An Interpretation of the English Bible

 

THE POETICAL BOOKS

OF

THE BIBLE

 

by B. H. CARROLL

Late President of Southwestern Baptist

Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

 

Edited by

J. W.  Crowder

 

BAKER BOOK HOUSE

Grand Rapids, Michigan

 

New and complete edition

 Copyright 1948, Broadman Press

Reprinted by Baker Book House

with permission of

Broadman Press

ISBN: 0-8010-2344-0

First Printing, September 1973

Second Printing, September 1976

 

PHOTOLITHOPRINTED BY GUSHING - MALLOY, INC.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

1976

 

CONTENTS

                                                           

(Return to Main Contents)

 

I                  General Introduction – Hebrew Poetry

II                 An Introduction to the Book of Job

III                The Prologue of Job

IV               An Introduction to the Poetical Drama and Job’s Complaint

V                 The First Round of Speeches

VI               The Second Round of Speeches

VII              The Third Round of Speeches

VIII             Job’s Restatement of His Case

IX               Elihu’s Speech, God’s Intervention and the Epilogue

X                 The Book of Job in General

XI               And Introduction to the Book of Psalms

XII              An Introduction of the Book of Psalms (Continued)

XIII             The Psalm of Moses and the Psalm of David’s Early Life

XIV             The Psalms of David’s Early Life (Continued)

XV              Psalm After David Prior to the Babylonian Captivity

XVI             The Messianic Psalms and Others

XVII           The Messiah in the Psalms

XVIII          An Introduction to the Book of Proverbs

XIX             The Instruction of Wisdom

XX              The Instruction of Wisdom (Continued)

XXI             The Instruction of Wisdom (Continued)

XXII           Miscellaneous Proverbs

XXIII          The Proverbs of the Wise

XXIV          Other Proverbs of Solomon and the Appendices

XXV           An Introduction to the Book of Ecclesiastes

XXVI          The Prologue and Three Methods Applied

XXVII         Other Methods Applied

XXVIII       The Means Used to Solve the Problem Condemned and the Final Conclusions

XXIX          An Introduction to the Song of Solomon

XXX           An Interpretation of the Song of Solomon as an Allegory

 

 

 

I

 

(Return to Contents)

 

GENERAL INTRODUCTION – HEBREW POETRY

 


As we are to deal with poetry, in the main, in the following discussions, it becomes necessary that we should here give attention briefly to some important matters relating to the poetry of the Bible. This is essential as the principles of interpretation are so different from the principles of the interpretation of prose.


Hebrew poetry, rich and multifarious as it is, appears to be only a remnant of a still wider and fuller sphere of Semitic literature. There are references to this poetic literature in several places in the Old Testament, viz: Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18, where it is expressly said that they were written in the book of Jashar which was most probably a collection of national songs written at various times.


The character of the poetry of the Hebrews is both deeply truthful and earnestly religious. Much of the contents of the Scriptures has all the ordinary characteristics of poetry. Though prosaic in form, it rises, by force of the noble sentiment which it enunciates and the striking imagery with which these sentiments are adorned, into the sphere of real poetry. Example, Ruth 1:16-17:


"And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; Jehovah do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me." This passage arranged in poetic form would appear as follows:
Entreat me not to leave thee, And to return from following thee; For whither thou goest I will go, And where thou lodgest I will lodge; Thy people shall be my people, And thy God shall be my God; Where thou diest I will die, And there will I be buried; Jehovah do so to me and more also, If aught but death part thee and me.


We find the first poetry in our Bible in Genesis 4:23-24, the Song of Lamech, a little elegiac poem (See the American Standard Version), reciting a lamentation about a domestic tragedy, thus:
And Lamech said unto his wives: Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: For I have slain a man for wounding me, And a young man for bruising me: If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.


For an interpretation of this passage, see Carroll's Interpretation, Vol. 1.


We now note all poetry found in the Pentateuch, as follows:


Genesis 4:23, the Song of Lamech, already referred to;


Genesis 9:25-27, a little poem reciting Noah's curse and blessing on his sons;


Genesis 25:23, a single verse, forecasting the fortunes of Jacob and Esau;


Genesis 27:27-29, a beautiful gem, reciting Isaac's blessing on Jacob;


Genesis 27:39-40, another gem recording Isaac's blessing on Esau;


Genesis 49:2-27, Jacob's blessings on his sons;


Exodus 15:1-18, Moses' song of triumph over Pharaoh;


Numbers 6:24-26, the high priest's benediction;


Numbers 21:14-15, a war song of Amon;


Numbers 21:17, 18, a song at the well of Be-er;


Numbers 21:27-30, a song of victory over "Sihon, king of the Amorites";


Numbers 23:7-10, Balaam's first prophecy;


Numbers 23:18-24, Balaam's second prophecy;


Numbers 24:3-9, Balaam's third prophecy;


Numbers 24:15-24, Balaam's fourth prophecy;


Deuteronomy 32:1-43, Moses' song;


Deuteronomy 33:2-29, Moses' blessing on Israel.


The poetry found in the historical books (Josh.-Esther) is as follows:


Joshua 10:12-13, Joshua's little song of victory;


Judges 5:1-31, Deborah's song;


Judges 14:14, Samson's riddle;


Judges 14:18, Samson's proverb;


Judges 15:16, Samson's song of the jawbone;


1 Samuel 2:1-10, Hannah's song of exultation;


1 Samuel 21:11, the song of the women about Saul and David;


2 Samuel 1:19-21, David's lamentation over Saul and Jonathan;


2 Samuel 3:33-34, David's lamentation over Abner;


2 Samuel 22:2-51, David's song of triumph over his enemies;


2 Samuel 23:1-7, David's last words;


1 Chronicles 16:8-36, David's song of thanksgiving.


A great deal of the writings of the prophets is highly poetic, and many quotations from them in the New Testament are given in poetic form in the American Standard Version, but only a few passages appear in poetic form in the books of the Old Testament. These are as follows:


Isaiah 38:9-20, Hezekiah's song;


Lamentations;


Jonah 2:2-9, Jonah's prayer;


Habakkuk 3:1-19, the prayer of Habakkuk.


Besides these passages, the great bulk of Hebrew poetry found in the Old Testament is in the poetical books – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon – practically all of which is poetical in form, except Ecclesiastes which is poetic prose. These books constitute the basis of our present study.


There is quite a lot of poetry in the New Testament, consisting of original poems and many quotations from the Old Testament and some other writings, for the citations of which I refer the reader to the American Standard Version of the New Testament. These passages are in poetic form wherever they occur. This will give the reader some idea of the mass of poetical literature found in our Bible and it should impress him with the importance of understanding the principles by which it may be rightly interpreted.


On the distinguishing characteristics of Hebrew poetry, I commend to the reader most heartily Dr. John R. Sampey's Syllabus of the Old Testament. Dr. Sampey was a great Hebrew scholar and his discussion on any point touching the Hebrew language must be considered authoritative. Since there is no better statement on these matters to be found anywhere, I give you in the following paragraphs a brief summary of his discussion on the forms and kinds of Hebrew poetry, noting especially what he says about parallelism, the grouping of lines, the stanza, the meter, and the kinds of Hebrew poetry. The general characteristics of Hebrew poetry are: (1) verbal rhythm, (2) correspondence of words, (3) inversion, (4) archaic expression and (5) parallelism.


Recent research goes to show that the Hebrew poets had some regard for the number of accented syllables in a line. They were guided by accentual beats rather than by the number of words or syllables. The most common form called for three accents to each line. The difficulty in getting an appreciation of the verbal rhythm in Hebrew lies in the fact that there is almost a complete loss of the true pronunciation of the Hebrew.


By correspondence of words is meant that the words in one verge, or member; answer to the words in another, the sense in the one echoing the sense in the other, the form corresponding with form and word with word. Some examples, as follows:
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? – Psalm 43:5 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, And watersprings into a thirsty ground. – Psalm 107:33 The memory of the righteous is blessed; But the name of the wicked shall rot. – Proverbs 10:7


By inversion is meant to invert the grammatical order or parts in a sentence for the purpose of emphasis or for adjustment. Though inversion holds a distinguished place in the structure of Hebrew poetry, it is only a modified inversion that prevails and by no means does it compare favorably with that of the Greeks and Romans in boldness, decision, and prevalence. Examples:
In thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falleth on men. – Job 4:13 Unto me men gave ear, and waited, And kept silence for my counsel. – Job 29:21 And they made his grave with the wicked, And with a rich man in his death; Although he had done no violence, Neither was any deceit in his mouth. – Isaiah 53:9


The archaical character of Hebrew poetry refers to the antiquity of the poetical elements as found in the Hebrew poetry, to the license, poetic hue and coloring, which cannot be confounded with simple, low, and unrhythmical diction of prose. Two elements, a poetical temperament and a poetical history, which are necessary to the development of a poetic diction, the Hebrews had as perhaps few people have ever possessed. Theirs was eminently a poetic temperament; their earliest history was heroic while the loftiest of all truths circulated in their souls and glowed on their lips. Hence their language, in its earliest stages, is surpassingly poetic, striking examples of which may be found in Genesis and Job.


By parallelism in Hebrew poetry is meant that one line corresponds in thought to another line. The three most common varieties of parallelism are: (1) synonymous, (2) antithetic, (3) synthetic. We will now define and illustrate each variety, thus:


(1) By synonymous parallelism is meant that in which a second
line simply repeats in slightly altered phraseology the thought of the first line. Examples: He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision.


– Psalm 2:4 And these lay wait for their own blood; They lurk privily for their own lives. – Proverbs 1:18


Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? Or is it gain to him that thou makest thy ways perfect?


– Job 22:3 For thou hast taken pledges of thy brother for naught, And stripped the naked for their clothing. – Job 22:6 But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; And the honorable man, he dwelt in it. – Job 22:8 Therefore snares are round about thee, And sudden fear troubleth thee. – Job 22:10


(2) By antithetic parallelism is meant that in which the second line is in contrast with the first. Examples:
A wise son maketh a glad father; But a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother; – Proverbs 10:1 He that gathereth in summer is a wise son; But he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame; – Proverbs 10:5 The memory of the righteous is blessed; But the name of the wicked shall rot. – Proverbs 10:7


Most of the 376 couplets in Proverbs 10:1 to 22:16 are antithetic.


(3) By synthetic parallelism is meant that in which the second line supplements the first, both together giving a complete thought. Examples:
My son, if sinners entice thee, Consent thou not. – Proverbs 1:10 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, When it is in the power of thy hand to do it. – Proverbs 3:27 Say not unto thy neighbor. Go, and come again, And to-morrow I will give: When thou hast it by thee. – Proverbs 3:28 Devise not evil against thy neighbor; Seeing he dwelleth securely by thee. – Proverbs 3:29 Strive not with a man without cause, If he hath done thee no harm. – Proverbs 3:30


The less common varieties of parallelism found in Hebrew poetry are: (1) climactic, (2) introverted, and (3) emblematic. These are defined and illustrated as follows:


(1) In the climactic parallelism the second line takes up words from the first and completes them. Example:
Ascribe unto Jehovah, O ye sons of the mighty, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength. – Psalm 28:1 The rulers ceased in Israel, they ceased, Until that I Deborah arose, That I arose a mother in Israel. – Judges 5:7


(2) In the introverted parallelism the first line corresponds with the fourth, and the second with the third. Example:
My son, if thy heart be wise, My heart will be glad, even mine; Yea, my heart will rejoice, When thy lips speak right things. – Proverbs 23:15


3) In the emblematic parallelism the second line brings forward something similar to the first, but in a higher realm.
Take away the dross from the silver, And there cometh forth a vessel for the refiner; Take away the wicked from before the king, And his throne shall be established in righteousness. – Proverbs 25:4 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in network of silver. As an ear-ring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, So is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. As the cold snow is the time of harvest, So is a faithful messenger to them that send him; For he refresheth the soul of his masters. – Proverbs 25:11-13 As clouds and wind without rain, So is he that boasteth himself of his gifts falsely. – Proverbs 25:14 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble Is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint. – Proverbs 25:19 As one that taketh off a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon soda, So is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart. – Proverbs 25:20 For lack of wood the fire goeth out; And where there is no whisperer, contention ceaseth. As coals are to hot embers, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to inflame strife. – Proverbs 26:20-21


The lines in Hebrew poetry are grouped as follows:


(1) Monostichs (Ps. 16:1; 18:1);


(2) Distichs (Ps. 34:1; Prov. 13:20) ;


(3) Tristichs (Ps. 2:2; 3:7);


(4) Tetrastichs (Gen. 49:7; Ps. 55:21; Prov 23:15f);


(5) Pentastichs (Prov. 25:6f);


(6) Hexastichs (Gen. 48:15f);


(7) Heptastichs(Prov.23:6-8);


(8) Octostichs (Prov. 30:7-9),


A stanza in Hebrew poetry consists of a group of lines or verses upon the same subject or developing the same thought. There are four kinds of these stanzas, viz: the couplet, or a group of two lines; the tristich, or a group of three lines; the tetrastich, or a group of four lines; and the hexastich, or a group of six lines. In Psalm 119 we have the strophe consisting of eight verses, each verse in this strophe beginning with the same letter.


There are four kinds of Hebrew poetry, viz: (1) lyric, (2) gnomic, (3) dramatic, (4) elegiac. These are defined and illustrated thus:


(1) Lyric is derived from the word, "lyre," a musical instrument to accompany singing. There are many snatches of song in the historical books from Genesis to Esther. The Psalms are an imperishable collection of religious lyrics.


(2) By "gnomic" is meant proverbial. Proverbs, part of Ecclesiastes, and many detached aphorisms in other books of the Old Testament are examples.


(3) By "dramatic" is meant that form of literature that gives idealized representations of human experience. Job is a splendid example of this kind of literature.


(4) By "elegiac" is meant that form of poetry which partakes of the nature of the elegy, or lamentation. Lamentations is a fine example of this kind of poetry. There are other dirges in the historical books and in the prophets. 2 Samuel 1:19-27 and Amos 5:1-3 are examples. Much of Isaiah's writing is poetic in spirit and some of it in form. (See Isa. 14:53.) So of the early prophetic writers, especially the early prophets. Now, according to this classification of Hebrew poetry, it should be an easy and profitable work for the reader to classify all the poetry of the Bible. This can be readily done with the American Standard Revised Version in hand. All the poetry of the Bible is written in poetic form in this version, and every student of the Bible should have it.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What can you say, in general, of the Hebrew poetry as we have it in the Bible?

 

2. What of the character of the poetry of the Hebrews?

 

3. Where do we find the first poetry in our Bible and what ia the nature of this little poem?

 

4. Locate all the poetry found in the Pentateuch.

 

5. Locate all the poetry found in the historical books (Josh.; Esther).

 

6. Locate the poetic passages in the prophets.

 

7. Where do we find the great bulk of Hebrew poetry in the Bible?

 

8. What of the poetry of the New Testament and how may it be located?

 

9. What book commended by the author on the forms and kinds of Hebrew poetry?

 

10. What the general characteristics of Hebrew poetry?

 

11. What is meant by rhythm and what renders an appreciation of verbal rhythm in the Hebrew now so difficult?

 

12. What is meant by correspondence of words? Illustrate.

 

13. What is meant by inversion? Illustrate.

 

14. What is meant by the archaical character of Hebrew poetry?

 

15. What is meant by parallelism and what the three most common varieties? Define and illustrate each.

 

16. What the less common varieties of parallelism? Define and illustrate each.

 

17. How are the lines in Hebrew poetry grouped? Give example of each.

 

18. What is a stanza in Hebrew poetry? How many and what kinds are found?

 

19. How many kinds of Hebrew poetry? Name, define, and illustrate each.

 

20. What suggestion by the author relative to classifying all the poetry of the Bible?

 

 

II

 

(Return to Contents)

 

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF JOB

 


This book is one of the most remarkable in all literature. When we fairly consider the loftiness of its themes; the profundity of its philosophy; the simplicity of its arrangement; the progress, power, and climax of its argument; the broadness of its application; we must, in many respects, give it precedence in rank over Homer's Iliad, Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Milton's Paradise Lost, Goethe's Faust, or any other uninspired production. In philosophy it surpasses Socrates, Plato, Zeno, Epicurus, yea, all the finest productions of Greek and Roman classics. Even apart from its inspiration, every section is worthy of profound study.


Strangely enough this book is one of the volumes of the Jewish Sacred Scriptures whose place and inspiration have never been questioned by them though it treats of God's dealings with and acceptance of one of another nation on the broadest lines of humanity. Its usual position in the Jewish Bible is in the third great division of their sacred oracles, viz: The Law, The Prophets, and The Holy Writings. It is the third book of that division – Psalms, Proverbs, Job. In our English Bible it follows Esther and precedes the Psalter.


It treats of patriarchal times. The proof is manifold:


1. Religious. The head of the family is the priest and the offerings and worship as in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See 1:5; 42:8-9.) There was no Bible or authoritative written standard clearly defining men's relations and duties toward God and authoritatively disclosing the methods and principles and purposes of the divine government. Indeed for such a revelation Job prays (31:35). All appeals in the argument bearing on this point are made to the traditions of the fathers. There was, as yet, no particular nation set apart as God's people and the custodians of his oracles. In every nation, tribe, or clan descended from Noah, God was worshiped according to traditional preservations of past revelations. We see an illustrious example in Melchizedek, King of Salem and priest of the most high God. God himself, in all the poetic discussion) with one exception, is El Sheddai, the Almighty, and not Jehovah (Cf. Ex. 6:3). The form of idolatry cited in the book (31:26-28) is the earliest in historic development, the worship of the heavenly bodies.


2. The length of Job's life, more than 200 years (Cf. 1:2; 32:6; 42:16) places him in the patriarchal days long before the time of Moses. Indeed every reference in the book calls for an early age.


3. The manners, customs, institutions, and general mode of life are all patriarchal. The city life (chap. 28) is exactly that of the earliest settled communities, with councils of gray bearded elders, judges in the gate (29:17), the chieftain at once judge and warrior (29:25), yet with written indictments (31:35) and settled forms of legal procedure (9:33; 17:3; 31:28), all of which belong to the patriarchal times. Some place these times between Genesis 11 and 12, but it seems better to place them somewhere between Abraham and the Egyptian bondage. The events herein described should immediately follow those of Genesis 22, and the book must have been written in or near the patriarchal times, since no man living in a later age could have written a book that so minutely enters into and describes the manners, customs, and institutions of that age.


The probable author of the book was Moses. The arguments tending to prove that Moses in Midian wrote the book of Job as the first Bible book written are as follows:


1. As Midian, where Moses lived forty years, touched Job's country, as there was much intercommunication, as both were occupied by Semite population, Moses had exceptional opportunity to learn of Job.


2. All the internal evidence shows that Job lived in patriarchal times, anywhere between Abraham and Moses, and all the idioms of speech in the book show that the author lived near the times of the scenes described. No late author could have so projected his style so far back.


3. The correspondence between the Pentateuch and the book of Job is abundant and marvelous.


4. The man who wrote the song of deliverance at the Red Sea and the matchless poems at the close of Deuteronomy (3233) is just the man to write the poetic drama of Job.


5. The problem of the book of Job, the undeserved afflictions of the righteous, was the very problem of the people of Moses.


6. The profound discussions in the book call for just such learning, wisdom, philosophy, and Oriental fire as Moses alone of his age possessed.


7. The existence and malevolence of a superhuman evil spirit (Job 1-2) alone could account for these afflictions, a being of whom Job himself might be ignorant, but well known to Moses in the power behind the magicians and idolatries of Egypt.


8. The purpose of the book is to show: (a) the necessity of a written revelation (Job 31:35); (b) the necessity of a daysman, mediator, redeemer (Job 9:33) to stand between God and sinful man – both point to a period when there was no written revelation and no clear understanding of the office of the daysman in the plan of salvation, and the necessity of a manifestation of God, visible, audible, palpable and approachable (Job 23:3-9) – all indicate a period when there was no Bible, but a desire for one, revealing the daysman and forecasting his incarnation, and make the presumption strong that Job was the first book of the Bible to be written – and such a book could find no author but Moses.


9. The book must have been written by a Jew to obtain a place in the canon of the Scriptures. All the conditions meet in Moses and in him alone of all men. This book is history, not a moral lesson based on supposititious characters. There is no rational interpretation except as history. Ezekiel (14:14, 20) and James (5:11) refer to it only as such. The poetical parts are too true to nature, realistic, and personal to be regarded as a mere philosophical discussion.


The problems of the book are two:


1. The prologue contains the problem of disinterested righteousness ;


2. The poetry, the problem of undeserved afflictions of the righteous, and undeserved prosperity of the wicked of this world.


The objects of the book are to suggest the necessity of and to prepare the way for a wider revelation from God:


1. A revelation of God incarnate. Job felt that God was too far away, too vague for him to know. Hence his prayer, "Oh, that I could find him!" is for a revelation that would reveal God as visible, palpable, audible, approachable, and human.


2. A revelation, a book setting forth God's will, explaining the problem of human suffering, man's duties to God and of future judgments in the next world. This is seen in the prayer, "Oh, that mine adversary had written a book!" Job's case was very different from Paul's. Job, suffering without a full revelation) complains; Paul, suffering in the splendor of a complete revelation, glories.


The prose sections and their relations to the poetical parts are as follows:


1. The prologue, chapters 1-2, introduces and gives the occasion of this division;


2. Chapter 32:1-6, introducing Elihu;


3. Chapter 38:1, introducing God;


4. Chapter 40:1, introducing God;


5. Chapter 42:7-17 is the epilogue which gives the outcome.


The poetical sections constitute a most remarkable drama, but the poetry is very archaic and simple.


