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BY ADAM CLARKE, LL. D. F. S. A. M. R. I. A.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning; that we through patience and
comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. . . . . Epist. Rom.
SUPER ROYAL OCTAVO STEREOTYPE EDITION
PUBLISHED BY JOHN J. HARROD,
STEREOTYPED BY FIELDING LUCAS JR. AND WILLIAM & JOSEPH NEAL.
BOOK OF JOB.
, reference to the same end, the salvation of men,
it is so different from every other book of the Bible, that it seems to possess nothing in common with them; for even the language, in its construction, is dissimilar from that in the Lau, the Phrophets, and the Historical Books. But on all hands it is accounted a work that contains "the purest morality, the sublimest philosophy, the simplest ritual, and the most majestic creed." Except the two first chapters, and the ten last verses, which are merely prose, all the rest of the book is poetic ; and is every where reducible to the kemislich form, in which all the other poetic books of the Bible are written: it is, therefore, properly called a POEM ; but whether it belongs to the dramatic or epic species has not been decided by learned men. To try it by those rules which have been derived from Aristotle, and are still applied to ascertain composition in these departments of poetry, is, in my opinion, as absurd as it is ridiculous. Who ever made a poem on these rules? And is there a poem in the universe worth reading, that is strictly conformable to these rules? Not one! The rules, it is true, were deduced from compositions of this description : and although they may be very useful in assisting poets to methodise their compositions, and to keep the different parts distinct; yet they have often acted as a species of critical trammels, and have cramped genius. Genuine poetry is like a mountain flood : it pours down resistless; bursts all bounds ; scoops out its own channel ; carries woods and rocks before it ; and spreads itself abroad, both deep and wide, over all the plain. Such, invleed, is the poetry which the reader will meet with in this singular and astonishing book. As to Aristotle himself
, although he was a keen-eyed plodder of nature, and a prodigy for his time : yet, if we may judge from his poetics, he had a soul as incapable of feeling the true genie createur, as Racine terms the spirit of poctry, as he was by his physics, metaphysics, and analogies, from discovering the true system of the universe.
As to the Book of Job, it is most evidently a poem, and a poem of the highest order; dealing in subjects the most grand and sublime; using imagery the most chaste and appropriate ; described by language the most happy and energetic; conveying instructiori, both in divine and human things, the most ennobling and useful; abounding in precepts the most pure and exalted, which are enforced by arguments the most strong and conclusive, and illustrated by examples the most natural and striking. All these points will appear in the strongest light to every attentive reader
of the book ; and to such its great end will be answered; they will learn from it, that God has way every where :-That the wicked, though bearing rule for a time, can never be ultimately prosperous and happy; and that the righteous, though oppressed with sufferings and calamities, can never be forgotten by him in whose hands are his saints, and with whom their lives are precious; that in this world neither are the wicked ultimately punished, nor the righteous ultimately rewarded : that God's judgments are a great deep, and his ways past finding out; but the issues of all are to the glory of his wisdom and grace, and to the eternal happiness of those who trust in him. This is the grand design of the book ; and the design will be strikingly evident to the simplest and most unlettered reader, whose heart is right with God, and who is seeking instruction in order thai he may glorify his Maker by receiving and by doing good. Notwithstanding
all this, there is not a book in Scripture on the subject of which more difficultics have been started. None, says Calmet, has furnished more subjects of doubt and embarrassment; and none has afforded less information for the solution of those doubts. On this subject the great questions which have been agitated refer principally,-1. To the person of Job. 2. To his existence. 3. To the time in which he lived. 4. To his country. 5. To his stock or kindred. 6. To his religion. 7. To the author of the book. 8. To its truth. 9. To its authenticity. And, 10. To the time and occasion on which it was written.
With respect to the first and second, several writers, of eminent note, have denied the personality of Job; according to them, no such person ever existed; he is merely fabulous, and is like the Il penseroso, or sorrowful man of Milton; sorrow, distress, affliction, and persecution, personified; as the name imports. According to them, he is a mere ideal being, created by the genius of the poet ; clothed with attributes, and placed in such circumstances as gave the poet scope and materials for his work.
