ON THE BOOK OF JOB
AS CONNECTED WITH THE EMBLEMS OF ANCIENT ASTRONOMY
It is said in the epilogue to the Greek translation of Job that Jobab is Job. Two of the name are mentioned in Genesis. The second is said to reign as a king in Edom (Gen 36:33); but there is no trace of the kingly office in the book of Job; the manners and language lead to supposing him an Arab Sheik or Emir.
When did he live?
The first Jobab, mentioned in Genesis 10, was fourth in descent from Shem, Abraham being the eighth. If this were Job, he was before Abraham probably more than a hundred yeas, and living in the lifetime of Shem. In the book are allusions to the Deluge, though none to any subsequent event, and Job uses the very words of Genesis relative to the creation of man in several places. That history, whether traditional or written, was evidently well known to him, but there is no allusion to any later events.
Many learned men have considered the book of Job as the most ancient in the world. Those who think that part of the book of Genesis was arranged by Moses, under the guidance of inspiration, from previous records, also inspired, and left by the Prophets Enoch and Noah, in the four first chapters, from the authority of Adam, written by Enoch, and the five following to the twenty-eighth verse of the ninth chapter by Noah, would place the book of Job after this part of Genesis in point of antiquity.
The subsequent chapters, beginning with chapter 10, may have been by Abraham, those from chapter 25 to 37 by Jacob: the remainder either by Joseph or Levi, the immediate ancestor of Moses, always, however, subject to the guidance of that Holy Spirit who spake by Moses, and who enabled and authorized him to authenticate these ancient records. They became the first book of Moses without ceasing to be the early Scriptures of mankind, with which Job was evidently acquainted.
The opinion of many great authorities is, and has been, that when Moses resided for forty years in Midian he was divinely directed to give his sanction to the writing left by Job himself, and to prefix to it, what only revelation could make known, the part which Satan had in his affliction, adding that account of his death which concludes it. It has been said by competent judges that the narrative style of Moses may be recognized in the two first chapters and conclusion of the last, and that the intermediate part is too unlike the poetical style of Moses to be attributed to him.
How is it known that the book of Job is to rank with the other Scriptures as the inspired word of God?
It was part of the Jewish canon when our Lord gave His sanction to that canon.
What is the purpose of this book?
To record and make known a most wonderful miracle, the Voice from heaven, that God had spoken, magnificently, solemnly, as He spake from Mount Sinai; and again at the baptism of our Lord, at His transfiguration, at His manifestation to the Greek strangers, at His final entry into Jerusalem. When the Lord had spoken to Adam and Even and to Abraham, it appears to have been to them alone. His voice out of the whirlwind was the first heard openly and with witnesses.
Was not this the great patriarchal revelation, as that at Sinai was the Mosaic?
By the mouth of Job came the clearest prophecy of the Redeemer's standing in the after time upon the earth, and by the Voice from Heaven the declaration of the unfathomableness of the wisdom of God, and the unsearchableness of his providence.
When from the depth of heaven shone forth splendour from God in terrible majesty, and those who beheld it feared before Him, the Creator of the universe spake of the mysteries of its unfathomable antiquity, of its progressive developments, so tasking, baffling human science to follow even afar off. That divine voice named Chima and Chesil, Ash and Mazzaroth, as things that are, but beyond the reach of man, subject to the Creator's will; these are not the astronomy of Job, they are the astronomy of revelation. The same voice speaks of the "ordinances of heaven," "the dominion thereof upon the earth." Was there not here implied gravitation and motion, the centripetal and centrifugal force? By these "ordinances" it is now known that Chima,* the Pleiades, has "dominion" not only over the earth, but over the sun round which that earth revolves; not only over the sun, but over the galaxy of suns to which he belongs, as their centre, ruling them as a circle.
* Dr. Hales, in his Chronology, would deduce the age in which Job lived from the supposition that by the sweet influences of the Pleiades, "Chima," the spring equinox was meant. So supposing, he deduces from the precession of the equinoxes, that BC 2337, which he holds to be about 187 years before the birth of Abraham, the spring equinox took place in or near the Pleiades.By these ordinances also are the bands of Orion fixed on the multitudes of associated suns that form his robe of light, their mutual attraction, their bands to each other so recently divined by modern science, and thus indicated in this ancient revelation. Leaving the early celestial grandeurs of pre-existent creation, from which human intellect shrinks dismayed, the divine Monitor descends to the familiar earthly objects* with which Job was surrounded, and asks, shall he who knows not these below presume to question the decrees of Him who formed and governs those above?
