and it is to them that we have to trace the arts and sciences, the religious traditions and the philosophy, not only of the Assyrians, but also of the Phoenicians, the Aramaeans, and even the Hebrews themselves. It was, too, from Chaldaea that the gems of Greek art and of much of the Greek pantheon and mythology originally came. Columnar architecture reached its first and highest development in Babylonia… It is difficult to say how much of our present culture is not owed to the stunted, oblique-eyed people of ancient Babylonia… Both Jerusalem and Athens were profoundly influenced by the ideas which had their first starting point in primeval Accad.” SAYCE, Babylonian Literature, p. 6-14.

On the other hand, not many days’ journey from Petra lay the land of Canaan, (Phoenicia,) with its maritime cities, one of which, Zidon, was mentioned by Jacob in his dying addresses as “a haven for ships.”

Genesis 49:13; compare Joshua 19:28-29. As we have already seen, (note on Job 41:6,) at the time of Homer the Phoenicians were the merchants of the world. Their commercial activity took its rise with that of the people themselves. No sooner had they “settled in the parts which they now inhabit.” than they “began at once,” says Herodotus, (i, 1,) “to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria.” Not to speak of the ancient terminus of caravan lines at Gerrha, on the Persian Gulf, with its communications with India, Phoenicia itself would by its seaports open many outlooks through which Job might take a glimpse of the sea and the wonders of distant lands. Through the Canaanites Job may have obtained his varied knowledge of metallurgy, even if he had no information of the extensive mines in Arabia, and especially those of the land of Midian, the extent of which the recent exploration of Captain Burton (1878) serves to make known. Burton describes the country as the land of ruined mines, with shafts, tunnels, furnaces, workmen’s towns and princely cities, now the very picture of desolation. Comp. Numbers 31:1; Numbers 31:22-23. On this section see Heeren, Asiatic Researches, 1:325-368, 2:300-303; Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchies, 1:551-563, sec. ed.; Kenrick, Phoenicia, chap. vi; Records of the Past, vol. 8.

To the south of Idumaea, within a few days’ journey, lay the wondrous land of Egypt, with its solemn temples, its pyramids, its tombs, and its repositories of religious knowledge. The monuments both in Egypt and Chaldaea bear witness to a wide-extended communication between the peoples of the ancient world. An inscription at Karnak shows that in the sixteenth century before Christ, Tuthmosis III. received tribute from Syria in a coin of such a make, and in such sums, as to justify the conclusion that both the Babylonian money weight and the imperial Babylonian weight were at that time in use in Syria. See further, Duncker, History of Antiquity, 1:304. Compare Joshua 7:21. There can be but little question that the commerce between Egypt and Chaldaea before alluded to reached as far back as two thousand years B.C., and that Arab merchants carried the products of South Arabia the spices of Yemen as well as the products and manufactures of India, especially their silks to Babylon, and that thence a similar commerce was maintained with Egypt. Duncker, ibid, 1:226, 305, vv. 317-323.

It is not without deep significance that Job makes appeal to “wayfaring men” in confirmation of the advanced position he was taking against “the friends.” (See note, Job 21:29.) For, notwithstanding its abominable distortions, religious light was disseminated far and wide. This is indicated by the strikingly similar features of ancient idolatry, of which the worship of the bull may stand as a type, whether you speak of the Mnevis or Apis of Egypt, the winged bull of Assyria, the bull Nandi of the Hindu, or even the bull of Japan, with his horn breaking the mundane egg. A similar worship of the sun prevailed throughout the ancient world in Egypt under the form of Ra, (some say Osiris;) in Phoenicia, of Baal; in Arabia and Assyria, of Shams, or Shamas; among the Persians, of Mithras; in India, of Surya, or Mitra; and by the wandering Celt, of Beal or Bealam an almost universal worship, with which Job declared himself untainted. (Note Job 31:26-27.) In like manner Lenormant remarks that the Babylonian religion, adopted by the Assyrians with only one important modification, was, in its essential principles, and in the spirit which guided its ideas, a religion of the same kind as that of Egypt, and of nearly all other great heathen religions. See further, his Chaldaean Magic, pp. 111, 112.

