Expositio super Iob ad litteram

Thomas Aquinas

translated by Brian Mulladay

edited and html-formated by Joseph Kenny, O.P.



The First Lesson: Introduction
The Second Lesson: Satan's Request
The Third Lesson: The Trial
The Fourth Lecture: Job's Submission


The First Lesson: Satan tries Job in his Flesh
The Second Lesson: Job Humbled


The First Lesson: Job Curses His Life
Second Lesson: Job Would Rest in Peace with the Dead
Third Lesson: Like The Unhappy


First Lesson: On The Impatience of Job
The Second Lesson: Job and His Family Justly Punished
The Third Lesson: the Nocturnal Vision of Eliphaz


The First Lesson: Only the Blameworthy are Punished
The Second Lesson: Providence Governs the World
The Third Lesson God will pardon Job if he recognizes his Sin


The First Lesson Job is Wounded by God and Desires not to Exist
The Second Lesson: Job Feels Betrayed by his Friends


The First Lesson: Life is Combat and Drudgery
The Second Lesson: The Pains of Life
The Third Lesson: Job Laments his Terrible Destiny
The Fourth Lesson: The Prayer of Job


The First Lesson: God is Just
The Second Lesson: God's Justice is Traditional Doctrine


The First Lesson: God is Almighty
The Second Lesson: God is Infinitely Wise
The Third Lesson: Job Cannot Struggle against God
The Fourth Lesson: The Cruel Lot of the Just and the Wicked


The First Lesson: Job Returns to Himself: The Creator does not deny His Creature
The Second Lesson: Is Job Blameworthy?
The Third Lesson: Job Desires a Respite


The First Lesson: The Infinite Grandeur of God
The Second Lesson: The Great Infinity of God


The First Lesson: God Aids the Humble
The Second Lesson: God rules Everything


The First Lesson: The Perversity of the Friends of Job
The Second Lesson: Job asks God what Grievances He has against Him


The First Lesson: Wonder about Divine Care
The Second Lesson: The Hope for Another Life
The Third Lesson: The Strength of the Tree and the Weakness of Man
The Fourth Lesson: Waiting for Darkness and Hope of Resurrection
The Fifth Lesson: One cannot return from Sheol


The First Lesson: Job's Pride and Presumption
The Second Lesson: Divine Punishment is Inevitable
The Third Lesson: The Unhappy Finish of the Wicked


The First Lesson: Job again describes his Trials
The Second Lesson: The Promises of His Friends are Vain


The First Lesson: Job call on God
The Second Lesson: Job Ridicules his Friends


The First Lesson: The Response of Baldath
The Second Lesson: The Pains of the Sinner


The First Lesson: A New Description of his Misfortune
The Second Lesson: Job's Great Profession of Faith: His Redeemer Lives


The First Lesson: The Success of the Sinner is Short-lived
The Second Lesson: The Punishment of the Wicked


The First Lesson: The Prosperity of the Wicked is a Fact
The Second Lesson: Job Strengthens his Opinion


The First Lesson: Job is Presumptuous
The Second Lesson: The Justice of God Triumphs


The Lesson: Job Appeals to the Judgment of God


The Lesson: The Reconciliation of Evil with the Power and the Wisdom of God


The Lesson:



The Lesson: The Prosperity of Evildoers is not against Divine Providence


The First Lesson: Wisdom is not in a Determined Place
The Second Lesson: Where Wisdom is Found


The Lesson: The Happy Days of Job


The Lesson: His Present Distress


The First Lesson: Job is Chaste, Just and Good
The Second Lesson: Job concludes his Defense


The Lesson: Introductory Remarks


The First Lesson: What Job should Confess
The Second Lesson: God teaches Men in many Ways


The First Lesson: God is Just to the Individual
The Second Lesson: God punishes the People


The Lesson: Man's Deeds are not Indifferent to God


The First Lesson: The True Meaning of the Sufferings of Job
The Second Lesson: Hymn to the Almighty


The First Lesson: The Wisdom of the Almighty
The Second Lesson: Eliud Completes his Praise of God


The First Lesson: What Can Man Understand?
The Second Lesson: God's Marvels on Earth, in the Sea and the Air
The Third Lesson: The Marvels of the Animal Kingdom


The Lesson: The Marvels of the Animal Kingdom


The First Lesson: God Strengthens Job in his Weakness
The Second Lesson: Behemoth or the Elephant as a Metaphor for the Devil
The Third Lesson: Leviathan as a Metaphor for the Devil


The First Lesson: God can not be Reproached
The Second Lesson: How Satan acts in Sinners



Sicut in rebus quae naturaliter generantur paulatim ex imperfecto ad perfectum pervenitur, sic accidit hominibus circa cognitionem veritatis; nam a principio parvum quid de veritate attigerunt, posterius autem quasi pedetentim ad quandam pleniorem mensuram veritatis pervenerunt: ex quo contigit multos a principio propter imperfectam cognitionem circa veritatem errasse. Inter quos aliqui extiterunt qui divinam providentiam auferentes omnia fortunae et casui attribuebant: et priorum quidem intantum ad hoc invaluit opinio ut ponerent mundum casu factum esse et ea quae naturaliter generantur casui attribuerent, sicut perspici potest ex positionibus antiquorum naturalium ponentium solum causam materialem; posteriorum etiam quidam, ut Democritus et Empedocles, plurima casui attribuebant. Sed posteriorum philosophorum diligentia perspicacius intuens veritatem, evidentibus indiciis et rationibus ostenderunt res naturales providentia agi: non enim tam certus cursus in motu caeli et siderum et in aliis naturae effectibus inveniretur nisi haec omnia a quodam intellectu supereminente ordinata gubernarentur. Just as things which are generated naturally reach perfection from imperfection by small degrees, so it is with men in their knowledge of the truth. For in the beginning they attained a very limited understanding of the truth, but later they gradually came to know the truth in fuller measure. Because of this many erred in the beginning about the truth from an imperfect knowledge. Among these, there were some who excluded divine providence and attributed everything to fortune and to chance. Indeed the opinion of these first men was not correct because they held that the world was made by chance. This is evident from the position of the ancient natural philosophers who admitted only the material cause. Even some later men like Democritus and Empedocles attributed things to chance in most things. But by a more profound diligence in their contemplation of the truth later philosophers showed by evident proofs and reasons that natural things are set in motion by providence. For such a sure course in the motion of the heavens and the stars and other effects of nature would not be found unless all these things were governed and ordered by some intellect transcending the things ordered.
Opinione igitur plurimorum firmata in hoc quod res naturales non casu sed providentia agerentur propter ordinem qui manifeste apparet in eis, emersit dubitatio apud plurimos de actibus hominum, utrum res humanae casu procederent an aliqua providentia vel ordinatione superiori gubernarentur. Cui quidem dubitationi maxime fomentum ministravit quod in eventibus humanis nullus certus ordo apparet: non enim semper bonis bona eveniunt aut malis mala, neque rursus semper bonis mala aut malis bona, sed indifferenter bonis et malis et bona et mala. Hoc igitur est quod maxime corda hominum commovit ad opinandum res humanas providentia divina non regi, sed quidam eas casualiter procedere dicunt nisi quatenus providentia et consilio humano reguntur, quidam vero caelesti fato eorum eventus attribuunt. Therefore after the majority of men asserted the opinion that natural things did not happen by chance but by providence because of the order which clearly appears in them, a doubt emerged among most men about the acts of man as to whether human affairs evolved by chance or were governed by some kind of providence or a higher ordering. This doubt was fed especially because there is no sure order apparent in human events. For good things do not always befall the good nor evil things the wicked. On the other hand, evil things do not always befall the good nor good things the wicked, but good and evil indifferently befall both the good and the wicked. This fact then especially moved the hearts of men to hold the opinion that human affairs are not governed by divine providence. Some said that human affairs proceed by chance except to the extent that they are ruled by human providence and counsel, others attributed their outcome to a fatalism ruled by the heavens.
Haec autem opinio maxime humano generi nociva invenitur; divina enim providentia sublata, nulla apud homines Dei reverentia aut timor cum veritate remanebit, ex quo quanta desidia circa virtutes, quanta pronitas ad vitia subsequatur satis quilibet perpendere potest: nihil enim est quod tantum revocet homines a malis et ad bona inducat quantum Dei timor et amor. Unde eorum qui divino spiritu sapientiam consecuti sunt ad aliorum eruditionem, primum et praecipuum studium fuit hanc opinionem a cordibus hominum amovere; et ideo post legem datam et prophetas, in numero Hagiographorum, idest librorum per spiritum Dei sapienter ad eruditionem hominum conscriptorum, primus ponitur liber Iob, cuius tota intentio circa hoc versatur ut per probabiles rationes ostendatur res humanas divina providentia regi. This idea causes a great deal of harm to mankind. For if divine providence is denied, no reverence or true fear of God will remain among men. Each man can weigh well how great will be the propensity for vice and the lack of desire for virtue which follows from this idea. For nothing so calls men back from evil things and induces them to good so much as the fear and love of God. For this reason the first and foremost aim of those who had pursued wisdom inspired by the spirit of God for the instruction of others was to remove this opinion from the hearts of men. So after the promulgation of the Law and the Prophets, the Book of Job occupies first place in the order of Holy Scripture, the books composed by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit for the instruction of men. The whole intention of this book is directed to this: to show that human affairs are ruled by divine providence using probable arguments.
Proceditur autem in hoc libro ad propositum ostendendum ex suppositione quod res naturales divina providentia gubernentur. Id autem quod praecipue providentiam Dei circa res humanas impugnare videtur est afflictio iustorum: nam quod malis interdum bona eveniant, etsi irrationabile primo aspectu videatur et providentiae contrarium, tamen utcumque habere potest aliquam excusationem ex miseratione divina; sed quod iusti sine causa affligantur totaliter videtur subruere providentiae fundamentum. Proponitur igitur ad quaestionem intentam, quasi quoddam thema, multiplex et gravis afflictio cuiusdam viri in omni virtute perfecti qui dicitur Iob. The methodology used in this book is to demonstrate this proposition from the supposition that natural things are governed by divine providence. The affliction of just men is what seems especially to impugn divine providence in human affairs. For although it seems irrational and contrary to providence at first glance that good things sometimes happen to evil men, nevertheless this can be excused in one way or another by divine compassion. But that the just are afflicted without cause seems to undermine totally the foundation of providence. Thus the varied and grave afflictions of a specific just man called Job, perfect in every virtue, are proposed as a kind of theme for the question intended for discussion.
Fuerunt autem aliqui quibus visum est quod iste Iob non fuerit aliquid in rerum natura, sed quod fuerit quaedam parabola conficta ut esset quoddam thema ad providentiae disputationem, sicut frequenter homines confingunt aliqua facta ad disputandum de eis. Et quamvis ad intentionem libri non multum differat utrum sic vel aliter fuerit, refert tamen quantum ad ipsam veritatem. Videtur enim praedicta opinio auctoritati sacrae Scripturae obviare: dicitur enim Ez. XIV 14 ex persona domini si fuerint tres viri isti in medio eius, Noe, Daniel et Iob, ipsi iustitia sua liberabunt animas suas; manifestum est autem Noe et Danielem homines in rerum natura fuisse, unde nec de tertio eis connumerato, scilicet de Iob, in dubium debet venire. Dicitur etiam Iac. V 11 ecce beatificamus eos qui sustinuerunt; sufferentiam Iob audistis et finem domini vidistis. Sic igitur credendum est Iob hominem in rerum natura fuisse. But there were some who held that Job did not exist, but that this was a parable made up to serve as a kind of theme to dispute providence, as men frequently invent cases to serve as a model for debate. Although it does not matter much for the intention of the book whether or not such is the case, still it makes a difference for the truth itself. This aforementioned opinion seems to contradict the authority of Scripture. In Ezechiel, the Lord is represented as saying, “If there were three just men in our midst, Noah, Daniel, and Job, these would free your souls by their justice.” (Ez. 14:14) Clearly Noah and Daniel really were men in the nature of things and so there should be no doubt about Job who is the third man numbered with them. Also, James says, “Behold, we bless those who persevered. You have heard of the suffering of Job and you have seen the intention of the Lord.” (James 5:11) Therefore one must believe that the man Job did really exist.
Quo autem tempore fuerit vel ex quibus parentibus originem duxerit, quis etiam huius libri fuerit auctor, utrum scilicet ipse Iob hunc librum conscripserit de se quasi de alio loquens, an alius de eo ista retulerit, non est praesentis intentionis discutere. Intendimus enim compendiose secundum nostram possibilitatem, de divino auxilio fiduciam habentes, librum istum qui intitulatur beati Iob secundum litteralem sensum exponere; eius enim mysteria tam subtiliter et diserte beatus Papa Gregorius nobis aperuit ut his nihil ultra addendum videatur. However, as to the epoch in which he lived, who his parents were or even who the author of the book was, that is whether Job wrote about himself as if speaking about another person, or whether someone else reported these things about him is not the present intention of this discussion. With trust in God’s aid, I intend to explain this book entitled the Book of Job briefly as far as I am able according to the literal sense. The mystical sense has been explained for us both accurately and eloquently by the blessed Pope Gregory so that nothing further need be added to this sort of commentary.

