Scripture Research - Vol. 5 - No. 5
(Inside front cover)
A Note from a letter: Dated: March 10, 1966
Early this week 1 said to my dear wife:
"I feel I must take the Book of Job, at the Chapel, with its emphasis upon Justification, Kinsman Redeemer, and Resurrection..."
Charles H. Welch
Scripture Research, Inc., P.O. Box 51716 Riverside, CA 92517
Ewalt Memorial Bible School, Atascadero, California
THE BOOK OF JOB
The Oldest Lesson In the World
E.W. Bullinger, D.D.
In Memory of Charles H. Welch
by Nevin M. Wetzel
Chart of Roman and Arabic Numerals iii
JOB'S FOLLY AND FAITH .. iv
By Russell H. Schaefer
PREFACE (Original Publication) .. vii
CONTENTS (The Oldest Lesson
1n the World) xiii
The Book and Its Structure ........................ . 1
The Introduction (i. 1-5) ......................... 4
The Adversary's Assault (1. 6-ii. 10). ................. 7
Job and His Three Friends
(iii. 1-xxxi. 40) ..11
The Ministry of Elihu (xxxii.-xxxvii.) 26
The Ministry of Jehovah Himself
(xxxviii.-xlii. 6) . 34
The Conclusion (xlii. 7-17) ... 42
For many years it has been laid upon our hearts to reprint THE OLDEST LESSON IN THE WORLD by Dr. Bullinger. Now with the help of Christian friends our dream is being realized.
Mr. Charles H. Welch some years ago kindly gave SCRIPTURE RESEARCH, INC. permission to republish books by Dr. Bullinger, namely any books not currently in print. Mr. Welch, as many readers well know, was the editor of THE BEREAN EXPOSITOR (London, England) from its founding until the time of his death (1909 to 1967). Mr. Welch knew Dr. Bullinger personally in the later years of the doctor's ministry. After World War II the BEREAN PUBLISHING TRUST was given the rights to republish Dr. Bullinger's books.
The treatise on the Book of Job by Dr. Bullinger is precious to the present writer. He was mightily influenced when he read this booklet while a college pre-med student and very skeptical of Biblical teachings. Shortly after reading "The Oldest Lesson in the World" a serious illness brought this student to the end of himself and to the righteousness of God and so to CHRIST.
A friend has well stated that the Book of Job is to the Old Testament what the Ephesian Epistle is to the New Testament. Both of these books of the Bible contain capstones of spiritual truth. The Book of Job and the Pauline Epistle to the Ephesians both contain messages that are timeless for Christian believers.
Dr. Ethelbert W. Bullinger, the distinguished Bible scholar, writer and musician, lived in England during all his lifetime (1837 to 1913). He wrote and published many books on
Biblical subjects, including: Figures of Speech Used in the Bible; Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, The Divine Names and Titles, How to Enjoy the Bible, The Great Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews, Chapter 11); The Witness of the Stars; The Foundations of Dispensational Truth, The Lesson of the Potter's House; and The Book of Job or The Oldest Lesson in the World. Before World War II all of Dr. Bullinger's books were published by Eyre and Spottiswoode LTD, London, England. During World War II Eyre and Spottiswoode's printing plant and contents were destroyed by enemy action. Many of Dr. Bullinger's excellent books have been reprinted, however, to the best of our knowledge, THE OLDEST LESSON IN THE WORLD has not been reprinted until now.
Please note that only the first part of this book by Dr. Bullinger (The Book of Job) is herein reprinted, namely Part I, THE OLDEST LESSON IN THE WORLD. Part II, a NEW TRANSLATION* is not now being reprinted. This new translation of the Book of Job is a beautiful literary work. Its length, however, makes it too bulky and too costly to republish at this time.
R.H. Schaefer's outline, Job's Folly and Faith (V-VI), will help prepare the reader to see the issues involved in this great book.
Nevin M. Wetzel
Thousand Oaks, California
*Currently published as an alternative text to the A.V. in the Companion Bible with many marginal notes.
ROMAN NUMERICAL CONVERSION CHART
NOTE: Years ago the chapters in our English Bibles were designated by Roman numerals, but today most of our Bibles use Arabic numerals to identify The Bible chapter numbers. The chart below shows the Arabic equivalent for the corresponding Roman numeral.
Roman Arabic Roman Arabic Roman Arabic
(I) i 1 xxi 21 xli 41
ii 2 xxii 22 xlii 42
iii 3 xxiii 23 xliii 43
iv 4 xxiv 24 xliv 44
(V) v 5 xxv 25 xiv 45
vi 6 xxvi 26 xlvi 46
vii 7 xxvii 27 xlvii 47
viii 8 xxviii 28 xlviii 48
ix 9 xxix 29 xlix 49
(X) x 10 xxx 30 (L) l 50
xi 11 xxxi 31 (LX) lx 60
xii 12 xxxii 32 lxx 70
xiii 13 xxxiii 33 lxxx 80
xiv 14 xxxiv 34 (XC) xc 90
xv 15 xxxv 35 (C) c 100
xvi 16 xxxvi 36
xvii 17 xxxvii 37
xviii 18 xxxviii 38
xix 19 xxxix 39
xx 20 (XL) xl 40
JOBS FOLLY AND FAITH
by Russell H. Schaefer
God is against him (6:2-4)
Asks God to kill him (6:8, 9; 14:13)
Suicide is desirable (7:15, 16)
He is the "butt" of God (7:17-21
[a play on his name] (7:20; 13:24; 33:10
God is his enemy (9:14-18; 13:14-28; 16:7-16; 19:11
Job's Accusation of God
Injustice (9:21-24; 10:3-7)
God has a hidden malicious motive (10:13)
Unjust and indifferent to human ills (24:12)
God does not hear, nor regard, is cruel,
Oppressive and delivers only to death (30:10-23)
No real profit in serving God (21:15) or in prayer to Him (21:15; 30:24)
God has made him a by-word, and all hope is gone (17:6, 11-16)
Job invites God to leave him alone (10:20-22)
God will not "acquit" him; God hunts, him as "prey" (10:14-16)
Still-birth would have been better than life (3:3-17; 10:18, 19)
An Arbiter to represent them both (9:32-35. Cp. 16:20, 21; 17:3
To "speak" to God (13:3, 18, 22)
To "find" God (23:3-24:1)
To "challenge" his Adversary (31:35-37
He is more righteous than God - (35:1)
His statements as in 30:25, etc., are meant to reflect upon God's character.
At last Job see s himself as God sees him:
I AM VILE... (Implication)
I ABHOR MYSELF...
I know my Redeemer (ever) lives. 19.25.
It remained for Elihu to speak in God's behalf (33:6,
7). The heart of his message is found in 33:23b, 24.
And verse 26:
At last God see Job (and us) NOT as VILE, but clothed in His own righteousness -- which is Christ.
And, seen in Him -- in all His beauty, love and grace, we are truly "engraced" in The Beloved (Eph. 1:6).
The great questions of justification, living again, the greatness of God compared to mortal man, or why ungodly men live and prosper, or why evil exists, or pain these are not all answered in the book, but if we see ourselves as God sees us, first in ourselves and then 1n Christ, that 1s, to be made Christ-like, it is all worthwhile.
Few Books of the Bible have received more attention than the Book of Job; both as to translations and as to commentaries. The Apocalypse, perhaps, exceeds it because of its relation to the future, In which we are naturally more Interested.
The Book of Job carries us back to the remote past, and contains the oldest lesson in the world. It is significant that this oldest book should be devoted to imparting that knowledge, in comparison with which all other knowledge sinks into insignificance. It is the lesson which is essential to our having peace with God for Time, and to our enjoying the peace of God for Eternity.
In the First Part of this work we have endeavored to set this forth, and in the Second Part we have given a new translation, concerning which a few words are necessary.
No apology is needed for adding one more to the many excellent presentations of the Book of Job: because there are six points which make this to differ from all previous translations, and which, taken together, make the present effort quite distinctive in its character.
1. It is metrical. The decasyllabic measure has been chosen because the stateliness of that rhythm accords with the weighty language and lofty themes of the original, better than any other, and certainly better than the jingle of the anapestic measure.
2. It is based on the literary structure of the book. This, we believe, is, for the first time given in full; in sum, and in detail. Over and above its own inherent beauty and interest, the structure is most useful, if not necessary, because it gives the scope of the various passages, and thus enables us to judge
as to the sense in which certain difficult words and phrases are to be understood.
Thus the Structure determines the Scope, and the Scope, in turn, furnishes the key to the interpretation of the words.
3. The Figures of Speech also are noted as far as possible. These again guide us as to the translation and their use is seen to be important as throwing light on many, otherwise enigmatical, expressions. It is the observance of Figures of Speech which has given Bengel's Commentary on the New Testament a unique place among such works. His example in such a matter is one which it is wise to follow, however humbly and imperfectly.
To translate a Figure of Speech literally is to obscure the very point for which it was used, to lose the emphasis it was intended to mark, and to miss the truth it was meant to teach.
4. Our aim also has been to make our Translation as idiomatic as possible. Too close an adherence to the literal rendering of words necessarily leads to English which, to say the least, is often incoherent; and conveys no definite sense to the English reader.
Literality, indeed, is required; but it must be literality to the sense and not merely to the words. The English reader must have the same idea in his mind that was in the mind of the foreign writer, irrespective of the actual words employed in conveying that meaning.
This, of course, applies to a translation from any language into English. The first requisite is that it must be English. This is a condition which must take precedence even over verbal faithfulness: because, unless we can understand the English, we cannot judge whether it represents the original faithfully or not.
We have therefore striven to translate the Hebrew idioms into the corresponding English idioms, rather than the Hebrew words into English words" In all such cases we have given the literal meaning of the Hebrew words in our notes, so that our readers may see exactly what has been done in order to obtain the sense; and judge for himself how far that has been accomplished.
In this we have followed the example of the translators of the Authorized Version. They give, for example, the beautiful English rendering of Gen. xxix. l, "Then Jacob went on his journey," but they point out in the margin that the Hebrew idiom is, "And Jacob lifted up his feet." So in Psalm xx. 3 they beautifully turn the Hebrew thus, "The LORD . . . accept thy burnt sacrifice." But they explain in the margin that the Hebrew rendered "accept" means to "turn to ashes", because that was the way in which the Lord accepted a sacrifice. He turned it to ashes, by causing Divine fire to fall from the heavens and consume it. This is how He "had respect" to Abel's offering: this is how he "testified of Abel's gifts": this is how Abel "obtained witness that he was righteous" (Heb. xi. 4).
We have followed the example thus set in the A.V. which is for this reason a "Version," while the R.V., being more literal to the words is more correctly a "Translation," rather than a "Version."
Our aim has been, therefore, to translate into English phrase, and not merely into English words; to keep to the solemnity of the style of the Authorized Version, and not to vulgarize it by adopting Twentieth-century English.
