|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:24-32 Job protests, 1. That he never set his heart upon the wealth of this world. How few prosperous professors can appeal to the Lord, that they have not rejoiced because their gains were great! Through the determination to be rich, numbers ruin their souls, or pierce themselves with many sorrows. 2. He never was guilty of idolatry. The source of idolatry is in the heart, and it corrupts men, and provokes God to send judgments upon a nation. 3. He neither desired nor delighted in the hurt of the worst enemy he had. If others bear malice to us, that will not justify us in bearing malice to them. 4. He had never been unkind to strangers. Hospitality is a Christian duty, 1Pe 4:9.
Verse 26. - If I beheld the sun when it shined; literally, the light; i.e. the great light, which God made to rule the day (Genesis 1:16). Sun-worship, the least ignoble form of idolatry, was widely spread in the East, and in Egypt, from a very early date. According to the views of some, the religion el' t e Egyptians was little else than a complicated sun-worship from its earliest inception to its very latest phase. "The religious notions of the Egyptians," says Dr. Birch, "were chiefly connected with the worship of the sun, with whom at a later period all the principal deities were connected. As Hag, or Harmachis, he represented the youthful or rising sun; as Ra, the midday; and as Turn. the setting sun. According to Egyptian notions, that god floated in a boat through the sky or celestial ether, and descended to the dark regions of night, or Hades. Many deities attended on his passage or were connected with his worship, and the gods Amen and Khepr, who represented the invisible and self-produced god, were identified with the sun" ('Egypt from the Earliest Times,' Introduction, pp. 9, 10.). Even those who do not go these lengths admit that the solar worship was, at any rate, a very main element in the cult of Egypt (see the author's 'History of Ancient Egypt,' vol. 1. pp. 342-364). In the Babylonian and Assyrian religion the position of the sun-god was leas prominent, but still, as San, or Shamas, he held an important place, and was the main object of religious veneration to a largo body of worshippers ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. pp. 126-128; vol. 2. pp. 17, 18). In the Vedic system the sun figured as Mitra, and in the Zoroastrian as Mithra, in both holding a high position. Among the Arabians the sun, worshipped as Orotal, is said to have been anciently the only god, though he was accompanied by a female principle named Alilat (Herod., 3:8). Or the moon walking in brightness. The worship of the moon has. in most countries where it has prevailed, been quite secondary and subordinate to that of the sun. In Egypt. while nine gods are more or less identified with the solar luminary, two only, Khons and Thoth, can be said to represent the moon. In the Vedic and Zoroastrian systems the moon, called Soma, or Hems, almost dropped out of the popular religion, at any rate as a moon-god. In the Arabiun, Alilat, a goddess, probably represented the moon, as did Ashtoreth, a goddess, in the Pheonician. In Assyria, however, and in Babylonia, moon-worship held a higher position, Sin, the moon-god, taking precedence over Shamas, the sun-god, and being a very much more important personage (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. pp. 123-126; vol. 2. pp. 16, 17). Thus both moon-worship and sun-worship were prevalent among all, or almost all, Job's neighbours.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If I beheld the sun when it shined,.... Some take this to be a reason why Job did not make gold his hope and confidence, because all sublunary and earthly enjoyments must be uncertain, fading, and perish, since the sun and moon are not without their deficiencies and changes, to which sense the Septuagint version inclines; others, as Nachmanides, that they are a denial that Job ascribed his wealth and substance to the influence of the heavenly bodies; and many interpreters are of opinion that they are a continuation of the same subject as before; Job hereby declaring that neither his eye nor his heart were set upon his outward prosperity, comparable to the light of the sun, and the brightness of the moon; that he did not secretly please himself with it, nor congratulate himself upon it nor applaud his own wisdom and industry; and of late Schultens and others interpret it of flattering great personages, complimenting: them, and courting their favour, which we call worshipping the rising sun; but I rather think it is to be understood, as it more generally