Some questions have been raised against the integrity of the book:


1. It is objected that the prologue and epilogue do not fit the poetry and must belong to a later time. Reply: To any fair-minded student they do fit admirably and the whole work would be unintelligible without them.


2. It is objected that the part of Job's speech in 27:8-23 does not fit into Job's speech and that this must be the lost third speech of Zophar. Mediating critics say that it is Job's language, but that he retracts some things said prior to this.


Reply: No such jumbling parts could have occurred. It is not a speech of Zophar, for he had no third speech. It is the language of Job in the restatement of his case, and applies to the wicked after death and is not a retraction.


3. It is objected that chapter 28 is not the language of Job because it is not in line with his theme, but is a choral interlude, written by the author.


Reply: To thus designate this passage is sheer fancy without a particle of proof. It thoroughly harmonizes with Job's contention that God's providence is beyond human comprehension.


4. It is objected that the five chapters attributed to Elihu are out of harmony with the rest of the book, and that nothing is said of him in the closing part of the book nor at the beginning.


Reply: The interposition of Elihu was altogether proper and essential to the full development of the subject. The whole book follows the same general plan. The other characters are not mentioned till there is need for them and only then are they mentioned.


5. It is objected that God did not explain the problem of the book when he came upon the scene.


Reply: To have done this would have been to anticipate, out of due time, the order of the development of revelation: Job must be content with the revelation of his day, and trust God, who, through good and evil, would conduct both Job and the world to proper conclusions.


This book shares the singularity with the book of Jonah in that they are the only books of the Jewish Bible that speak of other nations as accepted of God.


It may here be noted that the modern commentaries are best for the exegesis of Job but the older ones are best for the exposition. Some valuable helps are now commended:


1. The common version to be compared with the Standard Version, Leeser's Translation, and Conant's Translation;


2. Sampey's Syllabus to be compared with Tanner's Syllabus and the author's analysis;


3. Two books are especially commended, viz: (a) Rawlinson's Commentary (Pulpit Commentary) and (b) Green's Argument of the Book of Job Unfolded. Now we give, not an analysis, but a brief introductory outline of the book, as follows:


1. Introduction: Historical setting in prose, chapters 1-2.


2. The poetical discourses, chapters 3:1 to 42:6:


(1) Job's complaint (3)


(2) Debate of Job with his three friends (4-26)


(3) Job's restatement of his case (27-31)


(4) The interposition of Elihu (32-37)


(5) The intervention of Jehovah (38:1 to 42:6)


3. The epilogue, or concluding prose (42:7-17).


For purposes of comparison I here give the "Syllabus of the Book of Job" by John S. Tanner of Baylor University, for his students in Baylor University.


SOME INTRODUCTORY MATTERS


I. Purpose and Method of Study


1. Purpose:


(1) Better understanding and appreciation of the book


(2) More especially, method of Scripture-study


2. Fundamentals in Method:


(1) To the book itself rather than to treatises about it. The latter only for suggestion and after-study of difficult points


(2) To the book itself rather than to the professor. Studies, not lectures. Teacher gives method, not matter; only directs the student's energies to fruitful ways


(3) To the book itself rather than to the student, "Let the Word mean what it wants to mean"


(4) To the book itself rather than to other scriptures, referring to them only as they assist toward the meaning of this


II. Some Helpful Literature


(1) Revised Version (Best text and indispensable. Use the marginal readings)


(2) Moulton's Modern Reader's Bible, volume on Job (modern printing and notes helpful)


(3) Best commentary is that of A. B. Davidson in Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges


(4) Driver's Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, chapter 9


(5) Introductory chapter in Moulton's Literary Study of the Bible


(6) Article (especially good) by Dickinson in Bibliotheca Sacra, for January, 1900


III. General Questions to Be Answered by the Study


1. Is the book primarily history, philosophy, science, or aesthetics? If philosophy, what the problem? What its solution?


2. What the final purpose of the book?


3. Is the plan didactic or artistic? If artistic, wherein?


4. If any poetry, how much? And wherein do the poetic content and form consist?


5. If poem, is it lyric, epic, or drama?


6. When, where, and by whom written?


7. Evidence for and against unity and integrity of the book?


8. Teaching of the book about:


(1) God


(2) Providence


(3) Future life


(4) Faith


(5) Repentance


(6) Righteousness


(7) Proper attitude toward current beliefs


9. Element of truth and of error in the position of each speaker?


10. Literary merit of the book?


11. Religious value? From each study preserve classified notes on these questions for summing up at the close.


THE PROLOGUE (PROSE) JOB 1-2


I. Narrative (master the events in order and detail). Fact or Parable?


II. Geography.


1. Uz (Cf. Gen. 36:21; I Chron. 1:38, 42; Lam. 4:21)


2. Teman. (See Gen. 36:15; Jer. 48:7, 20; Ezek. 35:13; Obad. 9; Amos l:llf.)


3. "The East." (See Gen. 25:6; Jer. 49:28.)


III. Persons


1. Job. (Cf. Ezek. 14:14; James 5:11). Was he an Israelite? Note social, industrial, and religious customs.


2. Job's wife. (Job 2:9; Cf. Job 19:14-17).


3. "Sons of God" – men or angels? (Cf. Job 38:7.)


4. Satan. The devil or a prosecuting angel? (See Job 2; 3b; Cf. 1 Kings 22:21f.; I Chron. 21:1; Zech. 3:lf.; Luke 22:31f.; 2 Chron. 12:7; Rev. 12:10.)


5. The three friends.


IV. The Trials. Order, progression, severity. Differing purposes of God and Satan? What trial overcame Job?


V. Proposed Solutions of the Mystery of the Sufferings of This Saint.


1. That revealed in the transaction, viz: God's permission:


(1) To convict and conquer Satan (Job 2:3)


(2) To test and improve Job (Cf. Luke 22:32; 1 Peter 1:7; James l:2f, 13f)


(3) To glorify God in both


2. That of Job's wife (Job 2:9), viz: Tyranny of God


3. That of Job (Job 1:21; 2:10), viz: God's exercise of his sovereignty in severity within the limits of his grace


VI. Remarkable Literary Features:


1. Theme of profoundest and universal practical interest, viz: The problem of sufferings of the righteous.


2. The hero chosen is of such character as to illustrate the problem and its solution in extreme and yet most fair and impressive form.


3. The blessed state of the hero at the opening of prologue is a fit climax for a good novel; the moral triumph at the close would be a peerless climax in secular literature. At such dizzy heights this drama begins.


4. By the narrative in the prologue the reader is taken into confidence and given the secret while the actors in the drama are in the dark. By this the interest of the plot is rather increased than diminished.

 

ANALYSIS OF THE DRAMA

 

Act 1. Job's Complaint, Job 3


1. That he was ever born (3:1-10)


(1) Curses the day of his birth (3:4f.)


(2) Curses the night of his conception (3:6-10)


2. That he had not died at birth (3:11-19)


3. That he cannot now die (3:20-26) This complaint the three friends understand to imply accusation against God.

 

Act II. Debate with the Three Friends, Job 4:26


Scene 1. First Round of Speeches (4-14)


1. Speech of Eliphaz (4-5)


(1) You show weakness to break down under afflictions wherein you have comforted others (4:1-5)


(2) Your integrity is ground for hope, since only the wicked are utterly destroyed (4:6-11)


(3) It is folly to question God's providence (4:12 to 5:7)


(a) It is irreverent (4:12-21)


(b) It is through impatience self-destructive (5:1-5)


(c) It is erroneous, since trouble is conditioned by man's own moral nature (5:6f.)


(d) God is good, and will therefore deliver you since you are really a righteous man (5:8-27)


2. Job's Reply (6-7)


(1) My impatience has adequate cause in my afflictions (6:1-13)


(a) My affliction is exceedingly heavy (6:1-7)


(b) I am not rebellious but undone (6:8-13)


(2) Sympathy from you as a friend would be more timely than blame (6:14-27)


(3) Likewise from God my helplessness should elicit pity rather than this continued torture (6:28 to 7:21)


3. Speech of Bildad (8)


(1) You wrongfully imply injustice in God (8:1-3)


(2) If you will go to God aright in prayer he will give relief (8:4-7)


(8) For only the wicked are permanently cut off (8: 8-19)


(4) Because you are a just man God will surely restore you (8:20-22)


4. Job's Reply (9-10) Proposition: I cannot get a fair trial of my case (9:1f).


(1) Because my adversary (God) is too powerful for me (9:3-13).


(2) Because my adversary is judge in the case; my right is not heard (9:14-21).


(3) He is an unjust judge, dispensing rewards and punishments without moral discrimination (9:22-24).[This marks the climax of the moral tragedy. And this is the tragedy of tragedies. It is the deepest depth of the moral world. The climax of the debate and of the drama are reached later.]


(4) There is no use for me to try; moral improvement will do no good (9:25-31)


(5) Oh, for a third party to act as umpire and protect me against God's tyranny (9:32-35)


(6) God made me weak and yet takes advantage of this to afflict me (10:1-22)


5. Speech of Zophar (11)


(1) Your arrogant speech is provoking and deserves punishment (11:1-6)


(2) God's wisdom is beyond your grasp (11:7-12)


(3) But if you will turn to God and pray he will deliver you (11:13-20)


6. Job's Reply (12-14)


(1) Your attempt to explain and defend God to me is contemptible presumption (12:1 to 13:12)


(2) I will dare to plead my cause before God and challenge him to convict me (13:13-28). (Read 12:15a, "Though he . . . I will not wait")


(3) Man's natural weakness, the brevity of life, and the uncertainty of a future life call for leniency in the Almighty (14:1-22)


[Thus far the friends have made no attempt to explain the cause or purpose of Job's affliction. The only charge they bring is that of a wrong spirit toward God in the affliction. The debate centers in the nature and conduct of God.] Scene 2. Second Round of Speeches (15-21)


1. Speech of Eliphaz (15)


(1) Your talk is imprudent and self-condemnatory (15:1-13)


(2) It is preposterous that you, iniquitous fellow, should justify yourself before God in whose sight good men and even angels are unclean (15:14-16)


(3) The explanation of your calamities is the doctrine of retribution. Your terrible forebodings verify it (15:16-35)


2. Job's Reply (16-17)


(1) Your speech is vain; the matter cheap, and the method cruel (16:1-5)


(2) My awful affliction is not punishment for sin (16: 6-17)


(a) That men think so according to an accepted doctrine only intensifies my sorrow (16:6-8)


(b) There were no forebodings – all was sudden (16:9-15)


(c) I am innocent, both in deed and thought (16:16f.)


(3) I turn from men to God; my only hope is that God will vindicate me after death (16:18 to 17:9)


(4) To talk of restoration in this life is foolish (17:10-16)


3. Speech of Bildad (18)


(1) You are talking senseless rage (18:1-4)


(2) Retribution is the clear explanation of your case. The extent and severity of your calamities prove it (18:5-21)


4. Job's Reply (19)


(1) You are doing me no good (19:1-4)


(2) The occasion of my affliction is not in me, but God (19:5-22)


(3) I am more sure that I shall be vindicated beyond the grave (19:23-29)


5. Speech of Zophar (20) Certainly your sorrow is the fruit of sin. The brevity of your dashing prosperity and the suddenness and completeness of your fall, prove it so before reason and tradition


6. Job's Reply (21) Your theory is not supported by the facts; the wicked often prosper indefinitely and pass away in peace [In the second round the interest has centered in the moral perversity of Job as cause of his sorrows. While the conflict of debate is sharper, Job's temper is more calm; and he is perceptibly nearer a right attitude toward God. He is approaching a victory over his opponents, and completing the more important one over himself.] Scene 3. Third Round of Speeches (22-26)


1. Speech of Eliphaz (22)


(1) Your sin is the only possible ground for your suffering; for God does not afflict you for any selfish interest, and certainly not because you are pious (22-1-4)


(2) Denial only aggravates your original guilt. Yours is highhanded wickedness, well known to God and men (22:5-14)


(3) It is mad folly for you to persist in the wicked way whose course and end are an old story (22:15-20)


(4) Repent and reform, and God will forgive and greatly bless you (22:21-30)


2. Job's Reply (23-24)


(1) The weight of my affliction I have not adequately expressed (23: If.)


(2) Conscious of my integrity, I expect final vindication, but am puzzled and grieved to be held in the dark at this helpless distance from God (23:3-17)


(3) As for your doctrine of universal and even retribution, the facts utterly disprove it and puzzle me (24:1-25). [Climax of the debate.]


3. Speech of Bildad (25) Ignore your facts. You have no right to be heard before the majesty of God.


4. Job's Reply (26) You help me not; it is not the fact of God's power that I seek to know, but his use of it. [Job's victory is complete; Zophar does not speak; the debate is closed. The traditional and prevalent doctrine that all sin is punished in this life and that all suffering is punishment of specific sin, is confuted by Job. This result, however, is negative; the explanation of his calamities he has not found. It is clear that along with Job's struggle for theoretical solution of the mystery, a far more significant one is waging in his moral attitude toward God in the affliction. With calmer temper and hopefulness, he is steadily ascending from the depths (9-10) to this practical heart solution of the problem.]

 

Act III. Job's Formal Restatement of His Case (27-31)


Introduction: My statement shall be in conscious integrity and the fear of God (27:1-12)


1. I maintain the 'great doctrines which I have been supposed to deny (27:13 to 28:28)


(1) God's justice in punishing the wicked (27:13-23)


(2) God's wisdom in ordering the universe (28:1-27)


(3) That the highest human wisdom is to fear God and live righteously (28:28)


2. Now my experience I will place side by side with this current creed which I also hold (29-30)


(1) My former blessed state (29)


(2) My present miserable state in contrast (30)


3. The experience is not explained by the doctrines. These would point to moral obliquity in me which I solemnly deny. There must be a hitherto unrecognized principle in God's providence (31)

 

Act IV. Interposition of Elihu (32-37)


The author's narrative prose introduction (32:1-5) The speaker's introduction (32:6 to 33:7)


(1) In spite of my deference to age I must speak, imperiled by the failure of these distinguished men to convict Job of his guilty error (32:6-22)


(2) My speech will be sincere and candid (33:1-5)


(3) Job, I will discuss with you in God's stead (33:6f.)


1. Job, you are very wrong; God's concealed and severe providences are to wean men from their evil and work their good (33:8-33)


2. You wise men have allowed Job to triumph in his rebellious implications of injustice in God. His facts are not pertinent, since God's plans are inscrutable to men (34)


3. Human conduct affects only men, not God. Your challenge is arrogance, which it is well for you that he has not visited with due punishment (35)


4. God's works are mighty, his dispensations just, his designs merciful, his counsels inscrutable. Therefore, fear him (36-37)


[Elihu makes a distinct advance on the three friends toward the true meaning of the mystery. They claimed to know the cause; he, the purpose. They said that the affliction was punitive; he, beneficent. His error is that he, too, makes sin in Job the occasion at least of his sorrow. His implied counsel to Job approaches the final climax of a practical solution.]

 

Act V. Intervention of God (38:11-42:6)


[Out of the storm cloud which has been gathering while Elihu spoke, God now addresses Job.]


Scene 1. First Arraignment and Reply (38:11040:5)


1. God's arraignment of Job (38:1 to 40:2)


It is foolish presumption for a blind dependent creature to challenge the infinite in the realm of providence. The government of the universe, physical, and moral, is one; to question any point is to assume understanding of all. Job, behold some of the lower realms of the divine government and realize the absurdity of your complaint.


2. Job's Reply (40:3-5) I see it; I hush.


Scene 2. Second Arraignment and Reply (40:6 to 42:6) To criticize God's government of the universe is to claim the ability to do it better. Assuming the role of God, suppose, Job, you try your hand on two of your fellow creatures, the hippopotamus and the crocodile.


2. Job's Reply (42:1-6) This new view of the nature of God reveals my wicked and disgusting folly. Gladly do I embrace his dispensations in loving faith. [Here is completed Job's moral triumph, and this is the practical solution, of the great problem and the climax of the drama.]


The Epilogue (Prose) Job 42:7-17


1. God's rebuke of the three friends (42:7f.) God commends Job's earnest, honest, though impatient, search for the truth rather than the friends' vehement unthinking defense of him upon a popular half-truth that has become an accepted creed. Apparently Elihu's position is so nearly correct as not to call for censure.

 

2. Job's Exaltation (42:9-17)

 

SOME CONCLUSIONS


1. There seems no ground to question the integrity of the book. The portions refused by some – part of Job's restatement and the whole of Elihu's discourse – are thoroughly homogeneous and essential to the unity of the book. Likewise the prose portions.


2. It has been complained that the problem of the book – that of the suffering of the righteous – receives no solution at the close from Jehovah. The truth of life and the master stroke of the production is that the theoretical solution is withheld from the sufferer while he is led to the practical solution which is a religious attitude of heart rather than an understanding of the head.


3. The final climax is the highest known to human heart or imagination. A vital, personal, loving faith in God that welcomes from him all things is the noblest exercise of the human soul. Dr. Moulton is not guilty of extravagance when he says that the book of Job is the greatest drama in the world's literature.


4. The moral triumph came by a more just realization of the nature of God. This gives motive to all good and from all evil. It is a cure for most human ills. Much helpful literature on this book is cited by Dr. Tanner, but the author cautions the student to bear in mind that Davidson and Driver are radical critics. This syllabus is the best analysis of the book of Job in literature, but there are two serious faults with it, or objections to it:


(1) In the first speech of Eliphaz, his interpretations are rather weak and not very clear. The reader will do well to compare these with those of the author which are given at the proper place in his interpretation of the book.


(2) The main objection is that he failed to see the necessity of a revelation from God to man.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. In general terms what of the book of Job? 2 Where do we find this book?

 

3. Of what times in the world's history does it treat and what the proof?

 

4. In the Genesis early world history where would you place these times?

 

5. Was it written in or near the times of which it treats?

 

6. Who the probable author and what the arguments tending to prove it? 7 Is it history or a moral lesson based on supposititious characters and what the proof?

 

8. What the problems of the book?

 

9. What the objects of the book?

 

10. What the prose sections of the book and what their relations to the poetical parts?

 

11. What the literary character of the poetical sections?

 

12. What questions have been raised against the integrity of the book and the author's reply to each of them?

 

13. What singularity does this book share with the book of Jonah?

 

14. In general, what may be noted of the commentaries on this book?

 

15. In particular, what helps commended by the author?

 

16. Give a brief introductory outline to the book.

 

17. Whose syllabus on this book is given here and why?

 

18. What Tanner's express purpose and method in his treatment of the book?

 

19. What helpful literature on the book cited by Tanner and what caution with respect to some of these by the author?

 

20. According to Tanner what important questions to be answered in the study of this book?

 

21. What the author's criticism of this syllabus, both favorable and unfavorable?

 

 

III

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE PROLOGUE OF JOB

Job 1-2.

 


The book of Job divides itself into three parts: The Prologue, the Poetical Drama, and the Epilogue. The Prologue is a prose narrative but intensely dramatic in form and recites the occasion of the poetical drama which constitutes the body of the book. The Epilogue, also dramatic in prose, recites the historical outcome of the story.


The analysis of the Prologue consists of chapters Job 1-2 with forward references elsewhere in the book.

 

I. Two scenes and a problem.


1. An earth view of a pious, prosperous, and happy man (1:1-5; with 29:1-25; 31:1-34)


2. An earth view in which his piety is considered in the crosslights of divine and of satanic judgment (1:6-12)


3. A problem: Can there be disinterested piety?

 

II. First trial of Job's piety – Satan permitted to conduct the trial – under limitations (1:13-22)


1. Satan's stroke on Job the farmer (1:14-15)


2. Satan's stroke on Job the stockman (1:16)


3. Satan's stroke on Job the merchant (1:17)


4. Satan's stroke on Job the father (1:18-19)


5. Result of first trial (1:20-22)

 

III. Second trial of Job's piety (2:1-10)


1. Another heaven view in which Job is vindicated and the malice of Satan condemned, but further trial permitted under limitation (2:1-6)


2. Satan's fifth stroke – Job's person smitten with leprosy (2:7-8)


3. Satan's sixth stroke on Job the husband (2:9)


4. Result (2:10) IV. Satan's continued trial (2:11-13; and other references in the book)


1. Satan's seventh stroke on Job the kinsman, neighbor, and master (19:13-19)


2. Satan's eighth stroke on Job's social position (30:1-15)


3. After long interval Satan's ninth stroke on Job the friend (2:11-13)


4. Satan's tenth and master stroke in leading Job to attribute the malice of these persecutions to God and to count him an adversary without mercy or justice. (See 9:24, "If it be not he, who then is it?"; 19:11; 30:35.)


The Prologue opens with two remarkable scenes, an earth view, a heaven view, and a problem. (See the analysis of the Prologue.)


The earth view (1:1-5) presents a pious, prosperous, and happy man. The length, extent, and unbroken character of this prosperity, Job's ascription of it to God, the healthful effect on his piety and character, are all marvelous. It had lasted all his life without a break. It gave him great wealth, a numerous and happy family, health for every member, great wisdom, extensive knowledge and power, high honor among men, and yet did not spoil him. He was a model husband and father, successful merchant, farmer, and shepherd, benevolent and just toward men, pure in life, and devout toward God. (See chapters 29-31.)


The heaven view (1:6-12) in which Job's piety is considered in the contrasted light of divine and of satanic judgment, is every way marvelous and instructive. It reveals the fact that on stated occasions, angels, both good and bad, must report their work to the sovereign God; that Satan's field of movement is restricted to this earth. He has no work in heaven but to report when God requires it, and then under inquisition he must tell where he has been, what he has seen, what he has even thought, and what he has done. It must not be supposed that he attends this angelic assembly from curiosity or from audacity, but is there under compulsion. Though fallen and outcast he is yet responsible to God, and must account to his Sovereign.


