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character, may be inferred from the manner in which he is mentioned in the Scriptures. Thus, the prophet Ezekiel speaks of him:-Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God. (Ezek. xiv. 14.) In this passage the prophet ranks Noah, Daniel, and Job, together, as powerful intercessors with God; the first for his family; the second for the wise men of Babylon; and the third for his friends: now, since Noah and Daniel were unquestionably real characters, we must conclude the same of Job. Behold, says the apostle James, we count them happy which endure ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James v. 11.) It is scarcely to be believed that a divinely inspired apostle would refer to an imaginary character as an example of patience, or in proof of the mercy of God. But, besides the authority of the inspired writers, we have the strongest internal evidence, from the book itself, that Job was a real person: for it expressly specifies the names of persons, places, facts, and other circumstances usually related in true histories. Thus we have the name, country, piety, wealth, &c. of Job described (ch. i.); the names, number, and acts of his children are mentioned; the conduct of his wife is recorded as a fact (ii.); his friends, their names, countries, and discourses with him in his afflictions, are minutely delineated. (ii. 11. &c.). And can we rationally imagine that these were not realities?
Further, no reasonable doubt can be entertained respecting the real existence of Job, when we consider that it is proved by the concurrent testimony of all eastern tradition: he is mentioned by the author of the book of Tobit, who lived during the Assyrian captivity; he is also repeatedly mentioned by Mohammed as a real character. The whole of his history, with many fabulous additions, was known among the Syrians and Chaldæans; many of the noblest families among the Arabians are distinguished by his name, and boast of being descended from him. So late even as the end of the fourth century, we are told, that there were many persons who went into Arabia to see Job's dunghill, which, in the nature of things, could not have subsisted through so many ages; but the fact of superstitious persons making pilgrimages to it sufficiently attests the reality of his existence, as also do the traditionary accounts concerning the place of Job's abode."
III. Since, then, the book of Job contains the history of a real character, the next point to be considered is the age in which he lived, a question concerning which there is as great a diversity of opinion, as upon any other subject connected with this venerable monument of sacred antiquity. Thus, some think that he lived in the days of Moses, from a supposed resemblance between the style of Moses and that of Job; others in the time of the Judges, from an expression in Job xxvii. 12., because at that time all was vanity, and every man did that which was good in his own eyes. Others, again, refer him to the time of Ahasuerus or Artaxerxes Longimanus, on account of the search then made for beautiful women, from whom the monarch might select a consort (Esth. ii. 2. &c.), and because Job's daughters are mentioned (Job xlii. 15.) as being the fairest in the whole land. Some make him to have been contemporary with Solomon and the queen of Sheba, if not Solomon himself, because the Sabeans 1 To evade the strong proof afforded by Ezekiel's express recognition of the reality of Job's person, Jahn remarks that fictitious personages may be brought upon the stage along with real; as is evident from Luke xvi. 1931., where Aoraham is introduced with the fictitious characters Lazarus and the rich man. But there is an evident difference between a parable expressly purporting to be fictitious, and a solemn rebuke or warning to a whole nation. Besides, in Luke, the circumstances predicated of all the characters are fictitious; in Ezekiel they are unquestionably true with relation to Noah and Daniel, and might be reasonably expected to be so in the other instance associated with these two. (Prof. Turner's translation of Jahn, p. 467. note.)
2 Elements of Christian Theology, vol. i. p. 94.
3 Tobit ii. 12. in the Vulgate version, which is supposed to have been executed from a more extended history of Tobit than the original of the Greek version.
Sale's Koran, pp. 271. 375. 4to. edit. See also D'Herbelot's Bibliothèque Orientale, voce Aib, tom. i. p. 145. 4to edit. As the father of the celebrated Sultan Saladin (Elmancin, Hist. Saracen. p. 3.); and also Saladin himself, whose dynasty is known in the East by the name of Aiubiah or Jobites. D'Herbelot, tom. i. pp. 146, 147. Chrysostom. ad pop. Antioch. Hom. 5. Op. tom. ii. p. 59. A. Thevenot's Voyage, p. 447. La Roque, Voyages en Syrie, tom. i. p. 239. Staeudlin (a modern German critic, who plainly disbelieves any inspiration of the Old Testament), takes a middle course. Conceiving that he has discovered in the book of Job phrases, sentiments, and pictures of manners which belong to a later date, and that its composition is more elaborate and exquisite than that of the generality of the other Hebrew books, he does not ascribe to it such a remote antiquity as many scholars of the present day suppose: but since it exhibits other indubitable marks of a
are noticed in Job i. 15. &c.; and others, with Nebuchadnez zar, because the Chaldæans are introduced in Job i. 17. Lastly, some state him to have lived in the time of Jacob, whose daughter Dinah they suppose him to have married: and this conjecture they ground upon the resemblance between the expression in Job ii. 10. (thou speakest like a foolish woman) and that in Gen. xxxiv. 7. (- hath wrought folly in [more correctly against] Israel.) The puerility of these conjectures sufficiently indicates their weakness; one thing, however, is generally admitted with respect to the age of Job, viz. the remote antiquity of the period when he must have lived. Even those who contend for the late production of the book of Job, are compelled to acquiesce in this particular. Grotius thinks the events of the history are such as cannot be placed later than the sojourning of the Israelites in the Wilderness. Bishop Warburton, in like manner, admits them to bear the marks of high antiquity; and Michaelis confesses the manners to be perfectly Abrahamic, that is, such as were common to all the seed of Abraham, Israelites, Ishmaelites, and Idumæans.10 The following are the principal circumstances from which the age of Job may be collected and ascertained:"
1. The Usserian, or Bible chronology, dates the trial of Job about the year 1520 before the Christian æra, twentynine years before the departure of the Israelites from Egypt; and that the book was composed before that event, is evident from its total silence respecting the miracles which accompanied the exode: such as the passage of the Red Sea, the destruction of the Egyptians, the manna in the desert, &c.; all of which happened in the vicinity of Job's country, and were so apposite in the debate concerning the ways of Providence, that some notice could not but have been taken of them, if they had been coeval with the poem of Job. 2. That it was composed before Abraham's migration to Canaan may also be inferred, from its silence respecting the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain, which were still nearer to Idumæa, where the scene is laid.