Thirdly, as to the time in which those place him who receive this as a true history, there is great variety. According to some, he flourished in the patriarchal age; some make him contemporary with Moses ; that he was in the captivity in Egyp, and that he lived
at the time of the
Exodus. Some place him in the time of the Israelitish judges ; others in the days of David; others in those of Solomon ; and others in the time of the Babylonish captivity, having been teacher of a school at Tiberias in Palestine ; and, with the rest of his countrymen, carried away into Babylon ; and that he lived under Ahasuerus and Esther.' Fourthly, as to his country: some make him an Arab; others an Egyptian ; others a Syrian ; some an Israelite; and some an Idumean. Fifihly, as to his origin : some derive him from Nachor; and others froin Esau, and make him the fifth in descent from Abraham. Sixthly, as to his religion ; soine suppose it to have been Sabaism; others that it was patriarchal; and others that he was bred up in the Jewish furth. Serenthly, as to the author of the work, learned men are greatly divided : some suppose the author to have been Elihu ; others Job; others Job and his friends; others Moses ; some Solomon ; others Isaiah ; and others Ezra, or some unknown Jew, posterior to the captivity: Eighthly, as to the book : some maintain that it is a history of fact
, given by one best qualified to record it; and others, that it is an instructive fiction ; facts, persons, dialogues and all, being supposititious: given, however, by the inspiration of God, in a sort of parabolic form, like those employed in the Gospel; and similar to that of the rich man and Lazarus. 'Ninthly, as to its authenticity: while some, and those not well qualified to judge, have asserted it to be a mere human production, of no divine authority; others have clearly shown that the book itself,
whatever questions may arise concerning the person, author, time, place, &c. was ever received by the Jewish church and people as authentic, genuine, and divinely inspired; and incorporated, with the highest propriety, among the most instructive, sublime, and excellent portions of divine revelation. Tenthly, as to the occasion on which it was written, there are considerable differences of opinion. Some will have it to be written for the consolation
of the Hebrews in their peregrinations through the wilderness; and others for the comfort and encouragement of the Israelites in the Babylonish captivity. These state that Job represents Nehemiah ; and that his three professed friends, but real enemies, Eliphaz the l'emanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathile
, represent Sanballat the Iloronite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian ! and that the whole book should be understood and interpreted on this ground : and that with a little allowance for poetic colouring, all its parts perfectly harmonize, thus understood; showing in a word, that into whatsoever troubles or persecutions God may permit his people to be brought, yet he will sustain them in the fire, bring them safely through it, and discomfit all their enemies ;- and that whatsoever is true on this great scale, is true also on that which is more contracted ; as ho will equally support, defend, and finally render congueror, every individual that trusts in him.
I shall not trouble my readers with the arguments which have been used by learned men pro and con, relative to the particulars already mentioned : were I to act otherwise, I must transcribe a vast mass of matter, which, though it might display great learning in the authors, would most certainly afford little edification to the great bulk of my readers. My own opinion on those points they may naturally wish to know; and to that opinion they have a right; it is such as I dare avow; and such as I feel no disposition to conceal. I believe Job to have been a real person ; and his history to be a statement of facts.
