Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Hus. The land of Hus was a part of Edom; as appears from Lamentations iv. 21. — Simple. That is, innocent, sincere, and without guile, (Challoner) in opposition to hypocrites and double dealers. (Calmet) — Hebrew Tam, “perfect.”
Ver. 3. Sheep. Hebrew including “goats,” which are equally valuable in that country for milk. — Camels. These animals were used for riding in those barren sands, where they can travel for four days without water; and that which is muddy is best for them. — East, in the desert Arabia. Septuagint add at the end of the book, that Job was king; and he seems to have been independent, (Calmet) and to have had other kings who acknowledged his authority. (Pineda) (Chap. xxix. 7., &c.) — Each city had its own king in the days of Abraham and of Josue. Job, or Jobab, resided at Denaba, Genesis xxxvi. 32. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. His day of the week in succession; (Pineda) or each on his birthday, (Genesis xl. 20., and Matthew xiv. 6.; Grotius) or once a month, &c. The daughters of Job were probably unmarried.
Ver. 5. Blessed. For greater horror of the very thought of blasphemy, the Scripture both here and [in] ver. 11, and in the following chapter (ver. 5., and 9.) uses the word bless, to signify its contrary. (Challoner) (3 Kings xxi. 10.) — Thus the Greeks styled the furies Eumenides, “the kind,” out of a horror of their real name. Even those who are the best inclined, can hardly speak of God without some want of respect, (Calmet) in the midst of feasts, where the neglect of saying grace is also too common. (Haydock) — Septuagint, “they have thought evil against God.” Every kind of offence may be included, to which feasting leads. (Menochius)
Ver. 6. The sons of God. The angels, (Challoner) as the Septuagint express it. (Calmet) — Satan also, &c. This passage represents to us in a figure, accommodated to the ways and understandings of men, 1. The restless endeavours of satan against the servants of God. 2. That he can do nothing without God’s permission. 3. That God doth not permit him to tempt them above their strength: but assists them by his divine grace in such manner, that the vain efforts of the enemy only serve to illustrate their virtue and increase their merit. (Challoner) — A similar prosopopeia occurs, 3 Kings xxii. 19., and Zacharias i. 10. (Calmet) — Devils appear not in God’s sight, but sometimes in presence of angels, who represent God. (St. Athanasius, q. 8. ad Antioc, (Worthington) or some ancient author.) — The good angels can make known their orders to them, Zacharias iii. 1., and Jude 9. Both good and bad spirits may be considered as the ministers of God. (Calmet) — They appear in judgment; though the latter could not see the Lord.
Ver. 9. In vain, without recompense. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Face, like a hypocrite, (Sanctius) or rather curse thee openly, ver. 5. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Hand. God permits evils. (Worthington) — The devil can do nothing without leave. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Sabeans, descended from Abraham, in the desert (Calmet) or happy Arabia. These nations lived on plunder. (Pliny, [Natural History?] vi. 28.) (Menochius)
Ver. 16. Heaven, or the air, where the devils exercise a power, Ephesians ii. 2.
Ver. 17. Chaldeans. Some copies of the Septuagint read “horsemen.” These nations inhabited the other side of the Euphrates, but made frequent incursions to plunder their neighbours. (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Head. Hebrew, torn his hair, and rolled in the dust. (Bochart) (Isaias xv. 2., &c.) (Calmet) — The fathers oppose this example to the apathy of the stoics. (St. Augustine, City of God i. 9.) (Romans i. 31.)
Ver. 21. Thither. To that earth from which all are taken. (Haydock) — Ista terra gentes omnes peperit & resumet demum. (Varro.) — Ut mater operiens. (Pliny, [Natural History?] ii. 63.) See 1 Timothy vi. 7. — As….done. Some copies of St. Jerome omit this, which is borrowed from the Septuagint. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. By his lips, is not in Hebrew but occurs [in] chap. ii. 10. — God. Much less did he blaspheme, as satan had said, ver. 11. He did not consider all as the effect of chance, or like a mere philosopher. His thoughts were regulated by religion and the fear of God. (Calmet) — The virtue of Job was so much the more wonderful, as he lived among the wicked. (St. Gregory) He bore patiently with the loss of all things: and English Catholics have often imitated him. (Worthington) — He might well record his own good actions, the gifts of God, being moved by divine inspiration, like Moses, &c. (St. Gregory)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Job’s virtue and riches. Satan, by permission from God, strippeth him of all his substance. His patience.
1 There *was a man in the land of Hus, whose name was Job, and that man was simple and upright, and fearing God, and avoiding evil.
2 And there were born to him seven sons and three daughters.
3 And his possession was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a family exceedingly great: and this man was great among all the people of the east.
4 And his sons went, and made a feast by houses, every one in his day. And sending, they called their three sisters, to eat and drink with them.
5 And when the days of their feasting were gone about, Job sent to them, and sanctified them: and rising up early, offered holocausts for every one of them. For he said: Lest perhaps my sons have sinned, and have blessed God in their hearts. So did Job all days.
6 Now on a certain day, when the sons of God came to stand before the Lord, satan also was present among them.
7 And the Lord said to him: Whence comest thou? And he answered and said: I have gone round about the earth, and walked through it.
8 And the Lord said to him: Hast thou considered my servant, Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a simple and upright man, and fearing God, and avoiding evil?
9 And satan answering, said: Doth Job fear God in vain?
10 Hast not thou made a fence for him, and his house, and all his substance round about, blessed the works of his hands, and his possession hath increased on the earth?
11 But stretch forth thy hand a little, and touch all that he hath, and see if he bless thee not to thy face.
12 Then the Lord said to satan: Behold, all that he hath is in thy hand: only put not forth thy hand upon his person. And satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.
13 Now upon a certain day, when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine, in the house of their eldest brother,
14 There came a messenger to Job, and said: The oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them,
15 And the Sabeans rushed in, and took all away, and slew the servants with the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell thee.
16 And while he was yet speaking, another came, and said: The fire of God fell from heaven, and striking the sheep and the servants, hath consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell thee.
17 And while he also was yet speaking, there came another, and said: The Chaldeans made three troops, and have fallen upon the camels, and taken them; moreover, they have slain the servants with the sword: and I alone have escaped to tell thee.
18 He was yet speaking, and behold another came in, and said: Thy sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother,
19 A violent wind came on a sudden from the side of the desert, and shook the four corners of the house, and it fell upon thy children, and they are dead: and I alone have escaped to tell thee.
20 Then Job rose up, and rent his garments, and having shaven his head, fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 And said: *Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.
22 In all these things Job sinned not by his lips, nor spoke he any foolish thing against God.
1: Year of the World about 2520, Year before Christ 1484.
21: Ecclesiastes v. 14.; 1 Timothy vi. 7.