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Job 1:21

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Naked came I out of my mother's womb - I had no earthly possessions when I came into the world; I cannot have less going out of it. What I have the Lord gave: as it was his free gift, he has a right to resume it when he pleases; and I owe him gratitude for the time he has permitted me to enjoy this gift.

Naked shall I return thither - Whither? Not to his mother's womb surely; nor does he call the earth his mother in this place. In the first clause of the verse he speaks without a metaphor, and in the latter he speaks in reference to the ground on which he was about to fall. As I came out of my mother's womb destitute of the earthly possessions, so shall I return שמה shammah, There; i.e., to the earth on which he was now falling. That mother earth was a common expression in different nations, I allow; but I believe no such metaphor was now in the mind of Job.

The Lord gave - The Chaldee has, "The Word of the Lord, דיי מימרא meymera dayai, gave; and the Word of the Lord and the house of his judgment, have taken away!" Word is used here personally, as in many other places of all the Targums.

Blessed be the name of the Lord - The following is a fine paraphrase on the sentiment in this verse: -

"Good when he gives, supremely good; Nor less when he denies;

Afflictions from his sovereign hand, Are blessings in disguise."

Seeing I have lost my temporal goods, and all my domestic comforts, may God alone be all my portion! The Vulgate, Septuagint, and Coverdale, add, The Lord hath done as he pleased.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And said, Naked came I out - That is, destitute of property, for so the connection demands; compare 1 Timothy 6:7; “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” A similar expression also occurs in Pliny, “Hominem natura tanturn nudism.” Nat. Hist. proem. L. vii. Job felt that he was stripped of all, and that he must leave the world as destitute as he entered it.

My mother‘s womb - The earth - the universal mother. That he refers to the earth is apparent, because he speaks of returning there again. The Chaldee adds קבוּרתא לבית lebēyt qebûratā' - “to the house of burial.” The earth is often called the mother of mankind; see Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. 26; compare Psalm 139:15. Dr. Good remarks, that “the origin of all things from the earth introduced, at a very early period of the world, the superstitious worship of the earth, under the title of Dameter, or the “Mother-goddess,” a Chaldee term, probably common to Idumea at the time of the existence of Job himself. It is hence the Greeks derive their Δημήτνρ Dēmētēr (Demeter), or as they occasionally wrote it Γημήτηρ Gēmētēr (Ge-meter), or Mother Earth, to whom they appropriated annually two religious festivals of extraordinary pomp and solemnity. Thus, Lucretius says,

Linquitur, ut merito materhum nomen adepta

Terra sit, e terra quoniam sunt cuneta creata.

v. 793.

- “Whence justly earth

Claims the dear name of mother, since alone

Flowed from herself whate‘er the sight enjoys.”

For a full account of the views of the ancients in regard to the “marriage” ( ἱερός γάμος gamos hieros )of the “heaven” and the “earth,” from which union all things were supposed to proceed, see Creuzer‘s Symbolik und Mythologie der alt. Volk. Erst. Theil, p. 26, fg.

And naked - Stripped of all, I shall go to the common mother of the race. This is exceedingly beautiful language; and in the mouth of Job it was expressive of the most submissive piety. It is not the language of complaint; but was in him connected with the deep feeling that the loss of his property was to be traced to God, and that he had a right to do as he had done.

The Lord gave - Hebrew יהוה yehovâh He had nothing when he came into the world, and all that he had obtained had been by the good providence of God. As “he” gave it, he had a right to remove it. Such was the feeling of Job, and such is the true language of submission everywhere. He who has a proper view of what he possesses will feel that it is all to be traced to God, and that he has a right to remove it when he pleases.

And the Lord hath taken away - It is not by accident; it is not the result of haphazard; it is not to be traced to storms and winds and the bad passions of people. It is the result of intelligent design, and whoever has been the agent or instrument in it, it is to be referred to the overruling providence of God. Why did not Job vent his wrath on the Sabeans? Why did he not blame the Chaldeans? Why did he not curse the tempest and the storm? Why did he not blame his sons for exposing themselves? Why not suspect the malice of Satan? Why not suggest that the calamity was to be traced to bad fortune, to ill-luck, or or to an evil administration of human affairs? None of these things occurred to Job. He traced the removal of his property and his loss of children at once to God, and found consolation in the belief that an intelligent and holy Sovereign presided over his affairs, and that he had removed only what he gave.

Blessed be the name of the Lord - That is, blessed be yahweh - the “name” of anyone in Hebrew being often used to denote the person himself. The Syriac, Arabic, and some manuscripts of the Septuagint here adds “forever.” - “Here,” says Schmid, “the contrast is observable between the object of Satan, which was to induce Job to renounce God, and the result of the temptation which was to lead Job to bless God.” Thus, far Satan had been foiled, and Job had sustained the shock of the calamity, and showed that he did not serve God on account of the benefits which be had received from him.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Job humbled himself under the hand of God. He reasons from the common state of human life, which he describes. We brought nothing of this world's goods into the world, but have them from others; and it is certain we can carry nothing out, but must leave them to others. Job, under all his losses, is but reduced to his first state. He is but where he must have been at last, and is only unclothed, or unloaded rather, a little sooner than he expected. If we put off our clothes before we go to bed, it is some inconvenience, but it may be the better borne when it is near bed-time. The same who gave hath taken away. See how Job looks above instruments, and keeps his eye upon the First Cause. Afflictions must not divert us from, but quicken us to religion. If in all our troubles we look to the Lord, he will support us. The Lord is righteous. All we have is from his gift; we have forfeited it by sin, and ought not to complain if he takes any part from us. Discontent and impatience charge God with folly. Against these Job carefully watched; and so must we, acknowledging that as God has done right, but we have done wickedly, so God has done wisely, but we have done very foolishly. And may the malice and power of Satan render that Saviour more precious to our souls, who came to destroy the works of the devil; who, for our salvation, suffered from that enemy far more than Job suffered, or we can think.
Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 272.3

This world is the scene of our trials, our griefs, our sorrows. We are here to bear the test of God. The fire of the furnace is to kindle till our dross is consumed and we come forth as gold purified in the furnace of affliction.... Light will come out of this darkness which to you at times seems incomprehensible. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Let this be the language of your heart. The cloud of mercy is hovering over your head even in the darkest hour. God's benefits to us are as numerous as the drops of rain falling from the clouds upon the parched earth to water and refresh it. The mercy of God is over you. HP 272.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 270

We are not like the heathen, to have days and nights of mourning when nothing is heard but dismal chanting for the dead, for the purpose of arousing human sympathy. We are not to clothe ourselves with mourning clothing and wear a mournful countenance, as though our friends and relatives were forever parted from us. John exclaims, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:12, 13). 2SM 270.1

How appropriate are the words of John in the case of these loved ones who sleep in Jesus. The Lord loved them, and the words spoken by them in their life, the labors of love which will be remembered, will be repeated by others. Their earnest wholeheartedness in the work of God leaves an example for others to follow, for the Holy Spirit has worked in them to will and to do of His good pleasure. 2SM 270.2

“But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by is Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). O how precious are these words to every bereaved soul! Christ is our Guide and Comforter, who comforts us in all our tribulations. When He gives us a bitter draught to drink, He also holds a cup of blessing to our lips. He fills the heart with submission, with joy and peace in believing, and enables us to say submissively, Not my will, but Thy will, O Lord, be done. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). With this submission hope is resurrected, and the hand of faith lays hold upon the hand of infinite power. “He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). 2SM 270.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 110-1

The next morning he seemed slightly to revive, but about noon he had a chill, which left him unconscious. At 5 p. m., Sabbath, August 6, 1881, he quietly breathed his life away, without a struggle or a groan. 1T 110.1

The shock of my husband's death—so sudden, so unexpected—fell upon me with crushing weight. In my feeble condition I had summoned strength to remain at his bedside to the last, but when I saw his eyes closed in death, exhausted nature gave way, and I was completely prostrated. For some time I seemed balancing between life and death. The vital flame burned so low that a breath might extinguish it. At night my pulse would grow feeble, and my breathing fainter and fainter till it seemed about to cease. Only by the blessing of God and the unremitting care and watchfulness of physician and attendants was my life preserved. 1T 110.2

Though I had not risen from my sickbed after my husband's death, I was borne to the Tabernacle on the following Sabbath to attend his funeral. At the close of the sermon I felt it a duty to testify to the value of the Christian's hope in the hour of sorrow and bereavement. As I arose, strength was given me, and I spoke about ten minutes, exalting the mercy and love of God in the presence of that crowded assembly. At the close of the services I followed my husband to Oak Hill Cemetery, where he was laid to rest until the morning of the resurrection. 1T 110.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 348.3

You feel that had it not been for this great loss you would be a comparatively happy man. But it may be that the very loss of your child here will be to you, and not to you only but to many in Switzerland, for the saving of souls. Light will come out of this darkness which to you at times seems incomprehensible. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Let this be the language of your heart. The cloud of mercy is hovering over you and will break over your head even in the darkest hour. God's benefits to us are as numerous as the drops of rain falling from the clouds upon the parched earth, to water and refresh it. The mercy of God is over you.... TDG 348.3

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