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his prayer, and yet, may we not suppose that the pathetic cry that God would lay him up in Sheol, that he would hide bim until the wrath be past, that he would appoint him a set time and remember him,may we not suppose, that this, and many a similar prayer under the darker dispensation, did in some sense receive their answers in that descent of Jesus into Sheol from whence he returned in triumph, when be led captivity captive, and divided the spoil with the strong.
The idea that Job is praying for death, in the sense of spiritual annihilation, is at war with every view of the context, ,-as well with that which maintains that the change subsequently spoken of is a temporal deliverance, as with the idea of a deliverance from Sheol.
V. 14.0.712x. There may have been intended an emphasis here in the word na as used for man. The radical idea is strength—a robore dictus, Ges. It is then a far more emphatic term than ux. The strong man ; the man of might; the Greek "Hposshall he die, when the most insignificant herb of the garden has its period of reviviscence? This idea presents still more clearly the striking resemblance, as far as mere expression is concerned, to the language of Moschus in the epitaph on Bion.
'Αμμες δ' οι μεγάλοι και κατεροι ή σοφοί άνδρες.
Our previous comments have, in a great measure, anticipated all that might have been said on this remarkable question. One class of commentators give what they deem the intended answer at once. Minime vero—say Rosenmüller and others— Most certainly notHe lieth down and shall never awake or be aroused from his sleep.
Two things on the very face of the text seem to stand in the way of this most decided negative. One is the previous prayer, and the other the subsequent declaration. The process, or probable train of thought may be thus stated. Job had used language apparently of the deepest despondency. As though in danger of being overwhelmed in the exceeding gloom of his own suggestive picture, he cries out in the language of agonizing prayer,- Oh that thou wouldst lay me up in some secret place in Sheol—Oh that thou wouldst appoint unto me some set time and then remember me. He cannot bear the thought which he had presented so strongly to his own mind, the thought of lying down and rising no more; and the prayer of anguish, which is the consequence, is followed by its appropriate effect—the springing up of faith, expressing itself first in the musing or wondering interrogatory, and secondly, as it rises still higher, in the strong declaration which succeeds. In other words—despondency had driven him to prayer, 1849.]
prayer had led to faith, faith to patient submission, and this, finally, to a feeling (although for a moment, it may be) of almost triumphant assurance—“ All the days of my appointed time will I wait until my springing forth (open) shall come. Thou wilt call and I will answer—thou wilt have regard to the work of thy hands.
An interrogatory of this kind, we have said, instead of imparting doubt, much less denial, may be a natural mode in which strong emotion presents some new truth, or some new aspect or conception of an old truth which seems suddenly to be accompanied with a life and an importance unrealized before. Something of this kind, as far as the style or tone of expression is concerned, appears in that famous query of Achilles, Iliad xxiii. 103; where he exclaims, less in a spirit of doubt than of wondering awe
"Ω πόποι, ή ρά τίς έστι και είν 'Αΐδαο δόμοισιν
Pope has been censured for making too free with Homer, and yet we think he has here seized the spirit of the passage, although he may have given it too much of a philosophical aspect
'Tis true, 'tis certain ; man, though dead retains
Achilles had just been visited by the shade of his friend Patroclus, and the manner in which the vision of Eliphaz is recorded in the 4th of Job, shows that the belief in ghosts and a separate ghostly existence was as familiar to the early Arabian as to the Grecian mind. Indeed when and where has the world been without it? and yet when brought suddenly before the mind with some unusually life-like accompaniments, we start back with awe as from a conception too great or too wondrous to be realized.2
| The question here, however, may perhaps point mainly to the succeeding words ατάρ φρένες ούκ ένι πάμπαν – expressing not so much his wonder at the fact of a separate life, as at the strange mode of the spirit's existence. Can it be that there are in Hades any life and form (or umbra) without mind ? etc. He may allude to the common notion, as we have before presented it, of the purposeless and almost mindless condition of the shades. This would seem to have been one aspect of the question, from what follows-Tavvixin, etc. All night the ghost of Patroclus had seemed to converse with all the reason and recollection of the present life.
? Plato in the Republic, Lib. iii., condemns this passage from Homer, and other similar representations of ghostly apparitions, as tending to pervert right views of the other life. We doubt, however, whether all his reasonings in the Phaedon furnish as strong a proof of such a life as this universal belief. The representations of the poet are more in alliance with the deepest feelings of our nature, than the subtle arguments of the philosopher.
May we not conceive of a pious mind putting to itself such an interrogatory, and in just such a time, respecting the being of a God? It might be called out, in the sanie manner, by wonder at some new and startling aspect of the thought flashing upon the soul, and lighting it up with a sudden illumination, which, for a moment, gives an unwonted reality and vividness to the whole horizon of moral and religious truth. In such a quickened state it would almost seem as though we had never truly believed before; so that the soul asks or rather exclaims in wonder, Is there indeed a God who rules the earth, and who will bring every work and thought of man into judgment !
