Arthur Jackson

ANNOTATIONS Upon The five Books, immediately following the Historicall Part of the OLD TESTAMENT, (Commonly called the five Doctrinall, or Poeticall Books.)

To wit, The Book of Iob, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Eccle­siastes, and the Song of Solomon.

WHEREIN First, all such passages in the Text are explained, as were thought likely to be questioned by any Reader of ordinary capa­city: Secondly, in many places the grounds of divers Scripture-ex­pressions are set forth, and other things noted, needfull to be known, that are not so easily at the first reading observed: And thirdly, many places, that might at first seem to contradict one another, are reconciled.

Intended chiefly For the Assistance and Information of those, that use constantly every day to read some part of the Bible, and would gladly alwaies understand what they read, if they had some man to help them.

The third Part.

By ARTHUR JACKSON, Preacher of Gods VVord at Faiths under Pauls.

Prov. 2.3, 4, 5.
If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding.
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her, as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
Chrysost. Homil. 13. in Genesin.

Sicut aromata quanto magis digitis teruntur, tanto majorem natura sua flagrantiam reddunt, ita & Scripturis usu venit, ut quanto quis illis est familiarior, tanto magis videre possit latentem in illis the­saurum, pluresque percipere infallibilium divitiarum fructus.

LONDON, Printed by ROGER DANIEL, for the Authour, and are to be sold by severall Booksellers. MDCLVII.

To my loving and dearly Beloved neighbours and friends, the Inhabitants of the Parish of Faiths under Pauls.

Dearly beloved in the Lord,

HAd there been nothing else to have put me upon this Dedica­tion, but the great respect which you shewed to my Prede­cessour, Reverend Mr. Geree, that alone had been abundant­ly enough to have commanded this Respect from me to you. The contributing of 30l. per annum to his widow so long as she lived, and the raising of a considerable portion of money for one of his children, after her decease, that was left without any provisi­on, was such a Testimony of the high esteem you had of that your pious Pastor, as is not I think to be parallelled by that which hath been done by any other Congregation. And I have purposely made this honourable mention of it, that when there is the like occasion, it may be an example to many others.

But I have other inducements to move me to what I here now doe. The greatest part of this Work, such as it is, hath gone through my hands, since I was called by you to undertake the charge of your souls: and there­fore, by reason of the speciall Interest you now have in me, I know none that may challenge a more speciall Interest in these my poor labours then you may do. The design indeed of the Work looks farther then you, even to the common good of all, that shall seek for some help herein for the un­derstanding of this part of the Holy Scripture. But yet because the support the Author hath of late years received from you hath contributed so much to the carrying on of the Work, he cannot but think it most equall, that it should tender its first service to you; and that too the rather, because many of you, by reason of your calling, are like to be very instrumen­tall in spreading it abroad into the hands of others. To you therefore, [Page] my dear Brethren, together with as many affectionate desires of your spirituall good as my poor heart can hold, do I here present this 3. part of my Annotations; and do indeed own it as a speciall mercy of divine Pro­vidence to me, considering how far my daies were declined ere I was cal­led to dispense the word of Grace amongst you, that the thrid of my life should be drawn out so far beyond mine own expectation, that I should now have the opportunity of leaving behind me this pledge and memo­riall of my thankfull acknowledgement of your love and kind respects to me, (in the extent whereof amongst you I think I may glory as much, as can well be expected in these broken times) as likewise of the tender af­fection, which I bear to you all, and that continually I have you in my heart (to use the Apostles expression Phil. 1.7.) that I may by all possible means to the utmost of my power advance the spirituall and eternall good of your souls.

Only now, I beseech you, let me close this tender of my service here­in with this Request, that you would not by looking on this Dedication, and minding the Book no farther, make that a vain and empty comple­ment, which I present unto you with a reall desire of advancing the stock of your saving knowledge in the great things of Gods law, and which I hope through Gods Blessing may turn to profit in this regard, if you will be pleased attentively to read over these Notes together with these Scri­ptures, which their design is to unfold.

Oh, my Brethren, as you desire to growingrace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Iesus Christ, be much in reading the Scriptures, the Oracles of God. Hearing hath the preheminence for awakening Con­science. But Reading (in my poor judgement) carries with it some kind of peculiar advantage for the edifying and establishing of the minds of Christians in point of solid knowledge.

As for these particular Books, which are here explained, I think I may safely say, without any blame-worthy reflection upon the rest of the Scri­pture, that they are the choicest pieces of the Old Testament. The Scri­pture is the Paradise, the garden of God upon earth: and these Poeticall Books are (as I may say) as so many goodly knots in the midst of this gar­den; wherein the discoveries that are made of divine truths are set forth with the intricacies and elegancies of many florid figurative expressions, purposely to render them the more delightfull to us. Solomon himself saith as much in expresse terms concerning his Books, Eccles. 12.10. The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words; or, as it is in the Hebrew, words of delight. And this may well invite you with strong affectionate [Page] desires to search into those treasures of wisdome, which are therein so pleasingly conveyed to us.

And now, my dear Friends, I have nothing farther to adde, but my prayers for you, that you may be still united more and more in the way of truth, and in the bond of Christian love and peace; and withall ear­nestly to begge your daily prayers for me, that I may be still enabled through grace so to hold forth the Word of life unto you, that I may re­joyce in the day of Christ, that, even to you-ward, I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain; which I hope you will not fail to doe for

Your servant in the work of the Lord, ARTHUR JACKSON.

A Preface or Advertisement To the READER.

REader, when I first undertook this Work of writing these Annota­tions upon the Scripture, there was not, as I remember, any piece of this kind extant in English, save only the Geneva marginall Notes. But since that time (blessed be God, the father of lights) a­bundance of help hath come flowing in by more able Hands. Besides the two volumes of the Annotations of our English Divines, and the Translation of the Dutch Notes, (more lately published) much hath been done in this very way, for the clearing of the difficulties in severall Books of the Scripture, by many particular men. Yea upon two of the Books, which here I have under­taken to explain, so much hath been done, I mean by Mr. Caryl in his elabo­rate Comments upon Iob (so far as he hath gone) and by Dr. Reynolds in that choice piece of his upon Ecclesiastes, which we have in the great English An­notations, that they may well give abundant satisfaction to those that read them.

But why then do I proceed in this Work? especially considering that Item given by Solomon in one of these Books, that of making many Books there is no end, and much reading is a wearinesse of the flesh? I answer truly and briefly; first, that I have found so much sweet content and delight in this stu­dy, that I can hardly perswade my self to give it over. Secondly, that the re­iterated perswasions of many of my Reverend Brethren that I would go on in this work hath been a very great encouragement therein to me; and thirdly, that I cannot but hope that the plainnesse of the Expositions (if nothing else) will make them accepted by many.

The greatest thing that hath troubled me in this work was, that when I came to commit it to the Presse, I found it rise to so far greater a bulk then ei­ther of my two former Volumes. But for this I desire the Reader would consi­der. First, that the stile and expressions of these Poeticall Books are farre more [Page] dark and difficult, and fuller of many knotty intricacies, then those books that were the subject of the former Volumes; and likewise that the clearing of the scope and dependance of many passages herein is a work of much labour (as will be most especially found in the books of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solo­mon) both which must needs make the Annotations the larger. Secondly, that in this Volume I have undertaken to open, together with the Translati­on of the Text which we have in our Bibles, the different Translations that are put in the margin, (because I found many of them judged most agreeable to the Originall) which I seldome did in the other Volumes. And this also hath much lengthened the Notes▪ and thirdly, that to shorten the work, I have, as often as I could, referred the Reader to the Exposition of the like passages and expressions in other places; the frequency whereof therefore I hope will be no occasion of dislike to any. Yea in some places I have been forced to leave the Reader of himself to have recourse to former Expositions: for, as for In­stance, for the word Selah, and many other words frequently found in the Ti­tles of the Psalms, should I have inserted a severall Reference, even these, with others of the like nature, would very much have swelled the book.

In a word, though the work be larger then I intended, yet I hope it will be the more profitable: I studied brevity, so far as it might not prejudice the per­spicuity of the Notes. The good Lord command a blessing upon it, where ever it goeth; and if thou, Reader, findest it so with thee, I know I shall have thy prayers, which I shall account a great return of Christian love to him, who is,

Thine in the Lord Iesus, ARTHUR JACKSON.

ERRATA.

Pag. 40. line 31. for overturns read indangers. p. 57. l. 6. for to overwhelm r. so overwhelm. p. 69. l. 3. for whose troopes r. whole troops. p. 70. l. 19. for as is. r. as it is. p. 80. l. 43. for nor r. not. p. 88. l. ult. for escretly r. secretly. p. 194. l. 10. r. or 3ly l. 13. r. or 4ly. p. 196. l. 7. dele spoken p. 209. l. 2. for stone r. brasse. p. 221. l, 23. dele more. p. 393. l. 9. for work r. word. p. 432. l. 15. for Chro. r. 1 Chro. p. 779. l. 1. for effect r. affect. p. 844. l. 3. for see the Note. 2 Cor. 12.8, r. See 2 Cor. 8.12. p. 850. l. 39. for anger r. danger. p. 869. l. 36. for forget r. forgoe. p. 878. l. 13. for better r. bitter. p. 879. for 23. r. 29. p. 869. l. 36. for were their r. were not their. p. 919. l. 23. for worldly men r. worldly wise men. Eccles. & Cant.

P. 35. l. 33. for ver. 15. r. ver, 5. p. 41. l. 30. they promote r. they may promote. p. 103. l. 43. for retained r. returned. p. 130. l. 42. for into r, in to. p. 149. l. 10. for but when, &c. r. and when by faith we do open to him, yet because, &c. p, 168. l. 38, for people r. gospel. p. 188. l. 25. and according dele and. p. 206. l. 9. for The last r. In the last. p. 218. l. 38. for if the word comes r. if they come. p. 225. l. 12. for given the, r. given from the.

ANNOTATIONS Upon the Book of JOB.

CHAP. I.

THere was a man in the land of Vz, whose name was Iob, &c. I That this book was written by some of those holy men of God, that wrote by the inspiration of the holy Ghost, can­not be doubted. For we see that this history is spoken of as a part of the Oracles of God, committed to the Iews. Iam. 5.11. you have heard of the patience of Iob, and have seen the end of the Lord; and by the Apostle Paul a passage of it, to wit, that chap. 11.13. is cited in 1 Cor. 3.19. It is writ­ten, he taketh the wise in their own craftinesse. Indeed who it was that wrote this book is altogether uncertain: only we may say that they build upon the fairest conje­ctures, that hold Moses was the writer of it, & that it was the first scripture that was written. As for these first words, There was a man in the land of Vz, &c. It is hard to say what the land of Uz was, where Iob dwelt, and of whom it was so called, whe­ther of Uz, the son of Arum, the son of Shem, Gen. 10.23. or of Huz, the son of Nahor, Abrahams brother. Gen. 22.25. or of Uz the grandchild of Seir. Gen. 36.28. That it lay Eastward of Canaan, and bordered upon the Sabaeans and Chaldaeans is evident in the story: and the most probable opinion seems to be, that it was Uz in the land of Edom, or whereof the land of Edom was a part. Lam. 4.21. Rejoyce and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Vz, and the rather because Teman also, the country of Eliphaz, one of Iobs friends and neighbours. Chap. 2.11. either was in Idumea, or bordered upon it. See Ier. 49.7. Amos 1.11, 12. Obad. 8.9. and that the place of his dwelling is thus expres­sed, as a proof of his singular piety, in that though he were not of the seed of A­braham, but lived amongst those nations, that were much degenerated from the piety of the holy Patriarchs, yet he was a man of eminent holinesse and righte­ousnesse. For the time when he lived, that likewise is uncertain; yet it is most likely that he lived in the daies of the Patriarks before Moses. 1. because in his time it seems Religion was not wholly decayed amongst those Eastern nations, nor was the true God only worshipped as yet amongst Abrahams posterity: 2. because he lived after his afflictions were ended 140 years. Chap. 42.16. and by that which [Page 2] is said of his first children, it is evident that they were house keepers, and there­fore that he was of good years before he was afflicted; whereas after the age of the Patriarks men seldome lived so long. Psal. 90.10. 3. Because after the giving of the law, it was not lawfull to sacrifice, save in the place which God had chosen, the tabernacle and temple: whereas we see ver. 5. that Iob sacrificed in the land of Uz. and 4▪ Because there is not the least mention in this book of any thing con­cerning the common-wealth of Israel, or of any of the glorious works that God wrought for them in Egypt, the wildernesse or the land of Canaan: which we can hardly say of any book of Scripture besides, because they were written after Mo­ses. However, that in after times the story and name of Iob was famous amongst the Iews, is evident. Ezek, 14.14. Though these three men Noah, Daniel and Iob were in it, they should deliver but their own souls.

And that man was perfect and upright, &c.] to wit, therefore perfect, because up­right, or, he was a man of a sincere heart, and just conversation. His eminent piety is here first related, because this is one of those things, which chiefly in this histo­ry is recommended to our observation that being a man of such rare piety, he notwithstanding underwent such heavy afflictions.

Vers. 3. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, &c.] The great wealth of Iob is thus particularly expressed, both because this added much to his commenda­tion, that he was not corrupted with his prosperity and wealth, as most men are; and likewise because his patience was herein the more to be admired, that being spoyled of so great riches he bore it as quietly, as if it had been a matter of no­thing which he had lost.

So that this man was the greatest of all the men in the East) that is, in wealth, honour, credit and esteem; yet the comparison must be understood with reference to others of the same quality and condition: for that he should be a King (as some conceive) yea the greatest King in those parts of the world is alto­gether improbable, and his own words of himself do plainly import the contrary Chap. 29.25. I chose out their way, and sate chief, and dwelt as a King in the ar­my, &c.

Vers. 4. And his sons went and feasted in their houses every one his day, &c.] That is, his sons used ever and anon to feast one another, each one in his day, though not for seven daies together without intermission (for it is said that each of them sent and invited their sisters to be with them). And this is expressed. 1, Because it was the occasion of that miserable end that befell his children. ver. 18, 19. when being met together in their eldest brothers house according to their custome, the house fell upon them. 2. To shew how lovingly they agreed and lived toge­ther, this being doubtlesse a great aggravation of his grief, when tydings were brought him of their sudden death. 3. To prove the singular piety of this man (so sorely afterward afflicted) by this particular of his sollicitous care for his children, when they were feasting together.

Vers. 5. And it was so when the daies of their feasting were gone about, that Iob sent and sanctified them, &c.) That is, he sent and appointed them to sanctifie and prepare themselves for the sacrifices which the next morning he meant to offer [Page 3] up to God in their behalf; and this they were to do partly by such outward rites of purifying as were used in those times, partly by spirituall means, as by ho­ly meditations, prayer, mortification, repentance, &c.

For Iob said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.] That is, it being so usuall with men in times of feasting to forget themselves and many severall waies to sin against God, thus it may well be it hath been with my chil­dren, perhaps by some more hainous sin they have provoked God to anger a­gainst them and that out of some secret prophanesse and contempt of God in their hearts, which because it tends to the vilif [...]ing and dishonouring of God is indeed no better then a cursing of God in their hearts. This I conceive is the meaning of those words, as not judging it so probable, either that Iob made a doubt whether his sons had in the least degree swerved from the rule of Gods law, or that he suspected in them the horrid sin of direct blaspheming and cursing of God, no not in their hearts.

Thus did Iob continually.] That is, so often as his sons did thus feast one ano­ther, each in his course, which it seems they did frequently.

Vers. 6. Now there was a day when the sons of God, &c.] By the sons of God here are meant the holy Angels, as again chap. 38.7. who are so called first, be­cause they do in a speciall manner bear in themselves the image of God, to wit, in their singular wisedome and knowledge, their unspotted purity and holinesse, their admirable power and might and in the majesty and glory of their spirituall essence. 2. Because all these excellencies wherewith they are endued they have them from God, the fountain from whence they flow, in regard whereof, when they stand before God they are as so many beams of his inaccessible light. 3. Be­cause they serve God as sons their father, with all chearfulnesse and willingnesse. and 4. Because as sons they are alwaies in Gods presence and see his face, and of these it is said that on a certain day they came and presented themselves before the Lord, Satan being also amongst them, &c. Which must not be literally un­derstood, as if God had certaine dayes wherein he called together the Angels to attend him, (for the holy Angels are continually in his presence, Mat, 18.10. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, that in heaven their Angels do alwaies behold the face of my Father.) Or, as if any such speeches passed be­twixt God and the Devil as here are recorded. It is only a figurative expression of this truth, that both the good and evil spirits are alwaies in his eye, and under his command, and do nothing but what he will have them, and that it was there­fore of God that the Devil was suffered to tempt Iob and try him as he did; for because of our weaknesse the Lord doth herein, as it were, stoop to our capacity, and speaks of himself after the manner of earthly Princes, that we might the bet­ter conceive him, in a manner of speech which we call a Prosopopeia, not much unlike that in 2 Kings 22.19. I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left, and the Lord said, Who shall per­swade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead, &c.

Vers. 7. Then Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro in the earth, &c.] By this walking of Satan to and fro in the earth is only figuratively imply­ed, [Page 4] that those evil spirits are every where throughout the whole world, seeking diligently to seduce men and to execute Gods vengeance on them, and to do all the mischief they possibly can.

Vers. 8. Hast thou considered my servant Iob, &c.] By this the Lords boasting of Iobs piety and righteousnesse is signified, that where the Lord by his spirit ina­bles his servants to frame their lives according to his will, God in them is glorifi­ed, not without the confusion of Satan, who though he observes with envy and vexation enough the uprightnesse of their waies, yet he is not able to subdue and corrupt them, and so God in them doth as it were triumph over Satan, and they through Gods assistance are more then conquerours.

Vers. 9. Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Iob fear God for nought?] By this answer of Satan is only implyed, that he is the accuser of the children of God, and is still ready to judge, that in prosperity we only serve God for the good things he bestows upon us, and endeavours therefore by troubles and afflictions to draw us off from the service of God.

Vers. 10. Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house?] that is, his children and family: and hereby is implyed that Satan is vexed, that the Lord by his speciall protection doth keep him off from doing that mischief to the righteous that he desires to do.

Vers. 11. But put forth thine hand now and touch all that he hath.] That is, de­stroy or take from him, not some part of his estate only (for that may be done and yet a sufficiency be left him) but all that he hath, and then he will discover himself otherwise then he hath hitherto done. By touching is usually meant in the Scriptures hurting, afflicting or destroying, as Ruth 2.9. Have I not charged the young men, that they should not touch thee? Zach. 2.8. For he that toucheth you, tou­cheth the apple of his eye. Psal. 105.15. Touch not mine anointed, and do my Prophets no harm. And so it is taken here: and this word (now) is added to imply that Sa­tan desired to have it done presently; he was eager to destroy him, and thought long to see Iob in misery.

And he will curse thee to thy face.] That is, he will openly and impudently blas­pheme thy name; and hereby is meant not only expresse execrations cast upon God, but also whatever may tend to the reproach of the Almighty, his goodnesse and providence.

Vers. 12. And the Lord said unto Satan, behold, all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand.] Hereby is implyed. 1. That Satan is conti­nually desirous to afflict our bodies. 2. That the Devil cannot stir an inch far­ther in afflicting us, then God gives him leave. 3. That the Lord is carefull that his servants should not be overpressed, and therefore usually affords them some breathing time, as here, though he intended afterwards to give Satan power to af­flict his body, yet a while he restrained him from that.

So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.] The meaning of this is only to imply, that the Devill is speedily ready to do all the mischief he can to Gods peo­ple, if the Lord have once let loose his chain.

Vers. 13. And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating, &c.] [Page 5] This time and this manner of destroying Iobs children is expressed, as again af­terward vers. 18. because this must needs much aggravate Iobs sorrow, that they should be fetched in together by the providence of God, as it were into a net, to the end they might all be destroyed together and not one of them escape, as like­wise that they should be thus suddenly in a fearfull manner cut off, which alwaies hath an impression of wrath upon it, when they were thus lovingly rejoycing to­gether: and that in their eldest brothers house, who having the largest portion of e­state was like to make the fullest and most solemn feast. He alwaies was affraid least they should sin in their feasting; so that having their brains thus suddenly beaten out whilst they were eating and drinking together, this might make him fear least they died with sin upon them unrepented of.

Vers. 15. And the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away, &c.] The Sabeans were a people (as most interpreters hold) inhabiting Arabia felix bordering up­on the land of Uz where Iob dwelt, a people that lived by pillaging and plunde­ring their neighbours, and so easily wonne, by a suggestion of Satans at this time, to break out upon Iobs cattle and drive them away. And observable it is, that though Satan could many waies have destroyed Iobs oxen and asses, and the ser­vants that were with them more immediately by himself, yet he chose rather to make use of the Sabeans, as delighting not only in the misery of Iob, but also in the sin of these his wretched instruments.

And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.] The same is said by all the severall mes­sengers that brought Iob the sad tydings of the severall calamities that befell him, vers. 16, 17, 19. So that it was doubtlesse a piece of Satans policy that still one servant escaped to bring Iob the relation of these grievous losses; and two reasons may be given for it, to wit, 1. That the relation of these afflictions might come suddenly to him; his servants escaping out of such desperate dangers would be sure to fly home with all the speed they were able; and 2. That he might not question the certainty of what was told him. Had there been any co­lour of doubting the truth of these relations, that might have abated his sorrow for the present, and then recollecting his spirits in the interim when he came to know the certainty of it, he might then have been the better able to bear it; but having the report of these things from his own servants, that were eye witnesses of what they spake, he could have no ground of questioning whether that they spake were true or no, and so these heavy tydings must needs presently fall upon him with their full weight.

Vers. 16. While he was yet speaking there came also another.] The immediate re­port of these ill tydings one in the neck of another (which is here noted, as also again vers. 17 and 18) was purposely no doubt effected by Satan, that he might not have any breathing time, any leasure to call to mind any thought that might support him, or allay any whit the bitternesse of the former sorrow.

The fire of God is fallen from heaven, &c.] That is, a strange and extraordinary lightening from heaven hath consumed them; And remarkable is the cunning of Satan, who destroyed not these, as he did the other, by making use of wicked men, but by fire from heaven, that for his greater astonishment, Iob might the [Page 6] more assuredly believe, that not men only, but even God himself did fight a­gainst him, and so might not fly to God for comfort, but rather in the vexation of his spirit might blaspheme God.

Vers. 18. Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking, &c.] This mes­sage was by the cunning of Satan reserved to the last place, because the tydings of the losse of his goods would not have been so terrible, had he known of his childrens death, to whom he hoped to have left them; and indeed when a man lies under a great affliction, a lesse is not minded, and 2. Because when he was al­ready sorely distressed with the former sad tydings, he would be the more una­ble to bear this dolefull message, and the more likely to sink down under it, and break forth into impatience and blasphemy against God.

Vers. 19. There came a great wind from the wildernesse, and smote the four corners of the house, &c.] Either this must be meant of a whirlwind, that did together strike the four corners of the house, or else the wind from the wildernesse did with its violence shake the four corners of the house, so that at length the house fell upon them.

Vers. 20. Then Iob arose and rent his mantle, &c.] That is, having hitherto sat still and heard these sad tydings, now he presently arose (as one that yet sunk not under these afflictions) and rent his mantle and shaved his head, &c. And this he did, partly that he might moderately bewail these afflictions and specially the death of his children, and partly, thereby to testify his deep humiliation under the hand of God, with repentance for all his sins; to which some adde also, that he did it out of detestation of those blasphemous temptations which Satan at this time did suggest to him. As for these outward rites of rending their garments and shaving their heads, which they used in those times and countries: for the first see the note Gen. 37.29. and for the second, the shaving of the head, that this al­so was used in times of great affliction and sorrow of mind is evident in those pla­ces. Isa. 22.12. In that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldnesse, and Ier. 7.29. Cut off thine hair O Ierusalem and cast it away, and take up a lamentation. And then doubtlesse it was used to signify, that their condi­tion was such, that they had good cause to lay by all ornaments whatsoever, hair being given for comelinesse and ornament.

Vers. 21. Naked came I out of my mothers womb, and naked shall I return thither:] Some expositours conceive that the word (thither) in this clause is not used in re­ference to his mothers womb, but in reference to the earth; and that, because when he spake these words, by way of adoration he cast or bowed down his body to the earth, as it is in the former verse. Others conceive it is the earth, which Iob here calls his mothers womb, and that because the earth is the common mo­ther of us all, since out of it in Adam we were all taken. Gen. 2.19. But last of all, others, and with better reason, acknowledge, that Iob means indeed his mo­thers womb in the first clause, and then in the next clause adds, that he shall na­ked return thither, only in reference to a returning to an estate like that of his mothers womb, to wit, that as there he was shut up naked in the streights and darknesse of earth (so David calls his mothers womb. Psal. 139.15. I was made [Page 7] in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.) waiting thence to be delivered in due time, so he should be again shut up naked in the bowels of the earth, the grave, as seed sown in the ground, waiting for a resurrection to a better life. However the drift of these words was doubtlesse to shew, that if God should strip him of all he enjoyed, he should have no cause to complain, both because he brought not these things into the world with him; God had given them and might, when he pleased, take them away, and because they were given as tempo­rall blessings, which he could not hope alwaies to enjoy, but must part with them at the time of his death. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 1 Tim. 6.7▪

Vers. 21. Blessed be the name of the Lord.] So far was Satan disappointed of his hopes, that in stead of cursing God, Iob blessed him, both for suffering him to enjoy his good blessings so long, and for his present afflictions, wherein he knew the Lord might shew his goodnesse and mercy to him, as well as in his former bounty; and this doubtlesse did more deeply wound Satan, then all Iobs afflicti­ons had wounded him.

Vers. 22. In all this Iob sinned not.] That is, in all this that Iob spake and did, there was not any thing that was materially sinfull. No man can do any one act that is purely pure, free from the least stain or tincture of sin; Who can bring a clean thing out of that which is unclean? chap. 14.4. But there is a great deal of difference between a sinfull action and sin in an action; Satan had said that Iob would curse God; but when it came to proof, there was no such thing, he neither spake nor did any thing that was materially evil.

CHAP. II.

Vers. 1. AGain there was a day, &c.] See chap. [...]. vers. 6. How long it was after those former losses, ere God gave Satan liberty to afflict him in his bo­dy, we cannot say; only it is probable, that there was such a distance of time be­tween these two afflictions, as might serve for a full discovery of Iobs Spirit under the first.

Vers. 2. From going to and fro in the earth.] See chap. 1. vers. 7-

Vers. 3. Hast thou considered my servant Iob?] See chap. 1. vers. 8.

And still he holdeth fast his integrity.] This is added to imply, that God is in a speciall manner glorified and Satan confounded by the Saints perseverance in pi­ety in the time of affliction; for hence the Lord is here set forth, as it were trium­phing in this over Satan.

Although thou movedst me against him to destroy him without cause.] In this, as for­merly, God stooping to our capacity speaks of himself still after the manner of men. He was not moved by any perswasions of Satan to afflict Iob, nor did it to gratifie him; only because the Lord did it to manifest, that Iob did not serve God only for the blessings he bestowed upon him, as Satan judged, therefore the Lord saith here, that Satan moved him against him to destroy him, and that, with­out cause, since the Devil could not effect what he aimed at, but still Iob continu­ed the same he was before.

[Page 8]Vers. 4. And Satan answered the Lord and said, skin for skin, &c.] See chap. 1. vers 9. Some expound this proverbiall speech skin for skin, &c, thus, that as wil­lingly as men exchange one skin for another, they will part with all that they have to save their life. And indeed the like manner of speech we may observe in other Proverbs. Prov. 25. 3. The heaven for heighth, and the earth for depth, and the heart of Kings is unsearchable. and vers. 25. As cold waters to a thirsty soul: so is good news from a far country. But the most generally received exposition is this, that as men would expose their hands to danger of a blow that is coming, to save their heads, or any other place where the blow might prove mortall, or suffer their cattle or other goods, yea their children to perish, so themselves might sleep in a whole skin, so it was with Iob, he had hitherto forborn to curse God, not out of any true piety and sincerity of heart, but only out of a base fear least he should be smitten in his own body, as would soon be discovered, if his body were smitten too, and for the better warranting of this exposition, it is said, that in those times, partly because their substance consisted chiefly in cattell, and partly because their mony was made of skins, it was usuall to expresse a mans whole estate by the word skin; so that the meaning of this proverbiall speech skin for skin was usually this, that there was no man but would give all his outward estate for the saving of his skin upon his back, that is, for the saving of his life.

Vers. 5. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, &c.] That is, afflict him in his body also, and that not lightly, but in some heavy manner, that not his flesh only, but his very bones may be sensible thereof, that the pain and distemper may pierce even to his very bones and marrow, that so his whole body may be both pained and weakned, to the manifest endangering of his life, and then he will curse thee to thy face. See chap. 1. vers. 11.

Vers. 6. Behold he is in thine hand, but save his life.] See chap. 1. vers. 12.

Vers. 7. So Satan went forth, &c.] See again chap. 1.12.

And smote Iob with sore boiles, from the sole of his foot unto his crown.] And thus, besides the inward tortures and sicknesse he endured, which consumed his flesh and strength, and made him hopelesse of his life. [chap. 17.1. My breath is corrupt my daies are extinct, the graves are ready for me.] He became in outward appearance a fearfull spectacle of Gods fiery indignation, insomuch that his nearest friends loathed almost to behold him and were affraid to come near him. chap. 19. vers. 13. He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. and again vers. 19. All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.

Vers. 8. And he took him a potsheard to scrape himself withall; &c.] It seems that this scraping himself with a potsheard was whilst he sat amongst the ashes or upon the dunghill, (as some translate it) and therefore are both these clauses joyned together. Though perhaps Satan deprived Iob of much more of his estate then is expressed, yet that he was brought to such extreme poverty, that he had nei­ther house to dwell in, nor a rag to wipe his sores with, and therefore sat upon a dunghill and scraped himself with a potsheard, as some conceive, I no where find, but rather find the contrary; for he had a bed to lie on. chap. 7.4. When I lie [Page 9] down, I say, When shall I arise? and vers. 13, 14. When I say, My bed shall comfort me my couch shall ease my complaint: Then thou scarest me with dreams and terrifiest me through visions; and a house whether his friends resorted to him, even when his afflictions came to a period, chap. 42.11. Then came there unto him at his brethren and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house. And though the Lord gave Satan liberty to deprive him of all that he had, chap. 1.12. and it is not likely this enemy would shew him any fa­vour, yet before he had taken all from him, seeing his wonderfull patience he might judge that he did it out of a slavish fear, least God should strike him in his body too, and so, the Lord giving him liberty, might presently bring these dis­eases upon him also. Rather therefore it may be thought that voluntarily lea­ving his house and bed he went abroad (and thence it is said vers. 12. that when his friends came to visit him they saw him a far off) and sat down amongst the ashes, as men in their extreme sorrow and humiliation used to do, Ion. 3.6. The King of Nineveh laid his robe from him and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes, as a testimony of his earthly condition and his basenesse and unworthinesse; and so being there having no body else that would vouchsafe to dresse him, he took up a potsheard to scrape himself: either to allay the itching of his sores, or ra­ther to take off the matter and filth that issued from his ulcers, and that because his fingers were so sore that he could not doe it with them, and besides he per­haps loathed to touch it, and as for his servants and friends they abhorred him so that they would not come near him, Iob 19.14, 17.

Vers. 9. Then said his wife unto him, &c.] Though Satan were not restrained from wreaking his teen upon all that was Iobs, himself only excepted, chap. 1.12. yet he medled not with his wife, either because she was a part of himself, or ra­ther because he intended to make use of her in tempting him to impatience, as knowing well that men are most easily seduced by their wives, that no injuries do sooner drive men to impatience, then those that are offered them by such as are nearest to them, and that his friends and others were likely to be encouraged to the like by her example.

Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die.] I have met with some expositours that understand this speech of Iobs wife to him thus. After all these judgements which God hath laid upon thee, dost thou still maintain thy self to be sincere and upright? Being brought so low, at the very point of death wilt thou still deny thy hypocrisie? Take heed, by acknowledging thy hypocri­sie blesse God, give glory to God, and so die, or, curse God and die, that is, thou hadst as good discover by a desperate blasphemy at last what thou hast formerly been, that so dying it may be seen that God hath dealt justly with thee in all that he hath laid upon thee. But because in the third verse this phrase of retaining his integrity is used concerning Iob in a way of commendation, the more ordinary exposition of these words I take to be the best, which is this, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? That is, after all these calamities and vain patience dost thou yet retain thy integrity? alas what doth it profit you? to what end do you still hope in God, and pray to him and blesse him? He still as a persecuting enemy [Page 10] pours out his wrath more and more upon you, rather therefore curse God and die, where by cursing God is meant, as before, chap. 1.11. whatever might tend to Gods reproach, and this his wife like an infernall fury adviseth him to, either as intimating that he had as good die cursing of God as blessing him, since thereby he should at least satisfie his grieved and afflicted spirit, or else as prescri­bing this as a means to put an end to all his insufferable miseries, to wit, by pro­voking God with his blasphemy to kill him outright.

Vers. 10. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.] As if he should have said, Thou dost not now, wife, speak like thy self, this had not wont to be thy language, even those women that are most silly and foolish, most profane and irreligious, most desperately violent in their passions, could not speak more Atheistically and wickedly then thou hast now spoken, more indeed like those idolatrous women, that use to revile their sencelesse Gods, then like a woman, who had been instructed in the knowledge of the true ever living God, and one that had hitherto carried her self as one that feared him

Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?] These words imply many reasons why it is fit that men should patiently endure those many afflictions, that sometimes fall upon them. 1. Because it is not fit that wretched man should bind God to his will and prescribe him what he should do, to wit, that he should still lade him with his blessings, and never intermix any sorrows with them. 2. Because the many blessings which he hath bestowed upon us, far surpassing the evils he inflicts, may well bind us by way of thankfulnesse to be content that he should exercise his dominion over us, and afflict us when he seeth cause without any murmuring against him. 3. Because the good he doth for us proves him a loving father, and therefore should assure us, that even in the evil he inflicts, he seeks our advantage, The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? saith Christ. Iohn 18.11. and so Heb. 12.9. We have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the father of spirits and live?

In all this did not Iob sin with his lips.] That is, not so much as with spea­king a hasty and impatient word; which was indeed a high degree of patience, Iames 3.2. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bri­dle the whole body. See the note chap. 1.22.

Vers. 11. Now when Iobs three friends heard, &c.] That is, his three speciall choice and most intimate friends, to wit, Eliphaz (who is called the Temanite, either because he was of the stock of Teman, the son of Eliphaz the son of Esau, Gen. 36.11. or else because he was of the land of Teman mentioned, Ier. 49.7.) and Bildad (who is called the Shuhite, perhaps because he was of the stock of Shuah, the son of Abraham by Keturah, Gen. 25.2. perhaps of some country or city so called) and Zophar the Naamathite (so called also for some such like reason it may be from the city Naamah Iosh. 15.41.) As for Elihu of whom mention is made, chap. 32.2. he came not it seems with these his three friends, but standing by, as perhaps many others did, and hearing their conference he brake out also and spake his mind. It is said by some that these men were Kings; but no such [Page 11] thing do we find in the Scripture. Men they were doubtlesse of eminent learning and piety (as by their discourse with Iob doth every where appear) yea such to whom the Lord used to appear in dreams and visions, Now a thing was secretly brought to me, (saith Eliphaz chap. 4.12, 13.) and mine ear received a little thereof, in thoughts from the visions of the night, as likewise men of great years and experi­ence, whence is that of Elihu concerning these men, chap. 32.6, 7. I am young and ye are very old, I said, Daies should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdome, and Iobs faithfull friends; doubtlesse they were, and in their love to him came now to visit him, and spake all they said to him out of a sincere desire of his good, though they erred fouly in judging of his cause: All which made the harsh cen­sures which afterward they passed upon him, the more bitter and grievous to be born.

For they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him, and to comfort him.] to wit, because it is a kind of ease to an afflicted man, to see that others pi­ty him and compassionate his case, neither can words of comfort be acceptable unlesse they come from those of whom he is perswaded that they have a fellow-feeling of his sorrows.

Vers. 12. And sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.] It seems there were two severall waies of sprinkling dust: sometimes they did barely sprinkle it upon their heads (concerning which see the Notes, Iosh. 7.6.) but sometimes a­gain they took the dust and threw it up into the air, so letting it fall back upon their heads; for so we read also of the Iews that were enraged at Pauls prea­ching, Acts 22.23. They cryed out and casting off their cloths threw dust into the aire; and this circumstance of their throwing the dust toward heaven might signifie, ei­ther that it was a day of grievous darknesse and affliction that was come upon them, yea a day of dismall confusion wherein things were turned upside down, and earth and aire as it were mingled together, or else that the spectacle they be­held was such▪ that they might well wish the heavens were overclouded with dark­nesse that they might not behold it.

Vers. 13. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven daies and seven nights.] That is, say some Expositours, many daies and many nights; for the number se­ven is sometimes used indefinitely, as 1 Sam. 2.5. of which see the Note there: or else the meaning may be that the greatest part of seven daies and seven nights they spent in a silent sitting by him, condoling his misery and mourning with him. It cannot be thought that Iob sat so long amongst the ashes, without ever withdrawing himself upon any occasion; much lesse can this be conceived of his friends; but as it is said of Anna that she continued daily in the Temple, though it cannot be thought that she never went out of it, Luke 2.37. So it is here said of Iobs friends that they sat with him on the ground seven daies and seven nights, that is, the greatest part of that time, but yet doubtlesse they took their time for necessa­ry food and rest, &c

And none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.] To wit, both because they at first thought it not so seasonable to begin to comfort him, before he had a little unladed his heart of sorrow, least by speaking they [Page 12] should rather cause him to break forth into greater passion, then any whit asswage his grief: and likewise because the longer they observed and considered in what extremity Gods hand was upon him, the more they were even overwhelmed with sorrow, and so not able to speak, and that doubtlesse especially because though formerly they had alwaies esteemed him a sincere godly man, and therefore came with a full resolution to speak comfortably to him, yet now the excessive misery they saw him in, made them begin to stagger concerning this, and suspect that all he had formerly done was done in hypocrisie, and therefore the Lord abhor­red him and punished him thus severely, and so herewith they were so astoni­shed and perplexed, that they could not speak nor knew what to say to him.

CHAP. III.

Vers. 1. AFter this opened Iob his mouth.] That is, though for a while he sat si­lent as being overwhelmed with grief and not able to speak, accor­ding to that of David, Psal. 77.4. I am so troubled that I cannot speak; yet getting at last some power over himself he gave vent to his sorrows and cur­sed his day; or thus, though hitherto Iob had carried himself with admirable pa­tience, yet after this now at length he began to speak, and that freely and bold­ly (for that is the meaning of this Hebrew phrase, Iob opened his mouth) having sat silent with his friends a long time before, he began now to complain of his mise­ries, and gave therein too much liberty to himself, and was carried too farre be­yond the bounds of patience by his passions, and therefore afterward was sharply reproved by God out of the whirlewind. chap. 38.2. Who is this that darkneth coun­sell by words without knowledge? and condemned by himself, chap. 40.4. Behold I am vile what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth, &c. And so a­gain, chap. 42.3, 6. And doubtlesse the cause of this sudden change was because God was now pleased to withdraw not only the light of his countenance, to make his tryall the more terrible, but also the strength of grace whereby he had been hi­therto enabled to endure with such patience what he had suffered, & that to make it manifest, that all comfort and strength to stand in tryalls comes from God, and what the holiest and best of Gods servants would be, if they should be left unto themselves: yet it is not strange that Iobs patience should be so highly extolled in the Scripture, if we consider, 1. That his afflictions were not only exceeding great and very many but had also continued a long time upon him ere he brake forth into this impatience; for at the end of this dispute which he had with his friends, ere they left him, God began to raise him up again, chap. 42.10. and yet then he had been many months, (as some conceive many years) under these hea­vy pressures, we see what he saith, chap. 7.3. I am made to possesse months of vanity. 2. That upon the silence of his friends so many daies together, the Devil might have occasion to suggest that even they also (as his other friends had done be­fore) deemed him a wicked man upon whom God had begun to pour forth his wrath, and therefore had not one word of comfort for him, which might much imbitter his soul. 3. That in his greatest impatience he was not wholly over-born, [Page 13] his desire was still to approve himself to God, only the flesh lusted against the spi­rit and prevailed sometimes too farre over him, and when he did forget himself, it was not so much Iob that did it, as sin that dwelt in him, Rom. 7.17. he still strove against it; and 4. That he did at length prevail over his corruptions, we see what he saith chap. 40.4, 5. Behold I am vile, I will lay my hand upon my mouth, I will speak no more: [...]nd chap. 42. I abhorre my self, and repent in dust and ashes. And herein especially is the patience of Iob commended to us as a pattern, because at the end he prevailed and got the day, Iam. 5.11. Behold, we count them happy which endure: ye have heard of the patience of Iob, and have seen the end of the Lord.

And cursed his day.] That is, his birth-day, as it is expressed vers. 3. Let the day perish wherein I was born, not the very day whereon he was born, which was long since past and gone, but his anniversary birth-day, which was in its time to return every year, as is evident vers. 4. Let that day be darknesse, let not God regard it, &c. And this he cursed, to wit, with those execrations mentioned in the following verses, not as having a thought that those things were like to befall his birth-day upon his imprecations, or as deliberately and seriously wishing it might so be, only transported with the heat of his passions, he seeks thereby with all vehemen­cy to expresse, how he abhorred his life, what a dismall and unhappy thing it was to him that he was ever born, &c.

Vers. 3. Let the day perish wherein I was born and the night, &c.] That is, where­as the tydings of a child born, especially of a man child, are usually received with much joy, & their birth-daies afterwards solemnized with a great deal of mirth and jollity; I may rather wish that I had never been born, or that the day of my birth and the night of my conception may perish, and not have their course in the Ka­lender amongst the daies and nights of the year, at least that they may be no more solemnized but may be buried in eternall oblivion (as it is more plainly ex­pressed vers. 6. Let it not be joyned to the daies of the year, let it not come into the num­ber of the months.) and that because I was born to so much misery and sorrow. Some Expositours indeed will have the night whereof Iob here speaks to be not the night of his conception, because it could not be then known that a man child was conceived, but the night of his birth. But there is no necessity that we should thus understand the words, for as Esa. 48.8. Thou wast called a trans­gressour from the womb, is the same with Thou hast been a transgressour from the womb. So here the night wherein it was said, a man child is conceived, is to be understood in the same sense as if he had said, the night wherein a man child was conceived; from this verse to the beginning of the 42 chapter in the originall the Penman of the holy Ghost hath expressed all that passed betwixt Iob and his friends, &c. in meeter.

Vers. 4. Let that day be darknesse.] This may be understood figuratively, let it be alwaies a sad and sorrowfull day; but I rather conceive that it was meant pro­perly, let it be alwaies a pitchy dark day even as darknesse it self. The like may be said also concerning the last clause of this verse, neither let the light shine up­on it.

Let not God regard it from above, &c.] That is, let not the Lord afford that day [Page 14] the light of the Sun from above, nor other the influences of the heavens; that we enjoy a succession of light and darknesse, fruitfull times and seasons it is from Gods care and providence over the world, and hence is that expression which Moses useth concerning the land of Canaan, Deut. 11.12. The eyes of the Lord thy God are alwaies upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year: So that when Iob wisheth that the Lord would not regard that day from above, it is all one as if he had wished that God would not mind it nor yield it the least of those blessings which he affords to other daies.

Vers. 5. Let darknesse and the shadow of death stain it, &c.] That is, a most ex­treme darknesse, to wit, first a darknesse like death that may be the very image and shadow of death, or 2. a darknesse like that wherewith dead men are overwhelmed that lye buried in their graves, or 3. a stifling killing darknesse, such as where damps and thick vapours that are in deep pits, that strike men suddenly dead, or 4. a dismall horrible darknesse, like enough to kill men with the very terrour of it, for hereto hath that clause reference also in the end of the verse, Let the blacknesse of the day terrifie it, that is, make it terrible to men. All this may be com­prehended under this phrase of the shadow of death, and when Iob wished that such a darknesse might stain the day whereon he was born, the ground of the expressi­on is this, that darknesse takes away the glory of a day, and hides the beauty of all things whatsoever.

Vers. 7. Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyfull voice come therein.] That is, whereas the night is usually the time of feasting, dancing, and all kind of jollity, as at marriages and all other times of festivity and rejoycing whatsoever, let it not be so on that unhappy night wherein I was conceived, but quite contrary let it be solitary, still, and silent, yea, let the darknesse thereof be so terrible, (all the stars in heaven withdrawing their light,) that neither man nor beast may dare to stir or move either within dores or without.

Vers. 8. Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.] That is, all that in the bitternesse of their sorrows are wont to curse the day, as being weary both of life and light, let them curse that night wherein I was concei­ved and bo [...]n. Some expositours understand this of fishermen and marriners, and that because they read the last clause of this verse, according to the translation which is set in the margin of our Bibles (who are ready to raise up a Leviathan) Such mens mouths are usually full of most fearfull execrations and curses, and especial­ly when they are imployed in taking whales, that huge fish which is called a Levi­athan, chap. 41.1. And that because the fishing for the whale is a businesse of great charge and greater danger, so that when they have seized upon one and are ready to raise him up, if by any mishap they loose him again, they are wont vio­lently to break forth into all kind of fearfull imprecations against that unlucky and unfortunate day, because great losses cause great passions, specially in such ungodly wretches; and therefore, say they, Iob here wisheth that these men might curse the night of his conception; and to this we may adde too, that some referre this to the cursing of those marriners, who as they sail along lighting at unawares upon some place where they are ready to stirre or raise up a whale, do [Page 15] thereupon seeing themselves in such imminent danger, curse the day that they entred upon that voyage, or that brought them within the reach of this sea-mon­ster now ready to sink their vessell and drown them all. Again, others by Levia­than understand the Devil, metaphorically so called, to whom many authours in like manner apply that place, Esa. 27.1. In that day the Lord with his sore, and great, and strong sword, shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that crooked ser­pent, and so conceive these words to be meant of those furious men, that in their passions are wont to wish the Devil might take either themselves, or others that are the occasion of their misery. Let them curse it that in the extremity of their impatience, not only use to curse the day, but also are ready ever and anon in their rage to raise up a Leviathan, that is, to call upon the Devil to take them. But now if we read the words according as our Translatours have rendered it, Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning, There is an­other exposition may be given of these words, which seems far more apt and ea­sie, to wit, that whereas there were usually in those times certain persons, both men and women, that were hired to howle and lament at funeralls, or any other times of great calamitie and dismall sorrow, and that because they could doe it artificially, they were trained up to it, and had certain sad and dolefull ditties wherein they did in a solemn and passionate manner curse, sometimes the day of those sad accidents, sometimes those that were the occasion of it, to which cu­stome many places of Scripture clearly have reference, as Amos 5.16. They shall call the husband-man to the mourning, and such as are skilfull of lamentation to wailing. And so again Ier. 9.17. 2 Chron. 35.25. Mat. 9.23. Ezek. 30.2. Ioel 1.15. These now that were so ready and prepared at all times to raise up a mourning, or to call their company together to mourn, these I say Iob desires might be im­ployed to curse the night wherein he was conceived. And happily some one dit­ty they might have fullest of bitter imprecations, that was called a Leviathan.

Vers. 9. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark, &c.] The stars are a great or­nament to the heaven, like so many spangles or Oes of gold set in the Canopy of heaven, they are also a great delight and comfort in the night and of speciall use for the direction of sea-men and others. To expresse therefore what cause he had to be troubled that ever he was conceived, Iob here wisheth the night of his conception might not have a star shining in it, that it might have no mixture of light [...] no not in the twilight of the evening, nor in the dawning of the morning (called here in the Hebrew the eye-lids of the morning, because the beams of the Sun the eye of the world, do then first discover themselves) but desireth that rather it might be a perpetuall night, then that any mixture of light by the approach of the morning should any whit abate the terrour of its darknesse. Let it look for light but have none, which expression is used as an aggravation of the nights dark­nesse, that there should be a long expectation of light, and then at last their expe­ctation should be frustrate.

Vers. 10. Because it shut not up the dores of my mothers womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.] To wit, either that I might not have been conceived, or at least that I had not been born, and so might never have seen those sorrows, that now I have [Page 16] lived to see; for here Iob begins to render the reason why he had cursed both the day of his birth, and the night of his conception; and therefore this may be re­ferred to both.

Vers 12. Why did the knees prevent me? &c.] That is, why did the midwife so carefully prevent my falling upon the earth, by receiving me so charily into her lap, that I might be afterward washed, and swadled, and nursed up? why did she not rather suffer me to fall from the womb to the earth, where I might have lyen and perished presently? and it may well be which some think, that in these ex­pressions Iob alludes to that execrable custome used in those times by unnatu­rall parents, who were wont to cast out their children assoon as they were born, and there to leave them upon the cold earth naked and helplesse, whereto the holy Ghost also seems to have respect in that remarkable place. Ezek. 16, 3, 4, 5. Thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite; and as for thy nativity in the day thou wast born, thy navell was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee, thou wast not salted at all, nor swadled at all; none eye pitied thee, to do any of these un­to thee, to have compassion upon thee, but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.

Vers. 13. For now should I have lyen still and been quiet, &c.] It is evident that Iob speaks here only of the rest of the body in the grave, and the freedome which death brings from all worldly troubles and sorrows whatsoever; for he speaks of the rest which befalls all men after death, the bad as well as the good, the wicked oppressours as well as the poor that are oppressed by them, as is evident vers. 17. &c. There the wicked cease from troubling: and there the weary be at rest. But since Iob knew well enough (doubtlesse) and did certainly believe, that when the bo­dies of men are laid in the graue, yet their souls then passe to greater pains and miseries, unlesse they be of Gods elect, to whom through Christs merits, an en­trance is given to heaven and everlasting glory, why doth Iob here make no mention of this, but only speak of the rest of mens carcases in the grave, as if he believed not the immortality of the soul, nor put any difference betwixt the wicked and the righteous after death? surely because 1. He had a kind of secret assurance concerning the blisse of his soul after death, and so made no mention of that, and 2. Because through the vehement perturbations of his mind at pre­sent, and the violence of his passions by reason of the extremity of his sufferings, he only now minded as it were and thought upon the happinesse of those that were at quiet in their graves, and the thought of a second life, and the resurrecti­on of mens bodies to shame or glory, they lye for the present as forgotten, buri­ed under the rubbish of his confused passions, as Moses when he saw the people of God like to be cut off, by the revenging hand of Gods justice, did in a manner forget (what he knew well enough) the immutability of Gods decree, and was on­ly carried with the vehemency of his affections to the people of God, and his ear­nest desire of Gods glory, when he wished. Exod, 32.32. that he would forgive the people their sin, or else blot him out of the book of life.

Vers. 14. With Kings and counsellours of the earth, which build desolate places for themselves.] That is, had I died immediately either in the womb, or so soon as [Page 17] ever I was born, besides that I should have escaped all the miseries I have now suf­fered, in the grave I should have been not one jot in a worse condition, then the greatest Kings and Nobles are when they come to die, for all the great pomp and pleasure they have lived in before, and the great pomp of their sepulchers when they are dead: for by Kings and counsellers which built desolate places for them­selves are meant here the most glorious, the mightiest Princes of the world, that by reason of their great power and riches sought to perpetuate the memory of their name by building desolate places, that is, either 1. by erecting huge and stately tombes and monuments, as memorialls of their buriall in those places, such as were the Egyptians Pyramids, &c. which are called desolate places, not only because the dead bodies buried there are left as it were forsaken of all friends in a desolate condition, but also because such monuments were built usually not in towns and cities, but abroad in the fields in solitary and unfrequented places▪ whence is that of the prophet, Ezek. 26.20. where foreshewing the destruction of Tyre, he speaks as in the name of the Lord thus, When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, &c. or 2. by rebuilding what their ancestours durst not attempt, great houses or cities formerly ruined, that had been a long time wast places, as the Prophet calls them, Isa. 58.12. whereof there had been nothing but the foundations left for many generations; or rather, 3. by build­ing in places formerly desolate, wherein haply one would wonder how such buildings could be raised, either great cities or stately houses for themselves to dwell in, and that of such a huge bignesse and vast compasse, that a Prin­ces family cannot fill them, but still they seem in many places empty and deso­late.

Vers. 15. Or with Princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver.] That is, with the richest of Princes, who gathered in their life time the greatest masse of treasure; yet some understand this, as spoken with reference to a custome u­sed in those times, of burying much treasure in the houses, that is, the graves and tombes of their great Princes.

Vers. 16. Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been, &c.] That is, had I not been born, but dyed in the womb, (which also Iob had wished before vers. 10.) such as the condition of abortives is, that perish in the womb, to wit, either those that by some mischance miscarry within a while after they are conceived, (called here an hidden untimely birth, because they are presently laid by or cast away as un­pleasing spectacles, or not at all looked after; or else because the form and li­neaments of a child in such imperfect embryoes cannot well be discer­ned,) or those that have their full and perfect shape, but then die in the wombe, and so being dead-born never see light; such (saith Iob) had been then my condition, I had not been, that is, I had never been numbred amongst the sons of Adam, but had been wholly buried in oblivion, and had passed without name, as Solomon we see speaks of such an untimely birth. Eccles. 6.4. He cometh in and departeth in darknesse, and his name shall be covered with dark­nesse.

[Page 18]Vers. 17. There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest.] By the weary here may be meant those that wicked oppressours have wearied with continuall troubles; and then the summe of the whole verse is this, that in the grave the oppressours and the oppressed are both at rest together. But the weary here intended may be also the wicked persecutours and oppressours, that do wea­ry and tire out themselves with vexing and troubling others, till they come to be laid in the graves and then there they are at rest, and this may seem the more probable exposition, because in the following verse he speaks of those that suffer, and here therefore it is likely of those only that make men suffer.

Vers. 18. There the prisoners rest together, they hear not the voice of the oppressour.] Because wicked oppressours use bitter words, and with their terrible threatning, and their insulting and scoffing language are wont to wound as deeply those that are under their power, as any other way: hence is this expression, they hear not the voice of the oppressour.

Vers. 20. Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul?] These words are added, to imply how earnestly now he desired death; They are indeed a kind of expostulation with God, for continuing life to those that are in such misery, that they had rather die then live; but doubtlesse, though the extremity of his miseries wrung these words from him, yet he did not utter them with a purpose to contend with God, and to charge him with dealing too hardly with those that are in misery. Indeed they are words of lamentation rather then expostulation, wherefore is light given to him that is in misery? that is, Alas, it were well for those that are in bitter calamities, if they might die: they cannot but earnestly desire it, and it is a kind of addition to their miseries, that they must live, though they would die. Revel. 9.6. And in those daies shall men seek death, and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

Vers. 23. Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?] That is, to a man that cannot find out the meaning of Gods dealing with him, or why it is that he is so sorely afflicted; or rather, to a man whom God hath so hedged and hemmed in with many and divers calamities, and those so desperate and inextricable, that (poor wretch) it is not possible he should con­ceive which way to turn himself, or what course to take to find out any way of e­scape, whereby he might wind himself out of these troubles, and therefore must needs be in continuall perplexity to think what will become of him, and what the end will be of all these miseries that are fallen upon him. Much to this purpose is that complaint of the Church, Lam. 3.9. He hath inclosed my waies with hewen stone: he hath made my paths crooked.

Vers. 24. For my sighing cometh before I eat.] This is added, to imply that he was one of those, of whom he had spoken, to whom it was an addition of miseries, that they must still live, though they can see no hope of deliverance, and that be­cause though he had alwaies worked out his salvation with fear and trembling (which is at least implyed vers. 25, 26. The thing which I greatly feared is come up­on me,) yet his miseries were so grievous and continuall, without intermission, [Page 19] that he had not so much space of freedome, as to eat his meat in quiet, nor could forbear his sighs and tears, when the naturall desire of food was most urgent up­on him; which indeed is most like that complaint of the Psalmist, Psal. 102.9. I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping. Some expositours un­derstand this of his sighing because of the pain it would be to him to eat, in re­gard of his ulcers, wherewith he was every where filled, or because it grieved him to think that he must by feeding uphold the life, which he would so gladly be rid of; but the first exposition is far the most proper.

And my roarings are poured out like the waters.] That is, violently, abundantly and without ceasing; for he compares his roaring to the pouring out of waters. 1. Because when waters are poured forth, or break through the banks that be­fore held them in, they rush out in great abundance and with unresistable vio­lence. 2. Because the waters of rivers flow on continually without ceasing, as be­ing still supplyed from their fountains and springs, and 3. Because the noise of his roarings, by reason of their violence, was much like that of waters, where they break forth with such fury and carry all before them that stands in their way. It must be a great affliction that can make a man of spirit to mourn, and therefore much more that which makes him cry out and roare; & therefore the extremity of a mans misery is usually set forth in the Scripture by this that it makes him roar; as Psal. 32.3. I roared for the very disquietnesse of my soul; So that when Iob com­plains not only that his sorrows made him roar, but also that his roarings were poured forth like water, this implyes how exceeding grievous his miseries were.

Vers. 25. For the thing I greatly feared is come upon me, &c.] This is added as an aggravation of his misery, (to shew what just cause he had to be weary of his life) to wit, that in the daies of his prosperity he had not lived carelessely and secure­ly as wicked men use to doe, that when things go well with them confidently as­sure themselves that there shall never come a change, and so walk on presumptu­ously in their own waies, without any fear either of God or man; but that he had alwaies considered before hand what might befall him, and out of an awfull apprehension of the great alterations, which God could make in his condition e­ven in an instant, he had alwaies walked humbly with God, and looked narrowly to his waies, that he might avoid his indignation; and yet notwithstanding that which he feared was fallen upon him. Had he in his prosperity glutted himself with pleasure and lived securely, it had been another matter (for to such God hath threatned destruction. 1 Thes. 5.3. When they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape) But (saith Iob) I was not in safety, I did not think my self safe, but as one that ever feared what might come, I still watched over my waies, and yet these grievous troubles are come upon me.

CHAP. IV.

Vers. 2. IF we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved &c.?] Hitherto Iobs friends had forborn speaking to him, partly because they were afraid they should by speaking encrease his grief, and partly because by the extraordinary heavinesse of Gods hand upon him they began to think, that doubtlesse he had alwaies been a secret hypocrite and therefore now at length the vengeance of God was in this fearfull manner fallen upon him; But when now they had heard him in such an impatient manner curse the day of his birth and wish for death, to put an end to all his miseries, but especially when they heard him in his last words, as it were justifying himself, to wit, by affirming that he had not by his security in the time of his prosperity provoked God to deal thus with him, but rather had done what he could to prevent it, this confirmed them in their opinion, that his heart was not right with God. And therefore Eliphaz, as being haply the elder and the chief of them, begins now with him, resolving to reprove him for his impatience, and to prove to him that God useth not to plague any but wicked men, as he was now plagued, and therefore it was fit that he should repent and turn to God, and not justifie himself. Now because he fea­red that this Iob would hardly take in good part, he begins with a profession that he was loth to grieve him, but that he could not forbear; If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? that is, I fear thou wilt, and it is that which hath made us forbear so long; but who can withhold himself from speaking? that is, hearing thee thus dishonour God and justifie thy self, as if all were well with thee, when Gods fearfull judgements upon thee do manifest the contrary, it is not possible we should hold our peace; if we have any care of thy soul, or be tender of Gods dishonour, it must need constrain us to speak.

Vers. 3. Behold thou hast instructed many, &c.] This is the first argument which Eliphaz useth, to condemn Iobs impatience, and to discover to him that he had only hitherto carried himself hypocritically in the profession of religion, to wit, that he had been a great Instructer and comforter of others, yea many others, in time of their calamity, fear and sorrow, and yet now when it came to be his por­tion to be in the like misery, no man could be more faint-hearted nor more impa­tient and rebellious against God then he was. To strengthen the weak hands and the feeble knees, and to uphold him that was falling, is to comfort those that are ready to faint and sink in despair, because of any grievous calamities that lie up­on them, or are unavoidably, as they conceive, coming towards them, as Esa. 35.3, 4. Strengthen yee the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees, say to them that are of a fearfull heart, be strong, and so likewise Heb. 12, 12. 2 Sam. 4, 1. Ier. 6, 24. 1 Sam. 23, 16. Now because Iob had done this to others, but minded not now to do himself what he had taught others to do, this Eliphaz presseth upon him, as an argument, that there was never in him that truly religious heart, which he made shew of to others.

Vers. 6. Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightnesse of thy [Page 21] waies?] That is, having made such a shew in thy prosperity of fearing God, of walking uprightly, of great hope and confidence which thou hast in God, whereas now when Gods hand is fallen upon thee, thou carriest thy self in a quite contra­ry manner to what thou madest a shew of, and didst advise others to, doth not this plainly discover, that all this was counterfeit in thee? and that thou didst but aime at thine own advantage in all that thou hast done? wherein when thou findest that God would no longer satisfie thy aimes, now thou art ready to fly in Gods face and to spurn against him. This is the drift of these words: And perhaps in the first place he speaks of his fear of God, because Iob had in a manner boasted of that in the two last verses of the former chapter.

Vers. 7. Remember I pray thee, who ever perished being innocent? &c.] That is, call to mind whether thou hast ever seen, or read, or heard of any one of Gods righteous servants, that have been destroyed by the avenging hand of God, and so utterly cast off and forsaken by him? This is another argument whereby Eli­phaz seeeks to proove him not to have been so fearfull to offend God, as he pre­tended, to wit, because such plagues God used not to lay upon the righteous, as were now poured upon him.

Vers. 8. Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, &c.] Wicked men are said to plow iniquity and sow wickednesse because 1. They plot before hand how to ac­complish their injurious purposes, as husbandmen by plowing the ground make it ready for the seed. 2. They follow their plot with all possible pains and dili­gence, moving every stone, turning up every clod, assaying by all means they can think of, all kind of injustice, treachery and deceit, to effect what they have contrived. 3. They act their wicked devices cunningly and artificially, they are not bunglers in the waies of sinning, as some men are, but manage their work with such curious cunning, that nothing can be done with more exact skill for the ac­complishment of their cursed devices, and 4. They do all this in hope of some fruit and advantage that shall redound to them thereby. And then again they are said to reap the same, because in time they reap that which is the proper fruit of such waies, that is, the wrath of God, as the just recompence of their evil cour­ses. Prov. 22.8. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity, and Gal. 6.8. He that sow­eth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption: whence it is that the just reward and fruit of wickednesse is called wickednesse (and therefore it is clear that they thus reap the same) Ier. 4.18. Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickednesse. Wicked men may not be punished for a time, but at last they shall have a harvest answerable and proportionable to their deeds. Hos. 10.13. Ye have plowed wickednesse, ye have reaped iniquity, ye have eaten the fruit of lies; or because others at length deal with them just as they dealt with others, and so God paies them in their own kind, and that double many times. Revelat. 18.6. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double: y [...]a seven-fold Psal. 79.12. And ten­der unto our neighbours seven-fold into their bosome; their reproach wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord. So also Luke 6.38. For of such unjust oppressours of o­thers, Eliphaz chiefly here speaks, as is evident by the following words vers. 10.1 [...].

[Page 22]Vers. 9. By the blast of God they perish, &c.] That is, the Lords anger breaking forth against them, he doth with ease on a sudden destroy them. Because when men are filled with indignation their passion and wrath will discover it self in the breathing and puffing of their nostrils, the Lords anger is many times in the Scri­pture expressed by the breathing of his nostrils, as Esa. 30.33. and because wick­ed men are oftentimes cut off in an instant and with ease, the Lord only as it were blowing upon them, Hag. 1.9. Ye looked for much, and lo it came to little: and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it; they are said to be destroyed with a blast, even as when corn that comes up hopefully is on a sudden blasted (whereto we may the rather think that Eliphaz alludes because of the foregoing metaphor of wicked mens sowing wickednesse and reaping the same) or as a house by a blast of wind is suddenly blown down; and doubtlesse at that dismall death that be­fell Iobs children, Eliphaz doth in this expression especially aime.

Vers. 10. The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, &c.] That is, the Lord usually abates the courage and power of the mightiest of the wicked, even those that have made a prey of others, no body daring to resist them; yea, he many times destroyes them and brings them to perish with hunger, both they and their whelps; That wicked powerfull tyrannicall oppressours▪ are usually termed lions in the Scripture is manifest from many places; Ezek. 32.2. Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh King of Egypt, and say unto him, thou art like a young lion of the nations, and 38.13. Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof thall say unto thee, art thou come to take a spoil? and 2 Tim. 4.17. I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion, that is, out of the mouth of Nero, and indeed oppressing great ones do resemble lions in divers respects: as 1. in their pride and loftinesse of spirit; for the lion is a proud and stately creature. 2. In regard of their strength; for as the lion is the strongest amongst beasts, and therefore there is no resisting or withstanding the lion: So great men that are oppressours by reason of their power may doe what they please, and there is no contending with them. 3. In regard of the terriblenesse of the lions roar­ing, and the sternesse of his countenance; the very threatnings and looks of op­pressing tyrants are dreadfull to those that are subject to their power. 4. In regard of their bloud-sucking cruelty; we see what the Prophet saith of such men, Mich. 3.2. They pluck their skins from off them, and their flesh from off their bones, &c. and 5. In regard of their greedinesse after the prey. They have set their eyes bowing down to the earth like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, Psal. 17.11, 12. So that because Iob was a great man, a man in authority, it may well be that Eliphaz intended in these words to give a hint to Iob that as he had dealt hardly and cruelly with others, so now the Lord had accordingly dealt with him; and that last clause concerning the breaking of the teeth of the lions whelps, or the young lions, may seem pur­posely added, because of the destruction that fell upon Iobs children, when they were feasting together.

Vers. 12. Now a thing was secretly brought to me.] That is, in a vision, and that too in the secrecy & solitarin [...]sse of the night, and perhaps also in a secret manner with a still and low small voice, not easily discernable; for here Eliphaz begins to [Page 23] relate a vision he had formerly had, wherein amongst other things this was revea­led to him that it was a vain and audacious part for men to contend with God when he corrects them, as if they were juster then God; and that to proove, that by Gods dealing with Iob it was evident enough that he had given the Lord just cause to proceed with such severity against him, and likewise to shew what a foul sin it was in Iob to murmure so against God as he had done.

And mine ear received a little thereof.] Hereby is not so much meant that he on­ly heard some little part of that which was spoken to him, as that by his ear he did receive into his mind, that is, understand and lay up in his heart, somewhat of that which in his vision was imparted to him, acknowledging modestly that he did not fully and perfectly either comprehend or retain what God was pleased in this propheticall way to reveal unto him.

Vers. 13. In thoughts from the visions of the night, &c.] That Iob might not doubt but the vision he now speaks of was from God, and so the more regard what was then revealed to him, Eliphaz here describes the manner of his vision, to wit, that in the beginning of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, that is, when men used to be most soundly a-sleep, in thoughts caused by a nightly vision (but whether waking or sleeping it is not expressed) a spirit vers. 15. passed before his face, that is, an angel appeared and came to him, he being at the same time stricken with extreme terrour and fear, fear came upon me, saith he, and trembling, &c. which last is the rather mentioned, because when God in former times appeared to men in dreams and visions, he did alwaies thus humble and cast them down with fear, that by those impressions of terrour, caused by the apprehension of his Majesty and glory, they might be assuredly perswaded that the vision was from God and so the more reverently receive and the more carefully obey what he then gave them in charge, as the prophet Daniel acknowledges of himself when he had seen a vision, Dan. 10.17. As for me straight way there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.

Vers. 16. It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof, &c.] That is, the spi­rit, the angel before spoken of (having at his first appearance approached towards him, or perhaps walked a turn or two in his sight) did at length stand still before him (either that he might present himself the more fully to his view, or as ad­dressing himself to speak to him) and so he saw it, though he could not fully and distinctly discern his shape.

There was silence, and I heard a voice.] This clause may be read, as it is in the margin of our Bibles, I heard a still voice or a silent voice, that is, a low whispering voice: for as we use to call an imperfect obscure light a dark light, so a low soft voice we use to call a silent still voice; and the reasons given by Expositours why the angel spake with so low a voice are, 1. That hereby might be implyed that it was a secret which God would now whisper, as it were, into his ear, and 2. That Eliphaz might thereby be stirred to receive with reverence and attention what was spoken, and that because a man must needs set himself with earnestnesse to hear that which is spoken in such a manner. But according to that Translation that is in our Text it cannot be meant of the silence of the voice, but of a silence, [Page 24] foregoing the voice, to wit, either the silence of Eliphaz, that he spake never a word, but waited to hear what would be spoken, or else the silence generally that was in the place; whereas haply at first the angel appeared with some noise, the more to encrease his terrour, at length all things were husht, and there was a still silence, and thereupon, saith Eliphaz, I began to reco­ver my self out of my fear, and being attentive I heard a low still voice speaking as followeth.

Vers. 17. Shall mortall man be more just then God? &c.] That is, it is not possible: and this Eliphaz alledgeth. 1, Because when men in their troubles do expostu­late with God, as if he had dealt too hardly with them, and especially if they plead their own integrity and righteousnesse, as if thereby they had deserved better at Gods hands, they do hereby make man to be more just then God, and that because a just righteous man will not punish any one causelessely or unjust­ly; yea they do hereby as it were professe themselves to be more just and pure then God their creatour, who hath so causelessely punished them: and 2. Be­cause he conceived that Iob by expostulating so with God, and especially by al­ledging chap. 3.23, 26. how humbly and warily he had walked and that pur­posely to avoid Gods displeasure, the bitter effects whereof were yet notwithstan­ding now fallen upon him, had in effect made himself more just then God.

Vers. 18. Behold he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with fol­ly:] These words, as it is most probable, are added by Eliphaz for the better clearing of that before in the former verse, which was declared to him in a vision by an angel; the servants of God here meant are the angels, as it is expressed in the second clause (for that men, who are Gods faithfull servants, are not inclu­ded, is clear by the opposition in the following verse, How much lesse on them that dwell in houses of clay, &c.) and that, as they were all at first created in a holy and glorious estate and condition; and of them it is here said, that God put no trust in them, that is, that they are not firmly and unchangeably righteous in them­selves, God could not trust nor rest upon their righteousnesse, being mutable creatures subject to sin and to fall from their estate, as some of them did, and the rest also might do, had not God by Christ established them in this blessed and perfectly holy condition, wherein they now serve God, Col. 1.19, 20. For it pleased the father, that in him should all fulnesse dwell. And (having made peace through the bloud of his Crosse) by him to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven, and 2. That he charged them with fol­ly, which may be meant not only of those Apostate angels, who abode not in the truth, and so were cast to hell, but also of the holy angels, who though they be not in the least degree tainted with sin, yet before God they are chargeable with folly, not only comparatively in regard of his infinite wisdome and purity, even as the moon and stars have no light, when the Sun appears, but also in regard of their vanity and weaknesse, as they are mutable creatures, because they are like enough in themselves to fall away, and to forsake their own happinesse, if God should not support them.

Vers. 19. How much lesse on them that dwell in houses of clay? &c.] From that [Page 25] which is said in the former verse concerning the instability of the angels, Eliphaz inferres how much lesse likely it is, that men should be found so unblameably just, that nothing should be found in them reproovable and for which God may justly punish them, who dwell in houses of clay, that is, in earthly bodies whose foun­dation is in the dust and are crushed before the moth, that is, are crushed and molder to nothing, if God laies his hand upon them, more suddenly and easily, then a moth is crushed and rubbed to dust between a mans fingers. And thus he ma­keth the earthly and frail condition of man the ground of this inference. 1. Be­cause the angels, Gods choice servants, do continually behold the face of God, Matth. 18.10. attending alwaies upon him, as the Peeres of heaven, in the glo­rious Palace of the heavenly Ierusalem, and men that dwell here below and behold him only afarre off, darkly and obscurely, cannot be thought to be so righteous and holy as they are, 2. Because in regard of their earthly condition they are so addicted to earthly things, that hereby they are often insnared in sin, and 3. Be­cause by reason of their frailty, they are subject to many miseries, and so in dan­ger to be carried away with their passions and to forget God.

Vers. 20. They are destroyed from morning to evening:] That is, they are gone on a sudden, well in the morning and dead before night, Psal. 90.5, 6. In the mor­ning they are like grasse which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up: in the evening it is cut down and withereth; or, all the day long they decay and wax old insensibly by degrees, and approach still nearer to their end, and have e­very moment somewhat spent of their life: yea they are subject to sudden de­struction from morning to evening every moment, and hence are those expressi­ons, I die daily. 1 Cor. 15.31. in deaths often. 2 Cor. 11.23. we are killed all the day long. & Rom. 8.36. they perish for ever without any regarding it; that is, they are taken away never more to live in this world; and yet scarce any amongst the living they leave behind them do ever regard this or lay it to heart; This I conceive is the true meaning of the place; for they are said to perish for ever that dye, only be­cause they are gone for ever, in regard of the comforts of this life, according to that chap. 14.14. If a man dye shall he live again? and that, Psal. 103.16. As for man his dayes are as grasse; as the flower of the field so he flourisheth; for the wind passeth over it and it is gone and the place thereof shall know it no more; and it is doubtlesse the li­ving that see this and make not good use of this perishing condition of those that dye, concerning whom that clause of complant is added without regarding it yet some I know understand this otherwise, to wit, thus; whereas the conside­ration of this mortality of man might and should (one would think) make men the more carefull to walk righteously before God, naturally it is other­wise, they never regard this, and so as others before them, they die in their sins and perish for ever.

Vers. 21. Doth not their excellency which is in them, go away? they die, even without wisedome.] Some understand the first clause thus, that when men die, their soul, which is the excellency and glory of man, goeth away; but I rather understand it thus, that even those men that have any excellencies above others, whether natu­rall or acquired, they perish and their excellencies with them vanish and come to [Page 26] nothing, and then they die even without wisdome, that is, either first they die like fools, men that had not the wisedome by the mortality of men to consider be­fore-hand of their end, but run on in their sins and never provide for a better e­state; or 2. They die, as if they had no wisedome, they have no more priviledge against the stroke of death, then fooles have, according to that, Eccles. 2.16. How dieth the wise man? as the fool; or 3. They cannot carry their wisedome away with them, but that, as all other their excellencies, vanisheth away.

CHAP. V.

Vers. 1. CAll now if there be any that will answer thee, and to which of the Saints wilt thou turn?] Eliphaz having in the former chapter prooved that God did never unjustly punish men, but for their wickednesse, and therefore that it was a most bold and presumptuous part in him to justifie him­self, and to murmure against God, as he had done, in these words now he gives him to understand, that if he should appeal, to any of the Saints and servants of God, dead or living, he should not find one amongst them all, whose judge­ment were like his, or that had raged against God, as he had done, by whose ex­ample he might defend himself.

Vers. 2. For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.] That is, either these passions carry men head-long to such unadvised courses as proove their death, or else 2. By murmuring and breaking out in wrath and impatience a­gainst God, or by an envious grudging that God deals worse with them then o­thers, men provoke the Lord utterly to destroy them; a most egregious piece of folly, which the Saints and servants of God have alwaies carefully avoided: or 3. By filling the soul with vexation and fretting grief, they make a mans life a continuall death, and do at last cause him to wast and pine away and bring him to the grave; And in this Eliphaz strikes secretly at the intemperate passion, which Iob had discovered in his late expostulations and complaints, which he concei­ved did spring from his rage against God for the troubles he was in, and from a secret envy that others were in a better condition then himself.

Vers. 3. I have seen the foolish taking root:] Eliphaz, having upbraided Iob for his wrath and impatience, returns here to his former argument of prooving, that it is the wickednesse of men, that brings Gods judgements upon them; for yielding at first, that indeed he had seen foolish, that is, wicked men, in such a flourishing estate for a while, that one would have thought there had been no danger of a change, he adds, But suddenly I cursed his habitation, which is meant, either that E­liphaz did immediately, even while they did thus flourish, resolve with himself, and perhaps foretell, that doubtlesse Gods curse would in the conclusion fall up­on them, or else that suddenly their estate was so changed, that he concluded it was the curse of God upon them.

Vers. 4. His children are farre from safety, &c.] This is added to shew, both that wicked mens children are oft involved in the same destruction with their fathers, and likewise that though wicked men sometimes escape Gods judgements in [Page 27] their own persons, yet at least then they fall upon their children and posterity, they shall be oppressed in the gate, that is, before the seats of justice, and no bo­dy shall stand in their defence.

Vers. 5. Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, &c.] That is, after all their labour in plowing, sowing, and keeping their fields, when they are now in hope of reaping the fruit of their labour, or have already reaped it, poor and needy robbers and men greedy of prey shall violently seise upon their harvest (their hedge of thorns about their fields or about their stack, Exod. 22.6. shall be no fence for it, nor whatever else they can do to guard and pre­serve it) and shall carry it away, swallow it up, and devour it. And under this one particular the same is implyed concerning all the goods and provisions, which wicked men gather up with a great deal of labour and toil, namely, that they shall be spoiled of all by a company of poor greedy wretches that will break through and have it, whatever it cost them.

Vers. 6. Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, &c.] Eliphaz still proceeds to proove that Iob was justly punished for his sins; and so withall makes way to the following exhortation, covertly given him, vers. 8. of seeking unto God, that for his sins had brought these miseries upon him. But because this phrase of affliction coming forth out of the dust, and springing out of the ground, may be understood probably four severall waies, accordingly these two verses may be expounded in a four-fold sence. 1. Thus, Though affliction and trouble come not by chance and we know not how (as those things that of their own accord grow out of the earth, without any seed sown) yet this we may see, that men are born to trouble, and that severall miseries befall them, even as naturally as the sparks fly upward, and therefore doubtlesse some cause or reason may be assigned for these things; and 2ly thus, Although affliction and trouble springs not meerly and onely from the creature below, yet we see plain­ly, that man is full of trouble; and therefore surely it comes from hea­ven, from God, who disposeth all things according to his own good plea­sure, and 3. Thus, although affliction springs not from the dust or any thing without man, yet we see it is alwaies mans portion, and therefore question­lesse it springs from himself, even the sin that is within him; or 4. Thus, (which is much to the same purpose with the former) Although the calamities and mise­ries which men are subject to, spring not merely from the earthly condition of mans body (for notwithstanding this, had man continued in his innocency he should have been free from all miseries) yet man is born to trouble, to wit, because he is born in sin, as naturally, as the sparks fly upward; it is as naturall for man to be in trouble and misery, as for the sparkes to fly upward; yea it is that which is derived to us by a lineall descent from our parents as our inheritance or birth­right, Man is born unto trouble; And thus the nature of man is compared to coals, his sin and corruption to fire in the coals, and his afflictions and troubles to the sparks that fly up from the fire, and Iob is taught to acknowledge, that he could not justly ascribe the calamities, that were fallen upon him, to any thing else but his own wickednesse, and to the justice of God in punishing him for it.

[Page 28]Vers. 8. I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause.] That is, were I in your case Iob I would not murmure and complain of Gods dealing with me, as you do; but considering that it is the great God of heaven and earth that I have to deal with, and that it is my sins that have brought these mise­ries upon me, I would turn to him, acknowledge my sins, seek for mercy at his hands, and in the mean season patiently bear what he was pleased to lay upon me, and quietly commend both my self and my condition and cause wholy to his disposing.

Vers. 9. Which doth great things and unsearchable, marvellous things without num­ber.] This following enumeration of many severall works of Gods Providence is to proove the infinite power, wisedome, goodnesse and justice of God, and so thence to imply, that it is not fit men should quarrell with him, the reason of whose works they cannot search out, but rather seek to him for help, who is so good and able at his pleasure to raise them up again from the greatest miseries.

Vers. 10. And sendeth waters upon the fields:] to wit, not rain only, but springs also, brooks and rivers to water the severall parts of the earth.

Vers. 11. To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.] These words may be referred, either to the immediately foregoing clause, vers. 10. who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields, to wit, thereby to enrich those that were poor, by causing their land to yield plenti­full encrease, and to save those that are ready to perish for want, by sending fruitfull times and seasons; or else rather, they may be referred to those forego­ing words, vers. 9. that God doth great things and unsearchable, marvellous things without number; and that hereby he doth many times set up on high those that be low, that those which mourn may be exalted to safety: and thus Eliphaz gives Iob a hint for his comfort and incouragement, that if he would seek to God, as he had advi­sed vers. 8. though his estate was now very low, yet he might be set up again, and from that sad condition wherein he lay, he might be exalted to joy and safety.

Vers. 13. He taketh the wise in their own craftinesse:] That is, he causeth the crafty plots of the subtle, wise men of the world, to become mischievous to them­selves, as it was in Achitophels and Hamans plots. And worthy it is of our no­ting, that this speech of Eliphaz is cited by S. Paul, 1 Cor. 3.19. as a divine Te­stimony.

And the counsell of the froward is carried headlong.] That is, when many froward, that is, perverse and stubborn wicked men lay their heads together to do any mis­chief to Gods servants, their counsells and resolutions shall be overthrown and come to nothing, and that, either by the very rashnesse and headinesse, wherewith they shall be carried in their consultations, pitching upon these resolutions for want of due deliberation, which had they been prudently weighed, were never likely to proove successefull, or by their rashnesse and precipitancy in acting what they had well enough contrived.

Vers. 14. They meet with darknesse in the day time, and grope at noon daies, as in the night.] That is, where things shall be clear and manifest, yet they shall not see it, [Page 29] but shall be needlessely scrupulous, full of doubts and fears, not knowing what to doe, and like blind men more likely to mistake then hit the right way. See Deut. 28.29. Thou shalt grope at noon day, as the blind gropeth in darknesse, &c.

Vers. 15. He saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.] That is, he saveth them, not only from the open violence of their e­nemies and strong oppressours, but also from their slanders, reproaches and per­nicious counsells, and whatever other waies there are, wherewith wicked men are wont by their venemous tongues to do mischief to the poor servants of God.

Vers. 16. So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.] That is, by the experience which men have of the Lords delivering the poor that are oppressed, from the power of the oppressour, others that are in the same condition are en­couraged to put their hope in God; and so though they have nothing else in the world left them to trust in (as these words import) yet they have hope, as an an­chor for their souls, sure and steadfast, Heb. 6.19. and on the other side the wick­ed shall not have a word to say, they shall not dare to slander the godly, they shall not dare to vaunt and brag of their proud purposes, but shall become silent, as mute as fishes, as being filled with shame and confusion, or silenced with admi­ration, finding how evidently the Lord doth aid those, that are of no might to help themselves against those that wrong them.

Vers. 17. Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects, &c.] Eliphaz having per­swaded Iob to seek to God and to commit his cause to him from vers. 18. here he shows him that if he would do so, that which he now suffered would be eviden­ced to be only the correction of a father, wherein he would be happy, and should have no cause to complain of it.

Vers. 18. For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: &c.] That is, he layeth not affli­ction upon men to hurt them, but wounds as a Surgeon, that launceth a sore, to the end he may heal it, and when their afflictions have brought forth the quiet fruit of righteousnesse, he binds them up again, that is, by binding he heals them; for Physicians say, that the carefull and skilfull binding up of a wound doth much conduce to the cure of it, and hence binding in this sense is so often mentioned in the Scriptures, The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, Ezek. 34.4. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds, Psal. 147.3.

Vers. 19. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: &c.] That is, though God send ne­ver so many troubles, following successively one in the neck of another, or com­passing thee about at one and the same time, so that there seems to be no way of escape, he will deliver thee from them, yea from all that can befall thee, not only these afterwards mentioned, but any other more grievous then these; the Lord will not be weary of protecting thee from troubles or delivering thee out of ad­versity, but again and again he will be thy refuge, and give a comfortable issue out of them all, so that no evil shall touch thee; and this last clause may be meant either of the evil of sin, to wit, that God would preserve him from defiling him­self with sin in his troubles; or of the evil of punishment, to wit, that in his trou­bles [Page 30] all should be for his good, there should be no wrath in his sufferings, which only makes troubles truly evil.

Vers. 21. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue:] That is, from reproa­ches, backbitings, slaunders, false accusations and witnesses of malicious wicked men: for as in a scourge there are many cords, so there are many severall waies wherewith wicked mens tongues do lash and wound Gods righteous servants: and they are said to be hid from the scourge of the tongue, whom the Lord ei­ther preserves from being slaundered or reviled, or else defends against all such lies and calumnies, by causing their righteousnesse to break forth, as the light and their just dealing as the noon day.

Vers. 23. For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: &c.] That is, they shall be so far from doing thee any hurt, and so ready rather to do thee good, as if there were a mutuall covenant of friendship made betwixt thee and them. Now the stones of the field, may in this sense be said to be in league with Gods people. 1. When they are not an occasion of the least hurt unto them as they pass up and down from one place to another, not so much as of dashing their foot against a stone, Psal. 91.12. 2. When they no way hinder the encrease of their land, but rather are a help thereto, and when the most stony and rocky pla­ces yield great store of fruit, according to that, Deut. 32.13. He made him suck honey out of the rock, and oyle out of the flinty rock, and that of Iob, chap. 29.6. The rock poured me out rivers of oyl: 3. When the stony walls raised about their fields are such a sure defence thereto, that they are safely preserved from all dangers whatsoever, and 4. When neither stones nor rocks of the field do harbour any poysonous serpents or ravenous beasts, that do suddenly break out and hurt Gods people.

Vers. 24. And thou shalt know, that thy tabernacle shall be in peace;] That is, thou shalt see thine house free from the invasion of any enemy and from home­bred dissention, yea that thy house and house-hold affairs do all prosper, and shalt not fear but be fully perswaded of the continuance hereof in time to come.

And thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin.] That is, thou shalt wisely and successefully order upon all occasions thy house-hold affairs, the more circum­spectly watchfull not to sin against God, because of the experience thou shalt have of Gods blessing thee in a right way.

