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JAN 2 1 1902

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THAT division of the holy scriptures upon which we now enter, is called by the Jews Chethulnm, writings; or, in Greek, Hagiographa, or holy writings. The book of Job, the Psalms, and the writings of Solomon, are properly classed in this division; but the Jews include several other books, without reason or propriety. In these parts of the sacred oracles there is greater depth and apparent difficulty, than in those which precede: but the instruction is in general more immediately prepared for use; and the real benefit of perusing the scriptural history, much depends upon the degree of our previous acquaintance with the books before us. In like manner, we shall read the records of our Savior's miracles and discourses to edification, in proportion as we have understood the epistolary part of the New Testament; which, though more difficult in many respects, conveys instruction in more direct and explicit terms.-We begin with the book of Job, which some learned men have employed much pains, ingeniously, but very unwarrantably, to interpret as an allegory. The prophet Ezekiel mentions Job, Noah, and Daniel, as three persons of eminent piety: (Ez. 14:14,20.) and the apostle James illustrates the advantages of patience by the example of Job, as he had before done his doctrine of faith and works by the examples of Abraham and Rahab. (Jam. 2:21-25. 5:11.) No reasonable doubt therefore can remain, that the narrative of this book is historical truth; though we may safely allow that, as the discourses of Job and his friends are recorded in poetical language, their sentiments and arguments alone are transmitted to us, and not the exact words which they used in conversation. But there is no sufficient ground for questioning, whether the transactions relating to the world of spirits, good and evil, actually for substance occurred. It is indeed evident, that this could not be known, except by revelation: but as the book itself records several supernatural visions, and a glorious appearance of God himself speaking from the whirlwind; this creates no difficulty to those who consider it as true, and as a part of the sacred canon. As such, the Jews have always regarded it, though not favorable to Job, because he was a Gentile, that is, not an Israelite, or descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: (Note, 1:1.) and St. Paul's manner of quoting it, with "It is written," shews that he considered it as a part of the oracles of God. (Comp. Job 5:13, with 1 Cor. 3:19.)—A very high antiquity is generally ascribed to this book; nay, some think it the most ancient work now extant in the world. The long life to which Job attained; the great remains of patriarchal religion in the land of Uz; the worship of the sun and moon being the only idolatry mentioned in it; and no express allusion being made to the Mosaic law, or the wonderful works of God towards Israel; with several peculiarities in the style and composition of the work, give sanction to this opinion. Some learned men indeed, perceiving a similarity of sentiment between some parts of this book, and passages in the Psalms and Proverbs, would assign it a much later origin: but wise and pious persons will often, without copying from each other, give the same instructions, and be of the same opinion; and it is at least as probable, that David and Solomon alluded to the book of Job, as that the writer of that book alluded to their works, if any intended reference be supposed. Indeed the date of the events which it records cannot be exactly ascertained: but it is very likely, that Job was in his first prosperity, between the time when Joseph died, and the appearance of Moses in Pharaoh's court as Israel's deliverer; and the language used by God himself, that "there was none like him in all the earth," seems to give probability to this opinion; for there is no other eminent character mentioned in Scripture as flourishing during that period. It is not agreed, who wrote this book. Some ascribe all of it to Job himself, except the conclusion. Some to Elihu, who in one place seems to address the reader concerning his auditory. (Note, 32:15-17.) But others think that Moses was the author of it. The style has likewise induced an opinion, that it was written in the Arabic language: perhaps Elihu wrote it in Arabic, and Moses rendered it into Hebrew.-The first two chapters are in prose; the style of them is very plain; and they form an introduction to the poetical part, which is in many places peculiarly figurative and sublime, and consequently more difficult to be interpreted. The latter part of the last chapter is a historical conclusion of the whole.-It cannot be clearly shewn, that this book contains any prophecies, properly so called; because the passages which might be adduced as prophetical, may also be considered as a profession of faith in the promised Redeemer, and concerning a future resurrection: but few parts of the Old Testament declare more explicitly the grand outlines of revealed truth, and even of evangelical doctrine; so that they who speak of it, as consisting chiefly of natural religion, seem to have entirely mistaken the scope of it.-It opens with an account of Job's piety and prosperity, the charge of hypocrisy and selfishness which Satan brought against him, and the permission which he obtained from God to reduce him to the deepest distress, as a trial of his integrity. It proceeds to relate how his former friends, witnessing his unprecedented sufferings, were led to condemn him as a wicked man. This gave rise to a warm controversy, whether heavy afflictions prove any person, who is apparently pious, to be a hypocrite. In disputing this point, the principles of true religion were argued from by all parties as undoubted truths, and many excellent things were spoken; but the whole had in it a sad mixture of human infirmity. When they could by no means come to an agreement upon the subject, Elihu. who had heard the debate with great modesty and solemnity interfered; and, having first