In the word Chima, the accumulation, as of stars, there is no relation to the equinox. In those climates the abundance, the multitude of the spring did not wait for the equinox; the corn in the time of Moses was in the ear at the Passover. Before the age of Noah the equinox had not reached the Pleiades; it is now far beyond them. The Hebrew word maedanoth, translated in the English "sweet influences," in the Greek "bonds," in the Latin rays or brightnesses, may be from the same root as Eden, pleasure, sweetness, or by a Chaldee usage from Adun, ruling, influencing; the English has given both senses. That the Pleiades have any influence on the spring is merely a poetical fable of after times, when their helialical rising, seen in the sweet morning dawn, announced the spring to Greece. They have no influence on it, though they accompanied it in the days of Greek poetry. While it is true, according to modern science, that the Pleiades, graciously, for good, influence the motion of our whole astral system, it is not true that they influence earth's seasons, nor has that influence any reference to chronology. The Divine voice spoke truth, a wonderful long-hidden truth, it could speak only truth - therein could be no allusion to fiction.
According to Buxtorf the early Hebrews understood maedanoth as bonds.
* "Behemoth, whom I made with thee," one of the present creation, often understood to be the elephant. The Greek and Latin name, Elephas, exactly renders Job 40:19, "He is the chief of the ways of God," as it contains the Semitic root, Eleph, the chief, the leader. It has been difficult to apply to the elephant the expression "He moveth or setteth up his tail like the cedar"; Schultens renders it of the trunk, which moves majestically, as a cedar before the wind. The radical meaning of the word rendered tail is given as extremity, applying as well to the trunk as to the tail; and it may have a signification of enclosing or encompassing, also peculiarly suitable to the trunk.The astronomy of Job may be traced in the twenty-sixth chapter. He knew what modern science shows, that the omnipotent Creator "hangeth the earth upon nothing," and acknowledges that He by His Spirit hath garnished the heavens, and "His hand hath formed the crooked serpent," as in the stars of Draco winding round the Pole, that "north which He stretcheth over the empty space," a part of the heavens now perceived by telescopic examination to be comparatively void of stars, beyond the congregated orbs that crowd the Galactic Circle. To Job and his friends, Chima and Chesil, Ash and Mazzaroth, needed no more identification than the Lion and the Raven, the Horse and the Eagle, with which they are contrasted. To them these constellations were evidently known by name and by sight, and as much of their "ordinances" as is conveyed by the names was probably known by tradition. From the book of Job it may be inferred that the science of antediluvian astronomy was familiar in the land of Idumea, where the light of antediluvian revelation shone so clearly, testified to not only by the Prophet himself, but by the friends his acquiescing auditors. There has been a frequent mistake as to the radical meaning of the word Goel,* Redeemer, used by Job in the great prophecy, chapter 19. It is thought to mean avenger. Avengers, as in Numbers 35:12, is a secondary sense of that word, its primary and general meaning being to restore, to bring back an original good condition. Job was not comforted by looking for vengeance on those who had destroyed his wealth; none came; but he knew and hoped in the great restoring Redeemer, who should stand upon the earth in the after time, fulfilling his hopes within his bosom.**
Of the Leviathan* it is not said, "whom I made with thee." The description is too grand, too terrific for the crocodile as now existing. It has been thought to be of some extinct species: might it relate to one of those fossil monsters, the Ichthyosaurus for instance, to whom the description seems suitable? Might a knowledge of what these wonderful remains had been, form part of the science of those antediluvian sages whose astronomy astonishes their descendants?
The Lord had appealed to the marvels of creation above and around, the ordinances of heaven, the living inhabitants of earth, - did He now appeal to the stony relics of long-past ages to show what fearful creatures had preceded man on earth, and been swept away to give him dominion, asking, what could man have done had such been his contemporaries?
* A writer in Tait's Mag., May, 1857, on the Testimony of the Rocks, expresses the opinion that the Leviathan of Job "may have been one of those great formations of which happily only the bones remain."
* See the use of it, as to redeem, in Leviticus 25:24, 25, and many places; also Leviticus 10:56.An objection* has been made against the great antiquity of the book of Job, from the similarity of some of its sentiments and expressions to others in the Psalms and Proverbs; but if this book were most ancient, the writers of the subsequent books must have been well acquainted with it; their minds would have been imbued, as ours ought to be, with the Scripture. If Moses indeed brought the history of the trials, the patience, and the happy end of Job to the Israelites, on the verge of their long wanderings in the wilderness, how precious it must have been in their sight, a spiritual manna for their daily food!
** See "Immortality," &c.
* Another objection has been urged as to the naming of Satan. But in this book he is always called the Satan, or adversary, while in the later books, the 1st of Chronicles and the 109th Psalm, he is named Satan, without the article, as if by long use Satan, the adversary, had come to be understood as a proper name.Having long been the Scripture of the Arabs, by the sanction of their lawgiver it became such to the Hebrews. By the sanction of our Lord Himself it is such to us.