Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
Verses 1-17. - This concluding chapter divides into two parts. In the first part (vers. 1-6) Job makes his final submission, humbling himself in the dust before God. In the second (vers. 7-17) the historical framework, in which the general dialogue is set, is resumed and brought to a close. God's approval of Job is declared, and his anger denounced against the three friends, who are required to expiate their guilt by a sacrifice, and only promised forgiveness if Job will intercede on their behalf (ver. 8). The sacrifice takes place (ver. 9); and then a brief account is appended of Job's after life - his prosperity, his reconciliation with his family and friends, his wealth, his sons and daughters, and his death in a good old age, when he was "full of days" (vers. 10-17.). The poetic structure, begun in Job 3:3, is continued to the end of ver. 6, when the style changes into prose of the same character as that employed in ch.. 1. 2, and in Job 32:1-5. Verses 1, 2. - Then Job answered the Lord, and said, I know that thou caner do every thing; i.e. I know and acknowledge thy omnipotence, which thou hast set forth so magnificently before me in ch. 38-41. It is brought home to me by the grand review of thy works which thou hast made, and the details into which thou hast condescended to enter. I know also and acknowledge that no thought can be with-holden from thee; i.e. I confess also thy omniscience - that thou knowest even the thoughts of all created beings (comp. Psalm 44:21; Psalm 139:2; Hebrews 4:13, etc.).
I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Verse 3. - Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? As these are nearly the words of God in Job 38:2, some suppose that they must be his words again here, and imagine a short dialogue in this place between Job and the Almighty, assigning to Job ver. 2, the latter half of ver. 8, and the whole of vers. 5 and 6, while they assign to God ver. 4 and the first clause of ver. 8. But it is far more natural to regard Job as bringing up the words which God had spoken to him, to ponder on them and answer them, or at any rate to hang his reply upon them, than to imagine God twice interrupting Job in the humble confession that he was anxious to make. We must understand, then, after the word "knowledge," an ellipse of "thou sayest." Therefore have I uttered that I understood not. Therefore, because of that reproof of thine, I perceive that, in what I said to my friends, I "darkened counsel," - I "uttered that I understood not," words which did not clear the matter in controversy, but obscured it. I dealt, in fact, with things too wonderful for me - beyond my compre-hension - which I knew not, of which I had no real knowledge, but only a semblance of knowledge, and on which, therefore, I had better have been silent.
Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
Verse 4. - Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak; I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me, Job refers to God's words in Job 38:3 and Job 40:7, and realizes the humbling effect which they had had on him. They made him feel how little he knew on the subject of God's works and ways, and how little competent he was to judge them. Hence he bursts into the confession-
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Verse 5. - I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear. Hitherto, i.e., I have had nothing but hearsay knowledge of thee; I have not known thee in any true sense; but now - now that thou hast revealed thy-self - mine eye seeth thee; my spiritual eye is opened, and I begin to see thee in thy true might, thy true greatness, thy true inscrutableness. Now I recognize the distance which separates us, and feel how unreasonable it is that I should contend with thee, argue with thee, assume myself to be competent to pass judgment on thy doings. "Wherefore I abhor myself," etc.
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Verse 6. - Wherefore I abhor myself; or, I loathe my words (see the Revised Version). And repent in dust and ashes. Job was still sitting on the ash-heap on which he had thrown himself when his disease first smote him (Job 2:8). He had thrown himself on it in grief and de, pair; he will remain seated on it in compunction and penitence. His self-humiliation is now complete. He does not retract what he has said concerning his essential integrity, but he admits that his words have been overbold, and his attitude towards God one unbefitting a creature. God accepts his submission, and proceeds to vindicate him to his "friends," and to visit them with condemnation.
And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
Verse 7. - And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job. The "words" intended seem to be those of ch. 38-41, not any words in the earlier portion of this chapter. God heard Job's confession in silence, and, without further speech to him, addressed Eliphaz and his "friends." The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends. The superior position of Eliphaz is here very strongly recognized - he alone is mentioned by name, he alone addressed directly. The precedence thus given to him accords with that which he holds, both in the earlier historical narrative (Job 2:11) and in the dialogue (Job 4:1; Job 15:1; Job 22:1). For ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Job had, on the whole, spoken what was right and true of God, and is acknowledged by God as his true servant. The "comforters," consciously or unconsciously, had spoken what was false. Even if they said what they believed, they ought to have known better.
Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
Verse 8. - Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams. (On the early and widespread prevalence of the rite of sacrifice,-see the comment upon Job 1:5.) (On the preference, for sacrificial purposes, of the number seven, see Leviticus 23:18; Numbers 23:1, 14, 29; Numbers 28:11, 19, 27; Numbers 29:2, 8, 36; 1 Chronicles 15:26 . 2 Chronicles 29:21; Ezra 8:35; Ezekiel 45:23, etc.) It is noticeable that "seven bullocks and seven rams" was exactly the offering of the Moabite king Balak, and his prophet Balaam, contemporary with Moses. And go to my servant Job. Humble yourselves before the man whom you have striven to abase and bring low. Go to him - make application to him, that he will be pleased to come to your aid, joining and assisting in the offering which I require at your hands. And offer up for yourselves a burnt offering. Do as Job had done for his sins (Job 1:5), "offer a burnt offering;" and then my servant Job shall pray for you. Present at your sacrifice, and sharing in it, he shall assume the highest priestly function, and intercede on your behalf. For him will I accept; literally, his face, or his person, will I accept. It is implied that, apart from Job, the three "comforters" would not have been listened to, much less have obtained pardon. Lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job (see the comment on the preceding verse).
