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gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall
13-15. The character and attributes of God are portrayed by Elihu, with a poetical beauty which cannot fail to excite our admiration. God is eternal and almighty; the thunder is his voice, and his right hand is armed with lightning. He is omniscient, incomprehensible and immutable. He is veiled in light. He is holy and just, rewarding every man according to his deeds. His attributes are to be discerned in the wonderful operations of nature, though we are ignorant of the laws by which they are regulated.
“ (God directeth) his lightning unto the ends of the earth. After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.”—Chap. xxxvii. 3-5.
“ Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him? Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity ?"
“ Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle? Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea. For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance."
Chap. xxxvi. 22, 23; 26-31. “ Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness : and from the Almighty, that he should commmit iniquity. For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment."
“ For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God. He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead. Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they
are destroyed."-Chap. xxxiv. 10-12; 21-25. God warns, exhorts, and instructs mankind in dreams; but he does not appear upon the earth, or give any visible
manifestation of his presence, since man cannot endure the splendour of his majesty, nor the terror his greatness would inspire; neither does he talk with man, since man's faculties are too limited to admit of his conversing with the Almighty.
Why dost thou strive against him ? for he giveth not account of any of his matters. For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, that he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword."— Chap. xxxiii. 13-18.
Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth
not any that are wise of heart.”—Chap. xxxvii. 23, 24. The consideration most frequently presented to us and most continually dwelt upon in the Book of Job is that of the immeasurable distance between the Creator and the creature--God's omnipotence, and omniscience-man's ignorance and littleness. How opposed are such views of God to those representations of the Deity, and of his familiar intercourse with man, given in the early Books of the Old Testament! It is difficult to believe that the most enlightened of the Hebrew sages did not regard these ancient traditions as the mythi of their nation.
All diseases and temporary sufferings are the chastisements of God—the wicked are punished as long as they live. Eliphas and Elihu admit that afflictions occasionally befal the righteous, but contend that they are never of long duration.
“ He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain.”—Chap. xxxiii. 19.
Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more.”—Chap. xxxiv. 31.
“ Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any : he is mighty in strength and wisdom. He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.”—Chap. xxxvi. 5, 6. God profiteth nothing by man's righteousness, and suffereth nothing from his iniquity. This opinion was also expressed by Eliphas
“ Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him ? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him ? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him ? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may
hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.”- Chap. xxxv. 5-8.
Religious opinions of the writer of the Book of Job. Job's adversaries formed many just conceptions of God and of his attributes, but they failed in their endeavours to explain the distribution of good and evil. The opinions of the author are found in the calm reflections of Job; in the Prologue and the Epilogue; and also in the answers which God is represented as giving to Job out of the whirlwind.
Representations of God. God is the Creator of man and of the universe; the breath of man's nostrils is the spirit of God.
“ Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again ? Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.”—Chap. X. 8-12.
“ All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils.”—Chap. xxvii. 3. The description of the creation is very similar to that given in the Book of the Proverbs-God laid the foundations of the earth and fastened the corner-stones upon nothing. The stars sang together and the sons of God- the angels shouted for joy on the day of creation.
" Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth ? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened ?
or who laid the corner-stone thereof; when the morning stars
up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued
stayed ?"—Chap. xxxviii. 4-11. Here as in the writings of Solomon the wisdom of God is personified. She dwells in a palace whose entrance is known to God only. She attended at the creation when God appointed the rain, the thunder, and the lightning.
“ Whence then cometh wisdom ? and where is the place of understanding ? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. derstandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; to make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.”—Chap. xxviii. 20-27.
Attributes of God. God is omnipotent and omniscient; his existence is immutable and incomprehensible. Man can form but a very inadequate conception of his power.
“ He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the
Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number."-Chap. ix. 4-10.
Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man's days."-Chap. X. 5.
Lo, these are parts of his ways; but how little a portion is heard of him ? but the thunder of his power who can understand ?"-Chap. xxvi. 14.
See the entire Chapter; also Chapters xxxviii. and xxxix. In seasons of deep dejection and great bodily suffering
Job charges God with injustice, and with the capricious exercise of his power, in continually favouring the wicked, and deserting the good.
See Chapters ix. 11-24, xii. 6-9, xiii. 17-28, xxi. 5-26. For such expressions of impatience and distrust, Job is reproved by God.
“ Wilt thou also disannul my judgments ? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous ?”—Chap. xl. 8. Such were not, however, Job's abiding convictions: we find him soon after reposing, with firm reliance, on the justice of God.
“ I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.'
Chap. xix. 25-27. “ Yet in my flesh,” while I yet live, “shall I see God :" not as now will he manifest himself to me as my consumer and destroyer, but as my preserver and redeemer.t
Government and Providence of God. Job's opinions of the government and providence of God differ from those which are held by Eliphas and Elihu, and their two companions. He agrees with them in believing that all earthly events are under the especial guidance of the Almighty, and that all the vicissitudes of human life are to be attributed to the will of God, but he denies the position of his adversaries that prosperity is to be regarded as the reward of virtue, and adversity as the punishment of vice.
* In this translation, the authorised English version of the Bible has been invariably followed in the quotations; but in this passage the rendering is so obviously incorrect, that we here subjoin literal translation of Eichhorn's version, adopted by Bauer:
“ For I know that my vindicator liveth, and at last he will stand forth on the field of combat. And although my skin and this body are corroded by disease, still out of this body shall I see God. As I am, I shall look upou him as my defender, my eyes shall behold him, but
no longer as an opponent.”—TR. + That this confident expectation was realised in Job's latter days, we find from the concluding chapter of the book; in which we are told that Job's trials and sufferings are come to an end ; and that he returns this answer to God:
si I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.”—Chap. xlii. 5. - Tr.