Vers. 25. Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, &c.] That is, though now thou hast lost thy children, yet God shall restore them again, and they shall grow to an innumerable multitude.

Verse 26. Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, &c.] That is, though there seems now no hope of thy recovery, yet recover thou shalt, and shalt die old and full of daies, and be buried with honour.

Vers. 27. Lo this, we have searched it, so it is, &c.] That is, Though I alone have spoken, yet this I presume is the judgement of us all; we have all found this true by diligent enquiry, and clear experience; and therefore learn it, believe it, and make a holy and good use of the knowledge of it.

CHAP. VI·

Vers. 2. OH that my grief were throughly weighed, &c.] Eliphaz sought to make good that there was no true piety nor fear of God in Iob, be­cause his passions in his afflictions were so violent, and his com­plaints so grievous and bitter in the two foregoing chapters. Iob now under­takes to shew that his calamity, grief and anguish of spirit were such and so into­lerable, that they might well drive him to those bitter complaints that he had ut­tered, though his heart were all the while upright towards God. According there­fore to this drift and aime of Iobs words, they may be understood two severall waies. 1. That if his grief, that is, the bitternesse and anguish of his spirit, and his lamentations and complaints were laid in one scale, and his calamity and di­stresse, both outward and inward, were laid in the other, and so weighed together, his calamity would far overweigh his grief and bitter complaints; his calamities being indeed heavier, then all the sands of the sea, according to that which Iob saith also in another place, chap. 23.2. My stroke is heavier then my groaning; or 2. That if his grief and calamities were weighed against the sand of the sea, they would be found heavier then that, as elsewhere the wrath of foolish wicked men is therewith compared, Pro. 27.3. A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty, but a fools wrath is heavier then them both. However doubtlesse Iobs intention in these words is to shew, that such misery as he had undergone might well make any man that was flesh and bloud to complain, as bitterly as he had done, yea though there­in he should forget himself.

Vers. 3. Therefore my words are swallowed up.] That is, I want words to ex­presse my grief and misery: when I would set forth what I suffer, extreme anguish stops my mouth, and I am not able to utter what I would say.

Vers. 4. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, &c.] That is, God hath not only wounded me, with divers and many outward calamities, but besides also he hath wounded my spirit inwardly, by making impressions of his wrath upon my conscience, perswading me that these things he hath laid upon me in his indignation and hot displeasure against me. All kind of plagues, especi­ally those that come suddenly and swiftly, are compared to arrows in the Scri­pture, Psal. 38.2. For thine arrows stick fast in me: and thy hand presseth me sore. and again, Ezek. 5.16. But here they are principally the inward terrours wherewith his soul and conscience were wounded, that are compared to arrows, yea to poy­soned arrows, (it being usuall in those daies to poyson the heads of their arrows in times of war) and that because the miseries he underwent, however grievous in themselves, were far the more grievous, and did the more torment him, be­cause they were dipped, as it were, in the poyson of Gods wrath and displeasure, that is, he apprehended that God had in his wrath and hot indignation laid these heavy punishments upon him, which made them so insufferably painfull, inso­much that they did with their burning drink up his spirit, that is, his vitall spirits and strength, or his bloud (wherein lye the vitall spirits) according to that [Page 30] [...] [Page 31] [...] [Page 32] which the Lord saith, Deut. 32.42. I will make mine arrows drunk with bloud, (and my sword shall devour flesh) and that with the bloud of the slain; &c.

Vers. 5. Doth the wild asse bray when he hath grasse? or loweth the ox over his fod­der?] Two severall waies these words are expounded by Interpreters: and hap­ly what both say Iob did intend. 1. That it is no wonder though they that lived in all plenty and peace, were so quiet and still, and spake nothing that might sa­vour of impatience and discontent, were he in such an estate, he could do so, even the bruit beasts both wild and tame, yea those that have the least shadow of un­derstanding in them, the asse and the ox, will be quiet when they want nothing; and were they not therefore too uncharitable, they might well think that he would not complain so bitterly, if he had not just cause: But then 2. some again understand them, as spoken to shew the reason, why the words that Eliphaz had spoken to him did no whit appease his grief, to wit, because he had said nothing that could yield true satisfaction to a troubled soul (namely as he applyed what he said, charging Iob with hypocrisie, and that now he quarrelled with God, be­ing justly punished for his former wickednesse) even the bruitest beasts, saith Iob, are quiet when they have whereon to feed, and worse were I therefore then a beast, if I should not be pacified, had there been any thing in your words that might have eased or refreshed my mind.

Vers. 6. Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? &c.] These words, as those before, may also be probably expounded two severall waies; to wit, 1. That it is not possible that any man should take pleasure in such bitter afflictions, as God had mingled for him to drink, yea that he should not abhorre them, and complain of the bitternesse of them, no more then it is possible for a man not to distaste that which is unsavoury and hath no relish in it; all afflictions are grievous, especially such as have no mixture of any thing that is pleasing; and if the want of a little salt make men distaste meat, needs must Iob distaste such bit­ter sorrows as he had underwent, unlesse he were sencelesse and stupid, or 2. That Eliphaz his speech to him had been so harsh and bitter, that it was as possible for a mans palate to find relish in the white of an egge or any other unsavoury meat, as for him to receive any comfort from such unsavoury speeches, as he had utte­red: and indeed though Eliphaz spake what was most true in it self, yet as he ap­plyed it, there was not the least grain of pity or prudence in what he had said, and so was more likely to imbitter his spirit more and more, then any whit to allay his grief or temper his passions.

Vers. 7. The things that my soul refuseth to touch, are as my sorrowfull meat.] Iob here proceeds still on in the metaphor he had formerly used, comparing the words of Eliphaz to bitter meat, now given him to feed upon to his great sorrow, which heretofore he should have abhorred to touch; he was forced now to swal­low down that with grief, which in former times he could not have endured. O­thers understand this more generally, of all the severall miseries, that Iob under­went, which he was forced now to feed upon, though in former times his stomack would have risen against them: yea some understand it of the corruption run­ning down from his soars upon his meat, by means whereof that which formerly [Page 33] he should have loathed to touch, he was now forced to eat together with his meat But the first exposition is the best.

Vers. 9. Even that it would please God to destroy me, that he would let loose his hand and cut me off.] That is, that God would be pleased presently to cut me off and make an end of me, and not suffer me thus to languish away by degrees; hi­therto he hath held back his hand, that though I were wounded, yet his strokes might not be mortall, but by this meanes my miserie is the greater, and therefore my desire is (if he would be so pleased) that he would let loose his hand and strike home, even that he would out of hand presently destroy me.

Vers. 10. Then should I yet have comfort, yea I would harden my self in sorrow;] That is, If I were sure that God would out of hand make an end of me, that would be some comfort to me, and though what I suffered were never so bitter, yet would I harden my self to endure it.

For I have not concealed the words of the holy One.] This Iob gives as a reason, why he desired death, to wit, because he had alwaies professed the truth of God, and therefore knew well, that death could do him no hurt, but only give him an entrance into a blessed and happy estate.

Vers. 11. What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?] This is added as another reason, why he desired death, and might justly doe so, to wit, because his condition was such, that he could not hope that his life could long continue; languish he might a while in that grie­vous misery (and better it were for him to be cut off presently then to doe so) but to hope he should prolong his daies it was altogether vain, and that because he was not able to endure such grievous misery as he suffered, his strength would not bear it: Eliphaz had told him that because of the great things that God often doth in the world, the poor hath hope even in their lowest condition, chap. 5.16. and again, vers. 24, 25. that if he would turn unto the Lord, he should know that his tabernacle should be in peace, his seed should be great, and his off-spring as the grasse of the earth, and that he should come to his grave in a full age, &c. In answer therefore to all this, Iob now tells him that he was so worn out with the miseries he had undergone, that he could not hope in regard of any strength in him, that his life should be prolonged for the recovering of such a happy condition. This is the drift of these words, what is my strength that I should hope? and so likewise do many Expositours understand the next clause also, what is mine end that I should prolong my life? for they conceive, that by his end here is meant the end of his misery, that he could not see any likelyhood that his miseries should come to an end, and so should therefore desire still to live, or rather that it is meant of the end of his life, that mans life being so fading and transitory, and so soon at an end, there was no reason why he should hope long to prolong his life, especially lying under the pressure of such insupportable mi­series, and therefore had just cause rather to desire that he might be presently cut off. But there is another Exposition of the last clause which others, and that upon good grounds do most approove, what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? as [Page 34] if he had said, I know no such evil in coming to mine end, that I should desire to prolong my life: the misery of dying cannot be so great, thar I should desire to avoid that to spin out my life in that grievous misery I now undergo, since after death I am sure to be in a blessed condition; let them therefore that have no hope in their death, desire the prolonging of their life; but as for me, being assured what mine end will be, I see not why I may not well desire death rather then life.

Vers. 12. Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brasse?] To wit, that I should hope to outwear these grievous miseries I lie under, or for the pre­sent endure them without complaint, as if I had no sence nor feeling of them: No; I am made of flesh and bones as well as others, and therefore must needs feel what I endure, nor can long endure what I feel.

Vers. 13. Is not my help in me? and is wisedome driven quite from me?] Either hereby is meant, that Iob was not yet so void of wisedome and judgement, but that he was able to discern between right and wrong, and so accordingly to judge of their unjust dealing with him, to help himself and maintain his cause against all their false accusations, or else rather that he had in him that which would su­stain and support him against all their harsh censures, to wit, his innocency and the testimony of a good conscience, and that he did still continue in the fear of God, which is the only true wisedome. And indeed this exposition agrees well with that of the Apostle, Gal. 6.4. But let every man proove his own work, and then shall he have rejoycing in himself alone, and not in another.

Vers. 15. My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they passe away: &c.] Iob here compares his friends to winter brooks, that are full of water in the winter, and are dryed up in the summer; and the reason why he so compares them, is more fully explained in the following verses, to wit, that as those brooks when the traveller passeth by them in the winter time, having then no need of them, overflow their banks, and by reason of rain and snow are full of water and blackish by reason of the ice, (which may be meant of their being black by reason of the deepnesse of waters, or of the colour of ice) and so being frozen seem stable and like to continue, but then in the warm summer they are suddenly dryed up and gone; at first haply there are severall little drilling streams here and there passing through the sands (which are therefore called, vers. 18. the paths of their way) but at last even they also are dryed up and vanish to nothing, and so when the troups of Tema and companies of Sheba (that is, those that travell through the countries of Tema and Sheba, of Arabia the desert, and happy, where they went by troups, because of the danger of robbers) that had formerly taken notice of those brooks in winter time, do afterwards in summer time come thither to seek for water to quench their thirst, whereof they are ex­ceeding desirous in those hot countries, they find none and so are ashamed and confounded, as men use to be that have long hoped certainly for any thing, and then in time of need their expectation fails them, so did his friends deceive him now; for in the time of his prosperity, when he had no need of their comfort, they made a fair show of great friendship, but now in his afflictions, when he had need of their comfort, they failed him quite.

[Page 35]Vers. 19. The troups of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.] That is, the inhabitants of Arabia the desert, and Arabia the happy, travelling either for merchandise or other occasions from those countries; for the posterity of Te­ma the son of Ishmael, Gen. 25.15. did inhabit Arabia the desert, and the poste­rity of Sheba, who was the grandchild of Abraham by Keturah, Gen. 25.3. did inhabit the other Arabia.

Vers. 21. For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.] That is, ye yield me no comfort. Iust such as those brooks before spoken of, are in the summer to the thirsty travellers, such are you to me; for having made great show of love in the time of my prosperity, when I had no need of you, now in the day of my calamity, when I stand in need of your friendship, ye are nothing, not one drop of comfort comes from you; my affliction you see, and are afraid, that is, you stand astonished, not able to speak one word of comfort, yea ye are ready to fly off from me, as being afraid to be infected by me and are startled at me, as a fearfull spectacle of Gods vengeance, one upon whom the wrath of God is poured forth because of my sins.

Vers. 22. Did I say, bring unto me? or give a reward for me of your substance?] The drift of Iob in these words, might be either to clear himself from that charge of being so impatient merely for the losse of his estate, because his not seeking to them to have his losses repaired, did plainly discover that it was not that which did so exceedingly pinch him, or else to aggravate their uncharitablenesse: If he had desired of them a supply of his wants or help in his troubles, it had been fit they should have done it; and was it not hard then they should not afford him a mouth full of counsell or comfort? or lastly, to shew how causelessely they were so harsh to him; Did I say, bring unto me? &c. That is, being deprived of my estate, I sent not to you to relieve me, or to give me any thing to supply my wants, or to rescue that which I had, out of the hands of those that spoyled me of my substance; had I been thus or any other way burthensome or chargeable to you, it had been the lesse strange that you should be thus bitter; for such I know is the common guise of the world to insult over those that seek to them for suc­cour, and to use them as reproachfully as they please; but I neither have nor do yet desire any such thing of you; All that I desire of you is, that you would comfort me in my affliction, and it is very strange you cannot afford me that.

Vers. 24. Teach me and I will hold my tongue: &c.] That is, it is not enough to passe harsh censures upon me, as that I have been an hypocrite, and that for my wickednesse all this is fallen upon me, convince me of this by evident proofs, and I will yield presently, I will complain no more, I will reply no more against you.

Vers. 25. But what doth your arguing reproove?] That is, though right words are powerfull to convince men, yet this kind of arguing which you use hath no power of reproof in it; you have charged me with many things, but you have convinced me of nothing.

Vers. 26. Do you imagine to reproove words, &c.] Two severall waies this expo­stulation of Iobs may be well understood, 1. As if he charged them with an un­just [Page 36] slighting that which he had spoken, Do you imagine to reproove words? &c. that is, do you think that all I have spoken is mere empty words, and that there is no weight of reason in them? Do you conceit that you speak nothing but clear rea­son, and I nothing but idle frothy discourse, the speeches of an idle headed man who cares not what he saith, or saith he knows not what, yea the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind, that is, the speeches of a mad man, who being in a condition that seems desperate and hopelesse, is therefore as a man distracted, and speaks he knows not what, words no more to be regarded then a puffe of wind? and indeed this last expression doth in this sense agree with other places, where vain regardlesse words are compared to wind, as Ier. 5.13. The prophets shall become wind, and Iob 15.3. Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the East wind? or 2. As if he accused them of captiousnesse and seeking to contend with him without cause, Do you imagine to reproove words? that is, Do ye continue to catch at my words, do ye think it enough to take an advantage of some word or other that I have spoken, not considering the truth of the cause, and the aime and intention of him that speakes them, yea and those too the spee­ches of one that is in a desperate condition as I now am, not considering that the words of men in such a condition are usually as wind, that is, sudden, violent, and full of passion; as if he should have said, in this ye deale not fairly with me.

Vers. 27. Yea ye overwhelm the fatherlesse, and you dig a pit for your friend.] That is, this your insulting over me, and trampling upon me in my miseries, when I am in such a poor condition, forsaken of all, not having one left to plead for me, is all one as if you should overwhelm and oppresse the fatherlesse, that are left to the wide world, and have no body usually to stand up in their defence; and whilst you thus seek, as you do, to intrap me in my words, and to take advantage a­gainst any word that falls from me, this is no other but to dig a pit for your friend. And indeed the captiousnesse of men in cavilling at that which they hear spoken by others, and picking a quarrell against them for it, is usually in the Scriptures compared to digging of pits, and laying of snares treacherously to catch men in, as Esa. 29.21. where it is said of wicked men, that they make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reprooveth in the gate.

Vers. 28. Now therefore be content, look upon me, &c.] Iob having hitherto chie­fly complained of the uncharitablenesse of his friends in passing such rigid cen­sures upon him because of his complaints, he now again addresseth himself to set forth the grievousnesse of his misery, and to that end doth first in these words de­sire his friends to attend to what he should farther say, Now therefore be content, that is, be no longer carried away with passion, but be willing and yield to hear that I shall say, and so to consider better of my condition, look upon me, that is, slight me not, turn not away your eyes from me in discontent, but view me well and observe well the condition wherein I am, as I shall discover it to you (for this clause may be meant both of beholding him with their bodily eyes, and of marking what he should say concerning his condition) by that which I shall de­clare, yea by that which you may see with your eyes, it is evident and clear, whe­ther I have lyed or do lie unto you; yet some understand this somewhat otherwise, [Page 37] thus, look upon me, for it is evident unto you if I lie, as if he had said, come let us quiet­ly argue out this businesse a little farther, I am not afraid to dispute it with you face to face, and no doubt upon a more sober debate the truth will out, you will soon discover in my words or in my countenance whether that which I have spo­ken be true or false.

Vers. 29. Return I pray you, let it not be iniquity; &c.] Some understand these words, Return I pray you, as spoken by Iob to call back his friends that were ready to goe away in a pet or in a fume; But we need not, I conceive, build upon such a supposition; the words are clear enough, if we understand them to be a perswa­sion of his friends to consider again more equally of his cause and condition. Re­turn I pray you, as if he should have said, you have hitherto cast me off as a repro­bate, as a wicked wretch forsaken of God, why? because you were carried away with passion, and did not seriously and exactly weigh my condition; Return therefore from these unjust and passionate censures, betake your selves to a more equall review of my estate, to consider of and discusse these things more serious­ly then yet you have done, let it not be iniquity, that is, consider well of what I suf­fer, and in your disputing and reasoning with me, let right prevail, and deal not unjustly with me, or do not charge me with iniquity till we have again weighed the matter, yea return again, my righteousnesse is in it, that is, return again to a se­cond consideration or debate of my cause, the result will be that my righteous­nesse and innocency will appear in the businesse, or my righteousnesse depends upon your examining of my cause yet more exactly.

Vers. 30. Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my tast discern perverse things?] That is, do I or have I spoken that which is unjust? am I not able to judge what is true and what is false, what is just and what is unjust? or observing what I shall farther now say, you shall find that I will not utter any thing false or unjust, and that I am able to judge of things, and that I have not spoken a misse in defending my innocency as you think I have done.

CHAP. VII.

Vers. 1. IS there not an appointed time to man upon earth? &c.] Some read the first clause of this verse, Is there not a warfare to man upon earth? and accor­dingly conceive that mans life is by Iob here compared to a warfare, both because as souldiers are continually exposed to variety of dangers, and all kind of hard labour and sorrows, hunger and thirst and heat and cold, and watch­ing and wearisome travels &c. So is man in this life subject to all kind of mise­ries: and likewise as souldiers are hired but for a time, and then receive their pay, and at length are discharged, so is it with men, there is a time, to wit, the hour of death, when they are discharged from all the miseries of this life. But the best translation I conceive is that in our Text, Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? for that best agreeth with the second clause, are not his daies also like the daies of an hireling? However the meaning of the words is evident, for Iob here returns (as he had desired his friends they might do, vers. 29. of the former chap­ter) [Page 38] to a review of his estate, and undertakes to make it manifest to them, that it was not such an heinous offence as they would make it, that he had wished for death and desired that God would cut him off, considering the grievous misery that he endured; to which end in the first place he here wisheth them to consider, that there is an appointed time for man upon earth? and that his daies also are like the daies of an hireling, that is, as the hired servant is hired but for a certain time, and so though he endures much hard labour during the time of his service; yet that time being run out, then there is an end and he takes his rest, so is it with man, God hath allotted him a set time for his daies upon earth, which are indeed few and full of labour and sorrow, like the daies of an hireling; but then death brings rest, so from thence afterwards concluding that it was no more strange that he should desire death, (especially if the unusuall miseries that he underwent were all weighed,) then that an hireling should desire an end of his hard ser­vice &c.

Vers. 2. As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow.] That is, the night; and in­deed as in all places the rest and cool of the night is most welcome to the weary labourer, so especially in those hot countries where they must needs by day be scorched with the scalding heat of the Sun.

Vers. 3. So am I made to possesse moneths of vanity, &c.] That is, in such a sad and wearisome condition, panting and longing after some ease and rest, do I spend my daies, only it is worse with me then it is with the servant and hireling: for he when he hath wrought all day, receives his wages at night, and then can lie down quietly and take his rest; but I am in misery whole moneths together, and when the night comes, that is as laborious and troublesome to me as the day is, and that is all the wages and the reward I have for the misery I undergoe, and there­fore well may I desire the shadow of death, as the labouring servant doth the sha­dow of the night, as knowing in this life rest I shall find none. By moneths of va­nity are meant moneths of restlesse misery, wherein he enjoyed no comfort, no­thing of the good and rest he expected but mere vanity and vexation of spirit, and when he saith he was made to possesse these moneths of vanity, his meaning is that these sad times and sore afflictions were certainly and unavoidably imposed upon him, by the hand of God, and lay upon him continually without intermis­sion; in which regard he had cause enough to desire he might die and be rid of these miseries.

Vers. 5. My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust, &c.] This he mentioned to shew the strangenesse of his misery, and so why he thought the time of his life so tedious and irksome, to wit, that his flesh was clothed, that is, covered all o­ver from head to foot as with a garment with worms and clods of dust; where by worms are meant either lice or very worms which do sometimes breed in the corruption that distils out of sores and ulcers, when they are not constantly washed and kept clean, and by clods of dust are meant either the very clods of dust which whilst he lay tumbling on the ground did cleave to his ulcerous bo­dy, or rather the very dry scabs of his sores which were like clods of dust, or the scurf wherewith, when he had clawed his scabs, his flesh was overspread and that [Page 39] his skin was broken, to wit, chapped with extreme drynesse, or broken with ul­cers, and so with the filth and corrupt matter that issued thence very loath­some.

Vers. 6. My daies are swifter then a weavers shuttle, and are spent without hope.] That is, my life is suddenly spent in a manner, and gone without hope of recove­ry. And this Iob adds to prevent an objection, which his friends had indeed har­ped upon, chap. 5.18, &c. to wit, that if he would repent and turn to God as he ought to doe, God would put an end to all his miseries, and prolong his daies; No saith he, there is no hope of that, I may plainly see that my end is at hand, and why should I then wish for any thing but the hastening of my death, to put an end to my miseries.

Vers. 7. O remember that my life is wind:] Iob having as he thought cleared it sufficiently, that a man in misery might as well long for death and desire it, as the hireling may desire the night for rest &c. especially being in such a condition as he was, without hope of seeing any other end of his misery but only death, he turns here his speech to God, and desires him to remember that his life was but a blast of wind, that is, suddenly gone without hope of recovery (as the Psalmist also expresseth it, Psal. 78.39. he remembred that they were but flesh, a wind that pas­seth away and cometh not again.) intending thereby, that his desire was, that since he was in such a hopelesse condition, the Lord would therefore not let his hand be so heavy upon him, but suddenly cut him off, and so put a period to his sor­rows.

Mine eye shall no more see good.] That is, I shall certainly die, nor shall ever live to enjoy good day more in this world: for in the scripture phrase to see good, is nothing else but to enjoy good; Ier. 17.6. He shall be like the heath in the desert, (saith the Lord of him that trusteth in man) and shall not see when good cometh. And so also to see evil is to suffer evil, Psal. 90.15. Make us glad according to the daies, wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evill. and to see death is to die, Psal. 89.48. What man is he that liveth and shall not see death?

Vers. 8. Thine eyes are upon me and I am not.] That is, I shall be cut off or shall not be found amongst the living, as Rahell weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children because they were not, Ier. 31.15. and Gen. 42.13. The youngest is this day with our father, and one is not. As for the first words of this clause concerning Gods eyes being upon him, there may be severall expositions given of them. 1. That they are spoken to set forth the frailty of his life, that if God should but cast his eyes upon him to cut him off, he should soon be destroyed, one glaunce of his eyes would do it. 2. That they are spoken as a motive to per­swade the Lord, to shew him mercy speedily, because else help would come too late; if God should relent, and turn his eyes in mercy upon him, he should not be found amongst the living, to whom mercy could be shewed, and 3. That they are only spoken, as that which went before, to set forth his hopelesse condition, how certain it was that the misery he lay in would at length, yea and that ere long too, make an end of him, and therefore consequently that he had reason to de­sire that God would not prolong his misery, but cut him off instantly, for ha­ving [Page 40] in the former words said that the time was coming when those that saw him should see him no more, he adds, thine eyes are upon me and I am not, that is, yea if thou seekest for me amongst the living thou shalt not find me, Iob herein spea­king of God, as is usuall, after the manner of men. And this I conceive to be the best exposition, because it agrees best with the drift of Iobs speech, and that which went before.

Vers. 9. So he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.] To wit, to live in this world as formerly, as Iob explains himself in the following verse, He shall return no more to his house &c. Iob therefore doth not in these words speak as one that knew not or believed not the resurrection of the dead at the last day, but on­ly shewed the impossibility of mans returning after he is once dead and laid in the grave, to live again in this world amongst his friends and acquaintance as for­merly.

Vers. 10. Neither shall his place know him any more.] That is, he shall no more come to enjoy the place of office or dignity which formerly he enjoyed, or he shall be no more known in the place of his habitation amongst his family and friends as formerly; as it is said of the flourishing flower of the field, Psal. 103.16. The wind passeth over it and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more, that is, it shall be no more seen in the place where it grew.

Vers. 11. Therefore I will not refrain my mouth, &c.] That is, since my grief and miseries are so intolerably great, and my condition in that regard desperate with­out hope of recovery, I will never forbear to speak, or restrain my self in spea­king, but will rather pour out my complaints freely in whatsoever my soul imbit­tered with grief shall suggest to me, and so hereby will ease my mind overladen with anguish and sorrow whilst I may do it, there being no hope of redresse or ease any other way for me.

Vers. 12. Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?] That is, am I such a monster of men, that thou must deal with me, as with no other man? am I so proud and rebellious against thee, or likely to break forth with such fury and unresistable rage upon men to hurt them, as the sea doth sometimes, and even to swallow them up as the whale swallows up a multitude of smaller fishes, and over­turns ships and gallies when they come in his way, that thereupon as thou hast set barres and dores to shut up the swelling waves of the sea, saying, hitherto shalt thou come and no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed, & as thou dost by thy pro­vidence watch in a speciall manner over the whale the king over all the children of pride (as he is called, ch. 41.34.) and hast shut him up within the bounds of the great O­cean, that so the lesser fish may the more safely live in other seas, so thou settest a watch over me, curbing and restraining me with these ulcers, and many other mise­ries least otherwise I should break forth into rebellion against thee, or to the de­struction of those that live about me; or is there such an overbearing might and strength in me, as in the sea or the whale, that nothing but the almighty power of God can withstand or restrain me, that no lesse then these many grievous and mighty afflictions can keep me within compasse? as if he should have said, surely it is not so; I have neither been so stubborn against God, nor so harmefull to [Page 41] men that I should need to be so shackled, nor am I so strong, but that a smal­ler matter, if there had been any such danger, might have kept me in.

Vers. 13. My couch shall ease my complaint:] That is, my couch shall ease my pain and sorrows, the cause of my complaint, by yielding me some little refresh­ing rest and sleep, and so consequently shall allay the bitternesse of my com­plaints too.

Vers. 14. Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions.] Dreams and visions may be meant both of one and the same thing; or else we may thus distinguish them, that whilst he slept he was scared with terrible and fearfull dreames, and whilst he lay awake, with ghastly sights and visions. It is indeed most probable that Satan did both waies seek to disturb him, that so he might the better drive him to despair; and that this it is which Iob here complains of and bemoans; and yet because Satan can do nothing, but as he receives a Commission from God, therefore Iob speaks thus to God, Thou scarest me with dreames, and terrifiest me through visions.

Vers. 15. So that my soul chooseth strangling; and death rather then my life.] That is, hereupon it is that I had rather die, if I might have my choice, yea though it were by any kind of death, rather then to live in this miserable condition, where­in I now live: for strangling he mentions in the first clause, to signifie that he would preferre any violent, bitter, shamefull death before life; and the second clause, death rather then my life; which is in the originall death rather then my bones, discovers the ground of his choice, to wit, the miserable condition wherein he lived, being become a very Anatomy, nothing but skin and bones, or having a body that was consumed and rotted even to the very bones, which made him choose any death rather then such a life: and indeed considering that Satan de­sired at first, that God would touch his flesh and his bones, we need not doubt but he had gone, as deep as his Commission would permit him.

Vers. 16. I would not live alway:] To wit, in this world, and in this sad and miserable condition, wherein I now live; my sorrows make me loath life, so that if I might live alwaies and never die, I should rather choose to die, then to live un­der such a burden of affliction as now I endure.

Let me alone for my daies are vanity.] That is, do not support and continue me in this misery, but let me alone that I may die, for my daies are no better then vani­ty, and why should I desire to live in such a vain condition? or else withdraw thine hand, and do not afflict me so grievously; for there will be no need of it, my daies are very vanity, so that a smaller thing then what I suffer would soon make an end of me.

Vers. 17. What is man, that thou shouldest magnifie him? &c.] This is not meant of the great blessings, which God hath poured forth upon men, concerning which the like expressions are used in other places, as Psal. 8.45. &c. and Psal. 144.3. to wit, that such a base wretch as man is, was not worthy of so much honour, as God had done him, and did him daily in making such precious account of him, in causing all the creatures even the Angels themselves to be serviceable to him, yea in keeping such a watchfull eye of providence over him to support and pro­tect [Page 42] him and to supply him with all things requisite for him day after day; But first it may be meant of the great honour and riches, whereto God doth many times advance men, and had advancad Iob in particular; reflecting upon his for­mer greatnesse, (for he was the greatest man in the East) and considering how ex­tremely miserable he was now become, he breaks forth into this expostulation, what is man that thou shouldest magnifie him? &c. Why should the Lord doe so much to magnifie and set up a man, that may be so suddenly cast down again? It is as if a man should lay out much to trim and adorn a house that may be cast down with every puffe of wind, or 2. Rather it is meant of his afflictions and his continuall overpressing evils, to wit, that it was too great a magnifying of so base and despicable a worm as man is, that the great God of heaven and earth should so sollicitously contend with him, as a Prince should too much honour a poor servant, that should bend all his might to contend with him, and to prevail over him, watching daily to take some advantage against him, and making it his great study and businesse to crush and ruine him. So that as David spake to Saul, 1 Sam. 24.14. After whom is the King of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pur­sue? After a dead dog, after a flea; so doth Iob here speak to God, What is man that thou shouldest magnifie him? as if he should have said, it is strange to me, that thou shouldest vouchsafe so farre to honour such a base vild wretch as man is, as to contend with him, that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him, that is, that thou shoul­dest mind or regard him, that thou shouldest so sollicitously intend him, either to crush him, as if there were any danger in him, or to humble him, and to doe him good by the evils thou layest upon him, that thou shouldest visit him every mor­ning, and try him every moment, that is, that thou shouldest so continually day after day, yea every moment of the day, and so diligently (as those that rise early in the morning to dispatch their businesse they desire earnestly to be done) observe and mark his waies and follow him with thy chastisements and tryalls. The whole drift of this speech is to shew, that poor base man was not worthy of so much ho­nour, that the great God of heaven and earth should so farre buisy himself a­bout such a wretch to contend with him, and to shew forth his power against him.

Vers. 19. How long wilt thou not depart from me? &c.] That is, how long will it be ere thou wilt give over afflicting me, and let me be at ease, though it be but for a moment, till I swallow down my spittle, that is, for a little while, even but whilst I take my breath, which is the very expression Iob useth afterward, chap. 9.18. He will not suffer me to take my breath.

Vers. 20. I have sinned, what shall I doe unto thee, O thou preserver of men?] As if he had said, It is true indeed, that I have sinned, though I cannot yield what my friends would charge upon me, that I have been secretly a wicked and vild hypo­crite, and so have drawn these extraordinary calamities upon my self; yet that I have many waies sinned, and provoked thee by my sins to displeasure, I freely acknowledge, there is no need that thou shouldest hold me still upon the wrack to draw this from me, I freely confesse it, and what shall I doe unto thee, O thou pre­server of men? that is, teach me, O Lord, what I shall doe: or rather, I know not [Page 43] what to doe: I cannot make that undone which is done, I can no way justifie or excuse my sins before thee, who art the searcher of the heart and reins, I can by no means make thee amends for that I have done, or satisfie thy justice, all I can doe is thus to confesse and acknowledge my fault, and seeing therefore thou art the gracious preserver of men, seeing thou dost of thy great goodnesse nourish, cherish, defend, and sustain men, and takest it as one of thy glorious titles that thou art the Saviour and preserver of men, why dost thou destroy me whilst thou preservest others, and dealest not with me according to thy wonted grace and goodnesse to other men?

Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee? &c.] That is, seeing I confesse my sins, and humble my self before thee, why dost thou still follow me with so many miseries, and afflictions, as if thou hadst culled me out from others, as a mark a­gainst whom thou didst mean to empty thy quiver, and as it were to make it thy sport to make me miserable, so that I am a burden to my self, that is, I am not able to endure my self, my very life and being is a burden to me: Parallel hereto is that complaint of the Church, Lam. 3.12. He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow, and that of Iob elsewhere, chap. 16.12, 13. He hath taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark. His archers compasse me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder.

Vers. 21. And why dost thou not pardon my transgression? &c.] Why dost thou not, according to thy wonted grace to others, freely forgive all my sins and trans­gressions, removing them all out of thy sight, that then accordingly also thou mayst withdraw thine hand from correcting me?

For now shall I sleep in the dust &c.] That is, if thou dost not send help speedi­ly, I shall quickly be laid in the dust, and thou shalt seek me in the morning and I shall not be, that is, and then if thou shouldest make never so much hast to help me, it would be too late: for thou shouldest not find me in the land of the living, a­mongst those that are capable of thy goodnesse and mercy.

CHAP. VIII·

Vers. 1. THen answered Bildad the Shuhite,] Bildad, having heard Iob hitherto defending himself, and disliking what he spake in his defence, more then his former complaints, undertook at length to second what E­liphaz had before spoken, reprooving Iob for charging God with injustice in his dealing with him, and exhorting him to repent of his former wickednesse, as the only sure means to turn away the Lords displeasure; yea it seems by his first words in the following verse, that whereas Iob was proceeding on to have spoken farther, Bildad did here interrupt him, as not able to endure him any longer, How long wilt thou speak these things? &c.

Vers. 2. How long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?] That is, vi­olent, and bruitishly impetuous, not sparing any body, no not the Lord himself when he comes in thy way; Because Iobs words in his answer to Eliphaz had been indeed somewhat sharp and rough, and full of vehement expressions; there­fore [Page 44] Bildad compares them here to a strong wind; and because he had so often reiterated his complaints of the grievous miseries he suffered, and his protestati­ons concerning his desire of death, &c. yea and that after Eliphaz had sought to convince him of the evil hereof, not regarding any thing that he had spoken, therefore he upbraids him with his persisting in this way, How long wilt thou speak these things, and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? But yet withall there is another thing, which Bildad might also intend to imply in compa­ring Iobs words to a strong wind, to wit, that whilst he went about to overthrow the justice of God, as if he had not deserved what God had inflicted on him, his words though never so violent, would be but as a puffe of wind; Gods justice would stand firm and unmoved whatever he should say to the contrary.

Vers. 3. Doth God pervert judgement? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?] As if he should have said, Every one by the light of nature knows that this is altogether impossible; though God be almighty, and able to doe to men whatever he plea­seth, yet he is not wont to make use of his power to doe any thing but what is just, as great and mighty men many times doe, and that because. 1. He is essentially and so infinitely just, as well as almighty, 2. The judge of the whole world, to whom men must fly for refuge and help, when they are unjustly wronged and op­pressed, and therefore he can no more deal unjustly with any man, then he can cease to be God.

Vers. 4. If thy children have sinned against him, &c.] That is, though God hath utterly cut off and destroyed thy children, it was doubtlesse for their sins, & what he hath therefore done therein, he hath done most justly, and thy self he hath not hitherto destroyed, but spared thee, that thou mightest take warning by them; which if thou wouldest doe, and wouldest betimes, that is, speedily and with all possible care and diligence seek reconciliation with God, and pray unto him for favour and mercy, in stead of pleading thine innocency, quarrelling and conten­ding with him as thou hast hitherto done, and withall abandon all thy former wicked waies, and that upon sincere ends, and so become pure and upright in heart and life, (without which indeed no seeking to God by prayer will doe any good) then doubtlesse he would not fail to pardon thy sins, withdraw the judgements that lye upon thee and doe thee good; whereas hitherto he hath seemed to sleep, and not to regard thy miseries, he will presently awake to thy help, and make the habitation of righteousnesse prosperous, that is, prosper thee and thy family and all that belongs to thee, so long as you all continue to live righteously and to doe that which is just in Gods sight.

Vers. 7. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly encrease.] Two severall waies these words are understood by Expositours; first, that though when God should begin to prosper him after his repentance, his estate should be but little, (as some indeed think it was but little, and that he began up­on almes, as it were, when his kindred and acquaintance gave him every man a piece of money, and every one an ear-ring of gold ▪ chap. 4 [...].11.) yet by degrees this little should encrease so, that at last he should again come to have a mighty estate: and 2. That the estate he had before this tribulation befell him, how great soever it [Page 45] was, yet should be but little in comparison of that he should have in the conclu­sion, if he would repent and turn unto the Lord; as the moon, one of Gods two great lights, is but little in comparison of the Sun, whereto may seem to agree that which is said of Iob, chap. 42.12. So the Lord blessed the later end of Iob more then his beginning. But yet the first exposition is clearly the most proper.

Vers. 8. For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, &c.] Bildad here prooves what he had said by the experience of all former ages; to which he the rather ap­peals, because there was probably then no written word: Enquire (saith he) I pray thee of the former age, &c. as if he should have said, search the records of for­mer times, make enquiry how it hath been in the daies of our ancestours, and so likewise of their fathers for many generations, even from the beginning of the world, you shall find that it hath been alwaies thus as I have said, that God hath prospered the righteous and punished the wicked, and that when evil doers have repented, forsaken their evil waies and turned unto the Lord, he hath then with­drawn his hand from punishing them, and poured forth his blessings plentifully upon them.

Vers. 9. For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because &c.] This is ad­ded as a reason, why Bildad councelled Iob to search into the records of former times, and it is also two severall waies expounded; for some, yea indeed the most of Expositours, conceive that in these words Bildad compares the short lives of those of this age with the long lives of the fathers in the first ages of the world, we are but of yesterday, saith he, and know nothing, that is, whereas the fathers lived ma­ny years, by long experience their knowledge was very great, we alas in these times live but a little while in the world, our daies passing away as a shadow, and so for want of experience know nothing comparatively: But then again others conceive that Bildad here opposeth the short life of man to the experience of all former ages; and sheweth how much better satisfaction we may receive by exa­mining the testimony of all ages, from the beginning of the world, then by re­sting merely upon our own observation, who are but of yesterday, of no continu­ance to speak of, and so of little or no experience and knowledge, because our daies are few and as a shadow passe suddenly away.

Vers. 10. Shall not they teach thee and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?] To utter words out of the heart is to speak truly what men think, and what they have seriously and diligently considered of, and with judgement and wisedome concluded; so that the meaning of these words is, that if Iob would enquire how it had been in former ages, those that lived in those times would truly make known to him, what by due consideration and diligent observation, they had found to be true, to wit, the same which he had said to him, that they are the wick­ed only whom God destroyes, and that the upright and righteous shall certainly flourish.

Vers. 11. Can the rush grow up without mire, &c.] This which follows unto the end of the 19. verse may be read as the answer, which Bildad pretends would be given to Iob by the ancients of former times, if he would enquire of them, as he had advised him, but howsoever the drift of these words is to show that it is [Page 46] noe more possible, in regard of the ordinary course of Gods providence and go­verment of the world, that wicked hollow-hearted hypocrites, who are not rooted in grace, and in whom there is no true piety, should alwaies flourish and prosper, then that rushes and flags, which have no solidity in them, but are of a spungy sub­stance, should by the ordinary course of nature grow without mire and without water. Can the rush grow without mire? &c. that is, as rushes and flaggs do only thrive in miry and watry grounds, and therefore in times of drowth when there is no water, even when they are in their perfect greennesse, though they be not cut down, they wither in an instant, so soon as ever they begin to want moisture; so neither can any man flourish and prosper long, whom God favours not, whether they be openly prophane or such as only make a shew of religion, but in truth are hypocrites, So are the paths of all that forget God, and the hypocrites hope shall perish, that is, such is the conclusion of the waies and counsells of all that think not of God, that mind not the approving of themselves to God, and the seeking of his favour, but only trust to themselves, that slight and despise God; they may as such rushes and flaggs flourish for a time, but at last they shall wither, and come to nothing; if they be not cut down and destroyed by men, as many times they are by the just judgement of God, yet a secret curse of God shall wast and con­sume them, and all the hope of such dissembling hypocrites shall proove vain and quite deceive them, so that at last they shall give over such vain hopes.

Vers. 14. Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spiders webb,] That is, those things, wherein such men do place all their hope and confidence, shall be utterly destroyed, and come suddenly to nothing, and so their hope and confi­dence shall perish together with them; and indeed these things are well compa­red to a spiders webb. 1. Because their wealth and dignities, their projects and counsells, are raised and made up with much labour and skill, by many curious and subtle contrivements, spunne as it were out of their own bowells, and 2. Be­cause when all is done there is no firmnesse nor solidity in them, but they are easi­ly on a sudden, as a spiders web, brushed down and destroyed: all which doubt­lesse Bildad intended, that Iob should apply to the sudden ruine of his own fami­ly and estate.

Vers. 15. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand, &c.] That is, as the spider rests securely upon his cobweb house, and doth what he can to fasten it surely, but all in vain; for on a sudden it is swept down and broken to pieces, so the wicked man and the hypocrite shall rely upon his house and great possessi­ons, &c. and do what may be done to assure them to him and his, yea he shall rest upon his spirituall gifts, his performance of holy duties and his supposed graces, but to no purpose; for ere he is aware of it, all his outward supports shall be rui­ned, and all the means he can possibly use shall not avail to prevent their ruine, and those spirituall things whereon he rested shall do him no good, but shall quite deceive him.

Vers. 16. He is green before the Sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden.] Many Expositours understand this and the following verses of the righteous, that enjoy the love and favour of God, and so conceive, that it is added as by way of [Page 47] opposition to that which was before spoken concerning the hypocrite, to ex­presse which they are forced to insert these words, As for the righteous, in the begin­ning of this verse, As for the righteous man, he is green before the Sun, &c. But ac­cording to our translation, this also must needs be a continuation of that, which was before said concerning the wicked, whether openly prophane or hypocrites, to wit, that though they flourish exceedingly for a while, yet at last they shall be utterly destroyed: He is green before the Sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his gar­den, that is, as a tree planted in a rich and fruitfull garden is green and flourisheth, rather cherished by the quickning heat of the Sun, then any way impaired and parched by the scorching beams thereof, and so daily spreadeth forth his boughs and his branches; so is it usually a long time with wicked men, they flourish and prosper every way, and their children are greatly encreased, yea in the most pe­rillous and hard times when others wither, and flourish still and grow greater and greater.

Vers. 17. His roots are wrapped about the heap and seeth the place of stones.] This is also spoken of that flourishing tree, to which the flourishing of the wicked for a time is compared: but yet in what sense they are spoken, it is hard to say. Some conceive that it is meant of the harmfulnesse of such a tree, that the spreading roots thereof are at length wrapped about the foundation of the owners house, to the evident weakning and endangering thereof, and so the owner is thereupon forced to cut it down, and to grub it up by the very roots, as it followeth in the next verse, and that thereby is noted that the wicked man, who is resembled to this tree, thrives and will thrive if by any means he can, though he undermines and ruins another mans house to fasten and establish himself. Others think, that the spreading of the roots of this tree amongst the stones is only mentioned, as the occasion of its withering, to wit, that however at first it flourished exceeding­ly, yet when at length the roots come to be bound up and streightened in stony places then it withers and dies away, and so is hewed down; so making this tree in this regard to resemble the estate of hypocrites, who though they live in great prosperity a while, yet at last they meet with something or other, that nips them as the root and marres all their glory: But then 3. There are many that conceive, (and that I think upon best grounds) that these words also, as those before, tend still to set forth the flourishing of this tree, and the flourishing of the wicked principally intended therein, to wit, either that as such a tree grows and flourish­eth, yea even in places of greatest disadvantage, in stony places, though her roots be wrapped about heaps of stones, yet that hinders not her growth and flourish­ing, so is it with the wicked for a time they prosper, maugre all opposition, no­thing can hinder their pomp and glory, they thrive amongst stones: or else, that as trees, whose roots are wrapped about stones, will stand firm in the greatest storms, when those that grow in loose sandy earth or tougher clay are easily thrown down with tempestuous winds, so the wicked stand firm and strong for a time in their flourishing estate against all opposition.

Vers. 18. If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.] That is, if the Sun, of which he had spoken vers. 16. parcheth and so [Page 48] killeth this tree, or if the husbandman or owner of this tree, shall once cut it up by the roots, how goodly a show soever it made before, there shall not be the least memoriall of it left, whereby it might be known, that it did once grow in that place, and so shall it be with the wicked, that flourish and prosper for a time, when the Lord begins once to hew him down, he shall so utterly destroy him and his, that his very memory shall be quite extinguished; for that is the meaning of the phrase here used, that his place shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee, as is noted before, chap, 7.10.

Vers. 19. Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.] This is spoken Ironically; 1. With relation to the flourishing tree of which he had spoken, thus, Behold, this is the joy of his way, &c. that is, this is the conclusion of this tree, which seemed for a time to exalt it self and rejoyce in its flourishing condition, down at last it is cut and grubbed up by the roots, and then out of the earth others grow up in the room of it; and 2. With reference to the wicked man, whom he had compared to this flourishing tree, Behold, this is the joy of his way, &c. that is, this is the issue of that rich and prosperous estate and condition, wherein such wicked wretches do for a time so exceedingly rejoyce, that at last the Lord doth utterly destroy them, and then out of the earth shall others grow, that is, others shall arise up in his room, not of his posterity, but rather meer stran­gers to him, that shall enjoy his lands, riches and honours, according to that which Iob afterwards acknowledgeth concerning such hypocrites, chap. 27.16, 17. Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare rayment as the clay, he may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.

Vers. 21. Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoycing.] In the foregoing verse Bildad began to lay down the conclusion of all that he had for­merly spoken, to wit, that God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers; which though it were delivered generally, yet being spoken with an intention of applying it to Iob particularly, he therefore adds these words, till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoycing, as if he should have said, this thou shalt find true in thine own particular, if thou returnest to the Almighty and walkest sincerely before him, as becomes a perfect and upright man, God will not cast thee off, though he have afflicted thee for a time, but will so aboundantly blesse thee, and destroy those that wrong thee, that for exceeding joy of heart thou shalt continually break forth into laughter and rejoycing; for then is the mouth said properly to be filled with laughter, when a man hath more joy then his heart can hold, when the joy of his heart causeth much laughter, so much that he can hardly speak for laughing.

Vers. 22. They that hate thee shall be cloathed with shame.] That is, they shall be overwhelmed and covered with shame on every side in the sight of all men, to wit, when they shall see thee, over whom they have formerly insulted, setled again in a more happy and prosperous estate then formerly.

CHAP. IX.

Vers. 2. I Know it is so of a truth; but how should man be just with God?] Iob per­ceiving by Bildads speech, that he also, as Eliphaz had done before, did quite misunderstand what he had spoken, charging him as if he had accused God of dealing unjustly with him, he now yields to all which Bildad had said for the justifying of God, and advanceth the justice of God farther, then either he or Eliphaz had done, to wit, by affirming not only that God is just, in that he doth alwaies blesse the righteous and destroy the wicked, but also that he cannot be charged with injustice even then when he afflicts the most righteous and innocent. I know, saith he, it is so of a truth, that is, I know that God doth not per­vert judgement, nor doth the Almighty pervert justice, (which is that Bildad had obje­cted, chap. 8.3.) I know it is most true, that he doth alwaies prosper the pure and upright, and that the wicked shall certainly be destroyed, though they may flourish for a time; but how should man be just with God? that is, how shall a­ny man living be found so just in Gods sight, that when God corrects him he may justly complain, that he hath wrong done him? No alas; those that are best, whatever they may be in their own eyes or in the judgement of others, if they come to be tryed before God, will be found to have deserved far heavier punish­ments, then he hath laid upon them.

Vers. 3. If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.] That is, if any man whatsoever should undertake to expostulate with God concerning his sufferings, as thinking to justifie himself, and to clear himself from having de­served what God hath laid upon him, he shall never be able to answer one of a thou­sand of those things, which God may object against him, and charge him with, as the just cause of those his sufferings; which agrees with that where Iob speaks particularly of himself in the 14 vers. of this chapter, How much lesse shall I answer him, and chuse out words to reason with him?

Vers. 4. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength, &c.] This which Iob here ad­deth concerning the infinite wisedome and power of God is, 1. To proove that God is exactly just, because being wise in heart, that is, knowing all things, and how to govern them, it cannot be thought that he knoweth not how to doe right, and being mighty in strength, he needs not pervert justice for fear of men; and then 2. To discover how vain and perillous a thing it is for the most righteous men that live to murmure against God, to quarrell and contend with him when he corrects them, as if they would justifie themselves; and that because being of such infi­nite wisedome he can charge them with much evil, which they discern not in themselves, neither can they by any excuses or pretences hide their guilt from his all-seeing eye, and being of such infinite power, there is no possibility that they should prosper, that do harden themselves to contend with him.

Vers. 5. Which removeth the mountains and they know not,] That is, God can if he please remove the greatest hills and mountains from one place to another, and overturn them in his anger, and that suddenly even in an instant, before they can [Page 50] apprehend what is done to them; for though this clause, and they know not, may be meant of those that dwell in these mountains, to wit, that such mountains are in such an instant carried out of their places, that the inhabitants have no warning to discern the danger, that they might shift for themselves; yet it may as well be understood oft he mountains themselves, the Scripture usually speaking of things without life, as if they had both life and reason and understanding too, as Psal. 58.9. Before your pots can feel the thornes, he shall take them away.

Vers. 6. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.] That is, he can, if he pleaseth, shake the earth from the top to the bottome, and make the very foundations thereof to tremble; The earth is here compared to a great building, supported with pillars; and because the earth hath no other foun­dations, but its own center, to which the earth on every side presseth by reason of its naturall heavinesse, therefore this or the lower parts of the earth may be supposed to be that, which is here called the pillars of the earth: Now though it be generally held by the learned, that in the greatest earthquakes the whole body of the earth is never shaken, but only some parts of it, whence they say it is that David saith, Psal. 104.5. that God laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever, yet Iob saith here, that he shaketh the earth out of her place, because God can thus if he seeth cause even overturn the course of nature, and because in­deed in great and terrible earthquakes, it seems to men that the whole body of the earth doth quake and tremble.

Vers. 7. Which commandeth the Sun and it riseth not, and sealeth up the starres.] This which Iob here saith, that God commandeth the Sun and it riseth not, may be meant of the ordinary providence of God in disposing the night-season, by kee­ping the Sun for a time in another hemisphere, as likewise of his hiding the Sun from shining upon us in the Eclypses it frequently suffers, or in the darknesse of mighty tempests, when by the extraordinary blacknesse of the clouds, the day is, as it were, turned into night: and so again, that which followeth, that God sealeth up the starres, may be understood, either of Gods hiding the starres from us by the ordinary intercourse of the day, or of his covering them from our sight by thick and pitchy clouds, as in that terrible tempest, Act. 27.20. when nei­ther Sun nor starres for many daies appeared. And thus indeed many Expositours do explain this place. But I rather conceive that it is meant, as the former verses also are, of Gods supreme over-ruling power, not of that which God doth ordinarily, but of that which he can doe, to wit, that if he pleaseth he can command the Sun that it shall shine no more upon us, and lock up the starres from us, as long as he listeth, and so deprive us both of their light and influences: of which unlimited power the Lord gave a notable proof, when he commanded the Sun to stand still upon Ioshuah's prayer, and to go backward in the daies of Hezekiah.

Vers. 8. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.] That is, who as he did at first in the creation of the world, so he still doth by his continuall providence, stretch forth the heavens, as a glorious Canopy o­ver our heads, and ruleth the raging billows of the sea at his pleasure; for that is meant by his treading upon the waves of the Sea, that they are [Page 51] subject to his dominion and power, so that he doth in them what seems good un­to him.

Vers. 9. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion and Pleiades, and the chambers of the South.] That is, who maketh all the severall starres and constellations in the heaven, from the Northern to the Southern pole, to arise in their severall seasons from the be­ginning to the end of the year; for though some few only are here mentioned, yet under these all the rest are comprehended, and these amongst the rest are particularly expressed, both because they are amongst many others most remar­kable, and because also by them the severall seasons of the year are distinguished: for Arcturus is a Constellation of starres near the North Pole, behind the tail of Vrsa major, or the greater Bear▪ (a Constellation so called because it hath the form of a Bear) and is thence tearmed Arcturus, [...], that is, the tail of the Bear, and it riseth in our Horizon about the beginning of September, some few daies before the Autumne Aequinoctiall, which was amongst those ancient Eastern Nations counted the beginning of the year: Orion also is a Constellati­on of starres that riseth in our Hemisphere in December, when we account winter begins; the Pleiades is a Constellation usually called the seven starres, about the tail or back of the sign Taurus, and it riseth in our Hemisphere about the be­ginning of the Spring, and therefore also called Vergiliae; and by the chambers of the South are meant, either those Southern starres, which because they are near the Southern Pole, and so we that dwell in the Northern Hemisphere cannot see them, are therefore called the Chambers of the South, as being starres, that are hid and withdrawn from our sight: or the dog-star and others that rise in the summer.

Vers. 11. Loe, he goeth by me and I see him not, &c.] Having said in the forego­ing verse, that God doth great things and unsearchable, marvellous things without number (which is fully what Eliphaz had said before, chap. 5.9. of which see the Note there) here now Iob prooves this, that Gods works are thus innumerable and unsearchable. Loe, he goeth by me and I see him not, &c. That is, the Lord doth continually, not only in his works of creation, but also in the daily works of his Providence, manifest himself to us, his wisedome, justice, mercy, power, even as one that should walk up and down before us, and so presents himself near at hand to be seen by us; but alas, it fares with me, saith Iob, in this, as it doth with o­thers, he goeth by me and I see him not; poor wretches, we many times take no no­tice of him in his works, and when we do discern any thing of God by that which he doth, tis nothing comparatively in regard of that which is taught us thereby, neither are we any more able to comprehend by our reason and understanding the depth of his waies and counsells, with the exact reason of them▪ though they be all most exactly just and reasonable, then we are to behold him with our bodi­ly eyes, who is invisible; so unsearchable are his judgements, and his waies past finding out, as the Apostle saith, Rom. 11.33. And this Iob addes as another reason to proove what he had said before, vers. 3, 4. to wit, that it was vain for the justest man living to contend with God, because when he doth afflict us, we are not alwaies able to reach the reason of his so proceeding with us, nor are we any waies able to guard our selves when he strikes; he may come upon us on [Page 52] every side, and take all advantages to destroy us, and we not discerning him can­not possibly help our selves.

Vers. 12. Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, what dost thou?] That is, if God is pleased at any time to take away from men, as he hath from me, their estates, or their children, yea if he should be pleased to take away their lives, no man living can withstand him, nor so much as call him into question, to render a reason, why he doth it, his own will and pleasure being reason sufficient: so that as before he pleaded mans inability to discern the waies of God, so here also he pleads the weaknesse and inability of man to withstand God in any of his waies, or so much as to question what he doth, and that because of the unresistable power and unquestionable justice of God, which whilst he did so freely acknowledge, it was not likely that he would quarrell and contend with God, as his friends did unjustly charge him.

Vers. 13. If God will not withdraw his anger the proud helpers do stoope under him.] That is, when God is angry if he do not of his own free grace, & upon the repen­tance and prayers of those he is offended with withdraw his anger, if he do not receive them again into favour, but resolves to proceed in his displeasure against them, alas it is in vain for the strongest, the wisest, the justest of men to goe a­bout to withstand him; let those against whom he is angry, or any that shall seek to help them, oppose themselves against his proceedings, either by pleading for them and defending their innocency, or by seeking to resist and keep off the strokes of his displeasure, the Lord will soon crush both the one and the other, when in their greatest pride they exalt themselves against him, not ceasing till he hath convinced them of their folly and forced them to stoop to him, or at least crushed them by his power.

Vers. 14. How much lesse shall I answer him, and chuse out my words to reason with him?] These words may have reference to those in the foregoing verse, that if the proud helpers do stoop under him, that is, if the Lord doth so easily quash the stout­est, that in the proud conceit of their own strength or righteousnesse shall con­tend with him, and all that shall rise up to help them herein, how much lesse should be a poor weak and despised wretch be able to answer him, or with a stu­died speech in a rhetoricall manner reason with him, hoping to convince him, that he hath dealt hardly and unjustly with him; or else they may be referred to all that he had before spoken, to wit, that if neither the mountains, the sea, the heavens, nor any other the strongest of the creatures, were able to stand before his almighty power, nor to endure the fury of his indignation, much lesse should such a poor worm as he be able to rise up against him, yea even so far as to plead his cause with him, to chuse out words to reason with him. Indeed he saith afterward, chap. 13.3. that he desired to reason with God ▪ but that is meant only of a reaso­ning by way of declaring his case and condition before God, this of a reasoning by way of contestation, or quarrelling about the works of Gods Providence; and therefore whilst he desired that, he might well disclaim this.

Vers. 16. If I had called and [...]e had answered me, &c.] The chief difficulty of this passage lies in this word called ▪ some understand it of his challenging or cal­ling [Page 53] God to an account, to make good what he had done, or of calling God to let him plead his righteousnesse before him, wherein if God had answered him, con­descending to give him an account of his waies, or yielding to hear what he could say, yet he would not believe that he had hearkened to his voice, that is, either he could not believe, that the great God of heaven and earth should vouchsafe to hear the defence of such a poor worm as he was, or else rather he would not believe that he had so farre hearkened to his voice, as to accept of his defence, and to determine on his side, and so to acknowledge he had done him wrong; as if Iob had said, so farre am I from undertaking to justifie my self, that if I had required liberty of God to proove mine innocency, and God had given way to me herein, yet would I not believe, that God had thereupon hearkened to my voice and acknowledged mine innocency; and that because the contrary is evident, in that his hand is still so heavy upon me. But then others again under­stand this word (called) of prayer, and so they conceive the sense of the words to be this, that if he had called, that is, if he had prayed and made supplication to his judge for mercy, (as he had said before in the foregoing verse,) and God had answered him, that is, had consented to grant him his desire, yet he would not be­lieve, that he had hearkened to his voice, that is, that he had done it in respect to him or his prayer, for any worth in him, or in any service that he could perform: and that because his hand was now so heavy upon him. And indeed either of these expositions do well agree with the scope of Iobs answer to Bildad.

Vers. 17. For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplyeth my wounds without cause.] As if he should have said, they are not ordinary calamities that God hath laid upon me; No, he hath broken me in pieces, as with a thunderbolt from hea­ven, and multiplyeth my wounds still more and more, and that without cause, that is, without any cause manifested, or without any cause that I can discover; not be­ing conscious to my self of any so great wickednesse I have committed that should provoke him to lay so heavy a punishment upon me.

Vers. 19. If I speak of strength, loe he is strong, &c.] That is, how should I hope to contend with God? either it must be by strength, that I must defend my self against him, or by pleading my cause in a way of justice and judgement; Now a­las if I speak of strength, if I hope that way to contend with him, behold, he is strong, that is, absolutely, infinitely strong, so that there is none that can possibly stand before him, and if I speak of judgement, hoping by a way of legall proceedings to clear mine innocency, who shall set me a time to plead, that is, where should I find a judge, that having power over us both, should appoint me a day, wherein I should plead my cause, and answer what the Lord could object against me.

Vers. 20. If I justifie my self, mine own mouth shall condemn me, &c.] That is, though I should be admitted to plead my cause against the Lord, yet should I undertake to justifie my self, mine own mouth would condemne me, to wit, either because the Lord by many severall particulars he might examine me upon, and charge me with, would easily so farre convince me, that I should be forced with mine own mouth to condemn my self, or else because not having any sufficient plea for the defence of my self, mine own lips would discover the weaknesse of my [Page 54] cause, I should be intangled in mine own words, and even those things which I should speak for my self would be retorted upon me to proove me perverse, or else lastly because this very affirming of my self to be righteous, would be abun­dantly enough to condem me, since first it is sinfull for man to boast of his own righteousnesse; and secondly, thereby I should lie against the truth, and should discover most desperate boldnesse in contending against God, yea I should charge God with falsehood, and injustice, who hath concluded all under sin, and doth daily correct the most righteous for their transgressions; all which agrees fully with that of St Iohn. 1. Iohn 1.10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a lyar, and his word is not in us.

Vers. 21. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul, I would despise my life.] That is, though I did verily perswade my self, that I were perfectly righteous, yet would I not belieue mine own heart herein, nor regard mine own soul in this, to stand upon mine innocency, as knowing that there might be much amisse in me, which I discerned not in my self, but even for fear of tryall before the great God I should despise my life, that is, be glad I were dead; yea in point of justifica­tion I would utterly disclaime and despise the righteousnesse of my life and con­versation, and would acknowledge my self an unprofitable servant. Or else the meaning of these words may be given thus: though upon pleading my cause, God should find me and acknowledge me perfect, yet I could take no joy in this, nor durst exalt my self, but should despise this righteousnesse of mine own life.

Vers. 22. This is one thing, therefore I said it; he destroyeth the perfect and the wicked,] That is, this one thing is sure and certain, or this is the only one thing wherein we differ, and whereto all that I have spoken tendeth, (for as for those many other things you have delivered concerning God, therein we joyntly agree) which being clear and evident, therefore I said it, I could not forbear plainly to a­verre it, and do and shall still maintain it, namely, that God destroyeth the perfect, no lesse then the wicked. Hitherto Iob hath made good that he made no more question of the justice of Gods proceedings, then his friends did; but now he shows wherein the difference lay betwixt them, to wit, that whereas they main­tained, that it should alwaies be well with the righteous and ill with the wicked here in this world, and that therefore, either the righteous should ever live in prosperity, or if the Lord did correct them for a while, when they had gone a­stray, yet upon their repentance he would soon show mercy, and not suffer them to end their daies in such miseries; and on the other side, either he would sud­denly destroy the wicked, or if he suffered them to flourish for a time, he would afterwards pour out his vengeance the more heavily upon them, he for his part was farre otherwise perswaded, namely that for these outward things, Gods dea­ling was many times in every regard the same, both toward the righteous and toward the wicked, and that therefore there was no just cause at all, why his friends should condemn him for an hypocrite and a wicked man, because of the afflictions that God had laid upon him: and thus he answers what Bildad had said, chap. 8.20. Behold, God will not cast away the perfect man, neither will he help the e­vil doers.

[Page 55]Vers. 23. If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the tryall of the innocent.] As if he should have said, when the Lord sends any sudden calamity, that sweeps a­way both the wicked and the righteous, the wicked by way of just vengeance, the righteous to proove and try them, there can be nothing said against the Lords proceeding herein, he will laugh at the tryall of the innocent, he will and may justly scorn the plea of any mans innocency, though the uprightest man breathing, and that because the most righteous have by their sins deserved worse then he laies upon them, nor can alledge any just cause, why they should be exempted from such calamities.

Vers. 24. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth &c.] This text of Scripture is very difficult, and accordingly it is diversly expounded: some conceive that by the wicked here is meant the Devil, and so conceive the meaning of the place to be this, that God hath delivered the earth to the power and sway of the Devil, permitting him to rule and have dominion amongst the children of men (as indeed he is called, in regard of his power over wicked men, the God of this world, 2 Cor. 4.4, and the ruler of the darknesse of this world. Eph. 6.12.) and that accordingly he covereth the faces of the judges thereof, that is, he makes them that sit in the seat of justice to be as blind men, neither regarding right nor wrong, neither justifying the righteous nor punishing the wicked, that oppresse the righteous, but suffering them without controul to run on in their violent courses, as if they saw no evil in them; And this they conceive is alledged by Iob as one reason, why the righteous suffer so much misery here in this world. But then others by the wicked understand wicked men, into whose hands the earth is said to be given, because they are advanced and become Lords in the world, and have the chief sway and command in every place, and that thus, as Iob had before confuted what Bildad had said concerning the Lords constant blessing the righ­teous, so here he refutes what Bildad had also said chap. 8.13. concerning the curse that falls on the wicked, to wit, by shewing that instead of being accursed of God, they flourish and are exalted above others, and so rule and domineer in the world at their pleasure; and then for the next clause, he covereth the faces of the judges thereof, that also accordingly they understand of the wicked man, thus advanced in the world, but in two severall senses, to wit, that these wicked men do, either by bribery, or by their overbearing power, cover the faces of the judges, corrupting and blinding them, and making them do whatsoever they will have them without any respect to justice or equity; or else, that they despise and dis­grace, yea condemn and deliver over to death the judges thereof, that is, men that are deservedly honoured for their wisedome and integrity: and to justifie this last exposition, they show 1. That by covering the face in the Scripture is sometimes meant the delivering up of men to death; for so it is said of Haman, when the King was offended with him, Esth. 7.8. they covered Hamans face, and 2. That by judges in the Scripture is sometimes also meant, not only those that sit in seats of judgement to punish malefactours, and to give sentence in matters of controversie, but also whosoever they are, that are honoured for their eminent wisedome and integrity, and are any way a stay or defence to the common-wealth [Page 56] where they live, and so this word seems to be used again, chap. 12.17. He leadeth counsellers away spoiled and maketh the judges fools. But then again there is a third way of expounding these words, and that seems to me above the rest the most probable, to wit, that both these clauses must be understood of God, that the earth is by him given into the hand of the wicked, that through his providence the wicked, irreligious and ungodly sort of men are the great men of the earth, and rule and domineer in the world at their pleasure; and whereas the only remedy for this should be in those that sit in the seat of justice, he covereth the faces of the judges thereof, whereby is meant, either that by withdrawing his grace, leaving them to themselves, yea delivering them up to a reprobate mind, he covereth their faces, so that they sit in judgement like so many blind men, yea like so ma­ny idols, and as not discerning between right and wrong, when it is most palpa­ble, they regard not the violent courses of these wicked wretches, but let them alone to doe what they please; or else that he is able to cover the faces of the most righteous judges with shame, when they think they have judged most up­rightly, by discovering to them their failings and punishing them for it. And in­deed hereto best agrees that last clause, If not, where and who is he? For though some understand this as a challenge, if this that I have said be not so, who and where is the man, that will disproove what I have spoken? Or thus, if it be not the wicked man, that doth this which I have spoken, to wit, that covers the faces of the judges, then who is it that doth it? who but a wicked man would doe it? yet I conceive the meaning of these words runs more clearly thus, If not, where and who is he? That is, if it be not God that doth these things, where is he or who is he that doth them? as if he should have said, it is not possible that this should be done without the knowledge and will of God: for if we say, that it is of the Devil or wicked men, yet we cannot but know that God is the supreme Ruler and governour of the whole world and all things that are therein, and that they could do nothing therefore without liberty from him. And thus doth Iob conclude, that it is God that doth both advance the wicked and afflict the righ­teous.

Vers. 25. Now my daies are swifter then a Post, they flee away, they see no good, &c.] That is, the daies of my prosperity. Here Iob returns to his complaints, alledging himself as an instance of Gods severity in afflicting those, who have endeavoured to walk uprightly with God; As he hath dealt with others in this kind, so he hath dealt with me, saith Iob, the daies of my prosperity are gone on a sudden, in a moment I am deprived of all that I enjoyed, mine honour is laid in the dust, and my life in a manner is brought unto the grave. As for that clause, that his daies did see no good, the meaning is, that he in his daies had seen no good; and either it must be understood of that time only, wherein this sudden change had befal­len him, that therein his prosperity was gone on a sudden without the mixing of one good hour, or if it be extended to his whole life, it must be taken, as spoken by way of amplifying the sudden vanishing of his prosperous condition, that the good he had enjoyed was nothing to speak of, as indeed in pressing miseries men are wont to forget many times all the good which God hath done for them, and [Page 57] are only taken up with their present sufferings. See also the Note upon chap. 7.7.

Vers. 27. If I say, I will forget my complaint, &c.] That is, if I determine to put the evils I have suffered, and do still suffer out of my mind, and so to give o­ver complaining, if I resolve not to give way to my passions and grief as I have done, but to chear up and comfort my self, it is all in vain, I am afraid of all my sor­rows, that is, the sense and weight of my sorrows do to overwhelm me with ter­rours and fears of Gods wrath and displeasure against me, that I am not able to quiet my mind and comfort my self; or thus, when I think of chearing my self, my sorrows present themselves a-fresh before me, and even scare me with their ter­rours: I know that thou, Lord, wilt not hold me innocent, that is, I see plainly that thou wilt still pursue me with all rigour for the evil thou seest in me: however upright I may seem in mine own eyes, or in the sight of others, thou wilt easily find mat­ter enough of condemnation in me, and then thou wilt not acquit me, thou wilt not declare me to be innocent, and so convince these men that unjustly cen­sure me, to wit, by easing me of these miseries; so that even by thy present pro­ceedings with me, I plainly perceive that thou wilt still follow me with these evils, and that it will never be better with me. And thus Iob, being overborne with the terrours of his present sufferings, doth in the impatience of his spirit cast away all hope as it were of deliverance for the time to come. I know there are some lear­ned Expositours that understand this as spoken to Bildad, I know that thou, Bildad, wilt not hold me innocent, meaning that as long as his troubles continued, he would still condemn him for an hypocrite. But the generall current of Exposi­tours runs the other way.

Vers. 29. If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?] These words are expoun­ded by Interpreters divers waies; some conceive it to be spoken as in answer to that counsell which Bildad had given him in the former chapter, vers. 5. To seek unto God, and to make his supplication unto the Almighty, as affirming that this would be labour in vain, if he were such a wicked hypocrite, as they his friends had affir­med him to be; others conceive it to be spoken by way of discontent, to wit, that if he were condemned by his friends as a wicked wretch, notwithstanding all his care and strict endeavour to walk uprightly with God, it was then labour in vain to walk so exactly; and he had even as good doe, as others did. But the best ex­position I conceive is, that these words are spoken with reference to those in the foregoing verse, to wit, that if he were wicked, as his friends thought his affliction did import, and as indeed he must needs be found to be, if God should proceed to judge him, according to the rigour of his justice, it would be then in vain to seek to suppresse his sorrow, and to comfort himself with hope of better daies for the time to come; and that because he could not be so righteous, but that God would find matter enough of condemnation in him, as it follows in the next verses.

Vers 30. If I wash my self with snow water, &c.] It is probable that Iob here alludes to the ceremoniall washings, that were used both amongst the Iews and Gentiles, as a sign of purification. A man as exactly pure and righteous, as man can be, is here compared to one that is washed with snow water, not because snow wa­ter doth cleanse and wash things better then other water, (though perhaps it was [Page 58] so in those countries where they had no good washing water, and so some con­ceive that Iob alludes to that) but either because the best washing water, the clearest fountain water may be figuratively tearmed snow water, for its purity and orient clearnesse; or else because those things that are washed most exactly do in whitenesse resemble the snow, it being usuall in the Scripture to expresse the whitenesse of any thing by saying it is washed in that, the pure whitenesse whereof it doth represent, as Cant. 5.12. the holy Ghost speaks of doves washed with milk, meaning only thereby doves or pigeons as white as milk; If I wash myself with snow water, saith Iob, and make my hands never so clean, yet shalt thou vers. 31. plunge me in the ditch, that is, were I as pure and clean from sin, not only in the opinion of others, and in mine own judgement, but in deed and in truth, as sinfull man in this world can possibly be, were I as pure spiritually, as he is bo­dily, that is washed and scoured till he appears at last as white as snow, and were the works of my hands, my life and conversation, never so spotlesse and unblamea­ble in the eyes of men, yet shouldest thou, O Lord, come to examine and judge me, thou mightest easily discover me to be most abominably unclean, if thou shouldest judge me according to the severity of thy justice, (yea the rather be­cause I went about to justifie my self, and was so clean in mine own eyes) even as unclean as a man that hath been plunged over head and ears in a ditch that is full of dirt and mire, and mine own clothes shall abhorre me, saith Iob, that is, (say some Expositours) thou wouldest cast me down in dishonour, and so the clothes I formerly wore in my prosperity, as being not seemly for so base a wretch, would abhorre me; or thou wouldest slay me, and then my garments, as not becoming, as abhorring a dead carcase, must be stripped off from me; or else rather I shall be found so monstrously filthy, that mine own clothes, if they had sense, would abhorre to touch me; indeed this last clause some read thus, And mine own clothes shall make me to be abhorred, and so conceive the meaning thereof to be, either that those things wherewith they should endeavour to hide his filthinesse would make him the more abominable, or that the very righteousnesse wherewith he was clothed would be found as filthy rags and therefore justly make him to be ab­horred. But the first Translation is most generally approoved.

Vers. 32. for he is not a man as I am, that I should answer him &c.] This is added as a reason of that he had said in the foregoing verses, to wit, that though he were never so innocent, yet God would discover him to be exceeding guilty. The reason is, because there was no hope to deal with the Almighty God, as he might deal with men for the clearing of himself in a way of justice; He is not a man as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgement, as if he should have said, if I had to deal with you or with any other man as my self, with whom I might enter into judgement upon equall terms, I would not doubt to clear my self, and to answer what might be objected against me; But alas God is not as man in this regard, with whom I have to doe, he can easily discern that evil in me, which man could never see, yea which I should never discern in my self; even those things which are in high esteem with men are an abomination with God; And be­sides his majesty and glory would soon confound such a worm as I am, if I should undertake to answer what he would object against me.

[Page 59]Vers. 33. Neither is there any daies-man betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.] As if he should have said, as I dare not contend with God in judgement, so neither is there any to whom I can referre the cause for arbitration; if I were so foolish as to desire to plead my cause with God in that way, alas where should we find any daies-man, or umpire that should undertake to judge and decide the cause betwixt us both, and so should consequently have power over both to pre­scribe bounds and orders to us in our arguing together, to restrain either party as occasion was offered, and to passe a finall sentence in our differences, whereto both of us should be forced to stand? for doubtlesse this phrase of a daies-man that might lay his hand upon us both, is either used with respect to the usuall custome of Umpires, who being chosen to hear and end some difference between parties at variance, do sometimes lay their hand upon the one and sometimes upon the other, when they undertake to shew them, wherein they are or have been to blame, or when they would restrain them from being too violent, or order either party what they should doe, and do at last cause them to shake hands and be friends; or else is used only to signifie the power which the umpire must needs have over both sides, to dispose of them in the controversies committed to his ar­bitrement as he sees cause; for the laying of the hand upon any thing signifies the power which we have over it, and hence is that expression, Psal. 89, 25. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.

Vers. 34. Let him take his rod away from me, &c.] We cannot conceive that Iobs meaning in these words was, that if God would withdraw his scourge, which lay now so heavy upon him, and not over-awe him with the terrour of his ma­jesty, he would then freely and without any fear of God undertake to plead his cause with God, and to shew that he did causelessely lay those evils upon him; for this were expressely contrary to that he had said before, vers. 2, 3. that no man li­ving can be just with God, nor able to answer him one of a thousand, if he will contend with him, yea to that he had said immediately before, vers. 30, 31. that though he were never so pure and innocent, God could easily discover him to be as spiri­tually filthy, as he must needs be outwardly, that hath been plunged over head and ears in a ditch full of mire; and therefore the meaning of these words is ra­ther this, that if God would not proceed in such extremity with him as now he did, nor would terrifie him with the fear of the rigour of his justice and judge­ment, before which he knew well he was not able to stand, then he should not stick boldly and freely to plead his cause in regard of his accusers, and to proove his integrity, that he was not a wicked hypocrite as his friends affirmed him to be, and therefore had such grievous punishments poured forth upon him.

Vers. 35. But it is not so with me.] That is, I am not in such a condition, that I should speak so freely; his rod lyes so heavy upon me, and I see that he doth so discover his indignation against me, and his resolution to deal with me in the ut­termost severity of his justice, that I am even overwhelmed with terrours, and ha­ving to deal with God, dare not say what otherwise I could say for my self, if I had only to deal with men.

CHAP. X.

Vers. 1. MY soul is weary of my life, &c.] Iob having said in the latter end of the foregoing chapter, that God was of such terrible majesty and might, that he durst not plead his cause with him, as he would doe with a man as himself; here now as it were correcting or recalling what he had said, he professeth that yet his miseries were so great and insufferable, that he could not forbear breaking forth into complaints and expostula­tions, My soul is weary of my life, I will leave my complaint upon my self, &c. Some read the first clause thus, as we see in the margin, My soul is cut off while I live, as if he had said, though as yet I live, yet I am in a manner no better then a dead man, and that either because he was in such a sad condition, that he was more like a dead stinking carcase then a living man, the life that he lived was not worthy the name of life, or because he was irrecoverably gone, as we use to say, ready imme­diately to tumble into the grave, there was but a step betwixt him and death; or else thus, my soul is in a manner cut off in the midst of my daies, I was likely e­nough to have lived many a fair day, but on a sudden my life is cut off and my daies are shortned. But reading this clause as it is in our Bibles, My soul is weary of my life, either it is an Hebraisme wherein the soul is put for the whole man, my soul is weary, that is, I am weary of my life, and it may be meant generally that he was weary of living, or that he was weary of that miserable life he lived; or else it is expressed thus by way of emphasis, My very soul, that is the cause I live, is weary of my life, I do even from my soul loath and abhorre life, and would be glad I were dead. And this he laies down as the ground of his following complaints, to wit, because in such bitternesse of sorrows he was not able to forbear, and withall hap­ly to intimate his hope, that God would the rather bear with him, because by so great miseries he was as it were constrained to say what he said; or else to imply that hereby he was encouraged to give way to his passion, because if he should loose his life for speaking, he should but loose that he was weary of: and there­upon he adds, I will leave my complaint upon my self, I will speak in the bitternesse of my soul; where by leaving his complaint upon himself, is meant either that he would leave complaining of himself, since he saw that by accusing and condemning him­self, he got no ease at all, and would now plead his cause with God; or else that though he suffered his soul to break forth into complaints, yet his complaints should not rest upon God but upon himself, he would only declare the misery, of his condition without uttering a word that should tend to the reproach of God, that had laid these sore calamities upon him; or else rather that he would a­bundantly pour out his complaints concerning his sad and dolefull condition whatever came of it, I will leave my complaint upon my self, &c. as if he should have said, I will give way to my complaints to break forth, they strive for a vent, and I will no longer restrain them; if any evil comes of it, at my perill be it, I must undergoe it though I have been hitherto afraid to speak, yet now I am resolved to give the reins to my imbittered spirit, I will make a full complaint of my suffe­rings, [Page 61] and there at all adventures will leave it upon my self, that God may consi­der of it; and let him doe with me as shall seem good unto him. And so these words are indeed to the same purpose with what he had said before, chap. 7.11. I will not refrain my mouth, I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, &c. of which see the Note there.

Vers. 2. I will say unto God, do not condemn me, &c.] Many Expositours con­ceive, that before Iob comes to plead with God, and to pour out his complaints before him, as he had resolved he would doe, he doth here deprecate the indig­nation of the Lord therein, Do not condemne me, that is, though I take a little free­dome to plead my cause before thee, do not blame me, be not offended with me for it, yea though any thing should slip from me rashly or inconsiderately, charge it not upon me; which is much as Abraham spake when he pleaded with God, Gen. 18.30. Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. But the most of Exposi­tours do I conceive better understand this to be the effect of these words, to wit, that either God would withdraw his hand from punishing him so severely as he had done, or else that he would shew him, why it was that he contended with him. Do not condemne me, that is, deal not with me thus as a wicked wretch, whom thou hast condemned to be cast off and destroyed; By the judgements thou hast laid upon me, thou dost in a manner proclaim me to be such a one, and so all men are ready to judge, and therefore either acquit me from this censure by withdraw­ing the stroke of thine hand, or else shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. Questionlesse Iob was not ignorant, that by sin he had deserved to be condem­ned and severely punished, but he argues with God here as in relation to the Co­venant of grace, which God had made with our first parents after the fall, wherein God was pleased to promise pardon of sins, and all other blessings to those that by faith embracing the promised seed should thereupon fear him, and endea­vour to walk holily and righteously before him all their daies; Now because Iob was not conscious to himself, but that he had thus as one in Covenant with God, sincerely given himself to serve and fear him, therefore he desires that he would not condemne him and cast him off, but that he would shew him what it was he aimed at in afflicting him so, or what it was in him wherewith he had been provo­ked to deal so severely with him, that so he might amend what was amisse, and not provoke him any longer.

Vers. 3. Is it good unto thee, that thou shouldest oppresse? &c.] As if he should have said, that is farre from thee, thou art not wont to doe so: and there are three particulars which he mentions, that he would imply are not with any reason to be conceived of God. 1. That he should oppresse him. 2. That he should despise the work of his own hands, and 3. That he should shine upon the counsell of the wicked. By oppressing him is meant a causelesse laying so many judgements upon him, both in his estate, children and person; by despising the work of his own hands is meant the destroying of his creature as a worthlesse despicable thing, without so much as vouchsafing first to try, convince and condemn him; and by shining upon the counsell of the ungodly is meant favouring and prospering their coun­sells and endeavours; Now none of these, Iob would have us know, can be char­ged [Page 62] upon God: for this phrase, Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppresse? that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands? &c. doth imply either that it cannot be just and right in the eyes of God, who is infinitely just and good, and hates all oppression in others, to deal thus with his poor creature; or else that it could be neither pleasure, nor profit, nor honour to the Almighty to deal so with man, and that therefore however sinfull men sitting in seats of justice, may out of by-re­spects to some advantage that is like to redound to themselves, or merely to please themselves, oppresse the innocent and favour the wicked, yet no such ad­vantages can move God unjustly to oppresse or destroy his creature. Besides be­cause he is the work of his own hands, he cannot make so little account of him, as to destroy him without cause. Every workman loves the work which himself hath made; a potter when he hath made a vessell of clay, will not without any cause take it and dash it against a wall; and much lesse then can we think that God, whose tender mercies are over all his works, Psal. 145.9. will causelessely destroy his own creature, whatever he may doe by his sovereign power: As for that last clause, or that thou shouldest shine upon the counsell of the wicked, though divers Expo­sitours understand it to be spoken as in relation to Iobs friends, namely that God by laying such heavy judgements upon Iob, might seem to favour and make good their judging him to be an hypocrite, yet in regard I can hardly think that because these his friends did rashly and unjustly censure him to be a wicked hy­pocrite, therefore he would runne into the same sin of judging them to be wicked men, I should rather conceive that Iob spake this generally, of Gods fa­vouring wicked men without respect to any particulars, or that he might have respect, if to any, to those Sabeans and Chaldeans, who had unjustly surprised his estate, and went away tryumphing in their good successe; though God may pro­sper wicked men, yet he never favours them or their wicked designs.

Vers. 4. Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?] As if he had said, thou seest into the secrets of mens hearts, and dost not behold only that which appears outwardly as man doth, yea thou knowest all things perfectly. And this Iob adds either to shew, that therefore God could not deal with him as he did, out of ignorance; though his friends not knowing his heart, condemned him for an hypocrite, yet God the searcher of all hearts could not be so deceived: or else to intimate that God therefore needed not by laying such sore afflictions upon him, to endeavour to make a discovery of what he was or what he had done, as earthly judges are sometimes forced by tortures to search into the secret offences of those that are to be tryed before them. I know that some Expositours do give other interpretations of these words; as that God is not wont for ever to look with a fierce and revengefull eye upon those that have sinned against him, as men use to doe, as it is said of Saul, 1 Sam. 18.9. Saul eyed David from that day and for­ward, or, that God looks not upon men with partiall eyes when he judgeth them, as men doe that are blinded with gifts, and corrupt affections, whether anger or love, and taken with the outward splendour of men, and so despise the poor and favour only the great and mighty, which agrees with that expression the prophet useth concerning Christ, Esa. 11.3. He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, &c. [Page 63] or, that God judgeth not men by their actions only, which is the only way of mans judging, but by that which he sees in the men; he judgeth them by that which they alwaies are, and not by that which they sometimes act. But the first exposition is farre most agreeable to the drift of Iobs speech.

Vers. 5. Are thy daies as the daies of man? &c.] That is, they are not as the daies of man; and this may be understood generally, to wit, that God is not sub­ject to any such infirmities as man is. But because of those following words, Are thy years as mans daies, that thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin? it may more particularly be meant either 1. Of the immutability of God, that he is not as man changeable and inconstant, to day a friend, to morrow an ene­my; and therefore it could not but seem strange to him, that after so many clear manifestations of his love to him, all should be now turned into such extremity of indignation against him; or 2. Of the eternity of God, that he is not short-lived as mortall man is, that hereupon he should deal with him in so great severi­ty, heaping upon him such a multitude of miseries, least he should not have time to search out his sins, or to punish him for them when he had found them out; in reference whereto some observe, that only daies are here ascribed to frail man, but years to the immortall ever-living God; or 3. Of the omniscience of God, and that in relation also to his eternity, namely that whereas man gains know­ledge by degrees in continuance of time, God is eternall, his life consists not in a succession of daies and years, and so he knows all things past, present and to come in the indivisible moment of his eternity, and therefore there was no need that by long continuing tortures and enquiries he should thus labour to search out his iniquity and sin.

