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In the plan of this work, the SACRED TEXT stands by itself, apart from all human additions, that the reader of the translation may have before him in English what was given to the Jewish reader in Hebrew. Accordingly, the numbering of chapters and verses, marginal renderings, statements of contents, etc. are separated from the version of the original text.

The modern practice, of printing each verse in a paragraph by itself, was first introduced into the English Scriptures in the Genevan version of the New Testament (1557), and of the whole Bible in 1560. This practice has greatly obscured the meaning of the sacred text, by presenting it to the eye in minute fragments, thus dissevering parts the most intimately connected, as though they had no manner of relation to each other.

A man would be considered beside himself, who should treat in this way any human production designed to be understood. This has never been introduced into the Hebrew Scriptures, and is now abandoned in critical editions of the Greek New Testament.

Wherever there is good authority for a version of a word or phrase, differing from that which the translator regards as the true one, it is placed in the margin.

It is the primary object of the Notes to this Second Part, to give such information on points of history and geography, civil, religious and domestic antiquities, etc. as is necessary for the full understanding of an ancient book, abounding in allusions to the peculiar circumstances of the age and country to which it belongs. In the Bible, more than in any other book, this information can be supplied from its own pages.

The writer has aimed, by numerous references made with careful discrimination, to render the Bible its own interpreter. -The design and plan of the book, and the course of the argument, will be fully exhibited in the Introduction and Notes. V. R. (Various Reading) denotes a different form of the original text.

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The claim of the book of Job, to be regarded as a part of Divine Revelation, is established beyond question by the authority of Christ and his Apostles. It was part of that collection of Sacred Writings, the Oracles of God, which were committed to the care and guardianship of the Jewish people (Rom. 3 : 2). Of these writings, collectively, the Saviour and his Apostles often speak as the Word of God ; recognizing, and directly asserting, their divine authority and inspiration. See such passages,

, for example, as Matt. 5 : 17–19; John 5 : 39; Rom. 3:2; Matt. 22 : 43, and Mark 12 : 36 ; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 1: 10-12; 2 Pet. 1:21. It was, therefore, as a part of these divine writings,* (called in the New Testament the Scriptures, the Holy Scriptures, the Oracles of God) expressly recognized, by the Saviour and his Apostles, as of divine authority; and was declared to be profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2 Tim. 3 : 16).

The genuineness of the book (in other words, that it is a DIVINE BOOK ; that, in this sense, it is not a spurious production) is thus established by the highest authority. It is a question of less importance, by whom the book was written ; and this will be considered in § 8. In regard to several of the books of the Old Testament, this cannot be determined with certainty. Nor is this necessary to be known ; nor would it by itself prove their inspiration and divine authority, which must rest on other grounds.t

* The proofs of this must be reserved for the General Introduction to the books of the Old Testament. The course of argument being the same for all these books, it would otherwise be necessary to repeat the whole in connection with each. For the same reason, the subject of the inspiration of these books belongs properly to the General Introduction.

† The authority of a writing, claimed to be divine, does not in any case rest on the particular writer or human instrumentality, but on the divine attestation given to it; and this attestation can be given, as in many cases it has been, to writings which have come to us anonymously, and of which the particular writer cannot be determined with certainty.

§ 2.


A question of far greater importance and interest respects the design of the book, as a part of divine revelation. For what end was it given to us, as such, by its Divine Author? What instruction is it intended to convey to us? In other words: What is its place in a divine revelation ; and how is the purpose of its Author effected?

The following considerations will bring this question more clearly before the mind of the reader.

We find, on a careful perusal, that very different and directly contradictory opinions are maintained by the several speakers, in the discussion which forms the principal part of the book. From them, therefore, nothing can be learned as authoritatively asserted, since they directly controvert each other's views.

Again : when the Almighty at length speaks, near the close of the book, he rebukes the leader in the discussion, as “ darkening counsel by words without knowledge” (38 : 2), and condemns his three friends as still more in error (42 : 7). He does not declare, indeed, that all are equally in the wrong. Yet, he does not point out wherein one is wrong and another right; or wherein both are equally in error, so that we might know what is approved by him and what is not.

Such is the testimony of the Divine Being, respecting the things asserted and defended in this discussion. Moreover, Job himself makes the acknowledgment (42 : 3):

I have therefore uttered what I understand not;
Things too hard for me, which I know not.

Hence, we are not to regard the positions taken by Job as altogether right, and fully approved of God; much less, those of his opponents.