In the sacredness of its diction the A.V. has never been surpassed in any language. By its, sometimes, too strict adherence to Hebrew idioms, it has actually caused them to pass into, and become absolutely, English idioms.
We must not, however, confuse such idioms with English Archaisms, the two are quite distinct: For example, "held his peace" is old English and not Hebrew; so are such expressions as "three score and ten," "give up the ghost," etc.
On the other hand, many pure Hebraisms have become naturalized English expressions, and are now the common property of both languages, e.g., "at the hands of," by the hand of," "with the edge of the sword," "respecter of persons," "sick unto death," etc.
All this will show the difficulties which are inherent in any such attempt as the present; and will give us a claim to the indulgence of our critics for any failure in attaining our high ideal.
5. It is Critical. We have followed the Hebrew Text of Dr. Ginsburg's magnificent and monumental work. His Critical Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible must henceforth be the standard for all subsequent translations.
We have availed ourselves of his readings, and given his critical notes, in which he has recorded his own assured conclusions, as well as those based on the documentary authority of ancient Codices and Versions.
We call attention to only a few of his more "conjectural" readings, where they seemed to be of importance.
6. The Divine Names and Titles have all been indicated either in the Translation (where the rhythm allowed it), or in the Notes. Those used in this book may be thus defined and distinguished.
Elohim is God, as The Creator, carrying out His wi11. God, standing in the relation of Creator to His creatures.
El, is God, as The Omnipotent. The Creator showing forth His power in carrying out His work. "The Almighty" would have been, perhaps, the most appropriate rendering, had not this word been, in the A.V., appropriated as the rendering of Shaddai.
Eloah is The God who is to be worshipped and reverenced, The living God, in contrast with all idols and false gods.
Adonai is God as The Ruler in the earth, and this in relation to the whole Earth, rather than as limited to His own People. It is thus distinguished from Jehovah.
Jehovah is The Eternal God, "Who is, and was, and is to come." The self-existent God, Who stands in Covenant relation to His own People.
Shaddai is God as All-Bountiful. The giver of every good gift; the fountain of all Divine help; and the supplier of all human need. Not merely Almighty as regards His power, but All-Bountiful as regards His resources.
These are The Divine titles used in the book of Job, and it will be observed that Eloah and Shaddai are the titles that specially mark the character of the book.
In our judgment, all The Divine Names and Titles should have been preserved in their original forms in translating the Bible into any language. They should have been transferred (with explanations) instead of being translated. No one word in any language can ever explain all that is contained and implied in the Hebrew original.*
We have not ventured systematically on so bold a
*To adopt the heathen names and titles, and use them to represent the God of revelation is a still greater mistake.
especially with the names Eloah and Shaddai. When we have not been able to do this, we have course; but we have adopted it where possible in certain cases, indicated the different titles in the notes. We have also uniformly distinguished them by the use of different types:* for example:
ELOHIM, God The Creator, we have printed "God."
EL, God The Omnipotent, we have printed "GOD."
ELOAH, God the object of Worship, we have printed "GOD."
ADONAI, God The Ruler in the Earth, we have printed "Lord" (as in A.V.).
JEHOVAH, God The Eternal One, we have printed "LORD" (as in A.V.).
SHADDAI, God as the All-Bountiful, we have printed "God."
Thus, the distinguishing features of the following version are:
1. That it is rhythmical.
2. That it is based on the structure of the book.
3. That it notes the figures of speech.
4. That it is idiomatic.
5. That it gives the critical readings of Dr. Ginsburg's Hebrew Bible.
* In this printing, the type faces necessary for reproducing the distinctions to which Dr. Bullinger refers were not available to us. Here is a table of our system for ready reference
God Elohim Lord Adonai
GOD El LORD Jehovah
GOD Eloah God Shaddai
6. That it distinguishes the various Divine Names and Titles.
These six points give our New Translation a special character. They fully justify our attempt, and they absolve us from all suspicion of presumption in aiming at the production of such a work. To combine them together in one book was worthy of our best efforts.
We do not suppose, for a moment, that what we have been able to do is superior to what others have done. But, if, in parts, we have accomplished what some have left undone, or succeeded where others have failed, it Is due, not to our own merit, but to the great distinguishing principles on which the work is based, while any imperfections are due to our own failure in carrying them out.
We are conscious only of an honest endeavor to make the book Itself, and Its important lesson, more clear.
Nothing can add to our own pleasure in translating, and to the pleasure of those who shall read it, but the pleasure experienced in the heart by learning the great lesson which it teaches.
May we, together, cone to the knowledge of Divine "Wisdom" and, while we justify God and condemn ourselves, learn how mortal man can be just with God; and that, while God is just, He is the Justifier of all who believe in The Lord Jesus.
Christ is The "spirit." In the book of Job we have the "body." But, "as the body without the spirit is dead," so the "letter" of the word without Christ (the "spirit") is dead also. Nay His words be spirit and life, i.e., true spiritual life, to ourselves.
E. W. Bullinger
THE OLDEST LESSON IN THE WORLD
THE LESSON OF THE BOOK OF JOB
as seen in
The End of The Lord
by E.W. Bullinger D.D.
Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of The Lord, that The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
James v. 11
The Book and Its Structure
We have all "heard of the patience of Job." But, the great and important question is this, Have we "seen the end" Which The Lord had in view in all His dealings with Job? The "end" which He brought about in His own perfect way?
The object and purpose of the book are one. Whatever is said and done, whoever speaks or acts; all has reference to one person; and all is designed to bring about one "end."
It is a long book. It consists of forty-two chapters, relating to various events, and different agencies; all brought to bear upon one person, and all directed to one "end""the end of The Lord."
We see Heaven, and Earth, and Hell, Jehovah and Satan; the Chaldeans, and Sabeans, fire from heaven, and wind from the wilderness; Job's friends, his wife, and children, all engaged and employed in order to secure one "end."
It is a wonderful book in itself, apart from either the patience of Job, or the end of The Lord.
We might study it with reference to the history involved in the book, its national character; its place in the canon of Scriptures, the time when it was written; the various references to arts and sciences, to natural history, to astronomy, to various objects of nature, such as jewels, etc. We might study its eschatology; its knowledge of mineralogy, metallurgy and mining operations. We might notice its language; the words and expressions employed, especially those that are peculiar to the book. All these and many other matters might well form subjects of separate study: but we leave all these, because, however interesting each subject might be in itself, it is not the "end" for which the book is given to us.
Ancient it is beyond all dispute. It probably belongs to the period covered by the book of Genesis; and, possibly, to the time of Abraham.* Its lesson, therefore, 1s the oldest lesson we could have, and it takes us back to the first lesson taught in The Bible itself.
In Gen. i. and ii. we have the creation of man. In Gen. iii. we have the fall of man, and the chapter ends with the statement that man was driven out from the Garden of Eden in judgment (iii. 24). Then, in Gen. iv., what have we but the way back again to God, in grace? God's way, which Abel took, and man's way, which Cain invented.
This, therefore, is the oldest lesson in the world. It is the first great lesson which stands in the forefront of revelation, and the lesson of the book of Job follows this up and expands it by answering the solemn question, "How should man be just with God?"
*Uz (uts) is probably the son of Nahor, Abram's brother (Gen. xxii. 21).
This is not only the oldest lesson, but it is the most important lesson that it is possible for us to learn. If we know not this lesson, it matters not what else we may know. Our knowledge may be vast, extensive, and deep on all other subjects; but it will not carry us beyond the grave.
But the knowledge of this lesson will serve us for eternity, and secure our eternal blessing and happiness. If we know this lesson, it matters little what else we do not know.
No wonder then that this oldest lesson in the world is thus set at the very opening of God's Word, following immediately upon the record of the Fall. No wonder that, thus, at the threshold of The Word of God, we have the foundation of Gospel truth securely laid.
The "end" which The Lord had in view in the book of Job was to enforce this lesson in the most powerful way, a way which should serve as an object lesson for all time, and by the manner in which it is set forth should impress its importance upon the hearts and minds of all.
Its very structure is designed to attract our attention by exhibiting in a wonderful manner the perfect workmanship of The Spirit of God. The Structure itself speaks to us, if we have ears to hear. It says: if the outward form of the book be so perfect, how perfect must be its spiritual lesson, and how Divine must be its one great object; viz., "the end," which Jehovah had in view from the beginning, "the end" which was so blessedly accomplished, and "the end" for which it is given to us.
The Structure of the book is as follows:
The Book of JOB as a Whole
A] i. 1-5. Introduction. Historical
B] i. 6-ii. 10. Satan's assault. Job stripped of all.
C] ii. 11-13. The Three Friends. Their arrival. D] iii. 1-xxxi. 40. Job and his friends.
E]xxxii.-xxxvii. Elihu. .
D] xxxviii. l.-xiii. 6. Jehovah and Job.
C] x1ii. 7-9.The Three Friends. Their departure. B] xlii. 9, 10. Satan's defeat. Job blessed with double.
A] xlii. 11-17. Conclusion. Historical.
We will now consider these members in this order, and watch the process by which Jehovah brings about His own "end"; and accomplishes His own purposes.
A. (chap. 1. 1-5.)
The Introduction is exceedingly simple. A few brief sentences tell us all that is necessary for us to know about Job:
Where he lived (v. 1).
What he was (v. 1).
What he had (v. 2, 3).
What he did (v. 5).
What he said (v. 5).
He was perfect: Hebrew (tam), upright, sincere, with-out guile. He did possess that wisdom and under-standing which fears The Lord, and departs from evil; but the only true wisdom, which always justifies God and condemns one's self, he did not know.
True wisdom is to know what is "a broken heart" and "a contrite spirit." These are the sacrifices with which God is well pleased, and apart from these all other "wisdom" and all other sacrifices are worthless.
Until man knows this he cannot know either God or himself.
To teach Job this important lesson is the "end" of all that we read in this book. All that is done and all that is said is intended to do for Job:
What the "mighty famine" did for the lost son
What another famine did for Joseph's brethren
(Gen. xliv. 16),
What Nathan's parable did for David
(2 Sam. xii. 1-13);
What a glorious vision did for Isaiah (chap. vi. 1-5), and for Daniel (chap. x. 1-8);
What a wondrous miracle did for Peter (Luke v. 1-8).
The same work must be done for Job; and the same result must be produced in his case as in theirs.
As the lost son confessed "I have sinned",
As Joseph's brethren acknowledged "We are verily guilty",
As Isaish confessed, "I am undone ... unclean",
As David said, "I have sinned against The Lord";
And as Daniel declared "my comeliness was turned into corruption";
So must Job be brought to say, "I am vile" (chap, xl. 4.). "I abhor myself," "I repent in dust and ashes" (chapt. xlii. 6).
