Interpretation Of The Twenty-Eighth Chapter Of Job -- By: E. P. Barrows, Jr.
BSac 10:38 (April 1853) p. 264
Interpretation Of The Twenty-Eighth Chapter Of Job
In the very beginning of the Book of Job, the reader is put in possession of the key which unlocks all its mysteries. He is, as it were, placed on a mountain illumed by the sunshine of Divine revelation, and from that high eminence he looks down upon Job and his friends, and sees them wandering in darkness and error. This position brings him at once into the deepest sympathy with the patriarch, and invests with an indescribable interest the conflict between him and his friends. He understands perfectly that Job is afflicted, not because he is the worst, but because he is the best of men; that the flood of calamity which has overwhelmed him, does not come as a punishment for enormous deeds of wickedness (which is the ground taken by his three friends), but that it is intended to show to the principalities and powers above, both good and evil, the reality of his piety, and put to shame the accusations of Satan; while, considered in the light of discipline, it will be made in the end subservient to the highest welfare of the patriarch himself.
But from Job and his friends this key is withheld, and they are left to interpret the terrible succession of calamities as they best can. In the mind of the patriarch, the predominant feelings are amazement and dismay, mingled always with a firm consciousness of his own rectitude. He is overwhelmed with a sense of the greatness and majesty of him with whom he has to do, whose invisible and almighty strokes he can neither escape nor endure. Hear how affectingly he expostulates with God on this point: “When I say my bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: so that my soul chooseth strangling and death rather than my life.”1 “Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou showest thyself marvellous upon me. Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.”2 “Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?
BSac 10:38 (April 1853) p. 265
wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet.”3 From this last passage, as well as from many others in Job’s discourses, it is manifest that he does not mean to take the ground that he is sinless. “I ...
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