The bearing of this Prologue on the chief object of the book, namely, to suggest the necessity of and to prepare the way for a wider revelation, is as follows:


1. None of the actors or sufferers on earth know anything of this extraneous origin, purpose, and limitation of his fiery ordeal through which Job and his family must pass. Hence the need of a revelation that man may understand how the spiritual forces of heaven and hell touch his earthly life.


2. How far short all the several philosophies of Job and his friends in accounting for the cause, purpose, or extent of the great suffering which befell Job. Hence the conclusion that unaided human philosophy cannot solve the problem of human life, and therefore a revelation is needed.


Satan's power is manifested in four simultaneous scenes of disaster:


(1) The stroke on Job, the farmer (1:14-15);


(2) The stroke on Job, the shepherd, or stockman (1:16);


(3) The stroke on Job, the merchant (1:17);


(4) The stroke on Job, the father (1:18-19).


The cunning, malice and cumulative power of Satan's strokes are seen, as follows:


(1) The mockery of the date of all these disasters, the elder son's birthday, the gathering of all the children in one house, and the joyous feasting.


(2) The timing of Job's reception of the news of the several disasters shows that it was stroke upon stroke without intermission.


(3) The sparing of one survivor alone from each disaster, and him only that he might be a messenger of woe.


(4) The variety, adaptation, and thorough naturalness of these means, none of them so out of character as to suggest the supernatural: the Sabeans, the fire of God (a Hebraism), the Chaldeans, the desert tornado. Why suspect supernatural agents when the natural causes are all possible, evident, and credible?


(5) The refinement of cruelty in sparing Job's wife that she might add to his wretchedness by her evil counsel.


(6) The making of his kindred, neighbors, friends, servants, and the rabble instruments of torture by their desertion, reproach, and mistreatment.


(7) Knowing that Job's intelligence must perceive that such a remarkable series, even of natural events, could not result from chance, but must have been timed and directed by one endowed with supernatural power, and full of malice, he reveals the very depths of his wickedness and cunning in leading Job to attribute this to God.


The scene of Job's reception of the direful news (1:14-20) is very remarkable. See the cumulative power of blow on blow without intermission for breathing. Job's grief is great, but his resignation is instant. He ascribes all the disasters to the divine Sovereign, without a thought of Satan, and without any knowledge of the divine purpose. Here ends Job's first trial in complete victory for him.


The second scene, in heaven, shows angels, good and bad, reporting divine and satanic judgment on Job's piety and Satan rebuked for malice against Job but permitted a further test (2:1-6), in which he was given power over Job's person with one limitation. Satan's power over Job's person, and yet hidden from Job, may be seen by comparison of 2:7 with other references in the book. The nature of this affliction is found to be elephantiasis, a form of leprosy, usually attributed to the direct agency of God. Yet, it was a well-known disease in that country, and might be explained by natural causes. So Satan's agency is again hidden and Job has no thought of him.


The awful pain and loathsomeness of this disease, then and now, isolated the patient from human association and sympathy, and human judgment said it was incurable. The law of Moses on the isolation and treatment of lepers is found in Leviticus 13:45f.; Numbers 5:1-4; 12:14. Their degredation and isolation in New Testament times, Christ's sympathy for them, and his healing of them may be seen in Luke 17:11-19 and other references. Lew Wallace, in Ben Hur, Book VI, chapter 2, "Memorial Edition," gives a vivid description of leprosy in the case of Ben Hur's mother and sister:


Slowly, steadily, with horrible certainty, the disease spread, after a while bleaching their heads white, eating holes in their lips and eyelids, and covering their bodies with scales; then it fell to their throats, shrilling their voices, and to their joints, hardening the tissues and cartilages, slowly, and, as the mother well knew, past remedy, it was affecting their lungs and arteries and bones, at each advance making the sufferers more and more loatheeorne; and so it would continue till death, which might be years before them.


He sets forth the awful state of the leper thus:


These four are accounted as dead, the blind, the leper, the poor, and the childless. Thus the Talmud.


That is, to be a leper was to be treated as dead – to be excluded from the city as a corpse;. to be spoken to by the best beloved and most loving only at a distance; to dwell with none but lepers; to be utterly unprivileged; to be denied the rites of the Temple and the synagogue; to go about in rent garments and with covered mouth, except when crying, "Unclean! Unclean!" to find home in the wilderness or in abandoned tombs; to become a materialized specter of Hinnom and Gehenna; to be at all times less a living offense to others than a breathing torment to self; afraid to die, yet without hope except in death.


N. P. Willis in his poem on the leper (The Poetical Works of N. P. Willis, pp. 5-9) gives a fine poetic description of the leper, the progress of the disease and a typical leper healed by Jesus. The substance of this poem is as follows:


In the first section is a description of the approach of the leper, at which the cry is heard,


Room for the leper I Room I And as he came


The cry pass'd on – Room for the leper! Room!
Then the response by the leper, "Unclean! Unclean!" In the second section is a description of a young man before the attack of the disease and then a leper after the disease had laid hold upon him. The blighting effect, of the disease is here depicted very forcefully. In the next section we find the most horrifying denunciations of the leper. He makes his way to the temple and, standing before the altar, he hears his doom: – Depart! depart, O child Of Israel, from the temple of thy God I For He has smote thee with His chastening rod: And to the desert-wild, From all thou lov'st away, thy feet must flee, That from thy plague His people may be free. Depart I and come not near The busy mart, the crowded city, more; Nor set thy foot a human threshold o'er; And stay thou not to hear Voices that call thee in the way; and fly From all who in the wilderness pass by. Wet not thy burning lip In streams that to a human dwelling glide; Nor rest thee where the covert fountains hide; Nor kneel thee down to dip The water where the pilgrim bends to drink. By desert well or river's grassy brink; And pass thou not between The weary traveller and the cooling breeze; And lie not down to sleep beneath the trees Where human tracks are seen; Nor milk the goat that browseth on the plain, Nor pluck the standing corn, or yellow grain. And now, depart! and when Thy heart is heavy, and thine eyes are dim, Lift up thy prayer beseechingly to Him Who, from the tribes of men, Selected thee to feel His chastening rod. Depart! O Leper I and forget not God!


Then follows a description of the leper departing and going into the wilderness where Jesus found him and healed him. The closing lines of the poem are as follows:


His leprosy was cleansed, and he fell down


Prostrate at Jesus' feet and worshipp'd Him.


The counsel of Job's wife and Job's reply to it are found in Job 2:9-10. Here ends Job's second trial in victory as complete as in the first trial. Satan drops out of the story after the second trial. Now, the question is, How do we know he is yet taking part? The answer is, we see his tracks. Job's wife in 2:9 quotes the very words of Satan in 2:5. Satan, though hidden, uses Job's wife against him as Eve was used against Adam (Cf. 2:5; 2:9). Washington Irving, on a wife's influence in helping her husband to recover from a great misfortune, says,
I have often had occasion to remark the fortitude with which women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those disasters which break down the spirit of man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their character, that at times it approaches to sublimity. Nothing can be more touching than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness, while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and support of her husband under misfortune, and abiding with unshrinking firmness the bitterest blasts of adversity. – Sketch Book.


In this sifting of Satan, Job's piety surpasses that of Adam's in that Adam with eyes open, through love of his wife, heeded her advice and fell, but Job, blind to many things that Adam was not, withstood the temptation of his wife, and held fast his integrity. In another part of this book Job himself claims to be superior to Adam (See Job 31:33), in that he did not attempt to hide his sin as did Adam.


Satan further appears to be taking part, though he now ostensibly disappears from the story. He is really present, using Job's friends and tempting Job himself.


Now, Job's words in 1:21, and his reply to his wife in 2:10 solve the first problem suggested by Satan, "Can there be sincere and disinterested piety?" Hypocrites may serve for the loaves and the fishes, but the true children of God serve him even in the loss of all things and in excruciating sufferings. See case of Paul in the New Testament.


The results of Satan's three trials are as follows: Job's complete triumphs in the first and second; the third was a downfall. Satan failed in the main point, but he got Job into a heap of trouble.


There are proofs from the book that a considerable time elapsed between the smiting with leprosy and the visit of the three friends, so that the time of the intervening events prepares the mind to understand the subsequent debates, and enables it to appreciate this man's heroic fortitude and patience before he uttered a word of complaint. Their coming by appointment or previous arrangement has a bearing on the lapse of time since he was smitten with leprosy. The time necessary for each friend to hear of Job's calamity, and then to arrange by communication with each other for a joint visit, and then for the journey, show that considerable time elapsed in this interval.


On the same point the time necessary for the intervening events set forth in 19:13-19; 30:1-15, namely, desertion by wife, brothers, sisters, and friends, and the horrible treatment he received from young people, from criminals whom he had punished, and from the cruel rabble, all of which preceded the visit of his three friends – must be considered here in order to maintain the thread of the story.


What he himself says on the length of time since his last affliction may be noted (7:3): "So am I made to possess months [literally moons] of misery"; and (29:2): "Oh that I were as in the months of old." The time intervening between the last scene with his wife and the visit of his friends could not have been less than two months and was doubtless three or four; so we correlate his sufferings and losses in their order thus: loss of all his property, loss of all his children, loss of his health, alienation of wife and kindred, loss of honor among men and every exalted position, followed by contempt and disgust of the rabble. As he himself puts it (12:5): "In the thought of him that is at ease there is contempt for misfortune."


Now the reader must connect all these things and vividly see them following in order for so long a time, a time of unremitting pain, horrible by night and by day, in order to grasp the idea of this man's heroic patience before he uttered a word of complaint.


The last straw that broke down the fortitude of Job, that broke his spirit, was the seven days' silence of his friends, staring upon his wretchedness without a word of comfort. Comparing the Satan of Job with the serpent (Gen. 3) ; the Satan of David (2 Sam. 24:1; I Chron. 21:1); the Satan of Joshua, the high priest (Zech. 2:1-5); the Satan of Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11); the Satan of Peter (Luke 22:31 with 1 Peter 5:8-9) ; the Satan of Paul (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 12:7; Eph. 6:11, 16); the Satan of John (Rev. 12:7-13), and the scene in 1 Kings 22:19-23, we find:


1. That the case of the Satan of Job is in harmony with the other cases of the Bible.


2. That when Satan is permitted to try men he is an agent of God.


3. That there are several scriptural names of him and that each one has its own meaning, thus:


(1) "Satan" which means adversary, suggesting that he is the adversary of God and his people.


(2) "Devil," which means an accuser and slanderer; he is the cunning and malignant suspecter and accuser of the righteous; he accuses men to God and slanders God to men.


(3) "Apollyon," which means "destroyer" and indicates the nature of his work.


(4) "Beelzebub" which means prince, or chieftain. He is the prince, or chief, of demons.


(5) "Dragon" which means serpent, and refers to his slimy work in the garden of Eden where he took the form of a serpent.


4. That his field of operation is restricted to the earth.


5. That he is limited in power.


6. That he must make stated reports to God.


7. That he can touch the righteous only by permission.


8. That he can touch them only in matters that try their faith.


9. That he cannot take them beyond the intercession of the High Priest.


10. That he cannot touch their lives.


11. That he cannot touch them except for their good, and therefore his trials of the righteous are included in the "all things" of Romans 8:28.


12. That no philosophy which knows only the time life of men and natural causes can solve the problem of life.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What the natural divisions of the book, and what the relation of these parts to each other?

 

2. Give an analysis of the Prologue.

 

3. What the two scenes and the problem of the Prologue?

 

4. Describe the earth view,

 

5. What of the heaven view and its revelations?

 

6. What bearing has this Prologue on the chief object of the book, namely, to suggest the necessity of and to prepare the way for a wider revelation?

 

7. How is Satan's power manifested here?

 

8. Show the cunning, malice, and cumulative power of Satan's strokes.

 

9. Describe the scene of Job's reception of this news.

 

10. Describe the second scene, in heaven.

 

11. What the further test of Job permitted to Satan?

 

12. How was Satan's power on Job's person manifested and yet hidden from Job?

 

13. Describe this disease and its effect on Job's social relations.

 

14. Compare the law of Moses on the isolation and treatment of lepers.

 

15. Show their degradation and isolation in New Testament times, Christ's sympathy for them, and his healing of them.

 

16. Give Ben Hur's vivid description of leprosy in the case of his mother and sister and the substance of N. P. Willis' poem on the leper.

 

17. What the counsel of Job's wife and what Job's reply?

 

18. Since Satan drops out of the story after the second trial, how do we know he is yet taking part?

 

19. What has Washington Irving (Sketch Book) to say on a wife's influence in helping her husband to recover from a great misfortune?

 

20. In this sifting of Satan where does Job's piety surpass that of Adam?

 

21. Where else, in the book of Job, does Job himself claim to be superior to Adam?

 

22. How does Satan further appear to be taking part?

 

23. How is the first problem, as suggested by Satan, solved?

 

24. What was the result of Satan's three trials?

 

25. Give proofs from the book that a considerable time elapsed between the smiting with leprosy and the visit of the three friends, so stating in order the intervening events as to prepare the mind to understand the subsequent debates, and enable it to appreciate this man's heroic fortitude and patience before he uttered a word of complaint.

 

26. What the last straw that broke down the fortitude of Job?

 

27. Give a summary of the Bible teaching relative to Satan.

 

 

IV

 

(Return to Contents)

 

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE POETICAL DRAMA AND JOB'S COMPLAINT

Job 3:1-26.

 


The names and lineal descent of the human persons in the drama, their relationship, and their religious ideas are as follows:


1. Job was a descendant of Uz, the son of Nahor, who was the brother of Abraham (Gen. 22:20-21). The father of Abraham and Nahor was an idolater, but Nahor shared in the light given to Abraham. Hence it is said, "The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor." So, also, Nahor's descendants shared the knowledge of the true God.


2. Eliphaz was a descendant of Teman, the son of Esau, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Hence his knowledge of God. Eliphaz, himself a prophet, received revelations (4:12-17). Teman, his country, ages later, was renowned for wisdom (Jer. 49:7).


3. Bildad was a descendant of Shuah, the son of Abraham and Keturah (Gen. 25:1-2). Hence his traditional knowledge of God.


4. Zophar was a Namathite. Naamah in Joshua's time was a city bordering on Edom and included by conquest in Judah's territory. Hence, probably, Zophar was also a descendant of Esau, or possibly one of the Amorite confederates of Abraham ' (Gen. 14:13).


5. Elihu, the Buzite, was a descendant of Buz, the brother of Uz the son of Nahor the brother of Abraham (Gen. 22:20). Hence his knowledge of the true God. The religious ideas of these men were founded on the tradition of special revelations from God. Eliphaz was a prophet and probably received revelations direct from God. The agreement of their ideas doubtless was due to their common source and wherein they disagreed was due to deviations caused by not having a written revelation and the different points of view from which they made observations) as individuals. It is probable that Job's ideas with reference to sin and suffering were the same as these three friends which were commonly accepted as the theory till his experience upset them and put Job to thinking. Elihu was most correct of all, but not that he had more light than the others but because, in all probability, he was more balanced in his observations, and thus formed better conclusions. In view of the striking and distinguishing characteristics of these five men, the peculiarities of mind, temper, and creed, the good and bad elements of their respective arguments, so clearly brought out in the development of this discussion, and in view of their peculiarities of style, idioms of speech and local references, bearing on the times, country, and habitat assigned to each, and in view of subsequent Old Testament and New Testament references to the story, to which one of these two conclusions are we driven:


1. Are they fictitious persons, children of the writer's creative brain, who weaves his background of story in the drapery of a parable, and then sets forth in the literary form of a poetical drama his philosophy concerning divine providence?


2. Is this history; are these real persons voicing their own actual experiences, observations, and convictions; is everything true to character – the time, the persons, the events, the style, and the idioms of speech?


They are not fictitious persons, children of the writer's creative brain, like the characters of a novel, but are real persons, voicing their own actual experiences, observations, convictions, and their several philosophies of life. They are all descendants of Shem and of the two brothers, Abraham and Nahor, though none of them in the promised line through Abraham which developed into the chosen nation. The place of the book is Uz, a district of central Arabia, southeast of Palestine, touching or connecting with Edom on the south, the lower Euphrates on the east, and on the northeast the mountains east of the Jordan. In loose terms, it is known as the East Country, a country largely desert, traversed by caravans, largely pastoral, but with agricultural sections and with settled communities here and there that in that time were called cities.


The time in general and in particular is as follows:


1. In general, the patriarchal days somewhere between the time of Jacob and the bondage in Egypt


2. In particular, some months after Job was smitten with leprosy (7:3,29:2)


The theme of the poetical drama is the mystery of divine Providence in the government of men prior to revelation, and the three necessities which this trial of Job reveals as relating to law, worship, the future state, prayer, and the supernatural interference with men, as illustrated in the case of Job are as follows:


1. The necessity of a revelation


2. The necessity of the incarnation


3. The necessity of a daysman (See Psalm 19; 73.)


Now the following is a good, brief outline of the poetical drama and epilogue:

 

THE POETICAL DRAMA, JOB 3:1 TO 42:6

 

Act 1. Job's complaint (3)

 

Act II. Debate with the three friends (4-26)


Scene 1. – First round of speeches (4-14)


Scene 2. – Second round of speeches (15-21)


Scene 3. – Third round of speeches (22-26)


Act III. Job's formal restatement of his case (27-31)

 

Act IV. Interposition of Elihu (32-37)

 

Act V. Intervention of God (38:1 to 42:6)


Scene 1. – First arraignment and reply (38:1 to 40:5)


Scene 2. – Second arraignment and reply (40:6 to 42:6)

 

THE EPILOGUE, PROSE, (42:7-17)


1. God's rebuke of the three friends (42:7)


2. Job's intercession (42:8)


3. Job's exaltation (42:9-17)


It will be noted that this drama consists of five acts and many scenes. It commences with chapter 3 and closes with 42:6.


The several acts are Job's complaint, the debate with the three friends, Job's restatement of the case, Elihu's interposition, and Jehovah's intervention.


The problem of the prose prologue, "Can there be disinterested piety?" having been solved affirmatively, now gives way for an entirely new and broader problem: The solution of the mystery of God's providential dealings with man on earth and in time, particularly in the undeserved sufferings of the righteous and in the undeserved prosperity of the wicked. This problem assumes in the progress of the discussion many shades of interrogative form, as follows:


1. Is exact justice meted out to man on earth so that we may infallibly infer his moral character from the blessings or sufferings which come upon him?


2. If this be true in general, in the case of the individual, to what extent is the problem complicated by the unity and responsibility of society as blessings or sufferings come upon a community, a city, a tribe, or a nation? What becomes of the individual case in this larger view? How much greater the complications when the individual is seen to be only an infinitesimal part of the universe?


3. Can the finite mind solve such a problem? Is this life the whole of man's life? If not, what the folly of inferring character from an imperfect view of a fragment of earth life and of seeking a final judgment in each passing dispensation of time?


4. Considering man's ignorance of the extraneous and supernatural forces, both good and bad, which touch man's life, can he confidently infer the cause, purpose, and extent of temporal adversity and prosperity?


5. Are all earth sufferings penal and all of its blessings a reward of desert?


6. Can unaided man find out and comprehend the Almighty and Omniscient? Can man contend with the Almighty without a Surety? Is there not a necessity for a divine incarnation so that man unterrified may talk to God face to face as with a friend? Shall not God become visible, palpable, and human before a solution is possible? In view of human imperfection and divine perfection is not a superhuman interpreter needed in order to man's full understanding? In view of sin, is not a daysman, or mediator, needed? In view of requisite holiness and the dreadfulness of sin, is not a written revelation, and infallible standard of right, needed that man may authoritatively know the indictment against him and how to meet it?


The discussion of these and kindred questions not only set this book apart as the profoundest philosophy of time, but also clearly indicates its object, namely, a preparation for a written revelation and an incarnation which will supply the needed surety, umpire, daysman, mediator, and redeemer. Now I will give a summary of Job's complaint which is a brief outline of chapter 3. He complains:


1. That he was ever born (3:1-10)


2. That he had not died at birth (3:11-15)


3. That he had not been an abortion, failing of being before reaching the period of quickening (3:16-19)


4. That he cannot now die (3:20-26) He means, by cursing the day of his birth, this: Let not God regard it; let man leave it out of the calendar; let those who curse days neglect not to curse this one; let it be eclipsed by darkness and let this darkness be the deepest, even the shadow of death.


By cursing the night of his conception he means: Let it be solitary and barren; let it have no dawn; let it be an eternal night.


Days may become accursed or blessed in the popular mind, by association with great events. Friday, or hangman's day, is counted unlucky for marriages, the undertaking of new enterprises, or the commencing of a journey. November 5 as long marked for celebration in the English Calendar because the date of the discovery of the Guy Fawkes' gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. 60, in the American Calendar, July 4 becomes Independence Day. The presumption of cursing one three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth part of all future time because of one calamity to one man is an awful presumption, yet Job himself afterward called these words "rash words," extorted by great anguish (6:1-3) and that as "speeches of one that is desperate; they are as wind" and called not for serious reproof (6:26).


In Job 3:13-19 we have Job's idea of the peace and restfulness of death, so far as its subjects can be touched by the living. He says that there they are quiet, asleep, at rest, with counselors, and princes, like unborn infants; no troubles from the wicked and no oppression of servants. Though Job 80 thoroughly believed that his disease was incurable, his restoration to former prosperity impossible, was hopeless of vindication in his life, and so earnestly longed and begged for a speedy death, yet he never did think of suicide, and the bearing of this on the superiority of his religion over all the great heathen philosophies is tremendous. Compare Hamlet's soliloquy commencing, "To be, or not to be, that is the question." Job's idea of man's responsibility to God pre-vented him from thinking of suicide. He believed in the absolute ownership of God as to human life, and man therefore has no right to take his own life. He understood the disposition of life to belong to God. On the other hand, heathen philosophies taught that if life's ills became unbearable, man had a right to end his own life under such circumstances by his own hand. They never realized the sanctity of human life as taught by the Christian religion. Thus, Job had a better religion than men attained to by philosophical inquiry.