censured the other disputants for groundlessly condemning Job, he proceeded to reprove him for his improper eagerness in justifying himself, by which he had reflected on the justice of God. While he was discoursing, the Lord himself spake out of a whirlwind, and, by a discovery of his incomprehensible majesty and glory, made Job sensible of his presumption, and brought him to humble himself before him as a vile and polluted sinner. This being effected, he justified Job from the charge of hypocrisy, and condemned the conduct and language of his friends; and, having decided the controversy in favor of Job, he appointed him to sacrifice and intercede in their behalf, that they might be forgiven. The whole closes with an account of Job's deliverance, and redoubled prosperity, honor, and comfort.—It is a book full of caution and encouragement to the tempted and afflicted, and of warning to those who hastily judge their brethren. It throws great light upon the doctrine of Providence, and upon the agency and influence of evil spirits under the control of God. We see in Job an eminent type of the suffering and glorified Savior; and a pattern of the believer's “passing through much tribulation into the kingdom of God." In short, the whole is replete with most important instruction; and, among the rest, we are reminded of the ill effects of acrimonious religious dispute. These four pious men argued together, till, becoming angry, they censured and condemned each other, and uttered many things irreverent about the divine character and government; and, having lost their temper, would have also lost their labor, and have been more at variance than ever, if another method had not been taken of deciding the controversy.


The uprightness, piety, prosperity, and numerous family of Job,

and his religious concern for his children, 1—5. Satan appearing before God, accuses Job, and obtains leave to try him, -12. Job, receiving successive accounts of calamities,

which deprived him of all his substance, and all his children,

mouras with humble resignation, and worships God, 13–22.


thousehold; so that this man was the 8 greatest of all the men of the east.

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


HERE was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and 5 And it was so, when the days of their that man was perfect and upright, and feasting were gone about, that Job sent done that feared God, and eschewed and sanctified them, and rose up early evil. in the morning, and offered burnt-offer2 And there were born unto him ings, "according to the number of them seven sons and three daughters.

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all: for Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned, and Pcursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

[Practical Observations.]

or husbandry. 2 Chr. 26:10.

g 29:9,10,25.

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believer, and an excellent character.-"True, 'blameless, just, godly, abstaining from every 'evil deed.' Sept.

V. 2, 3. (Marg. Ref.)-When the earth was but thinly inhabited, it was much easier to acquire land, than to cultivate it, or to procure cattle to feed on it; (as the case still is in several parts of America, and in newly discovered countries;) so that Job's wealth is reckoned by the number of his cattle, not by the extent of his lands. He was the principal person in that country; had abundance of every thing which constituted riches among them; and acted as a magistrate, or ruler: though it does not appear that he was, properly speaking, a king, as many suppose him to have been. (Evycvns, Noble. Sept.)

CHAP. I. V. 1. The land of Uz seems to have been a district of Arabia, to the south-east of Canaan; though some suppose, that it was situated in Idumea, and that Job was descended from Esau. (Marg. Ref. a.) Others think that he descended from Abraham by Keturah; yet it seems more probable that he was of the posterity of Huz, the son of Nahor. (Gen. 22:21.) He is supposed to have lived before any part of the scriptures was written: but he was acquainted with the truths and will of God, by tradition and immediate revelation; and so he was not a gentile, at least not a stranger to revealed truth, as many seem to suppose. The religion of Job and of his friends was evidently the same as that of the patriarchs. He was a man of most eminent piety, upright, fervent, and stedfast in religion, and exemplary in his whole conduct; one who regarded the authority of God, reverenced his majesty, and habitually worshipped and obeyed him. So that he carefully avoided sin and temp-13:24,25.) but whenever his sons met, they invited tation, and "exercised himself to have a conscience void of offence towards God and man." His subsequent trials tended to his greater humiliation; but he was previously an eminent

V. 4. The sons of Job, now grown up and settled in houses of their own, cheerfully enjoyed their abundance; and, as they lived in brotherly love, they were accustomed at certain seasons to entertain each other alternately. It does not appear, that Job made one at these feasts; (2 Sam.

their sisters to join their company, which both shewed a proper affection for them, and evinced that no indecency or riot attended their feasting.