The distance from Egypt was not so great but that it may have been as easily visited by Job as by Abraham, Thales, Pythagoras, Herodotus, and Plato. (Comp. Diodorus Siculus, i, chap. 7.) The free and natural use of figures based upon Egypt, its scenery, vegetation, customs, works, and its animal kingdom, must have arrested the attention of even the cursory reader of this book. For more easy reference, we group together the more important of these allusions. Such are leviathan with his sorcerers, (Job 3:8;) the building of mausolea or pyramidal structures for the burial of the mighty dead, (Job 3:13-15;) the mention of the Nile, (which Job calls a sea, as it was called in Egypt,) with its watchers, its rank mire-growths, (Job 7:12; Job 8:11;) the employment of Egyptian words, yeor, (aur,) for streams, a name also used for the Nile, (Job 28:10;) with which agrees the cuneiform yaruhu for the same river. We have also the Egyptian ahhou, “flag,” which occurs in a papyrus of early date, and is kindred with akh-akh, “green,” “verdant;” as well as gome for papyrus, which word Brugsch identifies with the Coptic, (Job 8:11;) and an allusion to the papyrus boats of the Nile, which corresponds with the view of Brugsch, that the papyrus was specially employed in Egypt for making light, swift boats, (Job 9:26.) Such also are the unmistakable references to Egyptian judicial customs, among which is the requiring of the accuser to present his accusation in writing, and of the accused to sign his reply, (Job 31:35;) the enlarged description of the war horse, as well as of several wild animals indigenous to Egypt, among which the hippopotamus and crocodile fill the most important place. (Job 39:19-25; Job 40:15-24; Job 41:0.)

Along the banks of the Nile the light of a primeval revelation shone with greater clearness and effulgence, we are disposed to think, than in any other part of the ancient heathen world. What has been said of Hindostan, that “one could almost imagine that before God planted Christianity upon earth he took a branch from the luxuriant tree and threw it down to India,” would hold equally true of ancient Egypt. The increasing discoveries of our age have called great attention to this ancient land, confirming the justness of the observation of Herodotus, (ii, 37,) that “they [the Egyptians] are religious to excess, far beyond any other race of men,” and revealing the possession of religious truths, in a crude form, it is true, but sufficiently distinct to show that they are the relics of a divine revelation, of which the mode of communication may never be known. The sceptical speculation of the day makes religious knowledge a gradual development; on the contrary, the readings of monumental remains disclose declension and loss of such knowledge; also, that the tendencies of all religions, with the exception of that of Christ, are downward, unless counteracted by the bringing in, from without, of religious truth. There is a disposition, too, to find a complete circle of such divine truth in olden false religions, so much so that the lover of antiquity beholds with perverted eye, its perverted religions, and becomes their devotee, if not their worshipper. Especially is this the case with Egypt. The life of its people, their customs, manners, sciences, thoughts, and inner being, stand before us in monumental array, with a distinctness hardly less vivid than that of mediaeval history. The mind is charmed at the contemplation, and disposed to find perfection not only in such a civilization, but in the religious belief of such a people. It is quite prepared to see in the brilliant light-points which beautify and somewhat relieve the Egyptian night, well-rounded orbs of doctrine and of faith. Among recent writers on Egyptology (1877) is L’abbe Ancessi. With an imagination as vivid as that which he ascribes to the Egyptians themselves, he conceives a comprehensive scheme of spiritual belief, and invests the crude conceptions of a debased mythology with the garb of the advanced doctrines of Christian faith. The casual reader might easily suppose that Nile papyri, painted tombs, and sculptured stelae contain “the oracles of God” no less truly than the Holy Scriptures themselves.

Click image for full-size version

The most significant of the resemblances which L’abbe finds is here adduced, for its strange coincidence with one of the sentiments of Job’s proposed inscription, (p. 131 and Excursus V,) as well as for its bearing upon the exegesis of the passage it so closely resembles. It appears in the “Book of the Dead;” the authority is that of Lepsius, Todtenbuch, 130, 28.

The personal pronoun is repeated three times; the same particle is used before the word “flesh” in both languages; in the Egyptian e M-haaouef from his flesh; in the Hebrew, Mibbesari from my flesh. By the citation of another formula from the same “Book of the Dead,” “He sees from his eyes, he hears from his ears, the truth,” in which the same prepositione e M, “ from,” is used, Ancessi claims that in neither case can it be used in a separistic sense, to wit: that the soul sees “away from,” or apart from the body. With this interpretation agrees grammatical usage elsewhere, as Ancessi shows in his Comparative Grammar of the Semitic and Hamitic Languages Etudes de Grammaire Comparee, etc., le theme M. Parity of reason, he claims, demands that the preposition min should be rendered in like manner from in the book of Job, ( Job et l’ Egypte, etc., 144, 146,) in other words, that Hebrew and hieroglypt both taught that the time should come in the history of the disembodied soul when, through the medium of the flesh, it should behold God.

After the fullest and frankest recognition of the great light the Egyptian, and even the Assyrian, once enjoyed, there rises before our eyes an obverse view painful to contemplate. The ghastliness of a mummy with which frequently the evidences and memorials of their faith were entombed symbolizes the degradation, despair, and death which characterized their religion, and which are not to be covered up nor ignored by splendid sentiments gathered here and there from Egyptian rituals; even though their substratum may have been the immortality of some souls, a rigid ordeal for the soul and its deeds, and the future revivifying of the body.

