Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 1:20

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Bereavement;   Dress;   Job;   Mantle;   Mourning;   Prayer;   Rending;   Resignation;   Temptation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Clothes Rent;   Clothing;   Dead, the;   Dress;   Grief;   Joy-Sorrow;   Mantles;   Mourning;   Rending of Clothes;   Shaving;   Worshippers;   The Topic Concordance - Blessings;   Giving and Gifts;   God;   Man;   Name;   Poverty;   Wealth;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Afflicted Saints;   Children;   Head;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Baldness (Natural or Artificial);   Shaving;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Dress;   Poor;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Animals;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Apparel;   Cloak;   Mantle;   Mourn;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Dress;   Mourning;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Cloth, Clothing;   Head;   Job, the Book of;   Mantle;   Razors, Shaving;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Adoration;   Head;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Garments;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Satan;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Mourning;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Attitudes;   Shaving;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Adoration, Forms of;   Baldness;   Prayer;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Rent his mantle - Tearing the garments, shaving or pulling off the hair of the head, throwing dust or ashes on the head, and fitting on the ground, were acts by which immoderate grief was expressed. Job must have felt the bitterness of anguish when he was told that, in addition to the loss of all his property, he was deprived of his ten children by a violent death. Had he not felt this most poignantly, he would have been unworthy of the name of man.

Worshipped - Prostrated himself; lay all along upon the ground, with his face in the dust.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Then Job arose - The phrase to arise, in the Scriptures is often used in the sense of beginning to do anything. It does not necessarily imply that the person had been previously sitting; see 2 Samuel 13:13.

And rent his mantle - The word here rendered “mantle” מעיל me‛ı̂yl means an upper or outer garment. The dress of Orientals consists principally of an under garment or tunic - not materially differing from the “shirt” with us - except that the sleeves are wider, and under this large and loose pantaloons. Niebuhr, Reisebescreib. 1. 157. Over these garments they often throw a full and flowing mantle or robe. This is made without sleeves; it reaches down to the ankles; and when they walk or exercise it is bound around the middle with a girdle or sash. When they labor it is usually laid aside. The robe here referred ire was worn sometimes by women, 2 Samuel 13:18; by men of birth and rank, and by kings, 1 Samuel 15:27; 1 Samuel 18:4; 1 Samuel 24:5, 1 Samuel 24:11; by priests, 1 Samuel 28:14, and especially by the high priest under the ephod, Exodus 28:31. See Braun de vest Sacerd. ii. 5. Schroeder de vest. muller.

Hebrew p. 267; Hartmann Ilcbraerin, iii. p. 512, and Thesau. Antiq. Sacra. by Ugolin, Tom. i. 509, iii. 74, iv. 504, viii. 90,1000, xii. 788, xiii. 306; compare the notes at Matthew 5:40, and Niebuhr, as quoted above. The custom of rending the garment as an expression of grief prevailed not only among the Jews but also among the Greeks and Romans. Livy i. 13. Suetonius, in “Jul. Caes.” 33. It prevailed also among the Persians. Curtius, B. x. c. 5, section 17. See Christian Boldich, in Thesau. Antiq. Sacra. Tom. xii. p. 145; also Tom. xiii. 551,552,560, xxx. 1105,1112. In proof also that the custom prevailed among the Pagan, see Diod. Sic. Lib. i. p. 3, c. 3, respecting the Egyptians; Lib. xvii. respecting the Persians; Quin. Curt. iii. 11; Herod. Lib. iii. in Thalia, Lib. viii. in Urania, where he speaks of the Persians. So Plutarch in his life of Antony, speaking of the deep grief of Cleopatra, says, περίεῤῥηξατο τοῦς πέπλους επ ̓ αὐτῷ perierrēcato tous piplous ep' autō Thus, Herodian, Lib. i.: καῖ ῥηξαμένη εσθῆτα kai rēcamenē esthēta So Statius in Glaucum:

Tu mode fusus humi, lucem aversaris iniquam,

Nunc torvus pariter vestes, et pectora rumpis.

So Virgil:

Tune pins Aeneas humeris abscindere vestem,

Auxilioque vocare Deos, et tendere palmas.

