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the question may still be raised, whether, in the declaration, xlii. 7, 1'bx on xb, "Ye have not spoken," &c., there was not intended a more special saying, a particular and noted declaration standing by itself, as outside of the long discussion—not something which Job had said better than they, but something which he had said, and they did not say at all, -not something said about God, but directly to Him, and according to the almost exceptionless usage of that most frequent preposition,.
Meaning of, xlii. 7.
This is, in the first place, an almost purely philological question. The particle is one of the most common in Hebrew, and we might also add, one of the most uniform in its meaning 'and application. Let us, therefore, examine whether 7, in this place, has been rightly translated by the makers of the English and other versions. If not, it might be asked, why have so many commentators taken the wrong direction? The answer may be found in the influence of the view, so early entertained, that the Book was intended as the solution of a problem, and the decision of a debate. The supposed dramatic character and construction aided this idea. The tendency thus given would at once affect this passage, and the same feeling would perpetuate the peculiar interpretation it had originated. Instead of taking as a key the clear and usual sense of the preposition, they made it subservient to a hypothesis derived from other sources. This inverse method appears very plainly in one of the notes of Tympius (285) to Noldius' Concordance of the Hebrew Particles: "Luth., Anglic., Trem., Piscat., Belgic., Schmid, Glass, Geier, de me. Nam amici Jobi, non ad Deum loquuti sunt, sed de Deo." Here it is taken for granted that there is a decision of something said concerning God, and the preposition is rendered accordingly. Tympius, with the LXX., Syriac and Vulgate, would render it before me, but it is from the same idea of a judicial debate, only carried still farther in that direction; "for the friends,” he says, "non sinistre loquuti sunt de Deo tantum, sed et de Jobo, de cruce fidelium, de impiorum in hac vita prosperitate,” &c. Some commentators, when they come to this place, simply say and that is all the notice they take of it; or they content themselves with rendering it about, concerning, in respect to, von mir, in Beziehung auf mich (see Dillmann, Delitzsch, Rosenmüller, et al.), without giving any reasons. But for is as rare in the Hebrew as ad for de in Latin, or the English to in the same sense. We say, indeed, speak to a question, or to a point in debate, but this is a technical sense; it is figurative, moreover, denoting direction, or keeping the mind intent upon a thing, and never used with a person or a personal pronoun. How infrequent in Hebrew is this supposed use of for hy, may be seen from the few cases* given by Noldius, and of out many hundreds adhering to the common usage.
עלי for אלי or על for אל
From these we may at once exclude those in which follows the verb N, or 7, to prophesy. They may be rendered, prophecy concerning; but the preposition does not lose its original idea of direction-prophecy to, or at, or against. So also where Noldius renders it propter as Lam iv. 17: "our eyes are consumed," 1, "on account of our help." The idea is, looking to or for our help, elliptically expressed. There is the same kind of ellipsis in the few other examples he gives, as 1 Sam. iv. 21: "this she said (looking to, in view of) the taking of the ark," &c. There is no need of rendering it propter; the vivid pathos is lost by so doing. 2 Sam. xxi. 1: "And the Lord said," in 4xthere is an ellipsis any way. "And the Lord said-to Saul "—that is, look to Saul. Noldius fills it up tamely: "(it is) on. account of Saul and his bloody house." 1 Kings xix. 3: "He went, 15, for his life "—a peculiar phrase, but may be rendered literally, instead of by propter, on account of. Ps. lxxxiv. 3, "My heart and flesh cry out," N, rendered by Noldins: "On account of the living God," but far better literally, "to the living God." So in the cases where he would render it de, it will be found that the object is ever present, and there is the idea of direct reference, or pointing to it. As 1 Sam. i. 27, where Hannah says, "I prayed, rect object. 2 Kings xix. 32, “Thus saith the Lord," . It was indeed about the King of Assyria, but how much more vivid is it when taken directly, to, at, against; Deodat. French Version, touchant le roi. The two or three others under that head can all be resolved in the same manner. 2d Psalm 7, the decree." Gen. xx. 2, “And Abraham said,, to Sarah, she is my wife." Sarah was present, and the saying was to her as an intimation to Abimelech.
ny, for this child," as something present the di
cannot be rendered concerning אספרה אל חק
Commentators find it difficult to determine for what sayings, in the general argument, Job is commended. The word, xlii. 7.