3. The length of Job's life places him in the patriarchal times. He survived his trial one hundred and forty years (xlii. 16.), and was probably not less than sixty or seventy at that time: for we read that his seven sons were all grown up, and had been settled in their own houses for a considerable time. (i. 4, 5.) He speaks of the "sins of his youth" (xiii. 26.), and of the prosperity of "his youth;" and yet Eliphaz addresses him as a novice:-" With us are both the very aged, much elder than thy father." (xv. 10.)
4. That he did not live at an earlier period may be collected from an incidental observation of Bildad, who refers Job to their forefathers for instruction in wisdom:
Inquire, I pray thee, of the former age,
And prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: Assigning as a reason, the comparative shortness of life and consequent ignorance of the present generation:
(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing
But the "fathers of the former age," or grandfathers of the present, were the contemporaries of Peleg and Joktan, in the fifth generation after the deluge: and they might easily have learned wisdom from the fountain-head by conversing with Shem, or perhaps with Noah himself; whereas, in the seventh generation, the standard of human life was reduced to about two hundred years, which was a shadow compared with the longevity of Noah and his sons.
5. The general air of antiquity which pervades the manners recorded in the poem, is a further evidence of its remote date. The manners and customs, indeed, critically corres
venerable antiquity, he is led to suppose that it was composed by some Hebrew author of a lower age, perhaps by Solomon himself, out of certain very ancient remains of poetry, history, and philosophy, to which that author added some things of his own, and had thrown the whole into its present practical form and arrangement.-Staeudlin's Theol. Moralis Hebræo. rum ante Christum Hist. (Gotting. 1794,) cited in Dr. Smith's Scripture Testimony of the Messiah, vol. i. p. 210.
9 Mercerus, Præf. ad Job. The Bishop of Killala (Dr. Stock), after Bishop Warburton, rofers the time of Job to that of Ezra, whom he supposes to be its author. (Preface to his translation of Job, pp. v. vi.) His arguments are very largely examined and refuted by Archbishop Magee, Discourses, vol. ii. pp. 87-154. See also British Critic, vol. xxix. O. S. pp. 369-372.
10 Grotius, Præf. ad Job. Warburton's Divine Legation, book vi. sect. 2. Michaelis, Notæ et Epimetra in Lowthii Prælectiones, p. 181. Magee, vol. ii. p. 57.
11 These observations are digested from the united remarks of Dr. Hales, in his Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii. book i. pp. 55-59. and of Archbishop Magee, in his Discourses, vol. ii. pp. 58-63.
pond with that early period. Thus, Job speaks
6. The slavish homage of prostration to princes and great men, which prevailed in Egypt, Persia, and the East in general, and which still subsists there, was unknown in Arabia at that time. Though Job was one of the "greatest men of all the East," we do not find any such adoration paid to him by his contemporaries, in the zenith of his prosperity, among the marks of respect so minutely described in the twenty-ninth chapter. When the young men saw him, they hid themselves (rather, shrunk back), through respect or rustic bashfulness; the aged arose and stood up in his presence (more correctly, ranged themselves about him), the princes refrained from talking, and laid their hand upon their mouth; the nobles held their peace, and were all attention while he spoke." All this was highly respectful indeed, but still it was manly, and showed no cringing or servile adulation. With this description correspond the manners and conduct of the genuine Arabs of the present day,-a majestic race, who were never conquered, and who have retained their primitive customs, features, and character, with scarcely any alteration.2
"In A. D. 1808, Aldebaran was in 2 signs, 7 deg. east longitude. But since the date of Job's trial, B. c. 2338, added to 1800, makes 4138 years, the precession of the equi noxes amounted to 1 sign 27 deg. 53 min. which, being subtracted from the former quantity, left Aldebaran in only 9 deg. 7 min. longitude, or distance from the vernal intersection, which, falling within the constellation Taurus, consequently rendered it the cardinal constellation of spring, as Pisces is at present.
"In A. D. 1800, Antares was in 8 signs 6 deg. 58 min. east longitude, or 2 signs 6 deg. 58 min. east of the autumnal intersection; from which subtracting, as before, the amount of the precession, Antares was left only 9 deg. 5 min. east. Since, then, the autumnal equinox was found within Scorpio, this was then the cardinal constellation of Autumn, as Virgo is at present.