Aeneid v. 685.

Demittunt mentes; it scissa veste Latinus,

Conjugis attonitus fatis, urbisque ruina,

Aeneid 12:609.

So Juvenal, Sat. x.:

ut primos edere planctus

Cassandra inciperet, scissaque Polyxena palla.

Numerous other quotations from the Classical writers, as well as from the Jewish writings, may be seen in Ugolin‘s Sacerdotium Hebraicum, cap. vi. Thesau. Antiq. Sacrar. Tom. xiii. p. 550ff.

And shaved his head - This was also a common mode of expressing great sorrow. Sometimes it was done by formally cutting off the hair of the head; sometimes by plucking it violently out by the roots, and sometimes also the beard was plucked out, or cut off. The idea seems to have been that mourners should divest themselves of that which was usually deemed most ornamental; compare Jeremiah 7:29; Isaiah 7:20. Lucian says that the Egyptians expressed their grief by cutting off their hair on the death of their god Apis, and the Syrians in the same manner at the death of Adonis. Olympiodorus remarks on this passage, that the people among whom long hair was regarded as an ornament, cut it off in times of mourning; but those who commonly wore short hair, suffered it on such occasions to grow long. See Rosenmuller, Morgenland, “in loc.” A full description of the customs of the Hebrews in times of mourning, and particularly of the custom of plucking out the hair, may be seen in Martin Geier, de Hebraeorum Luctu, especially in chapter viii.

Thesau. Antiq. Sacra. xxxiil. p. 147ff. The meaning here is that Job was filled with excessive grief, and that he expressed that grief in the manner that was common in his day. Nature demands that there should be “some” external expression of sorrow; and religion does not forbid it. He pays a tribute to the nature with which God has endowed him who gives an appropriate expression to sorrow; he wars against that nature who attempts to remove from his countenance, conversation, dress, and dwelling, everything that is indicative of the sorrows of his soul in a time of calamity. Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus; and religion is not designed to make the heart insensible or incapable of grief. Piety, like every kind of virtue, always increases the susceptibility of the soul to suffering. Philosophy and sin destroy sensibility; but religion deepens it. Philosophy does it on principle - for its great object is to render the heart dead to all sensibility; sin produces the same effect naturally. The drunkard, the licentious man, and the man of avarice, are incapable of being affected by the tender scenes of life. Guilt has paralyzed their feelings and rendered tthem dead. But religion allows people to feel, and then shows its power in sustaining the soul, and in imparting its consolations to the heart that is broken and sad. It comes to dry up the tears of the mourner, not to forbid those tears to flow; to pour the balm of consolation into the heart, not to teach the heart to be unfeeling.

And fell down upon the ground - So Joshua in a time of great calamity prostrated himself upon the earth and worshipped, Joshua 7:6. - The Orientals were then in the habit, as they are now, of prostrating themselves on the ground as an act of homage. Job seems to have done this partly as an expression of grief, and partly as an act of devotion - solemnly bowing before God in the time of his great trial.

And worshipped - Worshipped God. He resigned himself to his will. A pious man has nowhere else to go in trial; and he will desire to go nowhere else than to the God who has afflicted him.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 1:20

And worshipped.

The grand victory

This is the grandest scene that human nature has ever presented. The world had never seen anything to compare to it. The greatest conqueror that ever won his triumph in Rome was as a pigmy beside the giant.

I. The triumph of mind over matter. Job’s soul seems to soar above what is material. Things which were seen faded from his view, and things which were not seen grew bright and distinct. The dying Stephen saw the Lord Jesus in his vision. But Job was not a dying man. He was in full strength and vigour. It is possible, then, so to triumph over that which is seen and temporal, that even in this world heaven is a reality.

