JOB 29

2 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when Eloah preserved me;

A pointer to timescale!

JOB, like Noah, was a "perfect and upright" man, "one that feared God and eschewed evil." In these particulars there was "none like him in the earth." He had great substance, and seven sons and daughters, on whose behalf he offered burnt offerings according to the manner of the patriarchs of those days. The Lord had "blessed the work of his hands," and as the result of this his substance had greatly "increased in the land." Like Abraham, Job had "a very great household" (or husbandry as the margin says), so that at that time he was

"the greatest of all the men of the east."

Now Job was an instructor of many, a strengthener of weak hands (4:3); and proverbial for his patience (Jas. 5:11); and such was his wealth of kine, that he is said to have "washed his steps with butter" (29:6); and so great was he in "the gate" (the place where causes were heard), that when the young men saw him they hid themselves, and "the aged arose and stood up;" even "princes refrained from talking" in his presence, and "nobles held their peace."

The ear that heard what he had to say blessed him; and the eye that saw him gave witness to him, because he delivered the poor and the fatherless, and him that had no helper. Yea, the blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon him, and the widow's heart sang for joy at the remembrance of his name; for he put on righteousness as a robe, and judgment as a diadem. For he was eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, and a father to the poor; and the cause which he knew not he searched out; yea, in his judicial capacity he brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.

Unto him men gave heed as unto a righteous judge; they waited for his counsel as for the early and the latter rain; for he was a comforter of mourners, and like a king in the midst of his people, after whose verdict no one dared to speak again (29).

He never directed his steps in the interests of vanity or deceit, for he was a man of the strictest integrity. He never turned any one out of the way, nor walked after the lust of his eyes; and neither did any blot cleave to his hands. His heart was never deceived by a woman like Adam's, and neither did he ever despise the cause of his man-servant, or his maid-servant, when they contended with him.

The poor did not perish for want of clothing where he was; for the loins of such as had no covering blessed him, for they were warmed by the fleece of his sheep. Never did he lift up his hand against the fatherless, for he was their help in "the gate." As to gold, it was neither his hope nor his confidence; for he rejoiced not at all because his wealth was great, or because his hand had gotten much.

Job rejoiced not at the destruction of them that hated him, neither did he lift up himself when evil overtook his enemy, nor ever suffer his mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul. The stranger did not lodge in the street if he knew it, for his doors were open night and day to the traveller. His land never cried out against him, nor did the furrows thereof ever complain; for he ate not the fruits thereof without money, and neither did he ever cause the owners thereof to lose their life (31).

He wept for him that was in trouble, and his soul was grieved for the poor (30:25). Such was Job, and such some others, whom God afterwards associated with him as examples of righteousness, as it was said of Jerusalem at the crisis of her destruction,

"though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness" (Ezek. 15:14–20).

But says Job,

"When I looked for good, then evil came unto me; and when I waited for light there came darkness" (30:26).

In the midst of great wealth and well-being, and in the possession of the honour and distinction that belonged to a great eastern chief (or Emir), he is suddenly shorn of all his glory, and by a quick succession of overwhelming calamities, removed as it were from a throne to a dunghill.

The Christadelphian, Oct 1888