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that nothing is hindered from Thee." It is as though he had said: Now I am sure of it; if the continuance of my misery is not from Thy want of goodness and mercy, much less is it from Thy lack of power; nothing is too hard for Thee; no nature can baffle Thee; no fate stands in Thy way; no invisible power of evil, however mighty, can prevent Thee from "doing according to Thy sovereign will, either in the armies of heaven, or among the inhabitants of the earth." He bows before this divine utterance as conclusive, not only of its own truth, but in respect to everything in the character and government of God that may have been, either directly or indirectly, called in question. It is Thou then who hast done it, and therefore is it holy, just, and wise. Once shown that it is truly God's act-not nature's, merely, or Satan's-and that, if it had not been such, everything in nature that stood in the way would have been crushed out if necessary,-all else follows to the believing soul. Thou hast done it, therefore, is it right? I ask no farther. 'Surely have I uttered what I did not understand; things wonderful," far beyond my knowledge. But, oh! "hear me now; let me speak; let me ask of Thee, and do Thou give me knowledge. By the hearing of the ear had I heard of Thee; but now Thou comest near, and I confess Thee as the Almighty. Wherefore, I reject myself (my arguments), and repent in dust and ashes." There is deep feeling here, as of one who has come to a new view of himself and of his relations to God. It is to be noted, however, that it is not from any disclosure of the causes of his sufferings, nor from any hope held out of their alleviation, but altogether from this thunder voice, the tones of which, however varied in the presentation of the great natural or the great supernatural, ever modulate themselves to this one key of Omnipotent, unchallengeable power.
God the Only Power in the Universe.
Not only no other God, but no other power than God in the universe. Compare Isaiah xliv. 6: "I am the first, and I am the last; beside me there is no God." It reminds us of the oft-repeated Arabic formula, so concise, and yet so full: No God but God, which must have entered most significantly into the early religion of the Arabians, as we may judge from its prevailing use in the later Koranic. The Mohammedan fatalism, as it has been called, may sometimes have a superstitious aspect, but, in its pious form, as thus expressed, it is rather a protest against a physical fatalism, or against any other power than God, such as is made here in the challenge of Shaddai, the Almighty. There is not only no other personal Deity, but no power in Nature, or in Fate, or in any system of things, that can, for a moment, stand in His way, if the vindication of His holiness, His wisdom, or His goodness, demand its breach, or its removal.
Job's Musing Soliloquy and Confession-Note on the Genuineness of the Elihu Portion.
In this view, we see the force of that musing, wondering language which intervenes, ver. 3, where Job seems, without any reason, to be repeating to himself the words of the Almighty, as though they struck him in a new aspect, or suggested something which he had not thought of before: "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" They seem so strange, that Merx and others, with a lack of critical insight, we think, reject them as an interpolation or a misplacement. As first uttered by Jehovah, we have reason to regard them as most directly applicable to the speech of Elihu, who, although uttering great truths (the soundest ethical doctrine, and approaching the nearest of all the speakers to a solution of the supposed problem), had yet done it in a somewhat pretentious manner. As the last speaker, too, he may be regarded as first noticed in the divine address. It does not militate against this that it is said: "The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind." There
passage. It would be as though he had said: I submit, I lay my hand upon my mouth, because any other course would be of no avail. Thou knowest, Thyself, that Thou art infinitely strong, and canst do as Thou pleasest; of what use, then, any remonstrance? God knoweth the difficulties and darkness of our minds as well as our bodily frames. We may, therefore, believe that a doubt in respect to His power would be less displeasing to Him than such a captious irreverence. There is a shadow of authority for Merx. The pointing is of the first person, but the closing yod is supplied by the Keri. It is the same in this respect as in Ps. cxl. 13, ♫ for ', in full, and in ny for 'p, Ezek. xli. 19. It may be also taken as an Aramaism, as it would doubtless have been called could it have been made to suit a rationalistic purpose.