"Since, then, these calculations critically correspond with the positions of the equinoxes at the assumed date of Job's trial, but disagree with the lower dates of the age of Moses, and still more of Ezra, furnishing different cardinal constellations, we may rest in the assumed date of the trial as correct. Such a combination and coincidence of various rays of evidence, derived from widely different sources, history, sacred and profane, chronology, and astronomy, and all converging to the same common focus, tend strongly to establish the time of Job's trial as rightly assigned in the year B. c. 2337 (2130 of the common computation), or 818 years after the deluge; 184 years before the birth of Abraham; 474 years before the settlement of Jacob's family in Egypt, and 689 years before their exode or departure from thence." preceding arguments receive additional weight, from a consideration of the manner in which God has vouchsafed to 7. The allusion made by Job to that species of idolatry deal with mankind. In Gen. xi. we read that the erection alone, which by general consent is admitted to have been the of the tower of Babel for idolatrous purposes had occasioned most ancient, namely, Zabianism, or the worship of the sun the dispersion. Idolatry "was gradually encroaching still and moon, and also to the exertion of the judicial authority further on every family, which had not yet lost the knowagainst it (xxxi. 26-28.), is an additional and most com-ledge of the true God. Whoever has studied the conduct of plete proof of the high antiquity of the poem, as well as a Providence, will have observed, that God has never left himdecisive mark of the patriarchal age.3 self without witnesses in the world, to the truth of his religion. To the old world, Noah was a preacher, and a witness; to the latter times of patriarchism, Abraham and his descendants; to the ages of the Levitical law, Mosès, David, and the Prophets: and to the first ages of Christianity, the apostles and the martyrs were severally witnesses of the truth of God. But we have no account whatever, unless Job be the man, that any faithful confessor of the one true God arose between the dispersion from Babel and the call of Abraham. If it be said, that the family of Shem was the visible church of that age; it will be answered, that it is doubtful whether even this family were not also idolaters: for Joshua tells the Israelites (Josh. xxiv. 2.), that the ancestors of Abraham were worshippers of images.
8. A further evidence of the remote antiquity of this book is the language of Job and his friends; who, being all Idumæans, or at least Arabians of the adjacent country, yet conversed in Hebrew. This carries us up to an age so early as that in which all the posterity of Abraham, Israelites, Idumæans, and Arabians, yet continued to speak one common language, and had not branched into different dialects.4
9. Lastly, Dr. Hales has adduced a new and more particular proof, drawn from astronomy, which FIXES the time of the patriarch's trial to 184 years before the birth of Abraham: for, by a retrograde calculation, the principal stars referred to in Job, by the names of Chimah and Chesil, or Taurus and Scorpio, are found to have been the cardinal constellations of spring and autumn in the time of Job, of which the chief stars are Aldebaran, the bull's eye, and Antares, the scorpion's heart. Knowing, therefore, the longitudes of these stars at present, the interval of time from thence to the assumed date of Job's trial will give the difference of their longitudes, and ascertain their positions then, with respect to the vernal and autumnal points of intersection of the equinoctial and ecliptic; which difference is one degree in 71 years, according to the usual rate of the precession of the equinoxes.
1 The word keschitah, which is translated a piece of money (xlii. 11.), there is good reason to understand as signifying a lamb. See Archbishop Magee's critical note, Discourses, vol. ii. pp. 59-61.
They are thus described by Sir William Jones :-"Their eyes are full of vivacity; their speech voluble and articulate; their deportment manly and dignified; their apprehension quick; their minds always present and attentive; with a spirit of independence appearing in the countenance of the lowest among them. Men will always differ in their ideas of civilization, each measuring it by the habits and prejudices of their own country; but if courtesy and urbanity, a love of poetry and eloquence, and the practice of exalted virtues, be a juster proof of civilized society, we have certain proof that the people of Arabia, both on plains and in cities, in republican and monarchical states, were eminently civilized for many ages before their conquest of Persia." Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 3. or Works, vol. iii. p. 3 Bishop Lowth's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 355. note. Although Sir William faith, yet, he remarks, "This at least is certain, that the people of Yemen (Arabia) very soon fell into the common but fatal error of adoring the sun and the firmament: for even the third in descent from Yoktan, who was consequently as old as Nahor, took the surname of Abdu-shams, or servant of the sun: and his family, we are assured, paid particular honour to that luminary. Other tribes worshipped the planets and fixed stars." Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 8. or Sir William Jones's Works, vol. iii. p. 57.
50. 8vo. edit.
Jones could obtain but little accurate information the Zabian
Bishop Lowth, lect. xxxii. vol. ii. pp. 350, 351. six. 9. xxxviii. 31, 32.
