صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

from the owners, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain ; 39 if my ploughmen or reapers were defrauded ; If I have eaten the

fruits thereof without money, mvithout a valuable consideration to the owners or doing justice to my tenants, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life ; if I have destroyed the owner

for the sake of the estate, or broken the heart of my tenant or sera 40 vant, by unkind usage ; Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and

cockle instead of barley ; may my corn be changed into weeds. The words of Job are ended ; that is, he says no more to his friends in his own defence,

[ocr errors]


E are taught from this example of Job, to guard against

the love of the world ; never to rejoice merely becaus? our wealth increases, and we have gosten much. Much less should we make gold our hope and confidence ; for this is no sign of the di, vine favour. We shall bear the loss of it with less grief and concern, when we have been moderate in the pursuit and enjoyment of it. To prevent our inordinate love of the world, let us learn to say to God, Thou art my hope, and to the Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art my confidence.

2. We learn to guard against a spirit of malice and revenge ; never wish evil to any, nor rejoice in their misfortunes. Persons of an angry disposition will meet with others to instigate them to revenge ; but let us not hearken to such counsellors to do wickedls. He that is glad at calamity shall not be uppunished. Our rule is, not to avenge ourselves ; to bless them that curse us, to do good 10 them that hate us, and to pray for them who despitefully use and persecute us.

3. Let us learn to stand in awe of sin ; not to palliate and excuse it, and lay the blame on others. This we are too apt to do; and thus Adam did. We should not be led by the clamour of the popúlace, the fashion of the age, or fear of disobliging the families of the great, to do an ill thing, or to be silent when we have an opportunity to plead the cause of God, or to do justice to the characters of others. Finally, let us

4. Guard against injustice and oppression. Let not masters oppress their servants, husbandmen their labourers, landlords their tenants, or men in trade their workmen ; but deal by them justly and honourably ; never be guilty of hard usage, or give any of them just reason to complain. God has declared that he heareth the cry of the oppressed, and will execute vengeance on their oppressors. Upon the whole, as this is one of the most useful chapters in this whole book, let us all seriously review it, and compare our temper and conduct with it; and if our consciences can bear witness to us, as Job's did to him, that our behaviour has been in these instances agreeable to the will and law of God, may lift up our faces with honour, and we shall have comfortable reflections in the day of evil: for with the upright God will show himself utiriyht, and with the mer.. ciful he will show hi inself merciful.




Elihu here engages in the dispute, but rather as a moderator than as

a party. He is represented by the poet as a wise man, who was standing by, but at length interposed, and gave his judgment in the

He does not charge Job with any crime but what the heat of the debate occasioned ; and spends his time rather in justifying God, than condemning Job. This chapter is an apology for under. taking the debate, and the manner in which he would conduct it. 1 o these three men ceased to answer Job, because he

(was] righteous in his own eyes ; they found he was resoa 2 lutely bent to justify himself, say what they could. Then was

kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram, or Aram, from whom the Syrians were descended:

agains. Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself 3 rather than God. Also against his three friends was his wrath

kindled, because they had found no answer, were not able to de. 4 fend their charge, and (yet) had condemned Job. Now Elihu

had waited till Job had spoken, because they (were] elder than

he, therefore he thought it most decent to let them speak first, 5 and finish what they had to say. When Elihu saw that there

was) no answer in the mouth of [these] three men, then his

wrath was kindled, he was not able to keep silence any longer. 6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I

[am) young, and ye [are) very old ; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show you mine opinion ; he pleads his youth as an

apology for his silence; he was afraid of discovering his weakness, 7 and afipearing rash and conceited. I said, Days should speak,

and multitude of years should teach wisdom ; he expected a wise

and full determination of the point from persons of their age and 8 exfierience. But there is) a spirit in man ; and the inspiration

of the Almighty giveth them understanding ; reason sometimes

opens early, and he hopres they will consider him at least as a ra9 tional creature. Great men are not [always] wise ; neither do

the aged understand judgment ; on the contrary, men of great

authority, repulation, and advanced age, are not always the most Jo wise and sagacious. Therefore I said, Hearken to me ; I also il will show mine opinion. Behold, I waited for your words ; I

gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say ; 12 I heard you with patience, and waited till you had done. Yea, I

attended unto you, and, behold, (there was) none of you that

convinced Job, (or) that answered his words ; no one who said 13 any thing to the purpose in answer to him : Lest ye should say,

