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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Job 42

 

 

Verses 7-17

HISTORICAL CONCLUSION

Job 42:7-17

1. Glorious vindication of Job before his friends: Job 42:7-10

7And it was Song of Solomon, that, after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord saidto Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job 10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

2. The restoration of his former dignity and honor: Job 42:11-12.

11Then came there unto him all his brethren and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house; and they bemoaned him and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an ear-ring of gold 12 So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.

3. The doubling of his former prosperity in respect to his earthly possessions and his offspring: Job 42:12 b—17

12b For he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters 14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch 15 And in all the land were nowomen found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them an inheritance 16 among their brethren. After this Job lived an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations 17 So Job died being old and full of days.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The inward restoration of Job, his deliverance from the errors which had beclouded his heart and his knowledge, and his penitent submission under God’s righteous and gracious will, is immediately followed by his outward restoration and redemption, This comes to pass in immediate connection with the sharp rebuke which God visits upon them because of their unreasonably harsh condemnation of Job, and also in connection with the brotherly intercession which Job offers in their behalf, thus heaping coals of fire on their head. The brilliant vindication, which the sorely understood man thus enjoys, is accompanied by the not less brilliant restoration of his external prosperity, as the result of which he is permitted even in this life, sooner therefore and more gloriously than he had dared to hope, to behold God as his Redeemer, and to taste in all its fulness His rewarding grace and taste in all its fulness His rewarding grace and mercy. As this conclusion of the whole matter carries us back, in respect to the facts, to the Introduction ( Job 1:1 seq.), so also does the external form of the introductory narrative here reappear; the lofty poetic style gives place again to simple prose, as the only medium suitable to the simple but weighty facts, in which the hero’s destiny is accomplished.

2. The vindication of Job, together with the divine rebuke of the three friends: Job 42:7-10. And it came to pass, after that Jehovah, etc.אַחַר אֲשֶׁר=אַהַר, and so conjunctional, as in Leviticus 14:43. God addresses Eliphaz in particular, as the spokesman, and leader of the three, who shaped their opinions. For ye have not spoken of me that which is right, as my servant Job. נְכוֹנָה signifies not that which is subjectively true, i.e., honest, upright (Ewald, Hirzel, Schlottmann), but that which is objectively true, right (directum), comp. the ἀληθές of the LXX.). In respect to this objective truth, pertaining to facts, the friends in their speeches had either erred or kept silence, inasmuch as they had persistently refused to recognize Job’s essential innocence, his freedom from sins of the graver sort, and had assiduously endeavored to brand him as a heinous sinner. Job, on the contrary, had maintained that which was objectively true, comparatively at least, and in substance, inasmuch as he had retained the consciousness of his innocence, and the sense of God’s nearness in the heat of his trials. God accordingly solemnly recognizes him as “His servant” (comp. Job 1:8; Job 2:3), and fulfils literally the wish uttered by Job ( Job 16:21) that he would “do justice to a man before God and his friends.”

Job 42:8. And now take unto you seven bullocks and seven rams.—The same kind and number of animals for sacrifice as in Numbers 23:1; comp. also the use of the number seven above in Job 1:2; and see Introd, § 2, near the end. On אֵלִים, defectively written for אֵילִים, comp. Ewald, § 15, b.—עוֹלָה בַּעַדְכֶם, “a burnt-offering for you,” i, e., to atone for you; comp. Job 1:5.—Only to him will I have regard—lit. “only (כִּי אִם, comp. Ewald, § 356) his person will I lift up, will I regard favorably,” comp. Genesis 19:21. Job’s essential innocence, purity, and irreproachableness could not be more strongly declared and confirmed, in opposition to the petty suspicions of the friends than by thus commissioning him to be a priestly mediator and interceder in behalf of the three who had incurred the divine disfavor, and by thus directly verifying what Eliphaz had promised him in Job 22:30 (comp. also Abraham’s intercession for Abimelech: Genesis 20:7; Genesis 20:17).—That I visit not upon you the folly: lit. “that I may not do (fulfil) for you folly,” i.e. the punishment of your folly; נְבָלָה here means “reward, punishment of the folly,” in like manner as חַטָּאת or עַוֹן signifies the penalty of sin.—For ye have not spoken in respect to me that which is right, like my servant Job.—Some MSS. exhibit both here and in the 7 th verse, where the same words occur, the reading: “against my servant Job” (בְּעַבְדִּי instead of כְּֽעַבְדִּי); and so the Sept. also here: κατὰ τοῦ θεράποντός μου Ἰώβ. This change of the text is manifestly, however, an intentional correction in both cases.

