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On the contrary, he contends that God dispenses good and evil, as he sees fit, according to his own good pleasure; and that, however incomprehensible his ways—however inscrutable his purposes may be to man, the divine government is regulated by infinite wisdom, and whatever God does is just and right. He, even in the hour of deep affliction, thus expresses his own confidence in the justice of God :
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”—Chap. xiii. 15. Job commends entire submission and resignation to the will of God, and the stedfast pursuit of virtue, even during the time of suffering and the season of adversity, as the highest wisdom.
The passages which contain the opinions of the author respecting the providence of God are much too long for quotation. We must refer our reader to the Book of Job, particularly to the following
Chapters vii., ix., X., xii., xxxviii., xxxix. In the concluding chapter we find Job commended by God, and his opponents condemned.
My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends : for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as
my servant Job hath.” – Chap. xlii. 7. Spirits, subordinate to God, are introduced in the beginning of the poem. God is represented, according to the patriarchal manner, as a father who assembles his family around him and enters into discussion with them. They are called "the sons of Elohim.” They stand before God to receive his commands and do his pleasure.
“ Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah.”—Chap. i. 6. Some of these spirits are well disposed towards mankind, while others regard the actions of men merely in order to note their evil deeds and report them to God.
· Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, and Satan came also among them to present himself before Jehovah. And Jehovah said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered Jehovah and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”—Chap. ii. 1, 2. This Satan, who appears among the sons of God in heaven,
does not exactly correspond with the Satan believed in by the Jewish people at a later period, after their sojourn among the Chaldeans, and after they had become acquainted with the Ahriman of Zoroaster's philosophy. The Satan here spoken of is probably that evil spirit or angel believed by the Hebrews to be employed by Jehovah as the messenger of evil; for before the exile they attributed both good and evil alike to God. It is the same evil spirit who came over Saul,* and who also went forth from Jehovah as a lyingspirit to persuade Ahaz to go up to Ramoth-gilead.
Satan has considerable power, which he holds in subjection to God. He can afflict men with death, with severe bodily diseases, and all kinds of evils.
Jehovah said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil ? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered Jehovah and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And Jehovah said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of Jehovah, and smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto his crown."
Chap. ii. 3-7. See also the whole of chap. i. Freedom from sin, and obedience and submission to God are much insisted upon. Job is called the servant of God because “ he was perfect and upright, a man that feared God and eschewed evil. I Sins are atoned by the sacrifices offered (not indeed by the priests, for among Nomadic tribes there was no priest), but by the father of the family.
“ And his sons went and feasted in their houses every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.“
Chap. i. 4, 5. See also chap. xlii. 7, 8.
+ 1 Kings xxii. 22.
* 1 Samuel xvi. 14.
Job i. 1 and 8.
NOTIONS CONCERNING GOD CONTAINED IN THE BOOKS OF THE
CONTEMPORANEOUS PROPHETS ISAIAH, HOSEA, AMOS, AND
The religious opinions and representations contained in the writings of those prophets who were nearly contemporaneous are so similar, that no advantage would be gained by a separate examination of the several books : we shall therefore class them together, and thus avoid useless repetition.
Only a portion of the Book of Isaiah comes under present consideration. There is reason to believe that much of it was written at a subsequent period.*
The views of God and of moral obligation taken by these writers are often just, but their peculiar position as the Prophets of Jehovah, called upon to address his chosen people, led them to regard the Almighty, and to speak of him, too exclusively as the God of Israel, rather than as the God of
In this respect these Books of the Prophets are inferior to the Book of Job.
* " Isaiah was the son of Amos, an unknown individual. Of the personal history of the Prophet we are ignorant. We are told by himself (chap. vi. 1) that he first appeared as a prophet in the year of the death of Uzziah and also (chap. i. 1) that he prophesied in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The subjects of his prophecies confirm this statement."
“ The whole of the second part of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at the xlth chapter, contains internal evidence of having been written at a subsequent period, probably at the time of the appearance of Cyrus. In style of composition and language it differs essentially from that portion of Isaiah which may be considered as genuine. The author of the second part must have lived during the Babylonian exile, for he describes (not in the spirit of prophecy) the changed position of his nation. He addresses consolatory exhortations to the captive people, and predicts their immediate return to the land of their fathers and the future splendour and stability of the Jewish kingdom."-De Wette's “ Einlei. tung.”
The portion of the Book of Isaiah, comprising the xxxvi., xxxvii., xxxviii., and xxxix. chapters, belongs to the period subsequent to the captivity. It is the opinion of De Wette, that this historical section may be regarded either as having been derived from the 2nd Book of Kings, or as being a later arrangement of 2 Kings xviii. 13 to xx. 19; that the mystical contents and the style of the language prove it to have been written at a later age than that in which Isaiah lived.
Consult the works of Eichhorn, L. J. E. Justi, Bertholdt, Paulus, Gesenius, Koppe.--Tr.
Representations of God. Jehovah is the Creator of heaven and earth, and the preserver of man, and of everything which exists. Among these Prophets, Amos inculcates this truth the most forcibly.
“ For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, Jehovah the God of hosts is his name.”—
Amos iv. 13. “ Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth : Jehovah is his name."- Amos v. 8.
“ Jehovah the God of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt."- Amos ix, 5.
Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding ?
Isaiah xxix. 16. The prophets speak contemptuously of idols; they regard them as the work of men's hands, void of animation and power; but they do not absolutely deny the existence of the Gods of the heathen, though they insist upon their being set aside among the Hebrews, on account of their insufficiency to afford them protection. Had not the writings of David and Solomon clearly taught the doctrine of Monotheism, some expressions of the prophets might be understood as confirming the actual existence of the various Gods of the surrounding nations.
“ Their land also is full of idols: they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:
In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and the bats.”—Isaiah ii. 8 and 20.
“ Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away.”—Isaiah xxx. 22.
“ And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that
mutter : should not people seek unto their God? for the living
Behold, Jehovah rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come
Isaiah xix. 1. “ For all people will walk every one in the name of his God, and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and
ever."— Micah iv. 5. The King of Assyria is represented as saying
“ As my hand bath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria ; shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her
idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols ?”—Isaiah x. 10, 11. All nations shall be instructed in the wisdom of Jehovah : they shall become proselytes to his religion, and acknowledge him as their God. This is to happen “ in the last days.”
“ And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem."
Isaiah ii. 2, 3; also Micah iv. 1, 2. “ In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Jehovah of hosts; one shall be called the city of destruction. In that day shall there be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to Jehovah.
· And Jehovah shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know Jehovah in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea they shall vow a vow unto Jehovah, aud perform
it.”—Isaiah xix. 18, 19, 21. God is sometimes spoken of under similitudes, which are in the highest degree unbecoming the divine Majesty. The people of Israel are represented as the wife of Jehovah ; they are instructed to call Jehovah “my husband," and he betroths Israel unto himself.
And it shall be at that day, saith Jehovah, that thou shalt call me Ishi (908 my husband); and shalt call me no more Baali.