We have found out wisdom : God thrusteth him down, not man ; therefore I take up the argument lest you should say, your arguments are unanswerable, and that his affliction was a fruna

ishment from God for his wickedness, as you have attempted to 14 prove. Now he hath not directed [his) words against me :

neither will I answer him with your speeches ; I shall answer him mildly, and suffer nothing personal to enter into the dispute, 15 nor take up any of your reasonings. They were amazed, they 16 answered no more : they left off speaking. When I had waited,

(for they spake not, but stood still, [and] answered no more ;)* he makes this address to the auditory, and appeals to them whether

there was not a clear stage, and a fair opportunity for him to sficak; 17 [I said,) I will answer also my part, I also will show mine opin18 ion. For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth 19 me. Behold, my belly (is) as wine (which) hath no vent; it is

ready to burst like new bottles, therefore he was determined to «sfak, for he had heard so much of the dispute, and thought so much

about is, that he was in pain till he had ultered his thoughts, like 20 fernienting wine, ready to burst the bottles. I will speak, that I 21 may be refreshed : I will open my lips and answer.

Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give

flaitering titles unto man ; protests against all fiattery and 22 compliments, regarding only the cause itself. For I know not to

give flattering titles; [in so doing] my Maker would soon take me away ; I do not understand the art of soothing men, because they are old and have the reputation of wisdom; or of sparing to deal plainly even with the afflicted, lest I should provoke God, and 1:fiose myself to some awful punishment.


[ocr errors]

i. E are here taught, that modesty and humility are great

ornaments to young people. It is their duty to be learners, to hear patiently, and attend to the sentiments of the old and wise ; to be diffident of themselves, and shun every thing which has the appearance of vanity and conceit. Especially, when it appears proper that they should deliver their opinion, let them do it with all deference to the aged, and all the marks of a modest spirit.

2. Age gives men great advantage for improvement in knowledge, and being useful by their advice and instructions. It is naturally expected that their faculties should be strengthened, their stock of ideas enlarged, by reading, reflection, and experience. Therefore the aged should be teachers of good things, and endeavour to instruct the rising generation, in what inay be useful to them and conducive to their true happiness.

3. Let us consider that our fellow creatures are rational beings, as well as ourselves. There is a srl in men, and the inspiration of the Almighty givesh him understanding. All the ordinary exercises of reason are here ascribed to the inspiration of the Almighty. Let us be thankful for this gift of Ced; and pray to him to strengthen our rational faculties, and enable us to judge and speak aright. This consideration should preserve the aged from a supercilious treatment of the young; that they have reason, as well as their fathers ;

• Some think this is an arzumcit that Ellhu was the puthor of the lonk; which appears to mnoc unlikely, and that he is put here for Ezcáici, who is called the son of Buai, Exo

[ocr errors]

atid some are wiser at twenty, than others at sixty. Every man har a right to judge for himself, and ought to be allowed a liberty of speech. Those wlio pretend to dictate to the world, and would have every one be as they are, and believe just as they believe, should consider that others are rational creatures as well as themselves, and have equal access to the oracles of divine wisdom. Let us therefore learn to hear with candour, and judge with temper, and never deny to others those rights and privileges which we claim to ourselves. Once more,

4. The fear of God should engage us to deal plainly with men, in all matters of importance, particularly in those where religion and happiness are concerned. Excess of compliments is an utter enemy to truth and wisdom. It is especially a lesson to ministers, not to prophesy smooth things for fear of giving offence, but to address to men's consciences, with all plainness and affection united; remembering their Maker, who has declared that he will take away all flate tering lips, and every deceitful tongue; and in the mean time it will be found, as Solomon observes, that he that reproveth a man, afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.