The First Lesson: Introduction
אִישׁ הָיָה בְאֶרֶץ־עוּץ אִיּוֹב שְׁמוֹ וְהָיָה הָאִישׁ הַהוּא תָּם וְיָשָׁר וִירֵא אֱלֹהִים וְסָר מֵרָע׃ 1 וַיִּוָּלְדוּ לוֹ שִׁבְעָה בָנִים וְשָׁלוֹשׁ בָּנוֹת׃ 2 וַיְהִי מִקְנֵהוּ שִׁבְעַת אַלְפֵי־צֹאן וּשְׁלֹשֶׁת אַלְפֵי גְמַלִּים וַחֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת צֶמֶד־בָּקָר וַחֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת אֲתוֹנוֹת וַעֲבֻדָּה רַבָּה מְאֹד וַיְהִי הָאִישׁ הַהוּא גָּדוֹל 3 מִכָּל־בְּנֵי־קֶדֶם׃ וְהָלְכוּ בָנָיו וְעָשׂוּ מִשְׁתֶּה בֵּית אִישׁ יוֹמוֹ וְשָׁלְחוּ וְקָרְאוּ לִשְׁלֹשֶׁת אַחְיֹתֵיהֶם לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת עִמָּהֶם׃ 4 וַיְהִי כִּי הִקִּיפוּ יְמֵי הַמִּשְׁתֶּה וַיִּשְׁלַח אִיּוֹב וַיְקַדְּשֵׁם וְהִשְׁכִּים בַּבֹּקֶר וְהֶעֱלָה עֹלוֹת מִסְפַּר כֻּלָּם כִּי אָמַר אִיּוֹב אוּלַי חָטְאוּ בָנַי וּבֵרֲכוּ אֱלֹהִים 5 1. There was a man in the Land of Hus whose name was Job. He was a man without guile and upright, and he feared God and turned away from evil. 2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His property was seven thousand sheep and three thousand camels; five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred she-asses and a great number of servants. So this man was accounted great among all the peoples of the East. 4 His sons used to go and hold banquets in each other’s houses, each one on his appointed day. And they would send and invite their sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send for them and purify them; and rising at dawn, he offered burnt holocausts for each one. For Job said,: It may be that my sons have sinned and blessed God in their hearts. Job did this every day.
Vir erat in terra Hus et cetera. Quia, sicut dictum est, intentio huius libri tota ordinatur ad ostendendum qualiter res humanae providentia divina regantur, praemittitur quasi totius disputationis fundamentum quaedam historia in qua cuiusdam viri iusti multiplex afflictio recitatur: hoc enim est quod maxime videtur divinam providentiam a rebus humanis excludere. Huius igitur viri primo persona describitur, et quantum ad sexum dum dicitur vir erat: hic enim sexus ad perferendas molestias invenitur robustior; describitur etiam quantum ad patriam cum dicitur in terra Hus, quae est in partibus orientis, et quantum ad nomen cum dicitur nomine Iob: et videntur haec duo posita esse ad insinuandum hoc quod dicitur non esse parabolam sed rem gestam. As was said [in the Prologue], because the whole intention of this book is ordered to showing how human affairs are ruled by divine providence, and a kind of history is put first in which the numerous sufferings of a certain just man are related as the foundation of the whole debate. For it is affliction like this which seems most of all to exclude divine providence from human affairs. First, therefore, the person of this man is described as to his sex when the text says, “There was a man.” This sex is found stronger in suffering troubles. He is also described as to his land of origin when the text continues, “in the land of Hus,” which is situated in the East. His name is given next, “whose name was Job.” These two things seem to have been put in the text to suggest that this is not a parable but recounts a real deed.
Et ne aliquis adversitates quae postmodum inducuntur pro peccatis huius viri ei accidisse crederet, consequenter describitur eius virtus, per quam a peccatis demonstratur immunis. Sciendum siquidem est hominem tripliciter peccare: sunt enim quaedam peccata quibus peccatur in proximum, sicut homicidia, adulteria, furta et alia huiusmodi; quaedam quibus peccatur in Deum, sicut periurium, sacrilegium, blasphemia et huiusmodi; quaedam quibus unusquisque in se ipsum peccat, secundum illud apostoli Cor. VI 18 qui fornicatur, in corpus suum peccat. In proximum autem quis peccat dupliciter, occulte per dolum et manifeste per vim; hic autem vir per dolum proximum non circumvenit, unde dicitur et erat vir ille simplex: simplicitas enim proprie dolositati opponitur; nulli violentiam intulit, sequitur enim et rectus: rectitudo enim ad iustitiam proprie pertinet, quae in aequalitate consistit, secundum illud Is. XXVI 7 semita iusti recta est, rectus callis iusti ad inambulandum. Quod autem in Deum non peccaverit aperte ostenditur per hoc quod subditur ac timens Deum, in quo reverentia ad Deum designatur. Quod etiam in se ipsum non peccaverit ostenditur in hoc quod subditur ac recedens a malo, quia malum odio habuit propter se ipsum, non solum propter nocumentum proximi vel offensam Dei. His virtue is then described and in this he is shown to be free from sin, lest anyone think that the adversities which are set down in the account afterwards happened to him because of his sins. One should that a man sins in three ways. There are certain sins in which he sins against neighbor, like murder, adultery, theft and the like. There are certain sins in which he sins against God like perjury, sacrilege, blasphemy and the like. There are sins in which he sins against himself, as St. Paul says in I Cor., “He who fornicates, sins against his own body.” (6:18) One sins against his neighbor in two ways, either secretly by fraud or in openly by violence. But this man did not deceive his neighbor by fraud, for the text says, “He was without guile (simplex).” Being without guile (simplex) is properly opposed to fraud. Nor did he render violence against anyone, for the text continues, “and upright.” For uprightness properly belongs to justice, which consists in the mean between good and evil, as Isaiah says, “The way of the just is upright; you make straight the path the righteous walk.” (26:7) The text clearly indicates that he did not sin against God openly when it continues, “and he feared God,” which designates to his reverence for God. The fact that he also did not sin against himself is shown when the text puts, “and turned away from evil,” because he regarded evil with hatred for his own sake, not only for the sake of the harm of his neighbor or the offense of God.
Descripta igitur huius viri et persona et virtute, eius prosperitas consequenter ostenditur, ut ex praecedenti prosperitate gravior sequens iudicetur adversitas, simul etiam ad ostendendum quod ex prima Dei intentione iustis semper bona tribuuntur non solum spiritualia sed etiam temporalia; sed quod aliquando iusti adversitatibus premantur accidit propter aliquam specialem causam: unde et a principio homo sic institutus fuit ut nullis subiaceret perturbationibus si in innocentia permansisset. Principium autem prosperitatis temporalis, post bonam consistentiam personae propriae, consistit in personis coniunctis et praecipue in natis qui sunt quodammodo aliquid parentum. Describitur igitur primo eius prosperitas quantum ad fecunditatem prolis, cum dicitur natique sunt ei septem filii et tres filiae. Convenienter numerosior multitudo marium quam feminarum ponitur quia parentes magis affectare solent filios quam filias, tum quia id quod perfectius est desiderabilius est, mares autem comparantur ad feminas sicut perfectum ad imperfectum, tum quia in auxilium rerum gerendarum solent esse parentes magis nati quam natae. When both the person and the virtue of this man have been described then his prosperity is shown so that the adversity which follows may be judged to be more grave because of the prosperity which precedes it. At the same time, this also demonstrates that not only spiritual goods but also temporal goods are given to the just from God’s first intention. But the fact just are sometimes afflicted with adversities happens for some special reason. Hence from the beginning, man was so established that he would not have been subject to any disturbances if he had remained in innocence. Now after the good firmly held in one’s own person, an element of temporal prosperity consists in the persons who are kin to a man and especially in the children born to him, who are in a certain sense a part of their parents. Therefore, Job’s prosperity is first described in terms of the fertility of his children when the text says, “There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.” The number of the men is fittingly greater than the number of women because parents usually have more affection for sons than for daughters. This is both because what is more perfect is more desirable (men are compared to women as prefect to imperfect) and because those born males are usually of more help in managing business than those born females.
Deinde ostenditur prosperitas eius quantum ad multitudinem divitiarum et praecipue in animalibus: nam circa principium humani generis, propter hominum paucitatem, agrorum possessio non ita pretiosa erat sicut animalium, et maxime in partibus orientis in quibus usque hodie sunt pauci habitatores prae latitudine regionis. Inter animalia autem primo ponuntur ea quae maxime deserviunt ad victum et vestitum personae, scilicet oves, unde dicitur et fuit possessio eius septem millia ovium; secundo ponuntur ea quae maxime deserviunt ad onera deferenda, scilicet cameli, et hoc est quod subditur et tria millia camelorum; tertio ponuntur ea quae deserviunt ad culturam agrorum, et hoc est quod subditur quingenta quoque iuga boum; quarto ponuntur animalia quibus homines ad vecturam utuntur, unde sequitur et quingentae asinae, ex quibus muli generantur, quibus antiqui maxime insidebant. Sub istis autem quatuor generibus animalium comprehenduntur omnia alia quae ad eosdem usus deserviunt, puta sub ovibus omnia victui et vestitui necessaria, et sic de reliquis. Et quia homines multas divitias possidentes ad eas gubernandas multitudine indigent famulorum, convenienter subditur ac familia multa nimis. Consequenter ponitur prosperitas eius quantum ad honorem et famam quae longe lateque diffundebatur, et hoc est quod dicitur eratque vir ille magnus inter omnes Orientales, idest honoratus et famosus. Next, Job’s prosperity is shown as to the great number of his riches especially his animals. For near the beginning of the human race, the possession of land was not as valuable as the possession of animals because of the small number of men. This was especially true in the East where even up to the present there are few inhabitants in comparison with the extent of the region. Among the animals those are placed first which are especially useful for providing food and clothing for the human person, namely sheep, and so the text continues, “His property was seven thousand sheep.” Next, those animals are placed which are most useful as beasts of burden, camels. So the text adds, “and three thousand camels.” Third, those which serve for the cultivation of the fields are placed, and the text expresses this saying, “five hundred yoke of oxen.” Fourth, those animals which men use for transportation are placed, and so the text says, “and five hundred she-asses,” from which mules are bred, which the ancients used especially as mounts. All other species which serve the same purposes are classed under these four types of animals; for example, all those animals necessary for food and clothing classed under sheep and so on for the rest. Since men who have great wealth need a large number of servants to administer it, the text fittingly adds, “and a great number of servants.” Consequently his prosperity is established in terms of his honor and reputation which was known far and wide and this is what the text means saying, “So this man was accounted great among all the peoples of the East,” that is, he was honored and respected.
Ad maiorem autem ipsius Iob commendationem consequenter disciplina domus eius describitur, quae immunis erat ab illis vitiis quae opulentia gignere solet. Plerumque namque divitiarum abundantia discordiam parit, unde legitur in Genesi quod Abraham et Loth nequiverunt simul habitare, ad vitandum iurgium quod ex rerum abundantia proveniebat. Frequenter etiam homines multa possidentes, dum ea quae possident immoderate amant, eis tenacius utuntur, unde dicitur Eccl. VI 1 est et aliud malum quod vidi sub sole, et quidem frequens apud homines: vir cui dedit Deus divitias et substantiam et honorem, et nihil deest animae eius ex omnibus quae desiderat, nec tribuit ei Deus potestatem ut comedat ex eo. Ab his igitur malis immunis erat domus beati Iob: erat enim ibi concordia et iocunda et aequa frugalitas, quod significatur cum dicitur et ibant filii eius et faciebant convivia per domos unusquisque in die sua. Haec autem caritas et concordia non solum inter fratres erat sed usque ad sorores extendebatur, quae frequenter despiciuntur a fratribus propter superbiam quam opulentia plurimum gignit, unde subditur et mittentes vocabant tres sorores suas ut comederent et biberent cum eis vinum. Simul etiam designatur in hoc securitas quae de castitate filiarum habebatur; alias enim non circumducendae erant sed includendae, secundum illud sapientis Eccli. XXVI 13 in filia non avertente se firma custodiam, ne inventa occasione abutatur se. To praise Job even more the discipline of his house is described next, which was free from those vices which wealth usually produces. For very often great wealth in fact produces discord and so Genesis says that Abraham and Lot could not live together to avoid the quarrelling which arises from an abundance of possessions (cf. Gen.l3). Also, men who have a lot of possessions, while they love what they possess in an inordinate way, frequently use them more sparingly. As Ecclesiastes says, “There is another evil which I see under the sun, and which happens frequently among men: a man to whom God gave wealth, possessions and honor so that his soul lacks nothing he desires. Yet God does not give him power to consume it.” (6:1-2) The house of blessed Job was free from these evils, for concord, laughter and just frugality were there, which the text expresses saying, “His sons used to go and hold banquets in each other’s houses, each one on his appointed day.” This charity and concord existed not only among the brothers, but extended even to the sisters who often are despised by their brothers because of the pride which wealth generally produces, so the text adds, “And they would send and invite their sisters to eat and drink with them.” At the same time, the text also shows in this the confidence which Job had about the chastity of his daughters, for otherwise they would not have been allowed to go about in public, but would have been kept at home as Sirach wisely says, “Do not forget to keep a firm watch on your daughter lest she herself when she found the opportunity.” (26:13)
Sicut autem in domo Iob frugalitas et concordia vigebat, sic in ipso Job vigebat sancta sollicitudo puritatis quam frequenter divitiae obruunt vel etiam minuunt, secundum illud Deut. Incrassatus est dilectus et recalcitravit, et postea sequitur dereliquit Deum factorem et cetera. Et quidem de sua puritate intantum sollicitus erat quod ab his quae inquinare poterant totaliter procul erat: dictum est enim supra quod erat timens Deum et recedens a malo. Sed etiam circa filiorum puritatem maxime sollicitus erat; permittebat siquidem eos convivia agere eorum indulgens aetati: quaedam enim in iuvenibus tolerantur quae in personis gravibus reprehensibilia sunt. Et quia in conviviis vix aut numquam homines vitare possunt quin vel per ineptam laetitiam vel per inordinatam loquacitatem aut etiam immoderatum cibi usum offendant, filiis quos a conviviis non arcebat purificationis exhibebat remedium, unde dicitur cumque in orbem transissent dies convivii, mittebat ad eos Iob et sanctificabat illos. Dicuntur autem in orbem dies transire convivii quia cum septem filii essent et unusquisque in die sua convivium faceret, per omnes dies septimanae seriatim huiusmodi consummabant convivia; postmodum quasi circulariter sive orbiculariter, sicut in diebus septimanae ita in conviviis ad principium rediebatur. Notandum autem quod licet Iob filiis indulgeret ut convivia agerent, tamen ipse suam gravitatem conservans eorum conviviis se non immiscebat: unde dicitur quod mittebat ad eos, non quod ipse ad eos iret. Modus autem sanctificationis quo per internuntium sanctificabat potest intelligi dupliciter: vel quia salubribus monitis eos instrui faciebat ut si quid in conviviis deliquerant emendarent, vel etiam expiationis aliquem ritum habebant quo huiusmodi delicta expiabantur, sicut et sacrificia etiam ante legem data fuerunt, et primitiarum et decimarum oblatio. Just as frugality and concord flourished in the Job’s house, so a holy solicitude for the purity which riches frequently destroy or diminish flourshed in Job himself. As Deuteronomy says, “But he waxed fat, and kicked,” and further on, “and he forsook the God who made him, etc.” (32:18) He was so solicitous for his purity that he removed himself completely from those things which could defile it. This is shown in the text already quoted that, “He feared God and turned away from evil.” (1:1) But he was also solicitous for the purity of his sons, even though he permitted them to have banquets as an indulgence to their age. For some things can be tolerated in young people which would be reprehensible in mature people. Because at banquets men with difficulty either can never avoid unseemly humor and inordinate speech, or they offend in their immoderate use of food, he showed a remedy of purification to his sons whom he did not keep away from these banquets and so the text says, “And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send for them and purified them.” Days of banqueting is said to run their course because since there were seven sons and each one held a banquet on his own appointed day, the feasts would use up each of the seven days of the week in turn. Afterwards like in a circle or in cycles the day returned to the beginning in the banquets just as in the days of the week. One should note, however, that although Job indulged his sons in allowing them to have feasts, yet he did not participate himself in their banquets because he preserved his maturity. So the text says, “He would send for them,” but not that he would go himself. The manner of this purification by which he sanctified them through an intermediary can be understood in two ways: he either had them instructed with beneficial warning so that if they had done anything wrong at the banquets, they would correct it, or else that they should perform some rite of expiation in which they could satisfy for these kinds of faults as there were sacrifices and the oblation of first fruits and tithes even before the Law was given.
In conviviis autem homines interdum non solum impuritatem incurrunt modis praedictis, sed etiam gravioribus peccatis immerguntur usque ad Dei contemptum, propter lasciviam ratione absorpta et a reverentia divina abstracta, sicut in Exodo dicitur sedit populus manducare et bibere et surrexerunt ludere, idest fornicari vel idolis immolare. Iob igitur non solum contra levia delicta filiis sanctificando subveniebat, sed etiam contra graviora remedium studebat apponere quo eis Deus placaretur, unde sequitur consurgensque diluculo offerebat holocausta per singulos. In quibus verbis ostenditur perfectio devotionis ipsius, et quantum ad tempus quia diluculo consurgebat, secundum illud Psalmi mane astabo tibi etc.; et quantum ad modum oblationis quia holocausta offerebat quae totaliter comburebantur ad honorem Dei, nulla parte relicta in usum offerentis vel eius pro quo offerebatur sicut erat in hostiis pacificis et pro peccato: dicitur enim holocaustum quasi totum incensum; et quantum ad numerum quia per singulos filios holocausta offerebat: singula enim peccata convenientibus satisfactionibus sunt expianda. Now, at banquets, men not only incur impurity sometimes in the ways already mentioned, but also immerse themselves in more serious sins even to holding God in contempt; when, because of moral depravity their reason is dulled and they are separated from reverence for God, as Exodus says, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play,” (32:6) that is, to fornicate and to sacrifice to idols. So Job not only assisted his sons by sanctifying them against their light faults, but he was also eager to add a remedy by which they might be pleasing to God even against their graver sins. “And rising at dawn he offered holocausts for each one.” In these words, the text shows the perfection of his devotion both as to time, because he rose at dawn as Psalm 5 says, “In the morning, I will stand before you, etc.” (v.5) and so on; and as to the manner of offering because he offered holocausts which were completely burned to the honor of God. No part of this offering remained for the use of the offerer or of the one for whom it was offered as was the case in peace offerings or sin offerings, for the burnt offering is like “something completely consumed.” As to the number of the burnt offerings, because he offered holocausts for each one of his sons, for each sin must be expiated by suitable satisfactions.
Causam autem oblationis holocaustorum subiungit dicens dicebat enim, scilicet Iob in corde suo, non quidem de peccatis filiorum certus sed dubitans, ne forte peccaverint filii mei, scilicet opere vel verbo, et benedixerint Deo in cordibus suis. Quod quidem dupliciter intelligi potest. Uno modo ut totum intelligatur coniunctim: quamvis enim benedicere Deum sit bonum, tamen benedicere Deum de hoc quod homo peccavit significat voluntatem in peccatis quiescentem, et quantum ad hoc vituperatur, sicut in Zacharia dicitur contra quosdam: pasce pecora occisionis, quae qui possederant occidebant et non dolebant et vendebant ea dicentes: benedictus dominus. Divites facti sumus. Alio modo ut intelligatur divisim, et sic per hoc quod dicitur benedixerint, intelligitur maledixerint: crimen enim blasphemiae tam horribile est ut pia ora ipsum nominare proprio nomine reformident, sed ipsum per contrarium significant. Et convenienter pro peccato blasphemiae holocausta offeruntur, quia ea quae in Deum committuntur honoratione divina sunt expurganda. Now, the text adds the reason for the offering of the holocausts saying, “For he (Job) said,” in his heart not certain but doubtful about the sins of his sons, “It may be that my sons have sinned”, in word or deed, “and blessed (benedixerint) God in their hearts.” This can be understood in two ways. In the first way, the text may be understood as a unified whole. For although to bless God is good, yet to bless God about the fact that a man has sinned means that one’s will agrees with the sin. He is blameworthy for this, as we read in Zechariah against some men, “Feed the flocks doomed to slaughter, which they killed who took possession, they did not grieve and sold them saying: Blessed be the Lord, we have become rich.’” (11:4-5) In another way, it may be understood divided. In this way “they blessed” (benedixerint) means “they cursed” (maledixerint). For the crime of blasphemy is so horrible that pious lips dread to call it by its own proper name, and so they call it by its opposite. Holocausts are fittingly offered for the sin of blasphemy, because sins committed against God must be expiated by a mark of divine respect.
Solet autem contingere quod divinus cultus a quibusdam devote perficiatur si rarus sit, cum autem frequens fuerit in fastidium venit, quod est peccatum accidiae, cum aliquis scilicet tristatur de spirituali labore. Cui quidem vitio Iob subiectus non erat, nam subditur sic faciebat Iob cunctis diebus, quasi perseverantem in divino cultu devotionem conservans. Now when divine worship is rare, men usually celebrate it more devoutly; but when it is frequent, it annoys them. This is the sin of acedia, namely when someone is saddened about spiritual work. Job was not indeed subject to this sin, for the text adds, “Job did this every day,” maintaining an almost steadfast devotion in divine worship.
The Second Lesson: Satan’s Request
בִּלְבָבָם כָּכָה יַעֲשֶׂה אִיּוֹב כָּל־הַיָּמִים׃ פ וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם וַיָּבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים לְהִתְיַצֵּב עַל־יְהוָה וַיָּבוֹא גַם־הַשָּׂטָן בְּתוֹכָם׃ 6 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־הַשָּׂטָן מֵאַיִן תָּבֹא וַיַּעַן הַשָּׂטָן אֶת־יְהוָה וַיֹּאמַר מִשּׁוּט בָּאָרֶץ וּמֵהִתְהַלֵּךְ בָּהּ׃ 7 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־הַשָּׂטָן הֲשַׂמְתָּ לִבְּךָ עַל־עַבְדִּי אִיּוֹב כִּי אֵין כָּמֹהוּ בָּאָרֶץ אִישׁ תָּם וְיָשָׁר יְרֵא אֱלֹהִים וְסָר מֵרָע׃ 8 וַיַּעַן הַשָּׂטָן אֶת־יְהוָה וַיֹּאמַר הַחִנָּם יָרֵא אִיּוֹב אֱלֹהִים׃ 9 הֲלֹא־אַתְּ שַׂכְתָּ בַעֲדוֹ וּבְעַד־בֵּיתוֹ וּבְעַד כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ מִסָּבִיב מַעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו בֵּרַכְתָּ וּמִקְנֵהוּ פָּרַץ בָּאָרֶץ׃ 10 וְאוּלָם שְׁלַח־נָא יָדְךָ וְגַע בְּכָל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ אִם־לֹא עַל־פָּנֶיךָ יְבָרֲכֶךָּ׃ 11 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־הַשָּׂטָן הִנֵּה כָל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ בְּיָדֶךָ רַק אֵלָיו אַל־תִּשְׁלַח יָדֶךָ וַיֵּצֵא הַשָּׂטָן מֵעִם פְּנֵי יְהוָה׃ 12 6 Now on a certain day the sons of God came to assist in the presence of the Lord and Satan also was with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan: Where do you come from? Satan answered the Lord: I have prowled about the earth and I have run through it. 8 And the Lord said to him: Have you considered my servant Job, there is none like him on earth? He is a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil? 9 Then Satan answered the Lord: Does Job fear God in vain? 10 Have you not fortified him with a wall and his house and all that he has in a circle? You have blessed the work of his hands and his possessions have increased on earth. 11 But put forth your hand just a little and touch all that he has, if he does not bless you to your face. 12 And the Lord said to Satan: Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not extend your hand to him.
Quadam autem die cum venissent et cetera. Post prosperitatem beati Iob enumeratam ponitur adversitas ipsius, et primo inducitur causa ipsius. Et ne quis putaret adversitates iustorum absque divina providentia procedere et per hoc aestimaret res humanas providentiae subiectas non esse, praemittitur quomodo Deus de rebus humanis curam habet et eas dispensat. Hoc autem symbolice et sub aenigmate proponitur secundum consuetudinem sacrae Scripturae, quae res spirituales sub figuris rerum corporalium describit, sicut patet Is. VI 1 vidi dominum sedentem super solium excelsum et elevatum, et in principio Ezechielis et in pluribus aliis locis. Et quamvis spiritualia sub figuris rerum corporalium proponantur, non tamen ea quae circa spiritualia intenduntur per figuras sensibiles ad mysticum sensum pertinent sed litteralem, quia sensus litteralis est qui primo per verba intenditur, sive proprie dicta sive figurate. After Blessed Job’s prosperity has been enumerated, his adversity is placed. First, their cause is introduced. Lest anyone think that the adversities of just men happen apart from divine providence and that because of this might think human affairs are not subject to divine providence, he first explains how God has care of human affairs and governs them. This is set forth in symbol and allegory according to the usual practice of Holy Scripture, which describes spiritual things using the images of corporeal things, as is clear in Isaiah, “I saw the Lord sitting upon a high and lofty throne,” (6:1), in the beginning of Ezechiel and in many other places. Now, even though spiritual things are conceived using the images of corporeal things, nevertheless what the author intends to reveal about spiritual things through sensible images do not pertain to the mystical sense, but to the literal sense because the literal sense is what is first intended by the words whether properly speaking or figuratively.
Sciendum est autem quod divina providentia tali ordine res gubernat quod inferiora per superiora dispensat; corpora enim generabilia et corruptibilia subduntur motui corporum caelestium, et similiter inferiores spiritus rationales mortalibus corporibus uniti, scilicet animae, per superiores spiritus incorporeos administrantur. Hoc autem habet ecclesiastica traditio quod inter incorporeos spiritus quidam sunt boni qui, puritatem in qua creati sunt conservantes, divina gloria perfruuntur a Dei voluntate numquam recedentes: et hi quidem spiritus in Scripturis interdum dicuntur Angeli, idest nuntii, quia divina hominibus annuntiant, interdum autem filii Dei dicuntur inquantum Deo per participationem gloriae assimilantur. Mali autem spiritus quidam sunt, non per naturam aut per creationem cum cuiusque naturae auctor sit Deus nec summum bonum potest esse causa nisi bonorum, sed sunt mali per propriam culpam; huiusmodi autem spiritus in Scripturis Daemones dicuntur, et eorum primus dicitur Diabolus, quasi deorsum cadens, vel etiam Satan, idest adversarius. Utrique igitur spiritus homines ad aliqua agenda movent, boni quidem ad bona mali autem ad mala. Et sicut homines moventur a Deo per spiritus supra dictos, ita etiam ea quae per homines aguntur dicuntur in Scripturis eisdem spiritibus mediantibus ad divinum examen referri. Ad ostendendum igitur quod tam bona quam mala quae homines agunt divino iudicio subsunt, dicitur quadam autem die cum venissent filii Dei ut assisterent coram domino, affuit inter eos etiam Satan. But one should know that divine providence governs things with such an order that lower things are ordered through higher things. For bodies which are generated and corrupted are subject to the motion of the heavenly bodies and in the same way lower reasoning spirits united to mortal bodies, namely, souls are directed through higher incorporeal spirits. The tradition of the church teaches that among incorporeal spirits some are good ones, who guarding the purity in which they were created, enjoy divine glory and never turn from the will of God. These spirits are sometimes called angels, i.e. messengers in the Scriptures because they announce divine things to men. Sometimes they are called sons of God in as much as they are made like to God by participation in his glory. But there are also some spirits which are evil but not by nature or creation, because God is the author of the nature of each and the supreme good cannot be the cause of anything but good things, but these spirits are evil through their own fault. Spirits of this kind are called demons in the Scriptures, and their leader is called the devil, as though he fell from on high (deorsum cadens). He is also called Satan, which means adversary. Therefore both kinds of spirits move men to do things; the good to good deeds, the evil to wicked deeds. Just as men are moved by God through these spirits mentioned above, so too those things which are done by men are said in the Scriptures to be referred to divine consideration by the mediation of the same spirits. Thus to show that both the good and evil things which men do are subject to divine judgment, the text continues, “Now on a certain day when the sons of God came to assist in the presence of the Lord, Satan also was among them.”
Sciendum vero est quod Angeli, qui hic filii Dei dicuntur, assistere dicuntur domino dupliciter: uno modo inquantum Deus ab eis conspicitur, sicut scriptum est in Daniele millia millium ministrabant ei et decies centena millia assistebant ei, alio modo inquantum ipsi Angeli et eorum actus a Deo conspiciuntur; nam qui alicui domino assistunt, et eum conspiciunt et ab eo conspiciuntur. Primo igitur modo assistere non convenit Angelis nisi beatis qui divina visione perfruuntur, nec his omnibus sed illis tantum qui inter eos superiores existunt, qui magis intime divina visione perfruuntur et ad exteriora ministeria, secundum Dionysii sententiam, non exeunt: unde et a ministrantibus in praedicta auctoritate Danielis assistentes distinguuntur. Secundo autem modo assistere convenit non solum omnibus bonis Angelis sed etiam malis et etiam hominibus, quia quaecumque per eos aguntur divino conspectui et examini subduntur, et propter hoc dicitur quod cum venirent filii Dei ut assisterent coram domino, affuit inter eos etiam Satan. Et quamvis ea quae per Angelos bonos vel malos administrantur continue divino conspectui et examini subdantur, et sic semper et filii Dei assistant et Satan adsit inter eos, dicitur tamen quadam die, secundum morem Scripturae quae ea quae supra tempus sunt interdum per tempus designat ex aliquibus quae dicuntur in tempore; sicut in principio Genesis dicitur Deus aliqua dixisse primo vel secundo die quamvis eius dicere sit aeternum, propter hoc quod ea quae ab ipso dicuntur fiebant in tempore. Ita et nunc, quia factum de quo nunc intenditur determinato tempore extitit, dicuntur administratores huius facti quadam die coram domino astitisse quamvis coram domino assistere numquam desistant. One should know that the angels who are called here “sons of God” are said to assist in the presence of the Lord in two ways: In the first way in as much as God is seen by them as Daniel says, “A thousand thousands ministered before him and ten thousand thousands assisted in his presence” (7:10); in another way in as much as the angels themselves and their acts are seen by God. for those who “assist in the presence of a Lord” both see him and are seen by him. Therefore in the first way it only befits those angels to assist in God’s presence who are the blessed ones enjoying the divine vision. Nor is this fitting for all of these but only for those who exist among the higher angels, who enjoy the divine vision more intimately and do not go forth according to the opinion of Dionysius to perform exterior ministries. For this reason, the angels assisting in the presence of God are distinguished from the ministering angels in the text of Daniel already cited. In the second way, however, it is fitting not only for the good angels, but also the wicked ones and even men to assist in the presence of God, because whatever is done by them is subject to the divine gaze and examination. Because of this the text says next, “when the sons of God came to assist in the presence of the Lord, and Satan also was among them.” Although those things which are in the care of the good and the bad angels are continually subject to the divine sight and examination, and so the sons of God always come to assist in the presence of God and Satan is among them, nevertheless the text says, “on a certain day” according to the usage of Scripture which sometimes designates things above time through things which are in time. For example, at the beginning of the book of Genesis, God is said to have spoken some things on the first or the second day even though his act of speaking is eternal, because what is said by him happened in time. So now, since the deed about which the author now treats took place in a determined time, those who do this deed are said assist in the presence of God on a certain day even though they never cease assisting in the presence of God.
Considerandum est etiam quod ad Dei iudicium aliter referuntur ea quae per bonos Angelos aguntur aliter ea quae per malos. Nam boni Angeli hoc intendunt ut ea quae agunt referantur in Deum, et ideo dicitur quod filii Dei venerunt ut assisterent coram domino, quasi proprio motu et intentione omnia divino iudicio subdentes; mali vero Angeli non intendunt ea quae agunt referre in Deum, sed eis nolentibus hoc accidit ut quicquid agunt subdatur divino iudicio, et ideo non dicitur de Satan quod venit ut assisteret coram domino sed solum quod affuit inter eos. Dicitur autem inter eos tum propter naturae parilitatem, tum ad insinuandum quod mala non sunt ex principali intentione sed superveniunt bonis quasi per accidens. One should also consider that those things which are done through good angels are referred to the judgment of God in a different way than those things which are done by the wicked angels. For the good angels intend that the things which they do be referred to God. So the text says that the sons of God “came to assist in the presence of the Lord,” as if by their own movement and intention they subjected everything to the divine judgment. But, the wicked angels, however, do not intend that the things which they do are referred to God, but the fact that whatever they do is subject to divine judgment happens against their will. Therefore, the text does not say that Satan came to assist in the presence of the Lord, but only that, “Satan was among them.” He is said to be “among them” both because of the equality of their nature and also to convey indirectly that evil things are not done from a principal intention [of God’s] but comes upon good men almost by accident.
Est autem differentia inter ea quae per bonos Angelos et malos aguntur: nam boni Angeli nihil agunt nisi ad quod divino iussu et voluntate moventur, in omnibus enim voluntatem divinam sequuntur; mali vero sua voluntate discordant a Deo, unde ea quae ipsi agunt a Deo aliena existunt quantum ad eorum intentionem. Et quia non consuevimus interrogare de his quae nos facimus sed de his quae absque nobis fiunt, ideo non dicitur quod dominus aliquid quaesierit a filiis Dei sed solum a Satan, et hoc est quod subditur cui dixit dominus: unde venis? Et notandum est quod non dicit ei dominus quid facis? Aut ubi es? Sed unde venis?, Quia ea ipsa facta quae per Daemones procurantur interdum ex divina voluntate proveniunt, dum per eos vel puniuntur mali vel exercentur boni; sed Daemonum intentio semper mala est et a Deo aliena, et ideo a Satan quaeritur unde venis? Quia eius intentio, a qua procedit tota ipsius actio, a Deo est aliena. There is a difference then between the things which are done through the good angels and the wicked angels. For the good angels do nothing unless they are moved to do it by the divine command and will, for in all things they follow the divine will. But, the wicked angels dissent from God in their will and so the things which they do are hostile to God as far as their intention is concerned. Because we do not usually ask about the things which we do, but only those things which happen without us, the text therefore does not say that the Lord asked anything of the sons of God but only that he questioned Satan. So the text continues, “The Lord said to Satan: Where do you come from?” Note here that the Lord does not say to him, “What are you doing?” or “Where are you?”, but “Where do you come from?” This is because those deeds themselves which are administered by the demons sometimes arise from divine will when he punishes the wicked and tries the good through them. But the intention of the demons is always evil and hostile to God and so Satan is asked, “Where do you come from?” because his intention from which the totality of his act proceeds is hostile to God’s.
Sciendum autem est quod dicere dupliciter accipitur, nam quandoque refertur ad conceptum cordis, quandoque autem ad significationem qua huiusmodi conceptus alteri exprimitur. Secundum igitur primum modum dicere Dei est aeternum et nihil est aliud quam generare filium qui est verbum ipsius. Secundo autem modo temporaliter Deus aliqua dicit, diversimode tamen secundum quod congruit eis quibus dicit: nam hominibus corporeos sensus habentibus aliquando Deus locutus est corporeo sono formato in aliqua subiecta creatura, sicut vox sonuit in Baptismo et in transfiguratione Christi: hic est filius meus dilectus; aliquando autem per imaginariam visionem, sicut multotiens legitur in prophetis; aliquando autem intelligibili expressione, et hoc modo intelligendum est Deum ad Satan dixisse inquantum eum intelligere facit quod ea quae ipse agit a Deo conspiciuntur. One should know that to speak can be taken in two ways for sometimes it refers to the interior concept of the heart; sometimes to the term by which this kind of concept is expressed to another. In the first way, God’s act of speaking is eternal and it is nothing other than to generate the Son who is his own Word. In the second way, God speaks some things in time, yet in diverse ways according to what corresponds to those with whom he speaks. For God spoke at times with men who have corporeal senses with a corporeal sound formed in some created subject, like the voice which said at the baptism and transfiguration of Christ, “This is my beloved Son.” (Matt. 3:17; 17:5) Sometimes he has spoken through an imaginary vision as one reads so often in the Prophets. Sometimes through intellectual expression, and God should be understood to have spoken in this way with Satan insofar as he made him understand that the things which he did are seen by God.
Sicut ergo dicere Dei ad Satan est ei notitiam praebere, ita respondere Satan Deo est non quidem alicuius rei Deo notitiam tradere sed considerare omnia sua divino conspectui aperta esse, et secundum hunc modum dicitur qui respondens ait: circuivi terram et perambulavi eam. Per hoc igitur quod dominus dicit ad Satan unde venis? Intentionem et acta Diaboli Deus examinat; per hoc autem quod Satan respondet circuivi terram et perambulavi eam, quasi suorum actuum Deo rationem reddit, ut ex utroque ostendatur omnia quae per Satan fiunt divinae providentiae subiecta esse. Per circuitum autem Satan calliditas eius ostenditur ad explorandum quos decipere possit, secundum illud I Petri ult. adversarius vester Diabolus tamquam leo rugiens circuit, quaerens quem devoret. Convenienter autem per circuitum calliditas designatur, sicut per rectum simplex iustitia, nam rectum est cuius medium non exit ab extremis: quia igitur actio iusti a suo principio quod est voluntas et fine intento non discrepat, convenienter iustis ascribitur rectitudo; callidorum autem est aliud praetendere et aliud intendere, et sic id quod demonstrant ex suo opere exit ab extremis dum nec voluntati concordat nec fini: unde recte callidi circuire dicuntur, propter quod scriptum est in circuitu impii ambulant. Sciendum vero est quod etsi Diabolus erga cunctos tam bonos quam malos calliditatis suae studio utatur, effectum tamen calliditatis suae in solis malis consequitur, qui recte terra nominantur; cum enim homo compositus sit ex natura spirituali et carne terrena, malum hominis in hoc consistit quod, derelictis spiritualibus bonis ad quae secundum rationalem mentem ordinatur, terrenis bonis inhaeret quae sibi competunt secundum carnem terrenam: et ideo mali inquantum naturam terrenam sequuntur recte terra dicuntur. Huiusmodi igitur terram non solum circuit Satan sed etiam perambulat, quia in eis effectum suae malitiae complet: in perambulatione enim complementum processus ipsius designatur, sicut e contrario de viris iustis dicitur quod in eis Deus perambulat, unde apostolus Cor. VI 16 inducit inhabitabo in illis et inambulabo inter eos. Therefore, just as in God’s act of speaking to Satan he informs Satan of something, so Satan answering God certainly does not inform God of anything but makes Satan understand that everything which is his is open to divine scrutiny. According to this way of speaking, the text says, “Satan answered the Lord: I have prowled about the earth and I have run through it.” By the fact that the Lord says to Satan, “Where have you come from?”, God examines the devil’s intention and actions. By the fact that Satan answers, “I have prowled about the earth and I have run through it,” as though giving an account of his actions to God, both statements serve the purpose of showing that everything which Satan does is subject to divine providence. In prowling over the earth, Satan shows his craftiness in seeking out those he can deceive. With this in mind, 1 Peter says, “Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (5:8) This prowling about fittingly shows his craftiness as the straight way shows simple justice. For the straight (right) line is “that whose mean does not exceed the extremes.” Because therefore the action of the just does not diverge from its principle which is the will and from its intended end, straightness (rightness) is fittingly ascribed to the just. The work of the crafty, however, is to pretend one thing and to intend another. Thus what they show in their deed has its source in extremes when it agrees neither with the will nor the end. So the crafty are rightly said to prowl about and because of this Psalm 11 says, “The impious are prowling about.” (v.9) One should know however that although the devil uses the study of his craftiness against everyone, good and wicked alike, the effect of his cunning takes place only in the wicked who are rightly called “the earth”. For since man is composed of spiritual nature and earthly flesh, man’s evil consists in the fact that after he has abandoned the spiritual goods to which he is ordered according to a mind endowed with reason, he clings to earthly goods which befit him according to his earthly flesh. Therefore wicked men are correctly called “earth” inasmuch as they follow earthly nature. Satan then not only prowls about but also runs through “earth” of this kind because he completes in them the effect of his malice. For the completion of his progress is designated in his running through them, just as God on the contrary is said to run through just men. So St. Paul says in 2 Cor., “I will live in them and walk along with them.” (6:16)
Potest etiam et ex hoc aliud intelligi. Triplex enim est status viventium: quidam sunt super terram, idest in caelo, ut Angeli et beati omnes, quidam in terra sicut homines mortali carne viventes, quidam autem sub terra ut Daemones et damnati omnes. Primos igitur Satan neque circuit neque perambulat, quia in caelestibus civibus nihil malitiae potest esse, sicut nec in caelestibus corporibus invenitur aliquod malum naturae; eos autem qui sunt in Inferno perambulat sed non circuit, quia eos totaliter suae malitiae subiectos habet, nec oportet ut ad eos decipiendos aliqua calliditate utatur; eos autem qui sunt in terra circuit et perambulat, quia et caliditate eos decipere nititur et quosdam eorum ad suam malitiam trahit, qui maxime per terram designantur, ut dictum est. There can also be another interpretation of this passage. There are three states of the living. Some are above the earth, that is, in heaven, like the angels and all the blessed. Still others are on the earth like all the men living in mortal flesh. Some are under the earth like the demons and all the damned. Satan neither prowls about nor runs through the first group because there can be no malice in the citizens of heaven, as there can be no evil of nature in the heavenly bodies. He prowls about with those who are in hell, but does not run through them because he has them totally subject to his malice, so it is not necessary that he use craftiness to deceive them. However he prowls about and runs through those who are on earth because he strives to deceive them by his craftiness and to draw some of them to his malice, who are especially designated by the term “earth”, as I have already explained.
Et quod per terram homines terreni designentur satis aperte ostenditur per hoc quod dominus Iob, quamvis in terra habitantem, a terra segregare videtur. Nam cum Satan dixisset circuivi terram et perambulavi eam, subiungitur dixitque dominus ad eum: numquid considerasti servum meum Iob, quod non sit ei similis in terra? Frustra enim quaesitum videretur an Iob considerasset qui terram circuisse et perambulasse se asserebat, nisi servum suum Iob praeter terram esse intelligeret. Et manifeste ostendit in quo a terra segregetur in hoc quod dicit servum meum Iob. Homo enim quasi medius constitutus est inter Deum et res terrenas, nam mente inhaeret Deo carne autem rebus terrenis coniungitur; omne autem medium duorum eo magis ab uno extremo recedit quo magis alteri appropinquat: homo igitur quanto magis Deo inhaeret tanto remotior est a terra. Hoc autem est servum Dei esse quod mente Deo inhaerere, nam servus est qui non sui causa est: ille autem qui mente Deo inhaeret se ipsum in Deum ordinat quasi servus amoris non timoris. The fact that worldly men are designated by “earth” is shown clearly enough by the fact that the Lord seems to separate Job from the earth, although he is living on earth. For when Satan had said, “I have prowled about the earth and I have run through it,” the text adds, “And the Lord said to him: Have you considered my servant Job, there is none like him on the earth?” For it would seem groundless to ask whether he who asserted he had prowled about and run through the earth had considered Job, unless he understood Job his servant to be outside the earth. God clearly shows in what respect Job is separated from the earth saying, “my servant Job.” Man has been created as it were like a mean between God and earthly things, for with the mind he clings to God but with the flesh he is joined to earthly things. Besides, as every mean recedes more from one extreme the closer it approaches to the other one. So, the more man clings to God, the more removed he is from earth. To be a servant of God means to cling to God with the mind, for it is characteristic of a servant to not be his own cause. The one who clings to God in his mind, orders himself to God as a servant of love and not of fear.
