Job 1:20
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
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(20) And worshipped.—Compare the conduct of David (2Samuel 12:20) and of Hezekiah (2Kings 19:1). Moments of intense sorrow or trial, like moments of intense joy, force us into the immediate presence of God.

Job 1:20. Then Job arose — From his seat whereon he had been sitting in a disconsolate posture; and rent his mantle — In token of his deep sense of, and just sorrow for, the heavy hand of God upon him, and his humiliation of himself under that hand: see Genesis 37:34; and shaved his head — Caused the hair of his head to be shaved or cut off, which was then a usual ceremony in mourning: of which see Ezra 9:3; Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 7:29; Jeremiah 41:5; Micah 1:16. And fell down upon the ground — In self-abasement, contrition, and supplication unto God; and worshipped — Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.

1:20-22 Job humbled himself under the hand of God. He reasons from the common state of human life, which he describes. We brought nothing of this world's goods into the world, but have them from others; and it is certain we can carry nothing out, but must leave them to others. Job, under all his losses, is but reduced to his first state. He is but where he must have been at last, and is only unclothed, or unloaded rather, a little sooner than he expected. If we put off our clothes before we go to bed, it is some inconvenience, but it may be the better borne when it is near bed-time. The same who gave hath taken away. See how Job looks above instruments, and keeps his eye upon the First Cause. Afflictions must not divert us from, but quicken us to religion. If in all our troubles we look to the Lord, he will support us. The Lord is righteous. All we have is from his gift; we have forfeited it by sin, and ought not to complain if he takes any part from us. Discontent and impatience charge God with folly. Against these Job carefully watched; and so must we, acknowledging that as God has done right, but we have done wickedly, so God has done wisely, but we have done very foolishly. And may the malice and power of Satan render that Saviour more precious to our souls, who came to destroy the works of the devil; who, for our salvation, suffered from that enemy far more than Job suffered, or we can think.Then Job arose - The phrase to arise, in the Scriptures is often used in the sense of beginning to do anything. It does not necessarily imply that the person had been previously sitting; see 2 Samuel 13:13.

And rent his mantle - The word here rendered "mantle" מעיל me‛ı̂yl means an upper or outer garment. The dress of Orientals consists principally of an under garment or tunic - not materially differing from the "shirt" with us - except that the sleeves are wider, and under this large and loose pantaloons. Niebuhr, Reisebescreib. 1. 157. Over these garments they often throw a full and flowing mantle or robe. This is made without sleeves; it reaches down to the ankles; and when they walk or exercise it is bound around the middle with a girdle or sash. When they labor it is usually laid aside. The robe here referred ire was worn sometimes by women, 2 Samuel 13:18; by men of birth and rank, and by kings, 1 Samuel 15:27; 1 Samuel 18:4; 1 Samuel 24:5, 1 Samuel 24:11; by priests, 1 Samuel 28:14, and especially by the high priest under the ephod, Exodus 28:31. See Braun de vest Sacerd. ii. 5. Schroeder de vest. muller.

Hebrew p. 267; Hartmann Ilcbraerin, iii. p. 512, and Thesau. Antiq. Sacra. by Ugolin, Tom. i. 509, iii. 74, iv. 504, viii. 90, 1000, xii. 788, xiii. 306; compare the notes at Matthew 5:40, and Niebuhr, as quoted above. The custom of rending the garment as an expression of grief prevailed not only among the Jews but also among the Greeks and Romans 54y i. 13. Suetonius, in "Jul. Caes." 33. It prevailed also among the Persians. Curtius, B. x. c. 5, section 17. See Christian Boldich, in Thesau. Antiq. Sacra. Tom. xii. p. 145; also Tom. xiii. 551, 552, 560, xxx. 1105, 1112. In proof also that the custom prevailed among the Pagan, see Diod. Sic. Lib. i. p. 3, c. 3, respecting the Egyptians; Lib. xvii. respecting the Persians; Quin. Curt. iii. 11; Herod. Lib. iii. in Thalia, Lib. viii. in Urania, where he speaks of the Persians. So Plutarch in his life of Antony, speaking of the deep grief of Cleopatra, says, περίεῤῥηξατο τοῦς πέπλους επ ̓ αὐτῷ perierrēcato tous piplous ep' autō. Thus, Herodian, Lib. i.: καῖ ῥηξαμένη εσθῆτα kai rēcamenē esthēta. So Statius in Glaucum:

Tu mode fusus humi, lucem aversaris iniquam,

Nunc torvus pariter vestes, et pectora rumpis.