The meaning of "shadow of death," in the book of Job, in the Psalms, and the Prophets is not death itself, but as a shadow it may fall across the path of life at any point. In Pilgrim's Progress Bunyan locates the "Valley of the Shadow of Death," early in the pilgrimage and not just before death. "Death" is one thing, and the "shadow of death" is an entirely different thing.


There is a difficulty in the text, translation and meaning of Job 3:8. The word rendered "leviathan" occurs elsewhere in the book. What is a leviathan? Does the crocodile of the Nile come up to the description in chapter 41? Is it possible that "leviathan" in 3:8 is used figuratively like "the great dragon" in Revelation 12:7? In the phrase, "let them that curse the day," is there a reference to enchanters or to the power attributed to Balaam by Balack in Numbers 22:6-7? The Revised Version is in keeping with the Hebrew in this passage. It is properly translated "who are ready to rouse up leviathan." "Leviathan" literally means crocodile, but in this passage it is used, I think, in a figurative sense, meaning reptile, serpent, the devil.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What the names and lineal descent of the human persons in the drama, showing their relationship and accounting for their religious ideas?

 

2. What can you say of the character of this book, negatively and positively?

 

3. What the place of the book?

 

4. What the time in general and in particular?

 

5. What the theme of the poetical drama?

 

6. What three necessities does this trial of Job reveal?

 

7. Give an outline of the poetical drama and epilogue.

 

8. What in particular the new problem of the drama?

 

9. What the various interrogative forms of this new problem?

 

10. What the purpose of the book as set forth in the discussion of these questions?

 

11. Give a summary of Job's complaint.

 

12. What does he mean by cursing the day of his birth?

 

13. What does he mean by cursing the night of his conception?

 

14. How many days become accursed or blessed in the popular mind? Give examples.

 

15. What can you say of the presumption of cursing one three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth part of all future time because of one calamity to one man and how does Job afterward regard it?

 

16. Why did Job not commit suicide?

 

17. What was Job's idea of the peace and restfulness of death, so far as its subjects can be touched by the living?

 

18. What the meaning of "shadow of death," in the book of Job, in the Psalms, and in the Prophets?

 

19. What the difficulty in the text, translation and meaning of Job 3:8. The word rendered "leviathan" occurs elsewhere in the book. What is a leviathan? Does the crocodile of the Nile come up to the description in chapter 41? Is it possible that "leviathan" in 3:8 is used figuratively like "the great dragon" in Rev. 12:7? In the phrase, "let them that curse the day," is there a reference to enchanters or to the power attributed to Balaam by Balack in Numbers 22:6-7?

 

 

V

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE FIRST ROUND OF SPEECHES

Job 4-14.

 


This debate extends from chapter 4 to chapter 31 inclusive. There are three rounds of speeches by all the four except that Zophar drops out in the last round. Each round constitutes a scene in Act II of the drama.


In this chapter we will discuss Scene I and commence with the first speech of Eliphaz (4-5) the points of which are as follows:


Introduction (4:1-2). In his introduction he deprecates grieving one so afflicted but must reprove Job,


1. For weakness and inconsistency. The one who had instructed, comforted, and strengthened others in their troubles, faints when trouble comes to him (4:3-5).


2. Because Job had neither the fear of God nor personal integrity, for the fear of God gives confidence, and integrity gives hope, but Job's complaint implies that he had neither confidence nor hope, therefore he must be devoid of the fear of God and of integrity (4:6).


3. Because the observation of the general trend of current events argued Job's guilt. The innocent do not perish; those who reap trouble are those who have sowed trouble and plowed iniquity. Ravening lions, though strong and terrible, meet the hunter at last (4:7-11).


4. Because revelation also convicts him. Eliphaz relates one of his own visions (4:12-17), very impressively, which scouted the idea that mortal man could be more just than God, or purer than his maker. But Job's complaint seemed to embody the idea. Eliphaz argues from his vision that a pure and just God crushes impure and unjust men and suggests the application that Job's being crushed reproves his impurity and injustice (4:18-21).


5. Because Job's outcry against God was foolish and silly, and since no angels would hear such complaint, or dare to avert its punishment (5:1-2) there can be no appeal from the supreme to the creature.


6. Because observation of a particular case illustrates Job's guilt (5:3-5). The circumstances of this case seen by Eliphaz, make it parallel with Job's case; a certain foolish man took root and prospered for a while, but the curse smote him suddenly and utterly; his children perished, his harvest was eaten by the hungry, and all his substance was snatched away.


7. Because these results are not accidental, nor of earthly origin, but must be attributed to God who punishes sin. Because man is a sinner he is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward (5:6-7).


The remedy suggested to Job by Eliphaz is as follows:


1. Take your case to God – confession of sin and repentance are suggested (5:8) – who will exalt the penitent (5:11) as certainly as he has frustrated their craftiness (5:12-14) and so the poor may have hope after the mouth of their iniquity is stopped (5:15-16).


2. Instead of murmuring, count yourself happy in receiving this punishment, and after penitence expect restoration of prosperity (5:17-27).


On comparing this analysis with that given by Dr. Tanner (see his Syllabus on the speech of Eliphaz) it will be noted that the author here differs widely with Tanner in his analysis and interpretation of this speech. Tanner presents Eliphaz as assuming the position that Job was a righteous man and that God would deliver him. The author presents Eliphaz as taking the position that Job had sinned, which was the cause of his suffering and that he should confess and repent; that he should count himself happy in receiving this punishment, and thus after penitence expect the restoration of prosperity. It will be recalled here that the author, in commending the Syllabus of Dr. Tanner noted the weakness of his analysis at this point.


There are several things notable in this first speech of Eliphaz, viz:


1. The recurrence in all his speeches of "I have seen," "I have seen," "I saw," showing that the experience and observation of a long life constituted the basis of his argument.


2. The good elements of his arguments are as follows: (1) He refers to the natural law of sowing and reaping (Cf. Gal. 6:7); (2) the sinner's way to happiness is through confession and repentance; (3) chastisement of an erring man should be recognized as a blessing, since it looks to his profit (Cf. Prov. 3:11 and the use made of it as quoted in Heb. 12:5).


3. The bad elements in his speech are as follows: (1) His induction of facts ignores many other facts, particularly that all suffering is not penal; (2) He fails in the application of his facts, since the case before him does not come in their classification; in other words, through ignorance he fails in his diagnosis of the case, and hence his otherwise good remedies fall short of a cure.


4. The exquisite simplicity and literary power of his description of his vision, makes it a classic gem of Hebrew poetry.


The following points are noted in Job's reply (6-7) :


1. The rash words of my complaint are not evidence of previous sins, but the result of immeasurable calamities from the hand of God. They cannot be weighed; they are heavier than the sandy shores which confine the ocean; they are poisoned arrows from the quiver of the Almighty which pierce my very soul and rankle there; they are terrors marshalled in armies by the Almighty (6:1-4).


2. The braying of an ass and the lowing of an ox are to be attributed to lack of food, not meanness. Let the favorable construction put upon the discordant noise of hungry animals be applied to my braying and lowing (6:5), for in my case also there is the hunger of starvation since the food set before me is loathsome and without savor (6:6-7).


3. I repeat my prayer to God for instant death, because I have not the strength to endure longer, nor the wisdom to understand (6:8-9, 11-13) but while exulting in the pain that slays me, my consolation still is, that I have not denied the words of the Holy One (6:10).


4. Instead of moralizing on the causes and rebuking suspected sins, friends should extend kindness to one ready to faint, even though he forsake the fear of God (or lest he forsake, 6:14). This is like the story of the drowning boy who asked the moralizing man on the bank to help him out first and then inquire into the causes of his mishap.


5. In your treatment of me, ye are like a deceitful brook, roaring with water only while the snow on the mountains is melting, but being without springs, directly you run dry. The caravans from the desert that come to it hoping, turn aside from its dusty channels and perish. So you that seemed like a river when I was not thirsty, put me to shame by your nothingness now that I thirst. Compare "Wells without water . . . clouds without rain" in Jude 12-13.


6. Is it possible that you condemn me because you apprehend that otherwise I might ask you for help? In your moralizing are you merely hedging against the expectation of being called on to help a bankrupt sufferer, by furnishing a reward or ransom for the return of my stolen flocks and herds? Do you try to make me guilty that you may evade the cost of true friendship (6:21-23)? I have asked for no financial help, but for instruction. How forcible are right words !


7. But you, instead of explaining my calamities have been content to reprove the words of my complaint, extorted by the anguish of my calamities, words that under the circumstances should have been counted as wind, being only the speeches of one that is desperate. 8. The meanness of such treatment in your case would prompt in other cases to cast lots for the orphans of the dead and make merchandise out of a stranded friend by selling him as a slave (6:27). This is a terrible invective, but more logical than their argument, since history abundantly shows that some believers in their creed have done these very things, the argument being that thereby they are helping God to punish the wicked.


9. He begs them to turn from such injustice, look on his face and behold his sincerity, concede his ability to discern a thing which is wicked, and accept his deliberate statement that he is innocent of the things which they suspect (6:28-30).


10. He laments his case as hopeless (7:1-10). Here Job asks if there is not a warfare to man and his days like the days of a hireling. His waiting for relief was like a hireling waiting for his wages, during which time he is made to pass months (moons) of misery. In this hopeless condition he longs for relief and would gladly welcome death from which there is no return to the walks of this life.


11. Job now lifts his voice in complaint to God (7:11-21). In the anguish of his spirit he could not refrain from complaining that God had set a watch over him and terrified him with dreams and visions. He was made to loathe his life and again to wish for death. Then he closes this speech by raising the question with the Almighty as to why he would not pardon him if he had sinned (as his accusers had insinuated) and take away his iniquity. Here he addresses God as a "watcher of men"; as one who had made him a target for his arrows. Now we take up the first speech of Bildad, the Shuhite (8).


The substance of this speech is as follows:


1. He charges that Job seeks to make himself better than God, then he hints at the sins of his children and insinuates that Job does not pray, for prayer of the right sort brings relief (8:1-7).


2. He exhorts Job to learn the lesson from the past. The wisdom of the fathers must be good. Therefore, learn the lesson of the ancients (8:8-10).


3. He contrasts the fate of the wicked and that of the righteous, reasoning from cause to effect, thus insinuating that Job's condition was the result of a cause, and since (to him) all suffering was the result of sin, the cause must be in Job (8:11-22).


The substance of Job's reply is,


1. True enough a man cannot be righteous with God, since he is unable to contend with him. He is too wise and powerful; he is invincible. Who can match him (9:1-12)?


2. Praying does not touch the case. He is unjust and proves me perverse. Individual righteousness does not avail to exempt in case of a scourge. He mocks at the trial of the innocent and the wicked prosper. Then Job says, "If it be not he, who then is it?" This is the climax of the moral tragedy (9:1324).


3. There is no daysman betwixt us, and I am not able to meet him in myself for Judgment (9:25-35).


4. I will say unto God, "Why? Thou knowest I am not wicked." Here it will be noted that a revelation is needed in view of this affliction (10:1-7).


5. God is responsible for my condition; he framed and fashioned me as clay, yet he deals with me as milk or cheese; it is just the same whether I am wicked or righteous; changes and warfare are with me (10:8-17).


6. Why was I born? or why did I not die at birth? Then would I have escaped this great suffering, but now I must abide the time until I go into the land of midnight darkness (10:18-22).


The substance of Zophar's first speech is this:


1. What you have received is not as much as you deserve; you are full of talk and boastful; you are self-righteous and need this rebuke from God (11:1-6).


2. You cannot find out God; he is far beyond man; he is all-powerful and omniscient; man is as void of understanding as a wild ass's colt (11:7-12).


3. Put away your wickedness; you need to get right and then you will be blessed; you should set your heart and house in order, then all will clear up; then you will be protected from the wicked (11:13-20).


Job's reply to the first speech of Zophar embraces three chapters, as follows:


1. No doubt you are the people and wisdom will die with you; I am not inferior to you; you mock and do not help; I, though upright, am a laughingstock and you, who are at ease, have contempt for misfortune; God brought this about (12:1-6).


2. Learn the lessons from nature; the beasts, the birds, the earth, and the fishes can teach thee; everybody knows these things; the ear tries words and the palate tastes food, and wisdom is learned by age (12:7-12).


3. God is the source of wisdom and power; he deals wisely with all men; he debases and he exalts (12:13-25).


4. I understand it all as well as you; ye are forgers of lies; ye are physicians of no value; your silence would be wisdom; you speak wickedly for God, therefore your sayings are proverbs of ashes and your defenses are defenses of clay (13:1-12)


5. Why should I take my life in my hand thus? I want to be vindicated before I die; "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him"; I know that I am righteous; therefore I have hope (13:13-19).


6. He pleads his cause with God; he asks two things of God, viz: (1) that he would put an end to his bodily suffering and (2) that he would abstain from terrifying him; then he challenges God to call him; then he interrogates God relative to his sins, God's attitude toward him and his dealings with him; and finally charges God with unjust dealings with him (13:20-28).


7. Man that is born of woman is frail and sinful; man's weakness should excite pity with the Almighty; that which is born of an unclean thing is unclean and since a man's days and months are numbered, why not turn from him as an hireling and let him rest (14:1-6).


8. The hope of a tree, though it be cut down, is that it will sprout again but man's destiny to lie down in death and rise no more till the heavens pass away should be a cause for mercy from God (14:7-12).


9. In despair of recovery in this life Job again prays for death; that God would hide him in the grave till his wrath be past; that he would appoint him a day, in the hope that if he should die he would live again; his destiny is in God's hands and therefore he is hopeless for this life (14:13-17).


10. Like the mountain falling, the rock being removed out of its place and waters wearing away the stones, the hope of man for this life is destroyed by the providences of God; man is driven by them into oblivion; his sufferings become so great that only for himself his flesh has pain and only for himself his soul mourns (14:18-22).


In this round of speeches the three friends have followed their philosophy of cause and effect and thus reasoning that all suffering is the effect of sin, they have, by insinuations, charged Job of sin, but they do not specify what it is. Job denies the general charge and in a rather bad spirit refutes their arguments and hits back at them some terriffic blows. He is driven to the depths of despair at the climax of the moral tragedy where he attributes all the malice, cunning, and injustice he had felt in the whole transaction to God as his adversary. They exhort him to repent and seek God, but he denies that he has sinned; he says that he cannot contend with the Almighty because he is too high above him, too powerful, and that there is no umpire, or daysman, between them. Here Job is made to feel the need of a revelation from God explaining all the mysteries of his providence. In this trial of Job we have 'Satan's partial victory over him -where he led Job to attribute the evils that had come upon him to God. This is the downfall in Job's wrestle with Satan. He did not get on top of Job but gave him a great deal of worry. We will see Job triumphing more and more as he goes on in the contest.

 

QUESTIONS


1. What the points of Eliphaz's first speech?


2. What things are notable in this first speech of Eliphaz?


3. What the points of Job's reply (6-7)?


4. What the substance of Bildad's first speech?


5. What the substance of Job's reply?


6. What the substance of Zophar's first speech?


7. What Job's reply?


8. Give a summary of the proceedings and results of the first round.

 

 

VI

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE SECOND ROUND OF SPEECHES

Job 15-21.

 


In this chapter we take up the second round of speeches, commencing with the second speech of Eliphaz. This speech consists of two parts, a rejoinder to Job's last speech and a continuation of the argument.


The main points of the rejoinder (15:1-16) are as follows:


1. A reflection on Job's wisdom (1-3). A wise man would not answer with vain knowledge, windy words, nor reason with unprofitable words.


2. An accusation of impiety (4-6). Job is irreverent, binders devotion, uses a serpent tongue of craftiness whose words are self-condemnatory. (Cf. what Caiaphas said about Christ, Matthew 26:65.)


3. A cutting sarcasm (7-8). Wast thou before Adam, or before the creation of the mountains, and a member of the Celestial Council considering the creation, that thou limitest wisdom to thyself?


4. An invidious comparison (9-10). What knowest thou of which we are ignorant? With us are the gray-headed, much older than thy father.


5. A bigoted rebuke (11-16). You count small the consolation of God we offered you in gentle words [the reader may determine for himself how much "comfort" they offered Job and note their conceit in calling this "God's comfort," and judge whether it was offered in "gentle" words]. Your passions run away with you. Here a quotation from Rosenmuller is in point: Quo te tuus animus rapit? – "Whither does thy soul hurry thee?" Quid oculi qui tui vibrantes? – "What means thy rolling eyes?" It turns against God; this is presumptuous: A man born of woman, depraved, against God in whose sight angels are imperfect and the heavens unclean. How much more an abominable, filthy man drinking iniquity like water.


The points in the continuation of the argument are as follows:


1. Hear me while I instruct thee (17). I will tell you what I have seen.


2. It is the wisdom of the ancients handed down (18-19). Wise men have received it from their fathers and have handed it down to us for our special good.


3. Concerning the doom of the wicked (20-30). This is a wonderful description of the course of the wicked to their final destruction, but his statements, in many instances, are not true. For instance, in his first statement about the wicked (v. 20), he says, "The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days," which is in accord with his theory, but does not harmonize with the facts in the case. The wicked does not travail with pain "all his days." They are not terrified "all the time" as Eliphaz here pictures them. In this passage Eliphaz intimates that Job may be guilty of pride (v. 25) and of fatness (v. 27).


4. The application (31-35). If what he said about the wicked was true, his application here to Job is wrong. It will be seen that Eliphaz here intimates that Job was guilty of vanity and self-deception; that he was, perhaps, guilty of bribery and deceit, and therefore the calamity had come upon him.


The following is a summary of Job's reply (16-17) :


1. Your speech is commonplace. I have heard many such things. Ye are miserable comforters (v. 2).


2. You persist when I have urged you to desist. It is unprovoked. Your words are vain, just words of wind (v. 3). ½


3. If our places were changed, I could do as you do, but I would not. I would helo and comfort vou (4-5).


4. You ask me to cease my complaint, but whether I speak or forbear, the result is the same. I have not ensnared my feet, but God has lassoed me (v. 6).


5. He gives a fearful description of God's assault (7-14): (1) as a hunter with hounds he has harried me; (2) he has abandoned me to the malice of mine enemies; (3) as a wrestler he has taken me by the neck and shaken me to pieces; (4) as an archer he has bound me to the stake and terrified and pierced me with his arrows; (5) as a mighty conqueror he opened breach after breach in my defenses with batteringrams; and (6) as a giant he rushes on me through the breach in the assault.


6. As a result, I am clothed in sackcloth and my dignity lies prone in the dust; my face is foul with weeping, my eyelids shadowed by approaching death, although no injustice on my part provoked it and my prayer was pure (15-17).


7. I appeal to the earth to cover my blood and to the heavenly witness to vouch for me. Friends may scorn my tears, but they are unto God. (See passages in Revelation and Psalms.) Note here the messianic prayer, "that one might plead for a man with God, as a son of man pleadeth for hi9 neighbor." But my days are numbered and mockers are about me (16:18 to 17:2).


8. The plea for a divine surety (messianic) but God has made me a byword, who had been a tabret. Future ages will be astonished at my case and my deplorable condition (17: 3-16).


There are several things in this speech worthy of note, viz: 1. The messianic desire which finds expression later as David and Isaiah adopt the words of Job to fit their Messiah. 2. Job is right in recognizing a malicious adversary, but wrong in thinking God his adversary; God only permitted these things to come to Job, but Satan brought them.


There are two parts of Bildad's second speech (chap. 18), viz: a rejoinder (w. 1-4) and an argument (vv. 5-21). The main points of his rejoinder are:


1. Job hunts for words rather than speaks considerately.


2. Why are the friends accounted as beasts and unclean in your sight?


3. Job was just tearing himself with anger and altogether without reason.


4. A sarcasm: The earth will not be forsaken for thee nor will the rock be moved out of its place for thee (1-4).


The argument (5-21) is fine and much of it is true, but it is wrong in its application. The following are the points as applied to the wicked:


1. His light shall be put out.


2. The steps of his strength shall be straightened.


3. His own counsel shall be cast down.


4. There shall be snares everywhere for his feet.


5. Terrors of conscience shall smite him on every side.


6. He shall be destroyed root and branch and in memory.


There are also two parts to Job's great reply: His expostulation with his friends (19:1-6) and his complaint against God (19:7-29). The points of his expostulation are:


1. Ye reproach me often without shame and deal hardly with me.


2. If I have sinned, it is not against you but my error remains with myself.


3. The snares you refer to are not because of my fault but they are from God, for he has subverted me and compassed me with his net.


The items of his complaint against God are as follows:


1. He will not hear me, though I am innocent; surely there is no justice.


2. He has walled me up and set darkness in my path.


3. He has stripped me of my glory and he has broken me down on every side.


4. He has plucked up my hope like a tree and his fiery wrath is against me.


5. He has counted me an adversary and I am besieged by armies round about.


6. He has put away from me my brethren, friends, kindred, family, servants, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.


7. I appeal to you, O ye my friends, for pity instead of persecution.


8. Oh that my words were written in a book or were engraved with a pen of iron in the rock forever, but I know that my redeemer liveth and will at last stand upon the earth, and I shall behold him in my risen body, then to be vindicated by him.


9. Now I warn you to beware of injustice to me lest the sword come upon you, for there is a judgment ahead. Here it may be noted that verses 23-24 refer to the ancient method of writing and that Job expresses in verses 25-27 a great hope for the future. Compare the several English translations of 19:26 with each other and the context and then answer:


1. Does Job intend to convey the idea that he will see God apart from his body) i.e., when death separates soul and body?