Very much, too, depends upon what strikes us as the most emphatic form of the interrogatory, If a man die shall he live again? Is death then the wondrous way to life, and are all the trials with which God disciplines us here, but the birth throes to another higher, and more perfect, and more permanent existence? Is this world, after all, itself the death, the anomalous living death, the night far spent,- and may what we call death be but the dawning of another and eternal day? As the mourner sat contemplating the inexplicable visitations of Providence, or as he brooded over his painful domestic bereavements, and the condition of bis diseased and loathsome body, there may have flitted across his dark mind some such strange query as Socrates quotes from Euripides. As when he says, in the Gorgias“But indeed life is really an awful thing, and I should not wonder if Euripides spoke the truth when he said —
Τίς δ' οίδεν, εί το ZHN μέν έστι ΚΑΤΘΑΝΕΙΝ,
Who knows but to live is to die, and to die is to live ? and that' we now are in reality dead, as I have heard from wise men (of old)namely, that we are now really dead, and that the body (rò obuc) is our grave (rò onua, by a play upon the word, our monument), in which we are buried,” etc. Gorg. 493 A.
There is no need of maintaining that such, or any other definite or indefinite view was Job's settled creed,-as we use the term when we speak of the acknowledged articles of our faith. It may have been a mere gleam, soon sinking into a deeper shade. We would only contend that such thoughts are not only possible, but also probable, as being most naturally suggested by the circumstances in which he was
497 placed; especially in connection with the rudimentary ideas which men in all ages have had of the Spirit World.
Such thoughts also are more likely to occur in the soliloquising style, which may be regarded as greatly prevailing throughout the poem, especially in the speeches of Job, when the introspective, subjective, or exclamatory is more consistent with his condition, and is therefore more marked, even when he is using outwardly the manner of direct address to his interlocutors. Here, too, we think, is the key to unlock many of the apparent contradictions of the book. In such an introspective state of meditation, becoming objective to itself in speech, there is but little regard to words expressive of the transitions of thought. The soul thus talking to itself, loves to present its conceptions in various and even seemingly opposing lights ; sometimes assigning, apparently, the prominence to such as it would in reality most strongly reject. In this way only can we reconcile Job's expressions,—at one time of utter despondency, again, and perhaps quite suddenly, of hope, and faith, and even assurance,-at one time of fretful and almost blasphemons impatience, at another, of the inost perfect submission,now cursing his day, and again exclaiming, though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, -at one time exhibiting a sort of despairing exultation at the thought of the prosperity of the wicked, as though it furnished him with a reason for bis reproaches of his Maker and an answer to his insulting friends, and again (when the tumor of his soul had settled down), manifesting a feeling of the most perfect confidence in the Divine Justice.
Very much of this same reflex or subjective style appears in that only other remnant of what may be styled the Hebrew philosophy, namely, the book of Ecclesiastes, or the “ Inquiry into the Summum Bonum.” There, too, opposing ideas are presented in their strongest lights. In one place, all is chaos, chance, death under the notion of a total cessation of being, an utter confounding of the good and the bad, of the wise and the unwise, of the joyful and the miserable, of man and beast. Again—to say nothing of a future life-there is the strongest expression of confidence in other truths utterly inconsistent with all this,—even more inconsistent with it, we may say, than any direct assertion of such future life regarded in its physical rather than its moral aspect. We mean, that doctrine of a Divine Justice, which must make an eternal difference—a difference necessarily extending far beyond the present state-between right and wrong, between sin and holiness, and of course between the sinner and the righteous man. In one place we have before us nothing but the materialist, the virtual atheist, the apparent denier of all providence and of all moral government—"Time and chance happen to all-As dieth the fool so dieth the wise-Man has no supremacy over the beast As dieth the one so dieth the other— There is a vanity done upon the earth in that it happens to the righteous as to the wicked, to him that feareth God as to him that feareth him not." Again (as though the soul had cast all his darkness about itself, in order that it might emerge into a clearer assurance of the great truth which the moral nature demands, and demands too in the face of all inductive phenomena to the contrary), how suddenly do we find ourselves in the midst of declarations involving the contrary of all this, and implying is not revealing, a future life in the idea of an eternal justice— Though the sinner do evil times innumerable, and yet prolong his days, still do I surely know that it shall be well with those who fear God; but it shall not be well with the wicked, Eccl. 8: 12, 13. For God will bring every work into judgment with every secret thing whether it be good or whether it be evil, Eccles. 12: 14. All the days of my appointed time will I wait, etc. Some would regard this as hypothetical— All the days etc. would I wait. But there is nothing which urgently calls for this, and such a departure from the more obvious construction is not to be justified except on the ground that there could be no good meaning without it.
. Properly rendered by the Vulgate, militia--military service. See its use Job 7: 1. It however embraces, both here and in Job vii., the idea of appointed or set time—an enlistment. The LXX also intend this in their paraphrase-συντελέσας ημέρας αυτού. It also agrees with the context, especially with the term pn, in the preceding prayer that God would appoint him a decree, and not forget the years of his dark and unjoyous abode in Sheol.
377x-This word seems to have here the same strength as in Job 13: 15, Though he slay me yet will I wait for him. So here, Even in death or in Sheol will I wait for him. Compare Ps. 23: 4.
on My change-more properly, my springing forth—my germination. Neither Rosenmüller, nor Mr. Noyes, nor Mr. Barnes, adverts to the evident relation which this word bears to the verb on: (verse 8), in the comparison of the two. We might almost rest upon it alone for proof, that there is intended here no merely temporal deliverance, but something analogous to the new life which appears in the plant. The strong sense of reviviscence suits poorly with such a change as would consist simply in a restoration of Job's lost sheep and camels. Such an idea destroys all the force of the comparison in the very points for which it was mainly intended. It is, moreover, out of keeping with the sombre ideas of death and Sheol which both precede and come after it. He had prayed that God would hide him as some secure de