II. The triumph of principle over selfishness. Principle and selfishness are always antagonistic. There is a constant warfare going on between these in the universe, in the world, in the soul. Self is too often the victor. But in Job religious principle was supreme. He rose up and worshipped! Selfish human nature would have raved and cursed. The worldly man would have cursed his luck, cursed his foes, cursed the Chaldeans, and cursed everything. There does not seem to have been any struggle in the mind of Job. He seems, by constant patience and by the unceasing habit of giving principle the first place, to have been raised almost above strife and contention. There is a time when contest ceases. Sometimes self, after a few weeks or years, obtains the mastery, and then to self the man habitually yields. But we do occasionally find cases wherein principle is victor, and then homage is paid hereafter unquestioningly to its sovereignty.

III. The triumph of religion over worldliness. The world passed out of Job’s ken as a factor in his fate. Many would have said, What a strange combination of circumstances! What a terrible coincidence! What an unlucky man! “The Lord hath taken away.” Here is a pattern for causalists, who look to minor details instead of to the prime Ruler of all things. This is the true sphere of religion--to east out all else from a man’s life--all except God. Then, and then alone, has it triumphed over the world, and sin, and temptation.

IV. The triumph of Divine grace over the devil’s temptations. (Homilist.)

The humble saint under an awful rod

1. The best of men are often exercised with the sorest troubles. Job was a perfect and upright man, fearing God and eschewing evil. Those who are nearest God’s heart may smart most under His rod.

2. When things go best with us as to this world, we should look for changes. Presumption of continued prosperity is unwarrantable; for who can tell what a day may bring forth? If any man in the world had reason to promise himself a security from poverty and distress, surely it was this eminent servant of God. The Lord had blessed him with large possessions, and a numerous offspring. He could appeal to heaven as to the integrity of his conduct, that he had got his wealth without oppressing the poor or injuring his fellow creatures. Let us therefore take care how we say our mountain shall stand strong and cannot be moved, for who can tell what is in the womb of providence? This will, in a great measure, prepare us for the trial, if God should call us to it. On the other hand, we should be cautious how we sink under our burdens when the Lord is contending with us, and entertain gloomy apprehensions that deliverance is impossible. Our wisdom lies in the medium, between resting in and boasting of blessings, and limiting the power and goodness of God, as if He could not support us under trouble, or make a way for our escape.

3. The grace of God is given us, not to erase or destroy our natural passions and affections, but to correct, restrain, and purify them. Job arose, rent his mantle and shaved his head, and this before he set himself to worship. The grace of God is designed to regulate, refine, and spiritualise our natural affections, which, if left to themselves, are ready to run rote riot and excess.

4. Saints under trouble usually find that relief at the throne of grace, when pouring out their souls to God in prayer, which they meet with nowhere else.

5. Seriously to reflect on what we once were, in a state of infancy, and what we shall be when laid up in the grave, is a good means to reconcile our minds to afflictive emptying providences. Pride is the mother of discontent. Humility gives the sweetest relish to all our enjoyments, and prepares the mind with a becoming resignation to part with them at the will of our original Proprietor, who is the Sovereign Disposer of all things.

6. Good men desire to look beyond second causes to the hand of God in all their mercies and afflictions. Job mentions not a word of his own industry or care in obtaining, or of the Sabeans and Chaldeans in robbing him of his substance, but, the “Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.” Means and instruments have their influence, but it is under a Divine agency or permission. Those which are best suited to promote a desirable end will certainly miscarry without His concurrence, and the most envenomed enemies of God and His people can do no more than He is pleased to suffer.

7. Satan, the accuser of the brethren, narrowly watches the saint when oppressed with affliction, and if anything can be pleasing to a spirit so completely miserable, it would be to hear him speak unadvisedly with his lips, and charge God foolishly. It is hard work, but how very reasonable! For a saint cannot be in that situation not to have much to bless God for. More and better is always left than is taken away, such as God Himself, His unchangeable love, the glorious Redeemer, the Holy Spirit, an everlasting covenant, the blessings of redemption and sanctification, with grace and glory. And who does not see that all the sufferings and losses of this world are not worthy to be compared with any one of these, much less than with them all! (S. Wilson.)