Another argument for the view here taken is derived from the disagreements among commentators in respect to the things said for which Job is commended and the friends are condemned. According to Ewald and Schlottmann, denotes subjective truth, uprightness, integrity. Zöckler takes the other view: It was Job's correct knowledge, and truthful assertion of his own general innocence, in which he was right, and they were wrong, because they failed to acknowledge it, or were silent about it. So Delitzsch says: "The correctness in Job's speeches consists in his holding fast the consciousness of his innocence without suffering himself to be persuaded of the opposite." This would make it almost contrary, in spirit at least, to the language of his confession, when he says DNON: “I reject (throw away, renounce, recant), and repent in dust and ashes;" or in the other place, xli. 4: "I lay my hand upon my mouth; once have I spoken-twice-I will say no more." Raschi takes this "once-twice" as referring specially to Job's two hard sayings,* ch. ix. 22; the first: "He consumes the righteous with the wicked," the second: "When the scourge destroys suddenly, He mocks at the distress of the innocent." It is as though Job meant to specify these, because they were the only ones he could remember. In his Rabbinic particularity, Raschi overlooks the Hebraism: "Once-twice," repeatedly, over and over again, “have I uttered what I understood not, things too hard for me, which I knew not." See, too, how Dillmann strives to make out a case for Job against the friends, and labors with his distinction between the subjective and the objective truth; as though the declaration itself of the Almighty needed defending and clearing up as much as Job's integrity. In some senses, he would maintain, both were right and both were wrong. Not every word he uttered in itself was true, nor were their's all wrong; but only on the whole, or on the question of Job's innocence, was the balance of truth in his favor. Truly this is a very unsatisfactory view of the great matter which God decides, as though it were a mere question as to the weight of argument in a debate about Job's absolute or comparative innocence; it being a fact, too, of which Job had knowledge, whilst they could only judge from outer circumstances. A man should maintain his integrity, if he is not guilty of particular crimes laid to his charge; that is true; but is there no higher lesson taught in this Book? Again, this mere summing up of a balance of right, with so much difficulty about it as to occasion such a diversity of comment, is inconsistent with the clearness and peculiar nature of that word, . It is not used of personal moral character, either subjectively or objectively, like TM, pTM, etc. Such a view of the word would seem to confine it to things said about Job, instead of something said about God and addressed directly to Him. The radical idea of the word is firmness, that which shall stand; hence completeness, security, perfection. When used of an outward object it expresses its best and most finished state, as in the infinitive form, Prov. iv. 18, O, the perfection of the day, σrabepòv žμap, when the sun has reached its height, and seems to stand-" clearer and clearer unto the perfect day." As a saying, it is here the one most perfect saying that could be said-a saying expressing all.
The Real Utterance for which Job is Commended.
We must search among Job's sayings for something corresponding to the high and distinguishing commendation expressed by this word, something that stands the test, clear, decided, full. When found there will be no mistaking it. It will have a superlative, a finished, and not a mere comparative excellence. Other things said may have been more or less correct, but this is right, exactly right, the very thing,—something which, if it had not
See Raschi Comment. Job xl. 4, xlii. 7. In the latter place he puts his strained interpretation in the mouth of
שהרי הוא לא פשע בי כי אם על אשר ,Deity Himself: "Yo have not spoken the right like my servant Job
i hop in yo, for lo, he never transgressed against Me except in that he said, The innocent and the wicked He alike consumes," and "of the scourge," etc.
been said, would have left all else dark, undecided, insecure. Such was the saying, ch. xl. 4, xlii. 1-6, and for this we may believe that Job was specially commended. It was also said directly to God, and this perfectly suits the preposition x, xlii. 7, without any necessity of giving it a sense which, to say the least, is very unusual, and only to be resorted to when the context allows no other. This is certainly not the case here. In giving to the same sense which has immediately above, in the words, there is suggested a reference to Job's confession; and we venture to say, that, had it been so rendered, in the early versions, there would hardly have been a thought of any other interpretation. Commentators, generally, as Aben Ezra has done, would have restricted it to that memorable saying unto God, and so have avoided the never-to-be-settled disputes as to the particular respects in which Job had the better of the argument against his three friends. There is also something in the appointment of Job as the sacrificing and interceding priest for the others. that is in beautiful harmony with the view here taken of the difference between him and them. They had not fallen upon their faces, and laid their hands upon their mouths; they had not confessed, and "repented in dust and ashes." This Job had done. He humbled himself, and therefore did God highly exalt him to be a priest and a mediator for the others. We will not say that this might not have been a proper distinction conferred upon him for his success in the argument by which he maintained his own righteousness; but the whole spirit of the Scriptures, old and new, seems more in harmony with the interpretation which regards the other as the prominent, if not the only view to be taken of this great decision. It need only be further said, in this place, that the LXX. have rendered , ivóv pov, the Vulgate, coram me, in my presence—before me. To the same purport the Syriac P. These are better than the modern versions, since they leave open the question of reference. They are in better harmony, too, with the usual sense of the preposition than the renderings of, or concerning, in Beziehung auf mich, etc.; but even these translations have been influenced by the idea of a debate held in the presence of a judge, or umpire, who is to decide on the merits of the argument. It is a notion quite plausible, closely connected with the dramatic conception, but receiving no countenance either in the abrupt address of Jehovah, or in anything previously said by the several speakers.
