Eliphaz, in the foregoing chapter, for the making good of his charge
against Job, had vouched a word from heaven, sent him in a vision. In
this chapter he appeals to those that bear record on earth, to the
saints, the faithful witnesses of God's truth in all ages,
They will testify,
I. That the sin of sinners is their ruin,
II. That yet affliction is the common lot of mankind,
III. That when we are in affliction it is our wisdom and duty to apply
to God, for he is able and ready to help us,
IV. That the afflictions which are borne well will end well; and Job
particularly, if he would come to a better temper, might assure himself
that God had great mercy in store for him,
So that he concludes his discourse in somewhat a better humour than he
|The Address of Eliphaz.
||B. C. 1520.|
1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which
of the saints wilt thou turn?
2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly
3 I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed
4 His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the
gate, neither is there any to deliver them.
5 Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of
the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance.
A very warm dispute being begun between Job and his friends, Eliphaz
here makes a fair motion to put the matter to a reference. In all
debates perhaps the sooner this is done the better if the contenders
cannot end it between themselves. So well assured is Eliphaz of the
goodness of his own cause that he moves Job himself to choose the
Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; that is,
1. "If there be any that suffer as thou sufferest. Canst thou produce
an instance of any one that was really a saint that was reduced to such
an extremity as thou art now reduced to? God never dealt with any that
love his name as he deals with thee, and therefore surely thou art none
2. "If there be any that say as thou sayest. Did ever any good man
curse his day as thou dost? Or will any of the saints justify thee in
these heats or passions, or say that these are the spots of God's
children? Thou wilt find none of the saints that will be either thy
advocates or my antagonists. To which of the saints wilt thou
turn? Turn to which thou wilt, and thou wilt find they are all of
my mind. I have the communis sensus fidelium--the unanimous vote of
the faithful on my side; they will all subscribe to what I am going
to say." Observe,
(1.) Good people are called saints even in the Old Testament;
and therefore I know not why we should, in common speaking (unless
because we must loqui cum vulgo--speak as our neighbours),
appropriate the title to those of the New Testament, and not say St.
Abraham, St. Moses, and St. Isaiah, as well as St. Matthew and St.
Mark; and St. David the psalmist, as well as St. David the British
bishop. Aaron is expressly called the saint of the Lord.
(2.) All that are themselves saints will turn to those that are so,
will choose them for their friends and converse with them, will choose
them for their judges and consult them. See
The saints shall judge the world,
1 Corinthians 6:1,2.
Walk in the way of good men
the old way, the footsteps of the flock. Every one chooses some
sort of people or other to whom he studies to recommend himself, and
whose sentiments are to him the test of honour and dishonour. Now all
true saints endeavour to recommend themselves to those that are such,
and to stand right in their opinion.
(3.) There are some truths so plain, and so universally known and
believed, that one may venture to appeal to any of the saints
concerning them. However there are some things about which they
unhappily differ, there are many more, and more considerable, in which
they are agreed; as the evil of sin, the vanity of the world, the worth
of the soul, the necessity of a holy life, and the like. Though they do
not all live up, as they should, to their belief of these truths, yet
they are all ready to bear their testimony to them.
Now there are two things which Eliphaz here maintains, and in which he
doubts not but all the saints concur with him:--
I. That the sin of sinners directly tends to their own ruin
Wrath kills the foolish man, his own wrath, and therefore he is
foolish for indulging it; it is a fire in his bones, in his blood,
enough to put him into a fever. Envy is the rottenness of the
bones, and so slays the silly one that frets himself with it.
"So it is with thee," says Eliphaz, "while thou quarrellest with God
thou doest thyself the greatest mischief; thy anger at thy own
troubles, and thy envy at our prosperity, do but add to thy pain and
misery: turn to the saints, and thou wilt find they understand their
interest better." Job had told his wife she spoke as the foolish women;
now Eliphaz tells him he acted as the foolish men, the silly ones. Or
it may be meant thus: "If men are ruined and undone, it is always their
own folly that ruins and undoes them. They kill themselves by some lust
or other; therefore, no doubt, Job, thou hast done some foolish thing,
by which thou hast brought thyself into this calamitous condition."