Et notandum est quod affectiones terrenae aliquo modo a remotis imitantur spirituales affectus quibus mens Deo coniungitur, sed ad eorum similitudinem nullo modo pervenire possunt: nam et amor terrenus ab amore Dei deficit, et per consequens omnis affectio, nam cuiuslibet affectionis est amor principium. Unde convenienter postquam dixerat numquid considerasti servum meum Iob, subditur quod non sit similis ei in terra? Quia nihil in terrenis spiritualibus aequari potest. Quamvis et possit aliter intelligi: nam in unoquoque sancto est aliqua virtutis praeminentia quantum ad aliquem specialem usum, propter quod de singulis confessorum in Ecclesia canitur non est inventus similis illi qui conservaret legem excelsi, nisi quod in Christo omnia secundum perfectissimam excellentiam fuerunt; et secundum hunc modum intelligi potest quod nullus in terra habitantium similis erat Iob, inquantum Iob praeminebat quantum ad aliquem usum virtutis. In quo autem Iob fuerit servus Dei et nullus ei similis in terra, ostendit cum subdit homo simplex et rectus ac timens Deum et recedens a malo, quae quia supra exposita sunt ad praesens dimittantur. Note that earthly affections in some remote sense imitate spiritual affections by which the mind is joined to God, but they can in no way complete their similarity. This is because earthly love and consequently all affection falls short of the love of God, because love is the principle of every affection. So after God fittingly said, “Have you considered my servant Job,” he continues, “there is none like him on earth,” because nothing among earthly things can equal spiritual things. However, this passage can be understood also in another way, for in each saint, there is some preeminent virtue for some special use. This is why the we sing in Church for each one of the Confessors that, “There is found none like him who kept the law of the Most High,” except for Christ because everything existed in him in the most perfect and excellent way. In this way the text can be understood to mean that no one of those living on earth was like Job in that he excelled in some special use of virtue. In the next verse, the text shows in what Job was a servant of God and that there was no one like him on earth when it adds, “He is a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”, which will not be dealt with here because it has been already commented on.
Considerandum autem quod Deus iustorum vitam non solum ad eorum bonum ordinat sed aliis eam conspicuam reddit; sed conspicientes eam non similiter afficiuntur ad ipsam: nam boni eam pro exemplo habentes ex ipsa proficiunt, mali vero si non corriguntur ut eius exemplo boni fiant, ex sanctorum vita inspecta deficiunt dum vel per invidiam torquentur vel falsis iudiciis eam pervertere conantur, secundum illud apostoli Cor. II 15 Christi odor bonus sumus Deo, et in his qui salvi fiunt et in his qui pereunt: aliis quidem odor mortis in mortem, aliis autem odor vitae in vitam. Sic igitur Deus sanctorum vitam non solum ab electis considerari vult ad profectum salutis sed etiam ab iniquis ad cumulum damnationis, quia ex vita sanctorum condemnabilis ostenditur perversitas impiorum, secundum illud quod dicitur Sap. IV 16 condemnat iustus mortuus vivos impios. Et ideo dominus ad Satan dicit numquid considerasti servum meum Iob etc., quasi dicat: terram quidem circuis et perambulas, sed servum meum Iob solum considerare potes et eius virtutem mirari. Consider that God not only orders the lives of the just for their own good, but he represents it for others to see. Still those who see this example are not all influenced by it in the same way. For the good who consider the life of the just as an example profit from the experience; whereas the wicked, if they are not corrected so that they become good by his example, revolt against the life of the just which they have observed, either when they are either tortured by envy or they try to ruin that life with false judgments, as the Apostle Paul shows in 2 Cor., “For we are the good odor of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one the stench of death to death; to the other the smell of life to life.” (2:15) Thus God wants the life of the saints to be considered not only by the elect for the progress of their salvation, but also by the iniquitous for the increase of their damnation, for from the life of the saints the perversity of the impious is shown to be blameworthy as Wisdom says, “The just man who has died condemns the impious who are alive.” (4:16) Therefore the Lord says to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, etc.”, as if to say: You prowl about and run through the earth, but you can consider by servant Job and wonder at his virtue.
Solet autem perversorum hominum, quorum princeps est Satan et eorum hic personam gerit, talis esse consuetudo ut, sanctorum vitam quia reprehendere non possunt, non ex recta intentione eos agere calumnientur, secundum illud Eccli. XI 33 bona in mala convertens insidiatur et in electis imponet maculam. Et hoc apparet ex hoc quod subditur cui respondens Satan ait: numquid frustra Iob timet Deum? Quasi dicat: negare non possum quin bona faciat, sed hoc non agit ex recta intentione propter tuum amorem et honestatis, sed propter temporalia quae a te consecutus est. Et ideo dicit numquid frustra Iob timet Deum? Illud enim frustra facere dicimur ex quo id quod intendimus assequi non possumus; Iob autem tibi servit propter temporalia quae a te assecutus est, unde non est frustra quod tibi serviendo te timet. Perverse men, whose prince is Satan who here acts in their place, usually accuse holy men unjustly of not acting for a right intention because they cannot find fault with the life of the saints. Scripture expresses this saying, “Turning good to evil, he lies in ambush and he will put the blame on the elect.” (Sir. 11:33) This appears in what follows in the text, “Then Satan answered the Lord: Does Job fear God in vain?” as if to say: I cannot deny that he does good things, but he does not do them for a right intention because of love of you and the good for its own sake. Rather he does them because of the temporal goods which he has attained from you. So he says, “Does Job fear God in vain?” for we are said to do something in vain when we cannot hope to attain what we intend. Job serves you because of the temporal goods he has gained from you, so it is not in vain that he fears you in serving you.
Et quod temporalem prosperitatem consecutus sit ostendit quantum ad duo. Primo quantum ad immunitatem malorum, quia scilicet praeservatus erat a Deo ab omni adversitate, et hoc est quod dicit nonne tu vallasti, idest protexisti sicut protegit vallum aut murus, eum, quantum ad suam personam, ac domum eius, quantum ad prolem et familiam, et universam substantiam eius, quantum ad possessiones; et addit per circuitum, ut perfecta immunitas ostendatur, quia illud quod per circuitum vallatur ex nulla parte potest pati insultum. Secundo ostendit eius prosperitatem quantum ad multiplicationem bonorum, et hoc est quod dicit operibus manuum eius benedixisti. Et quidem cum Deus dicendo omnia faciat, benedicere Dei est bonitatem rebus dare: tunc ergo Deus operibus alicuius benedicit quando ea ad bonum perducit ut finem debitum consequantur. Et quia quaedam bona homini proveniunt absque suo opere et intentione, propter hoc addit et possessio eius crevit in terra. Sic igitur Satan calumniatur facta beati Iob quasi ea ex intentione ageret bonitatis terrenae; unde manifestum est quod bona quae agimus non referuntur ad prosperitatem terrenam quasi ad praemium, alias non esset perversa intentio si quis propter prosperitatem temporalem Deo serviret; et similiter e contrario adversitas temporalis non est propria poena peccatorum, de quo fere in toto libro quaestio erit. Satan shows that Job has attained temporal prosperity in two ways. First, as to his immunity from evils, because he has been preserved by God from all adversity and this is what he says, “Have you not fortified with a wall?” that is, have you not protected him like a hedge or wall protects, and “him” as to his person, “his house” as to his family and children; “all that he has,” as to all his possessions. Satan adds, “in a circle” to show a perfect immunity because what is entirely surrounded by a wall in a circle cannot suffer an attack from any direction. Second, he shows his prosperity regarding the multiplication of goods and this is what he says, “You have blessed the work of his hands.” Because God makes all things by his speaking, the blessing of God gives goodness to things. Thus God blesses someone’s works when he brings them to good to attain a fitting end. Because some goods come to a man without his effort and intention, he adds, “and his possessions have increased on the earth.” So Satan unjustly deprecates the deeds of blessed Job as though he did them from the intention of earthly goodness. So it is clear that the good things which we do are not referred to earthly prosperity as a reward; otherwise, it would not be a perverse intention if someone were to serve God because of temporal prosperity. The contrary is likewise true. Temporal adversity is not the proper punishment of sins, and this question will be the theme dealt with in the entire book.
Vult autem ostendere Satan quod propter prosperitatem terrenam quam consecutus erat Iob Deo servierat per oppositum: si enim cessante prosperitate terrena Iob Deum timere desineret, manifestum fieret quod propter prosperitatem terrenam qua fruebatur Deum timebat; et ideo subdit sed extende paululum manum tuam et tange cuncta quae possidet, scilicet ea auferendo, nisi in faciem benedixerit tibi, idest manifeste maledixerit, supple male mihi accidat. Et notandum quod ex magna adversitate etiam vere iustorum interdum corda commoventur, sed simulate iusti ex modica adversitate turbantur velut nullam virtutis radicem habentes. Vult ergo Satan innuere quod Iob non vere iustus erat sed simulate, et ideo dicit quod si etiam paululum adversitate tangatur murmuraret contra Deum, quod est Deum blasphemare. Et signanter dicit nisi in faciem benedixerit tibi, ut significet quia etiam in prosperitate in corde suo Deum quodammodo blasphemabat dum eius amori temporalia praeponebat, sed prosperitate sublata etiam in faciem blasphemaret, idest manifeste. Potest et aliter intelligi hoc quod dicit nisi in faciem benedixerit tibi, ut benedictio proprie sumatur et sit sensus: si tu paululum eum tangas prosperitatem terrenam auferendo, haec mihi accidant nisi manifestum fiat quod antea benedixerit tibi non in vero corde sed in facie, idest ad apparentiam hominum. Satan wants to show that Job had served God because of the earthly prosperity he had attained using an argument based on opposition. For if after earthly prosperity comes to an end Job ceased fearing God, it would become clear that he feared God because of the earthly prosperity he was enjoying. So he adds, “Put forth your hand just a little and touch all that he has,” by taking it away, “If he does not bless (benedixerit) you to your face,” i.e. curse you openly (literally, “may misfortune come upon me.”) Note that even the hearts of truly just men are sometimes badly shaken by great adversity, but the deceitfully just are disturbed by a slight adversity like men having no root in their virtue. So Satan wants to insinuate that Job was not truly just but only pretending to be. Thus he says that if he should be touched by even a very small adversity, he would murmur against God, that is blaspheme him. He distinctly says, “If he does not you to your face,” to indicate that even in prosperity he was blaspheming God in a certain sense in his heart when he preferred temporal things to love of him. But when his prosperity is taken away, he would blaspheme God even to his face, i.e. openly. The expression, “If he does not bless (benedixerit) you to your face,” can be understood in another way, so that may be taken as a blessing properly speaking and the sense would be this: If you should touch him even a little by taking away his earthly prosperity, may these things befall me if it does not become clear that before he blessed you not in his true heart, but to your face, that is keeping up appearances before men.
Et quia, sicut dictum est, dominus sanctorum virtutem vult omnibus esse notam, et bonis et malis, placuit sibi ut sicut bona facta eius omnes conspexerant ita etiam recta eius intentio omnibus fieret manifesta: et ideo voluit Iob prosperitate terrena privare, ut eo in Dei timore perseverante manifestum fieret quod ex recta intentione et non propter temporalia Deum timebat. Sed sciendum est quod Deus malos punit et per bonos Angelos et per malos, sed bonis numquam adversitatem inducit nisi per malos: et ideo super beatum Iob adversitatem non nisi per Satan induci voluit, et propter hoc subditur dixit ergo dominus ad Satan: ecce universa quae habet in manu tua sunt, idest potestati tuae trado, tantum in eum ne extendas manum tuam. Ex quo manifeste datur intelligi quod iustis viris Satan non quantum vult sed quantum permittitur nocere potest. Considerandum etiam quod dominus dictum non praecepit Satan ut Iob offenderet sed solum ei potestatem dedit, quia voluntas nocendi inest cuilibet malo ex se ipso sed potestas non nisi a Deo. Because, as I have said, God wills the virtue of the saints to be known to all, both the just and the wicked, it pleased him that as all saw Job’s good deeds of Job that his right intention should also be clearly shown to all. So he willed to deprive Job of his earthly prosperity, so that when he persevered in the fear of God, it would become clear that he feared God from a right intention and not on account of temporal things. Note that God punishes wicked men through both the good and the wicked angels, but he never sends adversity on good men except through wicked angels. So he did not will that adversity be brought on blessed Job except through Satan, and because of this the text continues, “And the Lord said to Satan: Behold, all that he has is in your power,” that is, I surrender it to your power, “only do not extend your hand to him.” From this text we are clearly given to understand that Satan cannot harm just men as much as he wants, but only as much as he is permitted to do so. Consider also that the Lord did not command Satan to strike Job, but only gave him the power to do so, because, “The will to do harm is in each wicked person from himself, but the power of harming comes from God.”
Patet igitur ex praedictis hanc fuisse causam adversitatis beati Iob ut eius virtus omnibus fieret manifesta, unde et de Tobia dicitur quod ideo dominus ei tentationem evenire permisit ut posteris daretur exemplum patientiae eius sicut et sancti Iob. Cavendum autem est ne credatur dominum ex verbis Satan inductum esse ad permittendum Iob affligi, sed aeterna dispositione hoc ordinavit ad manifestandam virtutem Iob contra omnes calumnias impiorum: et ideo praemittitur calumnia et subsequitur divina permissio. From what has been said already it is clear that the cause of the adversity of blessed Job was that his virtue should be made clear to all. So Scripture says of Tobias, “Thus the Lord permitted him to be tempted so that an example might be given to posterity of his patience, like blessed Job.” (Tob. 2:12) Be careful not to believe that the Lord had been persuaded by the words of Satan to permit Job to be afflicted, but he ordered this from his eternal disposition to make clear Job’s virtue against the false accusations of the impious. Therefore, false accusations are placed first and the divine permission follows.
The Third Lesson: The Trial
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־הַשָּׂטָן הִנֵּה כָל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ בְּיָדֶךָ רַק אֵלָיו אַל־תִּשְׁלַח יָדֶךָ וַיֵּצֵא הַשָּׂטָן מֵעִם פְּנֵי יְהוָה׃ 12 וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם וּבָנָיו וּבְנֹתָיו אֹכְלִים וְשֹׁתִים יַיִן בְּבֵית אֲחִיהֶם הַבְּכוֹר׃ 13 וּמַלְאָךְ בָּא אֶל־אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר הַבָּקָר הָיוּ חֹרְשׁוֹת וְהָאֲתֹנוֹת רֹעוֹת עַל־יְדֵיהֶם׃ 14 וַתִּפֹּל שְׁבָא וַתִּקָּחֵם וְאֶת־הַנְּעָרִים הִכּוּ לְפִי־חָרֶב וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק־אֲנִי לְבַדִּי לְהַגִּיד לָךְ׃ 15 עוֹד זֶה מְדַבֵּר וְזֶה בָּא וַיֹּאמַר אֵשׁ אֱלֹהִים נָפְלָה מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם וַתִּבְעַר בַּצֹּאן וּבַנְּעָרִים וַתֹּאכְלֵם וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק־אֲנִי לְבַדִּי לְהַגִּיד לָךְ׃ 16 עוֹד זֶה מְדַבֵּר וְזֶה בָּא וַיֹּאמַר כַּשְׂדִּים שָׂמוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה רָאשִׁים וַיִּפְשְׁטוּ עַל־הַגְּמַלִּים וַיִּקָּחוּם וְאֶת־הַנְּעָרִים הִכּוּ לְפִי־חָרֶב וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק־אֲנִי לְבַדִּי 17 לְהַגִּיד לָךְ׃ עַד זֶה מְדַבֵּר וְזֶה בָּא וַיֹּאמַר בָּנֶיךָ וּבְנוֹתֶיךָ אֹכְלִים וְשֹׁתִים יַיִן בְּבֵית אֲחִיהֶם הַבְּכוֹר׃ 18 וְהִנֵּה רוּחַ גְּדוֹלָה בָּאָה מֵעֵבֶר הַמִּדְבָּר וַיִּגַּע בְּאַרְבַּע פִּנּוֹת הַבַּיִת וַיִּפֹּל עַל־הַנְּעָרִים וַיָּמוּתוּ וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק־אֲנִי לְבַדִּי לְהַגִּיד לָךְ׃ 19 12 So Satan went forth from the face of the Lord. 13 Now on a certain day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine, they were in their eldest brother’s house; 14 a messenger came to Job and said: The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took everything. They slew the servants with the sword and I alone have escaped to tell you. 16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said: The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants consuming them. I alone escaped to tell you. 17 While he was still speaking, there another messenger came and said: The Chaldeans formed three companies and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the sword; and I alone escaped to tell you. 18 While he was still speaking, another messenger entered and said: Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, 19 and a violent wind suddenly rushed in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It fell on your children and they are dead and I alone escaped to tell you.
Egressusque est Satan a facie domini et cetera. Posita causa adversitatis beati Iob, consequenter ostenditur qualiter ei huiusmodi adversitas supervenit. Et quia tota inducta est per Satan, ideo de ipso primo dicitur egressusque est Satan a facie domini, quasi ad utendum potestate sibi permissa. Et signanter dicitur quod egressus est a facie domini, nam Satan secundum quod potestas ei permittitur nocendi alicui coram facie domini est, quia ex rationabili Dei voluntate hoc accidit, sed dum exequitur permissam sibi potestatem a facie domini exit, quia ab intentione permittentis recedit; quod in proposito apparet: permissum enim fuit ei a Deo ut posset nocere Iob ad manifestandam eius virtutem, sed Satan non propter hoc eum afflixit sed ut eum ad impatientiam et blasphemiam provocaret. After the cause of the blessed Job’s adversity has been considered, the text shows as a consequence how such adversity came upon him. Because all the adversity was produced by Satan, the text therefore speaks about him first saying, “So Satan went forth from the face of the Lord,” as if to use the power permitted to him. It is expressly stated, “He went forth from the face of the Lord,” for Satan is in the presence of the face of the Lord in that the power of harming someone is permitted him because this happens according to the reasonable will of God but when he uses this power permitted to him, he goes forth from the face of the Lord, because he turns away from the intention of the one giving him permission. This is apparent in the case in question: for he was permitted by God to harm Job to make Job’s virtue clearly known. However, Satan did not inflict him for this reason, but to provoke him to impatience and blasphemy.
Simul autem in hoc manifeste apparet verum esse quod supra diximus, Satan affuisse inter filios Dei coram eo assistentes secundum quod assistere dicuntur Deo aliqui prout divino iudicio et examini subduntur, non secundum quod assistere coram Deo dicuntur qui Deum vident: unde et hic non dicitur quod Satan abiecerit a facie sua Deum sed quod egressus est a facie domini, quasi ab intentione providentiae eius recedens licet ordinem providentiae effugere non valens. At the same time, what we said above appears clearly true in this text. Satan came to present himself among the sons of God assisting in his presence in the sense that some are said to assist in the presence of God who are subject to divine judgment and examination, not in the sense that they assist in the presence of God who see God. So here the text does not say Satan cast God away from his face, but that,” he went forth from the presence of God,” as though he turned away from the intention of his providence, although he was not strong enough to escape the order of providence.
Considerandum est autem quod in adversitate enarranda ordo contrarius observatur ordini quo fuerat prosperitas enarrata. Nam in prosperitate enarrata a potioribus ad minora processit incipiens a persona ipsius Iob, et post hoc posuit prolem et deinde animalia, primo oves et deinceps alia: et hoc rationabiliter quia perpetuitas quae in persona salvari non potest quaeritur in prole, ad cuius sustentationem possessionibus indigetur. In adversitate autem proponitur e converso: nam primo narratur amissio substantiae, secundo oppressio prolis, tertio afflictio propriae personae, et hoc ad adversitatis augmentum, nam ille qui maiori adversitate oppressus est minorem non sentit, sed post minorem sentitur maior. Et ideo ut a singulis adversitatibus Iob propriam afflictionem sentiret et sic magis ad impatientiam commoveretur, incepit Satan a minori adversitate Iob affligere et paulatim processit ad maiora. Reflect that the order in which the adversities are about to be explained is just the opposite of the order in which the prosperity was explained. For the prosperity which was explained proceeded from the more important to the less important beginning from the person of Job himself. After him came his offspring and then his animals, first the sheep and then the rest. This was done reasonably because the duration which cannot be preserved in the person is sought in the offspring for whose sustenance one needs possessions. In the adversity however, the opposite order is proposed. First, the loss of possessions is related, then the destruction of the children and third the affliction of his own person. This is to increase the adversity. For one who has been oppressed by a greater adversity does not feel a lesser one. But after a lesser adversity, one feels a greater one. Therefore, so Job would feel his own individual affliction from each adversity and so be disturbed to become more impatience, Satan began to afflict Job with a small adversity and gradually proceeded to greater ones.
Considerandum est etiam quod ab his quae subito superveniunt hominis animus magis commovetur, nam praecogitata adversa facilius tolerantur; et ideo ut Iob magis commoveretur, in tempore maximae iocunditatis quando minus de adversitate cogitari poterat, ei Satan adversitatem induxit, ut etiam ex ipsa iocunditate praesenti adversitas gravior appareret: nam contraria iuxta se posita magis elucescunt. Et ideo dicitur cum autem quadam die filii et filiae eius comederent et biberent vinum, quod specialiter ponitur ad iocunditatis indicium, secundum illud Eccli. XXXI 35 vinum in iocunditate creatum est, non in ebrietate, ab initio; in domo fratris sui primogeniti, quod etiam ad maiorem solemnitatem ponitur: probabile enim est quod in domo primogeniti solemnius convivium celebraretur; nuntius venit ad Iob qui diceret: boves arabant, ut ex memoria fructus damnum intolerabilius videretur; et asinae pascebantur iuxta eos, quod etiam ponitur ad augmentum doloris, dum consideraret quod eo tempore hostes supervenerunt quo plura simul possent rapere; et irruerunt Sabaei, hostes scilicet a remotis venientes, a quibus non de facili recuperari possent quae rapuissent; tuleruntque omnia, ne si aliqua reliquissent, ea saltem sufficerent ad necessarium usum et ad propaginem; et pueros percusserunt gladio, quod viro iusto gravius fuit; et evasi ego solus ut nuntiarem tibi, quasi dicat: ideo hoc divina dispositione evenit ut ego solus evaderem, ut tu posses habere nuntium tanti damni, quasi Deus te dolore affligere intendit. Consider also that the soul of man is more disturbed by those things which come on the scene suddenly for adversities which are foreseen are more easily tolerated. Therefore to make Job more disturbed, Satan brought adversity on him at a time of the greatest rejoicing, when he could at least think about adversity, so that the adversity might seem more severe from the very presence of the rejoicing. For “when things which are contraries are placed beside each other, they become clearer in their contrast.” Therefore, the text says, “on a certain day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine,” which is especially put here to indicate rejoicing because according to Sirach, “Wine was created from the beginning for rejoicing, not for drunkenness.” (31:35) “They were in their eldest brother’s house,” which is placed to show greater solemnity. For it is probable that a more solemn banquet would be celebrated in the home of the first born. “A messenger came to Job and said: The oxen were plowing,” which would remind him of profit, and so the damage would seem more unbearable. “And the asses feeding beside them,” which is also put in to increase pain when he considered that the enemy fell upon them at a time in which they could steal more things at once. “And the Sabeans fell upon them,” namely an enemy who came from far away from whom the things which they stole could not easily be retrieved. “And took everything”, lest if they left something it would at least be sufficient for necessary use or breeding. “They slew the servants with the sword,” which was more grave for the just man. “I alone escaped to tell you,” as if to say: the fact that I alone escaped happened by divine disposition so that you could have an account of such a great loss as though God meant to afflict you with pain.
Hac autem adversitate nuntiata statim altera nuntiatur, ne si aliquod intervallum fieret interim ad cor suum rediret et se ad patientiam praepararet, et sic sequentia facilius sustineret; et propter hoc subditur cumque adhuc ille loqueretur venit alter et dixit: ignis Dei, idest a Deo missus, descendit de caelo, ut quasi eius menti imprimeretur quod non solum ab hominibus sed etiam a Deo persecutionem pateretur, et sic facilius contra Deum provocaretur; et tactas oves puerosque consumpsit, quasi divinitus hoc procuratum sit ut statim ad tactum ignis omnia consumarentur, quod est supra naturalem virtutem ignis; et effugi ego solus ut nuntiarem tibi. Sequitur sed adhuc illo loquente venit alius et dixit: Chaldaei, qui erant feroces et potentes; unde ad eorum potentiam ostendendam subditur fecerunt tres turmas, ut sic vindicta sperari non possit nec recuperatio damni; de quo damno subditur et invaserunt camelos et cetera. Sequitur de oppressione prolis: adhuc loquebatur ille et ecce alius intravit et dixit: filiis tuis et filiabus vescentibus et bibentibus vinum in domo fratris sui, ut ex hoc eorum mors tristior foret quo Iob poterat dubitare eos in statu alicuius peccati fuisse morte praeventos: nam et ipse propterea sanctificabat eos et holocausta per singulos offerebat quia timebat ne in conviviis aliquod peccatum incurrissent. Et ne forte posset credi quod paenituerint et animae suae providerint, subditur repente ventus vehemens irruit a regione deserti et concussit quatuor angulos domus, quod dicitur ad ostendendum vehementiam venti qui praeter consuetudinem totam domum simul subvertit, ut per hoc ostendatur ex divina voluntate processisse, et sic facilius contra Deum moveretur dum affligebatur ab eo cui devota mente servierat. Et ad maiorem doloris cumulum subditur damnum interemptae prolis, cum dicitur quae corruens oppressit liberos tuos et mortui sunt, scilicet omnes, ne saltem in aliquo evadente ex liberis posteritatis spes remaneret. Et hoc eo magis credebatur dolorosum quo liberis omnibus interemptis, aliquis famulorum evadere potuit ad concitandum dolorem, nam sequitur et effugi ego solus ut nuntiarem tibi. Immediately after the announcement of this adversity, another one is announced, lest it some interval happened meanwhile, Job would recover his composure and prepare himself in patience to sustain what followed more easily. Because of this, the text adds, “While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said: The fire of God,” that is, send by God, “fell from heaven,” as if to impress on his mind that he was suffering persecution not only from men, but also from God, and thus he might more easily be provoked against God. “And burned up the sheep and the servants, consuming them,” as if to say: this was divinely caused so that everything was immediately consumed at the touch of the fire. This is beyond the natural power of fire. “And I alone escaped to tell you.” The text continues, “While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said: The Chaldeans” (who were fierce and powerful) “formed three companies” to emphasize how strong they were, so that he cannot hope for revenge or recovery of his lost goods. The next text shows what he lost saying, “and made a raid upon the camels and took them and slew the servants with the sword. I alone escaped to tell you.” The destruction of his children follows. “While he was still speaking, another messenger entered and said: Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their brother’s house,” so that because of this, their death would be more sad for Job, since he would be uncertain whether they were in a state of sin preceding their death. For he used to sanctify them and offer holocausts for each one for this reason because he was afraid that they had incurred some sin during their banquets. Lest he could perhaps think that they had repented or provided for their souls, the text adds, “a violent wind suddenly rushed in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house.” This is said to show the force of the wind which unusually destroyed the whole house at once, which shows the wind proceeded by divine will and so Job would be moved more easily against God when he was afflicted by one whom he had served with a devout mind. To compound his sorrow more greatly, the damage of the destruction of his children is added, when the text says, “It fell and crushed the young people and they are dead,” namely, all of them so that no hope of posterity would remain in the escape of even one of his children. This was believed to be more sorrowful because although all the children were destroyed, one of the servants escaped to increase his pain, for there follows, “and I alone escaped to tell you.”
Considerandum vero est quod cum omnis praedicta adversitas sit per Satan inducta, necesse est confiteri quod Deo permittente Daemones possunt turbationem aeris inducere, ventos concitare, et facere ut ignis de caelo cadat. Quamvis enim materia corporalis non oboediat ad nutum Angelis neque bonis neque malis ad susceptionem formarum sed soli creatori Deo, tamen ad motum localem natura corporea nata est spirituali naturae oboedire; cuius indicium in homine apparet, nam ad solum imperium voluntatis moventur membra ut opus a voluntate dispositum prosequantur. Quaecumque igitur solo motu locali fieri possunt, haec per naturalem virtutem non solum spiritus boni sed etiam mali facere possunt, nisi divinitus prohibeantur; venti autem et pluviae et aliae huiusmodi aeris perturbationes ex solo motu vaporum resolutorum ex terra et aqua fieri possunt, unde ad huiusmodi procuranda naturalis virtus Daemonis sufficit: sed interdum ab hoc divina virtute prohibentur ut non liceat eis facere omne quod naturaliter possunt. Nec est contrarium quod dicitur Ier. XIV 22 numquid sunt in sculptilibus gentium qui pluant? Aliud enim est naturali cursu pluere, quod solius Dei est qui causas naturales ad hoc ordinavit, aliud vero est causis naturalibus a Deo ad pluendum ordinatis interdum artificialiter uti ad pluviam, vel ventum interdum quasi extraordinarie producendum. Consider that since all this aforementioned adversity comes from Satan, it is necessary to confess that with God’s permission demons can bring about turbulence in the air, can stir up the winds and can make fire fall from heaven. For although corporeal matter obeys only the nod of God the Creator for the reception of forms, and does not obey the nod of either the good or the wicked angels, corporeal nature is still born to obey spiritual nature as far as local movement is concerned. Evidence of this appears in men, for the members of the body are moved at the mere command of the will to pursue the act desired by the will. Whatever then can be done only with local motion, can be done by not only the good but also the wicked angels from their natural power, unless prohibited by divine power. The winds the rains and other like disturbances in the atmosphere come about only from the motion of the vapors released from the earth and the water. Thus the natural power of a demon is sufficient to procure these things. However, sometimes they are prohibited from this by divine power so that they are not permitted to do everything which they can do naturally. Nor is this contrary to what is said in Jeremiah, “Are there any among the false gods of the nations which can give rain?” (14:22) For it is one thing that the rain takes place by natural cause and this is the office of God alone who orders natural causes to this; it is another thing to use artificially those natural causes ordered by God to rain to produce rain or wind sometimes in an almost extraordinary way.
The Fourth Lecture: Job’s Submission
וַיָּקָם אִיּוֹב וַיִּקְרַע אֶת־מְעִלוֹ וַיָּגָז אֶת־רֹאשׁוֹ וַיִּפֹּל אַרְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ׃ 20 וַיֹּאמֶר עָרֹם יָצָתִי מִבֶּטֶן אִמִּי וְעָרֹם אָשׁוּב שָׁמָה יְהוָה נָתַן וַיהוָה לָקָח יְהִי שֵׁם יְהוָה מְבֹרָךְ׃ 21 בְּכָל־זֹאת לֹא־חָטָא אִיּוֹב וְלֹא־נָתַן תִּפְלָה לֵאלֹהִים׃ פ 22 20 Then Job arose and rent his robe; he shaved his head and he fell on the ground and worshipped. 21 He said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there; The Lord gave; the Lord has taken away. As God pleased, so it has been done. Blessed be the name of the Lord! 22 In all these things, Job did not sin with his lips, nor did he say anything foolish against God.
Tunc surrexit Iob et cetera. Enumerata adversitate beati Iob, agitur hic de patientia quam in adversitate monstravit. Sciendum autem est ad evidentiam eorum quae hic dicuntur quod circa corporalia bona et circa animi passiones antiquorum philosophorum diversa opinio fuit. Nam Stoici dixerunt bona exteriora nulla bona hominis esse, et quod pro eorum amissione nulla tristitia animo sapientis poterat inesse; Peripateticorum vero sententia fuit quod bona exteriora sunt quidem aliqua hominis bona, non quidem principalia sed quasi instrumentaliter ordinata ad principale hominis bonum, quod est bonum mentis: et propter hoc sapientem in amissionibus exteriorum bonorum moderate tristari concedebant, ita scilicet quod per tristitiam ratio non absorberetur ut a rectitudine declinaret. Et haec sententia verior est et ecclesiasticae doctrinae concordat, ut patet per Augustinum in libro de civitate Dei. After the adversity of blessed Job has been narrated, the text treats the patience Job showed in adversity. As evidence of what is said here know that there was a difference of opinion among the ancients philosophers as to corporeal goods and the passions of the soul. For the Stoics said that exterior goods were not goods of man and that there could be no sorrow for their loss in the soul of the wise man. But, the opinion of the Peripatetics was that some of the goods of man are truly exterior goods, though these are certainly not the principal ones. Nevertheless, they are like instruments ordered to the principal good of man which is the good of the mind. Because of this, they conceded that the wise man is moderately sad in the losses of exterior goods, namely his reason is not so absorbed by sadness that he leaves righteousness. This opinion is the more true of the two and is in accord with the teaching of the Church as is clear from St. Augustine in his book, The City of God.
Hanc igitur sententiam Iob secutus, tristitiam quidem in adversitate monstravit, tamen sic moderatam ut rationi subiecta esset, et ideo dicitur quod tunc surrexit Iob et scidit tunicam suam, quod apud homines solet esse tristitiae indicium. Notandum vero est quod dicit tunc, scilicet post mortem filiorum auditam, ut de eis magis quam de amissione rerum doluisse videatur. De amicis enim mortuis non dolere duri et insensibilis cordis esse videtur, sed virtuosi est hunc dolorem non immoderatum habere, secundum illud apostoli Thess. IV 13 nolumus vos ignorare de dormientibus, ut non contristemini sicut et ceteri qui spem non habent: et hoc in beato Iob fuit, unde et status mentis eius per actum exteriorem apparuit. Quia enim ratio erecta stetit, congruenter dicitur quod Iob surrexit, quamvis homines dolentes magis soleant prosterni; quia vero tristitiam patiebatur sed non penetrantem usque ad intima rationis perturbanda, in exterioribus tristitiae signum ostendit quantum ad duo, scilicet quantum ad ea quae sunt extra naturam corporis, unde dicitur et scidit tunicam suam, et quantum ad ea quae de natura corporis procedunt, unde dicitur et tonso capite, quod apud eos qui comam nutriunt solet esse doloris indicium. Unde haec duo signa tristitiae convenienter praemissis adversitatibus respondent, nam scissio tunicae respondet amissioni rerum, tonsio capitis amissioni filiorum. Tunc autem mens erecta stat quando humiliter Deo subicitur: unumquodque enim tanto in maiori nobilitatis altitudine consistit quanto magis suo perfectivo substat, sicut aer dum subditur luci et materia dum subditur formae; quod igitur mens beati Iob per tristitiam deiecta non erat sed in sua rectitudine persistens, manifestatur per hoc quod Deo se humiliter subdidit, nam sequitur corruens in terram adoravit, ad humilitatis et devotionis indicium demonstrandum. So Job followed this opinion and truly showed sorrow in adversity; yet this sadness was so moderated that it was subject to reason. The text therefore continues, “Then Job arose, and rent his robe,” which is usually an indication of sadness among men. Note however that the text says, “Then”, namely after he heard about the death of his children, so that he might seem more sad over their loss than the loss of his possessions. For it is characteristic of a hard and insensible heart to not grieve over dead friends, but it is characteristic of virtuous men to not have this grief in an immoderate way as St. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians, “But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” (4:13) This was true in the case of blessed Job and so the state of his mind appears in his exterior act. Since his reason stood upright, the text fittingly says that “Job arose” although men in grief usually prostrate themselves. For though he suffered grief, but not a grief which penetrated as far as disturbing the his interior reason, he showed a sign of his sadness in exterior actions in two ways: namely as to what is outside the nature of the body, and so the text says, “he rent his robe”; and as to those things which proceed from the nature of the body, “he shaved his head,” which among those who care for their hair, usually indicates grief. These two signs then fittingly correspond to the adversities mentioned, for the tearing of the robe corresponds to the loss of his possessions, and the cutting of the hair corresponds to the loss of his sons. Then the mind stands upright when it humbly is submitted to God. For each thing exists in a higher and more noble state to the extent that it stands firm in what perfects it more, like air when it is subject to light, and matter when it is subject to form. Therefore the fact that the mind of blessed Job was not dejected by sadness, but persisted in its righteousness, clearly shows that he humbly subjected himself to God. So the text continues, “and he fell on the ground, and worshipped,” to show evidence for his devotion and humility.
Et non solum factis statum suae mentis declaravit sed etiam verbis; rationabiliter enim demonstravit, etsi tristitiam pateretur, se tristitiae non debere succumbere. Primo quidem ex condicione naturae, unde dicitur et dixit: nudus egressus sum de utero matris meae, scilicet terrae quae est communis mater omnium, nudus revertar illuc, idest in terram; et secundum hunc modum dicitur Eccli. XL 1 occupatio magna creata est hominibus, et iugum grave super filios Adam a die exitus de ventre matris eorum usque in diem sepulturae in matrem omnium. Potest et aliter intelligi, ut quod dicitur de utero matris meae accipiatur ad litteram de utero mulieris quae genuit eum, quod autem dicitur nudus revertar illuc intelligitur quod haec dictio illuc facit simplicem relationem: non enim aliquis iterato in ventrem matris revertitur, sed revertitur in illum statum quem habuit in utero matris quantum ad aliquid, scilicet quantum ad hoc quod est alienum esse a conversatione humana. Hoc igitur dicens rationabiliter ostendit quod propter amissionem exteriorum bonorum non debet homo tristitia absorberi, quia exteriora bona non sunt ei connaturalia sed accidentaliter adveniunt, quod ex hoc patet quia homo sine eis in hunc mundum venit et sine eis recedit: unde accidentalibus bonis sublatis, si substantiale remaneat, non debet homo tristitia superari etsi eum tristitia tangat. Job revealed the state of his mind not only by deeds, but also by words. For he rationally demonstrated that although he suffered sadness, he did not have to yield to sadness. First, he demonstrated from the condition of nature so the text said, “He said: Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb,” namely, from the earth which is the common mother of everything, “and naked shall I return there,” i.e., to the earth. Sirach speaks in the same vein saying, “Great hardship has been created for man, and a heavy yoke lies on the sons of Adam from the day they come forth from their mother’s womb until the day they return to their burial in the mother of them all.” (40:1) This can also be interpreted in another way. The expression, “from my mother’s womb” can be literally taken as the womb of the mother who bore him. When he says next “naked I shall return there,” the term “there” establishes a simple relation. For a man cannot return a second time to the womb of his own mother, but he can return to the state which he had in the womb of his mother in a certain respect, namely in that he is removed from the company of men. In saying this he reasonably shows that a man should not be absorbed with sadness because of the loss of exterior goods, since exterior goods are not connatural to him, but come to him accidentally. This is evident since a man comes into this world without them and leaves this world without them. So when these accidental goods are taken away if the substantial ones remain man ought not to be overcome by sadness although sadness may touch him.
Secundo ostendit idem ex divina operatione dicens dominus dedit, dominus abstulit: ubi primo consideranda est vera eius sententia de providentia divina circa res humanas. In hoc enim quod dixit dominus dedit, confessus est prosperitatem mundanam hominibus advenire non casualiter neque ex fato stellarum nec ex solo humano studio sed ex dispensatione divina; in hoc vero quod dicit dominus abstulit, confitetur etiam adversitates mundanas in hominibus divinae providentiae iudicio provenire. Hoc autem inducit quod non habet homo iustam querelam de Deo si temporalibus bonis spolietur, quia qui gratis dedit potuit vel usque ad finem vel ad tempus largiri: unde cum ante finem homini temporalia aufert, homo conqueri non potest. Second, he shows the same thing from divine action saying, “The Lord gave; the Lord has taken away.” Here his true opinion about divine providence in relation to human affairs must first be considered. When he says, “The Lord gave,” he confessed that earthly prosperity does not come to men accidentally either according to fate or the stars, or as a result of human exertion alone, but by divine direction. When he says, however, “The Lord has taken away,” he confesses also that earthly adversities also arise among men by the judgment of divine providence. This leads to the conclusion that man does not have a just complaint with God if he should be despoiled of his temporal goods, because he who gave freely could bestow them either until the end of his life or temporarily. So when he takes temporal goods away from man before the end of life, man cannot complain.
Tertio ostendit idem ex beneplacito divinae voluntatis dicens sicut domino placuit ita factum est; est autem amicorum idem velle et nolle: unde si ex beneplacito divino procedit quod aliquis bonis temporalibus spolietur, si Deum amat, debet voluntatem suam voluntati divinae conformare, ut hac consideratione tristitia non absorbeatur. Third, he shows the same thing from the good pleasure of the divine will saying, “As God pleased, so it has been done.” For friends will and do not will the same thing. Thus if it is the good pleasure of God that someone should be despoiled of temporal goods, if he loves God, he ought to conform his will to the divine will, so that he is not absorbed by sadness in this consideration.
Hae igitur tres rationes debito ordine ponuntur: nam in prima ratione ponitur quod bona temporalia sunt homini extranea, in secunda quod a Deo homini dantur et auferuntur, in tertia quod hoc accidit secundum beneplacitum divinae voluntatis. Unde ex prima ratione concluditur quod homo propter amissionem temporalium bonorum non debet tristitia absorberi, ex secunda quod nec etiam potest conqueri, ex tertia quod etiam debet gaudere. Non enim esset placitum Deo quod aliquis adversitatem pateretur nisi propter aliquod inde proveniens bonum: unde adversitas, licet ipsa ex se amara sit et tristitiam generet, tamen ex consideratione utilitatis propter quam Deo placet debet esse iocunda, sicut et de apostolis dicitur ibant apostoli gaudentes etc.; nam et de sumptione medicinae amarae aliquis ratione gaudet propter spem sanitatis licet sensu turbetur. Et quia gaudium est materia gratiarum actionis, ideo hanc tertiam rationem in gratiarum actionem concludit dicens sit nomen domini benedictum. Benedicitur quidem nomen domini ab hominibus inquantum de eius bonitate notitiam habent, quod scilicet omnia bene dispenset et nihil agat iniuste. These three arguments are put in the proper order. For in the first argument it is posited that temporal goods are exterior to man. In the second, it is posited that they are a gift given to a man and taken away by God. In the third that this happens according to the good pleasure of the divine will. So one can conclude from the first argument that man should not be absorbed by sorrow because of the loss of temporal goods; from the second that he cannot even complain and from the third that he ought even to rejoice. For it would not please God that someone should suffer from adversity unless he wished some good to come to him from it. So though adversity is bitter in itself and generates sadness, nevertheless it should be the cause of rejoicing when one considers the use because of which it pleases God, as is said about the apostles, “The apostles went rejoicing because they had suffered contempt for Christ.” (Acts 5:41) and so on. For when taking a bitter medicine, one can rejoice with reason because of the hope for health, although he suffers sensibly. So since joy is the matter of the action of thanksgiving, therefore Job concludes this third argument with an act of thanksgiving saying, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” The name of the Lord is truly blessed by men inasmuch as they have knowledge of his goodness, namely that he distributes all things well and does nothing unjustly.
Sic igitur concluditur innocentia Iob cum dicitur in omnibus his non peccavit Iob labiis suis, ut scilicet per verba impatientiae motum exprimeret, neque stultum quid contra Deum locutus est, idest blasphemum, ut scilicet de divina providentia blasphemaret: stultitia enim sapientiae opponitur quae proprie est cognitio divinorum. Then the text therefore concludes to the innocence of Job when it says, “In all these things, Job did not sin with his lips,” namely, he did not express a movement of impatience in word, “nor did he say something stupid against God,” i.e., blasphemy, so that he did not blaspheme concerning divine providence. For stupidity is opposed to wisdom which properly is knowledge of divine things.

