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Considered with an eye to CHRIST and Job's faith in him, this Chapter is one of the most interesting in the whole subject of Job's contest with his friends. Job maketh answer to Bildad; begs that he and his companions would spare their unjust censures; still urgeth his present misery, as an apology for his groanings, and concludes with professing his strong confidence in a Redeemer, and everlasting life in him.
(1) ¶ Then Job answered and said, (2) How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?
Job's account of being broken in pieces with hard words, serves to lead the mind to the recollection of JESUS. Psalms 109:1-3 .
(3) These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me. (4) And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself. (5) If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach: (6) Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net. (7) Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.
By ten times Job seems to have meant, their speaking was doubled by reason of the severity of it. And the poor man pleads what ought to have stopped their unkindness, his afflictions were the LORD'S afflictions, and when this is the case it is doubly cruel to heighten them.
(8) ¶ He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. (9) He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. (10) He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. (11) He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. (12) His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. (13) He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. (14) My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. (15) They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. (16) I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth. (17) My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body. (18) Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. (19) All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. (20) My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.
There seems to be much of that which is, and ever will be true gospel in those verses. They are not only of a bodily complaint, but of the anguish of the soul. First, Job eyes GOD'S hand in all. It is the LORD, Saith Job, that hath fenced up my way. When the awakened sinner not only feels the affliction, but eyes the LORD'S hand in that affliction; this is a sweet token that the visitation is beheld spiritually. Reader! recollect how JESUS, when he undertook to place himself in the sinner's room, and to become sin and a curse for his people, felt and uttered his dolorious cries in consequence thereof. Thy reproach, saith JESUS, hath broken my heart. Psalms 69:20 . Secondly, the complaint Job makes of having his brethren put far from him. Here the mourner is a lively type also of the LORD JESUS: who is represented as a stranger unto his brethren, and an alien unto his mother's children. Psalms 69:8 ; John 7:5 . Thirdly, the extremity of his bodily sufferings, his bones cleaving to his skin, and like one escaped with the skin of his teeth. Who can read this and overlook what is said of JESUS, whose tongue cleaved to his jaws, and all whose bones were out of joint. Psalms 5:1-12; Psalms 5:1-12 .
(21) Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. (22) Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?
Nothing could have been more moving than this address. Surely if the hearts of Job's friends had been capable of any feeling, they would have ceased their persecution. Precious JESUS! how delightful is it to view thee in thy clemency and love, who art a brother born for adversity.
(23) ¶ Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! (24) That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever!
I consider these words merely as a preface to what Job was about to say, and not what he had already uttered. And in this sense they serve by way of introduction, to one of the most illustrious instances of faith to be met with, concerning the LORD JESUS CHRIST in the Old Testament scripture. Pray, Reader, as they are thus introduced and in so important a manner, let you and I attend to them the more earnestly.
(25) For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (26) And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (27) Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Every word in those verses is of vast moment, and deserves our closest regard. First, observe Job's open and professed knowledge in a Redeemer: and that Redeemer his own. I know that my Redeemer liveth. Secondly, let us recollect what the scriptures in Job's days, (even if we trace him back as far as the time of Moses,) had taught of a Redeemer. In the Levitical dispensation, the right a redemption was vested in a kinsman, the next of kin. See Leviticus 25:25 . And by comparing this law, with what was observed in the days of the Judges, we learn moreover that both the right of inheritance, and the marriage of the next of kin, by way of raising up the name of the dead upon that inheritance, were parts of the same service in redemption. Both these therefore were performed by JESUS, as the kinsman Redeemer of his people, in whom Job professed knowledge. See Ruth 4:5-6 , with the commentary on these passages. Thirdly. This Redeemer in