Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Then Job answered the LORD, and said,VI. THE CONFESSION OF JOB
Critics claim that Job’s answer is misplaced and that it really ought to be put in connection with chapter 41:3-5. This is another evidence of the lack of spiritual discernment of these “great” scholars. They treat the Word of God as literature only and criticise it as such. We have seen that the additional words of Jehovah were needed to bring Job completely into the dust and bring from his lips the confession which alone could satisfy Jehovah and be the great blessing for himself. This confession we have now before us.
Then Job answered the Lord and said:
I know that Thou canst do all things,
And that no purpose of Thine can be withstood.
Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge?
Therefore have I uttered that which I understood not.
Hear I beseech Thee and I will speak,
I will demand of Thee, and I will speak and declare Thou unto Me.
I heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear;
But now mine eyes seeth Thee,
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Here we have his full answer, his complete prostration before Jehovah. He acknowledgeth first Jehovah’s supreme power. He is omnipotent and can do all things. Then he quotes Jehovah’s own words (Job 38:2; Job 40:2). Thou hast asked me, “Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge?” It is strange that some expositors can misapply these words as if the Lord again rebuked Elihu. No, as we have shown before, He rebukes Job for his wild and audacious charges he had made against the Lord. And now Job acknowledgeth that Jehovah’s rebuke is right. It is all true, he saith, I uttered things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, beyond my ken. Hear me now, Jehovah, I will speak. Once more he quotes Jehovah’s word. Thou hast said (40:2), “I ask of thee, answer ME.” Here then is MY answer, he replies--”I heard of Thee by hearing of the ear; but now mine eyes hath seen Thee--this is my answer now--I abhor myself in dust and ashes I repent.”
Face to face with Jehovah, His power and His holiness prostrate Job in the dust. No creature can stand and boast in His presence. His plea of innocence, of righteousness, of philanthropy and all the boastings of his former greatness is gone. He seeth himself stripped of all; he stands in Jehovah’s presence in nakedness and shame. Nor does he say that he abhors now what his mouth hath spoken, but it is himself, his wicked, proud self, which he abhors. He has taken the place of greatness. Now Jehovah can come forth and lift him up and raise him to blessing and glory. This great scene corresponds with the vision of Isaiah when he beheld the Lord and cried out “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). And Daniel also! (Daniel 10:1-21). Peter on the Lake of Galilee was face to face with Him, who hath spoken to Job, the same and not another, and when he seeth His power and realizeth this is Jehovah, Peter falls at His feet and like Isaiah, Daniel and Job, acknowledges his nothingness. “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
The enigma of the book of Job is solved. God permitted the afflictions to come upon His servant Job, not only to manifest His power, but for Job’s good, to draw him into the place of nearness and of blessing. And that place is the dust, “in dust and in ashes.”
This is the place which all God’s saints must own. And blessed are we, beloved reader, if we follow the wooings of grace, if we let His Spirit put us daily into that place, so that the Lord’s hand may be prevented from putting us there by suffering and affliction.
And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.VII. THE EPILOGUE: JOB’S RESTORATION AND BLESSING
1. Jehovah’s message to Job’s friends (Job 42:7-9)
2. Job’s restoration (Job 42:10-15)
3. The conclusion: Peace (Job 42:16-17)
Job 42:7-9. Like the beginning of the book, the prologue, the epilogue is not in a poetic measure, but in prose. The Lord addresseth Eliphaz as the most prominent one of the three friends of Job. His wrath is kindled against the three. Though they had apparently stood up for Him and defended His character, yet under the searchlight of the Omniscient One, who searcheth the hearts of men, they are found wanting. The charges they had brought against his servant Job, were false. They had wickedly accused Job, whom He had declared to be “a perfect and an upright man.” In all their charges they had slandered God. Then the Lord said, “for ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job hath.” Here is a beautiful lesson. Job hath confessed and Jehovah hath forgiven. He forgets all Job’s sinful utterances; He remembers them no more. But in infinite grace He takes the few sentences scattered throughout Job’s speeches in which he honoured the Lord and expressed trust in Him and with these He is well pleased. It must have been a sweet music in Jehovah’s ear when Job said, “Though He slay me yet will I trust.” And so He acknowledgeth Job as His servant. They must bring sacrifices--a burnt offering; and that blessedly shows us the cross.
“And my Servant Job shall pray for you; for him I will accept.” Sweet scene now as Job prays for his humbled friends. How it again reminds us of Him, who ever liveth and maketh intercession for His people. Him God hath accepted in His great sacrificial work on the cross, and we are accepted in Him.
So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them; and the Lord accepted Job. This is the last as to Job’s friends.
Job 42:10-15. And now Job’s restoration and double blessing. All his kinfolks return with all his acquaintances and sit down to a meal in sweet communion. What about his bodily disease? Nothing is said of that. But assuredly the Lord touched his suffering body, and He who spoke to the leper, must have spoken to Job, “Be thou clean,” and the loathsome disease vanished, and as Elihu had said, his flesh became like that of a young child. They also brought him money and rings of gold. They were not presents to enrich him, the Lord did that for Job, but simply to show how happy they were over Job’s healing and restoration.
All his wealth becomes twice as large as before. The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. While his possessions are doubled, his sons and daughters are not. He gives him also seven sons and three daughters. This does not mean, as some suppose, that they were not new sons and daughters, but that the restoration is that in resurrection. Such a view is untenable. The sons and daughters were born to him. The names of the three daughters are given. Jemimah (a dove); Keziah (cassia); Keren-happuch (flashes of Glory). Such were the blessed results of Job’s experience, expressed by these names. Purified and humble like the dove; cassia, which is fragrance, worship and adoration; and the flashes and splendour of glory.
Job 42:16-17. We have reached the end. It is an end of peace, a perfect day. Four generations he beholds and at the ripe old age of 140 years he is gathered to his fathers. In consulting the Septuagint version we find a long addition to the last verse which begins with this statement: “and it is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up.” Then follows Job’s genealogy. It is taken from some apocryphal writing but it shows that the hope of the resurrection of the body was believed in ancient days. Surely Job will be there, “in that day” and his great utterance, “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” and the hope of seeing Him will be realized.
“Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11). And all His people know this matchless truth, that the Lord in all His dealings with His people “is very pitiful and of tender mercy.” In our annotations we have pointed out repeatedly the comparison of Job in his sufferings with the Lord, our Saviour, and His holy sufferings in the sinner’s place. It brings out the perfection of Him who is altogether lovely.
An application to Israel can also be made. If this is followed out it will prove of much interest. Israel, like Job, is suffering, self-righteous, but some day the nation will come face to face with Jehovah and be humbled in the dust. Then their restoration when they will receive double of the Lord’s hand for all their sins (Isaiah 11:2).