This is "the end of The Lord," for The Lord Himself must be the teacher of this Divine lesson.
Man may be used by God to bring it about; but God alone can be the bringer near of His own salvation, and the bestower of His own righteousness.
All this is quite apart from mere "religion," as such. Job was religious; just as the heathen may be "very religious."* Religion is the attempt of man to become righteous by morality and ordinances; but, the moment God produces a broken heart and a contrite spirit, the sinner is lifted completely out of the region of religion, and becomes the possessor of the "righteousness of God" Himself.
The book of Job, therefore, as we have said, is the illustration and the spiritual enlargement of the oldest lesson in the world as first taught in Gen. iv. 1-5. It is an object lesson
which exhibits before our eyes The Divine answer to man's great question the question of this book:
"How shall mortal man be just with God?"
The first time The LORD God speaks to man after the Fall, He sets forth in his brief question, "Where art thou?" the lost and helpless condition of man.
This is the first great lesson which man has to learn; and his attempt to answer this great question is that which forms the first step in his attainment of true "wisdom."
The first question of The Bible is intended to reveal to man his lost condition; and when he has discovered this, he asks the first question in the New Testament, intended to express this conviction, when he cries, "Where is He?" (Matt. ii. 2). Where is The Saviour whom Thou hast provided for lost sinners? Where is The Saviour whom Thou hast given and sent?
The answer to this question is the oldest lesson in the world.
Unless we recognize this, as the "end" and design of the book, we shall never understand it, or learn its lesson for ourselves.
Jehovah dwells only "with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit" (Is. lvii. 15); to this man only, He says, "will I look" (Is. lxvi. 2). But neither the one nor the other is seen in the case of Job, until we have come to the end of the book, and have "seen the end of The Lord."
The "end of The Lord" was not merely to teach Job
*See Acts xvii. 22, R.V., margin.
what man was, or what the world was.
The deceitfulness of man and the hollowness of the world are soon discovered by all. It needs no special Divine process to learn that lesson.
The men who flattered him in his prosperity were the very ones to treat him with contumely in his adversity (see chaps, xxix and xxx).
Those who shouted "Hosanna to The Son of David," shouted, "Crucify Him" a few days later.
When the lost son had plenty to spend, he had many to share it with him; but when "he began to be in want, no man gave unto him" (Luke xv. 13, 16.).
Sad it is to learn all this about the deceitful ness of man, if we have not previously learned the faithfulness of God.
True, we have "heard of the patience of Job"; and if that had been all there was to hear, it would have been only an additional ground for his self-confidence; and a ground for our own depression and disappointment; for we fail to produce such patience as his.
But there is something for us to see as well as to hear, and that is, "the end of The Lord", even that "The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." But this is seen only by those who have themselves been made broken in heart, and contrite in spirit, under His mighty hand.
The one who ends this blessed work is the one who begins it. He began it here with His question to the Adversary in the first chapter, and He ends it with His double blessing in the last chapter.
THE ADVERSARY'S ASSAULT
B. (chap. i. 6 - ii. 10.)
The structure is as follows:-
B] F]a] i. 6. Presentation of the Adversary,
b] i. 7. Jehovah's question.
c] i. 8. His approbation of Job.
d] i. 9-11. Calumniation of the Adversary, e] i. 12-. Limited permission given.
f] i. -12. Departure of Adversary,
g] i. 13-19. Inflictions (Job's possessions),
h] i. 20, 21. Job's patience,
i] i. 22. Job not sinning,
F]a] ii. l. Presentation of the Adversary.
b] ii. 2. Jehovah's question.
c] ii. 3. His approbation of Job.
d] ii. 4, 5. Calumniation of the Adversary.
e] ii. 6. Limited permission given.
f] ii. 7-. Departure of the Adversary.
g] ii. -7. Infliction (Job's person).
h]ii. 8-10-. Job's patience.
i] ii. -l0. Job not sinning.
We now come to witness the process by which this wondrous work was carried out; and to see the "end" which was thus brought about.
It is opened with the Adversary's assault on Job. An assault permitted by God, and used and over-ruled by Him, in order to accomplish His purpose. He can make the wrath of man to praise Him, and He can make the enmity of Satan to serve Him.
This assault of the Adversary is given us in chap, i. 6-ii. 10, and is divided into two parts; one part corresponding with the other, member for member.
The first part affects Job's possessions; the second affects Job's person; and the whole member is presented in the form of an extended alternation.
Job was tempted to "curse God";* but, he did not thus sin. Instead of falling under this temptation, he uttered those memorable words, "The LORD gave and The LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of The LORD" (chap. i. 21). When tempted a second time to "curse God,' he replied, "Shall we receive good at the hand of The LORD, and shall we not receive evil?" (chap. ii. 10).
Beautiful as this is, it is only partly true; because it assumes that all our evils and losses are ruled by The Lord. It is true that He rules; but, He also over-rules. He rules our good, and over-rules our evil. Job's words manifest wonderful resignation, but it is only religion. Such sentiments can be expressed, and yet the speaker may not know either God or himself; and he may be wholly destitute of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
All that Job here uttered, could be said without these inward evidences of Divine workmanship; and of true wisdom.
It is this workmanship which we are to see in this book. It is this which manifests "the end" which The Lord had in view for Job, and for us.
Divine Love ruled and over-ruled all. It wounded that it might heal: it brought low that it might lift up: it humbled that Job might be exalted, for ever and ever.
*In spite of the fact that the current Hebrew text, here, has "bless God," the A,V. translates it "curse God," and the R.V.,
To bring about this end Satan was allowed to disturb Job's nest, and be the willing instrument which God would over-rule.
There is much that is mysterious in these first two chapters. They lift the veil for a brief moment and show how it is "against wicked spirits in heavenly places" that our conflict is waged.
There is nothing here for us to explain. It is written to explain unseen things to us. All is blessedly clear and simple to faith, where reason is useless.
Job's is not the only case which Scripture gives us as to the activities of the great Adversary.
The Twelve Apostles were allowed to be "sifted": and The Lord prayed, not that Peter might not fall, but that Peter's faith might not fail. It was the failure of Peter himself that was the trial of his faith, and proved it to be more precious than gold that perisheth.
To this end, Infinite love controls and permits and over-rules all, and causes "all things to work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom. viii. 28).
This is why Satan was allowed access to our first parents. It was to bring forth the precious promise of the seed ______________________________________________________
"renounce," under some fancied, but mistaken idea that the word can bear both meanings. The real explanation is that, though they are incorrect as translations, they are correct as to fact. For chaps, i. 5, 11, and ii. 5, 9, are among certain of the "emendations of the Sopherim, lists of which are carefully. This was why he was allowed to bruise the heel of The Lord of noted and preserved in the Masorah. See a further note on pp. 56-57 of the 1903 edition.
of the woman, and the announcement of Satan's doom (Gen. iii. 15).
This is why he is allowed to bruise the heel of The Lord of glory and of life, not only that His people might be saved, but that "by death" he who had the power of death might be ultimately destroyed (Heb. ii. 14), and that his head might be crushed for ever.
This is why he is allowed to have a part in the destruction of "the flesh"; it is that "the spirit" may be saved in the day of The Lord Jesus"(1 Cor. v. 5).* Satan Intends one thing, but God uses him for another; and works out the very opposite to Satan's will. The man who was thus "delivered" to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 Cor. v. 5) was afterwards restored and blessed (2 Cor. ii. 1-11), and Satan got no "advantage".
This is why he was allowed to receive one who was "delivered" to him; it was that such an one thereby might learn "not to blaspheme" (1 Tim. i. 20).
This is why he is allowed to send his messengers as a thorn for the flesh, to buffet the saints of God. It is that they may, thereby, learn and prove the sufficiency of Divine grace, and the fullness of Divine power (2 Cor. xii. 7-9). Satan may intend one thing, but God uses him for another. In all these things he is a minister -- used for the ultimate blessing, comfort and help of the people of God, and for their present spiritual profit.
He cannot go beyond the limits assigned to him. This is revealed in these chapters: see "e," and "e," Job i. 13; ii. 6.
He was allowed to be the author of Job's trials and
*See Things to Come, May, 1903, page 131
losses: but all his labour was wasted; for it ended in Job's receiving a double blessing for time, and for earth, and "the righteousness of God" for ever and ever.
May we have grace to learn the same precious lesson, and receive the same everlasting blessing.
May our eyes be opened to see the great lesson of this book, and the perfection of the Divine words and ways which brought about "the end of The Lord."
JOB AND HIS THREE FRIENDS
D. (chap. iii. l-xxxi. 40)
We may pass over the small member C (chap. ii. 11-13), the three verses which tell of the arrival of Job's three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. That member is necessary to connect the threads of the history; but only a few words are used over the brief announcement of the fact.
We come, therefore, at once to the next member, "D." It is a large one, consisting of twenty-nine chapters. It contains and records the conference of Job with his three friends; the design of which is to show that man, apart from Divine revelation; has not true wisdom and cannot find out or know God: and cannot understand or know himself. Until man has this knowledge, he will neither justify God nor condemn himself. He may understand. Jehovah's "works," but His "ways" cannot be known. His works are seen by all; but His ways are secret and hidden, and can be known only by revelation to His People. Hence we read (Ps. ciii. 7):
He made known His WAYS unto Moses, His ACTS unto the children of Israel.
It is this great truth which is now to be first shown us in this book. The first part of the lesson is negative: that man by searching cannot find out God; or attain to true, heavenly wisdom. This is the point of this member.
There are three series of these conferences, in which each takes part. The structure will be found on the following page.*
*For an explanation of these Structures see A Key to the Psalms; The Vision of Isaiah, and other works by the same author.
D. (iii, 1-xxxi. 40). Job and his Friends.
D]Z] iii. Jobs Lamentation (Introduction).
G1 k1] iv., v. Eliphaz.
l1] vi., vii. Job.
k2] viii. Bildad.
l2] ix., x. Job.
k3] xi. Zophar.
l3] xii.-xiv. Job.
G2 k4] xv. Eliphaz.
l4] xvi., xvii. Job.
k5] xviii. Bildad.
l5] xix. Job.
k6] xx. Zophar.
l6] xxi. Job.
G3 k7] xxii. Eliphaz.
l7] xxiii., xxiv. Job.
k8] xxv. Bildad.
l8] xxvi. xxvii. 10. Job.
k9] xxvii. 11-xxviii. 28. Zophar.*
]Z] xxix.-xxxi. Jobs Justification (Conclusion).
We do not propose to expand or to further elaborate the respective utterances of the various speakers.**
Too much importance may easily be placed upon them; for, after all, they are merely the groupings of the human mind __________
*We attribute this member to Zophar. For our reasons, see note on chap, xxvii. 11 in New Translation.
**This will be done exhaustively in our New Translation, given in Part II (1903 printing).
to "find out God"; only the effusions of darkened under-standings.