A marked, and, indeed, the most salient feature of Egyptian worship, was its adoration of brutes. This worship reaches back to the most ancient times. To a contemplative mind the spectacle is painful and unaccountable that of the most enlightened nation of antiquity prostrate before the bestial world. It is to be confessed that the serious view which the heathen Plutarch takes of this worship is more worthy of consideration than that of the Christian Clemens, which we adduce below. The former wrote: “The Egyptians, at least the greater part of them, by adoring the animals themselves, and caring for them as for gods, have crammed their ritual full with subjects of laughter and opprobrium. Nor is this the least evil which results from their stupidity. A dangerous notion is implanted, which drives the weak and simple-minded into the worst forms of superstition, and the shrewder and more daring into atheism and beast-like speculations.” De Iside, 71. Clemens of Alexandria, who was himself, when a heathen, initiated into the Egyptian mysteries, escorts us into the remotest part of the sacred adytum, and under the guidance of a shrine-bearer, who, as “with a grave air he sings a paean in the Egyptian tongue, draws aside a small portion of the veil, as if about to show us the god, and makes us burst into a loud laugh. For the god you sought is not there, but a cat, or a crocodile, or a serpent sprung from the soil, or some such brute animal, which is more suited to a cave than a temple. The Egyptian deity appears, a beast rolling himself on a purple coverlet.” Hardwick, 2:271.

The remark of Olympiodorus, that “what the images of the gods are to the Greeks, that the beasts are to the Egyptians symbols of the gods to whom they are consecrated,” does not include the whole truth. Plutarch institutes a like comparison between the Egyptians and the Greeks, but charges upon the former, or at least the greater part of them, the adoring of the animals themselves, and the revering of them as gods. ( Ibid., 71.)

“They reverence some animals,” says Diodorus Siculus, “extravagantly καθ ’ υπερβολην not only when they are alive, but after they are dead.” Of this worship the same author gives an enlarged description, together with its inexpressible abominations, (i, vv. 83-88, Booth edit.;) mournful facts to which both Herodotus and Strabo bear witness. On the Egyptian worship of beasts see Dollinger, The Gentile and the Jew, 1:454-460; Prichard, Egyptian Mythology, vv. 301-343.

According to Bunsen, ( God in History, 1:226,) the worship of brutes was introduced into the established religion of Egypt about the second century after Menes, and not earlier than the second dynasty. It gradually displaced the purer worship of Osiris, together with the complicated hierarchy of gods, who are generally comprehended in three orders. The principle before suggested, of the tendency of false religions to deterioration and debasement, thus finds ready and painful illustration in Egypt no less than among the Semites generally, as well as in India in the transition from Vedism to Brahminism and thence to Buddhism.

At what time the abominations of phallic worship were introduced into Egypt does not so readily appear. No degradation of religion of its rites and culture can be imagined, more outrageous than this. Certainly this worship in Egypt was closely linked with that of Osiris, to whose tragic dismemberment Egyptian mythology traced its origin. (See Plutarch, ibid., xviii; Maurice, Indian Antiquities, 2:101-172; Hardwick, ibid., 2:279-283.) A veil should be drawn over the subject, even in the opinion of Plutarch, who declares that he “omits the more harsh and shocking parts of it,” and that “the mouth should be washed after the recital of them.” ( Ibid, sec. 20.) That veil has been sufficiently uplifted by Herodotus, (ii, 48, 49,) who “relates things which bear witness to such a bestiality that we would gladly be able for the honour of human nature to deny them.” Tholuck. The only justification for the reference to the subject here, is found in the disposition on the part of sceptical philosophy to find on the banks of the Nile the fountainhead of religion, and that, too, to the disparagement of the Bible.

The monuments testify of an ancient practice of sacrificing human beings in connexion with the worship of serpents, as is evinced by the accompanying picture, from a tomb first discovered by Belzoni at Thebes. Before the erected head of the serpent, the attitude of which, on a line with the throats of the victims, tells its gratification in the offered blood, are three human beings just beheaded by the officiating priest. Beneath the arch of the serpent sits the goddess, while the