Vers. 7. Thou knowest that I am not wicked, &c.] Having in the foregoing ver­ses reckoned up many particulars which could not be conceived of God; as that he should oppresse or despise the work of his own hands, &c. here now Iob ap­plyes these things to himself, and shews how strange Gods dealing with him was in these regards, thereby also to imply his desire that God would remove these sore calamities from him, and not deal otherwise with him, then he dealt with any of his servants besides. Accordingly therefore for the words of this verse, Thou knowest that I am not wicked, and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand, Some conceive they are added in reference to the words in the two foregoing verses, and that to proove that God needed not to goe on in such a way of searching out his sins, as men are wont to doe, to wit, by long continuing tortures, and that 1. Because he knew his heart, and therefore could not be ignorant of his integri­ty, Thou knowest that I am not wicked, that is, of thy self without any search or en­quiry thou knowest that my heart is upright, and that I am not a wicked man; and 2. Because there was no possibility that he should escape out of his hand; None can deliver out of thine hand, as if he should have said, malefactours are wont to be shut up fast in prison, to be shackled and bound in fetters and chains, lest they should escape the judgement that is to be executed upon them; yea and sometimes judges proceed with the greater rigour to bring those they have in their hands to confesse the evil they suspect they have done, as fearing lest they [Page 64] should by some higher power be fetched out of their hands, before they have gotten that out of them which they desire to know; But now, Lord, there is no cause why thou shouldest thus shackle and coop up me, as thou seemest to doe, to be sure to make me forth-coming, since there is no possibility that any man should escape out of thy hand, either by flight or rescue. But now again others doe, and I think better, referre these words to that which Iob had said before, vers. 3. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppresse? and accordingly conceive that they are added to shew, that since it was no way likely that God would cause­lessely oppresse a poor wretch that was not able to withstand him, how strange therefore it must needs seem to him, that God should so crush him as he had done, both because he durst say that God knew that he was not wicked, though he could not justifie himself as free from sin, as himself had formerly confessed, chap. 9.20. yet he durst say that God knew that his heart was upright, Thou knowest that I am not wicked (and it was indeed a very notable evidence of a clear conscience, that the hand of God being so heavy upon him, and his friends char­ging him so expressely with hypocrisie, he should notwithstanding thus coura­geously appeal to Gods knowledge of him that he was not wicked) and also be­cause he was by no means able to save himself from Gods unresistable power, none can deliver out of thine hand; when humane powers oppresse, there is one above them that can deliver the oppressed, as Solomon saith, Eccles. 5.8. He that is higher then the highest regardeth, and there be higher then they; But now none can deliver out of Gods hand, and therefore the innocent and righteous would be in an ill condition, if he should oppresse them. And this is the argument whereby Iob doth here covertly plead with God to remove his hand from him.

Vers. 8. Thine hands have made me and fashioned me round about, &c.] That is, in every part all my body over; yea every member of my body and every facul­ty of my soul; the meaning is, that he was wholly the work of Gods own hands, that there was not the least piece of him from head to foot, within or without, not so much as the nailes upon his fingers and toes, which the Lord had not wrought and fashioned with all possible diligence, care, and skill; and in the words there may seem to be an allusion to a carefull and cunning workman, that useth when he hath made any choice piece, to turn it this way and that, & to look round about to see if there be any thing that is defective, or that may be made more curious and exact then as yet it is. Now for the connection of these words with that which went before; Some conceive, that Iob here prooves what he had said in the foregoing verse, to wit, that God knew that he was not wicked, and that none could deliver out of his hands, namely, because God made him, and he must needs know man that made man, neither was it possible that the work should deliver it self out of the hand of him that formed it; and indeed that God must needs know man perfectly is prooved by the same argument, Psal. 94.9. Vnder­stand ye bruitish.— He that planted the ear shall not he hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? But I rather conceive that Iob adds this also in reference to what he had said before, Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands? intimating how strange it seemed to him that God should despise his own [Page 65] workmanship, especially a piece of such excellency as man was; and that yet he could not judge otherwise but that thus it was with him: for God had made him, and yet, saith he, thou doest destroy me, as if thou madest no reckoning of me: oh how wonderfull are thy judgements, and thy waies past finding out! Indeed because there is no wonder at all in it, that God should destroy wicked men, though they were the work of his hands (concerning the old world the Lord said, I will destroy man, whom I have created, Gen. 6.7. and concerning the rebellious Iews by the prophet, Esa. 27.11. He that made them will have no mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour) therefore some Expositours conceive, that those words Thine hands have made me and fashioned me are meant, not only of Gods first forming him in his conception, but also of the work of Regeneration, when the Lord by the spirit of Grace, did renew his image in him, and made him a new creature, this being that which seemed so strange to Iob, that being such a one, yet God should destroy him. But methinks it is evident, that the words do intend only the fashioning and framing of Iob in his first conception; yet indeed that which Iob mentions as the matter of his wonder, is not so much that he should de­stroy the work of his own hands, as that he should doe it causelessely (for so Iob conceived it was with him) as if he minded not his own handy-work, as is noted before, vers. 3. And besides this complaint may imply a deprecation, Thou seemest resolved to destroy me, but doe not, consider that I am the work of thine own hands, as it follows in the next vers. Remember I beseech thee that thou hast made me, &c.

Vers. 9. Thou hast made me as the clay, and wilt thou bring me into dust again?] Here Iob proceeds to desire God to be favourable to him from the foregoing consideration, that he was the work of his own hands, which he farther enlargeth in the following verses. In the first words, Thou hast made me as the clay, some hold that he hath respect to the creation of our first father Adam, in whom we were all made of earth, of the dust of the ground, Gen. 2.7. or else to his conception in the womb of his mother, where the first materialls whereof he was made were such, that it might well be said, that he was at the first no better then clay; But if he had had respect to either of these, he would not have said that he was made as the clay but of clay. Rather therefore the meaning is only this, that as a potter doth form and fashion the clay which he makes into a vessel, so God had won­derfully shaped and fashioned him in the womb of his mother; and however some also conceive, that the drift of this is to desire the Lord to deal more gently with him, as considering of what brittle principles he was made, Thou hast made me as the clay, and wilt thou bring me into dust again? that is, thou hast made me as brit­tle as a vessel of clay, so that thou needest not lay thine hand so heavy upon me, to bring me back into dust again; yea since I am sure ere long to molder into dust again, let that suffice, and do not make me live that short time I have to live, in such extreme torment and misery as now I doe; yet I should rather judge that the chief thing he still pleads is, that since God had so wonderfully made him, he would not now causelessely destroy the work of his own hands: for though he had many times in a passion wished himself dead, yet it is no wonder at all, that when he comes to plead with God, he should desire him to spare his [Page 66] life, at least that he would not with such fury and indignation grind and beat him to dust, as by his present proceedings with him, he seemed resolved to doe.

Vers. 10. Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and crudled me as cheese?] Thus he modestly expresseth how wonderfully he was by the mighty power of God con­ceived in the womb of the seed of his parents, which being first poured forth as milk, (whereto in colour it is not unlike) afterwards was congealed and crud­led together like cheese, and so became an imperfect embryo. And hereby Iob seeks to set forth what a rare and choice piece man is, especially considering of what vild and sordid principles he is made. We wonder not much to see a cheese made of crudled milk; but that a living man bearing the image of God, and so artificially and curiously framed and joyned together in every part, should be made of such base materialls, this is exceeding wonderfull; and the more it heigh­tened the worth of Gods workmanship in the forming of man, the stranger it seemed to Iob, that God should despise such a precious piece of his own handy­work.

Vers. 11. Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh; &c.] He tearms his skin and flesh a clothing, either in reference to his soul, which is the chief of man, and to which the body is as it were a garment, which it wears during its abode here in this world, and then at the hour of death puts it off, and laies it by for a time, whence is that of the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5.4. where those that die are said to be unclo­thed; or else rather in reference to the inward, and more noble and tender vitall parts, the heart, liver, brains, and bowells, which are clothed and covered with flesh and skin, especially the vitall parts; which are therefore also said to be fen­ced with bones and sinews, as alluding to the fence of the ribs, and the orderly juncture of other bones and sinews, whereby the inward, especially the vitall parts, are kept safe and preserved. However Iob still proceeds to shew how won­derfully he was formed in his mothers womb, when the same liquid substance, which a while was but as crudled milk, became severally in some part skin and flesh, and elsewhere bones and sinews; all which tends still to set forth how strange it was to him, that God should causelessely destroy what he had made with so ma­ny miracles of wisedome and skill.

Vers. 12. Thou hast granted me life and favour, &c.] That is, say some Exposi­tours, of thy free grace and favour thou hast granted me life. But rather by life and favour two distinct mercies are meant, to wit, that God did not only adde a li­ving soul to the body, which was so wonderfully and curiously fashioned and made, but also many other mercies and comforts to make life sweet and pleasant to him, as especially reason and understanding, wherein man excells all other li­ving creatures, together with those excellent gifts of wit, judgement, memory, ability to speak and discourse, and the like; and then also beauty, which is most properly called favour, health, and strength, and liberty, good education and instruction in all kind of knowledge, both humane and divine; yea under this word favour may be comprehended all other requisite accomodations for his life and well being, as food and raiment, &c. And then to this he addes too Gods [Page 67] carefull preserving of him, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit,, that is, thy pro­vidence hath continually watched over me, and secured my life in many dan­gers; and indeed considering how strange it is, that the child should live in the streights of the mothers womb, and what dangers it passeth through, both in the birth and afterwards, well might Iob admire the sollicitous and constant provi­dence of God, in sustaining and preserving him alive after he had made him.

Vers. 13. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart; I know that this is with thee.] Some Expositours referre those words (these things) to the calamities which he now suffered; as if Iob had said in a kind of passion and discontent, I know that all the time thou shewedst thy self thus favourable to me, thou hadst a resolution to bring all these miseries upon me; even as a man that intends to be revenged on one that hath wronged him, doth yet cunningly conceal what he intends till he can get a fit opportunity to doe it: so thou didst not discover till now what evil thou intendedst against me, but even then I know it was hidden in thine heart: But this is somewhat too harsh to be conceived of Iob, and there­fore others referre them (and I think upon better ground) to those gracious dispensations of Gods providence towards him, whereof he had immediately before spoken, to wit, his wonderfull conception and preservation, and many o­ther favours that God had afforded him; and yet they differ in their judge­ment concerning the meaning of the words; for some think that Iob therein speaks of mans inability fully to comprehend those secrets of Gods providence, whereof he had spoken, And these things hast thou hid in thine heart, that is, how thou hast done these things no man exactly knows, that is a secret which lies hid in thine own heart; but that these things were as I have said, so much I understand, and I know this is with thee. And then others conceive the meaning to be this, And these things hast thou hid in thine heart; I know that this is with thee, that is, I know thou dost remember that I am the work of thine hands, and therefore am perswaded that thou wilt not causelessely destroy me, though indeed for the pre­sent thy dealing is such with me, that thou dost not discover any such thing; thou knowest better then I how wonderfully thou hast made me, and how tender­ly thou hast preserved me, though now thou hidest thy self, as if thou didst not regard the work of thine own hands: neither indeed can I comprehend how it should come to passe, that having formerly shown me such favour, thou shoul­dest now afflict me so sorely. And this as it is the most ordinary, so I conceive it is the best exposition of the words: they contain an assertion of Iobs assurance that God loved him, even whilst he laid such sore afflictions upon him, and with­all it may be alledged, as an argument to move God not to destroy him, since hereby he should loose all he had formerly done for him.

Vers. 14. If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniqui­ty.] Some referre this to the last words of the foregoing verse; I know, saith Iob there, that this is with thee, and here he expresseth what was with him, If I sin, then thou markest me, &c. Others referre it to the 12 verse, there he had said, Thou [...]ast granted me life and favour, &c. But now here he adds, that though God had been so many waies favourable to him, yet God would not bear with him, if he [Page 68] did not walk uprightly, If I sin, then thou markest me, &c. But more generally it is thought, that Iob here enlargeth himself as in relation to the last branch of his former expostulation, vers. 3. Is it good unto thee, that thou shouldest shine upon the counsell of the wicked? for because by laying such sore calamities upon him, he seemed to favour those that condemned him for an hypocrite, or at least not to be such an enemy to prophane wretches as he was to him, or rather because Gods severity in punishing every sin of his (though he were not wicked) was a clear proof, that God was farre enough from shining upon the counsell of the wick­ed, therefore he alledgeth here how severely God dealt with him, If I sin, then thou markest me, &c. where by (marking him) is meant either Gods keeping a watch o­ver him to make sure he might not escape punishment, or else rather Gods obser­ving every sin he committed, If I sin, then thou markest me, &c. that is, thou takest notice (which is very hard) of every fault I commit, and keepest a strict account of it, resolved to let no slip of mine passe unpunished.

Vers. 15. If I be wicked, woe unto me, &c.] As if he should have said, whether I be wicked, or righteous, it is all one, I can however hope for no release of my mi­sery; which agrees with that chap. 9.22, where he saith that God destroyeth the perfect and the wicked: for if I be wicked, woe unto me, that is, then I were in a wofull condition indeed, I have then deserved the woe and misery that is upon me, and it is just that I should suffer what I do suffer, yea worse and worse I might well ex­pect even unto eternity; and if I be righteous, one that sincerely fears God, and desires to obey his commands, yet will I not hold up my head, I dare not for that stand to justifie my self, or I cannot for that chear my self with any hope or com­fort; and the reason why he said thus, might be, either because he knew that however righteous he was, yet many things he had done amisse, for which God might severely and yet justly contend with him; or else because the sorrows he endured were so extreme, that he could not any way comfort himself; and there­upon he turns himself at last to God, desiring him to take pity of him, I am full of confusion, that is, the more I think of my estate, the farther and farther am I still plunged in confusion, being overwhelmed with distracted thoughts, not know­ing what to think of my condition, nor wherewith to chear up my spirit, there­fore see thou mine affliction, that is, consider in what a sad and miserable condition I am, and have compassion on me.

Vers. 16. Thou huntest me as a fierce lyon, &c.] Some Expositours conceive that it is himself that Iob compares to a lyon, and so understand the words thus, that as men hunt a fierce lyon that hath ranged up and down and done much mischief, following him with all violence till they have at last taken him and slain him, so the Lord dealt with him: as if he had been some fierce proud wretch, that had been mischievous to the place where he had lived, God had hunted him wirh va­riety of plagues that he might destroy him; much according to that which Iob had formerly said, chap. 7.12. Am I a sea or a whale that thou settest a watch over me? But others do better hold that it is the Lord whom Iob compares to a lyon, thou huntest me as a fierce lyon, that is, thou as a fierce lyon (before whom no beast can stand) dost with all violence pursue me with thy judgements, and by thy un­resistable [Page 69] strength dost rend and tear me in pieces▪ which indeed agrees with those expressions we find elsewhere concerning God, Hos. 5.14. I will be unto E­phraim as a lyon, and as a young lyon to the house of Iudah: I even I will tear and goe a­way, &c. and that of Hezekiah, Esa. 38.13. as a lyon so will he break all my bones.

And again thou shewest thy self marvellous upon me.] This may be understood thus, that as formerly God had marvellously blessed Iob, insomuch that he was the greatest of all the men of the East, chap. 1.3. and for piety and grace there was none like him in the earth, vers. 8. so now again God did as marvellously punish him. But the most ordinary exposition I conceive is the best, to wit, that as his sufferings were very great and bitter, so they were successively renewed again and again upon him: and this phrase thou shewest thy self marvellous upon me is used to imply, either that the plagues were wonderfull that God had laid upon him, inso­much that he was become a strange spectacle of misery to all that looked upon him, and men therefore stood amazed to behold his condition, and Gods dealing with him was, as if God intended him for a president, upon whom he would shew what he could doe, and how many new strange waies God had to torture him; or else that it was strange and marvellous, that God who was so abundant in mercy and compassion should deal with him, a man that feared God, as if it were some prophane wretch that he had in hand. However in those last words, (upon me) there seems to be some emphasis, and again thou shewest thy self marvellous upon me, that is, upon me that am in a manner half dead already.

Vers. 17. Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, &c.] That is, thou dost conti­nually come upon me with new plagues, which are witnesses of thy displeasure, and by mine uncomfortable friends are taken as evidences, whereby thou bearest witnesse for them against me, that thou dost esteem me no better then an hypo­crite.

Changes and warre are against me.] That is, changes of warre: the meaning is that many and divers miseries and sorrows did continually assail him; as in the warre severall troops and companies of souldiers do successively one after ano­ther renew and maintain the fight, so it was with him, whose troops of divers ca­lamities did successively afflict him, so that he was continually assaulted, and had scarce any breathing time to rest himself.

Vers. 18. O that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!] Either he wish­eth that he had died in the womb, that so wasting there away he had never been born, and then no eye had seen him, which agrees with the foregoing words, wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of my mothers womb? or else that he had died in the womb or so soon as he was born, and so no eye had seen him alive, or he should have been carried presently to his grave before there had scarce any notice been taken of him. And indeed it may well be, as some expositours con­ceive, that in that clause, that no eye had seen me, he had respect to that great esteem amongst men, which he had formerly enjoyed, and so his meaning might be to imply, that however in his former prosperity the eyes of men had been much upon him, and he had been much observed, and respected of all that knew him, yet considering the grievous miseries he had since suffered, it had been happy for him if no eye had ever seen him.

[Page 70]Vers. 22. A land of darknesse▪ without any order, and where the light is as dark­nesse.] A description this is of the grave or the region of death: and it is said to be without order, because there are there no vicissitudes or distinctions of times, persons, &c things disposed in order, which is indeed the beauty of the land of the living: no vicissitudes of day and night, winter and summer, joy and sorrow; no distinction of ages or degrees, the oldest do not go thither first, and then the young, the rich first and after them the poor; and when they are there, the bones and dust of Princes and beggars lie confusedly tumbled together without any dif­ference. As for the last clause where the light is as darknesse, the meaning is only this, that when the Sun shines brightest elsewhere, there is nothing but pitchy dark­nesse there: or that there is nothing there but darknesse; if we can imagine any thing to have a shew of light in the grave, that very light is as darknesse.

CHAP. XI.

Vers. 1. THen answered Zophar, &c.] The friends of Iob, as became grave men, took then turns in order, and so spake to him one after ano­ther. Zophar therefore having heard the severall answers which Iob had returned to Eliphaz and Bildad, undertakes here in the third place to re­proove and admonish him, as the other two had done before him; only indeed the heat of contention in these disputes, as is usually encreasing by degrees, Zo­phar is somewhat more sharp and bitter then the other two had been, insomuch that he forbears not reproachfull and reviling language, upbraiding him as a ba­bler, a lyar, a mocker, &c. so highly he was offended with Iob, even to passion, to see that after he had been twice reprooved, he should again break forth into the same impatient complaints that he had used at the first, as we see he did in the latter end of the foregoing chapter, wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? &c.

Vers. 2. Should not the multitude of words be answered? &c.] We may observe that Iob had been hitherto much larger in his replies upon Eliphaz and Bildad, then they had been in their speeches to him; and indeed considering how full his heart was of sorrow, both by reason of the many miseries he suffered, and especi­ally their unjust censuring of him hereupon as an hypocrite, no wonder it is, though he were abundant in pouring forth his complaints, and laboured by all the arguments he could to clear himself from their accusations. But Zophar re­ceiving no satisfaction from that which he had spoken, and therefore fretting to hear him heap up so many words, as he conceived, to no purpose, (the rather per­haps because he longed to vent what he had conceived in his mind to reply upon him) he upbraids him with his multitude of words; and it is very probable (as is noted before concerning Bildad, chap. 8. [...].) that he interrupted Iob, and would not let him go on as he meant to have done, Should not, saith he, the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified? wherein he would imply either 1. That it was not fit that he should run on as he had done, and that no body should be suffered to speak but himself, and that when men are thus talka­tive, [Page 71] not willing to hear any body croud in a word with them, they should be re­prooved for it, and not be bolsterd up in their vain babling by the silence of those that stand by, but should be made to know that in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin. Prov. 10.19. or 2. That it was not fit that he should carry the cause away only with his pouring forth such a multitude of words. Usually indeed men are unwilling to answer those that are all tongue and talk, as knowing that it is to no purpose, it is not possible to stop such mens mouths, they will have the last word; but yet because when standers by are silent in this kind, they seem to give a tacit consent to the truth of that which such bablers say, and so to justifie that they have spoken, therefore it is not fit such men should be unanswe­red; and as for Iob he should know, that let him talk never so long and with ne­ver so much eloquence set a fair colour upon an ill cause, that should not serve his turn, because they were resolved to answer him, and to discover the weak­nesse of all that he had spoken.

Vers. 3. Should thy lies make men hold their peace?] Iob had formerly appealed to them, that he did not lie in that which he spake, chap. 6.28; nor was there in­deed any great likely-hood that he should lie, especially at this time when the hand of God was so heavy upon him, and he looked for death as it were every mo­ment. But so confident Zophar was, as his other two friends before him had been, that God would never have laid such sore and grievous judgements upon him, had he not been an hypocrite, that thereupon he perswaded himself, that what he had affirmed concerning his own integrity was utterly false, and that he spake not sincerely in all that he had spoken concerning the justice of God; and so he upbraids Iob with lying, and protests against a silent swallowing down those untruths he had uttered; Should thy lies make men hold their peace? we may read it also, Should thy devices make men hold their peace? But both readings are much to the same effect, lies being nothing else but devised untruths, according to that answer which Nehemiah returned to the false accusations of Sanballat and his companions, Neh. 6.8. There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest (or devisest) them out of thine own heart. However the drift of Zophar in these words is evident, namely, that he judged it an unreasonable thing to hold his peace, when he heard him utter such grosse falsehoods; and that though some men may have their mouths stopped with a fair flourishing tale or plea, though there be never a word of truth in it, and some may judge it in vain to argue with one that cares not what untruth he utters; yet he thought it unfit to let him so carry it, but was resolved to disproove those devises and falsehoods, wherewith he had sought to justifie himself.

And when thou mockest shall no man make thee ashamed?] As if he should have said, it is impossible that a man that fears God should hear thee speak in such a scornfull flouting manner, as thou hast done both of God and of the reproofs and admonitions of thy friends, and not seek to discover thy folly and wicked­nesse herein to thy shame. Some conceive that Zophar speaks this in reference to that which Iob had said, chap. 10, 3, (as thinking he had spoken that in a mocking manner) Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppresse? that thou thouldest [Page 72] despise the work of thine hands, &c. and others referre it to other passages. But I ra­ther think that he speaks it more generally, as apprehending that in many passa­ges he had only made a mock of that which his friends had spoken to him.

Vers. 4. For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure and I am clean in thine eyes.] His meaning is, that he had maintained that to be true which he had spoken concer­ning God and his providence, the afflictions of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked, &c. and that he was innocent and upright before God: and it may well be that Zophar spake this in reference to that which Iob had said chap. 6, 10. I have not concealed the words of the Holy one. and again vers. 30. Is there ini­quity in my tongue? and so likewise, chap. 10.7. Thou knowest that I am not wicked. But yet because Iob had so clearly again and again expressed himself, that he durst not justifie himself before God, as chap. 9.20. If I justifie my self (saith he) mine own mouth shall condemn me; If I say I am perfect, it shall also proove me perverse, it is most probable, that Zophar in these words intended not to charge him any far­ther then thus, to wit, for saying that he by any secret wickednesse or hypocrisie had not provoked God to punish him so severely; for this Zophar judged a lie, and a reproach of God, as holding that God would never have made him such a pattern of misery, had he not been an hypocrite.

Vers. 5. But, O that God would speak and open his lips against thee.] Because Iob had wished that he might plead with God concerning his condition, chap. 9.34, 35. Let him take his rod away from me and let not his fear terrifie me, then would I speak and not fear him, and because he had for the most part in the foregoing chapter di­rected his speech to God, vers. 2. I will say unto God, do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me, and because withall Zophar apprehended, that he minded not what his friends said to him, nothing that they spake did the least good upon him, so that though it were his turn now to speak, it would be to no purpose, therefore he wisheth here that God would by himself answer him, O that God would speak and open his lips against thee, (which must needs be meant ei­ther of Gods convincing him by the inward voice of his own spirit, or else rather of Gods speaking to him in a vision, or by an audible voice from heaven, as after­wards indeed he did, chap. 38.1.) hereby implying that if God should plead with him, or but open his lips to speak a word to him (which yet after all his importu­nate desires he might see God had refused to doe) he would then see his folly, and would find that God had in no degree dealt so severely with him.

Vers. 6. And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisedome, that they are double to that which is, &c.] A very difficult passage this is, so that there are very few Ex­positours that agree in one judgement concerning the meaning of it. By the se­crets of wisedome may be meant, either the secrets of divine instruction which men doe not nor cannot sufficiently comprehend, or the secrets of Gods purpo­ses and counsells in the manifold dispensations of his providence; and so accor­dingly by Gods shewing Iob that these secrets of wisedome are double to that which is may be meant, either that the conformity which God requires of man to his will, is double to that which is, that is, farre more then that which man apprehends, or which is found in the best; or that the secret contrivements of God in the works [Page 73] of his providence are double to that which is, that is, farre more then what outwardly appears, or man can comprehend: And indeed both these might be well in­tended by Zophar, his drift being to imply to Iob that God in his wisedome knew infinitely more that was sinfull and vild in him then he knew by himself, and that therefore that which God in his wisedome knew might justly be laid up­on him, was double to that which he did undergoe; for this agrees fully with that following clause, know therefore that God exacteth of thee lesse then thine iniquity deserveth.

Vers. 7. Canst thou by searching find out God? &c.] That is, thou canst not by all thy possible endeavours search and find out God, to wit, to know him or his waies and counsells perfectly; we may know him in part, much we may under­stand concerning God by observing the footsteps of his power, wisedome, and goodnesse in the creatures, but to know him exactly and unto perfection is abso­lutely impossible; to expresse which that second clause is added▪ canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

Vers. 8. It is as high as heaven, what canst thou doe? &c.] That is, if by all we can doe, we cannot exactly find out and know the height of the heaven, or the depth of hell, or the length and breadth of the earth and Sea, how much lesse shall we be able to comprehend him, or the wisedome of his providence, who is infi­nite and therefore incomprehensible: and in all this Zophars aim still is to shew Iob how foolish a thing it was to quarrel with God, because he could not see the reason why he proceeded so severely with him.

Vers. 10. If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?] The first word (which is in our translation If he cut off) may be renderd, If he make a change. But however that be translated it is not easie to say what is meant by that or the following words of shutting up and gathering together. Some con­ceive that all these words do but expresse one and the same thing, to wit, the Lords overturning the whole frame and course of nature, If he cut off (or make a change) and shut up, or gather together, that is, if he turn and change, destroy and subvert the whole frame and course of nature, and so mingling things together should reduce all into a confused chaos again, then who can hinder him? that is, no body can controul him, or alledge any just reason why he should not doe best in so do­ing; and hereby (they say) Zophar gave Iob to understand, that if God might thus change and break in pieces the whole frame of nature, and be unquestiona­bly wise in so doing, it were strange that now he should be called in question for the subverting of his family alone. Again others understand the words of two contrary dispensations of providence, thus, that if God will deal well with some and ill with others, if some he will destroy or shut up in prison, and others he will gather together into towns, cities or provinces, or if he will at one time destroy or shut up, and another time gather together and save the very same persons, all this he may doe in great wisedome. Again others by cutting off (or making a change) understand the subverting and ruining people, families or persons, and by shutting up the bringing of men into great streights and difficulties; but then by gathering together they understand the gathering together his witnes­ses [Page 74] or his armies for the condemning of those whom he intends to judge, or for the cutting off those whom he hath condemned; so that, I say, Expositours dif­fer much in their judgement concerning the meaning of these words. But yet however the drift of the words seems to be clear, to wit, from the unsearchable­nesse of Gods wisedome to conclude, that whatsoever strange things God should doe, yea though he should overturn all things and mingle heaven and earth toge­ther, yet it were not fit that men should question his proceedings therein. In­deed Iob himself had said as much before in effect, chap. 9, 12. Behold, he taketh a­way, who can hinder him? But it seems Zophar conceived that this could not agree with other things that he had spoken, and therefore he presseth him here with this which himself had acknowledged.

Vers. 11. For he knoweth vain men, &c.] It is also very questionable how this depends upon that which went before. 1. It may be added to shew why God in great wisedome doth so diversely deal with the same men, sometimes blessing them, and at other times again sorely afflicting them, to wit, because he knoweth vain men, that is, he knoweth the vanity and inconstancy of men; such is the fic­klenesse of the best, that they are ever and anon ready to start aside from the waies of righteousnesse, and therefore he cannot proceed with them in one continued way and course of gentlenesse and favour. 2. It may be added to shew why it is not possible that any man should except against the wisedome of any of Gods proceedings, to wit, because poor simple vain man is altogether unable to com­prehend the wisedome of God in the severall dispensations of his providence. But 3. It may be to shew that when God is pleased to make any alterations in the world, there is no hindering of him in what he is resolved to doe, for he knoweth vain men, that is, he knoweth that poor frail man cannot in the least with­stand his will, he may doe what he will with him; and 4. It may imply the reason why there is no excepting against the wisedome of Gods proceedings, even when he doth cut off and destroy, namely because he knoweth vain men, that is, he know­eth exactly all that is amisse in man; though poor simple man cannot compre­hend the waies and wisedome of God, yet God knows the vanity of man, the pronenesse of his nature to sin, and even when there is nothing to be discerned that is not right in the outward conversation, yet he knoweth the vanity that is in their hearts; so that men may wonder at the afflictions of those that yet are most justly afflicted, because they know not that evil in them which God knows by them. And this I the rather think is principally intended, because hereto a­gree the following words, he seeth wickednesse also, will he not then consider it? as if he should have said, since God seeth all the evil that is done by the children of men shall we or can we think that God will passe it by as if it were nothing, and not lay it to heart, to punish men for it? Noe surely.

Vers. 12. For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild asses colt.] Some conceive that man is here said to be born like a wild asses colt, because indeed when they first come into the world there seems to be no more knowledge and understanding in an infant newly born then in a wild asses colt newly foaled; But I rather think that this phrase relates to that bruitishnesse which is in all men [Page 75] naturally as they are born into the world since the fall of our first parents, to wit, that they are no more able to comprehend the things and waies of God, then a wild asses colt is able to comprehend matters of reason. So that these words are I conceive added as in a way of derision, vain man would be wise, &c. that is, foolish man hath a high opinion of his own wisedome, and will many times pretend to so much wisedome and understanding, as to be able to judge of Gods waies, and to expostulate with God concerning his works, whereas naturally, poor wretch, man is as bruitish as unteachable, and untractable for the understanding of the things of God, as a wild asses colt is. This is I take it the clear meaning of the words; yet some would have the meaning to be this, that vain man would be wise, that is, he would be made wise, to wit, by Gods chastisements, though naturally he be as bruitish, as unteachable, & untractable in regard of such knowledge as the most stupid and untamed creature that is.

Vers. 13. If thou prepare thine heart and stretch out thine hands towards him.] That is, if thou wilt with all sincerity of heart pray to the Lord for pardon and grace; for the stretching forth of the hands to heaven is the gesture of those that pray, as we see in Solomon 1 Kings 8.22. whereby is signified 1. The lifting up of the heart to God. 2. Their earnest desire and assured hope of receiving from God what they beg of him. 3. A holy striving with God, or an earnest intention of spirit as it were to take hold of God, and 4. Their yielding up themselves to God, as ready to doe whatever he will have them.

Vers. 14. If iniquity be in thine hand, &c.] That is, if there be any sinfull pra­ctise thou hast been inured to; or if there be any thing unjustly gotten in thy possession; put it farre away, that is, abandon it utterly; And let not wickednesse dwell in thy tabernacle, that is, neither walk thy self in any way of wickednesse, nor suffer those of thy family to doe that which is evil in Gods sight: though wickednesse may get into thy house, yet when thou knowest it, let it not stay there.

Vers. 15. For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot.] Iob had said chap. 10.15. If I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head, in reference to this Zophar tells him here, that if he would with a prepared heart repent and turn to the Lord, he might then lift up his head, Then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot, that is, then mayest thou walk chearfully and comfortably, and hold up thy face before God or man as any occasion is offered without fear and without shame, Because when men have their faces spotted with dirt, they are ashamed to shew their faces, whereas if those spots be washed away then they go abroad again without blush­ing or fear, therefore when a man can appear before God, or man with a counte­nance not cast down, either through the guilt of any foul spot of sin that lies up­on him, or the shame of any reproach or dishonour that lies upon him, or of any punishment wherewith God hath testified against him, he may be then said to lift up his face without spot.

Yea thou shalt be stedfast and shalt not fear.] The first clause, thou shalt be sted­fast may be meant, 1. Of the stedfastnesse of his outward condition, to wit, that being upon his true repentance received into Gods favour he should be establi­shed [Page 76] in a sure and stedfast prosperous condition; whereas when hypocrites are in a prosperous estate, ther's no certainty of their continuance therein, they stand in a slippery place, being ever in danger of a dismall change and fall, his prosperity should be stedfast and permanent; free from all danger of the return of any such calamities as now he had suffered, and 2. Of the stedfastnesse of his mind, to wit, that he should have a setled and composed mind through the assu­rance of Gods favour, and so free from all distraction of fear; and then thou shalt be stedfast is explained by the following words and shalt not fear. Because men in fear are alwaies full of many roving distracted thoughts, sometimes suggesting this or that evil which they fear will come upon them, and sometimes contriving diversely what course they should take to help themselves, hence. they say is this expression, thou shalt be stedfast and shalt not fear. I know there are some that in­clude in this promise likewise that spirituall stedfastnesse whereby he should be preserved from relapsing into sin; But I cannot see that this is so clear in the words.

Vers. 16. Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that passe away.] That is, thou shalt quite forget all thy former misery, or at least thou shalt scarcely or very little remember it: for three things the expression here u­sed may imply; 1. That he should so long be freed from those calamities that had afflicted him, that he should in a manner forget that ever he had been so af­flicted. 2. That he should be so perfectly delivered from those manifold mise­ries and calamities that he now lay under, that there should not be the least me­moriall left of them, to put him in mind of what he had suffered, thou shalt remem­ber it as waters that passe away, that is, as a land-floud though it overflow all for a time, yet passeth away and is gone on a sudden, and then there is no sign of it left, to make one think there had ever been such mighty streams of water there, so should he be freed from those flouds of affliction that had broken in upon him, insomuch that there should be no memoriall of them left, but they should quite be forgotten. 3. That God should so abundantly blesse him with all blessings inward and outward, that his present prosperity should quite put out of his mind all his former misery; even as the waters that run by in a river are no sooner out of sight then out of mind, by reason of a new supply of water that comes still in the room of that which passeth away. And indeed usually in the Scripture an emi­nency of prosperity is expressed in these tearms, that it should be such as should make them forget their former sorrows, as Gen. 41.51. where Ioseph being highly advanced in Egypt called his first-born son Manasseh, and gave this reason for it, For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and Esa. 54.4. Thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widow-hood any mo [...]e, and Iohn 16.21. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but assoon as she is delivered of the child, she remembreth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. and 4. That at least he should remember his former miseries without the least distresse, or anxiety of mind for fear they should return again upon him; for this is to remember his misery, as waters that passe a­way, which being once gone can never possibly turn back again.

[Page 77]Vers. 17. And thine age shall be clearer then the noon day; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning. That is, thine adversity shall be suddenly changed in­to exceeding great prosperity; and so the remainder of thy time or life, even thine old age, which thou givest for lost, of which thou makest no reckoning, and which thou expectest will yield thee nothing but weaknesse and sorrow, shall be the prime part of thy daies for joy and glory. To signifie that his joy and glory should be exceeding great, it is said that his age should be clearer then the noon day: and to signifie it should come suddenly after a sad night of affliction and should then continually encrease more and more, it is said that he should shine forth and be as the morning.

Vers. 18. And thou shalt be secure because there is hope, &c.] That is, being in this prosperous condition, thou shalt be fearlesse of any such sad changes as have now befallen thee, and that because thou shalt then upon thy repentance have as­sured hope and confidence in Gods love and favour; to which purpose also is that which follows, yea thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety, for thereby is meant, either that he should follow his husbandry, digging and ploughing his ground without any fear of an enemy, or digging for water for his flocks and heards without any to withstand him, yea figuratively it may be meant of the labours of any calling, as Luke 16.3. or 2. That he should sleep as securely, as those doe that have digged some deep trench about them, to secure them from the breaking in of an enemy upon them, or 3. That if he did but build an house (for digging may be put for the digging of the foundation of a house) or dig a place to pitch his tent in, and withall some little trench about it (as the Arabi­ans in those times used to doe, to which Zophar seems here to allude) he should enjoy himself safelier herein then otherwise he would doe in a walled city.

Vers. 19. Many shall make suit unto thee.] That is, being so greatly enriched and highly exalted, many both great and small, yea even those that now insult o­ver thee, shall crouch and bow before thee, and sue to thee for favour. Little did Zophar indeed think that this which he now promised Iob should be accompli­shed in him, and his two companions Eliphaz and Bildad, that did now so harshly censure him. But yet so we see it was when the Lord sent them to Iob humbly to desire him that he would pray for them, chap. 42.8, 9.

Vers. 20. But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, &c.] Because the fixing of the eye long upon one place to look for any thing doth much weaken the sight, especial­ly when also men weep much, by reason that they so earnestly desire and look for comes not (for nothing marres the eyes more then weeping, Lam. 2.11. Mine eyes do fail with tears) therefore when men in misery do earnestly wait for delive­rance or comfort and all in vain, it is usually expressed in the Scripture by this phrase of the failing of the eyes, as Psal. 69.3. Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God: and so here to expresse that wicked men shall in vain expect any help from God in their distresse, he saith the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and then addes, they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost, the meaning whereof is either 1. That after all their expectation the end of their hope shall be a mise­rable death, or that they shall die in their misery, either by making themselves a­way [Page 78] in despair, or by some other way of Gods just vengeance upon them, or 2. That in the conclusion they should come to be in as hopelesse and desperate a condition, as is a man when he is giving up the ghost, or 3. That their hope should come to nothing, even as the breath of a man vanisheth to nothing when he giveth up the ghost, and therefore indeed some translate this clause thus, their hope shall be as a puffe of breath. Now the main drift of this was to give Iob a hint, that if he continued in his wickednesse and did not repent, this at last would be his portion.

CHAP. XII.

Vers. 2. NO doubt but ye are the people, and wisedome shall die with you.] Because Zophar had interrupted Iob when he was speaking, charging him with babling forth a multitude of words to no purpose, yea with uttering many lies and falsehoods, chap. 11.2, 3. and had in effect, though co­vertly vers. 12. compared Iob to a wild asses colt, Iob therefore undertaking here to reply upon him upbraids Zophar, and together with him his other two friends also, who had all run on in the same strain, with the high conceit which they had of themselves, and their contempt of others; and this he doth not out of hatred or envy, not as scorning or disdaining his friends, but merely to reproove them for their vain-glorious exalting of themselves and despising of him: No doubt but ye are the people, &c. It is ironically spoken; and that which he upbraids them with is, either that they carried themselves, as if they thought that what they said was in effect as much, as if all the people in the world, or the whole people where they lived had said it, and that because they were the great Oracles for wisedome, to whose sayings all the people would be ready to subscribe; or else rather that they thought themselves the men, that is, the only wise men in the world, that no body knew any thing but they, all were fools yea bruit beasts in comparison of them; insomuch that if they died, all wisedome must needs die with them, there would be nothing but darknesse where their Sun shined not; and thus it is much to the same purpose, as is that ironicall expression of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 4.10. We are fools for Christs sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak but ye are strong, &c.

Vers. 3. But I have understanding as well as you, I am not inferiour to you, &c.] As if he had said, I see not but that through the grace of God, I am able to under­stand and judge of things as well as you, nor am, at least in this cause that I have pleaded against you, one whit inferiour to you. Now this he adds also, not in a way of bragging and boasting, as vain-glorious men are wont to doe, but only to plead so farre for himself, that his friends might not slight what he said out of an overweening conceit of their own surpassing wisedome. And indeed the follow­ing clause shews that it was not from any high conceit of himself that he had spo­ken this; for therein he makes so little of that which they had spoken, that it could not seem pride in him to equall himself with them, yea, saith he, who know­eth not such things as these? that is, such things as these that you have uttered, and [Page 79] which you magnifie as such high points of wisedome, namely that God is infi­nitely wise and just, and is wont to doe good to the godly and to punish the wicked; every one, man or woman, that is but of ordinary understanding is able to say as much as this; and therefore there is no reason why you should so ex­ceedingly exalt your selves for the profound wisedome of that which you have spoken.

Vers. 4. I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God and he answe­reth him, &c.] The greatest difficulty in these words is, whereto that clause must be referred, who calleth upon God and he answereth him: Some referre it to the man that is mocked of his neighbour, and accordingly they conceive that those words who calleth upon God and he answereth him are added, 1. To imply that he means a holy righteous man that is mocked of his neighbour, one who though he be scor­ned and despised by those amongst whom he lives, yet God makes precious ac­count of him, and is alwaies ready to hear and answer him when he calls upon him; and hence those words are added in the following clause, the just upright man is laughed to scorn. 2. To imply the danger of those that do mock such a man, and that because if the good man that is thus despised of his neighbour doe call upon God and make his complaint to him, God will answer his prayers and take his part against his neighbour that mocketh him. But then again others referre those words to the mocking neighbour, I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who, that is, which mocking neighbour, calleth upon God and he answereth him; and ac­cordingly also they conceive that these words are added to imply the prosperity of such a mocker, as if it had been said, I am as one mocked of his neighbour who lives in plenty and prosperity, God affording him whatever his own heart can de­sire: let him but ask or wish for any thing God answers him and grants him his desire, yea and many times more then he desires, and so being in a prosperous condition himself he can mock and despise him that is in misery. And indeed though wicked men do never truly pray and call upon God, nor doth God ever regard such prayers as they make, yet even of such it may be said, that they call upon God and he answereth them, because the light of nature teacheth them to wish as it were, and in some kind to seek the good they desire of God, and com­monly it is said of such prosperous men, that they are heavens favourites, and that God doth for them whatever they will. But however, the drift of Iob in these words is manifest, to wit, covertly to blame them, for despising him as they had done. He had told them that he had understanding as well as they; but, saith he, it fares with me as with many other good men that being in affliction are de­spised even of their nearest neighbours and friends, that live in a high and prospe­rous condition.

Vers. 5. He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.] The drift of these words is the same with those in the foregoing verse. By a man ready to slip with his feet is meant one that is ready to sink under heavy calamities that lye upon him, one that is like to be utterly ruined and un­done, in such desperate danger that there seems to be but a step betwixt him and death, he is every moment ready to fall under the heavy hand of God that is up­on [Page 80] him; this is evident by many other places, as Deut. 32.35. To me belongeth ven­geance and recompence, their foot shall slide in due time. Psal. 38.16, 17. When my foot slippeth they magnifie themselves against me, for I am ready to halt and my sorrow is con­tinually before me ▪ and Psal. 94.18. when I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. Again on the other side that man is said to be at ease that lives in pro­sperity, and is not disquieted with the least affliction and sorrow, as we see Psal. 123.4. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud, and thereto agrees that of the rich man, Luk. 12.19. I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, &c. And lastly therefore whereas it is said here that he that is ready to slip with his feet, is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease, the meaning of this expression is, that men brought low by affliction are slighted and despised by those that are inprosperity, as poor, base, and worthlesse things. When a link or torch is burnt so farre away that we can hold it no longer, when a candle is spent to the very snuff, though before they did us very good service, yet then they are of no farther use, but are like to be noysome, and therefore we cast them away and tread them un­der foot, and so when men formerly of great esteem come to sink in affliction, those that are themselves in prosperity mind them no more then the snuff of a candle. And thus Iob shews the reason why his friends did so despise him and re­gard his words so little; it was because he was brought so low, and they were at ease and felt not the least of that which he suffered. But yet withall too there is in these words a transition to that which next follows, to wit, the disprooving of that which his friends had joyntly affirmed, concerning the certain prosperity of the righteous, and the misery of the wicked: Zophar had told Iob that if he would repent and turn unto God, his age should be clearer then the Sun at noon­day, chap. 11.17. but Iob here tells him, that so farre are the righteous from be­ing alwaies in such a glorious condition, that they are many times as a despised lamp, &c.

Vers. 6. The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure, &c.] Having reprooved Zophar and the rest of his friends for scorning him as they had done, and despising what he had spoken, here he undertakes to disproove that which they had all so stiffly maintained, to wit, that the righteous do alwaies pro­sper for outward things, and that the wicked are ever outwardly punished, and particularly that wherewith Zophar had concluded his speech, chap. 11.20. The eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, &c. alledging that none have u­sually such abundance of all outward things as the worst of men that carry them­selves most insolently both towards God and man; and it is like that he instan­ceth the rather in the tabernacles of robbers as in relation to the Sabeans and Chal­deans that had robbed him of his cattle.

Vers. 7. But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee &c.] That which is most questionable in these words and that which follows in the two next verses is, how they have dependance upon that which went before. Some conceive that herein al­so Iob still proceeds to prove that God doth nor allwayes either blesse the righte­ous with outward blessings, or else cut off and destroy the wiched; and two wayes [Page 81] there are which Iob might intend, whereby this might be learnt, even from the unreasonable and senselesse creatures: for 1. This may be clearly gathered from hence, that even amongst beasts, and foul, and fishes, none fare better then those that are most fierce and ravenous, and live altogether by rapine and devouring those that are not so strong as themselves, and on the other side none fare worse then those that are best and gentlest, and least harmfull to others, those that live upon prey will be fat and in good liking, when others it may be are ready to fa­mish for want of food, and we see in daily experience that the pheasant and par­tridge the fowler looks after, when the kite and vulture are never minded; and thus it is too with beasts and fishes, there are multitudes more killed daily of those that are gentle and harmlesse, then of those that are most mischievous and feed al­together upon the bloud of others, yea and amongst the plants of the earth, we use to observe that ill weeds grow apace, and poysonous plants do often flourish and spread faster then those that are most usefull and most acceptable amongst men. Now since we may conclude with Iob that none can be ignorant, but that these things are done thus by the speciall Providence of God, vers. 9. who know­eth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? we may gather from thence, that if God by his providence, doth for the glory of his own Name order it thus amongst the other creatures, why may he not also order it so amongst men, they being also the work of his own hand, and made for his glory as well as the rest. And again 2. It may be gathered from hence, that none have such plen­ty of the creatures, beasts, foul or fish, none have so great a portion of the earth as the wicked usually have; so that all the creatures do proclaim the certainty of this truth. But then others again conceive, that because Zophar had such high thoughts of that which he had spoken concerning the incomprehensible wise­dome and power of God, therefore Iob shews him, that every ordinary man might learn as much as that concerning God, though he had no other instructers then the dumb unreasonable and senselesse creatures; Zophar had said, to set forth the transcendent wisedome of God, that it was as high as heaven, and deeper then hell, &c. chap. 11.8. Iob here answers him that there was no need to climb up into heaven, or to descend down into hell to find out this, since we may learn it from every creature that we behold with our eyes; by every beast, bird, fish or plant we may easily learn this, that the God that made them must needs be a God of infinite and incomprehensible both wisedome and might.

Vers. 11. Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth tast his meat?] As if he should have said, and so likewise doth the mind of man discern these spirituall truths concerning God, which are taught by the Creatures; that which the dumb crea­tures proclaim concerning the wisedome, power, and providence of God, the rea­sonable soul of man may as plainly and easily discern, as the ear discerns words, or the mouth tasts meats; These are not such hidden mysteries as you would pre­tend, they may be easily discovered even by the outward senses. Thus very ma­ny Expositours understand this clause, and so take it as added by way of ampli­fying what is said in the foregoing verses, concerning the clear discovery that is made of Gods incomprehensible wisedome and power in every one of the crea­tures. [Page 82] But yet there is another exposition that is given of these words, which is judged by many better then the former. Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth tast his meat? that is, as the mouth doth discern the tast of meats, what is sweet and what is sowre, what hath a pleasant, what an unpleasant relish, so is the ear to judge of words we hear spoken, to wit, whether they be true or false, what is wise­ly and what is foolishly spoken. And if we thus understand the words, then the drift of Iob therein must be, either to shew the reason why he did not immediate­ly embrace all for truth which they had spoken (which it seems they expected he should have done, and therefore were offended that he did oppose them) it was because his ears were given him to hear what was spoken, that then he might judge of it, even as his mouth was to judge of the tast of his meat: or else to answer that which Bildad had said, chap. 8.8, 9. Enquire I pray thee of the former age, and pre­pare thy self to the search of their fathers; for we are but of yesterday and know nothing, &c. shewing that we are not to be carried away merely with the learning or age of the speaker, but by the eare must judge of what is spoken, even as by the mouth we judge of the tast of meats that are set before us; or else rather by way of re­prooving his friends, because they slighted and disregarded his words, yea be­cause they misconstrued what he had spoken, and that for want of due pondering and considering his words, Doth not the eare try words? and the mouth tast his meat? as if he had said, ought you not to let your ears doe their office, which is to at­tend to that which I speak, and not thus to slight what I say, and so for want of well weighing my words to misunderstand and pervert what I have spoken? And indeed because Elihu useth the same expression, thereby to perswade Iob and his friends well to mind what he would say, chap. 34.2, 3. Hear my words, O ye wise men, and give ear unto me ye that have knowledge; for the ear tryeth words, as the mouth tasteth meat, this is that I conceive which Iob also chiefly intended in these words.

Vers. 12. With the ancient is wisedome and in length of daies understanding.] Ei­ther this is added, as a farther illustration of that which he had said concerning the knowledge of God which may be learnt from the creatures, namely that hence it comes to passe that ancient men, that have many years observed what God hath discovered in the works of creation, are therefore better able to judge of these things then young men are; and some are of opinion, that Iob might herein co­vertly strike at some of his friends that were younger then he, and yet insulted o­ver him, as if he were not worthy to speak to them. But yet because elsewhere it seems evident that these friends of Iob were very aged men, chap. 15.10. With us are both the gray-headed and very aged men, much elder then thy father, saith Eliphaz; and Elihu speaking to these friends of Iob, chap. 32.6, 7. I am, saith he, young and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew mine opinion, I said, Daies should speak and multitude of years should teach wisedome, I should rather think that this is added, either in answer to that which Bildad had said, chap. 8.8, 9. concerning enquiring of the aged (of which mention is made above in the fore­going Note) or at least in answer to the high opinion, which his friends might have of their great wisedome because of their years, wherein he first yields, that [Page 83] it is true indeed that with the ancient is wisedome, that is, they have had a fair ad­vantage for the gaining of wisedome; but then adds in the following verse what doth plainly imply, that yet all the wisedome in man, however it is to be estee­med in it self, is no better then vanity if it come to be compared with the wise­dome of God; and that therefore we ought not so to prize the judgement of men of great years, as therefore to reject any truth which God hath taught us.

Vers. 13. With him is wisedome and strength, he hath counsell and understanding.] Some indeed conceive that Iob here expresseth what it is that men learn concer­ning God from the creatures; to wit, that with him, (that is, with God) is wisedome and strength, &c. But rather, as is noted on the former verse, this is added as by way of correcting or opposing what was said there concerning the wisedome of the aged; Nay, saith he, with him, that is, with God, is both wisedome and power too, and that in such a transcendent manner, that the wisedome that is in the wi­sest of men is not worthy the name of wisedome in comparison of that which is in God; he is essentially, infinitely, incomprehensibly wise and mighty; and this unsearchable wisedome he daily exerciseth in disposing all things that are done in the world.

Vers. 14. He shutteth up a man and there can be no opening.] That is, if he under­take to shut up a man for ever, either in prison or in any streights of distresse, or under the power of any sicknesse or calamity whatever, there is no possibility ever to find out any way to set such a man free.

Vers. 15. Behold, he withholdeth the waters and they dry up, &c.] That is, he withholdeth the waters from above, the rain, and then the waters beneath in ponds, lakes, brooks and rivers do soon dry up: or it may be understood with­out any such distinction of the waters above and the waters beneath, to wit, that if God commands that there shall be a drought and forbears to give a supply of water either by rain from above, or springs and fountains beneath, there will soon be no water left, which agreeth fully with that of the prophet Nahum, chap. 1.4. He rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry, and dryeth up all the rivers; yea and then all things growing in such places are dryed and parched up too; also he sendeth them out and they overturn the earth, that is, the fruits and inhabitants of the earth where these flouds of water come.

Vers. 16. With him is strength and wisedome, &c.] This is the very same that Iob had said before vers. 13. (for though in the originall there be not the same words here and there, yet they are to the same purpose and meaning, and there­fore are rendered by our Translatours with the same words) and two probable reasons may be given, why here he should so immediately repeat the same thing again; as 1. Because that vers. 13. might be only intended to shew what God is in himself, to wit, that he is a God of infinite wisedome and might; and then this here he might adde, either to shew that this wisedome and might of God is every moment discovered in his wise and wonderfull ordering of all things that are, and that are done in the world, or else that all the strength and wisedome that is in the creature comes from him and is at his disposing, so that he gives and takes it away as seems good in his own eyes, and 2. Because being now to instance in works of [Page 84] providence, that are farre more above the reach of mans reason, then any thing he had yet spoken of, he repeats again here that which he said before concerning the wonderfull power and wisedome of God, thereby as it were, to curb men from quarrelling and contending with God about such things, which is most clear in the first particular he alledgeth in the words that immediately follow, The decei­ved and the deceiver are his, that is, they are both alike under Gods all-ordering power and command, who is the Sovereign Lord of the whole world, and are herein guided by his providence, and made to serve his counsels and glory; when one man seduceth another into any errour, or any other way gulls and de­ceives him, there is a hand of God herein, it is by the decree, and appointment, and providence of God, that the one attempts to deceive and that the other is de­ceived by him. At this and such like truths naturally men are ready to startle, questioning how it can stand with the justice and holinesse of God, that he should have any hand in the ordering of such things as this, (and yet we see the Scri­pture doth often expressely affirm it, as Ezek. 14.9. If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and 2 Thess. 2.11. God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie) To prevent therefore mens cavilling at such truths as this, this clause is here prefixed again, with him is strength and wisedome, intimating that even these things could not be done with­out the concurrence of Gods almighty and all-ruling power, and that all that he doth he doth with great wisedome, though we cannot comprehend how it should be.

Vers. 17. He leadeth counsellers away spoyled, and maketh the judges fools,.] The meaning of these words is plainly this, that God many times makes fools of the wisest of men, such as are counsellers and judges, who are usually esteemed the great Oracles of wisedome in the severall places and times wherein they live, ac­cording to that prayer of David, when he heard that Ahithophel that great Politi­cian sided with his son Absalom, 2 Sam. 15.31. O Lord, I pray thee, turn the coun­sell of Ahithophel into foolishnesse, to wit, either by a reall depriving them of their wisedome and understanding (and in that sense some Expositours conceive that they are here said to be spoyled, that is, stripped of those abilities of mind, which formerly they had) or else by infatuating them so that they speak and doe those things, which one would think none but fools or mad men should speak or doe, or else by crossing them so in all their subtile plots and devices, that all their wise­dome prooves no better then folly; & indeed thus some understand the word (spoy­led) in the first clause, namely that he causeth counsellers notwithstanding their great wisedome to be carried into captivity, spoyled and stripped of all their rich­es and dignity and power, whence it is that the vanquishing and captivity of E­gypt is expressed thus, Esa. 19.11, 13. Surely the Princes of Zoan are fools, the coun­sell of the wise counsellers of Pharaoh is become bruitish. However because God is mani­fested by his vanquishing and ruining the great Politicians of the world, especi­ally when they proudly opposed him and his kingdome, it may well be said that he leads them away spoyled, as Princes are wont to doe those they have vanqui­shed in a way of tryumph.

[Page 85]Vers. 18. He loseth the bond of kings and girdeth their loins with a girdle.] Three severall wayes this may be understood, to wit, 1. That when kings are in bonds, the Lord many times freeth them from their captivity and bondage (as he did Manasseh, 2 Chron. 33.13.) and restores them to the Regall dignity again; for the girdle about the loines is sometimes mentioned in the Scripture as an orna­ment of princes, and therefore in allusion thereto it is said of Christ, Isa. 11.5. Righteousnesse shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulnesse the girdle of his reins. See Ier. 13.1, &c. or 2. That he many times degradeth kings and deposeth them from the Regall state (for by the bond of kings may be meant the Regall or military Belt wherewith they are girded, and so the loosing thereof may well signifie their be­ing deprived of their Sovereignty) and that they are brought to the mean con­dition of other ordinary men, he girdeth their loins with a girdle; or 3. (which I like the best) that he often sets subjects free from the bondage of kings (for by the bond of kings may be meant that authority and power, whereby the people are held as bond-slaves in subjection to them) and then bringeth those kings to be themselves in a very low and mean, yea a servile and captivated condition; for because in the Eastern countries, where they wore long garments, in all prepara­tions for travell or labour they used to gird themselves; therefore girding with a girdle is often mentioned in the Scripture as the posture and habit of servants, according to that of the Lord to his servant, Luke. 17.8. Make ready wherewith I may sup and gird thy self and serve me, and so also Luk. 12.37.

Vers. 20. He remooveth away the speech of the trusty.] By the trusty understand men of sure credit, men of such sufficiency and faithfulnesse for instruction or advice, that princes and others may safely rest and rely upon them, men actually trusted or worthy to be trusted with publick affairs; and it is said that God remooveth a­way the speech of such trusty men, either when he takes away such men, and perhaps sends in their room either flatterers or fools, according to that, Isa. 3.1, 2, 3. For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts doth take away from Ierusalem and from Iudah—The judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, &c. or else when such as were trusty before become weak or faithlesse, and so are unable to instruct or advise, or else teach falsehoods or give ill counsell; or when he causeth men not to give any credit to their advice, which he often doth in a way of punishment for the sins of a people.

Vers. 21. He poureth contempt upon Princes, and weakneth the strength of the migh­ty.] To wit, either by depriving them of their strength, or by crossing them so in all their enterprises that they are as men that have no power to effect any thing they go about. This last clause is in the Originall and looseth the girdle of the strong; for because girding causeth strength, and men are the more steady and nimble when their armour or garments are girt close about them, especially in those coun­tries where they wore long garments, hence this phrase of loosening the girdle of the strong is used for making the strong weak, or opposing them so that they are not able to doe what they endeavour, but are as men that are clogged and ham­pered with their long loose garments.

Vers. 22. He discovereth deep things out of darknesse and bringeth out to light the sha­dow [Page 86] of death] Some referre this to Gods revealing to his prophets the interpreta­tion of dreams and visions, and discovering things that should long after come to passe; others to his bringing to light the most hidden things, which seemed to be buried in perpetuall darknesse, such as are the secret plots and conspira­cies of enemies, (which may also be called the shadow of death, because the dan­gers thereof are terrible and horrible as death;) yea some referre it to Gods ren­ding asunder the earth with earth-quakes, whereby those inward depths of the earth are discovered, which otherwise would never have been seen. But doubt­lesse the meaning of the words is generall, to wit, that there is nothing so secret but God doth many times bring it to light; and it may well be too which some conceive, that this particular is added the rather to intimate that by such discove­ring of the hellish secrets of many men, he maketh it evident that he doth not ex­ecute the judgements before mentioned merely to exercise a tyrannicall power over his creatures, but that he hath just cause to doe as he doth, though we know it not.

Vers. 23. He increaseth the nations and destroyeth them; he enlargeth the nations and streighteneth them again.] That is, he mightily increaseth the number of a people and then destroyeth them, and brings them to a handfull again; and so likewise he many times enlargeth their territories, dominion, power and wealth, and then bringeth them again into as great streights and as low a condition as ever be­fore.

Vers. 24. He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, &c.] By the chief of the people of the earth may be meant either the Princes and Rulers of each nation, or those that are the chief and choicest amongst a people for wisedome and courage, &c. and it is said that God taketh away the heart of these men, and causeth them to wander in a wildernesse, &c. because he many times deprives them of their wisedome and understanding, & brings them into unavoidable streights, into a desperate lost condition, so that they are as men in a wood or wildernesse not knowing which way to turn themselves, yea as blind and drunken men that grope at noon-day as if it were night, and thereupon enter upon waies which no wise man ever trod, and take up resolutions and counsells that are most pernici­ous to themselves and others. This I conceive is the true meaning of the words, yet some understand it literally that God takes away all heart and courage from them, and so causeth them to goe into desolate wildernesses to hide them­selves.

CHAP. XIII.

Vers. 1. LOe, mine eye hath seen all this, &c.] The drift of Iob in these two ver­ses is the same, as in that he had said before chap. 12.2, 3. (concer­ning which therefore see the Notes there) to upbraid his friends for despising him out of a high conceit which they had of themselves, by willing them to observe from what he had now spoken, that he understood as much concer­ning the justice, the wisedome, the power and providence of God as they did.

[Page 87]Vers. 3. Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.] Zo­phar had said chap. 11.5. O that God would speak▪ and open his lips against thee, and that as deriding Iobs former confidence in wishing he might plead his cause with God; in reference hereto therefore Iob here professeth that he was still of the same mind, Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God, as if he had said, I could say much more to you, but however confident you are, that it would go ill with me if God should grant me my wish herein, I still desire ra­ther that I might plead my cause with the Almighty; not as with an adversary but as before my judge; not to accuse him for any thing he hath done to me, (which never came into my thoughts) but to justifie my self against your false accusations, and modestly to desire to be informed by him why his hand is so heavy upon me, which as yet I professe I understand not: You judging of me by what I suffer, and misconstruing all that I speak, do most unjustly condemne me for an hypocrite; but now God is omniscient, and knows the integrity of my heart, and besides he is true and just and will therefore certainly bear witnesse to the truth, and justifie his servant whom you condemne; so that though I know God in his majesty must needs be terrible to his enemies, yet trusting in mine in­tegrity I should desire to plead my cause before him.

Vers. 4. But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.] 1. Because they had affirmed that God never laid such sore afflictions upon any righteous man, as he had done upon him, and thence concluded that he was a wicked hypocrite, but yet withall had very cunningly and artificially composed their speeches with many fair flourishes and plausible pretences, that they spake what they spake merely out of zeal for Gods glory, to defend his unquestionable justice and holi­nesse, and out of a desire to win Iob to repent of his wickednesse, and so to seek reconciliation with God, thence is that expression, But ye are forgers of lies, much like that Psal. 50.19. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit; and so also he retorts upon them that sin of lying, wherewith they had unjustly before charged him, chap. 11.3. and 2. Because misjudging of him, and so not rightly applying the truth they had delivered, under a pretence of comforting him, they had added to his afflictions and done what in them lay to drive him to despair, and all their exhortations that he should repent, &c. were to no purpose, there­fore he tearms them physicians of no value, as being herein like to unskilfull physi­cians, who not considering or not understanding the disease of their patients, give them good medicines, but altogether improper for such a disease, and so do them more hurt then good. The expression is to the same sense with that where he calls them miserable comforters, chap. 16.2.

Vers. 5. O that you would altogether hold your peace, and it should be your wisedome.] Zophar had protested that he could not hold his peace, and suffer Iob to run on as he had done, chap. 11.3. Should thy lies make men hold their peace? &c. and it seems in relation hereto Iob now tells him, that considering how false and to no purpose that was that he had spoken, as was implyed in the foregoing verse, it would be a part of greater wisedome if both he and the rest of his friends would hold their peace, and so hearken to what he should say to them, and that had they [Page 88] continued silent as they were at first, when for seven daies together they sat by him and spake not one word to him, chap. 2.13. they had never discovered so much folly as now they had done; which agrees fully with that of Solomon, Prov. 17, 28, Even a fool when he holds his peace is counted wise, and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Vers. 7. Will you speak wickedly for God and talk deceitfully for him?] They speak wickedly for God that under a pretence of pleading for God, do speak any thing that is evil or wicked, or which if it be well examined doth indeed tend to the great dishonour of God; and so also they talk deceitfully for him that maintain that which in their own consciences they know is not true, and yet they cunningly set a fair glosse upon it and carry the matter with a great shew of zeal for God, and for the defence of his justice: Now this Iob chargeth upon his friends, because under a pretence of pleading for God they accused Iob to be a wicked man, though they had long experience of him and knew to the contrary. and because they affirmed that God were not just if he should so severely punish a righteous man, which was indeed dishonourable to God, as if God might not justly correct the most innocent man, or do with his own creatures what seemed good in his own eyes? Will you speak wickedly for God? &c. as if he should have said, can you judge it right to patronise Gods cause with lies? Hath he need of any such defence? or do you think he will like it that you should plead his cause in such a manner?

Vers. 8. Will ye accept his person, &c.] That is, will you as by way of gratifying God speak that for him, which you in your own consciences know is not right and true? as those doe that accept the persons of great men, and so not regarding the cause but the person, will speak any thing in favour of them, though they know it to be never so false; And to the same sense we must understand the next clause, will ye contend for God? that is, will you thus contend and wrangle for God against that which you know to be just and right? To contend for the glory of God in a right manner is exceeding commendable; but that which Iob upbraids his friends with in these words is, that they should think, as it were, to doe God a pleasure by speaking that which was false in his defence.

Vers. 9. Is it good that he should search you out? &c.] As if he had said, you can­cannot be ignorant that God knows all that is in your hearts more exactly, then men can know any thing which with greatest diligence they search into; so that how zealous soever you seem for God, and how cunningly soever you frame your accusations against me, if that you have spoken have proceeded more from corrupt passion then true zeal, more from a desire to conquer, then to comfort me; if you deal not candidly and sincerely with me, if you charge me with that which in your consciences you know is not true, and that as it were to collogue and curry favour with him, or if you do indeed think in your hearts that God is unjust if he punisheth the righteous, God will find this out, and can you think that this will be any advantage to you? Take heed, you cannot mock and de­ceive God, as one man mocketh and deceiveth another.

Vers. 10. He will surely reproove you, if ye do escretly accept persons.] If you unjust­ly [Page 89] accuse me, that thereby you may seem to gratifie God, though you doe this never so secretly and cunningly under a pretence of maintaining his justice, he he will reproove you and punish you for it; though from men this may be con­cealed, God will discover it and make you smart for it.

Vers. 11. Shall not his excellency make you afraid? &c.] That is, shall not the ma­jesty of God scare you from thinking to deal with God, as you would deal with a man as your selves?

Vers, 12. Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.] By their remembrances may be meant, either particularly their fame and memoriall af­ter their death, or else more generally whatever was excellent and worthy to be remembred concerning them, as their great honour, power, wealth, their high esteem, and the memorable acts they had done whilst they lived. So that this is doubtlesse added as a reason of that he had said in the foregoing words, that the majesty of God might well scare them from thinking to deal with God, as they had done, to wit, because of their base and despicable condition in regard of that transcendent excellency that was in God: Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay, As if he should have said, how dare such vile and con­temptible creatures as you are, in whom all that is most memorable shall come to nothing, as ashes that are scattered with a puffe of wind and are seen no more, even your very bodies no better then earthen pots or heaps of clay, how dare you speak of God as you have done? Consider your condition what you are in com­parison of God, and you will see your folly in thinking to come in with your lies to help him, as it were at a dead lift. The expression is much like that chap. 4.19. concerning which see the Note there. Some indeed understand this to have been spoken as by way of threatning, to wit, that because they had spoken so rashly and reproachfully of God, both themselves and their memoriall should utterly perish and come to nothing, even as when ashes, the only memoriall of wood burnt, are blown away, and so are as if they had never been; nor could there an apter punishment be threatned to proud men that are so ambitious to have their names had in remembrance when they are gone. But the first exposition agreeth best with that which went before and that which follows after.

Vers. 13. Let me alone that I may speak, and let come on me what will.] Some think that Iob only intended hereby, that he was resolved to speak however his friends took it or what censure soever they should passe upon him. But it may better be referred to the determination of God. Iobs friends had advised him to forbear those speeches he had used, as out of compassion to him, least he should provoke God to lay his hand yet more heavily upon him; He desires therefore here that not taking thought in this kind for him, they would give him free li­berty to plead his cause with God, and then let God doe to him what he pleased. Yet this he speaks not in a desperate manner, as not caring what became of him, but as out of assurance of Gods fatherly love, as is evident in that which follows vers. 15.

Vers. 14. Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth and put my life in mine hand?] Because when a man is sollicitous to keep a thing safe, he will carry it in his hand, [Page 90] and will scarce let it goe out of his hand upon any occasion, therefore putting the life in the hand is interpreted by some for a sollicitous care of life; As if he had said, wherefore do I keep my life so close, as if I were loth to part with it? what need I take so much care for my life? since if I loose my life I know it shall be well with me: If God slay me, I will trust in him. But rather on the contrary putting the life into the hand may note a mans readinesse to die; And so here Iob might say that he put his life in his hand, either because he was in a manner a dying man, ready every moment as I may say to lay down his life, or else because he was so willing and desirous to die, and to give up his life. It is a phrase frequent in the Scripture, concerning which see the Note. Iudg. 12.3. But now the first clause, wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth? is farre more obscure; but the most proba­ble expositions that I meet with are these. 1. Some conceive that it was an ordi­nary proverbiall speech in those times to say of those that were desirous to die, that they took their flesh in their teeth, meaning that they were so weary of their lives, that they could find in their hearts to tear themselves in pieces, thereby as it were to open a passage to let forth their souls: and that therefore, as in relation to the frequent professions he had made how earnestly desirous he was to die, he asketh his friends here, wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in my hand? that is, wherefore am I so eagerly desirous to die? think you that I speak it as out of despair? No such matter, No, though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, as he adds in the next words. 2. Some hold that because men that are inwardly enraged and tormented in their minds are wont to tear their own flesh with their teeth, or at least to pine and consume away, and so in that sense may be said to eat their own flesh, as it is said of the slothfull fool that starveth himself with mere idlenesse, Eccles. 4.5. He foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh, therefore Iob useth these expressions as by way of checking himself for being so immoderately dis­quieted in his mind for any thing, which either his friends said or he suffered: wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth? &. as if he had said, why should I thus pine my self with grief, and eat up mine own flesh with sorrow, or why do I thus vex and fret and torment my self, as one that in the indignation and anguish of his soul is ready to tear his own flesh, and to give up the ghost? there is no cause at all why I should doe thus, though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, and 3. Again some think that the ground of these expressions was, either because his flesh was so chapt and broken in severall places that he might bite out pieces with his teeth, or be­cause he was so wasted, that all his flesh would scarce make one mouthfull, or else rather because his pain and misery was many times so extreme and insupportable, that ever and anon it made him ready to tear his flesh with his teeth, and so the meaning of these words, wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth? &c, must be that he desired to know of his friends either why such grievous intolerable punishments should be laid upon him, if as they said God did only punish wicked men, since he was not conscious to himself of any such horrible wickednesse that he had committed, or why he might not desire to plead his cause with God, since it was evident he did not complain without great cause.

Vers. 15. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: &c.] That is, though I were at [Page 91] the point of death yet would I trust in him for help; yea though I were sure that God would slay me, yet would I rely upon his mercy, in full expectation that thereby I should only be brought to a better life. Now this he adds, either by way of checking himself for his former impatience, and resolving from hence­forth what he would doe; or else to imply how strange it was, that notwithstand­ing this his trust and confidence in God he should be so severely dealt with; or to shew that though his miseries made him complain sometimes very bitterly, yet he did not despair of Gods love to him; or else to proove that he was not a wick­ed wretch as they pretended he was. And therefore is that too which he next adds, but I will maintain mine own wayes before him, that is, though I will rely upon his mercy whatever he doth to me, yet I will plead my cause and maintain mine inno­cency before him, and that in the integrity and sincerity of mine heart, as know­ing that he searcheth the heart and the reins.

Vers. 16. He also shall be my salvation, &c.] That is, I know he will preserve me in these miseries, and in his good time deliver me from them, or at least that he will save me eternally hereafter. As for the following clause, for an hypocrite shall not come before him, that is added to shew a reason why he would maintain his waies before God, as he had said in the foregoing verse, namely, because he knew well that if he were an hypocrite God would not endure him; and this his friends had charged him with chap. 8.13.

Vers. 18. Behold now, I have ordered my cause, I know that I shall be justified.] That is, now I have examined mine own conscience, and have weighed and digested what I shall say in mine own defence, whereas you condemn me for a wicked hy­pocrite, I know that herein God will justifie me: and so indeed it prooved at last when God passed that sentence against his friends, chap. 42.7. ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Iob hath.

Vers. 19. Who is he that will plead with me? &c.] That is, trusting therefore in the unquestionable justice of my cause, let who will undertake to plead with me, I am here ready to defend my self against them: But however plead I must my cause with God; for now if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost, that is, being provoked and vexed, as I have been with the opprobrious speeches you have used against me, if I should not ease the grief of my heart by speaking, it would burst within me and so kill me.

Vers. 20. Only do not two things unto me; then will I not hide my self from thee.] That is, then shall I have no cause to hide my self from thee, then shall I not shrink from appearing before thee, but shall boldly come into thy presence to plead my cause. Now the two things he desires of God are those expressed in the following verse to wit, the one that God would free him from the present mise­ries that lay upon him, wherewith being oppressed, distracted and disturbed it was not possible he should, with that freedome of mind as was fitting, intend what he should say and order his speech aright before God; and the other that God would secure him from the terrours of his majesty and power for the future, which alone was enough to overwhelm a man with fear, and to make the most elo­quent man as one that is dumb and not able to speak a word. I know that some [Page 92] learned Expositours do otherwise understand this place, namely, that the two things, which Iob here desired that God would not doe to him, were either 1. That he would not smite and dispute with him together; or 2. That he would not pu­nish before he made known the cause why he did it, and that when the cause was made known he might have free liberty to answer for himself before he proceed­ed any farther against him; and accordingly the last words they understand thus, then will I not hide my self from thee, that is, then shall I willingly undergoe whate­ver thou shalt be pleased to lay upon me. But doubtlesse the first exposition is farre the best: that which he desires here is the very same he desired before chap. 9.34. concerning which see the Note there.

Vers. 22. Then call thou and I will answer, or let me speak and answer thou me.] That is, do thou call me to an account and object against me, and I will answer for my self, or else let me object and do thou answer; and thus he speaks as one wil­ling to give his adversary all the advantage he can desire: A speech that hath so much boldnesse in it, that though no doubt it proceeded from a holy courage and confidence of his own integrity, yet withall methinks it argued that his pas­sions were stirred, and had transported him beyond the bounds of that modesty, which should have been in him that pleaded with the great Creatour of heaven and earth.

Vers. 23. How many are mine iniquities and sins? &c.] Zophar had said, that if God would yield to speak to Iob, he could soon make him see that he had exacted lesse of him then his iniquity had deserved, chap. 11.5, 6. and vers. 14. If iniqui­ty, saith he, be in thine hand put it farre away, and let not wickednesse dwell in thy taber­nacles. Iob therefore beginning here his plea with God, desires in the first place to know what those manifold and grievous sins were, which his friends seemed to charge him with, for which such sore and grievous punishments were laid upon him; implying that though his friends were still unsatisfied after all his protesta­tions of his innocency, yet he was not conscious to himself of any such thing: and that if it were otherwise he desired it might be discovered fully to Gods glo­ry and his shame, that he might repent, &c. See the Notes chap. 10. vers. 2, and 7. where there are expressions much to the same purpose with this.

Vers. 25. Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stub­ble?] That is, canst thou think it will be any glory for thee to contend with such a poor weak wretch as I am, no more able to stand before thine indignation, then a leaf can stand before the wind or dry stubble before the fire? And thus too by the mention of his exceeding frailty and weaknesse he covertly seeks to move God to deal more gently with him.

Vers. 26. For thou writest bitter things against me, &c.] To shew that notwith­standing he was but as a leaf or dry stubble before God, yet God did set himself to break and destroy him, he sets forth here with what violence and severity he proceeded against him; Thou writest bitter things against me, that is, thou hast ad­judged me to most grievous punishments, and such as seem to be the effects of a mind exceedingly imbittered against me; for in this expression of writing bitter things against him, he seems to allude to the custome of Iudges in those times, [Page 93] who used to write down the judgement they passed against offenders, aggravating therein the offences for which they were so allotted to be punished, and then read it in publick when they came to pronounce sentence against them; which may seem the more probable if we compare this with other places, as that Ier. 22.30. Thus saith the Lord, write this man childlesse, &c. and that Psal. 149.8, 9. To bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgement written; As for the following clause and makest me to possesse the iniqui­ties of my youth, that is also added to set forth the severity of Gods proceeding a­gainst him; and the meaning is, either that Gods dealing with him was as if he meant to make him bear now at once the punishment of all the sins that ever he had committed, even the iniquities of his youth, which he had long agoe repen­ted of, and which by reason of the ignorance and imprudencie of that age are usu­ally accounted most pardonable; or else rather that by the strange and grievous punishments he had laid upon him he made all his sins even those of his youth, which he had in a manner forgotten, to come fresh to his remembrance, and there to lie continually grating upon his conscience, which did with great terrour ever and anon suggest, that surely God had not pardoned those sins but did now call him to an account for them.

Vers. 27. Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly to all my paths.] Still Iob goeth on to shew that God proceeded with much severity against him as against some notable malefactour; for by putting his feet in the stocks, and loo­king narrowly to all his paths is meant, that God had brought him into such streights of afflictions, and had so hemmed him in with divers calamities, as if ei­ther he were afraid he should escape out of his hands, and so meant to make sure of him in that regard, or that he meant to look narrowly to him, to see that he should no way get any liberty or ease.

Thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet.] Either this is added as in relation to the foregoing clause concerning the putting of his feet in the stocks, namely that hereby there was a print made in his feet, the stocks eating into his flesh; and the meaning then is only this, that he bore in his flesh the impressions of Gods wrath, the marks of those pinching streights whereinto God had cast him, which it is like he meant of the sores and ulcers wherewith his body was overspread from head to foot; or else the drift of these words is to imply, that God did hunt him as it were, and follow him so close that he did in a manner tread upon his heels, even as prisoners have their keepers still close at their heels that they may not escape.

Vers. 28. And he as a rotten thing consumeth, &c.] That is, Iob; (for he speaks here of himself in the third person) as if he should have said, And thus poor Iob soon consumes away, as a rotten thing or as a moth-eaten garment; the drift whereof is covertly to imply, that there was no need that God should proceed with such violence against him, since an easier stroke would quickly make an end of him, and so withall to intreat God to take pitty of him.

Vers. 1. MAn that is born of a woman is of few daies and full of trouble.] He saith not Man is of few daies, but, Man that is born of a woman, which words are added. 1. To note that this is the condition of all mankind, every mothers child, none excepted, according to that Matth. 11.11. Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater then Iohn the Baptist, and 2. To note what the cause is why man is of such a fading, weak, and misera­ble condition, to wit, because he hath his originall, from such a poor, weak, frail creature as woman is. Though man was weakned by sin as well as woman, yet be­cause a greater degree of weaknesse was inflicted upon woman as a punishment of sin, (in regard whereof the Apostle Peter calls the woman the weaker vessel, 1 Pet. 3.7.) therefore mans being born of a woman is made the chief ground of mans frailty; having his descent from one, who being defiled with sin lyeth under the curse of bearing so many weaknesses and sorrows, no marvell though he be born a poor, weak, helplesse creature, few of daies and full of trouble. Now this which Iob here saith of the frailty and misery of man, he speaks it as in reference to himself, thereby still to imply that he was fitter to be an object of pity and compassion, then of such fury and indignation as God had shown against him.

Vers. 3. And doest thou open thine eyes upon such an one? &c.] Though these words may be taken in a generall sense, to wit, that it was much that God should vouch­safe to look towards such a poor, base wretch as man is, either by way of favour to watch over him for his preservation, and to provide for him, or in any other re­spect (and therefore some understand it thus, that he acknowledged it a singular favour, that so miserable a wretch as he was should be admitted to stand and plead his cause before him, to which also they apply the following clause, and bringest me into judgement with thee?) yet considering both what went before and what fol­lows after, it is more likely that Iob speaks here of Gods opening his eyes upon him to search into his sins, and to see how he might punish him for his transgres­sions; for as men are said to wink at a man when they will not take notice of what he hath done amisse that they might punish him for it, so they may be said to o­pen their eyes upon a man, when they set themselves strictly to enquire into their offences and to bring them into judgement; and accordingly the meaning of these words seems to be this, that it was strange that God should think such a poor despicable creature as man is worthy his anger; or that he should so farre mind him as to take vengeance on him for his sins.

Vers. 4. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.] That is, there is not one born of sinfull parents after the manner of men, but he must needs be sinfull as they are; or not one who can any way procure, that he that is born of parents polluted with originall sin should not himself be polluted and unclean: yea and it may referre to mens actions too, that a man unclean by nature cannot bring forth any clean thing, that is, any clean action; what sinfull man doth must needs be sinfull. Now this Iob adds. 1. To abase himself, and to make his heart [Page 95] stoop under the severity of Gods proceedings with him, since being so unclean it was no wonder though the most holy God should lay his hand so heavy upon him: and 2. To intimate that though God might most justly condemne such a filthy wretch as he was, if he should examine him according to the rigour of his righteous judgement (and by this implyed confession of his spirituall unclean­nesse he did covertly condemne his friends, who charged him with saying that he was perfectly righteous and pure from sin) yet considering this was the inevita­ble condition of all men, who must needs be sinfull because they came out of the loins of sinfull parents, therefore he hoped and desired, that God would take com­passion of him and not deal in such extremity with him.

Vers. 5. Seeing his daies are determined, &c.] This plea of Iobs is much like that of the Psalmist, Psal. 89.46, 47. Shall thy wrath burn like fire? Remember how short my time is, &c. to wit, that since God had appointed that man should die, as the just reward of his sins, and had determined the set time of his death, which could not be farre off, he would therefore let that suffice, and not make that little time he had to live so extremely irksome with insupportable miseries; which is that he de­sires in the following verse.

Vers. 6. Turn from him that he may rest, &c.] An expression much like that, chap. 7.19. How long wilt thou not depart from him? as if he had said, Mark not so strictly what he is, or what he hath done, meddle not with him but let him be qui­et, take off thine heavy hand and let him spend his daies peaceably without mole­station, till he shall accomplish as an hireling his daies, that is, till he hath finished the time appointed him for his living here to serve thee in his generation, which be­ing as the daies of an hireling, full of hard travell and sorrow, his coming to the period thereof must needs be welcome and acceptable to him. See the Note chap. 7.2.

Vers. 7. For there is hope of a tree if it be cut down, &c.] The plea he useth here is this, If it were possible for a man after death to live again here in this world, as a tree cut down will sprout up again, the hope that his life then might be more comfortable would enable him the more patiently to bear his present sufferings. But alas there is no hope of this. A tree indeed though it be felled down to the ground, yet may sprout out with fresh tender branches again.

Vers. 8. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground.] That is, though the root through age be in a manner withered and shrunk, and no sign of life appear in the stock.

Vers. 9. Yet through the sent of water it will bud and spring forth boughs like a plant.] That is, like a young tree newly planted. As for that expression, through the sent of water it will bud, either thereby he intended to shew by what means the roots of such a tree may be as it were revived again, to wit, that if it be watered it will bud forth a-fresh, or else it is used to shew how little a thing will cause it to sprout out again, to wit, that if any moisture comes but near it, if it doe as it were but smell the waters, it will suck in moisture and sap, and grow up with new tender bran­ches.

Vers. 10. But man dieth and wasteth away; yea man giveth up the ghost, and [Page 96] where is he?] As if he should have said, there's no hope of his living again here in this world: concerning which see the Note, chap. 7.9. Indeed in the severall tearms that are here used to expresse mans dying and the order of them, there is some difficulty. Some conceive that in the first words, But man dieth and wasteth away, by mans dying is meant the same that is afterwards tearmed giving up the ghost, and then by wasting away is meant either his wasting away by sicknesse, (and if so then there is an hysteron proteron in the words, as if he had said, Man dieth being wasted away with sicknesse,) or else rather his wasting away by death, as if he had said, man dieth, and then consumes and rots away. But others take dying and wasting away in the first clause to be but preparatories and antecedents to mans giving up the ghost, which the particle yea seems to confirm, man dieth and wasteth away, that is, man decayeth and wasteth away by degrees, death creeping upon him daily by little and little, yea, at last man giveth up the ghost and then, where is he?

Vers. 11. As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and dryeth up.] By the sea here may be meant any great confluence of waters; for such are usually in the Scriptures called seas, as for instance that which is called the lake of Genesareth Luke 5.1. is also called the sea of Tiberias, Ioh. 21.1. But however the greatest dif­ficulty here is what is meant by the waters failing from the sea and the flouds de­caying and drying up; and to what purpose it is here alledged: Some under­stand it thus, that as when the waters fail from the sea, that is, when the sea fails to send forth waters through the pores of the earth unto the rivers, then the rivers and flouds decay and dry up; so the naturall and radicall moisture being spent in a man, he dies, as it is expressed in the following verse, and so is laid in the bed of his grave. Again others give this to be the meaning of it, that as when the waters fail or passe away from the sea or rivers, to wit, either by evaporation, or by run­ning over the banks into the land, or by gliding away in their severall channels, or by soaking into the earth and so drying up in times of great heat and drouth, these very waters thus failing or passing away do never return to their places a­gain; so it is with man when he dies, he is taken away, and there is no possibi­lity of his returning to his place again; for so it follows in the next verse.

Vers. 12. So man lyeth down and riseth not, till the heavens be no more, &c.] This phrase till the heavens be no more may be taken two severall waies, to wit, either that man being once laid in the grave shall never rise again, namely to live again here in this world, and that because the heavens shall for ever continue, whence is that expression Psal. 89.29. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the daies of heaven, and vers. 36, 37. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the Sun before me, &c. or else that he shall not rise again till the generall Resurrection, when it may be said, that the heavens shall be no more, because if they shall not be wholly dissolved, yet at least they shall be so farre changed, that they shall be no more the same heavens that they were before, according to that Psal. 102.26. all of them shall wax old like a garment, as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed, and that of the Apostle. 2 Pet. 3.12, 13. The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the Elements shall melt with fervent heat; ne­verthelesse [Page 97] we according to his promise look for new heavens, &c.