is nothing in the way of regarding these first words as the briefest allowable notice of the man whose voice had just done sounding,* stopped, as it were, by the sudden interruption, and then followed by the turning, in a different style, to Job the subject of the general answer: But gird up now thy loins, like a man; I have something to say to thee." In this second appeal, xlii. 3, Job seems to take the language to himself, and yet in a manner which shows that it had not been his first thought. In a sort of dreamy maze, he says over the former words of Jehovah, which had made so deep an impression on his mind: "Who is this? Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" Yes; it is I. I am the man; I see it now; I am that man who has uttered what he understood not. It is a still deeper feeling of what he had said before: "Surely I am vile (MERX, weak-dogmaticé), what shall I answer Thee? I lay my hand upon my mouth. Once, twice have I spoken, but I will not answer. I say no more." "Who is this (dost Thou ask) that darkens counsel by words without knowledge ?" To whomsoever else they are applicable, surely they apply to me. In his deep confession and self-abasement, he thinks only of himself and his position in the sight of God. And herein lies the difference between Job and the others. They stand in amazement, it may be, awed by this display of the divine majesty, yet without prostration or confession. Still confident in their own wisdom, they may actually regard these thundertones of omnipotence as a decision in their favor, as their vindication, in fact, instead of their rebuke. For had not they, also, all of them, expatiated on this idea of the divine power, to the crushing and humiliation of the trembling Job? The repetition of the words, "who is this?" has the appearance of interrupting the train of thought and feeling. On this account, the critic rejects what a closer insight into this rapt, soliloquizing, ejaculatory style,
* The genuineness of the speech of Elihu, which has been much attacked, may be defended on three grounds that, aside from their moral weight, are entitled to attention from those who patronize the Book chiefly on its alleged artistic merits. These are
1st. That, without it, the appearance and address of Jehovah must be taken as immediately following ch. xxxi., in which case the words, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel," etc., must refer directly to the clearest, most consistent, and most eloquent speech in the Book, namely, Job's noble vindication of his fair life against the damnatory accusations of his friends. It is a most manly appeal, undeserving, we reverently think, of being thus characterized as vaiu and dark, at least in comparison with those of the others. Besides, the term, y, counsel, teaching, argument, cannot be applied to it as it can to the speech of Elihu, which is ostentatiously didactic. Job's appeal, ch. xxxi., is simply a vindicatory statement of fact, in opposition to unrighteous charges. If he is divinely commended for anything, except his last words of submission and repentance, it must be for this noble defence.
2d. The language, “Who is this, etc." would be applicable to much in the general style and spirit of Elihu's discourse. Although the divine answer, as a whole, is addressed to Job, yet nothing would seem more natural than such an incidental reference to the last speaker, who is seemingly interrupted in his eloquence by the sudden rebuke of the supernatural voice. It was a giving counsel, an assumption of wisdom, a claiming "to speak for God;" and although we think that those critics altogether overstrain the matter who charge Elihu with being merely a loquacious babbler, or a vain pretentious disputant, yet, as an attempted vindication of the divine ways, it was a more fit subject for this comparative censure, than the honest and glowing words of Job in ch. xxxi., to which it immediately, or without the least preparation, succeeds, if the part of Elihu is left out. The repetitions of this last speaker, on which some have so much insisted, are of little consequence. They may be blemishes, or rhetorical excellencies, according to the stand-point from which they are viewed. The specimens we have of the old Arabic Seance, or Consessus, show that such a repetitive style of sententious moralizing was held in literary repute. At all events, it is characteristic, and this they should regard as a dramatic merit in what they call a "work of art." But, aside from this, there is something in the whole of ch. xxxvii., and especially in the closing verses, to which the language is very applicable, as referring to the last speaker, although the divine address is described, generally, by the historian, as made to Job, to whom, personally, it immediately turns. The words "darkening counsel," etc., denote invalidity of argument, doubtless, but, along with this, they are descriptive of the apparent timidity, abruptness, and awe-struck confusion that seem to characterize the close of Elihu's harrangue. It is the language of one gazing on some strange appearances. The emotion and the exclamations thence produced mingle with his didactic utterances, so that he says, ver. 19: "Tell us what we shall say, for we cannot order our speech, by reason of darkness." And this suggests the
3d Ground, namely, That the whole scene is a reality, and that this interlude of Elihu, and especially his abrupt exclamatory closing words, are a convincing evidence of it. It is either a painting from the life, or it is the most consummate art. There is the strongest internal evidence that, during this speech of Elihu, there is represented the approach of the storm-cloud, the rising tornado, interrupting and confusing his words, calling away his attention, and giving rise to broken remarks on the vivid phenomena that accompany it, until he is suddenly silenced by the awful voice. Some of the best commentators have thus regarded the language as referring to an actual coming storm. Delitzsch cites Bridel for the opinion that the thunder, mentioned xxxvii. 1, is not a mere matter of eloquent description, but something actually presented to the senses: "L'éclair brille, la tonnere gronde." It is the language of an eye and ear witness, or if it is a mere work of art it is so arranged and expressed as to convey that impression. So Rosenmüller, in the words of Bouillier: "Inter verba Elihu, dum hæc loqueretur, tonitru exauditum; ad cujus cæcum murmur, mox in fragorem horrendum et fulgur erupturum, circumstantes jubet contremiscere." So, also, on the comment on , ver. 22; "Ceterum splendoris
shows to be in harmony with the tone and spirit of the scene. The seeming irregularity gives vivid evidence, not only of its artistic, but of its actual scenic truthfulness. It supplies that emotional connection which carries us over all seeming logical or philological breaks.