Many understand it of God's wrath and jealousy. Job needed not be
uneasy at the prosperity of the wicked, for the world's smiles can
never shelter them from God's frowns; they are foolish and silly if
they think they will. God's anger will be the death, the eternal death,
of those on whom it fastens. What is hell but God's anger without
mixture or period?
II. That their prosperity is short and their destruction certain,
He seems here to parallel Job's case with that which is commonly the
case of wicked people.
1. Job had prospered for a time, seemed confirmed, and was secure in
his prosperity; and it is common for foolish wicked men to do so: I
have seen them taking root--planted, and, in their own and others'
apprehension, fixed, and likely to continue. See
We see worldly men taking root in the earth; on earthly things they fix
the standing of their hopes, and from them they draw the sap of their
comforts. The outward estate may be flourishing, but the soul cannot
prosper that takes root in the earth.
2. Job's prosperity was now at an end, and so has the prosperity of
other wicked people quickly been.
(1.) Eliphaz foresaw their ruin with an eye of faith. Those who looked
only at present things blessed their habitation, and thought them
happy, blessed it long, and wished themselves in their condition. But
Eliphaz cursed it, suddenly cursed it, as soon as he saw them begin to
take root, that is, he plainly foresaw and foretold their ruin; not
that he prayed for it (I have not desired the woeful day), but
he prognosticated it. He went into the sanctuary, and there
understood their end and heard their doom read
that the prosperity of fools will destroy them,
Those who believe the word of God can see a curse in the house of
though it be ever so finely and firmly built, and ever so full of all
good things; and they can foresee that the curse will, in time,
infallibly consume it with the timber thereof, and the stones thereof,
(2.) He saw, at length, what he had foreseen. He was not disappointed
in his expectation concerning him; the event answered it; his family
was undone, and his estate ruined. In these particulars he plainly and
very invidiously reflects on Job's calamities.
[1.] His children were crushed,
They thought themselves safe in their eldest brother's house, but were
far from safety, for they were crushed in the gate.
Perhaps the door or gate of the house was highest built, and fell
heaviest upon them, and there was none to deliver them from
perishing in the ruins. This is commonly understood of the destruction
of the families of wicked men, by the execution of justice upon them,
to oblige them to restore what they have ill-gotten. They leave it to
their children; but the descent shall not bar the entry of the rightful
owners, who will crush their children, and cast them by due course of
law (and there shall be none to help them), or perhaps by oppression,
[2.] His estate was plundered,
Job's was so. The hungry robbers, the Sabeans and Chaldeans, ran away
with it, and swallowed it; and this, says he, I have often observed in
others. What has been got by spoil and rapine has been lost in the same
way. The careful owner hedged it about with thorns, and then thought it
safe; but the fence proved insignificant against the greediness of the
spoilers (if hunger will break through the stone walls, much more
through thorn hedges), and against the divine curse, which will go
through the thorns and briers, and burn them together,
6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither
doth trouble spring out of the ground;
7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things
10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the
11 To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn
may be exalted to safety.
12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their
hands cannot perform their enterprise.
13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel
of the froward is carried headlong.
14 They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the
noonday as in the night.
15 But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and
from the hand of the mighty.
16 So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.
Eliphaz, having touched Job in a very tender part, in mentioning both
the loss of his estate and the death of his children as the just
punishment of his sin, that he might not drive him to despair, here
begins to encourage him, and puts him in a way to make himself easy.
Now he very much changes his voice
and speaks in the accents of kindness, as if he would atone for the
hard words he had given him.
I. He reminds him that no affliction comes by chance, nor is to be
attributed to second causes: It doth not come forth of the dust,
nor spring out of the ground, as the grass doth,
It doth not come of course, at certain seasons of the year, as natural
productions do, by a chain of second causes. The proportion between
prosperity and adversity is not so exactly observed by Providence as
that between day and night, summer and winter, but according to the
will and counsel of God, when and as he thinks fit. Some read it,
Sin comes not forth out of the dust, nor iniquity of the ground.