The First Lesson: Satan tries Job in his Flesh
וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם וַיָּבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים לְהִתְיַצֵּב עַל־יְהוָה וַיָּבוֹא גַם־הַשָּׂטָן בְּתֹכָם לְהִתְיַצֵּב עַל־יְהוָה׃ 1 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־הַשָּׂטָן אֵי מִזֶּה תָּבֹא וַיַּעַן הַשָּׂטָן אֶת־יְהוָה וַיֹּאמַר מִשֻּׁט בָּאָרֶץ וּמֵהִתְהַלֵּךְ בָּהּ׃ 2 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־הַשָּׂטָן הֲשַׂמְתָּ לִבְּךָ אֶל־עַבְדִּי אִיּוֹב כִּי אֵין כָּמֹהוּ בָּאָרֶץ אִישׁ תָּם וְיָשָׁר יְרֵא אֱלֹהִים וְסָר מֵרָע וְעֹדֶנּוּ מַחֲזִיק בְּתֻמָּתוֹ וַתְּסִיתֵנִי 3 בוֹ לְבַלְּעוֹ חִנָּם׃ וַיַּעַן הַשָּׂטָן אֶת־יְהוָה וַיֹּאמַר עוֹר בְּעַד־עוֹר וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לָאִישׁ יִתֵּן בְּעַד נַפְשׁוֹ׃ 4 אוּלָם שְׁלַח־נָא יָדְךָ וְגַע אֶל־עַצְמוֹ וְאֶל־בְּשָׂרוֹ אִם־לֹא אֶל־פָּנֶיךָ יְבָרֲכֶךָּ׃ 5 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־הַשָּׂטָן הִנּוֹ בְיָדֶךָ אַךְ אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ שְׁמֹר׃ 6 1 Again on a certain day when the sons of God came to assist in the presence of the Lord Satan also came among them and assisted in his presence. 2 The Lord said to Satan: Where do you come from? Satan said in response: I have prowled about the earth and I have run through it. 3 The Lord said to Satan: Have you considered my servant Job; there is none like him on earth? He is a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns from evil? He still holds fast his innocence although you moved me against him to afflict him in vain. 4 Then Satan answered the Lord: Skin for skin! All that man has he will give for his life. 5 But now, put forth your hand and touch his bone and his flesh and you will see that he will curse (bless) you to your face. 6 The Lord said to Satan: Behold, he is in your hand, only spare his life.
Factum est autem, cum quadam die et cetera. Cum triplex sit hominis bonum, scilicet animae, corporis et exteriorum rerum, hoc modo ad invicem ordinantur ut corpus sit propter animam, res vero exteriores et propter corpus et propter animam. Sicut igitur est perversa intentio si quis bona animae ordinet ad prosperitatem exteriorum bonorum, ita est perversa intentio si quis bona animae ordinet ad corporis salutem. Et quidem quod Iob in actibus virtutum abundaret, quae sunt animae bona, sensibiliter cunctis poterat esse manifestum, unde et dominus ad Satan supra dixerat numquid considerasti servum meum Iob et cetera. Sed Satan calumniam inferebat quasi Iob actibus virtutum intenderet propter temporalia bona, sicut et mali homines quorum Satan princeps est perniciose iudicant de intentione bonorum; sed haec calumnia repulsa erat per hoc quod post exteriorum bonorum amissionem adhuc in virtute stabilis permanebat, ex quo sufficienter ostensum est quod eius intentio non erat ad exteriora bona obliquata. Restabat igitur ostendere ad perfectam demonstrationem virtutis Iob quod nec etiam ad salutem proprii corporis incurvata erat eius intentio, et ideo rursus inducitur divinum iudicium quo hoc manifestatur: hoc est ergo quod dicitur factum est autem, cum quadam die venissent filii Dei et starent coram domino, venisset quoque Satan inter eos et staret in conspectu eius, ut diceret dominus ad Satan: unde venis? Quibus verbis quia supra exposita sunt diutius immorandum non est, nisi quod hoc notandum est quod propter aliud factum alia dies hic inducitur, sicut et in principio Genesis secundum diversa rerum genera quae instituebantur diversi dies describuntur. Quid autem Satan examinatus responderit ostenditur consequenter cum dicitur qui respondens ait: circuivi terram et perambulavi eam. Et hoc ut supra. Since there are three goods of man: of soul, of body and exterior things, these goods are so ordered to each other that the body exists for the sake of the soul, but exterior things exist for the sake of both the body and the soul. Therefore, just as one has a perverse intention if he subordinate the goods of the soul to prosperity in exterior goods, so one also has a perverse intention if he should order the goods of the soul to the health of the body. Job truly abounded in the acts of the virtues which are the goods of the soul. This was clear sensibly to all and so the Lord said to Satan above “Have you considered my servant Job, etc.” [1:8] But Satan was inferring calumny as though Job intentionally performed acts of the virtues for temporal goods, just as evil men, also, whose prince is Satan, perniciously judge the intention of good men. But this calumny was rejected by the fact that after the loss of exterior goods, Job remained steadfast in virtue. This sufficiently proves that his intention had not been turned aside to exterior goods. There remained then to show for perfect demonstration of Job’s virtue that his intention was not bent crooked for the health of his own body, and therefore divine judgment is invoked again to prove this. This is then what the text says, “Again on a certain day when the sons of God came to assist in the presence of the Lord, and Satan also came among them and assisted in his presence. The Lord said to Satan: Where do you come from?” Since these words have already been explained at length above, there is no need to delay over them here. Suffice it to note that because this passage recounts another action, another day is introduced here just at the beginning of Genesis different days are described according to the different kinds of things which were created. Thereupon what Satan answered under interrogation is shown when the text says, “From prowling and going about the earth.” This has the same meaning as before. [1:7]
Et rursus dominus virtutem Iob ei quasi conspicuam proponit ut supra, unde sequitur et dixit dominus ad Satan: numquid considerasti servum meum Iob, quod non est illi similis in terra? Vir simplex et rectus et timens Deum ac recedens a malo. Sed quia iam quaedam virtus beati Iob manifestata erat quae prius manifesta non fuerat, scilicet constantia in adversis, ideo nunc addit et adhuc, scilicet post amissionem temporalium bonorum, retinens innocentiam; ex quo ulterius dominus ostendit suspicionem Satan fuisse calumniosam et intentionem frustratam, unde sequitur tu autem commovisti me adversus eum ut affligerem illum frustra. Ex hoc autem quod dicitur commovisti me adversus eum, non est intelligendum quod Deus ab aliquo provocetur ad volendum quod prius nolebat sicut est apud homines consuetum dicitur enim Num. XXIII 19 non est Deus ut homo ut mentiatur, neque ut filius hominis ut mutetur, sed loquitur hic Scriptura de Deo figuraliter more humano: homines enim quando facere aliquid volunt propter aliquem ab illo commoveri dicuntur; Deus autem vult quidem facere, sicut et facit, hoc propter illud, tamen absque omni mentis commotione quia ab aeterno in mente habuit quid propter quod facturus esset. Disposuerat igitur dominus ab aeterno Iob temporaliter affligere ad demonstrandam veritatem virtutis eius, ut omnis malignorum excluderetur calumnia, unde ad hoc significandum hic dicitur tu autem commovisti me adversus eum. Quod autem dicitur ut affligerem illum frustra, intelligendum est quantum ad intentionem Satan non quantum ad intentionem Dei: expetierat enim Satan adversitatem Iob intendens ex hoc eum in impatientiam et blasphemiam deducere, quod consecutus non erat; Deus autem hoc permiserat ad declarandam virtutem eius, quod et factum erat: sic igitur frustra afflictus est Iob quantum ad intentionem Satan sed non quantum ad intentionem Dei. Once again the Lord proposes the virtue of Job as something evident, and so there follows, “The Lord said to Satan: Have you considered my servant Job; there is none like him on earth? He is a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” Since now a certain virtue of blessed Job which was not plain before has been clearly demonstrated, namely, his constancy in adversities, he therefore now adds, “He still,” that is, after the loss of his temporal goods, “holds fast his innocence.” From this the Lord shows further that the Satan’s suspicion was calumnious and that his intention has been frustrated, and so the text next says, “although you moved me against him to afflict him in vain.” In saying, “You moved me against him,” one must not understand that God was provoked by anyone into willing something he did not will before as is often the case with men. For according to Numbers, “God is not like a man, that he should lie, nor like a son of man that he should change.” (23:19) Scripture here speaks of God figuratively acting in a human way. For when men want to do something because of someone’s influence, they are said to be excited by that other one. God however wills to do something and so he does it, this because of that. Yet he does it without any excitement of mind because he had the reason he would do it in mind from all eternity. So the Lord had arranged from all eternity to afflict Job in time to prove the truth of his virtue in order to preclude every calumny of the wicked, and so to indicate this the text says, “You moved me against him.” When the text adds, “to afflict him in vain,” this must be understood from the point of view of the intention of Satan, not from the point of view of the intention of God. For Satan in intending the adversity of Job had desired from this to lead him into impatience and blasphemy, which did not follow as an effect. God however permitted this to proclaim his virtue openly, which in fact happened. So then Job was afflicted in vain from the point of view of the intention of Satan, but not from the point of view of the intention of God.
Repulsus autem Satan non quiescit sed adhuc calumniam instruit, ostendere volens quod omnia bona quae Iob fecerat, et etiam hoc ipsum quod patienter adversa toleraverat, non pro amore Dei fecerat sed pro sui corporis salute, unde sequitur cui respondens Satan ait: pellem pro pelle, et cuncta quae habet homo dabit pro anima sua. Considerandum est autem quod Iob dupliciter afflictus fuerat, scilicet in amissione possessionum et in amissione natorum. Intendit igitur Satan dicere quod utramque afflictionem Iob patienter toleraverat pro corporis sui salute, et hoc non erat magnae virtutis sed erat humanum et apud homines consuetum; et hoc est quod dicit homo, quasi quicumque etiam non virtuosus, dabit de facili pellem pro pelle, idest carnem alienam pro carne sua: sustinet enim homo non virtuosus ut quicumque alii etiam quantumcumque coniuncti potius corpore affligantur quam ipse; et similiter homo quicumque dabit cuncta exteriora quae possidet pro anima sua, idest pro vita sua conservanda: exteriora enim bona ad conservationem vitae quaeruntur, ut sint in subsidium victus et vestitus et aliorum huiusmodi quibus vita hominis commode conservatur. Though repulsed, Satan does not rest, but still provides calumny wanting to show that every good which Job did, even the very fact that he had patiently tolerated his adversity, he had not done for the love of God, but for the health of his own body. So the text continues, “Then Satan answered the Lord: Skin for skin! All that man has he will give for his life.” We must reflect that Job had been afflicted in two ways: the loss of his possessions and the loss of his children. Satan therefore intends to say that Job had patiently tolerated both afflictions because of the health of his body and this was no great virtue in this, but was human and usual among men. This is what he says, “man,” as though anyone even those without virtue will easily give, “skin for skin!” that is, the flesh of another in place of his own. For a man who is not virtuous will maintain that anyone else, even those closely related to him in any way, should be afflicted in body rather than himself. For the same reason every man regardless of who he is, will give all the exterior goods he possesses “for his life,” that is, to preserve his own life. For exterior goods are sought to preserve life, like a supply of food and clothing and other such things which maintain the life of man comfortably.
Et quia posset aliquis dicere ad Satan unde: potest probari quod Iob amissionem natorum et possessionum patienter tulerit timens pelli suae et vitae suae? Quasi huic quaestioni respondens subdit alioquin, scilicet si verbo simplici non creditur, mitte manum tuam, idest exerce virtutem tuam, et tange os eius et carnem, idest affligas eum in corpore, non solum in superficie, quod posset significari per tactum carnis, sed etiam in profundum, quod significatur per tactum ossis, ut scilicet tactus usque ad intima perveniat; et tunc videbis, idest manifeste ab omnibus conspici poterit, quod in faciem benedixerit tibi, quod exponendum est ut supra. Since someone could say to Satan, “How can you prove that Job bore patiently with the loss of his children and his possessions because he feared for his own skin and his own life?”, he now adds, as though in answer to this objection, “But now,” if you do not believe mere words,” put forth your hand,” i.e., exercise your power,” and touch his bone and his flesh,” i.e., afflict him in body, not only on the surface which is what to touch the flesh means, but also in its inmost part, which is what to touch the bone means, so that touch reaches to his inmost part. “And you will see,” i.e., everyone can clearly perceive, “that he will bless (curse) you to your face,” which must be interpreted as above.
Voluit igitur dominus ostendere quod Iob Deo non servierat propter corporis salutem, sicut supra ostenderat quod ei non servivit propter exteriora bona, unde subditur dixit ergo dominus ad Satan: ecce in manu tua, idest potestatem tibi trado eum in corpore affligendi, verum tamen animam illius serva, idest vitam ei ne auferas. Non enim totaliter Deus servos suos voluntati Satan exponit sed secundum mensuram convenientem, secundum illud apostoli Cor. X 13 fidelis Deus, qui non patietur vos tentari supra id quod potestis. Therefore the Lord willed to show that Job had not served God for the health of the body, just as he had already shown that Job did not serve him because of exterior goods, and so the text adds, “The Lord said to Satan: Behold, he is in your hand,” i.e., I commit power to you to afflict him in body, “only spare his life,” i.e., do not cannot take away life from him. For God does not totally expose his servants to the will of Satan, but according to a fitting measure, as St. Paul says in 1 Cor., “The faithful God does not suffer you to be tempted beyond what you can endure.” (10:13)
The Second Lesson: Job Humbled
וַיֵּצֵא הַשָּׂטָן מֵאֵת פְּנֵי יְהוָה וַיַּךְ אֶת־אִיּוֹב בִּשְׁחִין רָע מִכַּף רַגְלוֹ עַד קָדְקֳדוֹ׃ 7 וַיִּקַּח־לוֹ חֶרֶשׂ לְהִתְגָּרֵד בּוֹ וְהוּא יֹשֵׁב בְּתוֹךְ־הָאֵפֶר׃ 8 וַתֹּאמֶר לוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ עֹדְךָ מַחֲזִיק בְּתֻמָּתֶךָ בָּרֵךְ אֱלֹהִים וָמֻת׃ 9 וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלֶיהָ כְּדַבֵּר אַחַת הַנְּבָלוֹת תְּדַבֵּרִי גַּם אֶת־הַטּוֹב נְקַבֵּל מֵאֵת הָאֱלֹהִים וְאֶת־הָרָע לֹא נְקַבֵּל בְּכָל־זֹאת לֹא־חָטָא אִיּוֹב בִּשְׂפָתָיו׃ פ 10 וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת רֵעֵי אִיּוֹב אֵת כָּל־הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת הַבָּאָה עָלָיו וַיָּבֹאוּ אִישׁ מִמְּקֹמוֹ אֱלִיפַז הַתֵּימָנִי וּבִלְדַּד הַשּׁוּחִי וְצוֹפַר הַנַּעֲמָתִי וַיִּוָּעֲדוּ יַחְדָּו 11 לָבוֹא לָנוּד־לוֹ וּלְנַחֲמוֹ׃ וַיִּשְׂאוּ אֶת־עֵינֵיהֶם מֵרָחוֹק וְלֹא הִכִּירֻהוּ וַיִּשְׂאוּ קוֹלָם וַיִּבְכּוּ וַיִּקְרְעוּ אִישׁ מְעִלוֹ וַיִּזְרְקוּ עָפָר עַל־רָאשֵׁיהֶם הַשָּׁמָיְמָה׃ 12 וַיֵּשְׁבוּ אִתּוֹ לָאָרֶץ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְשִׁבְעַת לֵילוֹת וְאֵין־דֹּבֵר אֵלָיו דָּבָר כִּי רָאוּ כִּי־גָדַל הַכְּאֵב מְאֹד׃ 13 7 So Satan went forth from the face of the Lord and afflicted Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 and he scraped the bloody matter with a shard and he sat in a dungheap. 9 Then his wife said to him: Do you still hold fast to your simplicity? Bless God and die. 10 But he said to her: You have spoken like one of the foolish women speaks. If we have received good at the hand of the Lord shall we not tolerate evil? In all these things Job did not sin with his lips. 11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all the evil which had come upon him, they came, each from his own place: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuite and Sophar the Naamathite. They agreed to come together, visit him and console him. 12 When they saw him from afar, they did not recognize him and raising their voices; they wept and they rent their robes and sprinkled dust upon their heads heavenward. 13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him for they saw that his suffering was very great.
Egressus igitur Satan et cetera. Accepta potestate Satan ad eius executionem procedit, unde dicitur egressus igitur Satan a facie domini percussit Iob, percussione quidem turpi et abominabili, unde dicitur ulcere, incurabili et doloroso, unde dicitur pessimo, et universali, unde dicitur a planta pedis usque ad verticem eius. When Satan had received the power, he proceeds to execute it. So the text continues, “So Satan went forth from the face of the Lord and afflicted Job,” with what was truly an abominable and shameful blow. So the text says, “with sores,” which were incurable and painful, i.e. “loathsome,” entirely “from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.”
Solent autem aegrotantium afflictiones remediis exterius adhibitis et deliciis alleviari, sed Iob sic alleviatus non fuit, sequitur enim qui testa saniem radebat, in quo ostenditur quod lenitiva medicamenta et delicata ei non adhibebantur; sedens in sterquilinio, ex quo ostenditur quod non recreabatur neque loci amoenitate neque stramentorum mollitie neque alicuius suavitatis odore, sed magis contrariis utebatur. Potest autem hoc dupliciter contigisse: vel quia percussus a domino ipse etiam se magis sponte affligebat et humiliabat ut misericordiam facilius obtineret, vel quia cuncta quae habebat amiserat, unde non poterat sibi convenientia remedia exhibere; et hoc satis probabile est ex hoc quod supra dominus dixit; nec videtur quod Satan citra potestatem sibi datam aliquid egerit ad nocendum. The afflictions of the sick are customarily alleviated by cures applied externally which are pleasant. But Job was not alleviated in such a way, for the text continues, “Job scraped the bloody matter with a shard.” In this the text shows that pleasant and soothing remedies are not applied to him. “And he sat in a dungheap,” in which the text shows that he did not restore himself to health in a pleasant place, or in the gentleness of straw or with some pleasant smell, but he more used their opposite. This can have happened in two ways: either because after he was struck by the Lord, he voluntarily afflicted and humiliated himself even more to more easily obtain mercy, or because he lost everything he had, and so he could not afford suitable cures for himself. This is probable enough from what the Lord said above, and it does not seem that Satan had acted except with the power given him to harm something.
Solent etiam afflictiones hominum verbis consolatoriis relevari, sed afflicto Iob verba exasperantia dicuntur, tanto magis provocantia quanto a persona magis coniuncta proferuntur, sequitur enim dixit autem illi uxor sua, quam solam Diabolus reliquerat ut per eam viri iusti mentem pulsaret qui per feminam primum hominem deiecerat. Haec autem primo in verba irrisionis prorupit dicens adhuc tu permanes in simplicitate tua, quasi dicat: saltem post tot flagella cognoscere debes quia inutile tibi fuit simplicitatem servare, sicut etiam ex quorundam persona dicitur Mal. III 14 vanus est qui servit Deo; et quod emolumentum quia custodivimus praecepta eius? Secundo procedit ad verba perversae suggestionis dicens benedic Deo, idest maledic, quasi dicat: ex quo tibi benedicenti Deo adversitas supervenit, maledic Deo ut prosperitate potiaris. Ultimo concludit in verba desperationis dicens et morere, quasi dicat: pro mortuo te habe quia nihil tibi residuum est in simplicitate remanenti nisi ut moriaris. Vel aliter benedic Deo et morere, idest ex quo post tantam Dei reverentiam sic adversitate afflictus es, si adhuc Deo benedicas nihil restat nisi ut mortem expectes. In their afflictions, men customarily find solace in words of those offering consolation. But the affliction of Job was accompanied by irritating words, which were as much more provocative as the person who spoke them was more closely connected to him. The text continues, “Then his wife said to him,” for she was the only person whom the devil left untouched so that through her he who had deceived the first man through a woman might assault the mind of the just man. This woman first broke out in words of mockery, “Do you still hold fast your simplicity?” as if she said: At least after so many chastisements you should know that it was useless for you to guard simplicity. The same is said by a person like her in the prophet Malachi, “It is vain to serve God. What is the profit in keeping his commandments.” (3:14) Second, she proceeds to words of perverse suggestion saying, “Bless (i.e., Curse) God.” as if she said: From the fact that adversity came upon you when you were blessing God, curse God and you will enjoy prosperity. Lastly, she concludes in words of despair saying, “and die”, as if she said: Regard yourself as dead because nothing is left for you in remaining in simplicity except dying. Or “Bless God and die;” can be understood in another way to mean that since after so much reverence for God you have been so afflicted with adversity, if you still bless God, nothing remains, but for you to wait for death.
Sanctus autem vir qui sua incommoda patienter tulerat, iniuriam Dei ferre non potuit, sequitur enim qui ait ad illam: quasi una de stultis mulieribus locuta es. Recte eam stultitiae arguit quae contra divinam sapientiam loquebatur. Quod autem stulte locuta fuerit ostendit si bona suscepimus de manu domini, mala autem quare non sustineamus? In quo perfectam hominis sapientiam docet. Cum enim temporalia bona et corporalia non sint amanda nisi propter spiritualia et aeterna, istis salvatis quasi principalioribus, non debet homo deici si illis privetur nec elevari si eis abundet. Docet ergo nos Iob tantam animi constantiam habere ut et bonis temporalibus, si nobis a Deo dentur, sic utamur ut ex hoc in superbiam non elevemur, et contraria mala sic sustineamus ut ex eis noster animus non deiciatur, secundum illud apostoli Phil. ult. Scio humiliari, scio et abundare, et postea omnia possum in eo qui me confortat. Deinde concluditur perseverans innocentia Iob cum dicitur in omnibus his non peccavit Iob labiis suis. The holy man who had born his troubles patiently, could not bear the injury done to God, for there follows, “But he said to her: You have spoken like one of the foolish women speaks.” He rightly accuses of foolishness one speaking against the divine wisdom. He shows that she spoke foolishly when he adds, “If we received good at the hand of the Lord and shall we not tolerate evil?” In this he teaches the perfect wisdom of man, for since temporal and corporeal goods should not be loved except because of spiritual and eternal ones, when the latter are conserved as the more principal ones, man should not be dejected if he is deprived of the former nor puffed up if he has an abundance of them. Job teaches us therefore that we should have such a steadfastness of spirit that both if temporal goods are given to us by God, we should so use them that we are not puffed up in pride from them, and we would so sustain the contrary evil that our soul is not dejected from their lack. This accords with what St. Paul says in Philippians in the last chapter, “I know how to be humbled and how to enjoy prosperity.” (4:12) and further on, “I can do all things in him who gives me comfort.” (4:13) Finally the conclusion is Job persevered in innocence when it is said, “In all these things Job did not sin with his lips.”
Non solum per uxorem Diabolus mentem beati Iob exasperare nitebatur sed etiam per amicos, qui quamvis ad consolandum venerint tamen ad verba increpationis processerunt, de quibus dicitur igitur audientes tres amici Iob omne malum quod accidisset ei, venerunt singuli de loco suo, Eliphaz Themanites et Baldath Suites et Sophar Naamathites. Et quia inter hos fere vertitur tota disputatio huius libri, considerandum est quod hi tres in aliquo eiusdem opinionis erant cum Iob, unde amici eius dicuntur, et in aliquo ab eo differebant inter se invicem concordantes, unde sibi invicem connumerantur et a Iob discernuntur. Conveniebant siquidem cum Iob quod non solum res naturales sed etiam res humanae divinae providentiae subiacerent, sed differebant ab eo quod putabant hominem pro bonis quae agit remunerari a Deo prosperitate terrena, et pro malis quae agit puniri a Deo adversitate temporali, quasi temporalia bona sint praemia virtutum et temporalia mala sint propriae poenae peccatorum. Hanc autem opinionem quilibet eorum propriis modis defendere nititur, secundum quod sibi proprium ingenium suggerebat: propter quod dicuntur venisse singuli de loco suo. Iob autem huius opinionis non erat, sed credebat bona opera hominum ordinari ad remunerationem spiritualem futuram post hanc vitam, et similiter peccata futuris suppliciis esse punienda. The devil not only strove to exasperate the mind of blessed Job through his wife, but also through his friends, who although they came to console him, yet went so far as words of rebuke. About this, the text says, “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all the evil which had come upon him, they came, each from his own place: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuite, and Sophar the Naamathite.” Because nearly the whole debate of this book occurs between these men, we must consider that these three were of the same opinion as Job in some respect and so they were called friends. In another respect they differed from him and were in agreement among themselves, and so they are numbered together with each other and are distinguished from Job. For indeed they agreed with Job that not only natural things but also human affairs were subject to divine providence, but they differed from him because they thought that man is rewarded for the good which he did with temporal prosperity by God and is punished for the evil which he does with temporal adversity by God, as though temporal goods are the rewards for virtues and temporal evils are the proper punishments of sins. Each one of there men strives to defend this opinion in his own way, as his own character suggested to him, because of this they are said to have come each from his own place.” Now Job was not of this opinion, but he believed that the good works of men are ordered to a future spiritual reward after this life, and likewise sins should be punished with future punishments.
Quod autem praedicti amici Iob ad consolandum venerint, ostenditur ex hoc quod sequitur condixerant enim ut pariter venientes visitarent eum et consolarentur, in quo veros amicos se ostenderunt in tribulationibus sibi non deficientes, dicitur enim Eccli. XII 9 in tristitia et in malitia viri amicus agnitus est. Et primo quidem ipsa visitatio consolativa erat: nam videre amicum et ei convivere delectabilissimum est. Consolantur etiam ipsum factis, compassionis suae ad eum signa ostendendo. Quibus compassionis signis praemittitur provocativum ad compassionem cum dicitur cumque elevassent procul oculos suos non cognoverunt eum: erat enim immutata facies ex ulcere, et habitus et reliquus cultus ex rerum amissione; quod autem dicit procul intelligendum est secundum eam mensuram qua homo a remotis potest cognosci. Haec autem immutatio amici eos provocavit ad tristitiam et compassionem quam per signa ostenderunt, sequitur enim et exclamantes, scilicet prae magnitudine doloris, ploraverunt, scissisque vestibus sparserunt pulverem super caput suum in signum humilitatis et deiectionis, quasi se ex deiectione amici deiectos reputantes. Addit autem in caelum, ut quasi hac humiliatione caelestem misericordiam provocarent. Considerandum est autem quod amicorum compassio consolativa est, vel quia adversitas quasi onus quoddam levius fertur quando a pluribus portatur, vel magis quia omnis tristitia ex admixtione delectationis alleviatur: delectabilissimum autem est experimentum sumere de amicitia alicuius, quod maxime sumitur ex compassione in adversis, et ideo consolationem affert. The next verse expresses the fact that these friends just mentioned came to console Job saying, “They agreed to come to visit him together and console him.” In this they showed themselves to be true friends in not deserting him in a time of tribulation, for Sirach says, “A man’s friend is recognized in sorrow and evil.” (12:9) At first the visit itself was certainly consoling, for to see a friend and to associate with him is most delightful. They also console him by their actions, showing him signs of their compassion. What provoked these signs of compassion is now introduced. “When they saw him from afar, they did not recognize him,” for his face was changed by sores, his clothing and his refinement gone because of the loss of his possessions. The term “from afar” should be understood to mean that measure by which a man can be recognized from a distance. This change in their friend stirred them to sadness and compassion which they showed by external signs, for there follows, “and raising their voices,” out of the great depth of their sorrow, “they wept, and they rent their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads,” as a sign of humility and dejection, as though they felt themselves to be cast down by the casting down of their friend. The text adds, “heavenward” as though they might provoke the mercy of heaven by this humiliation. Consider that the compassion of friends is a consolation, either because adversity like a burden in more lightly born when it is carried by many, or even more because all sorrow is alleviated when mixed with pleasure. To have the experience of someone’s friendship is very pleasurable, which especially derives from their compassion in adversity and so offers consolation.
Non solum autem ex compassione ostensa eum consolabantur sed etiam ei societatem exhibendo, sequitur enim et sederunt cum eo in terra septem diebus et septem noctibus; intelligendum tamen est non continue sed congruentibus horis, indigebat enim magna tristitia diuturna consolatione. Sed tertium quod maxime est consolatorium, scilicet verbum, non exhibebant, sequitur enim et nemo loquebatur ei verbum. Taciturnitatis autem causa ostenditur cum subditur videbant enim dolorem esse vehementem, quae causa magis redditur secundum consolantium opinionem quam secundum statum afflicti; cum enim mens alicuius fuerit dolore absorpta consolationis verba non recipit, unde et poeta dicit quis matrem nisi mentis inops in funere nati flere vetat? Iob autem non sic erat dispositus ut prae tristitia consolationem recipere non posset, sed magis ipse secundum rationem consolabatur se ipsum, ut ex verbis eius supra inductis apparet. They consoled him not only by showing compassion to him, but also by showing their fellowship with him; for there follows, “they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights.” Nevertheless one must not understand this to mean a continuous period, but at suitable times, for great sorrow needed consolation for a long time. But they did not show him the third form which is especially consoling i.e. in words, for there follows, “and no one said a word to him.” The cause of their silence is shown when the text continues, “for they saw that his suffering was very great.” This cause is more an idea the consolers have than the state of the one afflicted. For when the mind of someone has been absorbed with pain, he does not listen to words of consolation, and so Ovid remarks, “Who but someone who has no good sense, would forbid a mother to weep at the funeral of her child?” Job however had not been so disposed that he could not accept consolation because of great sorrow. Rather, he consoled him self very much according to reason as is apparent from the words quoted above.

