Imatges de pÓgina

Job declareth his abhorrence of wickedness.

1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,

2 As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;

3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;

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


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7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous. 8 For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?

9 Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him? 10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?

11 I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal. 12 Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain?

13 This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.

14 If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.

15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death and his widows shall not weep. 16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay;

17 He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.

18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.

19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not. 20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.

21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.

22 For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.

23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.


The way of wickedness is a way of wretchedness.

Job, finding that Zophar, whose turn it was to speak, said nothing," continued his parable," went on with his discourse; first protesting his sincerity and integrity, and then describing the case of the wicked, and the misery awaiting them at their end. This perhaps he did partly with a view to shew his friends that he could set forth these matters as well as they. And partly,

he designed to strengthen that which he had said before on the same subject, by pointing out the dissatisfaction which attends on wickedness even in the time of its prosperity. And in so doing, he prepares the way for the important subject of the next chapter, the worthlessness of worldly goods, and worldly skill, and worldly glory, as compared with the preciousness of heavenly wisdom.

Because Job maintained that good men sometimes were afflicted, and that wicked men sometimes prospered, his friends had tried to fasten on him the conclusion, that it was as well to be wicked as to be good. Here therefore he protests most earnestly, that this is far from his meaning. He declares his full purpose of heart to cleave to God, and to the fulfilment of his will, as long as his life should last. And further to prove his horror of the notion ascribed to him, he adds, “Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous." They may indeed gain much he argues. But then what is their state of mind all the while? What is their amount of hope in God's help? Will they delight themselves in the Almighty? Will they be able to make known to Him their requests in prayer? These things are the chief joy of the righteous in prosperity; these are their great comfort in adversity. But in these joys the wicked have no share. And this, Job tells his friends, they must have observed and known, as well as he; so that they need not have persisted in attaching so much weight to the circumstance of outward prosperity.

But further, besides their present disadvantages, which mar all their joy in the possession of their gains, they are speedily overtaken by the displeasure of the Lord, which visits them in their children, in their substance, and in their character. Their widows weep not at their death. And instead of friends to make lamentation, men clap their hands at them, and hiss them out of their places. They die without hope. They are buried without honour. And if they would fain flee out of God's hand when they have to die, how much more when they are summoned by the last trump to stand before their Judge! Such were the fruits of wickedness in the times of Job. Such have they been from that time to the present. If then we would have a happy life, a peaceful death, a glorious resurrection, let us, with Job of old, resolve, and by God's grace let us keep our resolution, that we will neither speak nor practise wickedness all the while our breath is in us.

O Thou, without whose grace we can neither purpose nor perform any thing that is good, help us to make holy resolutions, and yet more, help us to keep them; and give us at the present peace in serving Thee, and hereafter everlasting joy, through Christ our Lord!

Job compareth human skill with heavenly wisdom.
every precious thing.

1 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.

2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone. 3 He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.

4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men. 5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread and under it is turned up as it were fire.

6 Thestones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold. 6 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen:

7 The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.

9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.

10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth

11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light. 12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?

13 Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.

14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.

15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.

16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.

17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.

18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.


The immeasurable value of saving knowledge.

The two great elements of worldly glory are worldly riches, and worldly wisdom. Job here testifies to the eminence which mankind may attain to in these respects, whilst yet they may be destitute of that wisdom which is unto salvation, and of those riches which endure unto everlasting life. And very interesting is the account here given of the discoveries thus early made by man, in the knowledge of things profitable for this present life. Veins of silver they had found out, and places fit for fining gold. They had also taken iron out of the earth, and brass, or, perhaps rather, copper. They had devised means of enjoying light during the night season, probably by means of mineral substances, here called "stones of darkness." They had made a passage of the trackless waters, which were thus as it were dried up to form a highway. By tillage of the ground they had supplied themselves with bread; and by digging deeper they had obtained fuel for

the preparation of their food. Nay, they had ventured far into the bowels of the earth in search of the precious metals and precious stones, for the ornament and luxury of life. Thus they had contrived a path, where neither bird nor beast had ever traversed; far and wide as these creatures are apt to roam about in every direction. In the working of their mines, ever amongst the most bold and skilful of human undertakings, they had learnt how to cut channels for the water springs, or to dam them up so as not to overflow; and as their eyes had searched out every precious thing, so their hands had brought these treasures forth to light.

Here we have indeed a lively picture of the exercise of skill, and of the ardour of pursuit, with which mankind, in those early ages of the world, sought after and seized upon the yet unrifled treasures, that lay beneath the surface of the earth. But where, as Job proceeds to ask, where could wisdom be found? in what soil or mine is the place of understanding? The wisdom which he speaks of, as we learn soon afterwards, is the fear of the Lord, and to depart from evil is the understanding. See ver. 28. This he says was not to be discovered by worldly wisdom, nor to be purchased by worldly wealth. No arts of mining, no enterprize of commerce, could procure it; "the depth saith, It is not in me and the sea saith, It is not in me." It could not be gotten for gold neither for silver. Its value could not be expressed by the gold of Ophir, nor by any of the various precious stones that were to be met with in all the known regions of the earth. It could not at that time; neither can it now, when every quarter of the globe is known, and every corner of it diligently ransacked, in search of what is rare, beautiful, and precious; still can none of the world's treasures, no, nor all of them put together, be set against the value of divine wisdom, nor avail to purchase spiritual understanding.

How bountiful then is God, from whom alone this gift can proceed, that He offers it to every one who earnestly desires it; yea, offers to bestow it "without money and without price!" Is. 55. 1. How merciful is this provision for the necessities of our souls, that according to his gracious will the Gospel is preached to the poor! See Matt. 11. 5. Oh how largely has the great Giver of all good things condescended to our wants! Oh how fearfully wicked is our foolishness, if we refuse his most inestimable gift! Nor is it enough that we accept it; we must accept it thankfully, we must prize it highly, we must rejoice in possessing it. We must feel that in knowing God, as revealed in the Gospel, by Jesus Christ, we have a treasure which we would not part with for all the wealth in all the world. And we must prove that we feel thus, by the zeal with which we seek the increase of this heavenly wisdom, and by the anxiety which we manifest to impart it unto others for their everlasting good.

Job declareth the source of divine wisdom.

20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?

21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.

22 Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.

23 God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.

24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under

the whole heaven;

25 To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.

26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:

27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.

28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.


That God is the great Teacher in things heavenly.

In the former part of this chapter Job enumerates the three great sources of wealth in the patriarchal times, namely, agriculture, mining, and the interchange of commerce. These were also the subjects on which mankind had exercised the utmost of worldly wisdom. If we add to these the triumphs of science, art, and manufacture, we shall have completed the chief objects of modern pursuit, the chief means of riches, and subjects of ingenious research, which now engross the attention of the world. But when we have summed up all, we may still repeat the question of the patriarch, "Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?" Though a man were to possess of every thing that the earth brings forth, and of all the treasures which men find within it; though he had at his command every comfort and luxury which commerce can procure from all quarters of the world; though he understood every science, and were master of every art, to turn every thing that nature can supply to all the useful and ornamental purposes which man has invented and completed; still he would be no nearer to the great ends of life, the saving of the soul, the securing an interest in life eternal, and glorifying the God that made him, by believing and living according to his will.

How then may we attain to this divine wisdom, and in what does it consist, and in what quarter must we apply for information and assistance, if we would not, after all our glory here, end in perishing shamefully for ever? It is not of men that we must inquire; "seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air." Not though besides all our present enterprises of skill and courage, we could mount on

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