« 前へ次へ »
A.M. 2484. of Elihu commences with the thirty-second chapter of the common B.C. 1520. arrangement, which constitutes its peroration, and offers a fine
specimen of the art of bespeaking and fixing attention. He first adverts to the general irrelevancy of the matter that has been advanced against Job, from every quarter by which he has been attacked, and then proceeds to comment upon the patriarch himself. Tacitly admitting the general force of the reasoning by which he had confounded his opponents, Elihu nowhere charges him with former wickedness, because of his present affliction, but confines himself to his actual conduct, and the tendency of his replies on the existing occasion ; both of which he reprehends with considerable warmth. In various instances he repeats his words literally, and animadverts upon them as highly irreverent; and observes, that the dispensations of Providence, dark and mysterious as they commonly appear to us, are always full of wisdom and mercy; and that, in many cases, we are made sensible of this even at the moment, being frequently, by such means, warned and reclaimed, sometimes publicly, but still oftener in secret, through the medium of dreams, diseases, or other providential interferences.
He attacks the position of Job, that the present world is the portion of the wicked, and that here prosperity is more frequently their lot than that of the righteous; and, with some degree of sophistry and disingenuity, turns, like Eliphaz, this position of the patriarch into a declaration, that he approves of the ways of wickedness as a mean of prosperity, and has no desire to be righteous, unless when righteousness has a like chance of advancing his worldly views. Upon this point he attacks him with great severity, and in general terms; and in general, but beautiful and highly figurative descriptions; adverts to the frequent and visible interferences of the Almighty to relieve the poor and the oppressed, and to hurl down the tyrant and the reprobate. He next exhorts Job to relinquish his present sentiments, and to confess his transgressions, in full confidence of a return of the divine favour. Submission he asserts (chap. xxxv.) to be the only duty of man, and the wisest course he can pursue; that God can derive neither advantage from his obedience, nor disadvantage from his rebellion; that man alone can profit from the one, and suffer from the other; and that had Job suffered more, he would have disputed less. The remainder of this exquisite oration points out consecutively, in strong and glowing language, full of sublimity and the finest painting, that God is supreme; that he is all in all; and that every thing is subject to him, and regulated by him, and regulated in wisdom, goodness, and justice; that hence, instead of resisting, it becomes us to submit; that the worst of iniquities is to wish for death, in order to escape from a chastisement we are enduring and have deserved; and that, living or dying, it is in vain to fly from the Creator, since all nature was formed by him, and is the theatre of his power. The speaker
Ch. xxxvii. 22-24.
closes with a lofty and transcendent description of the might and A.M. 2484.
Splendour itself is with God!
He looketh all the wise of heart to nothing. PART VI. The trial of faith, resignation, and integrity, is now Sixth part drawing to an end. The opponents of Job, and, through them, the Address of
Jehovah arch-demon by whom they were excited, have been baffled in their
from the utmost exertions; yet, though silenced, they still sullenly refuse to whirlwind. retract. The Almighty now visibly appears to pronounce judgment, and “speaks to Job out of the whirlwind:” and the address ascribed to him is a most astonishing combination of dignity, sublimity, grandeur, and condescension; and is as worthy of the magnificent occasion as any thing can be, delivered in human language.
The line of argument pursued in the course of this inimitable address is, that the mighty speaker is Lord of all, the creator of the heavens and the earth, and that every thing must bow down before him; that he is the God of providence; and that every thing is formed by him in wisdom, and bespeaks a mean to an end, and that end the happiness and enjoyment of his creatures. In the development of this reasoning, the formation of the world is first brought before us, and described in language that has never been equalled; the revolution of the heavenly bodies; and the regular return of the seasons. The argument then descends from so overwhelming a magnificence, and confines itself to phænomena that are more immediately within the scope and feeling of the sons of earth. It is God who supplies the wants of every living creature: it is he who finds them food in rocks and wildernesses: it is his wisdom that has adapted every kind to its own habits and mode of being; that has given cunning where cunning is necessary; and, where unnecessary, has withheld it; that has endowed with rapidity of foot or of wing, where such qualities are found needful; and, where might is demanded, has afforded proofs of a might the most terrible and irresistible. The whole of which is exquisitely illustrated by a variety of distinct instances, drawn from natural history, and painted to the very life; the following impressive corollary forming the general close. God is supreme, and must be bowed to, and adored: his wisdom is incomprehensible, how vain then to
attending a translation.