For an explanation of this astronomical phenomenon, and its application to chronology, see Dr. Hales's Analysis, vol. i. pp. 185-187. For the
"Job, therefore, in the age of error, may be considered as the faithful witness, in his day, to the hope of the Messiah: he professed the true religion, and his belief in the following important truths: the creation of the world by one Supreme Being; the government of that world by the Providence of God; the corruption of man by nature; the necessity of sacrifices, to propitiate the Deity; and the certainty of a future resurrection. These were the doctrines of the patriarchal age, as well as of the Jewish and Christian covenants. gion, which is alone acceptable to God, by whatever name They are the fundamental truths of that one system of relimay be distinguished in the several ages of the world."7 On the evidence above offered respecting the antiquity of the book of Job, the reader will form his own conclusions. At this distance of time, it is, perhaps, difficult to determine its precise date; but topics like these are of comparatively little importance, and do not affect, in any degree, either the sentiments expressed, or the moral inculcated, in this part of the inspired volume.
is stated (Job i. 1.) to be the land of Uz, which by some IV. The country, in which the scene of this poem is laid, geographers has been placed in Sandy, and by others in Stony, Arabia. Bochart strenuously advocated the former opinion, in which he has been powerfully supported by Spanheim, Calmet, Carpzov, Heidegger, and some later
calculations given in the text, he makes acknowledgments to Dr. Brinkley
writers; Michaelis, Ilgen, and Jahn, place the scene in the valley of Damascus; but Bishop Lowth and Archbishop Magee, Dr. Hales, Dr. Good, and some later critics and philologers, have shown that the scene is laid in Idumæa. That the land of Uz, or Gnutz (Job i. 1.), is evidently Idumæa, appears from Lam. iv. 21. Uz was the grandson of Seir the Horite. (Gen. xxxvi. 20, 21. 28.; 1 Chron. i. 38. 42.) Seir inhabited that mountainous tract which was called by his name antecedent to the time of Abraham, but, his posterity being expelled, it was occupied by the Idumæans. (Deut. ii. 12.) Two other men are mentioned of the name of Uz; one the grandson of Shem, the other the son of Nachor, the brother of Abraham; but whether any district was called after their name is not clear. Idumæa is a part of Arabia Petræa, situate on the southern extremity of the tribe of Judah (Num. xxxiv. 3. Josh. xv. 1. 21.): the land of Uz, therefore, appears to have been between Egypt and Philistia (Jer. xxv. 20.), where the order of the places seems to have been accurately observed in reviewing the different nations from Egypt to Babylon; and the same people seem again to be described in exactly the same situations. (Jer. xlvi.-1.) Nor does the statement of the inspired writer, that Job was the greatest of all the men of the East (Job i. 3.), militate against the situation of the land of Uz. The expressions, men of the East, children of the East, or Eastern people, seems to have been the general appellation for that mingled race of people (as they are called, Jer. xxv. 20.) who inhabited the country between Egypt and the Euphrates, bordering upon Judæa from the south to the east; the Idumæans, the Amalekites, the Midianites, the Moabites, the Ammonites (see Judg. vi. 3. and Isa. xi. 14.); of these the Idumæans and Amalekites certainly possessed the southern parts. (See Num. xxxiv. 3. xiii. 29.; 1 Sam. xxvii. 8. 10.) This appears to be the true state of the case: the whole region between Egypt and the Euphrates was called the East, at first in respect to Egypt (where the learned Joseph Mede thinks the Israelites acquired this mode of speaking), and afterwards absolutely and without any relation to situation or circumstances. Abraham is said to have sent the sons of his concubines, Hagar and Keturah, "eastward to the country which is commonly called the East" (Gen. xxv. 6.), where the name of the region seems to have been derived from the same situation. Solomon is reported "to have excelled in wisdom all the Eastern people, and all Egypt" (1 Kings iv. 30.): that is, all the neighbouring people in that quarter: for there were people beyond the boundaries of Egypt, and bordering on the south of Judæa, who were famous for wisdom, namely, the Idumæans (see Jer. xlix. 7.; Obad. 8.), to whom we may well believe this passage might have some relation. Thus JEHOVAH addresses the Babylonians: "Arise, ascend unto Kedar, and lay waste the children of the East" (Jer. xlix. 28.), notwithstanding these were really situated to the west of Babylon. Although Job, therefore, be accounted one of the Orientals, it by no means follows that his residence must be in Arabia Deserta. In effect, nothing is clearer than that the history of an inhabitant of Idumæa is the subject of the poem which bears the name of Job, and that all the persons introduced into it were Idumæans, dwelling in Idumæa, in other words, Edomite Arabs. These characters are, Job himself, of the land of Uz; Eliphaz of Teman, a district of as much repute as Uz, and which, it appears from the joint testimony of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and Obadiah, formed a principal part ⚫ of Idumæa; Bildad of Shuah, who is always mentioned in conjunction with Sheba and Dedan, the first of whom was probably named after one of the brothers of Joktan or Kahtan, and the last two from two of his sons, all of them being uniformly placed in the vicinity of Idumæa (Gen. xxv. 2, 3.; Jer. xlix. 8.); Zophar of Naama, a city importing pleasantness, which is also stated by Joshua (xv. 21. 41.) to have been situate in Idumæa, and to have lain in a southern direction towards its coast, on the shores of the Red Sea; and Elihu of Buz, which, as the name of a place, occurs only once in sacred writ (Jer. xxv. 23.), but is there mentioned in conjunction with Teman and Dedan; and hence, necessarily, like them, a border city upon Uz or Idumæa. Allowing this chorography to be correct (and such, upon a fair review of facts, we may conclude it to be), there is no difficulty in conceiving that hordes of nomadic Chaldeans as well as Sabeans, a people addicted to rapine, and roving about at immense distances for the sake of plunder,-should