2. Or does he mean that at the resurrection he will see God from the viewpoint of his risen body?


3. If you hold the latter meaning, which version, after all, is the least misleading, the King James, the Revised, the American Standard Version, or Leeser's Jewish translation? The answer is, Job here means that he will see God from the viewpoint of his risen body, as the King James Version conveys.


Zophar's second speech is harsher than his first, and consists of a rejoinder (20:1-3) and an argument (20:4-29).


The points of his rejoinder are:


1. Haste is justified because of his thoughts;


2. The reproach of 19:28-29, "If ye say, How may we pursue him and that the cause of the suffering is in me, then beware of the sword. My goel [redeemer] will defend me," he answers thus: "Thus do my thoughts answer me and by reason of this there is haste in me; I hear the reproof that puts me to shame and the spirit of my understanding gives answer.


The points of his argument are:


1. Since creation the prosperity of the wicked has been short, his calamity sure and utter, extending to his children.


2. The very sweetness of his sin becomes poison to him.


3. He shall not look on streams flowing with milk, butter, and honey.


4. He shall restore and shall not swallow it down, even according to all that he has taken.


5. In the height of his enjoyment the sword smites him and the arrow pierces him,


6. Darkness wraps him, terrors fright him, and heaven's supernatural fires burn him.


7. Heaven reveals his iniquity and earth rises up against him. This is the heritage appointed unto him by God. Certain other scriptures carry out the idea of milk, butter, and honey, viz: Exodus 3:8; 13:5; 33:3; 2 Kings 18:32; Deuteronomy 31:20; Isaiah 7:22; Joel 3:18, and several classic authors refer to them, also, as Pindar, Virgil, Ovid, and Horace. It will be noted that Zophar intimates that Job might be guilty of hypocrisy (v. 12), of oppressing the poor (v. 19) and of greediness (v. 20).


Job's reply (chap. 21) is more collected than the former, and the points are as follows:


1. Hear me and then mock. This is only fair and may afterward prove a consolation to you.


2. Do I address myself to man for help? My address is to God and, because I am unheard, therefore I am impatient?


3. Mark me and be astonished. What I say even terrifies me.


4. The prosperity of the wicked who defy God is a well known fact.


5. How seldom is their light put out. They are not destroyed as you say.


6. Ye say God visits it on his children. What is that to him?


7. Here are two cases, one prosperous to the end and the other never so. The grave is sweet to both.


8. God's reserved judgment is for the wicked. Do you not know this?


9. In conclusion I must say that your answers are falsehoods.


In this second round of speeches we have observed that Job has quieted down to a great extent and seems to have risen to higher heights of faith, while the three friends have become bolder and more desperate. They have gone beyond insinuations to intimations, thus suggesting certain sins of which Job might be guilty. While Job has greatly improved in his spirit and has ascended a long way from the depths to which he had gone in the moral tragedy, the climax of the debate has not yet been reached. Tanner says, "While the conflict of debate is sharper, Job's temper is more calm; and he is perceptibly nearer a right attitude toward God. He is approaching a victory over his opponents, and completing the more important one over himself."


QUESTIONS

 

1. Of what does the second speech of Eliphaz consist?

 

2. What the main points of the rejoinder (15:1-16)?

 

3. What the points in the continuation of the argument?

 

4. What summary of Job's reply (16-17)?

 

5. What things in this speech are worthy of note?

 

6. What the two parts of Bildad's second speech (18)?

 

7. What the main points of his rejoinder?

 

8. What can you say of his argument and what the points of it?

 

9. What the two parts to Job's great reply?

 

10. What the points of his expostulation?

 

11. What the items of his complaint against God?

 

12. Explain verses 23-24,

 

13. What great hope does Job express in verses 25-27?

 

14. Compare the several English translations of 19:26 with each other and the context and then answer: What great hope does Job express in 19:25-27?

 

15. How does Zophar's second speech compare with the first and what the parts of this speech?

 

16. What the points of his rejoinder?

 

17. What the points of his argument?

 

18. What scriptures carry out the idea of milk, butter, and honey, and what classic authors refer to this?

 

19. What can you say of Job's reply (21) and what his points?

 

20. What have we found in the second round of speeches?

 

 

VII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE THIRD ROUND OF SPEECHES

Job 22-26.

 


Eliphaz's third speech consists of three parts: 22:1-4; 22: 5-20; and 22:21-30.


The subject of part one (vv. 1-4) is: God's dealings with men not for selfish interests, And the main points are:


1. A man who is wise may be profitable to himself, but not to God.


2. Man's happiness cannot add to God's happiness, because that resides in himself.


3. Man's piety does not provoke affliction from God, for he does not fear man nor is he jealous of man. The subject of part two (vv. 5-20) and the status of the case in general, are expressed thus:


Your wickedness is the cause of your suffering. For the first time Eliphaz now leaves insinuations, intimations, and generalities, and, in response to Job's repeated challenge comes to specifications, which he cannot know to be true and cannot' prove. This is the difficult part of all prosecutions, viz: to specify and to prove) as the Latin proverb expresses it: Hie labor, hoc opus est. The breakdown of Eliphaz on this point prepares the way for Job's speedy triumph. Bildad dares not follow on the same line; all the wind is taken out of his sails; he relapses into vague generalities and with lame brevity repeats himself. Zophar who has the closing speech of the prosecution, is so completely whipped, that he makes no rejoinder. It is a tame windup of a great discussion, confessing advertising defeat.


The specifications of Eliphaz's charges against Job are:


l. Thou hast taken pledges of thy brother for nought (6a). (For the heinousness of this offense see later legislation, viz: Exodus 22:26; Deuteronomy 24:6, 17; and the reference in Ezekiel 18:16.)


2. Thou hast stripped the naked of their clothing (6b).


3. Thou hast withheld water and bread from the famishing, and all this when thou hadst the earth and wast honorable in it (7-8).


4. Thou hast refused the pleadings of necessitous widows and robbed helpless orphans [See Job's final pathetic and eloquent reply in chapter 31, where he sums up the case and closes the defense], therefore snares, fear, and darkness have come upon thee like a flood of waters (9-11).


5. These were presumptuous and blasphemous sins because you argued that God could not see you, denying his omniscience (12-14).


6. You have imitated the antediluvians who, ungrateful for divine mercies, bade God depart and denied his power and who therefore were swallowed up by the flood becoming an object lesson to future ages and a joy to the righteous (15-20). (Cf. 2 Peter 2:4-15 and Jude 6-16.)


The passage, Job 22:21-30, consists of an exhortation and a promise. The items of the exhortation, and the implication of each are as follows:


1. Acquaint thyself with God (v. 21), which implies Job's ignorance of him.


2. Accept his law and treasure it up in thy heart (v. 22), which implies Job's enmity against God.


3. Repent and reform (v. 23), which implies wickedness in Job.


4. Cease worshiping gold and let God be the object of thy worship (v. 24), implying that he was covetous.


The items of the promise are:


1. God, not gold, shall be thy treasure and delight and his worship thy joy (vv. 25-26).


2. Thy prayers will be heard and thy vows accepted (v. 27).


3. Thy purposes will be accomplished and thy way illumined (v. 28).


4. Thou shall hope for uplifting when cast down and thy humility will secure divine interposition (v. 29).


5. Thou shall even deliver guilty men through thy righteousness (v. 30). [Cf. Genesis 18:25-32; ten righteous men would have saved Sodom; but compare Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and Jeremiah 15:1; see also Job's reply in chapter 31.] The items of Job's reply as it applies to his particular case (23:1 to 24-12) are:


1. Even yet my complaint is accounted rebellion by men though my hand represses my groaning (23:2).


2. "Oh that I could now get the case before God himself – he would deliver me forever, but I cannot find him, though he finds me" (3:10a).


3. When he has fully tried me, as gold is tested by fire, I shall be vindicated, for my life has been righteous (10b-12). [This is nearly up to Romans 8:28,]


4. But his mind, in continuing my present trouble though I am innocent, is immutable by prayers and his purpose to accomplish in me what he desires is inflexible (13-14).


5. This terrifies me, because I am in the dark and unheard (15-17).


6. Why are there not judgment days in time, so that those that know him may meet him? (24:1).


7. Especially when there are wicked people who do all the things with which I am falsely charged, whom he regards not


The items of broad generalization in this reply are as follows Here Job passes from his particular case to a broad generalization of providential dealings and finds the same inexplicable problems]:


1. There are men who remove land marks, i.e., land stealers (v. 2). (Cf. Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17; and Hosea 5:10; also Henry George vs. Land Ownership in severally and limitations of severally ownership when it becomes a monopoly), so that it shuts out the people from having a home. (See Isaiah 5:8.)


2. There are those who openly rob the widow and orphan and turn the poor away so that they have to herd as wild asses and live on the gleanings from nature (w. 3-8).


3. There are those who pluck the fatherless from the mother's breast for slaves and exact the clothing of the poor for a pledge, so that though laboring in the harvest they are hungry, and though treading the wine press they are thirsty (vv.9-11).


4. In the city men groan, the wounded cry out in vain for help and God regardeth not the folly (v. 12).


5. These are rebels against light, yet it is true that certain classes are punished: (1) the murderer; (2) the thief; (3) the adulterer (13-17).


6. The grave gets all of them, though God spares the mighty for a while and if it is not so, let some one prove me a liar and my speech worth nothing (18-25).


In Bildad's reply to Job (chap. 25) he ignores Job's facts; repeats a platitude, How should man, impure and feeble, born of a woman, a mere worm, be clean before the Almighty in whose sight the moon and stars fade?


Job's reply to Bildad is found in 26:1-4, thus:


1. Thou hast neither helped nor saved the weak.


2. Thou hast not counseled them that have no wisdom.


3. Thou hast not even done justice to what is known.


4. To whom have you spoken, and who inspired you?


Job excels Bildad in speaking of God's power (26:5-14), the items of which are:


1. The dead tremble beneath the waters and the inhabitants thereof before him.


2. Hell and destruction are naked to his sight. [Cf. "Lord of the Dead," Matthew 22:32 and other like passages.]


3. The northern sky is over space and the suspended earth hangeth on nothing.


4. The clouds hold water and are not rent by it; his own throne is hidden by the cloud spread upon it.


5. A boundary is fixed to the waters and a horizon to man's vision, even unto the confines of darkness.


6. The mountains shake and the pillars tremble, yet he quells the raging storm.


7. These are but the outskirts and whispers of his ways and we understand his whisper better than we understand his thunder.


Two things are worthy of note here, viz:


1. Job was a martyr, vicarious, he suffered for others.


2. Job's sufferings were a forecast of the suffering Messiah as Abraham was of the suffering Father. So far, we have found:


1. That good men often suffer strange calamities while evil men often prosper.


2. That the sufferings of the righteous come from intelligence, power, and malice, and so, too, the prosperity of the wicked comes from supernatural power as well.


3. That man cannot solve the problem without a revelation, and the suffering good man needs a daysman, and an advocate.


4. That before one can comprehend God, God must become a man, or be incarnated.


5. That there must be a future, since even and exact Justice is not meted out here.


6. That there is a final judgment, at which all will be rewarded for what they do.


7. That there must be a resurrection and there must be a kinsman redeemer.


Many things were not understood at that time, such as the following:


1. That Satan's power was only permitted, he being under the absolute control of God.


2. That suffering was often disciplinary and, as such, was compensated.


3. That therefore the children of God should glory in them, as in the New Testament light of revelation Paul understood all this and gloried in his tribulation.


4. That the wicked were allowed rope for free development and that they were spared for repentance. Peter in the New Testament gives us this light.


5. That there is a future retribution; that there are a heaven and a hell.


6. That this world is the Devil's sphere of operation as it relates to God's people.


QUESTIONS

 

1. Of what does Eliphaz's third speech consist?

 

2. What the subject of part one (1-4) and its main points?

 

3. What the subject of part two (5-20) & in general, what the status of case?

 

4. What the specifications of Eliphaz's charge against Job?

 

5. Of what does 22:21-30 consist?

 

6. What the items of the exhortation, and what the implication of each?

 

7. What the items of the promise?

 

8. What the items of Job's reply as it applies to his particular case (23:1-24)?

 

9. What the items of broad generalization in this reply?

 

10. What was Bildad's reply to Job (25)?

 

11. What Job's reply to Bildad?

 

12. In what does Job excel Bildad (5-14) and what the items?

 

13. What two things are worthy of note here?

 

14. So far, what have we found?

 

15. What was not understood at that time?

 

 

VIII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

JOB'S RESTATEMENT OF HIS CASE

Job 27-31.

 

 

INTRODUCTION: A PBELIMINARY INTERVIEW WITH THE HIGHER CRITICS


The radical wing of the higher critics say,


1. That all that part of this statement from 27:8 to the end of 28 is not the words of Job, i.e., when you read to 27:7 you should skip to 29:1 where Job resumes.


2. That 27:8 to 23 is the missing third speech of Zophar, here misplaced.


3. That chapter 28 is a choral interlude by the author of the book.


The reasons for these contentions, they say, are that 27:8 to 23 is wholly at war with Job's previous and subsequent statements concerning the wicked and that a third speech from Zophar is needed to complete the symmetry of the debate. They further say that chapter 28 does not fit into Job's line of thought nor into the arguments of the three friends, and that interludes by the author recited by the choir are customary in dramas.


The mediating critics say that there is a real difficulty here in applying 27:8-23 to Job, but that it may be explained by assuming that in a calm restatement of the case Job is led to see that he had, in the heat of the discussion, gone somewhat too far in his statement concerning the wicked and takes this opportunity of modifying former expressions. Dr. Sampey's explanation in his syllabus is this:
Chapters 27 and 28 are difficult to understand, because Job seems to take issue with his own position concerning the fate of the wicked. Possibly he began to see that, in the heat of argument, he had placed too much stress on the prosperity of the wicked.


Dr. Tanner's statement is much better. He says:


There seems no ground to question the integrity of the book. The portions refused by some – part of Job's restatement and the whole of Elihu's discourse – are thoroughly homogeneous and essential to the unity of the book.


The author's reply to these contentions is as follows:


1. That Zophar made no third speech because he had nothing more to say. Even Bildad in his third speech petered out with a repetition of a platitude. In a word) the whole prosecution broke down when Eliphaz in his last speech left the safety of generalities and came down to specifications and proofs of Job's guilt.


2. There is not a particle of historical proof or probability that a copyist left out the usual heading introducing a speaker and mixed up Zophar's speech with Job's.


3. Fairly interpreted, the section (27:8-23) harmonizes completely with Job's previous contentions, neither retracts nor modifies them, and is essential to the completeness of his restatement of the case. He has denied that in this life even and exact justice is meted out to the wicked; he has not denied the ultimate justice of God in dealing with the wicked. The great emphasis in this section, which really extends from verse 7 to the end of the chapter, is placed on the outcome of the wicked, "When God taketh away his soul," as in our Lord's parable of the rich fool. Then though he prospered in life (v. 9), "He openeth his eyes and he is not," like our Lord's other parable, the rich man who in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment (Luke 16). Then, "he would fain flee out of God's hand" (v. 22) and then the lost spirits of men who preceded him "shall clap their hands and hiss" (v. 23) as the lost souls greeted the King of Babylon on his entrance into Sheol (Isa. 14:9-10,15-16).


Chapter 28 also is an essential part of Job's restatement harmonizing perfectly with all his other contentions, namely, that God's government of the universe is beyond the comprehension of man. It is this very hiding of wisdom that constituted his problem. He is willing enough to fear God and depart from evil, but wants to understand why the undeserved afflictions of the righteous, and the undeserved prosperity of the wicked in time.


The idea of chapter 28 being a choral interlude by the author of the book (see Watson in "Expositor's Bible") is sheer fancy without a particle of proof and wholly against all probability. While the book is a drama it is not a drama for the stage. The author of the book nowhere allows even his shadow to fall on a single page. In succeeding acts and scenes God, the devil, and man, each speaks for himself, without the artificial mechanism and connections of stage accessories.


Job takes an oath in restating his case which relates to his integrity (27:1-6). The items of this oath are (1) the oath itself in due and ancient form, (2) that his lips should speak righteousness, (3) that he would not justify them (the three friends), (4) that he would hold his integrity till death, (5) that he would hold to his righteousness and would maintain a clear conscience as long as he lived. Then follows Job's imprecation, thus:


Let mine enemy be as the wicked, And let him that riseth up against me be as the unrighteous. For what is the hope of the godless, though he get him gain, When God taketh away his soul? – Job 27:7-8.


Then comes his description of the portion of the wicked after death (27:9-23) : God will not hear his cry when trouble comes and I tell you the whole truth just as you ought to know it already. Now this is the portion of the wicked: His children are for the sword, his silver and raiment are for the just and innocent, his house shall not endure, his death shall be as other people and his destiny will be eternally fixed.


In 28:1-11 he shows that man's reason is superior to the instincts of the lower animals, since by skill and labor in mining and refining he can discover, possess, and utilize the hidden ores and precious stones, the way to which no fowl and no beast ever knew.


But there is a limitation placed on man for he can never discover nor purchase the higher wisdom of comprehending God's plan and order of the universe, and of his complex providence, because this wisdom resides not in any place to which he has access, neither in the earth, sea, sky, nor Sheol, and he neither knows how to price it nor has the means to purchase it (12-22). God alone has this wisdom (23-27).


The highest wisdom attainable by man comes by God's revelation:
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding. – Job 28:28.


All this leaves Job's case without explanation, but in chapters 29-31 we have it, thus:


Chapter 30 shows what his case was then, as he was derided was watched over by God, when his children were about him, when his prosperity abounded, when he was recognized and honored by all classes of men, when he was helping the needy and when he was sought after for counsel by all men.


Chapter 30 shows what his case was then, as he was derided by the young whose fathers were beneath the dogs, as he was a byword for the rabble who spat in his face and added insult to injury, as his sufferings became so intense that he could find no rest nor relief for his weary soul and body, as he was a brother to jackals and a companion to ostriches, as his skin was black and his bones burned with heat, as mourning and weeping were the only fitting expressions of his forlorn condition.


Chapter 31 gives a fine view of his character and conduct. Job's protests in this chapter are a complete knockout. "He protests that he is innocent of impure thoughts (1-4) ; of false seeming (5-8); of adultery (9-12); of injustice toward dependents (13-15); of hardness toward the poor and needy (16-23); of covetousness (24-25); of idolatry (26-28); of malevolence (29-30); of want of hospitality (31-32); of hiding his transgressions (33-34); and of injustice as a land-lord (38-40)."– Rawlinson in "Pulpit Commentary." It will be observed:


1. That this chapter answers in detail every specification of Eliphaz in his last speech (22:5-20).


2. That Job correctly recognized both the intelligence and malice and irresistible power of the successive blows dealt against him and was not deceived by the human and natural agencies employed. But failing to see that since man fell this world is accursed and that the devil is its prince, he was shut up to the conviction that the Almighty was his adversary. If Adam in Paradise and before the fall had fallen upon Job's experience, the argument of Job, applied to such a case, would be conclusive in fixing all the responsibility on God. No human philosophy, leaving out the fall of man and the kingdom of Satan, can explain the ills of life in harmony with divine justice, goodness, and mercy.


Job's extraordinary experience leads him, step by step, to suggest all the needs of future revelations and thus to reveal the real object of the book. His affliction led him to feel:


1. The need of a revelation of a book which would clearly set forth God's law and man's duties.


2. The need of a revelation of man's state after death.


3. The need of a revelation of man's resurrection.


4. The need of a revelation of a future and final judgment.


5. The need of a revelation of the Father in an incarnation, visible, palpable, audible, approachable, and human.


6. The need of one to act as a daysman, mediator, umpire, between God and man.


7. The need of one to act as redeemer for man from the power of sin and Satan and as an advocate with God in heaven.


8. The need of a revelation of an interpreter abiding on earth as man's advocate.


This is the great object of this first book of the Bible) to show the need of all its other books, until the Coming One should become "The Burning Desire of All the Nations."


That object being granted, the chronological place of this book in the Bible is that it is the first book of the Bible written.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What Bays the radical wing of the higher critics about this section?

 

2. What say the mediating critics of this section, and what the explanations by Sampey and Tanner, respectively?

 

3. What the author's reply to these contentions?

 

4. What was Job's oath in restating his case?

 

5. What was Job's imprecation?

 

6. What his description of the portion of the wicked after death?

 

7. How does he show that man's reason is superior to the instincts of the lower animals?

 

8. What limitation placed on man, and what Job's philosophy of it?

 

9. With whom resides wisdom and how is this fact set forth?

 

10. What the highest wisdom attainable by man?

 

11. What is implied in all this?

 

12. What was his case in the past?

 

13. What was his case then?

 

14. What his character?

 

15. What does Jobs extraordinary experience lead him to feel the need of?

 

16. That object being granted, where is the chronological place of this book in the Bible.

 

 

IX

 

(Return to Contents)

 

ELIHU'S SPEECH, GOD'S INTERVENTION AND THE EPILOGUE

Job 32-42

 


The author's introduction to Elihu's speech consists of the prose section (32:1-5), the several items of which are as follows:


1. Why the three friends ceased argument, viz: "Because he was righteous in his own eyes" (v. 1).


2. Elihu's wrath against Job, viz: "Because he justified himself rather than God" (v. 2).


3. Elihu's wrath against Job's friends, viz: "Because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job" (vv. 3, 5).


4. Why Elihu had waited to speak unto Job, viz: "Because they were older than he" (v. 4).


Elihu's introduction (32:6-22) consists of two sections as follows:


1. Elihu's address to the three friends.


2. His soliloquy.


Now, an analysis of part one of this introduction consists of Elihu's address to his three friends, with the following items:


1. He waited because he was young, and considered that days should speak and that years should teach wisdom (32: 6-7).


2. Yet there is individual intelligence, a spirit in man and the breath of the Almighty which gives understanding (32:8).


