3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

The Book of Job

The Book of Job could not be "an illustration of childlike patience under severe affliction and humiliation," unless Job and his friends were actual personages. An illustration is an illustration. A fiction can never be an illustration. Job is no sketch of the fancy.

The conclusion of the book would show this without other evidence, but the matter is made certain by God's recognition of Job's personal reality, thus:

"Though these three men, Noah Daniel, and Job were in the land, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness."—(Ezek. 14:14, 20.)

James also refers to it in the same practical sense:

"Ye have heard of the patience of Job."—(James 5:11.)

As to the speeches, no doubt they have a common ring about them; but this does not prove them the production of one person. It only illustrates the fact that friends, for many years united in the same faith and worship of God, come to have a common language, in the main, in their description of God and his doings.

The book of course was written by one pen (authorship not certainly known), and, doubtless, the speeches would suffer modification in the writing, as in almost any modern case where one man reports the sayings of others from memory. Such a man inevitably impresses his own style on the report. But the substance would be faithfully represented, as regarded the sentiments expressed by the several speakers.

As to the light in which we are to regard the speeches of Job's friends, after the divine condemnation recorded in the last chapter, they are, doubtless, to be taken with some limitation, but we must not make the limitation narrower than the condemnation requires.

The three friends had not spoken concerning God that which was right, in contending that present adversity was a token of His displeasure, or present prosperity, of his favour; but their general principles, thus misapplied, with regard to time were correct enough; God will bless the righteous, and God will curse the wicked.

But they misapplied the true principle in the case of Job. Their words, in the general, are a correct expression of divine truth. Hence you find Paul quoting Eliphaz.—(1 Cor. 3:19.)

 If Paul did so, "Dr. Thomas and others" cannot be wrong in doing so also.

The Christadelphian, Aug 1873

11 Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the spirit when I came out of the belly?

The seven days and seven nights of silent grief, having come to an end, Job, in the extremity of his evil experiences, begins to wish he had never been born. To this sentiment he gives expression in true oriental style, of which we have another illustration, in the case of Jeremiah (20:14–18; 15:10), who, like Job, was a righteous man, but who, notwithstanding this, like Job, came into circumstances of dreadful evil, which made him wish like the patriarch of Uz (of whose land he speaks — 25:20) that he had never found his way upon such a scene of woe.

But the Psalmist also, speaking for a moment something in the same strain (Ps. 77:7–10, read it), supplies us with the explanation of language so imprecatory and complaining, for says he, "I said, this is my infirmity;" and then trying to rise more equal to the occasion, he says,

"but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of Yahweh; surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also on all thy work, and talk of thy doings."

This Psalm reflects a case just such as Job's was; so much so, that it would not be difficult to imagine that it had been written by him, after he had come through his trials. For just look at some other things which the Psalm says—

"My sore ran in the night, and ceased not; my soul refused to be comforted."


"I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed."


"I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song, in the night."

What could better describe Job's own case? and what could better explain the extreme character of his valedictory address upon his own life and being, and the much-covered grave of infants who never saw the light, or of kings and counsellors, and even prisoners, at rest at last in the bosom of oblivion; all of which tells us that Job's experience at this time was one of the most trying to flesh and blood, that it is possible for mortal man to come through; and especially if we consider the rapidity with which these calamities followed one upon another, like "breach upon breach," as he says in another place (16:14).

The Christadelphian, Nov 1888

19 The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.

"There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."-Eccles. 9:10.

Such is the nature of things with respect to the captives of death, good and bad, great and small, while in his custody-prisoners asleep and chained to the sides of the pit, who cannot leave their prison-house, till He who hath the Keys of the Invisible and of Death (Rev. 1:18), comes and unlocks the gates of the unseen.

It is part of the mission of Jesus to do this. Thus in prophecy, the Spirit saith to Christ,

"I, Yahweh, have called Thee, and will give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house."-Isa. 42:6, 7.

And in Zech. 9:10, 11, the Spirit saith of the King who was to ride into Jerusalem upon the foal of an ass, "He shall speak peace unto the nations;" and then addressing him as if present, saith,

"As for these also, by the blood of thy covenant I have released thy prisoners out of the pit, in which is no water."

Paul is one of these prisoners. He is in a pit, in which there is no water of life; and, if ever he get out of it, as he certainly will, it will be by virtue of the blood of the Abrahamic Covenant, which was anti-typically dedicated, and made sanctifying to all the children thereof, by the blood of sprinkling, shed from the side of Jesus; and with which he was sprinkled in obeying the truth. Even when alive, and in the custody of the Roman Dragon, he styles himself

"the prisoner of the Lord;"

for he got into the Satan's clutches in the Lord's service; and as the Lord could have released him, but did not, he was more the Lord's prisoner, than the Roman Devil and Satan's (Rev. 12:9.)

Such, then, is Paul's present condition, "like to a man waiting for his lord," or, as he has it, "waiting for a deliverer-the Lord Jesus"-to come and change the body, of his humiliation, into a like form with the body of his glory. This will be his synthesis-the putting of him together again; the rebuilding of his dust and ashes into the human form-an incorruptible, deathless, and glorious body-with the spiritual, or mental and moral, characteristics of "Paul the aged" incorporated therein.

From this exposition, it will be seen, that we have nothing to reconcile between Paul's words and Psal. 100: 46:3, 4. We do not undertake the impossible task of harmonizing mistranslations, and clerical opinions, with the teaching of the Spirit. The supposed difficulty must be removed by those who fabricate it.

If men say, "the dead are conscious and intelligent in a spirit-world;" and the Spirit say by Solomon, "the dead know not anything"-they create a contradiction by their stupid nonsense; let them, therefore, reconcile it if they can. The fact is, it is irreconcilable; and they place themselves in a strait betwixt two, which imposes upon them the necessity of abandoning their dogma or the Bible. They cannot, before God, believe in both.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1857

25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

...he was "not in safety," and had neither rest nor quiet when the trouble came: it can only be conjectured that he possibly refers to the case of his bacchanalian sons, who were in the habit of feasting each one on his day in turn, in a way that kept the patriarch in a constant state of fear as to what they might be led to do under these circumstances; and what consequences they might bring upon themselves and him.

In this state of mind upon the matter, Job appears to have sent and sanctified them, and offered burnt offerings continually, lest, as he says, his sons should have sinned, or cursed God in their hearts (1:4, 5, 18).

Thus, a man surrounded by otherwise peaceful, and every way by prosperous and affluent circumstances, feels cause for alarm in the circle of his own family—his "curse God and die" wife and sons and daughters, who may have taken after her.

The Christadelphian, Nov 1888