So Virgil:

Tune pins Aeneas humeris abscindere vestem,

Auxilioque vocare Deos, et tendere palmas.

Aeneid v. 685.

Demittunt mentes; it scissa veste Latinus,

Conjugis attonitus fatis, urbisque ruina,

Aeneid 12:609.

So Juvenal, Sat. x.:

ut primos edere planctus


20. Job arose—not necessarily from sitting. Inward excitement is implied, and the beginning to do anything. He had heard the other messages calmly, but on hearing of the death of his children, then he arose; or, as Eichorn translates, he started up (2Sa 13:31). The rending of the mantle was the conventional mark of deep grief (Ge 37:34). Orientals wear a tunic or shirt, and loose pantaloons; and over these a flowing mantle (especially great persons and women). Shaving the head was also usual in grief (Jer 41:5; Mic 1:16). Then Job arose from his seat, whereon he was sitting in a disconsolate posture.

Rent his mantle, to testify his deep sense of and just sorrow for the heavy hand of God upon him, and his humiliation of himself under his hand. See Genesis 37:34. Shaved his head, i.e. caused the hair of his head to be shaved or cut off, which was then a usual ceremony in mourning, of which see Ezra 9:3 Isaiah 15:2 22:12 Jeremiah 7:29 41:5 Micah 1:16.

Fell down upon the ground, in way of self-abhorrency, and humiliation, and supplication unto God.

And worshipped, to wit, God, who is expressed in the following verse, and who is the only object of religious worship. Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, and of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.

Then Job arose,.... Either from table, being at dinner, as some think, in his own house; it being the time that his children were feasting in their eldest brother's house; or from the business in which he was employed, which he stopped on hearing this news; or from his seat, or chair of state in which he sat; or rather the phrase only signifies, that he at once, with strength of body, and rigour of mind, which were not lost, as often they are in such cases, went about the following things with great composure and sedateness. It is indeed generally observed, that there is an emphasis to be put on the word "then", which may be as well rendered "and", as if Job sat and heard very sedately, without any perturbation of mind, the loss of his substance; but when tidings were brought him of the death of his children, "then" he arose, as being greatly moved and distressed; but it should be observed till now there was no stop or intermission in the messengers, but before one had done speaking, another came and began to tell his story, and so there was no opportunity, as well as not the occasion, of arising and doing what follows; and which he did, not through the violence of his passion, or excess of grief, but as common and ordinary things, which were used to be done in that country for the loss of relations, and in token of mourning for them:

and rent his mantle; or "cloak" (k), as Mr. Broughton; but whether this was an outward garment, as each of these seem to be, if the same with ours, or an interior one, as some think, it is not very material to know; both were rent by Ezra upon a mournful occasion, Ezra 9:3, and it was usual to rend garments for deceased relations, or when they were thought to be so, see Genesis 37:29, though some think that this was on the account of the blasphemous thoughts the devil now suggested into his mind, being solicitous to gain his point, and work upon him to curse God; upon which he rent his garment to show his resentment and indignation at the thought of it, as the Jews used to rend their garments at hearing of blasphemy; but the first sense is best:

and shaved his beard; either he himself, or his servant by his orders; and which was done among the eastern nations as a sign of mourning, see Isaiah 15:2 and among the Greeks, as appears from Homer (l); nor was this contrary to the law in Deuteronomy 14:1, where another baldness, not of the head, but between the eyes, is forbidden for the dead; besides this was before that law was in being, and, had it been, Job was not bound by it, being not of the Israelitish nation: some, as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and other Jewish writers, interpret this of his plucking or tearing off the hair of his head; but this neither agrees with the sense of the word here used, which has the signification of shearing or mowing, rather than of tearing or plucking, nor with the firmness and composure of Job's mind, who betrayed not any effeminacy or weakness; and though he showed a natural affection for the loss of his substance, and children, as a man, and did not affect a stoical apathy, and brutal insensibility, yet did not give any extraordinary vent to his passion: he behaved both like a man, and a religious man; he mourned for his dead, but not to excess; he sorrowed not as those without hope, and used the common tokens of it, and rites attending it; which shows that mourning for deceased relations, if done in moderation, is not unlawful, nor complying with the rites and customs of a country, in such cases, provided they are not sinful in themselves, nor contrary to the revealed and declared will of God:

and fell down upon the ground; in veneration of God, of his holiness and justice, and as sensible of his awful hand upon him, and as being humbled under it, and patiently submitting to it; he did not stand up, and curse God to his face, as Satan said he would, but fell upon his face to the ground; he did not curse his King and his God, and look upwards, see Isaiah 8:21 but prostrated himself to the earth in great humility before him; besides, this may be considered as a prayer gesture, since it follows:

and worshipped; that is, God, for who else should he worship? he worshipped him internally in the exercise of faith, hope, love, humility, patience, &c. and he worshipped him externally by praising him, and praying to him, expressing himself as in the next verse: afflictions, when sanctified, humble good men, cause them to lie low in the dust, and bring them near to God, to the throne of his grace, and instead of arraigning his providence, and finding fault with his dealings, they adore his majesty, and celebrate his perfections.

(k) "pallium suum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schultens; "tunicam suam", Munster, Cocceius, Schmidt, Jo. Henric. Michaelis. (l) , &c. Odyss. 4. ver. 198. & Odyss. 24. ver. 46.

Then Job arose, and {a} rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

(a) Which came not from impatience, but declares that the children of God are not insensible like blocks, but that in their patience they feel affliction and grief of mind: yet they do not rebel against God as the wicked do.

20, 21. Job’s demeanour under his sorrows. As became a man of his rank Job had received the messengers sitting. When the full extent of his misery came home to him he arose and gave way to the liveliest expressions of grief. He rent his mantle, in token that his heart was rent with sorrow, as Joel 2:13 says, “Rend your heart and not your garments;” he shaved his head, putting off, in token of his mourning, every adornment, even that which nature had supplied; and he cast himself upon the ground, laying his forehead on the dust, in deepest submission before God. Grief has its rights, which religion stands by to see fulfilled, and then comes forward to hallow it and cast its peace over it.—The “mantle” (me‘eel) was not a detached garment as the word might suggest, but a tunic, the uppermost of the garments proper. It was worn by women of the higher rank, 2 Samuel 13:18, as well as men; was of linen or later of cotton, with arms, and reaching to the ankles. It was often either richly embroidered or perhaps made up of pieces of cloth of various colours, Genesis 37:3.

Verse 20. - Then Job arose. Not till the last calamity was announced did Job stir. The loss of his wealth little moved him. But when he heard that his children were destroyed, all of them "at one fell swoop," then he could endure no longer, but rose from the seat on which he was sitting, and showed forth his grief. First he rent his mantle, "the outer robe worn by men of rank" (Cook) - a customary sign of grief in the ancient world (Genesis 37:29, 34; Genesis 44:13; 1 Kings 21:27; 2 Kings 19:1; Esther 4:1; Joel 2:13; Herod., 8:99; Livy, 1:13, etc.); then he shaved his head - another less usual but still not uncommon sign of grief, forbidden under the Law of the Jews (Leviticus 21:5; Deuteronomy 14:1), but widely practised by the Gentiles (Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 47:5; Jeremiah 48:37; Herod., 2:36; 9:24; Plut.,'Vit. Pelop.,' § 34; Q. Gurt.,'Vit. Alex.,' 10:5, § 17). And fell down upon the ground, and worshipped. After giving vent to his natural grief, Job made an act of adoration. Recognizing the fact that adversity, as well as prosperity comes from God, and submitting himself to the Divine will, he "worshipped." How often has his act flashed across the minds of Christians. and enabled them, in their dark hour, to imitate him, and repeat his words, "The Lord gave," etc.! Job 1:20The Conduct of Job:

20, 21 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah hath taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.