Click image for full-size version

sacred asp, bearing a human head, is seated upon the serpent’s tail. For other pictorial illustrations of this mournful subject the reader is referred to Kitto’s History of Palestine, 1:583, 584. In one of these, women, probably priestesses, are the active agents who bind the victims and hold them as they bleed to death. Notwithstanding the denial by Egypto-lovers that the Egyptians sacrificed men to their idols, (for instance, Wilkinson in Rawlinson’s Herodotus, 2:71,) the evidence of the monuments confirm the testimony of Manetho and many Greek writers (to wit, Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus, etc.) to the prevalence among the Egyptians of this revolting practice. The testimony of Manetho, who was a native Egyptian priest, and lived in the third century B.C., is to the effect that in the city Eileithyia, every year, in the dog days, some so-called typhonian men (that is, red-haired men) were burnt alive, and their ashes thrown into the air with winnowing shovels, (Plutarch, Moralia, p. 380;) and that three men were sacrificed to Hera in times remote at Heliopolis, but that King Amosis (about B.C. 1500) put an end to the custom by substituting images of wax. (Porphyry, De Abst., 2:55.) Athenaeus speaks of a work written by Seleucus which treats expressly of the human sacrifices offered by the Egyptians. Osburn declines that “human sacrifices always formed an essential part of the ritual of their idolatry.” Mon. His. of Egypt, 2:454. See Kenrick, Anc. Egypt, 1:440-448; Denon, Trav., 2:181, 208.

Such are some of the dark features which the gloomy and austere religion of the Nile must have presented in the days of Job. Notwithstanding his extensive acquaintance with the country and the institutions of its people, the candid reader of Job, and the no less candid student of Egypt, cannot fail, we think, of the conviction that the religion of Job differed “by a whole heaven” from that of Egypt. Compare Hardwick, Christ and other Masters, 306-360.

But, first, before pronouncing upon Job’s relationship to contemporary religions, let us again glance at the other greatly enlightened neighbour, Chaldaea. The pantheon of the Chaldaean, from most ancient times, was well stocked with divinities, the leading ones of which bore a remarkable family resemblance to those of Egypt, as well as to the more sanguinary deities of Phoenicia. The Chaldaeans, however, do not seem to have ever degraded themselves to the level of the Egyptians, either in worship of the brute creation or in the adoption into their cultus of the shocking phallic worship. Lenormant supposes that underneath their idolatrous worship lay a belief in a sole and universal Divine Being, whose nature, as in all the ancient pantheisms, was to be at the same time one and many. ( Chald. Magic, vv. 128-131.) This may have been true of the primordial faith transmitted by Noah, in some stages of its deterioration, but the first records in monumental history point to an idolatry unmistakably corrupt, from which, so far as concerns the popular mind, the essence of true religion had been lost. Lenormant, without sufficient reason, regards this supposed pantheism as the primordial notion of all the ancient Kuschito-Semitic religions.

Unquestionably, at the time of Job, whether he lived early or comparatively late, the popular religion of Egypt, Arabia, Phoenicia, Syria in general, (Chaldaea, and Assyria, was marked by most revolting features, for which it is difficult for the lovers of natural religion to find theories of extenuation or even words of apology. It now appears that the Chaldaean was equally barbarous with the Egyptian and the Phoenician, for the latest researches affirm the prevalence in early Babylonia of human sacrifices. Of greater importance yet, to the religious mind, is the fact that the victim was evidently offered vicariously, which is sufficiently confirmed from the earlier inscriptions. (See W.R. Cooper, Resurrection of Assyria, p. 58,) “A curious fragment of an old Accadian hymn describes how the sinner must give his dearest and nearest, even his offspring, for the sin of his soul, ‘the head of his child for his own head, the brow of his child for his own brow, the breast of his child for his own breast;’ and a passage in the great work on astronomy informs us, that the innocent sacrifice must be offered up by fire. The bloody sacrifices offered to Moloch, therefore, were no Semitic invention, but handed on to them, with so much else, by the Turanian population of Chaldaea.” Sayce, Bab. Lit., p. 46, (1878.) (See also his article, “Human Sacrifice among the Ancient Babylonians, in Trans. Sac. Bib. Arch, 4:1, pp. 25-31.) Comp. Micah 6:7. This fact assumes a deep interest from the consideration that the early Babylonian language combined distinctly marked Turanian, Semitic, and Aryan elements, as though the great races were more or less revolved in this awful form of sacrifice. Such a conglomeration of language serves as a confirmation to the Scripture truth of the dispersion, and the confusion of tongues, events which took place in the land of Shinar, where Babylon was situated. For information on the early Chaldaean religion the reader is referred to Rawlinson, Ancient Mon., 110-141; his Herodotus, 1:480-517; and Lenormant, Chald. Magic, ch. 10.