have occasionally infested the defenceless country of Idumæa, and roved from the Euphrates even to Egypt.3 To the preceding considerations we may add, that "the contents of the book, and the customs which it introduces, agree with the opinion, that Idumæa was the country of Job's friends. Idumæa, in the earliest ages, was distinguished for its wise men, and sentences of Arabian wisdom flow from the mouths of Job and his friends. The Jordan is represented as a principal stream, as it was to the Edomites; and chiefs, such as those of Edom, are frequently mentioned. The addition, which is found at the end of the Septuagint version, places Job's residence on the confines of Idumæa and Arabia." V. The different parts of the book of Job are so closely connected together, that they cannot be detached from each other. The exordium prepares the reader for what follows, supplies us with the necessary notices concerning Job and his friends, unfolds the scope, and places the calamities full in our view as an object of attention. The epilogue, or conclusion, again, has reference to the exordium, and relates the happy termination of Job's trials; the dialogues which intervene flow in regular order. Now, if any one of these parts were to be taken away, the poem would be extremely defective. Without the prologue the reader would be utterly ignorant who Job was, who were his friends, and the cause of his being so grievously afflicted. Without the discourse of Elihu (xxxii.-xxxvii.), there would be a sudden and abrupt transition from the last words of Job, to the address of God, for which Elihu's discourse prepares the reader. And without the epilogue or conclusion, we should remain in ignorance of the subsequent condition of Job. Hence it is evident, that the poem is the composition of a single AUTHOR, but who that was, is a question concerning which the learned are very much divided in their sentiments. Elihu, Job, Moses, Solomon, Isaiah, an anonymous writer in the reign of Manasseh, Ezekiel, and Ezra, have all been contended for. The arguments already adduced respecting the age of Job, prove that it could not be either of the latter persons. Dr. Lightfoot, from an erroneous version of xxxii. 16, 17., has conjectured that it is the production of Elihu: but the correct rendering of that passage refutes this notion. Ilgen ascribes it probably to a descendant of Elihu. Luther, Grotius, and Doederlein, are disposed to regard it as the production of Solomon; Cellerier considers it as the production of an unknown author.8 Another and more generally received opinion attributes this book to Moses: this conjecture is founded on some apparently striking coincidences of sentiment, as well as from some marks of later date which are supposed to be discoverable in it. But, independently of the characters of antiquity already referred to, and which place the book of Job very many centuries before the time of Moses, the total absence of every the slightest allusion to the manners, customs, ceremonies, or history of the Israelites, is a direct evidence that the great legislator of the Hebrews was not, and could not have been, the author. To which may be added, that the style of Job (as Bishop Lowth has remarked) is materially different from the poetical style of Moses; for it is much more compact, concise or condensed, more accurate in the poetical conformation of the sentences: as may be observed also in the prophecies of Balaam the Mesopotamian, a foreigner, indeed, with respect to the Israelites, but not unacquainted either with their language or with the worship of the true God.
Upon the whole, then, we have sufficient ground to conclude that this book was not the production of Moses, but of some earlier age. Bishop Lowth favours the opinion of Schultens, Peters, and others (which is also adopted by
3 Bishop Lowth's Lectures, vol. ii. pp. 347-351. Good's Introd. Diss. to Job, pp. ii.-xi. 4 See a translation of this addition in pp. 234, 235. note, infra. • Prof. Turner's translation of Jahn, p. 471. note. See § III. pp. 228-230. of this volume.
See Good's translation of Job, in loc. pp. 380, 381. Bishop Lowth, taking
the passage in question as it stands in our English Bibles, observes that this conjecture of Lightfoot's seems at first sight rather countenanced by the exordium of the first speech of Elihu (xxxii. 15, 16.), in which he seems to assume the character of the author, by continuing the narrative in his own person. But that passage which appears to interrupt the speech of Elihu, and to be a part of the narrative, the Bishop conceives to be nothing more than an apostrophe to Job, or possibly to himself: for it manifestly consists of two distichs; while, on the contrary, it is well known that all the narrative parts-all in which the author himself appears-are certainly written in prose. Lecture xxxii. vol. ii. p. 352.
Introduction à la Lecture des Livres Saints (Ancien Testament), p. 499. 9 Dr. Good, who adopts this hypothesis, has collected these seeming coincidences, Introd. Diss. pp. lvi.-Ixii. Archbishop Magee has examined and refuted at considerable length the arguments of Huet, Dr. Kennicott, Heath, Bishop Warburton, and others who have advocated the same notion. Discourses on the Atonement, vol. ii. pp. 63-80,
Bishop Tomline and Dr. Hales), who suppose Job himself, or some contemporary, to have been the author of this poem: and there seems to be no good reason for supposing that it was not written by Job himself. It appears, indeed, highly probable that Job was the writer of his own story, of whose inspiration we have the clearest evidence in the forty-second chapter of this book, in which he thus addresses the Almighty:-"I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee." (xlii. 5.) It is plain that in this passage some privilege is intended which he never had enjoyed before, and which he calls the sight of God.