Vers. 13. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret untill thy wrath be past, &c.] 1. Many Expositours understand this of Iobs desi­ring to die, that he might be freed from those heavy effects of Gods wrath that now he endured, and be laid in the grave, (where he should be sure to be shelterd from all storms) till the indignation of God against him were over; and that the following words that thou wouldest appoint me a set time and remember me, are either a farther enlarging of this his request, namely that God would appoint him a set time when he would lodge him in that longed-for bed of his grave, and that at that set appointed time he would not fail to remember to hide him there; (and if so we understand these words, it was unadvised passion and not grace that was breathed forth in this desire) or else are added to imply his expectation of being raised up again at the last day; and so the meaning of the words they take to be this, that in regard of the grievous calamities that he now suffered, he was most desirous to die, only then withall he desired, that God would not cast him off in the grave, but set him a time wherein he would remember him in mercy, and raise him up again, to wit, at the day of the generall Resurrection. 2. Others do other­wise understand these words, to wit, that Iob having before said, that when man dieth he is irrecoverably cut off from living any more in this world, he professeth here that were it not for that he should be glad with all his heart that he might dy, and be laid up in the grave, because there he should be hidden as it were from the wrath of God that now he endured, O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave; that thou wouldest keep me secret, untill thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me; as if he should have said, so that I might be laid in the grave only for a time, and that God would appoint me a set time, wherein he would not fail to remember me in mercy and to raise me up again to live here in a more comfortable condition, even as the stocks of trees that are cut down, that seem in the winter to lye dead in the ground, and yet in the Spring do sprout out a­fresh, then it would be a pleasure to me to die, and to be laid up in the grave. And indeed this I conceive is more probable, then some judge it to be. 1. Because he speaks of Gods appointing him a set time, which seems to intend a prefixed time for his rising again in particular, namely to live here in this world, and can­not well be understood of that day which God hath appointed for the generall Re­surrection of all mankind. 2. Because he speaks of it, as of a most unlikely and improbable thing, which he could rather wish then believe, O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, &c. and 3. Because this well agrees with the generall scope of Iobs speech in this place. 3. Some take it thus, that he desires that God would at a set time appointed lay him up in his grave, in the chambers of death; only he would not that God should then quite cast him off, but desires that God should even there remember him. And whereas according to this exposition he should desire death, without any expression of his desire to be raised up again from the grave; to this it is answered, that he speaks as a man distracted so with sorrowes, that he asks of God he well knows not what; eased he would be of his trouble, and out of his desire of that, he wisheth what came next to mind or lay uppermost in [Page 98] his thoughts; let God hide him in the grave, or doe what he would with him to free him from his sad estate, so he did not utterly forget him. And lastly by the grave may be meant any place under ground, where he might be hidden a-live; such as were those caves and dens in the earth where the Saints in times of perse­cution were wont to hide themselves, and so were for the time as men buried a-live. Heb. 11.36; and so then his desire is only, that he might be hidden some­where under ground, where he might be in safe custody out of the reach of those troubles that now annoyed him, till the indignation of God were over, and that then at a time prefixed God would remember him and fetch him forth again. But which way soever we take these words, most probable it is that he useth this phrase of being hid in the grave, in allusion to the custome of those Eastern countries, where they used in those times to have great caves or vaults for their sepulchers or burying places, whereinto in times of danger they were wont to run and hide themselves.

Vers. 14. If a man die, shall he live again? All the daies of my appointed time will I wait till my change come.] As the former words so these also are divers waies ex­pounded by Interpreters. Some say that the change here meant is that which Iob had wished or desired in the foregoing verse, to wit, his being raised out of the grave after he had been hidden there for a time, to live again here in this world; and accordingly they conceive that the first words were spoken by way of admi­ration, If a man die, shall he live again? Is that possible? and then that the next words were added as the Resolution of Iob upon this supposition, as if he should have said, Could this be, or let this be granted, and then surely all the daies of my appointed time will I wait till my change come, that is, I will willingly wait all the set time allotted for my abode in the grave, untill the change shall come of my be­ing raised up again from thence; and thus they say he spake in reference to his foregoing words, O that thou wouldest appoint me a set time and remember me. Again others conceive that he speaks here of his change at the generall Resurrection of the dead; and so they take the first words to be spoken, either of mans living a­gain in this world, and the interrogation to be a vehement negation, If a man die, shall he live again? No, I know he shall not; it is altogether impossible; and that thereupon he adds, All the daies of my appointed time will I wait till my change come; as if he had said, I am not therefore afraid to die, there being no fear of returning hither again after death, again to endure the miseries of this present world, but will gladly wait all my appointed time till my change at the Resurrection of the dead shall come: or else of mans living again at the day of judgement; and of those that understand it thus, some hold that the interrogation doth here intend an affirmation of that concerning which the question is propounded, If a man die, shall he live again ▪ as if he had said, I know he shall, there will a day come when God will raise him up and restore him to life again; whereupon he inferres that he would wait in expectation of this blessed change, All the daies of my appointed time will I wait till my change come: and others conceive that it is spoken by way of doubting, and accordingly they make this to be the drift of the words, to wit, that the first words contain the temptation wherewith Iob was tempted, namely [Page 99] that he questioned whether man being dead could ever rise again, If a man die, shall he live again? Is this possible? and then that the next clause contains the Re­solution of his faith overcoming that temptation, All the daies of my appointed time will I wait till my change come, as if he had said, yes I know there shall a change come after death, when they that are dead shall rise and live again, and so corrup­tion shall put on incorruption, and therefore all my appointed time I will wait till that change shall come. But last of all there is another exposition, which to me seems best, as best agreeing with other foregoing passages, namely that by his appointed time here is meant the time allotted him of God for his living here in this world, according to that he had said before vers. 5. His daies are determined, the number of his moneths are with thee, &c. and so the sense of the words is this, that since being dead there was no hope of living again here in this world, there was nothing for him to doe but all his appointed time to wait upon God till his change come, that is, till God should be pleased to deliver him from this sad condition where­in he now lived, and put him into a more prosperous estate, or rather till the time of his departure out of this world was come, when he doubted not but God would receive him to his mercy.

Vers. 15. Thou shalt call and I will answer thee, thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.] That is, out of the love thou bearest me as thy creature, and much more as one in whom thou hast renewed thine own image, thou wilt not cast me off for ever, but wilt receive me again unto thy self; which is spoken in reference to the former clause, Thou shalt call and I will answer thee, of which also there are se­verall expositions given by Interpreters, answerable to those they give of the fore­going verses; for 1. Some take it to be spoken as in reference to that which they conceive he intended vers. 13. where he speaks of his being hid for a time in the grave, namely that if that might be so, if God would hide him for a time till his indignation were over, and then would remember him in mercy again, then when God should call him forth, he would readily come forth unto him, hoping to live here in his favour again. 2. Some understand this also of the Resurrection, Thou shalt call, that is, thou shalt command me to arise from the dead, and I will an­swer thee, that is, I shall as in obedience to thy command readily arise and present my self before thee, not needing then to fear thy face as hypocrites will; and in­deed though this phrase of Gods calling him, may be used in reference to the manner of Gods raising men from the dead, concerning which the Apostle saith, 1. Thess. 4.16. The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, &c. yet by the call of God may be meant simply the will and command of God, as where it is said that God called for a famine upon the land, Psal. 105.16. that is, he commanded a famine to be in the land; and so our Saviour speaks of the Resur­rection, Ioh. 5.28. The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, &c. and 3. Some understand it of Gods calling him out of this world by death, and so conceive that Iob here professeth his readinesse to yield to Gods call herein, and that because he knew God would one day remember him in mercy and not utterly cast [...]off the work of his own hands.

[Page 100]Vers. 16. For now thou numbrest my steps, &c:] This is added as a reason why he so earnestly desired to die, or to be hid in the grave, as he had said vers. 13. till Gods wrath and indignation was over; or why he had besought God that he would withdraw his hand and let him finish his daies in peace, vers. 6. namely be­cause God did now at present proceed with such severity against him, as one that took strict notice of all his waies, that not one sin of his might scape unpunished. See chap. 10.14. To which purpose also is that which follows in the next verse, of Gods sealing up his transgressions in a bag, that is, his laying them up in store, as evidences and indictments against him; of which see the Note, Deuter. 32.34.

Vers. 18. And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought; and the rock is removed out of his place, &c.] The drift of these words is either 1. To imply that God pro­ceeded with as much fury and violence against him, as when he overturns moun­tains and removes rocks out of their places, &c. or 2. To intimate that if the strongest creatures, and those that seem most stedfastly setled in their places, can­not stand before the indignation of the Lord, much lesse could poor, weak man stand before it, and that therefore God needed not proceed with such over-bea­ring violence against him as he now did; or 3. To bewail his continuing so long in so great miseries, that when the strongest creatures were not able to stand be­fore Gods power when he meant to bring them to nought, and so the hope of man was destroyed by his hand, as is expressed in the last clause of the 19 verse, that is, all things wherein vain men hope, or all the vain things wherein men are wont to hope, yet he a poor, weak creature should hold out against so many and great afflictions, and live in the midst of so many deaths, or 4. To renew his old request that he might die, that since all things, even those that were the most like to continue, were often removed and wasted out of their place, so he desired it might also be with him; or 5. To intimate his fear least his patience should fail, and thereupon to desire that God would in pity release him, surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, &c. as if he had said, mountains and rocks will fail, and how much sooner may my patience fail? My strength is not the strength of stones, as he had said before, chap. 6.12. and therefore either remove my afflictions or remove me out of this world; or 6. To shew that God proceeding so severely against him, and not suffering any sin of his to passe unpunished (as he had said in the forego­ing verses) as other creatures, that seem more surely setled then man is, do utter­ly perish by the mighty power of God, so it must needs be with man, he also must needs be cut off irrecoverably, The mountain (saith Iob) falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place, to wit, sometimes by extraordinary earth-quakes, sometimes by the violence of great flouds and inundations of wa­ters, the waters wear the stones, by continuall beating and dropping upon them, thou washest away the things that grow out of the dust, namely when rivers or seas o­verflowing or breaking through the banks, do with a mighty torrent sweep away all before them, and thou destroyest the hope of man, that is, and thus after the same manner is man cut off and destroyed by death, and that as concerning any hope of living again here in this world irrecoverably; and this I conceive most proba­ble [Page 101] to have been the drift of Iob in these words, being the same in effect with that which he had said before vers. 11, 12.

Vers. 20. Thou prevailest for ever against him and he passeth; thou changest his coun­tenance and sendest him away.] That is, it is alwaies thus, be a man never so strong, die he must; if thou contendest with him, he must needs sink under thine hand and that irrecoverably, it being altogether impossible that he should resist the stroke of thine hand; his comelinesse and beauty thou soon turnest into a ghastly ashy palenesse, and so sendest him packing out of this world.

Vers. 21. His sons come to honour and he knoweth it not, &c.] This may be meant either of man after death, as in reference to what he had said immediately before concerning mans passing away out of this world, to wit, that after that he never knoweth more what is done here in this world; whether his children live in pro­sperity or misery, it is all one to him, for he knoweth not how it fares with them: and then it is added to shew how absolutely men are by death cut off from all pos­sible communion with those that remain behind them: Or else it may be meant of man when he is dying, to wit, either that through the anguish and extremity of pain and misery which he endures, he regards no earthly thing how nearly soe­ver it concerns him; be his children in a prosperous or in a mean condition, he minds it not, it works in him neither joy nor sorrow, or else that this is one part of his misery, that dying he knoweth not what shall become of his children.

Vers. 22. But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.] Those Expositours that understand the foregoing words of man after death, must needs find it too difficult to give a reason how after that this should come in, But his flesh upon him shall have pain, &c. Yet two severall waies they alledge how this may be inferred upon that which went before, though so understood, for 1. Some take the words to be a figurative and poeticall expression of the sad condi­tion of a man cut off by death, his flesh upon him shall have pain, (alluding to the worms gnawing the flesh of his body) and his soul within him shall mourn, that is, it shall be disquieted and grieved, because it is parted from the body; it is, say they, such a poeticall expression, as that afterward chap. 21.33. where it is said of man in the grave, the clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him: and 2. Some make the connexion thus, that having said in the former verse, that man after death knoweth nothing what is done in the world, this that follows is added in this sense, But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn, as if he should have said, But yet whilst he lives he shall have pain and sorrow; and therefore a­ny man may judge whether it were not better for me to die then to live. But now understand the foregoing words of man dying, and then the dependance of this upon that is easie and clear; There he had said that man dying minds not how it is, or knows not how it shall be with his children; whereto he adds now, But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn, that is, he shall be wholly taken up with the thoughts and sense of his own misery, the pain and sor­row that lyes upon him.

CHAP. XV.

Vers. 1. THen answered Eliphaz, &c.] The three friends of Iob having all ob­jected what they could against Iob successively one after another, and Iob having severally answered them all, it came now to Eliphaz turn, who began first to speak, again to reply upon what Iob had answe­red.

Vers. 2. Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the East wind?] That is, is it seemly for a man that pretends to such wisedome and know­ledge as you do, to talk so idly and foolishly, so furiously, and presumptuously, and mischievously as you have done? for he alludes to those words of Iob where­in he seemed to condemne them of folly, at least to maintain that his knowledge was every way as much as theirs, chap. 13.2. What ye know, the same doe I know al­so, I am not inferiour unto you, and again vers. 5. Oh that you would altogether hold your peace, and it should be your wisedome. He compares Iobs words to the wind, to imply 1. That they had been vain and unprofitable, and nothing to the purpose, there was no substance and solidity in them, but they were merely a blast of words, which soon vanished and came to nothing, and 2. That they had been turbulent, vio­lent, and furious, and uttered with a great deal of heat and choller; and he men­tions the East wind particularly rather then any other, because that wind used to be in those countries most raging and tempestuous, and withall because it was u­sually very hurtfull to their corn, and fruit, and other things, as we use also to say, that the wind in the East is neither good for man nor beast, and so thereby Eli­phaz might intend to imply also, that his words had been mischievous and hurt­full both to others and to himself, pernicious to others by way of ill example, and hurtfull to himself, in that they must needs blast all the hopes he might other­wise have had of Gods delivering him out of his miseries. In Iobs first answer to Eliphaz he had taken exceptions against him for slighting what he had spoken, as if there had been no weight of reason in any thing he had said, and that in these tearms, chap. 6.26. Doe ye imagine to reproove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind? (concerning which see the Note there) Now as Bildad did immediately twit him with this, retorting upon him that very expression, chap. 8.2. How long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? (where also see the Note) so likewise Eliphaz here remembring it seems those words of Iob, when he came now to speak again upbraids him with the same words, Should a wise man ut­ter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the East wind? as if he had said, you were not pleased that I esteemed your words no better then wind; but I pray what have your words ever since been better then so? A wise man one would think should never utter such vain and unprofitable things as you have spoken; and it is like he meant this of those passages in Iobs speech, where he had complained of Gods dealing so hardly with him, and where he had wished that God would hide him for a time in the grave, chap. 14.14. and others of the like nature. As for that expression of filling his belly with the East wind, the meaning is, either that he did [Page 103] feed and please himself with such windy frothy discourse, or rather that he did first conceive such things in his mind, and then afterward uttered them.

Vers. 4. Yea thou castest off fear and restrainest prayer before God.] Some Exposi­tours understand this thus, that by many things that he had spoken he had in a manner laid a foundation of Atheisme, that men should neither fear God nor call upon his name; for if that were true which he had said, chap. 9.22. that God de­stroyeth the perfect as well as the wicked, and so chap. 12.6. that the tabernacles of rob­bers prosper and they that provoke God are secure, &c. who then would fear God or pray unto him? yea and some adde, that by his speaking so irreverently to God he had hereby given evil example unto others, after the same manner to cast off the fear of God, and in stead of praying to God to contend with him. But I con­ceive the meaning to be plainly this, that he chargeth Iob with casting off fear and restraining prayer before God, because he had spoken to God in such a bold and presumptuous manner, as if he had been speaking to one of his fellows, and in stead or humbling himself before God, and craving mercy and pardon, he had stood upon tearms of justifying himself, and had as it were challenged God, that he might argue with him and plead his cause before him.

Vers. 5. For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, &c.] That is, thy mouth discovers and blazons abroad that base wickednesse and iniquity that is in thine heart, ac­cording to that of our Saviour, Matth. 12.34, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. And this is added as a proof of what he had said in the foregoing verse, to wit, that Iob had cast off the fear of God; as is likewise that which fol­lows and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty, that is, thou dost wittingly talk in a crafty manner; and the craft Eliphaz intends is, either that he did in an hypocri­ticall manner cunningly cover over the iniquity of his heart, to wit, by spea­king at some times very modestly and humbly, though at other times he was rea­dy as it were to fly in Gods face, as in those passages chap. 6.24. Teach me and I will hold my tongue; and cause me to understand wherein I have erred, and chap. 7.20. I have sinned; what shall I doe unto thee, O thou preserver of men? and chap. 9.2. How should man be just with God? or else rather that in a mere cavilling way he had hi­therto sought to make good an evil cause.

Vers. 7. Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?] In these words Eliphaz seems to have respect to that which Iob had said chap. 12.2, 3. No doubt but ye are the people, and wisedome shall die with you, but I have under­standing as well as you, I am not inferiour to you; yea who knoweth not such things as these? and to that vers. 12. of the same chapter, with the ancient is wisedome, and in length of daies understanding: for apprehending that Iob had spoken those words, in a way of exalting himself in regard of his knowledge, and in regard of his age a­bove them, and as thinking scorn that they should therefore compare themselves with him, and that thence it was also that he had sent them to learn knowledge of the bruit beasts, chap. 12.7. Ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee, &c. here­upon he now replies to this in a way of scoffing, Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills? as if he should have said, what do you make of your self that you take so much upon you in regard of your knowledge, and in [Page 104] regard of your years? Sure you were the first man that ever was born in the world, yea perhaps you were before the creation, and so are older then the hills, and having therefore lived in all the ages of the world, it is no wonder though you have gotten so much knowledge, that we are counted no better then fooles in comparison of you. Thus I say almost all Expositours understand these words; only indeed some conceive that Iobs friends were older then he, which they ground upon that which follows vers. 10. and that therefore Eliphaz could not suspect that Iob despised them because of his great age, but that rather he twits him on the contrary, because being younger then they, yet he vaunted himself in his great knowledge, as if he had been the first man that ever was upon the earth, and had been ever since treasuring up knowledge, and so must needs understand more then ever man did.

Vers. 8. Hast thou heard the secret of God? &c.] As if he should have said, hath God made you of his privy counsell, and so thereby admitted you to the know­ledge of those secrets, which no man knows besides your self? whereupon he adds also, and dost thou restrain wisedome to thy self? that is, have you think you all the wisedome? and are all fools besides your self? and in the following verse, what knowest thou which we know not? &c. in all which Eliphaz doth plainly retort up­on Iob what he had before said to them, chap. 12.2, 3. No doubt but ye are the peo­ple, and wisedome shall die with you; but I have understanding as well as you, &c. and chap. 13.2. what ye know, the same do I know also, &c.

Vers. 10. With us are both the gray-headed, and very aged men, much elder then thy father.] Still he seems to aime at that which Iob had said, chap. 12.12. With the ancient is wisedome, and in length of daies understanding; but the meaning may be, ei­ther that some of these his friends were much elder then his father was, or then his father would have been, had he been still living (and it may be Eliphaz intended himself, who we may well think was the eldest of the three, because he spake first) or else that though they themselves were younger then Iob, yet he had no cause to despise them as he had done, since they had in their severall habitations many on their side, of their party and opinion, yea many masters and teachers, from whom they had received those truths which they had maintained, that were so ve­ry aged, that his father was younger then some of them.

Vers. 11. Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?] That is, say some Expositours, dost thou esteem the consolations of God such mean and contemptible things, that we should propound them to wicked men, such as thou art, or that thou shouldest think they belong to thee? No, sure­ly; such holy things are not to be given to dogs; only perhaps you know some­thing which others know not, or have some secret righteousnesse, which questi­onlesse none can discern in you but your self, and hence it is that you will not be beaten off from applying the comforts of God unto your self. But doubtlesse the true meaning of these words is, that Eliphaz here upbraids Iob for slighting the consolations of God, to wit, those which himself, and his other two friends had as from God propounded to him; that if he would repent of his wickednesse, and humbling himself under Gods hand would forsake his evil waies, and beg mercy [Page 105] of him, God would then pardon his sins, remove the judgements that now lay up­on him, and abundantly blesse him again. Iob had told them in expresse tearmes, chap. 13.4. that they were forgers of lies and Physicians of no value: and happily in re­lation to that Eliphaz here upbraids him for despising those divine consolations wherewith they had sought to doe him good; Are, saith he, the consolations of God small with thee? as if he should have said, we have propounded the only way of comfort for one in your condition that God hath prescribed, and do you make so little account of the consolations of God? and thereupon he adds too, Is there any secret thing with thee? that is, doest thou know any better way of comfort, (which perhaps neither we, nor our fathers, nor any man else ever knew or heard of,) whereupon thou despisest that to which we have advised thee? Or, hast thou any secret Priviledge or unknown worth in thee and so thou hast no need of these consolations? Or, is there any secret sin or guilt in thee, which makes thee unfit to receive the comforts that have been tendered thee? Or, doest thou know any thing unknown to others, by warrant whereof thou thinkest, notwithstanding all that we have said to thee, that God may justly be blamed for dealing too hardly and severely with thee?

Vers. 12. Why doth thine heart carry thee away? &c.] That is, why doth the pride of thy heart, or the passions of thy heart transport thee so farre as a man besides himself, even beyond the bounds both of reason and of that modesty and reve­rence, wherewith it becomes men to carry themselves when they speak to the Lord their Creatour? As for the following clause, and what do thine eyes wink at? it is very hard to say what is meant thereby; and therefore every Expositour almost gives a severall exposition of it. Some by his winking with his eyes understand his frowning, and looking with an angry, and fierce furious eye; others an hy­pocriticall looking demurely in a way of seeming holinesse, as if he were silently praying to God, or had his thoughts taken up with some serious, high, and hea­venly meditations, when indeed there was no such thing; others his closing of his eyes against the truth of those things which they had delivered; others of his fleering and looking with a flouting and and scornfull eye, as David also describes the scornfull behaviour of his enemies, Psal. 35.19. Let not them that are mine ene­mies wrongfully rejoyce over me; neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause: and last of all others understand it thus, and what doe thine eyes wink at? that is, what dost thou look at? or what dost thou aime at (alluding to those that shooting at a mark are wont to wink with their eyes) that thou art thus over­born by thy passions, and carried out of the way? which exposition of all the rest I like the best, because of the following words that have dependance upon these.

Vers. 13. That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words goe out of thy mouth?] That is, that when God afflicts thee, thou shouldest thus with an imbit­tered spirit turn again upon him and contend with him, and so shouldest suffer such proud, desperate speeches to proceed out of thy mouth, justifying thy self, and blaming God for laying his hand so heavily upon thee.

Vers. 14. What is man that he should be clean, &c.] As if he had said, It cannot be that poor wretched man coming out of the loines of sinfull pa­rents [Page 106] can be righteous, and pure, and clean from sin. See the Note chap. 14.4.

Vers. 15. He putteth no trust in his saints; yea the heavens are not clean in his sight.] That is, the Angels, the holy inhabitants of heaven; for Expositours do general­ly understand both branches of this verse of the Angels, and so make this place fully parallel with that chap. 4.18. (concerning which see the Notes) and say that Eliphaz presseth this argument again upon Iob, as being confident that hitherto in all that he had spoken he had given no satisfactory answer thereto. And indeed that by the Saints of God in the first clause the holy Angels are meant is the more evident, because they are elsewhere called Gods Saints, Deut. 32.2. The Lord came from Sinai— and he came with ten thousands of Saints (of which see the Note there) and because the Saints here spoken of are opposed to man born of a woman in the foregoing verse, and therefore cannot be meant of holy men. But for the second clause, yea the heavens are not clean in his sight, it is more questionable whether that may not be meant, both of the Angels inhabiting the heavens, and of the heavens themselves, in that though the heavens be of a bright, and clear, and pure sub­stance, free from that earthliness and dregs that is in all sublunary bodies, yet they are unclean and impure in comparison of that perfect purity that is in God; and indeed it seems the more probable that it is so, because the like expression Bildad useth afterward concerning the stars, chap. 25.5. yea the stars, saith he, are not pure in his sight.

Vers. 16. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?] This expression which Eliphaz here useth implyes severall particulars concerning mans naturall inclination to sin, as 1. That men are prone to sin as na­turally, familiarly, and readily as they are to eat when they are hungry, or to drink when they are thirsty. 2. That they are as greedy to sin, as a thirsty man is to pour down water, yea to exceed therein, and 3. That it is as pleasing and de­lightfull to men to sin, as it is to a thirsty man to drink a draught of water; to which purpose the like expressions are used in other places, as chap. 34.7. What man is like Iob, who drinketh up scorning like water? and Prov. 4.17. they eat the bread of wickednesse, and drink the wine of violence.

Vers. 17. Hear me, and that which I have seen I will declare, &c.] That is, that which I have found true by experience; to which he adds in the next verse, that as he had observed this himself, so he had heard it also from many wise men, that had likewise received it by tradition from their fathers; that which I have seen I will declare; which (saith he vers. 18.) wise men have told from their fathers and have not hid it.

Vers. 19. Vnto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.] To make it evident that those wise men, or their fathers mentioned in the forego­ing verse, from whom by tradition they had received that truth which Eliphaz was now to deliver, were witnesses worthy of all credit and esteem, they are said here to have been such unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed a­mong them; whereby may be meant, either that they were the first heads of the world, to wit, in the dayes immediately after Noah, concerning whom it might well be said, that the earth was given unto them alone, and that no stranger passed a­mong [Page 107] them, because they had indeed the whole earth divided amongst themselves alone, and so there was no stranger amongst them, that is, none but such as were well known one to another (the people of the world being then but very few, so that there was no need why they should invade or molest one another) or no stranger of a different religion, by whom they might be corrupted with errours; Or else the meaning may be, that they were men so famous and highly esteemed both of God and man for their wisedome, justice, courage, and all other heroi­call vertues, that unto them alone the earth was given, that is, the dominion of the severall lands where they lived was by the voluntary consent of the people, and the all-ruling providence of God given unto them, and no stranger passed amongst them, that is, they so ordered themselves in their government, and God was plea­sed also so to blesse their discreet, just, and holy endeavours, that no forreign ene­my did break in upon them, or molest and trouble them, but the people lived un­der their government in peace and safety. Both these expositions are very agree­able to the drift of Eliphaz in this place; but if we understand them according to the last exposition, besides their principall drift which is to shew how unquestio­nable the Testimony of those men was, whom he had mentioned in the former verse, as assertours of the truth he was now to deliver; they do also covertly im­ply the falsehood of that which Iob had maintained, to wit, in that he affirmes them to have been wise men and good governours unto whom alone the earth was given, which is in direct terms contrary to what Iob had said, chap. 9.24. the earth is given into the hand of the wicked.

Vers. 20. The wicked man travelleth with pain all his daies, &c.] That is, he is continually in distresse and sorrow, sometimes because of the calamities that God brings upon him, but alwaies by terrours of conscience, and distracting fears: for here Eliphaz undertakes again to make good what he had before said, chap. 5.3. to wit, that the Lord doth alwaies pour forth his wrath upon wicked men here in this world according to their demerits, as in direct opposition to that which Iob had said, chap. 12.6. The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; and to that end he alledgeth here the continuall distresse and anguish of spirit, wherein they live even in their greatest prosperity: to which he adds, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressour. Now though there be severall interpretations given of these words; Some taking them thus, that God hath in his secret counsell appointed to the oppressour how long he shall live, and when he will cut him off; and others thus, That God will cut short the years of the op­pressour, he little knows how suddenly: yet even this also is alledged I conceive to the same end, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressour, that is, he is alwaies in fear not knowing how long he shall enjoy his prosperous estate, or how soon he shall be cut off; for though good men know not how long they have to live no more then wicked men, yet this is peculiar to wicked men, that they are in conti­nuall perplexity of spirit concerning their end; and this is that which Eliphaz in­tends in these words. But however observable it is, that in setting forth the mise­ry of wicked men herein, Eliphaz doth particularly insist on the fears of the op­pressour; for herein he doth doubtlesse covertly strike at that particular sinne [Page 108] whereof he thought Iob was guilty, as having been a great man and a man of au­thority in the place where he lived, as we see he afterward tells him in expresse tearms, chap. 22.6. Thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.

Vers. 21. A dreadfull sound is in his ears, &c.] That is, He is troubled with the sad reports of near-approaching evils; or he is ever and anon affrighted, as if he heard some sound or noise of danger: wherein it is very likely that he aimed at that which Iob had bewailed in himself, to wit, that God scared him with dreams, and terrified him with visions, chap. 7.14. As for the following clause, in prosperity the de­stroyer shall come upon him, that I conceive is added to shew that there is reason e­nough why he should be afraid when he seems to be in the safest condition, name­ly, because even when he is in his greatest prosperity, he shall suddenly be de­stroyed.

Vers. 22. He believeth not that he shall return out of darknesse, &c.] That is, as in prosperity he fears a day of darknesse and distresse that is coming upon him, so when that day is come, there's no perswading him that he shall ever any more see better day, he utterly despairs that ever he shall be delivered from that misery and distresse, those troubles and fears that are come upon him; and to shew also that his fears herein are not groundlesse, he adds, and he is waited for of the sword, that is, in stead of being delivered from his present misery, there is indeed a sword waits for him to cut him off.

Vers. 23. He wandreth abroad for bread, saying, where is it? &c.] Though the meaning of this may be, that being brought to extreme poverty he wanders a­bout to beg his bread, or seeks by any sinister means to supply his want, being anxious and full of care where to get bread to put into his mouth; yet the most and best Expositours understand it more generally, to wit, that the wicked man in his greatest prosperity, even through the terrours of his conscience, apprehen­ding that an evil day is coming, doth hunt about to store up for himself with as much impatience and greedinesse, as if he were in danger to perish for hunger, and yet all the while his own heart tells him that all his endeavours will be in vain, mi­sery and destruction will at length come upon him, which is that Eliphaz intends in the following words, he knoweth that the day of darknesse is ready at his hand, that is, he is confident that it is nigh at hand, and that it will not be long ere he shall be cut off.

Vers. 24. Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid, &c.] That is, both outward troubles and inward terrours of conscience shall affright him; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battel, that is, with an unresistable power; for kings when they go forth themselves in person to war, are wont to go out with mighty armies, and in the battel have usually the flowre and strength of the army with them, and so ordinarily they are a great terrour when they come, and bear down all before them with a mighty violence.

Vers. 25. For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.] Here Eliphaz gives the reason why God doth so severely punish the wicked man, as is expressed in the foregoing verses, namely, because by his [Page 109] opposing the people of God, by his bold blaspheming of God, by his scornfull vilifying his threatnings and judgements, and his desperate opposing the will of God in all things whatsoever, he doth in a manner set himself to fight against God. Now in expressing this in the second clause, he mentions God by this attri­bute the Almighty, and strengeheneth himself against the Almighty, purposely to im­ply the folly of such daring boldnesse in those presumptuous wretches that are not afraid to lift up their hand against him who is an almighty God, and able therefore to doe with them whatever he pleaseth.

Vers. 26. He runneth upon him even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers.] Many of our best Expositours understand this of God; for, say they, Eliphaz having in the former verse set forth the impudence of the wicked man in fighting against God, he adds here that thereupon He, that is, the Almighty God, runneth upon him, that is, upon the wicked man, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers (for the bucklers which they used in warre had alwaies thick bosses in the midst, out of which came a sharp piece of iron or steel like the head of a spear, by reason whereof an enemy could not run in upon a man armed with one of these bucklers without manifest perill to himself, and thence is this expression of run­ning in upon the thick bosses of his bucklers) as if he should have said, even as when a mighty man is provoked by the insolency of one that is no body in his hands, he runneth upon him for all his bucklers and other weapons wherewith he is armed, and taking him by the neck throws him down and disarmes him, so doth the Lord usually deal with those insolent wretches, that dare thus exalt themselves against him; for all their great wealth, authority▪ and power, where­with they think themselves safely shielded as with armour or proof, God runs in upon them, takes them by the neck or throat, and crushing them down to the ground, strips them of all those things whereon they rested with so much confi­dence: and indeed the like expression Iob useth in the following chapter, vers. 12. speaking of Gods severe dealing with him, He hath, saith he, broken me asun­der, he hath also taken me by my neck and shaken me to pieces. But now others again understand this of the wicked man (and indeed considering the whole context as it is in our Translation I cannot see how it can be understood otherwise) having said in the former verse, that he stretcheth out his hand against God, &c. in these words yet farther to set forth his incredible arrogance and insufferable impudence Eli­phaz adds that he runneth upon him, that is, upon God, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers, meaning that notwithstanding the almighty power wherewith God is armed to destroy all those that rise up against him, yet such is the despe­rate daring boldnesse of these wicked wretches, that they make no more of rush­ing upon the pikes of his displeasure, then if they had to deal with some weak man, whom they could easily vanquish and subdue.

Vers. 27. Because he covereth his face with his fatnesse, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.] This is the reason that is given why the wicked man dares carty him­self so proudly against God, to wit, because he is grown rich and great, and lives in much prosperity, pampering himself with pleasure, and so thereupon is puffed up with pride, and obdurate against all fear, even to the exalting of himself a­gainst [Page 110] God his Creatour; for thus the spirit of God doth frequently in the Scri­pture expresse the prosperity and pride of wicked men, as we may see, Deut. 32.15. Iesu [...] waxed fat and kicked, &c. Psal. 7.10. They are inclosed in their own fat, with their mouth they speak proudly, and so in many other places▪ and that say some Expositours, because the fat in man hath no feeling and the fatter men are the lesse subject they are to fear.

Vers. 28. And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.] Many good Expositours understand this of the misery, which God at last brings upon those men, that do so proudly set them­selves in defiance against God, as is expressed in the foregoing verses; and by their dwelling in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps, they conceive is meant, either that through extreme poverty ha­ving neither house nor home, they are glad to get into any old ruinate houses there to lye and shelter themselves, or that through very terrours of conscience they get into such desolate and unfrequented places merely to avoid the society of men, or else that by the people that rise up against them, not able any longer to endure their oppression and tyranny, they are driven from the places where they have formerly lived, and so forced to hide their heads in such desolate and solita­ry places, as it was with Nebuchadnezzar, who was driven from men, and had his dwelling with the beasts of the field. But I say as the Context runs in our Tran­slation it is methinks evident, that this is also added farther to set forth that great prosperity of the wicked man, which is the cause of his exalting himself against God; for having said that he covereth his face with his fatnesse, &c. he adds here, And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps, wherein may be implyed both their exceeding wealth and great­nesse, in that they were able to rebuild desolate cities, and ruinated great houses and castles, either merely to get them a name or for the safety of their persons, as tyrants are wont to doe, according to the former expression, chap. 3.14. With kings and counsellers of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves, of which see the Note there; and likewise their mighty oppression and tyranny, in that they dwelt in cities which they had made desolate and poor by their impoverishing the inhabitants, and in houses from which they had driven the inhabitants by their cruell dealing with them, and then seized upon them for their own use.

Vers. 29. He shall not be rich, &c.] Considering that Eliphaz speaks still of that wicked man, that exalts himself against God, because of his fat and great estate, as is expressed in the former verses, the meaning of these words He shall not be rich must needs be, either that he shall not attain that height of riches which he pro­pounds to himself, or that he shall not continue rich; though he be rich for the present, yet he shall at last come to poverty, as is explained in the following clause, neither shall his substance continue; and therefore also is that clause added, nei­ther shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth whereby either the same thing is expressed again in other words, to wit, that he shall not long continue in such a glorious condition, or else the meaning must be that he shall not continue his name upon earth by leaving his great estate and honour to his children and his [Page 111] childrens children, which is the perfection of a worldlings greatnesse and glo­ry.

Vers. 30. He shall not depart out of darknesse.] That is, he shall never get free from those miseries and sorrows which God shall bring upon him. I know indeed there are some Expositours understand this of the wicked mans not daring to go forth from those secret hiding places, whereto he hath retired himself, and that be­cause through the inward terrours of his conscience, he is afraid as Cain was least every man should kill him. But the first exposition to me seems farre more easie and clear.

The flame shall dry up his branches, &c.] By the wicked mans branches many Ex­positours understand particularly his posterity; and so conceive that Eliphaz herein aimes at Iobs losse in that particular: but others do I conceive better un­derstand this clause more generally, to wit, that the wicked man being here com­pared to a flourishing tree, by this that the flame shall dry up his branches is meant, that by the fire of tribulation or by the fire of Gods wrath, all his riches, and ho­nour, and children, and whatever else it is that makes his estate so flourishing and glorious, shall be withered and dryed up, yea that all his hopes, and designs, and endeavours shall be brought to nothing. As for the following clause, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away, though the meaning thereof may be, as some take it, that together with the breath of his mouth he shall perish, or rather that he shall die or be cut off by the breath of his own mouth, that is, by the despe­rate and blasphemous speeches, which in his wrath and pride he shall utter and belch forth against God (an expression not unlike to that Esa. 64.6. We all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities like a wind have taken us away) yet it may be better understood of the breath of Gods mouth (as referring to that which was said be­fore vers. 25. He stretcheth forth his hand against God, &c.) by the breath of his mouth shall he go away, that is, after that God hath thus blasted his prosperous estate, he shall at last utterly cut him off and send him packing away by the breath of his mouth, that is, by his decree, or by the blast of his indignation, which is the same that the prophet elsewhere saith, Esa. 11.4. He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked; and which Eliphaz himself had said before, chap. 4.9. of which see the Note there. And very proba­ble it is that Eliphaz doth the rather use these expressions of flame and fire, and the breath of his mouth, as in reference to the fire that had consumed Iobs cattle and servants, and to the wind that had blown down the house upon his chil­dren.

Vers. 31. Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity; for vanity shall be his recom­pence.] As if he should have said, if any wicked man hopes or thinks it shall be well with him, he is certainly deceived; and therefore let not such a one trust in such vain hopes, or in any vain thing whereon he builds his hopes, his sinfull courses, his present prosperity, riches, or honours, any humane counsels or means; for if he doth he shall find that these things will prove vain and nothing worth, and so vanity and misery shall be his recompence. And herein it seemes Eliphaz covertly strikes at the confidence Iob had expressed, chap. 13.15, 16. [Page 112] Though he slay me yet will I trust in him; but I will maintain mine own waies before him. He also shall be my salvation, &c.

Vers. 32. It shall be accomplished before his time, &c.] This may be read, It shall be cut off before his time, and then it must be referred to the tree, whereto he had compared the wicked man, vers. 30. saying, the flame shall dry up his branches, (which may seem the more probable because of the following clause here, and his branch shall not be green) and then the meaning is, that the wicked man shall die an untimely death; or else to the wicked mans trusting in vanity, or the vanity whereon he trusts, whereof he had spoken in the words immediately foregoing, and then the meaning is much to the same effect, to wit, that the wicked mans confidence shall be cut off and come to nothing before his time, that is, before his daies be expired, or by his untimely end. But if we read it, as it is in our Bibles, It shall be accomplished before his time, then it must be referred to the last words of the foregoing verse, Vanity shall be his recompence, and so the meaning must be that the recompencing of vanity to him that trusts in vanity shall be accomplished before his time, that is, before his daies be accomplished, he shall live to see his pride have a fall, his own eyes shall behold the vanity of his confidence, or in the cutting him off before his time, this shall be accomplished; and his branch shall not be green, that is, nothing that he possesseth or undertaketh shall prosper; or, his children shall be in a withering condition.

Vers. 33. He shall shake off the unripe grape as the vine, &c.] That is, the wicked man shall be as the vine that shakes off her unripe grapes, and as the olive tree that casts off her flower; or, God shall shake off his unripe grapes, as the unripe grapes of a vine are shaken off, &c. But however that which Eliphaz intends here is, ei­ther that his children shall die in their young and tender years, or at least that they shall die an untimely death (for because of the sad end of Iobs children Eli­phaz is still harping upon this string) or rather that all his substance, his hopes and endeavours, shall betimes be blasted, and shall never come to maturity.

Vers. 34. For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, &c.] That is, though hypocrites have never so great families and attendants, though they have never so many companions and friends, they shall all be cut off and so their house shall become desolate: and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery, that is, the houses of bribe-takers; or the houses that are filled with bribery, or built by bribery, or the gain of any such like course of injustice or deceit.

Vers. 35. They conceive mischief and bring forth vanity, &c.] That is, they con­ceive mischievous devices, they plot mischief in their minds against others, but in the conclusion all these devices prove vain and ineffectuall, and usually bring mischief upon themselves. Indeed this clause may be read also thus, They con­ceive mischief and bring forth iniquity, as we find it also expressed, Isa. 59.4. and then the meaning must needs be, that they contrive mischief against others in their mind, and then act that which they have so conceived. And accordingly we must conceive of the last clause, and their belly prepareth deceit, to wit, that it is meant ei­ther of the wicked mans contriving in his mind how he may deceive others, or else of his plotting those things in his head, whereby whilst he thinks to hurt o­thers he doth only in the conclusion delude and deceive himself.

CHAP. XVI.

Vers. 2. I Have heard many such things, &c.] In these first words of Iobs answer, either he taxeth his friends, and Eliphaz in particular, who had last re­plyed upon him, for running over the same things again and again, e­ven to wearinesse and irksomenesse, and those too such things as he had heard many and many a time from others, and which therefore he knew as well as they, as that God is just, and that God doth use to destroy wicked men, and to pour forth his wrath upon them even here in this world, &c. (Iob would have them know that his case was so extraordinary, that such extraordinary things as they had so often repeated did no way suit his condition) or else for the bitternesse of their language. Eliphaz had in his last words very terribly set forth the vengeance of God upon wicked men, and that as applying all to him; whereupon Iob an­swers, I have heard many such things, for such terrours and threatnings, and scorn­full exprobrations I have had enough of them, but not a word of true comfort; whereupon he adds, miserable comforters (or as it is in the margin) troublesome com­forters) are ye all, to wit, because in stead of comforting him, for which they pre­tended they came to him, they had rather added to his afflictions, and had ra­ther increased then allayed his sorrows. And herein it is likely that he had re­spect to that which Eliphaz had said, chap. 15.11. Are the consolations of God small with thee? for it is as if he said, They are poor consolations which I have received from you, who have all with so much bitternesse and scorn thunderd out the judgements of God against me, as against a base hypocrite, and so in stead of comforting me have indeed done what in you lay to drive me to despair.

Vers. 3. Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answe­rest?] That is, that thou shouldest thus reply upon me again the second time? Or, that thou shouldest answer me after this manner, as thou hast done? That which he demands of him under these words what emboldeneth thee? may be 1. Whether he had any thing farther to say, whether he had any other arguments to bring, which had so much strength or solidity in them, that thereby he should be encouraged to answer again; (thereby implying that hitherto there was no force of reason in any thing he had spoken) or 2. Whether he knew any thing by him, that should embolden him thus to charge him with hypocrisie; or 3. Whether any thing he had spoken had given any such just advantage to Eliphaz, that thereby he should be encouraged to reply again upon him? or whether he thought by this renewed onset to weary him out, and make him yield at the last.

Vers. 4. If you were in my souls stead, I could heap up words against you and shake mine head at you.] That is, if you were in that distresse that I am in, I could multi­ply harsh and bold uncharitable speeches against you, as you have done against me; (it is an easie matter for men in prosperity to make large declamations a­gainst those that are in misery) yea I could in a way of scorn and derision shake my head at you, for that this last clause must be thus understood is evident, be­cause [Page 114] usually in the Scripture the shaking of the head is mentioned as a gesture of despight and scorn, as 2. Kings 19.21. The daughter of Zion hath despised thee and laughed thee to scorn, the daughter of Ierusalem hath shaken her head at thee, &c. and so also Psal. 22.7. Mark 15.29. Lam. 2.15. and in many other places.

Vers. 6. Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged; and though I forbear; what am I [...]ased?] Expositours have found it very hard to say how these words come in, in this place. Some conceive that having said in the foregoing verse, that had they been in his condition, and he in theirs, he would have spoken comfortably to them, and thereby would have allayed their grief, I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief, because they might have replyed upon him, If you be so good at comforting others, why do you not ap­ply these consolations to your self? to prevent this objection, he answers, that his condition was so miserable, and the hand of God was so heavy upon him, that whether he spake or held his peace it was all one with him, if he spake it did not ease his grief, and pain, and misery, and if he held his peace, his sorrow did the more burn and boil within him. Again others conceive that having said how he would have comforted them if they had been in such misery as he was, here now he shows how sad his condition was, that had only such friends with him as did what they might to discourage and discomfort him, Though I speak, saith he, my grief is not asswaged, that is, if I pour out my complaints to you, or seek to justify my self, you then alledge, that these miseries are an evident proof that I am a wicked man, and that thereupon it is that God doth proceed in such extremity against me, and though I forbear, what am I eased? that is, though I speak not but keep in my grief, that doth me no good, because then you take my silence as an acknowledgement of my guilt, and so break forth the more violently against me. And this I take to be the most probable dependance of these words upon that which went before.

Vers. 7. But now he hath made me weary, &c.] That is, God hath made my life wearisome to me; for that this is meant of God is evident in the following clause, where by an Apostrophe he turns his speech directly to God, thou hast made deso­late all my company, which he saith because God had slain his children and many of his servants, as is related in the first chapter, and his wife and friends had either forsaken him, or carried themselves as enemies to him. And thus now he breaks forth into a large and patheticall description of his miseries; the drift whereof is, either to manifest what just cause he had to complain so bitterly as he had done, thereby to move God and his friends especially to pity him, and not to be so harsh against him as they had been, or else to disprove what Eliphaz had with ma­ny flourishing words sought covertly to prove in the foregoing chapter, namely that God doth only pour forth his wrath upon wicked men as he had done upon Iob; for whilst Iob acknowledgeth here that his condition was just such as Eliphaz had described the wicked mans to be (to which end he useth many of the very same expressions speaking of himself, which Eliphaz had before used, as here say­ing thou hast made desolate all my company in reference to that which Eliphaz had said, chap. 15.34. the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate) and yet afterward [Page 115] maintains that notwithstanding he was not a wicked hypocrite, vers. 16, 17. On my eye-lids is the shadow of death; Not for any injustice in mine hands; also my prayer is pure, &c. by this instance of himself, who being a man that feared God, was yet outwardly in as sad a condition as any wicked man could be, he quite overthrows all that Eliphaz had said.

Vers. 8. And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witnesse against me: and my leannesse rising up in me, beareth witnesse to my face.] Eliphaz having set forth the prosperity of the wicked man by his fatnesse, chap. 15.27. He covereth his face with his fatnesse, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks, Iob here on the contrary sets forth his misery by his leannesse and wrinckles, his body being consumed by those extremities of pain, and sicknesse, and sorrow which he had undergone, and so his skin shrivelled and wrinckled thereby; Now for the better understanding of this, we must know; first, that he useth this expression that his wrinckles and his leannesse did bear witnesse against him, either because they did abundantly testi­fy how exceeding grievous the miseries were which he had suffered; or else be­cause consequently in the apprehension of his friends they did witnesse against him, that by his wickednesse he had provoked God to such wrath and indignati­on against him, as is noted before upon a like expression, chap. 10.17. 2. That for that phrase he useth of his leannesse rising up in him, my leannesse rising up in me beareth witnesse, either thereby is meant only that his leannesse was in him a wit­nesse against him, according to a like expression, Matth. 11.11. Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater then Iohn the Baptist, for there hath not been a greater then Iohn the Baptist, or else he doth allude to the rising up of witnes­ses when they addresse themselves in the place of judgement to give witnesse a­gainst a man, or else he hath respect to the staring out of his bones in a ghastly manner because of his leannesse, in regard whereof it might be the better said, that his flesh consuming, his leannesse did rise up in him; and 3. It is said, that his leannesse did bear witnesse to his face, because there it was most apparent to the eyes of all men, and did openly as it were bear witnesse against him.

Vers. 9. He teareth me in his wrath who hateth me; he gnasheth upon me with his teeth, &c.] Most of our best Expositours hold, that as in the former verses, so here also, Iob still speaks of God, expressing his indignation against him, and his severe dealing with him after the manner of men by these words of tearing him in his wrath and gnashing upon him with his teeth. And if we so understand the words, we must know that this language was the effect of that distraction, that was upon his spirit by reason of the extremity of his sufferings: it was the voice of his flesh not of Iob himself, the voice of his sense not of his faith. But because in the following verses it is clear that he speaks of men that hated him, into whose hands God had delivered him that they might afflict him; They have gaped upon me with their mouth, &c. God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked, therefore it seems to me most probable which others hold, that he speaks here of men that hating him did tear him in their wrath and gnash their teeth upon him: and so we must also understand the last clause of this verse, Mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me, that is, mine enemies look grimly and [Page 116] fiercely upon me. Because when men are inflamed their eyes will glitter and sparkle, as it were, and their looks upon him, against whom they have conceived such indignation, will be sharp and piercing, like a new whetted sword, they will look upon him, as we use to say, as if they would look through him, thence is this expression, Mine enemy sharpneth his eyes upon me.

Vers. 10. They have gaped upon me with their mouth, &c.] By this their gaping upon him may be meant either 1. Their violent endeavouring his utter ruine, as if he had said, they run upon me with open mouth as if they meant presently to destroy me and eat me up; for so the same phrase is used Psal. 22.13. They ga­ped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion, or 2. Their outcries a­gainst him, their clamorous contradictions, and revilings, and reproaches where­in with full mouth they fell upon him; or 3. Their flouting and deriding him, as Psal. 35.21. Yea they opened their mouths wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it. And indeed to the same purpose also are the following words, they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully: for it is not necessary that we should think because of these words, that his enemies did indeed smite his aged, pale, and wrinckled face with their hands or fists: in regard it is a proverbiall speech, whereby any reproachfull or contemptuous usage is meant, as we see Lam. 3.30. where these words, He giveth his cheeks to him that smiteth him are explained more clearly in the following words, he is filled full with reproach; and 2 Cor. 11.20. where the Apostle would tell them that they could suffer their false teachers though they used them never so scornfully and disgracefully, he expresseth it thus, ye suffer it if a man smite you on the face. And indeed to imply this is the word reproachfully here added they have smitten me on the cheek reproachfully; the meaning is, that they had done him all the shame they might, and had used him with all the scorn and contempt that possibly they could.

Vers. 11. God hath delivered me to the ungodly, &c.] That is, to the Sabeans and Chaldeans, chap. 1. and others that since Gods hand was so heavy upon him had used him despitefully.

Vers. 12. I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder.] This Iob adds because in this regard his condition was farre the sadder and the more to be pittied, that ha­ving lived formerly in so great prosperity, free from cares, and griefs, and fears, unexpectedly on a sudden all was destroyed and brought to nothing. Neither is there any contradiction betwixt this, and that which he had said before, chap. 3.26. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; for there Iob speakes of the spirituall frame of his heart, to wit, that he was not secure, though he was then free from trouble; but here now he speaks of the temporall frame of his outward estate, in which he had ease, and was free from trouble, no man molesting him.

He hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, &c.] As before so here also he useth the same expression, which Eliphaz had used before in setting forth Gods dealing with wicked men, chap. 15.26. He runneth on him, even on his neck, &c. of which see the Note above vers. 7. As for the next clause, and set me up for his mark. See also a former Note chap. 7.20.

[Page 117]Vers. 13. His archers compasse me round about, &c.] The Archers he speaks of are either those men, whom God had made use of for the afflicting of Iob, and to im­ply how many they were, and that every man almost friends and foes had a fling at him, he saith they compassed him round about; or else those diseases which God had laid upon him, and then this compassing him round about implyes the variety of bodily infirmities, wherewith God had smitten him, and that round about him, all his body over he was full of ulcers. As for the following words, He cleaveth my reines asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground; Some by the cleaving of his reines asunder understand, that God had mortally wounded him, and that his miseries were incurable; others that his strength was quite wasted and consumed, which lyeth chiefly in the reines and loines of a man; and others that he was tortured with the stone in the kidneyes, and so his paines were so extreme as if his very reines were cleaving asunder, or at least that his sorrows and paines were most exquisite, like the paines of those that are tortured with the stone: and by the pouring out his gall upon the ground they understand, either that his extreme miseries made him pour forth the bitternesse of his spirit in bitter complaints, or else that the wounds that God had given him were mortall and incurable. But I conceive the drift of these words in generall was to imply the exquisite, incredible, and insupportable pains and sorrows he endured even in the inward parts of his body, that his very bow­els and vitall parts were wrackt and torn within him, so that the torment he endu­red was insufferable and that without intermission or remission night or day.

Vers. 14. He breaketh me with breach upon breach, &c.] That is, he heaps affli­ctions, plagues, and miseries upon me thick and three-fold, as we use to say, one in the neck of another: which may be meant of those sad tydings that were brought to him, chap. 1. one messenger coming in still with a fresh report of his losses before the other had well made an end of speaking, or else of the griefs and diseases which did every day still encrease upon him, and the ulcers that did con­tinually break out a-fresh in his body. As for the following clause, he runneth up­on me like a giant, therein he seekes to imply how exceeding heavy Gods hand was upon him, and with what fury and unresistable violence he proceeded against him.

Vers. 15. I have sowed sackcloth upon my skin, &c.] Some conceive that he saith of the sackcloth that he wore, that it was sowed upon his skin; because it did cleave to his ulcerous body as fast as if it had been sown to his skin; but I conceive this phrase, I have sowed sackcloth upon my skin intends no more but this, that he had put on sackcloth sowed together next his skin, which being full of boyles and sores, whether scabbed or raw, it must needs be very terrible to him; and that hereby he seeks to set forth how he had humbled himself under the hand of God, and that consequently he was not guilty of advancing himself against God, as E­liphaz, had covertly charged him, making that the cause why God layed his hand so heavy upon the wicked man, chap. 15.25. And to the same purpose also are the next words, and defiled my horn in the dust; for thereby is meant either that he had sprinkled dust upon his head (concerning which custome see the Notes Iosh. [Page 118] 7.6.) or else rather, that he was content, laying by all the thoughts of his former greatnesse, and pomp, and glory, to sit down in the dust that he might humble himself before the almighty; (for that the word horn is thus frequently used in the Scripture we may see in the Notes upon 1. Sam. 2.1.) yea both these expressi­ons concerning his sackcloth, and his defiling his horn in the dust may be only used as figurative expressions, to signifie that he had greatly abased and humbled himself, even as those doe that cloth themselves with sackcloth, and throw dust upon their heads. And thus, because men are wont the more to pity those that are in affliction, when they see they are penitent, and do melt and humble them­selves under Gods hand, he useth this as another argument to move his friends to pity him, and doth covertly tax them of cruelty that could be so harsh to one, whom they saw in so mournfull a manner humbling himself under the strokes of the Almighty.

Vers. 16. My face is foul with weeping, and on my eye-lids is the shadow of death.] By this shadow of death on his eyelids may be meant, either that shadowy black­nesse or darknesse, which will be on the eyelids of those whose eyes are sunk in their heads by grief or sicknesse, as we see in the hollow eyeholes of dying men, or of a dead mans scull, in allusion whereto it may be called the shadow of death, or else that darknesse and dimnesse of sight which is also usually the effect of some extreme grief or exceeding much weeping, as we see in that complaint of the Church, Lam. 2.11. Mine eyes do fail with tears: for because such a mistynesse and dimnesse of sight doth usually come upon sick men when death approacheth, even this also may be justly tearmed the shadow of death.

Vers. 17. Not for any injustice in my hands; also my prayer is pure.] Not as think­ing himself free from all sins, but only from that grosse wickednesse and secret hypocrisie wherewith his friends had charged him, Iob here professeth his in­nocency in regard of his upright walking both towards God and towards man; (and consequently that he knew that Gods hand was not so heavy upon him in re­gard of any such wickednesse that he had committed) 1. Towards man, in the first clause, Not for any injustice in my hands, where by injustice is meant all oppres­sion, all fraudulent or unjust dealing whatsoever, and it may well be that in clea­ring himself of this he had respect to that which Eliphaz had said, chap. 15.34. The congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. 2. Towards God in the second clause, also my prayer is pure, whereby he meant that he did sincerely worship God as God had appointed, and that his prayers proceeded from a pure conscience and faith unfeigned, wherein also he might have respect to that bitter charge of Eliphaz, chap. 15.4 yea, thou castest off fear and restrainest prayer before God. And this he doth, either thereby to move his friends to pity him, (for when righteous men suffer much, that have not deser­ved it by any wickednesse of theirs, all men are the readier to commiserate their sufferings) or else to disprove all that Eliphaz had said concerning the Lords pu­nishing wicked men only, as is noted before vers. 7.

Vers. 18. O earth cover not thou my bloud, and let my cry have no place.] A Poeticall and patheticall expression this is; and Expositours differ much in their judge­ment [Page 119] concerning the meaning of it. Some take it to be an imprecation wherein he wisheth that his body might lye unburied after he was dead, if that were not true which he had said concerning his innocency: and others take it as an ear­nest asseveration, that he desired not to die as the bruit beasts do, (which through guilt of conscience all hypocrites must needs desire) whose bodies when they dye are covered in the earth there to rot and consume and never to rise again, but that he certainly expected and earnestly desired the Resurrection of his body, when he knew he should appear before God and his innocency should be cleared. But I see not how according to either of these expositions there can be a good sense given of the last clause, and let my cry have no place. But two other Expositions there are given of these words, which seem to me far the most pobable. The first is, that Iob doth herein professe his desire that his calamities and the cause thereof might be made known before the heavens and before all the world, O earth cover not thou my bloud, that is, cover not the bloud and corruption that issueth out of my ul­cers; or rather, hide not my misery, sorrows and sufferings, and let my cry have no place, that is, let there be no place found that should hide my cry from coming up into the presence of God: for this, they say, he desires, not so much that his miseries might be known to men, as that God might take notice of them, and so might judge and plead his cause against those that derided and falsely accused him. The other is, that these words contain a vehement protestation of his inno­cency. Having said in the foregoing verse that he suffered not for any injustice in his hands, &c. because he had often thus professed his innocency, and his friends he saw did not believe him, therefore he breaks forth into this vehement and pa­theticall expression, O earth cover not thou my bloud, that is, if by oppressing the poor or any other way of injustice I have drawn the guilt of bloud upon my self, let not the earth cover or hide that bloudy wickednesse, but let it be discovered, and let it cry to heaven for vengeance, as did the bloud of Abel against Cain; (where­to it is very likely that Iob did allude; and indeed oppression and such like bloudsucking sins are often intended in the Scripture where it speaks of bloud, as Habak. 2.12. Woe to him that buildeth a town with bloud and establisheth a city by iniquity) and let my cry have no place, that is, let not the cry of that my oppression find any hiding-place, but let it be known to God and man (and so indeed the word cry is sometimes used in the Scripture, as Isa. 5.7. he looked for judgement, but behold oppression; for righteousnesse, but behold a cry) or rather, and let my cry have no place, that is, when I cry in my extremities let not God nor man regard it; yea and when I call to men for help, or pray to God for mercy, let me not prevail either with man or God, but let just vengeance fall upon me according to that, Psal. 66.18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

Vers. 19. Also now, behold, my witnesse is in heaven, &c.] This word also may be re­ferred either to his acquaintance, as if he should have said, though there are ma­ny that if they would speak the truth can witnesse for me, that I have lived holily and righteously, yet however my comfort is that God is my witnesse that it is so; or else to himself, as if he had said, what I have protested concerning mine inno­cency God also in heaven who from on high beholds all things can and I know will witnesse for me that it is true.

[Page 120]Vers. 20. My friends scorn me▪ but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.] That is, God being my witnesse, who knoweth exactly the innocency of my life and the sincerity of my heart, though my friends scorn and deride me, yet I can comfort my self in God; to him I appeal who is my Iudge, to him I look up, and with tears do pour out my complaints and requests before him, who is indeed my only stay and comfort.

Vers. 21. O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neigh­bour.] This is in a manner the same that he had desired before, chap. 9.34, 35. and 13.3, and 20; concerning which see the severall Notes there: only these words may be understood as a desire, either that himself might plead his cause with God, or else that some other might doe it for him, and may imply his hope that some body might be found that would undertake to maintain his innocen­cy, and then God passing judgement, either he should know wherein he had er­red, and so might amend it, or else by the judgement of God openly pronoun­ced he should be clearly acquitted before all that should hear it.

Vers. 22. When a few years are come, then I shall goe the way whence I shall not re­turn.] Concerning this expression see what is noted before chap. 7.9, 10. Nei­ther is there any thing farther difficult in these words, but only their dependance upon that which went before, wherein every Expositour is almost in a severall mind. Some conceive that these words are added by way of comforting himself, in that by his death which hastened so fast upon him there would an end be put to all his miseries. Others as an aggravation of his friends cruelty, of which he had spoken before, vers. 20. My friends scorn me, &c. because they took no pity of a man, ready as it were to give up the ghost. Others, as an argument to move God to allay his miseries, and not to lay his hand so heavy upon one that is dying al­ready; Others by way of clearing himself from not speaking sincerely in that protestation he had now made concerning his innocency; for having death be­fore his eyes, as ready immediately to seise upon him, what likelyhood was there that he should speak against his conscience? Others as by way of correcting what he had spoken concerning his innocency; as if he should have said, why do I stand protesting mine innocency or wishing I might plead my cause with God? It is altogether in vain and to no purpose, since I am in a manner a dead man al­ready; And last of all, others conceive that herein a reason is given, why he had desired in the foregoing verse that his cause might be pleaded before God, to wit, because he perceived he had but a short time to live, and he desired before his departure, that either he might know what it was wherewith God had been provo­ked to deal so severely with him, that so he might repent of it, or else that God might acquit him from that wickednesse and hypocrisie whereof his friends had accused him, that so he might die in peace and leave a good report behind him, for the comfort and edification of others of Gods people.

CHAP. XVII.

Vers. 1. MY breath is corrupt, &c.] Some read this as it is in the margin of our Bibles, My spirit is spent, and so make his complaint to be, that his vitall spirits were in a manner quite wasted, and so consequently his life also that was preserved thereby. But taking it as it is in our Translation, the meaning must needs be, that his breathing was stopped and marred, or rather that his breath was infected and stunk through some inward putrefaction; and so some Expositours understand that also, chap. 19.17. My breath is strange to my wife, &c. And indeed it is clear that the drift of his words here was to shew, that by the decay of his body he might plainly see that his death could not be farre off; to which purpose is that also which follows, my daies are extinct, that is, the light of my life is in a manner quite extinguished, according to that Prov. 24.20. the candle of the wicked shall be put out. As for the last clause, the graves are ready for me, the only doubt is why it is expressed in the plurall number. But for this to me it seems farre most probable that his meaning herein was plainly no more but this, that it would not be long ere he should be lodged in some one of those hou­ses of darknesse, which are the last home of all men living. As when it is said of Iehoram king of Iudah that he was not buried in the sepulchres of the kings, 2. Chron. 21.20. the meaning is only that he was not buried amongst their se­pulchres: so when here Iob saith, the graves are ready for me, the meaning is only, that the place of buriall, the house of graves, as I may call it, was ready to re­ceive him, to wit, because it could not be long ere he should be carried thi­ther.

Vers. 2. Are there not mockers with me? &c.] Here Iob returnes to complain of his friends (as indeed men in affliction are wont sometimes to bend their speech one way and sometimes another) inferring it as a strange thing, that notwith­standing he was in so sad a condition, ready every moment as it were to drop into the grave, yet they did nothing but mock and deride him; and so by that means did what in them lay, continually to vex him and provoke him to anger and indignation against them; for so much the following clause imports, and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation? to wit, that night and day their scoffs and deriding of him did evermore afflict him; for by that expression of his eye continuing in their provocation he sought to imply either 1. That the eye of his mind was continually upon their scornfull carriage of themselves towards him, the remembrance of their scoffs did continually molest him, many times keeping him awake when he should have slept, and sometimes perhaps troubling him in his very dreames; Or 2. That they did thus continually provoke him to his ve­ry face, he was constrained to see himself continually mocked and derided by them.

Vers. 3. Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee, &c.] A very obscure pas­sage this is, insomuch that amongst the severall Expositions that are given of it, it is very hard to say which is the right. Some conceive that Iob speaks here to Eli­phaz, [Page 122] and desires that by a pledge and a surety he would give him assurance, that he would referre his cause to Gods judgement, and that he would make good what he had said, to wit, either concerning the wickednesse and hypocrisy where­with he had charged Iob, or concerning the certain prosperity of the righteous and the calamities of the wicked, or else concerning that flourishing prosperity which he had promised to Iob, if he would repent and turn unto the Lord; Lay down now, saith Iob, put me in a surety with thee, as if he should have said, if you be so sure that I am a wicked man and an hypocrite, and that therefore all these evils are come upon me that I suffer, and that if I repent then I shall have all things according to my hearts desire again, Lay down now a pledge or a pawn that shall be forfeited, if you do not appear and make this good, put me in a surety with thee, that shall undertake for thee that this shall be done, and so let our cause be plea­ded before an equall judge or umpire; and accordingly also they hold there­fore that the last clause must be taken, either as a challenge to the rest of his friends, that they would, if Eliphaz would not, undertake this his challenge, who is he that will strike hands with me? (for in those daies they used to confirme any a­greement made between man and man by clapping or clasping of hands toge­ther, thereby as it were binding themselves one to another, whence is that of So­lomon, Prov. 6.1, 2. My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, &c.) or else as a denyall that any surety could be found, that would upon these conditions undertake for Eliphaz or his other two friends; who is he that will strike hands with me? as if he should have said, I would gladly see the man that would upon these tearms make an agreement with me; but alas who is he that will doe it? Again, 2. Some think that as in the following verses, so here also, Iob directs his speech to God, and that (out of an over-violent desire to have his innocency cleared, as being exceeding­ly net [...]ed with the unjust aspersions which his friends had cast upon him) he doth here as a man besides himself presse God to lay down a pledge, and to put in a surety that would undertake for God, to wit, either that Iobs cause should be tryed be­fore Go [...] and not men, and that God and not man should determine of it; or else that God would condescend to have the cause between God and him equally argued and heard, as between one man and another, and that God should stand to what was determined after it had been thus argued, Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee, as who should say, I know, O Lord, that poor mortall man cannot contend with thee, and that if he should, he must needs be soon overwhelmed with thy majesty and glory, and therefore I desire that thou wouldest lay down a pawn and put in a surety, who may undertake for thee, that laying aside thy ma­jesty, thou wilt suffer me to plead my cause with thee; and agreeably hereto they hold that the last words are added to imply, either how desirous he was that such a surety might be found that would undertake this for God, who is he that will strike hands with me? or else how unlikely it was that any could be found that would undertake it. 3. Because it seems very hard that Iob should as it were professe that he would not trust God without a pawn and a surety, and that he should speak so immodestly and arrogantly to God, therefore some other Expo­sitours [Page 123] hold that Iob desires God to appoint him a surety, that should undertake for the clearing of his innocency against the calumnies of his friends, or rather that should engage himself to plead both for God and him against his unjust friends; and therefore they say it is said put me in a surety with thee, that is, one that may be a surety both for thee and me: whereupon he adds also, either to im­ply his desire that this might be, or his fear that it would not be, who is he that will strike hands with me? And indeed such a one as this Exposition intends, Elihu did afterwards appear to be, when he undertook to umpire the businesse betwixt Iob and his friends. But now 4. Others understand this of Christ the promised Mes­siah, Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me? that is, let that which I now desire be determined and established; appoint Christ who is with thee in heaven, and hath already agreed with thee to be the surety of poor sinners, appoint him I say to plead my cause and to stand up for me as my surety, and then I am sure no man will dare to contend with me. And indeed these two last Expositions do best agree with the context.

Vers. 4. For thou hast hid their heart from understanding; therefore shalt thou not ex­alt them.] That he might not be thought over-bold and over-confident in desi­ring that his cause might be examined and tryed, or in appealing as he had done to God, from his friends, he gives in these words as a reason why he did so ear­nestly desire this, and why he was so fearlesse of having his cause any way tryed, to wit, because God had hid their heart from understanding, that is, he had hid under­standing from their heart, he had given them over to blindnesse of mind, how wise soever they thought themselves, to wit, in that particular controversie which was now in debate betwixt Iob and them; Gods providences towards Iob were my­steries, and riddles to them which they could not unfold, and so accordingly they were in the dark, as concerning those points which had been argued betwixt him and them, and were not able to discern between truth and errour, and there­fore saith he, shalt thou not exalt them; where by not exalting them is meant, either that God would not honour them with letting them determine his cause, but would take the matter out of their hands into his own, or at least put it into some other hand; or else that God would not give them occasion to exalt themselves over him, by giving sentence on their side; however they now tryumphed over him, as if they had got the victory, yet when their cause came to be heard, he knew well that then God would take his part against them, and determine the cause for him and not for them, and then they should have no cause to exalt themselves.

Vers. 5. He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.] Concerning this expression of the failing of their eyes see the Notes, chap. 11.20. and Deut. 28.32. the meaning is, that God will not only punish such flat­terers in their own persons, but even in their children also, who through Gods just judgement do tread in their fathers steps. But the great question concerning these words is, why Iob speaks here of Gods punishing those that flatter their friends, since his friends (of whom he is now complaining) were so farre from flattering him, that they did rather revile him and falsely accuse him, and to this [Page 124] five answers may be given 1. That he may therefore accuse them of flattery, be­cause having alwaies spoken him so fair in the time of his prosperity, they were now so bitter against him in the hour of his adversity. 2. That the flattery he in­tends was, that when they might so plainly perceive that he was irrecoverably spent, a dying man, as we use to speak, yet they could tell him such long stories of the prosperous estate he should enjoy here in this world, if he would repent and seriously seek Gods face and favour, as that his estate should be like the mor­ning, that he should outshine the very Sun, and be a great man again, chap. 5.19, 20, and 8.5, and 11.15, 16, &c. 3. That the flattery which here he covertly strikes at was, not their flattering him but their flattering of God; if God would punish those that flatter their friends, they could expect no better who to curry favour with God, and under a flattering pretence of maintaining Gods ju­stice, had most unjustly condemned him; which is that wherewith he had before charged his friends, chap. 13.8, 10. of which see the Notes there. 4. That he spake not this to charge them with flattery, but to clear himself from desiring to be flattered; least they should think that he complained of their harsh dealing with him, because he desired they should flatter him, to prevent this he gives them to understand that he was so farre from this, that he was assured that if men flattered their friends God would destroy both them and their posterity, and 5. That he spake not this as a threat against his friends for their flattering of him, but as a threat against himself in case he should have flattered them; he would not have them offended at his plainnesse of speech in reproving them, and telling them that God had hid their hearts from understanding, &c. and that because he knew well how severely God was wont to punish those that flattered their friends, not in their own persons only, but also in their posterity.

Vers. 6. He hath made me also a by-word of the people, and a [...]ore time I was as a ta­bret.] Here Iob returns to his wonted complaints of the sad condition, wherein­to God had brought him. Reading the last clause as it is in the margin of our Bibles, and before them I was as a tabret, it is as if he had said, before their face or in their sight, they being witnesses of it, I was as a tabret; or else it is to the same purpose with the first clause, He hath made me also a by-word of the people (con­cerning which see the Note, Deut. 28.37.) for the meaning is, that they played upon him as a tabret, or that they made a laughing-stock of him, deriding him and sporting themselves with his misery, according to the like expressions which we find elsewhere, as Lam. 3.14. I was a derision to all my people, and their song all the day, and Psal. 44.13. Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us. But if we read it as it is in our Bibles, and a [...]ore-time I was as a tabret, then the meaning must needs be, that whereas formerly report gave a pleasant sound of him to all mens ears, now men scoffed and flouted at him in every place; Or, that now they talked reproachfully and scoffingly of him in every corner, whereas in former times they rejoyced in his company, and it was a delight to them to be where he was.

Vers. 7. And all my members are as a shadow.] As if he had said, My body is no body indeed but as it were the shadow of a body; and this he might say, either [Page 125] with respect to his exceeding great weaknesse, by reason whereof all the members of his body were in a manner uselesse to him, they had the outward appearance and shape of members, but they could not do the office of such members, he could not make any use either of hands or feet, &c. or else because his whole bo­dy was so consumed and wasted, that his members had as it were no substance in them, they were so meager and wan that he looked more like an apparition, then one that had a true body, and should his friends see him they could not know him, but would take him for the shadow of Iob, rather then for Iob himself. But now if you read this clause as it is in the margin of our Bibles, and all my thoughts are as a shadow, then the meaning is, that his thoughts did suddenly va­nish and passe away as a shadow; and indeed men in great distresse are wont to be full of various distracting thoughts, their minds running sometimes upon one thing sometime on another, which may well be that which Iob here com­plains of, to wit, that there was no stability in his thoughts because of his mise­ries.

Vers. 8. Vpright men shall be astonied at this, &c.] Some Expositours make the sense of these words to be this, that even upright men shall be astonied to see one, whom they judged a holy and righteous man, to be so severely punished, and shall thereupon raise up themselves against him as against an hypocrite; and accor­dingly also they expound the following verse, The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger, to wit, that the righte­ous afflicted man, though thus misjudged by his godly friends (which is indeed the sorest of all tryalls) shall for all this hold on his way, and shall become more strict and more zealous in the wayes of godlinesse then he was before. But the commoner and as I conceive the better Exposition is this, Vpright men shall be asto­nied at this, that is, wise and godly men (such Iobs friends were) shall stand ama­zed at my strange sufferings, and shall hereupon condemn and deride me in my miseries, and that especially upon this ground, that I should for all this persevere in my dependance upon God, and maintain mine innocency and integrity a­gainst them; and the innocent shall stirre up himself against the hypocrite, that is, men of a holy life and pure conscience shall hereupon rouse up themselves, to wit, ei­ther 1. To take his part and maintain his cause against those hypocrites, that did so deride and falsely accuse him, or 2. To oppose those base hypocrites, that by his sufferings should take occasion to blaspheme God, to harden themselves in their wickednesse, and to make a mock of godlinesse, or 3. To encourage them­selves by this example not to faint in the like case, if it should come to be their portion, but stoutly to maintain their integrity against those that unjustly con­demned them; And so likewise they understand the following verse, The righte­ous also shall hold on his way, &c. to wit, that good and holy men will not be beaten off from the waies of righteousnesse, by seeing them that walk in those waies so sorely afflicted, despised, and derided, but will rather become the more zealous, and gather the more strength hereby to comfort and encourage themselves a­gainst such temptations. So that the drift of these words also was, to shew that his grievous miseries was no proof that he was a wicked man, and that God hath [Page 126] other holy ends for which he brings such sore calamities upon men, besides the punishing of them for their sins.

Vers. 10. But as for you all, do you return and come now, &c.] This may be either spoken by way of advice to his friends, doe you return, that is, give over this errone­ous conceit which you have hitherto maintained, change your minds, and come now, that is, close with me in that which I shall say, or hearken to that which I shall now deliver: or else as a challenge farther to argue out the businesse be­tween them, (which seems the more probable because in that sense this very ex­pression, Return I pray you is used before, chap. 6.29. of which see the Note there) But as for you all, do you return and come now, that is, come and let us again argue the cause between us; were there never so many of you, I challenge every one of you to prepare your selves and to alledge the utmost you can for the justifying of that you have undertaken to maintain: for I cannot find one wise man among you, that is, in this particular you speak not wisely, I shall easily make it appear that in this which you affirm, that God would not afflict me thus were I not an hypocrite, you erre grossely, and speak as men that are altogether ignorant of the wayes of God; And it may well be which some think, that because Eliphaz had now retur­ned, as I may say, to reply upon him, and because he saw perhaps his other two friends eager to fall upon him the second time, therefore it was that he now bids defiance to them all, But as for you all, doe you return and come now, &c.

Vers. 11. My daies are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.] As if he had said, what do you tell me of comfortable daies? though I have done what I could to comfort my self with hope and expectation of being freed from the miseries which for the present I suffered, and with entertaining purposes of doing this or that when I came to be in a better condition (as indeed men in mi­sery are wont to catch at any thing, that may give them any hope of being delive­red out of their troubles,) yet I see all is in vain, my life is in a manner at an end, all the thoughts and purposes of my heart this way are broken off, to wit, either by death which will put an end to them all, or else by divers other distracting thoughts, which my pain and other miseries do continually suggest, and which will not suffer my thoughts to be long stedfastly pitched upon any thing, especi­ally any thing that should comfort me. Now though some conceive that this is rendred as a reason, why they should hearken to him and be warned by him, to wit, because being a dying man he had not much more to say, nor was well able to utter what he had purposed to speak, his pain and misery interrupting him, and the thoughts of his heart being through distemper full of distractions; yet I rather think that the drift of these words is clearly to shew, how vain a thing it would be for him, a dying man, to expect any such glorious condition here in this world as they had promised him, if he would repent and turn again unto the Lord, and that because this agrees fully with that which follows.

Vers. 12. They change the night into day, &c.] That is, these distracting thoughts (of which mention was made in the foregoing verse) or my friends by causing such distraction in my thoughts, make me passe the night without any rest as if it were the day: the light is short because of darknesse, that is, the light of my [Page 127] joy is short because of the darknesse of my afflictions; or rather, the light is short be­cause of darknesse, that is, when the day comes it seems presently to be gone again, so that I do very little enjoy the benefit of the day, and that either because it seems over-clouded with the darknesse of my afflictions, or because I am streight way afraid of the dolefulnesse of the night that is coming after it.

Vers. 13. If I wait, the grave is mine house; I have made my bed in the darknesse.] That is, if I should wait in hope to see an end of my miseries, yet at last I am sure the grave must be my house, there in the darknesse of the pit I must lay me down to rest. Thus some Expositours understand these words. But I rather under­stand them thus, If I wait, the grave is my house, &c. that is, if I should wait for that glorious change to which you say God would restore me, if I would repent and beg mercy at his hands, I should certainly flatter my self in vain, and that because I am a dying man, and so the grave is the house where I must immediately be lodged, and in the darknesse thereof I am ready to lay down my self to rest.

Vers. 14, I have said to Corruption, Thou art my father; to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister.] It is the opinion of a learned man, and not altogether im­probable, that because great men in those times had certain vaults, where the bo­dies of all their family were successively laid, and placed in such order, that when their children went in to them, they were able to say which was their grandfather and grandmother, their father and mother, &c. therefore Iob to imply that he should not be buried in such a way of state, but should be laid after the manner of meaner men in an ordinary grave, he saith here that in stead of being thus laid up with the ancestours of his family, he should only have rottennesse and wormes for his father, and mother, and sisters, in his buriall place. But the more ordina­ry exposition of these words I take to be the better by farre, to wit, that Iobs drift therein is, as in those before, to shew that he was hopelesse of life, and had in his thoughts given up himself, and that willingly, to the grave, I have said to cor­ruption, Thou art my father; to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister, as if he should have said, In stead of those my near friends with whom I have lived, in the house of the grave, whether I am going apace, corruption and worms are the near allyes, the father, mother, brothers and sisters with whom I must dwell; And in­deed to corruption and the worms he might the rather give these tearms of his nearest allyes, because he himself had his originall from the earth, and was no bet­ter, in regard of that corruption whereinto he should be turned in the grave, then the grave-bred worms. But however by these expressions Iob would shew that he was so farre from looking upon death as an enemy, or a stranger, that he was upon fair tearms with death as with his nearest allyance, yea that he was well ac­quainted with death, and took delight and contentment in death, as men do when after a long journey they return home to father, and mother, and brethren, and sisters.

Vers. 15. And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?] That is, when I shall be thus laid in the grave, what will become then of the hope you would give me of a prosperous estate here in this world, since doubtlesse no man shall ever see me have a good day again here in this world? It is as if he should [Page 128] have said, It had been fitter you should have propounded to me the blisse and glory, which after death I might expect in heaven; for I were indeed in a sad condition, if I had no more hope in heaven, then I can expect here in this world.

Vers. 16. They shall go down to the barres of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.] Two severall waies these words of Iob may be understood, 1. As an answer to the last words of the foregoing verse; having said there, As for my hope, who shall see it? He answers himself here in these words, They shall goe down to the bars of the pit, &c. as if he should have said, I look every hour to be laid in the grave, and therefore if there be any good to be hoped for by me, I must expect it there, and so they that will see my hope must passe through the gates of death, and goe down with me into the grave, that so they may there behold it, when we shall there lye at rest together in the dust, 2. As a farther illustration of the vanity of those hopes, which his friends had propounded to him, They shall goe down, saith Iob, to the barres of the pit, &c. that is, truly all the hopes that you have propoun­ded to me, or that I can conceive of living in prosperity again in this world, shall be all buried in the grave, and there both I and they shall perish, when we shall all rest together in the dust.

CHAP. XVIII.

Vers. 2. THen answered Bildad the Shuhite.] As Bildad spake next after Eliphaz, when they first began to argue with him, so now again in replying, he keepes his turn, and speakes next after Eliphaz, as he did be­fore.

Vers. 2. How long will it be ere you make an end of words? &c.] Many learned Expositours hold, that in this and the following verse Bildad speakes, not to Iob, but to his two companions Eliphaz and Zophar, or at least joyntly both to Iob and them (and that because in the Originall it is expressed indeed in the plurall number) and that the drift of these words is to blame them, because they had hi­therto multiplyed words one against another, but all little or nothing to the pur­pose, and that thereupon he addes the following clause, mark and afterward we will speak, that is, let us be sure that we mark and well understand one another, and then we may the better hope to carry on our dispute to some good effect. But because 1. His joyning his friends with himself in that clause, mark and after­wards we will speak, seems rather to imply that he doth not direct his speech to them. 2. His friends having still pleaded the same thing against Iob which he him­self doth here in his following speech, to wit, that God doth alwaies destroy wicked men, there was no colour why he should blame his friends for multiplying words nothing to the purpose, and 3. Iob in the first words of his next reply seems directly to strike at these words of Bildad, as spoken to him, chap. 19.2. yea, saith he, How long will ye vex my soul and break me in pieces with words? in these regards I rather think that Bildad spake this only to Iob, and that it is expressed in the plurall number, either because there were some friends at this dispute, that [Page 129] sided with Iob though Iob only spake; or else rather because it was a propriety of speech which the Hebrews used, to speak sometimes in the plurall number though they speak but to one; It seems therefore to me most probable, that Bildad did with these words interrupt Iob before he had made an end of speaking, and be­cause Iob had been still larger in answering them then they had been in their ar­guing against him, therefore he upbraides him for being so full of words, How long will it be ere you make an end of words? as if he should have said, will you never have done? How long will it be ere you give over this multiplying of words, I say mere words, nothing to the purpose, and that have no substance nor solidity in them? mark and afterwards we will speak, that is, observe what we say and then we shall willingly proceed to argue the cause farther with you. And herein he doth also covertly tax Iob, that hitherto he had not well observed or not well understood what they had said, and that thereupon it was that he ranne on, and would still defend his cause, though there was no strength at all in any thing he spake.

Vers. 3. Wherefore are we counted as beasts and reputed vile in your sight?] As is noted in the foregoing verse, many hold that this also was spoken by Bildad to his two friends; as if he had said, Why should you suffer your selves to be thus scorned and despised, and that even to your faces? (for that must needs be the meaning of those words and reputed vile in your sight?) But taking it as spoken to Iob, and that those words in your sight (which in the originall are expressed in the plurall number) were spoken with respect to those standers-by that sided with Iob, as is said in the former verse, then the words do clearly contain an expostula­tion with Iob for slighting all that they had spoken, wherefore are we counted as beasts and reputed vile in your sight? that is, why are we scorned and despised, as if we were mere bruits that had no understanding? And indeed many things Iob had spoken whereto Bildad might have respect in these words, as when he said that God had hid their heart from understanding, chap. 17.4. and vers. 10. I cannot find one wise man among you; and when he had tearmed them miserable comforters, chap. 16.2. and sent him to the beasts to be instructed by them, chap. 12.7. Ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee, &c.

Vers. 4. He teareth himself in his anger.] In relation to that which Iob had said, chap. 13.14. wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth? or to that which he had said, chap. 16.9. He teareth me in his wrath who hateth me, Bildad here chargeth Iob with this, that he did even tear himself in his anger; as if he should have said, Whereas Iob complains that his enemy that hateth him teareth him in his wrath, the truth is that he teareth himself, though he would seem to deny it; and his meaning is, either that he carried himself like a mad man, who in their distraction are wont often to tear not their garments only, but their own flesh also; or else that through the impatience of his spirit, and his inward vexing and fretting he did continually torture and tear himself.

Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?] Some Expositours understand the first clause thus, shall the earth be forsaken for thee? that is, if you be cut off and perish, must all the glory of the world needs [Page 130] perish with you? you make a doe about your dying, as if the whole earth would be left desolate and without an inhabitant, if you should be taken away; why, what do you make of your self, that such a matter should be made of it, that you are like to be laid shortly in the grave? Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? if you die, must all the world needs die with you? But the commoner and better expo­sition of these words is, that Bildad doth here check Iob for maintaining that, which would overthrow the setled course of Gods providence in the government of the world, Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? &c. as if he had said, To justify you, who will not yield that your wickednesse hath brought these miseries upon you which you now suffer, or because of your complaints and outcryes, that you are innocent, and that you are unmeasurably and unjustly afflicted, shall we say that Gods providence hath forsaken the earth, or that God scared by your clamours will overturn the whole course of nature, which he hath established by an un­changeable decree? Surely the decree of God, that it shall be well with the righ­teous and ill with the wicked, is as firm and sure, as that the earth shall be inhabi­ted, and that the rocks and mountains shall stand firm in their places; and there­fore you may as well hope that God should give over the government of the world, that the earth should be forsaken or the rocks be removed out of their place, as that God should prosper the wicked or make the righteous miserable. As when we talk of those things, which we judge impossible, we use to say, Yes, shall we look for stars in the sea or fishes in the heavens? so to imply how impos­sible it was which Iob maintained, that he was innocent notwithstanding Gods hand was so sore upon him, what saith Bildad, Shall the earth be forsaken for thee, and shall the rock be removed out of his place? Iob had given Zophar Bildads friend such a sarcasticall check, chap. 12.2. No doubt but ye are the people and wisedome shall die with you. And here now Bildad replyes upon him with the like kind of speech.