Right behaviour in times of affliction

1. That when the hand of God is upon us, it becometh us to be sensible of it, and to be humbled under it.

2. That in times of affliction we may express our sorrows by outward gestures, by sorrowful gestures.

3. That when God afflicteth us with sufferings, we ought to afflict ourselves, to humble our souls for sin.

4. That thoughts of blasphemy against God should be cast off, and rejected with the highest indignation. (J. Caryl.)

Afflictions turned into prayers

1. A godly man will not let nature work alone, he mixes or tempers acts of grace with acts of nature.

2. Afflictions send the people of God home unto God; afflictions draw a godly man nearer unto God.

3. That the people of God turn all their afflictions into prayers, or into praises. When God is striking, then Job is praying; when God is afflicting, then Job falls to worshipping. Grace makes every condition work glory to God, as God makes every condition work good to them who have grace.

4. It becometh us to worship God in an humble manner.

5. That Divine worship is God’s peculiar. (J. Caryl.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 1:20". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE WAY THAT A RIGHTEOUS MAN DEALS WITH DISASTER

"Then Job arose, and rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped; and he said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah hath taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah. In all this, Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."

"Naked shall I return thither" (Job 1:21). Job did not mean that he would return to his mother's womb, but that he would return to "mother earth."[17] This analogy is expressed in Psalms 139:15, making it quite clear that man has two mothers, his fleshly mother, and the earth itself.

Here is revealed the manner in which a righteous person should accept disaster. He accepted it as coming from the hand of God. Everything that occurs on earth or in heaven may happen only with God's permission.

He worshipped God. Whatever misfortunes, disasters or calamities may overwhelm us, prostrating us with grief and tears, the right answer is always and forever, "Worship God."

He did not blame God, nor charge him foolishly. One of the saddest things ever witnessed by this minister of the gospel in some sixty-six years of preaching is the reaction, now and then, on the part of some bereaved or distressed Christian that resulted in the very sins Job here avoided. In my memory, there still stands the angry and belligerent couple who, having lost a beloved child in death, loudly condemned God for allowing it, vowing never to worship him again!

"The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away! Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). How priceless are these ringing words of faith! Christians of all ages have stood by the cold bodies of their beloved dead and repeated through falling tears these holy words. What a victory over his malicious enemy, Satan, did Job register in these words of sorrowful resignation! There are indeed righteous and holy men who love God and who serve him honorably and faithfully, regardless of their earthly circumstances, even in poverty, distress and bereavement. Such persons find the moral strength to do this because, like Job, they know that, "My Redeemer liveth," ... and that the God of all grace will, in the resurrection, reward the faithful with eternal life and glory.

The primary focus of the true Christian is not upon this world, but upon that which is to come. "If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable" (1 Corinthians 15:19).

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/job-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then Job arose,.... Either from table, being at dinner, as some think, in his own house; it being the time that his children were feasting in their eldest brother's house; or from the business in which he was employed, which he stopped on hearing this news; or from his seat, or chair of state in which he sat; or rather the phrase only signifies, that he at once, with strength of body, and rigour of mind, which were not lost, as often they are in such cases, went about the following things with great composure and sedateness. It is indeed generally observed, that there is an emphasis to be put on the word "then", which may be as well rendered "and", as if Job sat and heard very sedately, without any perturbation of mind, the loss of his substance; but when tidings were brought him of the death of his children, "then" he arose, as being greatly moved and distressed; but it should be observed till now there was no stop or intermission in the messengers, but before one had done speaking, another came and began to tell his story, and so there was no opportunity, as well as not the occasion, of arising and doing what follows; and which he did, not through the violence of his passion, or excess of grief, but as common and ordinary things, which were used to be done in that country for the loss of relations, and in token of mourning for them:

and rent his mantle; or "cloak"F11את מעלז "pallium suum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schultens; "tunicam suam", Munster, Cocceius, Schmidt, Jo. Henric. Michaelis. , as Mr. Broughton; but whether this was an outward garment, as each of these seem to be, if the same with ours, or an interior one, as some think, it is not very material to know; both were rent by Ezra upon a mournful occasion, Ezra 9:3, and it was usual to rend garments for deceased relations, or when they were thought to be so, see Genesis 37:29, though some think that this was on the account of the blasphemous thoughts the devil now suggested into his mind, being solicitous to gain his point, and work upon him to curse God; upon which he rent his garment to show his resentment and indignation at the thought of it, as the Jews used to rend their garments at hearing of blasphemy; but the first sense is best:

and shaved his beard; either he himself, or his servant by his orders; and which was done among the eastern nations as a sign of mourning, see Isaiah 15:2 and among the Greeks, as appears from HomerF12 κειρασθαι τε κομην, &c. Odyss. 4. ver. 198. & Odyss. 24. ver. 46. ; nor was this contrary to the law in Deuteronomy 14:1, where another baldness, not of the head, but between the eyes, is forbidden for the dead; besides this was before that law was in being, and, had it been, Job was not bound by it, being not of the Israelitish nation: some, as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and other Jewish writers, interpret this of his plucking or tearing off the hair of his head; but this neither agrees with the sense of the word here used, which has the signification of shearing or mowing, rather than of tearing or plucking, nor with the firmness and composure of Job's mind, who betrayed not any effeminacy or weakness; and though he showed a natural affection for the loss of his substance, and children, as a man, and did not affect a stoical apathy, and brutal insensibility, yet did not give any extraordinary vent to his passion: he behaved both like a man, and a religious man; he mourned for his dead, but not to excess; he sorrowed not as those without hope, and used the common tokens of it, and rites attending it; which shows that mourning for deceased relations, if done in moderation, is not unlawful, nor complying with the rites and customs of a country, in such cases, provided they are not sinful in themselves, nor contrary to the revealed and declared will of God:

and fell down upon the ground; in veneration of God, of his holiness and justice, and as sensible of his awful hand upon him, and as being humbled under it, and patiently submitting to it; he did not stand up, and curse God to his face, as Satan said he would, but fell upon his face to the ground; he did not curse his King and his God, and look upwards, see Isaiah 8:21 but prostrated himself to the earth in great humility before him; besides, this may be considered as a prayer gesture, since it follows:

and worshipped; that is, God, for who else should he worship? he worshipped him internally in the exercise of faith, hope, love, humility, patience, &c. and he worshipped him externally by praising him, and praying to him, expressing himself as in the next verse: afflictions, when sanctified, humble good men, cause them to lie low in the dust, and bring them near to God, to the throne of his grace, and instead of arraigning his providence, and finding fault with his dealings, they adore his majesty, and celebrate his perfections.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Then Job arose, and a rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

(a) Which came not from impatience, but declares that the children of God are not insensible like blocks, but that in their patience they feel affliction and grief of mind: yet they do not rebel against God as the wicked do.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Job arose — not necessarily from sitting. Inward excitement is implied, and the beginning to do anything. He had heard the other messages calmly, but on hearing of the death of his children, then he arose; or, as Eichorn translates, he started up (2 Samuel 13:31). The rending of the mantle was the conventional mark of deep grief (Genesis 37:34). Orientals wear a tunic or shirt, and loose pantaloons; and over these a flowing mantle (especially great persons and women). Shaving the head was also usual in grief (Jeremiah 41:5; Micah 1:16).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

Shaved — Caused his hair to be shaved or cut off, which was then an usual ceremony in mourning.

Worshipped — Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

Ver. 20. Then Job arose, and rent his mantle] He stirred not at the three first doleful tidings, but this fourth startleth him; for he was neither a Stoic nor a stock. His strength was not the strength of stones, nor his flesh of brass, Job 6:12, that he should bear blows, and never feel pain, or make moan; that he should be silent in darkness, 1 Samuel 2:9, and not cry when God bound him, Job 36:11. This Stoical apathy or indolency (condemning all affections in that their wise man, who, as Cicero very well saith, as yet was never found) Jeremiah justly complaineth of, Jeremiah 5:3, and the Peripatetics utterly disliked; teaching, that wisdom doth not remove affections, but only reduce them to a mediocrity. Job kept the mean between despising the chastening of the Lord, and fainting when rebuked by him, Hebrews 12:5. See my Love Tokens, pp. 37, 38, &c.