Again : in the discourses of the Almighty (chs. 38–41), he asserts nothing affirmatively. He gives no positive instruction in regard to the question in debate; and he lays down no principles by which the problem can be solved.

What then is the divine purpose in the gift of this book ? An inspired Apostle has said of all Scripture, that it “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness.” Now what doctrine is taught in this portion of the divine word; and what is the instruction here imparted ?

The answer to the question must be sought, where the question itself has arisen, in the contents of the book.

§ 3.





The subject is :

THE MYSTERY OF God's PROVIDENTIAL This subject is treated in two ways:

I. By an exhibition of the difficulties which it presents to the finite mind; of the conflicts and the erroneous conclusions of the human spirit, in striving to reconcile them with the eternal principles of justice and goodness.

II. By showing man's true position, in reference to the ways of the Eternal and Infinite.

The first division presents a good man, one pronounced perfect and upright by God himself, suffering under an accumulation of sudden and terrible misfortunes. From the height of worldly happiness, rich, honored, surrounded by a numerous and prosperous family, he suddenly finds himself poor, childless, the prey of a loathsome and incurable disease, an object of contempt and insult to the meanest outcasts of society. In this extremity, three of his former friends pay him a visit of condolence. These men, venerable in years and character, princes and sages of their tribes, represent the traditionary wisdom of the time, the views and maxims based on the limited experience of the early patriarchs respecting the government of God. According to these, the Omniscient who cannot be deceived, the Almighty who cannot e resisted, and the infinitely Just who can do no wrong, must, by the laws of his own nature, deal with every man according to his deserts; and his treatment is therefore the true index of the man's moral character. Accordingly, their addresses to Job assume his guilt as the cause of his sufferings. And since the degree of guilt is the exact measure of punishment, these extraordinary judgments mark him out as an eminent transgressor. Though his crimes have escaped detection by man, they cannot elude the searching eye of God, who has thus stript off his disguises, and exposed him to deserved shame. Hence, their reproofs and exhortations all have it for their object, to induce him to acknowledge and repent of his wickedness, and to justify his righteous Judge.

Job, on the other hand, conscious of his rectitude, denies their inferences in regard to himself, and condemns the stand-point from which they judge of men as false and untenable. Their traditionary wisdom he confronts with the actual observation of life, showing by examples familiar to all, that the wicked are not thus dealt with according to their deserts. The strong-handed preys on the weak; he wrongs the widow and fatherless ; grows rich on the unrequited toil of the

poor; desolates whole cities and possesses himself of their treasures. Yet God suffers him to live unvisited by his judgments ; his children grow up wantoning in luxury and pleasure; and at length he dies in ease and plenty, and is laid with sumptuous obsequies in an honored grave. So frequent are these instances of successful wrong, perpetrated in open and avowed defiance of the Almighty, as seemingly to constitute a rule in favor of wickedness, and fully justify the challenge of Job to his accusers :

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How oft does the lamp of the wicked go out,
And their destruction come upon them,
Or He, in his anger, distribute sorrows ?
Or they are as stubble before the wind,
Or as chaff, which the whirlwind snatches away?

For himself 'he can appeal, for the purity, uprightness and beneficence of his life, to those who have been witnesses of his most private actions, to the servants reared in his house, the laborers who tilled his soil, to the poor, the widow, and the fatherless, those whose relation of helpless dependence offered no check to the manifestation of his real character; and he dares appeal to the All-Seeing himself for the integrity of his heart, the sincerity and constancy of his piety towards God. Yet he is visited with unexampled judgments, and made the scorn and by-word of men.

In two respects, Job and his opponents hold the same ground. He recognizes, equally with them, that the divine government rests on the immutable foundations of truth and right. Nay, he exercises a higher trust in it than they. While they demand retribution on earth as the condition of their trust, he trusts without hope of being righted on earth ; but through his present misery and humiliation, anticipates with triumphant confidence his vindication in a future state of existence. Though despairing of help from God on this side the grave, God is still his only refuge and hope.

“ Even now my witness is in heaven,

And my attestor is on high." “I know my Redeemer lives.”

But this certainty of future right, though it sustains the sufferer, does not solve the mystery of the present wrong. Why should the infinitely Just and Good act at variance with the eternal principles of his kingdom, in his present dealings with men? Why should he thus seem to cast contempt on virtue and piety, and as it were hold out a prize for rebellion against his laws ? Job does not indeed maintain, that impiety is the part of true wisdom. The prosperity, which is its fruit, has no stable and permanent basis, and its end must on the whole be misery. If the children of the wicked multiply (the Oriental image of the highest prosperity), it is

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