Job Chapter Twenty-Nine
Read Job 29:1-5
v1-2. “MOREOVER JOB CONTINUED HIS PARABLE, AND SAID, OH THAT I WERE AS in MONTHS PAST, AS in THE DAYS when GOD PRESERVED ME;”
Job now laments his loss. Oh, but if only the days that I enjoyed before these afflictions could be returned to me. If only I could go back and enjoy them again. Thus he wishes, from the concern that he has, not so much for his ease and wealth but rather for his reputation and the glory of his God, which he thought hidden from him by his current afflictions.
v3. “WHEN HIS CANDLE SHINED UPON MY HEAD, and when BY HIS LIGHT I WALKED through DARKNESS;”
Job is longing for the light of the world. God lifted up the light of his countenance upon him, gave him the assurances and sweet relishes of his love. Job took such abundant satisfaction in the God’s divine favor for him that by the light of that grace he walked through darkness. It guided him in his doubts, comforted him in his grief, bore him up under his burdens and helped him through all his difficulties.
v4. “AS I WAS IN THE DAYS OF MY YOUTH, WHEN THE SECRET OF GOD was UPON MY TABERNACLE;”
He longs for the relationship that he had with God. God conversed freely with him, as one good friend to another. He knew God’s mind and was not in the dark about it as he has been during his affliction. One commentator shapes the rest of this verse as being the occasions when an assembly of God’s people gathered at Job’s house for worship. He led this worship, took a great deal of satisfaction from it and now that is gone as well.
v5. “WHEN THE ALMIGHTY was YET WITH ME, when MY CHILDREN were ABOUT ME;”
Those were the times, Job says, that the Almighty God was with him and when my children were about him still living in his house. He had assurance of the divine presence, now he thinks that God has abandoned him. He had comfort in his family, everything was agreeable then and he was able to support and care for all those of his family and others as well. Now he has only a wife who tells him to curse God and die.
v6. “WHEN I WASHED MY STEPS WITH BUTTER, AND THE ROCK POURED ME OUT RIVERS OF OIL;”
His wealth here is symbolized by the bounty of his dairy and olive groves. He had butter to use to wash his steps if he wished to do so. His olive groves were fruitful to the extent that it was like a rock poured him out rivers of oil. Please note that Job reckons his wealth, not by silver and gold, which has to be spent to do any man any good but rather by his butter and oil which were for use. What good to us are our goods for unless we take the good of it ourselves or do good with them to others.
Read Job 29:7-17
v7. “WHEN I WENT OUT TO THE GATE THROUGH THE CITY, when I PREPARED MY SEAT IN THE STREET!”
Job was an
honored and respected man in the city.
Apparently he was looked to as a judge, patriarch, or a leading man of
the place where he lived. As was the
custom of the time these men would sit in a market area or similar gathering
place, much the same as when Paul preached his sermon in
v8-10. “THE YOUNG MEN SAW ME, AND HID THEMSELVES: AND THE AGED AROSE, and STOOD UP. THE PRINCES REFRAINED TALKING, AND LAID their HAND ON THEIR MOUTH. THE NOBLES HELD THEIR PEACE, AND THEIR TONGUE CLEAVED TO THE ROOF OF THEIR MOUTH.”
When Job made his way to this place of business or judgment all the people would display their respect not only for the dignity of the position he apparently held in the community but also for his prudence, his integrity and good reputation in their community. The young men who probably felt that they deserved his judgment would hide. The aged men though they would not hide from him would still rise and silently honor him. When he stood to speak in the seat of judgment or place of business the princes and nobles paid respect to him as was due his place as one who was as a ruler or judge over them. We are being told here that Job earned this place of honor by his extraordinary ability and strength of character. It was agreed among them that he exceeded in quickness of comprehension, soundness of judgment and ability to apply true wisdom. Therefore he was among his fellowmen an oracle of law, and counsel, and justice and what he said all accepted and followed.
v11. “WHEN THE EAR HEARD me, THEN IT BLESSED ME; AND WHEN THE EYE SAW me, IT GAVE WITNESS TO ME:”
All those that saw his works and listened to his judgments, how he conducted his life, gave his time and wisdom to the function of their community with authority and affection blessed him and gave witness to his good name.
v12. “BECAUSE I DELIVERED THE POOR THAT CRIED, AND THE FATHERLESS, AND him that had NONE TO HELP HIM.”
Pay particular attention to the fact that Job championed the cause of the poor, the fatherless and those who have no other to help them. These people could come to Job and receive honest and just judgment, help in their time of trouble or need. If their cause was just and right they could depend on him to render judgments in their favor and do whatever might be necessary to see that their needs were met.
v13. “THE BLESSING OF HIM THAT WAS READY TO PERISH CAME UPON ME: AND I CAUSED THE WIDOW’S HEART TO SING FOR JOY.”
When these people brought him their troubles, the one was ready to perish or die from want that he helped would rise up to bless him and the widow who might have no one to help or assist her would be helped and thus be relieved of trouble or need.
v14. “I PUT ON RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND IT CLOTHED ME: MY JUDGMENT was AS A ROBE AND A DIADEM.”
was done in an atmosphere of righteousness and the wisdom of his judgments
never faltered. Like the priests of
Psalms 132:9 “LET THY PRIESTS BE CLOTHED WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS; AND LET THY SAINTS SHOUT FOR JOY.”
As the Lord was and is our example to follow:
Isaiah 59:17 “FOR HE PUT ON RIGHTEOUSNESS AS A BREASTPLATE, AND AN HELMET OF SALVATION UPON HIS HEAD; AND HE PUT ON THE GARMENTS OF VENGEANCE for CLOTHING, AND WAS CLAD WITH ZEAL AS A CLOAK.”
