Job 29:3
When his candle shined on my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;
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(3) When his candle shined.—See Isaiah 1:10.

29:1-6 Job proceeds to contrast his former prosperity with his present misery, through God's withdrawing from him. A gracious soul delights in God's smiles, not in the smiles of this world. Four things were then very pleasant to holy Job. 1. The confidence he had in the Divine protection. 2. The enjoyment he had of the Divine favour. 3. The communion he had with the Divine word. 4. The assurance he had of the Divine presence. God's presence with a man in his house, though it be but a cottage, makes it a castle and a palace. Then also he had comfort in his family. Riches and flourishing families, like a candle, may be soon extinguished. But when the mind is enlightened by the Holy Spirit, when a man walks in the light of God's countenance, every outward comfort is doubled, every trouble is diminished, and he may pass cheerfully by this light through life and through death. Yet the sensible comfort of this state is often withdrawn for a season; and commonly this arises from sinful neglect, and grieving the Holy Spirit: sometimes it may be a trial of a man's faith and grace. But it is needful to examine ourselves, to seek for the cause of such a change by fervent prayer, and to increase our watchfulness.When his candle shined upon my head - Margin, or, "lamp;" compare notes Job 18:6. It was remarked in the note on that place, that it was common to have lamps or lights always burning in a house or tent. When Job speaks of the lamps shining "on his head," the allusion is probably to the custom of suspending a lamp from the ceiling - a custom which prevails among the wealthy Arabs. "Scott." Virgil speaks of a similar thing in the palace of Dido:

- Dependent lychni laquearibus aureis Incensi.

Aeneid i.726.

"From gilded roofs depending lamps display

Nocturnal beams that imitate the day."


See, also Lucretius, ii. 24. Indeed the custom is common everywhere and the image is a beautiful illustration of the divine favor - of light and happiness imparted by God, the great source of blessedness from above. The Hebrew word rendered "shined" בהלו behilô) has been the occasion of some perplexity in regard to its form. According to Ewald, Hebrew Gram. p. 471, and Gesenius, Lex, it is the Hiphil form of הלל hâlal - to shine, the He preformative being dropped. The sense is, "In his causing the light to shine." Others suppose that it is the infinitive of the Qal, with a pleonastic suffix; meaning "when it shined;" that is, the light. The sense is essentially the same; compare Schultens and Rosenmuller in loc.

And when by his light - Under his guidance and direction.

I walked through darkness - "Here is reference probably to the fires or other lights which were carried before the caravans in their nightly travels through the deserts." "Noyes." The meaning is, that God afforded him protection, instruction, and guidance. In places, and on subjects that would have been otherwise dark, he counselled and led him. He enjoyed the manifestations' of the divine favor; his understanding was enlightened, and he was enabled to comprehend subjects that would have been otherwise perplexing and difficult. He refers, probably, to the inquiries about the divine government and administration, and to the questions that came before him as a magistrate or an umpire - questions that he was enabled to determine with wisdom.

3. candle—when His favor shone on me (see on [526]Job 18:6 and [527]Ps 18:28).

darkness—By His safeguard I passed secure through dangers. Perhaps alluding to the lights carried before caravans in nightly travels through deserts [Noyes].

His candle, i.e. his favour and blessing, oft signified by the name light; as his displeasure and a state of affliction is frequently called darkness. Upon my head, or, over my head, to comfort and direct me. The ground of the expression is this, that lights used to be carried and set on high, that men may make the better use of them, as the sun for that end was placed above us.

I walked through darkness; I passed safely through many difficulties, and dangers, and common calamities, which befell others who lived round about me, and overcame those troubles which fell upon myself. When his candle shined upon my head,.... Which may be understood either of outward prosperity, sometimes signified by a candle, Job 18:5; and may be called the candle of the Lord, because it is from him, it is of his lighting and setting up; and its shining on his head may denote the large measure and degree of it possessed by him, in allusion to torches carried on high to light with; or lamps, or candles, set up in the higher part of the house to give the more light; or to the sun in the firmament, and especially when in its meridian, and shines clearest right over our heads, and casts no shadow: or else it may be understood of light in a figurative sense, not of the light of nature in men, which, though called the candle of the Lord, Proverbs 20:27; yet, in man's fallen state, shines not clearly; and with respect to this there was no difference in Job than heretofore; but rather it is the light of grace, the true light, which had shone upon him and in him, but now not so clearly as formerly, and as he could wish for; or else the word of God, which is a light unto the feet, and a lamp to the path; or it may be, best of all, the favour of God, the light of his countenance he had before enjoyed, having had a comfortable display of his love, a clear view of interest in it, and had the blessings of it bestowed upon him, and enjoyed by him; and nothing was more desirable by him, as is by every good man, than the return of the light of God's countenance; and that he might be remembered with his special favour, as his people are, and as he had been in times past:

and when by his light I walked through darkness; that is, either by the light of outward prosperity he had escaped those calamities, distresses, and dangers, and got over those difficulties which attended others, though now surrounded with them; or by the light of divine grace, or of the word of God, and especially by and in the light of God's countenance, he walked cheerfully and comfortably, without any fear of the darkness of affliction and calamities, or of the dark valley of the shadow of death, or of the prince of darkness, or of the darkness of hell and damnation; but now clouds of darkness being about him, and he without the light of God's countenance, could not see the way in which he walked and therefore wished that that again might be lifted up upon him.