Vers. 5. Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.] This is here set down as that unchangeable course of Gods Providence, which as Bildad implyed in the foregoing verse would not be altered for Iobs sake, yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, &c. as if he should have said, Never think that God will change the constant way of his governing the world for you: yea, assure your self though the wicked man may live in a glorious and prospe­rous condition, yet it shall not long continue; this splendour of his shall quite be extinguished, so that there shall not so much as a spark of it remain: all his designes to keep up himself in his former glory shall come to nothing. Concer­ning this metaphoricall expression of light for prosperity. See the Notes also up­on 2 Sam. 22.29▪ and Esth. 8.19.

Vers. 6. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him.] That is, all the honour and bravery of his household and family shall be turned into woe and misery, and the glory that he hath raised shall in and with himself expire and come to an end. And indeed if by the putting out of the wick­ed mans candle (or lamp) be meant, not only that his prosperity should be turned into misery, but also that himself should be cut off by the hand of God, it is very probable that Bildad might herein allude to that which Iob had said, chap. 17.1. [Page 131] My breath is corrupt my daies are extinct, and meant hereby to let Iob know, that therein it fared no otherwise with him, then all wicked men must expect to fare.

Vers. 7. The steps of his strength shall be streightned.] There are two particulars may be implyed herein, to wit, 1. That the misery that should at last befall the wicked man should make him leave that pride of his stately going, which he used whilst he was in the height of his former power and glory, and 2. Principally that he should not carry on his affairs with such speedy successe as formerly he had done, but in every thing he undertook, yea when he was carrying on his de­signes with greatest strength, he should fall into troubles and meet with un­removeable streights and difficulties, concerning which see the Note also, 2 Sam. 22.37.

Vers. 8. For he is cast into a net by his own feet, &c.] Thus he compares the wicked man to some wild beast, some beast of prey: and affirms that through his bruitish blindnesse he should even throw himself into dangers and mischiefs; and then the following clause, and he walketh upon a snare is added, either to imply that it is no wonder he is so caught, and that because whereever he goes he is in continuall danger of some mischief or other; or else to imply that striving to get out of the snare wherein he is caught, he should only farther intangle him­self, falling still into more and more snares every step he takes.

Vers. 9. The grin shall take him by the heel, &c.] That is, he shall be suddenly and unexpectedly intangled when he was most confident of his safety because of his great power, and riches, and the wise ordering of his affairs; and the robber shall prevail against him, that is, shall overmaster, and destroy him. And it is likely this is here added, because robbers used to lay snares and traps for them that pas­sed by; and when they were taken therein then they fell upon, them and slew them: and that he had respect herein to those plundering Sabeans and Chaldeans, that had robbed Iob of his cattell.

Vers. 10. The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way.] The meaning of this is only thus much, that the wicked man is alwaies in danger of hidden mischiefs, which he never foresees or fears. But yet some conceive that he the rather speaks of a snare laid for him in the ground, either as alluding to the cu­stome of robbers in those times, who used to lye lurking in holes, and dens of the earth, and so were as a snare in the ground, leaping out on a sudden from thence and surprising them that passed by; or else to imply that it was a deadly snare, and such as should lay him in the dust, in the grave.

Vers. 11. Terrours shall make him afraid on every side and drive him to his feet.] Be­cause Iob had complained of the terrours wherewith he was often affrighted, chap. 7.14. Thou scarest me with dreams and terrifyest me through visions, and chap. 6.4. The terrours of God do set themselves in aray against me, therefore doth Bildad menti­on this here as one of the judgements which God brings upon the wicked man, to wit, that he should be so affrighted with variety of terrours from God, from Satan and his own conscience, that they should make him run up and down as a distracted man, desiring any where to hide himself but not knowing where. And [Page 132] thus as before he compared the wicked man to beasts in regard of the nets, snares, and traps that are laid for them, so here he compares his terrours to hounds where­with such beasts are pursued by huntsmen, which appears the more clearly by the following expressions.

Vers. 12. His strength shall be hunger-bitten, &c.] Some understand this of the consumption of his wealth, His strength, that is, his great and mighty estate, shall be hunger-bitten, shall wast, and consume, and be eaten up; Again others under­stand it of his children, His strength, that is, his children, (who are the strength of their fathers according to that Psal. 127.4. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of the youth, and that Gen. 49.3. where the first-born is cal­led the beginning of the fathers strength) shall be hunger-bitten, that is, shall pine away for want of food. But because in the following verse he speakes of the wast­ing of the wicked mans own strength, I conceive it is so also to be understood here, to wit, that though the wicked man be never so great, yet God would bring him to that condition that he should even famish for hunger. And accordingly also we must understand the following clause, and destruction shall be ready at his side, that is, sudden and unavoidable destruction shall wait continually upon him, rea­dy every moment to seise upon him.

Vers. 13. It shall devour the strength of his skin, &c.] By the strength of his skin is meant the flesh and fat of all his members, which bears up his skin and makes it look fresh and fair, to which some adde also the sinews and bones: and that which Bildad saith shall devour the strength of his skin is that destruction mentio­ned in the former verse, destruction shall be ready at his side, or the famine and hun­ger, whereof it is also there said that his strength shall be hunger-bitten. And the same I conceive is meant also by the first-born af death in the following clause, even the first-born of death shall devour his strength; for though by the first-born of death some conceive the devil is meant, because he was the first condemned to die, or because he had the power of death, Heb. 2.14. and generally Expositours hold that thereby is meant the bitterest, cruellest, terriblest, and strongest of all deaths, that which amongst all the waies of dying carrieth away the preheminence, which is the strength of death and hath in it a double portion of dying, when the agonies of death are most dreadfull upon a man, so that all the while he is dying, he is as one that is tortured upon a rack; (and indeed because the first-born had a double portion, and were the chief among their brethren, and were esteemed the strength of their parents, Gen. 49.3. Reuben thou art my first-born, my might, &c. therefore the strongest and chiefest of all things whatsoever are usually tearmed the first-born, as Esay. 14.30. the poorest and most beggarly of men are called the first-born of the poor) yet I conceive that principally Bildad intended hereby that one particular way of dying, which indeed must needs be of all the most grievous, to wit, when men die by famine or hunger, being starved to death for want of food.

Vers. 14. His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, &c.] That is, say some Expositours out of his body; his bodily strength whereon he trusted shall be utterly destroyed; Or, every thing wherein he placed any confidence shall be ut­terly [Page 133] rooted out of his dwelling place, namely his riches, children, &c. and it shall bring him to the king of terrours, that is, this rooting his confidence out of his tabernacle, or his broken confidence, the despair he shall fall into upon the root­ing out of his confidence, shall bring him to the chiefest and greatest of all ter­rours, or to death, which is indeed to a naturall man the most terrible of all terri­bles, as a heathen could say, and so consequently also to the devil, who in regard of the terrours wherewith he at last affrights those wicked men, whom at first by his flattering temptations he drew into sin, and in regard of those eternall tor­ments wherewith he shall torment them, may well be called the king of ter­rours.

Vers. 15. It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his, &c.] That is, the king of terrours mentioned in the foregoing words; Or rather, destruction, misery, and want, (whereof he had spoken before vers. 12.) shall dwell in his tabernacle. As in reference thereto he had said before, vers. 13. It shall devour the strength of his skin, so in reference thereto again he saith here, It shall dwell in his tabernacle be­cause it is none of his, that is, Destruction shall take possession of his dwelling place, because he got it by unjust means, and so indeed in right it is none of his. As for the following clause, brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation, the meaning of it is, either 1. That God should utterly burn up his dwelling place, to wit, either with storms of thunder and lightning from heaven, which is of a sulphureous na­ture, as by the savour thereof may be sometimes discerned, or with very showers of fire and brimstone; or 2. That God should make the place of his habitation barren and desolate, salt and brimstone being usually esteemed signes and causes of barrennesse in a land, according to that Deut. 29.23. The whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown nor beareth, nor any grasse groweth therein, & this may seem the more probable because of the word scattered which is here used, brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation; or 3. That God should destroy him and his with some strange and horrible judgement, as once he did Sodome and Gomorrha; for thus (as in allusion to that) the Scripture is wont to expresse unusuall and stupendious judgements, as Psal. 11.6. upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and a horrible tempest; and so again, Ezek. 38.22. and that Bildad did allude to that destruction of Sodome and Gomorrha, we may the rather think because Iob and these his friends dwelt not farre from those parts and lived not long after the time when those cities were destroyed, so that the memory of that judgement must needs be fresh amongst them. And yet withall it is likely that he did covertly also put Iob in mind how his cattel and servants were consumed with fire from heaven, chap. 1.16.

Vers. 16. His roots shall be dryed up beneath; and above shall his branch be cut off.] This may be inferred as an effect of that which he had said before, brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation, to wit, if that be understood of the barrennesse of the land wherein he dwelt. But I conceive the plain meaning of these words to be this, that he shall utterly be destroyed root and branch▪ he and all that be­longs to him, according to that, Mal. 4.1. All that doe wickedly shall be stubble; the day comes that shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, it shall leave them neither [Page 134] root nor branch; for the wicked man is here compared to a blasted tree, as before, chap. 15.30. of which see the Note there.

Vers. 18. He shall be driven from light into darknesse, &c.] Herein may be com­prehended, that by the miseries that God shall bring upon him, he shall be vio­lently turned out of a prosperous condition into an estate of dismall and dolefull distresse, and dishonour, and sorrow; but yet doubtlesse the chief thing inten­ded herein is, that he should be at last also driven from the light of this world in­to the land of darknesse, the grave, yea into that utter darknesse of hell: for there­fore to explain these words is that following clause added, of being chased out of the world.

Vers. 19. He shall neither have son nor nephew, &c.] That is, he shall leave no posterity behind him, neither son, nor sons son; wherein he plainly strikes at Iob, that had lost all his children.

Vers. 20. They that come after him shall he astonied at his day, as they that went be­fore were affrighted.] At his day, that is, the day of his destruction, that observa­ble day, when God shall at length render to the wicked man according to his works, according to that, Psal. 137.7. Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Ierusalem; and Psal. 37.13. The Lord shall laugh at him; for he seeth that his day is coming: The meaning therefore of these words is, that the judgement of God upon the wicked man shall be so grievous and fearfull, and thereupon so notorious, that it should be famous in succeeding times, and the very report of it should astonish those that live then, though they never saw it, even as it did affright those that went before, or, that lived with him, who were eye-witnesses of the vengeance that was inflicted on him.

Vers. 21. Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.] That is, of every ungodly man; concerning which see the Note, 1 Sam. 2.12. It is as if he had said, Certainly, as sure as God is just, this is and this will be at last the portion of all wicked men and hypocrites, that do not truly fear God; to this their stately dwellings shall at last be brought, and to this all their great wealth and pomp shall come; and therefore do not deceive thy self Iob; by thy present condition it is evident what thou hast been; and if thou wilt not hearken to thy friends to repent and turn unto the Lord, thus as all other wicked men doe, thou must expect to end thy daies.

CHAP. XIX.

Vers. 2. HOw long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?] Be­cause Bildad began his Reply with that disdainfull expostulation, How long will it be ere you make an end of words? chap. 18.2. Iob, ad­dressing himself here to answer him, begins after the same manner, and retorts the expostulation upon him and his other two friends, Nay, saith he, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? therein giving them to understand, how his soul was vexed and his heart torn within him, and even broken to pieces with the bitternesse of their words, as knowing well that all they had spoken of [Page 135] wicked men they intended of him, so that all his bodily sufferings were not so bad to him, as those their sharp reproaches, wherewith his very soul was galled and wounded, and so consequently also upbraiding them hereby for their uncharita­blenesse and cruelty, that could one after another lay on such load upon one that was already in such a sad afflicted condition, and willing them as it were to consi­der whether he deserved to be blamed, for not giving over speaking for the justi­fying of himself, or they for not giving over to cast such unjust reproaches upon him.

Vers. 3. These ten times have ye reproached me, &c.] That is, many times, again and again: see the Note, Gen. 31.7. You are not ashamed that you make your selves strange to me; or as it is in the margin, that you harden your selves against me; in which words he blames them, and that as for a fault of which they might well be ashamed if they had any shame in them, to wit, either because they were so hard-hearted as to use him so reproachfully being in so sad a condition, and never to regard the mournfull complaints whereby he had endeavoured to move them to pity; or else (if you read this clause as it is in our Bibles) because having been his old acquaintance and friends, they carried themselves towards him, as if they had been mere strangers to him, both in that they showed no more love to him, nor did no more compassionate him in his miseries, then if they had been mere strangers; and likewise in that a stranger, that had never known any thing of his close and strict walking with God in a holy and righteous life, could not have cen­sured him more uncharitably then they had done, who had long intimately known, and had been often eye-witnesses of his religious and just conversa­tion.

Vers. 4. And be it indeed that I have erred, mine errour remaineth with my self.] The meaning of these words any one would take to be clearly and plainly this, Be it indeed that I have erred, Suppose, though I cannot yield indeed that it is so, that I have done some evil through ignorance or infirmity wherewith God hath been provoked to this displeasure against me; or suppose that I have now in my arguing with you spoken something that is not fitting, mine errour remaineth with my self, I suffer for it and not you, or I am like to smart for it and not you, and therefore you need not trouble your selves with it. Indeed because this is usu­ally the speech of men desperately wicked, when they shake off the reproofs of those that wish them well, Trouble not your selves any more with me, if I doe a­ny thing I should not doe, it is not you but I that must suffer for it; and so it could not well stand with the piety of Iob to answer thus, therefore some Exposi­tours give another sense of these words, which is this, And be it indeed that I have er­red, mine errour remaineth with my self, that is, suppose that my life hath not been in every respect such as it ought to have been, or that in my pleading with you I have maintained any thing that is false and erroneous, truly in this errour I do and must for any thing I see still remain, since you have no way convinced me, nor informed me better; Or thus, suppose that in pleading my cause against you, I have forgotten my self, and spoken something unadvisedly, my fault here­in must lye upon my self; but what is this to the purpose, for that which is the [Page 136] great Question between us, whether or no the miseries I now suffer be laid upo [...] me for my former wickednesse; you quarrell at me for being so full of words and so violent in my discourse; but what is this to the question in hand? But yet, considering 1. That the best are sometimes overborn with temptations and passions in such great distresses as Iob was now in, and the drift of this book is to set down as well how he was tempted, as how he did suppresse and overcome his temptations, and 2. That his aime in these words was not to reject any just re­proof or admonition of his friends, but to tax them for their bitter reviling spee­ches, I see not but that the first exposition is most approveable, And be it indeed that I have erred, mine errour remaineth with my self, as if he should have said, Though I have erred, it is nothing to you, let me alone to bear what God hath laid upon me, and do not you adde to mine afflictions by deriding and flouting me, and charging me with many false devised calumnies. Because they had alledged no­thing that had any solidity in it either to comfort or convince him: therefore he wills them to consider that though he had erred, if it were so, he smarted for it, and this could give them no just ground to use him so as they had done; so that he speaks this, I say, as taxing the frivolousnesse, and bitternesse of that which they had spoken, and as professing that it was more easie for him to endure what he suffered, then to hear their flouts and reproachfull speeches.

Vers. 5. If indeed ye will magnifie your selves against me, and plead against me my re­proach, &c.] By their magnifying themselves against him is meant, that being in a prosperous and flourishing condition themselves, they did proudly insult over him that was in misery, and as it were trample upon him; and by pleading against him his reproach, is meant their alledging against him, as the only argu­ment whereby they sought to prove him a wicked man and an hypocrite, the heavy punishments which God had inflicted on him; for these they are which he tearms his reproach, because with these they reproached him, as making them such clear evidences of his former wickednesse. The greatest difficulty in these words is, why upon this he saith here, he inferres that which follows in the next verse, If indeed, saith he, ye will magnifie your selves against me, and plead against me my repreach, that is, if ye be indeed seriously resolved to triumph over me, and to plead the judgements that God hath laid upon me thereby to prove me a wicked man, then Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me about with his net: And to this there may three answers be given, 1. That by alledging this of Gods dealing with him he sought to imply, that the grievousnesse of his suffer­ings might well wring from him those complaints, which they judged so excessive. and that therefore they had no cause so to tryumph over him as they did. 2. By putting them in mind that it was God that had brought those miseries upon him which he now endured his aim was to imply, that when God did correct a man thus, he did it not that others should insult over him and vex him with scornfull and reproachfull speeches, but rather that they should pity him and comfort him, and take warning thereby to look to themselves, that the same judgements were not inflicted upon them too, and 3. That he first yields in these words, that it was true indeed that God had dealt with him just as they had said God used to [Page 137] deal with wicked men, and therefore whereas Bildad had talked so much of the nets, and snares wherein wicked men were taken, he useth here the same expressi­on, know now that God hath overthrown me and hath compassed me with his net, and then afterwards prove, that yet notwithstanding it did not follow thence that he was a wicked man.

Vers. 7. Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard, &c.] The originall word here translated wrong may also be translated violence; and then the mean­ing may be only this, that he cryed out of the violence of Gods proceedings a­gainst him, in that the miseries he had brought upon him were so exceeding great; but reading it as it is in our Bibles, Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard, &c. then the meaning must be, that he cryed out of the injuries that were done him by men, the robbers that had spoyled him of his estate, or his friends that insulted over him and devided him in his misery, and vexed him and reproached him, as he had before complained. Some Expositours I know understand it, that he had complained bitterly of wrong done him by the Lord, in that the miseries he had laid upon him were no way proportionable to any offence he had committed a­gainst God, making this the height of his misery, that though he cryed out of these things, yet neither God nor man regarded his cry nor afforded him the least comfort or help; And all they say for Iob herein is, that in this his corrupti­ons did too farre prevail over him, as over the best they will sometimes doe in the hour of temptation. But methinks it is too harsh to charge this upon Iob, & thus to understand his words; neither is there any just reason that can be given, why it may not be understood only of the wrong that had been done him by men.

Vers. 8. He hath fenced up my way that I cannot passe, &c.] That is, he hath brought me into inextricable miseries, out of which ther's no hope nor possibili­ty to escape; and to the same purpose is the following clause, and he hath set dark­nesse in my paths, that is, I cannot see which way to turn my self, to wit, either be­cause he was so amazed with his sorrows and terrours, or because his troubles were so desperate. The like expressions Iob had used before, chap. 3.23. of which see the Note there.

Vers. 9. He hath stript me of my glory and taken the crown from my head.] By his glory and his crown some understand his children, according to that, Hos. 9.11. their glory shall flee away as a bird; from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception, and that Prov. 17.6. childrens children are the crown of old men; Some his wealth, and great estate, according to that Gen. 31.1. where Iacobs riches are cal­led his glory (of which see the Note there) and that Prov. 14.24. the crown of the wise is their riches; some the dignity and authority which formerly he had in the place where he lived, as having born some place of magistracy amongst them, whence it is that he saith afterward chap. 29.7., &c. when I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street, the young men saw me and hid themselves, &c. some the good report and esteem he had before amongst all that knew him, whereof he was now stript; as being despised and in great disgrace, e­very one accounting him a wicked man and an hypocrite. But I conceive the words must be understood generally, to wit, that God had bereaved him [Page 138] of all that had formerly been an honour and an ornament to him.

Vers. 10. He hath destroyed me on every side, &c.] That is, every way, and in e­very thing: and therefore he addes, and I am gone, that is, I am in a manner a dead man, ther's no hope of me: for so we find the same phrase used, Psal. 39.13. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I goe hence, and be no more; yea because of the following clause, and mine hope hath he removed like a tree, it may seem that in these words, he hath destroyed me on every side, he alludes to those, that when they in­tend to grub up a tree by the roots, do dig up the ground and hew it round a­bout on every side; and so thereupon inferres that there was no more hope of his recovery here in this world, then there was of a tree digged up by the roots.

Vers. 11. And he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.] That is, He doth not correct me as a father, but deales with me as if he looked upon me as an enemy. And this is one thing for which Elihu condemnes Iob, chap. 33.8, 10. I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,—he counteth me for his enemy. Yet the words do not impart, that God concluded that Iob was his enemy, but that he proceeded against him as if he had taken him for an enemy.

Vers. 12. His troups come together, &c.] Having in the foregoing verse said that God counted him as an enemy, here he proceeds accordingly in the same meta­phoricall expression, and shews how God did as it were lay siege against him, His troups come together (which is meant not only of the Chaldeans and others that had robbed him of his estate, but generally of those armies of Afflictions that did together break in upon him) and raise up their way against me, to wit, as pioners are wont to make waies even, and large, and passable for armies that are to march that way, or as souldiers are wont to cast up trenches, and to raise up batteries and galleries, that they may get in to a city which they have besieged, and encamp against me round about, that is, they block me up from, all possibility of escape and hope of relief; for all these figurative expressions are to set forth, how very many, how violent, and of how long continuance his afflictions were, encamping about him as souldiers in a siege.

Vers. 13. He hath put my brethren far from me, &c.] Even this may be added al­so with respect to the formes metaphor: as if he should have said, My bre­thren, friends, and others that should have been as auxiliary forces to have aided me in my streights, God hath also quite taken off from helping me: they come not near me, or their hearts are alienated from me.

Vers. 15. They that dwell in my house, and my maids count me for a stranger.] If a­mongst those of his house he comprehended those also, whom by way of hospita­lity he had entertained and harboured amongst those of his family, his complaint is herein the juster and fadder, that they to whom he had shown so much mercy or kindnesse should so little regard him; and of his maids he makes particular mention, because they in regard of their sex being naturally of a more tender and pitifull disposition, it was the more strange that they should carry themselves so strangely and unmercifully towards him, regarding him no more then if they had no relation at all to him.

Vers. 16. I called my ser [...]ant and he gave me no answer, I entreated him with my [Page 139] mouth.] That is, When I called my servant, so far was he from doing what I would have had done, that he would not vouchsafe to give me an answer; yea though instead of commanding him, I entreated him, not by others sent to him, but with mine own mouth, all this would doe no good, even to my face he would slight and scorne me.

Vers. 17. My breath is strange to my wife, &c.] Almost all Expositours under­stand this of his wives loathing to come nigh him, because of the ill savour of his breath by reason of the putrifaction of his lungs and other infirmities that lay upon him. But I rather conceive that by his breath is meant the words he spake to her, his complaints and entreaties, (to which also may be added his sighs and his groans) My breath is strange to my wife, as if he should have said, even when I speak to my wife I spend my breath in vain, she that lay in my bosome regards not my complaints and entreaties, my sighs and cryes, no more then if she had been a mere stranger to me: And indeed so much is clear by the following clause, where he adds, by way of explaining what he had said before, that his breath was strange to his wife, though I entreated for the childrens sake of mine own body, that is, though I besought her even for the conjugall bonds sake wherewith we were tyed toge­ther, and for the childrens sake which God had bestowed upon us, as the pledges and means of our mutuall love one to another. Indeed a great question it is a­mongst Expositours, what children these were for whose sake Iob should beg for respect from his wife in this time of his misery, since at the very first of his trou­bles both his sons and daughters were slain by the fall of the house upon them where they were feasting together; and to this some say, that he had other little children that were not then slain; and others, that it is meant of his childrens children. But because the Text, seems expressely to mention all his store of children where it faith that he had seven sons and three daughters, chap. 1.2. (which were all cut off together) and 2. Because in many passages Iob seems to complain that God had rooted out all his posterity, therefore I rather think that he meant this of those his children at first mentioned; nor can I see why it should seem strange, that he should mention the children God had given them whilst they lived together as man and wife, as an argument whereby to per­swade her not to despise him, though at the time when he spake this God had ta­ken them away.

Vers. 18. Yea young children despised me, &c.] This may be read as it is in the margin, yea the wicked despised me, this being a sore affliction to the righteous ser­vants of God, when they are made a laughing stock to an ungodly crue; But rea­ding it as it is in our Bibles, yea young children despised me, by young children we must understand those that we call young ones or youths, the younger sort of men, see the Note 1 Kings 3.7. or at the utmost boyes and girles, not the young sort of children. And we must know that even this is mentioned as an aggravation of his misery, 1. Because children are naturally more pittifull to them that are in mise­ry, and withall afraid to despise grave and aged men, and 2. Because it must needs very much vex and fret such men when every boy and girle shall despise them. As for those words I arose in the following clause, I arose and they spake against me. [Page 140] Some think that thereby is meant that so soon as he showed himself, perceiving in what a condition he was in, they presently began to revile him, and to speak against him what they had heard others say; some again think the meaning to be this, that though he arose up as by way of respect to them, yet they despised and reproached him; others, that when he arose to goe away from them, (as not a­ble to endure such contempt, and yet not willing to contend with them) assoon as his back was turned he might presently hear how they did reproach and revile him: and others, that when he arose to reprove them for despising him, then they spake against him. And indeed these three last Expositions I conceive the most probable.

Vers. 19. All my inward friends abhorred me, &c.] It is in the originall, the men of my secret, that is, those to whom I imparted all my secrets, and they whom I loved, to wit, most dearly, are turned against me. In this doubtlesse he aimes particularly at his three friends, as upbraiding them for dealing so unfriendly yea unmerci­fully with him.

Vers. 20. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, &c.] Reading this clause according to the Translation that is set in the margin, My bone cleaveth to my skin, as to my flesh, the meaning is clear, to wit, that he was so pined away, that being no­thing but skin and bones, his bones did now cleave to his skin, as formerly they did to his flesh. And thus I conceive the words must be understood, though they be read as they are in our Bibles; yet some would have them understood thus, My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, that is, to the skin of my flesh, or the skin of my body; or to my skin, which is my flesh: for so that which is translated Psal. 102.5. My bones cleave to my skin, is in the originall, My bones cleave to my flesh. As for that which follows, And I am escaped with the skin of my teeth, it is all one as if he had said, that to say true he had no other skin left but the skin of his teeth, to wit, his lips (for so some understand it) or the skin of his gums, the skin of his body being all over rather a scab then skin, as being overspread in every part with boiles and ulcers; And therefore indeed some Expositours say, that when the Devil filled the body of Iob with sores and ulcers, he left his lips and other the instruments of speech free, purposely that he might be able with his mouth to blaspheme God.

Vers. 21. Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends, &c.] As if he should have said, If you will approve your selves friends as you pretend to be, let this which I have said move you to pity me and comfort me, and do not still condemne me for an hypocrite, and adde affliction to the afflicted. As for the rea­son that is added, for the hand of God hath touched me, see the Notes, chap. 1.11, & 2.5.

Vers. 22. Why do you persecute me as God and are not satisfied with my flesh?] This which Iob here upbraids his friends with, to wit, that they persecuted him as God, may be understood two severall waies, either 1. That when God afflicted him, they did so too; they did as it were joyn with God in afflicting him, and making his life burdensome to him: when God punisheth any man or men, though the punishments be never so justly inflicted, it is the duty of those that behold them thus punished to pity them, and be tender over them; neither must [Page 141] they by any means insult over them, but rather, reflect upon themselves, and be afraid of themselves, as considering that God may as justly lay his hand upon them, as he hath done upon these whom they behold in such misery. Now that therefore for which he blames his friends here may be only this, because when Gods hand was heavy upon him, they instead of pitying him did also set them­selves against him, and by their hard usage and bitter reproaches did adde to his affliction, forgetting themselves to be men subject to the same miseries; or 2. That they did afflict him in the same manner, as God did, to wit, in that, 1. As God did persecute him incessantly and without intermission, bringing calami­ties upon him one in the neck of another, without affording him any breathing time, so did they follow him with reproach upon reproach, and censure upon cen­sure, not yielding him any rest: and 2. In that they persecuted him as an enemy, as God did, and in as heavy a manner; As God had laid load upon him so did they; as God had appeared in a way of wrath against him, so did they: and so he doth as it were intimate that their scorns, and scoffs, and calumnies were as grievous to him, as all the other miseries that God had laid upon him: or 3. That they arrogated that to themselves which belonged only to God, to wit, either because they did in so masterly a manner condemne him for an hypocrite, which none could know but God only, who is the searcher of the heart and of the reines; or else rather because they did causelessely persecute him; why do you persecute me as God? as if he had said, However God in regard of his absolute Sovereignty o­ver men may deal with them as seems good in his own eyes, and so may lay what afflictions he pleaseth upon me, merely because it is his will so to doe, though there were no other cause at all; yet you have no such power over me; and therefore shew why it is that you do thus persecute me; what? will you make your selves Gods? And then for the next clause, wherein he chargeth them that they were not satisfied with his flesh, Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satis­fied with my flesh? the drift thereof I conceive is to imply, either that it was a high degree of cruelty in them, that not content with the grievous miseries he had en­dured in his body, even to the utter wasting and consuming of his flesh, (besides that he was stripped of all other outward comforts whatsoever) they should also seek as they had done, to wound and afflict his spirit also; as if he had said, Though God afflicteth my mind and my soul, and hath filled my soul with ter­rours, yet why should you force on my affliction as farre as God doth? or else, that in regard they were not satisfied with all those insufferable miseries that he lay under, but did still prosecute him with so much bitternesse, they were herein like beasts of prey, that when they have eaten▪ the flesh of the poor creatures they prey upon, cannot be satisfied therewith till they have quite devoured them, and after they have eaten the flesh do also gnaw and crush the bones asunder. And indeed all cruell oppression, and crushing of the poor and afflicted, is usually ex­pressed in the Scripture by that phrase of devouring them and eating up their flesh, as Psal. 27.2. My foes came upon me to eat up my flesh, and Gal. 5.15. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

Vers. 23. O that my words were now written, oh that they were printed in a [Page 142] book, &c.] Though some referre this particularly to that following passage, verse 25. wherein he makes indeed a most clear and glorious confession of his faith in Christ his Redeemer, and his hope concerning the resurrection of the dead, and life eternall, worthy to be taken notice of by all that should live in suc­ceeding times, yet I rather think he meant it of all that he had spoken in that dis­pute that had been betwixt him and his three friends, yea and of all that he should afterward speak. To shew, how clear his conscience was, and how confident he was of the justice of his cause, and to manifest withall that he had not spoken so rashly and unadvisedly, and much lesse so desperately and blasphemously, as they pretended he had, (though some words might slip from him in his passion that were not altogether to be justifyed) he wisheth that his words were written and printed in a book, &c. For hereby he intimates that he was so farre from decli­ning the judgement of any man living, that he was willing it should be known both to the present and future ages, as being assured that whoever in succeeding times should read what he had suffered, and what had passed betwixt him and his friends, they would pity his condition, and acquit him from all those false accusa­tions they had charged upon him. Yea and therefore he wisheth that his words were not only written and printed in a book, but also vers. 24. that they were gra­ven with an iron pen and lead, in the rock for ever: And however some Expositours understand this, that herein he wisheth that his words were graven with an iron pen in plates or lea [...]s of lead, yea in the rock for ever; yet others think that ac­cording to our translation the ground of this expression must needs be, either that in those times they were wont to make their graving tools of iron tempered with lead as now a-daies they are tempered with steel; or else that when they desi­red to grave any thing in stone for a perpetuall monument, they used to cut the letters with an iron pen or graving tool, and then to fill up the cuts or furrows of those letters with lead that they might be the more plain and legible, and that hence he speaks of having his words graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever.

Vers. 25. For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.] Some of our best Expositours (as Calvin, Mercer and others) understand this merely of Gods delivering Iob out of that sad and forlorn con­dition wherein he now lay, to wit, that he knew that however he was little better at present then as a man that is dead and buried, yet he had a Redeemer that should rescue him at length out of this condition, even the ever-living God, who is the first and the last, Esa. 48.12. and therefore shall be after all men are vanished and gone, and shall shew forth his power in the quickening and reviving of poor men, dust and ashes, even when they are fallen into the lowest and most desperate estate and condition. And indeed it cannot be denied 1. That God is many times called our Redeemer, in the Scripture, as Esa. 63.16. Thou, O Lord, art our Fa­ther, our Redeemer. 2. That an estate of extreme misery and affliction is often ex­pressed in the Scripture by that of death; men in such a condition are often spo­ken of as dead men, yea as men that are buried and turned into dust, and that to imply that such a condition is to men as bitter as death, that it bereaves them of [Page 143] all the comforts of this life, and is past all hope of recovery. I was, saith the Apo­stle 2. Cor. 11.23. in deaths oft. And so Psal. 88.4, 5. I am counted with them that goe down into the pit — free among the dead, and Psal. 22.15. Thou hast brought me, saith David, into the dust of death, and 3. That the deliverance of such men out of such an extreme low and forlorn condition is often tearmed a quickning, and a re­viving, and a raising of them up from the dead, as Psal. 71.20. Thou which hast shewed me great and sore troubles shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth, and Isa. 26.19. speaking of the bringing home of the Iews out of Babylon, Thy dead men, saith the Prophet, shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise; awake and sing ye that dwell in the dust. See also Psal. 85.6, and Hos 6.2. But yet 1. Because Iob had hitherto disclaimed all hope of being deli­vered out of that forlorn condition wherein he lay, and of being restored to any estate of prosperity and happinesse again (though his friends had often assured him, that if he would repent, it would be so) affirming that his hope was gone, and that he was in a worse condition then a tree that is cut down, of which there is hope that it may sprout again. See chap. 16.22, and 17.1, 11, 13, &c. and therefore it is no way probable, that he should be now on a sudden raised to such a height of hope concerning Gods raising him to such a prosperous conditi­on, contrary to all his former discourses; and 2. Because there are some passages in the following verses, which cannot well be understood of a resurrection of his outward estate, as, that it is spoken of as a strange thing, that he should see his Re­deemer with the same eyes that he had then, and some other of the like nature, therefore, I say, if we joyntly consider of that which is said here with that which follows in the two next verses, I cannot see how it can be otherwise understood then of Christ the promised Redeemer, who indeed is most properly tearmed our Goel, as it is in the originall, our Redeemer (it is the same word that is used Levit. 25.25. for the next kinsman that was to redeem the estate of his decayed brother: of which see the Note there) and that because he taking our nature upon him, be­came, as it were, our near kinsman, our brother, Heb. 2.11. flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. So that I conceive the drift of Iob in these words was, by this profession of his faith to prove, that notwithstanding his sufferings and miseries were so grievous, as he had now acknowledged, yet he was farre from being a wicked man and an hypocrite, as they had charged him to be; I know, saith he, that my Redeemer liveth, that is, I that am so severely condemned by you, and am now in such a miserable condition, even I do certainly believe, that there is a Re­deemer to come, that he is my Redeemer (for there is much emphasis in that word my) and that he lives, as being the ever-living God, the first and the last, yea the fountain of life to all that shall believe in him, and so shall one day redeem my person from destruction and maintain my cause against all those false aspersions you now cast upon me. And then for the last clause, and that he shall stand at the lat­ter day upon the earth, either it is meant of the second coming of Christ to judge­ment, to wit, that he should then appear upon earth, and that as a conquerour, trampling upon the grave as a conquer'd enemy, and raising all flesh by his al­mighty command out of the dust, yea and as a judge appearing in his glory, to [Page 144] passe sentence upon all both quick and dead; or else (which some rather think, and it seems very probable) it is meant of his first coming, (as the following words in the next verses are meant of his second coming,) to wit, that in the lat­ter daies (that is, in the daies of the New Testament,) this his Redeemer should be made man, and in mans nature should live and dwell upon the earth, and being there slain should rise again, and stand again upon the earth tryumphantly, and so should, as the Redeemer of his people, vanquish death and accomplish the work of mans redemption. And indeed that the daies of the Gospel, from the time of Christs incarnation to the end of the world, are frequently called in the Scripture the latter daies, or, the last daies, cannot be questioned, see Isa. 2.2. Hos. 3.5. 1 Tim. 4.1. 2 Tim. 3.1. of which, two reasons are usually given, to wit, 1. Because all was then accomplished, which had been prophesied concerning the work of mans Redemption; that was the perfection of all times, or as the A­postle calls it, Gal. 4.4. the fulnesse of time, and 2. Because the whole time of the worlds continuance being divided into three great Periods, the 1. From the creation to the Law; the 2. From the Law to Christs Incarnation; the 3. From that to the day of Iudgement, this which contains all the daies of the Gospel is the last of the three. But however very observable it is which some Expositours have noted, to wit, that Iob was so strengthened and cheared up with the consi­deration of this which here he saith, concerning the hope he had in his Redeemer, and concerning the resurrection of his body, and the blisse he should then en­joy, that after this we meet not with any word he spake, arguing any such fainting and impatience of spirit, as many which before this came from him.

Vers. 26. And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.] Though being laid in the grave worms must destroy not my skin only but even this whole body, (such as it is rather the shadow of a body, then a body indeed) yet by that my Redeemer, who shall arise from the grave and live again in despite of death, even this my body when dead shall be raised again, and reuni­ted to my soul, and then to my great joy in my flesh face to face I shall see God, and so shall enjoy the presence of my God and my Saviour for ever and ever. As is noted in the foregoing verse, some indeed understand this of Gods delivering him out of his present afflctions, to wit, that though his skin and flesh were at present eaten up as it were with worms, yet God would restore his flesh again, and so in his flesh he should behold God manifesting himself as a father to him. But I say the words are farre clearer if we understand them of his seeing God at the resurrection.

Vers. 27. Whom I shall see for my self, and mine eyes shall behold and not another, though my reins be consumed within me.] Even this also some understand of his see­ing God to his great advantage, raising him from the sad estate whereinto he had cast him, and restoring him to a comfortable condition again; therefore those words and mine eyes shall behold and not another, though my reins be consumed within me, they understand thus, that though his reins, that is, all the strength and vigour of his body were in a manner utterly consumed, his body being little better then a rotten carcase, yet he would look to God and his eyes should [Page 145] be fixed upon him in hope and expectation of help and deliverance, and not up­on any other▪ But still I say, I rather understand all these passages of his hope of seeing God when his dead body should be raised up at t [...]e generall Resurrection. And so taking the words as meant of his seeing God at the Resurrection, we must know, 1. That he saith, whom I shall see for my self, because he should see him for his own advantage, as his own God, and his own Saviour, not as the wicked should see him, namely, as reconciled to others, not to them, as a Redeemer to others not to them; and 2. He saith that his own eyes should behold him, and not another, to set forth, that he should not at the Resurrection have a new body created, but that he should be raised with the very same numericall body, where­in he had formerly lived upon the earth: and then 3. That the last clause, though my reins be consumed within me, may be meant either of the present consum­ption of his body, or else of the utter wasting of his body in the grave, to wit, that though he was so wasted that his very inmost parts his reines were consumed, and much more would be consumed when he came to rot in the grave, yet he knew well that at the Resurrection he should be raised up perfect again, and then with those his eyes he should behold his Redeemer. I know that some Expositours do otherwise understand this last clause, that at the Resurrection he should behold his God and Redeemer to his great happinesse and comfort, though his reines were consumed within him, that is, though when he came to live with God in heaven there should then be an end of all his naturall desires. But the former exposition I judge far the better.

Vers. 28. But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter i [...] found in me?] If we read this last clause as it is in the margin, and what root of mat­ter is found in me? the meaning is then plain, to wit, that there was no cause in him why they should persecute him as they did. But reading it as it is in our Bibles, seeing the root of the matter is found in me, it is very hard to say what Iob intended hereby. Some would have these last words, seeing the root of the matter is found in me, to be a part of the recantation which Iob here adviseth his friends to make, as con­cerning their violence against him hitherto, to wit, that they should not only say, why persecute we him? but also that they should every one of them severally adde by way of judging themselves, seeing the root of the matter is found in me; that is, seeing the fault is in me; I have by my groundlesse surmises and jealousies, and unjust censuring of him provoked him to passion in his great distresse, and so have been the cause of all these hot debates we have had with him. But the truth is that the words can hardly be drawn to justify this Exposition. And almost all Expositours agree in this, that in the first clause Iob tells his friends, that in rea­son they ought to check themselves for persecuting him as they had done, and that then in the second clause a reason is given by Iob, why they ought so to check themselves, to wit, because the root of the matter was found in him, as if the words had been transposed thus, But seeing the root of the matter is found in me, ye should say, why persecute we him? Well, but yet still this passage is very obscure, because it is so hard to say what he meant by this the root of the matter is found in me, every Expositour almost being herein of a severall judgement. for 1. Some un­derstand [Page 146] hereby the sound and solid reason wherewith he had maintained his cause, and so they make the sense of these words to be this, that they might well condemne themselves for persecuting him as they had done, since all things being well weighed, they could not but see, that the cause which he maintained had a root of unquestionable justice in it, it was well grounded, neither had he spoken any thing for which he had not brought very sound and substantiall argu­ments and reasons, 2. Others by the root of the matter understand his sufferings, or the inward sense he had of the evils which lay upon him, as if he had said, There is no reason in the world why you should persecute me as you doe, seeing the root, the foundation of all our arguing is found in me, that is, I am he that suffer the miseries, about which there have been such disputes between us; and so they make this passage parallell with that above, vers. 4. And be it indeed that I have erred, mine errour remaineth with my self. 3. Others take it thus, You ought not thus to persecute me, seeing if you search the matter to the root and the founda­tion, it will be found that I am innocent, and that there is therefore some other cause of my misery, which is hidden from you, and that it is not for any wicked­nesse of mine, as you would have it, that God hath brought these calamities upon me. 4. Others again conceive that by the root of the matter is meant the integrity and sincerity of his heart towards God, which was the root both of that professi­on of godlinesse which he had hitherto made, and of that confidence wherewith he had now pleaded his cause before God; or else his faith whereby he was rooted in God, and which was the root from whence had sprung the purity of his consci­ence, the holinesse and uprightnesse of his life and conversation, and those words of truth, which he had uttered hitherto in the defence of himself; and so they con­ceive Iobs plea in these words to be this, that seeing the profession which he had made of his innocency was not a counterfeit, vain, ungrounded flourish, but was the fruit of that sincerity and faith unfeigned, that was rooted in his heart, it was an act of most grosse injustice and arrogance in them, so to persecute, to censure and revile him as they did. And last of all, many hold that it was his faith in Christ his Redeemer, and his hope of seeing God face to face at the Resurrection of the dead, whereof he had in the foregoing words made such a glorious profes­sion, which here he tearms the root of the matter that was found in him; and so they make the drift of these words to be this, that in all reason it was fit they should blame themselves for persecuting him as they had done, even because of this profession he had made of his faith, seeing this faith in the Redeemer is the root of all true religion and piety, and the very ground work and foundation of salvation, neither can there be any danger of condemnation for him, that hath this faith rooted in his heart.

Vers. 29. Be ye afraid of the sword, &c.] As if he should have said, If not out of pity to me, yet at least for fear of the sword of Gods vengeance upon your selves, give over your bitter calumnies and cruell dealing with me. Because you are at ease and free from all afflictions, you make nothing of passing most uncharitable censures upon me, and threaten me continually with the vengeance of God; but take heed, you had best look to yourselves, since there is doubtlesse a sword of [Page 147] divine vengeance, which for your unjust and cruell dealing with me, that am in so sad a condition, may soon make you as miserable as I am. As for the words that follow, for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, though some understand this of God, to wit, that when God is provoked to wrath by such iniquities as these, wherewith he had charged his friends, it brings the sword of his just ven­geance upon me; yet I rather think Iob meant it of the wrath of his friends a­gainst him, to wit, that such wrath and fury as that, wherewith they had broken out against him, doth usually bring the wrath of God upon men; that ye may know, saith he, there is a judgement: the meaning whereof is, either that when the sword of Gods vengeance should fall upon them, then they should by experience find that there is a just God that judgeth the earth, that doth order and govern all things wisely and justly here in this world, a God that would judge those that did so unjustly judge others, and that would severely punish those that did so unmercifully adde affliction to the afflicted; To which some adde also, that by that present judgement upon themselves, they might know there would be here­after a day of generall judgement, when God would judge the world in righteous­nesse, and so the sin of those that do here judge their brethren unrighteously should be both discovered and punished; Or else that Iob gave them this war­ning, that knowing now (which men are apt to forget) that there is a God that will thus judge the actions of men, they might take heed of provoking him to wrath, that so they might not come to know it experimentally hereafter.

CHAP. XX.

Vers. 2. THen answered Zophar, &c.] This is the second, and indeed the last re­ply of Zophar, who now as before took his turn in the third place; for though Eliphaz and Bildad did afterward reply again the third time upon Iob, yet Zophar after this spake no more. And observable it is that notwithstanding Iob had in the foregoing chapter made such a sad relation of the wofull condition wherein at present he was, chap. 19.6. &c. and had so earnestly besought his friends, that they would take pity of him, vers. 21. and had made such a full and glorious confession of his faith, vers. 25, 26, 27. and had threat­ned them with the sword of divine vengeance, if they proceeded on still with such fury against him as they had done, yet all this moved not Zophar, but that he a­gain fell upon Iob with as much violence as ever.

Vers. 2. Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make hast.] It seems Zophar did here interrupt Iob before he had made an end of speaking, and so in these words he gives a reason why he could no longer keep silence; There­fore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make hast, as if he should have said, Whereas I resolved to have replyed no more, or whereas I was desirous to let you goe on without interrupting you, till you had made an end of your own ac­cord (as I know civility requires I should doe) truly that which you have spo­ken hath stirred up those thoughts in me, that do even compell me to speak; doe what I can I am not able still to bear what I hear, nor to forbear uttering what I [Page 148] have thought to say; being as one in travell, I must not stay any longer, but must however it be taken break in upon you. And so this word (therefore) may be ei­ther referred, 1. In generall to all that Iob had answered in the foregoing chap­ter, either by way of justifying himself, and professing his hope of beholding to his joy, his Redeemer, when his dead body should be raised from the grave, or by way of blaming his friends for their unfriendly and unmercifull dealing with him; as if he had said, Finding how erroneous thou still art in this great point of Gods dealing with man, therefore I could not forbear but I must again answer thee. Or 2. More particularly to those severe censures which he had passed up­on them for their dealing so harshly with him; which may seem the more proba­ble, because in the following verse he seems to make these censures (which he tearms reproaches) the ground of this his Reply, I have heard, saith he, the check of my reproach, and (therefore) the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer; Or else 3. It may be referred yet more particularly (as many hold) to the very last words that Iob had spoken, chap. 19.29. There Iob had warned his friends to take heed least the sword of divine vengeance did not fall upon them for their fu­ry and wrath against such a distressed afflicted man as he was; for, saith he, wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgement: Now Zo­phar being exceedingly netled with these words, breaks out presently as in rela­tion thereto, Therefore doe my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make hast, as if he should have said, Whereas you think to stop our mouths by threatning us with the judgements of God, so farre am I from being terrified herewith, that this above all forceth me to speak, so that now I am not able to hold my peace any longer: And three reasons may be conceived why Zophar should, upon those words above others, be so much stirred in his spirit, that he could no longer for­bear. 1. Because he might judge this most insufferable, that he that lay under such judgements of God himself, should yet be so confident that he was in the right, as to threaten them with the judgements of God for speaking against him; percei­ving how he wrongfully applyed the judgements of God, it was time to make him s [...] his errour herein. 2. Because he might apprehend, that he had now a no­table advantage to convince him from his own words, since if wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword (as Iob said) what cause had he to be afraid of this sword of divine vengeance, that had in so much fury and wrath uttered so many bitter speeches against God, and so scornfully despised the admonition of his friends? and 3. Because he might be eager to put him in mind, that if there were judge­ment and a sword of divine vengeance for wicked men, he might thence know what himself was, whom this sword of God had already so sorely wounded. How­ever observable is the expression which Zophar here useth, My thoughts cause me to answer; for hereby he would seem to imply, that though he should speak zea­lously, yet he should not speak rashly, because he had seriously be thought him­self of what he meant to say.

Vers. 3. I have heard the check of my reproach, &c.] That is, the checks and taunts wherewith to my reproach thou hast upbraided me, and scorned the truth of God which hath been spoken to thee; for though some Expositours referre [Page 149] this particularly to that sharp expression of Iob, chap. 19.23, why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? as if he should have said, What? Do you charge me with persecuting you, with eating up your flesh? Are you not a­shamed to cast such base reproaches upon us? And others to that before menti­oned vers. 29. where he had threatned them with the sword of divine vengeance; yet I should rather understand it generally, either of Iobs stiffenesse in maintai­ning still the truth of his cause, and the innocency of his person, which Zophar esteemed a reproach to them; or of all those tart passages in Iobs speeches, wherewith Zophar apprehended himself to be reproached, he still applying that to himself, which Iob had spoken in common to them all. As for the following clause, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer, by the spirit of his un­derstanding may be meant, either the spirit of God enlightening his mind, and causing him to understand, or his soul by which he was inabled to understand, or the force and strength of his understanding, or the highest, and chiefest, and most refined part of the understanding, that which is most free from the dregs of passion; But however doubtlesse the drift of Zophar in this expression was, ei­ther to imply that he meant to answer Iob with reason, and understanding, and not in passion and anger, as Iob had still replyed upon them; or else rather to shew that the reason why he could not forbear speaking any longer, was because he did clearly understand, that it was the truth which they maintained against Iob, and was able by evident reason to convince him, of his folly in reproaching his friends as he had done for that which they had spoken, and of the wickednesse which they had charged him with.

Vers. 4. Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, &c.] As if he should have said, I appeal to thine own conscience; ca [...]st thou be ignorant of that which the experience of all ages hath approved to be true, ever since God first made man and placed him upon the earth? to wit, (as it follows in the next verse) that the tryumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a mo­ment? And well it may be, that when Zophar spake this he had in his thoughts, how God punished Cain the son of Adam, and Ham and his cursed posterity immedi­ately after the flood.

Vers. 6. Thaugh his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds.] That is, though he overtop all men in riches, honours, authority, and high esteem, and be gotten up to the highest pitch of outward prosperity and glory, insomuch that hereupon he exalts himself in his pride as a little God upon earth, and think his condition as unchangeable as the heavens; we have the like expression Matth. 11.23. And thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell.

Vers. 7. Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung, &c.] This expression of Zophars may imply three things, to wit, 1. That God should slay him and so he should become a loath some stinking carcase, his body being turned wholly to rottennesse and putrifaction. 2. That when God began to execute his judge­ments upon him, he should become loathsome, base, and abominable unto all men, so that none should vouchsafe to save him, but he should be cast out with the [Page 150] detestation and abhorring of all, and 3. That he should perish utterly both he and his, according to that which is said of Ieroboam, 1 Kings 14.10. I will take away the remnant of the house of Ieroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone (concerning which see the Note there)▪ And likely enough it is too, that Zophar might herein allude to the dunghill whereon Iob now sat, chap. 2.8. and to the complaint he had made in the foregoing chapter, that God had stripped him of his glory, and taken away the crown from his head, and that all his nearest friends, &c. despised him and stood aloof from him, and so intimated to him that it was not strange at all that it was thus, since it was the usuall portion of the wicked man thus to perish as his own dung, that is, mans dung, the most loathsome of all dung. And to the same purpose is the following clause, they which have seen him shall say, where is he? for this implyes 1. That he should be utterly cut off and not be seen any more, and 2. That they that had seen him with admiration in his height of prosperity, should wonder to see afterward how on a sudden he was quite perished and gone, not so much as any memoriall being left of him, and should speak of him in a way of scorn and contempt.

Vers. 8. He shall fly away as a dream, &c.] That is, he shall suddenly perish and come to nothing: for by the flying away of a dream is meant, either the ut­ter forgetting of a dream, when a man dreams and waking on a sudden, it is gone and there is no remembrance at all left of it; or else the vanishing away of those appearances and visions, which the fancy presents to a man in his sleep; look as when a man dreams of great treasures, or dainty feasts, or other things, but on a sudden the dream vanisheth, and so when he wakes all comes to nothing, there is no such thing as he dreamt of (which is sweetly expressed by the Prophet Isaiah, chap. 29.8.) so shall it be with the wicked man, his prosperity shall suddenly va­nish to nothing, and so he shall utterly perish. Iob had wished chap. 19.23, 24. That his words were written, that they were printed in a book, that they were graven with an iron pen in the rock for ever; perhaps in allusion to this Zophar here tells him, that instead of being thus remembred in after times, he should so utterly pe­rish, that there should be no memoriall left of him, no more then there is of a dream when it is quite vanished and gone.

Vers. 9. Neither shall his place any more behold him.] This may be meant of those amongst whom he had formerly lived, to wit, that the men of his place should ne­ver see him or observe him any more; or else of the place it self wherein he had lived, concerning which see the Notes chap. 7.10, and 8.18.

Vers. 10. His children shall seek to please the poor, &c.] If we read this clause as it is in the margin of our Bibles, The poor shall oppress his children, then the meaning is, either that the poor should by violence take from his children, what he had by fraud or oppression taken from them; or that his children should come to such extreme po­verty & misery, that even the poorer sort of people should be able to oppress them. But if we read it as it is in our Bibles, His children shall please the poor, then the mea­ning must be, either that his children (forced thereto by the sentence and for fear of the sentence of the judges, or otherwise) should labour to appease the poor, by restoring to them what their father had unjustly taken from them; or else that [Page 151] they should fall into such lamentable beggery and want, that they should be glad to curry favour with poor men, that from them they might get some small succour. As for the second clause, And his hands shall restore their goods, that is ad­ded to shew, that many times not the children of the wicked man, but the wicked man himself is forced to restore the goods he hath unjustly wrested from the poor: And yet it is not necessary that this should be limited, at least to the wick­ed mans restoring to the former owners what he had unjustly taken from them: for even first when he dies and so must part with, and deliver up all that he had so injuriously gotten, or 2. When others shall by force or oppression wrest from him what he had by the same evil means wrested from the poor, or 3. When by his own improvidence or folly he shall wast what he had with such greedinesse and cruelty raked out of the estates of the needy, in all these respects it may be figu­ratively said, that his hands restore their goods. And so this may be added as a rea­son of his childrens poverty, mentioned in the foregoing clause, to wit, that he could not leave them the goods he had gotten so ill, being forced as is before said to restore them again.

Vers. 11. His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lye down with him in the dust.] Two severall waies this may be understood; for 1. The meaning may be that in the sins of his youth, he perseveres even to his old age, the sins into which he fell in his youth being inwardly setled and rooted in him, as if they were soaked into his bones and marrow, shall be as strong in him, and bear as full sway over him in his old age, as they did in his youth; and so it shall lye down with him in the dust, whereby is meant, either that he shall die in his sin without re­pentance and without pardon, and so his sin, though nothing else, shall goe with him to the grave, the guilt of sin lying still upon him, eating his flesh and dam­ming his soul; or else that all his violence, and oppression, and other sins shall there have an end together with himself, there they shall as it were perish with him, and be buried in the grave. And 2. By the sin of his youth may be meant the punishments of his youthfull sins; and then the sense of the words is this, that God should punish him in his old age for the sin of his youth; only this expres­sion of his bones being full of the sin of his youth may also imply. 1. The grievousnesse of the plagues wherewith he is punished for the sins of his youth, whether we un­derstand it of bodily punishments or of the pains of a tortured conscience, to wit, that they should seise upon the whole man, and as it were shake and break his very bones within him; for thus sore sufferings and torments are usually ex­pressed in the Scripture, My bones are burnt as an hearth, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 102.3. and again Psal. 109.18. As he cloatheth himself with cursing like as with a garment, so let it come into his bowels like water and like oyl into his bones. 2. That they should be abundantly poured forth upon him, and 3. Perhaps also the quality of them, that his body yea even his very bones should be rotted with the luxury and intemperance of his youth; and accordingly then the meaning of the last clause which shall lye down with him in the dust is plain and easie, namely that these punishments should never leave him till they had brought him to the grave.

Vers. 12. Though wickednesse be sweet in his mouth, &c.] This may be meant ge­nerally [Page 152] of any wickednesse whatsoever, which the wicked man commits; or parti­cularly of the wickednesse of oppressing the poor, and wresting their estates un­justly from them; and so the full drift of this passage is this, that though wicked­nesse yield much sweet delight to the corrupt nature of man for a time, yet after­ward it will work him extreme pain and sorrow, and in the conclusion will cer­tainly destroy him. Though wickednesse be sweet in his mouth, that is, though a wicked man may take as much delight in his wickednesse, as a sensuall Epicure may take in some poysoned sweet meat, that at first may exceedingly please his tast, though he hide it under his tongue, and vers. 13. Though he spare it and forsake it not, but keep it still within his mouth, that is, though he be loth to confesse, con­demne, repent of and forsake his sins, but seeks by many deceitfull waies and pre­tences to excuse them (and so may the more properly be said to hide them under his tongue) that he may still continue to delight himself therein, even as a glut­ton will not be brought to spit out the sweet meat that he hath in his mouth, yea is loth presently to swallow it down, and therefore eats it sparingly, champing it and rowling it up and down in his mouth, and so lets it goe down by little and little, that he may the longer please his palat with the sweet tast of it, yet, vers. 14. his meat in his bowels is turned, that is, it is turned to be quite another thing then it seemed to be in his mouth, it is the gall of asps within him, that is, his sinne will at length prove bitter to him (as we see in nature, that those meats that are sweetest to the tast turn most to bitternesse and choler in the stomach) yea it will bring miserable pains and torments upon him, both in regard of outward punish­ments which God shall inflict, and inward torture of conscience wherewith he shall be vexed, and so shall at length utterly destroy him, even as the sweet meat which did so please the glutton, when it is gotten down into the stomach, doth there cause most griping insufferable torments and at last kills him, to wit, as be­ing mixed with the most violent incurable poyson, the poyson of asps, which is here called the gall of asps; either because the gall of those serpents is their poyson, or rather because his poyson proves as bitter in the operation of it, as the meat wherewith it was mixed was sweet to the tast.

Vers. 15. He hath swallowed down riches and he shall vomit them up again, &c.] The riches which he hath gotten with so much greedinesse he shall with no little anguish and shame part with again, as men that have overladen their stomachs, or rather that have eaten some poyson or other, are wont soon to vomit it up a­gain, not only the poyson it self, but all besides that is in their bellies: so shall it be with the wicked oppressour; either by the terrours of his own conscience, which shall make him even sick of what he hath so unjustly gotten, and restlesse till he rid himself of it, or by some other means, God shall forceably bereave him, not only of his ill gotten goods, but of all his estate besides.

Vers. 16. He shall suck the poyson of asps; the vipers tongue shall slay him.] That is, it shall be with him as with a man that is poysoned with the most violent and incurable poyson, the poyson of asps or the tongue of the viper, to wit, in regard of his vomiting up the ill gotten goods he hath swallowed down, or in regard of the torment he shall endure, and that it shall at last bring him to a miserable end.

[Page 153]Vers. 17. He shall not see the rivers, the flouds, the brooks of honey and butter.] As if he had said, When the wicked man hath gotten a great estate by rapine and op­pression, many flocks of sheep and heards of cattel, he is then ready to promise himself abundance of felicity and content, that he shall take in the enjoyment of these things, how he will feast himself, and how he will swim in all kind of plea­sures and sweet delights; but all this shall prove but a dream, he shall not enjoy the least of this which he hath fancied to himself. Some, I know, understand this thus, that he shall not have the least share in that plenty of good blessings, which God promised to his people; as conceiving that Zophar herein alluded to that promise made to Abraham of the land of Canaan, as of a land flowing with milk and honey: yea some understand it of his never seeing those infinite joyes, which God hath reserved in heaven for the portion of his people, according to that expressi­on Psal. 36.8. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatnesse of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. But the first Exposition I take to be far the best.

Vers. 18. That which he laboured for shall he restore, &c.] That is, That which he hath gotten with much adoe, and a great deal of pains, in the waies of oppres­sion and fraud, he shall be forced to restore, or shall part with it again, (see the Note vers. 10.) yet this may also comprehend what he hath gotten by his la­bour in an honest way, and so may be added purposely to imply, that in revenge of his rapine, he should be stripped not of his ill-gotten goods only, but also of that which he had gathered together by his lawfull labours. As for the following clause, and shall not swallow it down, it is not contrary to what he had said before, vers. 15. He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again; because the meaning here is only, that God should suddenly ease him of all that he had greedily gathered together; before he had well swallowed it down, he should be forced to vomit it up again; it should never be converted to his own personall benefit, or the benefit of his family. According to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoyce therein, that is, he shall be fully as poor, as before he was rich and great; or rather he shall, by way of Gods forcing restitution from him, part with all that he hath even to a very farthing, and so as he hath begger'd others, he shall be utterly begger'd himself, and little joy he shall have of all that he hath scraped together.

Vers. 20. Surely he shall not feel quietnesse in his belly.] That is, he shall scarce at any time enjoy the least hearts-ease; to wit, either because of his insatiable thirst after riches, or his carking care to keep what he hath gotten, or rather because of the terrours of his conscience for his ill-gotten riches, or because of those conti­nuall vexations wherewith he shall be hourly pursued, for the daily losse of that which he had taken such pains to get.

Vers. 21. There shall none of his meat be left, &c.] Some read this, as it is in the margin, There shall be none left for his meat, &c. as if he had said, He shall have none of his posterity left to eat what he leaves behind him, and so there shall be none to look for his goods when he is gone. But it is better translated, as it is in our Bibles, There shall none of his meat be left, that is, he shall not have so much as a [Page 154] crust left to feed himself; therefore shall no man look for his goods, that is, his children or friends need not trouble themselves to gape after or strive for his goods when he is gone, because there shall be nothing left for them; Or, there shall no man seek to rob or spoile him, as formerly, because he shall have nothing left for him­self.

Vers. 22. In the fulnesse of his sufficiency he shall be in streights, &c.] Two severall waies this may be understood: to wit, 1. That in the fulnesse of his prosperity he shall be in as great streights as the poorest, either because of terrours of consci­ence, or because of his continuall fears of loosing what he hath gotten, or because of the unquietnesse of his spirit, in regard of his greedy covetous desires, as not having yet what he would have. Or 2. That when he hath gotten such abun­dance, that, with the rich man in the Gospel, he begins now to say, Soul, thou hast goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry, then on a sudden the wrath of God shall fall upon him, and by means thereof he shall come into great streights and troubles: for thereto agrees also the following clause, every hand of the wicked shall be upon him; that is, every ungodly, unconscionable man, even those haply that were before his friends or servants, shall oppresse and spoile him; and so he shall be crushed as he before crushed others, and as his hand was almost against every man, so every mans hand shall be against him.

Vers. 23. When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, &c.] That is, when he thinks to sit down in quiet, and to satiate himself in the enjoying of what he hath gotten, before he can do it, God shall pour out his judgements upon him, the sad effects of his fierce fury and indignation; which is compared to a showre of rain in the following clause, and he shall rain it upon him, to wit, 1. because the judgements should come upon him from heaven; 2. be­cause they should come upon him suddenly and with great violence, as showres of rain usually do in the midst of a fair day; 3. because they should seise upon him on every side in great abundance, as when a man is all over wet with a showre of rain; and 4. because they cannot be prevented or kept off, no more then the rain can be stopped that it shall not fall from the clouds. The expression is much like that, Psal. 11.6. Vpon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone and an horrible tempest. As for the last clause, wherein it is said these judgements of God should be poured upon him while he is eating, that is added as an aggravation of the misery of the wicked man, that these judgements should come upon him when he is or would be most free, and fearlesse, and pleasant; even as it is said of the Israelites, when they lusted for flesh, and God gave them quails, Psal. 78.30, 31. that while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them. And it may well be that Zophar had respect therein also to the death of Iobs chil­dren, by the falling of the house upon them, where they were eating together.

Vers. 24. He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.] That is, God fighting against him as a man of war, he shall be so pursu­ed with his judgements, that seeking to avoid one evil, he shall fall into another, or seeking to avoid a lesser evil, he shall fall into a greater; as when a man flees from the iron weapon, the sword or the spear, (against which a man well armed [Page 155] may more probably defend himself) and then an arrow from a bow of steel strikes him through, the stroke thereof being unresistable and deadly.

Vers. 25. It is drawn and cometh out of the body, &c.] This is meant, I conceive, of the sword of Gods indignation, or of the arrow shot out of the bow of steel, mentioned in the foregoing verse; and the words may be understood two seve­rall waies: first thus, It is drawn, that is, it is drawn out of the sheath, or out of the quiver, and cometh out of the body, that is, being thrust or shot at the wicked man, it pierceth him through and through, and so cometh out of his body; and so the drift of these words must be to shew, that when God begins to avenge himself up­on the wicked man, he will be sure to strike home, he will soon make an end of him: or secondly thus, It is drawn and cometh out of the body, that is, after the wick­ed man is stricken through with it, being drawn it cometh forth out of his body: to which purpose also is the following clause, yea the glistering sword cometh out of his gall, that is, it pierceth through his very entrails; and the meaning is, that with terrible judgements (for that is intended in the glistering of the sword) God would irrecoverably destroy him. Neither can it well be questioned, but that in this expression Zophar did purposely aim at that complaint of Iobs con­cerning Gods dealing with him, chap. 16.13. He cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground. As for the last words, terrours are upon him, thereby is meant, that when God shall thus begin to contend with him, partly by the affrightments of his own guilty conscience, and partly by the seve­rity of Gods proceeding against him, as apprehending that he means to slay him, or that he hath already given him his deaths wound, he shall be even overwhelm­ed with terrours and fears.

Vers. 26. All darknesse shall be hid in his secret places.] There may be severall ex­positions given of these words, and all very probable: as 1. That by his secret pla­ces is meant the places where he hides and stores up his wealth; and so the meaning of these words should be this, that all sort of calamities should be stored up toge­ther with his treasures; as if he should have said, The wicked man shall never enjoy his wealth, because the wrath of God shall rest upon it. 2. That by his se­cret places is meant his heart or soul; and so the meaning of the words to be this, that all kind of dismall fears, and terrours, and despairing thoughts shall fill his heart and possesse his soul, and 3. That by his secret places is meant whatever pla­ces he should goe to, or means he should use to hide or secure himself from dan­ger; and then the meaning of these words is this, All darknesse shall be hid in his secret places, that is, whereever, or by what means soever the wicked man shall seek to hide or secure himself, the darknesse of all kind of terrours and fears shall still goe along with him, yea the darknesse of all kind of grievous calamities shall e­ven there seise upon him. But this last I take to be far the best Exposition.

A fire not blown shall consume him.] That is, say some Expositours, a soft gentle fire, to wit, judgements that shall consume him secretly, by degrees, and as it were without any noise. But rather by a fire not blown is meant a fire not of mans kindling, and that needs not mans blowing, because it will be sure to burn fierce­ly enough without that: Or, sudden unexpected judgements, which come upon [Page 156] men in some strange manner, no man knows how; they are consumed thereby, but no account can be given by whom or by what the fire was kindled. Some understand it of the eternall unquenchable fire of hell, which indeed would agree well with the words; for there needs no bellows to kindle that fire, the breath of the Lord like a stream of brimstone shall kindle it, Isa. 30.33. But it appears not any where else, that Iobs friends do ever speak of any other but temporall judge­ments. Again, others understand it metaphorically, of a burning fire of terrours kindled in the conscience; and others likewise of fire sent immediately from God, such as was that wherewith Sodome and Gomorrha was consumed, and that which burnt up Iobs sheep and servants, chap. 1.16. as we see that Iobs friends are often wont closely to hint unto him the judgements, that had fallen upon him and his. But I conceive it may be understood more generally, either of the wrath of God it self, which is the kindler of all penall fires, or of any grievous judge­ments wherewith God in his wrath doth usually consume wicked men; for any sore calamities sent from God are oft in the Scripture compared to fire, as in E­zek. 20.47. Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree; the flaming flame shall not be quenched, &c. but especially, as is before said, of strange, sudden, and unexpected judgements.

Vers. 27. The heaven shall reveal his iniquity, &c.] That is, judgements coming from heaven upon him shall proclaim him to be a wicked man. And it may be Zophar did hereby intimate the strange fire and wind whereby Iobs cattel and children had been consumed. And the earth shall rise up against him, to wit, as an e­nemy, or as a witnesse, when all earthly things shall be ready to execute Gods ven­geance upon him. Yea and because Iob chap. 16.18, 19. had appealed to heaven and earth for the justifying of himself, O earth cover not thou my bloud, and my wit­nesse is in heaven; therefore in reference thereto it may well be conceived, that Zo­phar here tells him that both heaven and earth should testify against him, and should condemn him.

Vers. 28. The increase of his house shall depart, &c.] That is, both his posterity and estate shall be transmitted into other hands, or they shall suddenly perish and come to nothing, see 2 Kings 20.17: and his goods shall flow away; of which the meaning may be, either that they should be suddenly gone, or that they should wast away by little and little, as some waters do insensibly ebbe and sink by little and little.

Vers. 29. This is the portion of a wicked man from God, &c.] As Bildad before concluded his reply upon Iob, chap. 18.21. Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God; so doth Zophar also here con­clude his, This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God: as it were purposely to imply, that however angry Iob had seemed to be that Bildad should so peremptorily conclude, that such misery was alwaies the portion of wicked men, yet he both did and would maintain the truth of that which Bildad had said. This is the portion of a wicked man from God, &c. that is, this is the messe which God serves in to their table, these are the miseries which be­fall wicked men, and that not by chance, but by the just and unresistable appoint­ment [Page 157] of God; men may blesse them, but God will surely curse them: they may have great inheritances, and oppressing others may divide the spoile amongst themselves; but this is that which God hath allotted them for their portion, and which they shall be at last as sure of, as of their just inheritance.

CHAP. XXI.

Vers. 2. HEar diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.] As if he should have said, You pretend that you came to comfort me; but indeed you have added to my affliction. Well, yet if ye would but now at length give me the hearing with patience and meeknesse, and observe diligently what I shall say, not interrupting and slighting me as you have done, this should be to me instead of your intended consolations, or, I would take it as an evi­dence that you did indeed seriously desire to comfort me. And this he doubt­lesse spake, because Zophar had immediately before interrupted him, and would not suffer him to goe on to speak out his mind: and withall to imply how confi­dent he was of his cause.

Vers. 3. Suffer me that I may speak, &c.] That is, Let it not be burdensome to you to hear me a while; yea though that which I shall say should prove irksome and troublesome to you, yet bear with me, and do but patiently suffer me to speak my mind. And this he might the rather presse, because his friends had often taxed him for speaking too much, as we may see chap. 11.1. and 15.2. And after that I have spoken, mock on; which last words are added, not as giving way that they should mock him in his misery, or deride those words of truth which he should speak; but to imply that he verily hoped, that if they would hear him speak, he might convince them so that they would soon give over mocking (for this his confidence in what he had to say was a good inducement to move his friends to hear him;) or at least, if that could not be, that he was then resolved to bear what he could not help, and as near as he could that he would not be trou­bled with their scoffs.

Vers. 4. As for me, is my complaint to man? &c.] As if he should have said, No, I do not bemoan my self to man, but to God; though I speak to you, yet it is out of a desire to approve my self to God, that God may hear, and that God may help. And if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled? that is, if my complaint were to man, I should then indeed have cause enough to be troubled: God is the sear­cher of the heart, and knows my innocency; men know it not, and therefore passe uncharitable censures upon me: In God there is much mercy and pity; man is mercilesse and cruell: God can help me and ease me of my troubles; man neither can help, nor will comfort me. Some, I know, understand this otherwise, to wit, as if he proved his hope in God by his enduring those insupportable mise­ries that lay upon him, If it were not so, why should not my spirit be troubled? as if he should have said, Had I not hope in God, how could I have sustained my self all this time? Many deaths would have been easier to me then that which I have suffered; and therefore, that I have not been quite overwhelmed before this time, [Page 158] but do still cleave to God, and trust in him, it is surely an argument that I have a greater support to bear up my spirit, then any thing in man could afford: and therefore, since you see that I plead my cause as before God, I beseech you heark­en to me. But the first Exposition agrees best with the words.

Vers. 5. Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth.] This may be understood, as if he had said, Mark me, and you will be astonished, and will lay your hand upon your mouth; or else plainly, as is expressed in the words, by way of counsell, Mark me, and be astonished, &c. Some referre those words Mark me to the miseries he suffered; others to the blamelesnesse of his conversation in for­mer times; others to that which he meant immediately to say concerning the prosperity of many desperate ungodly men: But I conceive it is best to compre­hend them all in those words, Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth; that is, whereas you slight what I suffer, and make nothing of it, do but weigh well the insupportable grievousnesse of my miseries, and withall how inno­cently and uprightly I have formerly lived, and do but then also compare here­with that which I shall now say concerning the prosperity of many atheisticall ungodly wretches, and then even with astonishment admire the wonderfull pro­ceedings of God in his Providence, to wit, that such vile wretches should live in such height of prosperity, and that one that hath lived as I have done should be so sorely plagued as I have been; and be silent, do not run on in judging so rashly as you have done, that all who are thus afflicted must needs be wicked men: for that by laying of the hand upon the mouth is meant a resolution of being silent, and a restraining of our selves from speaking what we are otherwise inclinable to say, is evident in other places, where the same phrase is used, as chap. 29.9. The Princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth; and Pro. 30.32. If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thy self, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.

Vers. 6. Even when I remember, I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.] Some Expositours referre this likewise only to the remembrance of his grievous sufferings, and so conceive that the drift of Iob herein was to imply, that if the re­membrance thereof did so afflict him, it were a signe of too much inhumanity in them, if they could see their friend in so sad a condition, and not be moved with it. But I rather think that it must be referred to all for which he said in the for­mer verse that they might be astonished; Even when I remember I am afraid, &c. that is, when I remember what I shall now tell you, to wit, how it fares many times with those that are most desperately wicked, and withall how I have endeavoured to approve my self to God in all my waies, and what notwithstanding I have now suffered, I am afraid, and my very flesh doth tremble to think of it, nor know I what to say of these hidden waies of Gods proceedings.

Vers. 7. Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea are mighty in power?] Iob propounds this by way of Question, Wherefore do the wicked live? &c. either to im­ply how strange it seemed to him that God should so prosper wicked men, and that he could not conceive wherefore it should be; according to that of the Pro­phet, Ier. 12.1. Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? or else as by way of replying upon that, which [Page 159] his friends had so often objected concerning the judgements of God upon wick­ed men; If God doth so certainly punish all wicked men here in this world, and them only, that I must be judged a wicked man, because the hand of God is so heavy upon me; if when the wicked are in a prosperous condition, it never lasts long, (as Zophar had immediately before said, chap. 20.5. that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment, and vers. 8. that he shall fly away as a dream, &c.) why then, saith Iob, wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea are mighty in power? that is, wherefore is it that many times they live in health and pleasure even to old age, and are usually men of mighty estates, and of greatest dignity and authority in the places where they live?

Vers. 8. Their seed is established in their sight with them, &c.] This is in answer to that which Zophar had said to the contrary, chap. 20.10. His children shall seek to please the poor; and Eliphaz, chap. 15.33. He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.

Vers. 11. They send forth their little ones like a flock, &c.] This may imply their being trained up under guardians and guides, & their unity amongst themselves: and their children dance, to wit, as young cattel, calves, and lambs, and kids are wont in a kind of wantonnesse to skip and leap; whence are those expressions, Psal. 29.6. He maketh them also to skip like a calf, and Psal. 114.4. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

Vers. 13. They spend their daies in wealth, and in a moment goe down to the grave.] That is, they goe away in a trice, they do not lye long in a wearisome languish­ing condition before they die, nor undergoe any of those sore pains and con­flicts in their death which most men suffer; and so as they lived, so they die, with­out any great trouble. It is the same, as many think, with that which the Psalmist saith, Psal. 73.4. there are no bands in their death.

Vers. 14. Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us, &c.] The meaning of this is, that because of their prosperity they despise God; they say unto God, Depart from us, &c. If they say not so much with their mouths, yet the horrible pro­phanenesse of their lives discovers that they think so in their hearts, or is in effect all one as if they thought so, since those that should harbour such thoughts in their hearts could not live more atheistically then they do: which agrees with that of the Apostle, Tit. 1.16. They professe that they know God, but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. And the drift of this is to shew, that even the worst of wicked men do often live in such exceeding great prosperity, as is before described.

Vers. 16. Lo, their good is not in their hand, the counsell of the wicked is farre from me.] The judgement of Expositours is very different concerning the drift of these words. Some take the first clause as spoken ironically, Lo, their good is not in their hand; as if he should have said, By this which I have said concerning the usuall prosperity of ungodly men, you see how unsound that is which you have main­tained, to wit, that their good is not in their hand, but that God doth alwaies strip them of the goods they have unjustly gotten. And then for the second clause, that is added, they say, by way of preventing an objection, to wit, that if wicked [Page 160] men fared so well, then it would be his best course to walk in their waies: that his friends might not object this, he adds, the counsell of the wicked is farre from me; as if he should have said, I would be loth to have their prosperity upon those tearms, I have alwaies abhorred and do still abhorre the thoughts and courses of such prophane men, and far be it ever from me to desire a share in their pomp by trea­ding in their steps. Again, others understand it thus, Lo, their good is not in their hand, that is, it was not their own hand, their own wisedome or industry that got them those goods they enjoy, or raised them to such a prosperous estate, but it was the hand of God that conferred these things upon them: and therefore we see that God doth many times exalt and prosper the worst of men: and then for the next clause, they say that is added, to shew how foolish and wicked a thing therefore it is in such men as he had spoken of, to carry themselves so scornfully and insolently towards God; the counsell of the wicked is far from me, that is, I am there­fore farre from thinking as wicked men do, that ascribe all they have to them­selves, according to that of the Assyrian, Isa. 10.13, 14. By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisedome, for I am prudent, &c, & thereupon carry themselves so impiously towards God, as if they were not beholding to him for any thing they had, nor did expect or look for any favour from him. But then lastly there is another Exposition, that is farre more generally approved, to wit, that this is ad­ded, to discover the folly of wicked men in setting themselves in such defiance a­gainst God, as he had in the foregoing words described, in whose power it is to cast them down from their prosperous estate, even whensoever he pleaseth; Lo, their good is not in their hand, that is, though they carry themselves thus presumptu­ously, it is not in their power to keep what they have gotten, God can easily strip them of all, and cast them down from their lofty condition: and thereupon he inferres the next clause, the counsell of the wicked is farre from me, so farre am I from envying their prosperity, that I would by no means be in their condition; I ne­ver did nor ever shall approve of their waies. And thus these words are as it were a transition to that which follows, concerning Gods punishing of wicked men.

Vers. 17. How oft is the candle of the wicked put out? and how oft cometh their de­struction upon them?] Iob seems clearly in these words to allude to that which Bildad had said, chap. 18.5, 6, The light of the wicked shall be put out, and the light of his fire shall not shine, &c. and again vers. 12. Destruction shall be ready at his side: but yet what his drift in these words was is not so clear. For some conceive this que­stion must be resolved negatively, how oft is the candle of the wicked put out? &c. that is, surely it is not often thus; though sometimes indeed it is thus, yet so far is it from being alwaies thus, that truly it is not often thus; the candle of the wicked is not often put out, nor cometh their destruction often upon them, to wit, from heaven. And thus, they say, Iob confutes what his friends had maintained, concerning the certain destruction of wicked men here in this world, as before by affirming that they lived usually in a most prosperous estate, so here also by denying that they were usually cut off and destroyed, as his friends had again and again affirmed. Again, some resolve it affirmatively, how oft is the candle of the wicked put out? &c. that is, very often doth God put out the candle of the wicked. [Page 161] Having said in the foregoing verse, that it is not in their power to keep them­selves in that prosperous condition which a while they have enjoyed, he makes that good now, by shewing that God doth often eclipse their glory, and destroy them miserably: and so he yields, as farre as truth would permit, to what his friends had affirmed, to wit, that God did often destroy wicked men; though withall he denies that it was continually and ordinarily so. So that Iob doth not here contradict what he had said immediately before, concerning the prosperous estate of wicked men, nor doth he grant that which his friends had maintained: for by shewing that wicked men do sometimes prosper exceedingly, and are at o­ther times grievously punished, he doth sufficiently disprove what they had said, that wicked men are alwaies punished here in this world, and clears it fully, that we cannot judge whether men be wicked or no by their outward condition. And indeed, according to our Translation, I see not how this clause can be otherwise understood, because in the following words he proceeds farther to set forth, how God poures forth his wrath upon wicked men.

God distributeth sorrows in his anger.] That is, he gives unto every wicked man his portion of plagues and sorrows, out of those treasures of wrath, which he hath in store for the ungodly; and so in this Job might have respect to that wherewith Zophar had concluded his last reply, chap. 20.29. This is the portion of a wicked man from God, &c. But withall this word (distributeth) may likewise imply, 1. that God gives them their portion herein proportionably, according to their severall deserts; 2. that often he punisheth them diversly, some by one judgement, and some by another; and 3. that he also punisheth the same persons diversly and at divers times, sometimes one way and sometimes another, partly with temporall punishments here in this world, and partly with the torments of hell in the world to come.

Vers. 18. They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff &c.] That is, they shall be destroyed and come to nothing, be they never so great, and strong, and migh­ty, easily, suddenly, unresistably and irrecoverably; yea and all their great wealth shall be scattered as it were into a thousand hands. But withall we may note, that by comparing the wicked to stubble and chaff, Job implyes likewise how saplesse and fruitlesse they are, as being void of all goodnesse; how light and unstable in all their waies, quickly carried away with any wind of doctrine, and with every blast of Satans or the worlds temptations; and lastly, how base and worthlesse, and how little God esteems of them.

Vers. 19. God layeth up his iniquity for his children; he rewardeth him, and he shall know it.] This last clause, he rewardeth him, and he shall know it, may be under­stood, as the former, of the Lords punishing the wicked man in his children, to wit, that by punishing them he rewardeth the wicked man according to his wick­ednesse: and he shall know it, to wit, because it shall be done in his life-time; for his greater vexation he shall before he dies see the judgements of God fall upon his children, and his conscience shall tell him that it is for his wickednesse that they are punished. Or else it may be meant of the punishments wherewith he shall be punished in his own person, thereby farther to aggravate the misery ap­pointed [Page 162] pointed for the wicked mans portion, he rewardeth him, that is, he doth not only recompence his sin upon his children, as was expressed in the first clause, but also upon himself in his own person; and he shall know it, that is, he shall know that the evil which befalls him is the just vengeance of God upon him.

Vers. 20. His eyes shall see his destruction, &c.] This may be also meant, either of his own personall ruine, or of the joynt-ruine both of him and his, even all that he hath. As for the following clause, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty, the meaning of that is, that God should poure out his wrath with many sore punish­ments in a full measure upon him; and the metaphoricall expression he useth seems to imply, that the pains and terrours thereof should enter into his very bowels, and that he should become as a man that is drunk and mad with the sore calamities that God should bring upon him: yea purposely, I conceive, God is here expressed by this name (Almighty) to imply how grievous and insupporta­ble those plagues must needs be, that were inflicted by the wrath of an Almighty God.

Vers. 21. For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his moneths is cut off in the midst?] This is added, either 1. as an aggravation of the wicked mans misery, when he himself is cut off by the revenging hand of God, especially if it be done in the flower of his age, to wit, that all the pleasure he took in thinking how great and honourable his house and family would be when he is gone, doth then come to nothing; or 2. as a reason why the wicked man shall surely be punished, not only in his children after his death, but also in his own person, as was said in the foregoing verse, to wit, because being dead himself, the misery of his children cannot then trouble him; or else 3. as a reason why God doth destroy the wicked mans children whilst himself yet lives, as was said before vers. 19. to wit, because being once dead, he neither takes any delight in the welfare of his posterity, nor consequently is at all troubled with any miseries that they then suffer; yea because wicked men do not usually take any thought, what shall become of others when they are dead, so it may goe well with them in their own daies, let their posterity after them shift for themselves.

Vers. 22. Shall any teach God knowledge? &c.] They carry themselves as if they meant to teach God wisedome and knowledge, that murmure against any of his proceedings, as when he prospers the wicked or afflicts the righteous, or that pre­scribe God the way of his judgements, to wit, whom, and when, and how he shall punish; which they do that limit God, by maintaining that he cannot punish the righteous or afflict the godly. Of this therefore it is that Job here complains, al­ledging it as a high degree of impudence, that man, who walks so much in the dark, and hath all the knowledge he hath from God, and whose wisedome at the best is mere folly in comparison of Gods unsearchable wisedome, should yet dare to teach God what he should doe: and so he covertly taxeth his friends of this arrogance, in that they did as it were set a law to God, by condemning him for a wicked man because of his grievous calamities, as concluding that God could not in justice either suffer the wicked to goe unpunished, or afflict the righteous. Now the reason that he gives, why it is such arrogance for any man to carry him­self [Page 163] so as if he would teach God knowledge, is in the last words, because God judgeth those that are high, shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high; that is, seeing he is, as Solomon also faith, Eccles. 5.8. higher then the highest, the supreme judge of the whole world, who rules and governs those that are highest amongst men, and that exalt themselves most in their eminency, prin­ces, and kings, and emperours, yea the very angels themselves in heaven. And indeed three things are implyed herein, from whence it may be strongly inferred, that we ought to adore and admire the works of God we understand not, and not to judge them according to the rule of our reason; to wit, 1. that it must needs be a high degree of presumption, to question his wisedome who is so infi­nitely farre above all the creatures; 2. that it cannot be reasonably thought that he should fail in the government of men, who rules and governs those glorious and holy spirits the angels in heaven; and 3. that being the supreme Governour of the world, the King of kings and Lord of lords, yea the Lord of the angels, he must needs be infinite in wisedome, yea the absolute rule of all wisedome and ju­stice, and therefore unquestionable.

