And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Every one his day.—i.e., probably his birthday. (Comp. Genesis 40:20; Genesis 21:8; and in the New Testament Matthew 14:6, Mark 6:21.)Job 1:4. His sons went and feasted in their houses — Or made a family feast, to testify and maintain their brotherly love. Every one his day — Not every day of the week and of the year, which would have been burdensome to them all, and gross luxury, and which certainly such a holy man as Job would not have permitted; but each his appointed day, perhaps his birth- day, or the first day of the month. It is certain the same expression, יומו, jomo, his day, means his birth-day, Job 3:1. “The verse,” says Dr. Dodd, “might be rendered, And his sons had a constant custom to make a family feast, every one on his birth-day; and they sent and invited their three sisters,” &c. According to Herodotus, the inhabitants of the East in general, and especially the Persians, were remarkable for celebrating their birthdays with great festivity and luxury.Job 1:5. He knew the danger, and hence, he was more assiduous in imploring for them the divine guardianship.
Every one his day - In his proper turn, or when his day came round. Perhaps it refers only to their birthdays; see Job 3:1, where the word "day" is used to denote a birthday. In early times the birthday was observed with great solemnity and rejoicing. Perhaps in this statement the author of the Book of Job means to intimate that his family lived in entire harmony, and to give a picture of his domestic happiness strongly contrasted with the calamities which came upon his household. It was a great aggravation of his sufferings that a family thus peaceful and harmonious was wholly broken up. - The Chaldee adds, "until seven days were completed," supposing that each one of these feasts lasted seven days, a supposition by no means improbable, if the families were in any considerable degree remote from each other.
And sent and called for their three sisters - This also may be regarded as a circumstance showing that these occasions were not designed for revelry. Young men, when they congregate for dissipation, do not usually invite their "sisters" to be with them; nor do they usually desire the presence of virtuous females at all. The probability, therefore, is, that this was designed as affectionate and friendly family conversation. In itself there was nothing wrong in it, nor was there necessarily any danger; yet Job felt it "possible" that they might have erred and forgotten God, and hence, he was engaged in more intense and ardent devotion on their account; Job 1:5.His sons went and feasted, to testify and maintain their brotherly love.
Every one his day; not every day of the week and of the year; which would have been burdensome and tedious to them all, and gross luxury and epicurism, which holy Job would not have permitted; but each his appointed day, whether his birthday, or the first day of the month, or any other set time, it matters not. Psalm 133:1, besides, these feasts were kept, not in public houses, much less in houses of ill fame, but in their own houses, among themselves, at certain seasons, which they took in turn; and these were either at their time of sheep shearing, which was a time of feasting, 1 Samuel 25:2, or at the weaning of a child, Genesis 21:8, or rather on each of their birthdays, which in those early times were observed, especially those of persons of figure, Genesis 40:20, and the rather, as Job's birthday is called his day, as here, Job 3:1,
and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them; not to make a feast in their turn, but to partake of their entertainment; which, as is commonly observed, showed humanity, kindness, tenderness, and affection in them to their sisters, to invite them to take part with them in their innocent and social recreations, and modesty in their sisters not to thrust themselves into their company, or go without an invitation; these very probably were with Job, and went to the feasts with his leave, being very likely unmarried, or otherwise their husbands would have been invited also.And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. in their houses, every one his day] lit. made a feast at the house of each on his day, or, at the house of him whose day it was. The seven sons had homes of their own. The daughters probably lived in the house of their father. It does not appear with certainty from the Book whether any of Job’s children were married. Each son made a feast at his house on his day, to which the other six brothers and the three sisters were invited. When the cycle of seven feasts had gone round, the father sent and purified his children and offered sacrifice on their behalf. What seems meant is that, as there were seven sons, there was a feast at the house of one of them in succession each day of the week, and that at the end of the week, when all the seven had given their feast, the father sent, possibly on the morning of the first day of the week, and sanctified them. Thus week after week was passed; their life was a continual feast. It is to be remembered that we do not stand on the ground of mere history here. The idea shapes its materials to its own ends; and what is presented to us is the highest earthly joyousness and affection combined with the most sensitive piety.Verse 4. - And his sons went and feasted. "Went and feasted" seems to mean "were in the habit of feastlng" (Rosenmuller, Lee). In their houses. Each had his own residence, and the residence was not a tent, but a" house." Job and his sons were not mere