whom Job professed knowledge and faith, was GOD as well as man; for what is here called goel-Redeemer, in another scripture is called the same, and joined to the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 54:6 . Fourthly. Job's conviction of his kinsman Redeemer's living, is a most precious part in Job's creed. None but a living Saviour can save a dead sinner. But Job's faith led him to this precious conclusion, and which JESUS hath since most fully realized; if JESUS lives his people must live also. John 14:19 . Fifthly. There is another very precious article in this faith of the man of Uz; namely, his own personal interest in all this. It was not enough with Job, (neither, Reader, let it be with you or me,) to know that there is a Redeemer which liveth; but the sweetest part with him was that it was his Redeemer: I know, said he, that my Redeemer liveth. Sixthly. It was no small evidence of the strength of Job's faith, and shows that the faith of the poor afflicted mourner, was true gospel faith, that he was looking forward with a certain assurance, that this his kinsman Redeemer should stand at the latter day upon the earth. Here are clearly included all the grand parts of the gospel. It points to JESUS in his human nature; in his incarnation. It points to JESUS in his crucifixion, that he who once did stand upon the earth in substance of our flesh; and was crucified, dead, and buried, is the very one who shall stand again at the latter day upon the earth. It points to the resurrection, in that it implies the grave was not able to retain him. It points to his ascension, and return at the right hand of power; because without this his redemption, power, and complete work had not been manifested. And it as fully points to his universal judgment, because this forms a grand part in the work of redemption. So vast therefore a subject of faith and hope, was included in this part of Job's knowledge of his kinsman-Redeemer. Seventhly. Job's confidence in the resurrection of the body, by virtue of his interest in this goel-Redeemer. Nothing can be more strongly asserted, than the Patriarch expresseth it. 'Though after my skin worms destroy this body.' And what body so miserable as Job's with sore boils, which made him loathsome to himself and all that saw him? Yet, saith Job, in this very body shall I see him, and mine eyes shall see him for myself and not another for me. Sweet thought also, Reader! The raised bodies of believers will not only see JESUS for themselves, but they will see JESUS in their flesh. GOD in flesh, in their own nature. Oh! the glorious, inexpressibly glorious consideration!
(28) But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? (29) Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.
These words form no unsuitable conclusion to Job's discourse. It is as if he had said; And will you now anymore prosecute me, while I am thus looking to my kinsman Redeemer? Will you endeavor to strip off my leaves, and my fruit of this glorious hope, when the root of the matter, even JESUS himself, is found in me? Oh! vain attempt! besides there is a judgment to be dreaded by you for such conduct. And this reasoning of Job was also founded on that gospel doctrine; Whoso toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye. Zechariah 2:8 .
READER! have not you and I cause to blush, while we thus behold a man like Job, in ages so remote from the clear sunshine of the gospel, and overwhelmed as he was with such a pressure of woe, yet professing a faith so lively, so ardent, so strong, so steady, and unshaken in the Redeemer! while we with all the evidences of a crucified, a risen, and exalted Saviour, can hardly at times maintain a fixedness of soul upon him! Oh! that this view of the Patriarch may be made instrumental, in the kinsman Redeemer, Yes! thou dearest LORD, thou art indeed our goel, our LORD the SPIRIT'S Almighty hand, to quicken the faith of both, and lead out the souls of both, upon the person and work of our Lord JESUS CHRIST; thou ever livest indeed, for by thy death thou hast destroyed him that had the power of death. Thou shalt indeed stand at the latter day upon the earth. Thou wilt come to be glorified in thy saints, and to be admired in all that believe. Help me, LORD, to live daily, hourly, in this precious faith, and to be looking for thy coming, as one that looketh for his best, his dearest friend. Oh! the rapture which will break in upon my soul when I shall see JESUS, my Redeemer, as GOD in my flesh, in my nature, manifesting himself to every son of light. And oh! LORD! grant me strength and grace in this blessed hope, to be looking forward to the grave as to a chamber of repose; as one perfectly convinced that I shall rise again, when thou shalt come to call thy members, from the beds and chambers of their slumber; and when both soul and body united by thee, and in thee, to be separated no more, shall be taken home to thine, and thy FATHER'S court, to serve GOD in his temple, night and day. Build me up, dearest LORD, in this blessed assurance every day, until the last day shall come; and then may my soul ascend to join the spirits of just men made perfect; and my body sweetly fall asleep in JESUS, well convinced that precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 19". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter