There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.Job 1:1. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job — We have observed in the argument, that the firstborn son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, was called Uz. It appears also from Genesis 10:23, that a grandson of Shem bore the same name, but it does not appear whether any country was named from either of these. But we find in Lamentations 4:21, that Edom was called Uz, probably from a grandson of Seir, the Horite, of that name. See Genesis 36:20; Genesis 36:28; 1 Chronicles 1:38; 1 Chronicles 1:42. This person, as the reader will recollect, inhabited the mountainous country, called Seir from him, before the time of Abraham; but his posterity being driven out, the Edomites seized that country, Genesis 14:6; Deuteronomy 2:12, whence it afterward bore the name of Edom. It is part of Arabia Petræa, bordering upon the tribe of Judah to the south. Hence the land of Uz is properly placed between Egypt and the Philistines in Jeremiah 25:20. See Bishop Lowth and Dodd. This, therefore, was probably the country of Job, “whose name,” Dr. Dodd says, “in the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, may, with the greatest probability, be derived from a root which signifies to love or desire; and might be rendered, the beloved or desirable one.” We have observed, that it is likely he was of the posterity of Uz, the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham; but how far removed from him can only be conjectured from the age of his friends; the eldest of whom, Eliphaz the Temanite, could not be nearer than great-grand-son to Esau; for Esau begat Eliphaz, and the son of Eliphaz was Teman: so that supposing this Eliphaz to be the son of Teman, (and higher it will be impossible to place him,) he will then be five generations from Abraham; but as Eliphaz was very much older than Job, nay, older than his father, as appears from chap. Job 15:10; and, considering that Abraham was very old before he had a son by Sarah, and that Rebecca, grand-daughter to Nahor, by Bethuel, perhaps his youngest son, was of an age proper to be wife to Isaac; we shall, probably, not be wide of the mark, if we allow Job to be at least six, if not seven generations removed from Nahor. The age therefore in which he lived must have coincided with the latter years of the life of Jacob, with those of Joseph, and the descent into, and sojourning in Egypt: his afflictions must have happened during the sojourning, about ten years before the death of Joseph, and his life must have been prolonged to within fourteen years before the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, that is, the year of the world 2499. The number of the years of the life of Job, according to this calculation, will be about two hundred; which, for that age of the world, and especially considering that Job was blessed with a remarkably long life, as a reward for his sufferings and integrity, will not appear very extraordinary; for Jacob lived one hundred and forty-seven years; Levi, his son, one hundred and thirty-seven; Koath, his grand-son, one hundred and thirty-three; and Amram, his great-grand-son, and father of Moses, one hundred and thirty-seven; Moses also lived one hundred and twenty years. All these, it seems, were his cotemporaries, some older, some younger than Job: so that this appears to agree extremely well with that circumstance of his history. See Heath and Dodd.
That man was perfect — Not exactly, or according to the law of innocence, but as to his sincere intentions, hearty affections, and diligent endeavours to perform his whole duty to God and men. And upright — Hebrew, וישׁו, vejashar, right, exact, and regular in all his dealings with men; one of an unblameable conversation. And one that feared God — One truly pious and devoted to God. And eschewed evil — Carefully avoiding all sin against God or men.
And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.Job 1:3. His substance also was seven thousand sheep — Namely, seven thousand small cattle, whether sheep or goats, in opposition to the larger cattle next mentioned. And three thousand camels — Camels in these parts were very numerous, as is manifest from Jdg 7:12; 1 Chronicles 5:21, and the testimonies of Aristotle and Pliny; and very useful, both for carrying burdens in those hot and dry countries, being able to endure thirst much better than other creatures, and for service in war. And five hundred she-asses — Which were preferred before he-asses, as serving for the same uses of carrying burdens, riding on, and different kinds of labour; and likewise for breeding and giving milk: but he-asses also may perhaps be included in the expression, the denomination being, as usual, taken from the greater part, which were she-asses. This man was the greatest of all the men of the East — Hebrew, magnus præ omnibus filiis Orientis, great in comparison, in respect, or before all the children of the East. Grotius and others have observed, that the phraseology here used is an argument that the book must have been written by some Israelite, or inhabitant of the land of Canaan, Job’s country lying eastward from thence, and it being usual with the Hebrews to call Arabia the East. The expression probably only means that he was the greatest, or one of the greatest, that lived in those parts; such general expressions being commonly understood with such limitations. The account of his piety and prosperity comes before the account of his afflictions, to show that neither of these will secure us from the common, no, nor from the uncommon calamities of human life.
