And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day…
I. THE FESTIVE MEETING. "And his sons went," etc.
1. It was a united family. There were no schisms in that body. The sons had all grown up, had their own houses, their own lands, and their own flocks and herds. Yet Ephraim did not envy Judah, and Judah did not vex Ephraim — without jealousies, without shyness, without any affected superiority, without mistrust. "Behold, how good and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." And what an evil thing it is where this unity is wanting.
2. It was a social family. "And called for their three sisters to eat and drink with them." It is a noticeable feature of patriarchal life that great respect was always paid to the home courtesies. We claim it as one of the refining and beneficent results of Christianity that it has restored woman to her social place and dignity. And, as compared with her lower position in an immediately preceding age, no doubt it did. But the courtesies of the sisterly relation have never been observed more sacredly than by the patriarchs, who thus learned under the paternal roof the graceful attentions and refinements which should the better befit them for married life. We open a deep spring of elevating and softening influences when we establish among brothers and sisters a systematic regard to domestic courteousness. A young man is sure to grow up a churl — rude, half-humanised, unmannerly — who does not care to maintain a kindly and affectionate bearing toward a sister at home.
3. It was a convivial family. "And his sons went and feasted in their houses." It was not then inconsistent with patriarchal manners to mark these family gatherings by a feast. Abraham made a feast at the weaning of Isaac; Isaac makes a feast to Abimelech and Pichol; and Laban made a feast on the occasion of the marriage of Jacob. God has clearly made some things for the service of man only, but He has as clearly made other things for his enjoyment, for his refreshment. The Psalmist tells us in one verse that the great Parent "caused the grass to grow for the cattle, and the herb for the service of man," he tells us in the next verse that He causeth "wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make him of a cheerful countenance." Only in the abuse consists the sin of these well-spread tables.
II. THE FAMILY SACRIFICE. The seven days' feasting were past. "And it was so when the days of their feasting were gone about, Job sent and sanctified them," etc.
1. Job sent and sanctified his children; that is, bade them prepare themselves for a sanctifying ordinance. The most ordinary exercises of devotion are well preceded by a moment's pause; it gives the soul time to attire itself for the Divine presence chamber — an opportunity to shake off the dust from our feet before approaching to speak with God upon the mount. The present was a great family occasion in Job's household. There were mercies to acknowledge, shortcomings to bewail, responsibilities to renew, lessons to sanctify. What changes might pass over their domestic fortunes before the yearly feast came round! That cloud, now no bigger than a man's hand, what may it not grow to? That sorrow, now lighting heavily on our neighbour, and on account of which we dare not even utter to him the customary kind words of the season, how soon may that sorrow be ours! God of the future, and of the unseen, and the unknown, how should a devout parent desire to roll on Thee the burden of these responsibilities! Avert them from our children and families we cannot, but if, like Job, we send and sanctify them, a year which is begun with prayer we may hope to conclude with praise.
2. Observe, too, they were grown-up sons on account of whom Job evinced solicitude. The fact may suggest whether in our day the filial and parental relations are kept up long enough. It seems to be too much taken for granted that the quitting of the home roof is the signal for the discharge of the parental responsibilities. "And he rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings." Early in the morning, for this was a marked characteristic of the devotions of men of old time. Abraham, David, and Job seem to have thought that they who prevented the dawning of the day in their supplications would carry away the best blessings. God sitteth between the cherubim, waiting for prayer, and they who come first shall be heard first. "I love them that love Me, and they that seek Me early shall find Me." "And offered burnt offerings." How so, when as yet there was no written law, no order of priesthood, no ordinance or sanctuary? The answer suggests how far back, and how universally the day of Christ has been looked for. How much or how little Job understood of the moral scope of these burnt offerings does not appear.Two features of Job's practical religion come out here.
1. In making an offering he measured the amount by the greatness of his mercies.
2. His offerings were not thank offerings only, they were intercessory, and in this view they mark the beautiful individuality of a pious father's prayers.
(D. Moore, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.