nomads, but belonged to the settled population. The same is implied by the "ploughing of the oxen" (ver. 14), and indeed by Job's "yoke of oxen" in ver. 3. Every one his day. Most commentators regard these feasts as birthday festivities. Each son in his turn, when his birthday arrived, entertained his six brothers. Others think that each of the seven brothers had his own special day of the week on which, he received his brothers at his table, so that the feasting was continuous. But this scarcely suits the context. And it is admitted that "his day" (in Job 3:1) means "his birthday." The celebration of birthdays by means of a feast was a very widespread custom in the East (see Genesis 40:20; Herod., 1:133; 9:110; Mark 14:21). And sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. This by itself is sufficient to show that the feasts were occasional, not continuous. Constant absence of daughters, day after day, from the parental board is inconceivable. Esther 10:2. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the statement of the greatness of Mordochai to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? The Chethiv אחשׁרשׁ is a clerical error for אהשׁורשׁ. The word מס, service, here stands for tribute. As the provinces of the kingdom paid the imposts for the most part in natural produce, which they had reared or obtained by the labour of their hands, their labour (agriculture, cattle-keeping, etc.) was to a certain extent service rendered to the king. The matter of Esther 10:1 seems extraneous to the contents of our book, which has hitherto communicated only such information concerning Ahashverosh as was necessary for the complete understanding of the feast of Purim. "It seems" - remarks Bertheau - "as thou the historian had intended to tell in some further particulars concerning the greatness of King Ahashverosh, for the sake of giving his readers a more accurate notion of the influential position and the agency of Mordochai, the hero of his book, who, according to Esther 9:4, waxed greater and greater; but then gave up his intention, and contented himself with referring to the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia, which contained information of both the power and might of Ahashverosh and the greatness of Mordochai." There is not, however, the slightest probability in such a conjecture. This matter may be simply explained by the circumstance, that the author of this book was using as an authority the book of the chronicles alluded to in Esther 10:2, and is quite analogous with the mode observed in the books of Kings and Chronicles by historians both of Babylonian and post-Babylonian days, who quote from the documents they make use of such events only as seem to them important with regard to the plan of their own work, and then at the close of each reign refer to the documents themselves, in which more may be found concerning the acts of the kings, at the same time frequently adding supplementary information from these sources, - comp. e.g., 1 Kings 14:30; 1 Kings 15:7, 1 Kings 15:23, 1 Kings 15:32; 1 Kings 22:47-50; 2 Kings 15:37; 2 Chronicles 12:15, - with this difference only, that in these instances the supplementary notices follow the mention of the documents, while in the present book the notice precedes the citation. As, however, this book opened with a description of the power and glory of King Ahashverosh, but yet only mentioned so much concerning this ruler of 127 provinces as was connected with the history of the Jews, its author, before referring to his authorities, gives at its close the information contained in Esther 10:1, from the book of the chronicles of the kingdom, in which probably it was connected with a particular description of the power and greatness of Ahashverosh, and probably of the wars in which he engaged, for the sake of briefly intimating at the conclusion whence the king derived the means for keeping up the splendour described at the commencement of the book. This book of the chronicles contained accounts not only of the power and might of Ahashverosh, but also a פּרשׁה, a plain statement or accurate representation of the greatness of Mordochai wherewith the king had made him great, i.e., to which he had advanced him, and therefore of the honours of the individual to whom the Jews were indebted for their preservation. On this account is it referred to. For Mordochai was next to the king, i.e., prime minister of the king (משׁנה, comp. 2 Chronicles 28:7), and great among the Jews and acceptable to the multitude of his brethren, i.e., he was also a great man among the Jews and was beloved and esteemed by all his fellow-countrymen (on רצוּי, comp. Deuteronomy 23:24), seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his race. This description of Mordochai's position with respect both to the king and his own people has, as expressive of an exalted frame of mind, a rhetorical and poetic tinge. Hence it contains such expressions as אחיו רב, the fulness of his brethren, טּוב דּרשׁ; comp. Psalm 122:9; Jeremiah 38:4. On שׁלום דּבּר, comp. Psalm 85:9; Psalm 35:20; Psalm 27:3. זרעו in parallelism with עמּו is not the descendants of Mordochai, or his people, but his race. Comp. on this signification of זרע, 2 Kings 11:1; Isaiah 61:9. The meaning of the two last phrases is: Mordochai procured both by word and deed the good and prosperity of his people. And this is the way in which honour and fortune are attained, the way inculcated by the author of the 34th Psalm in Psalm 34:13, when teaching the fear of the Lord.
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