When I went out to the gate - Courts of justice were held at the gates or entrances of the cities of the East; and Job, being an emir, was supreme magistrate: and here he speaks of his going to the gate to administer justice.
I prepared my seat in the street - I administered judgment openly, in the most public manner, and none could say that I, in any case, perverted justice. Mr. Good translates: - "As I went forth the city rejoiced at me, as I took my seat abroad."
When I went out to the gate - The “gate” of a city was a place of public concourse, and where courts were usually held. Job speaks here as a magistrate, and of the time when he went forth to sit as a judge, to try causes.
When I prepared my seat in the street - That is, to sit as a judge. The seat or tribunal was placed in the street, in the open air, before the gate of the city, where great numbers might be convened, and hear and see justice done. The Arabs, to this day, hold their courts of justice in an open place, under the heavens, as in a field or a market-place. Norden‘s Travels in Egypt, ii. 140. There has been, however, great variety of opinion in regard to the meaning of this verse. Schultens enumerates no less than ten different interpretations of the passage. Herder translates it:
“When from my house I went to the assembly,
And spread my carpet in the place of meeting.”
Prof. Lee translates it, “When I went forth from the gate to the pulpit, and prepared my seat in the broad place.” He supposes that Job refers to occasions when he addressed the people, and to the respect which was shown him then. Dr. Good renders it, “As I went forth, the city rejoiced at me.” It is probable, however, that our common version has given the true signification. The word rendered “city” (קרת qereth ), is a poetic form for (קריה qiryâh ) “city,” but does not frequently occur. It is found in Proverbs 8:3; Proverbs 9:3, Proverbs 9:14; Proverbs 11:11. The phrase “upon the city” - Hebrew עלי־קרת ‛aly -qereth - or, “over the city,” may refer to the fact that the gate was in an elevated place, or that it was the chief place, and, as it were, over or at the head of the city. The meaning is, that as he went out from his house toward the gate that was situated in the most important part of the city, all did him reverence.
God has given in His word a picture of a prosperous man—one whose life was in the truest sense a success, a man whom both heaven and earth delighted to honor. Of his experiences Job himself says: Ed 142.1
“In the ripeness of my days,
When the secret of God was upon my tent;
When the Almighty was yet with me,
And my children were about me; ...
When I went forth to the gate unto the city,
When I prepared my seat in the broad place [margin],
The young men saw me and hid themselves,
And the aged rose up and stood;
The princes refrained talking,
And laid their hand on their mouth;
The voice of the nobles was hushed.... Ed 142.2
“For when the ear heard me, then it blessed me;
And when the eye saw me, it gave witness unto me;
Because I delivered the poor that cried,
The fatherless also, and him [margin], that had none to
help him. Ed 142.3