Job 1:20
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) And worshipped.—Compare the conduct of David (2Samuel 12:20) and of Hezekiah (2Kings 19:1). Moments of intense sorrow or trial, like moments of intense joy, force us into the immediate presence of God.

Job 1:20. Then Job arose — From his seat whereon he had been sitting in a disconsolate posture; and rent his mantle — In token of his deep sense of, and just sorrow for, the heavy hand of God upon him, and his humiliation of himself under that hand: see Genesis 37:34; and shaved his head — Caused the hair of his head to be shaved or cut off, which was then a usual ceremony in mourning: of which see Ezra 9:3; Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 7:29; Jeremiah 41:5; Micah 1:16. And fell down upon the ground — In self-abasement, contrition, and supplication unto God; and worshipped — Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.1:20-22 Job humbled himself under the hand of God. He reasons from the common state of human life, which he describes. We brought nothing of this world's goods into the world, but have them from others; and it is certain we can carry nothing out, but must leave them to others. Job, under all his losses, is but reduced to his first state. He is but where he must have been at last, and is only unclothed, or unloaded rather, a little sooner than he expected. If we put off our clothes before we go to bed, it is some inconvenience, but it may be the better borne when it is near bed-time. The same who gave hath taken away. See how Job looks above instruments, and keeps his eye upon the First Cause. Afflictions must not divert us from, but quicken us to religion. If in all our troubles we look to the Lord, he will support us. The Lord is righteous. All we have is from his gift; we have forfeited it by sin, and ought not to complain if he takes any part from us. Discontent and impatience charge God with folly. Against these Job carefully watched; and so must we, acknowledging that as God has done right, but we have done wickedly, so God has done wisely, but we have done very foolishly. And may the malice and power of Satan render that Saviour more precious to our souls, who came to destroy the works of the devil; who, for our salvation, suffered from that enemy far more than Job suffered, or we can think.Then Job arose - The phrase to arise, in the Scriptures is often used in the sense of beginning to do anything. It does not necessarily imply that the person had been previously sitting; see 2 Samuel 13:13.

And rent his mantle - The word here rendered "mantle" מעיל me‛ı̂yl means an upper or outer garment. The dress of Orientals consists principally of an under garment or tunic - not materially differing from the "shirt" with us - except that the sleeves are wider, and under this large and loose pantaloons. Niebuhr, Reisebescreib. 1. 157. Over these garments they often throw a full and flowing mantle or robe. This is made without sleeves; it reaches down to the ankles; and when they walk or exercise it is bound around the middle with a girdle or sash. When they labor it is usually laid aside. The robe here referred ire was worn sometimes by women, 2 Samuel 13:18; by men of birth and rank, and by kings, 1 Samuel 15:27; 1 Samuel 18:4; 1 Samuel 24:5, 1 Samuel 24:11; by priests, 1 Samuel 28:14, and especially by the high priest under the ephod, Exodus 28:31. See Braun de vest Sacerd. ii. 5. Schroeder de vest. muller.

Hebrew p. 267; Hartmann Ilcbraerin, iii. p. 512, and Thesau. Antiq. Sacra. by Ugolin, Tom. i. 509, iii. 74, iv. 504, viii. 90, 1000, xii. 788, xiii. 306; compare the notes at Matthew 5:40, and Niebuhr, as quoted above. The custom of rending the garment as an expression of grief prevailed not only among the Jews but also among the Greeks and Romans 54y i. 13. Suetonius, in "Jul. Caes." 33. It prevailed also among the Persians. Curtius, B. x. c. 5, section 17. See Christian Boldich, in Thesau. Antiq. Sacra. Tom. xii. p. 145; also Tom. xiii. 551, 552, 560, xxx. 1105, 1112. In proof also that the custom prevailed among the Pagan, see Diod. Sic. Lib. i. p. 3, c. 3, respecting the Egyptians; Lib. xvii. respecting the Persians; Quin. Curt. iii. 11; Herod. Lib. iii. in Thalia, Lib. viii. in Urania, where he speaks of the Persians. So Plutarch in his life of Antony, speaking of the deep grief of Cleopatra, says, περίεῤῥηξατο τοῦς πέπλους επ ̓ αὐτῷ perierrēcato tous piplous ep' autō. Thus, Herodian, Lib. i.: καῖ ῥηξαμένη εσθῆτα kai rēcamenē esthēta. So Statius in Glaucum:

Tu mode fusus humi, lucem aversaris iniquam,

Nunc torvus pariter vestes, et pectora rumpis.

So Virgil:

Tune pins Aeneas humeris abscindere vestem,

Auxilioque vocare Deos, et tendere palmas.

Aeneid v. 685.

Demittunt mentes; it scissa veste Latinus,

Conjugis attonitus fatis, urbisque ruina,

Aeneid 12:609.

