J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)
It has interested me in the history of Job that all Satan's accusations failed. God practically justified him against them. "In all this Job sinned not." The trials served as preparatory work for God's purpose which follows in making him know himself, and giving us the solution of the great problem of this world's government, at least so far as to set aside man and his judgment and righteousness, and God's use of it for His special dealings with the saints. Of this Elihu is the interpreter, and man's nothingness and self-judgment is then brought out and God's blessing.
The patriarchal character of Job is every way evident; the history which introduces and closes it speaks of Jehovah. It is an account given by another, very likely Moses, including Job's expression of submission. But in the dialogue which is the didactic part of the Book, including Elihu, all is God and the Almighty. It is its character I speak of here, for his age and the character of the idolatry confirm it.
- 1-6. This is the history of the book.
It is to be specially noted that in its introduction and close we have Jehovah in the Book of Job. In all the Book itself, including the speech of Elihu, we have Elohim, Shaddai, etc. In the Book itself we have the ways of God as God in the whole world. In the introduction and close - the interpretation of divine government - we are behind the scenes in revealed dealings. This leads to special observation of Elihu's place. There are springs or sources of action in the beginning and close - motived dealings; in the Book, facts on which man reasons, and from which he draws conclusions; we are above in the former, below in the latter. Compare Job 3:21, and Psalm 139:15.
- 9. Compare Job 1:5.
214 Job 3
The comparison of light of life in the Old Testament and the New has something remarkable in it. In the Old it is coming and being as born in the outward light of this world, as in verses 16-20 of this chapter, and more fully and to our purpose in Psalm 66:13, see also chapter 33:30; but for the New, for the Lord, this is merely John 11, "the Light of this world." But "In him was life and the life was the light of men"; and then John 8, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life"; it is not the light of nature - life in this world. "Seeing the light" is being born in the Old, having light in this world, having life in it. Now the Light of life is having Christ, seeing by the power of that life which is in Him, He being withal the Light itself. "The life was the light of men," but a phenomenon contrary to all physical possibility, "the light shineth in darkness" (where light is, darkness is no more) but in man "the darkness comprehended it not." But He is Light - in John 8 detected the Pharisees, the light exposes all things. But following Him there is more - the Light of life - he livingly sees the light, just as the new-born babe first, and the living man sees the light, is in it because alive to Christ who is the Life - when received He is the Light of life, i.e., being alive we see the light as living men, as being such, "In his light we see light."
- 9. Note this verse and yet more to the purpose chapter 9:10; I have thought there might be connection with these passages in the mind of the apostle in Romans 11:33 seeing the reference to Him who created all things, and so bring out comparatively the unsearchableness of this counsel of God, these riches of Christ.
- 1. Job is the enosh (man) in himself, i.e., as exhibited in himself, see verses 9 and 17.
215 Job 9
There is more emphasis than we are often aware of in this chapter. "How should a man be just with God?" More emphasis on "with God." Man may be just in a certain sense - not fail in a way to disturb his conscience in his relationships with men - but just with God is another thing. The three friends put the course of things in this world as an adequate expression of God's righteous judgment. This even is not true. But when the question is how to be just with God, it is wholly different; and this the inward exercises of Job's soul brought him to. The working out this, though in impatience, is what we have in this chapter, and arriving at a need, at the conclusion, which the Saviour specifically met. God was there, fear being taken away, and One who could lay His hand on both. Man in the inward parts is exposed before God.
- 21. On the ground of being perfect.
- 29. On the ground of being wicked.
- 3. Note here man's spirit is called ru-akh Elo-ah (Spirit of God), so it returns to God Ecclesiastes 12:7. So we have "The God of the spirits of all flesh," and certainly Ecclesiastes 3:21 is important "Who knoweth the spirit of the sons of Adam? That is it that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that is it which goeth downward to the earth." Compare Numbers 16:22; chap. 27:16, and Hebrews 12:9; there cannot be a stronger word than genos. Its sense of kind makes the sense of race or offspring so much the stronger.
This is a very remarkable chapter; it pursues man's skill as doing all sorts of things - skill, metallurgy, engineering, binding the floods, and bringing forth hidden things from the earth. Skill, unlimited in a certain sense, in what is subject to him, but this is not wisdom; that is not in the land of the living - only one thing in this world, though it be it not, has heard its fame, knows it negatively - "death and destruction," they show that all that is vanity does not sustain an I, and which cannot sustain itself. God ordered all these things; and so far, as to creation, i.e., where man lives, had wisdom as to what does occupy man. But He put man in relationship with Himself, that is more. And the true recognition of this, and the consequent exercise of conscience, that is wisdom for man.
216 But then will comes in (Job 29) in connection with self and makes self, alas! its centre, though even God be owned. And compare the conscience chapter before God, and self-complacency with and before himself and before men. And how then (Job 30) pride and contempt of others and occupation with evil with love of self breaks out.
Job 33, Job 36
There is a difference between these two chapters. The former speaks of the ways of God with man, the latter of His ways with the righteous. Hence it does not follow in the first that man is converted, only God deals with him; if he hears it is well, he gets the blessing. It is God - God dealing with man, whoever he is, and so breaking his pride; then if he hears the word he gets the blessing. In the latter chapter God is dealing with the righteous, "He withdraws not his eyes from them"; it is not only that He deals with them. Hence he has a specific object - He shows them their own ways - opens their ear - commands them to return, "If they obey" and so on. This is a different and specific action; with hypocrites it is another thing. The general government of God is to be considered in the first case, see verses 29, 30.
We have to remark this in Elihu's speech, that he brings forward God and gives Him first His rights, and draws all his conclusions thence. He first speaks to Job and shows, as we have seen, God's dealings with men by which He asserts His supremacy and warns them God deals with men. It was not a question who was right and who was wrong between God and men, nor as the friends said of bounden retributive justice. Next he speaks to wise men who can understand him. Job had been haughty with God - said it was no use delighting Him. Elihu says He is certainly righteous, and it did not become man to say even to a prince "Thou art wicked," much less to God. Here he speaks of God's title to be owned, and of what He is, but He does judge rightly and break down pride. It becomes man to bow under His hand and seek to be taught. Elihu desires here that Job be fully tried and humbled in view of the dishonour done to God before wicked people by his words.
217 In Job 35, Elihu turns again to Job, and takes up the title of God against him. Job had said "What profit should I have if I were cleansed?" Elihu says, "What profit would God have if Job were righteous?" "Judgment is before him in the midst of all the oppressions of the earth," and Job should see His hand and trust Him, and was visited because he did not, and yet Job had not sense to find it out. Next Elihu speaks of God's dealings with the righteous whom He chastises for their good, but still in view of His own character and title. If the righteous submit they are blessed, and so would Job have been; but hypocrites have no understanding of His ways, and cry not when He binds them. He then exalts God in general. In all he speaks in God's behalf.
- 1. Note Elihu speaks of "God," and of "the Almighty." Here we have "Jehovah." In the few words of application between the Lord's speeches, He is called "God" and "Almighty." Here it is ignorance; in Job 40 Job acquiesces in silence. The Lord takes up Job's competency to call in question His judgment; it results in self-abhorrence.
Note farther that "Jehovah" is in the mouth of the author of the Book, not of the personages in it; so in the first two chapters. It was important to identify Jehovah with the God of all ages and all dealings with men, but the persons whose history is recounted did not so know Him. This is all natural and true, and gives its true moral date to the Book.
- 2. Note as to date and composition and even moral object in this Book, the author always says "Jehovah." The persons in the history always say "God" and "Almighty," and so Jehovah Himself to Job in this verse.
- 15. "With thee!" note this.