is, of worshipping the sun and moon in a literal sense; which was the first kind of idolatry men went into; those very ancient idolaters, the Zabii, worshipped the sun as their greater god, as Maimonides (a) observes, to whom he says they offered seven bats, seven mice, and seven other creeping things, with some other things also; in later times horses were offered to it, see 2 Kings 23:11. So the ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun and moon, calling the one Osiris, and the other Isis (b). The word for sun is "light", and it is so called because it is a luminous body, and the fountain of light to others; it is called the greater light, Genesis 1:16; and from this Hebrew word "or", with the Egyptians, Apollo, who is the sun, is called Horus, as Macrobius (c) relates; it is said to "shine", as it always does, even when below our horizon, or in an eclipse, or under a cloud, though not seen by us. Job has here respect to its shining clearly and visibly, and perhaps at noon day, when it is in its full strength; unless regard is had to its bright and shining appearance at its rising, when the Heathens used to pay their homage and adoration to it (d): now when Job denies that he beheld it shining, it cannot be understood of the bare sight of it, which he continually had; nor of beholding it with delight and pleasure, which might be very lawfully done, Ecclesiastes 11:7; nor of considering it as the work of God, being a very glorious and useful creature, in which his glory is displayed, and for which he is to be praised, because of its beneficial influence on the earth; see Psalm 8:3; but of his beholding it with admiration, as if it was more than a creature, ascribing deity to it, and worshipping it as God; and the same must be understood of the moon in the next clause:
or the moon walking in brightness; as at first rising, or rather when in the full, in the middle of the month, as Aben Ezra; when it walks all night, in its brightness, illuminated by the sun: these two luminaries, the one called the king, the other the queen of heaven, were very early worshipped, if not the first instances of idolatry. Diodorus Siculus (e) says, that the first men of old, born in Egypt, beholding and admiring the beauty of the world, thought there were two gods in the nature of the universe, and that they were eternal; namely, the sun and moon, the one they called Osiris, and the other Isis; hence the Israelites, having dwelt long in Egypt, were in danger of being drawn into this idolatry, against which they are cautioned, Deuteronomy 4:19; and where was a city called Heliopolis, or the city of the sun, as in the Greek version of Isaiah 19:18; where was a temple dedicated to the worship of it; and so the Arabians, the neighbours of Job, according to Herodotus (f), worshipped the sun and moon; for he says the Persians were taught by them and the Assyrians to sacrifice to the sun and moon; and so did the old Canaanites and the Phoenicians; hence one of their cities is called Bethshemesh, the house or temple of the sun, Joshua 19:22, yea, we are told (g), that to this day there are some traces of this ancient idolatry in Arabia, the neighbourhood of Job; as in a large city in Arabia, upon the Euphrates, called Anna, where they worship the sun only; this being common in those parts in Job's time, he purges himself from it.
(a) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 29. p. 424. (b) Diodor. Sic. l. 1. p. 10. (c) Saturnal. l. 1. c. 21. (d) "Illi ad surgentem conversi limina solem", Virgil. Aeneid. 12. (e) Bibliothec. l. 1. c. 10. (f) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 131. (g) De la Valle Itinerar. par. 2. c. 9. apud Spanheim. Hist. Job. c. 6. sect. 14. No. 6. p. 108, 109.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. If I looked unto the sun (as an object of worship) because he shined; or to the moon because she walked, &c. Sabaism (from tsaba, "the heavenly hosts") was the earliest form of false worship. God is hence called in contradistinction, "Lord of Sabaoth." The sun, moon, and stars, the brightest objects in nature, and seen everywhere, were supposed to be visible representatives of the invisible God. They had no temples, but were worshipped on high places and roofs of houses (Eze 8:16; De 4:19; 2Ki 23:5, 11). The Hebrew here for "sun" is light. Probably light was worshipped as the emanation from God, before its embodiments, the sun, &c. This worship prevailed in Chaldea; wherefore Job's exemption from the idolatry of his neighbors was the more exemplary. Our "Sun-day," "Mon-day," or Moon-day, bear traces of Sabaism.
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