A.M. 2484. arraign it: his power omnipotent, how absurd then to resist it: his B.c. 1520. goodness universal, how blind then to deny it.
This awful address is listened to with fearful conviction. The humiliated sufferer confesses the folly of his arrogance and presump
tion, and abhors himself for his conduct. Acquittal The peripatia, or revolution, immediately succeeds. The selfrestoration
abasement of Job is accepted : his three friends are severely repriof Job.
manded for having formed a dishonourable judgment concerning him, and for having taken a false and narrow view of the providence of the Almighty, in contending that he never does or can permit trouble but in cases of wickedness: a sacrifice is demanded of them, and Job is appointed to be their intercessor; upon the accomplishment of which the severely tried patriarch is restored to his former
state of enjoyment, and his prosperity is in every instance doubled. Difficulties In his THIRD SECTION, Mr. Good inquires into and explains the
å. difficulties attending a translation of the book of Job; into which
we need not follow him: and in his FOURTH, examines the disputed point concerning the author and æra of the poem: upon which we
have the following remarks. Author and If the preceding observations be correctly founded, they may æra of the
make some progress towards determining the real author of this sublime composition. In his style he appears to have been equally master of the simple and the sublime; to have been minutely and elaborately acquainted with the astronomy, natural history, and general science of his age; to have been a Hebrew by birth and
native language, and an Arabian by long residence and local study. Intrinsic To these peculiar features, thus incidentally gleaned from a critical features of the writer.
survey of the poem, may be added, there is intrinsic evidence that, as a Hebrew, he must have flourished and have written antecedently to the Egyptian exody. The annals of the world do not present to us a single nation so completely wrapped up in their own history as the Hebrews. Throughout every book, both in the Old and the New Testament, in which it could possibly be adverted to, the eye of the writer turns to different parts of it, and dwells upon it with inextinguishable fondness. The call of Abraham, the bondage and miracles in Egypt, the journeyings through the wilderness, the delivery of the law, the establishment of the priesthood, the passage of the Red sea, and of the Jordan, the destruction of the Canaanites, Ammonites, and Moabites; Aaron, Joshua, Manasses, and Gideon ; Sinai, Carmel, and Sion ; Gilead and Gaza; Ashdod, Ekron, and Askelon, are perpetually brought before us, as ornaments, or illustrations of the subject discussed. To none of these, however, does the book of Job make the smallest reference: but the existence of Adam, and his concealment from the Almighty in the garden of Eden ;the voice of the blood of Abel crying from the ground; ?
the destruction of the world by the deluge ; : the token of the rain- A.M. 2484. bow in the clouds ; 4 and the conflagration of Sodom and Gomor- B.C. 1520. rah, are, in the same love of national history, incidentally glanced at, or directly brought forward. With this last fact, however, the poet stops: he descends no lower than to the overthrow of the cities on the plain, and consequently to the æra of Abraham and Lot; not a single incident appertaining either to the family of Isaac or of Ishmael, of Edom or of Jacob, being adverted to below this period. And hence we have the strongest circumstantial evidence for concluding that the poem, as written in Hebrew, must have been composed between the periods of Abraham's residence at Mamre, and the miracles wrought by Moses in Egypt. The opinions of those writers who have contended that the poem Pretensions
of various contains a few allusions to historical facts posterior to the com
characters mencement of the Egyptian bondage, or even below the Mosaic age, examined. are next minutely examined by our author, who seems to show very satisfactorily, that the passages in different parts of the sacred text, adverted to in support of such opinions, are too loose to draw the conclusion contended for, or have no application to the subject whatever. He then proceeds as follows:
The remaining characters that have been pitched upon as authors of this poem, are Elihu; Job himself, or in conjuction with the other dialogists; and Moses.