And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.Job 1:4. His sons went and feasted in their houses — Or made a family feast, to testify and maintain their brotherly love. Every one his day — Not every day of the week and of the year, which would have been burdensome to them all, and gross luxury, and which certainly such a holy man as Job would not have permitted; but each his appointed day, perhaps his birth- day, or the first day of the month. It is certain the same expression, יומו, jomo, his day, means his birth-day, Job 3:1. “The verse,” says Dr. Dodd, “might be rendered, And his sons had a constant custom to make a family feast, every one on his birth-day; and they sent and invited their three sisters,” &c. According to Herodotus, the inhabitants of the East in general, and especially the Persians, were remarkable for celebrating their birthdays with great festivity and luxury.
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.Job 1:5. When the days of their feasting were gone about — When each of them had had his turn, and there was some considerable interval before their next feasting-time; or, as the Hebrew כי הקופו ימי, chi hikkipu jemee, may be rendered, As the days went about, Job sent and sanctified them — Exhorted and commanded them to sanctify themselves, not merely by changing or washing their clothes, (Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:14,) and performing other ablutions, and acts of ceremonial purification then in use; but by examining their own consciences, repenting of every thing that had been amiss in their feasting, and composing their minds for employments of a more solemn nature. And rose up early in the morning — Thereby showing his ardent zeal in God’s service. And offered burnt- offerings according to the number of them all — Well knowing himself, and hereby teaching them, that all sin, even secret unbelief, ingratitude, and vanity of mind, merited condemnation from God, and could only be expiated by the shedding of blood, and offering of sacrifice, in a spirit of true penitence, and humble, lively faith. It may be my sons have sinned — His zeal for God’s glory, and his love to his children, made him jealous; for which he had sufficient cause, from the corruption of human nature, the frailty and folly of youth, the many temptations which attend feasting, and men’s proneness to slide from lawful to forbidden delights. And cursed God — Not in a gross manner, which it was not probable either that they should do, or that Job should suspect concerning them, but despised or dishonoured God; for both the Hebrew and Greek words which signify cursing, are sometimes used to denote only reviling, or setting light by a person. Thus, what is called cursing one’s father or mother, Exodus 21:17, is elsewhere called setting light by them, as Deuteronomy 27:16; Ezekiel 22:7. In their hearts — By slight and low thoughts of God, or by neglecting to give him the praise of the mercies which they enjoyed. It may be proper to observe, that the word ברךְ, barack, here rendered to curse, usually signifies to bless; but it is evident it is here to be understood in a bad sense, as it is 1 Kings 21:10, where Naboth is accused of cursing or blaspheming God and the king, as it is also Job 2:5; Job 2:9, of this book. It has been thought by some, that it was substituted instead of the word ארר, arar; קבב, ka-bab; or קלל, kalal, (one or other of which is usually put for cursing, or vilifying,) out of reverence for God, when he is spoken of. But, “It is most certain,” says Selden, as quoted by Leigh, “that the verb barak signifies to execrate or to curse, as well as to bless; and this, as I think, not by antiphrasis, as some will have it; but almost from the very idiom of the sacred language it may signify either way, according to the connection in which it is used, as among the Latins sacrare and imprecari. For as the first signifies sometimes to devote any one by curses to destruction, and at others, to consecrate any thing to God; and as we call for either good or evil upon others; so barak denotes what a man wishes or calls for, with an ardent mind, whether it be salvation or perdition. And when applied to the Deity, it either signifies addressing him by praises and thanksgivings, (which is more common,) or with revilings and reproaches; and the difference is to be collected from the nature of the case and from the context.” What Dr. Dodd observes here is also worth attention. “The Hebrew word,” says he, “signifies to bless; but it here implies to renounce or bid adieu to, or take our leave of those things which we abandon or renounce. It is therefore used with great elegance in this sense, to signify, they renounced God; and this signification is still softened and rendered more elegant by the addition of the words, in their hearts.” Thus did Job continually — It was his constant course, at the end of every feasting-time, to offer a sacrifice for each of his children. Parents should be particular in their addresses to God, for the several branches of their family; praying for each child, according to his particular temper, genius, and disposition.