Job Distinguished from the Others by his Submission.
For what else is Job commended but for the completeness of this submission, with its deep humility and hearty penitence? It would be difficult to find any answer to this, except what has arisen from the theory, very ancient, indeed, and supported by the highest authorities, that the design of the Book, and especially of the theophany at its close, is the decision of a debate, or to determine which party had the better of this long argument about the cause of Job's sufferings. As the traditional view we are reluctant to call it in question, and yet it may be very defective, if not in itself, yet by rejecting or ignoring another which is important as collateral, and, in certain aspects, may be regarded as presenting the predominant lesson. Job is approved not for what he said, or chiefly for what he said, in chs. iii. or xvi., or even in chapters xxviii. and xxxi., but for the few words spoken, xl. 4, xlii. 2-6. This is in accordance with the opinion of Abenezra, the most judicious of the Jewish commentators, who restricts the words of God, xlii. 7: "Ye have not spoken to me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath done," solely to the confession Job had made (xl. 4, xlii. 2-6), and they had not.
ex aquilone mentio pertinet ad descriptionem appropinquantis media in tempestate Dei." We find the beginning of this in the close of ch. xxxvi.: "His thunder is announcing Him;" the cattle (pp), feeding on the plains are startled by the ominous noise (xxxvi. 33). Then, immediately (xxxvii. 1), “At this" as though pointing to something coming on and visible to all), “my heart trembles, and leaps out of its place." "Hear, O hear, the roar of His voice, the muttering that proceedeth from His mouth; under the whole heavens He is sending it; His lightning to the far horizon. After it, bark, a sound is roaring (INV", descriptive future). He is thundering with His majestic voice, and we cannot trace them when that voice is heard." It is all most graphic, calling to mind the speech of Prometheus (EscH. Prom. Finct. 1081) as he goes down in the midst of the storm:
βρυχία δ' ἠχὼ παραμυκᾶται-
how it bellows long and loud. Here, as there, it is the deep baritone thunder reverberating all round the horizon. is no tracking it (Day), though the sound is heard." It seems to be everywhere; there is no determining the long roll to any particular quarter of the sky. Then follows a stillness for a time, during which the black is slowly rising. Again the speaker, though there is an awe upon his soul, attempts to go on with his moralizing on the voice and the marvellous works of God; in all of which he seems more or less influenced by the signs in the heavens as they become more and more startling, or give rise to occasional sudden remarkings upon particular phenomena: "See how He spreads His lightning cloud (CONANT), and turns it with His guidance every way" (v. 12). The tempestuous wind (v. 17), is growing in heat and strength; the intervals of darkness become overpowering; he "cannot order his speech by reason of them." But, lo, a new and startling appearance,-a strange light coming out of the North. He calls it, gold, literally, but here most probably a golden sheen (LXX. véôn Xpvσavyoûvra), some electrical or auroral light (aureus, aurum), suddenly gleaming forth from the Borealic region, or, it may be, lining the edge of the nimbus, as is sometimes the case when it is heavily charged with the electric fluid. "From the North, see, the amber light is coming," comp. Ezek. i. 4 (, descriptive future). It is this phenomenon, so remarkable and so suddenly arresting the attention of all, that gives the subsequent language its ejaculatory character. There is terror mingled with the glory: "Surely with God there is dreadful majesty." What follows is in the same broken and elliptical style. ", "Shaddai, He it is; we cannot find Him out." All through there are those descriptive features indicating something coming on of an eventful character. The language becomes more and more that of one subdued in spirit, and awed by the sense of a near divine presence, driving him from his loquacious wisdom: "Great in strength and righteousness; He answers not” (Пy in Kal, instead of Piel); surely should we fear Him;" that is now more becoming than argument, however seemingly profound; for "He regardeth not then, those who are wise in their own understandings," and presume to judge of His ways.