Job 42:9. Then went Eliphaz, etc. The ו, which is wanting before צֹפַר, is supplied by some MSS, but without any necessity; see Ewald, § 349 a, 2. [Schultens on the contents of the ver.—stupenda conversio rerum!]

Job 42:10. And Jehovah turned the captivity of Job.—Thus are Job’s past sufferings described, in accordance with the representation which he himself has often given of them as a state of captivity or imprisonment; comp. Job 7:12; Job 13:27, etc.; also the familiar Pauline expression: “I, a prisoner in the Lord” ( Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1, etc.) Taken by itself, this phrase שׁוּב שְׁבוּת signifies neither here nor elsewhere, where it occurs (as in particular in the Messianic promises of many prophets) “to turn the imprisonment of any one,” but only “to turn the turning, to cause an unfortunate turn of affairs to be succeeded by a fortunate one, which puts an end to the former.” So Symmachus on this passage: ἐπέστρεψε τὴν ἀποστροφὴν τοῦ ’Ιώβ; and so also the remaining versions outside the Targum. It might therefore be translated: “and Jehovah turned the misery of Job.” When he prayed for his friends.—So correctly Delitzsch, Dillmann, etc.—not “because he prayed” (as commonly explained), or “in return for his praying” (Hirzel). For בְּ before הִתְפַּלְלוֹ can express only the idea of simultaneousness (“while, during”); and there is deep significance in the fact that the moment when his disease departs from him is the very moment when, as regards his friends, he completely forgives and forgets, notwithstanding they had so grievously injured him. The original text properly reads in the sing.: “for his friend” (בְּעַד רֵעֵהוּ), which sing, however, is to be understood generally, as in Job 16:21; comp. Job 12:4.—And Jehovah increased all that Job had twofold;לִמִשְׁנֶה, comp. Isaiah 61:7, and the still stronger word πολλαπλασίονα (referring indeed to the eternal recompense hereafter) in Luke 18:30. The description which follows sets forth how this doubling of his former possessions (which of course is not to be pressed throughout with literal exactness) was carried out in detail.

3. The restoration and (partial) doubling of Job’s former prosperity ( Job 42:11-17). Job 42:11 and Job 42:12 a narrate first of all the restoration of his former honor, authority and dignity.—Then came there unto him all his brethren, etc.; all those persons accordingly, of whose cold, heartless withdrawal from him he had reason to complain so bitterly in his misery; comp. Job 19:13 seq. (from which passage also the term יֹדְעָיו, used here, is derived).—And they gave him each a kesita, and each a ring of gold.—to wit, a ring for the ear or the nose (נֶזֶם), which according to Exodus 32:3 was a favorite ornament of both men and women; comp. Genesis 24:22. The קְשִׂיטָה is a piece of gold of the patriarchal age, which, besides this passage, is mentioned only in Genesis 33:19 and Joshua 24:32, signifying according to the ancient Versions a “lamb,” but according to the later, and perhaps the better founded etymology a “piece weighed out.” Its value, it would seem, was four times that of the shekel (comp. Genesis 33:19 with Job 23:10). At any rate it is a gold coin representing a higher value than the shekel of a later period, and hence not very accurately translated by Luther a “beautiful groschen” [nor with sufficient precision by E. V. “a piece of money”]. F. Münter’s Prog. über d. Kesitah (Copenhagen, 1824), in which a Cyprian coin, with a lamb engraved on it, is erroneously identified with the old Hebrew Kesitah, presents a view that is antiquated, and to be used only with caution. [Carey also favors the view that it was a weight in the form of a lamb, like the bull’s heads of Egypt, and the lions and ducks of Nineveh. So also the Art. “Money” in Smith’s Bib. Dic.], In respect to the custom of bestowing presents when making a visit (either of congratulation or condolence), comp. Winer’s Realwörterb. Art. “Geschenke” [Smith’s Bib. Dic. “Gifts”].—And Jehovah blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.—אַחֲרִית—רֵאשִׁית, the earlier, the later period; comp. Job 8:7.

Job 42:12 b–17 describe the doubling of Job’s former earthly possessions, to wit, in cattle (comp. Job 42:12 b with Job 1:3), and also the restitution made to him in children.

Job 42:13. And there were to him seven sons and three daughters.—In this respect accordingly there was no doubling; nevertheless according to the Old Testament view deceased children were not regarded as absolutely lost (see 2 Samuel 12:23), so that this new blessing of children which Job now enjoys is still to be regarded as signifying more than the simple restoration of the earlier good. The pausal form שִׁבְעָנָה is not to be treated as an error of transcription for שִׁבְעָה (Hirz, Olsh.), but with Ewald, § 269, c, as an obsolete substantive שִׁבְעָן, with an unaccented feminine ending.