Vers. 23. One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet, &c.] To prove the unsearchablenesse of Gods proceedings, and that it is not possible to judge what men are by that which God doth to them here in this world, Job here instanceth how differently God deals with two severall men both in their life and death, and yet how after death they are both alike laid in the grave, and there seems to be there no difference at all. Of the first he saith here, One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet; that is, he lives in a full estate, and in much quiet both of body and spirit, and so he dies also in abundance of all things, when he seemed to be as healthfull and strong as ever, and had as much cause still to de­sire to live as ever: and then again, vers. 24. His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistned with marrow; that is, there is not the least decay in his body, only God is pleased suddenly to take him away by death; or, his milk-pails are full of milk (for so this clause may be read, as we see in the margin of our Bibles) and his bones are moistned with marrow, that is, he hath a full estate and a healthfull body (for if we read it thus, by his milk-pails full of milk must be meant his plenty of all outward riches and pleasures.) Of the other man he saith, vers. 25. And ano­ther dieth in the bitternesse of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure; that is, he lives and dies in great misery, under very bitter and wofull pressures both of mind and body, having scarce ever enjoyed one good hour in his life, or ever eaten one bit of meat with any pleasure or comfort. And then concerning both these joyntly together he concludes, vers. 26. they shall lye down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them; that is, however differently God dealt with them before, yet after death they are both alike laid in the grave; and therein there seems to be no dif­ference, even the rich man that lived so prosperously, and that was formerly clad so richly and gorgeously, shall then have no other covering, but that of dust and worms, as hath also the poor man. This, I take it, is the meaning of these words. But now of what sort of men this instance is to be understood, and to what pur­pose it is alledged, is somewhat more questionable. Some say that Job meant, [Page 164] that one man being a wicked man lives and dies in a prosperous condition, an [...] another being a godly man lives and dies in extreme misery; and will have his drift in this instance, to shew how unsearchable Gods proceedings are, in that God should deal so well with the wicked, and so ill with the righteous. Others hold that the words must be understood of two wicked men; and that the aime therefore of this instance is to shew, that there can be no judging whether men be wicked or no by that which outwardly befalls them, because God deals so differently with wicked men, sometimes blessing them, and sometimes punish­ing them. But I rather think, with others, that it is meant of any two men, equally good or bad; and that hereby he sheweth Gods absolute Sovereignty is in dispo­sing of men as he pleaseth, and how unsearchable his proceedings are, in that two men, one whereof deserves no more good nor ill then the other, should be so differently dealt with both in life and death, and yet after death both should be alike laid in the grave.

Vers. 27. Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which you wrongfully ima­gine against me.] That is, I know the injurious thoughts and imaginations which you harbour in your hearts concerning me, to wit, that in all that you have said concerning the destruction of wicked men, you have still aimed at me & my chil­dren, though you have not named us; and that you peremptorily conclude within your selves, that I am a wicked man, because the hand of God is so heavy upon me.

Vers. 28. For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? &c.] Some understand this of Iobs eldest son, whose house it was that was blown down upon him, his bre­thren and sisters, chap. 1.18, 19. and that Iob chargeth his friends, that in relation hereto they did in their thoughts thus insult over him, where is the house of the prince? that is, what is now become of the house of that young gallant, your son and heir? Did not that exemplary judgement plainly discover the wrath of God against you and yours? But I rather think it is meant of Iob himself: where is the house of the prince? that is, what is now become of the house of Job, that mighty man of estate, that lived formerly like a prince? As if they should have said, You see that after all the pomp wherein he hath lived, God hath at last utterly over­thrown his house and family, and so hath justly given him the reward of his wick­ednesse. And then for the following clause, and where are the dwelling-places of the wicked? either it is meant of Iobs children, as if he had said, Hath not God de­stroyed both him, and his wicked brood too, his children? or else of all wicked men in generall, and is added to the former clause, to imply that this which had befallen Iob, was indeed the constant portion of all wicked men.

Vers. 29. Have ye not asked them that goe by the way? and do ye not know their to­kens?] Some think that from the foregoing verse unto the end of the 33. verse, Iob goes still on in setting out the injurious thoughts which his friends had con­cerning him; and accordingly therefore they understand these words as the thoughts of Jobs friends, arguing as it were with others concerning him, Have ye not asked them that goe by the way? &c. that is, It is certainly notorious to every one that goes by the way, and if such were enquired of, they would readily an­swer, that the things which have befallen Job are the just vengeance of God upon [Page 165] him for his wickednesse: nor can it be denied, these things being the clear marks and tokens of Gods wrath. But I rather take these words, with that which follows, to be Jobs answer to those injurious thoughts concerning him, wherewith he had charged his friends in the foregoing verse; Have ye not asked them that goe by the way? &c. By them that goe by the way may be meant travellers, and then the drift of the words must be all one in effect as if he had said, You, my friends, insult o­ver me, as a wicked hypocrite, because of the ruine of my house and family; but if you would ask those that by travelling through many places and countries have the more experience and knowledge, they would readily tell you, to wit, that which I have hitherto maintained, that the righteous are often afflicted, and the wicked are often in a prosperous estate, or (as follows in the next verse) that the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction, &c. Or, by them that goe by the way, may be meant the ordinary common sort of people, (as before Judg. 5.10. of which see the Note there) as if he had said, Do but ask any of the common sort of peo­ple that goe up and down by the way, any that you shall first meet with, not any one of them but will tell you this which I now maintain, and will be able to make it good out of their own observation: to which purpose is that which follows, and do ye not know their tokens? for by their tokens is meant the proofs and exam­ples which they could alledge to prove the truth of this, to wit, that the righte­ous do often suffer many grievous pressures, and that the wicked live oft in great pomp and prosperity: and that expression it seems Job purposely useth, as allu­ding to the marks and tokens which men are wont to observe as they travell, that they may be sure to goe in the right way, thereby to imply that such men could as readily alledge convincing evidences hereof, as they could tell the marks of waies that lead to such or such a place; do ye not know their tokens? that is, can ye de­ny, or, can ye be ignorant of those things which every man can alledge, to prove that which I say concerning the prosperity of wicked men? &c. I know some under­stand these words otherwise, and do ye not know their tokens? that is, do ye not understand that their present prosperity, riches and honours, are sure tokens that there is wrath that abides them hereafter? But I prefer the former Exposition.

Vers. 30. That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction, &c.] This is that which Iob saith they might learn of them that goe by the way, to wit, that wicked men are many times not punished, but even when judgements fall upon others they escape, as being reserved to the day of destruction, that shall yet at last come upon them.

Vers. 31. Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done?] Some Expositours understand these words as spoken of God, Who shall declare the way of God to his face? &c. Because concerning that which was said in the foregoing verse, that the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction, &c. some might argue in their minds, why this should be so, as judging it a strange thing in the way of Gods proceedings, that God should so long spare wicked men, and let them flourish and prosper, when he meant to destroy them at last, and why he should not rather cut them off immediately without any such delaies; therefore by way of preventing these secret cavils that might arise in mens minds, these words are added, who shall declare his way to his face? that is, when God deals [Page 166] thus with wicked men, forbearing them for a while, who shall challenge God for this, and boldly argue the matter with him, demanding a reason of him why he doth so? who shall repay him what he hath done? that is, who shall retort that up­on God which he hath done? or, who shall reply upon him for this? where is the man that dares be so bold as to doe this? And thus they would make these words to be parallel with those other passages, chap. 9.12. Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who shall say to him, what doest thou? and chap. 23.13. But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? what his soul desireth, even that he doth: and vers. 22 of this chapter, Shall any teach God knowledge, seeing he judgeth those that are high? Thus, I say, some understand these words of God. But questionlesse they are ra­ther spoken of the wicked man; who shall declare his way to his face? As if he should have said, So farre a while doth the wicked man seem to be from bearing the just reward of his wickednesse, that no man dares declare his way to his face, that is, no man dares to his face tell him of his faults, or no man dares shew him whe­ther his wicked courses will at length bring him; and much lesse dares any man appear as a witnesse to accuse him, or as a judge to condemn him, and so to repay him what he hath done, that is, punish him for his wickednesse.

Vers. 32. Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and remain in the tomb.] I find the opinion of Expositours very different concerning the dependance of these words upon that which went before. They that take these words to be a part of those injurious thoughts, which Iob tells his friends they harboured in their hearts concerning him (as is noted before vers. 29.) understand them as inferred upon the foregoing verse, thus, Though no man dares meddle with him, yet God shall bring down his pride by his judgements, and so shall lay him in the grave; and then they say these words, and remain in the tomb, are added, to imply that then he is quite cut off from ever returning to that pomp & plenty wherein he had for­merly lived in the world. But now they that take these words to be spoken by Job as in his own person, understand them otherwise, even as a farther declarati­on of the wicked mans prosperous condition, to wit, that though he exalts himself so in his pride, that no man dares tell him of any thing he doth amisse, or though he be above the reach of man to controll or punish him, (as was said in the fore­going verse;) yet doth not God take him in hand, but he shall be brought to the grave, that is, dying not a violent, but a naturall death, he shall be carried to his grave with great magnificence, pomp and state, and so shall have an honourable and solemn buriall, and shall remain in the tomb, to wit, free from all fear of any the miseries which here in this world others undergoe. This last clause, and shall re­main in the tomb, is translated by some according to the strict letter of the origi­nall Hebrew, which is put into the margin of our Bibles, and shall watch in the heap. And if we should so read it, we must know that this expression might be used, in reference either to the dead bodies of great men, which being set upright in vaults, and being so embalmed and spiced that they were kept from putrifaction, as it was the custome in those times, seemed as it were to be living men, and look­ed as if they stood to keep continuall watch in that place; or else to those statues and Representations of the dead, which were placed upon their tombs, or set up [Page 167] in presses near to their tombs, (as we see the use is also in our times) which being as farre as art could reach made to the life, had also the appearance of watchmen, that were set to watch in those heaps.

Vers. 33. The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, &c.] They that take these words still to be a part of the injurious thoughts of Iobs friends against him, do accordingly understand them thus, That the wrath of God should lye so heavy up­on him, that death should be most welcome to him, or that he should then be glad to lye in a slimy pit, to wit, the grave, that was formerly scarce content with a princely palace: and the reason why he expresseth the grave by these words, the clods of the valley, is because their burying-places in those times were usually in the lowest dales and valleys. But I rather conceive that these words are still a conti­nuation of Jobs reply to the injurious thoughts of his friends; and then this phrase, the clods of the valley are sweet to him, do only imply, either his continuance for ever there, (for it is an argument that we take much sweet delight and con­tent in a place, when we stay long in it) or else that there he sleeps quietly and sweetly, as it were, free from all cares and feares, and from all danger of worldly troubles and sorrows. And as for the following words, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him, they are added to imply, that his death cannot be reckoned as an effect of Gods wrath upon him, since herein he goes the way of all flesh; all men living, the righteous as well as the wicked, either have gone, or shall goe this way. And this expression, And every man shall draw after him, is grounded upon this truth, that every man living doth every moment, as his life wasteth away, draw nearer and nearer to the grave. We use to say of men lying at the point of death, that they are drawing on; but it is true also of all that live, that they are still drawing on to their end, and hasting to the grave, there to overtake that innumerable multitude that is gone before them.

Vers. 34. How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?] That is, what a vain thing is it in you, to think to comfort me, by tel­ling me that if I will repent me of my wickednesse, God will certainly restore me to a prosperous condition, since, as you see, that which you have maintained con­cerning the misery of wicked men, and the flourishing estate of the righteous, is apparently false, and all your arguing is grounded upon errours and mistakes, both concerning God and concerning me. The same errours and falsehoods which Jobs friends had maintained in their first dispute with him, the same they had again maintained in the second; though they multiplyed answers, yet they mended them not: and therefore it is that he said, that in their answers there re­mained falsehood.

CHAP. XXII.

Vers. 1. THen Eliphaz the Temanite answered.] Thus taking his turn to speak, this was his third, and indeed his last Reply upon Job.

Vers. 2. Can a man be profitable to God, as he that is wise may be profi­table unto himself?] Some understand this of profiting God by way of teaching [Page 168] him. Because Iob had said (and his friends took it as spoken in a way of complai­ning) that wicked men did often live pleasantly, and die peaceably, and were bu­ried gloriously, whereas the righteous were usually in a very distressed conditi­on; therefore to this Eliphaz (say they) replies, Can a man be profitable to God? &c. that is, Can you help God, by teaching him how he should better order things in the government of the world? A man by his wisedome may direct himself in his affairs; but can he profit God by directing him? No surely. But Job himself had immediately before condemned this boldnesse, chap. 21.22. Shall any (saith he there) teach God knowledge? and besides, it seems clear, I conceive, by the fol­lowing words, that it is meant of mans profiting God by his righteousnesse; to wit, that though a man be never so righteous, his righteousnesse can bring no ad­vantage to God. And this he alledgeth in the beginning of his reply, either to in­timate that Iob did not well, to carry himself so as if God were obliged to him for his righteousnesse, as if he thought there was reason that if he had offended God in some particulars, yet God should passe by that, and not punish him for it, and that because in other things he had deserved better at Gods hands, then that he should so afflict him as he did; or else to imply, that if it should be granted that he were righteous, yet it was a vain thing to boast of his righteousnesse before God, since God could no way reap any benefit thereby: yea in the last clause, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself, Eliphaz seems to upbraid Job, that his righteousnesse was neither profitable to God, nor to himself neither, because it secured him not from the judgements of God; meaning hereby, that he was doubtlesse an hypocrite, and not righteous indeed.

Vers. 3. Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous? &c.] As if he had said, It is no pleasure to him that thou art righteous, to wit, in regard of himself, or of adding any thing to his happinesse. As for the following clause, or is it gain to him that thou makest thy waies perfect? some by making his waies perfect under­stand, his pretending or pleading that his waies were perfect, and so make the meaning to be, that this was so farre from being an advantage to God, that it was indeed a great dishonour to him, because it did plainly charge God with injustice, for laying his hand so severely upon a righteous innocent man: but I conceive that thereby is only meant his walking in an upright and perfect way, and so the second clause to be fully the same in effect with the first.

Vers. 4. Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgement?] That is, God doth not reprove thee, to prevent thee that thou shouldest not first reprove him; Or, God doth not so severely contend with thee and punish thee, because he is afraid of thee, as tyrants are wont to crush those whom they fear, as we see in Pharaoh, and Herod, and many others: as if he had said, As thy good­nesse cannot profit God, so neither can thy wickednesse hurt him; and therefore it is in a way of justice to punish thee for thy wickednesse, that God proceeds thus against thee, and not for fear of thee, to wit, least if he should let thee alone, thou shouldest become either so over-good that he could not reward thee or so over-great that he could not punish thee. And it is like that Eliphaz doth the ra­ther use this expression, because Job had formerly said, that by the afflictions [Page 169] he had brought upon him, God did as it were set a watch over him, chap. 7.11.

Vers. 6. For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, &c.] Though the words in this and the following verses seem expressely to charge Job with the particular gross enormities therein mentioned, yet doubtlesse the meaning of Eli­phaz was only to conclude, that in some such way as these here mentioned, he had provoked God, or else he would never have laid such unusuall calamities upon him. It is therefore as if he had said, Bethink thy self, Job; for of these wicked­nesses that I shall now mention, or of some such like, thou art certainly guilty: thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought. And here by taking a pledge from ones brother, may be meant the taking a pledge from a poor neighbour, yea it may be from ones nearest allies: yea by saying thou hast taken a pledge, he might imply that he had not only received such a pledge, as his brother did of his own accord tender to him, but had also gone into his house, and had taken there what he pleased, it may be by force; which is an over-rigorous proceeding with one that is in streights, even by the light of Nature, and was therefore forbidden by the law of Moses, Deut. 24.10, 11. for which see the Note there. And then by taking a pledge for nought, is meant the taking of a pledge without any just cause: which may be done, either when men take a pledge notwithstanding they are o­therwise sufficiently secured for that they lend; or 2. when they will not restore the pledge, more worth then the debt, though the debt be paid, to wit, because they charge them that pawned the pledge with more then indeed they owe them, or alledge that the pledge is forfeited, the money not being brought in time, or some such like pretence, which the prophet calls withholding the pledge, Ezek. 18.16; or 3. when men take a pledge from such poor wretches whom in charity they ought freely to relieve. And to the same purpose is the following clause, and stripped the naked of their clothing: which they may be said to doe, that do not give raiment to those that want it, but especially they that 1. make men na­ked by taking their cloths from them, according to that expression, Hos. 2.3. lest I strip thee naked; or 2. that are so greedy of a pledge, or so griping in any other way of oppression, that they take away the garments of those that have scarce a coat to put upon their backs; for such in the Scripture are termed na­ked, 1 Cor. 4.11. even to this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and Jam. 2.15. If a brother or sister be naked, &c. And this was also forbidden in Moses's law; see the Note, Exod. 22.26. yea under this one particular, of strip­ping the naked of their clothing, the taking away of all other necessaries from the poor may be comprehended; for by clothing in the Scripture is sometimes meant all necessaries usefull for the poor, as we see Isai. 3.6. Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler.

Vers. 7. Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.] That is, thou hast not relieved the poor in their wants: yet herein lyes the chief emphasis of this charge, that he had not given them so much as a draught of water, or a bit or crust of bread.

Vers. 8. But as for the mighty man, he had the earth, and the honourable man he dwelt in it.] The meaning is, either that Job gave to the mighty and honoura­ble [Page 170] the land which he had unjustly taken from the poor; though he despised the poor, yet great and mighty men might have any thing of him; or that when the poor and the mighty man came before him in judgement, meerly in favour to the mighty and honourable man, he passed sentence for him, and so he unjustly car­ried away the poor mans estate. Yet some understand these words as spoken of Job in a third person, as in a way of scorn, But as for the mighty man he had the earth; as if he should have said, Great Job by his might and power had all under his command, and got all the country about him into his possession, and yet not­withstanding he could spare nothing to the poor, but did rather make use of his power to oppresse them.

Vers. 9. Thou hast sent widows away empty, &c.] This also may comprehend many severall waies of hard dealing with widows: as 1. that he unjustly seised up­on their estates, and so turned them away empty; or 2. that when they came to him for aid against their oppressours, he did not right, but sent them away with hearts void of comfort, and disappointed of their hope; or 3. that when poverty made them seek relief from him, he turned them off with neglect and hard lan­guage, and would give them no succour. And to the same purpose is the follow­ing clause, and the arms of the fatherlesse have been broken: for thereby is meant his oppression of the fatherlesse, to wit, by bereaving them of the means they had for a livelyhood, or by crushing those that were likely to defend and support them, or any other way; or at least his suffering them to be oppressed by others.

Vers. 10. Therefore snares are round about thee, &c.] Thus Eliphaz applies that to Job, which Bildad had said concerning wicked men in generall, chap. 18.8, 9, 10, 11: concerning which see the Notes there.

Vers. 11. Or darknesse, that thou canst not see, &c.] Some understand this thus, that besides his outward plagues, God had stricken him for his sins with such blindnesse and confusion of mind, that he understood not either why these judge­ments were come upon him, or what to doe that he might be freed from them: and accordingly they also understand the following clause, and abundance of wa­ters cover thee, to wit, that he was in these calamities as a man under water, so ama­zed and stupified, that he knew not which way to turn himself. But it may as well be meant of the darknesse of his outward calamities, so perplexing him, that he could not see which way to goe to help himself; according to a like expressi­on, chap. 19.8. concerning which see the Note there. And so also the last clause may be understood, to wit, that he was overwhelmed with a multitude of grie­vous miseries, that like waters came rushing in upon him with unresistable vio­lence.

Vers. 12. Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars how high they are, &c.] Expositours do very much differ in their judgements, concer­ning the dependence of this and the following verses upon that which went be­fore: for though all agree in this, that in the following verses, And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud? &c. Eliphaz chargeth Job with nourishing impious and atheisticall thoughts in his heart concerning God, to wit, that God doth not know, or doth not mind what is done by men here up­on [Page 171] the earth, and that his ground of charging Job thus was, because he had main­tained that wicked men do usually live and die in a prosperous condition, and godly men on the other side do as usually endure all kind of misery and sorrow; yet concerning these words that are prefixed in this 12 verse, the judgement of Expositours is, I say, very different. Some take these words to be a part of that mimeticall expression, wherein Eliphaz would set forth the impious thoughts of Job concerning God, Is not God in the height of heaven? &c. as if he should have said, You, Job, think with your self, Alas, God dwells above the stars in the high­est heavens, and we see how exceeding high the stars are, and therefore doubtlesse God doth not govern the world here below. But it being so clear, that Eliphaz doth not begin to set forth the impious thoughts of Job concerning God, till the following verse, as is clear by the words, And thou sayest, How doth God know? &c. I cannot see how this verse can be made a part thereof. First therefore, some con­ceive that these words are alledged by Eliphaz, as the ground of those impious thoughts concerning God, wherewith he chargeth Iob in the following verse, Is not God in the height of heaven? &c. as if he should have said, It is true that God dwells above in the highest heavens, and we see indeed that the stars are of a migh­ty height, and hereupon now thou sayest in thine heart, How doth God know? &c. 2. Others hold, that in these words Eliphaz seeks to imply how incomprehensi­ble God is, thereby covertly reproving Iob for his rashnesse in judging of Gods works, Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are; as if he had said, If the stars be so high, that we cannot see how many, or of what bignesse they are, how can we then comprehend the wisedome, power and justice of God, who is above the stars, even higher then the highest heavens? But instead of inferring this from Gods being on high, you, Iob, inferre athei­sticall conclusions concerning God; thou sayest, How doth God know? &c. 3. Others take these words to be prefixed as an expression of the omniscience of God, Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are: as if he had said, God is infinite, and from the throne of his majesty in the highest heavens he seeth and governeth all things that are here below: if the stars that are so high do from thence shine upon us, is it not easie thence to conclude that God from on high doth behold all things that are done upon the earth? and that hereupon, in the following verse, he upbraids Iob with the impiety of his thoughts, And thou sayest, How doth God know? &c. and 4. Others say, that Eliphaz, having in the foregoing verses charged Iob with many grievous sins, adviseth him here to remember that there was a most high God, before whom he must expect to give an account for these things that he had done; and in expressing this he mentions the height of the heavens, above which God sits in the throne of his ma­jesty and glory; because, though God may be seen in every creature that is here below, yet the height and glory of the heavens must needs above other things strike men with an apprehension of Gods transcendent majesty. And then, in the following verses, they say that Eliphaz shews, how instead of being awed thus with the consideration of Gods dwelling on high, he took occasion from thence to conclude, that surely God did neither see nor regard what was done upon the [Page 172] earth, And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?

Vers. 14. Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not, and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.] This phrase of Gods walking in the circuit of heaven is used to imply, either that God there delights himself in the glorious works which his own hands have there made, (as when a man walks about in his grounds and gar­dens, or as when a prince walks about in some goodly pallace that he hath built) and so minds not those things that are done below; or that he is taken up with the care of governing and ordering the heavens, (as when a man walks about in his own possessions, or in some other place whereof he hath the charge, to search and see what is fit to be done) and so being busied in those things, he cannot mind these things that are beneath: for the mention that is made here of the cir­cuit of heaven seems purposely to imply, that in so vast a circuit as that of the hea­vens God had enough to doe, though he troubled not himself with those things that are done here in this world.

Vers. 15. Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?] By the old way which wicked men have trodden is meant, either the miserable end which of old, even from the first, hath ever at last befallen wicked men, (as death is called the way of all the earth, Iosh. 23.14.) the course which God hath at last taken with them; or else the way of profanenesse, wherein wicked men have of old in all a­ges walked, to wit, that not minding God they have taken liberty to doe what they list themselves, as if God regarded not what men doe here below: yea par­ticularly it may be meant of the way of the old world, whom God destroyed, as will be more evident in the following verse. And then by asking whether he had marked the old way which wicked men have trodden, he demanded whether observing their waies, he had not taken notice, that the wrath of God hath alwaies at last fallen upon them.

Vers. 16. Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a floud.] If we understand this, (as most probably we may) of the destruction of the old world, there is nothing difficult in it; for we know that their foundation, that is, the earth whereon they lived, was overflown with a floud of waters. But it may also be meant of wicked men in generall, to wit, that in all Ages they have been cut down out of time, that is, suddenly, even in an instant; or by an untimely death, namely, when by the ordinary course of nature they might have lived lon­ger; or, before they could accomplish their hopes and aimes. And then for the second clause, whose foundation was overflown with a floud, the meaning may be▪ that the wrath or judgements of God coming upon them with sudden and unre­sistable violence, as an overflowing floud, did utterly wash and sweep away their foundation, that is, those riches and honours which they had already attained, and which they had laid as a foundation or ground-work of a greater eminency which they aimed at; or, it carried away them and all that they had, even to the very foundation, all their children, their riches, their friends, their plots and designes, whatever was the support of their lives and estates, or whereon they rested, as their foundation and refuge.

Vers. 17. Which said unto God, Depart from us.] Thus in a way of derision he re­peats [Page 173] the very words of Iob, chap. 21.14. (of which see the Note there) but in a contrary sense; as if he had said, These whose foundation is overflown with a floud, are those that said unto God, Depart from us, and not those that God prospers, as you affirmed.

Vers. 18. Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsell of the wicked is farre from me.] That is, as some say, yet thou affirmest, that in stead of overflow­ing their foundation with a floud, God filled their houses with good things, and withall boastest, that notwithstanding the counsell of the wicked is farre from thee. Thus, I say, some Expositours take these words to be only a scornfull re­hearsall of what Iob had said. But I rather think that Eliphaz here expresseth his own thoughts; and that the first clause, yet he filled their houses with good things, is added, either as only to yield that a while God did greatly prosper those whom yet afterwards he destroyed, or rather as an aggravation of their wickednesse, both in that they could so unthankfully despise God, who had given them out­ward blessings in so great abundance, and in that they could so boldly deny the Providence of God, and slight him, as if he could doe nothing for them, when God had with so open a hand conferred many good things upon them. And then for the following clause, but the counsell of the wicked is farre from me, therein he doth again indeed reply upon Iob in a way of scorn, with the very same words which Iob before had used, chap. 21.18. (concerning which see the Note there) to wit, either as upbraiding him for saying that the counsell of the wicked was farre from him, when his thoughts of God were the same with theirs, namely, that God minded not what was done here in this world (which Eliphaz charged him with, because he held that God prospered the wicked, and afflicted the righteous) and withall he was now a sharer with them in their plagues; or else to intimate, that he had better cause to say, that the counsell of the wicked was farre from him, then Iob had; he might say it cordially, because he held that utter ruine would be their end, but Iob, though he professed so with his mouth, could not think so in his heart, holding that they lived in greater prosperity then the godly did.

Vers. 19. The righteous see it, and are glad, &c.] That is, They evidently see that at last accomplished in the destruction of wicked men, which they long ex­pected, and rejoyce in it. For though it be unlawfull to rejoyce simply in the de­struction of the worst of men, especially if that joy ariseth from a private grudge and desire of revenge, or from any secret hope that men may have of any advan­tage that will thereby redound to themselves, according to that Prov. 24.17. Re­joyce not when thine enemy falleth, &c. yet certainly it is not only lawfull, but com­mendable to rejoyce and triumph at the destruction of wicked men, out of zeal for the glory of God, because thereby his power, justice, truth, and holinesse is manifested, and his tender care over his servants, in taking their part against their wicked adversaries; and with respect to the peace and welfare which may re­dound to the people of God by their destruction.

And the innocent laugh them to scorn.] That is, They look upon them as such, who justly deserve to be laughed to scorn, to wit, because their waies have been [Page 174] so foolish and ridiculous, and because they are taken, through the over-ruling providence of God, in their own craft, and are quite disappointed of their de­signs and hopes.

Vers. 20. Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire con­sumeth.] That is, Whereas the estates of the righteous, which are gotten in a just way, are not ruined (for they are the righteous with whom Eliphaz here joins himself and his friends) Or, more generally, whilst our life, and that where­by our life is maintained, and by which we and our families do subsist, is not cut down, the fire of Gods wrath utterly consumes the wicked, even all that is left of their families and estates, so that there is no remnant nor memoriall left of them, as it was in the destruction of Sodom and her neighbouring cities, whereto it is very probable that Eliphaz might in these words have speciall respect. And in­deed with the like phrase the prophet Isaiah expresseth the utter destruction of Babylon, Isa. 14.22. I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, &c. Now this Eliphaz inserts here, either as a reason why the righteous rejoyce and triumph when the wicked are destroyed, as he had said in the foregoing verse, to wit, because God therein puts a difference betwixt the wicked and them; or else, as an introduction to the following exhortation, wherein he perswades Job to repent and turn unto God, whereas God spares the righteous, and the fire of his wrath consumes the wicked, Acquaint now thy self with him, &c.

Vers. 21. Acquaint now thy self with him, &c.] That is, whereas thou hast despi­sed God, and estranged thy self from him, and lived as if thou hadst nothing to doe with him; now addresse thy self to know him and his will distinctly, to seek his favour, to walk with him, to be much in enjoying a holy communion with him in meditation, prayer, and other holy duties, to serve him as a master or father, and so to conform thy will to his in all things whatsoever. As for the following words, either they are added as a part of the advice which he gives Job, and be at peace, that is, pacifie thy troubled mind, and do not murmure against God as thou hast done, but labour to make thy peace with him; or else as a promise, Ac­quaint now thy self with him, and be at peace, that is, then God will be at peace with thee, and thou shalt live in all prosperity.

Vers. 22. Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.] See the Note, Deut. 6.6. Some would gather from hence, that God had given his Law to Moses a little before this was written. But there is no sure ground here for this inference; for by the Law may be meant any divine decla­ration of Gods word and will, by what means soever it was done: It is therefore all one as if he had said, As we would not have thee run on in a way that is not good, trusting to thine own wisedome; so neither do we desire that thou shoul­dest depend upon our judgement, but that thou shouldest follow the counsell that God himself hath given us.

Vers. 23. If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, &c.] That is, God will every day more and more make up all the breaches in thy estate, thy glory, thy body, and thy children, till he hath raised thee to a great height of prosperi­ty: [Page 175] see the Note, Exod. 1.21. As for the following clause, thou shalt put away ini­quity farre from thy tabernacle, that is inserted as a conditionall clause, to wit, that the truth of his repentance must be manifested, by his abandoning all his former evil waies, and not suffering any wickednesse in any of his family (where­in he doth also covertly tax Job, that not only he himself, but his children also and family had lived lewdly and wickedly; whence it was that both his children and servants were so strangely destroyed:) Or else, it is added as a farther branch of the promises here made to Job, upon condition of his repentance, to wit, that he should forsake all his former sins, and reform his family (and indeed when men sincerely humble themselves before God, and turn to him, he is wont thus by way of a blessing to carry on the work of grace in such men;) and withall that he should remove farre from him all those plagues and punishments which hitherto had lain upon them. For by iniquity in the Scripture is usually meant the punishment of iniquity: see the Note, Gen. 4.7.

Vers. 24. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, &c.] That is, in mighty abundance. It may indeed also be read, as it is in the margin, Then shalt thou lay up gold on the dust, and so the meaning may be, that he should have gold in such abundance, that he should make no reckoning of it, it should be piled up or shovel'd up in heaps on the ground, or it should lye thrown up and down on the ground as if it were nothing worth; yea, say some, he should have such an infinite plenty of gold, that he should build his house, yea the very foundations of his house with gold in stead of stone, (an hyperbolicall expression) or at least that he should make his pavements with gold.

Vers. 25. Yea the Almighty shall be thy defence, &c.] That is, he shall protect thee and thy estate; his providence shall once again be as a hedge about thee. This also may be otherwise read, as in the margin, yea the Almighty shall be thy gold, that is, thou shalt have that which is better and more precious then the most precious gold; Gods love and favour shall be to thee in stead of gold, and shall make thee richer and happier then all the gold and silver in the world can make thee And then for the following clause, And thou shalt have plenty of silver, that is in the originall, and thou shalt have silver of strength; but the meaning is only this, that he should have store of silver, and that it should be a strength to him.

Vers. 26. For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, &c.] This word (for) may be taken with reference to the foregoing promises made to Job concer­ning temporall blessings; and then the drift of these words is all one as if he had said, Surely God will not withhold from thee these outward blessings, seeing he intends to give thee that which is infinitely better, even delight in himself. But I rather think that this is added as a farther encouragement to win him to that du­ty of repenting and returning to the Almighty, to which he had before advised him, namely, that whereas now he was continually vexed with inward troubles of mind, then he should have sweet delight in the Almighty; to wit, in the assurance of his love and favour, whereof all the outward blessings he should bestow upon him should be comfortable pledges, and so likewise in walking with him, & in do­ing him service. As for the following words, and shalt lift up thy face unto God, see the Note on chap. 11.15.

[Page 176]Vers. 27. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.] This last clause, and thou shalt pay thy vows, may be added to imply, 1. that Gods hearing his prayers should be manifested, by his doing that for him which he had begged of God, and thereby giving him occasion to pay the vows that he made when he put up his prayers: 2. that he should have continuall cause of rejoycing and praising God: 3. that God should blesse him so that he should be able to pay his vows: and it may be also 4. that it should be of Gods grace that he should be willing to pay his vows, when God had satisfied his desires.

Vers. 28. Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee, &c.] That is, Thou shalt but say the word, and it shall be done; what thou shalt de­termine to doe, through Gods blessing thou shalt accomplish; or, what thou shalt determine to desire of God, resolving through faith that it will be done, it shall be made good to thee according to thy faith: (which may seem the more probable, because in the foregoing words he had spoken of Gods readinesse to hear his prayer.) And then for the following clause, and the light shall shine upon thy waies, the meaning of that must be, that by the counsell of Gods spirit, and by the blessing of Gods providence, he should be directed and prosper'd in all his undertakings, and should take great delight and contentment in what he did or had done. And very likely it is, that Eliphaz opposed this to that complaint of Jobs, chap. 19.8. He hath fenced up my way that I cannot passe, and he hath set darknesse in my paths.

Vers. 29. When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up, &c.] This some Expositours understand thus; when men are cast down or destroyed by the judgements of God, then thou shalt say, there is, or there was a lifting up of the spirit, a proud heart that was the cause of this destruction, according to that of Solomon, Prov. 16.18. Pride goeth before destruction. Others again understand it thus; When men are overthrown with Gods judgements, yet thou shalt be pre­served or lifted up, or thou shalt say, Yet I am lifted up; behold, God hath spa­red me in this common destruction, and in stead of casting me down, he hath ex­alted and lifted me up: Or, thou shalt comfort thy self with assurance, that God will again lift thee up. Again, others give this sense of the words; When men are humbled under the mighty hand of God, and cast down with grief and sorrow for their sins, then thou shalt assure them that God will raise them up again? Last of all, others give this as the meaning of the words; When men are cast down un­der grievous calamities, as now thou art, thou shalt from thine own experience assure them, that if they repent and turn to the Lord, he will lift them up again; yea and, in the confidence hereof, thou shalt pray unto God that he would raise them up from their low condition: and hereto agrees the following clause, and he shall save the humble person, that is, God, moved with thy prayer, shall save the man that is brought to so low and poor a condition, or the man that is humbled under his miseries.

Vers. 30. He shall deliver the island of the innocent, &c.] That is, God will remove his judgements from a whole country, for the sake of a few righteous ones that [Page 177] are in it: which Eliphaz in the next words applyes to Job, and it is delivered by the purenesse of thy hands; that is, if thou purgest thy self from thy sins by repentance, so shall it be with thee, thou shalt deliver the whole country where thou livest from calamities that otherwise would come upon it, because God will spare it for thy sake; Or, by the purenesse of thy hands lifted up in prayer unto God, it shall be delivered. And indeed God doth often spare whole kingdomes for his poor servants sake: but yet Eliphaz was deceived, if he intended to say that it is alwaies thus, as is evident by that which God saith concerning the land of Israel, Ezek. 14.14. (where there seems to be an allusion to this very place) Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Iob, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls.

CHAP. XXIII.

Vers. 2. EVen to day is my complaint bitter, &c.] That is, still and still I do and must complain bitterly: and no wonder, my stroke is heavier then my groaning, that which I suffer exceeds my complaint; concerning which see the Note, chap. 6.2. And thus doth Job covertly imply, that hitherto neither Eliphaz that replyed last upon him, nor any of the rest, had spoken any thing that did in the least satisfie his mind, or allay his sorrow, but rather they had much imbittered his spirit. And therefore indeed, if we mark it, in this Reply of Jobs he doth not vouchsafe, as it were, to speak any more to his friends, as con­cluding there was no hope of convincing them, but addresseth himself either to speak to God, or to bemoan himself to himself.

Vers. 3. O that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!] That is, the seat of God. For, either because he had heard Eliphaz lay such foul things to his charge, as he had done in the former chapter, after all that he had formerly said to clear himself, therefore he now again wisheth that he might plead his cause before God, before him who knew what he suffered, and would compassionate him because of his sufferings; or else, because Eliphaz had advi­sed him, to acquaint himself with the Almighty, and to make his peace with him, telling him what great things God would doe for him, if he would thus repent and turn to him, therefore he professeth here how glad he would be that he might appear before God, as knowing that he should find God at peace with him, whate­ver they thought, & should be able to justify himself against them before his tri­bunall. O that I knew where I might find him! &c. He speaks here of God after the manner of earthly princes & judges, who sit in judgement sometimes in one place and sometimes in another; and the drift of his words is only to shew, that were it a thing to be hoped, that God would appear in a visible manner, and so he might plead his cause before God, as men do before an earthly magistrate, he could be very glad of it, and would willingly present himself before his Judge­ment-seat, to answer for himself, against the false accusations of his friends. So that this is no more then what he had often wished before, as chap. 9.34, 35. chap, 16.21. and 17.3. concerning which see the No [...]es there.

[Page 178]Vers. 5. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.] That is, Being confident of the justice of my cause, and therefore not fearing any thing; having in order opened the cause before God, which hath been pleaded betwixt me and my accusers, and having with store of arguments maintained mine integrity before him; I would see what God would answer to the arguments that I should bring for my self, and what he would at last determine in the cause: I would study to understand what he should say, whe­ther by way of approbation or reproof, and would quietly submit thereto. And thus he implyes, that he doubted not but God would acquit him, and would make known why he had brought so great calamities upon him. Yet because of those words, and understand what he would say to me, some would have this imply­ed also, that God would clearly and perspicuously make known his mind to him, whereas he scarce knew what to make of all that his friends had said to him.

Vers. 6. Will he plead against me with his great power? No, but he would put strength in me.] By his great power may be meant, either that absolute power whereby God may doe with his creatures whatever he pleaseth, and that justly too; or that infinite power, before the consuming terrour whereof such a poor creature as he was could never stand, especially if God should proceed in ex­tremity with him, and deal with him according to the rigour of his justice: and accordingly the meaning of these words must be, that he was confident, either that God would not proceed with him according to his absolute power over his creatures, making his own will and pleasure the only reason why he laid such hea­vy judgements upon him, or else that God would not overwhelm him with the terrour of his Majesty and glory; which was the condition that Job formerly propounded, where he desired he might have liberty to plead his cause before God, chap. 13.20, 21. (concerning which see the Note there.) And hereto indeed the last clause seems best to agree, No, but he would put strength into me; that is, in stead of crushing and overwhelming me by his glorious power, he will rather sustain me, that I may be able to stand and plead my cause before a God of such Majesty.

Vers. 7. There the righteous might dispute with him, &c.] That is, The righteous may boldly plead their cause before God in such a way of judgement, where God will not stand upon his absolute power for the punishing of men, but will only deal with them according to the revealed rule of his justice, in regard of the Co­venant of mercy he hath made with them, and where God will as it were lay by his Majesty and glory, and admit a poor man to plead his cause before him, as if he were pleading before a man as himself. And this he applyes to himself in the following words, so should I be delivered for ever from my judge: the meaning where­of is, that if God, his judge, before whose tribunall he had desired to plead his cause, would hear him with such gentlenesse, and proceed with him in that man­ner he had now expressed, by him he should be for ever acquitted, and should not fear to be condemned by him; and consequently also, he should be delive­red from the false accusations of those that now did most unjustly both judge and censure him.

[Page 179]Vers. 8. Behold, I goe forward, and he is not there, &c.] That is, whether I goe forward or backward, neither way can I make that discovery of God that I de­sire. And so it follows, vers. 9. I goe on the left hand, where he doth work; as if he should have said, Seeking him out by taking notice of his works: but I cannot be­hold him; that is, even there I cannot discern him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him; that is, if I look for him on the right hand, there also he is hidden from me. I know that many learned Expositours do hold, that by for­ward here is meant Eastward, (because, say they, man is considered here as setting his face toward the rising Sun) and by backward, Westward; and so by the left hand, the North, and by the right hand, the South. And accordingly they also hold that Gods working is particularly mentioned, where Job speaks of the left hand, that is, the North, I goe on the left hand where he doth work, because the Northern parts of the world are more inhabited and better peopled then the Southern are, and the people there are also more civilized, more understanding, ingenious, and active for all things then the other are. But methinks this is somewhat nice and curious. That which is said before to be the ground of this expression, is I think sufficient. But however, questionlesse, that which is here said in both these ver­ses, is added in relation to that he had said before, vers. 3. O that I knew where I might find him! &c. and may be understood first of the invisibility of God; and so the scope may be, to shew, that though he had wished he might appear before Gods tribunall, yet he did not think that God was visibly to be seen, as earthly Judges are, but knew that God was every where present, though no where to be seen as man is: and 2. of the incomprehensiblenesse of Gods waies and judge­ments, to wit, that which way soever he turned himself, he was not able to com­prehend any of Gods judgements, or to find out God by any of his works; (con­cerning which see a former Note upon a like place, chap. 9.11.) or 3. of Gods refusing to answer his desire by manifesting himself to him in any outward appa­rition, as a judge offering to hear and determine his cause; and so it is all one as if he had said, I may wish thus to appear before God, that I may plead my cause before him; but, alas, I do not find that God intends me any such favour; he hides himself from me in this regard, and which way soever I look, I find not the least likelyhood, that God will vouchsafe to give me such a hearing!

Vers. 10. But he knoweth the way that I take, &c.] The inference of these words upon that which went before is very questionable: but two opinions con­cerning this I find most probable. The first is, that these words are here added to clear himself from a false conceit, that upon his former words his friends might entertain in their thoughts concerning him; and so that the meaning of these words is, as if he had said, Though I say that I can no where find God, that I may plead my cause before him, yet I am farre from the atheisticall thoughts of those prophane wretches that say, God knoweth not what is done here in this world: for, sure I am, that though I cannot find him, yet he knoweth me and all my waies; which makes me also confident, that, knowing mine innocency, he only intends to try me by these calamities he hath laid upon me. The second is, that this is added here, to shew the reason why he desired to plead his cause before God, or [Page 180] to shew, that though there was no hope of appearing before the invisible God in a visible manner, after the way of pleading before the tribunall of an earthly judge; yet he might safely appeal to God to passe judgement in his cause, and that because he was sure that God knew him exactly; and therefore though earth­ly Judges, not knowing men, may upon false information erre in judgement, yet so it could not be with God: whereupon he also adds, when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold; where by Gods trying him may be meant, either a judici­all triall, by hearing him plead his cause, or a trying him by the afflictions where­with he had exercised him; and so the drift of these words may be, to shew how confident he was, that after tryall he should not be found such drosse as his friends would make him, but pure gold, and that God meant no more to destroy him by these calamities he had brought upon him, then the gold-smith means to burn up the gold that he puts into the fire, for the trying and purging of it.

Vers. 11. My foot hath held his steps, &c.] This Job adds, as by way of protest­ing against those wicked practices wherewith Eliphaz had charged him, chap. 22.5. and by this, my foot hath held his steps, is meant, either that he had endeavoured to imitate God in his holinesse, justice, mercy, &c. according to that of the Apo­stle, Ephes. 5.1. Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children; or else his strict treading in those steps which God in his law had prescribed him: so that the next words are a meer explanation of these, his way have I kept, and not declined.

Vers. 12. Neither have I gone back from the commandement of his lips, &c.] That is, I have not upon any pretence fallen off from doing what he hath commanded me, to the utmost of my power, but rather have fully and constantly cleaved thereto. I have esteemed the words of his mouth more then my necessary food; that is, I have more earnestly desired them, more diligently sought them, more heartily delighted in them, more highly prized them, more carefully stored them up in my heart, then my necessary food which I cannot be without, or my appointed portion, as it is in the margin, that is, my daily food appointed for me, and consequently then a­ny thing that is most requisite for me. And thus Job expressely answers that advice which Eliphaz had given him, ch. 22.22. Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart, (of which see the Note there:) affirming that he had alwaies done this, whatever he might judge of him because of his afflictions.

Vers. 13. But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? &c.] That is, Who can make him goe back from what he hath resolved upon? Some understand this of the immutable perseverance of God in his love to Job; as if he had said, Though at present I can discern no token of his love and favour towards me, yet he is, I know, the same towards me that he alwaies was, a gracious and loving father, and there is no turning him from those thoughts of love that he hath alwaies born me. But more generally and better it is, by others, understood of the unchange­ablenesse of God in all his counsels, and that it is here inserted, to shew that it was no wonder that God dealt so severely with him, notwithstanding he had en­deavoured to yield obedience to God in all things, But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? as if he should have said▪ But, alas, be I never so righteous, or let me say what I will and can for my self, when he hath determined to doe any thing, [Page 181] he is constant in his purposes, and will doe, as he justly may, whatever he pleaseth. For Job doth not charge God that he dealt with him as tyrants use to doe, that will doe what they list, without regarding what is just or unjust; but only ac­knowledgeth Gods absolute Sovereignty over men, whereby he may doe whate­ver he pleaseth in the world, and yet doth alwaies what is just, though men cannot comprehend the reason of his proceedings.

Vers. 14. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me, &c.] Here Job ap­plyes that to himself, which in the foregoing words he had delivered more gene­rally: and accordingly some understand it of Gods performing the good he had intended him; which cannot well agree with that which is added in the follow­ing verses, concerning his fears and terrours. It is better therefore, by the most, expounded of Gods unchangeable proceeding to doe to him whatever he had de­termined: For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me; that is, what according to his just Prerogative he hath determined to doe unto me in this way of afflict­ing me, that he doth and will perform. And hereto agreeth the following clause, and many such things are with him, that is, with him with whom I have to doe. And the meaning may be, either that God had many such like calamities and miseries, as those were which he had already suffered, which he might farther bring upon him, and wherewith it was like he meant yet farther to exercise his graces, and to purge-out his corruptions; as if he had said, I do not perceive that God hath yet done with me; it may be there are yet other sorrows appointed for me: or, that be doth many such things to others as well as to him, the cause whereof is hidden from us; as if he should have said, It is not my case alone, many such things he both decrees and executes, he usually deales thus with men in an unsearchable way according to his absolute Sovereignty, proceeding oftentimes with great se­verity against men, when yet he loves them, and means them good.

Vers. 15. Therefore am I troubled at his presence; when I consider, I am afraid of him.] In the foregoing chapter, when Eliphaz had charged Job with many grosse sins, he added vers. 10. Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee: Job therefore, say some Expositours, as in answer hereto, professeth here that his terrours did arise, not from any guiltinesse of conscience, but meerly from the consideration of the majesty of Gods presence, his absolute power in doing what he pleaseth to men, and the unsearchablenesse of his judgements. But however, clear it is that he ascribes his fears to that absolute and unresistable power and Sovereignty whereby God doth to men whatever he pleaseth, whereof he had spoken in the two foregoing verses; to wit, because, observing that God proceeded with him after this manner, he might well fear how farre God would goe on in laying his hand so sorely upon him. And withall herein he might also intimate, how farre he was from holding that God could not see and consider what was done here in the world, as Eliphaz had seemed to charge him, chap. 22.13. and that when he desired that he might plead his cause before God, it was in hope that God would not overwhelm him with the terrours of his Majesty, as he had before expressed, chap. 13.21.

Vers. 16. For God maketh my heart soft, &c.] That is, By these heavy calami­ties [Page 182] brought upon me, he hath made my heart weak and faint; it melteth away like wax before the fire: which makes me the readier to fear that still more mise­ries are coming upon me.

Vers. 17. Because I was not cut off before the darknesse, neither hath he covered the darknesse from my face.] That is, Because he did not cut me off before these cala­mities came upon me, nor by these calamities which he hath brought upon me, nor hath yet afforded me any release from my miseries: and hereby he intimates his fears, that he was hitherto preserved from utter destruction, that he might be reserved to farther miseries, which was that which did so exceedingly perplex him; for that by darknesse he means his grievous calamities, see 1 Sam. 2.9.

CHAP. XXIV.

Vers. 1. WHy, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him, not see his daies?] 1. By this, that times are not hidden from the Almighty, is meant, that God knoweth all times, and all things that are or shall be done in time. 2. By they that know him are meant the godly, that love and fear God, according to that, Psal. 36.10, O continue thy loving-kind­nesse to them that know thee! and 3. By this, that they see not his daies, is meant, that they see not the noted and memorable daies wherein God doth his great and fa­mous works, either of mercy or judgement; or more particularly, the daies of his executing vengeance upon wicked men here in this life, which indeed are u­sually by way of eminency called in the Scripture Gods daies, as Isa. 2.12. The day of the lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, &c. and so in many other places. The drift of these words is, to shew that God doth not alwaies pu­nish wicked men here in this world, as Jobs friends had maintained he did. For the proving whereof, as he mentions many sorts of leud men that live in peace and prosperity, and are never punished here in this world, so before this enume­ration of such prophane ones as goe unpunished, he prefixeth the words of this verse by way of introduction; the meaning whereof may be thus set forth: See­ing times are not hidden from the Almighty, that is, seeing God knoweth all times, and consequently both the times how long men are to live in the world, and when is the fittest time and opportunity to punish wicked men, so that no wicked man can slip out of the world unknown to God, or before the time that God intended to punish him, why do they that know him, not see his daies? that is, why do the righ­teous servants of God, that walk with him, and observe his dealings, and to whom God is most ready to reveal himself, as to his bosome friends, not see the daies of Gods punishing wicked men here in this life? The summe of this introduction is therefore briefly this; that if God did constantly determine to punish all pro­fane ungodly men in this world, since he knows the times how long they are to continue here, and so cannot be disappointed by their unexpected dying, he would certainly take the fittest time to doe it: and so the godly should observe the time when, and the manner how God alwaies punisheth wicked men, and so should infallibly know by Gods dealing with those upon whom God laies his hand, whether they are wicked men or no.

[Page 183]Vers. 2. Some remove the land-marks, &c.] Here Job begins to reckon up the foul enormities of those that yet often goe unpunished here in this world; and mentions in the first place the removing of land-marks, this being in all ages, and amongst all nations, even by the light of nature, esteemed an execrable wicked­nesse, and therefore also forbidden in Moses law, Deut. 19.14: under which also all other unjust encroachings upon other mens estates may be comprised, accor­ding to that, Prov. 23.10. Remove not the old land-mark, and enter not into the fields of the fatherlesse. And to this he adds, they violently take away flocks and feed thereof: and if we read the last clause as it is in the margin of our Bibles, and feed them, it is doubtlesse added to shew the impudency of such men, that when they have dri­ven away other mens cattel, do not kill them, or sell them away, to conceal their rapine thereby, or to supply their necessities, but putting them into their own pa­stures do openly there feed them, as if they were their own: and withall their im­punity; God never calls them to a reckoning, but they quietly enjoy what they have so unjustly gotten.

Vers. 3. They drive away the asse of the fatherlesse, &c.] Asse here may be put for asses; or, this may be intended as an aggravation of the wicked mans oppressi­on, that though the fatherlesse have but one asse, yet he sticks not to spoil him of it. And the like may be said of the following clause, They take the widows oxe for a pledge. Oxe here may be put for oxen: but however it is to the same effect. For because the widows oxen are so necessary for the ploughing of her ground, and other such like employments, and of a yoke of oxen if one be taken away, the o­ther becomes uselesse, it being a most unmercifull act to take that for a pledge without which the poor man cannot live, and therefore forbidden in Gods law, Exod. 22.26. (concerning which see the Note there;) hence it is that this is men­tioned here as such a high degree of wickednesse.

Vers. 4. They turn the needy out of the way, &c.] Expositours find it hard to determine what is meant here by turning the needy out of the way. Some un­derstand it of causing the needy, by their oppressions, to take leud and unwar­rantable courses to help themselves; so turning them out of the way of righte­ousnesse, which God hath prescribed them. 2. Some understand it of turning the needy out of the way of justice, to wit, either by overawing them, so that they dare not appear in judgement against them; or else by obstructing the waies of justice so by their great power, that the needy are thrust from their right, and can find no way of righting themselves: and so they make this place parallel with that, Amos 2.7. they turn aside the way of the meek. 3. Others conceive it is meant of those that by their robberies do so infest the high-waies, that the very poorest, because of their cruelty, are afraid to travell in the ordinary way, and therefore seek out secret by-waies whereby they may safely passe. 4. Others apply it to those that by their oppressions and hard dealing with the poor, do turn them out of the way of their livelyhood, the way of exercising their trade and profession, and force them to hide themselves; as when by taking those things as pawns from them, which are absolutely necessary for the exercise of their callings, or by any other way of cruell usage, they are disabled from going forth to their work, and [Page 184] from following their ordinary imployments. And 5. others hold, that by turn­ing the needy out of the way is only meant, that they are by the unjust dealing of their oppressing neighbours put to such shifts, that they scarce know which way to turn themselves, and cannot in a manner be suffered to live by them. And indeed with these two last Expositions the following clause doth best agree, the poor of the earth hide themselves together: the meaning whereof doubtlesse is, that by the oppressours enlarging of their estates and other unmercifull dealings, the needy are many times forced to run together into holes and corners to hide themselves, and to crowd together in any corner like bees in a hive, and scarce dare show their heads abroad amongst others. See 1 Sam. 14.11. and Heb. 11.37.

Vers. 5. As wild asses in the desart goe they forth to their work, rising betimes for a prey, &c.] Some understand this of the needy, mentioned in the foregoing verse, that are turned out of the way by their great oppressours; to wit, that be­ing forced to fly into the desart, they do there live more like beasts, even like wild asses, then like men, going forth to their work, to wit, to that toiling and moi­ling labour wherein they are made to drudge for others, or to seek a poor lively­hood for themselves, rising betimes for a prey, that is, to gather here and there, or any way to seise upon somewhat wherewith to satisfie their hunger: and accor­dingly also they understand the following clause, the wildernesse yieldeth food for them and for their children; that is, all the food they have, is what they can get in the wildernesse. But now the most of Expositours understand this of those that oppresse the poor and needy, or of the mighty robbers that were in those times, to wit, that they were like wild asses in the desart, in that they were a company of fierce, savage, untamed men, sons of Belial, that would be in no subjection to any laws or government, but exercised all kind of violence and rapine upon those that were near them, and lived like beasts in that regard; they goe forth to their work, ri­sing betimes for a prey, that is, every day they ramble up and down diligently, to rob and make a prey of all that come near them, which is their only work and im­ployment: and so also they understand the following clause, the wildernesse yiel­deth food for them and for their children; that is, they and theirs live by rapine, as o­thers by their grounds which they till and dresse; or, in the wildernesse, by their robberies and murthers, they provide for them, their children and servants, not caring what becomes of others.

Vers. 6. They reap every one his corn in the field, and they gather the vintage of the wicked.] Even this likewise some understand of the poor, to wit, either that they are glad to work for their mighty task-masters, in reaping their corn and gathe­ring their vintage; (for in this sense it may be said, that they reap every one his corn, either because they reap every one that parcell of corn which is allotted them for their task, or because they are forced to reap their own corn, not for themselves, but for the oppressour that hath taken their fields by force from them) or else that by way of forraging for themselves, here one cuts down the corn in one field, and another the corn in another field, and gather the vintage of their wick­ed oppressours, which they thought to have had for themselves. But this too the [Page 185] most Expositours understand of those great oppressours and robbers, of whom Job had spoken in the foregoing verses, to wit, that they reap the corn, and gather the vintage, of the fields and vineyards which they had wrung by unjust violence from the right owners, or that they pretend some title or other to any mans corn and vintage which they have a mind to, and take it away by force from them; which is expressed in the last clause by those words, and they gather the vintage of the wicked; either 1. because it was gotten wickedly: or 2. because they con­demn those for wicked men whom they so oppresse, and under that notion take their inheritance from them, as Ahab did the vineyard of Naboth: or 3. because in their oppressions they spare not the vineyards of those that are as wicked as themselves; and so one wolf makes a prey of another.

Vers. 7. They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, &c.] See the Note, chap. 22.6.

Vers. 8. They are wet with the showers of the mountains, &c.] That is, the poor, mentioned in the foregoing verse, that are stripped of their clothing, are exposed to wet, whilst they work abroad in the fields for their great lords, or whilst they wander up and down in the desart to provide for themselves; and embrace the rock for want of shelter, that is, hide themselves in the holes of rocks for want of o­ther shelter, and are glad and joyfull of such a refuge, which this phrase of em­bracing the rock may seem to imply. We have the like phrase, Lam. 4.5. they that were brought up in scarlet, embrace dunghils, that is, are forced to sit or lye upon dunghils.

Vers. 9. They pluck the fatherlesse from the breast.] And this not only they might be said to have done, that took them from the breast to sell them for bond-slaves; but they likewise that took away their mothers or nurses, to make slaves of them, or that forced them to leave their sucklings to goe and work in their fields or vineyards, and it may be to wean them before they would have done it, that they might be fitter to toil and labour for them; and those also that by starving their mothers or nurses, disabled them that they could not give their little ones suck. For the following clause, and take a pledge of the poor, see the Note chap. 22.6.

Vers. 10. They cause him to goe naked without clothing, &c.] That is, the poor man mentioned in the foregoing verse, whom they had taken for a pledge, they would force him to work for them, and yet not afford him necessary raiment. And then it follows, They take away the sheaf from the hungry; that is, from the hun­gry poor they take away that little corn which they had gotten for the nourish­ment of them and theirs, haply that one sheaf of gleanings which with much pains they had gathered: Or else the meaning may be, that they would not suffer their poor hungry harvest-men to tast the least of the corn which they reaped and gathered in for them; an act of great inhumanity, though it were to a beast, as is evident by that law, Deut. 25.4. Thou shalt not muzzle the oxe when he treadeth out the corn.

Vers. 11. Which make oyl within their walls, and tread their wine-presses, and suffer thirst.] Some understand this of griping oppressours; who will scarce tast of the [Page 186] blessings they enjoy in greatest plenty. But the words seem clearly to hold forth the contrary, to wit, that it is spoken of the poor that are oppressed. And it may be understood either of those that make wine and oyl in their own houses, and yet afterwards have not wherewith to quench their thirst, namely, because they are presently forced to sell all away to pay their debts, or else because spoilers come straightwaies upon them and carry it all away; Or else of the poor labourers, that make wine and oyl in great mens houses, and yet are ready to perish for thirst, to wit, not only because their wages are not paid them, at least not in time, or because they allow them wages whereon they cannot live; but also because they are not allowed to quench their thirst with that they provide for their great Masters. And well may this be mentioned as a high degree of wickednesse, as is no­ted above vers. 10. that they should suffer them to be hungry and thirsty, at the very time when they toiled and moiled to prepare for them such choice dain­ties, and should be hard-hearted to the poor, when they receive so liberally from God.

Vers. 12. Men groan from out of the city, &c.] As if he should have said, These things are thus not only in the country, in desart and solitary places, but also in cities, the places where seats of justice are usually erected; they are not only done in secret, but openly: the groans and cries of the oppressed are openly heard in the cities, and the soul of the wounded cryeth out; that is, the men that are woun­ded in their very souls because of the oppressions of the wicked, and the wrong that is daily done them, or, the men that are wounded and slain by the overbea­ring power of tyrants and oppressours, do in their grief, or whilst they are dying, complain bitterly of what they suffer, and cry unto God for vengeance; Or it may be meant, that the bloud, or the souls of those that are wounded and slain do cry for vengeance, as is said concerning the bloud of Abel, Gen. 4.10. (of which see the Note there) and the souls of the Martyrs slain by their cruell perse­cutours, Revel. 6.9, 10. Some understand the first clause particularly of those that grieve and groan in the city, because of those grievous oppressions which they hear the poor endure in the country; and some apply both clauses to the groans of such as inhabite cities, when they are streightned and damnified, and sometime, if they stir forth a little, wounded and slain by those field-robbers, whereof Job had spoken in the foregoing verses. But I conceive it must be taken generally of the groans and complaints of all that are oppressed in cities, whate­ver their sufferings and oppressions be. As for the last clause, yet God layeth not fol­ly to them, it is that for which Job had alledged all that he hath hitherto spoken of profane wicked men; to wit, that though their wickednesse be so great, and the oppressed cry to God against them, yet many times God doth not in the least pu­nish them for the evil they commit, and so stop them in their foolish and wicked waies, but suffers them to run on in their leud and sinfull courses.

Vers. 13. They are of those that rebell against the light, &c.] This I conceive is primarily meant of that naturall light, whereof Job speaks also in the following verses; for against this light it may be said that they rebell, because they hate and abhorre it: they know not the waies thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof; that [Page 187] is, they are birds of darknesse, they spend their daies most in the dark, and take little or no pleasure to be in the light. Having spoken before of open oppres­sours, now he comes to speak of those that sin more secretly and closely. But yet secondarily it must questionlesse be understood of spirituall light, to wit, that they rebell against God the father of lights, against the light of nature, and against the light of Gods word and spirit: and that 1. Because mens seeking darknesse and secrecy when they sin, is an argument that they rebell against the light of their own consciences; and 2. Because this their sinning so wilfully and desperately, not of ignorance, is mentioned here as a great aggravation of their wickednesse, and that which makes it farre more strange that God should spare them. And in­deed even in regard of this light it might be well said, that they know not the waies thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof; because they do not approve of, nor delight in, nor will walk in those waies to which by this spirituall light they are directed: at least if they sometimes do something that the light directs them, yet to be sure they will not make it their constant course, they will not abide in those waies.

Vers. 14. The murderer rising with the light, killeth the poor and needy, &c.] This is meant either directly of those that do purposely goe forth to kill such as they have conceived malice against; and then the next clause, and in the night is as a thief, must be understood thus, that in the night he seeks to slay those he hates se­cretly, as in the day he seeks to doe it by open assault; or, that having shed the bloud of men in the day, in the night he seeks to hide his head, as thieves are wont to doe: or else of robbers and high-way men, as we use to call them; and that both because robbers are frequently also murderers, and likewise be­cause by robbing and spoiling them of their estates, they do in a manner shorten their daies; and then the meaning of the last clause is this, and in the night is as a thief, that is, as he robs openly by day, so he is a close pilfering thief by night: for this word (as) doth not alwaies import a likenesse only, as we see Joh. 1.14. and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the father.

Vers. 16. In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the day-time, &c.] That is, those wicked ones of whom he spake vers. 13. that re­bell against the light. It cannot be so properly meant of adulterers, of whom he had spoken in the words immediately foregoing (they are usually let in by agree­ment, or have some closer way of getting in to satisfie their lust, and are seldome wont to dig through houses, or break in by force;) and therefore it must be under­stood of another knot of wicked wretches, to wit, of thieves, who are wont in­deed to view the houses by day which they purpose to rob, to observe the strength of the house, and which way they may get in with most ease and advan­tage, and then accordingly break into them by night. As for the last clause, they know not the light, see the Note vers. 13.

Vers. 17. For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death, &c.] That is, most hatefull and terrible: to wit, both because coming suddenly upon them, before they have fully accomplished their wickednesse, they are vexed to be so crossed in their intended evil; as also because they are afraid they shall be discove­red, surprised, and taken: which the following words do more clearly hold [Page 188] forth, if one know them, they are in the terrours of the shadow of death.

Vers. 18. He is swift as the waters, &c.] A most knotty place this is, insomuch that we can hardly find any two Expositours that are in every regard of the same mind in giving the sense of the words: and yet all agree, that Job speaks here still of those wicked wretches that rebell against the light, of whom he had been speaking hitherto, though he speaks of them sometimes indefinitely in the singu­lar number, He is swift as the waters, and so vers. 20, 21, &c. and sometimes in the plurall number, their portion is cursed in the earth, and so vers. 24, &c. It is not to be wholly slighted which some say, that Job having before spoken of the thief at land, digging through houses, he now speaks also of the Pirate, that robbeth by sea; he is swift as the waters, to wit, when he is in chase of any ship that he seeks to make a prey of; their portion is cursed in the earth, that is, they that live at land curse them, because they are ever and anon so exceedingly damnifyed by them; he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards, that is, having once tasted the sweetnesse of sea-robbing, he will no more live at land, to toil and moil in dressing vine­yards. But there are three other Expositions which seem to me the most proba­ble. First, some conceive that these words do farther set forth the wickednesse of these desperate wretches: He is swift as the waters, that is, they pursue their wick­ed designs with full sail, they are as prone and forward to doe evil as water is to run downward, and as speedy and swift in doing evil, as the waters are in gliding away from one place to another; which agrees with that which Solomon saith of such kind of men, that their feet are swift in running to mischief, Prov. 6.18. their por­tion is cursed in the earth, that is, the places where they chuse to live, as fittest for them that intend to live by robbery and spoil, are forrests and desarts, that are cursed with barrennesse, Heb. 6.18. he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards, that is, they love not to live by honest labour, as by ploughing and dressing the vine­yards, but by thieving and robbery, and therefore the way of the vineyards is no place for them. Again 2. some understand these words of the fears of wicked men, and their seeking to hide themselves: having said in the foregoing verse, if one know them, they are in the terrours of the shadow of death, he adds here, He is swift as the waters; that is, when they are in danger to be discovered and apprehen­ded, they slip away, as nimbly as the water glides away in a river, nor can stay long in any place, but fly all company, by reason of the terrours that are continually upon them: their portion is cursed in the earth, that is, they seek to hide themselves in woods, and rocks, and desarts, as before is noted; Or, they live a most mise­rable base life, not only in regard of the desolatenesse and the solitarinesse of the places where they live, but also because of the terrours wherewith Cain-like they are continually perplexed. He beholdeth not the way of the vineyards, that is, they fly so speedily away, that they have not so much time as to visit their houses, or to see their vineyards; Or, they live a solitary sad life in desarts and mountains, and enjoy not the pleasure of gardens and vineyards as other men do; Or rather, they flee not to the vineyards, that are places alwaies frequented, as being usually planted near to cities, and where all the year long there is still some company, ei­ther working, or [...]ending them, or walking for their pleasure; in such places as [Page 189] these they dare not be seen. And then 3. many understand them of Gods punish­ing such wicked men; He is swift as the waters, that is, they passe away, to wit, by death, suddenly and irrecoverably, as waters in rivers run swiftly away, and come back no more; see the Note, Gen. 49.4. their portion is cursed in the earth, that is, their habitations shall be destroyed by the magistrate when they come to ap­prehend them, or when they are cut off by sentence passed upon them; Or, their inheritance in the land is barren, covered over with weeds and briars; Or, they are cursed even here while they are upon earth, where they seem to live in a very happy condition; because the curse of God shall be at last upon all their earthly concernments, (and perhaps their posteritie too) either by wasting and consu­ming it, or by causing all that they have to tend to their hurt. He beholdeth not the way of the vineyards, that is, they flie not so farre as the vineyards, though usually in the suburbs of the cities, before they be apprehended and taken; Or, even their vineyards are so cursed with barrennesse, that they take no pleasure to visit them and to look upon them. And if it be objected, that if we understand these words thus, that which Job saith here should contradict what he had said before, concer­ning wicked mens running on unpunished, and living in a prosperous condition; see the answer to this in the Note, chap. 21.17.

Vers. 19. Drought and heat consume the snow waters; so doth the grave those which have sinned.] That is, As the earth, when it is drie by the heat of the weather, doth soon drink up the waters of the melted snow that lay unmelted all the win­ter; so doth the grave at last swallow up the wicked, when they had run on in sin to that very time. And I conceive that doubtlesse the drift of the words is, to shew, that after those wicked wretches had lived such an abominable and damna­ble life, as he had now described, yet they died at length an ordinarie naturall death, as other men die, without the least visible sign of the vengeance of God upon them, more then there is in the death of other men. Job had in a manner said the same before, chap. 21.13. concerning which see the Note there. For whe­ther by their passing away as the snow-waters, is meant their dying suddenly, or their wasting away by degrees, the aime of the words is certainly to shew, that they are gathered to the grave at last as other men are. We have the like expressi­ons, Psal. 58.8. As a snail which melteth, let every one of them passe away; and Psal. 68.2. As the wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish. And this Exposition is indeed most suitable to the scope of Job in this place, which is to shew, that God doth not manifest his wrath against all wicked men, neither whilst they live nor when they die. But yet some learned Expositours do rather take the words to be a description of the sad conclusion and miserable end of sinners, wicked and un­godly men, to wit, that they are for their sins cut off in a way of wrath; and whilst the righteous in death triumph over death, and cannot be cut off from their spirituall blisse, death doth absolutely triumph over the wicked, and doth wholly consume and swallow up them and all their happinesse.

Vers. 20. The womb shall forget him, &c.] That is, His wife, or rather his mo­ther, and so consequently all his dearest and nearest friends, shall utterly forget him; Or, He shall perish and be forgotten, as if he had never been conceived [Page 190] and born into the world. Some conceive that this, as that did in the foregoing verse, referres to the easinesse of the wicked mans death, as the cause why his friends the sooner forget his death; they shall not be grieved or troubled at his death, because he died so easie a death: to which purpose is that also which fol­lows, the worm shall feed sweetly on him, that is, (say some) It shall be sweet and delightfull to him that the worms feed on him, (an expression like that, chap. 21.33. the clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, concerning which see the Note there) Or rather, the worms shall make a sweet banquet of him; he that had wont to feed on sin, and to make a prey of others, shall then become a prey to the worms, to whom his flesh shall be sweet-meat. The summe of all is, that he shall fare no worse in the grave then others fare. He shall be no more remembred, that is, there shall be no remarkable stroke of judgement in his death to make him be talked of, when he is gone; and wickednesse shall be broken as a tree, that is, as an old rotten tree doth wast and moulder away piece-meals and by degrees, till it be at last quite gone, so shall the wicked man wast and consume away by de­grees. But then again others understand this also of the miserie and wretched­nesse of wicked men in their death; The womb shall forget him, that is, his nearest relations, as they were wearie of him whilst he lived, so being dead they shall scarce ever mind him, or think of him more: he shall be no more remembred, that is, he shall never be mentioned with honour, but his name shall rot amongst men, or he shall be forgotten as a man not worthy to be thought of; and wickednesse shall be broken as a tree, as a barren & unfruitfull tree is cut down or grubbed up by the roots, or as any other tree is violently shiver'd in pieces & thrown down by a tempest, or as a rotten and worm-eaten tree is easily broken or blown down by the wind, and then never sprouts up again; so wickednesse, that is, wicked men (according as we find the like expression Psal. 107.42. and all iniquity shall stop her mouth) after they have flourished a while in their wickednesse, shall be suddenly taken away by death, and be cut off from amongst the living.

Vers. 21. He evil intreateth the barren, that beareth not; and doth not good to the widow.] But rather hurt. Under these two particulars, of evil intreating the bar­ren, and doing no good to the widow, all oppression of the needy and helplesse is comprehended: and evil intreating the barren is made one of the great oppres­sions of the wicked, because therein they did afflict those that were in a sad affli­cted condition before, and that had no children to rise up in their defence: and if it be meant of the hard usage of their own wives when they were barren, whom they should have comforted, and who dare not mutter against them, this must needs implie the greater cruelty. Some conceive that this is added, to shew why the wicked, when they are dead, are no more minded nor remembred, as is said in the foregoing verse, to wit, because they were such mercilesse wretches whilst they lived, evil intreating the barren, &c. But I rather conceive that Job here re­turns to set forth the wickednesse of those wretches, whom notwithstanding God suffers to live in prosperity, till they come at length to die in an ordinarie way, as other men do.

Vers. 22. He draweth also the mighty with his power, &c.] Some understand [Page 191] this of Gods punishing wicked men, to wit, that when he begins to contend with the wicked, he subdues or brings under the mightiest of them as well as the mea­nest; and so also they understand the following clause, he riseth up, that is, God riseth up to contend with wicked men; and no man is sure of life, no man can se­cure himself against the killing stroke of Gods indignation, or the discovery of Gods indignation makes every man afraid of his life. But the tenor of the words sheweth clearly that Job still proceeds to describe the wickednesse of wretched men, whom God notwithstanding prospers. He draweth also the mighty with his power: the meaning is, either that by his power he procures the mighty to side with him, judges, and magistrates, and great men, and so this makes him terrible to others, he riseth up, and no man is sure of life; or else, that he draweth the mighty, to wit into his net, according to that, Psal. 10.9. he doth catch the poor when he draweth him into his net; when he hath crushed the poor by his oppressions, then, encouraged hereby, he layeth wait also for the mightie, and subdues them, and brings them into subjection to him, even magistrates also and judges, whereby likewise he subverts all publick order and government: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life; that is, if any man rise up to oppose this oppressour, he shall but ruine and destroy himself thereby; or, Though the oppressour riseth up to make a Covenant of peace with men, yet they are all of them for all that afraid of their lives; there is no assurance in any vow or oath, whereby he engageth himself: Or rather, he riseth up to contend with the mightie, and the terrours of death pre­sently seise upon them all. But if we read this last clause, as it is in the margin of our Bibles, He riseth up, and he trusteth not his own life, either it is meant of the op­pressed, to wit, that he riseth up, namely, to sue for favour to the oppressour, or to flie from him, but do what he will, he trusteth not his own life, but gives himself for a dead man, because of the over-bearing power of his adversary; or else of the oppressour, to wit, that when he riseth to contend with the mightie, or every day he riseth, he is afraid of his own life, being still jealous, as tyrants are wont to be, that some body or other will kill him.

Vers. 23. Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth, yet his eyes are up­on their waies.] Some Expositours understand this thus; that though the op­pressed give gifts to the oppressour, that he may thereby purchase his peace, or, though the oppressour grants this to the oppressed, that he shall live in peace and safety by him, and thereupon he rests upon this his covenant and promise, that he will surely be as good as his word; yet the oppressour keeps his eyes up­on these to whom he hath thus engaged himself, and watcheth all their waies, and if he can but get the least advantage against them, will be sure to crush them. But there are severall other Expositions given of the words that seem farre better then this; to wit, 1. that though God gives to the oppressour that which may well in outward appearance secure him in peace, and he rest hereon, yet it is not be­cause God is ignorant of his wicked courses, seeing Gods eyes behold all his waies: or 2. that though God lets him live in safetie, and he rests hereon with great security, yet Gods eyes are upon his waies to favour him and to blesse him: or rather 3. that though it be given of God to wicked wretches that they live in [Page 192] peace and prosperitie, and they resting hereupon are confident they shall never be moved, yet God takes strict notice of all their wicked waies, that he may be sure at last to charge them all upon them, and that he may take the fittest time to destroy them.

Vers. 24. They are exalted for a little while, &c.] to wit, both in estate and mind; but are gone and brought low, they are taken out of the way as all other; that is, for all their greatnesse, on a sudden God pulls them down, and they are gone and laid in the grave, as other men, and often after the same manner as others are, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn; that is, as high as they bear their heads, they are cut down as the corn in harvest, to wit, easily and in a trice, or not by a­ny notorious judgement, but by an ordinary naturall death, when they come to ripenesse of years, as the corn is ripe in harvest. The drift of the verse may be to shew, either that God cuts off the greatest of wicked men many times by a sudden stroke of judgement; or else rather, that after all their horrid wickednesse, they are cut off by death in an ordinarie way as all other men are.

Vers. 25. And if it be not so now, who will make me a lyar, and make my speech no­thing worth?] That is, If it be not as I have said, that God many times prospers the wicked, and afflicts the righteous, let any man that will, undertake to confute what I have spoken.

CHAP. XXV.

Vers. 1. THen answered Bildad, &c.] Eliphaz having replyed the third time upon Job, chap. 22. it was now Bildads turn, who still spake next after Eliphaz, to reply again upon him; which therefore he doth in this Chapter, but very briefly: either as finding Job too strong for them; or as not having any thing in a manner to say, but what he and his friends had said before; or rather, as concluding that, because of Jobs obstinacie, it was in vain indeed to talk any farther to him, there having been abundantly enough already said to him, but that nothing would convince him; which may be the cause also why Zophar, who should have replyed in the third place upon Job, spake no more at all.

Vers. 2. Dominion and fear are with him, &c.] Because of these words with him, some limit this to the Lords exercising of his Sovereigntie, and the manifestation of his dreadfull Majestie in the heavens, his dwelling-place, to wit, that he rules the Angels in heaven, and that his presence there is so full of Majestie, that those holy spirits out of reverence and fear do cover their faces before him. But I con­ceive the words must be understood more generally; Dominion and fear are with him, that is, God is the Sovereign Lord over all, he it is that governs all things, and hath absolute power over all things in heaven and in earth; yea & in regard of this his Majestie and power a terrible God he is, and justly to be feared of all. But why doth Bildad speak of this here? I answer: Some conceive, that because Job had affirmed, that many wicked men run on in their leud courses even to their dying day, and are never punished, therefore Bildad, as apprehending this to be [Page 193] in effect a deniall of the power, justice, and providence of God, doth here set forth with what unresistable authoritie and power God doth rule and govern the whole world; thereby to intimate, that it is not therefore possible that he should suffer such wicked wretches to passe alwaies unpunished. But I conceive there are two other waies, wherein Expositours do better set forth the aim of Bil­dad in these words: to wit, first, that he doth here set forth the infinite power, and Majestie, and goodnesse of God, that having afterward therewith compared the basenesse and weaknesse of man, he might thence inferre, how impossible it was that so poor a wretch should be found just before such a glorious God, and thereby condemns Job for justifying himself: or 2. that Bildad doth here speak of Gods supreme Sovereigntie, and dreadfull power and Majestie, thereby to discover the folly and arrogance of Job, in desiring so earnestly that he might plead his cause before God. Job had indeed in the beginning of his last answer protested, with a little too much confidence and boldnesse, that there was no­thing he desired more, then that he might answer for himself before Gods Tribu­nal, chap. 23.3, 4, 5. O that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his Seat: I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments; I would know the words which he would answer me, &c. Now though after this Job said much also, to prove that the wicked many times live and die in a flourishing condition, whilst the righteous are sorely oppressed and distressed; yet when Bildad came now to reply upon him, not being able to answer what he had said concerning the prosperitie of the wicked, and the afflictions of the righteous, he gives not the least touch upon that, but as flying upon him for his confidence in desiring to plead his cause before God, as not doubting but that there he should be able to justifie himself, he tells him here of the Sovereigntie and dreadfull Ma­jestie of God, and seeks thereby as it were to strike Job with the fear of his glori­ous Majestie and absolute power; and to intimate how strange it was, that he should dare so fearlesly to challenge God, as it were, to answer him, or that he should hope that God would lay by his Majestie and glory, that he might come and plead his cause before him, alluding to that which Iob had said chap. 23.6. Will he plead against me with his great power? No, but he would put strength in me. As for the next clause, he maketh peace in his high places, either first, it must be meant of the heavens, and those that inhabite those heavenly places, as opposed to the world here below, to wit, that whereas here, by reason all things are corruptible and subject to change, and by reason of the wickednesse of the devils and men, the elements and those things that are made thereof seem to be opposite one to ano­ther, and to fight one against another, and there is continually much rebellion a­gainst God; in the heavens it is quite otherwise, there is nothing but quietnesse and peace. And this too may be spoken, first, with respect to the Angels; of whom though there be a numberlesse number, and though they have differing mini­stries and imploiments, yet they are by the mighty power of God so established and order'd, that they all sweetly agree amongst themselves, and doe all unani­mously the will of their creatour; they neither contend one with another, nor much lesse dare any of them contend with God: and hereby Bildad might imply, [Page 194] what an arrogancy it was in Job to think of contesting with God, which the An­gels themselves dare not do. 2. It may be spoken with respect to the stars and heavenly Orbs: though the heavens be of such an incomprehensible vast big­nesse, and are whirled about daily with such a strange swift violence, though the stars be infinite in number, and though the orbs have their different and contra­ry motions, some moving far faster then others, some going one way and some another; yet they all observe the order, both for time and place, that God hath set them, in so much that there is not the least jarring amongst them, they do not in the least crosse or hinder one another, but move all with one sweet consent ac­cording to the course that the Almighty hath prescribed them. Or 2. it may be meant of the upper regions of the aire, to wit, that when all things are there tempe­stuous and stormy, God, when he pleaseth, doth presently quiet them, & make all calm. Or 3. it may be meant of the constant accomplishment of Gods will by all the creatures in the world: he maketh peace in his high places, that is, God in his dwelling-place doth rule all things in a stedfast order; yea even here below, where there seems to be most confusion and rebellion against God by reason of sin, yet all things are so overruled by him, that nothing is done but according to his determinate counsell and will, and all is carried on for his glory. And this is added to make good the former clause, that Dominion and fear are with him, that is, to shew that God ruleth all things, and that this all-wise and almighty God is therefore to be reverenced and feared of all.

Vers. 3. Is there any number of his armies? &c.] Whether we understand this particularly of the Angels, or of the stars (which are both sometimes stiled Gods armies or host, as Gen. 32.2. and Deut. 4.19. and are indeed innumerable) or else of all the creatures in generall, which are all Gods host (of which see the Note Gen. 2.1.) doubtlesse it is alledged to set forth the glorious Majesty of Gods Dominion, who is thus magnificently attended with such numberlesse armies, and likewise his incomprehensible wisedome in the governing of them; and withall to discover the desperate boldnesse of those that dare contend with him, who hath such innumerable armies at his command, to fight against them, and destroy them.

And upon whom doth not his light arise?] The meaning of this may be, that 1. God causeth the Sun to shine upon all, according to that, Matth. 5.45. He maketh his Sun to rise on the evil and on the good; or 2. that he doth behold and know all things, that nothing is covered in darknesse in regard of God, but all things are light and manifest before him; or 3. that the light of his wisedome shines upon all, in that the waies of Angels and men, yea the operations of all the creatures are admirably directed and ordered thereby; or 4. that God is good unto all, in that all the good the creatures enjoy doth proceed from Gods favourable good­nesse shining down upon them: Angels and men have the light of their reason and understanding from God, and both they and other creatures have their life (which is their light Joh. 1.4.) and their being from him; neither have they a­ny thing from themselves, but all is derived unto them from him, who is the father of lights, Jam. 1.17. This last I conceive is chiefly here intended. But however this is doubtlesse added, to set forth Gods dominion over all things, how won­derfull, [Page 195] dreadfull, and unquestionable it is, and consequently how desperate a thing it must needs be for any man to contend with him.

Vers. 4. How then can man be justifyed with God? &c.] That is, Seeing God is so dreadfull in all these regards, how can man hope to justifie himself before God, by pleading with him, or to maintain that his sins deserve not so heavy punish­ments as God hath inflicted on him? Thus Bildad it seems understood Jobs words, chap. 23.10, 11, 12. and thence he presseth him with this absurdity. See the Note, chap. 9.20. How can he be clean that is born of a woman? See the Notes chap. 14.14. and 15.1, 4.

Vers. 5. Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea the stars are not pure in his sight.] Some understand these words thus: that if God give a charge to the moon and the stars that they should not shine, they shall be straight quite void of light; and therefore much more is the Lord able easily to crush man, whate­ver he is, if he should offer to contend with him, man having no power but what he hath from God. But I rather conceive it is meant of the transcendent purity, and brightnesse, and glory of God above that of the moon and stars, and so is parallel with that, chap. 15.15. yea the heavens are not clean in his sight, of which see the Note there: And then this expression, Behold even to the moon, &c. must be un­derstood as if he had said, Look up to the moon, and you shall see it shineth not, to wit, in comparison of God: or thus, Pitch your thoughts upon any of the crea­tures that have any shining brightnesse in them, beginning with those things that are below, gold, and silver, and precious stones, &c. and so ascending up even to the moon (which is particularly mentioned, and not the Sun, either because it is the lowest of the planets, and surpassing man in glory, or because we can better behold her brightnesse, and was therefore for her brightnesse usually called the Queen of heaven, Ier. 7.18.) and so from thence upward to the stars, which are in an orbe above all the planets (and so even the Sun is comprehended too) and, alas, the brightnesse of all these is infinitely short of the purity and resplendency of God: Or lastly thus, Behold, take all the bright shining lamps of heaven, de­scending from the highest even to the moon, the last and lowest of all the planets, (and so also the Sun is included too) and their brightnesse and purity is nothing to that of Gods; they shine not, but are unclean, if compared with God. Some indeed adde that the stars may be said to be unclean, because by the fall of man even they have contracted defilement, and so are blemished, and not wholly free from pollution in Gods sight. However the drift of these words is, to shew how foolish a thing it was in Iob, in the confidence of the brightnesse of his conversa­tion, to contend with God, before whom the heavenly lights are no other then as clouds and darknesse.

Vers. 6. How much lesse man, that is a worm? &c.] That is, How much lesse can man be compared with God, who is so far inferiour to those heavenly lights for purity and brightnesse? even no better then a worm, especially if compared with God, a weak, base, unclean thing, made of corruption, and sure at last to become worms meat, subject continually to dangers, as worms, whom every foot may crush, and of themselves utterly unable to defend themselves. See the Note, chap. 4.19.

CHAP. XXVI.

Vers. 2. HOw hast thou helped him that is without power? &c.] Iob here an­swers Bildad, and that somewhat tartly, because he had spoken so impertinently, pressing still those truths concerning the infinite Majesty, power, and justice of God, which he did never deny, and that not for the comfort of Job, but rather to drive him to despair. The words must be under­stood as spoken ironically; and that either as spoken by way of upbraiding Bil­dad, for undertaking to plead Gods cause for him, (according to that he had said before, chap. 13.7, 8.) and doing it withall so sillily, How hast thou helped him that is without power? &c. as if he had said, If God be of such infinite Majesty and pow­er as you have spoken, why do you think so highly of your self, as to undertake to plead for him? sure you think that God hath no power to help himself, and is not able to plead his own cause, and therefore you step in to his aid: and how effectually have you done it! if you mark it, you have done it to great purpose, God is much the better for this help that you have afforded him: Or else as in relation to Job himself, How hast thou helped him that is without power? &c. as if he had said, You have come a long journey purposely, as you pretended, to comfort a poor, fainting, helplesse man; and have you not done it, think you, to the pur­pose? you make account you have done great wonders; but, alas, what am I the better for all that you have spoken? The truth is, it had been better for me if you had never come near me. And indeed this I take to be the true meaning of the words. As for that phrase in the last clause, of saving the arm that hath no strength, see the Note, chap. 4.3.