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.Job 1:6. Now there was a day — A certain time appointed by God; when the sons of God came — The Targum says, Troops of angels, the LXX., Angels of God; the holy angels are called sons of God, (Job 38:7, and Daniel 3:25; Daniel 3:28,) because of their creation by God, their resemblance of him in power, dignity, and holiness, and their filial affection and obedience to him. To present themselves before the Lord — Before his throne, to receive his commands, and to give him an account of their ministrations. The verb להתיצב, lehithjatseb, here rendered to present themselves, expresses the attendance and assiduity of ministers appearing before their king to receive his instructions, or give an account of their negotiations. This must be understood as a parabolical representation, similar to that in 1 Kings 22:19. The Scripture speaks of God after the manner of men, condescending to our capacities, and suiting the revelation to our apprehensions. As kings, therefore, transact their most important affairs in a solemn council or assembly, so God is pleased to represent himself as having his council likewise and as passing the decrees of his providence in an assembly of his holy angels. We have here, in the case of Job, the same grand assembly held as was before in that of Ahab, 1 Kings 22 : the same host of heaven, called here the sons of God, presenting themselves before Jehovah, as in the vision of Micaiah they are said to stand on his right hand and on his left: a wicked spirit appearing among them, here called Satan, or the adversary, and there a lying spirit, both bent on mischief, and ready to do all the hurt that they were able, as far as God would give them leave; but, nevertheless, both under the control of his power, and suffered to go as far as might best serve the wise ends of his justice and his providence, and no further. The imagery, in short, is just the same; and the only difference is in the manner of the relation. Micaiah, as a prophet, and in the actual exercise of his prophetic office, delivers it as he received it, that is, in a vision: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, &c. The other, as an historian, interweaves it with the history, and tells us, in the plain narrative style, There was a day, &c. And this parabolical or prophetical way of representing what is a great and most important truth, namely, that God, by his wise and holy providence, governs all the actions of men and devils, is used that it may make a more lively and lasting impression on our minds. At the same time it must not be forgotten that representations of this kind are founded in a well-known and established truth, namely, that there are angels, both good and bad, that they are interested in the affairs of men; a point revealed, no doubt, from the beginning. And that the affairs of earth are much the subject of the counsels of the unseen world, to which we lie open, though that world is in a great measure concealed from us. And such representations may also be intended to discover to us, in part, at least, the causes of many of those things which happen on earth, and which appear to us unaccountable, namely, that they arise from our having some connection with, or relation to, other orders of beings through the universe, on whose account, and through whose ministry, many things may happen to us, which otherwise would not. Thus the dreadful calamities and afflictions which befell Job, in such quick succession, are utterly unaccountable according to the ordinary course of human things, and seem almost without reason, if he were considered merely as a human being, having no connection with, relation to, or influence upon, any world but this, or any order of beings but those among whom he lived; but are easily accounted for if brought on him by invisible agents, through divine permission, and certainly answered a most wise and grand purpose, if intended to show to superior beings, whether good or evil, to what a degree of steady and invincible piety and fidelity to God his grace can raise creatures formed out of the clay, and dwelling in flesh. It is but just to observe here, that some commentators adopt a different interpretation of this verse, understanding by the sons of God presenting themselves before the Lord, the people of God meeting together for religious worship on earth. Dr. Lightfoot’s comment is, “On a sabbath day, when the professors of the true religion were met together, in the public assembly, Satan was invisibly there among them;” namely, to distract and disturb them in their worship, and observe their infirmities and defects, that he might have matter of accusation against them. But what we have stated above seems to be the most probable sense of the passage.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.Job 1:7. The Lord said unto Satan, &c. — As we are not to suppose from the preceding verse that Satan entered into heaven among the angels of God, uncalled; so, neither are we so to understand what is here said, as if the Great and Holy One really entered into a conversation with that apostate spirit. But, as we have stated above, the whole is parabolical and emblematical. Whence comest thou? — God, being here represented as Judge, begins with an inquiry as the ground of his further proceedings, as he did with our first parents, Genesis 3:9, and with Cain, Genesis 4:9. Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro in the earth — Where, by thy permission, I range about, observing, with great diligence, all the dispositions and actions of men, and working in them and among them, as far as I have liberty and opportunity. The Targum, after the words, from going to and fro in the earth, very significantly adds, to try the works of the children of men. From which it appears, that the ancient Jews understood this account of the temptation of Job in a literal sense. This representation teaches us, that Satan, the great apostate spirit, is entirely under the dominion of the sovereign Lord of all things, and not suffered to act without control; and that he is chiefly confined to the limits of this earth; agreeably to which he is called, in the New Testament, the Prince of this world, John 12:31. And from this and many other passages in Scripture, we may learn that it is his employment to seek for all opportunities to delude the human race. The New Testament frequently mentions the temptations, wiles, and snares of the devil. And St. Peter describes him as doing the same thing which he is here said to do, namely, walking about as an adversary to man, seeking whom he may devour; roving to and fro with an evil intention, and a determined resolution of doing mischief.