So Juvenal, Sat. x.:

ut primos edere planctus

continued...

20. Job arose—not necessarily from sitting. Inward excitement is implied, and the beginning to do anything. He had heard the other messages calmly, but on hearing of the death of his children, then he arose; or, as Eichorn translates, he started up (2Sa 13:31). The rending of the mantle was the conventional mark of deep grief (Ge 37:34). Orientals wear a tunic or shirt, and loose pantaloons; and over these a flowing mantle (especially great persons and women). Shaving the head was also usual in grief (Jer 41:5; Mic 1:16). Then Job arose from his seat, whereon he was sitting in a disconsolate posture.

Rent his mantle, to testify his deep sense of and just sorrow for the heavy hand of God upon him, and his humiliation of himself under his hand. See Genesis 37:34. Shaved his head, i.e. caused the hair of his head to be shaved or cut off, which was then a usual ceremony in mourning, of which see Ezra 9:3 Isaiah 15:2 22:12 Jeremiah 7:29 41:5 Micah 1:16.

Fell down upon the ground, in way of self-abhorrency, and humiliation, and supplication unto God.

And worshipped, to wit, God, who is expressed in the following verse, and who is the only object of religious worship. Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, and of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation. Then Job arose,.... Either from table, being at dinner, as some think, in his own house; it being the time that his children were feasting in their eldest brother's house; or from the business in which he was employed, which he stopped on hearing this news; or from his seat, or chair of state in which he sat; or rather the phrase only signifies, that he at once, with strength of body, and rigour of mind, which were not lost, as often they are in such cases, went about the following things with great composure and sedateness. It is indeed generally observed, that there is an emphasis to be put on the word "then", which may be as well rendered "and", as if Job sat and heard very sedately, without any perturbation of mind, the loss of his substance; but when tidings were brought him of the death of his children, "then" he arose, as being greatly moved and distressed; but it should be observed till now there was no stop or intermission in the messengers, but before one had done speaking, another came and began to tell his story, and so there was no opportunity, as well as not the occasion, of arising and doing what follows; and which he did, not through the violence of his passion, or excess of grief, but as common and ordinary things, which were used to be done in that country for the loss of relations, and in token of mourning for them:

and rent his mantle; or "cloak" (k), as Mr. Broughton; but whether this was an outward garment, as each of these seem to be, if the same with ours, or an interior one, as some think, it is not very material to know; both were rent by Ezra upon a mournful occasion, Ezra 9:3, and it was usual to rend garments for deceased relations, or when they were thought to be so, see Genesis 37:29, though some think that this was on the account of the blasphemous thoughts the devil now suggested into his mind, being solicitous to gain his point, and work upon him to curse God; upon which he rent his garment to show his resentment and indignation at the thought of it, as the Jews used to rend their garments at hearing of blasphemy; but the first sense is best:

and shaved his beard; either he himself, or his servant by his orders; and which was done among the eastern nations as a sign of mourning, see Isaiah 15:2 and among the Greeks, as appears from Homer (l); nor was this contrary to the law in Deuteronomy 14:1, where another baldness, not of the head, but between the eyes, is forbidden for the dead; besides this was before that law was in being, and, had it been, Job was not bound by it, being not of the Israelitish nation: some, as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and other Jewish writers, interpret this of his plucking or tearing off the hair of his head; but this neither agrees with the sense of the word here used, which has the signification of shearing or mowing, rather than of tearing or plucking, nor with the firmness and composure of Job's mind, who betrayed not any effeminacy or weakness; and though he showed a natural affection for the loss of his substance, and children, as a man, and did not affect a stoical apathy, and brutal insensibility, yet did not give any extraordinary vent to his passion: he behaved both like a man, and a religious man; he mourned for his dead, but not to excess; he sorrowed not as those without hope, and used the common tokens of it, and rites attending it; which shows that mourning for deceased relations, if done in moderation, is not unlawful, nor complying with the rites and customs of a country, in such cases, provided they are not sinful in themselves, nor contrary to the revealed and declared will of God:

and fell down upon the ground; in veneration of God, of his holiness and justice, and as sensible of his awful hand upon him, and as being humbled under it, and patiently submitting to it; he did not stand up, and curse God to his face, as Satan said he would, but fell upon his face to the ground; he did not curse his King and his God, and look upwards, see Isaiah 8:21 but prostrated himself to the earth in great humility before him; besides, this may be considered as a prayer gesture, since it follows:

and worshipped; that is, God, for who else should he worship? he worshipped him internally in the exercise of faith, hope, love, humility, patience, &c. and he worshipped him externally by praising him, and praying to him, expressing himself as in the next verse: afflictions, when sanctified, humble good men, cause them to lie low in the dust, and bring them near to God, to the throne of his grace, and instead of arraigning his providence, and finding fault with his dealings, they adore his majesty, and celebrate his perfections.