3. And greatness, and age are not always wise, therefore, I speak (32:9-10).


4. He had waited patiently and had listened for their reasonings while they fumbled for words (32:11).


5. They had failed to answer Job's argument, and therefore had failed to convince him (32:12).


6. Now beware; do not say that you have found wisdom, for God can attend to his case, but not man (32:13).


7. I will not answer him with your speeches (32:14). Now let us analyze his soliloquy which is found in 32:15-22 and consists of the following items:


1. They are amazed and silent; they have not a word to say (32:15).


2. Shall I wait? No; I will speak and show my opinion (32: 16-17).


3. I am full of words, and must speak or burst, therefore I will speak and be relieved (32:18-20).


4. His method was not to respect persons nor give flattering titles, because he did not know how to do so and was afraid of his Maker (32:21-22).


Elihu's address to Job in 33:1-7 is as follows:


1. Hear me for the integrity and sincerity of my speech, since I have already begun and am speaking to you right out of my heart (33:1-3).


2. I also am a man, being made as a man and since we are on a common level, answer me or stand aside (33:4-5).


3. I will be for God, and being a man, I will not terrify you, for I will not bring great pressure upon you (33:6-7).


The point of issue now is a general charge that Job's heart attitude toward God is not right in view of these afflictions (33:8-12). It will be seen that Elihu's charge is different from that of the three friends, viz: That Job was guilty of past sins.


Elihu charged first that Job had said that God giveth no account of any of his matters (v. 13).. In his reply Elihu shows that this is untrue.


1. In that God reveals himself many times in dreams and visions in order to turn man from his purpose and to save him from eternal destruction (33:14-18).


2. In that in afflictions God also talks to man as he often brings him down into the very jaws of death (33:19-22). [Cf. Paul's thorn in the flesh as a preventive.] None of the speakers before him brought out this thought. This is very much like the New Testament teachings; in fact, this thought is nowhere stated more clearly than here. It shows that afflictions are to the children of God what the storm is to the tree of the forest, its roots run deeper by use of the storm.


3. In that he sends an angel sometimes to interpret the things of God, to show man what is right for him (33:23-28).


4. Therefore these things ought to be received graciously, since God's purpose in it all is benevolent (33:29-33). Elihu charged, in the second place, that Job had said that God had taken away his right and that it did not profit to be a righteous man (34:5-9; 35:1-3).


His reply is as follows:


1. The nature of God disproves it; -he is not wicked and therefore will not pervert justice (34:10-15).


2. Therefore Job's accusation is unbecoming, for he is by right possessor of all things and governs the world on the principles of justice and benevolence (34:21-30).


3. What Job should have said is altogether different from what he did say because he spoke without knowledge and his words were not wise (34:31-37).


4. Whether Job was righteous or sinful did not affect God (35:4-8).


Elihu charged, in the third place, that Job had said that he could not get a hearing because he could not see him (35:14). His reply was that this was unbecoming and vanity in Job (35:15-16).


Elihu's fourth charge was that Job was angry at his chastisements (36:18). He replied that such an attitude was sin; and therefore he defended God (36:1-16).


Elihu's fifth charge was that Job sought death (36:20). He replied that it was iniquity to suggest to God when life should end (36:21-23).


Elihu discusses in chapter 37 the approaching storm. He introduces it in 36:24 and in verse 33 he gives Job a gentle rebuke, showing him how God even tells the cows of the coming storm. Then he describes the approaching storm in chapter 37, giving the lesson in verse 13, viz: It may be for correction, or it may be for the benefit of the earth, but "stand still and see."


Elihu makes a distinct advance over the three friends toward the true meaning of the mystery. They claim to know the cause; he, the purpose. They said that the affliction was punitive; he, beneficent. His error is that he, too, makes sin in Job the occasion at least of his sorrow. His implied counsel to Job approaches the final climax of a practical solution. God's first arraignment of Job is found in Job 38:1 to 40:2. Tanner's summary is as follows:


It is foolish presumption for the blind, dependent creature to challenge the infinite in the realm of providence. The government of the universe, physical and moral, is one; to question any point is to assume understanding of all. Job, behold some of the lower realms of the divine government and realize the absurdity of your complaint.


Job's reply follows in Job 40:3-5. Tanner's summary: "I see it; I hush."


God's second arraignment of Job is recorded in Job 40:6 to 41:34. Tanner:


To criticize God's government of the universe is to claim the ability to do better. Assuming the role of God, suppose Job, you try your hand on two of your fellow creatures – the hippopotamus and the crocodile.


Job's reply is found in Job 42:1-6, Tanner's summary of which is:
This new view of the nature of God reveals my wicked and disgusting folly in complaining; I repent. Gladly do I embrace his dispensations in loving faith.


There are some strange silences in this arraignment and some people have been disappointed that God did not bring out all the questions of the book at the close, as:


1. He says nothing of the heaven scenes in the Prologue and of Satan.


2. He gives no theoretic solution of the problems of the book.


3. He says nothing directly about future revelation and the Messiah.


The explanation of this is easy, when we consider the following facts:


1. That it was necessary that Job should come to the right heart attitude toward God without any explanation.


2. That to have answered concerning future revelation and the Messiah would have violated God's plan of making revelation.


3. That bringing Job to an acceptance of God's providence of whatever form without explanation, furnishes a better demonstration of disinterested righteousness.


This is true of life and the master stroke of the production is that the theoretical solution is withheld from the sufferer, while he is led to the practical solution which is a religious attitude of heart rather than an understanding of the head. A vital, personal, loving faith in God that welcomes from him all things is the noblest exercise of the human soul. The moral triumph came by a more just realization of the nature of God.


Job was right in some things and he was mistaken in other things. He was right in the following points:


1. In the main point of difference between him and the three friends, viz: That his suffering was not the result of justice meted out to him for his sins.


2. That even and exact justice is not meted out here on the earth.


3. In contending for the necessity of a revelation by which he could know what to do.


4. In believing God would ultimately vindicate him in the future.


5. In detecting supernatural intelligence and malice in his affliction.


He was mistaken in the following particulars:


1. In considering his case hopeless and wishing for death.


2. In attributing the malice of these things to God instead of Satan.


3. In questioning the mercy and justice of God's providence and demanding that the Almighty should give him an explanation.


The literary value of these chapters (38:1 to 42:6) is immense and matchless. The reference in 38:3 to "The cluster of the Pleiades" is to the "seven stars" which influence spring and represents youth. "Orion" in the same passage, stood for winter and represents death. The picture of the war horse in 39:19-25 has stood the challenge of the ages.


The lesson of this meeting of Job with God is tremendous. Job had said, "Oh, that I could appear before him!" but his appearing here to Job reveals to him his utter unworthiness. The man that claims sinlessness advertises his guilty distance from God. Compare the cases of Isaiah, Peter, and John. The Epilogue (42:7-17) consists of three parts, as follows:


1. The vindication of Job and the condemnation of his three friends.


2. Job as a priest makes atonement and intercession for his friends.


3. The blessed latter end of Job: "So Jehovah blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning."


The extent and value of the Almighty's vindication of Job and his condemnation of the three friends are important. In extent it applies to the issues between Job and the three friends and not to Job's heart attitude toward God. This he had correct-ed in Job by his arraignment of him. In vindicating Job, God justifies his contention that even and exact justice is not meted out on earth and in lime, and condemned the converse which was held by his friends. Out of this contention of Job grows his much felt need of a future judgment, a redeemer, mediator, interpreter, and incarnation, and so forth. Or if this contention is true, then man needs these things just mentioned. If the necessity of these is established, then man needs a revelation explaining all these things.


Its value is seen in God's confirming these needs as felt by Job, which gives to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come, implicit confidence in the revelation he has given us, pointing out the fact that Job's need of a redeemer, umpire, interpreter, and so forth has been supplied to the human race with all the needed information upon the other philosophic discussions of the book.


The signification of the Almighty's "turning the captivity of Job" just at the point "when he prayed for his friends" is seen in the fact that Job reached the point of right heart attitude toward God before the victory came. This was the supreme test of Job's piety. One of the hardest things for a man to do is to invoke the blessings of heaven on his enemies. This demand that God made of Job is in line with New Testament teaching and light. Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for them," and while dying he himself prayed for his executioners. Paul who was conquered by the prayer of dying Stephen often prayed for his persecutors. This shows that Job was indeed in possession of God's grace, for without it a man is not able to thus pray. The lesson to us is that we may not expect God to turn our captivity and blessings if we are unable to do as Job did.


The more thoughtful student will see that God does not ex-plain the problem to Job in his later addresses to him, nor in the Epilogue, because to give this would anticipate, out of due time, the order of the development of revelation. Job must be content with the revelation of his day and trust God, who through good and ill will conduct both Job and the world to proper conclusions.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What the author's introduction to Elihu's speech and what the several items of it?

 

2. What Elihu's introduction (32:6-22) and what the two sections?

 

3. Give an analysis of part one of this introduction.

 

4. Give an analysis of his soliloquy?

 

5. Analyze Elihu's address to Job in 33:1-7.

 

6. What the point al issue?

 

7. What did Elihu charge that Job had said and what Elihu's reply?

 

8. What did Elihu charge, in the second place, that Job had said and what Elihu's reply?

 

9. What did Elihu charge in the third place, that Job had said, and what Elihu's answer to it?

 

10. What was Elihu's fourth charge and what was Elihu's answer?

 

11. What Elihu's fifth charge and what his reply?

 

12. What does Elihu discuss in chapter 37?

 

13. What the distinct advances made by Elihu and what his error?

 

14. What God's first arraignment of Job?

 

15. What Job's reply?

 

16. What God's second arraignment of Job?

 

17. What Job's reply?

 

18. What the strange silences in this arraignment and what your explanation of them?

 

19. What the character of the moral solution of the problem as attained by Job?

 

20. In what things was Job right and in what things was he mistaken?

 

21. What can you say of the literary value of these chapters (33:1 to 42:6)?

 

22. Explain the beauties of 38:31.

 

23. What of the picture of the war horse in 39:19-25?

 

24. What the lesson of this meeting of Job with God?

 

25. Give an analysis of the epilogue.

 

26. What the extent and value of the Almighty's vindication of Job and his condemnation of the three friends?

 

27. What the signification of the Almighty's "turning the captivity of Job" just at the point "when he prayed for his friends"?

 

28. Does God give Job the explanation of life's problem, and why?

 

 

X

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE BOOK OF JOB IN GENERAL

 


The difficulty of rightly interpreting this book lies in the fact that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar all said some good things. For example, the quotation in Hebrews, yet they were condemned, and Job said some bad things, yet he was commended. Now the difficulty lies in separating the good from the bad; especially in selecting texts for preaching there is danger of treating as God's word what God condemned.


There are several references showing the indebtedness of later Old Testament books to this one, viz: Jeremiah 20:14-18 is derived from Job 3:3-12. Ezekiel 14:14, 20 shows that the book was well known in that prophet's time. Proverbs 8:1-10 and 30-31 are founded upon Job 28:12-28. Proverbs 3:11-12 equals Job 5:17-18, and there are many passages in the Psalms and some in Isaiah which doubtless are founded on Job.


There are also some New Testament references to and quotations from this book. For instance, James 5:11 is a reference to the character, Job, and 1 Corinthians 3:19 is a quotation of Job 5:13; also Hebrews 12:5-6 is a quotation of Job 5:17-18.


The teachings of the book concerning sin, original and personal, are clear and definite. As to original sin, the book teaches that we are born in sin and conceived in iniquity (Job 14:4). As to personal sin, the book teaches that we are personal sinners. Job acknowledged his sins of youth (Job 13:26). The teaching of the book concerning the atonement is set forth in the sacrifices of the Prologue and the Epilogue. God being offended by pin could be approached only by offerings. The sacrifices here mentioned are the same as found in Genesis and Exodus showing that sin must be expiated by a sacrifice.


The teaching of the book concerning repentance is marked. Repentance was taught by Job's three friends. They urged him to repent though their reason for it was not applicable to him. When Job saw his error he said, "I abhor myself and repent."


The teaching of the book concerning prayer) answered and unanswered, is as follows:


1. As to answered prayers, Job's prayer to meet God was answered; his prayer for his three friends was also answered; his prayer for a revelation, redeemer, umpire, etc., though not answered in his day, has long since been answered.


2. As to unanswered prayers, Job's prayer for immediate death was not answered; his prayer for a curse upon the day of his birth, etc., was not answered.


The teaching of the book concerning God is rather pronounced. His wisdom, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, mercy, and justice are in evidence throughout the book and the fact that he is full of pity is also taught in the book (see James 5:11).


The teaching of the book concerning providence is that God rules all things both temporal and spiritual. His providence is both direct and permissive.


The teaching of the book concerning Satan is seen in the several statements in the book about him. Satan appearing with the angels implies his angelic being and hints at his origin. He is subject to God as 6ther angels are and must make his report to God at stated times as the other angels do who have not fallen. He can do only what God permits him. His incessant activity and unvaried vigilance are implied. His cunning, wisdom, and malice are seen in his dealings with Job.


The teaching of the book concerning the resurrection is that there will be a resurrection of the body in which we shall see God. This is based on the author's interpretation of Job 13:15.


The teaching of the book concerning the future life is that there is a future life where all things will be evened up according to justice.


The teaching of the book concerning the final judgment is that there is a necessity for a future and final judgment at which men will receive just recompense for the deeds done in the body.


The teaching of the book concerning future revelations is that there is a necessity for a revelation showing man's relation and duties to God and answering the perplexing questions of life, such as are found in the book.


The teaching of the book concerning the Messiah is that there is a need for a Messiah incarnate, to save from sin in this world, and in the world to come; to act as mediator and intercessor between God and man.


According to the teaching of this book afflictions are not all penal. Some of them are penal, while those supposed to be such are sometimes merely consequential. They are never expiatory. We suffer as chastisement often, but the penalty of sin is death, and no amount of suffering in this world could pay the penalty of sin. It is often consequential, i.e., afflictions come according to a law: "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."


They are sometimes disciplinary. Suffering comes often as preparatory for something to follow; for instance, the suffering of the Israelites in Egypt was preparatory for the journey in the wilderness to Palestine and prepared them to enjoy and properly appreciate the blessings of God upon them in after years. Many of us have to go through a school of suffering before we are able to appreciate the blessings of God.


They are often exemplary in showing patience and persistency. James says, ''Behold, we call them blessed that endured; ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, how that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful" (James 5:11).


They are sometimes designed to show the need of revelation before it is given. We find that suffering caused Job to realize the need of a number of things that he never could have realized without it, and that he could not understand without a revelation. He was not able to solve the problem of his own suffering without it.


They are often typical. Job's suffering was typical of the Messiah's suffering in that it was brought upon him by the devil. As Job was in the hands of the devil, so was our Lord in his great agony on the cross. The proof that Job's sufferings were typically suggestive of the Messiah's sufferings is seen from the fact that David (Psalm 22) and Isaiah (Isa. 53) used the words of Job in describing the sufferings of Christ. Since this book has been treated as history throughout, not parable, some have difficulty in reconciling with this view.


1. The seeming artistic form of the numbers in the book, e.g., the round numbers in 1:2-3; 42:12-13; the sacred character of the number "3" in 1:2-3, 17; 2:11; 42:13; the number "7" in 1:2-3; 2:13; 42:8, 13; the number "10" in 1:2; 42:13; the exact doubling of Job's substance in 42:10, 12 and the exact restoration of the whole number of his sons and daughters (see 1:2; 42:14); the exact doubling of his former term of life detected in 42:16.


2. The poetic form of the speeches, i.e., did these men actually speak in poetry or has the author cast their prose speeches into poetic form clothing their ideas in his own words?


This difficulty may be solved by noting:


1. That there is nothing to prevent round or sacred numbers from being used historically, as they are found so used in many parts of the sacred Scriptures and by Oriental writers.


2. That we are not to understand by 42:10, 12 that God exactly doubled Job's possessions, but grant it, and then it is Just as easy to conceive that God doubled his substance as it is to think that he increased it at all.


3. That the restoration of the old number of sons and daughters is the thing most natural to expect. Why expect fewer children or more?


4. That it is a gratuitous supposition of the critics that Job's age was twice as long after as before his calamity. His age is nowhere told except his length of life after his misfortune. So he may have been sixty, eighty, or one hundred years old when his reverses came. But if it should be detected that his term of life after his calamity was twice that of his age before, why should we be disturbed? Nothing beyond the ordinary in that and it was as easy for God to actually double his former term of life as it is for the critics to detect that it was doubled.


5. It is possible that they spoke in prose and the author, either first as author and later as editor, cast the thought of each speaker into poetic form, using his own words, but evidence is rather against this view, since (1) it was very common for men in that age to use just such rhythm in making a speech as is found in these speeches here, (2) this is now common among the Arabians, (3) each speaker has his own peculiar style and vocabulary and (4) the reader is irresistibly impressed with the reality of the transactions and feelings brought into play.


Job and Paul were both afflicted with great, varied, and long-continued but undeserved sufferings. Compare them. How do you account for the widely different spirit with which they were received and how does this bear upon the object of the book of Job?


1. Satan is the instrument of the sufferings of each.


2. They were varied in each case: Job lost property, family, friends) and health, being afflicted with a most loathsome and painful disease; Paul lost friendship of kinsmen in the flesh, suffered much affliction at their hands, untold hardships, and much bodily affliction.


3. They were both good men, blameless and upright in the sight of God and man.


4. Job curses the day of his birth and prays for immediate death, while Paul glories in his tribulations and gladly endures them to the end; Job was in the mere dawn of revelation while Paul was in the very splendor of it; Job did not understand the purpose of the affliction, but Paul did.


5. It bears upon the chief object of the book in showing that we have that which Job felt a need for, viz: a revelation complete.


I know of no more appropriate closing for the discussion of this great book than the following poem:

 

THE TAPESTRY WEAVERS or THE WORLD'S A CARPET INSIDE OUT (A beautiful parable in two parts)

 

By Anson G. Chester

 

PART I

 

Let us take to our heart a lesson; No lesson can braver be,

 

From the ways of the tapestry weavers, On the other side of the sea.

 

Above their heads the pattern hangs, They study it with care,

 

And while their fingers deftly move, Their eyes are fastened there.

 

They tell this curious thing besides Of the patient, plodding weaver:

 

He works on the wrong side evermore, But works for the right side ever.

 

It is only when the weaver stops, And the web is loosed and turned,

 

That he sees his real handiwork, That his marvelous skill has learned.

 

Ah! the sight of its delicate beauty, It pays for all its cost,

 

No rarer, daintier work than his, Was ever done by the frost.

 

Then the master bringeth him golden hire, And giveth him praise as well,

 

And how happy the heart of the weaver is, No tongue but his own can tell.

 

PART II

 

The years of man are the looms of God, Let down from the place of the sun,

 

Wherein we all are weaving, Till the mystic web is done.

 

Weaving blindly, but weaving surely, Each for himself his fate,

 

We may not see how the right side looks, We can only weave and wait.

 

But looking above for the pattern, No weaver hath need to fear,

 

Only let him look into Heaven, The Perfect Pattern is there.

 

If he keeps the face of the Savior Forever and always in sight,

 

His toll shall be sweeter than honey, And his weaving sure to be right.

 

And when his task is ended, And the web is turned and shown,

 

He shall hear the voice of the Master, It will say to him, "Well done”

 

I And the white-winged angels of Heaven, To bear him thence shall come down;

 

And God shall give for his hire – Not golden coin, but a Crown.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What constitutes the difficulty of rightly interpreting this book?

 

2. Cite some references showing the indebtedness of later Old Testament books to this one.

 

3. Cite the New Testament references and quotations from this book.

 

4. What the teachings of the book concerning sin, original and personal?

 

5. What the teaching of the book concerning the atonement?

 

6. What the teaching of the book concerning repentance?

 

7. What the teaching of the book concerning prayer, answered and unanswered?

 

8. What the teaching of the book concerning God?

 

9. What the teaching of the book concerning providence?

 

10. What the teaching of the book concerning Satan?

 

11. What the teaching of the book concerning the resurrection?

 

12. What the teaching of the book concerning the future life?

 

13. What the teaching of the book concerning the final judgment?

 

14. What the teaching of the book concerning future revelations?

 

15. What the teaching of the book concerning the Messiah?

 

16. According to the teaching of this book are afflictions all penal?

 

17. Are any of them penal or are those supposed to be such sometimes merely consequential?

 

18. Wherein are they disciplinary?

 

19. Wherein are they often exemplary?

 

20. Wherein are they designed to show the need of revelation before it is given?

 

21. Wherein are they often typical?

 

22. What the proof that Job's sufferings were typically suggestive of the Messiah's sufferings?

 

23. What difficulty with respect to certain artistic features of the book and what the author's solution of it?

 

24. Compare Job and Paul and account for the widely different spirit with which they received their sufferings and its bearing on the object of the book of Job.

 

25. Have you read the poem, "The Tapestry Weavers," or "The World's a Carpet Inside Out"?

 

 

PSALMS

 

XI

 

(Return to Contents)

 

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF PSALMS

 


According to my usual custom, when taking up the study of a book of the Bible I give at the beginning a list of books as helps to the study of that book. The following books I heartily commend on the Psalms:


1. Sampey's Syllabus for Old Testament Study. This is especially good on the grouping and outlining of some selected psalms. There are also some valuable suggestions on other features of the book.


2. Kirkpatrick'g commentary, in "Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges," is an excellent aid in the study of the Psalter.


3. Perowne's Book of Psalms is a good, scholarly treatise on the Psalms. A special feature of this commentary is the author's "New Translation" and his notes are very helpful.