We must not quote the sentiments, either of Job or his friends, as though they were necessarily Bible-truth. We have the true, and truly inspired, record of what these men said. But it does not follow that what they said was necessarily either true or inspired.
No! Jehovah, when He speaks later in the book, distinctly declares that they had "darkened counsel by words without knowledge" (xxxviii. 2). They may have been aged men, and great; but, as Elihu says, "great men are not always wise, neither do the aged understand judgment" (chap, xxxii. 9).
At the "end" of the whole matter Jehovah tells the three friends that "ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right" (xlii. 7, 8). Neither had Job, until he confessed himself a sinner. THEN Jehovah could add, "as My servant Job hath." But that is not yet; at this stage they did not know God; and Job did not know himself.
It would therefore, as we have said, take us too far from the end we have in view to go into detailed examination of all their utterances.
We must content ourselves with noticing the drift or scope of these groupings of the human mind; and in doing this we shall see that man has not changed during the course of centuries. Their imaginations are the same with those of men today, their reasonings, too, are the same.
Ellphaz reasons on human experience.
Bildad resons on human tradition; while
Zophar reasons on human merit.
If we look at the three colloquies as a whole, the one great lesson for ourselves is this: that man, with all his wisdom, and all his powers, cannot get to know God, and cannot meet man's needs. He can neither satisfy the righteous claims of God, nor heal the wounds of the sinner's heart.
All these reasonings were wrong in their conclusions, as they were false in their logic. They reasoned from the particular to the general: i.e., they argued that what they had seen and observed in their own respective spheres was true universally.
They may speak truly of the "works" of God, and of what they had seen in the case of individuals; but it did not follow that they could gather from these few cases what was the law which regulated the "ways" and dealings of God with mankind.
Eliphaz is the first to answer Job's complaints. His three utterances are given (1) chaps, iv., v., (2) chap, xv., and (3) chap. xxii.
His reasonings, as we have said, are based on human experience. He argued from the particular to the general, and hence arrived at a wrong conclusion. He based his argument on his own experience. "As I have seen" is the burden of his speech. As he had "seen" that it was the wicked who always suffer, and the righteous who prosper, so he concluded that as Job was suffering he must therefore have committed some dreadful sin. At first he only insinuates this. He asks Job if he had not noticed the same thing himself. He says (chap. iv. 7-9)*:
*In all our quotations we give our own translation. It will be literal to the sense, and to the Hebrew idiom, though it may not be always so to the words. It will at any rate be English which can be understood. It is by no means a paraphrase. It may be
7 Bethink thee: when has the guiltless been destroy'd?
Or when were any upright ones cut off?
8 I've always seen, that they who evil plough,
And mischief sow, they ever reap the same,
9 They Perish, smitten by the blast of GOD;
And by His angry blast they are consumed.
Again in chap. v. 3-5, Eliphaz says:
4 His children will be far from safety set,
And crushed to death when passing in the gate,
With no one near at hand to rescue them.
5 'His harvest he will eat, still famishing,
'E'en though he take it from the hedge of thorns:
'A snare doth wait to swallow up their wealth.
So, in his second address, Eliphaz again appeals to experience (chap. xv. 17-21):
17 Give heed to me: and thee I will instruct;
And that which I have seen I will declare:
18 (Which wise men plainly have made known to us,
And have not hid them: truths their fathers taught.
taken as faithfully representing the original, and will often be found more literal even to the words than some other translations. (See Things to Come, March, 1903, page 106.)
As we give, in Part II, the translation of the whole book by itself, we shall relegate all the notes to that, and not interrupt the flow of the words here. Anything necessary to explain differences between our translation and that of others will be found in those notes.
19 The men to whom alone their land was given, And among whom no alien passed). They said]:
20 'The wicked sorely labours all his days, 'His years reserved for the oppressor's greed,
21 'A voice of terror ever fills his ears: 'And when he prospers, then the spoiler comes.'
And so Eliphaz proceeds to the end of his second discourse, to show how, according to his experience, it is ever the wicked who suffer and are cut off, while the good are rewarded and preserved.
In his third address (chap. xxii.), Eliphaz enforces the same argument; and appeals to Job, begging him to mark well that it is ever thus with the wicked and the good. He says:
15 Oh, that thou would'st consider well the way Which wicked men of old have ever trod.
16 They, who were snatched away before their time, Their strong foundation swept, as with a flood.
17 Who, unto GOO did say, 'Depart from us!'
[And ask'd] What Shaddai could do to them!
18 Yet, He it was who filled their homes with good.
This way of wicked men is far from me.
19 The righteous see that THEY may well rejoice;
The Innocent will laugh at them [and say]:
'Surely OUR substance hath not been destroyed, 'While THEIR abundance is consumed with fire.
Job has not much difficulty in dealing with such
arguments as these. After again bewailing his misery, he says
(chap. vi. 22-27):
22 Came ye because I said, Give aught to me?
Or, Of your substance bring to me a gift?
23 Or, From the adversary's power deliver me?
Or, Ransom me from the oppressor's hand?
24 Teach me, I pray, and I will hold my peace:
And make me understand where I have erred.
25 How forcible are words of uprightness!
But as for YOUR words, how will THEY convince?
26 Do YE reprove by fast'ning on MY words,
When one who's desperate speaks [at random] like
27 The wind? Orphans ye might as well assail,
And feast upon the miseries of your friend.
BILDAD proceeds upon similar lines: except that he reasons from the experience of many, rather than from his own (the experience of one). He goes back to antiquity, and leans on the authority of the "Fathers." He speaks, as Eliphaz had done, of the merited end of those who forget God, implying that Job's condition proved that his troubles were deserved. He says (chap. viii. 8-13):
8 Enquire, I pray thee, of the former age;
And of their fathers set thyself to learn.
9 (For we're of yesterday, and nothing know:
Yea, as a shadow are our days on earth).
10 Shall THEY not wisdom teach, and to thee tell
Wise things from their experience [such as these]:
11 'The reed: Can it grow high without the mire?
'The flag: Can it thrive where no water is?
12 'While yet 'tis green, and while it stands uncut,
'Sooner than any grass 'tis withered up.
13 'So is the end of all who GOD forget:
'So perisheth the hope of godless men.'
After elaborating this point, Bildad gives the other side of the picture (chap. viii. 20):
20 But upright men GOD never casts away;
Nor will He take ill-doers by the hand.
To all this JOB has ready his reply (chap. ix. and x.). Bildad's words had no more weight than those of Eliphaz; for Job answers:
2 Most surely do I know that this is so:
But how can Mortal man be just with GOD?
3 If man contend in argument with HIM,
Of thousand things he could not answer one.
4 However wise of heart, and stout of limb,
Who ever braved HIM, and prospered?
ZOPHAR next follows; and he repeats the same char-ges. But he does not appeal to experience, or to the past, he enforces the necessity of human merit more boldly than the other two. His teaching is exactly like that of the present day. He preaches the gospel of humanity. He talks of man "preparing his heart" and "putting away his sin," as the ground and means of securing God's favour: and that, without good works, there is no hope for man. Referring to Job's previous words, he says (chap. xi. 2-6, 13-15, 20):
2 Will not a mass of words admit reply?
And must a man of lips perforce be right?
3 Thy talk may put to silence mortal men:
THEM thou mayst mock, none putting thee to shame.
4 Thou mayest say indeed to one of THEM,
'Pure is my doctrine: in His eyes I'm clean.'
5 But, oh! that Eloah would speak to thee:
HIS lips unclose and, speaking, stop thy mouth,
6 And show thee some of wisdom's secret depths.
That they are far beyond all that is seen.
Then wouldst thou know that GOD exacteth less
Than all that thine Iniquity deserves.
13 [But as for thee]: Hadst thou prepared thy heart,
And stretched forth thy hands to Him in prayer,
14 If sin were in thine hand, 'twould be forgiv'n;
Evil had been removed from thy tent.
15 Thou wouldst thy face uplift without a stain;
Yea, thou wouldst stand secure, and need not fear:
16 For all thy misery thou wouldst then forget;
Or think of it as waters passed away
20 But as for wicked men, their eyes will fail,
And every refuge to them useless prove.
Their hope will vanish like a puff of breath.
Brave words are these! But they are not the truth. They show that the speaker (like his companions) knew neither God nor Job.
No one with any knowledge of God would speak of Him as exacting anything of a poor, helpless sinner as a ground of merit.
No one who knew anything of man could adjure him to prepare his heart, for "the preparations of the heart are from The Lord" (Prov. xvi. 1).
Doubtless man ought to prepare his heart; and, if he were right, he would do so. If he were not a fallen creature he could do so.
But this is just the very central point of the whole question.
Man is fallen. He "cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God."*
What then is he to do? Ah! that is the very thing that Job's friends cannot tell him. They can talk of everything else; but, when it comes to this, they stop short, or speak words that are utterly vain and useless.
"Natural Religion" is the burden of their theme. Though proceeding on different lines, using different arguments, and appealing to different evidence, they were all agreed, as all false religions are today, in one thing; and that is, that man must do something to merit God's favour. If he does it, he will be rewarded. If he does it not, he will be punished. They cannot agree as to what that something is to be; but they
*Article x. of The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. See John vi. 44, 65. Eph. ii. 8.
are agreed that it must be something; and if your something is not like theirs, they may perhaps kill you as Cain killed Abel! That is an important fact in this oldest lesson in the world. Hence, neither ELIPHAZ's experience, nor BILDAD's tradition, nor ZOPHAR's merit, could bring relief to JOB. As Jehovah declared (chap, xxxviii. 2), they "darkened counsel by words without knowledge."
Yes, that was the secret cause of all their failure. "Without knowledge." They said many things that were true and sublime; eloquent and beautiful; but they knew not, and, therefore, could not speak The Truth of God.
Truth first wounds before it heals; but they only hurt, and, therefore, could not comfort. They produced complaint, but not conviction.
Job's answer to Zophar shows the effect of his argument. He, like the others, had condemned Job; but he had not convinced him.
Job replies (chap. xii. 2-4):
2 Ye are the people: not a doubt of that:
And as for wisdom, it will die with you.
3 But I have intellect as well as you:
And I am not inferior to you.
Who hath not knowledge of such things as these?
4 Sport to his friends! And have I come to this!
Ev'n I, who call on GOD, and whom He hears.
A just, a perfect man, to be your sport.*
In chap. xiii. 1-5, Job again answers Zophar, and says:
*Perhaps an allusion to chap. xi. 12.
1 Behold, all these things mine own eye hath seen,
Mine ear hath heard, and understood them all.
2 What ye know, I know also, even I.
In no one thing do I fall short of you.
3 It is to Shaddai that I would speak,
With GOD to reason, that is my desire.