In the midst of universal idolatry Job stands forth the worshipper of one God. The book of Job discloses God as a spiritual being, (Job 9:11; Job 10:4; Job 23:8-9,) unlimited in power, (Job 9:4-13; Job 10:7; Job 11:10; Job 12:14-25, etc.,) unchangeable, (Job 23:13,) omniscient, (Job 11:11; Job 21:22; Job 28:24; Job 34:21-22,) holy, (Job 4:18; Job 15:15; Job 25:5; Job 34:10,) and merciful, (Job 5:17-27; Job 22:17-18; Job 33:24; Job 36:15-16.) Job displays a consummate knowledge of the moral law in its most subtle relations to evil, (see p. 189,) and a philosophy of morals which constantly reminds us of the teaching of Christ and his apostles. The theory of the moral government of God during the course of the controversy was beclouded, but the sequel discloses God as Jehovah, who chastens that he may save, and who afflicts that man’s highest good may be secured, (Job 5:17-26; Job 33:19-30; Job 36:8-12; Job 42:12.) This moral government grasps the minutiae of life’s actions, (Job 10:14; Job 11:10; Job 14:3; Job 14:16; Job 23:10-12; Job 31:4; Job 34:21-22,) adequately recompenses both the just and the wicked, (Job 8:3-7; Job 22:2-7; Job 27:13-23; Job 34:11-12; Job 34:19,) even to the punishment of the latter in another life, (see p. 149,) and comprehends the entire world of the dead, (Job 20:11; Job 26:5-6; Job 36:20,) holding forth to the just the prospect of a final deliverance from the gloom of sheol. See pp. 74, 109.

If Job speaks of idolatry it is in unreserved condemnation, and that he may absolve himself from any conceivable taint, (Job 31:26-28.) And what is of greater moment is, that the idolatry which he specifies is that most common to ancient times the worship of the sun and moon which, however disguised, lay at the basis of ancient mythology; for the sun everywhere came to be regarded as the source of life, and the moon was taken up as the feminine complement; all which sooner or later drifted into the corruptions of phallic or procreative worship.

On the subject of satanology or demonology, the views of the book are clear and distinct. There is disclosed, in antagonism to the good, one powerful, subtle, pervasive spirit of evil, endowed with conscious and extended knowledge, whose theatre of activity is the world, and whose subordinate power over nature is not confined to “outward circumstances” the bare employment of physical resources as some would hold, but reaches to a certain persuasive influence over men, as is evinced by the by no means fortuitous movement of Chaldaean hordes against Job. (Pp. 23, 34.) In contrast with such enlightened views, views which wonderfully anticipate those of the New Testament, recent exploration has brought to light from among the Babylonians a system of demonology which crowded the elements with evil spirits, who were apparently outside the control of higher spirits, and who wrought inconceivable mischief. These demons spread snares for men, and were the cause of all evils. Diseases were pre-eminently their work. The most formidable demons took the form of the most dreaded diseases. This probably gave rise to the belief that various members of the body were acted upon by particular classes of evil spirits. One class, for instance, seized upon the head; another, upon the forehead; another, upon the chest; while another, supreme in malice, came down upon the life of man, and “bent him like a bundle.” The bodies of men, together with uncultivated wilds and deserts, furnished them a dwellingplace. Even the dead arose from their graves, and in the form of vampires attacked the living. The under world sent forth its horrible sprites, called innin, and the enormous uru-ku, a species of hobgoblins and larvae, to haunt and terrify men. By incantations, demons of various grades might be exorcised, and even the highest genii or demigods be driven away. By the use of charms, amulets, and magic words, the Chaldaean conceived that the bodies and homes of men might be protected against their baleful presence. This belief gave rise to an extensive system of magic. Forms of conjuration, which we cite from Lenormant, ( ibid., p. 30,) will further illustrate the terrorism winch everywhere prevailed:

On high they bring trouble, and below they bring confusion.

Falling in rain from the sky, issuing from the earth, they penetrate the strong timbers, the thick timbers; they pass from house to house.

Doors do not stop them. Bolts do not stop them.

They glide in at the doors like serpents. They enter by the windows like the wind… They take the child from the knees of the man, They make the free woman leave the house when she has borne a child. They, they are the voices which cry and which pursue mankind.


From the four cardinal points the impetuosity of their invasion burns like fire. They violently attack the dwellings of man.

They wither everything in the town or in the country. They oppress the free man and the slave.

They pour down like a violent tempest in heaven and earth. Ibid., p. 29.

The reader is referred to Lenormant for numerous illustrations.