And shaved his head] In token of his very great sorrow. See Jeremiah 7:29, Micah 1:16, "Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle." {See Trapp on "Micah 1:16"} When Germanicus died, divers foreign princes shaved their beards, to show their grief (Sueton.). Plutarch telleth us that Alexander the Great, at the funeral of Hephestion, his favourite, not only shaved himself, but clipped his horses’ and mules’ hair; yea, he plucked down also the battlements of the walls of the city, that they might seem to mourn too; but this savoured of too much sullenness. How much better his Macedonians, who, being once sensible of his displeasure, laid by their arms, put on their mourning attire, came trooping to his tent, where for almost three days they remained, with loud cries, and abundance of tears, testifying their remorse for offending him, beseeching his pardon, which at last they gained. God calleth to baldness for sin, Isaiah 22:12, which, in other cases, was forbidden, Leviticus 19:27; Leviticus 21:5, Deuteronomy 14:1. This Job performed here; for he knew that although God afflicteth sometimes for his own glory, John 9:3, sometimes for trial or exercise of his people’s graces, yet sin is ever at the bottom, as the meritorious cause of what they suffer; and if he did not duly consider it before, Zophar gave him to understand that God exacted of him less than his iniquity had deserved, Job 11:6.

And fell down upon the ground] This shows that Job arose not before to this end, that, with a stout and stubborn gesture of the body, he might withstand God; but rather, that he might, with greater lowliness and humility, submit to his justice, and implore his mercy: he fell down upon the ground and worshipped, saith the text; that is, he fell upon the ground to worship. He fell not all along on the earth, as Saul did, out of despondency and despair, after that he had heard the devil preaching his funeral; he lay like an ox on the earth, in the fulness of his stature, as the original hath it, 1 Samuel 28:20; but, as humbling himself under the mighty hand of God, who would raise him up in due season, 1 Peter 5:6, and as reverently and religiously submitting to his will. And it is probably observed, saith a late expositor, Mr Caryl, out of another, that the ancient prophets and holy men were called Nephalim procidentes, or prostrantes, that is, prostrates, or railers-down, because in their worship they usually fell down upon the earth, to humble themselves before the Lord.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 1:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-1.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Then Job arose from his seat, whereon he was sitting in a disconsolate posture.

Rent his mantle, to testify his deep sense of and just sorrow for the heavy hand of God upon him, and his humiliation of himself under his hand. See Genesis 37:34. Shaved his head, i.e. caused the hair of his head to be shaved or cut off, which was then a usual ceremony in mourning, of which see Ezra 9:3 Isaiah 15:2 22:12 Jeremiah 7:29 41:5 Micah 1:16.

Fell down upon the ground, in way of self-abhorrency, and humiliation, and supplication unto God.

And worshipped, to wit, God, who is expressed in the following verse, and who is the only object of religious worship. Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, and of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 1:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-1.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

THE TRIUMPH OF JOB, Job 1:20-22.

20.Then Job arose — Thus far he has borne unmoved the successive shocks of adverse fate. But now nature triumphs. As the tidings of the last great grief break upon him he rises, and yielding to the more tender impulses of our common nature, resigns himself to sorrow, but not one moment to suspense of faith in God.

And rent his mantle — There was no custom among the Orientals corresponding to that among ourselves, of putting on of mourning attire in token of heavy grief. They, on the contrary, instead of changing their outer dress, rent it in twain. This custom was common among the nations of antiquity. The מעל, me’hil, mantle made of linen, in later times also of cotton, was an outer garment worn by priests, kings, and the very rich, and sometimes by the daughters of kings. That of the high priest was, according to Josephus, a long vestment of a blue colour woven in one piece, but with openings for the neck and arms. (Antiquities, iii, chap. Job 7:4.) In the opinion of some, Christ, as high priest, wore a similar garment, for which the soldiers cast lots at the foot of the cross. (John 19:23.)

And shaved his head — This was forbidden among the Jews to the priests. (Leviticus 21:5.) The people were prohibited (Deuteronomy 14:1, and Leviticus 19:27) from rounding the corners of their heads, etc., which had, perhaps, respect to some idolatrous custom among neighbouring nations. Herodotus (ii, 36) says of the Egyptians, who “wear no hair at any other time, that when they lose a relative they let their beards and the hair of their heads grow long. Elsewhere it is customary in mourning for near relatives to cut their hair close.” The custom among the Greeks, according to Plutarch, was similar to that of the Egyptians. The shaving of his head is decisive that Job could not have been an Egyptian. This deliberate and protracted act shows in a striking manner Job’s mastery over himself and his sorrow.