4 But as for YOU; framers of lies are ye;
Physicians of no value are ye all.
5 Would that ye altogether held your peace.
That, of itself, would show that ye are wise.
Again in chap. xvi. 2-4, Job replies in the same strain to Eliphaz:
2 Of such like things I have abundance heard:
[Yea], ministers of trouble are ye all.
3 Shall such vain words come never to an end?
Or what emboldens thee to answer still?
4 For I also could speak as well as you.
If YE were in distress instead of ME,
I could heap words together against YOU;
Against you I could shake my head in scorn.
Again in chap. xix. 2-6, and 21, 22, Job answers Bildad, and says:
2 How long will ye [thus grieve and] vex my soul?
And break me all to pieces with your words?
3 Already, ten times, me ye have reproached,
And yet are not ashamed to wrong me thus.
4 Be it that I have sinned as ye say:
My sin is with myself [and God] alone.
5 If still 'gainst me ye magnify yourselves,
And plead against me that I must have sinned,
6 Then know that Eloah hath overthrown
My cause, and made His net to close me round.
21 Have pity; pity me, O ye, my friends;
For 'tis Eloah's hand hath stricken me.
22 Why take on YOU that which pertains to GOD?
Will not my body's ills suffice for you?
Zophar now makes his second address (chap. xx.); but it is the old theme: "the triumphing of the wicked is short" (v. 5). He ends it with the words:
29 Such is the sinner's portion sent from God.
And such the lot GOD hath appointed him.
In his third address,* which, as we have seen from the structure above (page 12), is contained in chap. xxvii. 11-xxviii.
28, Zophar takes up and repeats the very words with which he had concluded his second address, xx. 29.
Zophar commences by saying that he also can teach, and that this he will do by showing what are God's ways and dealings with unwise men who do not fear Him or depart from evil; for His "hand," or power can be clearly seen.
*For our reasons for assigning this portion to Zophar, see notes in our New Translation.
11 I would now speak about the ways of GOD,
And Shaddai's dealings [with you] not conceal.
12 Ye, surely, must have seen them for yourselves:
Or, are ye then, so, altogether vain?
13 THIS is the lot of wicked men from GOD: Thoppressor's heritage from Shaddai's hand:
14 If children multiply, 'tis for the sword:
Of bread, his offspring will not have enough:
15 Their issue will be buried at their death,
But widows will not lamentation make.
16 Though silver, like the dust, he should heap up,
And raiment make in number like the sand;
17 Though he prepared, the just will put it on;
His silver will the innocent divide.
18 The house he builds: 'tis frail as is the moth's
Or, as the hut which vineyard watcher makes.
19 He lies down rich, [his wealth] not gathered in:*
He openeth his eyes, -- and it is gone!
20 Terrors will overtake him as a flood:
A whirlwind in the night will sweep him off.
21 The East-wind catcheth him, and he is gone:
Yea, as a storm, it hurls him from his place.
* See note in New Translation. His wealth is all put out in trade or at usury; he wakes up one morning to find it all lost.
22 He, who before, was wont to flee from him*
Will now come down on him, and will not spare;
23 In triumph he will clap his hands at him;
And hiss him forth from out his dwelling-place.
Thus Zophar sums up the one great argument which all the three friends had united in using against Job.
It is impossible for us to regard the above last quotation as the utterance of Job, inasmuch as Job's own arguments were exactly the opposite.
This will be clearly seen if we compare it with what were really Job's views as he expressed them in ch. xii. 6 and xxi. 7-12:
6 Prosp'rous and peaceful are the spoilers' tents
Security is theirs whom GOD provokes;
Abundance doth Eloah give to them.
And again (chap, xxi):
7 Why [suffers God] ungodly men to live,
And to grow old; yea, to wax strong in power?
8 With them, their seed's established: yea, with them, Their offspring live, and grow before their eyes.
9 Their houses are in peace: they know no fear.
No scourge descends upon them from GOD's hand
11 Their little children skip about like lambs,
Their elder children mingle in the dance.
*See note in New Translation
12 With timbrel and with harp they lift their voice;
And merry make with cheerful sound of pipe.
When we compare this with Zophar's sentiments in chap, xxvii. 13, we ask, Could Job, who held such views as these, so totally different from all that his three friends had urged with such persistence and force; could he have possibly uttered the words of chap, xxvii. 13-23 -- especially in the fact of Elihu's words in chap, xxxii. 12. "None of you convinced Job."
This seems to complete the evidence, which we give in our New Translation, for considering chap, xxvii. 11-xxviii. 28, as the third and last discourse of Zophar.
In chap, xxviii. Zophar concludes the whole argument maintained by himself and his friends.
He takes high ground. His point is that, seeing God's "hand" or way, is to punish those who do not fear Him, and to inflict His judgment on those who do not "depart from evil," wisdom may be thus defined in his concluding words (xxviii. 28):
Lo! Wisdom is to reverence The Lord:
And Understanding is to flee from sin.
Job was in trouble, and oppressed with his calamities: but he urges that this could not be on account of his sins; for he was possessed of this "wisdom" and "understanding." He did "fear The Lord," and "depart from evil" and yet he suffered.
This is the point of the whole contention. It is, here, all summed up in the briefest possible compass.
It was a libel on Job, for Zophar thus to speak.
The wisdom of which he spoke is quite within the reach of the natural man. Thousands exhibit this wisdom every day. They find that it pays. It is good policy. But it is only "copy-book" morality: like "Honesty is the best policy/ of which it has been said that he who is honest only because it is good policy, might be dishonest if it were better policy.
Moreover, Job did possess this wisdom. He claimed it: and the Lord vouched for it in chaps, i. 8, and ii. 3.
So far, therefore, as Zophar's definition of "wisdom" went, it failed to establish his case against Job. And Job (in chaps, xxix.-xxxi.) proceeds to demonstrate this.
All the arguments of chap, xxviii. are verily correct if used of true wisdom, "the wisdom that is from above" (Jas. iii. 17).
It is not correct if used of the human wisdom of the natural man.
To "reverence The LORD," and to "depart from sin" does not, in, or of, itself, constitute the wisdom that is "from above." It is only a part of it: and we may not put a part as though it were the whole.
The true or heavenly wisdom ever justifies God, and condemns one's self.
One may "reverence" The LORD, and yet not justify Him!
One may "depart from sin," and yet not condemn one's self; but rather, find in this very departure a ground for self-justification, instead of self-condemnation!
The great "end" of this whole book is to show that heavenly wisdom is evidenced by a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
There can be no true fear of God without the one; and no effective departure from evil without the other.
Zophar's wisdom is only a part of what true wisdom really is. For a "broken heart" cannot but fear the LORD; and a "contrite spirit" cannot but depart from the evil it laments.
It Is Elihu's great mission to show what that wisdom is which cometh down from above. And he does this in chap, xxxiii. 27, 28; and xxxiv. 31. It is, he says, when man takes his place as a sinner before The Mighty God.
We see the same great lesson in Psalm 1i., where The Divine Teacher Himself teaches David to say:
"I acknowledge my transgressions:
And my sin is every before me.
Against thee, thee only have I sinned,
And done this evil in thy sight:
That THOU MIGHTEST BE JUSTIFIED when thou speakest,
And be clear when thou judgest" (vv. 3, 4).
This is what God requires in the sinner. This is the "wisdom" which He alone imparts. Hence David goes on to say in the sixth verse:
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts;
And in the hidden part THOU SHALT MAKE ME TO KNOW WISDOM.
This wisdom we do not know by nature. We have to be
"MADE" to know it (see Prov. xxx. 24, margin; and 2 Tim. iii. 15).
in chap, xxxviii. 36, Jehovah Himself tells Job the same thing: viz., that it is He
Who hath put WISDOM in the inward parts,
And UNDERSTANDING given to the heart.*
The Lord Jesus gave utterance to the same great truth in Matt. xi. 19, and Luke vii. 35, when He said:
"WISDOM IS JUSTIFIED OF HER CHILDREN."
This enigmatical (and perhaps proverbial) saying means in this case, that, CHRIST, who is "The wisdom of God" (1 Cor. i. 24: compare Prov. viii. 22, 23; and iii. 19), is ever justified by those who are His, and learn of Him what He, their wisdom, is.
The context shows that his enemies condemned Him, while they justified themselves. They said that He was a glutton and a drunkard; and that John had a devil. They, therefore, showed by this that they could not be His children; for Wisdom's children ever justify Him, and condemn themselves.
Job had not this wisdom yet. Nor did his friends know anything whatever about it. When Job had learned it, THEN he "said the thing that was right" (but not before), for then he condemned himself and justified God (ch. xlii. 7). His friends had to learn it after that; and take the place of death-deserving sinners, by laying their hand on the head of their burnt-offering, and thus owning that they deserved its death.
But they had not learned this in chap, xxviii. 28. They all knew that it was wise and prudent to fear The Lord and depart from evil; because this was the way to escape from His
*Compare chap. xxxv. 11, and xxxix. 17.
judgments and merit His favour. This was their experience and their constant contention. This was their good policy. These were their "good works," on which they depended.
While Zophar, therefore, urged this sentiment about "wisdom," against Job, neither the one nor the other knew what heavenly wisdom was. But this is what they were to learn; for this is the oldest lesson in the world, and "the end of The Lord" was to "make them to know" it.
In Job's last reply to Zophar, he has to meet *his special point. But he falls back upon his old position, and he holds fast to his own righteousness (ch. xxvii. 6). He thus justifies himself and condemns God.
Job saw in Zophar's words the insinuation that he did not posssess what Zophar described as "wisdom," or "under-standing": seeing that Job's calamities showed that he had not "the fear of The Lord"; and had not departed from evil.
Job therefore proceeds to show that this argument of Zophars would not hold: inasmuch as his wonderful former prosperity was evidencey which proved that he must have possessed this wisdom, and feared The Lord (chap, xxix.); and his innocence of life (chap, xxxi.) was proof that the sudden reversal of his position (chap, xxx.) could not have come upon him on account of his sins.
These are the points of Job's last words. His concluding address is very beautiful, but we cannot give it here. We must refer our readers to our New Translation, where they will find these points of his argument fully set forth:
(1) His former prosperity (ch. xxix.).
(2) Its sudden reversal (ch. xxx.).
(3) His innocency of life (ch. xxxi.).
In the course of the first of these chapters it will be noted that (in ch. xxix.) Job refers to himself no less than forty times while the references to Jehovah are no more than five! It is all self. Self-occupation overshadows all. In ch. xxix. it is the "I" of his prosperity; in ch. xxx. it is the "I" of his troubles; in ch. xxxi. it is the "I" of his self-righteousness. Self is justified and God is condemned. How changed is this, when we come to "the end." There we have the large "I" indeed; but oh! what a different "I" it then is. Then, it is the "I" of heavenly wisdom; the "I" which condemns himself and justifies God.