V. 5. As Job had, no doubt, piously educated

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his children, and set them an excellent example, and offered many prayers for and with them; we may suppose that they were well affected to religion. Indeed, nothing is intimated to the disadvantage of their characters, and no feasting could be more inoffensive than theirs seems to have been. Yet while their pious father could not but behold their harmony and comfort with satisfaction; his knowledge of the human heart suggested a jealous fear, lest their cheerfulness should betray them into some levity or excess, some vain conversation, or some injurious thoughts of God, either tending to infidelity, to dislike of his holy worship and service, or to idolatrous love of worldly enjoyments. When therefore their feastings were ended, acting as the priest of his family, "he sent and sanctified them," reminding them to examine themselves, to confess their sins, to seek forgiveness, and to prepare their hearts to attend the ordinances of God with seriousness and humble devotion; and he offered a burnt-offering for each of them. (Notes, 1 Sam. 16:5. 2 Chr. 29:5.) Thus he taught them, that even the secret unbelief, ingratitude, and rebellion of the heart, merited condemnation, and could only be expiated by the shedding of blood, and the offering of sacrifice, in repentance and humble faith. As he did this continually, we may thence understand his unremitting care of his family, the tenderness of his conscience, his knowledge of the fallen state of man, and the depravity of human nature; his entire dependence on the mercy of God in the way, which he had appointed, and his believing regard to the promised Redeemer.

Cursed God.] The word rendered "cursed," in this and several subsequent passages, in its usual meaning signifies to bless: yet it must be understood in a bad sense in this place, and when employed by Satan concerning Job. It is the same word as is used, when Naboth was accused of "cursing God and the king;" and consequently stoned as a blasphemer and traitor. Lest my 'sons in their mind have thought evil against "God.' Sept. Some think this was substituted instead of the word which more generally signifies to curse, from reverence to God. Others suppose it signifies to salute, as men do when they meet, or part with others, and thus is used to denote, departing from God, or renouncing him. But the learned Mr. Leigh brings a quotation from Mr. Selden, which seems more satisfactory, and which I shall therefore translate. 'It is most cer"tain, that the verb Barak signifies to execrate, or 'to curse, as well as to bless; and this, as I think, 'not by antiphrasis as some will have it; but al'most from the very idiom of the sacred language, it may signify either way, according to the con'nexion in which it is used, as among the Latins sacrare and imprecari. For, as the first signi'fies at some times to devote any one by curses to 'destruction, and at others to consecrate any thing 'to God; and as we call for either good or evil 'upon others; so, Barak denotes what a man wishes or calls for, with an ardent mind, whether it be salvation or perdition. And when applied 'to the Deity, it either signifies addressing him by 'praises and thanksgivings, (which is more com'mon,) or with revilings and reproaches; and the 'difference is to be collected from the nature of


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the case, and from the context.'-'Bless the gods, in their hearts.' El. Smith. But no mention 13 made in the book of Job, of any other god, or gods, except the true God; or any other idolatry, but the worship of the sun and moon. The original has not the article, and must be rendered either GoD, or gods, not the gods; and the clause is exactly the same as is used of the true God, in the next chapter. (Note, 2:9.)

V. 6. The holy angels no doubt are here meant by "the sons of God;" because they love him, and are beloved of him, as his children. (Marg. Ref. t.-Note, 38:4-7.) They are here introduced to our notice, as on some special occasion presenting themselves before the Lord, to give an account of their late services; and to receive further commands, in delightful obedience to which their happiness greatly consists: and Satan, the adversary of God and of his whole creation, is represented as intruding himself among them. Without determining any thing about the place or way, in which this evil spirit appeared before God, or associated with his angels; or whether the transactions of the invisible world be not described in language, adapted rather to our conceptions than to their real nature; we hence learn, that Job's extraordinary afflictions originated from the malice and agency of Satan, by divine permission for wise and holy purposes: and many truths, respecting the character and influence of the devil and his angels, are thus emphatically proposed to our attentive consideration. These apostate spirits are continually intruding into the company of the children of God on earth, especially when they meet in his ordinances, or approach his mercy-seat. And they would dare to intrude even into heaven, the habitation of God's holiness, if access were allowed them, to join the company of his holy angels: yet this would not in the least degree change their evil nature; for wherever they go, they are instigated by malice, and seeking to do mischief. But, as God is every where present, (though in heaven his glory is especially displayed,) all that is spoken upon these subjects may be literally understood, without supposing that they are ever admitted into that holy place. (Note, 1 Kings 22:19-23.)-The sons of perdition came to set 'themselves against JEHOVAH, and the Satan (en'emy) also came among them.' E. Smith. This most adventurous alteration, made on untenable grounds, even by the confession of Dr. Randolph the editor, contrary to the concurrent opinion of all preceding versions, critics, and expositors, shews the dangerous extent to which the sacred oracles may be altered, by an attachment to new notions, and a slight consideration of the subject. -The LXX read 'Oi ayycho TU DEY' "The angels of God."

V. 7. When the holy angels had given an account of their services; Satan is represented as interrogated, Whence he came, and what he had been doing? And his answer seems to have implied an arrogant claim to be "the god and prince of this world;" and, in the spirit of pride and selfvindication, he avowed that he had been traversing his dominions, without exceeding the bounds assigned him. It also denoted his restless malice, and unwearied endeavors to do mischief. (Notes, 1 Pet. 5:8,9.)

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