« PreviousContinue »
think them lasting streams, but at the next thaw they are consumed; as soon as heat comes they are dissolved, and soon become dry. Such friends I have, (might Job say,) and indeed such is the friendship of mankind, unless so far as influenced by divine grace, and delivered from its natural baseness.
“ Verse 18. · The paths of their way are turned aside ; they go to nothing and perish.'
“ That is, these streams are as if they had never been, the rain filled them, but having no spring to maintain them, the cold froze them, and the warmth of the sun emptied them. Turned aside, signifies to gather up or contract into a narrow compass. They go to nothing, &c. an idol is expressed by the same word, 1 Sam. xii. 21; and the apostle, 1 Cor. viii. says an idol is nothing in the world, and that which is useless, is as good as nothing.
« Verse 19. 7 The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.'*
“ Observe, That a probability of finding, is ground enough for seeking. A fig-tree having leaves, shows that it may have fruit growing, and the time of gathering figs not being past, were sufficient reasons for the Lord Christ to go and seek fruit upon it; for in this he acted
* Where we have met with relief and comfort, we are apt to expect it again, but it doth not always fol. low : for Job's disappointment of his expectations from his friends, is here compared to the confusion which seized the caravans of the merchants, when they find heaps of sand where they expected floods of water, having seen plenty there in winter.
according to the rules of human reason, not of divine omniscience.
“ None that seek the water of life, and wait upon Christ for it, shall be disappointed; for he is the living fountain, whose waters fail not.
- Verse 20. « They were confounded, because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.
“ They were ashamed, because they were disappointed; the word signifies to dig, that we may hide a thing. A man that is ashamed, cannot endure the pain of being seen.
“ Jesus Christ shall so abundantly satisfy the desires, and so fully supply all the wants, of every believing soul, that it is expressed by this word, · Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Hopes delayed trouble us, but hopes deceived confound and make us hide our heads.
“ Now we have the application of this similitude. In the delineation I have given of these inconstant and unfaithful streams of water, I give a representation of your conduct, O ye my friends, towards me.
* Verse 21. · For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.'
os Casting down is from a word that signifies dejection and consternation of spirit. Ye see how all is broken and lost, and what is the help ye give me ? ye are of no more use to me in the way of refreshing, than those deceitful streams were to the troops of Tema. Do ye supply me with comfort or counsel ? no; ye are afraid to come nigh me, lest ye catch my distemper; and though ye have come to see nie, yet ye are not moved with compassion, so as to give me any assistance.
- Whatever complacency we may take, or whatever confidence we put in creatures, one time or other we shall say of them, now ye are nothing.
“ Perhaps God suffers men to be unfaithful to one another, to teach all to trust in him alone, who only hath preserved this honour without a stain; never to forsake them who trust in him, however forlorn and miserable their condition may be. . “ Job having by an elegant similitude pointed out the unkindness of his friends, and the severe disappointment they had given him, now upbraids them, and appeals to themselves if he had asked any favours. He no doubt would be glad to see them, expecting their sympathy ; but he says,
“ Verse 22. · Did I say, bring unto me, or give a reward for me of your substance ?'
“ As if he had said, I have not requested any loan or contribution from you to compensate, or in the smallest degree to alleviate, the losses I have sustained. Although I might urge the total ruin of my estate, which is come upon me by the hand of God, and not by any fault or folly of mine ; and that I was always ready to help any that was in distress.
“A good man is very reluctant to give his friends any trouble on his account, even when his troubles are very great.
« All that I expected from you was comfort and counsel, and that would not have put you to much expense ; or if you could not have ad
ministered any comfort to me, yet you need not have added so largely to my sorrows, by charging me with impatience and hypocrisy. Or did I say,
“ Verse 23. · Deliver me from the enemies' hand, or redeem me from the hand of the mighty ?'
« To redeem, signifies to bring back a thing by price or force. Did I desire you to levy an army, to recover or make reprisals on the Sabeans and Chaldeans, or to purchase from them what they had robbed from me?
« If I had called upon you to assist in recovering my estate, then you might have supposed that the loss of it was the cause of my impatience.
5. But Job's not seeking their aid, does not excuse them for not giving him that help they saw he needed, and they were able to afford.
“ Even when we expect little from men, we may get less; but when we expect much from God, we have abundantly more than we can ask or think, Eph. iii. 20.
“ Job now professes his resolution to attend to what they had yet to say, and expresses his readiness to yield to conviction.
“ Verse 24. - Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
« Job promises silence, that he might hear and consider what they should say to him. To be swift to hear, and slow to speak, is the best way to attain wisdom.
- That man is in a fair way to discover truth, what acknowledges he may err.
- " The word signifies to convince, by reason or argument, and whenever you, by plain instructions, make me to understand my error, I shall readily acknowledge my fault, and resolve to do so no more. It is the desire of every honest man to discover truth; and so soon as arguments used appear conclusive, however opposite to his former views, he embraces them as right and acceptable words.
“ Verse 25. How forcible are right words ! but what doth your arguing reprove ? - « Words are right in the matter, when they are true; in the manner, when they are plain; and in their use, when properly applied ; and when these meet together, how forcible and strong are such words! Fair reasoning has a commanding power; but all that you have said, does not deserve the name of an argument.
« Job having expressed willingness to hear what they had to say, and to yield to the force of any argument they might produce, proceeds to expostulate with them for making so light of what he had said.
“ Verse 26. • Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?' · • The word for imagine, notes a very curious, exquisite, and elaborate invention of any thing. Job seems to refer to the opinion that his friends had of his words ; do you think that your words are strong and full of reason, and that mine is but idle talk ?
“ Is it fair to take some of my passionate expressions, as proofs of impiety?
so Should any man's state be judged by some