“Then answered Jehovah from the storm-cloud,"y, with the article, the storm-cloud that has been described. As thus viewed in connection with Elihu's speech, and especially the latter part of it, so broken and abrupt, there is a power in the whole representation which compels us to regard it as consummately artistic or, what is still more credible, an actual painting from the life, a real scene from that olden time, and an actual theophany, like those witnessed by Abraham, Moses, and Elijah. On the other hand, cut out the speech of Elihu, or bring the divine address right after ch. xxxi., and we seem to have a hiatus in the drama which all criticism fails to mend.
The remarkable language, v. 22, about "the gold coming from the North (the Borealic aurora) may well be compared with Ezek. i. 4: "A storm () coming fom the North, and a brightness in the circuit, and in the midst of it, ann (y) like the color of brass (aurichalcum) Vulg. quasi species electri.”
GROUNDS OF JOB'S COMMENDATION.
In order to determine how far such a view may be defended, let us briefly review the general course of the narrative, and of the argument, so far as it can be called by that name.
In the first stages of Job's grievous affliction, he seems to have borne it perfectly. Philosophical stoicism must confess itself immeasurably transcended by such a declaration as is ascribed to Job i. 21: "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken, blessed be the name of the Lord." What is there in Seneca or Epictetus to compare with this conception of "the old Dichter," as the Rationalists call him? Again, that declaration afterwards made to his tempting wife: "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ?" No language could more clearly and strongly express that idea of unconditional submission on which we have insisted,—that unreserved surrender that asks no questions as to the cause or the issue, makes no demand of compensation, hints at no injustice, seeks for no other reason of its being right than that God hath done it, and that, therefore, it must be right. "In all this," it says, "Job sinned not with his lips," ii. 10. The latter words in this place -though not occurring in the previous passage, i. 22, where it is said, absolutely, "Job sinned not,"must have a significance. They may denote the beginning of a change, to a degree, perhaps, of which he was yet unconscious. Raschi regards it as a negative pregnant, implying that, though his words were right, there was the beginning of something wrong in his thoughts and feelings; Non ha ha, "but he sinned in his heart." Below the lips, Ev Tŋ Kapdía, in that deep unconscious place lying beneath the thoughts, and out of which, as our Saviour says, thoughts ascend (ávaßaivovor), there had been some working of that hidden force which afterwards breaks out so irrepressibly. Another supposition may be indulged, that there had come upon him, or doubtless had greatly increased, that severe bodily anguish which, in its protracted continuance, is so unendurable. Christian martyrs have borne it with divine aid, such as we may suppose Job here not to have had, and because of the briefness of the pain, soon destroying itself, or leading to insensibility. Without this, or when there is no remission or alleviation, it may be safely said that such anguish continuing on, and beyond a certain degree, cannot be endured. The man cannot refrain from fiercely crying out, and it matters but little what the language of his cry may be, since it is only, in any sense, a physical expression of this unendurable agony. "He knoweth our frame." God doth not blame Job for this; neither should his friends have blamed him. But this is what they did, and it was the beginning of that wrong direction taken in their subsequent discoursings, and growing more and more devious and confused at every step. They could not put themselves in Job's position. They were astonished at his wild outcries, leading them to imagine something terrible in his state of which they had never thought before. It was this that first led to their chiding tone. They regarded it, not as the involuntary language of extreme suffering, having little of any more accountability attached to it than the mere physical manifestations of tears and groans, but as the evidence of rebellion in the spirit, or of some unknown actual guilt. They had witnessed this during the days of their astonished silence, until they can refrain no longer. His violent language seemed to them like an outburst of profanity; they undoubtedly knew of his fair reputation in the days of his prosperity, corresponding to the character which God Himself gives of His servant. "They had heard of all this evil that had come upon him." Immediately each starts "from his place;" they make an appointment (791) “to go and mourn with him, and to comfort him." At the sight of their friend, so changed by suffering that "they knew him not, they wept aloud, and rent their garments, and threw dust upon their heads." In all this there is the deepest sympathy, but no unfavorable judgment.