Fell down upon the ground, and worshipped — (Compare 2 Samuel 12:20.) “That he might not show pride by his insensibility he fell down at the stroke; but that he might not estrange himself from Him who strikes, he so fell down as to worship.” — ST. GREGORY, Moralia. “He arose,” says Origen, “and at length prostrated himself. He arose for battle; he prostrated himself for peace. He arose for the perfection of victory; he prostrated himself for the reception of the crown.”

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-1.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 1:20. Then Job arose — From his seat whereon he had been sitting in a disconsolate posture; and rent his mantle — In token of his deep sense of, and just sorrow for, the heavy hand of God upon him, and his humiliation of himself under that hand: see Genesis 37:34; and shaved his head — Caused the hair of his head to be shaved or cut off, which was then a usual ceremony in mourning: of which see Ezra 9:3; Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 7:29; Jeremiah 41:5; Micah 1:16. And fell down upon the ground — In self-abasement, contrition, and supplication unto God; and worshipped — Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 1:20". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Head. Hebrew, torn his hair, and rolled in the dust. (Bochart) (Isaias xv. 2., &c.) (Calmet) --- The fathers oppose this example to the apathy of the stoics. (St. Augustine, City of God i. 9.) (Romans i. 31.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-1.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head": Both of these gestures are not the product of sinful anger, but they are expressions of grief and shock (Genesis 37:29; 44:13; Judges 11:35; Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 48:27). "And he fell to the ground": Not in despair, but in worship! "In a few minutes, Job had plummeted from wealth and prosperity to grief and pauperism. Would he also plummet from love for God to imprecation of Him?" (Zuck p. 17).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-1.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

shaved his head. Symbolic of mourning (Leviticus 21:5. Jeremiah 7:29; Jeremiah 16:6. Micah 1:16).

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

Job arose - not necessarily from sitting. Inward excitement is implied, and the beginning to do anything. He had heard the other messages calmly, but on hearing of the death of his children, then he arose; or, as Eichhorn translates, 'he started up' (2 Samuel 13:31). The rending of the mantle, was the conventional mark of deep grief (Genesis 37:34). Orientals wear a tunic or shirt, and loose pantaloons, and over these a flowing mantle (especially great persons and women). Shaving the head was also usual in grief (Jeremiah 41:5; Micah 1:16).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) And worshipped.—Compare the conduct of David (2 Samuel 12:20) and of Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:1). Moments of intense sorrow or trial, like moments of intense joy, force us into the immediate presence of God.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
rent
Genesis 37:29,34; Ezra 9:3
mantle
or robe. fell.
Deuteronomy 9:18; 2 Samuel 12:16-20; 2 Chronicles 7:3; Matthew 26:39; 1 Peter 5:6
Reciprocal: Genesis 17:17 - fell;  Exodus 33:4 - and no;  Leviticus 10:3 - Aaron;  Leviticus 13:45 - his clothes;  Leviticus 21:10 - uncover;  Numbers 14:6 - rent their clothes;  Joshua 7:6 - rent;  Judges 11:35 - rent his clothes;  2 Samuel 12:20 - arose;  2 Samuel 13:31 - arose;  2 Samuel 15:26 - let;  2 Samuel 15:32 - he worshipped;  2 Kings 2:12 - rent them;  2 Kings 18:37 - with their clothes rent;  2 Kings 19:1 - he rent;  2 Chronicles 20:18 - fell before;  Esther 4:1 - rent;  Job 2:12 - they rent;  Proverbs 18:14 - spirit;  Isaiah 15:2 - all;  Isaiah 20:2 - naked;  Isaiah 22:12 - to baldness;  Isaiah 37:1 - and went;  Jeremiah 7:29 - Cut;  Joel 2:13 - your garments;  Micah 1:16 - bald;  Revelation 4:10 - fall

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 1:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-1.html.