canon of the Jewish Scriptures on any other supposition than that it was written by a Hebrew; since the language is He brew, and it is written in the style of Hebrew poetry. "The Hebrews were jealous of their religious prerogatives. Would they have admitted into their sacred volume a poem written by a foreigner? The supposition that the [original] author travelled or resided a considerable time in Arabia will account for the Arabian images and words contained in it."3 The poem of Job being thus early introduced into the sacred volume, we have abundant evidence of its subsequent recognition as a canonical and inspired book, in the circumHe had heard of him by the "hearing of the ear," or the stance of its being occasionally quoted or copied by almost tradition delivered down to him from his forefathers, but he every Hebrew writer who had an opportunity of referring to now had a clear and sensible perception of his being and di- it, from the age of Moses to that of Malachi; especially by vine perfections, some light thrown in upon his mind which the Psalmist, by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (not to mencarried its own evidence, and of which, perhaps, we can tion several of the apocryphal writers). The reality of Job's form no notion, because we have never felt it, but which to person, we have already remarked, was particularly recoghim had all the certainty and clearness even of sight itself-nised by the prophet Ezekiel (xiv. 14. 18. 20.), and, consesome manifestations of the Deity made to him in vision, quently, the reality and canonical authority of his book: a such as the prophets had, and from which they derived their similar admission of it was made by the apostle James (v. very name of seers. If we allow Job himself to have 11.); and it is expressly cited by St. Paul (compare 1 Cor. been the writer of the book, two important advantages will iii. 19. and Job v. 13.), who prefaces his quotation by the be evidently obtained :-First, all objections to historical words, "It is written," agreeably to the common form of truth will vanish at once: no one could tell us his own story quoting from other parts of Scripture. All these testimonies, so well as Job, nor have we any reason to question its vera- direct and collateral, when taken together, afford such a body city. The dialogue, too, will then appear to have been the of convincing evidence as fully justifies the primitive fathers substance of a real conversation, for no dialogue was ever and early councils in their reception of it as an inspired book: more natural. If the story be told us in verse, or in the and,-independently of its completing the Jewish and Chrisprophetic style and language, as the first of these was a prac- tian canons of Scripture, by uniting as full an acconnt as is tice of the highest antiquity, the other adds the most sacred necessary of the patriarchal dispensation, with the two other and unquestionable authority to it: so that neither truth nor dispensations by which it was progressively succeeded,ornament is here wanting, any more than dignity of subject, the enrolment of the history of Job in the sacred volume may, to render this a book of inestimable value. The second ad- perhaps, have been designed as an intimation of the future vantage alluded to is this, that if Job himself were the admission of the Gentiles into the church of Christ." writer of the book, then every point of history and every doctrine of religion here treated of, which coincide with those delivered in the books of Moses, are an additional proof and confirmation of the latter, as being evidently derived from some other source, not borrowed from the Pentateuch.1
"But whether we suppose Job the author of the book, or not, its great antiquity, and even its priority to the age of Moses, seems to stand on strong grounds. And, upon the whole, perhaps we may not unreasonably conjecture the history of the book to be this:-The poem, being originally written either by Job, or some contemporary of his, and existing in the time of Moses, might fall into his hands, whilst residing in the land of Midian, or afterwards when in the neighbourhood of Idumæa; and might naturally be made use of by him, to represent to the Hebrews, either whilst repining under their Egyptian bondage, or murmuring at their long wanderings in the wilderness, the great duty of submission to the will of God. The encouragement which this book holds out, that every good man suffering patiently will finally be rewarded, rendered it a work peculiarly calculated to minister mingled comfort and rebuke to the distressed and discontented Israelites, and might, therefore, well have been employed by Moses for this purpose. We may also suppose, that Moses, in transcribing, might have made some small and unimportant alterations, which will sufficiently account for occasional and partial resemblances of expression between it and the Pentateuch, if any such there be.
"This hypothesis both furnishes a reasonable compromise between the opinions of the great critics, who are divided upon the point of Moses being the author; and supplies an answer to a question of no small difficulty, which hangs upon almost every other solution; namely, when, and wherefore, a book treating manifestly of the concerns of a stranger, and in no way connected with their affairs, was received by the Jews into their sacred canon? For Moses having thus applied the book to their use, and sanctioned it by his authority, it would naturally have been enrolled among their sacred writings: and from the antiquity of that enrolment, no record would consequently appear of its introduction."2 Indeed, it is difficult to account for its introduction into the 1 Peters' Critical Dissertation on Job, p. 123. et seq. Magee's Discourses, vol. ii. p. 82. This notion, Archbishop Magee remarks, is not without support from many respectable authorities. The ancient commentator on Job, under the title of Origen, has handed down a piece of traditional history, which perfectly accords with it. See Patrick's Preface to Job. Many of the most respectable early writers seem to have adopted the same idea, as may be seen in Huet (Dem. Evang. p. 326.), and, with some slight variation, it has been followed by that learned author. Patrick also and Peter speak of it as a reasonable hypothesis. (Crit. Diss. Pref. pp. xxxiv. xxxv.) And certainly it possesses this decided advantage, that it solves all the phenomena. Ibid. pp. 83, 84.
VI. All commentators and critics are unanimously agreed, that the poem of Job is the most ancient book extant: but concerning its species and structure there is a considerable diversity of opinion, some contending that it is an epic poem, while others maintain it to be a drama.