In the last chapter we had Elihu's preface, here we have his

address to Job.

1 HEREFORE, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, 2

and hearken to all my words. Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth ; I

have thought inuch of what I am about 10 say, and spoken it over 3 to myself. My words shall be of] the uprightness of my heart:

and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly ; I will speak both up4 rightly and plainly. The Spirit of God hath made me, and the

breath of the Almighty hath given me life ; I am a man like thy

self, and therefore fit and ready to discourse evith thee upon equal 5 terms, aceording to thy desire. If thou canst answer me, set

[thy words] in order before me, stand up, I am ready to hear 6 any thing you have to say in your own defence. Behold, I (am) ac

cording to thy wish in God's stead : I also am formed out of the 7 clay ; I am such a one as you wished, an impartial judge. Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall


hand be heavy upon thee ; my majesty shall not terrify thee, nor my 8 power oppress thee. Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing,

and I have heard the voice of (thy) words; I am master

of the argument, I do not speak by hearsay, but have attended 10 9 the whole of the debate ; thou hast been [saying:] I am clean

without transgression, I [am] innocent ; neither (is there) in10 iquity in ine. Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he 11 counteth me for his enemy. Ile putteth my feet in the stocks,

he marketh all my paths. Job never said this ; but he had spoken 12 in a passionate manner, and said what nearly amounted to it. Be

hold, [in] this thou art not just ; though I do not join with thy friends in condemning thee in general, yet in this thou art wrong :

I will answer thee, that God is greater than man, both in wis13 dom and power. Why dost thou strive against him ? for he

giveth not account of any of his matters ; he is not obliged to give

us an account of his ways ; there is often a mystery in them which 14 we cannot understand. For God speaketh once, yea, twice, Cyet 15 man) perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night,

when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; 16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and scaleth their instruction,

whispers instruction to them by their conscience or his afiirit ; yea,

he sealeth instruction, makes the soul receive the deep impression, 17 as the war receives the seal, That he may withdraw man (from

his) purpose, and hide pride from man ; withdraw him from evil 18 purposes, mortify his pride and make him humble. He keepeth

back his soul from the pit, that is, saves him from destruction, and his life from perishing by the sword of justice, or divine wrath ;

intimating that Job had not sufficiently improved these methods of 19 instruction. He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and

the multitude of his bones with strong (pain ;) he is not only in

structed by revelation, v. 15, but by correction, Psalm xciv. 12. 20 So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat ; he 21 loseth his appetite. His flesh is consumed away that it cannot

be seen ; and his bones (that) were not seen, stick out ; he is 22 emaciated, and becomes a mere skeleton. Yea, his soul draweth near

unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers, to the pangs of death. 23 If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a

thousand, to show unto man his uprightness ; God contrives it 80 that he shall be visited by some prious friend, a messenger, as il. were, from God, to interpret and explain the method and design of Providence, and the afflicted person's duty ; one of a thousand, peculiarly qualified with uncommon abilities to answer that great end,

to show him the uprightness of God's dealings, and teach him to 24 look upon them as a punishment for his sin. Then he is gracious

unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit : I have found a ransom ; then God spares him, finds him a ransom, a faithful friend, who should be the means of bringing him to re

pentance, which God graciously accefix as a ransom for his life. 25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child's ; he shall return to the 26 days of his youth; he then recovers his health : He shall pray

unto God, and he will be favourable unto him : and he shall see his face with joy, have a sense of the divine favour and love : fur he will render unto man his righteousness, restore him to his

friendship ; or it may refer to the penitent's making restitution to 27 others. He looketh upon men, and (if any) say, or He shall look

upon men, and say, I have sinned, and perverted [that which was) right, and it profited me not ; the peniteit sirall confess his fault, own the shame and unprofitableness of sin, und warn oikers

« السابقةمتابعة »