Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 1:4

His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Torrey's Topical Textbook - Entertainments;   Time;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Feasts;   Job;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Prayer;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Birth-Day;   Feast;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Birth;   Meals;   Women;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Wind;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Banquet;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Birth-Day;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Satan;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Birthday;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Child Birth;   Job;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Banquet;   Job, Book of;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Birthdays;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Banquets;   Job;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Feasted in their houses, every one his day - It is likely that a birthday festival is here intended. When the birthday of one arrived, he invited his brothers and sisters to feast with him; and each observed the same custom.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And his sons went and feasted in their houses - Dr. Good renders this, “and his sons went to hold a banquet house.” Tindal renders it, “made bankertea.” The Hebrew means, they went and made a “house-feast;” and the idea is, that they gave an entertainment in their dwellings, in the ordinary way in which such entertainments were made. The word used here (משׁתה mı̂shteh ) is derived from שׁתה shâthâh “to drink;” and then to drink together, to banquet. Schultens supposes that this was merely designed to keep up the proper familiarity between the different branches of the family, and not for purposes of revelry and dissipation; and this seems to accord with the view of Job. He, though a pious man, was not opposed to it, but he apprehended merely that they might have sinned in their hearts, Job 1:5. He knew the danger, and hence, he was more assiduous in imploring for them the divine guardianship.

Every one his day - In his proper turn, or when his day came round. Perhaps it refers only to their birthdays; see Job 3:1, where the word “day” is used to denote a birthday. In early times the birthday was observed with great solemnity and rejoicing. Perhaps in this statement the author of the Book of Job means to intimate that his family lived in entire harmony, and to give a picture of his domestic happiness strongly contrasted with the calamities which came upon his household. It was a great aggravation of his sufferings that a family thus peaceful and harmonious was wholly broken up. - The Chaldee adds, “until seven days were completed,” supposing that each one of these feasts lasted seven days, a supposition by no means improbable, if the families were in any considerable degree remote from each other.

And sent and called for their three sisters - This also may be regarded as a circumstance showing that these occasions were not designed for revelry. Young men, when they congregate for dissipation, do not usually invite their “sisters” to be with them; nor do they usually desire the presence of virtuous females at all. The probability, therefore, is, that this was designed as affectionate and friendly family conversation. In itself there was nothing wrong in it, nor was there necessarily any danger; yet Job felt it “possible” that they might have erred and forgotten God, and hence, he was engaged in more intense and ardent devotion on their account; Job 1:5.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-1.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And his sons went and feasted in their houses, everyone his day,.... It appears by this that Job's sons were grown up to men's estate, that they were from him, and were for themselves, and carried on a separate business on their own accounts, and had houses of their own, and, perhaps, were married; and being at some distance from each other, they met by appointment at certain times in their own houses, and had friendly and family entertainments in turn; for such were their feasts, not designed for intemperance, luxury, and wantonness, for then they would not have been encouraged, nor even connived at, by Job; but to cherish love and affection, and maintain harmony and unity among themselves, which must be very pleasing to their parent; for a pleasant thing it is for any, and especially for parents, to behold brethren dwelling together in unity, Psalm 133:1, besides, these feasts were kept, not in public houses, much less in houses of ill fame, but in their own houses, among themselves, at certain seasons, which they took in turn; and these were either at their time of sheep shearing, which was a time of feasting, 1 Samuel 25:2, or at the weaning of a child, Genesis 21:8, or rather on each of their birthdays, which in those early times were observed, especially those of persons of figure, Genesis 40:20, and the rather, as Job's birthday is called his day, as here, Job 3:1,

and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them; not to make a feast in their turn, but to partake of their entertainment; which, as is commonly observed, showed humanity, kindness, tenderness, and affection in them to their sisters, to invite them to take part with them in their innocent and social recreations, and modesty in their sisters not to thrust themselves into their company, or go without an invitation; these very probably were with Job, and went to the feasts with his leave, being very likely unmarried, or otherwise their husbands would have been invited also.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-1.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

every one his day — namely, the birthday (Job 3:1). Implying the love and harmony of the members of the family, as contrasted with the ruin which soon broke up such a scene of happiness. The sisters are specified, as these feasts were not for revelry, which would be inconsistent with the presence of sisters. These latter were invited by the brothers, though they gave no invitations in return.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

Feasted — To testify and maintain their brotherly love.

