|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
29:7-17 All sorts of people paid respect to Job, not only for the dignity of his rank, but for his personal merit, his prudence, integrity, and good management. Happy the men who are blessed with such gifts as these! They have great opportunities of honouring God and doing good, but have great need to watch against pride. Happy the people who are blessed with such men! it is a token for good to them. Here we see what Job valued himself by, in the day of his prosperity. It was by his usefulness. He valued himself by the check he gave to the violence of proud and evil men. Good magistrates must thus be a restraint to evil-doers, and protect the innocent; in order to this, they should arm themselves with zeal and resolution. Such men are public blessings, and resemble Him who rescues poor sinners from Satan. How many who were ready to perish, now are blessing Him! But who can show forth His praises? May we trust in His mercy, and seek to imitate His truth, justice, and love.
Verse 7. - When I went out to the gate through the city; rather, by the city, or over against the city. The "gate" was the place where justice was administered, and public business generally despatched. It would be "over against" the city, separated from it by a large square or place (רְחוב), in which a multitude might assemble (sue Nehemiah 8:1). Hither Job was accustomed to proceed from time to time, to act as judge and administrator. When I prepared my seat in the street. On such occasions a seat would be brought out and "prepared," where the judge would sit to hear causes and deliver sentences (comp. Nehemiah 3:7).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
When I went out to the, gate through the city,.... Job having described his former state of happiness by the personal favours he enjoyed, and by the prosperity of his family, and his abundance of plenty at home, proceeds to give an account of the honour and respect he had from men of every age and rank abroad: though he had an affluence of the things of this world, he did not indulge himself at home in ease and sloth; but went abroad to take care of the public welfare, maintain public peace, and administer public justice among his neighbours; performing the office of a civil magistrate, which is often expressed in Scripture by going in and out before the people: Job went out from his own house to the gate of the city, where a court of judicature was kept, as it was usual in those times and countries to hold them in the gates of the city; see Zechariah 8:16; and to which he passed through the city, very probably, in great pomp and splendour, suitable to his office and character, which drew the eyes and attention of the people to him; by which it should seem that his house was on one side of the city, and the gate where justice was administered was on the other; though it may be rendered, "over the city" (o), and the sense be, that he passed along as he that was over the city, the chief man in it, and president of the court of justice, see 2 Kings 10:5;
when I prepared my seat in the street; where he sat, not as a teacher, though he was an instructor, not only of his family, but of his neighbours, as Eliphaz himself testifies, Job 4:3; and it was usual for such to have seats to sit upon, as those had who succeeded Moses, and are said to sit in his chair; and it was usual to call to men and instruct them in open public places; hence Wisdom is said to utter her voice in the streets, in the opening of the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors, Proverbs 1:20; but Job here speaks of himself as a civil magistrate, as a judge upon the bench, who had a seat or throne erected for him to sit upon, while he was hearing and trying causes; and this was set up in the street under the open air, before the gate of the city, where the whole city might be convened together, and hear and see justice done to their neighbours; in such a street, before the gate of the city, Ezra read the law to Israel; and in such an one Hezekiah got the people of Israel together, and spoke comfortably to them when invaded by Sennacherib; see Nehemiah 8:2; and the Arabs, to this day, hold their courts of justice in an open place under the heavens, as in a field, or in a market place (p); and it is right that courts of justice should be open and accessible to all.
(o) "super civitatem", Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt; "super urbe", Schultens. (p) Norden's Travels in Egypt and Nubia, vol. 2. p. 140, 141, 158. See Joseph. Antiqu. l. 18. c. 5. sect. 6.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7-10. The great influence Job had over young and old, and noblemen.
through … street!—rather, When I went out of my house, in the country (see Job 1:1, prologue) to the gate (ascending), up to the city (which was on elevated ground), and when I prepared my (judicial) seat in the market place. The market place was the place of judgment, at the gate or propylæa of the city, such as is found in the remains of Nineveh and Persepolis (Isa 59:14; Ps 55:11; 127:5).
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