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him, by the least murmuring or repining. He knew it was but just, that he who gave, should have power to resume his grant whenever he pleased; and therefore, instead of oursing, as Satan had maliciously suggested he would, he blessed God for all his dispensations, and thus proved the devil to be a liar.
But that restless Fury resolves not to leave him thus: for when the Sons of God presented* themselves as before, the Lord proposed Job again to Satan, who had intruded himself among them, as an instance of a perfect and upright man, that feared God and avoided evil
. Still, says God, he maintains his integrity, though thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause : his piety appears in the greatness of his sufferings, and his faith and resignation are complete. To which the old Deceiver maliciously replied, “ Thou hast hitherto permitted me
only to try him at a distance, but let me touch his per“ son, and he will yet blaspheme.” The Almighty knowing that these exercises, though sharp to nature, would redound to his glory, and turn to Job's advantage ; and resolving, in his divine providence, to arm Job with sufficient patience to endure them, and in the end to recompense all his sufferings with an extraordinary reward, he enlarges Satan's commission, but yet with a limitation ; “ Behold, (says he) he is in thy power, but touch not his " life."
* The busy Fiend, overjoyed at the enlargement of his power, doubts not in the least to make an easy conquest over Job; therefore he immediately falls upon him, while the sense of his late losses is fully retained, and severely afflicts him from head to foot, with the most painful boils and ulcers. Never was human nature more disguised than the body of Job in this loathsome condition : his skin studded with scabs and blotches, not arising from any peccant humour in his natural constitution, which medi
Presented. This, as hath been already said, is a form or manner of speeck not strictly proper to God and spirits, but metaphorically accommodated to the weakness of man's capacity.
cines might correct, but inflicted by malicious policy, which raised them to the highest extremity of pain, that might, if possible, oblige Job to despair and blaspheme. Nor were his pains short or intermitting, like fits and pangs, but lasting for a continued series of time; and that which increased his misery was the filthiness of his distemper, which rendered him odious to himself, and loathsome to others : for not only his relations* and friends abandoned him, but his very menial servants withdrew from him, leaving him destitute of all human help. He, who but a few hours before, was the greatest man in his country, in whose presence the young ment were afraid to appear, and before whom the aged stood up; to whom princes paid the most awful reverence, and nobles in humble silence admired; divested of all
grandeur, sits' morrning on a bed of ashes; and instead of royal apparel was covered with offensive sores and ulcers. He, who but the other day was the delight of mankind, is now become the foulest of objects; and a very dunghill upon a dunghill
. All keep at a frightful distance, and with horror behold him as a most loathsome monster. And to add, if it were possible, to the misery of Job, the wife of his bosom, from whom, more than from all the world beside, he might reasonably expect the most comfortable assist. ance, instead of pitying him in this deplorable condition, treats him with the utmost scorn and contempt, and reproaches him for his virtue. “ Dost thou still, (said she) i retain thine integrity to a God that afflicts thee? Curse “ him and die, that thou may'st be out of pain.”I Job
* Relations. See Job xix. 13, 14, 15, 16.
† Young men.. See Job xxix. 8. and cb. ix. 10.
Pain. From the supposed ambiguity of the Hebrew word ya which is rendered both to bless and to curse, various interpretations have been given. Some suppose that this advice, “Curse God and die,” implies that Job lived after the law was given, which law made it death to curse God, (Levit. xxiv. 15, 16.) and that his wife, knowing this law, recommended this method of terminating his sufferings, by provoking the immediate anger of God. But as the law is never mentioned throughout the book of Job, it is far more probable that he lived before it was given at Sinai. It is not however likely that the wife of
firmly stood this shock of his wife's tongue; though it was so provoking as to let loose the reins of his temper, which he had bitherto restrained, and with some warmth obliged him to rebuke her, saying, “ Thou talkest like a “ weak woman : shall we rejoice in prosperity, when it “ pleases God to bless us with it; and shall we not pa
tiently bear adversity, when he is pleased to visit us?” Thus did the Almighty preserve and support Job under the loss of his estate and children ; under the extremity of his pains, the desertion of his friends and relations, the neglect of his servants, and the provocation of his wife. All which torments crowding one upon another, could not betray him to entertain the least offending thought, or utter an indecent word.