The First Lesson: Job Curses His Life
אַחֲרֵי־כֵן פָּתַח אִיּוֹב אֶת־פִּיהוּ וַיְקַלֵּל אֶת־יוֹמוֹ׃ פ 1 וַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃ 2 יֹאבַד יוֹם אִוָּלֶד בּוֹ וְהַלַּיְלָה אָמַר הֹרָה גָבֶר׃ 3 הַיּוֹם הַהוּא יְהִי חֹשֶׁךְ אַל־יִדְרְשֵׁהוּ אֱלוֹהַּ מִמָּעַל וְאַל־תּוֹפַע עָלָיו נְהָרָה׃ 4 יִגְאָלֻהוּ חֹשֶׁךְ וְצַלְמָוֶת תִּשְׁכָּן־עָלָיו עֲנָנָה יְבַעֲתֻהוּ כִּמְרִירֵי יוֹם׃ 5 הַלַּיְלָה הַהוּא יִקָּחֵהוּ אֹפֶל אַל־יִחַדְּ בִּימֵי שָׁנָה בְּמִסְפַּר יְרָחִים אַל־יָבֹא׃ 6 הִנֵּה הַלַּיְלָה הַהוּא יְהִי גַלְמוּד אַל־תָּבֹא רְנָנָה בוֹ׃ 7 יִקְּבֻהוּ אֹרְרֵי־יוֹם הָעֲתִידִים עֹרֵר לִוְיָתָן׃ 8 יֶחְשְׁכוּ כּוֹכְבֵי נִשְׁפּוֹ יְקַו־לְאוֹר וָאַיִן וְאַל־יִרְאֶה בְּעַפְעַפֵּי־שָׁחַר׃ 9 כִּי לֹא סָגַר דַּלְתֵי בִטְנִי וַיַּסְתֵּר עָמָל מֵעֵינָי׃ 10 1 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed his day. 2 And he said: 3 Let the day perish on which I was born; the night in which it was said, ‘a man child is conceived’. 4 Let that day be darkness; may God not seek it, let in not be in recollection, nor let light shine on it. 5 Let gloom claim it; let clouds dwell upon it and let it be enveloped in bitterness. 6 Let a tempest envelop that night with a whirlwind; let it not be reckoned among the days of the year, let it not be numbered among the months. 7 Let that night be lonely, let it not be worthy of praise. 8 Let those curse it who curse the day, those who are skilled to rouse up Leviathan. 9 Let the stars be blotted out in its darkness; let it hope for light, but not see it, nor the rising dawn of the morning, 10 because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb, or hide trouble from my eyes.
Post haec autem aperuit Iob os suum et cetera. Sicut supra dictum est, circa passiones animae duplex fuit antiquorum opinio: Stoici enim dixerunt tristitiam in sapientem non cadere, Peripatetici vero dixerunt sapientem quidem tristari sed in tristitiis secundum rationem moderate se habere, et haec opinio veritati concordat. Ratio enim condicionem naturae auferre non potest; est autem naturale sensibili naturae ut et convenientibus delectetur et gaudeat et de nocivis doleat et tristetur: hoc igitur ratio auferre non potest sed sic moderatur ut per tristitiam ratio a sua rectitudine non divertat. Concordat etiam haec opinio sacrae Scripturae, quae tristitiam in Christo ponit, in quo est omnis virtutis et sapientiae plenitudo. In Chapter II I explained that there were two opinions held by ancient philosophers about the passions. The Stoics said that there was no place in the wise man for sorrow. The Peripatetics said that the wise man is indeed sad, but in sad things he conducts himself with a moderation in accord with reason. This opinion accords with the truth. For reason does not take away the condition of nature. It is natural to sensible nature to rejoice and be pleased about fitting things and grieve and feel pain about harmful things. So reason does not take away this natural disposition, but so moderates it that reason is not deflected from its right course because of sorrow. This opinion also accords with Holy Scripture which places sorrow in Christ, in whom there is every fullness of virtue and wisdom.
Sic igitur Iob ex praenarratis adversitatibus tristitiam quidem sensit, alias patientiae virtus in eo locum non haberet, sed propter tristitiam ratio a rectitudine non declinavit quin potius tristitiae dominabatur. Ad hoc igitur ostendendum dicitur post haec aperuit Iob os suum. Dicit autem post haec, idest post septem taciturnitatis dies; ex quo manifestum fit quod verba quae sequuntur sunt secundum rationem prolata per tristitiam non perturbatam; si enim ex perturbatione mentis dicta fuissent, prius ea protulisset quando vis tristitiae vehementior erat: tristitia enim quaelibet longitudine temporis mitigatur et in principio magis sentitur; unde propter hoc tandiu tacuisse videtur ne perturbata mente loqui iudicaretur. Quod etiam ostenditur per hoc quod dicitur aperuit os suum; cum enim aliquis loquitur ex impetu passionis, non ipse aperit os suum sed agitur passione ad loquendum: non enim per passionem nostri actus domini sumus sed per solam rationem. Loquendo autem tristitiam quam patiebatur ostendit: consuetum est enim apud sapientes ut ex ratione loquantur passionum motus quos sentiunt, sicut et Christus dixit tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem, et apostolus dicit Rom. VIII non enim quod volo bonum hoc ago, sed quod odi malum illud facio; sic etiam et Boetius in principio de consolatione tristitiam aperuit ut ostenderet quomodo eam ratione mitigaret: sic et Iob loquendo tristitiam suam aperuit So, Job then indeed feels sad as a result of those adversities which he suffered described above, otherwise the virtue of patience would have no place in him. But his reason did not desert the right path because of sorrow but rather ruled the sorrow. This is proved when the text says, “After this, Job opened his mouth.” “After this” means after he had passed seven days in silence. This clearly shows that what he is going to say is said in accord with a reason which is not confused by sorrow. In fact, if they had been spoken from a mind confused by sorrow, he would have said them sooner, when the force of sorrow was more acute. For every sorrow is mitigated with the passage of time and one feels it more in the beginning. He seems to have kept silent for a long time for this reason, so that he would not be judged to have spoken from a confused mind. This is shown by the text,” He opened his mouth.” In fact, when someone speaks because of a fit of passion, he does not open his mouth himself, but he is compelled to speak by the passion. For we are not the masters of our acts done through passion, but only of those done through reason. In speaking he showed the sorrow which he suffered, he showed patience. Wise men usually express the motion of the passions which they feel in a reasonable way. So Christ said, “My soul is sorrowful unto death,” (Matt. 26:38) and St. Paul in Romans, “I do not do the good I want, but the very evil that I hate, I do.” (7:15) Also, Boethius at the beginning of the Consolation of Philosophy opens with the expression of his sadness, but he shows how to mitigate it by reason. So Job expresses his sorrow verbally.
unde sequitur et maledixit diei suo, quod videtur esse contra illud apostoli Rom. XII 14 benedicite et nolite maledicere. Sed sciendum est quod maledicere multipliciter dicitur: cum enim maledicere nihil aliud sit quam malum dicere, totiens dicitur maledicere quotiens contingit malum dicere. Contingit autem aliquem alicui malum dicere primo dictione causante malum, sicut divinum dicere est causa eorum quae dicuntur, et sententia iudicis aliquem condemnantis est causa poenae eius qui condemnatur; et per hunc modum intelligitur quod dominus dixit Gen. III 17 maledicta terra in opere tuo, et Gen. X maledictus Chanaan, servus sit fratrum suorum; et Iosue maledixit Achor qui de anathemate sustulerat. Secundo imprecando malum vel optando, sicut legitur in I Reg. quod Philisthaeus maledixit David in viis suis. Tertio contingit aliquem dicere malum simpliciter enuntiando vel in praesenti vel in praeterito vel in futuro, sive vere sive false. Prohibet igitur apostolus maledicere tali maledictione qua quis imprecatur malum alicui vel eum falso diffamat, non autem eo modo quo iudex reum condemnat vel aliquis verax malum alicuius rei ordinate demonstrat, vel demonstrando praesens vel recitando praeteritum vel praenuntiando futurum. Sic igitur intelligendum est Iob suo diei maledixisse quia eum malum esse denuntiavit, non secundum suam naturam qua a Deo creatus est, sed secundum illam Scripturae consuetudinem qua tempus dicitur bonum vel malum secundum ea quae in tempore aguntur, secundum illud apostoli Eph. V 16 redimentes tempus quoniam dies mali sunt; maledixit igitur Iob diei suo inquantum mala sibi in ipso die accidisse commemorat. The text continues, “and he cursed his day.” This seems to contradict what St. Paul says in Romans, “Bless and do not curse.” (12:14) Note that cursing can mean several things. For since “to curse” (maledicere) is to speak evil [malum dicere], every time one speaks evil, he is said to curse. One speaks evil of someone by speech which causes evil, as God causes evil to something in his very speech and the judge causes the punishment on another in speaking the sentence of condemnation. This is the way the Lord spoke evil or cursed in Genesis, “Cursed is the ground because of you,” (3:17) and “Cursed be Canaan, a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” (9:25) Joshua also cursed Achor who suffered from the condemnation. (Jos. 7:25) In another way, one may understand cursing another as invoking or desiring evil to him. For example, in I Kings, “The Philistine cursed David in his ways.” (17:43) In a third way, one may simply speak evil by disclosing it either in the present, the past, the future, truly or falsely. Paul prohibits cursing in this way when someone deprecates someone or defames his character falsely. However he does not prohibit it when a judge condemns a defendant who is guilty or when someone expresses in an ordered way the real evil of someone, either by demonstrating an act to occur in the present, or by relating something past or by predicting something in the future. So, one should understand that Job cursed his day, because he denounced it as evil, not only because of its nature, which was created by God, but according to the common usage of Holy Scripture where time is called good or evil because of what happens in that time. The Apostle Paul speaks in this way when he says, “[…] making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:16) So Job cursed his day in remembering the evils which had happened to him on that day.
Quomodo autem maledixerit subditur: et locutus est: pereat dies in qua natus sum, et nox in qua dictum est: conceptus est homo. Sciendum est autem quod licet esse et vivere secundum se sit appetibile, tamen esse et vivere in miseria est fugiendum secundum quod huiusmodi, licet interdum esse in miseria libenter sustineatur propter aliquem finem; unde illa misera vita quae non ordinatur ad aliquem finem bonum nullo modo est eligenda, secundum quod dominus dicit Matth. XXVI 24 melius erat ei si natus non fuisset homo ille. Bonum autem quod ex aliqua miseria expectatur sola ratio apprehendit, vis autem sensitiva non percipit, sicut amaritudinem medicinae gustus percipit sed sola ratio in fine sanitatis delectatur; si quis igitur passionem sui gustus vellet exprimere denuntiaret medicinam esse malam, quamvis ratio iudicaret eam esse bonam propter finem; sic igitur miseria quam beatus Iob sustinebat rationi quidem poterat videri quantum ad aliquid utilis esse, sed inferior pars animae quae ex ea tristitia afficiebatur adversitatem totaliter repudiabat, unde et ipsum vivere sub tali adversitate odiosum ei erat. Quando autem est nobis aliquid odiosum, omnia abominamur per quae in illud devenimus; et ideo Iob secundum inferiorem partem animae, cuius passionem nunc exprimere intendebat, et nativitatem et conceptionem suam ex quibus in hanc vitam devenerat odio habebat, et per consequens diem nativitatis et noctem conceptionis, secundum illum loquendi modum quo ex his quae in tempore aguntur aliquid ascribitur tempori bonum vel malum. Sic igitur Iob quia secundum partem sensibilem vitam sub adversitate repudiabat, volebat se numquam natum vel conceptum fuisse, et hoc est quod dicit pereat dies in qua natus sum, ac si diceret numquam natus fuissem. Et nox in qua dictum est, idest vere dici potuit conceptus est homo, idest utinam numquam conceptus fuissem. Et congrue ordinat, quia nativitate sublata conceptio non aufertur sed e converso; congruenter etiam conceptionem nocti ascribit et nativitatem diei, quia secundum astrologos nativitas diurna est laudabilior, principaliori sidere existente super terram, idest sole, conceptio autem nocturna est frequentior. Similis modus loquendi habetur Ier. XX 14: maledicta dies in qua natus sum, dies in qua peperit me mater mea non sit benedicta. The next verse explains the manner of his cursing and continues, “And Job said: Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night which said, ‘A man child is conceived.’” Note that although to exist and to live are desirable in themselves, yet to exist and to live in misery like this should be avoided, although one may freely sustain being miserable for some purpose. So a wretched life which is not ordered to some good end should not be chosen for any reason. The Lord speaks in this way in Matthew, “It would have been better for that man if he had never been born.” (26:24) Reason alone apprehends what good can be expected in some misery. The sensitive power does not perceive it. For example, the sense of taste perceives the bitterness of the medicine, but reason alone enjoys the purpose of health. If someone wanted to express the feeling of his sense of taste then he would denounce the medicine as evil, although reason would judge it to be good because of its purpose. So the blessed Job was able by his reason to perceive the misery which he suffered as certainly useful for some end. But the lower part of the soul influenced by sorrow would completely repudiate this adversity. Thus, life itself under such adversity was hateful to him. When something is hateful to us, we abhor everything by which we come to that thing. So in the inferior part of his soul, whose passion Job now intended to express, he hated both the birth and the conception by which he came into life and consequently both the day of his birth and the night of his conception according to the usage of attributing to time the good or evil which happens in that time. So therefore because Job repudiated life in adversity from the point of view of the senses, he wished that he had never been born or conceived. He expresses this saying, “Let the day perish on which I was born,” saying in effect, “Would that I had never been born!” and “the night on which it was said,” i.e. it could truly be said, “a man-child is conceived,” [that is, “Would that I had never been conceived!”] He uses a fitting order here, for if birth does not take place, this does not preclude conception, but lack of conception precludes birth. He also fittingly ascribes the conception to night and birth to day, because according to the astrologers, a birth during the day is more praiseworthy since the principal star, the sun, shines over the land at that time; but a conception at night is more frequent. Jeremiah uses a similar way of speaking saying, “Cursed be the day I was born, may the night on which my mother bore me not be blessed.” (20:14)
Posita ergo maledictione diei nativitatis et noctis conceptionis, prosequitur singillatim de maledictione utriusque, et primo de maledictione diei nativitatis dicens dies ille vertatur in tenebras. Considerandum autem est quod, sicut Hieronymus dicit in prologo, a verbis Iob in quibus ait pereat dies in qua natus sum usque ad eum locum ubi ante finem voluminis scriptum est idcirco ipse me reprehendo, hexametri versus sunt, dactylo spondeoque currentes; et sic patet quod liber iste exhinc per modum poematis conscriptus est, unde per totum hunc librum figuris et coloribus utitur quibus poetae uti consueverunt. Solent autem poetae, ut vehementius moveant, ad eandem sententiam diversa inducere, unde et hic Iob ad maledicendum diei suae secundum modum quem dicimus ea inducit quibus aliquis dies solet esse odiosus. After cursing the day of his birth and the night of his conception, one by one the curse for each of these periods of time. First with the curse of the day of his birth, “Let that day be darkness!” Consider that, as Jerome says in his Prologue, “from the words in which Job says, ‘Let the day perish on which I was born,’(1:3) to the place where it is written near the end of the book, ‘For that reason, I repent,’ (42:6), the verses are hexameters in dactyl and spondee.” Therefore it is clear after this that this book was written in poetic style. So he uses the figures and images which poets customarily use through this whole book. Since poets want to touch others deeply, they customarily use several different images to express the same idea. So here too Job uses things which often make a day hateful, to curse his own day in the manner of which we are speaking.
Dignitas autem diei est claritas eius, hac enim a nocte distinguitur; hanc igitur dignitatem excludit dicens dies ille vertatur in tenebras, quae quidem sententia quantum ad superficiem litterae frivola videtur et vana. Dies enim nativitatis praeterierat et iam non erat; quod autem praeteriit immutabile est: quomodo igitur poterat dies qui praeterierat in tenebras verti? Sed sciendum est quod quaedam per modum optandi dicuntur ad exprimendum iudicium quod de aliqua re habetur; sic igitur nunc dicitur dies ille vertatur in tenebras ac si diceretur: dies nativitatis meae debuisset esse tenebrosus ut congrueret tenebris miseriae quam patior. Quia enim aspectus luminis delectabilis est, secundum illud Eccl. XI 7 dulce lumen, et delectabile est oculis videre solem, consuetum est in Scripturis ut per tenebras tristitia significetur, secundum illud Eccl. V 16 comedit in tenebris et in curis multis et in aerumna atque tristitia. The dignity of a day is its brightness, for it is by this that it is distinguished from night. He excludes this dignity saying, “Let that day be darkness,” an idea which seems frivolous and vain according to a superficial reading of the text. For the day of his birth had passed and was not now present. What has passed cannot be changed. How then could a day which has passed be changed into night? One should know that some judgments one makes about things are expressed as desires. So now the text says, “Let that day be darkness,” as if it were to be said: The day of my birth ought to be in darkness because it befits the darkness and misery which I am suffering. For the sight of the light is delightful, as Qoheleth says, “Light is pleasing and it is delightful for the eyes to see the sum.” (11:7) It is customary in Holy Scripture to represent sorrow by darkness, as one sees in Qoheleth, “He spent all his days in darkness and grief, in much vexation and sickness and resentment.” (5:16)
Est autem aliquis dies clarus multipliciter: primo quidem ex Dei sanctificatione qui eum celebrem esse instituit, sicut habetur Exodi XX 8 memento ut diem sabbati sanctifices; hanc igitur claritatem a praedicto die removet dicens non requirat eum Deus desuper, quasi dicat: non exigat Deus ab hominibus ut hunc diem celebrem agant. Dies enim aliqui exiguntur a Deo ad celebritatem propter aliquod insigne beneficium in illa die hominibus collatum, sicut sabbatum in veteri lege propter beneficium creationis, et dies Paschae propter beneficium liberationis ex Aegypto; quod etiam manifestum est in diebus festis qui in novo testamento celebrantur. Vult ergo per hoc significare quod sua nativitas non debet computari inter insignia Dei beneficia, cum magis ad miseriam natus esse videatur quam ad laetitiam. Secundo aliquis dies clarus est ex hominum recordatione: solent enim homines aliquos dies celebres agere in quibus aliqua magna et iocunda eis contigerunt, sicut Herodes et Pharao diem nativitatis celebrabant; hanc igitur claritatem a praedicto die removet dicens et non sit in recordatione, scilicet hominum, quia videlicet non aliquid iocundum in illa die accidit sed magis triste ut ex eventu apparet. Tertio dies clarus est ex corporali lumine, quae quidem claritas multipliciter aufertur: primo quidem ex subtractione radiorum solis illuminantium terram, ut patet quando sol eclipsatur, et quantum ad hoc dicit nec illustretur lumine; secundo ex oppositione nubium vel aliquorum huiusmodi occultantium radios solis, et quantum ad hoc dicit obscurent eum tenebrae; tertio ex defectu visivae virtutis, cum enim aliquis moritur vel visu privatur, quantum ad eum claritas diei aufertur, et quantum ad hoc dicit et umbra mortis. A day is bright in many ways. First, of course, from the sanctification of God who instituted it to be celebrated, as Exodus teaches, “Remember, keep holy the Sabbath day.” (20:8) Therefore, Job removes this sort of brightness from the day mentioned previously when he says, “May God not seek it.” as if to say: May God not require men to celebrate it. In fact, God requires some days be celebrated because of some extraordinary favor conferred on that day on men. For example, the Sabbath in the Old Law was celebrated because of the gift of Creation and the Passover was celebrated because of the gift of liberation from Egypt. This is also true of the feast days which are celebrated in the New Testament. Thus Job wishes to show by this that his birth should not be reckoned among the extraordinary favors of God, since he seems to have been born more for sorrow that for joy. Second, a day is bright from the recollection of men. For men customarily celebrate certain days on which something great or joyous happened to them, like Herod and Pharaoh celebrated their birthdays. He excludes such brightness from this aforementioned day saying, “May it not be remembered,” namely, by men because in truth nothing joyous happened on that day, but rather something sad happened on that day as is plain from the result. Third, a day is bright from physical light, which can be taken away in many ways. First, from the loss of the rays of the sun which illumine the earth, as appears in an eclipse of the sun. The text speaks about this saying, “nor let light shine on it.” Second, from the interposition of clouds or things like this which hide the rays of the sun. The text means this when it says, “Let gloom claim it.” Third, when the subject himself lacks the power of sight, since when someone is dead or deprived of sight, the clarity of the sun is taken away from him. The next verse expresses this, “and the shadow of death.”
Modum autem obtenebrationis praemissae exponit dupliciter: primo quidem quantum ad ordinem in hoc quod dicit occupet eum caligo: tunc enim dies caligine occupatur quando diei prius splendenti subito et ex insperato tenebrae inducuntur, cuius simile in vita ipsius Iob apparet; secundo quantum ad genus tenebrarum in hoc quod dicit et involvatur amaritudine, per quod dat intelligere totum quod de obtenebratione dictum est ad tenebras tristitiae esse referendum: hunc enim morem observare videtur ut parabolicam locutionem ex aliquo subsequenti exponat. Per omnia igitur haec nihil aliud dicere intendit quam quod dies suae nativitatis non debet iudicari dies gaudii sed maeroris, cum per suam nativitatem ad vitam tantae adversitati subiectam devenerit. Job explains two ways which can produce the aforementioned darkness. First, as to the order when he says, “Let clouds dwell on it.” For clouds dwell on a day when a day which dawned clear and beautiful is suddenly and unexpectedly overcast by clouds. Job’s own life seems to be like this. Second, as to the kind of darkness. So he says, “Let it be enveloped in bitterness.” In this verse he shows that everything which has been said about darkening should refer to the darkness of sorrow. In fact, his style seems to explain an allegory using another allegory. In all these expressions, he only means to say that the day of his birth should not be judged as one of joy but as one of mourning since he entered by his birth into a life of such great adversity.
Post maledictionem igitur diei suae nativitatis, consequenter maledicit noctem suae conceptionis secundum similem modum loquendi, et primo attribuit ei illud unde nox magis horribilis redditur. Cum enim nox propter tenebras secundum se ipsam horrida sit, quanto magis tenebrae noctis augmentantur tanto magis horrida redditur, quod contingit cum aliqua magna tempestas in nocte oboritur, et quantum ad hoc dicit noctem illam tenebrosus turbo possideat, quasi diceret: congruum fuisset noctem illam tenebroso turbine possideri ut vitae meae congrueret, quae tanto adversitatis turbine involvitur. After he curses the day of his birth, he next curses the night of his conception using a similar style. First, he attributes to it the reason why the night is rendered very horrible. Since night is frightful in itself because of darkness, the deeper the darkness of the night, the more frightful it is. This happens when a great storm arises during the night. So the text continues, “let a tempest envelop that night with a whirlwind,” as if he were to say: It would have been fitting for that night to be seized by some dark whirlwind to correspond to my life which is enveloped by such a great whirlwind of misfortune.
Deinde removet ab ea illa quae pertinere videntur ad bonum noctis, et primo quantum ad opinionem hominum. Cum enim homines tempora distinguant secundum ea quae aguntur in tempore, in nocte autem pauca vel nulla fiant memoria digna, nox non notatur per se ipsam in hominum memoriis sed ex die coniuncta. Hoc igitur bonum a nocte praedicta removet dicens non computetur in diebus anni nec numeretur in mensibus, quasi dicat: nox illa non est memoria digna cum nihil insigne in ea acciderit sed magis aliquid dolorosum. Inter noctes autem quae in memoriis hominum aguntur, quaedam non solum memorabiles sunt sed etiam celebres et festivae in quibus homines ad aliqua festa agenda congregantur, et hoc removet dicens sit nox illa solitaria. Huiusmodi autem hominum congregatio in aliqua nocte fit in laude et celebritate illius noctis propter aliquod celebre factum quod in illa nocte recolitur, sicut apud fideles agitur in nocte dominicae resurrectionis, et ideo subdit nec laude digna: est enim aliqua nox digna laude propter aliquod magnum factum in illa nocte contingens. Then he takes away from the night what seems to pertain to the good of the night, first as to the opinion of men. For since men divide up the times by what happens during those times, things which happen at night seem small and hardly worth remembering. So night is not accounted anything in itself in the memories of men, but in connection with the day. He removes this good from the night about which he is speaking saying, “Let it not be reckoned among the days of the year; let it not be numbered among the months.” Here he says in effect: That night is not worth remembering since nothing important happened on it, but rather something which causes sorrow. Among the nights which find a place in the memories of men, some are not only remembered, but are also celebrated and festive on which people gather together to make merry. He takes this good away from this night saying, “Let that night be lonely.” When men come together for things like this on a given night, they do so in praise and celebration of that night because of some important deed which is remembered on that night, as is the case with the faithful when they celebrate the night of the Lord’s Resurrection. So he adds, “let it not be worthy of praise.” For certain nights are worthy of praise because of some great deed which happened on that night.
Ex hoc ergo nihil aliud intendit quam significare quod sua conceptio non fuit aliquid magnum nec ad bonum ordinata sed potius ad malum adversitatis quam sentiebat, unde subdit maledicant ei qui maledicunt diei, qui parati sunt suscitare Leviathan. Quod quidem secundum litteram dupliciter potest exponi: uno modo secundum quod per Leviathan intelligitur aliquis magnus piscis, prout videtur congruere his quae in fine huius libri de eo dicuntur an extrahere, inquit, poteris Leviathan hamo? Et secundum hoc intelligendum est quod illi qui huiusmodi magnos pisces piscantur de nocte eos invadunt in tenebris, et ideo quando dies incipit apparere maledicunt diei quia per hoc eorum opus et intentio impeditur. Alio modo potest intelligi ut per Leviathan significetur draco antiquus, scilicet Diabolus, secundum illud Is. XXVII 1 in die illa visitabit dominus in gladio suo duro et gravi et forti super Leviathan, serpentem tortuosum. Illi ergo parati sunt suscitare Leviathan qui student ad suggestiones Diaboli implendas operibus iniquitatis vacando, qui diei maledicunt quia, ut dicitur Ioh. IV, omnis qui male agit odit lucem, et infra XXIV 15 dicitur oculus adulteri observat caliginem, et postea si subito apparuerit aurora arbitratur umbram mortis. Secundum hoc igitur, sicut per hoc quod dixerat nec laude digna vult praedictam noctem esse odiosam bonis, ita per hoc quod subdit maledicant ei etc. vult eam esse odiosam malis: nam adversitatem et boni et mali abhorrent. From this he only intends to show that his conception was not something great nor ordered to something good, but rather to the evil of adversity which he was feeling. So he says, “Let those curse it who curse the day, those who are capable of rousing up Leviathan.” According to the literal sense, this can be understood in two ways. In one way, Leviathan means some great fish, which seems to conform things said about him at the end of the book, “Can you draw out,” he says, “Leviathan with a fishhook?” (40:20) This must mean that those who fish for a fish of this size, do it attack them at night in the darkness. So when day begins to dawn, they curse the day because their work and intention are interrupted by its coming. There is a second interpretation. Leviathan means the ancient serpent who is the devil, in the sense of Isaiah, “On that day the Lord will punish Leviathan the twisting serpent with his hard, great and strong sword.” (27:1) Those men then are prepared to haul out Leviathan who are eager to carry out the suggestions of the devil by devoting themselves to the works of iniquity. These curse the day because, as John says, “Everyone who does evil hates the light” (3:20) and Job says later “The eye of the adulterer sees darkness” (24:15) and “if immediately the dawn should appear, he will judge it the shadow of death.” (24:15) In this way then, when he speaks as before, “Let it not be worthy of praise,” he wants this night to be hateful to the good men. So according to what he adds, “Let those curse it, etc.” he also wants it to be hateful to the wicked, for both the good and the wicked shrink from adversity.
Deinde excludit a praedicta nocte quae videtur ad bonum noctis pertinere secundum naturam, quorum unum est quod nox decoratur aspectu stellarum, et hoc removet dicens obtenebrentur stellae caligine eius; aliud est quod decoratur ex spe diei, et hoc removet dicens expectet lucem et non videat, quasi dicat: quamvis naturale sit ut in nocte lux diei expectetur, illa tamen nox habeat tenebras infinitas quae numquam diurnae lucis successione terminentur. Noctis quidem tenebrae plena luce diei totaliter excluduntur, aurorae vero crepusculo diminuuntur; imprecatur autem praedictae nocti non solum ut eius tenebrae non excludantur per diem sed quod nec minuantur per auroram, unde dicit nec ortum surgentis aurorae. Sed quia id quod dixerat impossibile videbatur, ut scilicet nocti non succederet dies nec aurora, ostendit ex quo sensu id dictum sit subdens quia non conclusit ostia ventris qui portavit me. Vita enim hominis in ventre matris abscondita est, unde tenebris noctis comparatur; cum autem per nativitatem in manifestum prodit, tunc clarae diei similitudinem habet; ideo ergo dixit quod nox illa neque diem neque auroram succedentem haberet, ut ostenderet se desiderare quod suus conceptus numquam venisset ad partum neque ad pueritiam, quae per auroram intelligitur, neque ad iuventutem, quae per plenam lucem diei designatur. Dicit autem quia non conclusit ostia etc., non quod ipsa nox concludat ventrem, idest impediat partum, sed quia in nocte hoc agitur: ex ipsa enim conceptione potest praestari impedimentum ne conceptus ad partum perveniat. Et quia hoc etiam videbatur irrationabile quod aliquis vitam abhorreret cum omnibus desiderabile sit esse et vivere, ostendit ex qua ratione id dixerit cum subdit nec abstulit mala ab oculis meis, quasi dicat: non ipsam vitam propter se abhorreo sed propter mala quae patior; etsi enim vita secundum se desiderabilis sit, non tamen vita miseriis subiecta. Ubi considerandum est quod omnia quae supra figurative locutus est hac finali clausula exposuisse videtur, quod etiam in aliis eius dictis advertendum est. Next he excludes those qualities which belong to the good of the night according to nature from this night. One of these is night is adorned by the view of the stars. He takes this away when he says, “Let the stars be blotted out in the darkness.” Another quality is that it is bedecked with the hope of day, which he removes saying, “let it hope for light, but not see it,” as if to say: Although it is natural to hope for the light of day during the night, yet this night should have a darkness so great that it never ends with the coming of the light of day. The darkness of night is completely broken in the full light of day, but it is diminished at the break of dawn. He calls down on this night not only that its darkness may not be ended by day, but also that it not be diminished by the dawn when he says, “nor see the rising dawn of the morning.” But since what he had said seemed impossible, namely, for day and dawn not to succeed night, he shows how his words should be interpreted saying, “because it did not shut the door of my mother’s womb.” For the life of man is a hidden life in the womb of his mother, and so is compared to the darkness of night. However, when one appears in the open in birth, then it is like bright day. For this reason he said that night should not be followed by either dawn or by day to show that he wanted his conception to come never to birth or to childhood, which is understood by dawn or youth which is designated the full light of day. He says, “Because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb, and so on” not because this night should close the womb, that is, prevent his birth, but because this is done at night. For from conception itself, an impediment can stand out which does not allow conception to issue into birth. But since it also seems irrational for someone to detest life, when being and to living are desirable for all, he shows the reason why he has said this. “Nor hide trouble from my eyes,” as if to say: I do not detest living because of life itself, but from the evil which I suffer. For although life itself is desirable, yet a life subject to misery is not. Here note that everything which he has said in metaphor above, he clarifies plainly in the final clause, a principle which will be observed in his other discourses.
Second Lesson: Job Would Rest in Peace with the Dead
לָמָּה לֹּא מֵרֶחֶם אָמוּת מִבֶּטֶן יָצָאתִי וְאֶגְוָע׃ 11 מַדּוּעַ קִדְּמוּנִי בִרְכָּיִם וּמַה־שָּׁדַיִם כִּי אִינָק׃ 12 כִּי־עַתָּה שָׁכַבְתִּי וְאֶשְׁקוֹט יָשַׁנְתִּי אָז יָנוּחַ לִי׃ 13 עִם־מְלָכִים וְיֹעֲצֵי אָרֶץ הַבֹּנִים חֳרָבוֹת לָמוֹ׃ 14 אוֹ עִם־שָׂרִים זָהָב לָהֶם הַמְמַלְאִים בָּתֵּיהֶם כָּסֶף׃ 15 אוֹ כְנֵפֶל טָמוּן לֹא אֶהְיֶה כְּעֹלְלִים לֹא־רָאוּ אוֹר׃ 16 שָׁם רְשָׁעִים חָדְלוּ רֹגֶז וְשָׁם יָנוּחוּ יְגִיעֵי כֹחַ׃ 17 יַחַד אֲסִירִים שַׁאֲנָנוּ לֹא שָׁמְעוּ קוֹל נֹגֵשׂ׃ 18 קָטֹן וְגָדוֹל שָׁם הוּא וְעֶבֶד חָפְשִׁי מֵאֲדֹנָיו׃ 19 11 Why did I not die in the womb? Why did I not come forth from the womb and expire? 12 Why did knees receive me? Or why was I suckled at the breast? 13 For now I would be sleeping and quiet; and in my sleep I would be at rest. 14 With the kings and counselors of the earth, who built solitary dwellings for themselves; 15 or with princes who hoard gold and fill their houses with silver. 16 Or why was I not like a hidden aborted birth? Or like those conceived who never see the light? 17 There the wicked cease to trouble; and there the weary from the struggle are at rest. 18 There those once chained together, hear not the voice of the taskmaster. 19 The small and the great are there; the slave is free from his master.
Quare non in vulva mortuus sum? Postquam diei nativitatis et nocti conceptionis suae maledixerat ut ostenderet initia suae vitae se abhorrere, nunc ostendit se abhorrere suam conservationem in vita, ut ex his manifestius ostendat quod vita eius est ei onerosa. Est autem duplex status vitae: unus occultus quo concepti vivunt in utero, alius manifestus quo vivunt homines post nativitatem ex utero. Quantum ergo ad primum statum dicit quare non in vulva mortuus sum? Quantum ad secundum egressus ex utero non statim perii? Et de hoc secundo primo prosequitur. After Job has cursed the days of his birth and the night of his conception to show that he detested from the beginning of his life, he now shows that he detests from the preservation of his life. With these remarks he shows more clearly that his life is burdensome to him. There are two states of life: one is hidden in which those conceived live in the womb; the other is open where one lives after birth outside the womb. As for the first state, he says, “Why did I not die in the womb?” As to the second, “Why did I not come forth from the womb and expire?” He treats first about the second state.
Sciendum est autem quod exterior vita dupliciter tollitur: quandoque quidem ex aliquo nocumento supervenienti, vel intrinseco sicut est morbus, vel extrinseco sicut gladius aut aliquid huiusmodi, et ad hoc potest referri quod dixit egressus ex utero non statim perii? Quandoque vero ex subtractione necessarii subsidii, quod quidem est vel extrinsecum ut sunt vehicula, fomenta et alia huiusmodi adiumenta, et quantum ad hoc dicit quare exceptus genibus? Vel intrinsecum sicut est cibus, et quantum ad hoc dicit aut lactatus uberibus? His enim adminiculis indiget vita nati in sui primordio. One should know that the exterior life can be lost in two ways: sometimes, of course, from some harm coming on it, either intrinsic like sickness or extrinsic like a sword or something like that. So when he says, “Why did I not come forth from the womb and expire,” it can be applied to this. Sometimes however, the external life is taken away by the loss of some necessary assistance, which can be extrinsic like being carried, warmth and other aids of this kind. The verse, “Why did the knees receive me?” refers to this; or something intrinsic, like food, and so he says, “Or why was I suckled at the breast?” Indeed the life of newborn baby needs these aids to life on the first day of its birth.
Et quia cum aliquis dicit quare hoc factum est? Dat intelligere hoc inutiliter esse factum, ideo consequenter ostendit inutile sibi fore se fuisse conservatum in vita, immo potius nocivum. Quod quidem ostendit primo quantum ad mala quae nunc patitur, dicens nunc enim dormiens silerem: mortem quidem somnum dicit propter spem resurrectionis, de qua postmodum plenius loquetur; per silentium autem intelligit quietem ab adversitatibus quas patiebatur, quasi dicat: si statim post ortum mortuus fuissem, his malis quae patior non inquietarer. Secundo quantum ad bona quae primo habuerat; posset enim ei aliquis dicere: si in vita conservatus non esses, non habuisses bona quae olim habuisti, sed quasi ad hoc respondens ostendit quod nec propter illa bona vitae conservatio sibi fuisset optanda: nam etiam illi qui in tota vita sua maximis prosperitatibus florent hoc fine concluduntur, scilicet mortis; hoc est ergo quod dicit et somno meo, idest morte, requiescerem, idest a vitae inquietudinibus immunis essem, cum regibus et consulibus terrae. Sciendum est autem quod eorum qui in dignitatibus constituti sunt, qui maxime prosperari videntur, intentio est vel ad voluptatibus fruendum, et quantum ad hos dicit qui aedificant sibi solitudines, ad litteram causa venationis vel aliarum voluptatum solitarii esse volentes; vel ad divitias congregandum, et quantum ad hos dicit aut cum principibus qui possident aurum et replent domos suas argento, quasi dicat: si statim mortuus essem post ortum, nihil nunc minus haberem quam habent illi post mortem qui in multis prosperantur. Considerandum est autem quod cum quiescere non sit nisi subsistentis, ex his verbis dat intelligere hominem secundum animam post mortem subsistere. Si autem aliquis obiciat quod huiusmodi reges aut principes de quibus loquitur forte non quiescunt sed sunt in poenis Inferni, vel etiam quod ipsi Iob in hoc fuit utilis vita quod sibi meritum acquisivit, advertendum est quod, ut supra diximus, Iob nunc loquitur ex persona sensualis partis, exprimens eius affectum, quae non habet locum nisi ad corporalia et praesentia bona vel mala. But since when someone asks, “Why did this happen?”, he means that this happened uselessly, Job shows next as a consequence not only the futility of preserving his life, but even more the harm. He shows this first as to the evils which he now suffers saying, “For now I would be sleeping and quiet; I would be at rest.” He calls death sleep because of his hope in the resurrection, and he will later say this plainly. By silence, he means rest from the adversities which he was suffering; as if to say: If I had died immediately when I was born, I would not have been made restless by these evils which I now suffer. Second, he says it respecting the goods which he formerly possessed, for someone might say to him, “If you had not been preserved in this life, you would not have had the goods which you enjoyed in time past.” As if to answer this he shows that the preservation of his life should not be desired for the sake of those goods, for even those who have enjoyed an abundance of these great goods throughout their whole lives, end in the same way in death. He means this when he says, “And in my sleep,” i.e. death, “I would have been at rest,” i.e. I would have been freed from the disturbing things of life, “with kings and counselors of the earth.” Note that the intention of those who have a high place in society and seem to prosper greatly, is either to enjoy their pleasures, and as to them he says: “who built solitary dwellings for themselves,” (literally: those wanting to be alone to hunt or some other pleasant past-time); or they want to accumulate wealth, and as to them he says, “or with princes who hoard gold and fill their houses with silver.” This is as if to say: If I had died immediately after I was born, I would have had nothing less now than those men have after their deaths who prospered in many things. Consider that since rest occurs only in what subsists, he wants us to understand from these words, that man in his soul subsists after death. To the objection that kings and princes of the sort he is describing perhaps do not rest, but experience the torments of the punishments of hell, or even that life was useful to Job himself so that in life he could obtain merit for himself, we must return to what we already said. Job speaks now from the character of the sensual part of the human soul, and expresses what he feels. This part only allows a place for the corporeal goods and evils which are present in the here and now.
Sic igitur postquam ostendit sibi desiderandum non fuisse quod post ortum conservaretur, consequenter ostendit sibi desiderandum non fuisse quod conservatus in utero perveniret ad ortum, explicans quod supra dixerat quare non in vulva mortuus sum. Considerandum est autem quod in vulva aliqui moriuntur ante infusionem animae rationalis quae sola immortalis est, et quantum ad hoc dicit aut sicut abortivum absconditum non subsisterem: ab huiusmodi enim abortivis fetibus nihil perpetuum remanet; aliqui vero moriuntur post infusionem animae rationalis, qui quidem post mortem subsistunt secundum animam sed lucem huius mundi non vident, et quantum ad hoc dicit vel, supple sicut, qui concepti non viderunt lucem, scilicet vitae praesentis. Et quod hoc sibi fuisset optandum ostendit per hoc quod non esset subiectus malis huius vitae, unde dicit ibi, scilicet in statu quem habent qui concepti non viderunt lucem, impii cessaverunt a tumultu, scilicet quem aliis inferebant eos affligendo, quod refertur ad immunitatem a malo culpae; et ibi, scilicet in statu mortuorum, fessi robore, idest viri bellatores qui bella gerendo fatigati sunt, requieverunt, idest caruerunt huiusmodi labore quia, ut dictum est, non loquitur nunc nisi de quiete a malis praesentis vitae; potest etiam et intelligi de fatigatione in quocumque labore quem quis patitur sua fortitudine operando. Et illi qui fuerunt quondam vincti erunt ibi pariter sine molestia, idest sine priori angustia, pariter cum eis qui eos vinctos detinebant; et ibi homines oppressi angariis vel servitutibus non exaudierunt vocem exactoris, secundum illud quod dicitur Is. XIV 4 quomodo cessavit exactor, quievit tributum. Et quod hoc sit verum ostendit per hoc quod subdit parvus et magnus ibi sunt pariter, quia parvitas et magnitudo est in hac vita secundum inaequalitatem prosperitatis terrenae, qua sublata remanent secundum naturam aequales; quod ergo dicit parvus et magnus, intelligendum est: idest illi qui fuerunt in hac vita differentes secundum magnitudinem terrenae prosperitatis. Sciendum tamen est quod differentia magnitudinis et parvitatis secundum spiritualia bona remanet etiam ibi, sed de his nunc non loquitur, ut iam dictum est. Et ibi erit servus liber a domino suo, unde non habebit locum exactio aut aliquid huiusmodi. So after he shows that he should not have desired to have preserved his life after his birth, he demonstrates as a consequence that he should not have desired to preserve his life in leaving the womb and be born. In this he explains what he said above, “Why did I not die in the womb?” (v.11) Consider that some die in the womb before the infusion of the rational soul, which alone is immortal. He expresses this saying, “Or why was I not like a hidden aborted birth?” Aborted fetuses of this sort have nothing perpetual which remains of them. Some however die after the infusion of the rational soul. These truly subsist in the soul after death, but they do not see the light of this world. To express this Job says, “or” which must be interpreted as “like” (sicut) “those conceived who never see the light,” i.e. of this present life. He shows that he should have chosen this for himself so as not to have been subject to the evils of this life. So he says, “There”, in the state where those are who after they were conceived did not see the light of day, “the wicked cease from troubling,” from the trouble they caused others in afflicting them, cleansed from the evil of fault. “And there”, in the state of the dead, “the weary” warriors who are worn out from the struggle,” are at rest,” i.e. they are free from labor like this, because as was explained, he speaks now only of the rest from the evils of this present life. This passage can also be understood of the fatigue one suffers in any kind of work where he uses his own strength. “There, those” who were, “once chained, will be at ease together,” without their former pain together with those who held them bound. There too men weighed down with anguish and with slavery, “hear not the voice of the taskmaster.” This accords with Isaiah, “How the oppressor has ceased; there is no more tribute.” (14:4b) He shows this is true by adding, “The small and the great are there,” on an equal basis because smallness and greatness are reckoned in this life according to the inequality of earthly prosperity, when this is taken away they return to their natural equality. Therefore “the small and the great” should be interpreted to mean those who were different in this life because of the magnitude of earthly prosperity. Yet note that the difference between small and great in spiritual goods remains even there. But he does not speak about these goods now as has already been explained. There “the slave is free from his master,” and so there will be no place there for tribute or anything of this sort.
Third Lesson: Like The Unhappy
לָמָּה יִתֵּן לְעָמֵל אוֹר וְחַיִּים לְמָרֵי נָפֶשׁ׃ 20 הַמְחַכִּים לַמָּוֶת וְאֵינֶנּוּ וַיַּחְפְּרֻהוּ מִמַּטְמוֹנִים׃ 21 הַשְּׂמֵחִים אֱלֵי־גִיל יָשִׂישׂוּ כִּי יִמְצְאוּ־קָבֶר׃ 22 לְגֶבֶר אֲשֶׁר־דַּרְכּוֹ נִסְתָּרָה וַיָּסֶךְ אֱלוֹהַּ בַּעֲדוֹ׃ 23 כִּי־לִפְנֵי לַחְמִי אַנְחָתִי תָבֹא וַיִּתְּכוּ כַמַּיִם שַׁאֲגֹתָי׃ 24 כִּי פַחַד פָּחַדְתִּי וַיֶּאֱתָיֵנִי וַאֲשֶׁר יָגֹרְתִּי יָבֹא לִי׃ 25 לֹא שָׁלַוְתִּי וְלֹא שָׁקַטְתִּי וְלֹא־נָחְתִּי וַיָּבֹא רֹגֶז׃ פ 26 20 Why was light given to him that is in misery? Why is life given to the bitter in soul? 21 Who long for death, which does not come, like those who dig for buried treasure. 22 And are glad powerfully when they find the grave. 23 Why is it given to man whose way is hidden? And God has hedged him in with darkness? 24 Before I eat, I sigh; and my wailing is like flood waters. 25 For the thing that I fear comes upon me. 26 And what I dread befalls me. 26 Have I not dissembled? Was I not silent? Have I not kept quiet? And his wrath comes upon me.
Quare data est misero lux? Postquam Iob vitam propriam detestatus fuerat multipliciter, nunc detestatur communiter totius humani generis vitam, tam quantum ad eos qui in prosperitate sunt quam quantum ad eos qui in adversitate, de quibus primo prosequitur quasi a manifestiori incipiens. Sciendum est autem quod in viventibus duo videntur esse praecipua, scilicet vivere et cognoscere. Et quidem ipsum cognoscere quamvis delectabilissimum sit et nobilissimum, tamen cognoscere ea quae hominem affligunt poenosum est, et ideo dicit quare data est misero lux? Quasi dicat: ad quid prodest homini miseriis subiecto quod lucem cognitionis habet, cum per eam consideret mala quibus affligitur? Vivere autem nobile est propter animam; quod si anima in amaritudine sit, ipsum vivere redditur amarum, et ideo dicit et vita his qui in amaritudine animae sunt, resume quare data? Et quod inutiliter detur ostendit hac ratione quia contrarium eius desideratur a miseris, unde dicit qui, scilicet in amaritudine existentes, expectant mortem et non venit, scilicet tam cito sicut optant. Et ut ostendat quod expectant mortem non horrentes sed desiderantes eam, subiungit quasi effodientes thesaurum, qui scilicet magno desiderio accenduntur ut fodiendo ad thesaurum perveniant. Et quia desiderium cum completur gaudium parit, subiungit gaudentque vehementer cum sepulcrum invenerint, idest cum vident se pervenire ad mortem per quam sepulcrum inveniunt. Quidam autem hoc referunt ad eos qui thesaurum effodiunt, qui gaudent sepulcro invento, quia in sepulcris antiquis consueverunt thesauri inveniri; sed prima expositio melior est. After Job has detested his own life in many ways, he now detests the life of the whole human race taken collectively, both of those in prosperity and those in adversity. He begins to treat first of those who are more renowned. Note that there are two things which belong especially to living beings: to live and to know. Although knowing in itself is very delightful and very noble, yet to know those things which cause affliction is painful. So he says, “Why was light given to him that is in misery?,” as if to say: For what purpose does a man subject to unhappiness have the light of knowledge, since by it he can consider the evil with which he is afflicted? To live is noble because of the soul, but if the soul should exist in bitterness, living itself is rendered bitter. So he says, “and life to the bitter of soul.” (Understand “why is it given?” to be repeated) He shows that life is given to them uselessly because unhappy men desire its contrary. So he says, “Who,” living in bitterness, “long for death, which does not come,” that is as quickly as they would like. To show that those who are unhappy wait for death not shrinking from it but desiring it he continues, “like those who dig for buried treasure,” aroused by their great desire to find the treasure by digging. Because desire, when it is fulfilled causes joy, he adds, “and are glad powerfully when they find the grave,” i.e. when they see they have arrived at death which procures a grave for them. Some think this passage refers to the fact that those who dig for treasure rejoice in finding a grave because they often found treasures in ancient tombs. But the first explanation is better.
Et quia posset aliquis dicere quod vita etsi inutiliter detur miseris, utiliter tamen datur his qui in prosperitate sunt, ad hoc removendum subdit viro cuius abscondita est via, supple quare data est lux et vita? Viri enim via abscondita est quia nescitur quo status praesentis prosperitatis perveniat, dicitur enim Prov. XIV 13 risus dolore miscebitur et extrema gaudii luctus occupat, et Ier. X 23 dicitur non est in homine via eius, Eccl. VII 1 quid necesse est homini maiora se quaerere cum ignoret quid conducat sibi in vita sua? Aut quis potest indicare quid post eum futurum sub sole sit? Quomodo autem sit via hominis abscondita exponit subdens et circumdedit eum Deus tenebris, quod quidem multipliciter manifestum est: quantum ad ea quae sunt ante et post, secundum illud Eccl. VIII 6 multa hominis afflictio quia ignorat praeterita et ventura nullo scire potest nuntio; et quantum ad ea quae sunt iuxta, scilicet ad homines, secundum illud Cor. II 11 quis scit quae sunt hominis nisi spiritus hominis qui in ipso est? Et quantum ad ea quae sunt supra, secundum illud Tim. ult. lucem habitat inaccessibilem, scilicet Deus, quem nullus hominum vidit sed nec videre potest, et in Psalmo dicitur quod posuit tenebras latibulum suum; et quantum ad ea quae sunt infra, dicitur enim Eccl. I 8 cunctae res difficiles, non potest homo eas explicare sermone. Dicitur autem Deus hominem tenebris circumdedisse, quia Deus ei talem intellectum tribuit quod praedicta cognoscere non possit. Someone could object that although life is useless if given to miserable men, yet it is useful if given to those who enjoy prosperity. He removes this possibility saying, “Why are they (i.e. light and life) given to man whose way is hidden?” The way of a man is hidden because he does not know how the state of his present prosperity will end. As Proverbs says, “Laughter will be mixed with pain, and the end of joy is grief,” (Prov. 14:13) and Jeremiah, “Man’s road is not in his control.” (10:23) and Qoheleth, “What necessity is there for man to seek greater things for himself, when he does not know how to use things profitable for himself in this life? Or who can indicate what will be after him under the sun?” (7:1) He explains how the way of man is hidden on the earth saying, “And God has hedged him in with darkness.” This is evident in many ways. First, as to those things which happened in the past or will happen in the future Qoheleth says, “Many are the afflictions of man because he is ignorant of the past and the future or who can tell him how it will be?” (8:6) Second, as to what is near him, namely men. As 1 Cor. says, “For who knows a man’s thoughts but the spirit of the man which is in him.” (2:11) As to those things above a man, the last chapter of 1 Timothy says, “He (God) lives in inaccessible light, whom no man sees or is able to see,” (1 Tim. 6:16) and in the Psalms, “He makes the darkness his hiding place.” (17:12) Finally as to those things which are below him, Qoheleth says, “All things are difficult, a man cannot explain them with speech.” (1:8) God is said to have hedged a man in with darkness because God bestows the kind of intellect on him which not able to understand these things.
Ostenso igitur quod vita hominum difficilis est propter miseriam et amaritudinem hominum, haec quae communiter dixerat sibi adaptat, exprimens suam amaritudinem cum dicit antequam comedam suspiro; sicut enim risus gaudii signum est, ita suspirium amaritudinis animae: ostendit igitur ex modo suspirii suae amaritudinis modum. Suspirium igitur eius et tempestive incipiebat, dicit enim antequam comedam suspiro, et continuum erat et magnum, unde subdit et quasi inundantis aquae sic rugitus meus; sicut enim suspirium moderatae tristitiae signum est ita rugitus vehementis et quae vix tolerari potest. Hic autem rugitus aquae rugitui comparatur: aqua enim de facili movetur et murmuris sonum facit, sic et homo in magna afflictione constitutus ex levi memoria suae miseriae provocatur ad rugitum. Addit autem inundantis aquae ut ostendat suae amaritudinis continuitatem: aqua enim inundans continue movetur et sonum facit. After he shows that the life of man is difficult because of the unhappiness and bitterness of men, he applies to himself what he said about men in general. In this he expresses his own bitterness when he says, “Before I eat, I sigh,” for as laughter is a sign of joy, so sighing is a sign of bitterness of soul. In this he shows the manner of his bitterness from the manner of his sighing. He began his sighing easily, “Before I eat, I sigh.” And his sighing was continuous and great. So he adds, “and my wailing is like flood water.” For as sighing is a sign of moderate sorrow, so wailing is a sign of vehement sorrow, a sorrow which can hardly be tolerated. This wailing is compared to the roaring of water, for water which moves swiftly makes a murmuring sound. So a man experiencing great affliction is provoked to wailing from a slight recollection of his misery. He continues, “like flood water,” to emphasize the continuous character of his bitterness, for flooding water moves continuously and makes a loud noise.
Sed quia animae amaritudo ex miseria nascitur, post amaritudinem animae de sua miseria subiungit dicens quia timor quem timebam evenit mihi. Et notandum est quod miseria hominis ad amaritudinem provocans in duobus consistere videtur: in damnis rerum vel personae et in dehonorationibus. Quantum ergo ad primum dicit timor quem timebam evenit mihi, idest ea quae timebam mihi provenerunt, ubi magnitudo damnorum et poenarum exprimitur: quanto enim aliquis prudentior est, tanto in statu prosperitatis magis recogitat quae in adversitatis tempore sibi accidere possunt, secundum illud Eccli. XI 27 in die bonorum ne immemor sis malorum; magnam igitur miseriam Iob prudentissimus patiebatur dum sibi quae timuerat evenerunt. Quantum autem ad secundum, scilicet ad dehonorationes, dicit et quod verebar accidit: est enim verecundia secundum philosophum timor inhonorationis; per hoc igitur ostendit quod ex magna gloria in multa opprobria et dehonorationes acciderat. Because bitterness of soul arises from unhappiness, after he speaks of the bitterness of his soul, he next speaks about his unhappiness saying, “For the thing that I fear comes upon me.” Note here that the unhappiness of man which provokes bitterness seems to consist in two things. First, in the damage to his things or his person and in dishonor. As to the first two, he says, “For the thing that I fear comes upon me,” i.e. those things which I fear happen to me. Here this expression refers to the greatness of loss and pain for the more prudent someone is, the more he recognizes what can happen to him in a time of adversity when he is still in a time of prosperity. So Sirach says, “In the day of prosperity, do not forget evil.” (9:27) Job, who was the most prudent of men, suffered great unhappiness when the very evils happened to him which he feared. As for the second, dishonor, he says, “and what I dread befalls me.” According to Aristotle, shame is “the fear of dishonor.” He shows therefore by this that from great glory, he fell into many disgraces and dishonors.
Solet autem aliquis miseriam et amaritudinem pati sed ex propria culpa, sed hoc removet Iob dicens nonne dissimulavi? Et sciendum est quod aliquis offendit unde poenam meretur a Deo dupliciter: uno modo quando ex iniuriis sibi illatis ultra modum provocatur ad vindictam, secundum quod dicitur in Psalmo si reddidi retribuentibus mihi mala, decidam merito ab inimicis meis inanis, hoc autem a se removet dicens nonne dissimulavi? Scilicet iniurias mihi factas; alio modo dum ipse alium primitus offendit vel verbis, et hoc removet dicens nonne silui? Quasi dicat: nulli contumeliosa aut iniuriosa verba protuli; vel factis, et hoc removet a se dicens nonne quievi? Impii enim quasi mare fervens quod quiescere non potest Is. LVII 20. Et quamvis innocens sim tamen venit super me indignatio, idest poena a Deo - ira enim in Deo non accipitur pro commotione animi sed pro punitione -, in quo recognoscit adversitates huius mundi non absque divino nutu provenire. A man often suffers unhappiness and bitterness through his own fault. But this is not the case here, for Job says, “Have I not dissembled? A man often suffers unhappiness and bitterness through his own fault. This is not the case here, for Job says, Have I dissembled?” Understand here that someone sins and so merits punishment from God in two ways. In one way when from injuries inflicted on him, he is provoked to revenge beyond what is his due, as Psalm 7 says, “If I repaid evil things to those requiting me, may I perish deservedly destitute at the hands of my enemies.” (v. 5) He denies this possibility saying, Have I not dissembled?” as to the injuries done to me. In another way when someone offends another first in words. He shows this is not the case here saying, “Have I not been silent?” as if to say: For I have spoken abusive or injurious words. Nor has he offended in deeds and he removes this from himself saying, “Have I not been master of myself?” “For the impious are like the restless sea which cannot be quiet.” (Is. 57:20) Although I am innocent, still “his wrath came upon me,” i.e. the punishment given by God, for anger in God does not happen because God is disturbed in soul, but because he wants to punish someone. In this Job recognizes that the adversities of this world do not happen without divine command.
Si quis igitur colligere velit quae in hac deploratione Iob dicta sunt, sciendum est tria in ea contineri: primo enim ostendit sibi suam vitam esse taediosam, secundo magnitudinem miseriae quam patiebatur, ibi antequam comedam etc., tertio ostendit suam innocentiam cum dicit nonne dissimulavi et cetera. To summarize what Job said in his lamentation, note that three things are contained in it. First, he shows his own life is wearisome (“Cursed be the day of my birth”) v. 3; second, the greatness of the unhappiness which he was suffering (“Before I eat, I sigh) v. 24; and third, he shows his innocence (Have I not dissembled) v. 26 and so on.