"I -- am vile",
"I -- abhor myself",
"I -- repent in dust and ashes."
But that blessed "end" is not yet, as these three chapters will soon make manifest.
THE MINISTRY OF ELIHU
E. (chaps, xxxii.-xxxvii.)
We now come to the ministry of Elihu. Its importance is shown, as we have said, by the fact that it occupies the central position among all the subjects of the Book. This may be seen by reference to the structure of the Book as a whole.
Elihu's ministry occupies the central place, because it is necessary, in order to explain what goes before, and to prepare us for what is to follow. It is necessary, so that we may have it pointed put to us where Job and his three friends were all, alike, wrong. The root error of each side to this controversy is laid bare by Elihu, and the true remedy is plainly declared.
His ministry occupies no less than six chapters (chaps, xxxii.-xxxvii.); and this great central member has its own structure, as have all the others.
We must content ourselves with giving the general plan of it as a whole, without going into further minute detail. Neither is it necessary for us here to do more than select such portions as serve to bring out the one great subject of the book, and make manifest "the end of The Lord" that "end" for which the book is written.
The ministry of Elihu, according to its structure, falls into four parts. After the introduction (chap, xxxii.), we have:
(1) His words to Job (chap, xxxiii. 1-33).
(2) His words to Job's friends (chap xxxiv. 2-37)
3) His words to Job (chap. xxxv. 2-16).
(4) His words on God's behalf (chap, xxxvi. 2-xxxvii. 24).
The connecting history of Elihu (chap, xxxii. 1-5) is given in prose, and is strictly historical in its character, setting forth the facts which must be known in order that we may have a proper understanding of the whole
The two counts of the great indictment are set forth with unmistakable clearness. Like the keynote in music, they furnish us with the true point from which we are to start, to which we are to return; and which Is to be kept in view throughout.
These two counts are expressed as being at once the cause of Elihu's righteous anger, and the ground of his intervention. They are stated with the utmost distinctness and conciseness 1n chap, xxxii. 2, 3.
"Against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God."
"Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer [for Job], and had condemned God."*
Elihu proves this in chap, xxxiv. 5, and 10-12; and the context shows the ancient reading to be the true one, and most in harmony, both with the text and with the context.
For Elihu proceeds:
*This is another of the emendations of the Sopherim. The primitive Hebrew Text was "God"; and the Sopherim say, in their Masoretic note, that they changed it to "Job." This change was made from a mistaken notion of reverence, and to avoid what they looked upon as bordering on blasphemy. (See note on ch. i. 5, in our New Translation, and Ginsburg's Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, pp. 345-367. See especially p. 361.)
(1) To show Job's friends that they had not answered him.
(2) To point out to Job his great and fundamental mistake in justifying himself.
(3) To justify God, and speak on His behalf.
All this worked together to secure "the end of The Lord."
Elihus ministry has this one peculiarity, which makes it stand out in sharp contrast with the other ministries, ancient and modern.
It is all for God!
It is all on God's side, not man's. It is necessarily, therefore, against Job, and against his friends (Isa. lv. 8). Though being wholly for God, it is really for man's own best interests; because it is the only way to peace, and rest, and blessing.
His name, "Elihu," means my-God-is-He. "Barache1"* means whom-God-hath-blessed. The meanings of these names are in harmony with the ministry which Elihu was called to exercise. He was, "in God's stead," to minister God's blessing.
In a few brief sentences, he sums up the whole situation, and condenses the whole twenty-nine chapters of the discussions.
At the outset, he brings God in as the One who is alone to be considered in so great a matter.
*Barachel was, it says, a "Buzite," i.e., he was descended from Buz, second son of Nahor, the brother of Abram (see Gen. xxii. 20, 21). Elihu would, therefore appear to have been a family connection of Abram.
This at once puts an end to all the strife of words.
Elihu does not reason, as the three friends of Job had done. He used no arguments based on human experience, human tradition, or human merit: for in all this could be found no answer to Job's great question (ch. ix. 2):
How should Mortal Man be Just with God?
No! There was "no answer."
No matter how clear the premises might be; no matter how clever the arguments; or how sound the reasonings; or how true the experience; or how meritorious the works; "there was no answer."
Oh! what weighty words are these! Job was "righteous in his own eyes" (chap, xxxii. 1). And God alone could give the needed spiritual eyesight.
Job could meet all the wisdom of man. He could find an answer to what his friends brought forward. But all of them together could not answer Job's great question:
How should Mortal Man be Just with God?
Having explained his reasons for intervening, and why he had delayed doing so till then, he at once lays bare the point at issue (chap, xxxii. 11-14). Elihu first addresses the three friends, and says:
11 Lo! I have listened unto your discourse;
To all your reas'nings I have given ear,
Waiting till ye had searched out what to say.
12 But, though to you I carefully gave heed,
There was not one of you convinced Job.
Not one who really answered what he said.
13 I pray you, say not 'We have wisdom found:
For GOD alone can put him right; not man.
This exactly states the case. They had condemned Job, but had not convinced him. This has ever been man's method from that day to this. But God's way is first to convict a man, so that man may then condemn himself. Unless, and until, that be done, nothing is done. Truly, God's thoughts are not our thoughts, nor our ways His ways (Isa. lv. 8).
Ah! God alone knows how to do this. He can break the hardest heart, and subdue the stoutest will. This is utterly beyond man's powers; and altogether out of man's sphere. This is the "end of The Lord," which is to be brought about before the book closes.
Having put his finger on this, the weak spot in all that Job's friends had said, he proceeds to do the same in the case of Job himself. But, he first shows how well he is qualified to do this:
1 And now, O Job, I pray thee hear me speak,
And be attentive to my every word.
2 Behold, now, I have opened my mouth,
My tongue shall utt'rance give, distinct and clear;
3 For all that I shall say comes from my heart,
My lips shall speak what is sincere and true.
4 God's Spirit made me [at the first] and [still]
'Tis the Almighty's breath must quicken me.
5 If thou art able, answer me, I pray:
Array thy words in order, take thy stand.
6 Lo! I am here thou wished it in GOD's stead.*
And of the clay I have been formed [like thee].
7 Behold, my terror will not make thee fear;
Nor heavy will my hand upon thee press.
8 But surely thou hast spoken in mine ears,
And I have heard a voice of words [like these]:
9 'A man without transgression pure am I:
'Yea, I am clean; without iniquity.
10 '[God] is against me; seeking grounds of strife; 'And He doth count me as His enemy.
11 'fly feet He setteth fast within the stocks,
'And taketh observation of my ways.
12 Behold, thou art not just: I answer thee,
HOW GREAT IS GOD COMPARED WITH MORTAL MAN!
13 Why, then, against Him didst thou dare complain
That by no word of His He answereth thee?
14 For GOD DOTH speak. He speaks in sundry ways: Again, again, though man regard it not.
15 He speaks in dreams, and visions of the night,
When, deep in slumber, lying on their bed,
*See chaps. xiii. 3, 18-22, xvi. 21; xxiii. 3-9, xxx. 20, xxxi. 35. Compare ix. 33.
There falls on men an overwhelming sleep.
16 Then opens He their ear that they may hear,
Pressing, as with a seal, the warning given,
17 To make a man withdraw himself from sin,
Or keep him from the [dangerous] way of pride.
18 Back from the pit 'tis thus He keeps a man;
And saves his life from falling by the sword.
19 He speaks again, when, chastened, on his bed,
Another lies, his bones all racked with pain;
20 So that his daily food he doth abhor,
And turns against his choicest dainty meat.
21 His flesh, it wastes away, and is not seen:
His bones, before concealed, show through his skin.
22 Unto destruction he is drawing nigh;
And death's dark angel waits to end his life.
23 Then, then He speaks with him by messenger,
Who can Interpret: One, 'mong thousands chief,
Who will reveal to man HIS righteousness.
24 Then He doth show him grace [Divine, and saith], 'Deliver him from going down to death;
"A Ransom I have foundRedemption's price.'
25 Young, as a child, becomes his flesh again,
And to his youthful days he doth return.
26 He supplication makes to Eloah,
Who grace and favor sheweth unto him;
So that he looks unto [God's] face with joy.
Thus He doth give to man HIS righteousness.
27 This, then, becomes the burden of his song:
'I sinned! and I perverted what was right; 'Although no profit from it did I gain.
28 'My soul HE hath redeemed from the pit:
'My life shall yet again behold the light.'
29 Thus doth GOD speak in all these sundry ways:
Time after time, and yet again He speaks:
30 That from destruction He may save a soul.
And make him joy in light the light of life.
31 Mark this, O Job; and hearken unto me,
I will now speak: and, as for thee, hold thou
Thy peace; while I, with words of wisdom, teach.
32 If there be any answer, answer me.
Speak: for I long to see thee justified.
33 If not, do thou then hearken unto me;
Hold thou thy peace, while wisdom I impart.
In answer to Job's complaint that God would not speak or answer him, Elihu thus shows that God does speak to men in various ways. He speaks by His providence; in visions; by sickness; and, above all, by His special messengers, whom He sends to interpret Himself to men. Just as The Chief Messenger Himself was sent, in later days, to "interpret* The Father" (John i. 18).
In his further addresses, Elihu disposes of many other of the false notions both of Job and of his friends.
*This is the meaning of the Greek exegeomai, from which we have the noun exegesis.
Truth soon exposes folly. Job had said he was "pure," and "clean," and "innocent" (ch. xxxiii. 9), while, in the very same breath, he brings utterly false charges against God.
In one sentence Elihu lays the sharp axe of truth at this corrupt root, when he says, "God is greater than man." How simple, and yet how powerful! Because it follows, of course, that if this be so, God must be the judge as to what is right and wrong, and not man. He alone can determine the standard of righteousness which He demands.
But this declaration which is thus placed at the foundation of all that Elihu has to say, is the very truth that man will not have, either then or now.
Whether he be religious or infidel; whether he speaks from platform or pulpit, man constantly sits in judgment on God, on His works, on His Word, on His ways. Man presumes and dares to decide what God has done; what God will, and ought to, do; and what God has said. He gives high-sounding names to these things, which only manifest his folly. He calls them, "Science," and "Philosophy," and "Higher Criticism." He assumes the position of Judge, and decides what is, or is not, worthy of God. But in all this there is nothing new. It is exactly what God has given us in this Book of Job. Here we are shown that, what is, has ever been. Job and his friends utter the same follies as those we hear on all sides today. But
"GOD IS GREATER THAN MAN."
This is the great fact which puts everything in its right place.
When the time comes for Jehovah Himself to speak to Job, this is the text He takes; this is the truth He enforces, and this it is, with which Elihu commences, that brings about "the end of The Lord."
We cannot go through Elihu's ministry word by word, but we must notice two other passages (chap, xxxiv. 31-37 and xxxv. 2-16), in which he vindicates God, and speaks on God's behalf.