If men be bad, they must not lay the blame upon the soil, the climate,
or the stars, but on themselves. If thou scornest, thou alone shalt
bear it. We must not attribute our afflictions to fortune, for they
are from God, nor our sins to fate, for they are from ourselves; so
that, whatever trouble we are in, we must own that God sends it upon us
and we procure it to ourselves: the former is a reason why we should be
very patient, the latter why we should be very penitent, when we are
II. He reminds him that trouble and affliction are what we have all
reason to expect in this world: Man is brought to trouble
not as man (had he kept his innocency he would have been born to
pleasure), but as sinful man, as born of a woman
who was in the transgression. Man is born in sin, and therefore born to
trouble. Even those that are born to honour and estate are yet born to
trouble in the flesh. In our fallen state it has become natural to us
to sin, and the natural consequence of that is affliction,
There is nothing in this world we are born to, and can truly call our
own, but sin and trouble; both are as the sparks that fly upwards.
Actual transgressions are the sparks that fly out of the furnace of
original corruption; and, being called transgressors from the
womb, no wonder that we deal very treacherously,
Such too is the frailty of our bodies, and the vanity of all our
enjoyments, that our troubles also thence arise as naturally as the
sparks fly upwards--so many are they, so thick and so fast does one
follow another. Why then should we be surprised at our afflictions as
strange, or quarrel with them as hard, when they are but what we are
born to? Man is born to labour (so it is in the margin), is
sentenced to eat his bread in the sweat of his face, which should inure
him to hardness, and make him bear his afflictions the better.
III. He directs him how to behave himself under his affliction
I would seek unto God; surely I would: so it is in the original.
1. A tacit reproof to Job for not seeking to God, but quarrelling with
him: "Job, if I had been in thy case, I would not have been so peevish
and passionate as thou art. I would have acquiesced in the will of
God." It is easy to say what we would do if we were in such a one's
case; but when it comes to the trial, perhaps it will be found not so
easy to do as we say.
2. Very good and seasonable advice to him, which Eliphaz transfers to
himself in a figure: "For my part, the best way I should think I could
take, if I were in thy condition, would be to apply to God." Note, We
should give our friends no other counsel than what we would take
ourselves if we were in their case, that we may be easy under our
afflictions, may get good by them, and may see a good issue of them.
(1.) We must by prayer fetch in mercy and grace from God, seek to him
as a Father and friend, though he contend with us, as one who is alone
able to support and succour us. His favour we must seek when we have
lost all we have in the world; to him we must address ourselves as the
fountain and Father of all good, all consolation. Is any afflicted?
let him pray. It is heart's-ease, a salve for every sore.
(2.) We must by patience refer ourselves and our cause to him: To
God would I commit my cause; having spread it before him, I would
leave it with him; having laid it at his feet, I would lodge it in his
hand. "Here I am, let the Lord do with me as seemeth him good."
If our cause be indeed a good cause, we need not fear committing it to
God, for he is both just and kind. Those that would seek so as to speed
must refer themselves to God.
IV. He encourages him thus to seek to God, and commit his cause to him.
It will not be in vain to do so, for he is one in whom we shall find
1. He recommends to his consideration God's almighty power and
sovereign dominion. In general, he doeth great things
great indeed, for he can do any thing, he doth do every thing, and all
according to the counsel of his own will--great indeed, for the
operations of his power are,
(1.) Unsearchable, and such as can never be fathomed, can never
be found out from the beginning to the end,
The works of nature are mysterious; the most curious searches come far
short of full discoveries and the wisest philosophers have owned
themselves at a loss. The designs of Providence ar much more deep and
(2.) Numerous, and such as can never be reckoned up. He doeth
great things without number; his power is never exhausted, nor
will all his purposes ever be fulfilled till the end of time.
(3.) They are marvellous, and such as never can be sufficiently
admired; eternity itself will be short enough to be spent in the
admiration of them. Now, by the consideration of this, Eliphaz intends,
[1.] To convince Job of his fault and folly in quarrelling with God. We
must not pretend to pass a judgment upon his works, for they are
unsearchable and above our enquiries; nor must we strive with our
Maker, for he will certainly be too hard for us, and is able to crush
us in a moment.
[2.] To encourage Job to seek unto God, and to refer his cause to him.