As the preface to this book, I mean the first chapter, states him to have lived in the land of Uz, or Uts, I believe with Mr. Goode, and several other learned men, this place to have been "situated in Arabia Petræa, on the south-western coast of the lake Asphaltites, in a line between Egypt and Philistia, surrounded with Kedar, Teman, and Midian; all of which were districts of Arabia Petræa; situated in Idumea, the land of Edom, or Esau; and comprising so large a part of it, that Idumea and Ausitis, or the land of Uz, and the land of Edom, were convertible terms, and equally employed to import the same region : thus Lam. iv. 21. Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz."* See Mr. Goode's Introductory Dissertation ; who proceeds to observe, "Nothing is clearer than that all the persons introduced into this poem were Idumeans, dwelling in Idumea; or, in other words, Edomite Arabs. These characters are Job himself, dwelling in the land of 'Uz; Eliphaz of Teman, a district of as much repute as Uz; and upon the joint testimony of Jeremiah xlix. 7. 2. Ezekiel xxv. 13. Amos i. 11, 12. and Obadiah ver. 8, 9. a part, and a principal part, of Idumea: Bildad of Shuah, always mentioned in conjunction with Sheba and Dedan, all of them being uniformly placed in the vicinity of Idumea: Zóphar of Naamah, a city whose name imports pleasantness, which is also stated by Joshua, xv. 21, 41. to have been situated in Idumea, and to have lain in a southern direction toward its coast, or the shores of the Red sea : and Elihu of Buz, which, as the name of a place, occurs but once in Sacred Writ; but is there (Jerem. xxv. 22.) mentioned in conjunction with Teman and Dedan ; and hence, necessarily like themselves, a border city upon Ausitis, Uz, or Idumea. It had a number of names; it was at first called Horitis from the Horim or Horites, who appear to have first settled there. Among the descendants of these, the most distinguished was Seir ; and from him the land was known by the name of the Land of Seir. This chief had a numerous family; and among the most signalized of his grandsons was Uz, or Uts; and from him and not from Uz the son of Nahor, it seenis to have been called Ausitis, or the Land of Uz. The family of Hor, Seir, or Uz, were at length dispossessed of the entire region by Esau or Edom; who strengthened himself by his marriage with one of the daughters of Ishmael ; and the conquered territory was denominated Idumæa, or the land of Edom. See Mr. Goode as above.
The man and his country being thus ascertained, the time in which he lived is the point next to be considered.
I feel all the difficulties of the various chronologies of learned men: all that has been offered on the subject is only opinion or probable conjecture ; and, while I differ from the opinion of many respectable authors, I dare not say that I have more to strengthen my conjecture than they have for theirs.
I do not believe that he lived under the patriarchal dispensation ; nor in any time previous to the giving of the law, or to the death of Moses. I have examined the opposite arguments, and they have brought no conviction to my mind. That he lived after the giving of the law, appears to me very probable from what I consider frequent references to the Mosaic institutions occurring in the book; and which I shall notice in their respective places. I know it has been asserted there are no such references ; and I am astonished at the assertion. The reader will judge whether a plain case is made out where the supposed references occur. An obstinate adherence to a preconceived system is like prejudice—it has neither eyes nor ears.
With this question, that relative to the author of the book is nearly connected. Were we to suppose that Job himself, or Elihu, or Job and his friends, wrote the work, the question would at once be answered that regards the time; but all positive evidence on this point is wanting: and while other suppositions have certain arguments to support them, the above claimants, who are supported only by critical conjecture, must stand where they are for want of evidence. The opinions that appear the most probable, and have plausible arguments to support them, are the following:-1. Moses was the author of this book, as many portions of it harmonize with his acknowledged writings. 2. Solomon is the most likely author, as many of the sentiments contained in it are precisely the same with those in the Proverbs ; and they are delivered often in nearly the same words. 3. The book was written by some Jew in, or soon after, the time of the Babylonish captivity.
1. That Moses was the author, has been the opinion of most learned men: and none has set the arguments in support of this opinion in so strong a light as Mr. Mason Goode, in his Introductory Dissertation to his translation and notes on this book. Mr. G. is a gentleman of great knowledge, great learning, and correct thinking; and whatever he says or writes is entitled to respect. If he have data, his deductions are most generally consecutive and solid. He contends "that the writer of this poem must, in his style, have been equally master of the simple and of the sublime; that he must have been minutely and elaborately acquainted with astronomy, natural history, and the general science of his age; that he must have been a Hebrew by birth and native language, and an Arabian by long residence and local study; and, finally, that he must have flourished and composed the work before the Exody." And he thinks that “every one of these features is consummated in Moses, and in Moses alone; and that the whole of them give us his complete lineaments and portraiture. Instructed in all the learning of Egypt
, it appears little doubtful that he composed it during some part of his forty years' residence with the hospitable
Jethro, in that district of Idumæa which was named Midian.” In addition to these external proofs of identity, Mr. Goode thinks, "a little attention will disclose to us an internal proof of peculiar force, in the close and striking similarity of diction and idiom which exists between the book of Job and those pieces of poetry which Moses is usually admitted to have composed." This point be proceeds to examine; and thinks, that the following examples may make some progress toward settling the question, by exhibiting a very singular proof of general parallelism :
“The order of creation, as detailed in the first chapter of Genesis, is precisely similar to that described in Job, chap: xxxviii. ver. 1--20. the general arrangement that occupied the first day; the formation of the clouds, which employed the second ; the separation of the sea, which took up a part of the third; and the establishment of the luminaries in the skies, which characterized the fourth.