Vers. 3. How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisedome? &c.] This also is spoken ironically. And because they that speak that in defence of God and his works, which God never intended, do thereby as it were counsell and advise God what he should say or doe, therefore many Expositours do also understand these words, as if Iob did herein upbraid Bildad for undertaking to teach God, How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisedome? as if he should have said, You think that God is not wise enough to order his affairs in the government of the world without your advice; and oh what admirable wise and solid counsell have you given him! and accordingly also do they understand the following clause, and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? as if he had said, by way of scorn, you have now fully informed God how he ought to sway the affairs of his king­dome. But I rather think that Iob speaks this also as in reference to himself, How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisedome? as if he had said, Sure you take me to be a man void of all wisedome and understanding, and so in pity to me have gi­ven me counsell: But, alas, if I be so, surely I am not like to be much the wiser for this counsell that you have given me: and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? as if he had said, You have now indeed hit the nail on the head, you have fully and convincingly opened the cause between God and me; and how? by speaking that which is nothing to the purpose, and by taking a great [Page 197] deal of pains to inform me of that which I knew before as well as your self.

Vers. 4. To whom hast thou uttered words? &c.] This also was spoken either (as some think) as in relation to God, To whom hast thou uttered words? that is, Is it to God you have addressed your words in this which you have spoken? and if so, have you considered who he is to whom you have spoken? what? will you un­dertake to teach the omniscient and all-wise God? which is the same in effect with that he had said before, chap. 21.22. of which see the Note there: Or else, as in relation to Iob himself, To whom hast thou uttered words? as if he had said, Do you consider who I am, and in what condition I am? have you uttered words suitable to and fit for a man in such a sad distressed condition as I am? or, To whom hast thou uttered words? is it not to one that knoweth these things as well as your self? what do you take me to be? think you that I am so silly and igno­rant, that I know not these things that you have uttered? It is the same he had said before, chap. 12.3. of which see the Note there. As for the following clause, and whose spirit came from thee? it is expounded by Commentatours many seve­rall waies; of which three are most probable. First, some understand it thus, whose spirit came from thee? that is, Did not God give thee that life and breath whereby thou hast spoken? and wilt thou teach him who gives thee life and breath, and who is the father of the spirits of all flesh? 2. Some make this to be the sense of the words; whose spirit came from thee? that is, who is it that hath taught you these high mysteries? Did you speak them of your self, and had you them from any body else? or do you think that the spirit of God did dictate them to you? No, doubtlesse, such impertinencies were never of Gods spirit, but of your own. And 3. others give this to be the meaning; whose spirit came from thee? as if he had said, whose spirit hast thou revived by this which thou hast spo­ken? Surely not mine. Because when mens fainting spirits are revived by the consolations of a friend, they seem to receive a new life, as it were, and spirit from those that have thus cheared them up; therefore in stead of saying, whom hast thou revived or comforted with thy words? he expresseth himself thus, whose spi­rit came from thee?

Vers. 5. Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants there­of.] or, with the inhabitants thereof. Here Iob begins to shew, that he could say as much or more of the infinite power and the all-ruling Providence of God, as Bil­dad had said; and to that end at first he instanceth in this, that Gods Providence extends it self to the very bottom of the sea, where he forms not only the fishes that are to live there, but also divers dead things, as all kind of minerals, corall, pearls, amber, together with divers plants and herbs that grow there.

Vers. 6. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.] As if he had said, You, Bildad, told me, that God maketh peace in his high places; but I can adde hereto, that Gods providence extends not only to the high places in heaven, but also to the low places and depths in hell. By destruction here almost all Expo­sitours understand the place of destruction, to wit, the place of the damned; and then if by Hell in the first clause the same be meant, then the second clause is but only a repetition of what was said in the first. But by Hell others understand the [Page 198] grave, and consequently also all the hidden lower parts of the earth; and then the meaning is this, that God beholdeth all things, even the grave and hell, and all the lowest parts of the earth, he sees all that the grave hath devoured, and be­holdeth what becomes of every part of man when the grave hath consumed him, and what the damned in Hell both doe and suffer. And thus he confirms what Bildad had said chap. 25.3. (understanding it, as many do, of Gods omniscience) upon whom doth not his light arise? yea probable it is that Iob the rather mentio­ned this, to imply to his friends that in regard of this omniscience of God, it would be a joy to him to appear before God, who knew him better then they did: and withall to wipe off that aspersion Eliphaz had cast upon him, chap. 22.13. And thou sayest, How doth God know? can be judge through the dark cloud?

Vers. 7. He stretcheth forth the North over the empty place, &c.] The meaning of this is, either that God stretcheth out the heavens from one Pole to another over the region of the air, (for the North, that is, the Northern part of heaven, the He­misphere of the Arctick or Northern Pole, is here figuratively put for the whole heaven, because that part was nearest the climate where he dwelt; and the regi­on of the air is called the empty place, because the air is as nothing, and what hath nothing but air in it we count empty, at least it is as nothing in regard of bearing up and supporting the heavens;) or else, that God stretcheth out the heavens even to the Northern pole, where the earth under it is uninhabited, and is therefore called here the empty place, meaning that Gods providence orders all things that are done there, according to that, chap. 38.26. where God is said to cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wildernesse, wherein there is no man. And then in the next place, the earth is said to hang upon nothing, either in relation to the center of the earth, which is said to be through Gods appointment the cause of the stability of the earth in its place, in regard all heavy things round about presse thither, and yet is but an imaginary thing, indeed nothing; or else in rela­tion to the earths hanging in the midst of the air, having nothing to support it, but Gods almighty power.

Vers. 8. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds, &c.] That is, By a divine force he keeps them within the clouds, which himself hath made to be as it were the bot­tles of heaven, as they are called chap. 38.37. and the cloud is not rent under them; that is, the waters do not break through with their weight, and fall down all together, but are let out by degrees, as through a strainer or watering-pot, when and how God is pleased.

Vers. 9. He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.] The highest Heaven is the throne of God, Esa. 66.1. and is so called, because there he manifests himself, as princes do upon their thrones, in greatest majesty and glory: and then the full discovery of that infinite light and glory wherein God dwells, is the face of his throne, which in this life is hidden from the best of his ser­vants. Or else the clear and bright outside of heaven, which appears to the eye of man that looks up thither, is the face of his throne: and then therefore God holdeth back the face of his throne, when, as it is in the next clause, he spreadeth his cloud upon it, that is, when he withdraws it from the sight of man by [Page 199] overspreading it with clouds. See the Note, 2 Sam. 22.12.

Vers. 10. He hath compassed the waters with bounds, untill the day and night come to an end.] That is, as long as this world shall last: and it is said that God hath com­passed the waters with bounds, both because he did at first dispose of the waters in those hollow places and channels of the earth, wherein they are now held, (of which see the Note, Gen. 1.9.) and also because by his Providence he doth still keep in the unruly waves, not suffering them to break out beyond the bounds whereto God hath confined them.

Vers. 11. The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at his reproof.] That is, When God shews himself in his indignation, in thundering and tempestuous storms or earthquakes, the very heavens seem as affrighted, to tremble as if the foundations thereof were shaken, yea the whole Universe seems to be moved, as a house built upon pillars totters when the pillars thereof are shaken, so that one would think that heaven and earth would come together. Some by the pillars of heaven here understand the angels; others the strength and powers of heaven; others those high mountains and hills which stand up in the air, as pillars suppor­ting the heavens, and whereon the heavens to the eye of man seem to lean and rest, and are therefore called the foundations of heaven, 2 Sam. 22.8. of which see the Note there: but the first Exposition is most generally approved.

Vers. 12. He divideth the sea with his power, &c.] Some Expositours understand this of Gods dividing the Red sea before the Israelites when he carried them out of Egypt; and accordingly also they understand the following clause, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud, to wit, that God by his wisedome draw­ing their enemies into the Red sea, as into a net, did there destroy that insolent tyrant Pharaoh, and with him those proud Egyptians that followed him. But I cannot conceive that Job intended any such thing, because first, it is generally held that Job lived long before Moses time; and 2. he seems all the way here to speak of the ordinary continuall works of Gods providence, and not of any such unusuall and extraordinary work: and therefore it is not said that he divided, but he divideth the sea with his power. Nor is it much more probable that others say, that by these words, he divideth the sea with his power, is meant, that God cau­seth the waters of the sea through the earth to rise up in severall fountains and springs, and so divideth it into severall seas, and rivers, and brooks. The true meaning of these words I conceive is this, that God divideth the sea, that is, he breaks the waves thereof, and causeth them to cleave in sunder, and so to fight and dash one against another, to wit, when in tempestuous weather he maketh such gulfs in the sea, the waves standing up like mountains on each side of them, that the very foundations of the earth seem to be discovered, as is expressed 2 Sam. 22.16. of which see the Note there: and accordingly we must understand the following clause, of Gods stilling the sea again when it is thus tempestuous, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. For though some by the proud here understand the whale, and that the rather, because the whale is elsewhere cal­led a king over all the children of pride, chap. 41.34. and is many times cast up in great tempests, and left dead upon the land, yet I rather think that by the proud [Page 200] is meant the proud sea, according to a like expression, chap. 38.11. where God saith of the sea, here shall thy proud waves be stayed; and so the meaning is, that when the sea swells and rageth, and lifts up his proud waves as it were unto the clouds, God presently subdues and stills the proud sea, and makes it lye down as still as a dead man doth when he falls down, being smitten through by the sword or ar­row of his enemy.

Vers. 13. By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens, &c.] Because in the forego­ing verse Job had spoken of stilling the tempestuous sea, therefore some conceive here he shows how this is done, to wit, by a sudden clearing of the heavens: By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens, that is, By a fair gale of wind he drives a­way the clouds, and then the garnishing of the heavens with innumerable lights is evidently seen. But because our Translatours have render'd the words, not, he doth garnish, but, he hath garnished, therefore I rather understand it of Gods creating the Sun, Moon, and stars at the first; By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens, that is, by his own essentiall power, or, by his holy spirit, he hath adorned the heavens with many glorious lights. As for the following clause, his hand hath formed the crooked serpent, some by the crooked serpent understand that meteor sometimes seen in the aire, which naturalists call the flying serpent; and others, those celestiall cir­cles or sphears, which are involved one within another, as a serpent wrappeth up himself in many folds, or else some of the Constellations of heaven; as some un­derstand it of the Zodiack, which goes athwart the heavens; others of that which is called via lactea, the milky way; and others of that Constellation near the Northern Pole, which from its fashion or figure is called the Dragon or Serpent, that divides the two Bears with its tail; which may seem, I confesse, the more probable, because of the joyning of this with that foregoing clause of Gods gar­nishing the heavens. But yet, because it may well be questioned, whether those figures of the heavenly Constellations which Astronomers have fancied, and the names which thereupon have been given them, were so ancient as the daies of Job; I think it farre more probable, which others say, that by the crooked serpent is meant all kind of serpents that crawl upon the earth, or all kind of sea-monsters that are in the Ocean; or, more particularly, the Whale, which is indeed elsewhere also called Leviathan, the piercing serpent, or, the Bar-like crooked serpent, Isa. 27.1; who thereupon do make the generall drift of these words to be this, that as God made the beauteous lights of the heavens above, so he also made the most deformed and harmfull creatures that are on the earth, or in the sea below, and that in both God hath manifested his almighty power.

Vers. 14. Lo these are parts of his waies, &c.] That is, his works, wherein he comes forth, as it were, and manifests himself unto men: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand? Some understand this last clause thus, It is very little or nothing to speak of that we can hear from man concerning these wonders of Gods works, but if God should speak of them himself, who could endure or understand him, when he should thunder out these things in his mighty power and Majesty? Others understand it properly of the thunder, which is indeed very terrible to all the creatures here below, to wit, [Page 201] that none can understand whence it is, or how it is done. But the best Expositi­on of the words I conceive is this, that by the thunder of his power is meant figura­tively, either the might, and excellency, and terrour of Gods power, to wit, that it is incomprehensible, or else (which is much to the same effect) the declaration or sounding forth of Gods power by the voice of all his works of Creation, ac­cording to that, Psal. 19.1. The heavens declare the glory of God, &c. which, be­cause of its glorious excellency, and force, and terrour, is called the thunder of his power; and because none can sufficiently understand so much of the mighty power of God as is taught us by the Creatures, therefore it is said, the thunder of his power who can understand? And indeed, in our ordinary speech, we use to say a man thunders it, when he speaks with mighty eloquence, vehemence and power; and chap. 39.25. the tumultuous noise of an army ready to the battel is called the thunder of the Captains. And thus hath Iob shewn that he could say as much of the terrible might and Majesty of God as Bildad had said.

CHAP. XXVII.

Vers. 1. MOreover Iob continued his parable.] What is meant by a parable, see in the Note, Numb. 23.7. It was now Zophars turn to reply upon Job the third time, as Eliphaz and Bildad had done; and it seems that Iob was silent a while, expecting his reply: but when he saw that neither he nor any of the other two offered to reply again upon him, (which was either be­cause they had nothing farther to object against Jobs defence, or because they saw him so stiff, that they judged it in vain to talk any farther to him) then Job began again to plead his cause, much after the same manner as before; addres­sing his speech to them all joyntly together, and that with some more courage then formerly, and as one that did in a manner triumph over them, as is expres­sed in the five following chapters.

Vers. 2. As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgement, and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul, &c.] To assure his friends that he would speak nothing but the truth, that so they might the more regard what he said, and that by this so­lemn calling▪ God to witnesse of the truth of what he spake, he might win them to credit what he should say concerning his integrity, which by no other argu­ments he could hitherto bring them to believe, Job here swears solemnly by the living God, that (as it follows in the two next verses) as long as he breathed, his lips should not speak wickednesse, nor his tongue utter deceit. As for that clause which he adds, concerning Gods taking away his judgement, and the Almighties vexing his soul, As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgement, &c. some hold that he adds that as in relation to their opinion, As the Lord liveth, who, as you think, hath taken away my judgement, &c. but then others say, that by Gods taking away his judgement he meant, either that God had not judged him according to his righteousnesse and integrity, or that God had bereaved him as it were of his righteousnesse, in that he had not cleared his innocency, to the stopping of the mouths of those that falsely accused him, but rather, by the severity of his procee­dings [Page 202] against him, did seem to judge him to be a wicked wretch and an hypocrite, as they had censur'd him to be; as where Gods people are charged with saying, Isa. 40.27. My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgement is passed over from my God, because they thought that God did not regard them as his people, in taking their part against their enemies: or else (as some conceive) that the Lord had abridged him of his right, in that he was not admitted to plead his cause before God, as he had often desired he might do. So that he doth not expresly accuse God of dealing unjustly with him, but only complains that God had not dealt with him according to the ordinary way of his proceedings with men, whereby his integrity was hidden and overclouded; neither could he perceive what the cause should be why Gods hand was so heavy upon him. And in the oath he takes here, this he interposeth, who hath taken away my judgement, and hath vexed my soul, either to imply how safely they might believe, that he would doe what he now engaged himself, seeing he durst, appeal to that God as a witnesse, who had hither­to dealt so severely with him; or else to intimate, that though God seemed to condemn him by the heavy pressures he had brought upon him, yet that should not make him cast off his confidence in God, or yield himself to be an hypo­crite.

Vers. 4. My lips shall not speak wickednesse, nor my tongue utter deceit.] This Pro­testation of Jobs, Expositours understand diversly. For first, some take it gene­rally thus, that he would speak nothing falsely or dissemblingly, but would speak the truth from his heart: Secondly, others understand it as if he had said, that no severity of Gods proceedings with him, nor no unjust censures of theirs, should make him utter a word whereby he might discover himself to be either a prophane wicked wretch, or a dissembling hypocrite: and 3ly. (which I like best) others give this to be the meaning, that he would not wickedly, either for fear or flattery, betray the truth, or lie against his own conscience, by yielding to those false accusations which they had passed upon him, which he knew to be false.

Vers. 5. God forbid that I should justifie you, &c.] To wit, by speaking or doing any wicked thing, which may seem to justifie or make good those unjust censures of wickednesse or hypocrisie, which you have passed upon me; or rather by yiel­ding to that which you have said, that God for my wickednesse and hypocrisie hath brought these miseries upon me.

Vers. 6. My righteousnesse I hold fast, and will not let it goe, &c.] That is, I have hitherto constantly persevered in a way of righteousnesse, and so I will still; or rather, I have hitherto resolutely maintained my integrity, and still I will main­tain it: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live; that is, my conscience shall not upbraid me for that which, were I guilty of it, would indeed be a shame and reproach to me, to wit, either for speaking or doing wickedly, or else rather for denying mine integrity.

Vers. 7. Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the un­righteous.] This is also divers waies understood by Expositours. Some say that Job here speaks ironically, and by the wicked unrighteous man means himsef; as if he should have said, You judge me a wicked ungodly man, because of the [Page 203] extreme afflictions that lye upon me; but as sad as my condition is, so much good I wish my enemies that rise up against me, that I could be glad that they were in no worse a condition, then that poor wretch whom you so harshly con­demn as a wicked man. Others again hold, that those that had robbed him of his estate, and other waies wronged him, are the enemies he here speaks of, and so make the sense of the words to be this, Let those that robbed me and wronged me be looked upon as wicked ungodly men: I for my part am no such man. Others again conceive, that by his enemies and those that rose up against him, Job meant these his friends, and so give this to be the sense of the words, Let those that condemn me for a wicked man, because of mine afflictions, bear the brand of wicked men, and not I that am innocent of those things they charge me with: as if he should have said, They that oppose the truth which I have maintained, that causelesly condemn me for a wicked wretch, they deserve to be judged wick­ed men better then I do: only some, to allay the sharpnesse of such a censure, say that Job doth not absolutely condemn them for wicked men, but only affirms that there was more of wickednesse in that which they did, then there was in any thing they could fasten upon him, Let mine enemy be as the wicked and as the un­righteous; according to a like expression, chap. 2.10. Thou speakest as one of the foo­lish women. And lastly, others, most probably, conceive that in these words Iob gives a farther proof of his integrity, Let mine enemy be as the wicked, &c. as if he had said, Though the wicked may live I know in a very prosperous condition, yet so farre am I from liking their waies, that I could wish mine enemy no grea­ter mischief, then that he should be a wicked man, or that God should deal with him as he will certainly deal with the wicked. And indeed the like expressions we often meet with, as 2 Sam. 25, 26. Let thine enemies and they that seek evil to my Lord be as Nabal: and so also 2 Sam. 18.32. and Dan. 4.19.

Vers. 8. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God ta­keth away his soul?] The scope of these words, together with the following verses, is, either to shew how farre he was from being a wicked hypocrite, as they had judged him to be, by declaring what thoughts he had of the wretched condition of such men, to wit, that when God comes to seise upon them by the harbingers of death, and to take or pluck away their souls, though they had gained never so much before, and so thereby God seemed to prosper them, they must needs be then in a hopelesse and comfortlesse condition, because all that they placed their hopes in, their wealth, and friends, and other things shall fail them; and whereas they promised themselves long life, and much pleasure in their estates, they shall find their hopes herein disappointed, and in God, who then shews himself an ene­my, they can have no confidence: Or else, to prove that his friends might have discerned a difference betwixt him and hypocrites, even in these sad ca­lamities that had befallen him, and therefore had no cause to censure him so harshly; to wit, because though outwardly it fares alike with the righ­teous and the hypocrite, yet their carriage of themselves in the hour of ad­versity is very different, the hypocrite not having then any hope in God, when God summons him by death, which the righteous have: from whence he inti­mates, [Page 204] that since he in his lowest estate did still hope in God, and pray to God, and desired to plead his cause before God, they might hereby plainly per­ceive that he was not an hypocrite. And to the same purpose is that which fol­lows.

Vers. 9. Will God hear his cry, when trouble cometh upon him?] That is, when ei­ther trouble and terrours of conscience, or any outward distresse do seise upon him.

Vers. 10. Will he delight himself in the Almighty? &c.] That is, when he sees that he is likely to be taken away from all the comforts he enjoyed here, will he then comfort himself in God alone, as acknowledging him to be alone an all-suf­ficient ground of joy and comfort? or, though Gods hand be never so heavy upon him, will he notwithstanding still cleave to God, and delight himself in him, as knowing that God is well pleased with him? will he alwaies call upon God? that is, not only in adversity, but in his prosperity too? and so also not only in pro­sperity, but in times of distresse too? yea though his afflictions be never so sore, and of never so long continuance?

Vers. 11. I will teach you by the hand of God, &c.] Some translate this, as it is in the margin of our Bibles, I will teach you being in the hand of God, and so take the sense of the words to be this, that whereas hypocrites in distresse have no hope in God, it was not so with him; for though he were at the present under the affli­cting hand of God, he would teach them better. But taking the words as they are in our Bible, the meaning must be either thus, I will teach you by the hand of God, that is, God assisting me, or by Gods speciall inspiration, I will teach you; as where the prophet saith, Isa. 8.11. the Lord spake to me with a strong hand, and in­structed me: or else thus rather, I will teach you by the hand of God, that is, I will teach you by shewing you the mighty power of God, and the glorious works of his hand, to wit, what are the usuall dispensations of his Providence both toward the righteous and toward the wicked. And hereto agreeth the following clause, that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal; that is, I will not conceal the de­crees and judgements which God daily executes in the world, sometimes prospe­ring, and sometimes punishing both the wicked and the righteous. And indeed of all these he speaks in his following discourse; and this he premiseth before-hand, either that he might quicken their attention, by shewing what great and high things they were, of which he meant to speak; or else thereby to give them to understand, that he should plainly discover by the usuall waies of Gods pro­ceedings, that there is no judging of men by their outward condition.

Vers. 12. Behold, all ye your selves have seen it, &c.] As if he should have said, You are learned wise men, men that observe the waies and works of God, at least such you boast your selves to be; and therefore herein I dare appeal to your selves, concerning the truth of that which I have said, and that which I shall now farther say; you your selves have known it, and have seen it so in your own experience. But what was it they had seen? Some referre it to that which he had said concerning his innocency; some to that foregoing observation of his, that he had not carried himself in his distresse as hypocrites used to do: But I con­ceive [Page 205] it is best referred to that which he meant now to teach them, as he had said in the foregoing verse, concerning Gods dispensing the same, both blessings and afflictions, to the wicked and to the righteous; This, saith he, ye your selves have seen; and then he adds, why then are ye thus altogether vain? that is, why do you so vainly conclude that God alwaies punisheth wicked men, and prospers the righteous, and thereupon condemn me for an hypocrite? why do you mul­tiply words nothing to the purpose, not giving any one solid answer to that which I have objected, and yet persevere in condemning me upon grounds so pal­pably false?

Vers. 13. This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppres­sours, &c.] Zophar had said the very same in effect, chap. 20.29. of which see the Note there; and therefore some think that Job, in this and the following verses, doth only alledge what his friends had said, and that to shew why he had char­ged them in the foregoing verse, that they were altogether vain, to wit, that they had said, This is the portion of a wicked man with God, &c.] But I doubt not but Job delivers this as his own judgement. And yet he doth not hereby recant what he had formerly said concerning the prosperity of the wicked, nor yield to that which his friends had hitherto maintained, to wit, that God doth alwaies mani­fest his indignation against wicked men by punishing them here in this world; only to clear his meaning in that he had said concerning the prosperous conditi­on of the wicked, to shew that he was willing to yield to all that was truth in that which his friends had said, and that so much he was able to say as well as they, he grants them here thus much, that indeed many times the prosperity of the wick­ed did end in extreme misery; though they might long live free from punish­ment, yet often that befell them at last, even here in this world, which God, who is Almighty, had appointed them for their portion and inheritance, and therefore the mightiest of these oppressours are not able to resist it: and then afterwards he adds, what it was wherein he opposed his friends, to wit, that it was not alwaies thus, but that many times on the other side in his secret wisedome, whereof he speaks much in the following chapter, the righteous were afflicted sorely, whilst the wicked lived in great prosperity.

Vers. 14. If his children be multiplyed, it is for the sword, &c.] Against which, though they be never so many, they shall not be able to defend themselves: and so that which might seem to the wicked man at first a pledge of Gods favour, shall be found at last to have been given merely for the encrease of his future misery, that he might have many children to be devoured by the sword, to wit, the sword of Gods vengeance, or rather the sword of an enemy; for the follow­ing clause makes this later Exposition the more probable, and his off-spring shall not be satisfied with bread, that is, they shall not only live in penury and want, but shall even perish by famine.

Vers. 15. Those that remain of him shall be buried in death, &c.] That is, those of his children and childrens children that remain, and are not cut off by sword or famine, shall die yet of some other disease, and so shall be buried; though they lived as if they should never die, yet they shall be buried in death, that is, they shall [Page 206] die, and being dead shall be buried. I know there are divers other Expositions given of these words: as thus, they shall be buried in death, that is, they shall die, and rot when they die, and that shall be all their buriall, according to that Jer. 16.4. Or, they shall be buried in death, that is, whilst they are yet dying, before the breath be well out of their bodies, at least so soon as ever they are dead, they shall be presently clapped into the grave, without any funerall rites and solemnities; Or, they shall be buried in death, that is, so soon as they are dead, they shall be buri­ed in oblivion, their name and memory shall be buried with them; Or, they shall be buried in death, that is, in the grave, which is called the chambers of death, Prov. 7.27. But the first Exposition is, I conceive, as the plainest, so the best. And as for the following clause, And his widows shall not weep, it is expressed in the plurall num­ber, his widows, either because they had in those times many wives, or else because it comprehends the widows of the wicked mans whole family: and by not weeping is meant, either that through extreme penury they should not be able to make a­ny funerall for him; or else that indeed they should not mourn for his death: and that either because their miseries should be so many and so exceeding great, that being as it were stupified thereby they should not be able to weep; or else rather because they should be indeed glad that they were rid of him.

Vers. 18. He buildeth his house as a moth, &c.] It may be said that the wicked man buildeth his house as a moth, 1. because he builds it with much pains and skill, as the moth makes her nest: 2. because he doth even wast himself in the doing of it, even as a moth makes her bag or silken woolly nest out of her own bowels: 3. because he builds his house with the spoil and ruine of others, as the moth eats the garment where she builds her nest: But 4. that which I conceive is chiefly inten­ded is, because though he buildeth his house, as if he hoped to dwell there for e­ver, yet both he and it shall suddenly be destroyed, as when the moth is quickly brushed or shaken out of the garment, where she had made her nest. For upon the like ground, Bildad had before compared the wicked mans house to the house of a spider, chap. 8.14. of which see the Note there. And to the same pur­pose in the next clause it is said, that it shall be as a booth that the keeper maketh: For if it be meant of those that are set to keep a vineyard or a garden of fruits, they use only to make some slight booth of the boughs of trees, and perhaps stollen out of the neighbours hedges or woods, which, so soon as the fruits are fully ripe and gathered, and the keeper gone, are quickly broken down and burnt up by the poor, or fall down of themselves: and if it be meant of those that keep cattel, their booths or tents seldome stand so long, because they so often remove to seek for fresh pasture.

Vers. 19. The rich man shall lye down, but he shall not be gathered, &c.] That is, He shall die as others, but he shall not be buried as others, at least not with the solemnity of friends attending him to his grave. For that by being gathered is meant buried, we may see in many other places; as where it is said of Aaron, Numb. 20.26. he shall be gathered and shall die there, and of Josiah, 2 Kings 22.20. I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave, and of the Jews, Jer. 8.2. they shall not be gathered neither buried, they shall be for dung upon the [Page 207] face of the earth. And hereto agrees also the following clause, he openeth his eyes, and he is not: for though, because this is mentioned after his death and buriall, there­fore some Expositours understand it of the wicked mans soul after it is parted from his body, to wit, that he then sees with the eyes of his mind, that he is cut off from the land of the living; yet I think we may better take it as a farther am­plification of that which was said already in the foregoing clause, he openeth his eyes, and he is not, that is, whilst he is looking about him, and beholding with much joy the riches he hath stored up for many years, in an instant he is gone; or thus, He openeth his eyes lying on his death-bed, looking about for help, ease or com­fort, but in stead thereof he perceives himself a dead man, ready to be taken from all his comforts; or thus, Being yet in his former condition, in the twinck­ling of an eye he is taken away.

Vers. 20. Terrours take hold on him as waters, &c.] That is, when God brings his judgements upon him, and especially when he sees death approaching, the terrours of an evil conscience, yea many and manifold affrightments besides shall suddenly, unexpectedly and unresistably surprise and overwhelm him, as when an unexpected floud of waters breaks forth upon men, and overwhelms them. We have had formerly expressions much like to this, concerning which see the Notes chap. 18.11. and 20.25. and 22.11. And doubtlesse of this affrighting evil must the following clause be understood, a tempest stealeth him away in the night; that is, the wrath of God, or some grievous judgement from God comes upon him with unresistable violence, when he least thinks of it, (as it were in the night) and car­rieth him away, to wit, out of the world, or out of that pompous condition wherein he lived.

Vers. 21. The East wind carrieth him away, &c.] This is also meant, as the fore­going clause, of the wrath or Judgements of God; which are compared to the East wind, because that wind in those Eastern countries used to be most violent, and is therefore called the wind of the Lord, Hos. 13.15.

Vers. 22. For God shall cast upon him, and not spare; he would fain flee out of his hand.] That is, God, in this tempest of his wrath, shall showre down Judgements upon him as thick as hail-stones, without shewing him any more pity, then he hath formerly shewn to others; so that though he would fain flee from his ven­geance, yet he shall not be able.

Vers. 23. Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hisse him out of his place.] To wit, by way of wonder, derision and scorn; but especially by way of rejoycing, that the world is rid of such an oppressing miscreant, and that the just judgements of God are at last executed upon him: for in these regards men are said to hisse and clap their hands, in other places of Scripture, as Lam. 2.15. All that passe by clap their hands at thee, they hisse and wagge their head at the daughter of Ierusalem, say­ing, Is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty? &c. and so also Ezek. 25.6. and 1 Kings 9.8.

CHAP. XXVIII.

Vers. 1. SVrely, there is a vein for the silver, and a place for the gold, where they fine it.] To wit, which men, by the naturall wisedome which God hath given them, do search and find out for their use, though they lye deep in the earth, many times under hills and mountains; and being so far out of sight, and so hard to be discerned where they are, one would wonder how they should be discovered. The greatest difficulty is to know, what it is that Job aims at in those words of his set down in this chapter, and what dependance they have with that which went before. Some conceive that Jobs drift here is to shew, that though worldly men do gather all variety of earthly treasures, yet the godly have a treasure above all these, which is true wisedome, consisting in the know­ledge and fear of God, vers. 28. Others hold that Job labours to make out this, that if God disposeth of all things with great wisedome, and there is nothing done to any of the creatures without just reason, much lesse can we think that God would punish man causelesly. Others again say, that having set down in the foregoing chapter the miserable end of those foolish men, that sought by wick­ednesse to make themselves great, here now he shews the reason, why such men did not seek after true wisedome, to wit, because they knew not where it was to be had, namely with God, and so set their hearts merely upon earthly things. But that which I find both most commonly, and most probably held by Expositours concerning the scope of this chapter, and the connection thereof with that which went before, is this, that having in the foregoing chapter yielded, that God doth often bring ruine upon wicked men here in this world in the conclusion, in this chapter now he undertakes to shew, that yet notwithstanding the wisedome of God in many other strange dispensations of his Providence is altogether un­searchable, (as namely when he doth sometimes on the other side prosper the wicked and afflict the righteous) thereby to prove that his friends were altoge­ther vain, as he had said, chap. 27.12. in judging so peremptorily that he was wicked, because of his afflictions; as if there could not be in these proceedings of God with him a secret depth of wisedome, which they were not able to dive in­to. Only for the farther illustration of the unsearchablenesse of Gods wisedome, first he shews here, in the beginning of the chapter, what deep secrets of Nature man by his wisedome hath searched out, instancing in the finding out, the mel­ting and fining the severall minerals, that lye deep and hidden in the bowels of the earth; and then afterwards adds vers. 12. that though the most hidden se­crets of nature are thus found out by the wisedome of man, yet the wisedome of God they cannot search out, But where, saith he, shall wisedome be found? &c. where by wisedome is meant the wisedome of God in his unsearchable waies, as when he prospers the wicked, and afflicts the righteous, &c.

Vers. 2. Iron is taken out of the earth (or dust) and brasse is molten out of the stone.] That is, Iron is taken out of a brittle kind of earth, wherewith it is mixed; and brasse out of the stone wherewith it is, as it were, incorporated: it is commonly [Page 209] called the Cadmian stone, as being a hard masse like a stone, and mingled with stone.

Vers. 3. He setteth an end to darknesse, &c.] Some understand this of Gods put­ting an end to the darknesse of the night, by causing the light of the day to suc­ceed in the room thereof: and others understand it generally thus, that man, by the naturall wisedome that God hath given him, discovers and finds out the most hidden and unknown things. But the most Expositours hold, that Job still pro­ceeds to speak of that choice art of discovering and drawing forth the minerals that are in the bowels of the earth, yea and perhaps in the sea also. He setteth an end to darknesse. It is spoken either of man, to wit, that men by going into those mines which they have digged deep in the earth, with candles or torches in their hands, do there discover those minerals, which had from the creation lain hid there in darknesse; or that by fetching them out thence, they bring those trea­sures to light, which had been alwaies before hidden in darknesse (for though there be no expresse mention made of man in the foregoing verses; yet because in that which he had said before concerning the taking of gold, silver, iron and brasse out of the earth, his meaning was, that those things were done by man, therefore as in relation still to man, by whom those things were done, he adds these words also, He setteth an end to darknesse:) Or else it is spoken of God, to wit, that He, namely by man as his instrument, and by the art and skill that he hath given to man, putteth an end to darknesse, that is, as is before said, by discovering to man, and bringing forth to open view by the skill and industry of man, those precious minerals, that lay so low in the dark bowels of the earth, that one would have thought it impossible they should ever have been discovered. He putteth an end to darknesse, and searcheth out all perfection: that is, by searching he finds out and brings to light all the perfection of nature; or, those things which are most precious and hardliest found, man discovers perfectly. The phrase may imply both the preciousnesse of those things that are found out, and likewise the bring­ing of them to their full perfection; and the drift of all is still to shew, that all finite things man is able to comprehend, only the wisedome of God is incompre­hensible. As for the following clause, the stones of darknesse and the shadow of death, thereby is meant either those gems and precious stones, which are indeed of all other things most highly prized, and therefore may be mentioned here as the perfection of nature, or else any minerall stones, yea and even those flints and rocky stones which they digge through, that they may come at the mineralls: all which may be called stones of darknesse and the shadow of death, because they lye hid in the dark bowels of the earth, where never light was seen; and perhaps be­cause those that descend into those dark and deadly vaults of the earth, are expo­sed there to manifold dangers of death. But what is meant by the darknesse of the shadow of death, see more fully in the Note, chap. 3.5.

Vers. 4. The floud breaketh forth from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot, &c.] A very hard place this is, and therefore Expositours differ much concerning the meaning of it. But because the drift of the Chapter is clearly to shew, that however man, by the wisedome that God hath given him, is able to [Page 210] find out many secret things, and to effect matters of great wonder, yet he is no way able to comprehend the unsearchable wisedome of God; therefore there are only two Expositions which to me seem probable, as being agreeable to the ge­nerall drift of Job in this place. The first is, that it is meant of mens finding out the way to turn the waters of rivers into other channels, or of draining lands that are overflown and drowned with waters: for by the floud that breaketh forth from the inhabitant is meant, either the streams that break through or over the banks of the Sea or rivers, and so overflow those grounds which were dry land, good pasture or arable before, and are said to break forth from the inhabitant, because they break forth from the inhabitants that dwell on the banks of those rivers, or notwithstanding all that the inhabitants can doe to damme them or keep them up, and drown some adjoyning grounds, where the foot of man never trod on water, or where never man remember'd any such floud of waters before, and are therefore tearmed waters forgotten of the foot; and then the draining of these grounds, by carrying these waters away in channels digged for that purpose, is ex­pressed in the following words, they are dryed up, they are gone away from men: Or by the floud that breaketh forth from the inhabitant is meant that torrent of waters, which breaketh forth from rivers, or overfloweth grounds in those new channels, which are made by the inhabitants thereabouts for the diverting of those rivers some other way, or for the draining of those fenny grounds; which waters are therefore called the waters forgotten of the foot, because when they are thus carried some other way, men walk dry-foot over those old channels, where the rivers did formerly run, or over those grounds that had been long drowned under water, as if they had forgotten that ever there had been waters there, and so the grounds are then made habitable, dry, and usefull for seed or pastorage, from whence they had no benefit before: which is intimated in the last words, as a matter of won­der, they are dryed up, they are gone away from men. The second Exposition is, that here an instance is given of a wonderfull difficulty, which those that work in mines underground do sometimes meet with, which yet the wisedome of man finds a way to overcome, to wit, that when men are digging in those mines ma­ny fathom under ground, a floud of waters sometimes breaks out upon those poor wretches that dwell there in those dark caves of the earth, though they doe what they are able to prevent it, even a floud of waters which the foot of man ne­ver waded nor came near, and whereof they had not the least knowledge, The floud breaketh out from the inhabitant, even the waters forgotten of the foot; but yet, by the art and industry of man, labouring day and night by engines made with wheels, these waters are drawn up in huge leather vessels made of Oxe hides, and there a­bove ground are poured forth and carried away, they are dryed up, they are gone a­way from men.

Vers. 5. As for the earth, out of it cometh bread, and under it is turned up as it were fire.] As if he should have said, And thus man, by the wisedome and skill which God hath given him, gets bread out of the upper part of the earth, (and it may be spoken with reference particularly to that land spoken of in the foregoing verse, which by his art he hath drained from the waters) and then out of the bowels of [Page 211] it he gets other precious things. For by as it were fire in the last clause must needs be meant either the materials of fire, as coales, brimstone, &c. or metalls that are to be melted and fined in the fire, or rather glittering gold, and spark­ling precious stones, which for their splendour, when they are digged up, seem to have the appearance of fire. I know that there are some Expositours that do far otherwise understand this place, holding that Job speaks here of the strange and wonderfull works of God, to wit, that in the same place he hath made the upper part of the earth fat and fruitfull for the yielding of corn, and the under part of it nothing but veins of sulphur and such like: or that the Lord makes that land sulphureous, hot and fiery, and therefore barren, which yielded before excee­ding good corn. But the first Exposition is clearly the best.

Vers. 6. The stones of it are the place of Saphires, and it hath dust of gold.] That is, out of the stone-quarries therein they get Saphires, and out of the mold thereof they gather gold, dust of gold or gold ore.

Vers. 7. There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vultures eye hath not seen, &c.] Though some conceive the meaning of these words to be this, that men search for precious minerals in those desolate places, which neither bird nor beast will come near, because of the sulphureous smell that is there; yet I rather think that they are a poeticall expression of the inaccessiblenesse of those waies, which men by digging and mining passe through, to find out those minerals and precious stones which they seek after, to wit, that they are paths which never creature found out before: fowls that will be flying into any place, yea even those that are most quick-sighted, as vultures and others, could never discover these secret paths; and those savage beasts, lions and such like, that use to find out the secretest and deepest caves and dens of the earth to hide themselves in, did never set foot there: for that also is added in the following verse, the lions whelps have not troden, nor the fierce lion passed by it.

Vers. 9. He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.] As before vers. 3. so here also, in these three following verses, some Expo­sitours hold that Job speaks of severall great and wonderfull works of God; as first here, that God sometimes by terrible earthquakes rendeth rocks in sunder and overturneth mountains; secondly vers. 10. that he causeth rivers many times to break forth out of flinty rocks, and that there is nothing hid from him; and thirdly vers. 11. that oft times he dryeth up rivers, and so discovers what before lay hid there under deep waters. But, as is before noted, it is farre more agreea­ble to the scope of Job, to understand all these passages of those things which are done by the wisedome and skill which God gives to man: as first, that he putteth forth his hand upon the rock, &c. that is, man in searching for minerals and precious stones cutteth his way oft times through the flint or rock, and overturneth moun­tains by the root, to wit, either by digging them down to the very bottome, and car­rying them away, or rather by mining under them, whereby the foundations in­deed of mountains are removed, and sometimes at length the mountains them­selves do sink down into them: secondly, vers. 10. that he cutteth out rivers a­mong the rocks; whereby may be meant, either that when rivers have rocks on [Page 212] each side of them, there being no other way to drain them, man cutteth chan­nels through the very rocks, that so the waters may be carried away thereby, and so the precious things that lye in the bottome of the old channels may be disco­vered; or else, that when men are working in mines underground, they cut pas­sages through hard rocks many times, to wit, either to convey away those flouds and torrents of waters that there break in upon them, and hinder their work, or else to convey some streams of waters thither from other places, to set their water-mils on work, whereby they wash the ore wherein the gold & other minerals are found, &c. and so his eye seeth every precious thing, that is, he discove­reth all the precious things that ly hid in the bowels of the earth: & 3ly. vers. 11. that he bindeth the flouds from overflowing; which may be meant either of mans artifi­ciall stopping any chinks or clefts in the gutters & troughs, wherein they convey rivers from one place to another, that so the waters may not issue forth; or of his damming up rivers from turning into their old channels, when he means to divert them some other way, or from overflowing their grounds in times of great rain; or rather of his stopping and binding up the waters from breaking in upon them, when they are digging in their mines: and thus the hidden trea­sures that lye in the bowels of the earth, or under deep waters, are brought forth for the use of men, and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.

Vers. 12. But where shall wisedome be found?] In these words Job hath refe­rence to those words in the beginning of this Chapter, Surely there is a vein for the silver, &c. as if he had said, Though the most hidden and secret things in nature may be searched out by that Reason and understanding which God hath given man, yet there is a wisedome which is altogether unsearchable by humane Rea­son. And by wisedome here is meant, either that supernaturall knowledge of God, and the way he hath appointed for the salvation of men, which can never be known but by revelation from God; or the knowledge of the secret coun­sels of God in the waies and works of his providence, as why he often prospers the wicked and afflicts the righteous, which man by no art or skill of his can ever comprehend.

Vers. 13. Man knoweth not the price thereof, &c.] That is, It cannot be purcha­sed at any rate (as being indeed▪ of invaluable worth) nor doth man know where to get it: as is more fully expressed in the next words, neither is it found in the land of the living, that is, no man can possibly find it out, to wit, as being kept secret in the bosome of God, or only by God revealed unto men.

Vers. 14. The depth saith, It is not in me; and the sea saith, It is not in me.] By the depth, as it is here distinguished from the sea, we must needs understand either deep rivers, or the waters that are under the earth, or else rather the depth of the earth it self; as Psal. 75.20. there is expresse mention made we see of the depths of the earth. But however the meaning of this clause is, either that man cannot find out wisedome, though he travels by land or by sea never so farre; or rather, that it cannot be found either in the entrails of the earth, or in the bottome of the sea, as gold and silver, and other costly minerals and precious stones many times are.

Vers. 15. It cannot be gotten for gold, &c.] See the former Note, vers. 13.

[Page 213]Vers. 17. The exchange of it shall not be for jewels (or vessels) of fine gold.] The price whereof is much enhaunsed many times by the curious workmanship thereof.

Vers. 19. The Topaz of Ethiopia shall not equall it.] That is, even those gems that are the more esteemed, because they are fetched from a far country.

Vers. 20. Whence then cometh wisedome? &c.] See the former Note, vers. 12.

Vers. 21. Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air?] Though we read the last clause, as some do, and kept close from the fowls of heaven, yet that it should be meant of the angels in heaven seems to me very im­probable. Rather I conceive the meaning of the whole verse to be, either that man can no where find out this supernaturall wisedome, as he doth many of the secrets of nature, minerals and precious stones, &c. and so this clause, that it is kept close from the fowls of the air, is added to imply, that as it cannot be found in the depths of the earth or sea, as he had said before, so neither in the regions of the air above, (no where under heaven, no where but in the bosome of God;) so that though men could mount up into the air, and from thence behold all things on the earth, as the quick-sighted fowls of the air do, yet they could not thereby discover this wisedome: or else more generally, that no creature can attain to this wisedome, farther at least then God is pleased to reveal it to them; nature is a mere stranger to it, and therefore it is hid from all creatures high or low, what­ever they are.

Vers. 22. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.] The meaning is, that though they had heard some talk or mention of wisedome, yet that was all, they were never able fully to find it out. Some by destruction and death, understand the devils and damned in hell; others the souls of the Saints departed, to wit, that even when they are no longer clogged with earthly bodies, and so are the freer to search after wisedome, they were never able fully to com­prehend it; yea and others understand it more generally yet, of all men that have lived formerly from the first creation, and are now dead, to wit, that they were never any more able to find out this wisedome of God, then those that are now living: though formerly they lived many years, and so had great advan­tage to gain more wisedome then others, and though some of them were in their times men of great wisedome, as the Philosophers and others, yet this supernatu­rall wisedome of God they were never able to comprehend; that which they had was but a shadow of wisedome, as farre short of true wisedome, as the fame of a thing is short of the thing it self. But lastly, others understand by destruction and death, hell and the grave, or rather the depths and bowels of the earth and sea, and so make the meaning to be this; that though there the fame of wisedome hath been heard, to wit, because the providence of God extends it self to the or­dering of all things there, yet there this supernaturall wisedome cannot be learnt or found. And this Exposition I conceive most probable, and judge this which is said here to be much the same with that before, vers. 14. The depth saith, It is not in me.

Vers. 23. God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.] If [Page 214] we conceive that Job speaks here of that supernaturall knowledge of God and the way of salvation, which is indeed the only true wisedome of man, the meaning then must needs be, that God only knoweth how this is to be attained, because God must reveal it to man, or he can never attain it: But if we understand it of the secret wisedome of God in the government of the world, as questionlesse Job intended it, then the meaning of the words is, that God, and he only, understands where this wisedome is, because it rests only in his own bosome; he fully knows all the waies of his Providence, to wit, how and why all things are done, as why the wicked often prosper, and the righteous are afflicted, which are all to man al­together unsearchable.

Vers. 24. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, &c.] That is, he beholds all things not only in heaven, but also throughout the world, to wit, that he may order and dispose of them, as seems good unto himself: and this Job alledgeth as an evident proof, that therefore God must needs perfectly know the cause of all things that are done in the world, which are hidden from man. And indeed this place makes it clear, as I conceive, that the unsearchable wisedome Job speaks of in this chapter, which is known only to God, and which man cannot attain, is that of his counsels in all the waies and works of his Providence.

Vers. 25. To make the weight for the winds, and he weigheth the waters by mea­sure.] The meaning is, that God doth appoint and order such a quantity and measure both of the winds and waters (whether we understand it of the rain that comes down from the clouds, or of the waters that are in seas, rivers, brooks and springs upon the earth) as may serve just for the accomplishment of what he hath purposed with himself, whether for judgement or mercy: that either the winds or waters are more or lesse in one place or in another, it is not by chance, but by the Providence of God, who sees well and understands all that he doth.

Vers. 26. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder, &c.] The drift of these words is, to shew that the unsearchable wise­dome, whereby God governs the world and the fulnesse thereof, was with God, and therefore known to him from the beginning of the world, yea even from eternity. When he made a decree for the rain, &c. that is, when from all eternity he decreed, or when at the first creation he established an order how the rain should come to be bottled up in the clouds, when and where, in what measure and how long, it should be afterwards poured down upon the earth; and so likewise concer­ning the lightning and the thunder, and all other things whatever.

Vers. 27. Then did he see it, &c.] That is, then did he exactly know and under­stand that unsearchable wisedome of his, whereby the world hath been ever since governed; and declare it, that is, (if we referre it to the creation of the world) then did he in part discover this his wisedome by the admirable works which he made, and the order which he appointed to them, or (if we referre it to his eter­nall decree) then did he determine how it should by his works be declared to men and angels; (and if we read this clause, as it is in the margin of our Bibles, and did number it, the meaning is, that he did particularly order, and manifested it severally in every thing that he made:) he prepared it, yea and searched it out; that [Page 215] is, he decreed all things thereby, and established them in a most excellent man­ner, as when things are done upon the most exact search and enquiry. I know, some Expositours understand these two verses, as they do all that went before, concerning that knowledge of God and of the way of salvation, which is the true wisedome of man, and so give this as the meaning of the words, that this wise­dome was from the beginning known of God, and ordered by him to be the wise­dome of man, and accordingly was by him discovered to man, partly by his works, and partly by his word, which otherwise they could never have known: But the first Exposition is by far the best.

Vers. 28. And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord that is wisedome, &c.] As if he should have said, And thus hath God reserved to himself the wisedome of his governing the world, as a secret which man can never attain; and the wise­dome which he hath appointed him to seek after, is to learn to fear him and to keep his Commandements. And with this Iob concludes his discourse concer­ning the unsearchable wisedome of God, partly thereby to condemn the rash censures of his friends, and partly to shew that he had thus alwaies endeavoured to be wise, though they judged otherwise of him, and neither had nor would hereafter search into Gods secrets.

CHAP. XXIX.

Vers. 1. MOreover Iob continued his parable.] See the Note, chap. 27.1.

Vers. 2. Oh that I were as in moneths past, as in the daies when God preserved me.] To wit, from those miseries which are since come upon me. And this Job might adde, not so much by way of desiring the recovery of his former prosperity, as to imply that he was not ashamed of his former pro­sperity, as if he had not behaved himself therein as became a man that feared God, but could wish with all his heart that it were now with him in every regard as it was then: thereby condemning his friends for passing such uncharitable censures upon him, as if by his secret wickednesse in the daies of his prosperity, he had provoked God to bring those miseries upon him which of late he had en­dured. But if we take the words so, that therein he did indeed wish that he were in the same prosperous condition wherein he had been formerly, this he might lawfully desire, so it were with submission to Gods will, and without any murmu­ring against that which God had laid upon him; and withall, his drift in mentio­ning this might chiefly be to imply, how unwarrantably they judged of him by his outward condition, since they might as well conclude that he was a righteous man and beloved of God because of his former prosperity, as that he was a wick­ed man and hated of God because of his present afflictions; as likewise to inti­mate, that in this regard his present miseries were the greater, because he had for­merly lived in such a prosperous condition.

Vers. 3. When his candle shined upon mine head, &c.] That is, upon me, accor­ding to that Prov. 30.6. Blessings are upon the head of the just, that is, upon the just. Yet in this phrase there may be also an allusion to the lifting up or setting [Page 216] up of torches or candles on high, because thereby they give the better light to men. However by the time when the candle of God shined upon his head, is meant the time when the Lord favoured him and prospered him apparently, and when he did by his providence and the counsell of his spirit guide and direct him in all his waies. And to the same purpose is the following clause, when by his light I walked through darknesse; for thereby is meant, either that God prospered him when times of great distresse lay upon others, or that through Gods favour he lived free from affliction in this world, the vale of tears and land of darknesse and sorrow, or that God directed him in the most intricate difficulties that ever he met with. See the Notes, 2 Sam. 22.29. and Esth. 8.16.

Vers. 4. As I was in the daies of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my Ta­bernacle.] That is, when that speciall and singular love which God did bear me was plainly manifested, by the great blessings he daily afforded to me and mine; Or, when God by his secret providence did protect, and by the secret counsell of his spirit did direct both me and my family: For all these may be tearmed the secret of God, as likewise Psal. 25.14. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and in other places.

Vers. 6. When I washed my steps with butter, &c.] That is, when I enjoyed the choicest of Gods blessings in greatest abundance. We have the like expressions, Gen. 49.11. and Deut. 33.24. concerning which see the Notes there. Yet the last clause, and the rock poured me out rivers of oyl, may imply not only abundance of oyl, as where streams of water come gushing forth out of rocks; but also that the barrenest places yielded him plenty: for which see the Note, Deut. 32.13.

Vers. 7. When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street.] As by the gate is meant the place of judicature, (see the Note Gen. 22.17.) whether Job used to goe in great state and honourably attended; so also by the street is meant any place of publick concourse, where when the people met together about publick affairs, Job, as being a chief magistrate, had a seat prepa­red for him against he came thither.

Vers. 8. The aged arose and stood up.] That is, as I passed by, or when I came in place where they were, the aged arising stood up; or, rising from their seats, they continued standing, whilst I was present.

Vers. 9. The Princes refrained talking, &c.] That is, they were silent presently when I came in presence; or, they still gave way to me to speak, and would not speak themselves when I was by: which is also expressed in other words in the following clause, and laid their hand on their mouth, of which see the Note, chap. 21.5. Yet some adde farther, that by putting their hand upon their mouth, the prin­ces gave a sign to others to be silent too.

Vers. 10. The Nobles held their peace, &c.] To wit, when Job was by, or began to speak: and their tongues cleaved to the roof of their mouth; that is, they were as mute as if it had been so; or, they durst not speak for fear.

Vers. 11, When the ear heard me, then it blessed me, &c.] That is, they that heard me speak commended me for that I spake, pronounced me blessed, or de­sired God to blesse me: and when the eye saw me, it gave witnesse to me; that [Page 217] is, as any saw me, they testifyed of me, how righteous and good I was in all my waies.

Vers. 12. Because I delivered the poor that cryed, the fatherlesse, &c.] As if he had said, It was not for my riches and greatnesse that every one spake well of me; but for the good I did, and that especially to those from whom no requitall could be expected. And thus he confutes that slander of Eliphaz, chap. 22.9. Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherlesse have been broken.

Vers. 13. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me.] To wit, be­cause I helped those that were like to be utterly undone, and rescued those that were in the way of perishing, from the oppression of such as would have ruined them; Or, because I pardoned those that were condemned to die.

Vers. 14. I put on righteousnesse, and it clothed me; my judgement was as a robe and a diadem.] As if he should have said, Whereas magistrates use to wear robes and diadems, and other glorious ornaments, to make them to be honoured and re­verenced amongst the people, the ornaments wherewith I sought to adorn my self were justice and judgement; and they were indeed an honour and glory to me both with God and man. His just dealing in that office of magistracy whereto God had raised him, he might compare to a garment which he put on, and where­with he clothed himself, first, because it was not naturall to him, he was born na­ked of any such clothing; secondly, because it was manifestly to be seen in all his actions, as a mans garments are visible to every one that looks on him; third­ly, that he took as much care to do justly, as a man doth to dresse himself, and did as much delight in all righteous dealing, as men do in costly attire. But that which is first mentioned, was chiefly, I conceive, intended by Job.

Vers. 15. I was eyes to the blind, &c.] This may include many particulars: as first, that he took order that the blind should have all requisite help afforded them; secondly, that he instructed those that were ignorant, who are indeed spi­ritually blind, according to that which the Apostle spake to the Jew, Rom. 2.19. thou art confident, that thou thy self art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darknesse; thirdly, that he counselled and directed those that for want of wise­dome knew not many times, both in publick and private affairs, which way to turn themselves; and fourthly, more particularly, that when poor simple men had any cause pleaded before him, who, not understanding their own cause, were in danger to be gulled and deceived by those that would yet seem to plead for them, he used to help such simple souls, discovering for their benefit the justice of their cause, which they were not able to make good themselves. And agreea­bly hereto we must also understand the second clause, and feet was I to the lame; to wit, either of bodily lamenesse, that he provided that such poor wretches should not want help, or secondly, of men figuratively lame, that is, poor weak men, that are not able as it were to stand of themselves, or manage their affairs, that he sup­ported and aided them.

Vers. 16. I was a father to the poor, &c.] That is, I helped them, and counsel­led them, and supplied them with all things that were necessary for them, and that with the care and affection of a father. As for the following clause, and the cause [Page 218] which I knew not, I searched out, it may imply two remarkable acts of justice in Job: to wit, first, that he did not content himself with righting those that com­plained to him of wrong that was done them, but by search and enquiry found out those that were injurious in their dealings, and called them to an account, and so relieved those that durst not complain; and secondly, that when any cause was brought before him, he durst not be rash in passing judgement, nor would suffer those that were the wrong-doers to carry the cause by any false dealing, but did alwaies weigh well every circumstance, that there might be nothing which he did not throughly understand.

Vers. 18. Then I said, I shall die in my nest.] That is, I shall die peaceably at home in my bed, in a good old age, having my children and family about me. Nor doth this contradict that which he said before, chap. 3.25, 26; that which I was afraid of is come unto me; I was not in safety, neither had I rest, yet trouble came. For as that did only imply, that he grew not carnally secure upon his prosperity, but still looked upon all creature-comforts as mutable uncertain things; so this doth only imply, that finding himself in such a prosperous condition through Gods blessing upon him and his, it seemed to him most probable and likely (at least such thoughts did sometimes come into his mind) that surely he should con­tinue setled in that estate, till he came at last to die in his nest: which he the ra­ther thought also, because his conscience testified with him, that he had alwaies sincerely endeavoured to walk uprightly before God, and so had not that cause of being perplexed with continuall fears of a dismall change, as wicked men have, that enrich and raise themselves by unlawfull means. And this he now alledgeth, as that which made his misery now the more bitter and insupportable, and shewed how wonderfull and unsearchable the wayes of God were, that not­withstanding this, he should now be brought into so low and sad a condi­tion.

Vers. 19. My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch.] That is, through the grace of God planted in my heart, and the bles­sing of God upon me and mine, and all that I did, I was in great prosperity, like a flourishing tree planted by the waters, and having it's branches refreshed every night with dew from heaven.

Vers. 20. My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.] That is, my prosperity, wisedome and strength was daily encreased: For by the bow in the Scripture is usually meant a mans strength; for so we see the continuance of Josephs strength is expressed, Gen. 49.24. But his bow abode in strength, &c. See also 1 Sam. 2.4.

Vers. 21. Vnto me men gave ear and waited, &c.] That is, they waited both till I spake, and whilst I was speaking, though I was never so long, as longing to know my advice, and to hear my judgement, and expecting nothing from me but what was full of wisedome and justice.

Vers. 22. After my words they spake not again, &c.] To wit, neither by gain­saying any thing I said, nor by adding any thing which they conceived was want­ing in that which I had spoken: and my speech dropped upon them; that is, it was to [Page 219] them as a sweet showre of rain that distils gently upon the earth, and soaks into it; it was most pleasing, welcome and profitable, chearing and refreshing the minds of the hearers, and every way beneficiall to them. See the Note, Deut. 32.2.

Vers. 23. And they waited for me as the rain, &c.] Most Expositours hold, that by the rain in this first clause is meant the rain which fell with them in Autumn, (when in those parts their new-sown seed was in danger to be spoiled for want of rain) which is usually in the Scripture called the first or the early rain, Deut. 11.14. Jam. 5.7. and that because the later rain seems to be opposed hereto in the following clause, and they opened their mouth wide as for the later rain. But howe­ver the meaning is, that they did as eagerly long to hear him speak, as men long for rain in those times when they most need it, and have been longest without it; and did as greedily gape after his words when he began to speak, as the husband­man, or the chapped earth it self gapes after the rain, yea even after the later rain; which is that which falls in the spring, and was most necessary in those countries for the ripening and plumping of their corn, which began then with them to be nigh unto harvest.

Vers. 24. If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.] Some understand this thus, that no body would believe that which was spoken before them, if Job by a smile seemed but to suspect that there was no truth or fair dealing in that which was said; and that on the other side, when he gave any approbation to that which was spoken, by the chearfulnesse of his countenance, those that stood by slighted it not, but observing by his looks what his judgement was, they also approved it. But others take it thus, If I laugh­ed on them, they believed it not; that is, they had such a high opinion of my gravity, that if I spake any thing in a jeasting, pleasant manner, or did any other way shew my self chearfull and familiar with any body, they could scarce believe that I laughed when I did laugh; what I spake in jeast they would think I spake it in ear­nest, at least that there was somewhat in it more then they discerned, nor durst they thereupon carry themselves in a familiar and jeasting manner to me again: and to the same purpose also is the following clause, and the light of my countenance they cast not down; for the meaning is, that when he so carried himself, no man, by taking offence at him, caused him to change his countenance; or, that they did not slight any look of his, but took a smile from him as a great matter; or, that his familiar carriage towards them did not embolden them to reverence him ever a whit the lesse, at least to doe or speak any thing that should grieve or anger him, or make him ashamed, and so overcloud his countenance. The expression is much like that, Gen. 4.5. Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Vers. 25. I chose out their way, and sat chief, &c.] Two waies this is understood: First, that he appointed them what course they should take, and which way they should goe, in any businesse they had to doe, and was still the chief man in all their meetings: or secondly, that he usually went amongst them, and was fami­liarly conversant with them; and yet this did not make them despise him, but still he was all in all amongst them, and advanced as the chief man whereever he [Page 220] came. As for that which follows, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comfor­teth the mourners, the meaning of the first clause, I conceive, is unquestionably this, that he was obeyed and honourably attended, and his house resorted to, more like a king in an army, then a private man or an inferiour magistrate, (and he compares himself to a king in an army, rather then in any other place, because there the attendance of kings useth to be greatest, the obedience of souldiers is most observable, and the resort of company for advice and dispatch of businesse is most frequent.) But then the meaning of the last clause is more questionable, and as one that comforteth the mourners; for either that may be added in reference to the former clause, to wit, that he was as a king that comforteth the army, when by some distresse or disaster they are discouraged and dejected; or else the mea­ning may be, that men flocked after him farre and near, as they are wont to doe to one that is famous for his abilities to comfort those that are of a sad and droo­ping spirit: and so, however, one chief thing which Job intended to imply in these words may be, that notwithstanding the honour that was done him, he was ready still to comfort any that were in affliction and sorrow.

CHAP. XXX.

Vers. 1. BVt now they that are younger then I have me in derision, &c.] This is op­posed to that which he had said in the foregoing Chapter, concer­ning the great honour that formerly was done him both by young and old, to wit, that now the younger sort despised him, whose fathers, saith he, I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock, that is, to have made them my dog-keepers, or to have set them with my dogs to keep my sheep: and to prove how wretched, sordid, and base they were, he sets forth how exceeding beggarly and worthlesse their fathers were; because usually such as the parents are, such are the children, if not baser and meaner. And whereas this may seem a high degree of insolency and pride in Job, that he should thus scorn and de­spise the meanest that were in regard of their poverty; to this it is answered, either that Job doth here set forth the temptations wherewith he was assailed, when he was so despised, which yet notwithstanding he resisted and overmaster'd; or rather that Jobs aim in these words was, not to shew how he was affected towards those that did so shamefully despise him in his misery, but only to set forth what base contemptible men they were that did so scornfully use him; and that not only for their extreme wretchednesse in regard of their outward condition, but especi­ally also for their sloth, and other base qualities, to wit, that they were such, that a man would have been loth to have joyned them with the meanest and lowest in his family, nor could have thought fit for the basest services wherein he could im­ploy them.

Vers. 2. Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished?] To wit, because though they had lived long, yet they had so wasted their time in sloth and wickednesse, they had neither the wisedome nor experi­ence of old age; and so they were fit for no imployment, as being impotent by [Page 221] reason of age, and withall wholly void of that wisedome of the aged, that might have made amends for their bodily weaknesse.

Vers. 3. For want and famine they were solitary, &c.] That is, Being in extre­mity of want, and scarce knowing where to fill their hungry bellies, they were forced to fly into solitary and desolate places: Or, they were dark as the night (as it is in the margin of our Bibles,) that is, they lived in caves and woods, as dark as the night, not daring to shew themselves in open view.

Vers. 4. Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat.] Be­cause such roots could not be gotten without some trouble, and being gotten must needs be hard and unsavoury meat, under these particulars here mentioned, all other herbs and roots of the like nature are comprehended, which no man would eat of, but those that were hunger-bitten and ready to starve.

Vers. 5. They were driven forth from among men (they cried after them as after a thief) &c.] Either this is meant of mens hunting them back to their dens and other solitary places, when at any time they brake out to rob and to steal; or else rather it is meant of their first expulsion from amongst men, to wit, that for their sloth, and other vile qualities, they were looked upon as men that were likely to live only by filching from others, and so were driven into desolate places, as not fit to live in any civile society, and hated, as if they had been the veriest thieves in the world.

Vers. 7. Among the bushes they brayed.] That is, say some, when the bushes pricked them. But the meaning rather is, that for hunger, thirst and cold they brayed, being more like so many wild asses rather then men. See the Note, chap. 6.5.

Vers. 8. They were children of fools, yea children of base men, &c.] That is, chil­dren of wicked, worthlesse, despicable men; see the Note, 2. Sam. 3.33. they were viler then the earth, which we tread and spit upon; the meaning is, that they were as base as base might be, men not worthy to goe upon the ground. That which is said in the five foregoing verses might be meant of those that now deri­ded him, or of their parents; but this seems rather to be meant of those that so abused him.

Vers. 9. And now am I their song, yea I am their by-word.] See the Note, chap. 17.6. and Deut. 28.37. And because this he chargeth upon them, of whom he had said before that they were driven from amongst men, and lived in solitary places, it seems that it was by Jobs authority especially they were cast out, though all men were ready to contribute their help thereto; and that thereupon they took now the advantage of his downfall from his former dignity, and coming now without fear from those desolate places, did abuse him, and trample upon him, as here is expressed.

Vers. 10. They abhorre me, they flee far from me, &c.] That is, Because of the ex­treme low condition whereto God hath brought me, and the loathsomenesse of my person, by reason of the ulcers and sores that are upon me, they stand aloof from me by way of scorn and disdain, or as looking on me as some unlucky and accursed thing. We have the like expressions before, chap. 19.13, 19. And to [Page 222] the same purpose is the following clause, and spare not to spit in my face: whereby is meant, either their loathing of him (for we spit at those things we are scarce a­ble to look at, to imply the rising of our stomacks against them;) or their dete­sting of him, as an execrable wicked person; or their casting of all kind of vile reproaches upon him to his face; or more generally, that they used him with all kind of contempt and scorn. For though it may be understood literally, to wit, that these base fellows did indeed spit in his face, because spitting in the face was in those times an usuall way of using men reproachfully and despightfully, (as is evident Numb. 12.14. Deut. 15.9. but especially Matth. 26.67. where it is said of Christ, that they did spit in his face:) yet here I take it rather to be a prover­biall expression, the meaning whereof is, that they affronted him and abused him in the vilest manner they could devise. There is the like expression before, chap. 16.10. of which see the Note there.

Vers. 11. Because he hath loosed my cord and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me.] That is, Because God hath deprived me of that power and au­thority which I had over them, and hath not awed their spirits to fear and reve­rence me as formerly, therefore these base people do now with unbridled rage abuse me to my face. In the first clause, the Lords bringing down Job so low is expressed in those figurative tearms, he hath loosed my cord: either first, because binding strengthens things, and loosing or unbinding things weakens them, as we see in a bundle of sticks or sheaf of corn, which have no more strength in them, if once the cord wherewith they were bound be loosed or untied; and in the bo­dy of man, which is strengthened by the binding of the limbs together with nerves and sinews, and is soon weakned if they be loosed, whence is that expressi­on concerning Belshazzer, that the joynts of his loyns were loosed; and so to signifie that God had bereaved him of that might and strength he formerly had, he ex­presseth it thus, he hath loosed my cord: or secondly, in reference to that he said be­fore, chap. 29.20. and my bow was renewed in my hand, that as there the continu­ance or encrease of his power was implyed by the renewing of his bow, so here, by the loosing of the cord or string of his bow, that is, the unbending of his bow, the weakning of his power might be signified: or thirdly, because the authority of magistrates, or the peoples reverencing them because of their authority, is the bond of subjection, or the rains of government whereby people are awed and kept in; whence is that, Psal. 2.3. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us (see the Note, chap. 12.18) and so by loosing his cord is meant, that God had stripped him of the authority he formerly had, and made him to be despised amongst the basest of men, and so now (saies he) they have also let loose the bridle before me, that is, they have let loose the rains to their malice and wicked­nesse, and give liberty to themselves, even to my face, to use me as they please.

Vers. 12. Vpon my right hand rise the youth, &c.] They are said to rise against him upon his right hand, to imply, either first, their opposing him in every thing he did, because the right hand is the instrument of working; or secondly, their endeavour to weaken him, because in a mans right hand his strength chiefly lyes; [Page 223] or thirdly, the advantage they had over him, in regard of the very low conditi­on whereto he was brought, because the right hand is the upper hand; or fourth­ly, that these youngsters, who were wont to hide themselves for fear of him, as he had said before, chap. 29.8. did not now abuse him secretly, and behind his back, but were ready at every turn to beard him and oppose him to his face. And indeed the like expression is used elsewhere upon most of these grounds: as where David saith of his great enemy, Psal. 109.6. Set thou a wicked man over him, and let Satan stand at his right hand; and Zach. 3.1. where Joshua the high priest was seen, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. As for the following words, they push away my feet, though some Expositours understand thereby that they bereaved him of his estate, and of every thing else that might be any support to him, and of all power to help himself; yet I rather take it to be a proverbiall speech, signifying with what extreme contempt they abused him, that they spor­ted themselves with him, as those do that lay stumbling-blocks in a poor mans way, and trip up his heels. And then in the last clause, and they raise up against me the waies of their destruction, they are compared to souldiers, that lay siege against a place, (of which see the Note chap. 19.12. where there is the like expression:) but the meaning is, that they sought by all means to destroy him.

Vers. 13. They marre my path.] The meaning of this may be, either first, that they cast an aspersion of hypocrisie upon all the waies of holinesse and righteous­nesse wherein he had formerly walked; or secondly, that hating his waies and courses, they sought to overthrow both him and them; or thirdly, rather, that they had cut off from him all way of escape.

They set forward my calamity, they have no helper.] That is, they have none a­mongst them that will help me, or there is none to help me against them. Yet I acknowledge the most received Exposition of these words is, they have no helper, that is, they need no body to animate and provoke them to these mischievous courses against me; yea as base and mean as they are, against me poor wretch they may easily prevail, and need no helper.

Vers. 14. They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters, &c.] That is, Be­ing deprived of my estate, authority and power, which hitherto kept them off, and made them afraid to meddle with me, and God withall having withdrawn his protection, which was that indeed that had hitherto secured me, they came in upon me thick and threefold with all violence; even as souldiers that have besie­ged any place, when they have made a breach, do rush in like a torrent of waters, and bear down all before them. In the desolation they rolled themselves upon me; that is, as souldiers break in through the ruines they have made in a breach, so they, taking advantage of my downfall, come tumbling in upon me, as the waves of the sea, or as stones that roll down from a steep hill▪ and with all violence, acting mischief upon mischief, they do utterly oppresse and overwhelm me.

Vers. 15. Terrours are turned upon me; they pursue my soul as the wind.] That is, the terrours of death, and of Gods wrath, which are worse by farre then any outward affliction can be, do often suddenly, violently, and unresistably [Page 224] surprize, follow and pursue my soul. See the Note, chap. 6.4.

Vers. 16. And now my soul is poured out upon me.] That is, To my exceeding grief I see the strength and courage of my soul, or the powers of my life spend and run out apace, I faint and die away; through the continuall wasting of my spirits, I melt away in tears and sorrow, and my soul passeth away out of my bro­ken body, as water runs out of a broken vessel. We have the like expressions, Psal. 42.4. when I remember these things, I poure out my soul in me; and Lam. 2.12. their soul is poured out into their mothers bosome.

Vers. 17. My bones are pierced in me in the night season, &c.] That is, even in the night, when others find some refreshing rest, my most inward parts are in conti­nuall pain and anguish.

Vers. 18. By the great force of my disease is my garment changed; it bindeth me a­bout as the collar of my coat.] The meaning of this is, that by that purulent bloody matter, which issued in great abundance out of his ulcers, his garment was conti­nually stained; and that being stiffened with that congealed matter, it was as hard and streight round about his body, as the collar of his coat was about his neck.

Vers. 19. He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes.] Some Expositours referre this to the extreme contempt whereinto God had brought him, to wit, that God trampled him down in the mire, that he was no more regar­ded then the dirt under mens feet: and others referre it to the low and weak condition whereto he was brought, in regard of his health, namely that he was more like a dead carkasse then a living man, no better then dust and ashes, and as one that was already thrown down into the grave. But because in the foregoing verse he had spoken of the filth of his ulcers, I rather conceive that here also he intends his loathsome condition in that regard, to wit, that he was no other to look on then a heap of mire, and as he had said before, chap. 7.5. cloathed with clods of dust; concerning which see the Note there.

Vers. 20. I [...]ry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me; I stand up, and thou regardest me not.] Standing up is a gesture of those that pray, whence is that Jer. 15.1. Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people; and that Matth. 6.5. they love to pray standing in the Synagogues. So that the second clause may be no more then a reiterating of that which, in other tearms, he had said in the first clause. But yet some conceive, that as by crying in the first clause he meant to imply his earnestnesse in prayer; so also by standing up in the second place he implyed, both his eagernesse to be heard, and his persevering still to presse God, waiting for an answer; and withall that he did in prayer present him­self before God, to see, as it were, if such a pitifull spectacle would move him to compassion: but that all was in vain.

Vers. 21. Thou art become cruell to me.] That is, whereas thou wert wont to deal graciously and bountifully with me, now, contrary to thine own disposition, and thy former dealings with me, thou seemest more then severe, even cruell in that which thou doest unto me. Job therefore doth not here charge God with cruel­ty, but only affirms that his dealing with him carried the resemblance of cruelty [Page 225] in it, to wit, in that he laid his hand so exceedingly heavy upon him, and took no pity of him, when he saw him in such a sad condition, nor regarded his sub­mission and crying to him for mercy. And indeed the Lord himself useth the same expression, speaking of the severity he had used in the punishment of his own people, Jer. 30.14. I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruell one, for the multitude of thine iniquity.

Vers. 22. Thou liftest me up to the wind, thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance.] Three severall waies these words may be understood: to wit, first, that God had lifted him up to a great height of prosperity, that afterwards his fall might be the greater, even to the dissolving of his substance, that is, to his ut­ter ruine; and so he may allude to the lifting up of any thing on high, as it were to the clouds, that so falling from thence it might be dashed in pieces; or to the winds carrying up of the clouds on high, which then fall down in showres of rain, and so come to nothing: secondly, that he was in the judgement of reason as it were absolutely lost and gone, Thou liftest me up to the wind, &c. that is, Thou dost suddenly and speedily snatch me away as with a whirlwind from amongst men, and thou dissolvest my substance, that is, thou causest me to melt and wast away to no­thing: or thirdly, that he sets forth in the first words the miserable restlesnesse of his condition, to wit, that he was so continually disquieted and distracted, through pain and grief, both in body and mind, that he could be still in no place, nor could ever find any rest in himself, but was like a feather or stubble, that is caught up by the wind, & then driven and whirled about, sometimes one way and sometimes another; insomuch that at last hereby his substance was dissolved, that is, his flesh was quite spent and wasted, yea there was no soundnesse or solidity left either in body or mind: and indeed some read the last clause, as it is in the margin of our Bibles, and dissolvest my wisedome; and then the meaning must needs be, that he was as a man that is moped, void of understanding, not knowing what course to take, or which way to turn himself.

Vers. 23. For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, &c.] Some conceive that Jobs drift in these words is, to intimate, that since he must needs die ere long, therefore in the mean time he desired that God would let him be at ease; as we see the same alledged, chap. 7.16. concerning which see the Notes there. But I rather conceive that these words are added only to set forth, that he looked upon himself as a dead man, one of whose recovery there was no hope.

Vers. 24. Howbeit he will not stretch forth his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.] Two Expositions are given of these words, which are both very pro­bable, (though they be indeed contrary one to the other;) in regard ones hand may be said to be stretched forth to another, either for good or evil. The one is this: Howbeit he will not stretch forth his hand to the grave, that is, God will not save men from the grave, when the time comes that he intends to bring them thi­ther, or when he hath brought them to the grave; though they cry in his destruction, that is, though there be never such mourning and lamentation for their death, or for their being in danger of dying, or though they that are dying do never so piteously bewail their misery, and do never so vehemently call upon God, when [Page 226] he destroyes them: as if he had said, As I know I shall die, so I know that being dead there is no hope of being raised from the grave; thither all must come, and there they must all lye till the generall resurrection. The other Exposition is this, Though they, that is, though men in that miserable condition that I am in, cry in his destruction, that is, complain bitterly and cry out earnestly for ease and help when God is destroying them, and thinks fit to make an end of them; yet this is that which comforts me, that howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, that is, God will not afflict them any longer when they are in the grave: And so I know it will be with me; though now I cry out, because of my misery whilst he is destroying me, yet this comfort I have, that my miseries will end with my life; when I am laid in my grave, whether I am hasting apace, there he will no longer stretch forth his hand against me, there we shall all be at rest. And this Exposition I take to be most agreeable to the Context in this place.

Vers. 25. Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? &c.] This might be ad­ded to imply, both that he could apprehend no reason why God had so sorely afflicted him, and likewise that he could see no ground for that counsell his friends had given him, to wit, that he should addresse himself to doe that which was good in Gods sight, and then God would again be favourable to him; since this he had alwaies formerly done, and yet these sad calamities had befallen him. But that which I conceive Job meant chiefly to imply is, that in regard he had been so compassionate to others, it was the stranger to him, that he in his mise­ries should neither find man nor God ready to pity him, according to that for­mer complaint vers. 20. I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me: yet that so it was with him he shews in the following verse, when I looked for good, (namely, because I had been so ready to pity others) then evil came unto me; and when I waited for light, there came darknesse.

Vers. 27. My bowels boyled and rested not, &c.] His meaning is, that his inward parts were incessantly troubled within him; partly with the burning heat of his disease, and partly with the grief and vexation of his mind. Some hold that Job proceeds here still to expresse, how he was distressed for the distresse of others, to wit, that his bowels yearned over them that were in misery, by means whereof he was continually afflicted for some or other. But the first Exposition is most ge­nerally approved; and indeed it best agrees with the following clause, the dayes of affliction prevented me, that is, they came unexpectedly upon me; or they came up­on me thick and threefold, so that I had no breathing time to arm my self against them.

Vers. 28. I went mourning without the Sun, &c.] Even this verse also some Ex­positours understand of his mourning for others that were in misery, to wit, that he went mourning up and down for them, and that his sorrow was so great, that he could take comfort in nothing, he seemed not sensible of the warmth of the sun shining upon him; and that he stood up and tryed in the congregation, that is, that in publick assemblies he bewailed their miseries, labouring to stirre up o­thers also to take pity of them. But I rather take this also, as the rest, to be an ex­pression of his sad condition in regard of his own miseries: and accordingly the [Page 227] first clause, I went mourning without the Sun, may be very probably understood three severall waies: to wit, either first, of his black skin, that his body was clad all over with a black mourning skin in stead of a mourning vesture, and yet it was not the scorching heat of the Sun, but the strength of his diseases that had put this hue upon him; and so this should be the same with that which is said after­wards in plainer tearms vers. 30. My skin is black upon me: or secondly, of his so­litarinesse, that being in much heavinesse, he avoided as much as might be the light of the Sun, and loved to be alone by himself in the dark: or thirdly, of his sorrow only, that he was alwaies mourning, as being under the darknesse of very sad afflictions, and not having the least Sun-light of pleasure and comfort; and to the same purpose is that which follows, I stood up and I cryed in the congregation, that is, I could not contain my self, but (which was a very unseemly thing in one of my gravity and quality) I did even weep and howl in the very publick assem­blies of people.

Vers. 29. I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.] Or, ostriches, as it is in the margin; and indeed so they must needs render the words, that will have the meaning to be, as some would have it, that Job herein complains of the mer­cilesnesse of those with whom he conversed, to wit, that they were barbarously cruel to him, like dragons, yea like ostriches, that are cruell to their own young ones. But rather, I conceive, he tearms himself a brother to dragons, and a compani­on to owls, because his condition was like to theirs, to wit, either for that he was forsaken, and left in a desolate and solitary estate, or because his complaints and cries, by reason of his extreme misery, were like the howling and screeches of these creatures, which make in the wildernesse many times a very lamentable noise, according to that, Micah 1.8. I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls: and indeed the phrase is much like this, which Solomon useth, Prov. 18.9. He also that is slothfull in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster.

Vers. 30. My skin is black upon me, &c.] This may be meant of the blacknesse of the scabs and scurf which were all over his body: but besides, even the skin of a mans body may become black by extremity of grief and violent sicknesse; whence is that, Lam. 5.10. Our skin was black like an oven, because of the terrible fa­mine; and that also of David, Psal. 119.83. I am become like a bottle in the smoke: see al­so the Note above vers. 28.

Vers. 31. My harp also is turned to mourning, &c.) Hereby is implyed, that not only his joy was turned into mourning, but also that those things which formerly were used for his delight, did now only encrease his sor­row.

CHAP. XXXI.

Vers. 1. I Made a covenant with mine eyes, &c.] In this Chapter Job makes a so­lemn protestation how piously he had lived, thereby to confute his friends unjust censures, and to shew how strange therefore it was, that he should be brought into so sad a condition: and first he begins with this, how carefully he had suppressed all carnall concupiscence, because this is the sin that doth usually surprize men in their youth. And this he expresseth in these tearms, I have made a covenant with mine eyes, to imply, that he kept his eyes from gazing upon any wanton object, with as much care, as men use when they are bound to any thing by covenant; and perhaps also that he was on each side carefull, both that his eyes should not allure him to evil, and that he likewise would not imploy his eyes in any such dishonourable service. And then for the following clause, why then should I think upon a maid? the drift thereof is, to imply that as he watch­ed over his eyes, so also over his thoughts, that he might not think upon a maid, (and much lesse upon a married wife, which would have been a farre greater sin;) and that either because there was the same ground for avoiding this evil of his thoughts, as for avoiding the other of his looks; or because it would have been in vain to have set such a strict guard upon his eyes, if in the mean season he should give liberty to himself for such wanton and lustfull thoughts; or because being so farre convinced of the evil of this carnall concupiscence, he durst not give way to an evil thought, for fear of Gods wrath, why then should I think upon a maid? as if he should have said, If I should, would not God have punished me for it? The first clause I know may be understood generally, of covenanting with his eyes against all that may be comprehended under that which Saint John calls the lust of the eyes, 1 John 2.16; but commonly it is limited by Expositours to looking after women.

Vers. 2. For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?] Some Expositours understand this thus, that unclean persons are no part of Gods portion and inheritance; or that they have no part nor interest in God: But because of these expressions, from above, and from on high, farre more probable it is, that Job speaks here of a portion and inheritance of re­compence, which God from above shall allot to those that give way to such lust­full looks and thoughts, as he had mentioned in the foregoing words: for what portion of God is there from above? &c. as if he should have said, I dare not give way to such wanton looks and lascivious thoughts; for though such as doe so may scape well enough with men, that may never discern nor suspect any thing amisse in them, yet what will God from above allot them for their portion? which he an­swers in the following verse. See the Note, chap. 20.29.

Vers. 3. Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?] That is, Is not this the portion of such wicked men, that God doth certainly at last destroy them, yea many times by some extraordinary, unusuall and unheard of judgement? according to that, Esa. 28.21. The Lord shall rise up as in [Page 229] mount Perizim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon; that he may doe his work, his strange work, and bring to passe his act, his strange act.

Vers. 4. Doth not he see my waies, and count all my steps?] That is, Not one of them can slip by him undiscerned; he knows them as exactly, as if he numbred them one by one. And this, concerning Gods seeing all that he did, he inserts in this place, either first, to imply, that this made him wonder why God, that knew him so throughly, should punish him so severely; or secondly, to shew, that in this profession which he made of his purity from all uncleannesse, he durst not affirm any untruth, since if he should, it could not be concealed from God; or rather thirdly, as a reason why he durst not give way to any lustfull looks or thoughts, to wit, because though man could take no notice of them, yet they could not be concealed from God.

Vers. 5. If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit.] That is, If I have walked in any sinfull course, and have greedily defrauded those that I have had any dealings with; or, If I have dealt falsly, dissemblingly, and deceit­fully with any man whatsoever. By vanity may be meant any sinfull practice, and that because the expectation of men in such courses will prove vain and deceitfull; and so it is taken Prov. 13.11. wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but most commonly in the Scripture by vanity is meant lying and dissembling, when there is no truth in that which men say or doe, but all is vain and deceitfull; and there­fore is vanity and lying so often joyned together in the Scriptures, as Psal. 4.2. How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing? so also Prov. 30.8. and in many other places.

Vers. 6. Let me be weighed in an even ballance, that God may know mine integrity.] By being weighed in an even ballance, he means his being tryed justly, to wit, whe­ther his dealings with men had not been just, according to the word and revealed will of God, (which is the ballance of the sanctuary, the only sure rule to disco­ver what is just and what is unjust;) or, whether his punishments were not greater then his offences had been. So that his drift is to professe, that he desired to be throughly tryed, so it might be done justly, to wit, by God, and not by man, of whose unjust censures he had too much experience.

Vers. 7. If my step hath turned out of the way, &c.] That is, If upon tryall it be found that I have lived wickedly, and dealt unjustly with men; and mine heart walked after mine eyes, that is, if I have coveted that which I saw of another mans, which is called the lust of the eyes, 1 John 2.16; and if any blot hath cleaved to my hands, that is, if I have run on in any sinfull practice, or, if I have greedily gotten, and unjustly kept any thing, by any base unwarrantable way: And observable it is, that in that last clause he speaks of such filthy lucre, as of pitch or some such thing, that will soon cleave to and defile the hands of him that toucheth it. Some Expositours I know limit this, which is here said, to his carriage of himself in the place of a magistrate; If my step hath turned out of the way, that is, If I have perver­ted justice, and mine heart hath walked after mine eyes, that is, if I have had any re­spect to persons, and if any blot hath cleaved to my hands, that is, if I have taken any bribe. But the more generall Exposition I judge the best. And yet we must [Page 230] not think that Job intended hereby to clear himself of all sin, as if he had never stepped awry: for the resolving whereof see the Note chap. 16.17.