What more encouraging than to see that he is one to whom power belongs?
He can do great things and marvellous for our relief, when we are
brought ever so low.
2. He gives some instances of God's dominion and power.
(1.) God doeth great things in the kingdom of nature: He gives rain
upon the earth
put here for all the gifts of common providence, all the fruitful
seasons by which he filleth our hearts with food and
Observe, When he would show what great things God does he speaks of his
giving rain, which, because it is a common thing, we are apt to look
upon as a little thing, but, if we duly consider both how it is
produced and what is produced by it, we shall see it to be a great work
both of power and goodness.
(2.) He doeth great things in the affairs of the children of men, not
only enriches the poor and comforts the needy, by the rain he sends
but, in order to the advancing of those that are low, he disappoints
the devices of the crafty; for
is to be joined to
He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
and so hath exalted those of low degree, and filled the heart
with good things. See,
[1.] How he frustrates the counsels of the proud and politic,
There is a supreme power that manages and overrules men who think
themselves free and absolute, and fulfils its own purposes in spite of
their projects. Observe, First, The froward, that walk contrary
to God and the interests of his kingdom, are often very crafty; for
they are the seed of the old serpent that was noted for his subtlety.
They think themselves wise, but, at the end, will be fools.
Secondly, The Froward enemies of God's kingdom have their
devices, their enterprises, and their counsels, against it, and against
the loyal faithful subjects of it. They are restless and unwearied in
their designs, close in their consultations, high in their hopes, deep
in their politics, and fast-linked in their confederacies,
Thirdly, God easily can, and (as far as is for his glory)
certainly will, blast and defeat all the designs of his and his
people's enemies. How were the plots of Ahithophel, Sanballat, and
Haman baffled! How were the confederacies of Syria and Ephraim against
Judah, of Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek, against God's Israel, the kings
of the earth and the princes against the Lord and against his anointed,
broken! The hands that have been stretched out against God and his
church have not performed their enterprise, nor have the weapons formed
against Sion prospered. Fourthly, That which enemies have
designed for the ruin of the church has often turned to their own ruin
He takes the wise in their own craftiness, and snares them in
the work of their own hands,
This is quoted by the apostle
(1 Corinthians 3:19)
to show how the learned men of the heathen were befooled by their own
vain philosophy. Fifthly, When God infatuates men they are
perplexed, and at a loss, even in those things that seem most plain and
They meet with darkness even in the day-time: nay (as in
the margin), They run themselves into darkness by the violence
and precipitation of their own counsels. See
[2.] How he favours the cause of the poor and humble, and espouses
that. First, He exalts the humble,
Those whom proud men contrive to crush he raises from under their feet,
and sets them in safety,
The lowly in heart, and those that mourn, he advances, comforts, and
makes to dwell on high, in the munitions of rocks,
Sion's mourners are the sealed ones, marked for safety,
Secondly, He delivers the oppressed,
The designs of the crafty are to ruin the poor. Tongue, and hand, and
sword, and all, are at work in order to this; but God takes under his
special protection those who, being poor and unable to help themselves,
being his poor and devoted to his praise, have committed themselves to
him. He saves them from the mouth that speaks hard things against them
and the hand that does hard things against them; for he can, when he
pleases, tie the tongue and wither the hand. The effect of this is
1. That weak and timorous saints are comforted: So the poor, who
began to despair, has hope. The experiences of some are
encouragement to others to hope the best in the worst of times; for it
is the glory of God to send help to the helpless and hope to the
2. That daring threatening sinners are confounded: Iniquity stops
her mouth, being surprised at the strangeness of the deliverance,
ashamed of its enmity against those who appear to be the favourites of
Heaven, mortified at the disappointment, and compelled to acknowledge
the justice of God's proceedings, having nothing to object against
them. Those that domineered over God's poor, that frightened them,
menaced them, and falsely accused them, will not have a word to say
against them when God appears for them. See
Mic. vii. 16.
17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore
despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his
hands make whole.
19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there
shall no evil touch thee.
20 In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from
the power of the sword.
21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither
shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.
22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt
thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.
23 For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field:
and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.
24 And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace;
and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin.