Elihu has been advanced, chiefly by Lightfoot, from an erroneous rendering of ver. 16 and 17, in chap. xxxii. and the correction of which puts to flight all Elihu's pretensions in a moment. Concerning Job, as himself the author of the poem, or as the author of it in conjunction with his friends, we have already spoken. “All such opinion, however modified, equally suppose,” observes Mr. Good,“ the introduction of a foreign story, drawn up by a foreigner himself, into the sacred canon of the Jewish scripture; a supposition which is not countenanced by any other part of the Scriptures, and to which the national jealousy of the Jews appears to have formed an insuperable barrier.”
It only remains then, continues this critic, to examine into the strong claim of Moses, as the author of the book of Job. To Moses, in claims truth, more than to any one, it has been generally ascribed in all nations, and perhaps in all ages; and if we apply to him the tests advanced above, and which are fatal to all the preceding characters, we shall find that there is not a single one to which his history will not adapt itself. It has been already asserted, that the writer of this poem must, in his style, have been equally master of the simple and of the sublime; that he must have been minutely and elaborately acquainted with the astronomy, natural history, and general science of his age; that he must have been a Hebrew by birth, and native
3 Chap. xxii. 16.
4 Chap. xxvi. 10.
5 Chap. xxii. 20.
A.M. 2481. language, and an Arabian by long residence and local study; and B.C. 1520. finally, that he must have flourished, and composed the work before
the Egyptian exody. Now it is obvious, that every one of these features is consummated in Moses, and in Moses alone; and that the whole of them gives us his complete lineaments and portraiturem whence there can be no longer any difficulty in determining as to the real author of the poem. Instructed in all the learning of Egypt, it appears little doubtful that he composed it during some part of his forty years' residence with the hospitable Jethro, in that district of Idumea which was named Midian.
In addition to these external proofs of identity, continues our author, a little attention will, perhaps, disclose to us an internal proof of peculiar force, in the close and striking similarity of diction and idiom which exists between the book of Job, and those pieces of poetry which Moses is usually admitted to have composed. The examples and parallelisms offered by Mr. Good, are numerous and striking, but we have not space to copy them, and must refer to the
work itself. . Design of The most important part of the inquiry, concerning this extra
ordinary production, however, remains yet to be noticed, and is given by our author in his FIFTH SECTION, on the CREED, DOCTRINES, and RITUAL of the poem ; in which he fully, and as we think, satisfactorily explains the express object of the work, and the expediency of its introduction into the Hebrew canon. The preceding inquiry concerning the origin and æra of the book of Job, will be found, observes Mr. Good, of no small moment or importance. For if it has succeeded in fixing the date of the book of Job, at a period antecedent to the Egyptian exody, and of course to the Mosaic institution, and in
bringing home the composition to Moses himself—then does this Depository book immediately become a DEPOSITORY OF PATRIARCHAL RELIGION,
the best and fullest depository in the world, and drawn up by that faith.
very pen which was most competent to do justice to it. Then also do we obtain a clear and decisive answer to the question which has so often been proposed. What is the ultimate intention of the book of Job? and for what purpose is it introduced into the Hebrew and Christian canons? It will then appear that it is for the purpose of making those canons complete, by uniting as full an account as is necessary, of the dispensation of the patriarchs, with the two dispensations by which it was progressively succeeded. It will then appear that the chief doctrines of the patriarchal religion, as collected
from different parts of the poem, were as follow:Doctrines of I. The creation of the world by one supreme and eternal intelli
II. Its regulation by his perpetual and superintending providence.?
the book, creed, doctrines, and ritual.
6 See especially the speech of Jehovah himself, from chap. xxxviii. to chap. xli. inclusively.
7 Chap. i.9, 21 ; ii. 10; v. 8—27; ix. 4 13; and in almost every ensuing chapter throughout the book.