Vers. 8. Then let me sow, and let another reap; yea let my off-spring be rooted out.] This last clause seems to be added, because it is usually to make their posterity rich and great, that men seek gain to themselves in unjust wa [...]es; which if I have done, saith Job, it were just that I should have none to inherit what I have gotten. But may some say, Job had now no children. I answer, this might be meant of his childrens children; or of rooting out his children hereafter, if he should have any; or the meaning may be only this, that if he had never so great a posterity, it were just with God to root them all out.

Vers. 9. If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, &c.] That is, If I have been wonne by any woman to commit uncleannesse with her, even when she may have used all the art she had to entice and entangle me, as by her beauty, by her wanton flattering words, which drop as an honey-comb, Prov. 5.3. by her lascivious behaviour, or any other of those wicked arts, for which the heart of the whorish woman is said to be as snares and nets, Eccles. 7.26.

Vers. 10. Then let my wise grind unto another, &c.] That is, Let her become a bond-slave to some other man, and be put by him to grind in a mill; concerning which see the Note Exod. 11.5: or rather, Let me be paid in the same kind, let my wife commit adultery with another man, yea let her be a common whore to many (which also the following clause expresseth more clearly, and let others bow down upon her) as a mill that for hire receives and grinds the corn of all comers. For indeed this phrase of grinding is a modest expression of that act of un­cleannesse; and so we find it used in other writers, as in that of Horace, alienas Permolere uxores.

Vers. 12. For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, &c.] Some Expositours un­derstand this thus, that the adultery of the wife doth kindle in her husband such fury and wrath, that as a fire it breaketh forth to the destruction of her and all that belong to her, of which see what Solomon saith, Prov, 6.34, 35. But the words plainly shew, that he speaks of the sin of adultery, to wit, that as it is as a fire in regard of its burning concupiscence, so also as a fire it consumes all a man hath, by reason of the wrath of God, which usually pursues them that are guilty of it, though men wink at it: it consumes a mans health, wealth, body and soul, and makes him burn at last in hell fire unto eternity: and then, because God usu­ally punisheth this sin more particularly, by cutting off the adulterers po­sterity, therefore he addes the last words, and would root out all mine en­crease.

Vers. 13. If I did despise the cause of my man-servant or of my maid-servant, when they contended with me.] His meaning is, that though he might have stopped their mouths with stripes, yet he gave them free liberty to speak for themselves; yea perhaps sometimes when they contended with him, too malapertly answering a­gain, which is a sin in servants, Tit. 2.9. Now this was in Job the clearer proof both of his innocency and gentlenesse, (if to his servants, much more to others) because in those times their servants were usually perpetuall bond-slaves, and [Page 231] both they and all that they had were so their masters, that they might doe what they pleased to them, even to the taking away of their lives, and there was no calling them to an account for it.

Vers. 14. What then shall I doe, when God riseth up? &c.] As if he should have said, God is no respecter of persons, he is farre more above me, then I could be above my meanest servant, and more power he hath over me to crush me, then I could have over them to oppresse and crush them: now therefore, though man should never question me for this, yet when God riseth up, to wit, to call me to an account and to punish me for dealing so harshly with my servant, when he visiteth me, namely at the time when he brings any great calamity upon me, at the hour of death, or at the day of judgement, what then shall I doe? that is, how should I carry my self towards God? I should not dare to look him in the face, I should be afraid to appear in his presence; at least I should not know what to answer him, not being able any way to excuse myself, nor knowing why God should hear me, when I have formerly refused to hear my servants. See Ephes. 6.9. and Col. 4.1.

Vers. 15. Did not he that made me in the womb, make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?] Here he affirms, first, that his servant was Gods creature, as well as he; the same God made them both: secondly, that his servant was a man, a reasonable creature, as well as he; they were both of the same nature, and he was therefore a mortall creature no lesse then his servant: and thirdly, that he and his servant were made after the same manner, and fashioned in the same mold, and so were descended of the same stock. Which two last some conceive are more fully expressed, if we read the last clause, as it is in the margin of our Bibles, and did he not fashion us in one womb? But however the drift of the words is, to imply that there was no cause therefore, why he should tyrannize over his servant, or, that if he should so doe, he that made them both would plead the cause of his servant.

Vers. 16. If I have withheld the poor from their desire, &c.] To wit, by detai­ning their pledge, or any thing else unjustly from them, or by refusing to grant them any thing they desired of me, or which I knew they desired, though out of modesty they did not ask it. As for that which is added in the next clause, con­cerning the failing of the widows eyes, who indeed are apt to marre their eyes with weeping, see the Note chap. 11.20.

Vers. 17. Or have eaten my morsell alone, and the fatherlesse hath not eaten thereof.] That is, If I have not imparted of my provision for the feeding of the fatherlesse. Yet some adde also, that by this expression of not eating his morsell alone, he meant to imply, that even of that which was daintyest, that which was provided for his own eating, as any occasion was, the fatherlesse had a share.

Vers. 18. (For from my youth he was brought up with me as with a father, &c.] This clause some understand of fatherlesse boyes: and then accordingly the fol­lowing clause they understand of the fatherlesse of the other sex, and I have guided her from my mothers womb. But because there is mention made in the foregoing verses of his respect to poor widows, and they are frequently joyned with the fa­therlesse, [Page 232] therefore the last clause, and I have guided her, &c. most Expositours un­derstand of the widow: and so the meaning of this passage is, that from his youth, yea from his very childhood, he used to be charitably affected to the fatherlesse and widows; his naturall inclination, which he had from his mothers womb, see­med to carry him that way. Indeed Solomon tells us, that much of a mans natu­rall disposition to good or evil will often be discovered even in his childhood; Prov. 20.11. Even a child is known by his doings, &c. and therefore Jobs intent in these words might be to imply, that even in his tender years he used to pity the fa­therlesse and widows, and was still ready to carry them home to his fathers house, and many waies to be helpfull to them.

Vers. 20. If his loyns have not blessed me, &c.] That is, the loyns of the poor na­ked man, whom he had clothed. And the loyns of such a man may be said to blesse him that covered them with raiment, either first, because they being re­freshed hereby, do move such a poor wretch to blesse him that shewed him such mercy, as it is expressed Deut. 24.13; or secondly, because such a poor man will blesse him that clothed him with all his might and strength; or thirdly, be­cause such an act of charity doth move God to blesse him that did it. And so the phrase is much like that Gen. 4.10. where the bloud of Abel is said to cry for vengeance.

Vers. 21. If I have lift up my hand against the fatherlesse, &c.] Some understand this of the lifting up the hand by way of suffrage in giving his vote against the fa­therlesse, and others of lifting up the hand by way of giving a sign to any at his command to fall upon them. But I rather take this to be the plain meaning of the words; If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherlesse, that is, If I have threatned, injured, or oppressed the fatherlesse, or any other poor helplesse crea­ture; when I saw my help in the gate, that is, when I saw well enough that the magistrates would, either for favour or fear, take my part, and save me harm­lesse.

Vers. 22. Then let mine arme fall from my shoulder-blade, and mine arme be broken from the bone.] That is, Let some horrible judgement fall upon me, worse then all I have yet suffered; let me rot in pieces, or be torn in pieces; or let the arme that hath been so lifted up against the poor, rot off from my body, or let it wither or be disjoynted, and become uselesse. That he wisheth to himself is much like that which befell Jeroboam, 1 Kings 13.4.

Vers. 25. If I rejoyced because my wealth was great, & because mine hand had gotten much.] To wit, as ascribing all I had to mine own wit and industry. For men to rejoyce with thankfulnesse, when the Lord blesseth them with a great estate, is doubtlesse praise-worthy; Deut. 12.7. Ye shall rejoyce in all that you put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord your God hath blessed you. But that which Job here protests against is, rejoycing in the greatnesse of his wealth carnal­ly, inordinately and immoderately, as those do that set their hearts upon their wealth, as if all their happinesse consisted therein; or that give themselves to live therewith in all kind of voluptuousnesse.

Vers. 26. If I beheld the Sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightnesse, &c.] [Page 233] Many later writers understand this allegorically, as a protestation against pride and arrogancy of spirit, or against confidence in his great wealth and power, or in his own works and innocency of life; as first thus, If I beheld the Sun when it shined, &c. that is, If mine heart hath been exalted, and my looks stately and lof­ty, because of my greatnesse, or transcendent holinesse, so that I scarce deigned to look downwards upon other men, as deeming my self some little God, and fit­ter to live with the Sun and Moon then with mortall man; or secondly thus, If I observed and viewed with delight the lightsome and glorious condition wherein I lived, (as indeed usually in the Scriptures a prosperous estate is expressed by light, and the bright shining of the heavens upon men;) or thirdly thus, If I be­held my gold glorious and glittering as the Sun, or my silver bright as the moon: And accordingly also they understand the following words vers. 27. And my heart hath been secretly enticed, to wit, to exalt my self in this my great wealth and glorious condition, or to put my confidence therein; or my mouth hath kissed my hand, namely, by way of applauding my self, or ascribing these things to my self, to mine own industry, endeavours, or righteousnesse: And so also that which follows, vers. 28. This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge; for I should have denyed the God that is above; to wit, that if he had thus gloried or trusted in his greatnesse, or wealth, or righteousnesse, or ascribed them to him­self, it would have been a manifest deny all of God, (and consequently an iniquity to be punished by the judge:) and indeed we see that accordingly the Apostle saith, that Covetousnesse is Idolatry; and Agur, Prov. 30.8. having disclaimed the desire of a great estate, adds vers. 9. lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? But yet first, because Job speaks of the moons walking in brightnesse, which is certainly meant of the moons constant motion in the heaven, and cannot well be understood allegorically, and secondly, because a mans pride of heart, or con­fidence in his wealth or righteousnesse is a sin, known only to him that searcheth the heart, and cannot therefore be called an iniquity to be punished by the Iudge; I rather conceive that these three verses are to be understood literally, concerning the Idolatry of worshipping the Sun and moon, &c. If I beheld the Sun when it shi­ned, or the moon walking in brightnesse, and my heart hath been secretly enticed, &c. that is, If when I beheld those glorious lights of heaven, the Sun and Moon, shining in their full brightnesse, without the interposition of any clouds, and hereupon, to wit, by viewing their exceeding brightnesse, and by other considerations of the manifold benefits which men enjoy by their means, my heart hath been secretly enticed, that is, my heart hath been inwardly moved to adore them, as Gods; or my heart hath been perswaded to worship them in secret (which may seem the more probable Exposition, because he speaks of an offence punishable by man;) or my mouth hath kissed my hand, to wit, by way of externall adoration, as the hea­thens used to doe, kissing as it were the light of the Sun and moon upon their hands, because they could not kisse the Sun and moon themselves, concerning which see the Note 1 Kings 19.18: This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge, (as he had said before vers. 11. concerning adultery, to which this word (al­so) hath reference) for I should have denyed the God that is above; to wit, by making [Page 234] Gods of those Creatures. This is, I conceive, the plain meaning of these words. I know some Expositours limit that which is said of beholding the Sun when it shined, and the moon walking in brightnesse, to the welcome and pleasing brightnesse of the Sun at its first rising, and to the moons shining when it is in the full; (and indeed the heathens used to worship the Sun at his rising, as did also the Idola­trous Israelites in Ezekiels time, Ezek. 8.16. they worshipped the Sun towards the East;) but I see not but that it may be extended more generally to the wor­shipping of the host of heaven, when at any time they shined in their bright­nesse.

Vers. 29. If I rejoyced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lift up my self when evil found him.] To wit, by insulting over him, and trampling upon him. A man may lawfully rejoyce at the ruine of his wicked enemies, if he doth it with re­spect to the glory of God, and the good of the Church, and other such like holy respects; Psal. 58.10. The righteous shall rejoyce when he seeth the vengeance. But that which Job here protests against is, rejoycing at the destruction or hurt of his enemies out of private malice, and desire of revenge: and so also the words of the following verse must be understood, Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.

Vers. 31. If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we can­not be satisfied.] A very difficult passage this is; insomuch that though there be four different Expositions given of it, yet it is not very easie to say which of them is the most probable. First, some hold that Job having in the foregoing verses protested, that he had not rejoyced at the destruction of his enemy, nor wished him any hurt, here he adds how farre he was provoked to the contrary, to wit, because those of his own houshold were so enraged against his enemy, and so greedy to be revenged on him, that they said amongst themselves, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied; as if they should have said, we could even tear him with our teeth, and eat his very flesh, and yet that would scarce satisfie our rage: all which notwithstanding Job contained himself, and was so farre from be­ing stirred up by his houshold, that he rather restrained them, as David did his servants when they would have provoked him to have slain Saul, 1 Sam. 24.5. Now concerning this phrase of not being satisfied with eating his flesh, see the Note chap. 19.22. Secondly, some understand it thus, that the love of those of Jobs houshold was so impetuous and vehement to him, that they thought they could have eaten his flesh; so sweet and delightfull he was to them, that they could not be satisfied with enjoying his presence, but seemed to desire even to have him within them. And indeed though this Exposition may seem somewhat harsh, yet we know that it is not unusuall for men to say even in a way of love, Methinks I could eat thee: and many learned Expositours do thus conceive of these words; for thus, say they, Iob implyes here how good and amiable he was to those of his own houshold; and then he adds, in the following verse, how good he was to strangers. Thirdly, others again, on the contrary, hold, that Iobs intent in these words was to shew, that some at least even of his own houshold were rea­dy to say, that they could out of hatred to Iob eat his flesh without being satisfi­ed, [Page 235] and that because he did so continually day and night overburthen them, and weary them with the entertainment of strangers in his house: for this they say is premised with relation to that which follows in the next verse, The stranger did not lodge in the street, but I opened my doors to the traveller. And fourthly, others, though they conceive also that these words are premised with respect to that which follows in the next verse, concerning his frequent entertaining of stran­gers, yet not thinking it probable that Iobs servants should be so inhumane to so good and gentle a master, as to wish they might eat the flesh of his body, do rather understand these words, his flesh, of the flesh provided for the feeding of himself and his guests, If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied: as if they had said, Strangers are fed daily with the flesh he provides for his food, but we that are of his own houshold, have scarce leasure to tast of his provision; we are so continually imployed in providing for, and attending upon strangers, that we have not so much leasure as to satisfie our hun­ger. And indeed this last seems to me the best Exposition.

Vers. 33. If I covered my transgressions, as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bo­some.] There are some Expositours that would have the drift of these words to be this, that he had not been guilty of any such transgressions, that he should need to dissemble or conceal them, or cover them with a vizar of hypocrisie. But the words do clearly professe this, that where he was in a fault, he had not gone about to hide it, as Adam did, or as men naturally are wont to doe, to wit, by ex­cusing or denying it. And thus he intimates, that what he had said in his justifica­tion, was not because he judged himself free from sin: No, he knew that he had many waies offended God, and wherein he was guilty, he was alwaies willing to acknowledge it.

Vers. 34. Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrifie me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?] By the contempt of families may be meant, either first, the most contemned in any family, the meanest and basest amongst them, the scum of the people; or secondly, the contempt which he had brought upon any families; or thirdly, any families contemning of him. But which way soever we understand that expression, the drift of Job in these words is very ob­scure; and yet, according to our Translation, there are only two Expositions that have any probability in them: as first, that Job spake this with reference to that he had said in the foregoing verse, concerning hiding his iniquities; affir­ming, that he did not hold his peace, or keep within door, forbearing to ac­knowledge his sin, lest his contemning of families should be known, or lest any other sin of his should be divulged amongst the multitude, yea even amongst the rascall crew of the people, and so he should be scorned and contemned, and become a by word amongst all the families that lived about him, his offences were not of that nature; but that he was willing, if occasion had been, to have gone forth and confessed them openly before all men, even the most despised of all the people: or secondly, that Job here protests, that he did never out of base cowar­dise and fearfulnesse neglect to doe his duty; Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrifie me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door? as if [Page 236] he should have said, No, I did not; I did never forbear to reprove sin, to defend the oppressed, or otherwise to speak what I deemed just and equall; I did never forbear to goe forth and shew my self, or I did never slink out of doors, and goe away from the place of judgement, for fear of an enraged multitude, or for fear of being contemned by families incensed against me for that which I did, though they were of never so considerable quality or number. And this indeed is the Exposition that is most generally approved; only some alter it a little thus, to wit, that he did not in these words deny that he kept silence, and went not out of the door, but only that he did it not for fear; if he did hold his peace, and went not forth, it was not out of timerousnesse, but for some other reason, as because he judged that the patient bearing of injuries was the best way to overcome them, or some such like motives.

Vers. 35. Oh that one would hear me! &c.] That is, Oh that any one would un­dertake as a Judge to hear me plead the cause between God and me! behold, my desire is that the Almighty would answer me; that is, my desire sincerely is, that God, who hath seen and known all my waies, and discerns what the thoughts and in­tentions of the heart are, would satisfie me when I desire to know why he hath so sorely afflicted me, and would answer the arguments I shall bring to prove mine innocency: (concerning which see also the former Notes chap. 9.34, 35. and chap. 13.18, 19, &c.) and that mine adversary had written a book; that is, that any ad­versary of mine had brought in his accusations and allegations against me in wri­ting, that so I might know them, and answer them, as I could; for such it seems was the custome of those times in all judiciall proceedings.

Vers. 36. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.] In the first words, of taking it upon his shoulders, some conceive that Job alludes to the writings that used to be fastned on the shoulders of malefactours, wherein the cause of their suffering was written in great capitall letters, that all men might read it; and so that his meaning therein was, that he would be glad that all men might see what could be said against him. Others hold, that he alludes to mens taking up and carrying on their shoulders those things which they do dear­ly prize and esteem; and so that he meant, that this book of accusations brought in against him he should highly prize, and should esteem it as some choice treasure, not doubting but that thereby his innocency would the more clearly appear. And lastly, others think that he alludes to the custome of carry­ing Ensignes and scepters on mens shoulders, or any other signs of mens dignity or victory, according to that Esa. 22.22. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; and so that Jobs intent in these words was, to intimate, that he was confidently perswaded that if his adversary had written such a book against him, it would be an honour and a glory to him, and withall a certain trophee of his victory over his adversary; and that because all the accusations brought in against him would be so apparently found to be lyes and calumnies: and indeed the last words, and would bind it as a crown to me, do clearly hold forth this to be the meaning.

Vers. 37. I would declare unto him the number of my steps, &c.] That is, To him [Page 237] that should thus undertake to hear, and give judgement in my cause; or rather, To this mine adversary that had written a book against me, I would truly declare all that I know by my self, faithfully relating to him (if that might be any way a help to him) the whole course of my life. As for the following words, as a prince would I goe near unto him, the meaning is, either that he would draw near to him that would undertake to hear, and give sentence in his cause, as subjects to their Prince, wholly submitting himself and his cause to his judgement; or else second­ly, that he would draw near to this his adversary that had written a book against him, as to some great Prince, that is, that he would honour and reverence him, and have him in high esteem, even out of respect of the good he had done for him; or else thirdly, (which seems most clearly expressed in our Translation) that he as a Prince would draw near to this his judge or adversary, that is, freely and without fear, with an heroicall and undaunted spirit, as one that was no way self-condemned, but desirous to hear the worst that could be alledged against him.

Vers. 38. If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain.] The following imprecation vers. 40. Let thistles grow in stead of wheat, &c. shews plainly that Job meant this of land that was his private possession, and not (as some would have it) of a land subject to his government, which should cry a­gainst him, because of his tyrannizing over the inhabitants; for so he should wish that his country might be cursed of God, if he had oppressed his country, which is a most absurd conceit. It must needs therefore be meant of the land of his possession, thus, If my land cry against me, &c. to wit, because I have gotten it unjustly, or because I have oppressed my tenants therein, or because I have over­toyled the husbandmen imployed in the husbandry thereof, or detained their wages from them.

Vers. 39. If I have eaten the fruits thereof without mony, &c.] That is, not having duly paid for the land, or not having justly paid my husbandmen, &c. or have caused the owners thereof to loose their life, that is, those that were formerly the true owners of it, (by direct putting them to death, as Ahab did Naboth, or by heart­breaking oppressions) or those that were the occupiers of it under me, by oppressing them to their utter undoing: Then (vers. 40.) let thistles grow in stead of wheat, &c.

CHAP. XXXII.

Vers. 2. THen was kindled the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram, &c.] This Elihu was, it seems, one of those that stood by, and had heard all the dispute betwixt Iob and his three friends; & because he misliked what he had heard from both parties, when he per­ceived that Iob had made an end of speaking, and that his friends were resolved to make no farther reply upon him, he stepped up, and undertook to deliver his judgement, and as it were to determine and compremise the controversie betwixt them. Now in setting down this, first this Elihu is described by the family from [Page 238] which he was descended, to wit, that he was the son of Barachel the Buzite, that is, of the family of Buz, who was the second son of Nahor the brother of Abraham, by his wife Milcah, Gen. 22.20, 21. (for that I judge farre more probable, then that which some say, that Barachel should be called the Buzite, because he was of the province or city of Buz in Idumea mentioned Jer. 25.23.) and of the kindred of Ram, that is, of Abram; and this I hold too more probable, (because he was the brother of Nahor, and for his eminency like to be expressed,) then that this Ram should be, as others would have it, some obscure man of the stock of Nahor: all which I conceive is thus punctually expressed, partly for the greater honour of Elihu, because he spake more prudently concerning Jobs cause then his three friends had done; and especially to make it the more evident, that the story of Iob here related was a true, not a devised story. Secondly, the cause of Elihu's speaking is mentioned, to wit, that his wrath was kindled, namely against both parties. And thirdly, the reason hereof here is particularly expressed: against Iob was his wrath kindled, because he justifyed himself rather then God: not because he had maintained his own innocency and integrity against his friends, but because, though not in expresse tearms, yet in effect, he had justifyed himself rather then God, that is, he had taken more care to justify himself, then to justify God; and in his eagernesse to justify himself, had charged God with injustice, to wit, in that he had, giving way to his passion, with much bitternesse complained of Gods dea­ling with him, charging him in a manner that he had laid upon him farre greater punishments then his iniquities had deserved, and so had oppressed him with his majesty and power; and in that he had over-peremptorily called God as it were to an account, and challenged him that he might be suffered freely to plead his cause, and that God would answer him. And then again secondly, vers. 2. Also a­gainst his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Iob; that is, because they had condemned Iob for a wicked man and an hypocrite, and yet had proved nothing against him, nor had given any satisfactory answer to that which Iob had alledged to make good his innocency. It is evident therefore, that Elihu's aim was to shew both Iob and his friends too wherein they had erred; though indeed towards Iob he carries himself far more mildly and equally, then his three friends had done. Many Expositours, I know, hold that Elihu doth condemn Iob as sharply and insolently, as the other had; and accordingly they conceive, that for this God, when he began to speak, checked Elihu, in those words chap. 38.2. who is this that darkneth counsell by words without knowledge? But first, because it will be found farre more probable, that God spake those words to Iob, and not to Elihu, secondly, because it is evident that Elihu no where chargeth Iob for being a wicked man and an hypocrite, as his friends had done, and thirdly, because chap. 42.7. where the Lord condemns the three friends of Iob, he speaks not the least word against Elihu; therefore I rather conceive, that Elihu's speech is full of gentlenesse and prudence, and that he only blames him for his unadvised speeches in pleading his own innocency; and that though he seems to misconstrue some things that Iob had spoken, yet because he did this also out of a holy zeal for Gods glory, therefore [Page 239] God did not so much as take notice of this, to charge it upon him.

Vers. 4. Now Elihu had waited till Iob had spoken, &c.] That is, till Job had fi­nished his last long reply in the foregoing chapters, and so consequently all the time that he and his friends had been arguing one against another; and there­fore the reason that is added hath reference to them all, because they were elder then he.

Vers. 8. But there is a spirit in man, &c.] Some Expositours understand this of the holy spirit of God, to wit, that this it is, and not years, that makes men wise: which they say is again more clearly expressed in the following clause, and the in­spiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding: as if he had said, I expected that multitude of years should teach wisedome; but now I perceive that it is only the spirit of God in men that gives wisedome where he pleaseth, and that he gives it many times to the young and not to the aged. But because the first clause is so gene­rall, there is a spirit in man, I rather conceive it is meant of the reasonable soul in man, thus, But there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth under­standing; that is, Though age be an advantage for the getting of knowledge, yet there is a spirit of reason, understanding and judgement, in one man as well as an­other, and it is God that by the inspiration of his spirit gives wisedome, especial­ly in spirituall things, whereever he pleaseth.

Vers. 11. Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst you searched out what to say.] That is, I waited patiently all the time you were spea­king, expecting you would alledge something against Job, that should clearly prove what you had affirmed, to wit, that he was a wicked man, and that therefore God had laid his hand so heavily upon him; and finding that you strained your inventions to the utmost, to find out what you might say against him, I diligent­ly attended, and observed the reasons and arguments that you brought against him. Now hence Elihu would inferre, that it was most equall that they should pa­tiently hear him, as he had heard them; and the rather, because he had well weighed their speeches, and had not rashly judged that they had not convinced Job, as they ought to have done.

Vers. 13. Lest ye should say, We have found out wisedome: God thrusteth him down, not man.] These words, Lest ye should say, I conceive, have reference to that he had said in the foregoing verse, there was none of you that convinced Iob, or that an­swered his words: and so the meaning is, either that Elihu had confidently affir­med, that none of them had convinced Iob, lest they should say, We have found out wisedome; or that their not being able to answer Job, and so Iobs getting the better of them, was of God, to shew them the weaknesse of that argument where­on they grounded their accusation of Iob, lest they should say, We have found out wisedome. And then for the wisedome whereof he gives them warning not to boast, though some understand it of the wisedome of keeping silence, and not re­plying any more upon Iob, Lest ye should say, We have found out wisedome; God thrusteth him down, not man, that is, Lest ye should say, We have done wisely in giving over talking any farther with Iob; whereas you blame us, because we did not answer, we say it was a point of much wisedome, not to argue any farther [Page 240] with a man so obstinate; and that because God thrusteth him down, and not man, that is, Gods hand hath or will humble him sufficiently, and so we need not far­ther presse upon him, so to adde affliction to the afflicted: yet I rather think it is meant of the wisedome of his friends former arguing against Iob, Lest ye should say, We have found out wisedome; God thrusteth him down, not man; that is, Lest ye should say, However you, Elihu, deny it, yet we have sufficiently enough con­vinced him, and that there is so much wisedome in the argument we have alledg­ed against him, that all the world is not able to answer it, namely, that God, who is omniscient, and infinitely just and wise in all his waies, hath brought these mi­series upon him, and not man, who may be deceived, and may judge unjustly; and therefore were he not a wicked man, God would never have punished him, at least in such an extraordinary manner.

Vers. 14. Now he hath not directed his words against me, &c.] This might be alledg­ed to imply, that it could not be therefore any discontent that he had taken a­gainst Job, that moved him to speak, but that it was merely out of zeal for God and for the truth, and because his friends had not answered him aright: to which purpose also is that which follows, neither will I answer him with your speeches, that is, I will not answer him with railing, reviling and scornfull language, as you have done; nor will I take that course to convince him, that you have taken, to wit, by condemning him to be a wicked hypocrite, because Gods hand is so heavy upon him. It is evident in the following Chapters, that Elihu urgeth many things that the other three had objected before: but this is only in the way of reproving him for his impatient murmuring against God, and not thereby to prove him an hypocrite, as the other had done. Neither was it doubtlesse with­out the secret counsell of God, that when Iobs spirit was almost overwhelmed, with the rough usage and the peremptory uncharitable censures of his other friends, he should now be reproved by one in a juster and more gentle way, that so he might be brought to see wherein he had indeed offended, and yet withall his sorrows might be a little abated.

Vers. 15. They were amazed, they answered no more, &c.] Here Elihu turns him­self on a sudden from speaking to Iobs friends, to speak to Iob himself concer­ning them, or rather to the standers by: and by their being amazed may be meant, either that indeed they were amazed to hear Iob so confidently still to maintain his integrity, or only that they were silent, as men that stand astonished are wont to be. Neither doth Elihu speak this by way of a vain-glorious insulting over the other three friends of Iob, but only to shew how he was driven to speak: They were amazed, they answered no more; as if he should have said, I appeal there­fore to all that stand by, whether it be not very strange, that such wise men should have nothing to say to one so faulty as Iob hath been, and whether I be not now at last necessitated to speak.

Vers. 16. They spake not, but stood still, &c.] That is, They proceeded no farther.

Vers. 17. I will answer also my part, &c.] That is, Having afforded them, out of respect to their years, liberty to speak, as long as they had any thing to say, now I shall also, as I hope I well may, take my turn to speak.

[Page 241]Vers. 18. For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.] That is, I have much to say, and inwardly my spirit is moved with such vehemency to speak, that I can no longer forbear. Neither yet doth Elihu here in a youthfull arrogan­cy oppose his fulnesse to their emptinesse, that had no more to reply upon Job; but only to justifie himself for speaking, he affirms that by his zeal for God and for the truth, yea and perhaps by an extraordinary inspiration of Gods holy Spi­rit, he was so strongly moved to speak, that he could hold no longer. He com­pares himself to a woman in travel, that is pained to be delivered, or to bottels that are filled with wine, as it follows in the next verse.

Vers. 19. My belly is as wine which hath no vent, it is ready to burst like new bot­tels.] That is, like bottels filled with new wine; or, like bottels which new wine will burst asunder, yea though they be new bottels, (for indeed the older the bottels are, the liker they are to burst asunder, when they are filled with new wine; according to that of our Saviour, Matth. 9.17. Neither do men put new wine into old bottels; else the bottels break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottels pe­rish: but they put new wine into new bottels, and so both are preserved.) However, the meaning is, that he did inwardly in his mind even swell as it were with a desire to speak, so that he could forbear no longer. Usually in the Scripture what is done inwardly in a man, to wit, in his mind, it is said to be done in the belly, as before chap. 15.35. their belly prepareth deceit: and so it is here, My belly is as wine which hath no vent, that is, my mind is ready to burst with a desire to utter what I have to say, even as wine which hath no vent.

Vers. 20. I will speak, that I may be refreshed.) That is, to ease my mind.

Vers. 21. Let me not, I pray you, accept any mans person; neither let me give flatte­ring titles unto man.] As if he should have said, Do not desire I should, or do not think I will, out of fear or favour to either side, speak any thing but the down­right truth. By giving flattering titles unto man may be meant, first, the applau­ding of men with the fawning tearms of holy, wise, just, only to curry favour with them, when we know they no way deserve such titles: and secondly, the go­ing about the bush, as we use to say, when we are to reprove any man, or any evil that we discern in man, the doing of this covertly, and by secret insinuations, ra­ther then with plain and expresse tearms; as when Jobs friends would not direct­ly tell Job that he was a wicked hypocrite, and that therefore God had so de­stroyed him, but only expressing themselves in generall tearms, This is the place of him that knoweth not God, and, This is the portion of a wicked man from God, did yet in­tentionally strike at him: and thirdly, the mincing of the matter, when we come to tell men of their faults, using favourable tearms, and not setting forth their sins in their proper colours; as when Eli did so gently reprove the horrible vil­lany of his sons, 1 Sam. 2.24. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear. Now in all these respects Elihu protests against this giving of flattering ti­tles.

Vers. 22. For I know not to give flattering titles.] That is, I am not skilled in the way of flattery; I never used to take this course, but have been alwaies wont to speak my mind clearly and plainly.

CHAP. XXXIII.

Vers. 1. WHerefore, Iob, I pray thee, hear my speeches, &c.] Having in the fore­going Chapter blamed Jobs three friends, here he turns his speech to Job, whom principally he desired to convince; and with much gentlenesse and modesty he begs audience of him, that so he might the more willingly attend to what he would say: and by pressing him to hearken to all his words, he implyes, first, that he would not utter an idle frivolous word, no­thing but what was worth his attending to; secondly, that if he did not attend to his whole discourse, but only here and there a snatch, that would be no advan­tage to him; and thirdly, that he desired he would not interrupt him, till he had fully declared his mind, and then he might answer freely what he had to say.

Vers. 2. Behold, now I have opened my mouth, &c.] That is, now that upon due deliberation I have begun to speak. See the Note chap. 3.1.

Vers. 3. My words shall be of the uprightnesse of my heart, &c.] That is, I shall speak truly what I think, and with a sincere desire of your good, not out of hatred or partiality: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly; that is, I shall utter no­thing but what I know to be true, and shall make it clear and evident to thee that it is so.

Vers. 4. The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.] Some Expositours conceive that the drift of these words is, to satisfie Job, that there was no cause why he should not carefully attend to what he had to say; The spirit of God hath made me, &c. that is, God hath made me, and given me a reasonable understanding soul, as he hath to others, (in the expression here used, there seems to be an allusion to that which is said of the first making of man, that the Lord breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, Gen. 2.7.) and therefore you have no reason to despise my words, since to me, though young, God may reveal the truth, as well as to another. But I rather conceive the drift of the words to be this: Job had often wished that he might plead his cause with God, as chap. 16.21. and chap. 23.3, 4, 5. and in other places; but yet still upon this condition, that God would withdraw his hand, and not overbear, and daunt, and oppresse him with his Majesty and power, as we may find it clearly expressed chap. 9.34, 35. and chap. 13.20, 21, 22. Now therefore Elihu tells him, that he would undertake, as in Gods stead, to plead with him; and saith he, I am a man as thou art, with whom thou mayst plead upon equall tearms, and needest not be afraid: which is again expressed more fully vers. 6. Behold, I am according to thy wish in Gods stead; I also am formed out of the clay; that is, according: to thine own desire, I in Gods stead will undertake to maintain his cause, who am a poor earth­ly man, as thou art: and so vers. 7. My terrour shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee; which are almost the very words that Job had used in the places before cited.

Vers. 8. Surely thou hast spoken in my hearing, &c.] As if he should have said, I [Page 243] do not charge thee, as thy friends have done, with secret wickednesse and hypo­crisie; that which thou hast professed concerning the holinesse of thy life and conversation, I conceive is true: all that I lay to thy charge is, the unseemly and unreverent speeches that thou hast uttered concerning God in my hearing, which I am sure thou canst not deny.

Vers. 9. I am clean without transgression, &c.] We do not find that Job ever said thus much in expresse tearms: but Elihu meant this doubtlesse of those words of Iob, which he took to be the same in effect, as those chap. 10.7. Thou knowest that I am not wicked, and 13.18, 19, Behold, now I have ordered my cause, I know that I shall be justified: who is he that will plead with me? &c. and many others of the like kind, as we may find chap. 13.23. & 16.17. and 23.10, 11, 12. and 31.6. Now, however some. Expositours conceive that Elihu did misinterpret Iobs words, making account that Iob did directly indeed maintain, that he was pure and free from sin, whereas he only meant by those speeches to justifie himself thus farre, that he had not been a wicked man and an hypocrite, as his friends affir­med, and consequently, that it was not for any such grievous enormities of his life, that Gods hand had been so grievous upon him: yet because Iob had so of­ten in the hearing of Elihu clearly affirmed the contrary to this, to wit, that he was a vile unclean wretch in Gods sight, and that he nor no man else could possi­bly be justified in this regard before God, nor could be able to answer one of a thousand of that which God could charge upon him: (as we see chap. 9.1, 2, &c. and chap. 14.4. and in many other places,) I cannot think that Elihu meant to accuse Iob for boasting in this sense, that he was void of all sin, and that there was no iniquity in him: but only that out of an over-eager desire to maintain his in­nocency against the calumnies of his friends, he had talked so much of that, in his expostulations with God for dealing so hardly with him, and in his frequent pro­testations how earnestly he desired that he might plead his cause with God, as if he thought himself perfectly pure and spotlesse, and that God could not in justice punish him as he had done. So that it is not for thinking himself clear from sin, or for maintaining his integrity against his friends, that Elihu here reproves Iob; but it is for his alledging of this in a way of impatience and murmuring, to the impeaching of Gods justice. And therefore though Iobs other friends did seem to object the same thing to Iob, that Elihu doth here, as we see in that of Zophar, chap. 11.4. Thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes, and in ma­ny other places; yet they did it upon different grounds: For his three friends upbraided him for boasting of his righteousnesse, because they judged he played the hypocrite herein, being in truth a wicked man; but now Elihu expostulates with him for this, only because by pleading his righteousnesse in that manner as he did, he did in effect charge God with injustice. Nor can it therefore be said, but that Elihu still holds to what he had said to Iobs friends, chap. 32.14. neither will I answer him with your speeches.

Vers. 10. Behold, he findeth occasions against me, &c.] This also which Elihu here chargeth Iob to have spoken, we find not any where in expresse tearms; but some passages there are, which he might take to be as much in effect, as if he had said, [Page 244] Behold, he findeth occasions against me: as where he said chap. 10.6. thou enquirest af­ter mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin; and chap. 14.16. thou numbrest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sins? and some other such like expressions. As for the next clause, he counteth me for his enemy, this we find that Job said of God severall times, as chap. 13.24. and chap. 19.11: and so also that which follows in the next verse, He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths, we have it in expresse tearms chap. 13.27. However that which he condemns Job for in these speeches of his is, that out of the opinion he had of his own righteousnesse, he durst so presumptuously complain of God, as if he had dealt cruelly with him.

Vers. 12. Behold, in this thou art not just, &c.] As if he had said, I deny not but that thou art a holy, just man, and hast lived so strictly and exactly as thou hast spoken; nor do I blame thee generally for all that I heard came from thee; that thou shouldest bemoan thy self for thy miseries, is not strange at all; and in ma­ny things I acknowledge thou hast spoken very well, both concerning God and concerning man: but in this, that because of thy righteous life thou hast thus murmured against God, in this, I say, I am sure thou canst not be justified: and to all thy pleas concerning thine own righteousnesse and Gods severe dealing with thee, I will answer thee, and this one answer may well serve for all, that God is grea­ter then man, that is, infinitely greater in majesty, wisedome, power, justice, mercy, and in every other respect. And indeed this did necessarily imply how unreaso­nable a thing it was, that man should contend with God, and quarrel against God; first, because there must needs therefore be more wisedome, justice and mercy in God, then there can be in man, whereas he that complains of Gods dea­lings with him, doth in effect conclude, that there is more wisedome, and justice, and goodnesse in him, then there is in God; secondly, because man therefore cannot comprehend the waies of God, and so there may be much wisedome, and justice, and mercy in his proceedings, which we cannot discern; thirdly, because there being such an infinite disproportion betwixt God and man, it must needs be great arrogance in man to contend with God, as if he were his equall; if he had to do with a man as himself, he could doe no more; and fourthly, because this greatnesse of God implyes his soveraignty over man as his creature, in regard whereof he may doe with man what he pleaseth; and it must needs argue bold­nesse in man to contend with God, as if he had no such power and authority over him. Now whereas it may be said that Jobs three friends had often pressed Job with this greatnesse of God, and the basenesse of man in comparison of God: to this I answer, that they alledged this, to inferre from thence, that therefore Job was certainly a wicked man; God being so infinitely wise and just, would not else have punished him so severely: but now Elihu alledgeth it upon a better ground, only to convince him of his fault in murmuring against God, and plea­ding so peremptorily with him as he had done.

Vers. 13. Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not an account of any of his matters.] That is, He is not to be called to give a reason of what he doth: his will is a law most righteous, and it is reason sufficient, that it is his pleasure it should be so. And thus he covertly reproves Job for complaining so often, that God [Page 245] had not made known to him why he used him so hardly; as chap. 10.2, I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me: and in ma­ny other places.

Vers. 14. For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.] As if he had said, For the truth is, that God doth sufficiently make known to men, some­times by one means, sometimes by another, why he punisheth them, and what it is he would have them doe, though men, through the ignorance, or pride, or se­curity of their hearts, perceive it not. It cannot therefore be said, that God fore­warns them not; God speaketh once, yea twice, that is, again and again, by severall waies and means. We have the same phrase Psal. 62.11. God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God.

Vers. 15. In a dream, in a vision of the night, &c.] This is mentioned, as one of the waies whereby God warns men of their sins, either before, or when he afflicts them. Indeed in those daies of Iob, before God had given men his written word, such divine revelations were the chief way whereby he made known his will un­to men: and besides, it is probable that Elihu hath respect herein to that which Iob had said, chap. 7.14. thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me with visions.

Vers. 16. Then he openeth the ears of men, &c.] That is, Then he revealeth his will to men, by shewing them their sins, and what he would have them doe; and causeth them to attend to what is discovered to them, as coming from God. As for the following clause, and sealeth their instruction, I conceive the meaning of it to be plainly this, that he causeth that instruction which he affords them in such dreams and visions, to be surely imprinted upon their minds. Yet I know many Expositours do otherwise understand it: as first, that when God hath thus de­clared to them his will, and warned them of their sins by dreams and visions, then he sealeth those instructions by following corrections, that is, he confirms and makes good what he had so spoken, he makes them see the certain truth of that which he had so revealed to them; or secondly, that he drives home the instruction given them, by assuring them in the same divine revelations, as certainly as if he gave it them under his hand and seal, that if they will not receive instruction, judgement shall follow.

Vers. 17. That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.] That is, that he may take man off from those sinfull courses upon which he was fully bent, and cure him of his pride, to wit, that pride which is the root of all evil, that makes men exalt themselves to the contempt of God, as if they might doe what they pleased themselves. For then may pride be said to be hid from man, when he ceaseth to be proud, & there is no more pride to be found in him, but he is humbled, being as one that is ashamed and confounded in himself, and blusheth even to hold up his face before God.

Vers. 18. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.] That is, And thus by bringing him to repentance, he saves him from that temporall and eternall destruction, which otherwise would have fallen upon him: for by the pit may be meant both the grave and Hell; [Page 246] and by the sword, the sword of Gods vengeance, both here and hereafter.

Vers. 19. He is chastned also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain.] This is mentioned, as another way whereby God speaks to man, as he had said before, vers. 14. to wit, by the rod of correction, when God strikes a man with some sore sicknesse; so that the multitude of his bones, that is, eve­ry bone in his body (as many as they are) is tortured with pain. And this Elihu the rather mentions, because this was Jobs case, who had often complained that his very bones were pierced with pain, as we may see chap. 30.17, and in many o­ther places.

Vers. 20. So that his life abhorreth bread, &c.] That is, his soul, as it is expres­sed in the next clause, and his soul dainty meat; and the soul, we know, is usually put for the whole man: and so the meaning is only this, that the poor sick man abhorres all meat, even the daintiest that can be brought him.

Vers. 22. His soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.] Some by the destroyers understand those paroxysms and pangs that seise upon men when they are dying, and are usually counted the forerunners of death; others, the angels, whom God many times imployes in cutting off men by deadly plagues, as in that pestilence wherewith so many were so suddenly destroyed in Davids time, 2 Sam. 24.16; others, the worms, or whatever else there is in the grave, that consumes the dead bodies that are laid there; and others again conceive it is meant of the devils, who are wont to drag the souls of wicked men to hell, when they die, and to torment them there. But I conceive it is best to comprehend therein all that in death tends to the destroying of men.

Vers. 23. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one of a thousand, &c.] Some understand this of an angel sent from heaven to this sick man, (and indeed in those times God did usually make known his mind to men by his holy angels,) to wit, that if of those thousands of angels that attend upon God, there be any one sent to him as a messenger, and interpreter of Gods will, to shew unto man his uprightnesse, then he will be gracious unto him, &c. But it is farre better understood of a prophet or man of God, sent unto him from God, an interpreter, that is, one whose office and work it is to declare the will of God to men, and that is then accordingly to make known to the sick man the purpose of God in laying that affliction upon him, one of a thousand, that is, one that will skilfully and faith­fully deal with him, (and amongst a thousand such a one is hardly to be found,) to shew unto man his uprightnesse, that is, to shew to the poor sick man, how he must come to be presented righteous and upright in the sight of God, to wit, that he must acknowledge his sins, lay hold upon the promises of mercy made unto him in Christ, and so repent and turn unto the Lord. I know there are some that do otherwise expound the last clause, namely thus, to shew unto man his righteousnesse, that is, to clear it to the sick man, that God hath dealt justly and equally with him. But our Translation will hardly bear that Exposition.

Vers. 24. Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down into the pit, I have found a ransome.] This some understand of the messenger, the inter­preter mentioned in the foregoing verse, to wit, that he is gracious to the sick man, [Page 247] and saith, namely in his prayer to God for him, Deliver him from going into the pit; I have found a ransome. For though the last words can hardly be applyable to man, yet the meaning they say is only this, that the man of God alledgeth, that knowing by the revelation of Gods spirit, that there is a ransome in the bloud of the promised Mediatour for poor sinners, he knew also that God would be plea­sed to accept of this ransome in the behalf of this penitent sick man. But I con­ceive it is farre better understood of God, to wit, that he is gracious to this sick man, when his messenger hath brought him to repent, and believe in Christ: and that thereupon he saith, Deliver him from going down into the pit; the meaning whereof may be, either first that God determines, that he shall be delivered from the grave whereinto he was dropping, and withall from the pit of eternall destru­ction; or secondly, that he gives charge to the angel sent to him, that he should deliver him from his dangerous sicknesse; or thirdly, that he enjoynes the man of God to deliver him, that is, to assure him, that he shall be delivered, both from his present sicknesse, and from hell hereafter; and that because God hath found out a ransome for him, which can be meant of no other but the bloud of Christ.

Vers. 25. His flesh shall be fresher then a childs, &c.] To wit, By reason of the cure of his sicknesse, and the reviving of his spirit by his assurance of Gods love to him in Christ.

Vers. 26. He shall pray unto God, &c.] Whether this be meant of the sick mans praying before or after his recovery, (which is questionable, though the last be more probable) it is mentioned, doubtlesse, as a comfortable effect of the sick mans reconciliation with God, to wit, that then he can go with confidence to the throne of Gods grace, which before he could not; and that then God shall be fa­vourable unto him in hearing his prayers, which before he regarded not. And to the same purpose is the following clause, and he shall see his face with joy; that is, he shall with boldnesse and comfort look God in the face, who before was a terrour to him: (though some I know understand it otherwise, to wit, that God shall look chearfully and favourably upon him.) And then the last words alledge a­gain the cause of this comfortable change: for he will render unto man his righteous­nesse; that is, the righteousnesse which he had lost by sin, shall be restored in Christ; or rather, God shall deal with him according to that present righ­teousnesse of his, when upon his faith and repentance he is reconciled unto God.

Vers. 27. He looketh upon men, &c.] That is, God looketh upon men, as desi­ring, longing, and waiting for mens repentance and salvation: and if any say, I have sinned, &c. and it profited me not, that is, all the good I got by it was, that I pro­voked God to lay his hand in great displeasure upon me; then (as it follows vers. 28.) he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light: the meaning whereof is principally, that God will deliver such a man from the grave, that he may again live comfortably here in this world; though it may be also extended to the deliverance of his soul out of hell, and bringing him to the light of Gods glory in heaven. But now if we read these verses as they are in the mar­gin [Page 248] of our Bibles, He shall look upon men, and say, I have sinned, &c. He hath delivere my soul from the pit, &c. then they contain the sick mans confession of Gods dea­ling with him; to wit, that being recovered, he looks upon others with pity, and out of a desire of their conversion should acknowledge how he had sinned, and did thereby bring Gods hand upon him, and how upon his repentance God shew­ed him mercy again.

Vers. 29. Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, &c.] That is, all these means doth he use, many times bringing man to the grave, and then rai­sing him up again; and all this he doth to save him from death temporall and eternall, as it follows in the next verse, To bring back his soul from the pit, &c.

Vers. 31. If thou hast any thing to say, answer me, &c.] Having in the foregoing verse desired liberty, that he might yet farther speak his mind to Job, he interpo­seth this, that notwithstanding, if Job had any thing to answer to what he had said, he was very willing he should so doe: Speak, saith he, for I desire to justifie thee; that is, I had rather thou shouldest be justified, then condemned, if thou art able to clear thy self.

CHAP. XXXIV.

Vers. 1. FVrthermore Elihu answered.] That is, when he perceived that Job made no reply, (for it may well be that he began now to be convin­ced) he proceeded to answer what Iob had formerly spoken.

Vers. 2. Hear my words, O ye wise men, &c.] Hereby Elihu sought to imply, first, that what he had to say, the wisest of them might with profit hear: and se­condly, that he would not be his own judge, but was willing to appeal to the stan­ders by, at least to those that were wise amongst them, concerning the truth of that which he should say.

Vers. 3. For the ear tryeth words, &c.] As if he had said, For that which Iob formerly said is true, that the ear tryeth words, as the mouth tasteth meat: see the Note chap. 12.11.

Vers. 4. Let us chuse to us judgement, &c.] That is, Let us not judge rashly; but let us state the question rightly, and then argue the cause: not with angry lan­guage, nor by alledging any thing, wherein our consciences may tell us we do misinterpret Iobs words, or merely cavill with him, or build upon uncertain con­jectures; but by clear and certain truths; and so let us chuse and upon good de­liberation resolve upon that which is just and equall: Let us know among our selves what is good, namely, whether Iob or I be in the right.

Vers. 5. For Iob hath said, I am righteous, &c.] The same in effect he objected against Iob in the foregoing chapter vers. 9. (concerning which see the Note there.) As for the following clause, and God hath taken away my judgement, this we find Iob spake in expresse tearms chap. 27.2. But yet, neither did Iob intend thereby to charge God with punishing him unjustly, (concerning which see also the Note there;) for then he had directly blasphemed, and the Devil had gotten [Page 249] his will of him: nor do I think that Elihu intended to charge him with this blas­phemy, as his friends had done, as we may see chap. 8.2, 3. and elsewhere. For Elihu judged more favourably of him, and had professed before, chap. 32.14, that he would not answer him as they had done. No; all that Elihu chargeth him with is, that by his pleading the innocency of his life with such vehemency, and by his impatient complaints of his sufferings, and of the Lords not discovering to him the reason thereof, he did in a manner imply, that God had dealt unjustly with him.

Vers. 6. Should I lie against my right? &c.] Some Expositours say, that Elihu in these words chargeth Job with saying, that God would have had him lie against his right, or that unlesse he would doe so he might not be suffered to speak. But methinks he doth plainly allude to that which Job had said, chap. 27.4, 5, 6, where he protested that he would not against his conscience condemn himself. As for the next clause, my wound is incurable without transgression, that Elihu seems to have gathered from that which Job said, chap. 6.4, and 9.17; concerning which see the severall Notes there.

Vers. 7. What man is like Iob, who drinketh up scorning like water?] That is, who scorneth and reproacheth not man only, but God too, with as much greedinesse and delight, as thirsty men drink water, which neither for the costlinesse of it, nor for the strength of it, they need drink sparingly. The like expression we had be­fore chap. 15.16. concerning which see the Note there. Yet I know there are di­vers learned Expositours that understand this otherwise; to wit, that there was never man like Iob, of such wisedome, and gravity, &c. that by speaking such ab­surd and ridiculous things, did so expose himself to the scorn and derision of all men, as if he were glad to swallow down all the reproaches and scorn that could be cast upon him.

Vers. 8. Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, &c.] That is, Who carrieth himself so, as if he would be numbred amongst wicked men; be­cause he treads in their steps, and useth their language, whilst in the mean season he stands so much upon his innocency and righteousnesse.

Vers. 9. For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself in God.] This Elihu would gather from those words of Iob, wherein he maintai­ned that God doth often afflict the righteous as sorely as the wicked, and prosper the wicked as much or more then the righteous, as we may see chap. 9.22, and 21.7, &c. as likewise from those complaints of his, that God had dealt so severe­ly with him, who had yet endeavoured in all things to approve himself to God. Yet I conceive the utmost that Elihu intended here to charge upon Iob was, that by uttering these things in such an impatient manner, he seemed to think that it was no advantage to a man to live holily and righteously; not that he did indeed think so, or had in expresse tearms said so. Many things Iob had spoken, where­in he had so clearly expressed his hope and confidence in God, that Elihu could not have so hard an opinion of him: only God would have Iob reproved thus sharply, that he might see how much evil there was in his murmuring against God.

[Page 250]Vers. 13. Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?] This is added, to prove what he had said in the foregoing verses, namely, that there was no possibility that God should deal unjustly with any man. Who hath given him a charge over the earth? &c. as if he should have said, God is of himself the supreme Iudge and Governour of the whole world, as being the sole Creatour of it; he is not appointed thereto by any other Power that is above him, who should give him in charge how he should govern the earth, nor hath he any counseller; but as in making he alone disposed all things as they are, so he only disposeth of them by way of Providence and government, and therefore he cannot judge unjustly. And indeed the inference is unquestio­nable, upon these three grounds. First, because there being none above him, there is no danger lest he should deal unjustly, through being constrained or o­verawed by any higher power, as amongst men inferiour magistrates often doe. Secondly, because if there were none to give him a charge over the earth, there was none whom he could offend in not following his charge; he was absolute in his power, and might doe with his own creatures what he pleased, there being none that could say, Why have you done thus? I gave you no such com­mand. And thirdly, because the supreme Iudge of the world, from whom there can be no appeal, must needs be just by his nature and essence; or else there were no assurance but that all things might be brought into utter con­fusion.

Vers. 14. If he set his heart upon man, &c.] To wit, to observe exactly all that he doth amisse, or, to destroy and cut him off: if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath, that is, if he call back to himself that soul, life and breath, which he, as the fountain of life, hath severally imparted to the sons of men; (the phrase here used is much like that Psal. 26.9. Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloudy men;) all mankind must needs then perish at once, and turn to dust, as it follows in the next verse, All flesh shall perish together, &c. But why is this here alledged, how easily God can in an instant destroy all mankind? I answer, farther to clear what was implyed in the foregoing verse, by affirming that God had no power above him, that had committed to his charge the government of the world, but that the absolute soveraignty thereof as he was the Creatour of it was solely in himself, namely, that God is most just, and cannot do wrong to any man whatsoever; (and that upon the three grounds alledged in the foregoing Note,) as likewise also that he is infinitely good and gracious, and cannot be cru­ell and tyrannicall, as is evident by his gracious supporting and continuing all things in their being so long as he hath done, whereas he could so easily in a mo­ment bring all to nothing.

Vers. 16. If now thou hast understanding, hear this; hearken to the voice of my words.] As if he had said, As thou art therefore an understanding man, Iob, ob­serve this that I have spoken, and hearken to what I shall farther say.

Vers. 17. Shall even he that hateth right, govern?] That is, If God be not just, how can he govern the world? It is not possible that God should be unjust, who is by his Nature and Essence the Iudge of all the world, and hath absolute sove­raignty [Page 251] over all things, and is to punish those that deal unjustly with others. See the foregoing Notes, vers. 13, 14.

Vers. 18. Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? &c.] That is, It is a thing both unseemly and unsafe to revile Kings and Princes, though men as our selves, because God hath made them his Vicegerents, and they are armed with such pow­er to take vengeance on them that do it; and must it not needs be then an act of much more boldnesse & danger to speak evil of God himself? This doth not there­fore prove, that those that are lawfully called thereto, may not in a decent manner tell the greatest of princes of their faults: for the prophets of God have done so to kings, Hos. 5.1; and there is a woe denounced against them, that in a way of flat­tery do call evil good, Esa. 5.20. All that can be rightly inferred from hence is, that it is dangerous to tax earthly kings of the evil they have done, or at most that it is not lawfull to revile them, which indeed the law of God forbids, Exod. 22.28.

Vers. 20. In a moment shall they die, &c.] To wit, the Princes and rich men, of whom he had said, in the foregoing verse, that God accepteth not their persons, nor regardeth them any more then the poor; God destroyes them both alike: and therefore it follows, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and passe away; that is, troubles shall come upon them, and so they shall be surprized with ter­rours, when they are secure, and think nothing of any danger; and shall passe away, to wit, into captivity, or rather into the grave; (for so this phrase is used before, chap. 14.20.) and the mighty shall be taken away without hand, that is, easily or without any humane help. God needeth not raise any armies, or imploy his ser­vants to destroy his enemies, as earthly princes must doe; he can doe it by the ministry of angels; or if he doth but blow upon them, or withdraw the spirit that he hath given them, it is enough.

Vers. 23. For he will not lay upon man more then right.] That is, he will not lay to their charge any evil they are not guilty of, or rather, he will not lay upon them any heavier punishment then their iniquities deserve.

Vers. 24. He shall break in pieces mighty men without number.] This is added to shew, that when God resolves to destroy men, he fears their number no more then their greatnesse.

Vers. 25. Therefore he knows their work, and he overturneth them in the night, &c.] That is, Hereby it is evident that he knows their works, and consequently, that according to their deserts he cuts them off on a sudden, when they think not of it, without any warning given, and without trying them after the manner of earthly Judges.

Vers. 26. He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others.] As if he should have said, Be they never so great, and in place of magistracy, the Lords Vicegerents, yet being wicked men, and he knowing them to be so, (whatever they may say, or others may think to the contrary) he accordingly proceedeth a­gainst them as wicked men, and punisheth them openly, that others may take war­ning.

Vers. 29. When he giveth quietnesse, who then can make trouble? and when he hi­deth [Page 252] his face, who then can behold him? &c.] Some understand the first clause of Gods giving quietnesse to the oppressed, to wit, that if God will give them rest by cutting off their oppressours, no power of man is able to withstand it: and others again understand it of the Lords giving quietnesse to the oppressours, to wit, that as long as God will have them run on in those waies without molestation, no man shall be able to raise any trouble against them. But I think it is better to un­derstand it generally, that it is not possible to trouble those whom God will have to be quiet, whether it be meant of inward peace of conscience, or of outward peace and tranquillity; as on the contrary, if God hides his countenance in dis­pleasure, it is not possible to turn away his displeasure, that so his face may be be­held with peace and favour: whether it be done against a nation, or against a man on­ly; that is, and herein it fares alike, whether it be against one particular person, or against a whole nation. I know that there are some Expositours that do other­wise understand that clause, and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? namely, that it is not to be expected, that any man will with a favourable counte­nance behold him, from whom God hides his face; or, that if God will not dis­cover why he punisheth men, no man can find out the reason of it. But the first Exposition I conceive is the best.

Vers. 30. That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be insnared.] By the hypocrite here is meant the oppressing King or ruler; and he is so called, because such Princes do usually pretend that they seek only the good and safety of the people, whereas indeed they mind themselves only, and the advancing of their own co­vetous and ambitious designs, and make use of laws only as snares to entangle the people. Having spoken in the foregoing verse of the unavoidablenesse of Gods indignation, whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only, here he instanceth how and why God is offended, and proceeds accordingly, some­times against one particular person, namely, when he cutteth off some tyranni­zing king; That, saith he, the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be insnared: that is, lest the people should be still continually insnared, injured and oppressed, as they had too long before been; or, lest the people should be insnared with a thought that God regards not the wickednesse of men, by seeing such hypocriticall op­pressours run on in their base courses without being punished: for so some un­derstand the last clause.

Vers. 33. Should it be according to thy mind? &c.] That is, must not God doe a­ny thing, but as you will advise him? must you prescribe God when, in what manner, and how long he shall afflict you? He will recompence it, whether thou re­fuse, or whether thou chuse, and not I: that is, he will render to thee according to the evil thou hast done, whether thou beest pleased or displeased; whether thou dost refuse the punishment he inflicteth, or whether thou dost accept of it, it is all one for that, he will doe what he lists himself; nor must I think of prescribing him what course he shall take with thee: for so those words and not I must be un­derstood. Therefore, saith he, speak what thou knowest; if thou hast any thing to reply, speak freely.

Vers. 36. My desire is that Iob may be tryed unto the end, because of his answers for [Page 253] wicked men.] That is, because of his answers whereby he hath as it were justified wicked men, to wit, by murmuring against God as they do, or by affirming that good and bad fare alike, and God prospers the one as much as the other. But what is meant by this desire of his, that Iob may be tryed unto the end? I answer, that ei­ther his desire was, that God would continue his afflictions upon him, till he had gotten the day of him, till he had attained the end for which he afflicted him, namely, till he had brought him upon his knees, and made him confesse his fault, and yield under his hand, (and if we understand it so, the words may well be read, as in the margin, speaking to God, My father, let Iob be tryed unto the end, &c.) or else rather, (because it seems somewhat hard that Elihu should tell Job, that his judgement was, that his afflictions should be continued still upon him) that his desire was that Jobs cause should be argued to the utmost, till he had not a word more to say for himself.

Vers. 37. For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, &c.] To wit, by murmuring and quarrelling against God, when he punisheth him for his sin, and by justifying himself in the evil he hath spoken: he clappeth his hands amongst us, to wit, as some expound it, by way of anger and impatience at Gods dealing so hardly with him, or rather, as by way of rejoycing and triumphing; and so the meaning is, that he did openly before all their faces carry himself, as if he had prevailed both a­gainst God and his friends in point of justifying himself.

CHAP. XXXV.

Vers. 1. ELihu spake moreover, and said.] See the Note chap. 34.1.

Vers. 2. Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidest, My righteous­nesse is more then Gods?] We no where find that Job said this in so ma­ny words, nor can it be imagined that Elihu could entertain such a thought of so righteous a man as he took Job to be, that he should be so mad as to think that he was more righteous then God: his meaning therefore was only this, that whilst he did so confidently plead his own righteousnesse, and so bitterly com­plain of Gods hard dealing with him, as chap. 19.6, 7. and chap. 23.3. and in many other places, it was as much in effect as if he had said, that he was more just then God; which he urgeth, that he might be the more ashamed of his impatience.

Vers. 3. For thou saidest, what advantage will it be unto thee? &c.] That is, Thou saidest that it would be no advantage to thee, if thou wert clear from sin; as it fol­lows in the next clause, where this is expressed, as it were, in Jobs own words, and what profit shall I have if I be cleansed from my sin? According to the usuall form of interrogations, the first clause should also have been expressed thus, what advan­tage will it be unto me? as is the second, and what profit shall I have? &c. but in the Hebrew the persons are thus usually changed. However the meaning is, that because he had said that it would be no benefit to him, though he were never so righteous, God laying his hand as sorely upon the righteous as upon the wicked, herein he made himself more righteous then God. The very same Elihu had charged Job with chap. 34.9. concerning which see the Note there.

Vers. 4. I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.] That is, thy three [Page 254] friends, who by their silence seem now at length to be convinced, and to consent to that which thou hast spoken; or rather, all those that are thy companions in these courses, wherein thou art so faulty, all that shall stand upon such high tearms of justifying themselves, and quarrelling against God, as thou hast done, though they be never so many. This last I conceive Elihu intended, because it is clear, that Eliphaz had alledged the very same thing against Job chap. 22.2, 3, which Elihu doth here in the following words vers. 6, 7.

Vers. 5. Look unto the heavens, and see, and behold the clouds that are higher then thou.] The drift of these words is to imply, first, that by beholding the heavens, and considering the exceeding height thereof, yea even of the clouds, though nothing so high as the heavens, he might see, first, that God was infinite in all his excellencies, and therefore must needs be more righteous then he was; second­ly, that in regard God was of such infinite Majesty and glory, it was fit that he should consider the infinite distance and disproportion that was betwixt God and him, and so speak more modestly and reverently of God▪ and thirdly, that if the heavens be so farre above mans reach, so high above him, that he can scarce see so farre, then must God be above his reach too, who hath the heaven for his throne, Psal. 11.4. his dwelling-place, 1 Kings 8.30. yea much rather must God be above his reach, who is infinitely higher then the highest heavens: and so this makes way to that which follows, that man therefore can neither hurt God by his wick­ednesse, nor benefit God by his righteousnesse, vers. 6, 7. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? &c. whereby he intimates to Job, that he had no cause to complain, that his piety towards God and man was not regarded by God, since God received no advantage thereby. The very same argument Eli­phaz had used before, chap. 22.2, 3. concerning which see the Notes there.

Vers. 8. Thy wickednesse may hurt a man as thou art, and thy righteousnesse may pro­fit the son of man.] That is, thy wickednesse may hurt thy self, or such sinfull poor wretches as thou art, both in regard of their outward condition and spiritu­all estate; and so also thy righteousnesse may benefit thy self or others; but they cannot hurt or benefit God. And hereby he intimates, that Job had no cause to complain that his righteousnesse was not regarded of God, seeing it could be no advantage to him; nor to complain of his punishing him, since God never punished man, because of any harm he had received by him, but because he did not doe what be enjoyned him.

Vers. 9. By reason of the multitude of oppressions, they make the oppressed cry, &c.] Some conceive that this is here added, to shew the reason why God often pu­nisheth men, though their wickednesse is no way hurtfull to him; to wit, because it is hurtfull to others, (as he had said in the foregoing verse;) and so for this, as a just judge, he takes vengeance on them. But the better connection of the words to that which went before I conceive to be this, that having said in the fore­going verse, that mans wickednesse may be hurtfull to men, though not to God, he here gives an instance of the hurt that man by his wickednesse doth to others, namely, that tyrants do sorely oppresse those that are under their power: and so [Page 255] withall he takes occasion to shew, that however the oppressour be unjust, yet God is just, in suffering the oppressed thus to cry under the hand of the oppres­sours, and not sending them help; and that because though the oppressed howl and take on because of their pressures, they cry out (saith he) by reason of the arm of the mighty, yet they do not seek to God, as they ought to doe, as is expressed in the following verses. And thus also there is an answer given to that which Job see­med often to complain of, to wit, that God regards not the cries of the oppressed, as we see chap. 24.12. and in divers other places.

Vers. 10. But none saith, Where is God my maker, that giveth songs in the night?] This is alledged as a reason, why though men under oppression do cry out and take on grievously, as was said in the foregoing verse, yet God doth not regard it; (as Elihu saith afterward vers. 12.) to wit, because for the most part they do not say, Where is God my maker? &c. the meaning whereof is, either that they are not thankfull to God for the mercies and comforts they enjoy, yea even in the midst of their greatest afflictions; or else, that though they cry and howl be­cause of their misery, yet they do not pray to God for help, (for these words, Where is God my maker? seem rather an expression of prayer, then of praise, accor­ding to that of Elijah, 2 Kings 2.14. where is the Lord God of Elijah? at least they do not pray unto him in the right manner, according to that expression, Hos. 7.14. they have not cryed unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds; they do not pray as those that seriously consider that God is their maker, and therefore do believe that God will take care of them, and are willing to submit themselves to his disposing: and that God giveth songs in the night; that is, either first, that he only can give joy, even unto singing, in the darkest night of tribula­tion, stirring them up by his spirit to praise him, when nothing is to be seen to quicken them in this service; or secondly, that in the night season he gives them occasions of rejoycing and praising God, in that he gives them rest, and watcheth over them for their safety, when they are as dead men, not minding God; or thirdly, that he comforteth and cheareth up their spirits, even in the night, when men are most exposed to dangers, and sorrow is wont to lye heaviest upon the heart, and so they take the opportunity of the night season, when they are freest from worldly cares and imployments, with hymns and Psalms to praise God; whence is that of David, Psal. 119.62. At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee, and Psal. 42.8. the Lord will command his loving-kindnesse in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me. I know some Expositours have other thoughts concerning this phrase of Gods giving songs in the night; as that it is meant of Gods causing the cocks to crow, and nightingales to sing in the night; or of his placing the stars to shine in the night, which in their kind do praise God, or stirre up men to praise him; or of Gods giving prophecies and revelations by night, which used afterward to be expressed in songs. But the former Expositions are farre the better.

Vers. 11. Who teacheth us more then the beasts of the earth, &c.] To wit, in that he hath endued men with reasonable souls, and accordingly makes known his will to them many severall waies. Now this is mentioned, as another argument, [Page 256] whereby those that are under oppression should be stirred up to be thankfull to God, or rather with faith to call upon God for help; which if they did not doe, it was no wonder though God did not help them: and that not only because this is a singular blessing to man, above all that God hath done for the other crea­tures; but also because in this regard man is able to search into the cause of his sufferings, and to use means to appease Gods anger, and not only to doe what beasts may doe, namely, to cry out to no purpose in the sense of the miseries which they lye under.

Vers. 12. There they cry (but none giveth answer) because of the pride of evil men.] That is, Being crushed by the arm of their mighty oppressours, (as is said before vers. 9. whereto this hath reference) there or then they cry out, because of the pride or insolency of wicked men that thus tyrannize over them; but God re­gards not their cryes.

Vers. 13. Surely God will not hear vanity, &c.] That is, God will not hear vain ungodly men, men void of all true piety: or, God will not hear vain cries and complaints, or the vain prayers of those that pray not in faith, whose prayers are mere lip-labour, and a mere mocking of God, and therefore no way likely to pre­vail with God. As for the next clause, neither will the Almighty regard it, we may referre it either to such cries and prayers, that God will not mind such vanity; or else to their sufferings, which make them cry and pray, that though they be in ne­ver so much misery, he will not regard it.

Vers. 14. Although thou sayest, thou shalt not see him, &c.] That is, thou shalt not be suffered to appear before him to plead thy cause, (which may have respect to that which Job said chap. 23.8, 9.) or that thou shalt perish, and shalt never see God come in graciously for thy preservation; (and indeed Job had often com­plained that God regarded him not, as chap. 30.20, and in many other places) yet judgement is before him, that is, God is exactly just, assure thy self of that; though we may not haply discern it in all he doth, yet he doth nothing unjustly: and therefore trust thou in him, that is, pray to him in a right man­ner, and then wait upon him with assured expectation of a gracious an­swer.

Vers. 15. But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity.] That is, Because Job prayeth not to God, and trusteth not in God, as he ought to doe, therefore God hath afflicted him in great anger; and yet Iob, though he be in so great extremity, understands not Gods meaning herein.

Vers. 16. Therefore doth Iob open his mouth in vain; he multiplyeth words without knowledge.] That is, whilst he prayes not, but only complains of his miseries, and all the while justifieth himself, all this is spoken ignorantly, and to no pur­pose.

CHAP. XXXVI.

Vers. 1. ELihu also proceeded.] See the Note chap. 34.1.

Vers. 2. Suffer me a little, &c.] Hereby he intimates, that he would be brief in what he had farther to say for the justifying of God; and that because he had already spoken a long time together.

Vers. 3. I will fetch my knowledge from afarre, &c.] As if he should have said, In declaring what I know concerning the Question in hand, namely, whether thou hast done well in charging God for dealing too severely with thee, I will open the matter, as it were, from the very foundations. But yet what he means by these words, from afarre, it is not easie to determine. Some think that his mea­ning was, that he would utter nothing but what by inspiration from God he knew to be so: he would not speak what he in his reason might apprehend to be right, but what he had by speciall enlightning from above, and therefore was sure it was true. And then again, others understand it thus, that he would fetch his proofs for the justifying of God from the eternall nature of God, or from the works of creation, as we see towards the end of this chapter he argues from those meteors of rain, thunder, and lightning, &c. and these things he calls knowledge from afarre, either because the things he meant to speak of were of a high nature, farre remote from us, and not easily comprehended by humane reason; or, because they were such things as had been from the first creation, yea (as concerning the nature of God) from all eternity; or, because they might seem to be farre from the matter in question, though indeed they were principles and generall grounds, from whence that truth, which he was to maintain, might be unquestionably concluded and proved. As for the following clause, and will ascribe righteousnesse to my maker; in these words my maker Elihu implyes, that in regard he had his be­ing from God, he was bound to plead his cause; and withall he might intend thereby, covertly to charge Job with being ungratefully injurious to his Crea­tour.

Vers. 4. For truly, my words shall not be false; he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.] This last clause many good Expositours understand of God; and so hold that Elihu doth hereby put Job in mind, either that he had to deal with God, who was perfect in knowledge, as being omniscient, who could not therefore through any mistake deal unjustly with him; or that God, who was perfect in knowledge, spake now to him by him, that he would not speak any thing of his own head, but what he received by inspiration from God, in whose stead he now spake unto him. But more generally it is held, that Elihu doth modestly here speak of him­self in the third person, as the Apostle also doth 2 Cor. 12.2, 3. He that is perfect in knowledge is with thee; as if he should have said, You have one to argue with you that is found in judgement, and sincere in his intentions towards you, one that understands the cause we have in hand throughly, and that will in all things deal uprightly with you.

Vers. 5. Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and [Page 258] wisedome.] How Gods justice may be proved from his power and wisedome, see in the Note chap. 9.4. Here these two are joyned together, God is mighty, and de­spiseth not any, to shew, that as he needs not fear those that are great, so neither doth he despise either great or small, because of his own supereminent greatnesse, he makes not so light esteem of any, as therefore to afflict them causelesly, or not to care what injury he doth them. And herein also it may well be, that Elihu had respect to some speeches of Jobs, wherein he might apprehend that Job had com­plained of God, that he carried all by his absolute power, and that by reason of the dread thereof he could not plead his cause before him; as chap. 10.3. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppresse? that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands? and chap. 30.21. Thou art become cruell to me: with thy strong hand thou op­posest thy self against me; and in divers other places.

Vers. 6. He preserveth not the life of the wicked; but giveth right to the poor.] That is, He doth not safeguard them in favour, as esteeming them precious in his sight, though he may see cause to keep them alive for a time; but he pleads the poors cause against them, though a while he may let them be oppressed.

Vers. 7. He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous, &c.] That is, He never forgets, nor forsakes them: but with Kings are they on the throne, yea he doth esta­blish them for ever; that is, he continues them even unto death in those places of dignity whereto he hath advanced them, and often too their children after them. As for the last clause, and they are exalted, the meaning of that is, either that thus they are exalted, maugre all opposition that may be made against them; or, that being thus advanced, they rise in power and glory still more and more. Some understand it of their exaltation to heavenly glory after death, and others of their being puffed up in their minds and spirits: but the former Expositions are more probable.

Vers. 8. And if they be bound in fetters, &c.] That is, If the righteous, whe­ther those that God had exalted or others, come to be streightned with affliction. It is probable that he alludes to that expression of Jobs, Thou puttest my feet in the stocks, chap. 13.27.

Vers. 12. But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, &c.] That is, God shall slay them in his anger; and they shall die without knowledge, that is, in their folly, not knowing why Gods hand is upon them; or for their folly, because they would not learn by Gods corrections. Yet most probably it is thought by some, that Elihu still speaks here of the just, mentioned before vers. 7. who in­deed may be cut off by death for their folly, according to that of the Apostle 1 Cor. 11.30, 31, 32. for this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep; and that he speaks not of the wicked till the following verse.

Vers. 13. But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath, &c.] That is, say some Ex­positours, they grow more and more enraged against God. But rather the mea­ning is, that they by their obstinacy and sinning more and more, yea even in their afflictions, do treasure up wrath to themselves against the day of wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them; that is, they call not upon God when he afflicts them, as not acknowledging that God doth punish them for their [Page 259] sins, or being every way of irreligious and profane spirits.

Vers. 14. They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.] Or, among the So­domites. The meaning is, that their life is cut off after the same manner, as those are cut off that are most hatefull to God and man, as being most abominably wicked; namely, that they are punished with as much severity, and are cut off by some vile and shamefull death, and that in their young years. And indeed some Expositours conceive that this last is solely intended in these words; and so they conceive that the same thing that is affirmed in the first clause, they die in youth, is repeated again in other tearms in the second clause, and their life is among the un­clean, that is, they are cut off amongst such as themselves, wanton youngsters, that live in all kind of uncleannesse. And some think also, that Elihu hath refe­rence in these words to the destruction of Sodome.

Vers. 17. But thou hast fulfilled the judgement of the wicked, &c.] That is, thou hast carried thy self as wicked men use to doe, thy course hath been just like theirs; or, thou hast judged as wicked men use to doe, in censuring the waies of Gods Providence towards thee. It seems to be the same in effect with that which he had said before, chap. 34.8. that Job went in company with the workers of iniquity: whereupon he adds, judgement and justice take hold on thee; as if he should have said, you see what you get by speaking so desperately of God; the just in­dignation of God hath already seized upon thee.

Vers. 18. Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke.] That is, Because thou hast shown such wrath and indignation against God; or ra­ther, Because, though God be very long-suffering and patient, yet there is wrath with God, as well as mercy and patience; or, because Gods wrath is already bro­ken forth upon thee, take heed that thou dost not provoke him farther, even to the cutting of thee off.

Vers. 19. Will he esteem thy riches? no not gold, nor all the forces of strength.] That is, As thou canst not by thy wealth, so neither by any force or strength be delivered, when once thou art cut off, or when once God hath determined to cut thee off.

Vers. 20. Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.] There are se­verall Expositions given of these words, which being considered apart by them­selves the words would well enough bear: as first, that Elihu counsels Iob that he should not desire the night, as thieves and robbers do, that he might doe mis­chief therein, when poor men are usually cut off in their places, by those that un­expectedly break in upon them: secondly, that he adviseth him not to desire the night of other mens afflictions and tribulations, that taking advantage thereof he should cut them off in the places where they live: thirdly, that he calls upon him not to desire the night, as thinking to find thereby some ease in his miseries, since there is no looking for ease, as long as God is angry with him; and God even in a night doth often cut off whole nations, at least many people together, and therefore may easily cut off him: and fourthly, that he wills him not to de­sire the night, that is, not to desire to know the night, when people are cut off in their place; not curiously to enquire into the cause of that judgement of God, [Page 260] when in a night sometimes whole nations or multitudes of people are cut off in their place, they need not be driven forth, or scattered abroad into strange coun­tries, they melt away in their own place: and hereby he would intimate, that Job should not make so strange of it, nor be so eager to know, why he being a good man should be so sorely afflicted. But because in the foregoing verses Eli­hu had warned Iob to take heed, that he did not provoke God utterly to cut him off, therefore I rather think this to be the meaning of the words, Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place; that is, Desire not death, which is the common passage of all men, and by the stroke whereof men are utterly cut off, and so if they be not in the better condition do perish eternally: as if he had said, so farre you are from fearing Gods cutting you off, that you desire it; but take heed of this, &c.

Vers. 21. Take heed, regard not iniquity, &c.] That is, affect not this murmuring against God, and desiring death, and quarrelling against his proceedings: for this hast thou chosen rather then affliction; to wit, in that he chose to contend with God, rather then patiently to bear his afflictions.

Vers. 22. Behold, God exalteth by his power, &c.] This may be understood two severall waies: to wit, either that God exalteth and magnifyeth himself or his works by his power, that is, that by the manifestation of his almighty power God sheweth himself to be a great God, and his works appear exceeding glori­ous; and then the drift of this clause is to put Job in mind, that therefore there is no reasoning nor contending with him: or else rather, that God doth often by his great power exalt those that are afflicted and cast down; and then the drift of the words is, to intimate to Job, that God was able to exalt him, and that if ever he were raised again from his low condition, it was God that must doe it; in re­gard whereof it was fitter that he should humble himself before God, and seek his favour, rather then quarrell against him for that which he had done to him. And then in the next clause it is said, who teacheth like him? either because God being omniscient, and knowing all things of himself, must needs teach better then man that knoweth but in part, and as he receives from others; or, because God en­lightneth the mind, and effectually teacheth the heart, which no man can doe; or, because God teacheth men by the afflictions he layes upon them: and then the drift of this last clause is to imply, that as God is great in power, so he is of in­comprehensible wisedome, and that men should content themselves with that which God teacheth, and not search into those things which are above their reach; and especially, that it was a mere folly to murmure against any of Gods proceedings, as if man could teach God how to govern the world; and that Iob might learn much by the afflicting hand of God, if the fault were not in himself, yea that particular lesson, that none could raise him but God, was clearly taught him, in that all the while he was so impatient, he was still kept in such a helplesse condition.

Vers. 23. Who hath enjoyned him his way?] This is alledged to prove that therefore none can controll or condemn what he doth; concerning which see the Note chap. 34.13.

[Page 261]Vers. 24. Remember that thou magnifie his work, which men behold.] That is, Instead therefore of searching into Gods secrets, busie thy self rather in magnify­ing those works which lye open to every mans view: and this may be meant of the works of God in generall, or of the heaven in particular, the meteors, rain and thunder and lightning, whereof he speaks in the following verses.

Vers. 25. Every man may see it, man may behold it afarre off.] That is, the heaven; or it may be better understood of all the works of God in generall, to wit, that men may behold them, even those that are afarre off, though indeed they cannot perfectly understand them.

Vers. 26. Behold, God is great, and we know him not, &c.] As if he had said, This you will find by observing diligently the works of God, to wit, that God is incomprehensibly great, and that therefore it is not for man to blame any thing that God doth.

Vers. 27. For he maketh small the drops of water, &c.] That is, He maketh the rain (which is by the heat of the Sun drawn up in vapours from the earth and sea) to distill down by degrees in round small drops, according to the proportion of the vapours that goe up; and this is mentioned, as a work which we are not able to comprehend. See the Note chap. 26.8.

Vers. 29. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his Ta­bernacle?] That which man cannot perfectly understand in the spreadings of the clouds may be, either how farre a cloud will spread when it riseth, or how the clouds come to be spread out in so vast an extent all the heavens over, and that many times in a very different manner, some being clouds without water, others yielding soft and gentle rain, others pouring forth violent and stormy showres, some bringing winds with them, others frost, or hail, or snow; and then by the noise of his Tabernacle, is meant the roaring of the winds or thunder above in the clouds, Gods Tabernacle or pavilion, as it is called 2 Sam. 22.12. of which see the Note there.

Vers. 30. Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottome of the sea.] This verse is diversly expounded. Some understand it plainly thus, that God spreadeth his light over the clouds, Gods Tabernacle above, as they are called in the foregoing verse, and withall covereth the bottome of the sea with waters beneath. Others conceive that El [...]hu speaks here of the sudden changes that God often makes in the air; to wit, that sometimes, the thick clouds being scattered, he spreadeth his light all over his Tabernacle above, and maketh the clouds that are there to be lightsome and bright; and then at other times with clouds gathered together he covereth the bottome of the sea, that is, he covereth all things with darknesse even to the bottome of the sea: a work the more wonderfull, because the same Sun that dispels the clouds at one time, doth also gather them at ano­ther. And lastly, some give this to be the meaning of the words, that God by the light of the Sun, or by the flashes of lightening, which he scattereth abroad in the clouds, doth not only enlighten the clouds above, but also causeth it to pierce through the waters, even to the covering or overspreading of the bottome of the sea with its light. And this seems best to agree with our Translation.

[Page 262]Vers. 31. For by them he judgeth the people, he giveth meat in abundance.] That is, By these clouds, causing showres and thunder and lightening, God both judgeth, that is, punisheth the wickednesse of men, to wit, by great flouds, which often destroy not only the fruits of the earth, but likewise men and cattel, and also moistneth the earth at other times, and makes it yield an abundant encrease for the nourishment of man.

Vers. 33. The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattel also concerning the va­pour.] That is, the noise of the wind or thunder in the clouds above foreshew­eth the showres of rain that are coming; the cattel also by a naturall instinct dis­cern the vapours ascending, and so foresee, and by severall actions and motions do as it were give warning to men of the wet weather that approacheth.

CHAP. XXXVII.

Vers. 1. AT this also my heart trembleth, &c.] To wit, at the consideration of that which he meant next to speak of, which is concerning the thunder, vers. 2. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, &c. Indeed this may have reference likewise to that which went before in the former chap­ter, especially if that which is said there vers. 29. and 33. concerning the noise in Gods Tabernacle, be meant of the thunder. But this word (also) At this also my heart trembleth, seems rather to imply, that he meant to alledge another speci­all work of God, full of terrour, whereof he had not spoken before.

Vers. 3. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightening unto the ends of the earth.] That is, he causeth the thunder and lightening to passe from one end of the heaven to the other; as Christ saith Matth. 24.27. The lightening cometh out of the East, and shineth even unto the West. Yet withall those words, He directeth it, seem also to hint to us, that the thunder and lightening are guided by the speci­all providence of God whithersoever they goe.

Vers. 4. After it a voice roareth, &c.] For the lightening is seen before the thun­der is heard, though the thunder be before it: he thundreth with the voice of his ex­cellency; that is, with an excellent voice, or with a voice that clearly discovers his transcendent excellency: and he will not stay them when his voice is heard; that is, he stayes not the lightenings, when once it begins to thunder, but they are pre­sently with us before the clap of thunder is heard; or, he will not stay the storms of rain, (whereof he had spoken before chap. 36.27, 28.) but immediately after the thunder, they come pouring down in a most vehement manner.

Vers. 5. God thundreth marvellously with his voice, &c.] This word marvellously may not only have reference to that marvellous noise that the thunder makes, but also to those strange effects of the thunder and lightening observed by ma­ny; as that it will melt a sword in the sheath, or mony in a purse, and neither hurt the sheath nor the purse, break the bones in a mans body, and kill a child in the womb, and yet not the least sign of hurt to be seen outwardly, and many other effects of the like nature: To which also some limit the following words, great things doth he, which we cannot comprehend. But that I conceive must be extended [Page 263] also to that which follows, concerning snow and frost: for though philosophers do give the reason of all these things, yet they do it but imperfectly, and there is much uncertainty in many things they say; and, besides, why these things are done at such a time and in such a place, rather then another, they can never give a reason.

Vers. 6. For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth, &c.] This expression, Be thou on the earth, may seem to imply, not only the coming of the snow down upon the earth, but also its usuall lying for a time upon the earth before it melts away: likewise to the small rain, and the great rain of his strength; that is, the great mighty showres of rain, which sometimes fall, or those violent storms which discover the mighty strength of that God that sends them.

Vers. 7. He sealeth up the hand of every man, that all men may know his work.] There is a like expression before concerning Gods sealing up the stars, chap. 9.7. concerning which see the Note there. The meaning of this here is, that God by covering the earth with snow, or by sending such tempestuous weather, as is before mentioned, doth wholly take men off from their labour; being driven home for shelter, there he lodgeth them, and locketh or sealeth them up fast, so that they cannot stirre abroad to follow their imployments: and this he doth that all men may know his work, that is, that all men may hereby see and know what God is able to doe, who can thus at his pleasure take men off from their busines­ses, and make them wait upon him, till he is pleased to set them at liberty again.

Vers. 10. By the breath of God frost is given, &c.] That is, By the cold winds, which God doth as it were breath upon the earth,