25 Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and
thine offspring as the grass of the earth.
26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a
shock of corn cometh in in his season.
27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know
thou it for thy good.
Eliphaz, in this concluding paragraph of his discourse, gives Job (what
he himself knew not how to take) a comfortable prospect of the issue of
his afflictions, if he did but recover his temper and accommodate
himself to them. Observe,
I. The seasonable word of caution and exhortation that he gives him
"Despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. Call it a
chastening, which comes from the father's love and is designed for the
child's good. Call it the chastening of the Almighty, with whom it is
madness to contend, to whom it is wisdom and duty to submit, and who
will be a God all-sufficient (for so the word signifies) to all those
that trust in him. Do not despise it;" it is a copious word in
1. "Be not averse to it. Let grace conquer the antipathy which nature
has to suffering, and reconcile thyself to the will of God in it." We
need the rod and we deserve it; and therefore we ought not to think it
either strange or hard if we feel the smart of it. Let not the heart
rise against a bitter pill or potion, when it is prescribed for our
2. "Do not think ill of it; do not put it from thee (as that which is
either hurtful or at least not useful, which there is not occasion for
nor advantage by) only because for the present it is not joyous, but
grievous." We must never scorn to stoop to God, nor think it a thing
below us to come under his discipline, but reckon, on the contrary,
that God really magnifies man when he thus visits and tries him,
3. "Do not overlook and disregard it, as if it were only a chance, and
the production of second causes, but take great notice of it as the
voice of God and a messenger from heaven." More is implied than is
expressed: "Reverence the chastening of the Lord; have a humble
awful regard to this correcting hand, and tremble when the lion roars,
Submit to the chastening, and study to answer the call, to answer the
end of it, and then you reverence it." When God by an affliction draws
upon us for some of the effects he has entrusted us with we must honour
his bill by accepting it, and subscribing it, resigning him his own
when he calls for it.
II. The comfortable words of encouragement which he gives him thus to
accommodate himself to his condition, and (as he himself had expressed
it) to receive evil at the hand of God, and not despise it as a gift
not worth the accepting.
1. If his affliction was thus borne,
(1.) The nature and property of it would be altered. Though it looked
like a man's misery, it would really be his bliss: Happy is the man
whom God correcteth if he make but a due improvement of the
correction. A good man is happy though he be afflicted, for, whatever
he has lost, he has not lost his enjoyment of God nor his title to
heaven. Nay, he is happy because he is afflicted; correction is an
evidence of his sonship and a means of his sanctification; it mortifies
his corruptions, weans his heart from the world, draws him nearer to
God, brings him to his Bible, brings him to his knees, works him for,
and so is working for him, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of
glory. Happy therefore is the man whom God correcteth,
(2.) The issue and consequence of it would be very good,
[1.] Though he makes sore the body with sore boils, the mind
with sad thoughts, yet he binds up at the same time, as the
skilful tender surgeon binds up the wounds he had occasion to make with
his incision-knife. When God makes sores by the rebukes of his
providence he binds up by the consolations of his Spirit, which
oftentimes abound most as afflictions do abound, and counterbalance
them, to the unspeakable satisfaction of the patient sufferers.
[2.] Though he wounds, yet his hands make whole in due
time; as he supports his people, and makes them easy under their
afflictions, so in due time he delivers them, and makes a way for them
to escape. All is well again; and he comforts them according to the
time wherein he afflicted them. God's usual method is first to
wound and then to heal, first to convince and then to comfort, first to
humble and then to exalt; and (as Mr. Caryl observes) he never makes a
wound too great, too deep, for his own cure. Una eademque manus
vulnus opemque tulit--The hand that inflicts the wound applies the
cure. God tears the wicked and goes away; let those heal that will,
if they can
but the humble and penitent may say, He has torn and he will heal
This is general, but,
2. In the
Eliphaz addresses himself directly to Job, and gives him many precious
promises of great and kind things which God would do for him if he did
but humble himself under his hand. Though then they had no Bibles that
we know of, yet Eliphaz had sufficient warrant to give Job these
assurances, from the general discoveries God had made of his good will
to his people. And, though in every thing which Job's friends said they
were not directed by the Spirit of God (for they spoke both of God and
Job some things that were not right), yet the general doctrines they
laid down expressed the pious sense of the patriarchal age, and as St.
for canonical scripture, and as the command
is no doubt binding on us, so these promises here may be, and must be,
received and applied as divine promises, and we may through patience
and comfort of this part of scripture have hope. Let us
therefore give diligence to make sure our interest in these promises,
and then view the particulars of them and take the comfort of them.