31 If Job had spoken unto GOD and said:
'I have borne chastisement: and never more
32 'Will I transgress. That which I do not see 'Teach me Thyself. If in the past I wrought 'Iniquity, I will not work it more:'
33 Shall He requite on thine own terms [and say]
'As thou wilt choose [so be it], not as I'?
34 For ME, would men of understanding speak,
Yea, every wise man listening now [will say],
35 'Job, without knowledge, spoke in ignorance, 'And without understanding were his words.'
36 Oh would that Job were proved unto the end;
For his replies are those of evil men.
37 Rebellion he doth add unto his sin.
'Mong US, he, in defiance, claps his hands,
And against GOD he multiplies his words.
This is Elihu's estimate of Job, and of all who do not bow to the fundamental truth that "God is greater than man." In Job's case, Elihu's desire was granted; for Job was tried and proved "unto the end" "the end of The Lord."
In the next chapter, he again enforces the great truth (xxxv. 2-16), and continues his address. He asks:
2 Dost thou count this sound judgment: Thou didst say,
My righteousness surpasses that of GOD',
3 Yea, thou dost ask: What is the gain to thee?
And, 'Shall I profit more than by my sin?'
4 I even I will make reply to thee,
And, with thee, to these friends of thine, as well:
5 Look up unto the heav'ns, consider them:
Survey the skies, so high above thy head.
6 If thou hast sinned, What dost thou to Him?
Be thy sins many, What dost thou to Him?
7 If thou art just, What dost thou give to Him?
Or from thy hand what [gift] will He receive?
8 Thy sin may hurt a mortal like thyself:
Thy righteousness may profit one like thee.
9 Men make an outcry when they are oppressed;
They cry for help when 'neath the tyrant's pow'r;
10 But no one salth, "Where is my Maker GOD?
Who giveth songs to us in sorrow's night;
11 And teacheth us beyond the beasts of earth,
And makes us wiser than the fowls of heaven.
12 But, why He answers not, though men may cry:
Is the o'erweening pride of evil doers.
13 For vanity, GOD will in no wise hear,*
Nor will the Almighty hold it in regard.
*See chap, xxx. 20; xxxi. 35; xix. 7; ix. 16, and compare xii. 4; xxiv. 1; Ps. xxii. 7, 8; xlii. 10, etc.
14 How much less, thee, when THOU dost say to HIM!
'I see Him not: [He doth not hear my cry].'
Yet, judgment is before Him. Therefore, wait.
15 [Thou say'st] 'His anger doth not visit sin,
'Nor strictly mark widespread iniquity.'
16 Thus, Job hath filled his mouth with vanity,
And, without knowledge, multiplied his words.
Having thus spoken to Job and his friends, Elihu goes on to speak on God's behalf (chap, xxxvi. 2-5):
2 Bear with me while I, briefly, make thee see
That there are words to say on GOD's behalf.
3 My knowledge I shall gather from afar;
And, to my Maker, righteousness ascribe.
4 Truly, no falsehood shall be in my word, The Omniscient One it is who deals with thee.
5 Lo GOD IS GREAT but naught doth He disdain;
In power great, in wisdom great is He.
Elihu then goes on to expand this truth, fetching his knowledge from afar, as he had said; and thus he prepares the way for the ministry of Jehovah Himself.
THE MINISTRY OF JEHOVAH HIMSELF
D. (chap. xxxviii. l-xlii. 6.)
The next great portion of this book s taken up with the ministry of Jehovah Himself to Job.
This is the most important of all; and it is the most beautiful.
It is important, because we have Jehovah acting as His own minister. He Himself becomes the preacher.
Surely, it is a matter of intense interest to ask in wonder, "What is the theme on which He will speak? What is the text which He will expound?" For in this we shall discover what is to be, and ought to be, the great subject of all preaching .and ministry today.
Whatever it was, it produced the desired effect; and brought about, at once, "the end" which The Lord had in view from the beginning. It ended in bringing Job to occupy the only place where God brings near His righteousness.
What then was the text? and what the theme that produced this wondrous result?
Elihu's ministry was designed to furnish both. It was thus absolutely necessary in order that it might prepare the way, by announcing the subject which Jehovah was so powerfully and abundantly about to enlarge, expound, and apply:
GOD IS GREATER THAN MAN
This was the theme that led up to the only answer that could be given to the great question of the book.*
How should Mortal Man be Just with God?
Elihu's declaration furnishes the key to and answers Job's question.
May Jehovah use it for the eternal blessing not only of Job, but of all who devoutly study this book.
Let us note, and mark it well: Jehovah's address is entirely about Himself! No other subject is allowed to share or distract our attention.
This it is that brings about "the end of The Lord." This it is that accomplishes the mighty work.
Oh! what an Important lesson for all who would minister or speak for God! He Himself is to be the one great theme of all our testimony. Nothing lower; nothing less; nothing different.
And what a blow to the new Idea of "Evolution," whether Scientific or "Christian." Here, we have Jehovah in every line for four long chapters speaking of His own works as being each His own specific creation, and the result of his own creative acts.
Just as, in Genesis i., we have The great Creator speaking, moving, creating, making, and blessing, thirty-five times in that one chapter; so here, in every line, Jehovah speaks of Himself as the Creator of everything in all its wondrous details as to object, and purpose, and effect. So that it is impossible to receive the testimony of The Word of God, and the conjectures of Evolution. There is not room for both. One must go.
*See chaps, iv. 17; ix. 2; xv. 14; xxxiv. 5; and xxxiii. 9 above.
If we accept God's Word, we cannot admit the very first idea of even what is called "Christian" Evolution. If we accept Evolution, then we make The Word of God worse than a lie; we make it an imposture of the gravest kind.
According to Genesis i., and these four chapters of Job, God created each thing with its own specific attributes, and powers of reproducing "after Its kind"; each with its own definite object and purpose.
According to "Christian" Evolution, God did nothing of the kind. He created a "cell": and from this, we are asked to believe, all else was evolved!
We answer, it is easier to believe God than to believe this hypothesis. To do the latter is simply credulity and not faith at all. For no one has ever yet seen one thing evolve into a different thing. We can see flowers and animals "improved" or otherwise by cultivation; but no flower has ever evolved into an animal! These can be respectively developed or improved, but if they be left, they at once revert to their original type, and do not go on to evolve into a higher and different species altogether.
No; the two systems are incompatible. And we believe God. We accept the great truth here announced: that "God is greater than man." He is the Almighty Creator: and our testimony is to be of Him, and of His Word, and of His grace, and of His power, and of all His other wondrous attributes. But, alas, today the pulpits are occupied with the praise of man; man's wonderful discoveries and inventions are dwelt upon. His wisdom and cleverness are extolled. Man is practically deified; while God is deposed, or bowed out of His
own creation. It is the gospel of humanity that is preached rather than the Gospel of God.
His Word, instead of being proclaimed, is criticized. And, instead of obeying it, man is sitting in judgment upon it!
This oldest lesson in the world, therefore, comes like a lightning flash, exposing the vanity of modern ministry, and illuminating the darkness by which we are surrounded.
No wonder "the end of man" is so different from "the end of The Lord." No wonder that, instead of the sinner being humbled in the dust before the mighty God, he is exalted with self-righteousness and pride. No wonder that, instead of being brought down, he is puffed up. No wonder that the results of man's ministry are so opposite to the results of Jehovah's ministry, as we see it in this book.
The object and aim of the one is to make man moral and right for time; while the "end" of the other is the humbling of man, so that he may be made Divinely righteous for ever.
The moral improvement of man is the end and aim of man today; while the conviction of sin, as the condition of eternal blessing, is the object of Jehovah - -"the end of The Lord."
The very precepts and persuasions addressed to men (whether sinners or saints) only serve to minister to the natural pride of the human heart; and thus tend to defeat the very end in view.
They only lift man into a temporary sense of being more or less right; while the one object of the Gospel is to convict him of being altogether wrong. For this is the one necessary condition before man can know God's righteousness. Man
must be humbled before he can be exalted.
Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are as busy today as ever trying to make men good, by reasoning and persuasion. But they only "darken counsel by words without knowledge."
Oh, for more, like Elihu, who shall speak "on God's behalf": who shall expose the vanity of this gospel of humanity; and point men to The living God.
This is the lesson which we learn from the fact that Jehovah, when He intervenes, and undertakes to accomplish all, where all others have failed, speaks only of Himself.
Apart from all that He says; apart from the beauty and glory of all that He reveals; the fact that Himself is His one great theme He speaks to us, if we have ears to hear; and the facts says: True Ministry is to Interpret the God of Grace to lost sinners (chap. xxxiii. 23). And this was the object of Christs own ministry on earth (John i. 18).
With this in our minds we shall be better able to understand and appreciate the address itself. It is divided into two parts: and at the end of each, Job manifests its Divine effect. At the end of the first half Job speaks, but only to say that he cannot say anything. And at the end of the last half, he speaks to some purpose, and manifests "the end of The Lord."
The structure of Jehovah's address, as a whole, and in all its parts, is wonderful indeed. But we must refer our readers to our New Translation, where it is given in sum and in detail.
From that structure it will be seen that it is divided into two great parts, each of which is followed by Job's answer in a few brief lines: the first time to confess that he could say nothing; and then to confess that he had come to the end of
himself, the end of his own righteousness, having at length reached "the end of The Lord.
Both parts of the address of Jehovah are constructed on the same model.
The first consists of three appeals to Job, separated by two discourses about Himself: the former about His wisdom exhibited in its activities (in the inanimate Creation); the latter about His wisdom manifested "in the inward parts" (in the Animate Creation).
The Second Address consists of three appeals to His power, separated by two brief consequences: the former a consequent Admission, the latter a consequent Inference.
The effect of the first address of Jehovah is to bring forth this first sign of conviction from Job's heart.
The very man who had said he was "a just and perfect man," that he was "pure" and "clean" and "without iniquity," now calls out:
"I AM VILE."
What has wrought this great effect? Only the ministry of Jehovah.
But His work is not yet complete.
He who had begun this good work will finish it (Phil. 1. 6). And hence He goes on to continue and complete it.
Jehovah concludes His first address by asking Job:
2 "As caviller with [mighty] Shaddai,
Contender with Eloah: Answer that!"
3 And Job answered Jehovah, and said,
4 "Lo! I am vile! What shall I answer Thee?
Rather, I lay my mind upon my mouth.
5 Already, I have spoken far too much,
I cannot answer. I will add no more."
Jehovah's second address is contained 1n chaps, xl. 6-xli. 34.
We must give enough of it to bring out the Divine skill which manifests "the end of the Lord."
xl. 6. Then Jehovah again addressed Job out of the storm, and said:
Appeal to His Power: (General)
7 Now, like a strong man gird thou up thy loins:
'Tis I who ask thee: make thou Me to know.