His day — Each his appointed day, perhaps his birth-day, or the first day of the month.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 1:4 And his sons went and feasted [in their] houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

Ver. 4. And his sons went and feasted in their houses] They were of ripe years; and although unmarried, yet had they their several houses to dwell in. This declareth not only the wealthiness of the family, but also the good order and government thereof, as Beza observeth. Their orderly intercourse of friendly feasting one another shows their mutual love, concord, and agreement, by this means testified and increased. For wine hath (as one long since observed) ελκυστικον τι προς φιλιαν, an attractive power in it to make and keep friendship; and from the drinking of wine the word here used for a feast hath its denomination ( משׁחה.) We may not think that they did thus every day, as that glutton the Gospel; or that in their banquets they used any excess, as the manner is of riotous and intemperate persons; for they had been better bred, and they observed this order with great modesty and discretion. They went and feasted; that is, they did it readily and cheerfully, that brotherly love might continue; for - Fratrum quoque gratia rara est. Favour has been rare between bothers. The devil doth what he can to cast a bone between brethren, to make those that should love most dearly to hate one another most deadly. See this exemplified in Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brethren, Joram and his, Romulus and Remus, Caracalla and Geta, Robert and Rufus, the two sons of William the Conqueror, Polynices and Eteocles, &c. And when such are once out, "A brother offended" (saith Solomon) "is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle," which, being strong, will neither bow nor yield, Proverbs 18:19. All good means, therefore, must be used to prevent them, and to preserve that amity and unity which the psalmist doth so magnify, Psalms 133:1-3, and concludeth, that there God commandeth the blessing, and life for evermore; that is, constant happiness perpetuated in and by a blessed posterity. The number of two hath been accounted accursed, because it was the first that departed from unity.

And sent and called for their three sisters] That their number and amity might be complete. This was no small joy to Job, that his children were so kind one to another. It is reckoned as a piece of his happiness; that which was denied to Abraham and Isaac (though fathers only of two children), to Jacob also, and Samuel, and David, Constantine the Great, and many others; whose children, through ambition, pride, covetousness, envy, evil surmises, &c., have been at odds, nay, at deadly feud among themselves. Beza upon these words observeth, that the sisters kept not with their brethren, but had their dwelling apart from them; which was both more seemly and more safe, as also more agreeing with maidenly shamefacedness. Neither is it said, that Job’s sons sent for any other women; yea, the sisters came not over boldly to the banquets of their brethren, although they knew them to be men of a sober and honest disposition.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 1:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 1:4. Every one his day Schultens has shewn, that the word יומו iomo, imports his birth-day. So ch. Job 3:1. Job is said to have cursed his day; i.e. the day of his birth. The verse might be rendered, And his sons had a constant custom to make a family-feast, every one on his birth-day; and they sent and invited their three sisters, &c. Herodotus informs us, that the Orientals in general, and the Persians in particular, were remarkable for celebrating their birthdays with great festivity and luxury.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 1:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-1.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(4) ¶ And his sons went and feasted in their houses, everyone his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

Though I am very ready to allow, that in those feasts of Job's children, there are certain amiable qualities worth remarking; such as the love which, as brethren, they lived in together, their affection for their sisters also, and their societies in their own houses, far preferable to public-houses, and the taverns of modern times, wherein the carnal indulge too often their lusts and pleasures; yet Job's children would have been more like their father, had they feasted less, and given more. Oh! thou heavenly Samaritan! what a feast would that be, if followed up by our great ones; and what a very different world would it make the present, from what it now is, if, when they made a feast, they called in the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. The imagination is not competent to form the full blessedness of such a mind, who would thus spread the Lord's bounties for the Lord's poor; and while the table was surrounded with such guests, and the hungry bellies of the perishing supplied, the generous lord of the feast seasoned his entertainment for the body, with sweet and gracious discourse for the soul. Such was thy feast, dearest Jesus! and I hope there are still some of thine, following thy example. Luke 14:13. and Luke 15:2.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/job-1.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

His sons went and feasted, to testify and maintain their brotherly love.

Every one his day; not every day of the week and of the year; which would have been burdensome and tedious to them all, and gross luxury and epicurism, which holy Job would not have permitted; but each his appointed day, whether his birthday, or the first day of the month, or any other set time, it matters not.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 1:4". 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

4.Every one his day — Which, for insufficient reasons, Hirtzel refers to national festive days either of the spring or of the harvest. As there were seven sons, Oehler, Delitzsch, and Clericus would understand by the above phrase a week of festivity, with its attendant lustration and sacrifice on the seventh day, or sabbath. Thus they infer a high antiquity for the division of time into weeks and the observance of the sabbath. But it probably indicates their respective birthdays. (Hahn, Schlottmann.) “‘His day,’ par excellence,” says Umbreit, “is the birthday.” There was apparently a fixed reason for such family festivals. Among the people of the East, birthdays have been ever commemorated with marked festivity. Pharaoh’s was celebrated with a feast to all his servants. Wilkinson, in Ancient Egyptians, says: “Every Egyptian attached much importance to the day, and even to the hour, of his birth, and it is probable that, as in Persia, each individual kept his birthday with great rejoicings, welcoming his friends with all the amusements of society, and a more than usual profusion of the delicacies of the table.” “Of all the days in the year,” says Herodotus, (i, 133,) “the one which the Persians celebrate most is their birthday.”