The afflictions that befel Job, being so remarkable, soon spread about the neighbouring courries, and from thence to more distant regions; till at last they reached the ears of his old friends Eliphaz the Temanite, * Bildad
Job should propose such an expedient. The radical idea of 772 is To coueb, or lie down—or kneel, and is therefore used for blessing-to bow as it were the knee to God, and ascribe one's happiness to him. Some Lexicons have absurdly given to this verb the sense of cursing, as in 1 Kings xxi. 10. 13. Job i. 5. 11. and ii. 5.9. As to the two first, the LXX rendere in both by evaaryaw, and the Vulgate by benedico, to bless. And though Jezebel was herself an abominable idolatress, yet as the law of Moses was still in force, she seems to have been wicked 'enough to have destroyed Naboth upon the false accusation of blessing the (Heathen) Aleim and Moloch, which subjected him to death, according to Deut. xiii. 6. xvii. 2—7.
Job's fear concerning his children was, lest his sons should have blessed the false Aleim, so Aquila evdogmoar and the Vulg. benedixerint. The meaning of Job's wife seems to have been Dost tbou yet retain tby integrity, thy regard for the true God, Ini Dinx 772-blessing the Aleim and dying, or to death. i. e. Do you still go on blessing him who curses you, with every misery, even to death? Well might Job say "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What! sball me receive good at tbe band of the Aleim, and shall we not receive evil ?" See Parkburst's Heb. Lex. on tbe word ghai
Temanine. So called from Temani, grandson to Esau by his son Eliphaz, Gen. XXXVI. 10, 11.
the Shuhite,* and Zophart the Naamathite, who no sooner heard of the sad condition of their friend Job, than they made an appointment to go together and pay him a visit to comfort him. These three persons being men of figuref and condition, it must take up some time to make the appointment, and then to travel together to see Job; so that he must continue a considerable time in this painful condition before his friends could arrive. When they came within sight of him, they found him so much altered, that they could not assure themselves who it was, so unlike himself was the poor disfigured Job. But when they came nearer, and saw the miserable condition he was in, they burst into tears; and rending their mantles, they sprinkled dustý upon their heads towards heaven, to express their sorrow for him. And observing the extreme grief and pain under which he laboured, they såt down upon the ground by him, seven days and nights, and spake not a word to him ; their own sorrow suppressing their speech, or their sense of his misery making them think it unreasonable to speak to him, till he began. At length Job brake silence, in cursing the day of his birth, wishing he had never been born, or that he had immediately died.
Job's three friends having already conceived an unfavourable opinion of him, from the unaccountable greatness of his affliction, which they concluded must be the hand of God in judgment upon him, either for some deep hypocrisy, or secret heinous sin, they begin to treat him with prodigious severity in their successive discourses
* Shubite. Descended from Shuah, the youngest son of Abraham by Keturah, Gen. xxv. 2.
+ Zopbar. His descent is not easily traced, though some would derive him from Esau.
| Figure. The Septuagint call the first and last of these three friends of Job; kings; and the second tyrant ; which is a term equivalent to that of king.
Dust, &c. By this rite or custom they signified the utmost confusion, expressed by their mixing air and earth together.
Eliphaz in three* orations, Bildad in as many,t and
Zophar in two,f from common topics argue, that such afflictions as his could proceed only from the immediate land of God, and, that it is not consistent with the justice of the Divine Being to afflict without a cause, or punish without guilt. Then they charge Job with being a grievous sinner, and a great hypocrite, endeavouring if possible to extort a confession of guilt from him. But Job, immoveable in his sincerity towards God, and innocence towards man, confidently maintains his integrity in responsory speeches, successively to each of theirs ; defends his innocence; refutes their unkind suggestions; and smartly reprehends their injustice and want of charity ; yet generally observing a submissive style and reverence, when he spake of God; of whose secret end in permitting this trial to come upon him being ignorant, he often importunately begged a discharge from this life, lest the continuance of his pains might drive him to impatience.
During this argument between Job and his three mistaken friends, there was present a young man, named Elihu, s who having heard the discourse on both sides, was pleased with neither; for he thought Job insisted too much on his own justification; and that they condemned him be. fore they had convicted him : he therefore undertakes the matter; and after a prefatory excuse|| for his interposing, who was a young man in comparison of them, and for the plainness of speech he intended to use, attacked Job in a long oration ;** and reprehending him
* Tbree. See Job iv. and v. xv. and xvii.
+ Many. See ibid. ch. viii. xviii. and xxix.
Two. See ibid. cb. xi. and xx.
Elibu. He was descended from Buz, the son of Nahor, Abraham's brother, Gen. xxii. 21. and of the kindred of Ram, or Aram, Nahor's grandson, from whom the Aramites or Syrians came.
# Excuse. See cb. xxxii.
** Oration. Continued from ch. xxxiii, tp xxxvij.