When his {a} candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through {b} darkness;

(a) When I felt his favour.

(b) I was free from affliction.

3. This verse expands “preserved” or “watched over” in Job 29:2.

his candle shined upon] Or, his lamp shined over. God’s lamp shone above him, and lighted his path, so that the darkness before him was made to be light, Isaiah 42:16. God’s “lamp” is a figure for His favour and enlightenment and prospering of him.Verse 3. - When his candle shined upon my head (comp. Psalm 18:28, "For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness"). A "candle," or "lamp," is a general symbol in Scripture for life and prosperity. God is said to light men's candles when he blesses them and maizes his countenance to shine upon them; conversely, when he withdraws his favour he is said to put their candles out (Job 18:6; Job 21:17). And when by his light I walked through darkness. The light of God's countenance shining about a man's path enables him to walk securely even through thick darkness, i.e. through trouble and perplexity. 25 When He appointed to the wind its weight,

And weighed the water according to a measure,

26 When He appointed to the rain its law,

And the course to the lightning of the thunder:

27 Then He saw it and declared it,

Took it as a pattern and tested it also,

28 And said to man: Behold, the fear of the Lord is wisdom,

And to depart from evil is understanding.

It is impracticable to attach the inf. לעשׂות to Job 28:24 as the purpose, because it is contrary to the meaning; but it is impossible, according to the syntax, to refer it to Job 28:27 as the purpose placed in advance, or to take it in the sense of perfecturus, because in both instances it ought to have been יתכּן instead of תּכּן, or at least ותכּן with the verb placed first (vid., Job 37:15). But even the temporal use of ל in לפנות at the turn (of morning, of evening, e.g., Genesis 24:63) cannot be compared, but לעשׂות signifies perficiendo equals quum perficeret (as e.g., 2 Samuel 18:29, mittendo equals quum mitteret), it is a gerundival inf. Ngelsb. S. 197f., 2nd edition); and because it is the past that is spoken of, the modal inf. can be continued in the perf., Ges. 132, rem. 2. The thought that God, when He created the world, appointed fixed laws of equable and salutary duration, he particularizes by examples: He appointed to the wind its weight, i.e., the measure of its force or feebleness; distributed the masses of water by measure; appointed to the rain its law, i.e., the conditions of its development and of its beginning; appointed the way, i.e., origin and course, to the lightning (חזיז from חזז, Arab. ḥzz, secare). When He thus created the world, and regulated what was created by laws, then He perceived (ראהּ with He Mappic. according to the testimony of the Masora) it, wisdom, viz., as the ideal of all things; then He declared it, enarravit, viz., by creating the world, which is the development and realization of its substance; then He gave it a place הכינהּ (for which Dderl. and Ewald unnecessarily read הבינהּ), viz., to create the world after its pattern, and to commit the arrangement of the world as a whole to its supreme protection and guidance; then He also searched it out or tested it, viz., its demiurgic powers, by setting them in motion to realize itself.

If we compare Proverbs 8:22-31 with this passage, we may say: the חכמה is the divine ideal-world, the divine imagination of all things before their creation, the complex unity of all the ideas, which are the essence of created things and the end of their development. "Wisdom," says one of the old theologians,

(Note: Vid., Jul. Hamberger, Lehre Jak. Bhme's, S. 55.)

"is a divine imagination, in which the ideas of the angels and souls and all things were seen from eternity, not as already actual creatures, but as a man beholds himself in a mirror." It is not directly one with the Logos, but the Logos is the demiurg by which God has called the world into existence according to that ideal which was in the divine mind. Wisdom is the impersonal model, the Logos the personal master-builder according to that model. Nevertheless the notions, here or in the alter cognate portion of Scripture, Proverbs 8:22-31, are not as yet so distinct as the New Testament revelation of God has first of all rendered possible. In those days, when God realized the substance of the חכמה, this eternal mirror of the world, in the creation of the world, He also gave man the law, corresponding to which he corresponds to His idea and participates in wisdom. Fearing the supreme Lord (אדני) only here in the book of Job, one of the 134 ודאין, i.e., passages, where אדני is not merely to be read instead of יהוה, but is actually written),

(Note: Vid., Buxtorf's Tiberias, p. 245; comp. Br's Psalterium, p. 133.)

and renouncing evil (סוּר מרע, according to another less authorized mode of writing מרע), - this is man's share of wisdom, this is his relative wisdom, by which he remains in connection with the absolute. This is true human φιλοσοφία, in contrast to all high-flown and profound speculations; comp. Proverbs 3:7, where, in like manner, "fear Jehovah" is placed side by side with "depart from evil," and Proverbs 16:6, according to which it is rendered possible סור מרע, to escape the evil of sin and its punishment by fearing God. "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 1:7; comp. Psalm 111:10) is the symbolum, the motto and uppermost principle, of that Israelitish Chokma, whose greatest achievement is the book of Job. The whole of Job 28:1 is a minute panegyric of this principle, the materials of which are taken from the far-distant past; and it is very characteristic, that, in the structure of the book, this twenty-eighth chapter is the clasp which unites the half of the δέσις with the half of the λύσις, and that the poet has inscribed upon this clasp that sentence, "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." But, moreover, Job's closing speech, which ends in this celebration of the praise of the חכמה, also occupies an important position, which must not be determined, in the structure of the whole.


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