Job 42:14. And the one they called [or, was called] Jemima, etc.—The subject of וַיִּקְרָא is indefinite, “one, they.” The names here mentioned accordingly are not such as were given to the daughters by the father himself, but appellations which the people of their acquaintance bestowed upon them on account of their beauty. Of these three names יְמִימָה seems to signify the “dove,” or “pure as the dove” (possibly the “dove-eyed;” comp. Song of Solomon 1:15; Song of Solomon 2:14; Song of Solomon 4:1), unless we follow the ancient versions, and bring the word into connection with יָמִים, “days,” Arab. יְמָמָא, explaining it to mean “pure, bright as the day” (comp. Diana from dies). קְצִיעָה = cassia, is in any case “fine as the essence of cassia,” she who was “as if woven out of the fragrance of cinnamon” (Del, with a reference to Song of Solomon 1:8). The third was called קֶרֶן הַפּוּךְ “paint-horn, box of ointment,” on account of her graceful nature and action, which served to heighten her natural beauty; hence the charming one, who spread her charm all about her. In respect to קֶרֶן “box, jar,” comp. 1 Samuel 16:1; 1 Samuel 16:13. On the painting of oriental women, see 2 Kings 9:30; Jeremiah 4:30; Ezekiel 23:40; also Rosenmüller, Morgenland, IV:269 seq.; Hartmann, Das Ideal weiblicher Schöheit, p35 seq, 307 seq [Smith’s Bib. Dic. Art. “Paint”].

Job 42:15. And their father gave to them their inheritance in the midst of their brethren.—This act of Job’s, which was strictly at variance with the regulations of the Mosaic law (see Numbers 27:8 seq.), but which has its parallel in certain family customs of the Arabs, rather than in practices specifically Hebrew, was intended to make it possible for the daughters to continue to live among their brothers even after their marriage; it is mentioned accordingly as a sign of the brotherly and sisterly concord which prevailed among these later children of Job as among the earlier (comp. Job 1:4).—The masc. endings are used in לָהֶם and אֲחֶיהֶם (referring in each case to the daughters), as in Job 39:3.

Job 42:16. And Job lived after this a hundred and forty years.—How long he had lived before this does not appear from what precedes. The LXX. arbitrarily represent him as being seventy years old at the time when his sore trial befals him, as is evident from their rendering of this passage: ὲ̓ζησεν δὲ Ιὼβ μερὰ τὴν πληγὴυ ὲ̓τη ἑκατόν ἑβδομήκοντα· τὰ δὲ πάντα ζῆ ἐτη διακόσια τεσσαράκοντα (so at least the Vatican text, while the Cod. Alex. and various other MSS. and Ed.’s add an ὀκτώ to the latter number, thus placing the πληγή in Job’s seventy-eighth year, and representing his entire age as being two hundred and forty-eight years). [“As we do not know how old he was when his affliction came upon him, we cannot precisely determine the age at which he died; but as he had previously to his affliction a family of ten children all grown up, he could not have been less than sixty or seventy years. And as in other respects God gave him twice as much as he had before, so perhaps also in this. The half, then, of one hundred and forty gives us seventy, and the two periods united make two hundred and ten, an age which unquestionably places Job in patriarchal times.” Carey].—And saw his children, and children’s children, through four generations.—Instead of וַיַּרְא the K’ri exhibits the unusual form וַיִּרְאֶה, preferred probably on account of its fuller musical tone (comp. 1 Samuel 17:42; Ezekiel 18:14). As parallels in thought, comp. Genesis 1:23; Proverbs 17:6; Psalm 128:6; Tobit 9:11.

Job 42:17. And Job died old and sated with life.—The same formula is found in Genesis in recording the end of Abraham’s life, and of Isaac’s ( Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29). Delitzsch strikingly: “The style of primeval history, which we here everywhere recognize, is retained to the last words.”