The first three messengers Job has heard, sitting, and in silence; but at the news of the death of his children, brought by the fourth, he can no longer overcome his grief. The intensity of his feeling is indicated by rising up (cf. Jonah 3:6); his torn heart, by the rending of his mantle; the conscious loss of his dearest ones, by cutting off the hair of his head. He does not, however, act like one in despair, but, humbling himself under the mighty hand of God, falls to the ground and prostrates himself, i.e., worshipping God, so that his face touches the earth. השׁתּחוה, se prosternere, this is the gesture of adoration, προσκήνησις.

(Note: Vid., Hlemann's Abh. ber die biblische Gestaltung der Anbetung, in his Bibelstudien, Abth. 1((1859).)

יצתי is defectively written, as Numbers 11:11; cf. infra, Job 32:18. The occurrence of שׁמּה here is remarkable, and may have given rise to the question of Nicodemus, John 3:4 : μὴ δύναται ἄνθρωπος εἰς τῆν κοιλίαν τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ δεύτερον εἰσελθεῖν. The writer of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 5:14) has left out this difficult שׁמה. It means either being put back into a state of unconsciousness and seclusion from the light and turmoil of this world, similar to his former state in his mother's womb, which Hupfeld, in his Commentatio in quosdam Iobeidos locos, 1853, favours; or, since the idea of אמּי בּטן may be extended, return to the bosom of mother earth (Ew., Hirz., Schlottm., et al.), so that שׁמה is not so much retrospective as rather prospective with reference to the grave (Bttch.), which we prefer; for as the mother's bosom can be compared to the bosom of the earth (Psalm 139:15), because it is of the earth, and recalls the original forming of man from the earth, so the bosom of the earth is compared to the mother's, Sir. 40:1: ἀφ ̓ ἡμέρας ἐξόδου ἐκ γαστρὸς μητρὸς ἕως ἡμέρας ἐπιταφῆς εἰς μητέρα πάντων. The writer here intentionally makes Job call God יהוה. In the dialogue portion, the name יהוה occurs only once in the mouth of Job (Job 12:9); most frequently the speakers use אלוה and שׁדי. This use of the names of God corresponds to the early use of the same in the Pentateuch, according to which שׁדי is the proper name of God in the patriarchal days, and יהוה in the later days, to which they were preparatory. The traditional view, that Elohim describes God according to the attribute of justice, Jehovah according to the attribute of mercy, is only in part correct; for even when the advent of God to judgment is announced, He is in general named Jehovah. Rather, אלהים (plur. of אלוהּ, fear), the Revered One, describes God as object; יהוה or יהוה, on the other hand, as subject. אלהים describes Him in the fulness of His glorious majesty, including also the spirits, which are round about Him; יהוה as the Absolute One. Accordingly, Job, when he says יהוה, thinks of God not only as the absolute cause of his fate, but as the Being ordering his life according to His own counsel, who is ever worthy of praise, whether in His infinite wisdom He gives or takes away. Job was not driven from God, but praised Him in the midst of suffering, even when, to human understanding and feeling, there was only occasion for anguish: he destroyed the suspicion of Satan, that he only feared God for the sake of His gifts, not for His own sake; and remained, in the midst of a fourfold temptation, the conqueror.

(Note: In Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield (vid., Jul. Hamberger, Gott und seine Offenbarung, S. 71), there is much that reminds one of the book of Job, especially the repeated misfortunes which befall the worthy clergyman, his submission under all, and the issue which counterbalances his misfortune. But what is copied from the book of Job appears to be only superficial, not to come from the depth of the spiritual life.)

Throughout the whole book he does not go so far as to deny God (אלהים בּרך), and thus far he does not fall into any unworthy utterances concerning His rule.

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