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
Verse 9. - So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them; i.e. "went" to Job, and asked his aid and interposition, and obtained it. The Lord also accepted Job; i.e. looked favourably on Job's intercession, and for his sake pardoned those for whom he made his prayer. Job is thus a type of Christ, not merely in his sufferings, but also in his mediatorial character.
And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Verse 10 - And the Lord turned the captivity of Job. The literal use of this phrase is common, the metaphorical use of it uncommon, in Scripture. Still, it is so simple a metaphor, and captivity so common a thing among ancient peoples, that it may well have been in general use among the nations of Western Asia from very primitive times. It signifies, as Professor Lee remarks, "a restoration to former happy circumstances." When he prayed for his friends. Perhaps his complete forgiveness by God was contingent on his own complete forgiveness of his "friends" (Matthew 6:12, 14, 15; Matthew 18:32-35); at any rate, his restoration immediately followed his intercession. Also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before; literally, added to all that had been Job's to the double (comp. ver. 12).
Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
Verse 11. - Then came there unto him all his brethren. Job's "brethren," and his desertion by them in his misfortunes, had been mentioned in Job 19:13. Now these fair-weather friends flocked to him again, and professed affection and interest, ignoring probably, or excusing, their long absence and neglect. And all his sisters. One sex had behaved no better to him than the other. His nearest female relatives had failed to show themselves the "ministering angels" that they are commonly accounted, even when "pain and anguish" most "wrung his brow." And all they that had been of his acquaintance before. Job, like other wealthy and prosperous men had during the time of his prosperity had "troops of friends" (see Job 29:8-10, 21-25). When adversity swooped down they fell away. Now they had the effrontery to claim his acquaintance once more, and to come and be his guests; they did eat bread with him in his house. Nay, more, they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him, whereof the worst part was their own coldness and desertion (Job 19:13, 14, 19). Finally, to establish the renewed friendship, every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an ear-ring of gold. The money given is said to have been a kesitah which means probably a certain weight of silver, though whether a shekel or not is uncertain. The word belongs to the earlier Hebrew, being found only in Genesis 33:19; Joshua 24:32, and in the present passage. Ear-rings were commonly worn in the East by men as well as women, as appears from the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Persian sculptures.
So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
Verse 12. - So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning (comp. above, ver. 10). The restoration of prosperity, prophesied by Eliphaz (Job 5:18 26), Bildad (Job 8:20, 21), and Zophar (Job 11:13-19), but not expected by Job, came, not in consequence of any universal law, but by the will of God, and his pure grace and favour. It in no way pledged God to compensate worldly adversity by worldly prosperity in the case of any other sufferer; and certainly the general law seems to be that such earthly compensation is withheld. But, in combination with the instinct which demands that retributive justice shall prevail universally, it may be taken as an earnest of God's ultimate dealings with men, and a sure indication that, if not on earth, at least in the future state; each man shall receive "the deeds done in the body," according to that he hath done, whether it be good or evil. For he had (rather, and he had) fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses. In every case the exact double of his original possessions (see Job 1:3; and comp. above, ver. 12). We need not suppose, however, that either the round numbers, or the exact duplicity, are historical.
He had also seven sons and three daughters.
Verse 13. - He had also seven sons and three daughters. The same number as previously (Job 1:2), neither more nor fewer.
And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.
Verse 14. - And he called the name of the first, Jemima. The name "Jemima" is probably derived from yom (יום), "day," and means "Fair as the day." And the name of the second, Kesia. "Kezia" (rather, "Keziah") was the Hebrew name of the spice which the Greeks and Romans called "cassia," a spice closely allied to cinnamon, and much esteemed in the East (see Herod., 3:110). And the name of the third, Keren-happuch; literally, horn of stibium - stibium being the dye (antimony) with which Oriental women have from a remote antiquity been in the habit of anointing the upper and lower eyelids in order to give lustre to the eye (compare the 'Pulpit Commentary' on the 'Second Book of Kings,' p. 194). The three names, according to Oriental notions, implied either sweetness or beauty.
And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.
Verse 15. - And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job. Beauty has always been highly valued in the East; and Job would feel himself highly favoured in having three beautiful daughters. It may have been on account of their great beauty that their father gave them inheritance among their brethren, which was certainly an unusual practice in the East.
After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.
Verse 16. - After this lived Job an hundred and forty years. It has been concluded from this statement, combined with that at the close of ver. 10, that Job was exactly seventy years of age when his calamities fell upon him ('Dict. of the Bible,' vol. 1. p. 1087, note); but this is really only a conjecture, since the statement that "God added to all that had been Job's to the double," does not naturally apply to anything but his property. We may, however, fairly allow that (as Professor Lee says) he "could scarcely have been less than seventy" when his afflictions came, having then a family of ten children, who were all grown up (Job 1:4). In this case, the whole duration of his life would have been 210 years, or a little more, which cannot be regarded as incredible by those who accept the ages of the patriarchs, from Peleg to Jacob, as respectively 239, 230, 148, 205, 175, 180, and 147 years. And saw his sons, and his sons' sons; i.e. his descendants - grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Even four gone-rations. According to the Hebrew inclusive practice of reckoning, we may regard his own generation as included.
So Job died, being old and full of days.
Verse 17. - So Job died, being old and full of days. The lowest estimate places the occurrence of the afflictions of Job at the time when he was a little more than fifty ("Supponitur quinquagenario hand multo majorem fuisse Nostrum, quum conflictari coepit," Schultens). Thus his age at his death would be at least a hundred and ninety,