First Lesson: On The Impatience of Job
וַיַּעַן אֱלִיפַז הַתֵּימָנִי וַיֹּאמַר׃ 1 הֲנִסָּה דָבָר אֵלֶיךָ תִּלְאֶה וַעְצֹר בְּמִלִּין מִי יוּכָל׃ 2 הִנֵּה יִסַּרְתָּ רַבִּים וְיָדַיִם רָפוֹת תְּחַזֵּק׃ 3 כּוֹשֵׁל יְקִימוּן מִלֶּיךָ וּבִרְכַּיִם כֹּרְעוֹת תְּאַמֵּץ׃ 4 כִּי עַתָּה תָּבוֹא אֵלֶיךָ וַתֵּלֶא תִּגַּע עָדֶיךָ וַתִּבָּהֵל׃ 5 הֲלֹא יִרְאָתְךָ כִּסְלָתֶךָ תִּקְוָתְךָ וְתֹם דְּרָכֶיךָ׃ 6 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite spoke in response, 2 “If one ventures a word with you, perhaps you will be offended, but who can keep from speaking? 3 Behold, you have instructed many and you have strengthened those with weak hands; 4 Your words have upheld the tottering, and you have strengthened those with trembling knees. 5 But now a trial has come upon you, and you too have fallen away. It touched you, and you are dismayed. 6 Where is your courage, your patience, and the integrity of your ways?”
Respondens autem Eliphaz Themanites et cetera. Amici Iob qui ad consolandum venerant, cum prius propter doloris magnitudinem tacuissent, post locutionem Iob audaciam sumpserunt loquendi. Et primo loquitur Eliphaz Themanites qui verba a Iob proposita non eo animo accepit quo erant dicta: nam odium praesentis vitae quod dixerat se pati desperationi imputabat, magnitudinem amaritudinis impatientiae, innocentiae confessionem praesumptioni. The friends of Job who came to console him, who had kept silence up to now because the acuteness of his pain, after Job had finished undertook the boldness to speak. First Eliphaz the Temanite speaks. He had not taken Job’s words in the spirit in which they were spoken. He imputed the hatred of his present life which Job said he suffered to despair; his great bitterness to impatience and his profession of his innocence to presumption.
Primo igitur arguit eius impatientiam, et incipit loqui ad eum quasi ad hominem impatientiae vitio subiacentem qui ex verbis sibi prolatis indignatur, unde dicit si coeperimus loqui tibi forsitan moleste accipies, ubi satis impatientis et irati consuetudinem exprimit, qui non suffert audire verba usque ad finem sed statim in ipso verborum exordio provocatur. Addit autem forsitan ne de temerario iudicio condemnetur, quamvis etiam in praesumptionibus seu suspicionibus in meliorem partem dicta vel facta interpretanda sunt. Sed dum ipse Iob de impatientia arguit, se ipsum impatientiae et fatuitatis reum ostendit dicens sed conceptum sermonem tenere quis poterit? Secundum illud Eccli. XIX 12 sagitta infixa femori canis, sic verbum in corde stulti; quamvis et iusti ex zelo divino interdum ea quae concipiunt ad honorem Dei dicenda tacere non possunt, secundum illud Ier. XX 9 dixi: non recordabor eius, scilicet sermonis domini, neque loquar ultra in nomine illius; et factus est in corde meo quasi ignis exaestuans claususque in ossibus meis, et defeci ferre non sustinens. First, he therefore accuses Job of impatience and begins to speak to him as one does to a man subject to the sin of impatience who immediately reacts angrily to the words spoken to him. So he says, “If one ventures a word with you, you will perhaps be offended.” Here he adequately assesses the usual temperament of an impatient and angry man, who cannot suffer to hear someone finish he argument, but is immediately provoked to answer him when he has only just begun to speak. He says, “perhaps” lest he be condemned for rash judgment, although one should also interpret words or deeds in presumptuous or suspicious things in the better light. But whereas he accuses Job of impatience, he shows himself the one given to impatience and silliness when he says, “but who can keep from speaking?” So Sirach says, “As arrows inflicted in the thigh of a dog, so is the word in the heart of a fool,” (19:12) although one may grant that even the just from divine zeal are sometimes unable to be silent in speaking what must be said for the honor of God. As Jeremiah says, “If I say I will not remember,” i.e. the words of the Lord, “or speak any more in his name, there is a kind of burning fire in my heart shut up in my bones, and I am weary for holding it in and cannot.” (20:9)
Ulterius autem procedit ad manifeste eius impatientiam ostendendam. Exaggerat autem eius impatientiam ex duobus, scilicet ex praecedenti doctrina et ex praecedenti vita: ex praecedenti quidem doctrina quia turpe est homini cum non servat ad quod alios inducit, secundum illud Matth. XX dicunt enim et non faciunt; Iob autem multos antea ab impatientia retraxerat, et diversimode secundum quod diversis congruebat. Sunt enim aliqui qui per impatientiam deficiunt ex ignorantia dum nesciunt adversis uti ad virtutem, et quantum ad hos dicit ecce docuisti multos; quidam vero primo quidem in adversis virtuose agunt sed adversitate durante quasi recta actione fatigati deficiunt, et quantum ad hos dicit et manus lassas roborasti, scilicet bonis inductionibus; sunt etiam aliqui qui in adversis in dubitationem incidunt an ex divino iudicio proveniant, et quantum ad hos dicit vacillantes confirmaverunt sermones tui; sunt etiam aliqui qui parvam quidem adversitatem sustinerent sed sub magna adversitate quasi sub magno pondere deficiunt, et quantum ad hos dicit et genua trementia confortasti, scilicet tuis sermonibus: tremunt enim genua homini magnum pondus portanti. Ad praedicta autem implenda exhortatur dominus Is. XXXV 3 dicens confortate manus dissolutas et genua debilia roborate. He next proceeds to clearly demonstrate Job’s impatience, by exaggerating this impatience from two points of view: his former teaching and his former life. From his former teaching, indeed, because it is shameful for a man to not practice what he teaches to others. As St. Matthew says, “For they say and do not do.” (23:3) Before Job had held many back from impatience, and used to adapt his teaching to different men in different ways. For there are some who are impatient from ignorance, as long as they do not know how to use adversities for virtue. As to these he says, “Behold, You have instructed many.” Others, however, practice virtue in adversity at first, but when the adversity lasts a long time they are discouraged as though tired of right action. As to these he says, “and you have strengthened those with weak hands,” by persuading them to good works. There are also some who in adversity fall into a condition of doubt as to whether this happened from divine judgment. As to these he says, “Your words have upheld the tottering.” There also are some who sustain a small adversity but under great adversity fall as crushed by a heavy burden. For these he says, “and you have strengthened those with trembling knees,” namely, with your counsels, for the knees of a man tremble when he carries a great weight. The Lord exhorts us to perfect ourselves in this condition saying in Isaiah, “Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the trembling knees.” (35:3)
Vult autem consequenter ostendere quod ea quae docuerat non implevit, unde subditur nunc autem venit super te plaga et defecisti, a firmitate scilicet mentis quam habere videbaris et quam aliis suggerebas, et hoc referendum est ad adversitatem quam passus fuerat in exterioribus rebus; tetigit te et conturbatus es, idest quietem mentis quam habuisse videbaris amisisti, quod referendum est ad afflictionem corporis quam sustinebat: unde et supra Satan dixerat mitte manum tuam et tange os eius et carnem. Sic igitur Iob arguitur quod praecedentem doctrinam subsequenti patientia non confirmaverit, contra id quod scriptum est Prov. XIX 11 doctrina viri per patientiam noscitur. Eliphaz wants to show as a consequence that Job did not practice the things he taught others and so he continues, “But now a trial has come to you, and you too have fallen away,” namely, from the firmness of mind which you seemed to have and which you recommended to others. This refers to the adversity he had suffered in exterior things. “It touched you, and you are dismayed,” i.e. you have lost the peace of mind which you seemed to have. This refers to the affliction of body he was suffering. So Satan said above, “Put forth your hand and touch his bones and his flesh.” He therefore had accused Job of not living his previous teaching by practicing subsequent patience. This is against Proverbs, “A man learns good sense by patience.” (19:11)
Sed et ex vita praeterita quae in Iob videbatur subsequentem impatientiam exaggerat; videtur enim non fuisse vera virtus quae tam cito in tribulatione defecit quia, sicut scriptum est Eccli. II 5, in igne probabitur aurum et argentum, homines vero receptibiles in camino humiliationis. Multiplici autem virtute aliquis in tribulationibus conservatur ne deficiat: primo quidem per reverentiam divinam, dum homines considerant mala quae patiuntur ex divina providentia provenire, sicut et Iob supra dixerat sicut domino placuit ita factum est, et ad hoc excludendum inducit ubi est timor tuus? Quo scilicet Deum revereri videbaris. Secundo aliqui conservantur animi firmitate, quae quidem duos gradus habet: in quibusdam enim tanta est animi firmitas ut eorum animus adversitatibus non nimium molestetur, et hoc ad fortitudinem pertinere videtur, unde dicit ubi est fortitudo tua? Nec accipitur hic fortitudo secundum quod conservat hominem ne succumbat timori, sed ut non deiciatur per tristitiam; quidam vero gravem quidem tristitiae passionem ex adversitate patiuntur sed ab ea propter rationem bene dispositam non abducuntur, et hoc videtur ad patientiam pertinere, ut talis sit differentia inter patientiam et fortitudinem qualem assignant philosophi inter continentiam et castitatem, et ideo adiungit patientia tua? Tertio vero conservantur aliqui ex amore honestae actionis et ex eo quod horrent turpiter agere, qui etsi interius conturbentur in adversitatibus, tamen nec verbo nec facto in aliquid indecens prorumpunt, et propter hoc addit et perfectio viarum tuarum? Per vias enim actiones intelliguntur quibus quasi quibusdam viis pervenitur ad finem; vel per vias possunt intelligi excogitata consilia quibus aliquis se evadere confidit, unde adversitates facilius tolerat. He also exaggerated the subsequent impatience which appeared in Job from his past life. For virtue which fails so quickly in trial does not seem true because, as it is written in Sirach, “Gold and silver are proved in fire; men are proven in the crucible of humility.” (2:5) A man is preserved by many virtues so that he does not fail in trials. First, some are preserved through fear of God, when they consider that the evil things they suffer come forth from divine providence. As Job said above, “As the Lord pleases, so has he done.”[1:2] Eliphaz said to exclude this virtue, “Where is your fear?” with which you seemed to revere God. Second, some are preserved through constancy of soul, which has two degrees. In some men, their strength of soul is so exceedingly great that they are not excessively bothered in adversities. This is due to courage. So he says, “Where is your courage?” This should not be taken here to refer to the fortitude which men guard so that they do not succumb to fear, but that they are not discouraged in sorrow. Some suffer a very burdensome amount of sorrow from adversity, but they are not led astray by it because of the good disposition of their reason. This is due to patience. The difference between patience and courage is the same difference which the philosophers put between continence and chastity. So he continues, “Your patience?” Third, some are safeguarded by love of the right action and from the horror of doing something base, so that even if they should be interiorly disturbed by adversity, they still break out in nothing unworthy, either in word or deed. So he adds, “Where is the integrity of your ways?” “Ways” here means actions by which one arrives at an end as if by certain kinds of roads. “Ways” can also mean carefully thought out counsel, by which someone comes to trust that he can evade adversities and so he tolerates adversities more easily.
The Second Lesson: Job and His Family Justly Punished
זְכָר־נָא מִי הוּא נָקִי אָבָד וְאֵיפֹה יְשָׁרִים נִכְחָדוּ׃ 7 כַּאֲשֶׁר רָאִיתִי חֹרְשֵׁי אָוֶן וְזֹרְעֵי עָמָל יִקְצְרֻהוּ׃ 8 מִנִּשְׁמַת אֱלוֹהַ יֹאבֵדוּ וּמֵרוּחַ אַפּוֹ יִכְלוּ׃ 9 שַׁאֲגַת אַרְיֵה וְקוֹל שָׁחַל וְשִׁנֵּי כְפִירִים נִתָּעוּ׃ 10 לַיִשׁ אֹבֵד מִבְּלִי־טָרֶף וּבְנֵי לָבִיא יִתְפָּרָדוּ׃ 11 7 Remember, I implore you; who that was innocent has ever perished? Or when have the upright been destroyed? 8 No, rather I have seen that those who do evil and sow pains, reap the same. 9 By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his anger they are consumed. 10 The roar of the lion, the voice of the lioness and the teeth of the whelp have been broken. 11 The tigress perished with him for lack of prey, and the whelps of the lioness have been scattered.
Recordare, obsecro te et cetera. Postquam Eliphaz arguerat Iob impatientiae occasione accepta ex eo quod dixerat antequam comedam suspiro, nunc intendit eum praesumptionis arguere eo quod se dixerat innocentem. Ad ostendendum autem eum non esse innocentem, ex eius adversitate argumentum assumit dicens recordare, obsecro te, quis umquam innocens periit, aut quando recti deleti sunt? Ubi considerandum est hanc fuisse opinionem Eliphaz, et aliorum duorum, sicut supra dictum est, quod adversitates huius mundi non adveniunt alicui nisi in poenam peccati et e contrario prosperitates pro merito iustitiae; unde secundum eius opinionem inconveniens videbatur quod aliquis innocens temporaliter periret, aut quod aliquis rectus, idest iustus secundum virtutem, deleretur per amissionem gloriae temporalis, quam credebat praemium esse iustitiae. Et hanc quidem opinionem intantum veram esse credebat quod etiam Iob ab ea discordare non posset; aestimabat tamen quod perturbata mente ipsius, veritatem quam aliquando cognoverat quasi oblitus esset, unde dicit recordare. After Eliphaz accused Job of impatience taking his opportunity from what Job had said, “Before I eat, I sigh,” (3:24), he intends now to accuse him of presumption from the fact that he said he was innocent. To show him that he is not innocent, he takes his argument from the premise of his adversity saying, “Remember, I implore you, who that was innocent has ever perished; or when have the upright been destroyed?” Consider here again that Eliphaz and the other two friends were of the opinion that the misfortunes of this world do not happen to someone except as a punishment for sin and on the other hand prosperity comes as a reward for justice. So according to his opinion, it would not seem fitting that anyone innocent should perish temporally or that anyone who was upright, i.e. just according to virtue, should be destroyed by the loss of temporal glory, which he thought was a reward for justice. He believed this opinion to be so true that even Job could not disagree with it. Yet he thought that Job had, as it were, forgotten the truth which he knew at one time, because his spirit was troubled. So he says, “Remember.”
Posito ergo quod innocentibus et rectis adversitas non contingat, consequenter adiungit quibus adversitas contingat dicens quin potius vidi eos qui operantur iniquitatem et seminant dolores et metunt eos, flante Deo perisse et spiritu irae eius esse consumptos. In hoc autem quod dicit vidi dat intelligere se ista per experimentum probasse; per eos autem qui operantur iniquitatem intelligit eos qui manifeste iniustitiam faciunt et praecipue in nocumentum aliorum; per eos autem qui seminant dolores et metunt eos intelligit eos qui per dolum aliis nocent: hi enim dolores seminant dum calumnias praeparant quibus alios dolentes reddant, quos quidem dolores metunt dum malitiam suam ad effectum perducunt, et hoc pro magno fructu habent. Quam quidem metaphoram ulterius prosequitur quantum ad poenam: consueverunt enim segetes vento urente siccari et consumi, unde dicitur Mal. III 11 increpabo pro vobis devorantem, scilicet ventum, et non corrumpet fructum terrae vestrae, et hoc est quod dicit quod flante Deo pereunt, quasi ipsum divinum iudicium ad vindictam iniquitatis procedens flatus quidam venti sit; ipsa autem Dei vindicta dicitur spiritus, idest ventus, irae eius. Non solum autem dicit quod pereunt sed quod consumuntur, quia non solum in propriis personis puniuntur sed et eorum filii et familia tota perit ut nihil ex eis residuum videatur, in quo videbatur tangere Iob qui et in suo corpore flagellatus erat, et filios et familiam et opes amiserat. Given therefore that adversity does not happen to the innocent and the upright, he consequently identifies those who experience adversity, “No, rather, I have seen that those who do evil and sow pains, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his anger they are consumed.” When he says, “I have seen,” he makes allusion to the fact that he himself has proven these things by experience. For those “who do evil,” he understands those who openly do injustice especially by harming others. For those who “sow pains and reap the same,” he understands those who harm others by deceit. These sow pains when they prepare calumnies by which they make others suffer. Those men reap pain when they continue their evildoing until it takes effect, and they take this to be excellent fruit. He carries this metaphor further in speaking about punishment. Corn fields usually dry up and are destroyed by a scorching wind. As Malachi says, “I will rebuke the devourer,” i.e. the wind,” so that it may not devour the fruit of your land.” (3:11) He refers to this when he says, “they will perish by the blast of God,” as though divine judgment itself coming forth to punish evil is similar to the blast of the wind. The very revenge of God is called the breath, i.e. the wind, of his anger. He says not only that they perish, but that they are consumed, because they are not only punished in their own persons, but their children and their whole family perishes so that nothing seems to remain of them. This seemed to express Job both because he had been afflicted in his body and had lost his children, his family and his wealth.
Sed quia videbatur hoc esse contra opinionem Eliphaz quod pro peccato parentis filii et familia puniretur, cum ipse intendat hanc opinionem defendere quod adversitates in hoc mundo sunt poenae peccati, huic obiectioni respondens subiungit rugitus leonis et vox leaenae et dentes catulorum leonum contriti sunt. Ubi primo considerandum occurrit quod homo ceteris animalibus praeminet ratione; cum igitur ratione praetermissa passiones brutales sequitur, efficitur similis bestiis, et illius bestiae nomen sibi competit cuius passionem imitatur, utpote qui subiacet concupiscentiae passionibus equo vel mulo comparatur, secundum illud Psalmi nolite fieri sicut equus et mulus quibus non est intellectus; propter ferocitatem autem vel iram leo aut ursus nominatur, secundum illud Prov. XXVIII 15 leo rugiens et ursus esuriens, princeps impius super populum pauperem, et Ez. XIX 3 leo factus est et didicit capere praedam hominemque comedere: sic igitur et nunc hominem ferocem leoni comparat dicens rugitus leonis, rugitus enim est leoninae ferocitatis indicium. Contingit autem frequenter quod ferocitas viro additur ex suggestione uxoris, et sic ea quae vir ferociter agit uxori imputantur in culpam, sicut patet de uxore Herodis quae impulit eum ad decollandum Iohannem, propter quod dicitur et vox leaenae. His autem quae tyrannus aliquis ferociter acquirit eius filii luxuriose interdum utuntur, et sic in rapina patris delectantur: unde et ipsi a culpa immunes non sunt, propter quod subditur et dentes catulorum leonum contriti sunt, secundum illud Nah. II 12 et leo cepit sufficienter catulis suis. Et sic obiectioni praemissae respondisse videtur, quia cum pro peccato viri punitur uxor et filii non est iniustum, cum et ipsi culpae participes fuerint; quod totum dicebat volens Iob et eius familiam de rapina notabilem reddere. But the fact that the children and family should suffer for the sins of the parents seemed to go contrary to the opinion of Eliphaz since he intends to defend the opinion that adversities in this world are punishments for sin. Eliphaz answers this objection saying, “The roar of the lion, the voice of the lioness, and the teeth of the whelp have been broken.” Here first occurs the consideration that man is more noble than other animals because of reason. When then he sets reason aside, he follows the passions of beasts, and so he bears the likeness of beasts and the name of beast befits him because he imitates their passions. For example, one who gives in to the passion of concupiscence is likened to a horse or a mule in the Psalms, “Be not like horse and mule, unintelligent.” (31:9) The one who gives into anger or ferociousness is called a lion or a bear in Proverbs, “A roaring lion or a hungry bear is the impious prince over a poor people” (28:15) and Ezekiel, “He became a lion and he learned to catch prey and devour men.” (19:3) So now he compares a furious man to a lion saying, “The roar of the lion,” for roaring is an indication of the ferociousness of the lion. Often the prodding of a wife adds to the ferociousness of her husband, and so the ferocious thing the husband does is imputed to the fault of his wife. This is clear with Herod’s wife who prodded him to behead John the Baptist. (cf. Matt. 14:8) So he says, “The voice of the lioness.” Sometimes what a tyrant acquired by cruelty, his sons use wantonly and so they rejoice in the father’s plunder. Therefore they are not immune from fault. So the text continues, “the teeth of the whelps are broken.” Nahum says, “The lion took enough for his whelps.” (2:12) Thus he seems to have responded to the premised objection, because it is not just for the wife and the children to be punished for the sins of the husband, when they were participants with him in the fault. He said all this in trying to render Job and his family infamous for robbery.
Videbatur tamen hoc quod dixerat ad Iob non pertinere quia eius uxor punita non videbatur, et ideo ad hoc removendum subiungit tigris perit eo quod non haberet praedam: hi enim qui rapere consueverunt in hoc ipsum puniri se aestimant quod eis rapere non licet. Considerandum est autem quod mulierem et leaenae comparat propter ferocitatem irae, et tigridi propter promptitudinem sive velocitatem ad iram, dicitur enim Eccli. XXV 23 non est ira super iram mulieris, et iterum brevis omnis malitia super malitiam mulieris. Et quia filii Iob totaliter perierant, subiungit et catuli leonum dissipati sunt. Yet it seemed that what he said did not pertain to Job, because his wife did not seem to be punished. To remove this difficulty, he says, “The tigress perished with him for lack of prey.” For those who steal as a practice, think themselves punished if they are not permitted to steal. Consider that women are compared to a lioness because of the ferociousness of their anger and to a tigress because of the readiness and quickness of their anger. As Sirach says, “There is no anger like the anger of a woman” (25:23) and “All malice is brief compared to the malice of a woman.” (25:26) Because all of Job’s children had completely perished, he adds, “and the whelps of the lioness have been scattered.”
The Third Lesson: the Nocturnal Vision of Eliphaz
וְאֵלַי דָּבָר יְגֻנָּב וַתִּקַּח אָזְנִי שֵׁמֶץ מֶנְהוּ׃ 12 בִּשְׂעִפִּים מֵחֶזְיֹנוֹת לָיְלָה בִּנְפֹל תַּרְדֵּמָה עַל־אֲנָשִׁים׃ 13 פַּחַד קְרָאַנִי וּרְעָדָה וְרֹב עַצְמוֹתַי הִפְחִיד׃ 14 וְרוּחַ עַל־פָּנַי יַחֲלֹף תְּסַמֵּר שַׂעֲרַת בְּשָׂרִי׃ 15 יַעֲמֹד וְלֹא־אַכִּיר מַרְאֵהוּ תְּמוּנָה לְנֶגֶד עֵינָי דְּמָמָה וָקוֹל אֶשְׁמָע׃ 16 הַאֱנוֹשׁ מֵאֱלוֹהַ יִצְדָּק אִם מֵעֹשֵׂהוּ יִטְהַר־גָּבֶר׃ 17 הֵן בַּעֲבָדָיו לֹא יַאֲמִין וּבְמַלְאָכָיו יָשִׂים תָּהֳלָה׃ 18 אַף שֹׁכְנֵי בָתֵּי־חֹמֶר אֲשֶׁר־בֶּעָפָר יְסוֹדָם יְדַכְּאוּם לִפְנֵי־עָשׁ׃ 19 מִבֹּקֶר לָעֶרֶב יֻכַּתּוּ מִבְּלִי מֵשִׂים לָנֶצַח יֹאבֵדוּ׃ 20 הֲלֹא־נִסַּע יִתְרָם בָּם יָמוּתוּ וְלֹא בְחָכְמָה׃ 21 קְרָא־נָא הֲיֵשׁ עוֹנֶךָּ וְאֶל־מִי מִקְּדֹשִׁים תִּפְנֶה׃ 1 12 Now a word was spoken to me in a hidden way; stealthily my ear perceived the dry bed of his whisper. 13 In the dread of the vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men 14 Fear seized me, and trembling which made my bones shake with fear. 15 A spirit glided past me, and the hairs stood up on my flesh. 16 It stood still, but I could not discern the face, an image before my eyes. And I heard a voice gentle to my ears. 17 “Can mortal man be righteous in comparison with God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? 18 Even those who serve him are not stable and in his angels he found evil; 19 How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is dust. Who are eaten as by a moth. 20 Between morning and evening they will be destroyed and since not one understands, they perish forever. 21 But those who will remain are born away from them. They will die, but not in wisdom.” ch.5 I Call now, is there anyone to answer you? Turn to one of the holy men.
Porro ad me dictum est verbum absconditum et cetera. Quia asseruerat Eliphaz quod adversitates in hoc mundo non adveniunt alicui nisi propter eius peccatum, volens ex hoc arguere Iob et eius familiam fuisse peccatis subiectam, cuius contrarium videbatur ex his quae manifeste in Iob et in eius familia apparuerant, vult ostendere quod nec Iob nec eius familia fuerit a peccato immunis. Et quia, propter auctoritatem Iob et famam ipsius, eius verbum invalidum videbatur, recurrit ad auctoritatem maiorem ostendens ea quae propositurus est se ex revelatione didicisse; et ad ostendendum altitudinem revelationis proponit eius obscuritatem: quanto enim aliqua sunt altiora tanto humano respectu sunt minus perceptibilia, unde et apostolus dicit Cor. XII 4 quod raptus est in Paradisum Dei et audivit arcana verba quae non licet homini loqui, iuxta quem modum et Eliphaz hic vel vere vel ficte loquitur dicens porro ad me dictum est verbum absconditum. Because Eliphaz had accepted that adversities in this life only happened to someone because of his sin, he wanted from this to accuse Job and his family of being subject to sin. As exactly the contrary was clearly the case for Job and his family, he wanted to show that neither Job nor his family was immune from sin. Since his opinion seemed to be weak because of the authority of Job and his reputation, he referred to a higher authority showing he is about to propose he has learned from revelation. He first proposes the obscurity of the revelation to demonstrate its high source. The higher things are above man, the less perceptible they are by man. As St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians, “He was taken up into the paradise of God and heard things which cannot be told to man.” (12:4) In this way, Eliphaz speaks either truly or falsely saying, “Now a word was spoken to me in a hidden way.”
Considerandum est autem quod aliqua veritas, quamvis propter sui altitudinem sit homini abscondita, revelatur tamen quibusdam manifeste, quibusdam vero occulte; ad effugiendam igitur notam iactantiae hanc veritatem abscondite dicit sibi esse revelatam, unde subdit et quasi furtive suscepit auris mea venas susurrii eius, ubi triplex modus occultationis innuitur qui solet in revelationibus contingere. Quorum primus est cum intelligibilis veritas alicui revelatur per imaginariam visionem, secundum quod dicitur Num. XII 6 si quis fuerit inter vos propheta domini, per somnium aut in visione loquar ad eum; at non talis servus meus Moyses: ore ad os loquar ei qui palam et non per aenigmata videt Deum; Moyses igitur hoc verbum absconditum per modum clarae vocis audivit, alii vero per modum susurrii. Secundus modus occultationis est quia in ipsa imaginaria visione proferuntur quandoque aliqua verba expresse continentia veritatem, sicut est illud Is. VII 14 ecce virgo concipiet, quandoque vero sub quibusdam figuratis locutionibus, sicut est illud Is. XI 1 egredietur virga de radice Iesse et flos etc.; in hoc igitur quod Isaias audivit ecce virgo concipiet percepit ipsum susurrium, in hoc autem quod audivit egredietur virga de radice Iesse percepit venas susurrii: nam figuratae locutiones sunt quasi quaedam venae ab ipsa veritate per similitudinem derivatae. Tertius modus est quod aliquando aliquis revelationem divinam frequentem et diutinam habet, sicut dicitur de Moyse Exodi XXXIII 11 quod loquebatur dominus ad Moysem facie ad faciem, sicut solet homo loqui ad amicum suum; aliquando autem aliquis habet revelationem subitam et transitoriam: hunc igitur subitum revelationis modum significat in hoc quod dicit quasi furtive, nam ea quasi furtive audimus quae raptim et quasi pertranseundo ad nos perveniunt. Consider that some truth, although hidden from men because of its exalted character, is still revealed to some clearly and revealed to others in a hidden way. To avoid the charge of boasting, he says that this truth was revealed to him in a hidden way, “stealthily my ear perceived the dry bed of his whisper.” Here he hints that there are three ways in which things are hidden in revelations. The first of these is when the intelligible truth is revealed to someone through an imaginary vision. As Numbers says,” If there will be a prophet of the Lord among you, I will speak to him in a vision or a dream. Not so with my servant Moses; With him I speak mouth to mouth, and he does not see God clearly and not through riddles.” (12:6-8) Moses, then, heard this hidden word by a clear voice. Others however hear in the manner of a whisper. The second hidden manner is in the imaginary vision when words are spoken which sometimes expressly contain the truth, as in the text Isaiah, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive,” (7:14) or sometimes under certain figures of speech, as in Isaiah, “A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse and a flower, etc.” (9:1) When therefore Isaiah heard, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive,” he perceived the whispering itself, but when he heard, “A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,” he perceived the strains of the whisper. For figures of speech are like strains derived from the truth itself through the likeness of a simile. The third hidden way is when someone sometimes has a frequent and long-lasting revelation of God, as Exodus says about Moses, “The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (33:11) Sometimes someone has a sudden and passing revelation. Eliphaz shows the sudden character of his revelation when he says, “stealthily”, for we hear those things almost stealthily which come to us quickly and in, as it were, a fleeting moment.
Sic igitur altitudine visionis ostensa, prosequitur de circumstantiis revelationis, et primo de tempore dicens in horrore visionis nocturnae quando sopor solet occupare homines. Tempus enim nocturnum propter quietem magis est congruum revelationibus percipiendis: in die enim a tumultibus hominum et occupationibus sensuum mens quendam strepitum patitur ut susurrium verbi absconditi percipere nequeat. After he shows the high source of the vision in this way, he proceeds to the circumstances of the revelation. First, he speaks of the time saying, “In the dread vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men,” because the quiet night is more suitable for receiving revelations. During the day, the mind suffers noise from the disturbances of men and the occupations of the senses, so that it cannot perceive the whispering of a hidden word.
Secundo ex dispositione percipientis, unde subdit pavor tenuit me: homines enim ad insolita pavere consueverunt, unde quando alicui fiunt insolitae revelationes in principio timorem patiuntur. Et ad magnitudinem huius timoris ostendendam subiungit et tremor: est enim tremor corporis indicium magnitudinis timoris. Et ad magnificandum huiusmodi tremorem subiungit et omnia ossa mea perterrita sunt, quasi dicat: tremor non fuit superficialis sed vehemens, qui etiam ossa concuteret; simile est quod habetur Dan. X 8 vidi visionem hanc grandem et non remansit in me fortitudo, sed et species mea immutata est in me et emarcui nec habui in me quicquam virium. Causam autem huius timoris consequenter ostendit dicens et cum spiritus me praesente transiret, inhorruerunt pili carnis meae: rationabile enim est quod ad praesentiam maioris virtutis minor obstupescat; manifestum est autem virtutem spiritus esse maiorem quam carnis, unde non est mirum si ad praesentiam spiritus carnis pili inhorrescunt quod ex subito timore procedit, et praesertim cum praesentia spiritus aliquo corporali indicio insolito sentitur: quae enim insolita sunt admirationem et timorem inducere solent. Et ut huic terrori quem se passum esse commemorat temporis dispositio conveniret, supra dixit in horrore visionis nocturnae: quia enim in tempore noctis res visu discerni non possunt, quaecumque modica commotio perturbationem inducere solet aestimantibus aliquid maius esse, et hoc est quod dicitur Sap. XVII 17 sive spiritus sibilans aut inter spissos ramos avium sonus suavis deficientes faciebat illos prae timore. Second, he speaks of the disposition of the recipient, and so he adds, “Fear seized me.” For men usually are struck with fear at the unusual, and so when someone has strange revelations, he suffers fear in the beginning. To show the greatness of this fear he adds, “and trembling,” for the trembling of the body is an indication of the greatness of fear. To emphasize this sort of trembling, he continues, “which made all my bones shake” as if to say: This trembling shows that the tremble was not superficial, but violent, the kind which struck even the bones. A resemblance is described in Daniel, “So I saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me; my countenance was changed in me, and I grew faint and I had no strength left.” (10:8) As a consequence, he shows the cause of this fear when he says, “When a spirit glided past my face; the hairs on my flesh stood up.” For it is reasonable that one with lesser power is awestruck in the presence of one with greater power. It is obvious that the power of the spirit is greater than the power of the flesh and so it is not surprising that the hair of the flesh stand up in the presence of the spirit as happens when one is overcome by sudden fear. This is especially true when the presence of the spirit is felt in some strange corporeal phenomenon, for strange things usually lead to wonder and fear. So that the time expressed might be fitted for that dread which he recalls he suffered, for he said above, “In the dread vision of the night.” Since one cannot discern things by sight in the darkness, any small commotion usually induces disturbance in one who things that it is something greater. This is what Wisdom says,” The sighing of the wind, the tuneful song of the birds in the spreading branches, all held them paralyzed with fear.” (17:17)
Tertio ponitur persona revelans cum dicitur stetit quidam cuius non agnoscebam vultum, imago coram oculis meis, ubi tria ponit ad visionis certitudinem pertinentia. Sciendum est enim quod aliquando propter nimiam commotionem fumositatum et humorum, vel omnino non apparent somnia, phantasmatibus totaliter suffocatis, aut apparent somnia perturbata et instabilia sicut in febricitantibus solent accidere, et huiusmodi somnia cum parum vel nihil spiritualitatis habeant omnino absque significatione existunt; cum autem humores et fumositates resederint apparent somnia quieta et ordinata, quae cum sint magis spiritualia, intellectiva parte in quendam vigorem erumpente, huiusmodi somnia solent esse veriora, et ideo dicit stetit quidam, per quod stabilitatem visionis ostendit. Item considerandum est quod somnia etiam cum sunt quieta plerumque sunt reliquiae praecedentium cogitationum, unde homo frequentius in somno videt illos cum quibus consuevit conversari; et quia talia somnia causam habent ex nobis et non ab aliqua superiori natura, non sunt magnae significationis: ad hoc ergo removendum dicit cuius non agnoscebam vultum, per quod ostendit huiusmodi visionem non traxisse originem ex prius visis sed ex aliqua occultiori causa. Tertio considerandum est quod huiusmodi visa quae ex aliqua superiori causa oriuntur, quandoque apparent dormientibus quandoque autem vigilantibus, et veriora solent esse et certiora cum vigilantibus apparent quam cum dormientibus, eo quod in vigilando est ratio magis libera et quia in somno spirituales revelationes minus discerni possunt a somniis frivolis et consuetis; et ideo ut ostendat hanc revelationem non dormienti sed vigilanti factam esse, subiungit imago coram oculis meis, per quod significat se hoc vidisse cum oculis per vigiliam apertis, quod etiam supra significavit cum diceret quando sopor solet occupare homines, ubi innuit se sopore occupatum non fuisse. He places the person revealing third, when the text says, “It stood still, but I could not discern the face, an image before my eyes.” Here he indicates three things which show for certain that it was a vision. Note that sometimes because of an excessive disturbance of smoke or the mists, either dreams do not appear at all, because there are no phantasms or dreams appear in a confused and disturbed way, as is often the case with those who have a fever. Since dreams of this kind have little or no spiritual content, they are completely without meaning. When, however, the mists and smoke have settled, quiet and ordered dreams appear, and as these are more spiritual, they emerge from the intellectual part of the soul with some strength. Dreams of this sort are usually more true. Therefore he says, “It stood still,” which shows the stability of the vision. Further note that even when dreams are quiet and they are generally full of thoughts which remain from things experienced previously, one as a result frequently sees in a dream those with whom he has ordinary contact. Because such dreams have their cause in our character and not in a higher nature, they have no great meaning. He shows this is not the case when he says, “but I could not discern the face.” In this he shows that this kind of vision did not take its origin from something he had already experienced, but from a more hidden cause. Third, consider that visions of this kind which arise from a higher cause, sometimes appear to someone asleep and at other times to those who are awake. Those seem to be truer and more certain when they appear to those who are awake than when they appear to those who are asleep, because reason is more free in someone who is awake, and because in sleep one does not easily discern the difference between spiritual revelations and frivolous or ordinary dreams. To show that this revelation was not made to someone asleep but who was awake, he says, “An image was before me eyes.” He means here that he saw this with the open eyes of someone awake. He also meant to express this before when he said, “When sleep falls on men,” (v. 13) where he clarifies that he had been seized by sleep.
Deinde modum denuntiationis sibi factae narrat dicens et vocem quasi aurae lenis audivi. Ubi considerandum est quod huiusmodi apparitiones aliquando fiunt a spiritu bono, aliquando a spiritu malo: utroque autem modo in principio timorem patitur homo propter insolitam visionem; sed cum a bono spiritu apparitio procedit, timor in consolationem finitur, sicut patet de Angelo confortante Danielem, Dan. X 18, et de Gabriele confortante Zachariam et Mariam, Luc. I; sed malus spiritus hominem perturbatum relinquit. Per hoc igitur quod dicit vocem quasi aurae lenis audivi, consolationem quandam sedantem pavorem praeteritum demonstrat, ut per hoc visio demonstretur esse a spiritu bono non a spiritu malo, a quo frequenter visiones mendaces ostenduntur, secundum illud Reg. ult. egrediar et ero spiritus mendax in ore omnium prophetarum eius; per hunc etiam modum III Reg. legitur de apparitione facta Eliae quod post commotionem tenuis aurae sibilus, et ibi dominus. Sciendum tamen est quod etiam in visionibus quae a bono spiritu procedunt interdum commotiones magnae et voces horribiles audiuntur, ut patet Ez. I 4 ubi dicitur et vidi, et ecce ventus turbinis veniebat ab Aquilone, et post multa subditur et audiebam sonum alarum quasi sonum aquarum multarum, et Apoc. I 10 dicitur audivi post me vocem magnam tamquam tubae, sed hoc est ad designandum comminationes aut aliqua gravia pericula quae in huiusmodi revelationibus continentur; sed quia hic aliquid consolatorium dicendum erat, ideo inducitur loquentis vox similis aurae leni. Then he tells of the manner of the declaration made to him saying, “I heard a voice like a gentle breeze.” Note here that apparitions of this kind are sometimes made from a good spirit, sometimes from an evil spirit. In both kinds, man suffers fear in the beginning because of the unusual character of the vision. But when the apparition proceeds from a good spirit, the fear ends in consolation, as is clear in the angel who comforts Daniel (10:18) and when Gabriel comforts Zechariah and Mary in Luke I. An evil spirit however leaves a man disturbed. The fact that he says, “I heard a voice like a gentle breeze,” demonstrates a consolation which put his former fear to rest. By this statement the vision is proven to be from a good spirit and not from a wicked spirit by whose lying visions are often shown. The end of Kings III expresses the same thing, “I will forth and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” (22:22) The third book of Kings also speaks in this way of the apparition made to Elijah, “After the earthquake came a still small voice, and the Lord was in the voice.” (19:12) However we should note that sometimes one hears great disturbances and horrible voices even in visions which come from a good spirit as is clear in Ezekiel when it is said, “I looked and behold a stormy wind came out of the north,” (1:4) and after many verses is added, “I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters.” (1:4) Revelation says, “And I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.” (1:10) This describes the threats or other grave dangers which are contained in these kinds of revelation. But the message here should have been one of consolation, and so he introduces the voice of the speaker as similar to a gentle breeze.
Ultimo autem ponuntur verba quae sibi asserit esse revelata cum dicit numquid homo Dei comparatione iustificabitur? Quae quidem verba inducit ad confirmandum suam opinionem quam supra tetigerat, quod scilicet adversitates in hoc mundo non proveniant alicui nisi pro peccato. Ut igitur nullus posset se excusare quia adversa patitur per hoc quod se asserat a peccato immunem, inducit tres rationes, quarum prima sumitur ex comparatione ad Deum et est ducens ad impossibile: si enim homo absque culpa punitur a Deo, sequitur quod homo sit iustior Deo. Cum enim opus iustitiae sit reddere unicuique quod suum est, si Deus homini innocenti cui non debetur poena inferat poenam, homo autem qui a Deo patitur nulli homini absque culpa poenam intulerit quod oportet dicere si innocens ponitur, sequitur quod homo punitus a Deo sit iustior Deo, quod est hominem comparatione Dei iustificari, ut eum scilicet comparatione iustitiae ad Deum iustificari. Et quia forte alicui hoc non videretur inconveniens, ducit ad aliud apparentius inconveniens dicens aut factore suo purior erit vir? Quaelibet enim res puritatem habet secundum quod in sua conservatur natura quam ex causis propriis habet; puritas igitur uniuscuiusque effectus a sua causa dependet, unde suam causam in puritate superare non potest: unde nec vir potest esse purior suo factore, scilicet Deo. Finally, he expresses the words which he asserts were revealed to him when he says, “’Can mortal man be righteous before God?’” He introduces these words to confirm his opinion which he already touched on (v. 7), namely, that adversities do not happen to someone in this life except because of sin. He introduces three reasons to prove that no one can excuse himself when he suffers adverse things asserting that he is free from sin. The first of these is taken from a comparison of man to God and leads to an impossible conclusion. For if man is punished by God without being at fault, it follows that man would be more just than God. The work of justice is to give each one his due. So if God should inflict punishment on someone who was innocent to whom punishment is not due, but the man who suffers because of God did not inflict punishment on another man without fault— which would follow necessarily if the one punished by God were innocent—it follows that a man punished by God is more just than God. To justify man compared to God is tantamount to justifying him with respect to God under the aspect of justice. As perhaps this might not seem an unfitting conclusion to someone, he carries the argument to another more apparently unfitting conclusion saying, “Can a man be pure before his maker?” Each thing has purity in that it conserves its own nature which it receives from its own causes. So the purity of each effect depends on its cause, and it cannot surpass its cause in purity. Thus a man cannot be more pure than his Creator, who is God.
Secundam rationem ponit ex comparatione ad Angelos, et est a maiori, cum dicit ecce qui serviunt ei non sunt stabiles, et in Angelis suis reperit pravitatem, quae quidem sententia secundum doctrinam Catholicae fidei plana est: tenet enim fides Catholica omnes Angelos bonos fuisse creatos, quorum quidam per propriam culpam ceciderunt a rectitudinis statu, quidam vero ad maiorem gloriam pervenerunt. Quod autem Angeli a statu rectitudinis ceciderunt mirum videtur propter duo, quorum unum pertinet ad vim contemplativam, aliud ad vim activam ipsorum. Ex vi enim contemplativa videbatur quod in Angelis esse deberet stabilitas. Manifestum est enim quod causa mutabilitatis est potentia, causa immutabilitatis est actus: est enim de ratione potentiae quod se habeat ad esse et non esse, sed secundum quod magis perficitur ab actu firmius stat in uno, id vero quod secundum se actus est omnino immobile est. Sciendum est autem quod sicut materia comparatur ad formam ut potentia ad actum, ita voluntas ad bonum; id igitur quod est ipsum bonum, scilicet Deus, omnino immutabile est, ceterarum vero naturarum voluntates quae non sunt ipsum bonum comparantur ad ipsum ut potentia ad actum, unde quanto magis inhaerent ei tanto magis stabiliuntur in bono; et ideo cum Angeli inter ceteras creaturas magis et propinquius Deo videantur inhaerere utpote ipsum subtilius contemplantes, stabiliores inter ceteras creaturas videntur, et tamen non fuerunt stabiles; unde multo minus inferiores creaturae, scilicet homines, quantumcumque Deo inhaerere videantur ipsum colendo, quod est ei servire, stabiles iudicari possunt. Ex vi vero activa videtur quod in Angelis vel nihil vel minimum de pravitate esse possit: quanto enim regula propinquior est primae rectitudini minus habet de obliquitate; Deus autem in quo est prima rectitudo, sua providentia dirigens universa, inferiores creaturas per superiores disponit; unde in superioribus creaturis quae dicuntur Angeli, quasi a Deo missi ad alia dirigenda, minimum videtur esse vel nihil de pravitate; unde cum in eis inventa sit pravitas, credendum est quod in quovis hominum quantumcumque magnus appareat pravitas possit inveniri. Cavendum autem est ne ex his verbis aliquis in errorem incidat Origenis qui etiam nunc quoscumque spiritus creatos instabiles asserit et posse ad pravitatem perduci; hoc enim aliqui per gratiam assecuti sunt ut immobiliter Deo inhaereant ipsum per essentiam videntes; et secundum hoc, etiam aliquibus hominibus, quamvis sint inferioris naturae quam Angeli, per gratiam conceditur etiam in hac vita quod sint a pravitate peccati mortalis immunes. His second argument comes from a comparison to the angels. It is from the greater when he says, “Even those who serve him are not stable and in his angels he finds evil.” This opinion is clear according to the Catholic faith. The Catholic faith holds as certain that all angels were created good. Some of them fell through their own fault from the state of righteousness; some however attained a greater glory. The fact that the angels fell from the state of righteousness seems astonishing for two reasons. One pertains to their contemplative power, the other to their active power. From the contemplative power it seems that there should have been steadfastness in the angels. It is clear that the cause of mutability is potency; the cause of immutability is act. For it is from the nature of potency that something can be or not be. But as what is more completed by act has a firmer hold on unity, what is act in itself is completely unchangeable. Note that as matter is related to form, as potency is to act so the will is to the good. What is good in itself, namely God, is completely unchangeable. However the wills of other natures which are not good in themselves are compared to him as potency to act. Thus the more they cleave to him, the more confirmed they are in good. So since the angels seem to cling more to God and in closer proximity than other creatures, in that they contemplate him more exactly, they seem to be the more steadfast than other creatures Yet they were not steadfast. Thus much less can lower creatures like men, inasmuch as they cling to God by reverencing him in serving him, be judged also to be steadfast. However, from the active power it seems that in the angels there can be little or no depravity. As the rule more approaches the true measure of straight, so much the less crookedness does it have. God, in whom the prime righteousness exists, directing all things by his providence, disposes lower creatures through higher ones. Hence, as they are sent by God to direct others, there seems to be little or no perversity possible in the higher creatures who are called angels. So if there can be perversity in them, one must believe that depravity could be found in any man, however great he may appear to be. However, one should take care that from this opinion, he does not fall into the error of Origen who asserts that even now all created spirits are not steadfast and can be seduced into depravity. For some gained by grace the favor to cling to God unchangeably by seeing him in his essence. In this way, even some men, although they are lower in nature than the angels are granted by grace immunity from the depravity of mortal sin even in this life.
Tertiam rationem ponit sumptam ex condicione humana cui coniungitur conclusio praecedentis rationis, unde etiam posset ex duobus una ratio formari, et hoc cum dicit quanto magis hi qui habitant domos luteas. Est autem humana condicio talis quod ex terrena materia corpus eius compactum est, quod designat cum dicit quanto magis qui habitant domos luteas: corpus enim humanum luteum dicitur quia ex terra et aqua, gravioribus elementis, abundantius constat, quod eius motus declarat, unde Gen. I dicitur quod formavit Deus hominem de limo terrae; hoc igitur luteum corpus domus animae dicitur quia anima humana quantum ad aliquid est in corpore sicut homo in domo vel sicut nauta in navi, inquantum scilicet est motor corporis. Fuerunt autem aliqui qui propter hoc dixerunt quod anima non unitur corpori nisi accidentaliter sicut homo vestimento aut nauta navi, sed ut hanc opinionem excluderet subdit qui terrenum habent fundamentum, per quod datur intelligi quod anima humana unitur corpori etiam ut forma materiae: dicitur enim materia fundamentum formae eo quod est prima pars in generatione sicut fundamentum in constitutione domus. Utitur autem tali modo loquendi ut id quod est animae attribuat homini, non ideo quod anima sit homo ut quidam posuerunt dicentes hominem nihil aliud esse quam animam indutam corpore, sed quia anima est principalior pars hominis: unumquodque autem consuevit appellari id quod est in eo principalius. Haec autem duo quae de hominis infirmitate dicit videntur contraponi his quae supra de Angelorum excellentia dixerat: nam hoc quod dicit qui habitant domos luteas videtur ponere contra id quod dixerat qui serviunt ei, quod est inhaerere ei et in ipso spiritualiter habitare; quod vero dicit qui terrenum habent fundamentum, ei quod dixerat in Angelis suis: Angeli enim natura incorporei sunt, secundum illud Psalmi qui facit Angelos suos spiritus. Eliphaz takes third argument (to show that adversity comes from sin) from the human condition which he joins to the conclusion of the preceding argument. Thus one argument could be formed from two and he means this when he says, “How much more those who dwell in houses of clay.” The human condition is such that the body is formed from earthly matter. He indicates this saying, “How much more those who dwell in houses of clay?” The human body is said to be clay because it is formed more fully from earth and water, the heavier elements as its motion makes evident. So Genesis says, “God formed man from the slime of the earth.” (2:7) This body of clay is called the house of the soul because the human soul is situated in the body as a man in a house or a sailor in a ship, as the mover of the body. There were some who said because of this that the soul was only accidentally united to the body as a man is to clothes or a sailor in a ship. But he disproves this opinion when he adds, “whose foundation is dust.” By this we are given to understand that the human soul is united to the body as form to matter. For matter is said to be the foundation of form, because it is the first part in the generation of a thing like the foundation is the first part in the building of a house. Now, he uses this manner of speaking to attribute what is the soul to man because the soul is man, as some held who said that man is nothing but a soul clothed with a body, but because the soul is the more principal part of man. Each thing is usually called from what is more principal in it. These two things which he says about the weakness of man seem to be placed in opposition to what he has already said about the excellence of the angels. For the phrase, “those who dwell in houses of clay,” seems to be placed in opposition to what he said in “Those who serve him,” (v. 18) cling to him and live spiritually in him. However, when he says, “whose foundation is dust,” this seems to oppose, “in his angels,” (v. 18) for angels are incorporeal in nature according to Psalm 103, “Who makes his angels spirit.” (v.4)
Ex praemissa autem hominis condicione miserabilem eius eventum concludit dicens consumentur velut a tinea, et quidem potest hoc secundum superficiem litterae de morte corporali intelligi quam homo necessario patitur ex eo quod terrenum habet fundamentum; et secundum hoc potest designari duplex mors, scilicet naturalis in hoc quod dicit consumentur velut a tinea: tinea enim sic vestimentum corrodit quod ex vestimento nascitur, ita et mors naturalis ex causis interioribus corporis exoritur; et mors violenta in hoc quod subditur de mane usque ad vesperam succidentur: succisio enim arboris ex causa exteriori procedit. Et satis signanter dicit de mane usque ad vesperam, quia mors naturalis potest quidem per aliqua naturalia signa praecognosci, sed mors violenta omnino incerta est utpote diversis casibus subiecta, unde non potest sciri si homo de mane perveniat usque ad vesperum. Sciendum tamen quod hoc non est intentio litterae: nam supra proposuit de defectu peccati cum diceret in Angelis suis reperit pravitatem; unde ut conclusio praemissis respondeat oportet hoc etiam ad peccatum referre, per quod vita iustitiae in homine consumitur dupliciter: uno modo ex interiori corruptione, quod significat cum dicit consumentur velut a tinea: sicut enim vestimentum consumitur a tinea quae ex eo nascitur, ita iustitia hominis consumitur ex his quae in homine sunt sicut est corruptio fomitis, malae cogitationes et alia huiusmodi; alio modo ex exteriori tentatione, quod notatur in hoc quod dicit de mane usque ad vesperam succidentur. Sed considerandum est quod interior tentatio non subito hominem prosternit sed paulatim, dum per negligentiam aliquis in se ipso peccati initia reprimere non curat, secundum illud Eccli. qui minima negligit paulatim defluit, sicut etiam vestimentum quod non excutitur, a tinea consumitur; exterior vero tentatio hominem plerumque subito prosternit, sicut David ad aspectum mulieris in adulterium prorupit et etiam multi in tormentis fidem negaverunt. He uses the condition of man as a premise and so he concludes to his miserable destiny saying, “who are eaten as by a moth.” This can be understood in a prima facie literal sense to refer to the corporeal death which man suffers of necessity from the fact that he has an earthly foundation. In this way, it can mean two sorts of death. First, natural death by the expression, “who are eaten as by a moth.” For just as a moth corrupts the clothing from which it is born, so the natural death of the body arises from the interior causes. This can also refer to violent death for he says next, “Between morning and evening they will be destroyed,” for trees are cut down by a cause outside the tree itself. He says distinctly enough, “between morning and evening,” because natural death can certainly be foreseen before it happens by certain natural symptoms, but violent death is completely uncertain as though it were subject to different causes. For this reason, a man cannot know if he will live from morning until evening. Yet note that this is not the meaning of the literal sense, because above he addressed defect of sin, when he said,” and his angels he charges with error.” So as the conclusion must follow from the premises, this passage must also refer to sin. Sin consumes the life of justice in man in two ways. In one way, from interior corruption, which he refers to in saying, “who are eaten by a moth.” Just as clothing is eaten by the moth which is born from it, so the justice of a man is destroyed by those things which arise in man, like the corruption of evil desires (fomes), bad thoughts and others things like this. In another way it is corrupted by exterior temptation, which is indicated when he says, “Between morning and evening, they will be cut down.” Consider here that interior temptation does not suddenly overthrow someone, but gradually overcomes him when through negligence he does not take care to restrain the first movements of sin in him. As Qoheleth says, “He who neglects little things, gradually falls.” (19:1) In the same way, clothing which is not shaken out, is eaten by a moth. However, exterior temptation generally overcomes a man suddenly, like David who rushed into adultery at the sight of a woman and also many who denied the faith under torture.
Quocumque autem modo homo per peccatum ruat, si peccatum suum recognoscat et paeniteat misericordiam consequetur; sed quia nullus est qui omnia peccata possit cognoscere, secundum illud delicta quis intelligit? Sequitur quod plurimi hominum peccata non cognoscentes eis remedia non adhibent per quae liberentur et hoc est quod subdit et quia nullus intelligit, scilicet lapsus peccatorum, in aeternum peribunt, scilicet plurimi quasi a peccato numquam liberati. Sed quia aliqui sunt qui contra peccata remedia adhibent licet ea non plene intelligant, sicut David qui dicebat ab occultis meis munda me, domine, subiungit qui autem reliqui fuerint, scilicet de numero eorum qui in aeternum pereunt, auferentur ex eis, idest segregabuntur ex eorum consortio; morientur quidem quia quamvis homo a peccato paeniteat a mortis tamen necessitate non liberatur, sed sapientia in eis non moritur, et hoc est quod dicit et non in sapientia. Vel hoc quod dicit morientur et non in sapientia non respondet ad immediate dictum sed ad id quod supra dixerat in aeternum peribunt, ut sit sensus quod morientur sine sapientia. Vel hoc quod dicit qui reliqui fuerint potest intelligi de filiis qui relinquuntur ex parentibus pereuntibus, qui propter peccata parentum quae imitantur et ipsi auferuntur sine sapientia morientes. Vult ergo ex omnibus istis Eliphaz habere quod cum condicio hominis sit tam fragilis de facili cadit in peccatum, quod dum homo non cognoscit in perditionem vadit ipse et filii eius; et sic Iob licet se peccatorem non recognosceret, credendum erat quod propter peccata aliqua ipse et filii eius perierint. In whatever way a man falls into sin, he will obtain mercy if he recognizes his sin and repents. But because there is no one who can understand all his sins, according to the text, “Who can understand his sins,” (Ps. 18:12) it follows that most men do not apply the remedy to their sins which will free them because they do not know their sins. In the next verse he expresses this saying, “Since not one understands it,” to avoid the snare of sins, “they will perish forever,” for most men are never freed from sin. But because there are some who apply remedies against sins even though they do not understand them, like David who said, “From hidden faults cleanse me, O Lord,” (Ps. 18:12) he adds, “Those, however, who will remain” from the number of those who perish in eternity, “are born away from them,” for they will be separated from their company. “They will die,” because though a man may repent from his sin, he is still not free from the necessity of dying, but wisdom will not die in them. He says this next, “But not in wisdom.” Or when he says, “They will die but not in wisdom,” he does not complete the thought which immediately preceded but what he said a little before that, “They will perish in eternity,” so that the sense is that they will die without wisdom. Or “Those who remain” may mean the children who remain after their parents die, yet because of the sins of their parents, which they imitate, are born away to death without wisdom. Eliphaz wants to establish from all these arguments that since the condition of man is so frail, as long as a man does not know he or his sons are going to perdition, he easily falls into sin. So although Job did not recognize that he was a sinner, one must believe that he and his sons suffered because of some sins.
Sic igitur postquam revelationem sibi factam exposuerat, quia posset Iob hanc revelationem non credere ideo subiungit voca ergo si est qui tibi respondeat, quasi dicat: si mihi hoc esse revelatum non credis, tu ipse invoca Deum si forte ipse tibi ad hanc dubitationem respondere voluerit; et si per merita propria hoc a Deo obtinere non putas, ad aliquem sanctorum convertere, ut eo mediante huius rei veritatem a Deo cognoscere possis. Et notandum est quod dicit ad aliquem sanctorum, quia non licet per immundos spiritus quocumque modo vel arte occulta perquirere sed solum per Deum vel per sanctos Dei, secundum illud Is. VIII 19 cum dixerint ad vos: quaerite a Pythonibus et a divinis qui strident in incantationibus suis, numquid non populus a Deo suo requirit visionem pro vivis aut mortuis? So after Eliphaz has explained his revelation, since Job could not have believed this revelation, he add, “Call now; is there anyone who will answer you?” as if to say: If you do not believe that this was revealed to me, you yourself can invoke God, if perhaps he himself will answer this doubt for you. If through your own merits you do not think you can obtain this from God, “Turn to one of the holy men,” so that by his mediation you will be able to know the truth from God about this matter. Note that he says, “to one of the holy men,” because one should not diligently investigate hidden things through unclean spirits in just any way or using any technique. One may only do this through God or the holy ones of God according to Isaiah, “And when they say to you, ‘Consult the mediums and the wizards who hiss in their incantations,’ should not a people ask for insight from their God for the living or the dead.” (8:19)