4. Spurgeon's Treasury of David. This is just what the title implies. It is a voluminous, devotional interpretation of the Psalms and helpful to those who have the time for such extensive study of the Psalter.


5. Hengstenburg on the Psalms. This is a fine, scholarly work by one of the greatest of the conservative German scholars.


6. Maclaren on the Psalms, in "The Expositor's Bible," is the work of the world's safest, sanest, and best of all works that have ever been written on the Psalms.


7. Thirtle on the Titles of the Psalms. This is the best on the subject and well worth a careful study.


At this point some definitions are in order. The Hebrew word for psalm means praise. The word in English comes from psalmos, a song of lyrical character, or a song to be sung and accompanied with a lyre. The Psalter is a collection of sacred and inspired songs, composed at different times and by different authors.


The range of time in composition was more than 1,000 years, or from the time of Moses to the time of Ezra. The collection in its present form was arranged probably by Ezra in the fifth century, B.C.


The Jewish classification of Old Testament books was The Law, the Prophets, and the Holy Writings. The Psalms was given the first place in the last group.


They had several names, or titles, of the Psalms. In Hebrew they are called "The Book of Prayers," or "The Book of Praises." The Hebrew word thus used means praises. The title of the first two books is found in Psalm 72:20: "The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended." The title of the whole collection of Psalms in the Septuagint is Biblos Psalman which means the "Book of Psalms." The title in the Alexandrian Codex is Psalterion which is the name of a stringed instrument, and means "The Psalter."


The derivation of our English words, "psalms," "psalter," and "psaltery," respectively, is as follows:


1. "Psalms" comes from the Greek word, psalmoi, which is also from psallein, which means to play upon a stringed instrument. Therefore the Psalms are songs played upon stringed instruments, and the word here is used to apply to the whole collection.


2. "Psalter" is of the same origin and means the Book of Psalms and refers also to the whole collection.


3. "Psaltery" is from the word psalterion, which means "a harp," an instrument, supposed to be in the shape of a triangle or like the delta of the Greek alphabet. See Psalms 33:2; 71: 22; 81:2; 144:9.


In our collection there are 150 psalms. In the Septuagint there is one extra. It is regarded as being outside the sacred collection and not inspired. The subject of this extra psalm is "David's victory over Goliath." The following is a copy of it:
I was small among my brethren, And youngest in my father's house, I used to feed my father's sheep. My hands made a harp, My fingers fashioned a Psaltery. And who will declare unto my Lord? He is Lord, he it is who heareth. He it was who sent his angel And took me from my father's sheep, And anointed me with the oil of his anointing. My brethren were goodly and tall, But the Lord took no pleasure in them. I went forth to meet the Philistine. And he cursed me by his idols But I drew the sword from beside him; I beheaded him and removed reproach from the children of Israel.


It will be noted that this psalm does not have the earmarks of an inspired production. There is not found in it the modesty so characteristic of David, but there is here an evident spirit of boasting and self-praise which is foreign to the Spirit of inspiration.


There is a difference in the numbering of the psalms in our version which follows the Hebrew, and the numbering in the Septuagint. Omitting the extra one in the Septuagint, there is no difference as to the total number. Both have 150 and the same subject matter, but they are not divided alike.


The following scheme shows the division according to our version and also the Septuagint: Psalms 1-8 in the Hebrew equal 1-8 in the Septuagint; 9-10 in the Hebrew combine into 9 in the Septuagint; 11-113 in the Hebrew equal 10-112 in the Septuagint; 114-115 in the Hebrew combine into 113 in the Septuagint; 116 in the Hebrew divides into 114-115 in the Septuagint; 117-146 in the Hebrew equal 116-145 in the Septuagint; 147 in the Hebrew divides into 146-147 in the Septuagint; 148-150 in the Hebrew equal 148-150 in the Septuagint.


The arrangement in the Vulgate is the same as the Septuagint. Also some of the older English versions have this arangement. Another difficulty in numbering perplexes an inexperienced student in turning from one version to another, viz: In the Hebrew often the title is verse I, and sometimes the title embraces verses 1-2.


The book divisions of the Psalter are five books, as follows:


Book I, chapters 1-41 (41 chapters)


Book II, chapters 42-72 (31 chapters)


Book III, chapters 73-89 (17 chapters)


Book IV, chapters 90-106 (17 chapters)


Book V, chapters 107-150 (44 chapters)


They are marked by an introduction and a doxology. Psalm I forms an introduction to the whole book; Psalm 150 is the doxology for the whole book. The introduction and doxology of each book are the first and last psalms of each division, respectively.


There were smaller collections before the final one, as follows:


Books I and II were by David; Book III, by Hezekiah, and Books IV and V, by Ezra.


Certain principles determined the arrangement of the several psalms in the present collection:


1. David is honored with first place, Book I and II, including Psalms I to 72.


2. They are grouped according to the use of the name of God:


(1) Psalms 1-41 are Jehovah psalms;


(2) Psalms 42-83 are Elohim-psalms;


(3) Psalms 84-150 are Jehovah psalms.


3. Book IV is introduced by the psalm of Moses, which is the first psalm written.


4. Some are arranged as companion psalms, for instance, sometimes two, sometimes three, and sometimes more. Examples: Psalms 2 and 3; 22, 23, and 24; 113-118.


5. They were arranged for liturgical purposes, which furnished the psalms for special occasions, such as feasts, etc. We may be sure this arrangement was not accidental. An intelligent study of each case is convincing that it was determined upon rational grounds.


All the psalms have titles but thirty-three, as follows:


In Book I, Psalms 1; 2; 10; 33, (4 are without titles).


In Book II, Psalms 43; 71, (2 are without titles).


In Book IV, Psalms 91; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 104; 105; 106, (9 are without titles).


In Book V, Psalms 107; III; 112; 113; 114; 115; 116; 117; 118; 119; 135; 136; 137; 146; 147; 148; 149; 150, (18 are without titles).


The Talmud calls these psalms that have no title, "Orphan Psalms." The later Jews supply these titles by taking the nearest preceding author. The lack of titles in Psalms I; 2; and 10 may be accounted for as follows: Psalm I is a general introduction to the whole collection and Psalm 2 was, perhaps, a part of Psalm 1. Psalms 9-10 were formerly combined into one, therefore Psalm 10 has the same title as Psalm 9.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. What books commended on the Psalms?

 

2. What is a psalm?

 

3. What is the Psalter?

 

4. What the range of time in composition?

 

5. When and by whom was the collection in its present form arranged?

 

6. What the Jewish classification of Old Testament books, and what the position of the Psalter in this classification?

 

7. What the Hebrew title of the Psalms?

 

8. Find the title of the first two books from the books themselves.

 

9. What the title of the whole collection of psalms in the Septuagint?

 

10. What the title in the Alexandrian Codex?

 

11. What the derivation of our English word, "Psalms", "Psalter", and “Psaltery,” respectively?

 

12. How many psalms in our collection?

 

13. How many psalms in the Septuagint?

 

14. What about the extra one in. the Septuagint?

 

15. What the subject of this extra psalm?

 

16. How does it compare with the Canonical Psalms?

 

17. What the difference in the numbering of the psalms in our version which follows the Hebrew, and the numbering in the Septuagint?

 

18. What the arrangement in the Vulgate?

 

19. What other difficulty in numbering which perplexes an inexperienced student in turning from one version to another?

 

20. What are the book divisions of the Psalter and how are these divisions marked?

 

21. Were there smaller collections before the final one? If so, what were they?

 

22. What principles determined the arrangement of the several psalms in the present collection?

 

23. In what conclusion may we rest concerning this arrangement?

 

24. How many of the psalms have no titles?

 

25. What does the Talmud call these psalms that have no titles?

 

26. How do later Jews supply these titles?

 

27. How do you account for the lack of titles in Psalms I; 2; and 10?

 

 

XII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF PSALMS (CONTINUED)

 


The following is a list of the items of information gathered from the titles of the psalms:


1. The author: "A Psalm of David" (Ps. 37).


2. The occasion: "When he fled from Absalom, his son" (Ps. 3).


3. The nature, or character, of the poem: –


(1) Maschil, meaning "instruction," a didactic poem (Ps. 42).


(2) Michtam, meaning "gold," "A Golden Psalm"; this means excellence or mystery (Ps. 16:56-60).


4. The occasion of its use: "A Psalm of David for the dedication of the house" (Ps. 30).


5. Its purpose: "A Psalm of David to bring remembrance" (Pss. 38; 70).


6. Direction for its use: "A Psalm of David for the chief musician" (Ps. 4).


7. The kind of musical instrument:


(1) Neginoth, meaning to strike a chord, as on stringed instruments (Ps. 4:61).


(2) Nehiloth, meaning to perforate, as a pipe or flute (Ps. 5).


(3) Shoshannim, Lilies, which refers probably to cymbals (Pss. 45; 69).


8. A special choir:


(1) Sheminith, the "eighth," or octave below, as a male choir (Pss. 6; 12).


(2) Alamoth, female choir (Ps. 46).


(3) Muth-labben, music with virgin voice, to be sung by a choir of boys in the treble (Ps. 9).


9. The keynote, or tune:


(1) Aijeleth-sharar, "Hind of the morning," a song to the melody of which this is sung (Ps. 22).


(2) Al-tashheth, "Destroy thou not," the beginning of a song the tune of which is sung (Pss. 57; 58; 59; 75).


(3) Gittith, set to the tune of Gath, perhaps a tune which David brought from Gath (Pss. 8; 81; 84).


(4) Jonath-elim-rehokim, "The dove of the distant terebinths," the commencement of an ode to the air of which this song was to be sung (Ps. 56).


(5) Leannoth, the name of a tune (Ps. 88).


(6) Mahalath, an instrument (Ps. 53); Leonnoth-Mahaloth, to chant to a tune called Mahaloth.


(7) Shiggaion, a song or a hymn.


(8) Shushan-Eduth, "Lily of testimony," a tune (Ps. 60). Note some examples: (1) "America," "Shiloh," "Auld Lang Syne." These are the names of songs such as we are familiar with; (2) "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood," are examples of sacred hymns.


10. The liturgical use, those noted for the feasts, e.g., the Hallels and Hallelujah Psalms (Pss. 146-150).


11. The destination, as "Song of Ascents" (Pss. 120-134)


12. The direction for the music, such as Selah, which means "Singers, pause"; Higgaion-Selah, to strike a symphony with selah, which means an instrumental interlude (Ps. 9:16).


The longest and fullest title to any of the psalms is the title to Psalm 60. The items of information from this title are as follows: (1) the author; (2) the chief musician; (3) the historical occasion; (4) the use, or design; (5) the style of poetry; (6) the instrument or style of music.


The parts of these superscriptions which most concern us now are those indicating author, occasion, and date. As to the historic value or trustworthiness of these titles most modern scholars deny that they are a part of the Hebrew text, but the oldest Hebrew text of which we know anything had all of them. This is the text from which the Septuagint was translated. It is much more probable that the author affixed them than later writers. There is no internal evidence in any of the psalms that disproves the correctness of them, but much to confirm. The critics disagree among themselves altogether as to these titles. Hence their testimony cannot consistently be received. Nor can it ever be received until they have at least agreed upon a common ground of opposition.


David is the author of more than half the entire collection, the arrangement of which is as follows:


1. Seventy-three are ascribed to him in the superscriptions.


2. Some of these are but continuations of the preceding ones of a pair, trio, or larger group.


3. Some of the Korahite Psalms are manifestly Davidic.


4. Some not ascribed to him in the titles are attributed to him expressly by New Testament writers.


5. It is not possible to account for some parts of the Psalter without David. The history of his early life as found in Samuel, I and 2 Kings, and I and 2 Chronicles, not only shows his remarkable genius for patriotic and sacred songs and music, but also shows his cultivation of that gift in the schools of the prophets. Some of these psalms of the history appear in the Psalter itself. It is plain to all who read these that they are founded on experience, and the experience of no other Hebrew fits the case. These experiences are found in Samuel, I and 2 Kings, and I and 2 Chronicles.


As to the attempt of the destructive critics to rob David of his glory in relation to the Psalter by assigning the Maccabean era as the date of composition, I have this to say:


1. This theory has no historical support whatever, and therefore is not to be accepted at all.


2. It has no support in tradition, which weakens the contention of the critics greatly.


3. It has no support from finding any one with the necessary experience for their basis.


4. They can give no reasonable account as to how the titles ever got there.


5. It is psychologically impossible for anyone to have written these 150 psalms in the Maccabean times.


6. Their position is expressly contrary to the testimony of Christ and the apostles. Some of the psalms which they ascribe to the Maccabean Age are attributed to David by Christ himself, who said that David wrote them in the Spirit.


The obvious aim of this criticism and the necessary result if it be Just, is a positive denial of the inspiration of both Testaments.


Other authors are named in the titles, as follows: (1) Asaph, to whom twelve psalms have been assigned: (2) Mosee, Psalm 90; (3) Solomon, Psalms 72; 127; (4) Heman, Psalm 80; (5) Ethem, Psalm 89; (6) A number of the psalms are ascribed to the sons of Korah.


Not all the psalms ascribed to Asaph were composed by one person. History indicates that Asaph's family presided over the song service for several generations. Some of them were composed by his descendants by the game name. The five general outlines of the whole collection are as follows:


I. By books


1. Psalms 1-41 (41)


2. Psalms 42-72 (31)


3. Psalms 73-89 (17)


4. Psalms 90-106 (17)


5. Psalms 107-150 (44)


II. According to date and authorship


1. The psalm of Moses (Ps. 90)


2. Psalms of David:


(1) The shepherd boy (Pss. 8; 19; 29; 23).


(2) David when persecuted by Saul (59; 56; 34; 52; 54; 57; 142).


(3) David the King (101; 18; 24; 2; 110; 20; 20; 21; 60; 51; 32; 41; 55; 3, 4; 64; 62; 61; 27).


3. The Asaph Psalms (50; 73; 83).


4. The Korahite Psalms (42; 43; 84).


5. The psalms of Solomon (72; 127).


6. The psalms of the era of Hezekiah and Isaiah (46; 47; 48)


7. The psalms of the Exile (74; 79; 137; 102)


8. The psalms of the Restoration (85; 126; 118; 146-150)


III. By groups


1. The Jehovistic and Elohistic Psalms:


(1) Psalms 1-41 are Jehovistic;


(2) Psalms 42-83 are Elohistic Psalms;


(3) Psalms 84-150 are Jehovistic.


2. The Penitential Psalms (6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130; 143)


3. The Pilgrim Psalms (120-134)


4. The Alphabetical Psalms (9; 10; 25; 34; 37; 111:112; 119; 145)


5. The Hallelujah Psalms (11-113; 115-117; 146-150; to which may be added 135) Psalms 113-118 are called "the Egyptian Hallel"


IV. Doctrines of the psalms


1. The throne of grace and how to approach it by sacrifice, prayer, and praise.


2. The covenant, the basis of worship.


3. The paradoxical assertions of both innocence & guilt.


4. The pardon of sin and justification.


5. The Messiah.


6. The future life, pro and con.


7. The imprecations.


8. Other doctrines.


V. The New Testament use of the psalms


1. Direct references and quotations in the New Testament.


2. The allusions to the psalms in the New Testament. Certain experiences of David's life made very deep impressions on his heart, such as: (1) his peaceful early life; (2) his persecution by Saul; (3) his being crowned king of the people; (4) the bringing up of the ark; (5) his first great sin; (6) Absalom's rebellion; (7) his second great sin; (8) the great promise made to him in 2 Samuel 7; (9) the feelings of his old age.


We may classify the Davidic Psalms according to these experiences following the order of time, thus:


1. His peaceful early life (8; 19; 29; 23)


2. His persecution by Saul (59; 56; 34; 7; 52; 120; 140; 54; 57; 142; 17; 18)


3. Making David King (27; 133; 101)


4. Bringing up the ark (68; 24; 132; 15; 78; 96)


5. His first great sin (51; 32)


6. Absalom's rebellion (41; 6; 55; 109; 38; 39; 3; 4; 63; 42; 43; 5; 62; 61; 27)


7. His second great sin (69:71; 102; 103)


8. The great promise made to him in 2 Samuel 7 (2:72)


9. Feelings of old age (37)


The great doctrines of the psalms may be noted as follows: (1) the being and attributes of God; (3) sin, both original and individual; (3) both covenants; (4) the doctrine of justification; (5) concerning the Messiah.


There is a striking analogy between the Pentateuch and the Psalms. The Pentateuch contains five books of law; the Psalms contain five books of heart responses to the law.


It is interesting to note the historic controversies concerning the singing of psalms. These were controversies about singing uninspired songs, in the Middle Ages. The church would not allow anything to be used but psalms.


The history in Samuel, I and 2 Kings, and I and 2 Chronicles, and in Ezra and Nehemiah is very valuable toward a proper interpretation of the psalms. These books furnish the historical setting for a great many of the psalms which is very indispensable to their proper interpretation.


Professor James Robertson, in the Poetry and Religion of the Psalms constructs a broad and strong argument in favor of the Davidic Psalms, as follows:


1. The age of David furnished promising soil for the growth of poetry.


2. David's qualifications for composing the psalms make it highly probable that David is the author of the psalms ascribed to him.


3. The arguments against the possibility of ascribing to David any of the hymns in the Hebrew Psalter rests upon assumptions that are thoroughly antibiblical.


The New Testament makes large use of the psalms and we learn much as to their importance in teaching. There are seventy direct quotations in the New Testament from this book, from which we learn that the Scriptures were used extensively in accord with 2 Timothy 3:16-17. There are also eleven references to the psalms in the New Testament from which we learn that the New Testament writers were thoroughly imbued with the spirit and teaching of the psalms. Then there are eight allusions 'to this book in the New Testament from which we gather that the Psalms was one of the divisions of the Old Testament and that they were used in the early church.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Give a list of the items of information gathered from the titles of the psalms.

 

2. What is the longest title to any of the psalms and what the items of this title?

 

3. What parts of these superscriptions most concern us now?

 

4. What is the historic value, or trustworthiness of these titles?

 

5. State the argument showing David's relation to the psalms.

 

6. What have you to say of the attempt of the destructive critics to rob David of his glory in relation to the Psalter by assigning the Maccabean era as the date of composition?

 

7. What the obvious aim of this criticism and the necessary result, if it be just?

 

8. What other authors are named in the titles?

 

9. Were all the psalms ascribed to Asaph composed by one person?

 

10. Give the five general outlines of the whole collection, as follows: I. The outline by books II. The outline according to date and authorship III. The outline by groups IV. The outline of doctrines V. The outline by New Testament quotations or allusions.

 

11. What experiences of David's life made very deep impressions on his heart?

 

12. Classify the Davidic Psalms according to these experiences following the order of time.

 

13. What the great doctrines of the psalms?

 

14. What analogy between the Pentateuch and the Psalms?

 

15. What historic controversies concerning the singing of psalms?

 

16. Of what value is the history in Samuel, 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, and in Ezra and Nehemiah toward a proper interpretation of the psalms?

 

17. Give Professor James Robertson's argument in favor of the Davidic authorship of the psalms.

 

18. What can you say of the New Testament use of the psalms and what do we learn as to their importance in teaching?

 

19. What can you say of the New Testament references to the psalms, and from the New Testament references what the impression on the New Testament writers?

 

20. What can you say of the allusions to the psalms in the New Testament?

 

 

XIII

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE PSALM OF MOSES AND THE PSALMS OF DAVID'S EARLY LIFE

Psalm 90; 8; 19; 29; 23.

 


The author of Psalm 90 is Moses. He wrote this psalm while he was in the wilderness of Arabia. The internal evidence that Moses wrote it at this time is that it bears the stamp of the wilderness period all the way through.


The subject of this psalm, as indicated by the American revisers, is "God's Eternity and Man's Transitoriness." Dr. Sampey's outline of this psalm is good, and we pass it on to you. It is as follows:


1. The eternity of God contrasted with the brevity of human life (1-6)


2. The ground for the brevity of man's life found in God's wrath because of sin (7-11)


3. Prayer for divine forgiveness, and the Joy and stability that follow (12-17)


There are several parallels between this and Moses' Song and Blessing in Deuteronomy 32-33. For example, Psalm 90:1 equals Deuteronomy 33:27a:
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place In all generations (Pa. 90:1). The eternal God is thy dwelling-place, And underneath are the everlasting arms (Deut. 33:27a). Psalm 90:12 equals Deuteronomy 32:29: So teach us to number our days, That we may get us a heart of wisdom (Ps, 90:12.) Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would consider their latter end, (Deut. 32:29.)


There are also several parallels between this psalm and the book of Job. Psalm 90:2 equals Job 15:7f and 38:1-6; psalm 90:3 equals Job 34:15; Psalm 90:6 equals Job 14:2, all of which has a bearing on the Mosaic authorship of Job.


There are many striking figures of speech in this psalm. A thousand years in God's sight are but as yesterday, and as a watch in the night. God's sweeping destruction is likened unto a flood. Man's life is likened unto grass and ends like a sigh.


The New Testament references or allusions to this psalm or its teachings are found in 2 Peter 3:8, which is equivalent to Psalm 90:4 and in Matthew 6:30 which equals Psalm 90:6.


There is a teaching in this psalm not found elsewhere in the Bible. It is in verse 10 and relates to the allotted time for man to live which is three score and ten years with a probability for a strong man of fourscore. In 2 Samuel 19: 35 we have old Barzillai's statement of recognition that he had reached the appointed limit of life and was then living on borrowed time.