And we are to be as Christians:
Ephesians 6:14-17 “STAND THEREFORE, HAVING YOUR LOINS GIRT ABOUT WITH TRUTH, AND HAVING ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS; AND YOUR FEET SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; ABOVE ALL, TAKING THE SHIELD OF FAITH, WHEREWITH YE SHALL BE ABLE TO QUENCH ALL THE FIERY DARTS OF THE WICKED. AND TAKE THE HELMET OF SALVATION, AND THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD:”
v15-17. “I WAS EYES TO THE BLIND, AND FEET was I TO THE LAME. I was A FATHER TO THE POOR: AND THE CAUSE which I KNEW NOT I SEARCHED OUT. AND I BRAKE THE JAWS OF THE WICKED, AND PLUCKED THE SPOIL OUT OF HIS TEETH.”
Job helped all men regardless of their station in life, problem, trouble or cause. If someone was oppressed or in need whose cause or need wasn’t obvious he searched out what he might do to help them. When they were oppressed by wicked and unjust men he dealt them justice, broke the hold they might have over someone and took their wealth for those who had been under their control. He provided the kind of relief, comfort and assistance that David sought from God when he had to flee his own son who was trying to take over his David’s rightful place:
Psalms 3:7 “ARISE, O LORD; SAVE ME, O MY GOD: FOR THOU HAST SMITTEN ALL MINE ENEMIES upon THE CHEEK BONE; THOU HAST BROKEN THE TEETH OF THE UNGODLY.”
Read Job 29:18-25
v18. “THEN I SAID, I SHALL DIE IN MY NEST, AND I SHALL MULTIPLY my DAYS AS THE SAND.”
Having made himself a life such as the one described in the past few verses Job had hoped that nothing would disturb him or remove him from it until death itself ended his earthly journey.
v19-20. “MY ROOT was SPREAD OUT BY THE WATERS, AND THE DEW LAY ALL NIGHT UPON MY BRANCH. MY GLORY was FRESH IN ME, AND MY BOW WAS RENEWED IN MY HAND.”
Job describes himself as being like a tree whose root is not only spread out, which fixes it in place and keeps it firm but is also spread out by the waters so that it never suffers from want for life giving water. God’s providence favored him and made his existence prosperous, honored in the sight of men, and filled with God’s blessings. He was a great example of the man of God described by the prophet Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 17:7-8 “BLESSED is THE MAN THAT TRUSTETH IN THE LORD, AND WHOSE HOPE THE LORD IS. FOR HE SHALL BE AS A TREE PLANTED BY THE WATERS, AND that SPREADETH OUT HER ROOTS BY THE RIVER, AND SHALL NOT SEE WHEN HEAT COMETH, BUT HER LEAF SHALL BE GREEN; AND SHALL NOT BE CAREFUL IN THE YEAR OF DROUGHT, NEITHER SHALL CEASE FROM YIELDING FRUIT.
Or as Moses used to describe Joseph:
Genesis 49:24 “BUT HIS BOW ABODE IN
STRENGTH, AND THE ARMS OF HIS HANDS WERE MADE STRONG BY THE HANDS OF THE MIGHTY
OF JACOB; (FROM THENCE IS THE SHEPHERD, THE STONE OF
v21. “UNTO ME men GAVE EAR, AND WAITED, AND KEPT SILENCE AT MY COUNSEL.”
That same providence had given Job wisdom so that when he spoke they listened; they waited for his words and did not dispute or argue with his counsel. They did not treat him as his friends have done in his afflictions.
v22-23. “AFTER MY WORDS THEY SPAKE NOT AGAIN; AND MY SPEECH DROPPED UPON THEM. AND THEY WAITED FOR ME AS FOR THE RAIN; AND THEY OPENED THEIR MOUTH WIDE as FOR THE LATTER RAIN.”
When his speech dropped upon them they waited for his words as they would wait for rain on their fields; catching them laying hold upon them and treating them as a treasure for which to give thanks. Wise men, or those that are likely to be so, know how to value instruction or wisdom given in words, wish for it, wait for it and drink it in as the Hebrew writers describes the earth drinking in live giving water:
Hebrews 6:7 “FOR THE EARTH WHICH DRINKETH IN THE RAIN THAT COMETH OFT UPON IT, AND BRINGETH FORTH HERBS MEET FOR THEM BY WHOM IT IS DRESSED, RECEIVETH BLESSING FROM GOD:”
v24. “If I LAUGHED ON THEM, THEY BELIEVED IT NOT; AND’ THE LIGHT OF MY COUNTENANCE THEY CAST NOT DOWN.”
If Job laughed with them or showed himself pleased with them they were even happier. Perhaps Job was a grave man who didn’t smile or laugh much, as many are who have great responsibility, and to be able to see him enjoying pleasure was a delight to those around him.
v25. “I CHOSE OUT THEIR WAY, AND SAT CHIEF, AND DWELT AS A KING IN THE ARMY, AS ONE that COMFORTETH THE MOURNERS.”
Job ruled over them, he sat as their chief and chose their way. Now whether he was their ruler in fact or not I don’t remember us being told. But his wisdom and integrity so far out shone those round about him that the people turned to him sought his judgment to solve their problems, sought his wisdom to lead them in the ways of wisdom and even if others were princes or judges they deferred their counsel to that of Job.
This is a lengthy description of what Job enjoyed before all of the tragedies and afflictions were visited upon him. “But now” will be studied in chapter 30.