Called for their three sisters — A joyous home, over which religion shed its heavenly light. Its influence is seen in the spirit of pure affection that bound together the hearts of the ten children. It was honourable in “the young men” that they should thus at the same time consult their own and their sisters’ happiness; as if the festive circle must be incomplete without the crowning joy of their presence. The Egyptian monuments also testify to the high esteem in which woman was held in the earliest ages. “In the treatment of women they (the Egyptians) seem to have been very far advanced beyond other wealthy communities of the same era, having usages very similar to those of modern Europe; and such was the respect shown to women that precedence was given to them over men, and the wives and daughters of kings succeeded to the throne, like the male branches of the royal family.” — Sir G. Wilkinson.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "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 1:4. His sons went and feasted in their houses — Or made a family feast, to testify and maintain their brotherly love. Every one his day — Not every day of the week and of the year, which would have been burdensome to them all, and gross luxury, and which certainly such a holy man as Job would not have permitted; but each his appointed day, perhaps his birth- day, or the first day of the month. It is certain the same expression, יומו, jomo, his day, means his birth-day, Job 3:1. “The verse,” says Dr. Dodd, “might be rendered, And his sons had a constant custom to make a family feast, every one on his birth-day; and they sent and invited their three sisters,” &c. According to Herodotus, the inhabitants of the East in general, and especially the Persians, were remarkable for celebrating their birthdays with great festivity and luxury.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 1:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

His day of the week in succession; (Pineda) or each on his birthday, (Genesis xl. 20., and Matthew xiv. 6.; Grotius) or once a month, &c. The daughters of Job were probably unmarried.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-1.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day": That is, on his birthday. "And they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them": Job had a very close-knit family. We are not told if the sons were married, and if the sisters were still single they would have still lived at home.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-1.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

one = man, as in Job 1:1.

his day. Probably = birthday. Compare Job 1:5; Job 3:3. Genesis 40:20.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "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

And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

Every one his day - namely, the birthday, (Job 3:1). (Umbreit.) Implying the love and harmony of the members of the family, as contrasted with the ruin which soon broke up such a scene of happiness. The sisters are specified, since these feasts were not for revelry, which would be inconsistent with the presence of sisters. These latter were invited by the brothers, though they gave no invitations in return. The sisters, according to Eastern custom, lived in their mother's home (Genesis 24:67). The Hebrew perfects, "feasted, sent, called," imply that this was their regular custom, each in his turn (namely, on his birthday) to feast the rest. Maurer objects that, as the birthdays must have fallen at different times in the year, it is not intelligible in Umbreit's view why Job, who was as solicitous that no offence of his children should be unatoned, should not after each birthday, and not merely at the close of the whole year, offer the atonements. The narrative implies the series of feasts was at one anniversary season each year, and lasted for seven days, and each of the seven sons was the entertainer on one day of the seven, beginning with the oldest son.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "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

(4) Every one his day.—i.e., probably his birthday. (Comp. Genesis 40:20; Genesis 21:8; and in the New Testament Matthew 14:6, Mark 6:21.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
sent and called
Psalms 133:1; Hebrews 13:1
Reciprocal: Job 1:13 - when;  Job 1:18 - Thy sons;  Ecclesiastes 7:2 - better;  Romans 12:10 - with brotherly love

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-1.html.

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Job 1:4 f. illustrates in particular the above-given general description of Job's piety and happiness by a picture of the usual life of himself and his family. Job's sons are all like the sons of a king, each of whom has his own house and possessions (2 Samuel 13:7; 2 Samuel 14:30). Job's children are apparently all unmarried, and live for a joyous life, each day a feast. "It is to be remembered, that we do not stand on the ground of mere history here. The idea shapes its material to its own ends" (Davidson).

Along with this joyous life goes the most scrupulous piety. Job continually unites with his children in sacrifice, to atone even for unintentional impiety, of which they may have been guilty. The sanctification preparatory to sacrifice would consist of ablutions, change of raiment, etc. (Genesis 35:2, Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:14). The sacrifice offered is the pre-exilic sacrifice of atonement, viz. the burnt offering only; the LXX adds the sin offering, to conform Job's worship to post-exilic usage. The particular sin that Job fears is that his sons, when their hearts were loosed with wine, may have had blasphemous thoughts of God. Actual blasphemy was in ancient Israel punishable by death (1 Kings 21:13); but for Job, even blasphemous thoughts must be atoned for by sacrifice. The Volksbuch regards irreverence as the most to be dreaded of sins (Job 1:22, Job 2:10, Job 42:7). Job is so careful, that he makes atonement for unconscious and perhaps even non-existent sins. For "heart-speech," cf. Psalms 14:1.

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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 1:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/job-1.html. 1919.