on Job 1 :22
In all this Job sinned not - He did not give way to any action, passion, or expression, offensive to his Maker. He did not charge God with acting unkindly towards him, but felt as perfectly satisfied with the privation which the hand of God had occasioned, as he was with the affluence and health which that hand had bestowed. This is the transaction that gave the strong and vivid colouring to the character of Job; in this, and in this alone, he was a pattern of patience and resignation. In this Satan was utterly disappointed; he found a man who loved his God more than his earthly portion. This was a rare case, even in the experience of the devil. He had seen multitudes who bartered their God for money, and their hopes of blessedness in the world to come for secular possessions in the present. He had been so often successful in this kind of temptation, that he made no doubt he should succeed again. He saw many who, when riches increased, set their hearts on them, and forgot God. He saw many also who, when deprived of earthly comforts, blasphemed their Maker. He therefore inferred that Job, in similar circumstances, would act like the others; he was disappointed. Reader, has he, by riches or poverty, succeeded with thee? Art thou pious when affluent, and patient and contented when in poverty?
That Job 54ed after the giving of the law, seems to me clear from many references to the rites and ceremonies instituted by Moses. In Job 1:5, we are informed that he sanctified his children, and offered burnt-offerings daily to the morning for each of them. This was a general ordinance of the law, as we may see, Leviticus 9:7 : "Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin-offering and thy burnt-offering, and make an atonement for thyself and for the people." Leviticus 9:22 : "And Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering the burnt-offering."
This sort of offering, we are told above, Job offered continually; and this also was according to the law, Exodus 29:42 : "This shall be a continual burnt-offering throughout your generations." See also Numbers 28:3, Numbers 28:6, Numbers 28:10, Numbers 28:15, Numbers 28:24, Numbers 28:31.
This custom was observed after the captivity, Ezra 3:5 : "They offered the continual burnt-offering: and of every one that offered a freewill-offering." See also Nehemiah 10:33. Ezekiel, who prophesied during the captivity, enjoins this positively, Ezekiel 46:13-15 : "Thou shalt daily prepare a burnt-offering unto the Lord; thou shalt prepare it every morning."
Job appears to have thought that his children might have sinned through ignorance, or sinned privately; and it was consequently necessary to make the due sacrifices to God in order to prevent his wrath and their punishment; he therefore offered the burnt-offering, which was prescribed by the law in cases of sins committed through ignorance. See the ordinances Leviticus 4:1-35; Leviticus 5:15-19, and particularly Numbers 15:24-29. I think it may be fairly presumed that the offerings which Job made for his children were in reference to these laws.
The worship of the sun, moon, and stars, as being the most prevalent and most seductive idolatry, was very expressly forbidden by the law, Deuteronomy 4:19 : "Take heed, lest thou lift up thine eyes to heaven; and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them." Job purges himself from this species of idolatry, Job 31:26-28 : "If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness, and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge; for I should have denied the God that is above."
He clears himself also from adultery in reference to the law enacted against that sin, Job 31:9-12 : "If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbor's door; then let my wife grind to another: for this is a heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges." See the law against this sin, Exodus 20:14, Exodus 20:17 : "Thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife." Leviticus 20:10 : "The man that committeth adultery with another man's wife shall surely be put to death;" see Deuteronomy 22:22. And for the judge's office in such cases, see Deuteronomy 17:9-12 : "Thou shalt come unto the priests and Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment." 1 Samuel 2:25 : "If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him."
The following will, I think, be considered an evident allusion to the passage of the Red Sea, and the destruction of the proud Egyptian king: Job 26:11, Job 26:12 : "The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the sea with his power; and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud." These, with several others that might be adduced, are presumptive proofs that the writer of this book lived after the giving and establishment of the law, if not much later, let Job himself live when he might. See other proofs in the notes.
on Job 1 :22
In all this - In all his feelings and expressions on this occasion.
Job sinned not - He expressed just the feelings and manifested just the submission which he ought to do.
