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PART I--PROLOGUE OR HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION IN PROSE-- (Job 1:1-2:13)
Job 1:1-5. THE HOLINESS OF JOB, HIS WEALTH, &c.
1. Uz--north of Arabia-Deserta, lying towards the Euphrates. It
was in this neighborhood, and not in that of Idumea, that the Chaldeans
and Sabeans who plundered him dwell. The Arabs divide their country
into the north, called Sham, or "the left"; and the south, called
Yemen, or "the right"; for they faced east; and so the west was on
their left, and the south on their right. Arabia-Deserta was on the
east, Arabia-Petræa on the west, and Arabia-Felix on the south.
3. she-asses--prized on account of their milk, and for riding
Houses and lands are not mentioned among the emir's wealth, as nomadic
tribes dwell in movable tents and live chiefly by pasture, the right to
the soil not being appropriated by individuals. The "five hundred yoke
of oxen" imply, however, that Job tilled the soil. He seems also to
have had a dwelling in a town, in which respect he differed from the
patriarchs. Camels are well called "ships of the desert," especially
valuable for caravans, as being able to lay in a store of water that
suffices them for days, and to sustain life on a very few thistles or
4. every one his day--namely, the birthday (Job 3:1). Implying the love and harmony of the members of the family, as contrasted with the ruin which soon broke up such a scene of happiness. The sisters are specified, as these feasts were not for revelry, which would be inconsistent with the presence of sisters. These latter were invited by the brothers, though they gave no invitations in return.
5. when the days of their feasting were gone about--that is, at the
end of all the birthdays collectively, when the banquets had gone round
through all the families.
Job 1:6-12. SATAN, APPEARING BEFORE GOD, FALSELY ACCUSES JOB.
6. sons of God--angels
They present themselves to render account of their "ministry" in other
parts of the universe
7. going to and fro--rather, "hurrying rapidly to and fro." The original idea in Arabic is the heat of haste (Mt 12:43; 1Pe 5:8). Satan seems to have had some peculiar connection with this earth. Perhaps he was formerly its ruler under God. Man succeeded to the vice royalty (Ge 1:26; Ps 8:6). Man then lost it and Satan became prince of this world. The Son of man (Ps 8:4) --the representative man, regains the forfeited inheritance (Re 11:15). Satan's replies are characteristically curt and short. When the angels appear before God, Satan is among them, even as there was a Judas among the apostles.
9. fear God for naught--It is a mark of the children of Satan to sneer and not give credit to any for disinterested piety. Not so much God's gifts, as God Himself is "the reward" of His people (Ge 15:1).
11. curse thee to thy face--in antithesis to God's praise of him (Job 1:8), "one that feareth God." Satan's words are too true of many. Take away their prosperity and you take away their religion (Mal 3:14).
Job 1:13-22. JOB, IN AFFLICTION, BLESSES GOD, &c.
15. Sabeans--not those of Arabia-Felix, but those of Arabia-Deserta,
descending from Sheba, grandson of Abraham and Keturah
The Bedouin Arabs of the present day resemble, in marauding habits,
these Sabeans (compare
16. fire of God--Hebraism for "a mighty fire"; as "cedars of God"--"lofty cedars" [Ps 80:10]. Not lightning, which would not consume all the sheep and servants. UMBREIT understands it of the burning wind of Arabia, called by the Turks "wind of poison." "The prince of the power of the air" [Eph 2:2] is permitted to have control over such destructive agents.
17. Chaldeans--not merely robbers as the Sabeans; but experienced in war, as is implied by "they set in array three bands" (Hab 1:6-8). RAWLINSON distinguishes three periods: 1. When their seat of empire was in the south, towards the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. The Chaldean period, from 2300 B.C. to 1500 B.C. In this period was Chedorlaomer (Ge 14:1), the Kudur of Hur or Ur of the Chaldees, in the Assyrian inscriptions, and the conqueror of Syria. 2. From 1500 to 625 B.C., the Assyrian period. 3. From 625 to 538 B.C. (when Cyrus the Persian took Babylon), the Babylonian period. "Chaldees" in Hebrew--Chasaim. They were akin, perhaps, to the Hebrews, as Abraham's sojourn in Ur, and the name "Chesed," a nephew of Abraham, imply. The three bands were probably in order to attack the three separate thousands of Job's camels (Job 1:3).
19. a great wind from the wilderness--south of Job's house. The
tornado came the more violently over the desert, being uninterrupted
20. Job arose--not necessarily from sitting. Inward excitement is implied, and the beginning to do anything. He had heard the other messages calmly, but on hearing of the death of his children, then he arose; or, as EICHORN translates, he started up (2Sa 13:31). The rending of the mantle was the conventional mark of deep grief (Ge 37:34). Orientals wear a tunic or shirt, and loose pantaloons; and over these a flowing mantle (especially great persons and women). Shaving the head was also usual in grief (Jer 41:5; Mic 1:16).
21. Naked-- (1Ti 6:7). "Mother's womb" is poetically the earth, the universal mother (Ec 5:15; 12:7; Ps 139:15). Job herein realizes God's assertion (Job 1:8) against Satan's (Job 1:11). Instead of cursing, he blesses the name of JEHOVAH (Hebrew). The name of Jehovah, is Jehovah Himself, as manifested to us in His attributes (Isa 9:6).
22. nor charged God foolishly--rather, "allowed himself to commit no folly against God" [UMBREIT]. Job 2:10 proves that this is the meaning. Not as Margin "attributed no folly to God." Hasty words against God, though natural in the bitterness of grief, are folly; literally, an "insipid, unsavory" thing (Job 6:6; Jer 23:13, Margin). Folly in Scripture is continually equivalent to wickedness. For when man sins, it is himself, not God, who