THE BOOK OF JOB AS A WORK OF ART.
Errors of Interpretation arising from so regarding it.
The tendency to this idea of a problem to be solved, or of a debate to be decided, appears especially in those commentators who have most to say about the Book of Job as a work of art, lauding it greatly in this way, as though to make up for what sometimes seems lacking in a true appreciation of its divine merit. It has given rise to supposed plans and divisions as variant as they are artificial. The great outlines of the Book are marked upon its very face; but when the attempt is made to discover, under this main scheme, a more artistic development, the result is very unsatisfactory. Besides the prologue and epilogue, which are evident enough, the main body of the work has been arranged under certain divisions, or stages in the dramatic action, all regarded as having been regularly planned in the mind of the artist. These are described by technical names invented for the purpose. There is the dea and the λios,—the envelopment and the development, the tying up and the loosing. The subdivisions are arranged most artificially, though we can hardly call them artistic, the great excellence of which is the absence or concealment of all studied artificialness. For example, some give as 1st. The Anknüpfung, or Introductory Statement, of which nothing need be said; 2d. The Movement of the Debate, or the Commencing Development, iv. xiv.; 3d. The Second Movement, or the Advancing Development, xv., xxi.; 4th. The Third Movement of the Debate, or the Most Advanced Development, xxii., xxvi.; 5th. The Transition from the Development (or rather the maximum Envelopment), to the Solution, or from the deas to the commencing Avous, Job's Vindication, xxvii., xxxi.; 6th. The Consummation, or the Durchbruch, the breaking through, the transition from the déc
to the or, the Speech of Elihu, xxxii., xxxvii.; 7th. The Solution in the Consciousness, xxxviii. 42; 8th. The Solution in outward Actuality, Job's Restoration to Prosperity, xlii. 7-17. This is Zōckler's. In the scheme of Delitzsch we have 1st. The Introduction; 2d. The Opening; 3d. The Entanglement; 4th. The Transition to the Unravelment; 5th. The Unravelment Divided into 6th. The Unravelment in the Consciousness; 7th. The Unravelment in outward Reality. There is no need of giving the Divisions of Umbreit, Ewald, etc. They are all marked by the same artificialness. They may be an assistance to the memory; but the reader feels that he is getting little or no help from them in regard to the governing idea of the Book, or the meaning of particular passages. The very fact of the differences existing between them detracts from their reliability. Thus regarded, they may be in the way of a true appreciation of the Book, whatever aid they may seem to give in its critical study; for almost any division furnishes some facility in that respect. If, however, the old author really had no such scheme mapped out in his own mind,-if, under the influence of some divine enthusiasm, he was simply giving vent, irregularly it may be, to thoughts of which his soul was full,-or was truthfully relating a story which he had heard, and which was firmly believed in his day, then all reasonings from such artistic divisions would be "a darkening counsel by words without knowledge," leading farther and farther from the actual fact, and from the divine thought. It all proceeds upon the fixed idea that the object of the Book is solely a debate, dramatically presented and dramatically concluded. There is a problem to be solved, a déois, or an entanglement first to be made, as intricate as possible, and then to be untied. For this purpose, God dramatically appears at the end, like a Deus ex machina, and closes the debate by deciding in favor of one of the parties, and against the others.
The Reality of the Theophany-Compared with other Theophanies in the Bible.
It is a clear answer to the above dramatic view, that the divine speech itself decides nothing, though Job may be regarded as afterwards commended for the humbling and penitence-producing effect it had upon him. We may say this without irreverence. That most sublime address hardly takes notice of any of the points about which they had been wrangling, whether regarded as matters of fact, or of abstract truth. It had a higher purpose, a grander lesson to teach, that lesson of unconditional submission, without the learning of which all solutions of problems, whether higher or lower, would be of no avail. God "makes His glory to pass before them," as He did before Moses when hidden in the cleft of the rock, or before Elijah, in Horeb, when "he wrapped his face in his mantle at the presence of the Lord." So Job fell on his face before God, whilst the others stood speechless in bewildered astonishment. To him the vision presented itself in its most interior aspect. He saw something in it beyond the eye of sense, he heard something, as he himself seems to affirm, beyond "the hearing of the ear." They stood évveoì, like Paul's companions on the journey to Damascus, ἀκούοντες μὲν θεωροῦντες δ ̓ οὐ, hearing the outward sounds, distinguishing the words, it may be, in their lexical and logical sense, but having no spiritual perception. Perhaps they, too, had they fallen on their faces, might have had their inward eye opened, as Job's was, and with the same spiritual effect. But he alone "made confession unto righteousness;" therefore, he was justified and they were condemned. We are not attaching too much importance to this divine appearance in making it the central idea as well as the central fact, of the Book. Why should it be turned into a poetical drama, any more than other similar manifestations recorded in the Scriptures? There is no other part of the Bible in which the theophany so belongs to the very essence of the revelation. It is here the very lesson taught. It is something given for its own sake, and not merely, as a scenic means to something else. It is that to which all the parts of the wondrous narrative are preparatory, and in which all its words, and all its ideas, all its arguments, true or false, have their culminating significance. Though formally solving no problems, it is not a mere barren display. What more instructive than such an announcement of a personal divine presence challenging to itself the homage of all rational beings? And such is the very idea of revelation. It is not primarily to teach us
doctrines, or to give us moral precepts, or to solve questions of ethical or even theological casuistry, but to bring nigh to us the divine power, and right, and vivid personality. All revelation, in short, is the revelation of the glory of God. To those who say that this seems a harsh and arbitrary teaching, the answer is, that it is most intimately connected with the loftiest human well-being. For men to see it is, in fact, their most satisfying knowledge, to confess and feel it is their highest blessedness.
SPEECH OF ELIHU.
The chasm its rejection would leave between the last words of Job, chap. xxix.-xxxi., and the Divine Appearance.
Had the Book of Job ended with the speech of Elihu, the reader would have had good grounds for regarding this portion as containing the solution of the problem of which so much has been said. Suffering, as intended for purification and discipline, and therefore consistent with the goodness of God, and a general righteousness in the sufferer; this is the main idea it enforces, and in a way to bring out some of the best practical ethics to be found in this or any other book. No part of Job is, in this respect, better adapted to the moralist or the preacher. Chapter xxxiii., especially, is a mine of precious instruction, clear and practical, full of consolations to good men amid all the trials of life, and of strength for the performance of its duties.* He comes the nearest, too, to the speech of Jehovah, so far as any approach can be made to it, in the descriptions of the divine power as exhibited in the greater natural phenomena. This seems to be done, too, for a similar purpose; to show that God is hindered by no physical fatality; every thing that takes place is by the divine decree, or the divine permission. "He hath done it," and therefore (not as a reason in itself, but as demanding the assent of the finite intelligence) is it holy, just and good. "Why dost thou strive with Him (~7, litigate, reason, argue); for He giveth no account (, He maketh no answer) in respect to His matters (xxxiii. 13). We have already dwelt on a few of the arguments for the genuineness of this portion of the Book, and especially on the difficulty that would be occasioned by having nothing between the noble vindication of Job xxix.xxxi. and the sudden mention of the whirlwind out of which Jehovah speaks. But there are also internal evidences in its favor. As before said, it is remarkably characteristic, and, in fact, the very traits that are urged against it should commend themselves to those who claim so much critical insight. It is true that Elihu hesitates and repeats, but for this there is a fair and natural explanation. He gives us the impression of one personally diffident in the presence of the older and the wiser, so esteemed, yet conscious of having important and timely truth, the utterance of which he cannot suppress (xxxii. 18-20). He asks pardon of
* The substance of the argument for and against the much controverted genuineness of the Elihu passage, is briefly yet clearly given by Rev. A. B. Davidson, in his excellent Commentary on Job, the first volume of which was published in 1862. After presenting the main objections in the text, with very satisfactory answers of his own, as well as from Stickel and others, he gives, in a note to page xli., some others which he justly styles "examples, less of reason than of critical petulance": "As the following, (1) That Elihu does not appear in the Prologue. But Job's three friends are not named as coming to debate with him; their object was condolence. (2) Elihu is not named in the Epilogue. But there was really nothing to say of him; so far as he agreed with Job he is commended in his commendation; so far as he agreed with the words of God, he has his reward in hearing his own sentiments repeated by the divine lips. The reference made even to the friends of Job, in the Epilogue, is but casual; for the drama concerns Job only, and takes end with him; and even Satan, who should have come before the curtain humbled and' prostrate, to receive the jeers of an assembled world, nowhere appears. (3) Job makes no answer to Elihu. And for the best of reasons: His heart is stricken by Elihu's words. (4) Elihu addresses Job by name, as the original disputants do not. But Elihu comes in as an arbiter, and must use names to distinguish between both parties whom he addresses; and God Himself adopts the same mode of addressing Job in opposition to the friends." The objection arising from Elihu's alleged Aramaisms, is well answered by Stickel (cited by Davidson), in saying: "that Elihu is himself an Aramean (ch. xxxii. 2, of the family of Ram, that is, Aram), and naturally spoke in that dialect." But these Aramaisms are greatly overstated. There is evidence in several places of other persons being present during parts, at least, of this long discussion-some to pity, some to mock Job, and some as silent spectators.
The article (the storm) is very natural, if we take it in connection with those strong premonitory symptoms of an approaching tempest that marked the close of Elihu's speech. In the other supposed connection it is far from being easy, though possibly allowable.