The First Lesson: Only the Blameworthy are Punished
כִּי־לֶאֱוִיל יַהֲרָג־כָּעַשׂ וּפֹתֶה תָּמִית קִנְאָה׃ 2 אֲנִי־רָאִיתִי אֱוִיל מַשְׁרִישׁ וָאֶקּוֹב נָוֵהוּ פִתְאֹם׃ 3 יִרְחֲקוּ בָנָיו מִיֶּשַׁע וְיִדַּכְּאוּ בַשַּׁעַר וְאֵין מַצִּיל׃ 4 אֲשֶׁר קְצִירוֹ רָעֵב יֹאכֵל וְאֶל־מִצִּנִּים יִקָּחֵהוּ וְשָׁאַף צַמִּים חֵילָם׃ 5 כִּי לֹא־יֵצֵא מֵעָפָר אָוֶן וּמֵאֲדָמָה לֹא־יִצְמַח עָמָל׃ 6 כִּי־אָדָם לְעָמָל יוּלָּד וּבְנֵי־רֶשֶׁף יַגְבִּיהוּ עוּף׃ 7 2 Wrath kills the fool, and jealousy slays the simple. 3 I have seen the fool taking root, I suddenly cursed his beauty. 4. His sons are far from health, they will be crushed at the city gate, and there will be no one to deliver them. 5 The hungry will his harvest, armed men will seize from him, and the thirsty will drink after his wealth. 6 Nothing on earth happens without cause; for affliction does not arise from the dust. 7 But man is born to toil and the bird to fly.
Virum stultum interficit iracundia. Quia in revelatione quam sibi factam esse commemoraverat Eliphaz inter cetera hoc continetur quod homines qui terrenum habent fundamentum consumuntur velut a tinea, vult hoc ostendere per hominum diversas condiciones: non enim est aliqua condicio hominum cui non adsit pronitas ad aliquod peccatum. Sunt autem duae hominum condiciones: quidam enim sunt magni et elati animi qui facile provocantur ad iram, quod ideo est quia ira est appetitus vindictae ex praecedenti offensa proveniens; quanto autem aliquis est magis elati animi tanto ex leviori causa se putat offensum, et ideo facilius provocatur ad iram, et hoc est quod dicit virum stultum interficit iracundia. Vocat autem eum qui est superbi et elati animi stultum, quia per superbiam homo praecipue metas rationis excedit et humilitas viam sapientiae parat, secundum illud Prov. XI 2 ubi humilitas ibi sapientia; cum hoc etiam stultitia iracundiae competit: iracundus enim, ut docet philosophus, utitur quidem ratione dum pro offensa intentat vindictam, sed perverse dum in vindicta modum rationis non servat: perversitas autem rationis stultitia est. Quidam vero sunt pusillanimes et hi proni sunt ad invidiam, unde subdit et parvulum occidit invidia, et hoc rationabiliter dicitur: invidia enim nihil aliud est quam tristitia de prosperitate alicuius inquantum prosperitas illius aestimatur propriae prosperitatis impeditiva; hoc autem ad parvitatem animi pertinet quod aliquis non se aestimet posse prosperari inter alios prosperantes. Sic igitur manifestum videtur quod homo, cuiuscumque condicionis existat, pronus est ad aliquod peccatum: facile enim esset his similia de aliis peccatis inducere. Because Eliphaz remembered in the revelation made to him, among other things that men “dwell in houses of clay whose foundation is in the dust and die eaten as by a moth,” (4:19), he wants now to demonstrate this in the different conditions of men. For there is no condition of man in which there is no tendency to sin. Now there are two conditions of man. Some are treat and haughty in spirit and are easily provoked to anger because anger is the desire for revenge originating from a previous injury. Thus the more haughty a man is in his soul, the more he thinks himself offended for a slight cause and is therefore more easily provoked to anger. Therefore he says, “Wrath kills the fool,” because a man especially exceeds the boundaries of reason through his pride, whereas humility prepares the way of wisdom. As Proverbs says, “Where there is humility, there is wisdom.” (11:2) The foolishness of anger also corresponds with this because the angry man, as Aristotle teaches, uses even reason in searching for revenge for an injury, but he uses it wrongly when he does not guard the moderation of reason in his revenge. The perversion of reason is foolishness. Other men are timid and these are prone to envy. So he continues, “and jealousy slays the simple.” He says this with good reason. For envy is nothing else but sadness about the prosperity of another in that the prosperity of the other is thought to impede one’s own prosperity. When someone does not think that he can prosper together with others who are also prospering, this happens from smallness of soul. So it is clear that man, in whatever condition he exists, is prone to some sin. For it would be easy to adduce things similar to these concerning other sins.
Sic igitur per omnia supra dicta Eliphaz probare intendit quod adversitates in hoc mundo non adveniunt alicui nisi pro peccato. Contra quod videntur esse duae obiectiones, quarum una est ex hoc quod multi iusti videntur adversitatibus subdi, sed hanc obiectionem dissolvere visus est per hoc quod homines ostendit esse faciles ad peccandum; secunda obiectio est quod aliqui iniqui in hoc mundo prosperantur, cui consequenter satisfacere intendit per hoc quod prosperitas eorum in malum ipsorum redundat, unde dicit ego vidi stultum, idest hominem in divitiis superbientem, firma radice, idest firmatum in prosperitate huius mundi, ut videbatur, sed eius prosperitatem non approbavi, quin immo maledixi pulchritudini eius statim. Ubi considerandum est quod loquitur de homine sub metaphora arboris, cuius cum radix fuerit firma, pulchritudinem habet in ramis et fructibus; comparat igitur prosperitatem hominis in divitiis firmati pulchritudini arboris, quam maledicit, idest malam esse pronuntiat et nocivam, secundum illud Eccl. V 12 est et alia infirmitas pessima quam vidi sub sole: divitiae conservatae in malum domini sui; addidit autem statim ut ostendat se de hac sententia nullatenus dubitare. By all he has said up to now, Eliphaz intends to prove that adversities in this world do not happen to anyone except as a punishment for sin. There seem to be two objections against this. One is the fact that many just men seem to be subject to adversities, but he seemed to have answered this objection by showing that men easily sin. The second objection is that some wicked men prosper in this world. He intends to answer this objection next by the manner in which their prosperity superabounds to their own evil. So he says, “I have seen the fool,” who is the man who takes pride in his riches, “taking root,” to appear firmly established in the prosperity of this world. But I did not approve of his prosperity. Rather, “I suddenly cursed his beauty.” Consider here that he speaks about a man using the metaphor of a tree, whose roots produce beauty in the branches and the fruit when they are firmly in the ground. He therefore compares the prosperity of a man rooted in riches to the beauty of a tree, which he curses in pronouncing it to be evil and harmful. As Qoheleth says, “There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun, riches kept by their owner to his harm.” (5:12) He adds, “suddenly,” to show that he in no way doubts this opinion.
Quae autem mala ex prosperitate stulti proveniant ostendit primo quantum ad filios. Frequenter enim contingit quod quando aliquis dives et potens filios sine disciplina nutrit, quod proprium est stulti, filii eius in multa pericula incidunt: et quandoque quidem propter odia quae contra se concitant absque iudicio perimuntur, vel etiam dum ipsi sibi non cavent inordinate delectabilibus utentes vitam amittunt, et quantum ad hoc dicit longe fient filii eius a salute; quandoque vero dum calumnias et iniurias aliis inferunt coram iudicibus conveniuntur et ibi condemnantur, et quantum ad hoc dicit et conterentur in porta, idest per sententiam iudicum, nam iudices olim in portis sedere solebant. Et quia homines stulti in prosperitatibus nullum dubitant offendere, in adversitatibus non inveniunt adiutorem, et ideo subdit et non erit qui eruat. He demonstrates the evils which proceed from the prosperity of the fool first as to his sons. For it frequently happens that when some rich and powerful man raises his sons without discipline which is characteristic of the fool, his sons fall into many dangers. Sometimes, for example, they are destroyed without judgment because of hatreds which are stirred up against them. Or when they do not take care but use pleasures inordinately, they even lose their lives. Apropos to this he says, “His sons are far from health.” Sometimes, when they inflict calumnies and injuries on others, they are brought to trial before judges and are condemned. As to this he says, “They will be crushed at the city gate,” where judges give sentence for judges at one time used to sit at the city gates. Because foolish men do not hesitate to offend others when they prosper, they find no help in adversities, and so he continues, “and there will be no one to deliver them.”
Sed quia posset aliquis dicere non curo quicquid accidat filiis meis dum ego prosperitate fruar in hoc mundo, ideo secundo ponit mala provenientia ipsi stulto et in rebus et in persona dicens cuius messem famelicus comedet: frequenter enim homines stulti divitiis abundantes pauperes opprimunt, qui plerumque gravamina sustinere non valentes quasi quadam necessitate ad rapiendum bona divitum coguntur; et quia tales homines deliciose viventes solent per vitae delicias vigorem animi amittere et imbelles esse, de facili a pauperibus bellicosis destruuntur, unde sequitur et ipsum rapiet armatus, quasi absque omni resistentia. Et ut quod dixerat de messibus generaliter intelligatur, subiungit et bibent sitientes divitias eius, idest homines cupidi. But someone could object, “I do not care what happens to my sons as long as I enjoy prosperity in the world.” As a second consideration then, he treats bad things which befall the fool both in his property and in his person saying, “The hungry will eat his harvest.” For frequently foolish men who have a lot of money oppress the poor, who usually are not strong enough to sustain very many physical burdens and so are almost compelled by need to steal the goods of the rich. Men like these live so extravagant a way of life that they usually lose their strength of soul through the delights of life and become unfit for work. So they are easily destroyed by the battle hardened poor. He therefore says, “Armed men will seize him,” as though without any resistance. What he has said about the harvest can be understood universally and so he continues, “and the thirsty will pant after his wealth,” i.e. men desirous of wealth.
Remotis igitur praedictis obiectionibus, finaliter rationem inducit ad probandum principalem intentionem, scilicet quod adversitates in hoc mundo non proveniant alicui nisi pro peccato, et est ratio talis: quaecumque fiunt in terra ex propriis et determinatis causis proveniunt; si igitur adversitates in hoc mundo alicui accidant hoc habet determinatam causam, quae nulla alia videtur esse nisi peccatum; hoc est ergo quod dicit nihil in terra sine causa fit: videmus enim omnes effectus ex determinatis causis procedere. Ex quo quasi concludens subdit et de humo non orietur dolor, et est metaphorica locutio: quaedam enim herbae sine semine producuntur de quibus dicitur quod eas humus sponte profert; quicquid igitur sine causa propria contingeret quasi sine semine, per quandam similitudinem metaphorice posset dici quod oritur de humo: dolor autem, idest adversitas, non orietur de humo, idest non est sine causa. Quod autem dixerat nihil in terra sine causa fit, ex hoc praecipue redditur manifestum quod omnia habent dispositionem naturalem congruam propriae operationi, ex quo apparet quod dispositiones naturales rerum non sunt sine causa sed propter determinatum finem, et ideo dicit homo ad laborem nascitur et avis ad volandum. Manifestum est enim quod quia proprius motus quem natura avis requirebat est volatus, oportuit avem habere ex sua natura instrumenta congrua ad volandum, scilicet alas et pennas; homo vero quia rationem habebat per quam proprio labore posset sibi omnia necessaria adiumenta conquirere, naturaliter productus est absque omnibus adiumentis quae natura aliis animalibus dedit, scilicet absque tegumento, absque armis et aliis huiusmodi quae sibi proprio labore parare poterat ex industria rationis. After he answers these objections, he finally adduces an argument to prove his principal proposition, namely that adversities in this world do not happen to someone except as a punishment for sin. His argument is this. Whatever happens on earth, happens from proper and determined causes. If therefore adversities happen to someone in this world, this must have a determined cause, which can only be sin. So he says, “Nothing on earth happens without cause,” for we observe that all effects happen from a determined cause. From this fact, he concludes, “For affliction does not arise from the dust.” This is a metaphor. For some plants are produced without seed. These are said to be produced by spontaneous generation from the soil itself. Anything which does not appear to have a proper cause, like a plant reproducing without seed is by a kind of likeness metaphorically said to arise from the soil. Affliction, i.e. adversity, does not arise from the soil, i.e. without cause. From the fact that he said, “Nothing on earth happens without cause,” it is really clear that everything has a natural disposition suited to its own proper operation, from which it is apparent that the natural dispositions of things are not without a cause, but happen for a determined end. So Eliphaz says, “but man is born to toil and the bird to fly.” For just as the proper motion which the nature of a bird requires is that it fly, so the bird must have the instruments from its nature suitable for flying, namely wings and feathers. Man however because he had reason which enabled him to discover all the necessary aids to his life by his own effort, was naturally made without the aids which nature gives to the other animals, namely a covering, arms and other things of this kind which he can make for himself by the industry of his reason.
The Second Lesson: Providence Governs the World
אוּלָם אֲנִי אֶדְרֹשׁ אֶל־אֵל וְאֶל־אֱלֹהִים אָשִׂים דִּבְרָתִי׃ 8 עֹשֶׂה גְדֹלוֹת וְאֵין חֵקֶר נִפְלָאוֹת עַד־אֵין מִסְפָּר׃ 9 הַנֹּתֵן מָטָר עַל־פְּנֵי־אָרֶץ וְשֹׁלֵחַ מַיִם עַל־פְּנֵי חוּצוֹת׃ 10 לָשׂוּם שְׁפָלִים לְמָרוֹם וְקֹדְרִים שָׂגְבוּ יֶשַׁע׃ 11 מֵפֵר מַחְשְׁבוֹת עֲרוּמִים וְלֹא־תַעֲשֶׂינָה יְדֵיהֶם תּוּשִׁיָּה׃ 12 לֹכֵד חֲכָמִים בְּעָרְמָם וַעֲצַת נִפְתָּלִים נִמְהָרָה׃ 13 יוֹמָם יְפַגְּשׁוּ־חֹשֶׁךְ וְכַלַּיְלָה יְמַשְׁשׁוּ בַצָּהֳרָיִם׃ 14 וַיֹּשַׁע מֵחֶרֶב מִפִּיהֶם וּמִיַּד חָזָק אֶבְיוֹן׃ 15 וַתְּהִי לַדַּל תִּקְוָה וְעֹלָתָה קָפְצָה פִּיהָ׃ 16 8 This is why I entreat the Lord and set my eloquence before God. 9 He does great things, which are unsearchable, wonderful and without number. 10 He brings rain on the face of the earth, and irrigates everything with water. 11 He sets those who are lowly on high and he lifts up the mournful with favor to safety. 12 He frustrates the desires of evildoers so that their hands achieve no success. 13 He surprises the wise in their own craftiness and dissipates the plan of evil men; 14 they come upon darkness in the daylight and grope at noonday as at night. 15 But he will make the poor safe from the sword of their mouth and the needy from the violent hand. 16 He will be the hope of the poor and injustice will shut her mouth.
Quamobrem ego deprecabor dominum et cetera. Quia Eliphaz proposuerat omnia quae in terris fiunt determinatam causam habere et hoc probaverat per hoc quod res naturales apparebant esse dispositae propter finem, hoc autem, scilicet quod res naturales sunt propter finem, potissimum argumentum est ad ostendendum mundum regi divina providentia et non omnia agi fortuito, idcirco Eliphaz statim ex praemissis concludit de regimine divinae providentiae. Sciendum est autem quod providentia divina sublata orationis fructus tollitur et cognitio Dei circa res humanas, quae tamen necesse est ponere ei qui regimen providentiae concedit; et ideo Eliphaz concludens dicit: ex quo omnia quae in terra fiunt sunt propter finem, necesse est concedere regimen providentiae, quamobrem ego deprecabor dominum, quasi oratione fructuosa existente utpote Deo disponente res humanas, et ad Deum ponam eloquium meum, utpote Deo cognoscente facta et dicta et cogitata humana; ad cuius confirmationem subiungit ea quae maxime divinam providentiam ostendunt. Because Eliphaz had proposed that all things which happen on earth have a determined cause and had proved this by the fact that natural things appear to be disposed to an end, because the very fact that natural things exist to attain an end is the most powerful argument for showing that the world is ruled by divine providence and that all things do not happen by chance, Eliphaz therefore immediately concludes from the premises about the government of divine providence. Note that if there is no divine providence, prayer would be without fruit, and God would not have knowledge of man’s deeds. One who concedes the rule of divine providence, must still admit these things. Therefore, from the fact that all things which happen on earth are for an end, Eliphaz concludes that it is necessary to concede the rule of providence. “This is why I entreat the Lord,” as if: Since God disposes human affairs, this prayer is fruitful. Further, “and I set my eloquence before God,” since God knows human deeds, words and thoughts. To strengthen this conclusion, he adds those things which especially demonstrate divine providence.
Est autem sciendum quod illi qui providentiam negant omnia quae apparent in rebus mundi ex necessitate naturalium causarum provenire dicunt, utpote ex necessitate caloris et frigoris, gravitatis et levitatis et aliorum huiusmodi. Ex his ergo potissime providentia divina manifestatur quorum ratio reddi non potest ex huiusmodi naturalibus principiis, inter quae unum est determinata magnitudo corporum huius mundi: non enim potest assignari ratio ex aliquo principio naturali quare sol aut luna aut terra sit tantae quantitatis et non maioris aut minoris; unde necesse est dicere quod ista dispensatio quantitatum sit ex ordinatione alicuius intellectus, et hoc designat in hoc quod dicit qui facit magna, idest qui res in determinata magnitudine disponit. Rursus si omnia ex necessitate principiorum naturalium provenirent, cum principia naturalia sint nobis nota haberemus viam ad inquirendum omnia quae in hoc mundo sunt; sunt autem aliqua in hoc mundo ad quorum cognitionem nulla inquisitione possumus pervenire, utpote substantiae spirituales, distantiae stellarum et alia huiusmodi; unde manifestum est non procedere omnia ex necessitate principiorum naturalium sed ab aliquo superiori intellectu res esse institutas, et propter hoc addit et inscrutabilia. Item quaedam sunt quae videmus quorum rationem nullo modo possumus assignare, puta quod stellae disponuntur secundum talem figuram in hac parte caeli et in alia secundum aliam; unde manifestum est hoc non provenire ex principiis naturalibus sed ab aliquo superiori intellectu, et propter hoc addit et mirabilia: sic enim differt inscrutabile et mirabile quod inscrutabile est quod ipsum latet et perquiri non potest, mirabile autem est quod ipsum quidem apparet sed causa eius perquiri non potest. Note that those who deny providence say that everything which appears in the world occurs from the necessity of natural causes, for example, the necessity of heat and cold, of gravity and lightness or something like this. Divine providence is most powerfully demonstrated by those things which cannot be explained by natural principles like these, one of which is the determined quantity of the bodies of this world. For no reason can be assigned from some natural principle why the sun or the moon or the earth should be a certain mass (quantity) and not a greater or lesser one. Thus it is necessary to say that this determination of masses is from the ordering of some intellect and he discusses this when he says, “He does great things,” i.e. he puts order in a thing by determining mass. Further, if everything were to come about from the necessity of natural principles, since natural principles are known to us, we would have a way of investigating everything in this world. There are some things in this world however, the knowledge of which we cannot arrive at by any investigation, for example, spiritual substances, the distances of the stars, and other things like this. So everything clearly does not proceed from the necessity of natural principles, but is instituted by some superior intellect and so he says, “unsearchable.” Likewise, there are also some things which we see whose nature we can in no way discuss, for example, that the stars have a certain configuration in this part of the heaven and another in another part of the heaven. Hence it is clear that this certainly does not arise from natural principles, but from some higher intellect, and he adds, “and wonderful things.” For the unsearchable and the wonderful differ in that the unsearchable is hidden in itself and cannot be investigated, but the wonderful is indeed seen, though its cause cannot be investigated.
Sciendum est etiam quod aliqui posuerunt dispositionem rerum secundum quendam ordinem numeri a Deo procedere, utpote quod a primo uno simplici procedit tantum unus effectus primus in quo iam aliquid compositionis et pluralitatis habetur, et sic ex ipso procedunt duo vel tria quae sunt adhuc minus simplicia, et sic gradatim secundum eos progreditur tota rerum multitudo; secundum quam quidem positionem tota universi dispositio non est ex ordinatione intellectus divini sed ex quadam necessitate naturae; unde ad hanc positionem removendam adiungit absque numero: vel quia absque necessitate numeralis ordinis res in esse productae sunt, vel quia a Deo immediate innumerabilia nobis producta sunt, quod praecipue apparet in primo caelo in quo sunt plurimae stellae. Sic igitur Eliphaz ostendit productionem rerum esse a Deo et non ex necessitate naturae. Note also that some held that the disposition of things proceeded from God according to a certain measured order. For instance, only one first effect which already had something of composition and plurality proceeds from one first simple thing. Thus from this (i.e. the One) two or three things proceed which are still less simple and so on so that the whole multiplicity of things proceeds in grades in this way. According to this position, the whole arrangement of the universe does not happen from the ordering of the divine intellect but from some necessity of nature. Hence to answer this argument, he says “without number” either because things have been produced in being without necessity of numerical order or because innumerable things have been produced immediately by God. This is especially apparent in the first heaven where there are very many stars. Thus Eliphaz shows that the production of things is from God and not from the necessity of nature.
Consequenter ostendit et rerum factarum cursum divina providentia gubernari. Et primo in rebus naturalibus, ex hoc quod res naturales contemperatae esse videntur ad hominum et aliorum animalium usum, licet naturalis elementorum ordo aliud requirere videatur: si quis enim in elementis gravitatem et levitatem consideret, manifestum est naturaliter terram aquae subiacere, aeri vero aquam, aerem autem igni. Invenitur autem aliqua pars terrae discooperta ab aquis immediate aeri subiacere: aliter enim animalia respirantia in terra vivere non possent; et rursus ne terra ab aquis discooperta sua siccitate infructuosa et inhabitabilis redderetur, dupliciter humectatur a Deo: primo quidem per pluviam qua superficies terrae infunditur, et quantum ad hoc dicit qui dat pluviam super faciem terrae; alio modo quantum ad fontes, rivos et flumina, quibus terra irrigatur, quorum principium sub terra est sicut pluviae in alto, et quantum ad hoc dicit et irrigat aquis universa. Consequently he shows that the course of created things is governed by divine providence. First in natural things which seems to have been made for the use of man and the other animals, although the natural order of the elements seems to demand another thing. For if someone should consider heaviness and lightness in the elements, clearly earth naturally lies beneath water, water to air and air to fire. Some of the earth is uncovered from water is found to be immediately in contact with the air; otherwise animals which breathe could not live on land. Further, so that the earth uncovered by water might not be rendered unfruitful and uninhabitable with drought, it is watered in two ways by God: first, of course, by rain which falls from above upon the earth and to this he says, “he brings rain on the face of the earth.” In another way by springs, rivers and brooks, with which the earth is irrigated, whose source is found under the earth in the same way that the source of rain is found in the heavens. So he says, “and irrigates everything with water.”
Deinde ostendit operationem providentiae etiam in rebus humanis. Et quidem si res humanae currerent secundum quod earum dispositio videtur exigere, nullum vel parvum in eis divinae providentiae vestigium appareret; sed rebus humanis alio modo currentibus, stulti qui superiores causas non considerant hoc casui et fortunae attribuunt, ex quorum persona loquitur Salomon Eccl. IX 11 dicens vidi sub sole nec velocium esse cursum nec fortium bellum nec sapientium panem nec doctorum divitias nec artificum gratiam, sed tempus casumque in omnibus; Eliphaz autem in altiorem causam hoc refert, scilicet in providentiam Dei. Et primo quantum ad oppressos qui et de infimo elevantur in altum, et quantum ad hoc dicit qui ponit humiles, idest deiectos, in sublimi, et de dolore transferuntur ad gaudium, et quantum ad hoc dicit et maerentes erigit sospitate. Secundo quantum ad opprimentes, quorum duplex est genus. Quidam enim manifeste alios opprimunt per potentiam, et quantum ad hos dicitur qui dissipat cogitationes malignorum ne possint implere manus eorum quod coeperant, quia scilicet in ipsa operis prosecutione impediuntur a Deo ne iniquam cogitationem possint perducere ad effectum; quidam vero per astutiam decipiunt, et quantum ad hos dicitur qui apprehendit sapientes in astutia eorum, inquantum scilicet ea quae astute cogitant in contrarium propositi eorum cedunt, et consilium pravorum dissipat, dum scilicet ea quae ab eis sapienter consiliata videntur, aliquibus impedimentis superinductis, ad effectum perducere non possunt; quandoque vero non solum astute consiliata impediuntur in opere, sed etiam eorum mens obscuratur ne in consiliando possint discernere meliora, unde subdit per diem incurrent tenebras, quia scilicet in re manifesta omnino quid faciant nesciunt, et quasi in nocte sic palpabunt in meridie, idest in his quae nullo modo sunt dubia sic dubitabunt sicut in rebus obscuris. Then he shows the activity of divine providence even in human affairs. If human affairs were to run their course as their arrangement seems to demand, there would appear to be little or no trace of divine providence in them. But when human affairs run their course in another way, foolish men who do not consider higher causes, attribute this to chance or fortune. Solomon personifies them when he says in Qoheleth, “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to all.” (9:11) Eliphaz however refers this to a higher cause, namely, to the providence of God. First, as to the oppressed who are raised up from the lowest station to a higher place, he says, “he sets those who are lowly,” i.e. those cast down, “on high;” and the sorrowful are born to joy, and regarding this he says, “and he lifts up the mournful to safety with his favor.” Second he speaks of those who oppress others. These are of two sorts. Some openly oppress others through force, and as to these he says, “He frustrates the designs of evildoers, so that their hands achieve no success,” because they are impeded in accomplishing their works by God so that they cannot bring their evil intention into effect. Some however deceive others by cunning. As for these he says, “He surprises the wise in their own craftiness.” because what the cunning plan go contrary to their design,” and dissipates the plan of evil men,” when what they seemed to wisely plan cannot be effected because of impediments put in their way from on high. Sometimes not only are their cunning plans impeded in deed, but even their minds are clouded so that they do not discover better things in taking counsel. So he says, “They come upon darkness in the daytime,” because in something which is clear, they are completely ignorant of what they are doing,” and grope at noonday like in the night,” in things which are in no way doubtful, they hesitate as though they were obscure.
Et ut haec ex divina providentia provenire videantur, subiungit utilitatem ex praemissis provenientem. Dum enim malignorum astutia impeditur, pauperes ab eorum deceptionibus liberantur, et hoc est quod subdit porro salvum faciet egenum a gladio oris eorum: qui enim sunt astuti in malo blandis verbis et fictis alios seducere solent, quae quidem verba in nocendo gladio comparantur, secundum illud Psalmi lingua eorum gladius acutus. Cum vero operationes malorum potentium impediuntur a Deo, manifestum est etiam quod pauperes salvantur, unde sequitur et de manu violenti pauperem. Et ex hoc duo sequuntur, quorum unum est quod homines, qui ex se ipsis impotentes sunt, de divina potentia confidunt, tamquam Deo de rebus humanis curante, unde subdit et erit egeno spes; aliud est quod homines potentes et iniqui se ipsos retrahunt ne ex toto malignentur, unde sequitur iniquitas autem contrahet os suum, ne scilicet se ex toto effundat in perniciem aliorum. To prove these things seem to happen from divine providence, he goes on to describe what useful purpose they serve. For when the cunning of evildoers is impeded, the poor are freed from their deceptions. This is why he adds, “But he will make the poor safe from the sword of their mouth.” For those who are cunning in evil often seduce others by flattering and deceptive language and these words are compared to a harmful sword. As the Psalm says, “Their tongue is a sharpened sword.” (56:5) But when the works of powerful evil men are impeded by God, the poor are clearly also saved and so he goes on to say, “the needy from the violent hand.” Two things follow from this. One is that men, who are powerless in their own right must confide in divine power because God has care over human affairs, and so he says, “he will be the hope of the poor.” The other is that powerful and evil men hold themselves back lest they be totally ruined and so the text continues, “and injustice will shut her mouth,” i.e. so that it does not completely waste itself in the harm of others.
The Third Lesson God will pardon Job if he recognizes his Sin
הִנֵּה אַשְׁרֵי אֱנוֹשׁ יוֹכִחֶנּוּ אֱלוֹהַּ וּמוּסַר שַׁדַּי אַל־תִּמְאָס׃ 17 כִּי הוּא יַכְאִיב וְיֶחְבָּשׁ יִמְחַץ וְיָדוֹ תִּרְפֶּינָה׃ 18 בְּשֵׁשׁ צָרוֹת יַצִּילֶךָּ וּבְשֶׁבַע לֹא־יִגַּע בְּךָ רָע׃ 19 בְּרָעָב פָּדְךָ מִמָּוֶת וּבְמִלְחָמָה מִידֵי חָרֶב׃ 20 בְּשׁוֹט לָשׁוֹן תֵּחָבֵא וְלֹא־תִירָא מִשֹּׁד כִּי יָבוֹא׃ 21 לְשֹׁד וּלְכָפָן תִּשְׂחָק וּמֵחַיַּת הָאָרֶץ אַל־תִּירָא׃ 22 כִּי עִם־אַבְנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה בְרִיתֶךָ וְחַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה הָשְׁלְמָה־לָךְ׃ 23 וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי־שָׁלוֹם אָהֳלֶךָ וּפָקַדְתָּ נָוְךָ וְלֹא תֶחֱטָא׃ 24 וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי־רַב זַרְעֶךָ וְצֶאֱצָאֶיךָ כְּעֵשֶׂב הָאָרֶץ׃ 25 תָּבוֹא בְכֶלַח אֱלֵי־קָבֶר כַּעֲלוֹת גָּדִישׁ בְּעִתּוֹ׃ 26 הִנֵּה־זֹאת חֲקַרְנוּהָ כֶּן־הִיא שְׁמָעֶנָּה וְאַתָּה דַע־לָךְ׃ פ 27 17 Behold, happy is the man the Lord reproves. Therefore despise not the chastisements of the Almighty. 18 For he wounds, and he binds up; he smites, and his hands will heal. 19 He will deliver you from six troubles; in the seventh, no evil shall touch you. 20 In famine, he will redeem you from death; and in war from the stroke of the sword. 21 You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue; and you shall not fear damage when it comes. 22 You shall laugh at destruction and famine and you shall not fear the beasts of the earth. 23 You shall be in league with the stones of the field and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you. 24 You will know that your tent is at peace; seeing your likeness you will not sin. 25 Your children will be like the grass of the earth. 26 You shall come to your grave in a ripe old age as the stock of grain is reaped in due season. 27 Lo, what we have investigated is true. Once heard, study this with an attentive mind.
Beatus homo qui corripitur a domino et cetera. Sicut supra dictum est, Eliphaz in superioribus beatum Iob et impatientiae arguerat et praesumptionis super hoc quod se asseruerat innocentem, nunc autem desperationem ab eo nititur auferre ex qua verba illa provenire credidit quibus Iob vitam suam fuerat detestatus. Sciendum est igitur quod ex supra dictis quibus divinam providentiam tam circa res naturales quam circa res humanas asseruerat, hoc accipit tamquam notum quod omnes adversitates hominibus divino iudicio inducantur, sed quibusdam quidem ad ultimam condemnationem qui sunt incorrigibiles, quibusdam autem ad correptionem qui per adversitates emendantur, quos asserit esse beatos dicens beatus homo qui corripitur a domino: si enim correptio ab homine salubris est, qui tamen perfecte scire non potest mensuram et modum secundum quem possit esse salubris correptio nec est omnipotens ad mala removenda et bona tribuenda, multo magis reputari debet salubris et felix Dei omnipotentis et omnia scientis correptio. Ex qua sententia ad propositum concludit dicens increpationem ergo domini ne reprobes, quasi dicat: licet hanc adversitatem patiaris a Deo propter tua peccata, tamen debes aestimare quod hoc sit quasi quaedam domini increpatio ad te corrigendum, unde non debes hanc adversitatem intantum reprobare quod propter hoc vitam tuam habeas odiosam. Eliphaz had accused Blessed Job in what he said already above both of impatience and presumption because he declared himself innocent. Now he tries to remove the despair he thought he perceived in the words which Job used to detest his life. Note then that concluding from what he already said in affirming divine providence as much in natural as in human affairs, he takes as true that all adversities happen to men by divine judgment. But they happen to those unable to be corrected as a final condemnation and to those who amend their lives because of these adversities as a correction. He maintains that these latter are blessed saying, “Behold, happy is the man the Lord reproves.” For if correction which comes from men who cannot yet know perfectly the measure and manner in which correction can be saving and who are not almighty in taking away all evil and establishing good is saving, much more ought the correction of the almighty and all-knowing God to be reputed saving and happy. From this idea he concludes to the proposition, “Therefore, despise not the chastisements of the Almighty,” as if to say: Although you suffer this adversity from God because of your sins, yet you should think that this is a kind of rebuke, as it were, from God to correct you and so you should not despise this adversity to the point of hating your life because of it.
Et praedictorum causam subiungit dicens quia ipse vulnerat, graviori adversitate, et medetur, auferendo mala et restituendo bona; percutit, leviori adversitate, et manus eius, idest operationes ipsius, sanabunt, idest liberabunt. Non ergo Eliphaz eum qui corripitur a domino beatum asseruit propter futuram vitam, quam non credebat, sed propter praesentem in qua post correptionem homo a Deo obtinebat immunitatem a malis et abundantiam bonorum. Unde consequenter de immunitate a malis subiungit dicens in sex tribulationibus liberabit te, et in septima non tanget te malum: quia enim septenario dierum omne tempus agitur solet septenario numero universitas designari, ut sit sensus quod ei qui a domino corripitur post emendationem nulla nocebit adversitas. Et quia secundum eius sententiam quanto aliquis magis fuerit depuratus a culpa tanto minus adversitatem patitur in hoc mundo, ideo dicit in septima non tanget te malum, quasi ante emendationem homo ab adversitate non liberetur, cum autem incipit liberari ab ea tangatur sed non opprimatur Deo liberante, post perfectam autem liberationem omnino non tangatur. Quod quidem verum est quantum ad mentem, quae dum finem suum in rebus mundanis constituit adversitatibus mundanis opprimitur; cum ab eis amorem suum revocans Deum amare coeperit tristatur quidem in adversitatibus sed non opprimitur, quia spem suam non habet in mundo; cum autem totaliter mundum contempserit tunc eum adversitates mundanae vix tangunt. Non est autem haec sententia vera quantum ad corpus, sicut Eliphaz eam intellexit, cum perfectissimi viri interdum gravissimas adversitates patiantur, secundum illud Psalmi propter te mortificamur tota die, quod de apostolis inducitur. He explains the reason when he says, “For he wounds,” with greater adversity,” and he binds up,” by taking away evil and restoring good. “He smites,” with lesser adversity,” and his hands,” i.e., his works, “will heal”, i.e. liberate you. Eliphaz, then, did not maintain that he was blessed who is corrected by God because of the afterlife because he did not believe in it, but because of the present life during which man obtains immunity from evils and abundance of goods after the correction. Consequently, he next speaks about the immunity from evil, “He will deliver you from six troubles; in the seventh no evil shall touch you.” Since all time is represented in seven days, a whole is commonly designated by the number seven. The sense would be that no adversity will harm the one corrected by God after correction. Since according to Eliphaz’s opinion the more free one is from fault, the less he would suffer adversity in this world according to his opinion, he says, “in the seventh, no evil shall touch you.” He means that before correction, man is not free from adversity; but when he begins to be free, he is touched by evil, but not crushed while God is freeing him. After perfect liberation he is not touched at all. This is true for the mind which is weighed down by worldly adversities as long as it places its end in worldly affairs. When it removes its love from them and begins to love God, it is sad in deed in adversities, but is not weighed down by them because it does not have its hope in this world. When it becomes completely contemptuous of the world, then worldly adversities scarcely touch it. But this opinion is not true for the body which is how Eliphaz understood it because the most perfect men sometimes suffer very grave adversities, as the Psalmist says, “Because of you, we suffered death all the day long,” (43:22), which is said about the Apostles.
Et quia septem tribulationes tetigerat, eas subsequenter enumerat. Sciendum est autem quod quandoque adversitas est ex aliquo periculo particulari alicuius personae, quod quidem quandoque est contra vitam corporalem eius, quae quandoque aufertur per subtractionem necessariorum, et quantum ad hoc dicit in fame eruet te de morte, quasi dicat: patieris quidem famem utpote increpatus a domino sed ex hoc non pervenies ad mortem Deo te liberante; et haec est prima tribulatio. Quandoque vero aufertur per violentiam alicuius inferentis nocumentum, et quantum ad hoc dicit et in bello de manu, idest potestate, gladii, quasi dicat: superveniet tibi bellum sed in potestate gladii non deduceris; et haec est secunda tribulatio. Aufertur autem et vita corporalis per mortem naturalem, sed hoc inter tribulationes non computatur cum natura hominis hoc requirat. Quandoque autem personale periculum est contra famam hominis quae pertinet ad vitam civilem, et quantum ad hoc dicit a flagello linguae absconderis: dicitur autem flagellum linguae detractio graviter infamantis, a quo tunc homo absconditur quando facta sua de quibus posset infamari latent detrahentem; et haec est tertia tribulatio. Quandoque autem est adversitas ex aliquo periculo generali, quod quidem imminet vel personis vel rebus: personis quidem utpote quando alicui patriae exercitus hostium supervenit per quem timetur communiter vel mors vel captivatio, et quantum ad hoc dicit et non timebis calamitatem cum venerit, quasi dicat: imminente calamitate ab hostibus tuae patriae tu non timebis; et haec est quarta tribulatio. Rebus autem imminet commune periculum vel per sterilitatem terrae, quod est tempore famis, vel per aliquam devastationem fructuum ab hostibus, et quantum ad haec duo dicit in fame et vastitate ridebis, idest abundantiam habebis quae erit tibi materia gaudii; et sic tangitur quinta et sexta tribulatio. Quandoque autem est adversitas ab impugnatione brutorum animalium sive in communi sive in particulari, et quantum ad hoc dicit et bestiam terrae non formidabis; et haec videtur esse septima tribulatio in qua non tangit malum. Since he had mentioned seven tribulations, he now enumerates them. Note that sometimes adversity is the result of a particular danger for an individual person, which is sometimes even against his corporeal life which is sometimes taken away by withdrawing the necessities of life. To describe this he says, “In famine, he will redeem you from death,” as if to say: You will suffer famine in being reproved by God, but God will free you and you will not die from this. This is the first trial. Sometimes life is lost by the violence of someone actively inflicting harm. To describe this he says, “and in war from the stroke,” i.e. the power, “of the sword,” as it say: For war will come upon you but you will not be delivered into the power of the sword. This is the second trial. Corporeal life is also taken away by natural death, but this does not figure among the trials since the nature of man demands this. However, sometimes there is a personal danger which consists in the loss of the honor which he enjoys in civil life. About this he says, “You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue.” The scourge of the tongue is the detraction of someone seriously trying to destroy another’s reputation. A man is then hidden from the scourge when his deeds which form the basis of this defamation are hidden from the detractor. This is the third trial. Sometimes there is adversity from a more general danger, which threatens persons or property. This happens to persons, for example, when the army of the enemy from whom men commonly fear death or captivity unexpectedly overruns their country. Expressing this trial he says, “and you shall not fear damage when it comes,” as it to say: You will not fear when damage to your country from an enemy threatens. A common danger threatens property either by the barrenness of the earth in time of famine, or by some devastation of the crops by the enemy. As to these trials he says, “And you shall laugh at destruction and famine.” This means: you will have an abundance which will be a subject of joy for you. In this, then, he treats the fifth and the sixth trial. Sometimes there is adversity from the attack of brute animals either individually or in groups. About this he says, “and you shall not fear the beasts of the earth.” This seems to be the seventh trial in which evil will not touch him.
Post immunitatem autem a malis ponit abundantiam in bonis, et primo quantum ad fertilitatem terrarum dicens sed cum lapidibus regionum pactum tuum, idest etiam terrae lapidosae et steriles tibi afferent fructum, secundum illud Deut. XXXII 13 ut suggeres mel de petra etc.; secundo quantum ad animalia bruta, et quantum ad hoc dicit et bestiae terrae erunt tibi pacificae, idest non te offendent possent et haec duo aliter exponi, ut per lapides intelligantur homines duri et rudes, per bestias homines crudeles; tertio quantum ad homines domesticos, cum dicit et scies quod pacem habeat tabernaculum tuum, idest familia tua pacem habebit ad invicem; quarto specialiter quantum ad uxorem, et quantum ad hoc dicit et visitans speciem tuam non peccabis, quasi dicat: habebis uxorem honestam et pacificam cum qua conversari poteris sine peccato; quinto quantum ad filios, unde dicit progenies tua quasi herba terrae, idest habebis multos filios et nepotes; sexto quantum ad pacificam et quietam mortem, et quantum ad hoc dicit ingredieris in abundantia sepulcrum, quasi in bona prosperitate non spoliatus rebus tuis, sicut infertur acervus tritici in tempore suo, quasi non praeventus intempestiva et subita morte. He lists the abundance of goods after the immunity from evil. First, as to the fertility of the earth, he says, “You shall be in league with the stones of the field,” i.e. the stony and sterile land will bear fruit for you. As Deuteronomy says, “Glean honey from the rock,” and so on. (32:13) Second, as to the brute animals he says, “and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you,” for they will not attack you. These two verses can also be explained in another way. The stones can mean hard and rude men; and the beasts, cruel men. Third, he speaks about the members of his household saying, “and you will know that your tent is at peace.” because the members of your household will be at peace with each other Fourth, he speaks about his wife in a special way saying, “Seeing your likeness you will not sin,” as if to say: You will have a virtuous and peaceful wife with whom you can dwell intimately without sin. Fifth, as to his children, “Your children will be like the grass of the earth,” i.e. you will have many children and grandchildren. Sixth, as to the peace and quiet of death he says, “You shall come to your grave in a ripe old age,” in prosperity, not despoiled of your property, “like the stock of grain is reaped in due season,” as though not anticipated by a sudden and untimely death.
Ultimo autem approbat ea quae supra dixerat, dicens ecce hoc ut investigavimus ita est. Et quia aestimat Iob ita esse tristitia absorptum quod talia non multum cogitaret, eum reddit attentum dicens quod auditum, mente pertracta. Finally, he approves what he has said, “Lo, what we have investigated is true.” Since he thought Job was so prostrate with sadness that he would not think about these things much, he gets his attention back saying, “Once heard, study this with an attentive mind.

