And there were born to him seven sons and three daughters.…
This book proposes to give us a picture of extreme and probably unprecedented adversity. It is fitting that it should open with a scene of exceptional prosperity, to serve as a contrast to the dark scenes that follow. Moreover, the idea of the book is the better realized if we observe that the original prosperity is considered in its moral aspect, as concealing a possible temptation to sin.
I. THE PROSPERITY WAS SUBSTANTIAL.
1. A large family. This is always regarded in the Bible as a mark of prosperity. It is an unnatural social condition of congested populations that has led to the opposite idea in our own time. Certainly, where there are means for a livelihood, the family is a source of joy and influence, as well as wholesome self-sacrifice.
2. Great property. Job had more than the means for a livelihood. According to the estimate of a pastoral life, he was a very rich man, notoriously rich, and without an equal. Yet this man knew and feared God. It is therefore possible with God for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:26).
II. THE PROSPERITY WAS ENJOYED. Job's sons and daughters were feasting together. Here is a picture of happy family life in the midst of affluence. The jealousy and bitterness that sometimes poison the cup of prosperity were not known in Job's household. His family was united and affectionate. It was by no means ascetic; but we have no reason for thinking it ought to have been so. No reproach is urged against Job's sons and daughters for feasting together. There is a time for innocent enjoyment, and when this is taken temperately and gratefully, only superstitious fears can suggest the idea of a Nemesis. The motto Carpe diem is mean and execrable, because it carries with it an implied renunciation of duty.
III. THERE WAS A DANGER IN THIS PROSPERITY. Job feared lest his children might have renounced God in their hearts.
1. A danger of godlessness. This is serious in the mind of Job, though it did not show itself in unkind or unjust conduct to men. To forsake God is sin, even though a man pay his debts.
2. An internal evil. "In their hearts" There might be no open blasphemy; yet the hearts of the gay and careless young men and women might be alienated from God. Even this is sin.
3. An evil threatened by prosperity. It is remarkable that this is the very sin which Job is subsequently tempted to commit by the agonies of overwhelming calamities. Here he thinks that prosperity may induce it in his children, for that tempts men to be satisfied with earth, to be vain, proud, and self-complacent.
IV. JOB GUARDED AGAINST THE DANGER. The patriarchal religion made the father the priest of his household. So he must be always when he realizes his position. Parents lay up property for their children; it is more important that they should make provision for their children's spiritual welfare. They watch anxiously for symptoms of disease in them; much more should they be on their guard against the first signs of moral defects. Job's children were sanctified - ceremonially cleansed. Ours need to be truly dedicated to God by parental prayers. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.