4. The Alexandrian Version presents after Job 42:17 the following long addition (see the same in the original, together with the more important variations in Stier and Theile’s Polyglotten-Bibel, III:1, 604seq.): “It is written however that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up. This man [Job] is described in [lit, interpreted out of”] the Syriac Book [Bible] (i.e., is described according to the account of the Hebrew Holy Scripture[FN3]) as living in the land of Ausis [Uz], on the borders of Idumea and Arabia; but his name before was Jobab. And he took an Arabian wife, and begat a son whose name was Ennon. But he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha (Bozra), so that he was the fifth from Abraham. And these were the kings who reigned in Edom, over which land he also ruled; first, Balac, the son of Beor, and the name of his city was Dennaba (Dinhaba); but after Balac Jobab, who is called Job; and after him Asom (Chusham), who was governor out of the country of Thæman; and after him Adad (Hadad), the son of Barad, who destroyed Midian in the plain of Moab; and the name of his city was Gethaim. And the friends who came to him were Eliphaz, a son of Sophan, of the sons of Esau, king of the Themanites; Bildad, son of Ammon, the son of Chobar, sovereign of the Sauchæans (Shuhites), Sophar, king of the Minæans (Naamites). Theman, son of Eliphaz, ruler of Idumea. This one is described by [interpreted out of] the Syrian [i.e., Hebrew] Bible, as living in the land of Ausis [Uz], on the borders of the Euphrates; but his name aforetime was Jobab; but his father was Zareth, from the rising of the sun (the East).”

Here evidently we have to do with an interpolation, compiled with a good deal of confusion and recklessness out of the statements of our book and those of Genesis 36. (especially Genesis 42:10; Genesis 42:15; Genesis 42:32-36), either by Hellenistic Jews, or possibly even by Christian hands (as Hirzel infers from the allusion to the resurrection in the introductory words). No sort of value attaches to it, and it was rejected accordingly even by Origen (Ep. ad. African.) and Jerome. Neither was it introduced into the Greek versions of Aquila and Symmachus, nor into that of Theodotion except in part, and so it has always been excluded from the authorized Latin version of the Bible.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

It has been justly remarked (Del. II:392) that a New Testament writer would have closed our book in some other way than with the recital of an abundant temporal recompense, such as finally befel the great sufferer, of an earthly restoration and an indemnification in material possessions, and the prolongation of his life on earth; for it is certainly true that the New Testament regards the recompense of affliction and sore tribulations as belonging to the hereafter, and always points those who suffer for Christ and the Gospel to a future reward in heaven (comp. Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:10-12; Matthew 19:29; Mark 10:29-30; Revelation 7:14, etc. It would, however, be a one-sided inference from the conclusion of the book as it stands to regard it as ministering to an external, abstract, temporal theory of retribution. Just as decidedly to be rejected as one-sided is the theory adopted by several modern expositors (comp. Introd. § 4 a), that the purpose of the book is just the opposite, to controvert—namely, the Mosaic theory of retribution, and that the contents of the epilogue, for that reason, contradict the poem proper, and that the genuineness and authenticity of the former are accordingly to be questioned (Introd. § 8). That Job, after enduring to the end a trial of suffering of inexpressible severity should be rewarded with prosperity in this life, that he should not only receive a most brilliant vindication, and be again honored, but also be most abundantly indemnified, this Isaiah, first of all, a feature of the book which is characteristic of the Israelitish nationality, which is in harmony with the spirit of the Old Testament people of God (a feature which may be compared with that truly German depth of feeling and freshness of life which is impressed on the well-known bright conclusion of the Gudrun). It is in the next place a feature which harmonizes with the spirit of the Old Testament revelation itself, which is most deeply grounded in that Revelation, in which the faith of believers before the coming of Christ in the unchangeable wisdom and righteousness of God’s dealings, found one of its most glorious witnesses. This close of the narrative, indeed, has nothing to say of that which took place in heaven after Job’s victorious struggle of faith; neither does it undertake to furnish any prophetic descriptions of Job’s own entrance into the communion of the holy and the blessed in the life beyond. All the more fresh and true to nature, however, are the colors with which it pictures the restored earthly prosperity of the sufferer, and it visibly refrains from causing the wishes and hopes which Job had frequently uttered (especially in chaps17,19) for a vindication from God in the future life to be transcendently surpassed and eclipsed by the splendor of that which in part he enjoyed here on earth. Without this conclusion, the heart’s need of Old Testament believers would have found no true satisfaction; the issue of the conflict of doubt, excited by the peculiarly severe and hard to be understood visitation of Job, would have remained more or less undecided; those children of God who were limited to the anticipatory and typical fides Veteris Testamenti would not have been able to derive from the book perfect and true consolation. Nevertheless it remains no less true that the consolation ministered by the book, according to its inmost essence, is not different from the consolation of the children of God under the New Testament. The Book of Job is a genuine “Cross and Comfort Book” for us who are Christians, as well as for Old Testament believers, as surely as that it teaches unconditional submission to God’s holy will, and childlike resignation to His merciful Fatherly love as the only true source of religious blessedness and real peace of soul, and presents in Job the example of a sufferer, whose suffering has a twofold aim, on the one side to prove his innocence, on the other to tempt, i.e., to reveal his inmost secret sinfulness, who accordingly has a twofold typical significance as sufferer, being typical of Christ, who through suffering was perfected as Mediator and High-Priest of the New Covenant, and typical also of Christians, whose sufferings, like those of Job, ever present the double aspect of probational and castigational visitations of God.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