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?Job 1:8. Hast thou considered my servant Job? — Hast thou taken notice of him, and of his spirit and conduct? That there is none like him in all the earth — The Targum saith, “None like him in the land of the Gentiles;” intimating, probably, that notwithstanding he was of the Gentiles, he was yet so distinguished an example of virtue and goodness, that his equal was not to be found among them. Dr. Lightfoot speaks of Job as being, without the least doubt, a heathen, observing, “In these times, when it went thus sadly with Israel in Egypt, there shone forth the glorious piety of Job in the land of Uz,” vol. 1. p. 23; and again, p. 1026, “About (the time of) Israel’s being in Egypt, Job lives in Arabia, a heathen man, and yet so good.” And thus St. Gregory: “His country is purposely named, that the goodness of the man may be the more illustrated.”
Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?Job 1:9. Doth Job serve God for naught? — That is, sincerely and freely, and out of pure love and respect to thee? No: it is policy, not piety, that makes him good: he doth not serve thee, but serves himself of thee; and is a mere mercenary creature, serving thee for his own ends.
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.Job 1:10. Hast thou not made a hedge about him? — Protected him with a thorny and inaccessible defence, or secured him, by thy special care and providence, from all harm and inconveniences? which is sufficient to oblige and win persons of the worst tempers; and about his house — His children and servants; about all that he hath on every side — His whole property, which is all under thy protection. Thou hast blessed the work of his hands — Hast caused whatever he does to prosper. Observe, reader, without the divine blessing, be the hands ever so strong, ever so skilful, their work will not prosper. And his substance is increased in the land — The original word מקנהו, mickneehu, chiefly means his cattle; and the word פרצ, parets, here rendered increased, is a metaphor taken from waters which have burst their bounds, and spread themselves on all sides round; so Job’s substance had largely increased, and spread itself like a flowing torrent over the adjacent land. — Schultens.
But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.Job 1:11. But put forth thy hand now — In a way of justice and severity, as the phrase of putting or stretching forth God’s hand is used, Isaiah 5:25, and Ezekiel 25:7; Ezekiel 25:13; Ezekiel 25:16 : and touch all that he hath — That is, afflict or destroy his children and substance; and he will curse thee to thy face — He who is now so forward to serve and bless thee, will then openly and boldly blaspheme thy name, and reproach thy providence as unjust and unmerciful to him. Or, as Schultens paraphrases the words, “He will, with the highest degree of insolence and contumacy, entirely renounce thee and religion.” Thus, when Satan could not accuse Job of any thing really ill, he charges him with having merely selfish and sinister ends in view in doing good, which was, in effect, charging him with being a hypocrite. Let us not think it strange if those who are approved and accepted of God, be unjustly censured by the devil and his instruments; and if they be otherwise perfectly unexceptionable, it is easy to charge them with hypocrisy, as Satan charged Job, and they have no way to clear themselves, but patiently to wait for the judgment of God. As there is nothing we should dread more than being hypocrites, so there is nothing we should dread less than being called and accounted so without cause. It was a great truth that Job did not fear God for naught; he got much by it: for godliness is great gain. But it was a false lie that he would not have feared God if he had not got this by it, as the event proved. Job’s friends charged him with hypocrisy because he was greatly afflicted, Satan because he greatly prospered. It is no hard matter for those to calumniate that seek occasion. Let us remember it is not mercenary to look at the eternal recompense in our obedience; but to aim merely or chiefly at temporal advantages in our religion, and to make it subservient to them, is spiritual idolatry, worshipping the creature more than the Creator, and is likely to end in a fatal apostacy. Men cannot long serve God and Mammon.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.Job 1:12. The Lord said, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power — I give thee full power to do with his property, his servants, his children, and his wife, whatsoever thy craft or malice shall prompt thee to do; only upon himself put not forth thy hand — Meddle not with his own person, with his body or soul. It seems strange that God should give Satan such a permission as this. But he did it for his own glory, for the honour of Job, for the explanation of providence, and the encouragement of his afflicted people in all ages. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord — From the place where God is represented as having been especially present, glad of the permission he had obtained to do mischief to a good man; and resolved to lose no time, but immediately to put his project in execution. Schultens observes, that יצא, jatza, to go forth, is used here in a judicial way; comprehending the office of an executer of justice; as Isaiah 37:36, the angel of the Lord יצא, jatza, went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians. Thus did Satan go forth to execute the judgments wherewith he was permitted to afflict and try Job.