From such considerations it is clear that the religious light reflected from the book of Job did not emanate either from Chaldaea, ancient Canaan, (Phoenicia,) or Egypt. On every subject embraced by the natural religion of the ancients this book speaks with a voice distinct and clear, and from a plane as much more elevated above that of his times as the supernatural is above the natural. Of all the doctrines considered by Job, that on which the least light is shed, is the subject of the intermediate state of the dead. Even here, the simplicity of Job’s belief stands in impressive contrast to the cumbrous faith of the Egyptian, with its long and complicated series of transformations, and its silly punitive transmigrations, (pp. 190, 191,) as well as to that of the Chaldaean, overladen not only by hobgoblins, larvae, and every conceivable grade of demoniacal existence, but by human dead metamorphosed into vampires. Against such beliefs Job, by implication, utters his protest, (Job 7:9-10; Job 14:21-22; comp. Job 14:12;) at least, in his profoundest melancholy he never involves himself in any entanglement which conflicts with the pure and eventual hope of the pious Semite. The work is as remarkable for what it does not, as for what it does, say. Job stands forth from the degraded environment of his times, an exponent of truth, the elements of which are no less simple, pure, and ultimate, than those of light. The age in which he lived was as powerless to taint his mind or pollute his heart as the Egyptian morass of which he himself speaks was to corrupt the light cast back from its surface. The conclusion we deem legitimate, that “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,” (Hebrews 1:1,) elected from the broad wastes of heathendom a Job, together with a Chaldaean Abraham, to the divine order of prophets, (Genesis 20:7;) to receive from above the light of divine truth, that, purely and without contamination, it might be communicated to the darkened family of man.



The advanced knowledge of astronomy displayed in the book of Job may, humanly speaking, seem to demand a later period for its writing than that which has been assumed during the progress of the present work. Among scholars, it is recognised that this science received early and profound attention among nations widely separated, and that, in some cases at least, important discoveries were made beyond the mere superficial survey of the heavens. Until recently it has been in dispute which of the four great astronomical peoples, the Chinese, the Hindu, the Egyptian, or the Chaldee, have taken the lead in the discovery of the principles of astronomical science. The first of those mentioned boasts of attainments in this science which, if valid, would give that people the priority and the palm. It seems now to be conceded that the earliest Chinese observations we are acquainted with, sufficiently precise to afford any result useful to astronomy, were made about the year 1100 before our era. These related to meridianal altitudes of the sun, the obliquity of the ecliptic, and the position of the winter solstice in the heavens. See further, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2:745, ninth edition.

The whole matter of Hindu astronomy is still involved in uncertainty. The more prevalent view is, that the knowledge of the Hindu was derived from foreign sources, either through Greek or Arabian channels.

As we draw nearer to the home of Job it is important to call attention to the fact that the astronomical knowledge of the Greek was borrowed either from the Egyptian or the Chaldaean. the near neighbors of Job. (See Excursus IX, p. 284.) Thales,

“Wisest of the seven sages,

That great astronomer,”

(thus Timon, cited by Laertius,) as we have before seen, early visited Egypt. Greek writers acknowledge that in this visit he gathered much astronomical and geometrical knowledge. Herodotus declares that Thales predicted an eclipse of the sun, which, from astronomical considerations, Mr. Grote and others suppose to have taken place 610 B.C. Sir Henry Rawlinson ( Herodotus, 1:168) is of the opinion that all the knowledge Thales had upon the subject of a solar eclipse was derived from the Chaldaeans, and even the possession of any true scientific knowledge he regards as problematical Diogenes Laertius, however, (s.v., section vii,) attributes the knowledge Thales possessed to the Egyptians, and states that this knowledge indicated the shape of the earth to be that of a sphere, and the eclipse of the moon to arise from its falling into the shadow of the earth. Cicero ( De Republica, Job 1:14) also declares that the first model of a celestial globe was made by Thales. On the contrary, Sir G.C. Lewis, in his work on the “Astronomy of the Ancients,” denies that Thales was cognizant of the shape of the earth. Strabo (iii, 29) affirms that the length of the year, even, was unknown to the Greeks until Eudoxus and Plato went down to Egypt, where they are reputed to have lived thirteen years in the society of the priests. These priests, he says, “were distinguished for their knowledge of the heavenly bodies, but were mysterious and uncommunicative; yet after a time were prevailed upon by courtesy to acquaint them with some of the principles of their science, but the barbarians concealed the greater part of them.” Aristotle (B.C. 384-322) unquestionably taught the circular form of the earth, deducing it from the fact that “although the moon in its monthly phases has all diversities of outline, so as to be at one time straight, again gibbous or convex, and again concave, yet in its eclipses it has the defining or intersecting line (made by the shadow of the earth) invariably curved. So that, since the moon suffers eclipse by the interposition of the earth, it must be the periphery (of the earth’s shadow) that is the cause, because the earth itself is spherical.” He also still further argues that the earth is round, and of no very great magnitude, “since even in a small change of distance, either to the north or south, there is a manifest change in respect to the horizon, so that the stars which were over our heads undergo a change of position, and do not appear the same, as we travel either to the north or south. In this way some stars are seen in Egypt and in the neighbourhood of Cyprus

