In the land of Uz - This country was situated in Idumea, or the land of Edom, in Arabia Petraea, of which it comprised a very large district. See the preface.
Whose name was Job - The original is איוב Aiyob ; and this orthography is followed by the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic. From the Vulgate we borrow Job, not very dissimilar from the Ιωβ Iob of the Septuagint. The name signifies sorrowful, or he that weeps. He is supposed to have been called Jobab. See more in the preface.
Perfect and upright - וישר תם tam veyashar ; Complete as to his mind and heart, and Straight or Correct as to his moral deportment.
Feared God - Had him in continual reverence as the fountain of justice, truth, and goodness.
Eschewed evil - מרע סר sar mera, departing from, or avoiding evil. We have the word eschew from the old French eschever, which signifies to avoid. All within was holy, all without was righteous; and his whole life was employed in departing from evil, and drawing nigh to God. Coverdale translates an innocent and vertuous man, soch one as feared God, an eschued evell. From this translation we retain the word eschew.
There was a man - This has all the appearance of being a true history. Many have regarded the whole book as a fiction, and have supposed that no such person as Job ever lived. But the book opens with the appearance of reality; and the express declaration that there was such a man, the mention of his name and of the place where he lived, show that the writer meant to affirm that there was in fact such a man. On this question see the Introduction, Section 1.
In the land of Uz - On the question where Job lived, see also the Introduction, Section 2.
Whose name was Job - The name Job (Hebrew איוב 'ı̂yôb Gr. Ἰώβ Iōb means properly, according to Gesenius, “one persecuted,” from a root (איב 'âyab ) meaning to be an enemy to anyone, to persecute, to hate. The primary idea, according to Gesenius, is to be sought in breathing, blowing, or puffing at, or upon anyone, as expressive of anger or hatred, Germ. “Anschnauben.” Eichhorn (Einleit. section 638. 1,) supposes that the name denotes a man who turns himself penitently to God, from a sense of the verb still found in Arabic “to repent.” On this supposition, the name was given to him, because, at the close of the book, he is represented as exercising repentance for the improper expressions in which he had indulged during his sufferings. The verb occurs only once in the Hebrew Scriptures, Exodus 23:22: But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then “I will be an enemy” אויב 'ôyêb “unto thine enemies” אויב את 'êth 'ôyêb participle איב 'oyēb is the common word to denote an enemy in the Old Testament, Exodus 15:6, Exodus 15:9; Leviticus 26:25; Numbers 35:23; Deuteronomy 32:27, Deuteronomy 32:42; Psalm 7:5; Psalm 8:2; Psalm 31:8; Lamentations 2:4-5; Job 13:24; Job 27:7; Job 33:10, “et soepe al.” If this be the proper meaning of the word “Job,” then the name would seem to have been given him by anticipation, or by common consent, as a much persecuted man. Significant names were very common among the Hebrews - given either by anticipation (see the notes at Isaiah 8:18), or subsequently, to denote some leading or important event in the life; compare Genesis 4:1-2, Genesis 4:25; Genesis 5:29; 1 Samuel 1:20. Such, too, was the case among the Romans, where the “agnomen” thus bestowed became the appellation by which the individual was best known. Cicero thus received his name from a wart which he had on his face, resembling a “vetch,” and which was called by the Latins, “cicer.” Thus also Marcus had the name “Ancus,” from the Greek word ανκὼν ankōn because he had a crooked arm; and thus the names Africanus, Germanicus, etc., were given to generals who had distinguished themselves in particular countries; see Univer. Hist. Anc. Part ix. 619, ed. 8vo, Lond. 1779. In like manner it is possible that the name “Job” was given to the Emir of Uz by common consent, as the man much persecuted or tried, and that this became afterward the appellation by which he was best known. The name occurs once as applied to a son of Issachar, Genesis 46:13, and in only two other places in the Bible except in this book; Ezekiel 14:14; James 5:11.
And that man was perfect - (תמם tâmam ). The Septuagint have greatly expanded this statement, by giving a paraphrase instead of a translation. “He was a man who was true ( ἀληθινός alēthinos ), blameless ( ἄμεμπτος amemptos ), just ( δίκαιος dikaios ), pious ( θεοσεβής theosebēs ), abstaining from every evil deed.” Jerome renders it, “simplex - simple,” or “sincere.” The Chaldee, שׁלם shālam “complete, finished, perfect.” The idea seems to be that his piety, or moral character, was “proportionate” and was “complete in all its parts.” He was a man of integrity in all the relations of life - as an Emir, a father, a husband, a worshipper of God. Such is properly the meaning of the word תם tâm as derived from תמם tâmam “to complete, to make full, perfect” or “entire,” or “to finish.” It denotes that in which there is no part lacking to complete the whole - as in a watch in which no wheel is missing. Thus, he was not merely upright as an Emir, but he was pious toward God; he was not merely kind to his family, but he was just to his neighbors and benevolent to the poor. The word is used to denote integrity as applied to the heart, Genesis 20:5: לבבי בתם betām lebābı̂y “In the honesty, simplicity, or sincerity of my heart (see the margin) have I done this.” So 1 Kings 22:34, “One drew a bow לתמוּ letumô in the simplicity (or perfection) of his heart;” that is, without any evil intention; compare 2 Samuel 15:11; Proverbs 10:9. The proper notion, therefore, is that of simplicity. sincerity, absence from guile or evil intention, and completeness of parts in his religion. That he was a man absolutely sinless, or without any propensity to evil, is disproved alike by the spirit of complaining which he often evinces, and by his own confession, Job 9:20:
If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me;
If I say I am perfect, it shall prove me perverse.
So also Job 42:5-6:
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear,
But now mine eye seeth thee;
Wherefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.
Compare Ecclesiastes 7:20.
And upright - The word ישׁר yâshâr from ישׁר yâshar to be straight, is applied often to a road which is straight, or to a path which is level or even. As used here it means upright or righteous; compare Psalm 11:7; Psalm 37:14,; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 33:4.
And one that feared God - Religion in the Scriptures is often represented as the fear of God; Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 1:29; Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 14:26-27; Isaiah 11:2; Acts 9:31, “et soepe al.”
And eschewed evil - “And departed from (סוּר sûr ) evil.” Septuagint, “Abstaining from every evil thing.” These then are the four characteristics of Job‘s piety - he was sincere; upright; a worshipper of God; and one who abstained from all wrong. These are the essential elements of true religion everywhere; and the whole statement in the book of Job shows Job was, though not absolutely free from the sins which cleave to our nature, eminent in each of these things.
Very early in the history of the world is given the life record of one over whom this controversy of Satan's was waged. Ed 155.1
Of Job, the patriarch of Uz, the testimony of the Searcher of hearts was, “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.” Ed 155.2
Against this man, Satan brought scornful charge: “Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? ... Put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath;” “touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” Ed 155.3Read in context »
14-17. Consecrated Women Can Act Important Part—Through Esther the queen the Lord accomplished a mighty deliverance for His people. At a time when it seemed that no power could save them, Esther and the women associated with her, by fasting and prayer and prompt action, met the issue, and brought salvation to their people. 3BC 1140.1
A study of women's work in connection with the cause of God in Old Testament times will teach us lessons that will enable us to meet emergencies in the work today. We may not be brought into such a critical and prominent place as were the people of God in the time of Esther; but often converted women can act an important part in more humble positions (Letter 22, 1911). 3BC 1140.2Read in context »