A brief summary of the teaching and application of this psalm is as follows:


1. The teaching:


(1) The eternity of God and his transcendence


(2) God's attitude toward sin and sin's certain punishment


(3) The mercy of God available for sinners


2. The application:


(1) God a refuge


(2) Beware of sin


(3) The sinner's privilege of prayer


The author of Psalms 8; 19; 29; and 23 is David, who composed some of them perhaps late, late in life. We call this group of psalms the psalms of the Shepherd Boy, or the psalms of his peaceful early life. Dr. Sampey calls this group of psalms "The Echoes of a Happy Youth."

The subject of Psalm 8 is God's strange exaltation of what is seemingly insignificant. The items of information in the title are (1) direction for its use; (2) the tune; (3) the author.


Spurgeon calls this psalm "A Psalm of the Astronomer." The time of day taken as a viewpoint, is a clear night.


A good outline of this psalm is the following:


Opening doxology (v. 1)


1. Babes achieving great results (v. 2)


2. Man, though small, not forgotten, but exalted above all other creatures (w. 3-8)


Closing doxology (v. 9)


There are several interpretations of verse 2, viz:


1. That it means child-holiness, as in the case of Samuel and John the Baptist.


2. That it shows God's providence in behalf of babes.


3. That man in general is helpless.


4. That it refers to David in particular and indicates his weakness; that it also refers to Christ in becoming a babe. The New Testament quotations from this psalm and their application are found in Matthew 21:16; Hebrews 2:5-8; and 1 Corinthians 15:27; thus:


"And said unto him, Hearest thou what these are saying? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea: did ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" (Matt. 21:16).
"For not unto angels did he subject the world to come, whereof we speak. But one hath somewhere testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visiteth him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honor, And didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet." Hebrews 2:5-8


"For, be put all things in subjection under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put in subjection, it is evident that he is excepted who did subject all things unto him." (1 Cor. 15:27).


Upon these quotations and their application we can determine the interpretation of verse 2:


1. That it refers primarily to strength from the weak things (1 Cor. 1:27)


2. That it was applied to the children at the triumphal entrance into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:16)


Then verses 4-8 are found to refer primarily to man (Gen. 1:26, 28) and then to Christ as the ideal man (1 Cor. 15:27; Heb2:5-9).


Some say that the author of Psalm 19 was a pantheist, but he was not. He does not identify God and nature. The two books of revelation according to this psalm are Nature and the Scripture, but they are distinct revelations.


Dr. Sampey's outline of this psalm is,


1. The glory of God in the material universe (1-6)


2. The excellence of God's revealed word (7-11)


3. Plea for deliverance from every form of sin (12-14)


This outline shows the progress of the thought, thus: The work of God reveals glory; the Word of God is excellent; prayer to God is the sinner's privilege when he sees the glory of God in nature and also recognizes his imperfection as he is measured by the perfect Word of God.


A New Testament quotation from this psalm is found in Romans 10:18, in that great discussion of Paul on the Jewish problem of unbelief, showing that the light of nature extended not only to the Jews, but to the whole inhabited earth. Note carefully these words:
But I say. Did they not hear? Yea, verily, Their sound went out into all the earth, And their words unto the ends of the world.


There is also a New Testament reference to it in Romans 1:20: "For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse."


There is a striking figure in this psalm found in verses 5-6, in which the rising sun is likened unto a bridegroom coming out of his chamber and running his course, thus:
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. His going forth is from the end of the heavens, And his circuit unto the ends of it; And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.


Thus we see that the time of day taken as a viewpoint in this psalm is the sunrise, the most exhilarating and invigorating point of the day.


Here we note six names of the Word of God with their attributes and divine effects, noting progress in the effect, thus:


1. The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul. "Law" is the name, "perfect" is the attribute and "restoring the soul" is the effect.


2. The testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple. "Testimony" is the name, "sure" is the attribute and "making wise the simple" is the effect.


3. The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart. "Precepts" is the name, "right" is the attribute and "rejoicing the heart" is the effect.


4. The commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes. "Commandment" is the name, "pure" is the attribute and "enlightening the eyes" is the effect.


5. The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring forever. "Fear" is the name, "clean" is the attribute and "enduring forever" is the effect.


6. The ordinances of Jehovah are true and righteous altogether. "Ordinances" is the name, "true" is the attribute and "righteous altogether" suggests a righteous fruitage from the whole law.


Certain classes of sins are recognized in this psalm, viz:


1. The sin of ignorance, of which Paul is a fine example.


2. Secret sin, of which David is an example.


3. Presumptuous sin, of which Saul, son of Kish, is an example.


4. The sin of infirmity, of which Peter is one of the best examples.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Who is the author of Psalm 90?

 

2. When written?

 

3. What the internal evidence that Moses wrote it at this time?

 

4. What the subject of this psalm as indicated by the American revisers?

 

5. What is Dr. Sampey's outline of this psalm?

 

6. What the parallels between this and Moses' Song and Blessing in Deuteronomy 32-33?

 

7. What the parallels between this psalm and the book of Job?

 

8. What the figures of speech in this psalm?

 

9. What the New Testament references or allusions to this psalm or its teachings?

 

10. What the teaching in this psalm not found elsewhere?

 

11. What is your favorite verse in this psalm?

 

12. Give a brief summary of its teaching and application.

 

13. Who the author of Psalms 8; 19; 29; 23; and when were they composed?

 

14. What does Dr. Carroll call this group of psalms?

 

15. What does Dr. Sampey call this group of psalms?

 

16. What does Dr. Sampey give as the subject of the Psalm 8?

 

17. What the items of information in the title?

 

18. What does Spurgeon call this psalm?

 

19. What the time of day taken as a viewpoint?

 

20. What is Dr. Sampey's outline of this psalm?

 

21. Give several interpretations of verse 2.

 

22. What New Testament quotations from this psalm and what their application?

 

23. What then is the interpretation of verse 2?

 

24. What the interpretation of verses 4-8?

 

25. What is your favorite verse of this psalm?

 

26. Is the author of Psalm 19 a pantheist and why?

 

27. What the two books of revelation according to this psalm?

 

28. What is Dr. Sampey's outline of this psalm?

 

29. State this outline so as to show the progress of the thought.

 

30. What the New Testament quotation from this psalm?

 

31. What New Testament reference to it?

 

32. What the striking figure in this psalm? 33, What time of day does this psalm take as a viewpoint?

 

34. Give six names of the word of God with their attributes and divine effects, noting the progress in the effect.

 

35. What classes of sins are recognized in this psalm, and what an illustration of each?

 

36. What is your favorite verse in. this psalm?

 

 

XIV

 

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THE PSALMS OF DAVID'S EARLY LIFE (CONTINUED) AND SEVERAL OTHER GROUPS

 


The subject of Psalm 29 is the "Voice of God in the Storm," and it seems to be addressed to the angels, verses 1-2. The progress of the storm is shown in verses 3-9, and the local idea in it is seen particularly in verses 5-8. The storm seems to rise on the Mediterranean, then visiting Lebanon and Kadesh, it progresses on to the Temple, where everything says, "Glory."


The application of this psalm is easily determined from verses 10 and 11, which show that Jehovah, the mighty God of the storm as king will give strength to his people) and like the blessings of the calm after the storm, the blessing of peace follows the mighty demonstration of his power. So Jehovah is not only the God of war, but is also the God of peace. There can be no doubt that the author of the Psalm 23 is David; it was written perhaps late in life, but it reflects his experiences in his early life. This psalm as literature is classed as a pastoral, a song of the fields.


The position of this psalm in the Psalter is between the passion psalm and the triumphant psalm. In other words, Psalm 22 is a psalm of the cross, Psalm 23 a psalm of the crook) and Psalm 24 is a psalm of the crown. The parallel of this psalm in the New Testament is John 10, Christ's discourse on the Good Shepherd.


The divisions of this psalm are as follows: Verses 1-4 present Jehovah as a Shepherd; verses 5-6 present him as a host. In the light of the double imagery of this psalm, its spiritual meaning, especially the meaning of the word "valley" and the word "staff," is very significant. For a discussion of this thought I refer the reader to my sermon on Psalm 23:4, found in my Evangelistic Sermons.


I give here four general remarks on the psalms of the persecution by Saul, viz: -Psalms 59; 56; 34; 52; 54; 57; and 142, as follows:


1. These psalms have their origin in the most trying experiences. One is here reminded of the conflict of Nehemiah in which he constantly breathed a prayer to God, or of Francis S. Key who, while the battle was raging, wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner," or of Cardinal Newman who, while in the conflict with doubt and gloom, wrote "Lead, Kindly Light," or of Stonewall Jackson who constantly read his Bible and prayed before going into battle, or of the singing army of Gustavus Adolphus before the decisive battle of Leipzig, or of Cromwell and his conquering heroes at the famous battle of Dunbar.


2. These psalms contain the sublimest expression of faith and hope amidst -the darkest hours of adversity. In them are some clear messianic references and prophecies which prove David's intimate fellowship with the Spirit of God while under the very fires of the enemy and vouchsafes to us their inspiration.


3. We find also in these psalms expressions of human weakness and despondency, which, but for the supply of the grace and spirit of God, might have resulted in David's defeat. But 'a man is never whipped externally until he is whipped internally, and though David when smitten by calamity gave signs of human weakness, yet he remains the example for the world of the purest type of faith, the most enduring patience and the sublimest optimism.


4. In this group may be seen also not only the growth of faith in each individual psalm, but from the collection as a whole may be noted the progress of his conflict with the enemy. This progress is as marked as the march into a tunnel in which is discerned the thickening darkness until the traveler is overwhelmed in its gloom, but pressing on, the dawn breaks in upon him, and the light seems clearer and brighter than ever before and he bursts forth into the most jubilant praises and thanksgiving.


The psalms of the king prior to his great sin are Psalms 101; 18; 24; 2; 110; 20; 21; and 60. Psalm 101 gives us the royal program, Psalms 20-21 and 60 are called war psalms. Psalm 2 celebrates the promise of Jehovah to David in 2 Samuel 7. Psalm 24 applied to Christ's ascension, and Psalm 110 is the psalm of his universal reign.


We here give an exposition of Psalm 110. In verse I Jehovah is represented as speaking to David's Lord, saying, "Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." We may be certain as to whom this scripture refers by comparing Matthew 22:41-45 in which Jesus himself silences the Pharisees by quoting this passage and applying it to the Christ who was to come. So this is a psalm of his universal reign.


The following questions are suggested and answered in this psalm, to wit:


1. Who is first Lord? The speaker, or Jehovah?


2. Who is second Lord? The one addressed, who in New Testament light is interpreted to be the Christ.


3. When did Jehovah say this to Christ? After his resurrection and ascension, when he was seated at the right hand of God (Acts 2:34f.). This is to be conceived as following the events of his humiliation described in Philippians 2:6-11.


4. How long is he to sit at God's right hand? "Until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Thus we see he is to rule there till every enemy has been conquered.


5. How then is he to manifest his reign and send out the rod of his strength? Heaven is his throne and earth's center is Zion. His church here on earth is the church militant, so this is a war song also.


6. But who constitute his army? His people here on earth, whose business it is to go forth as he gives marching orders.


7. What is to be the character of the people who constitute that army? (1) They are to be volunteers, or offer themselves willingly. Verse 3 properly translated would read as follows: "The people shall be volunteers in the day that thou leadest out thine army, going forth in the beauty of holiness, and multitudinous as the drops of the dew in the dawn of the morning." From this we not only see that they are to be volunteers, but (2) they shall be holy, i.e., regenerated, made new creatures. Indeed, they shall be good people.


8. How many in that army? "They shall be multitudinous as the drops of the dew in the dawn of the morning."


9. What is to be their weapon? The rod of his strength. But what is the rod of his strength? The rod is his word, to which he gives strength or power. This warfare and final victory is paralleled in Revelation 19:11, the white horse representing the peace of the gospel.


10. How is this great army to be supported? By Jesus, the High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek. It is necessary for him to live as long as the necessity for the army lasts. So this great warfare is to continue until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ.


The psalms connected with David's great sin are Psalms 51; 32. The occasion of each of these Psalms, respectively) was as follows:


1. The occasion of Psalm 51 was Nathan's rebuke to David for his sin.


2. The occasion of Psalm 32 was the joy of forgiveness that came to David upon his repentance.


The relation of these two psalms to each other is that Psalm 51 expresses his penitence and Psalm 32 the joy of his forgiveness.


Some important doctrines in Psalm 51 are prayer, confession, cleansing from sin, depravity, restoration, evangelism, praise, penitence, and intercession.


The New Testament teachings clearly stated in Psalm 32 are forgiveness of sins, atonement for sins and imputation of sins, all of which are quoted from this psalm in Romans 4:78, thus:
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, And whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not reckon sin.


The psalms of the period of Absalom's rebellion are 41; 55; 3; 4; 63; 62; 61; 27. The New Testament parallel to the psalms of this period, as a product of a dark experience, is Paul's letters written during the Roman imprisonment.

 

QUESTIONS

 

 

1. What the subject of Psalm 29?

 

2. To whom addressed?

 

3. What the progress of the storm as shown in verses 3-9, and what the local idea in it?

 

4. What the application of this psalm?

 

5. Who the author of Psalm 23 and when was it written?

 

6. What classification of this psalm as literature?

 

7. What the position of this psalm in the Psalter?

 

8. What parallel of this psalm in the New Testament?

 

9. What the divisions of this psalm?

 

10. In the light of the double imagery of the psalm, what its spiritual meaning, especially the meaning of the word "valley," and the word, "staff"?

 

11. Give four general remarks on the psalms of the persecution by Saul.

 

12. What the psalms of the king prior to his great sin?

 

13. Which of these gives us the royal program?

 

14. Which are called war psalms?

 

15. Which celebrates the promise of Jehovah to David in 2 Samuel 7?

 

16. Which one applies to Christ's ascension?

 

17. Which is the psalm of his universal reign?

 

18. Expound this psalm.

 

19. What the psalms connected with David's great sin?

 

20. What the occasion of each of these psalms, respectively?

 

21. What the relation of these two psalms to each other?

 

22. What are some important doctrines in Psalm 51?

 

23. What New Testament teachings clearly stated in Psalm 32?

 

24. What New Testament parallel to the psalms of the period of Absalom's rebellion, as a product of a dark experience?

 

 

XV

 

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PSALM AFTER DAVID PRIOR TO THE BABYLONIAN EXILE

 


The superscriptions ascribed to Asaph twelve palms (50; 73-83) Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun presided over the Levitical singers in the time of David. Their sons also directed the various bands of musicians (I Chron. 25). It seems that the family of Asaph for many generations continued to preside over the service of song (Cf. Ezra 3:10).


The theme of Psalm 50 is "Obedience is better than sacrifice," or the language of Samuel to Saul when he had committed the awful sin in respect to the Amalekites. This teaching is paralleled in many Old Testament scriptures, for instance, Psalm 51:16-17.
For thou delightest not in sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou hast no pleasure in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.


The problem of Psalm 73 is the problem of why the wicked prosper (vv. 1-14), and its solution is found in the attitude of God toward the wicked (vv. 15-28). [For a fine exposition of the other psalms of this section see Kirkpatrick or Maclaren on the Psalms.]


The psalms attributed to the sons of Korah are 42; 44; 45; 47; 48; 49; 84; 85; 87. The evidence that Psalms 42-43 were one poem is internal. There are three stanzas, each closing with a refrain. The similarity of structure and thought indicates that they were formerly one psalm. A parallel to these two psalms we find in the escape of Christian from the Castle of Giant Despair in Pilgrim's Progress.


Only two psalms were ascribed to Solomon, viz: 72 and 127. However, the author believes that there is good reason to attribute Psalm 72 to David. If he wrote it, then only one was written by Solomon.


The theme of Psalm 72 is the reign of the righteous king, and the outline according to DeWitt, which shows the kingdom as desired and foretold, is as follows: (1) righteous (1-4) ; (2) perpetual (5-7); (3) universal (8-11); (4) benign (12-14); (5) prosperous (15-17).


Psalm 127 was written when Solomon built the Temple. It is the central psalm of the psalms of the Ascents, which refer to the Temple. It seems fitting that this psalm should occupy the central position in the group, because of the occasion which inspired it and its relation to the other psalms of the group. A brief interpretation of it is as follows: The house here means household. It is a brief lyric, setting forth the lessons of faith and trust. This together with Psalm 128 is justly called "A Song of Home." Once in speaking to Baylor Female College I used this psalm, illustrating the function of a school as a parent sending forth her children into the world as mighty arrows. Again I used this psalm in one of my addresses in our own Seminary in which I made the household to refer to the Seminary sending forth the preachers as her children.


The psalms assigned to the era of Hezekiah and Isaiah are Psalms 46; 47; 48. The historical setting is found in the history of the reign of Hezekiel. Their application to Judah at this time is found in the historical connection, in which we have God's great deliverances from the foreign powers, especially the deliverance from Sennacherib. We find in poetry a description of the destruction and desolation of Jerusalem in the Lamentations of Jeremiah and in Psalms 74; 79.


The radical critics ascribe Psalms 74; 79 to the Maccabean period, and their argument is based upon the use of the word "synagogues," in Psalm 74:8. The answer to their contention is found in the marginal rendering which gives "places of assembly" instead of "synagogues." The word "synagogue" is a Greek word translated from the Hebrew, which has several meanings, and in this place means the "place of assembly" where God met his people.


The silence of the exile period is shown in Psalm 137, in which they respond that they cannot sing a song of Zion in a strange land. Their brightening of hope is seen in Psalm 102. In this we have the brightening of their hope on the eve of their return. In Psalm 85:10 we have a great text:


Mercy and truth are met together;


Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.


The truth here is God's law demanding justice; mercy is God's grace meeting justice. This was gloriously fulfilled in Christ on the cross. He met the demands of the law and offers mercy and grace to all who accept them on the terms of repentance and faith.


Three characteristics of Psalm 119 are, first, it is an alphabetical psalm; second, it is the longest chapter in the Bible, and third, it is an expansion of the latter part of Psalm 19. Psalms 146-150 were used for worship in the second temple. The expressions of innocence in the psalms do not refer to original sin, but to a course of conduct in contrast with wicked lives. The psalmists do not claim absolute, but relative sinlessness.


The imprecations in the psalms are real prayers, and are directed against real men who were enemies of David and the Jewish nation, but they are not expressions of personal resentment. They are vigorous expressions of righteous indignation against incorrigible enemies of God and his people and are to be interpreted in the light of progressive revelation. The New Testament contains many exultant expressions of the overthrow of the wicked. (Cf. 1 Cor. 16:22; 2 Tim. 4:14; Gal. 5: 12; Rev. 6:19-20; 16:5-6; 18:20.) These imprecations do not teach that we, even in the worst circumstances, should bear personal malice, nor take vengeance on the enemies of righteousness, but that we should live so close to God that we may acquiesce in the destruction of the wicked and leave the matter of vengeance in the hands of a just God, to whom vengeance belongs (Rom. 12:19-21).


The clearest teachings on the future life as found in the psalms, both pro and con, are found in these passages, as follows: Psalms 16:10-11; 17:15; 23:6; 49:15; 73:23-26. The passages that are construed to the contrary are found in Psalms 6:5; 30:9; 39:13; 88:10-12; 115:17. The student will compare these passages and note carefully their teachings. The first group speaks of the triumph over Sheol (the resurrection) ; about awaking in the likeness of God; about dwelling in the house of the Lord forever; about redemption from the power of Sheol; and God's guiding counsel and final reception into glory, all of which is very clear and unmistakable teaching as to the future life.


The second group speaks of DO remembrance in death; about no profit to the one when he goes down to the pit; of going hence and being no more; about the dead not being able to praise God and about the grave as being the land of forgetfulness ; and about the dead not praising Jehovah, all of which are spoken from the standpoint of the grave and temporal death.


There is positively no contradiction nor discrepancy in the teaching of these scriptures. One group takes the spirit of man as the viewpoint and teaches the continuity of life, the immortality of the soul; the other group takes the physical being of man as the viewpoint and teaches the dissolution of the body and its absolute unconsciousness in the grave.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. How many and what psalms were ascribed to Asaph?

 

2. Who presided over the Levitical singers in the time of David?

 

3. What the theme of Psalm 50, and where do we find the same teaching in the Old Testament?

 

4. What the problem of Psalm 73, and what its solution?

 

5. What psalms are attributed to the sons of Korah?

 

6. What evidence that Psalms 42-43 were one poem and what the characteristic of these two taken together?

 

7. What parallel to these two psalms do we find in modern literature?

 

8. What psalms were ascribed to Solomon?

 

9. What the theme of Psalm 72?

 

10. What the outline according to DeWitt, which shows the kingdom as desired and foretold?

 

11. When was Psalm 127 written and what the application as a part of the Pilgrim group?

 

12. Give a brief interpretation of it and the uses made of it by the author on two different occasions.

 

13. What psalms are assigned to the era of Hezekiah and Isaiah, and what their historical setting?

 

14. What their application to Judah at this time?

 

15. Where may we find in poetry a description of the destruction and desolation of Jerusalem?

 

16. To what period do radical critics ascribe Psalms 74-79; what their argument, and what your answer?

 

17. Which psalm shows the silence of the exile period and why?

 

18. Which one shows their brightening of hope?

 

19. Explain Psalm 85:10.

 

20. Give three characteristics of Psalm 119.

 

21. What use was made of Psalms 146-150?

 

22. Explain the expression of innocence in the psalms in harmony with their teaching of sin.

 

23. Explain the imprecations in the psalms and show their harmony with New Testament teachings.

 

24. Cite the clearest teachings on the future life as found in the psalms, both pro and con.

 

 

XVI

 

(Return to Contents)

 

THE MESSIANIC PSALMS AND OTHERS

 


We commence this chapter by giving a classified list of the Messianic Psalms, as follows:


The Royal Psalms are:


Psalms 110; 2; 72; 45; 89;