|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
29:18-25 Being thus honoured and useful, Job had hoped to die in peace and honour, in a good old age. If such an expectation arise from lively faith in the providence and promise of God, it is well; but if from conceit of our own wisdom, and dependence on changeable, earthly things, it is ill grounded, and turns to sin. Every one that has the spirit of wisdom, has not the spirit of government; but Job had both. Yet he had the tenderness of a comforter. This he thought upon with pleasure, when he was himself a mourner. Our Lord Jesus is a King who hates iniquity, and upon whom the blessing of a world ready to perish comes. To Him let us give ear.
Verse 25. - I chose out their way, and sat chief. Though not an absolute monarch, but only a patriarchal head, I practically determined the course which the tribe took, since my advice was always followed. I thus "sat chief" - nay, dwelt as a king in the army (or, in the host i.e. among the people), as one that comforteth the mourners; i.e. as one to whom all looked for comfort in times of distress and calamity, as much as for counsel and guidance at other times (vers. 21-23).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I chose out their way,.... When his friends and neighbours came to him for advice in things civil, he marked out their way for them, directed what steps to take, what methods to pursue for their good; they desired him to choose for them, preferring his judgment to theirs, and were determined to abide by his choice of ways and means, and to follow his counsel; and in religious matters, he instructed them in their duty, both towards God and men, and proposed unto them what was most eligible, both with respect to doctrine and practice;
and sat chief; in all their public assemblies; he presided in their councils and courts of judicature; and when met together for religious worship, he sat in the chair of the teacher, and instructed them; he was chief speaker, as the Heathens said of the Apostle Paul, Acts 14:12;
and dwelt as a king in the army, or "troop" (k). Mr. Broughton renders it with a garrison; Job was surrounded with multitudes of persons, that waited upon him on one account or another, who were ready to receive his words, and be obedient to them, as a king or general in the midst of an army, surrounded by his general officers, and the whole army encamped about him, doing him honour, and ready to obey whatever commands or instructions he should give them; some conclude from hence that Job was really a king, as being not a note of similitude, but of truth and reality, as in Matthew 14:2; and so he might be; for in those times and countries every city almost had its king; though this is not necessarily supposed here; for the phrase seems only to denote the authority and influence Job had over men by his advice and instruction, which were as much regarded as from a king; and the majesty he appeared in, and the reverence in which he was had:
as one that comforteth the mourners: which some restrain to the king in his army, and connect them therewith thus, "when he comforteth the mourners" (l); the soldiers mourning for some loss sustained, and slaughter made among them; whose minds the king or general by a set speech endeavours to cheer, and comfort, and allay their fears, and animate them to intrepidity and fortitude, when all eyes are upon him and attentive to him; and so attentive were Job's hearers to him. Bar Tzemach observes, that the copulative or "and", is wanting, and so is a clause by itself, and expresses something distinct from the forager, and may be supplied, "and I was as one that comforteth the mourners"; as a wise man that comforteth them, as Aben Ezra explains it; like one that made it his business to visit mourners in affliction, on account of the death of a relation, and the like: see Job 11:19; and speaks comfortable words to them, to support them under their sorrow; when such an one used to speak alone, and all stood silent before him, and attentive to him; and in a like position was Job, when he gave his instructions to those about him; and he was, no doubt, a comforter of mourners himself, being either in temporal afflictions, or in spiritual troubles; comforted those that were cast down in either sense, and was a type of Christ, who was appointed to comfort all that mourn in Zion.
(k) "in agmine", Montanus, Bolducius; "in turma", Mercerus, Drusius, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. (l) "quando", Junius & Tremellius, Drusius; "quum vel quando", Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. I chose out their way—that is, I willingly went up to their assembly (from my country residence, Job 29:7).
in the army—as a king supreme in the midst of his army.
comforteth the mourners—Here again Job unconsciously foreshadows Jesus Christ (Isa 61:2, 3). Job's afflictions, as those of Jesus Christ, were fitting him for the office hereafter (Isa 50:4; Heb 2:18).
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