|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 24. - That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! A peculiar kind of rock-inscription, of which, so far as I know, no specimens remain, appears to be here alluded to. Job wished the characters of his record to be cut deep into the rock with an iron chisel, and the incision made to be then filled up with lead (compare the mediaeval "brasses").
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! Or "that they were written with an iron pen and lead, that they were cut or hewn out in a rock for ever"; not with both an iron and leaden pen, or pencil; for the marks of the latter are not durable, and much less could it be used on a rock according to our version; but the sense seems to be, that they might be written with an iron pen, which was used in writing, Jeremiah 17:1; upon a sheet of lead, as the Vulgate Latin version; for it was usual in ancient times, as Pliny (q) and others relate, for books to be made of sheets of lead, and for public records to be engrossed, as in plates of brass, so sometimes in sheets of lead, for the perpetuity of them; or else it refers to the cutting out of letters on stones, as the law was on two tables of stone, and filling up the incisions or cuttings with lead poured into them, as Jarchi suggests: so Pliny, (r) speaks of stone pillars in Arabia and the parts adjacent, with unknown characters on them; also this may have respect to the manner of writing on mountains and rocks formerly, as the Israelites at or shortly after the times of Job did. There are now, in the wilderness through which the Israelites passed, hills called Gebel-el-mokatab, the written mountains, engraved with unknown ancient characters, out into the hard marble rock; supposed to be the ancient Hebrew, written by the Israelites for their diversion and improvement which are observed by some modern travellers (s). In the last age, Petrus a Valle and Thomas a Novaria saw them; the latter of which transcribed some of them, some of which seemed to be like to the Hebrew letters now in use, and others to the Samaritans; and some agreed with neither (t); and Cosmoss the Egyptian (u), who wrote A. D. 535, declares on his own testimony, that all the mansions of the Hebrews in the wilderness were to be seen in stones with Hebrew letters engraved on them, which seemed to be an account of their journeys in it. The inscription on a stone at Horeb, brought from thence by the above mentioned Thomas a Novaria, and which Kircher (w) has explained thus,
"God shall make a virgin conceive, and she shall bring forth a son,''
is thought by learned men to be of a later date, and the explication of it is not approved of by them. (x) Job may have in view his sepulchre hewn out of a rock, as was usual, and as that was our Lord was laid in; and so his wish might be that the following words were his funeral epitaph, and that they might be cut out and inscribed upon his sepulchral monument, his rocky grave; that everyone that passed by might read his strong expressions of faith in a living Redeemer, and the good hope he had of a blessed resurrection.
(q) Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 11. Alex. ab Alex. l. 2. c. 30. Pausaniae Messenica, sive, l. 4. p. 266. & Boeotica, sive, l. 9. p. 588. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28. & 29. (s) See a Journal from Cairo, &c. in 1722, p. 45, 46. and Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. ii. p. 171, 181. (t) Antiqu. Eccles. Orient. p. 147. (u) Apud Montfaucon, tom. 2. p. 205. (w) Prodrom. Copt. c. 8. p. 201, 207. (x) Vide Hottinger. Praefat. ad Cipp. Hebr. p. 6, 7, 8. Wagenseil Carmin. Lipman. Confut. p. 429, &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
lead—poured into the engraven characters, to make them better seen [Umbreit]. Not on leaden plates; for it was "in the rock" that they were engraved. Perhaps it was the hammer that was of "lead," as sculptors find more delicate incisions are made by it, than by a harder hammer. FOSTER (One Primeval Language) has shown that the inscriptions on the rocks in Wady-Mokatta, along Israel's route through the desert, record the journeys of that people, as Cosmas Indicopleustes asserted, A.D. 535.
for ever—as long as the rock lasts.
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