M. Ilgen on the Continent, and Dr. Good in our own country, are the only two commentators that have come to the writer's knowledge, who advocate the hypothesis that the book of Job is a regular epic. The former critic contends that it is a regular epic, the subject of which is tried and victorious innocence; and that it possesses unity of action, delineation of character, plot, and catastrophe,-not exactly, indeed, in the Grecian, but in the Oriental style. Dr. Good observes, that, were it necessary to enter minutely into the question, this poem might easily be proved to possess all the more prominent features of an epic, as laid down by Aristotle himself, such as unity, completion, and grandeur in its action; loftiness in its sentiments and language; multitude and variety in the passions which it developes. Even the characters, though not numerous, are discriminated and well supported; the milder and more modest temper of Eliphaz (compare Job iv. 2, 3. with xv. 3.) is well contrasted with the forward and unrestrained violence of Bildad; the terseness and brevity of Zophar with the pent-up and overflowing fulness of Elihu: while in Job himself we perceive a dignity of mind that nothing can humiliate, a firmness that nothing can subdue, still habitually disclosing themselves amidst the tumult of hope, fear, rage, tenderness, triumph, and despair, with which he is alternately distracted. This hint is offered by Dr. Good, not with a view of ascribing any additional merit to the poem itself, but merely to observe, so far as a single fact is possessed of authority, that mental taste, or the internal discernment of real beauty, is the same
United States' Review and Literary Gazette, vol. ii. p. 343.
his version of Job, have pointed out numerous instances of passages thus directly copied or referred to.
4 Huet, Demonstr. Evang. tom. i. pp. 324, 325., and Dr. Good, in the notes
See p. 228. supra, of this volume.
mere oral tradition of such a person could not have subsisted through so 6 As Job lived so many ages before the time of the prophet Ezekiel, long a period of time, without appearing at last as uncertain or fabulous. There must, therefore, have been some history of Job in Ezekiel's time; no other history but that which we now have, and which has always had a place in the Hebrew code, was ever heard of or pretended. Therefore this must have been the history of Job in Ezekiel's time, and must have been generally known and read as true and authentic, and, consequently, must have been written near to [rather in] the age when the fact was transacted, and not in after-times, when its credibility would have been greatly dimi nished. Dr. Taylor's Scheme of Scripture Divinity, ch. 22. in fine, (in Bishop Watson's Collection of Tracts, vol. i. p. 93.)
Gregorii Præfat. in Jobum. Magee, vol. ii. p. 81. Good's Job, p. lxiv.
in all ages and nations, and that the rules of the Greek critic are deduced from a principle of universal impulse and operation.
to the names and sentiments of so many learned men, possesses at least one advantage; it furnishes a compromise between the opinions of the great critics who are divided in sentiment upon the class of poetry to which this book is to be referred, and perhaps reconciles difficulties which could not otherwise be solved respecting its real nature.
The dramatic form of this poem was strenuously affirmed by Calmet, Carpzov, and some other continental critics, and after them by Dr. Garnett, and Bishop Warburton; who, in support of this opinion, adduced the metrical form of its The reader will now determine for himself to which class style, excepting in the introduction and conclusion,-its sen- of poetry this divine book is to be referred. After all that timents, which are delivered, not only in verse, but in a kind has been said, it is, perhaps, of little consequence whether of poetry animated by all the sublimity and floridness of it be esteemed a didactic or an ethic, an epic or dramatic description (whence he concludes this book to be a work of poem; provided a distinct and conspicuous station be assignimagination), and, in short, the whole form of its composi-ed to it in the highest rank of Hebrew poesy: for not only is tion. Bishop Lowth has appropriated two entire lectures the poetry of the book of Job equal to that of any other of to an examination of this question; and after inquiring the Sacred Writings, but it is superior to them all, those of whether the poem is possessed of any of the properties of Isaiah alone excepted. As Isaiah, says Dr. Blair, is the the Greek drama, and considering a variety of circumstances most sublime, David the most pleasing and tender, so Job is which are here necessarily omitted, he affirms, without hesi- the most descriptive of all the inspired poets. A peculiar tation, that the poem of Job contains no plot or action what- glow of fancy and strength of description characterize this ever, not even of the most simple kind; that it uniformly author. No writer whatever abounds so much in metaphors. exhibits one constant chain of things, without the smallest He may be said not only to describe, but to render visible, change of feature from beginning to end; and that it exhibits whatever he treats of. Instances of this kind every where such a representation of manners, passions, and sentiments occur, but especially in the eighteenth and twentieth chapas might be naturally expected in such a situation. But ters, in which the condition of the wicked is delineated.4 though the book of Job is by no means to be considered as a VII. The subject of this book is the history of a real drama written with fictitious contrivance; or as resembling sufferer, the patriarch Job, who at the period in question was in its construction any of those much admired productions an emir, or Arab prince of distinguished wealth, eminence, of the Grecian dramatic poets which it preceded by so many and authority, resident in the country of Uz or Idumæa. centuries, yet, he concludes, it may still be represented as His three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, were also being so far dramatic, as the parties are introduced speaking probably emirs of the cities or places whence they are dewith great fidelity of character; and as it deviates from strict nominated; but of Elihu, the fourth interlocutor in the poem, historical accuracy for the sake of effect. It is a complete we have no notice whatever. The principal object offered though peculiar work, and regular in its subject as well as to our contemplation in this production is the example of a in the distribution of its parts: the exordium and conclusion good man, eminent for his piety, and of approved integrity, are in prose, but all the intermediate dialogues are in metre. suddenly precipitated from the very summit of prosperity But, whatever rank may be assigned to Job in a comparison into the lowest depths of misery and ruin: who, having beeu with the poets of Greece, to whom we must at least allow first bereaved of his wealth, his possessions, and his children, the merit of art and method; among the Hebrews it must is afterwards afflicted with the most excruciating anguish of certainly be allowed, in this respect, to be unrivalled. Such a loathsome disease which entirely covers his body. (i. ii.) is a brief outline of Bishop Lowth's arguments and conclu- He sustains all with the mildest submission, and the most sions, which have been generally adopted. complete resignation to the will of Providence: In all this, says the historian, Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. (i. 22.) And after the second trial, In all this did not Job sin with his lips. (ii. 10.) The author of the history remarks upon this circumstance a second time, in order to excite the observation of the reader, and to render him more attentive to what follows, which properly constitutes the true subject of the poem; namely, the conduct of Job with respect to his reverence for the Almighty, and the changes which accumulating misery might produce in his temper and behaviour. Accordingly we find that another still more exquisite trial of his patience yet awaits him, and which, indeed, as the writer seems to intimate, he scarcely appears to have sustained with equal firmness, namely, the unjust suspicions, the bitter reproaches, and the violent altercations of his friends, who had visited him on the pretence of affording consolation. Here commences the plot or action of the poem: for when, after a long silence of all parties, the grief of Job breaks forth into passionate exclamations and a vehement execration of the day of his birth (iii.); the minds of his friends are suddenly exasperated, their intentions are changed, and their consolation, if indeed they originally intended any, is converted into contumely and reproaches. Eliphaz, the first of these three singular comforters, reproves his impatience; calls in question his integrity, by indirectly insinuating that God does not inflict such punishments upon the righteous; and, finally, admonishes him that the chastisement of God Blair's Lectures, vol. iii. p. 188.