No Polemical Interest-The Rationalists' Fanciful Vergeltungslehre.
Neither had they any polemical interest against him in maintaining the old Vergeltungslehre, "that phantom of their own imagination," of which the Rationalists are so fond.
There is no evidence that they had come, "each from his place," to dispute with him about that. There is no such doctrine of retribution in the Mosaic Law, as differing from the later Christian, or from the universal experience of the world in either the earliest or the latest times. Always have men believed, and had reason to believe, both truths that impious deeds are often strikingly punished, even in this world, and also that the righteous often suffer in a manner that seems inexplicable. The Rationalists describe their Vergeltungslehre as peculiar to the old Patriarchal and Mosaic times; but there is abundant evidence to the contrary in the narratives of Genesis. Good men are represented as suffering, without any impeachment of their characters, either on the part of God or man, or on the ground of any specific guilt assigned as the cause of it. The lives of Jacob, Joseph, and Moses prove this. So does the whole history of the Israelites in their sore bondage, for which there is no evidence that the immediate sufferers received or expected compensation, and who certainly were not worse, to say the least, than the nations around them, who had none of those severe trials which were sent upon God's chosen people. So far as there was any basis for the idea in the Mosaic institutions, it will generally be found in connection with promises made to families and nations, rather than to individuals. This is the case with the Fifth commandment, which is so often cited in support of this imaginary Vergeltungslehre. Although seemingly addressed to individuals, yet it is in the national aspect that that motive is chiefly held out. It was the nation that was to reap the direct benefit. It was not simply long life, but length of days, continued generations, "in the land which the Lord thy God giveth to thee." And so it is in regard to other blessings promised to the Israelites. Their political aspect is everywhere specially predominant, and, in this sense, they ever held most true. The people among whom filial reverence was maintained, as a foundation virtue, along with that deference which a new generation owed to the experience of the elders - such a people would have "length of days;" their institutions would derive a strength and a permanency from such a cause which no other could give. The words "in the land," show this. Promises thus made to nations have no such reserve as must be supposed to be connected with them when made, really or apparently, to individuals whose cases are affected by such a multiplicity of outside moral and physical relations. They have no exceptions, expressed or implied, and history would show that, in such a civic sense, they always hold true. The nation has only an earthly being, and this difference was felt, even before the individual after-life was distinctly maintained. The individual virtue stood on a higher platform. It was connected with a higher order of ideas. Though the thought, as a conception, was not dogmatically formed, or consciously received, yet there was in it this mysterious "power of an endless life." Hence, the question which Job's friends mistakingly put in reference to the individual, might have been fairly asked in reference to a people, "When did a nation perish, being innocent ?" When did a people cease to flourish that perseveringly obeyed God's commands, and acknowledged Him to be its Lord?
This fantastic Vergeltungslehre, as thus held by the Rationalists, is inconsistent moreover with the tone of the most important and most serious of the Psalms. Comp. Pss. lxxiii., xvii., etc. In Ecclesiastes it is most expressly repudiated. In the Proverbs, a purely ethical book, there seems to be more of it, but nothing more than any system of popular ethics, ancient or modern, must admit, namely, that virtue is, in the main, favorable to happiness or prosperity in this world, and that the practice of it, therefore, may well be recommended by the moralist on that ground. In the Proverbs themselves, however, there is evidence that the general truth has its exceptions, not arbitrary, but arising out of circumstances and reasons connected with a higher ground, demanding a higher rule transcending the ordinary experience.
Job's Violent Language the First Cause of Crimination—Opening Address of Eliphaz.
There is no evidence that Job's friends held this secular Vergeltungslehre as a thing exceptionless. Their own speeches frequently admit the contrary idea. They would, perhaps, have advised Job to examine himself, try his ways, pray God, as the Psalmist does,