on Job 20 :29
This is the portion - As God has dealt with the murmuring Israelites, and with the rebellious sons of Korah, so will he deal with those who murmur against the dispensations of his providence, and rebel against his authority. Instead of an earthly portion, and an ecclesiastical heritage, such as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram sought; they shall have fire from God to scorch them, and the earth to swallow them up. Dr. Stock, bishop of Killala, who has noticed the allusion to the quails, and for which he has been most unmeritedly ridiculed, gives us the following note on the passage: - "Here I apprehend is a fresh example of the known usage of Hebrew poets, in adorning their compositions by allusions to facts in the history of their own people. It has escaped all the interpreters; and it is the more important, because it fixes the date of this poem, so far as to prove its having been composed subsequently to the transgression of Israel, at Kibroth Hattaavah, recorded in Numbers 11:33, Numbers 11:34. Because the wicked acknowledges not the quail, that is, the meat with which God has filled his stomach; but, like the ungrateful Israelites, crammed, and blasphemed his feeder, as Milton finely expresses it, he shall experience the same punishment with them, and be cut off in the midst of his enjoyment, as Moses tells us the people were who lusted." If I mistake not, I have added considerable strength to the prelate's reasoning, by showing that there is a reference also to the history of the manna, and to that which details the rebellion of Korah and his company; and if so, (and they may dispute who please), it is a proof that the Book of Job is not so old as, much less older than, the Pentateuch, as some have endeavored to prove, but with no evidence of success, at least to my mind: a point which never has been, and I am certain never can be, proved; which has multitudes of presumptions against it, and not one clear incontestable fact for it. Mr. Good has done more in this case than any of his predecessors, and yet Mr. Good has failed; no wonder then that others, unmerciful criticisers of the bishop of Killala, have failed also, who had not a tenth part of Mr. Good's learning, nor one-hundredth part of his critical acumen. It is, however, strange that men cannot suffer others to differ from them on a subject of confessed difficulty and comparatively little importance, without raising up the cry of heresy against them, and treating them with superciliousness and contempt! These should know, if they are clergymen, whether dignified or not, that such conduct ill becomes the sacerdotal character; and that ante barbam docet senes cannot be always spoken to the teacher's advantage. As a good story is not the worse for being twice told, the following lines from a clergyman, who, for his humility and piety, was as much an honor to his vocation as he was to human nature, may not be amiss, in point of advice to all Warburtonian spirits: -
"Be calm in arguing, for fierceness makes
Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.
Why should I feel another man's mistakes
More than his sickness or his poverty?
In love I:should: but anger is not love
Nor wisdom neither; therefore, gently move.
Calmness is great advantage: he that lets
Another chafe, may warm him at his fire,
Mark all his wanderings, and enjoy his frets;
As cunning fencers suffer heat to tire.
Truth dwells not in the clouds: the bow that's there
Doth often aim at, never hit, the sphere."
on Job 20 :29
This is the portion of a wicked man - This conclusion is similar to that which Bildad drew at the close of his speech, Job 18:21. Zophar intended, undoubtedly, that Job should apply it to himself, and that he should draw the inference, that one who had been treated in this manner, must be a wicked man.
And the heritage appointed - Margin, "of his decree from." The Hebrew is," Of his word" (אמרוּ 'êmerô ) - that is, of his "purpose." The idea is, that this is the divine rule, or arrangement. It is not a matter of chance. It is the result of appointment, and when people are afflicted in this manner, we are to conclude that "God" regards them as guilty. The whole object of the discussion was to arrive at the principles of the divine administration. Nothing is attributed to chance; and nothing is ascribed to second causes, except as indicating the will of God. It is assumed, that the course of events in the world was a sufficient exponent of the divine intention, and that when they understood how God "treated" a man, they could clearly understand how he regarded his character. The principle is a good one, when "the whole of existence" is taken into the account; the fault here was in taking in only a small part of existence - this short life - and hastening to the conclusion, that the character could be certainly determined by the manner in which God deals with people here.
on Job 20 :29
20:29 Heritage - Heb. the heritage; so called, to denote the stability and assurance of it, that it is as firm as an inheritance to the right heir; and in opposition to that inheritance which he had gotten by fraud and violence.