In the homiletic treatment of the epilogue, special attention should be devoted to the thought last emphasized, to wit, the character of Job’s suffering, as intended both for probation, and also for chastisement or purification. The most suitable opportunity for presenting this thought will be in connection with the rebuke of the friends, which Jehovah proceeds to administer immediately after that true and complete repentance has been wrought in Job ( Job 42:7-10). For it is at this point that Job’s comparative innocence is definitely declared on the one hand, at the same time that it is only where Job has been humbled in sincere heartfelt penitence, that he is solemnly pronounced righteous by God,—nay more—that it is only when in fervent brotherly love he intercedes for his opponents that his bodily suffering is removed (see on Job 42:10), wherein it is most clearly intimated that sin is to be included as one cause of his suffering. It is t this description of Job’s justification, which furnishes occasion for a concise recapitulation of the fundamental ideas of the whole dialogue, (especially of the discourses of Elihu and of God), that the practical expositor should most of all give his attention, while what is said concerning the restitution and doubling of Job’s external possessions need occupy only a secondary place.

Particular Passages

Job 42:7 seq. Brentius: The three friends spoke ill, Job well; while at the same time Job argued ill, the friends well. For the friends thought wickedly, when from the affliction they decided that God was angry, and Job wicked, although they discourse excellently concerning the omnipotence and wisdom of God. Job on the other hand speaks well when he continually affirms that afflictions had befallen him not because he had deserved them, and that they were not evidences of his wickedness, and of an angry God. But he speaks ill when he impugns God’s decree, and blasphemes God. Now since Job has a good cause as against the friends, although he sins in the management of his cause, while the friends are at fault touching the merits of his cause, the Lord pronounces sentence for Job against the friends; for He had previously rebuked his blasphemies.—V. Gerlach: Inasmuch as Job, although guilty of speaking foolishly, nevertheless gave utterance to his sense of the contradiction which tortured him, in that he retained the consciousness of his fellowship with God in the midst of his feeling of God’s wrath, he was nearer the solution of the enigma than the friends.

Job 42:10 seq. Brentius: You now see by the fact itself what is the issue of trial; for God inflicts nothing on any one in order that He may destroy him, but that He may restore much more; “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord,” etc. ( James 5:11).—Starke: God causes the temptation of His saints to work a good end ( 1 Corinthians 10:13); He lays a burden on us, but He helps us again, ( Psalm 66:10 seq.; Psalm 68:20). After the trial comes the revival; after the cry of distress the gracious hearing; after the sowing in tears the reaping in joy ( Psalm 126.; Tobit 3:22) … (on Job 42:11); As the swallows depart before the winter, but return again with the summer, so is it with the friendship of men. When tribulation has been endured to the end, and when days of prosperity and abundance of riches return, friends immediately make their appearance ( Sirach 6:8; Sirach 12:8 seq.).—V. Gerlach: It was necessary that Job should be purified inwardly from a mercenary spirit, from self-righteousness, and selfishness in its more refined forms. This having been accomplished, he now appears in possession of honor and riches, a conspicuous memorial of God’s recompensing love, recognizing all that he receives and enjoys as from God, and honoring Him far above His gifts. His life accordingly ends, having received its full completion; there remains in it nothing more that is obscure or inexplicable; it is full of promise for all God’s struggling ones under the Old Dispensation; it is a type of the Perfectly Holy One, who humbled Himself to the death of the Cross, who, although a Song of Solomon, yet learned obedience by the things which He suffered, and who has therefore received a name which is above every name—that Jesus Christ may be Lord to the glory of God the Father.

AMEN

Footnotes:

FN#3 - We find a help to the right explanation of the singular words οὗτος (sc. Ἰὼβ) ἑρμηνεύεται ἐκ τῆς Συριακῆς βίβλου in a remark of Olympiodorus in the Catena Patr. Græc. in l. Job, coll. Niceta, Lond, Job 1637: Συριακὴν νῦν τὴν τῶν ‘Εβραίων διάλεκτον καλεῖ. From this it appears that οὗτος refers not so much to the book of Job (Ddlm.), but also to the person of the hero, and that ἑρμηνεύεσθαι ἐκ is used in the sense of “being related, or described by.”

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Job 42:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/job-42.html. 1857-84.

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Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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