|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:23-29 The Spirit of God, at this time, seems to have powerfully wrought on the mind of Job. Here he witnessed a good confession; declared the soundness of his faith, and the assurance of his hope. Here is much of Christ and heaven; and he that said such things are these, declared plainly that he sought the better country, that is, the heavenly. Job was taught of God to believe in a living Redeemer; to look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come; he comforted himself with the expectation of these. Job was assured, that this Redeemer of sinners from the yoke of Satan and the condemnation of sin, was his Redeemer, and expected salvation through him; and that he was a living Redeemer, though not yet come in the flesh; and that at the last day he would appear as the Judge of the world, to raise the dead, and complete the redemption of his people. With what pleasure holy Job enlarges upon this! May these faithful sayings be engraved by the Holy Spirit upon our hearts. We are all concerned to see that the root of the matter be in us. A living, quickening, commanding principle of grace in the heart, is the root of the matter; as necessary to our religion as the root of the tree, to which it owes both its fixedness and its fruitfulness. Job and his friends differed concerning the methods of Providence, but they agreed in the root of the matter, the belief of another world.
Verse 23. - Oh that my words were written! It is questioned what words of his Job is so anxious to have committed to writing - those that precede the expression of the wish, or those that follow, or both. As there is nothing that is very remarkable in the preceding words, whereas the latter are among the most striking in the book, the general opinion has been that he refers to these last. It is now universally allowed, even by those whose date for Job is the most remote, that books were common long before his time, and so that he might naturally have been familiar with them. Writing is, of course, even anterior to books, and was certainly in use before B.C. 2000. The earliest writing was probably on stone or brick, and was perhaps in every case hieroglyphical. When writing on papyrus, or parchment, or the bark of trees, came into use, a cursive character soon superseded the hieroglyphical, though the latter continued In be employed for religious purposes, and for inscriptions on stone. Oh that they were printed in a book! rather, inscribed, or engraved. The impression of the characters below the surface of the writing material, as in the Babylonian and Assyrian clay-tablets, seems to be pointed at.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O that my words were now written!.... Not his things (q), as some render it, his affairs, the transactions of his life; that so it might appear with what uprightness and integrity he had lived, and was not the bad man he was thought to be; nor the words he had delivered already, the apologies and defences he had made for himself, the arguments he had used in his own vindication, and the doctrines respecting God and his providence which he had laid down and asserted; and was so far from being ashamed of them, or retracting them, that he wishes they had been taken down in writing, that posterity might read and judge of the controversy between him and his friends; but rather the words he was about to deliver in Job 19:25, expressing his faith in Christ, in the resurrection of the dead, and in a future state of happiness and glory; these he wishes were "written", that they might remain as a standing testimony of his faith and hope; for what is written abides, when that which is only spoken is soon forgot, and not easily recalled:
O that they were printed in a book! not written on loose sheets, which might be lost, but in a book bound up, or rolled up in a volume, as was the custom of ancient times; though this cannot be understood of printing properly taken, which has not been in use but little more than five hundred years, but of engrossing, as of statutes and decrees in public records; and the word for "statutes comes" from this that is here used.
(q) "res meae", Polychronius apud Pinedam in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. Despairing of justice from his friends in his lifetime, he wishes his words could be preserved imperishably to posterity, attesting his hope of vindication at the resurrection.
printed—not our modern printing, but engraven.
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