It only remains that we notice the opinion of Professor Bauer, viz. that the book of Job approximates most nearly to the Mekámat or moral discourses of the philosophical Arabian poets. He has simply announced his hypothesis, without offering any reasons in its support; but the following considerations appear not unfavourable to the conjecture of Bauer. The Mekáma treats on every topic which presented itself to the mind of the poet, and though some parts are occasionally found in prose, yet it is generally clothed in all the charms of poetry which the vivid imagination of the author could possibly bestow upon it. The subjects thus discussed, however, are principally ethical. The Arabs have several works of this description, which are of considerable antiquity; but the most celebrated is the collection of Mekámats, composed by the illustrious poet Hariri, which are read and admired to this day. Now, it will be recollected, that the scene of the book of Job is laid in the land of Uz or Idumæa, in the Stony Arabia; the interlocutors are Edomite Arabs; the beginning and termination are evidently in prose, though the dialogue is metrical; the language is pure Hebrew, which we know for a considerable time was the common dialect of the Israelites, Idumæans, and Arabs, who were all descended from Abraham; the manners, customs, and allusions, too, which, it is well known, have not varied in any material degree, are supported by those of the modern Arabs. Since, then, the book of Job is allowed on all sides to be a poem, single and unparalleled in the sacred volume, may we not consider it as a prototype of the Mekáma of the Arabians? This conjecture, which is offered with deference
1 Lect. xxxiii. and xxxiv.
2 Bauer, Hermeneutica Sacra, p. 386. The Arabic word Mekáma signifies an assembly and conversation, or discourse (D'Herbelot, Bibliothèque Orientale, vol. ii. p. 500.); the name is derived from the circumstance of these compositions being read at the meetings or conversazioni of eminent literary characters.
He composed his Mekáma, or Mecámat, as D'Herbelot spells the word, at the request of Abu Shirvan Khaled, vizir of the Seljuk Sultan Mahmoud. It is esteemed a masterpiece of Arabian poesy and eloquence; and consists of fifty discourses or declamatory conversations on various topics of morality, each of which derives its name from the place where it was recited. So highly were these productions of Hariri valued, that Zamakshari, the most learned of the Arabian grammarians, pronounced that they ought only to be written on silk. The Mekámat of Hariri were published by Schultens, and six of his "Assemblies" were translated into English from the Arabic, and published by Professor Chappelow, in 8vo. London, 1767. See an account and extract from this work in the Monthly Review, O. S. vol. xxxvii. pp. 22-28.
From the circumstance of Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad being termed kings in the Septuagint version, some critics have supposed that they as well as Job were monarchs: but this conjecture is destitute of support. For, 1. Job is not represented as losing his kingdom, but his children, servants, and flocks; 2. He possessed no army or forces with which he could pursue the predatory Sabæans and Chaldæans; 3. Though his friends accused him of various crimes, and among others of harshly treating his servants, yet they nowhere charge him with tyranny towards his subjects, 4. Job gives an account of his private life and conduct towards his domes tics, but is totally silent as to his conduct towards his subjects; lastly, when he does mention kings (iii. 14. xxix. 25.), he by no means places him. self upon an equality with them. Hence we see the erroneousness of the appendix to the Septuagint version of Job, of which some notice is taken in p. 234. infra, and which makes him to be the same as Jobab king of the Edomites. (Gen. xxxvi. 33.) It is equally clear that Job was not subject to any sovereign, for neither he nor his friends make any mention of his allegiance to any king; on the contrary, when he entered the gate of the city where the magistrates sat in a judicial capacity, the first place was reserved to him, and his opinion was asked with the utmost deference. From all these circumstances, therefore, coupled with his extensive flocks and ample possessions, we conclude with Herder, Jahn, and Dr. Good, that he was emir, prince, or chief magistrate of the city of Uz.