which are not visible in the more northerly regions.” De Coelo, Job 14:8. It does not appear that at any reasonable period as yet assigned for the writing of the book of Job, any proper view of the earth’s shape had been taken by either Chaldaean, Egyptian, or Greek. Even the enlightened Chaldaeans, Diodorus Siculus informs us, (lib. ii, sec. 31,) “have quite an opinion of their own about the shape of the earth. They imagine it to have the form of a boat turned upside down, and to be hollow underneath.” “This opinion,” says Lenormant, “remained to the last in the Chaldaean sacerdotal schools; their astronomers believed in it, and tried, according to Diodorus, to support it by scientific arguments. It is of very ancient origin, a remnant of the ideas of the purely Accadian period.… Let us imagine, then, a boat turned over; not such a one as we are in the habit of seeing, but a round skiff, like those which are still used under the name of kufa on the shores of the lower Tigris and Euphrates, and of which there are many representations in the historical sculptures of the Assyrian palaces. The sides of this round skiff bend upward from the point of the greatest width, so that they are shaped like a hollow sphere deprived of two thirds of its height, and showing a circular opening at the point of division. Such was the form of the earth according to the authors of the Accadian magical formula and the Chaldaean astrologers of after years.… The interior concavity, opening from underneath, was the terrestrial abyss, ge, where the dead found a home.” Chaldaean Magic, pp. 150, 151.

The book of Job commits itself to no such trivialities as this. Its sublime, God-inspired conception, notwithstanding Job’s proximity to the Chaldaeans, lifted him above his contemporaries, and saved him from the rock on which they split. In sublime language he says of God, “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” Job 26:7. (See note, also, on Job 37:3; Job 38:6.) The Septuagint renders the passage literally into Greek, and that, too, about two centuries before Ovid wrote,

Pendebat in aere tellus Ponderibus librata suis.

Met., Job 1:11 .

Earth, self-poised and self-balanced.

Job makes great note of a constellation, ( nahhash bariahh,) “the fleeing serpent,” (Draco or Dragon,) see note on Job 26:13; and Excursus VIII, p. 275 . The stars forming this constellation have borne this name from very ancient times. The Arabs called it El hajje, “the serpent.” Virgil thus speaks of it,

Maximus hic flexu sinuoso elabitur anguis Circum,

perque duas in morem fluminis Arctos. Georg, 1:244.

Which Dryden renders:

Around our pole the spiry Dragon glides, And, like a winding stream, the Bear divides.

Cicero ( De Nat. Deorum, 2:42) cites an extended description of this constellation from the poet Aratus, who wrote nearly three centuries before Christ. The association in the text, (Job 36:13,) of the wounding of the fleeing serpent with the preceding clause, “by his breath [or spirit] the heavens are bright.” is worthy of special note; the making bright the heavens by the breath of God grandly suggests the wounding, by the divine hand, of the serpent, which is the scriptural as well as the Egyptian type of evil. In the mythologies of many nations the struggle with evil necessitates the interposition of a divine agent, who crushes or wounds the typical serpent, as is seen in this very constellation, whose head is beneath the foot of Hercules. (See M’Clintock & Strong, Cyclop., vol. 5, page 164.) The Egyptian hieroglyph for “the snake Apop, the symbol of sin,” (Wilkinson,) represents him in the act of flight, but again and again wounded. Brugsch gives five variants of this hieroglyph, in three of which the serpent is pierced with arrows. Hieroglyph. Demot. Worterbuch, i, p. 181. The word Apop or Apep (Apophis) signifies to “mount on high,” (Bunsen,) with the idea, says Brugsch, of “running with elevated head to ascend the heights.” This hieroglyphic determinative was “a very common designation of the serpent Apophis, enemy of the light and of the good; which, therefore, arrays itself against the beaming deity of Ra, and seeks to hinder the good.”

BRUSCH, ibid., i, p. 180. This name, Apep, it will be perceived, strikingly embodies the solemn Hebrew tradition of Satanic ambition to rise, and his correspondingly ignominious fall. See Ancessi, ibid., pp. 233-241, and George Smith, Chaldaean Account, pp. 14, vv. 87-100. The root of this word, Apep, Ap, will remind scholars of the Hebrew אוב , ob, “soothsaying demon,” (Gesenius;) the Sanscrit Ahi, “the serpent,” to wit, the demon Vritra; and the Greek οφις , ophis, the name which Aratus (82) gives to the constellation of which Job speaks.

It is of interest to note that the very constellations of which Job so grandly sings, Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, are also mentioned by Hesiod ( Works and Days, Bohn, pp. 105, 106) and by Homer, ( Iliad, 18:486-488,) each of whom associates them with the Hyades, the former also adding Sirius. See Job 9:9; Job 38:31-32.