And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:Job 1:14-15. And the asses feeding beside them — That is, beside the oxen. And the Sabeans fell upon them — A people of Arabia, who led a wandering life, and lived by robbery and plunder, as Strabo and other heathen writers observe. They were the descendants of Abraham by Keturah, whose son Jokshan begat Sheba, their progenitor. Indeed, the Hebrew here is, Sheba fell upon them; and took them away — The whole five hundred yoke of oxen, and the five hundred asses which he had. Yea, they have slain the servants, &c. — Who faithfully and bravely did their best to defend them. And I only am escaped to tell thee — Him Satan spared no less maliciously than he destroyed the rest, that Job might have speedy and certain intelligence of his calamity.
And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.Job 1:16. While he was yet speaking — Before the former had done speaking, or Job could have time to compose his disturbed mind, and to digest his former loss; there came also another — Another messenger of evil tidings; and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven — Not ordinary lightning, which could scarcely have destroyed seven thousand sheep at once; but an extraordinary, terrible, and widely-spreading flame or fire, issuing from the air, accompanied, probably, by a dreadful storm of thunder and hail, such as that recorded Exodus 9., which destroyed both man and beast that were left without shelter in the field; or that which destroyed the army of the confederate kings, Joshua 10:11. We need not wonder that this fire and storm were so destructive, since they were raised by him who is emphatically termed the prince of the power of the air, and who had now permission to use his power to the utmost against the property of Job. Thunder is termed in Hebrew the voice of God, and the messenger terms this lightning the fire of God, not knowing that the evil spirit had any hand in causing it. How terrible then must have been the tidings of this destruction, which was represented as coming immediately from the hand of God, and which seemed to show that God was angry at Job’s very offerings, and would receive no more at his hands!
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.Job 1:17. There came also another — Bringing tidings still more afflictive than either of the two former; and said, The Chaldeans — Who also lived upon spoil, as Xenophon and others observe; made out three bands —
That they might come upon their prey several ways, and that nothing might be able to escape them; and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away — The three thousand camels which Job had; (see Job 1:3;) a prodigious loss indeed! slaying, at the same time, the servants that tended them. If the fire of God, and the sword of the plunderers, which fell upon Job’s honest servants that were in the way of their duty, had fallen upon the Sabean robbers that were doing mischief, God’s judgments therein would have been like the great mountains, evident and conspicuous; but when the way of the wicked prospers, and they carry off their booty, while just and good men are suddenly cut off, God’s righteousness is like the great deep, the bottom of which we cannot find, Psalm 36:6.
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:Job 1:18. While he was yet speaking there came also another — Bringing tidings the most distressing of all. One messenger immediately followed another in this manner, through the contrivance of Satan, by God’s permission, that there might seem to be more than ordinary displeasure of God against Job in his troubles, and that he might not have leisure to recollect himself, but be overwhelmed by a complication of calamities Thus the children of God are often in heaviness, λυπηθεντες, distressed, burdened with grief, through manifold trials; deep calls to deep; waves and billows, one after another, go over them. Let one affliction, therefore, quicken and excite us to prepare for another; for, how deep soever we may have drunk of the bitter cup, as long as we are in the world, we cannot be sure that we have drunk our share. Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking, &c. — That is, feasting after their manner, and, as Job had generally feared and suspected, perhaps sinning against God, Job 1:5.