(k) "pallium suum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schultens; "tunicam suam", Munster, Cocceius, Schmidt, Jo. Henric. Michaelis. (l) , &c. Odyss. 4. ver. 198. & Odyss. 24. ver. 46.

Then Job arose, and {a} rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

(a) Which came not from impatience, but declares that the children of God are not insensible like blocks, but that in their patience they feel affliction and grief of mind: yet they do not rebel against God as the wicked do.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20, 21. Job’s demeanour under his sorrows. As became a man of his rank Job had received the messengers sitting. When the full extent of his misery came home to him he arose and gave way to the liveliest expressions of grief. He rent his mantle, in token that his heart was rent with sorrow, as Joel 2:13 says, “Rend your heart and not your garments;” he shaved his head, putting off, in token of his mourning, every adornment, even that which nature had supplied; and he cast himself upon the ground, laying his forehead on the dust, in deepest submission before God. Grief has its rights, which religion stands by to see fulfilled, and then comes forward to hallow it and cast its peace over it.—The “mantle” (me‘eel) was not a detached garment as the word might suggest, but a tunic, the uppermost of the garments proper. It was worn by women of the higher rank, 2 Samuel 13:18, as well as men; was of linen or later of cotton, with arms, and reaching to the ankles. It was often either richly embroidered or perhaps made up of pieces of cloth of various colours, Genesis 37:3.Verse 20. - Then Job arose. Not till the last calamity was announced did Job stir. The loss of his wealth little moved him. But when he heard that his children were destroyed, all of them "at one fell swoop," then he could endure no longer, but rose from the seat on which he was sitting, and showed forth his grief. First he rent his mantle, "the outer robe worn by men of rank" (Cook) - a customary sign of grief in the ancient world (Genesis 37:29, 34; Genesis 44:13; 1 Kings 21:27; 2 Kings 19:1; Esther 4:1; Joel 2:13; Herod., 8:99; Livy, 1:13, etc.); then he shaved his head - another less usual but still not uncommon sign of grief, forbidden under the Law of the Jews (Leviticus 21:5; Deuteronomy 14:1), but widely practised by the Gentiles (Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 47:5; Jeremiah 48:37; Herod., 2:36; 9:24; Plut.,'Vit. Pelop.,' § 34; Q. Gurt.,'Vit. Alex.,' 10:5, § 17). And fell down upon the ground, and worshipped. After giving vent to his natural grief, Job made an act of adoration. Recognizing the fact that adversity, as well as prosperity comes from God, and submitting himself to the Divine will, he "worshipped." How often has his act flashed across the minds of Christians. and enabled them, in their dark hour, to imitate him, and repeat his words, "The Lord gave," etc.! 13-15 And it came to pass one day, when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, that a messenger came to Job, and said, The oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them, when the Sabeans fell upon them, and carried them away, and smote the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

The principal clause, היּום ויהי, in which the art. of היּום has no more reference to anything preceding than in Job 1:6, is immediately followed by an adverbial clause, which may be expressed by participles, Lat. filiis ejus filiabusque convivantibus. The details which follow are important. Job had celebrated the usual weekly worship early in the morning with his children, and knew that they were met together in the house of his eldest son, with whom the order of mutual entertainment came round again, when the messengers of misfortune began to break in upon him: it is therefore on the very day when, by reason of the sacrifice offered, he was quite sure of Jehovah's favour. The participial construction, the oxen were ploughing (vid., Ges. 134, 2, c), describes the condition which was disturbed by the calamity that befell them. The verb היוּ stands here because the clause is a principal one, not as Job 1:13, adverbial. על־ידי, properly "at hand," losing its radical meaning, signifies (as Judges 11:26) "close by." The interpretation "in their places," after Numbers 2:17, is untenable, as this signification of יד is only supported in the sing. שׁבא is construed as fem., since the name of the country is used as the name of the people. In Genesis three races of this name are mentioned: Cushite (Genesis 10:7), Joktanish (Genesis 10:28), and Abrahamic (Genesis 25:3). Here the nomadic portion of this mixed race in North Arabia from the Persian Gulf to Idumaea is intended. Luther, for the sake of clearness, translates here, and 1 Kings 10:1, Arabia. In ואמּלטה, the waw, as is seen from the Kametz, is waw convertens, and the paragogic ah, which otherwise indicates the cohortative, is either without significance, or simply adds intensity to the verbal idea: I have saved myself with great difficulty. For this common form of the 1 fut. consec., occurring four times in the Pentateuch, vid., Ges. 49, 2. The clause לך להגּיד is objective: in order that - so it was intended by the calamity - I might tell thee.

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