Nor charged God foolishly - Margin, "Attributed folly to God." Vulgate, "Neither did he speak any foolish thing against God." The Septuagint renders it, "and he did not impute (or give, ἐδωκεν edōken) folly (ἀφροσύνην aphrosunēn) (indiscretion, 'Thompson') to God." Good renders this, "nor vented a murmur against God;" and remarks that the literal rendering would be, "nor vented froth against God. Tindal renders it, "nor murmured foolishly against God." The Hebrew word תפלה tı̂phlâh is derived from the obsolete root תפל tâphêl, "to spit out;" and hence, to be insipid, tasteless, not seasoned. The noun, therefore, means properly that which is spit out; then that which is insipid or tasteless; and then folly. Wit and wisdom are represented by Oriental writers as pungent and seasoned; compare the expression among the Greeks of "Attic salt," meaning wit or wisdom. The word "folly" in the Scriptures often means wickedness, for this is supreme folly. Here it has this sense, and means that Job did not say anything "wrong." Satan was disappointed and had borne a false accusation before God. He did "not" charge God foolishly, and he did "not" curse him to his face.
From this instructive narrative of the manner in which Job received afflictions, we may learn
(1) That true piety will bear the removal of property and friends without murmuring. Religion is not based on such things, and their removal cannot shake it. It is founded deeper in the soul, and mere external changes cannot destroy it.
(2) When we are afflicted, we should not vent our wrath on winds and waves; on the fraud and perfidy of our fellow-men; on embarrassments and changes in the commercial world; on the pestilence and the storm. Any or all of these may be employed as instruments in taking away our property or our friends, but we should trace the calamity ultimately to God. Storms and winds and waves, malignant spirits and our fellow-men, do no more than God permits. They are all restrained and kept within proper limits. They are not directed by chance, but they are under the control of an intelligent Being, and are the wise appointment of a holy God.
(3) God has a right to remove our comforts. He gave them - not to be our permanent inheritance, but to be withdrawn when he pleases. It is a proof of goodness that we have been permitted to tread his earth so long - though we should be allowed to walk it no more; to breathe his air so long - though we should be permitted to inhale it no more; to look upon his sun and moon and stars so long - though we should be permitted to walk by their light no more; to enjoy the society of the friends whom he has given us so long - though we should enjoy that society no longer. A temporary gift may be removed at the pleasure of the giver, and we hold all our comforts at the mere good pleasure of God.
(4) We see the nature of true resignation. It is not because we can always see the "reason" why we are afflicted; it consists in bowing to the will of a holy and intelligent God, and in the feeling that he has a "right" to remove what he has given us. It is his; and may be taken away when he pleases. It may be, and should be yielded, without a complaint - and to do this "because" God wills it, is true resignation.
(5) We see the true source of "comfort" in trials. It is not in the belief that things are regulated by chance and hap-hazard; or even that they are controlled by physical laws. We may have the clearest philosophical view of the mode in which tempests sweep away property, or the pestilence our friends; we may understand the laws by which all this is done, but this affords no consolation. It is only when we perceive an "intelligent Being" presiding over these events, and see that they are the result of plan and intention on his part, that we can find comfort in trial. What satisfaction is it for me to understand the law by which fire burns when my property is swept away; or to know "how" disease acts on the human frame when my child dies; or how the plague produces its effects on the body when friend after friend is laid in the grave? This is "philosophy;" and this is the consolation which this world furnishes. I want some higher consolation than that which results from the knowledge of unconscious laws. I want to have the assurance that it is the result of intelligent design, and that this design is connected with a benevolent end - and that I find only in religion.
(6) We see the "power" of religion in sustaining in the time of trial. How calm and submissive was this holy man! How peaceful and resigned! Nothing else but piety could have done this. Philosophy blunts the feelings, paralyses the sensibilities, and chills the soul; but it does not give consolation. It is only confidence in God; a feeling that he is right; and a profound and holy acquiescence in his will, that can produce support in trials like these. This we may have as well so Job; and this is indispensable in a world so full of calamity and sorrow as this is.
on Job 1 :22
1:22 Charged - Heb. not imputed folly to God; so far was he from blaspheming God, that he did not entertain any dishonourable thought of God, as if he had done anything unworthy of his infinite wisdom, or justice, or goodness, but heartily acquiesced in his good pleasure, and in his righteous though sharp proceedings against him. Discontent and impatience do in effect impute folly to God. Against the workings of these we should carefully watch, acknowledging that God has done well, but we have done foolishly.