(1.) It is here promised that as afflictions and troubles recur
supports and deliverances shall be graciously repeated, be it ever so
often: In six troubles he shall be ready to deliver thee;
yea, and in seven,
This intimates that,as long as we are here in this world, we must
expect a succession of troubles, that the clouds will return after the
rain. After six troubles may come a seventh; after many, look for more;
but out of them all will God deliver those that are his,
2 Timothy 3:11,Pa+34:19.
Former deliverances are not, as among men, excuses from further
deliverances, but earnests of them,
(2.) That, whatever troubles good men may be in, there shall no evil
touch them; they shall do them no real harm; the malignity of them,
the sting, shall be taken out; they may hiss, but they cannot hurt,
The evil one toucheth not God's children,
1 John 5:18.
Being kept from sin, they are kept from the evil of every trouble.
(3.) That, when desolating judgments are abroad, they shall be taken
under special protection,
Do many perish about them for want of the necessary supports of life?
They shall be supplied. "In famine he shall redeem thee from
death; whatever becomes of others, thou shalt be kept alive,
Verily, thou shalt be fed, nay, even in the days of famine
thou shalt be satisfied,
In time of war, when thousands fall on the right and left
hand, he shall redeem thee from the power of the sword. If God
please, it shall not touch thee; or if it wound thee, if it kill thee,
it shall not hurt thee; it can but kill the body, nor has it power to
do that unless it be given from above."
(4.) That, whatever is maliciously said against them, it shall not
affect them to do them any hurt,
"Thou shalt not only be protected from the killing sword of war,
but shalt be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, which, like
a scourge, is vexing and painful, though not mortal." The best men, and
the most inoffensive, cannot, even in their innocency, secure
themselves from calumny, reproach, and false accusation. From these a
man cannot hide himself, but God can hide him, so that the most
malicious slanders shall be so little heeded by him as not to disturb
his peace, and so little heeded by others as not to blemish his
reputation: and the remainder of wrath God can and does restrain, for
it is owing to the hold he has of the consciences of bad men that the
scourge of the tongue is not the ruin of all the comforts of good men
in this world.
(5.) That they shall have a holy security and serenity of mind, arising
from their hope and confidence in God, even in the worst of times. When
dangers are most threatening they shall be easy, believing themselves
safe; and they shall not be afraid of destruction, no, not when
they see it coming
nor of the beasts of the field when they set upon them, nor of
men as cruel as beasts; nay, at destruction and famine thou shalt
not so as to despise any of God's chastenings or make a jest of his
judgments, but so as to triumph in God, in his power and goodness, and
therein to triumph over the world and all its grievances, to be not
only easy, but cheerful and joyful, in tribulation. Blessed Paul
laughed at destruction when he said, O death! where is thy
sting? when, in the name of all the saints, he defied all the
calamities of this present time to separate us from the love of
God, concluding that in all these things we are more than
(6.) That, being at peace with God, there shall be a covenant of
friendship between them and the whole creation,
"When thou walkest over thy grounds thou shalt not need to fear
stumbling, for thou shalt be at league with the stones of the
field, not to dash thy foot against any of them, nor shalt thou be
in danger from the beasts of the field, for they shall all be at
peace with thee;" compare
I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field.
This implies that while man is at enmity with his Maker the inferior
creatures are at war with him; but tranquillus Deus tranquillat
omnia--a reconciled God reconciles all things. Our covenant with
God is a covenant with all the creatures that they shall do us no hurt
but be ready to serve us and do us good.
