JOB 27

4 My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.

Job's calamities

His 500 oxen and his 500 asses were suddenly carried off by a company of Sabean marauders, who also slew all the herdsmen (except one) with the sword.

His 7,000 sheep and all his shepherds (save one) were next consumed by fire from heaven.

He was next plundered of his 3,000 camels, by three bands of Chaldeans, who both carried off the camels, and killed all the drivers (except the one that escaped to tell the tale).

The next news that came was that a great wind had blown down the house of his eldest son, where the whole family of his sons and daughters were assembled together for a feast; only one servant escaping the general destruction.

He was finally afflicted with sore boils on his own person from head to foot. These appear to have been a species of malignant ulcers, something like the boils and blains in the ten plagues of Egypt (for it is the same word that is rendered boils in both cases).

Upon the occasion of the fourth calamity, Job prostrates himself upon: he ground, with rent mantle and shaved head, uttering the most memorable words of resignation that ever fell from mortal lips (outside of Christ)—

"Yahweh gave," said he, "and Yahweh hath taken away; blessed be the name of Yahweh."

To which it is added that

"in all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."

Then in the fifth and last calamity that befel him, when his wife would have had him "curse God and die"—"What," says he,

"shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"

And again it is said,

"in all this did not Job sin with his lips."

Job's three friends, having heard of the evil that had befallen him, made an appointment among themselves to come and "mourn with him and comfort him." Arrived upon the scene, they find Job so changed in appearance as to be almost past recognition. The sight so affected them, that they rent every one his mantle, sprinkled dust on their heads, and wept aloud.

Taking their seat upon the ground, they sat in silence for seven days and seven nights; for Job's grief was so great that none ventured to say a word to him for that period. The seven days ended, Job began to unburden his mind upon the subject of the overwhelming character of the evil that had come upon him in both body and estate.

This gave rise to an informal, but prolonged and somewhat parabolic debate, between Job and his three friends from a distance, and Elihu, a probably nearer neighbour, concluding with some lengthy interrogations addressed to Job by Yahweh himself, to which Job makes final but brief and humble reply, abasing himself in the very dust in the presence of Eternal Wisdom itself. The subject of debate may be perhaps thus described:

That the calamities that had befallen Job were sure evidences of wickedness on his part; and were to be taken as proof that God was against him, as one that magnified himself against the Almighty, and whose claim to be pure and upright and God-fearing possessed no good grounds, otherwise God would awake for him and make the habitation of his righteousness prosperous?

Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar to affirm . . Job to deny.

The Christadelphian, Oct 1888