“In this general description, as given in Genesis, the vapour in the clouds, and the fluid in the sea, are equally
He driveth together the waters into his thick clonds ;
Till the consumation of light and of darkness. "These are, perhaps, the only instances in the Bible in which the cloudy vapours are denominated waters, before they become concentrated into rain; and they offer an identity of thought, which strongly suggests an identity of person. The following is another very striking peculiarity of the same kind, occurring in the same description; and is, perhaps, still more in point. The combined simplicity and sublimity of Gen. i. 3. 'And God said, Be light! and light was,' has been felt and praised by critics of every age, Pagan and Mohammedan, as well as Jewish and Christian; and has, by all of them, been regarded as a characteristic feature in the Mosaic style. In the poem before us we have the following proof of identity of manner, ch. xxxvii. 6.
Pehold! he saith to the snow, Be!
On earth then falleth it.
"This can hardly be regarded as an allusion, but as an instance of identity of manner. In the Psalmist we have an allusion : and it occurs thus, xxxiii
. 9. 79 TDN 117 hu amar
va-yehi, 'He spake, and it existed ;' and I copy it that the
reader may see the difference. The eulogy of Longinus upon the passage in Genesis is a eulogy also upon that in Job: and the Koran, in verbally copying the Psalmist, has bestowed an equal panegyric upon all of them :
Dizil, 'Esto;' et fuit.—He said, Be thou ; and it was. "With reference to the description of the creation, in the book of Genesis, I shall only farther observe, that the same simplicity of style, adapted to so lofty a subject, characteristically distinguishes the writer of the Book of Job, who commonly employs a diction peculiarly plain, whenever engaged upon a subject peculiarly magnificent, as though trusting to the subject to support itself
, without the feeble aid of rhetorical ornaments. Of this, the description of the tribunal of the Almighty, given in the first and second chapters of the ensuing poein, is a striking example, as, indeed, I have already remarked; and that of the midnight apparítion in the fourth chapter is no less so. "The following instances are of a more general nature ; and lead, upon a broader principle, to the same conclusion : Job.
Exodus. til. *. Wherefore accountest thon me thine enemy?
xiii. 7. Thou sentest forth thy wrath, Woukleat thou hunt down the parched stubble 3
Consuming them as stubble. 9. By the blast of God they perish 1
& And with the blast of thy nostrils And by the breath of his nostrils they are consumed.
The waters were gathered together. IT. 2. Distress and anguish disanay him ;
10. Thou didst blow with thy wind : They overwhelm him as a king ready for battle.
The sea covered them. I. 3. Terrors shall be upon him
16. Terror and dread shall fall upon them :
By the might of thine arm they shall be still as a stone.
Xxviii. 22 And Jehovah shall smite thee with a consumption;
And with a fever, and with an inflammation;
And with an extreme burning. xvil 15. Brimstone shall be rained down against his dwelling.
23. And thy heaven over thy head shall be brass;
And the earth under thee iron.
24. And Jehovah shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust; zi. 17. Counsellors be leadeth captive,
From heaven shall it come down upon thee,
Until thon be destroyed.
And blindness, and astonishment of heart.
29. And thou shali grope at noon day, Yes, he maketh them to reel like a drunkard.
As the blind gropeth in darkness : vil. 17. His roots shall be entangled in a rock;
And thou shalt not prosper in thy ways;
And thou shalt only be oppressed,
And consumed continnally.
And it shall come to PAGS,
As Jehovah exulted over you
To do you good, and to multiply you;
To destroy you, and reduce you to nouglat. "In this specimen of comparison it is peculiarly worthy of remark, that not only the same train of ideas is found to recur; but in many instances the same words, where others might have been employed; and, perhaps, have answered as well: the whole obviously resulting from that habit of thinking upon subjects in the same manner, and by means of the same terms, which is common to every one, and which distinguishes original identity from intentional imitation. I will advert to one instance: the use of the very powerful, but not very common verb vv sis, 'to exult,' exulto, glorior, yarpaw, which occurs in the last verse of both the above passages, and is in each instance equally appropriate:- Meng yasis Yehova—vwo na hu mesos Liw gimo " The same term is again employed Job xxxix. 21. to express the spirited prancing of the high-mettled
war-horse. " The above passage from chap. viii. 19. has not been generally understood, and has been given erroneously in the translations.” Mr. Goode, in his notes, p. 101–103. enters at large into a defence of his version of this passage. Ch. ver. Job.
Deuteronomy. viii. 8. For examine, I beseech thee, the past age;
xxxii. 7. Reflect on the days of old ; Yea, gird thyrelf to the study of its forefathers;
Contemplate the times of ages beyond ages;
Inquire of thy father, and he will show thee;
Thine elders, and they till instruct thee. 11. 17. He shall not behold the branches of the river,
13. He gave him to suck honey out of the rock, Brooks of honey and butter.
And oil out of the flinty rock; xxix. 6. When my path flowed with butter,
14. Butter of kine, and milk of sheer And the rock poured out for me rivers of oil.
12. But Jeshurun waxed fat; and kicked: XX. 21. Though his face be enveloped with fatness,
Thou art waxen fal, thou art grown thick;
Thou art enveloped with fatness
23. I will heap mischiefs upon them;
I will spend my arrows upon them.
42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood. xvi 13 His arrows fly around me;
He pierceth iny reins without mercy. "The fine pathetic elegy of the ninetieth Psalm has been usually ascribed to Moses; and Dathé imagines it was written by him a little before his death.
" Kennicott and Geddes have some doubt upon this point, chiefly because the ultimate period assigned in it to the life of man is fourscore years: while Moses was, at his death, a hundred and twenty years old, yet ‘his eye was not dim, nor his natural tone abated.' Deut. xxxiv. 1.
" The following comparison will, perhaps, have a tendency to confirm the general opinion, by rendering it probable that its author, and the author of the Book of Job, were the same person. Ch. ser. Job.
Psalm. ziv. 2 He springeth up as a flower, and is cut down;
6. They are Mke the passing grass of the morning; Yea, he feeth as a shadow, and endureth not.
6. In the morning it springeth up and growth,
In the evening it is cut down and withereth.
7. For we are consumed by thine anger,
And by thy wrath are we troubled.
8. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee;
Our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
9. Behold, all our days are passed away in thy wrath,
We spend our years as a tale that is told.
10. Their strength is labour and sorrow; vil. 21. Why wilt thou not turn away from my transgression,
It is soon cut oil, and we flee away.
12 So teach us to number our days ri. 14. If the iniqnity of thy hand thou pot away,
That we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
14. O satisfy us early with thy mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15. Make us glad according to the days of our affliction,
To the years we have seen evil:
And thy glory onto their children:
And establish thou the work of our hands. "The strictly and decidedly acknowledged productions of Moses are but few; and in the above examples I have taken a specimen from by far the greater number. It is, indeed, not a little astonishing that, being so few, they should offer a resemblance in so many points.
“There may at times be some difficulty in determining between the similarity of style and diction resulting from established habit
, and that produced by intentional imitation; yet, in the former case, it will commonly, if I mistake not, be found looser, but more general in the latter stricter, but more confined to particular words or idioms; the whole of the features not having been equally caught, while those which have been laid hold of are given more minutely than in the case of habit. The manner runs carelessly through every part; and is perpetually striking us unawares: the copy walks after it with measured but unequal pace, and is restless in courting our attention. The specimens of resemblance now produced are obviously of the former kind: both sides have an equal claim to originality, and seem very powerfully to establish a unity of authorship.”
Thus far Mr. Goode; who has, on his own side of the question, most certainly exhausted the subject. The case he has made out is a strong one: we shall next examine whether a stronger cannot be made out in behalf of Solomon, as the second candidate for the authorship of this most excellent book.
2. That the Book of Job was the work of Solomon, was the opinion of some early Christian writers, among whom was Gregory Nazianzen; and of several moderns, among whom were Spanheim and Harduin. The latter has