An interesting and important link between the two great ancient rivals in astronomical knowledge is the patriarch Abraham, who, an exile from Chaldaea, resided in Egypt, in the sacred city of On, and, according to Eupolemus, taught the Egyptians astronomy. (Eusebius, Praep. Evang., Job 9:17.) The Oriental accounts unite in ascribing to Abraham a high degree of astronomical knowledge, as appears from Berosus, cited by Josephus, ( Antiq., i, chap. vii,) for he says of Abraham that he was “righteous, and great, and skilful in the celestial science.” Antiquities, i, chap. 7. Josephus also remarks that “before Abraham came into Egypt they [the Egyptians] were unacquainted with those parts of learning,” [astronomy, etc.] ( Ibid., i, chap. 8.) As respects Abraham, the traditions of the Arabian tribes agree with Josephus.

To the Egyptians are ascribed the observation and establishment of the Sothis periods. They early made lists of the rising of stars. The painting in the Ramesseum at Thebes presents a complete map of the Egyptian sky. In the tomb of Rameses IV. (so Brugsch informs us) the thirty-six Decan stars are given, together with their deities.

The great discoveries which have recently been made concerning Chaldaean science confirm the view of Diodorus Siculus, that “the Chaldaeans are far above all other nations in their knowledge of the heavens, and they devote the greatest attention and labour to this science.” Cicero, in his work on “Divination,” (i, 41,) had previously noted that the Chaldaeans excel in their knowledge of the stars, and in the subtlety of their genius. Among others, Josephus ( ibid.) also bears witness that “the science of astronomy came from the Chaldaeans into Egypt, and from thence to the Greeks also.” The superiority of the Chaldaeans, even at a comparatively late period, is further evinced by the fact that Ptolemy, though he lived at Alexandria, cites thirteen Chaldaean observations, ranging from B.C. 721 to B.C. 229, while he does not deign to mention the Egyptians as astronomers (Ideler, cited by Grote, History of Greece, 3:293.) We have not to seek long to find the secret of such lore. The wide Assyrian plains, unbroken by mountain range,

Spread like a sea Beneath the concave of unclouded skies.

(See farther, Wordsworth’s Excursion, book 4.) The monotony of the landscape naturally led to the contemplation of the variegated heavens. The singular transparency of the atmosphere brought out in surpassing brilliancy the heavenly bodies, and seemed to draw the heavens nearer to man, so that the stars wielded a fascinating power over the minds of men, as Job himself also had observed, (see note Job 31:26,) and unceasingly lured the thoughtful to the study of the skies. Fragments of planispheres which still remain show that the Chaldaeans early formed maps of the heavens, and grouped the stars into constellations. The constellations which seemed to touch nearest upon the path of the sun they marked off, and eventually gathered together in the signs of the zodiac. (See Records of the Past, 1.

165) At an early period they divided the year into twelve months of thirty days, and by intercalations of various kinds they brought it into harmony with the astronomical year of three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter days. The important discovery, implying long-protracted observations, was also made early, that eclipses of the moon repeat themselves after a period of two hundred and twenty-three lunations. The records of them usually begin with the words “According to calculation,” or, “Contrary to calculation, the moon was eclipsed.” In connexion with which statement Sayce remarks, “As the same formulae are sometimes employed for solar eclipses also, it would seem that the problem of calculating them by tracing the shadow as projected on a sphere had already presented itself. The problem, however, was not always successfully solved; and even as late as the seventh century B.C. we find the state astronomer of Assyria, Abil-Istar, reporting that although a watch had been kept on the 28th, 29th, and 30th of Sivan, or May, for an expected eclipse of the sun, the eclipse did not take place after all.” Bab. Lit., 53. See also Records of the Past, 1:155, 156.

A large proportion of the surviving literature of this people was devoted to treatises on astronomical subjects. The most famous of the libraries of Babylonia, that of Agane, founded by Sargon I., probably in the seventeenth century B.C., contained a great work on astronomy and astrology, entitled “The Observations of Bel,” in seventy two books, which Berosus translated into Greek. (The reader is referred to Rec. of the Past, 1:151-163, for a translation of some of these tablets.) Such attainments were made in this science that, as Sayce informs us, “The catalogue of the astronomical works in the library of Agane enjoins the reader to write down the number of the book he needs, and the librarian will thereupon give him the tablet required.” These books, it seems, were many of them either translated for the library of Sargon from Accadian originals, or based on old Accadian texts.

On Chaldaean science, see also Duncker, History of Antiq., 1:264-286, and Trans. of Soc. of Bib. Archaeology, vol. iii, article by Sayce, “The Astronomy, etc., of the Babylonians.”

Ads FreeProfile