(7.) That their houses and families shall be comfortable to them,
Peace and piety in the family will make it so. "Thou shalt know
and be assured that thy tabernacle is and shall be in
peace; thou mayest be confident both of its present and its future
prosperity." That peace is thy tabernacle (so the word is);
peace is the house in which those dwell who dwell in God, and are at
home in him. "Thou shalt visit" (that is, enquire into the
affairs of) "thy habitation, and take a review of them, and
shalt not sin."
[1.] God will provide a settlement for his people, mean perhaps and
movable, a cottage, a tabernacle, but a fixed and quiet habitation.
"Thou shalt not sin," or wander; that is, as some understand it,
"thou shalt not be a fugitive and a vagabond" (Cain's curse), "but
shalt dwell in the land, and verily, not uncertainly as vagrants, shalt
thou be fed."
[2.] Their families shall be taken under the special protection of the
divine Providence, and shall prosper as far as is for their good.
[3.] They shall be assured of peace, and of the continuance and entail
of it. "Thou shalt know, to thy unspeakable satisfaction, that peace is
sure to thee and thine, having the word of God for it." Providence may
change, but the promise cannot.
[4.] They shall have wisdom to govern their families aright, to order
their affairs with discretion, and to look well to the ways of their
household, which is here called visiting their habitation.
Masters of families must not be strangers at home, but must have a
watchful eye over what they have and what their servants do.
[5.] They shall have grace to manage the concerns of their families
after a godly sort, and not to sin in the management of them. They
shall call their servants to account without passion, pride,
covetousness, worldliness, or the like; they shall look into their
affairs without discontent at what is or distrust of what shall be.
Family piety crowns family peace and prosperity. The greatest
blessing, both in our employments and in our enjoyments, is to be kept
from sin in them. When we are abroad it is comfortable to hear that our
tabernacle is in peace; and when we return home it is comfortable to
visit our habitation with satisfaction in our success, that we have not
failed in our business, and with a good conscience, that we have not
(8.) That their posterity shall be numerous and prosperous. Job had
lost all his children; "but," says Eliphaz, "if thou return to God, he
will again build up thy family, and thy seed shall be many and as great
as ever, and thy offspring increasing and flourishing as the grass
of the earth
and thou shalt know it." God has blessings in store for the seed of the
faithful, which they shall have if they do not stand in their own light
and forfeit them by their folly. It is a comfort to parents to see the
prosperity, especially the spiritual prosperity, of their children; if
they are truly good, they are truly great, how small a figure soever
they may make in the world.
(9.) That their death shall be seasonable, and they shall finish their
course, at length, with joy and honour,
It is a great mercy,
[1.] To live to a full age, and not to have the number of our months
cut off in the midst. If the providence of God do not give us long
life, yet, if the grace of God give us to be satisfied with the time
allotted us, we may be said to come to a full age. That man lives long
enough that has done his work and is fit for another world.
[2.] To be willing to die, to come cheerfully to the grave, and not to
be forced thither, as he whose soul was required of him.
[3.] To die seasonably, as the corn is cut and housed when it is fully
ripe; not till then, but then not suffered to stand a day longer, lest
it shed. Our times are in God's hand; it is well they are so, for he
will take care that those who are his shall die in the best time:
however their death may seem to us untimely, it will be found not
3. In the
he recommends these promises to Job,
(1.) As faithful sayings, which he might be confident of the truth of:
"Lo, this we have searched, and so it is. We have indeed
received these things by tradition from our fathers, but we have not
taken them upon trust; we have carefully searched them, have compared
spiritual things with spiritual, have diligently studied them, and been
confirmed in our belief of them from our own observation and
experience; and we are all of a mind that so it is." Truth is a
treasure that is well worth digging for, diving for; and then we shall
know both how to value it ourselves and how to communicate it to others
when we have taken pains in searching for it.
(2.) As well worthy of all acceptation, which he might improve to his
great advantage: Hear it, and know thou it for thy good. It is
not enough to hear and know the truth, but we must improve it, and be
made wiser and better by it, receive the impressions of it, and submit
to the commanding power of it. Know it for thyself (so the word
is), with application to thyself, and thy own case; not only "This is
true," but "this is true concerning me." That which we thus hear and
know for ourselves we hear and know for our good, as we are nourished
by the meat which we digest. That is indeed a good sermon to us which
does us good.