8 Wilt thou indeed MY righteousness annul?
And ME condemn, that THOU mayst righteous seem?
9 Hast thou an arm, then, like the mighty GOD?
Or, Canst thou thunder with a voice like His?
10 Deck thyself now with glory and with might;
Array thyself with majesty and pow'r:
11 Send far and wide Thy overflowing wrath;
And on each proud one look, and bring him low.
12 Each proud one single out, and humble him,
Yea, crush the evil-doers where they stand.
13 Hide them away together in the dust;
Their persons in the deepest dungeon bind.
14 THEN ALSO I MYSELF WILL OWN TO THEE THAT THY RIGHT HAND TO SAVE THEE WILL SUFFICE.
Jehovah ends the second part of his address with describing Leviathan:
Appeal to His Power: (Particular)
1 Canst thou draw up Leviathan with hook?
Or catch as with [an angler's] line his tongue?
2 Canst thou insert into his nose, a reed?
Or, Canst thou pierce his jaw through with a thorn?
3 Will he make many humble pray'rs to thee?
Or, Will he ever say soft things to thee?
4 Will he engage in covenant with thee
That thou shouldst take him for thy life-long slave?
5 Canst thou, as with some linnet, play with him?
Or, Wilt thou cage him for thy maidens' sport?
6 Will trading dealers haggle o'er his price?
And retail him among the merchantmen?
7 Wilt thou with darts attempt to fill his skin?
Or, [fill] his head with spears for catching fish?
8 Lay thou thy hand upon him; though but once;
Think only of the contest. Do no more.
9 Behold, all hope of taking him is vain;
Ev'n at the sight of him one is cast down.
10 None is so foolhardy as to stir him up.
BEFORE ME, THEN, [HIS MAKER],
WHO CAN STAND?
11 WHO E'ER FIRST GAVE TO ME, THAT I SHOULD HIM REPAY? SINCE ALL BENEATH THE HEAV'NS IS MINE?
Jehovah then proceeds to speak in further detail of Leviathan, and concludes as follows (chap. xli. 27):
27 Iron he counts no better than a straw,
And brass, no better is than rotten wood.
28 The arrow will not make him flee away,
Sling-stones are only stubble unto him.
29 Like harmless chaff he counts the pond'rous club,
And at the whizzing of a spear will laugh
33 His equal is not found on all the earth;
He hath been made insensible of fear.
34 On all things high he looketh [dauntlessly],
And over all proud beasts himself is king.
This Is followed Immediately by "the end of The Lord," as manifested in Job's answer (chap. xlii. 2-6).
2 I know, I know that THOU canst all things do.
No purposes of THINE can be withstood.
3 [Thou askedst chap. xxxviii. 2]:
'Who is this that counsel hides,
And darkens all, because of knowledge void?
Tis I! I uttered things I could not know;
Things far too wonderful, and past my ken.
4 But hear, I pray Thee, let me speak this once.
[Thou said'st chap. xxxviii. 3 and xl. 7]:
'Tis I who ask thee: Answer me.'
5 I'd heard of Thee with hearing of the ear,
But now that I have had a sight of Thee,
6 Therefore I loathe myself; and I repent
In dust and ashes.
Here then we reach the culminating point of this wonderful book.
Jehovah's ministry had accomplished Jehovah's "end."
Job, now, justified God and condemned himself, and thus manifested his possession of true "wisdom."
Job was humbled in the dust, with ashes on his head: and realized that, in the light of God's glory and greatness, he was nothing.
Ah! we may try to be nothing; and we may sing, "Oh, to be nothing"; but all our trying and all our singing will never produce that result, or bring us Into this, the only place of blessing.
If we succeeded In our trying, 1t would be only artificial, and that can never take the place of what is real. If we could thus, by our own effort, bring ourselves to feel that we are nothing, that would only be, in itself, a ground for feeling that we were something, after all. If we were able, of ourselves, to bring about so wonderful a result, it would only tend to increase our "confidence in the flesh."
No! If we would have the reality, and be nothing, as well as feel nothing, it must be brought about in the only way that can really accomplish it. It must be Divinely produced if it is to be a Divine reality.
We must have a true sense of the glory and greatness of God. That alone will show us, and convince us, that we are "nothing." We shall soon feel it then.
A man may feel great and important while he stands in his own little garden; but let him stand beneath the stupendous heights of snow-capped peaks; let him be in the mighty ocean when its waves run mountain-high; and then he will see himself to be the puny pygmy that he really is: then only will he realize his own impotence, and thankfully cast himself on God's omnipotence.
Oh! what a crisis it is in a man's experience when he is brought to this point; to see and confess that he has been all wrong: having wrong thoughts of God, wrong thoughts of God's ways, of God's words: with wrong thoughts about himself and about others.
Oh! to get true thoughts of God! This is to get right,
indeed: and, if we be right here we shall be right about other things.
This is what we see as the result of Jehovah's own ministry. This is the "end of The Lord" with Job. It was to produce this confession:
"I am vile."
"I abhor myself."
"I repent in dust and ashes."
Here is the "I," indeed, but in a very different con-nection from that of chaps, xxix.-xxxi.
No more contention with God or man.
No more self-justification.
All such things lost in a true apprehension of the great-ness and the glory of The living God.
This is far more than assenting to the doctrine of "moral depravity."
It is far more than saying we are "miserable sinners." It is the experimental realization of the accomplishment of a Divine work:
"Mine eye seeth THEE,
Wherefore I abhor MYSELF."
These two things are inseparably linked together. It is impossible to do the one without the other.
May it be the blessed portion and the happy experience of all who read these words!
C., B., & A. (chap. xlii. 7-17)
We must consider the remaining members together, as they all three form part of the moral conclusion; though the literary conclusion is confined to a few verses (11-17).
Now that "the end of The Lord" has been "seen," all else is, by comparison, a matter of very small importance.
It is necessary, however, that we should be told of the departure of Job's three friends, inasmuch as we were told of their arrival: that we should hear of Job's double blessing, as we heard of his double series of calamities.
All this is needful In order to complete the whole, and put the finishing touch to the book; but a very few verses suffice to dismiss such details as these.
Nevertheless, they are worthy of our closest attention.
When Job became right with God and had his new thoughts of Him; he not only had new thoughts about himself, but about his friends, and all else. In verse 10, we are told that
"HE PRAYED FOR HIS FRIENDS."
Yes, for those with whom he had so bitterly contended: and toward whom he had used such opprobrious expressions: "He prayed for his friends."
He had called them "miserable comforters"; and now, he was to be a blessed comforter to them.
He had called them "physicians of no value"; and now,
he would be a good physician, to their value for ever and ever.
Job was a new man; and fervent prayers took the place of bitter words.
This is "the end of The Lord." It is perfect: for it is Divine.
His friends needed an "Interpreter" now: for they were not yet right with God. They had spoken "folly" about God, as He tells them, here (In verse 8). They had not spoken of God the thing that was right. Neither had Job, before he received the ministry of Jehovah. But, since then, he had. For now he had said:
"I know, I know, that Thou canst all things do:"
"I am vile
"I abhor myself
"In dust and ashes I repent."
This was "the thing that was right"; and Job had said it. Twice over this is affirmed (verses 7 and 8). His friends had not yet said it, and thus had not yet come to that place of blessing. Therefore it was they who were commanded to offer a burnt offering; and, that Job should pray for them.
How blessed for us to see the perfection of this Divine workmanship.
All Eliphaz's experience was gone. All Bildad's tradition was flung to the winds. All Zophar's merit was now seen to be of no avail.
All alike are now humbled before God. All contention is over. The revelation of the glory of God, followed by the manifestation of His grace, has ended in conviction of sin, tears of repentance, the sweet savour of the burnt-offering, and the
voice of prayer.
What more is there for us to be told? This:
The overthrow of the Adversary. At the beginning, he despoiled Job of all his possessions: at "the end" "The LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before" (v. 10); and we are told "The LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning" (v. 12).
This is "the end." It was not Job's wisdom, or Job's good works: it was not Job's merit, or Job's repentance; but
"THE LORD GAVE" (v. 10)
"THE LORD BLESSED "(v. 12).
This explains the verse with which we commenced (James v. 11): "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of The Lord." See page 1.
Job had been brought to the end of himself; and was thus in the right position to see "the end of The Lord": that, though He is very "great," yet He is also "very pitiful, and of tender mercy."
(Inside back cover)
NOTE ON THE DATE AND AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF JOB
A lengthened account of the these questions would be without profit.
But, if Job was the son of Issachar (Gen. 46:13) then we have a clue that may help us to a decision of both.
It is better to keep within The Bible itself for the settlement of its problems; and to treat the whole Book as the context of all its parts.
There is no reason why Job were not the son of Issachar, and no better evidence is forthcoming for a different view.
The three friends of Job were descendants of Esau; they would therefore be contemporaries.
Eliphaz, of Teman, in Idumea, was a son of Esau, and had a son call Teman, from whom his country took its name (Gen. 36:10, 11). It was noted for its "wise men" (Jer. 49:7); and is mentioned with Edom (Amos 1:11, 12). Compare Jer. 25:23, where both are connected with Buz, the brother of Uz (Gen. 22:21).
Bildad the Shuhite. Shuan was the sixth son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25:2); and is mentioned in connection with Esau, Edom, and Teman (Jer. 49:8).
Zophar the Naamathnite. Naaman (now Naameh, six miles south of Lod, in the lowlands of Judah)
If Job was the son of Issachar (Gen. 46. 13), he would have gone down to Egypt with his father.
Issachar was forty at "the going down to Egypt". (See Ap. 50, III, p. 52)
If Job was the third son (Gen. 46:13), he would have been about twenty at that time (1706 B.C.).
We are told that he lived 140 years after his "double" blessing (42:10). If that "double" blessing included length of years, then his age would have been 70 + 140 = 210 (i.e. three seventies of years). His lifetime would be from 1726-1516 B.C.
According to this, he was born the year after Joseph was sold, and died 119 years after the death of Joseph (in 1635 B.C.). When Joseph died, Job was ninety-one. If his "double" blessing did include length of years, then his affliction took place twenty-one years previously, when he was seventy. His removal from Egypt to Uz must therefore have taken place earlier still.
When Job died (1516 B.C.) Moses was fifty-five, and had been in Midian fifteen years (twenty-five years before the Exodus).
This would account for Job being a worshipper of The God of Abraham, and explains how Moses could have been the author of the book, and perhaps and eye- and ear-witness of the events it records in Midian. If so, the time has come (as Dr. Stier foretold and hoped) when this book would be regarded as "the Porch of the sanctuary"; and when this "fundamental wisdom of original revelation will cease to be ascribed, as it now is by some of the best, to a later poet in Israel".
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