And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.Job 1:19. And behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness — From the further part of, or across the wilderness, whence the fiercest winds came, as having most power in such open places: see Jeremiah 4:11; Jeremiah 13:24. By this it appears that Job’s situation was on the northerly side of the Arabian desert; and smote the four corners of the house — In which the chief strength of the house consisted. The wind smote these either all together, or rather successively, one corner immediately after another, being possibly a whirlwind, which came violently and suddenly whirling about in a circle; and it fell upon the young men — Upon his sons in their youth, and his daughters also, as appears from the sequel. This was the greatest of all Job’s losses, his ten children being, undoubtedly, by far the dearest and most valuable of his possessions; and it could not but go nearest to him, and, therefore, Satan reserved it to the last; that, if the other provocations failed, this might make him curse God. Our children are parts of ourselves, and it touches a good man in a most tender part to be deprived of any of them. What then must Job have felt, when he learned that he had lost his whole ten at once, and that in one moment he was written childless! It was also an aggravation of the calamity that they had been taken away so suddenly, without any previous warning. Had they died by some lingering disease, and he had had notice to expect their death, and prepare for the breach, the affliction would have been more tolerable. And that they had died when they were feasting and making merry, was another and still more distressing circumstance. Had they died suddenly when they were praying, he might have better borne it; for. in that case, he would have hoped that death had found them in a state of preparation for another world, which he had great reason to fear now it had not. They died, indeed, by a wind of the devil’s raising, but which seemed to come from the immediate hand of God, and to be sent as a judgment of God upon them for the punishment of their sins: and they were taken away when Job had most need of them to comfort him under all his other losses.
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,Job 1:20. Then Job arose — From his seat whereon he had been sitting in a disconsolate posture; and rent his mantle — In token of his deep sense of, and just sorrow for, the heavy hand of God upon him, and his humiliation of himself under that hand: see Genesis 37:34; and shaved his head — Caused the hair of his head to be shaved or cut off, which was then a usual ceremony in mourning: of which see Ezra 9:3; Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 7:29; Jeremiah 41:5; Micah 1:16. And fell down upon the ground — In self-abasement, contrition, and supplication unto God; and worshipped — Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.
And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.Job 1:21. Naked came I out of my mother’s womb — I brought none of those things which I have now lost with me when I came out of my mother’s womb into the world, but I received them from the hand and favour of that God who hath now required his own again; and naked shall I return — I shall be as rich when I die as I was when I was born; and therefore have reason to be contented with my condition, which also is the common lot of all men. We go naked out of the world into the womb or lap of our common mother the earth, as the weary child lays its head on its mother’s bosom. Death strips us of all our possessions and enjoyments; clothing can neither warm nor adorn a dead body: a consideration which silenced Job under all his losses. The sanctified soul, however, goes out of the world clothed, (2 Corinthians 5:3,) and when it appears in the presence of God is not found naked. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away — He hath taken away nothing but his own; nothing but what he so gave to me as to reserve the supreme dominion and disposal of it in his own hand. So that I have no cause to murmur against him or complain. Nor have I reason to fret and rage against the Chaldeans and Sabeans, the fire or the wind, which were only God’s instruments to execute his wise and holy counsel: for, what is it to me by what hand or means he that gives resumes what he gave? Blessed be the name of the Lord — That is, blessed be the Lord, his name being put for himself. The sense is, I have no cause to quarrel with God, but much cause to bless and praise him that he did give me such blessings, and suffered me to enjoy them more and longer than I deserved, and that he hath vouchsafed to afflict me, which I greatly needed for my soul’s good; and which I take as a token of his love and faithfulness to me, and therefore ministering more matter of comfort than grief to me; and that he hath left me the comfort of my wife, and yet is pleased to continue to me the health of my body, and a composed mind, and a heart to submit to his good pleasure; and that he hath reserved and prepared a felicity for me, which no Chaldeans or Sabeans, no men or devils, can take away from me; of which see Job 19:25.
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.Job 1:22. In all this Job sinned not — That is, under all these pressures, or in all that he said or did upon these sad occasions, he sinned not in such a manner as Satan presaged that he would, and as is expressed in the following words. But the meaning is not that he was free from all human infirmity, of which he often acknowledges himself to be guilty. Indeed, the question between God and Satan was not whether Job had any sin in him, but whether he was a hypocrite, and would blaspheme God if brought under heavy calamities, which is here denied and disproved. Nor charged God foolishly — Hebrew, nor imputed folly to God; so far was he from blaspheming God, that he did not entertain any dishonourable thought of God, as if he had done any thing unworthy of his infinite wisdom, or justice, or goodness, but heartily acquiesced in his good pleasure, and in his righteous, though sharp proceedings against him. Discontent and impatience do, in effect, impute folly to God! Against the workings of these we should carefully watch, acknowledging that God has done well, but we have done foolishly.