The First Lesson Job is Wounded by God and Desires not to Exist
וַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃ 1 לוּ שָׁקוֹל יִשָּׁקֵל כַּעְשִׂי וְהַיָּתִי בְּמֹאזְנַיִם יִשְׂאוּ־יָחַד׃ 2 כִּי־עַתָּה מֵחוֹל יַמִּים יִכְבָּד עַל־כֵּן דְּבָרַי לָעוּ׃ 3 כִּי חִצֵּי שַׁדַּי עִמָּדִי אֲשֶׁר חֲמָתָם שֹׁתָה רוּחִי בִּעוּתֵי אֱלוֹהַּ יַעַרְכוּנִי׃ 4 הֲיִנְהַק־פֶּרֶא עֲלֵי־דֶשֶׁא אִם יִגְעֶה־שּׁוֹר עַל־בְּלִילוֹ׃ 5 הֲיֵאָכֵל תָּפֵל מִבְּלִי־מֶלַח אִם־יֶשׁ־טַעַם בְּרִיר חַלָּמוּת׃ 6 מֵאֲנָה לִנְגּוֹעַ נַפְשִׁי הֵמָּה כִּדְוֵי לַחְמִי׃ 7 מִי־יִתֵּן תָּבוֹא שֶׁאֱלָתִי וְתִקְוָתִי יִתֵּן אֱלוֹהַּ׃ 8 וְיֹאֵל אֱלוֹהַּ וִידַכְּאֵנִי יַתֵּר יָדוֹ וִיבַצְּעֵנִי׃ 9 וּתְהִי עוֹד נֶחָמָתִי וַאֲסַלְּדָה בְחִילָה לֹא יַחְמוֹל כִּי־לֹא כִחַדְתִּי אִמְרֵי קָדוֹשׁ׃ 10 מַה־כֹּחִי כִי־אֲיַחֵל וּמַה־קִּצִּי כִּי־אַאֲרִיךְ נַפְשִׁי׃ 11 אִם־כֹּחַ אֲבָנִים כֹּחִי אִם־בְּשָׂרִי נָחוּשׁ׃ 12 1 Then Job answered saying: 2 Would that my sins for which I have merited anger and the calamity which I suffer were weighed in a balance, 3 like the sands of the sea. This still could not equal them and so my words were full of bitterness. 4 Because the arrows of the Lord stick fast in me and their pain takes my breath away. God’s terror stands arrayed against me. 5 Does a wild donkey bray when it finds grass or an ox low when it stands in a stable full of fodder? 6 Can tasteless food be eaten without salt? Or can someone taste what once tasted brings death? 7 What my soul did not wish to touch before, has now become food in my anguish. 8 Who will grant that my prayer find fulfillment? May God grant my hope! 9 May he who began this, destroy me! May he free his hand and cut me down! 10 This thought, at least, may give me comfort: that in afflicting me with pain, he will not spare me and I will not deny the Holy One’s decrees. 11 But what kind of strength do I have to resist? When will the end come so that I can act patiently? 12 My strength is not the strength of a stone nor is my flesh of bronze.
Respondens autem Iob dixit. Sicut ex superioribus patet, Eliphaz in lamento Iob tria notaverat: desperationem quidem quia videbatur appetere se non esse, impatientiam sive immoderatam tristitiam propter suspiria et gemitus quos se perpeti dicebat, praesumptionem quia se innocentem asseruerat. Et circa haec tria totus superior Eliphaz sermo versabatur, in quo ad ostendendum Iob peccato fuisse subiectum et ideo adversa tolerasse, proposuit inter cetera fragilitatem condicionis humanae ex qua nullus potest se praesumere immunem a peccato: hinc ergo Iob sumit suae responsionis initium. Certum est enim quod ex fragilitate condicionis humanae nullus homo est immunis a peccato quantumcumque iustus appareat, sed tamen in viris iustis non sunt peccata gravia et mortalia sed sunt in eis peccata levia et venialia quae ex negligentia et subreptione proveniunt; si autem hoc esset verum quod Eliphaz asserere nitebatur, quod propriae poenae peccatorum essent adversitates vitae praesentis, sequeretur quod propter gravia peccata graves adversitates homines paterentur et propter levia leves, et sic viri iusti numquam gravibus adversitatibus subiacerent, quod patet esse falsum. Hanc ergo rationem Iob contra disputationem Eliphaz proponit, unde dicitur respondens autem Iob dixit: utinam appenderentur peccata mea quibus iram merui et calamitas quam patior in statera. Quasi dicat: dicere non possum in me nulla esse peccata, confido tamen in me non esse mortalia sed venialia; si ergo pro peccatis huiusmodi iram, idest poenam, a Deo merui, debuisset in statera iustitiae appendi calamitas et peccatum ut secundum aequalitatem unum alteri responderet. Sed adversitas apparet multo maior, et hoc est quod subdit quasi arena maris, idest incomparabiliter, haec, scilicet calamitas, gravior appareret si sententia Eliphaz esset vera quod adversitates in hoc mundo infliguntur solum secundum peccata, cum appareat multos sceleratos, quorum peccatis peccata Iob comparata quasi nulla erant, quasdam leves adversitates sustinere. Eliphaz had clearly noted in earlier verses three things in the lament of Job: despair because he seemed to desire not to exist; impatience or immoderate sorrow because of the sighs and moans which he said he was enduring; and presumption because hr asserted his innocence. The whole discourse of Eliphaz in the previous chapters was about these three things. In his discourse he proposed for consideration the frailty of the human condition among other things to demonstrate that Job was subject to sin and should have accepted his misfortunes. Job takes the beginning of his response from this point. For it is certain that because of the frailty of the human condition, no man is free from sin however just he may appear to be. Nevertheless, in just men sins are not grave and mortal sins but trivial and venial sins which occur as a result of negligence and deception. If what Eliphaz strives to prove were true, i.e. the adversities of this present life were the proper punishments for sin, it would follow that men would suffer grave adversities because of grave sins and light adversities for light sins. Thus just men would never be subject to grave adversities, which is clearly false. Job proposes this argument, then, against the scientific discussion of Eliphaz and so the text continues, “The Job answered saying: Would that my sins for which I have merited anger and the calamity which I suffer were weighed in a balance.,” as if to say: I cannot say that there are no sins in me, yet I am confident that there is no mortal sin in me, but venial sins. If then I merited this sort of anger from God, as punishment for such sins, my calamity and my sin should be weighed in the scale of justice so that one can correspond to the other according to the measure of equality. But the adversity appears to be much greater and so he continues, “Like the sands on the sea,” which means without parallel, “this”, i.e. the calamity, “could not equal them,” i.e. if the opinion of Eliphaz were true and the adversities of this world are inflicted only because of sin, since it is apparent that many wicked men suffer light adversities, Job’s sins seem next to nothing in comparison with theirs.
Ex hoc autem ulterius procedit ad se excusandum a tristitia quam verbis expresserat, dicens unde et verba mea dolore sunt plena, quod concludendo infert quia dolor ex adversitatis magnitudine causabatur. Causam autem doloris subiungit duplicem: causatur enim dolor interdum ex his quae aliquis iam perpessus est, interdum vero ex his quae perpeti timet. Primo igitur assignat causam sui doloris ex his quae perpessus iam erat, dicens quia sagittae domini in me sunt, in quo ostendit ex improviso se fuisse afflictum, nam sagitta ex remotis et ex improviso venit; et ut ostendat percussionis magnitudinem subiungit quarum indignatio ebibit spiritum meum, idest me respirare non permisit, sed totaliter quicquid in me virium aut consolationis esse poterat sustulit. Deinde ostendit causam doloris ex his quae perpeti timebat, dicens et terrores Dei militant contra me: solent enim afflicti ex spe melioris status consolari, sed cum post afflictionem aliquis iterum similia vel maiora timet, nulla videtur esse consolatio residua. From this he goes on to excuse himself from the sadness which he had expressed in words saying, “And so my words were full of bitterness,” with the conclusion he infers that his pain was caused by the magnitude of his suffering. He adds that there are two causes of pain. Pain is sometimes caused by things someone has already endured, sometimes by things he is afraid he will endure. He first then assigns the cause of his pain resulting from things which he had already endured saying, “Because the arrows of God stuck fast in me.” In this he demonstrates that he had been afflicted unexpectedly; for an arrow comes suddenly from far off. He shows the greatness of the wound as he says, “their pain drains my spirit,” i.e. the pain has not permitted me to breathe, but totally robs me of whatever strength and consolation could have been in me. Then he shows the cause of the pain from what he was afraid he would suffer saying, “God’s terror stands arrayed against me.” For the afflicted are usually consoled by the hope of a better state, but when after one affliction comes, one fears similar or greater afflictions again, he seems to have no consolation left.
Posset autem aliquis dicere: causam quidem doloris habes sed ex ea in verba doloris prorumpere non deberes. Contra quae respondet Iob ex his quae in aliis animalibus inveniuntur. Homo enim aliis animalibus similis est in natura sensitiva, unde ea quae naturam sensitivam consequuntur naturaliter adsunt homini sicut et aliis animalibus; quod autem naturale est non potest totaliter vitari; invenitur autem in aliis animalibus quod afflictionem cordis ore exprimunt, et hoc significat dicens numquid rugiet onager cum habuerit herbam? Aut mugiet bos cum ante praesepe plenum steterit? Quasi dicat non; rugit autem onager et mugit bos cum necessario victu caruerint, in quo apparet naturale esse animalibus quod interiorem afflictionem exprimant voce. The objection could be made: you certainly have cause for suffering, but you should not burst out in words of pain from it. Against this objection Job responds using examples which are found in other animals. For man is like other animals in sensitive nature, and so those things which sensitive nature naturally entails must be present in man, as in the other animals. What is natural cannot be totally suppressed. In other animals one finds that affliction of heart is expressed with the voice, and he notes this when he says, “Does a wild donkey bray when it finds grass or an ox low when it stands in a stable full of fodder?” He implies the answer ‘no’. The donkey brays and the ox lows when it lacks the necessary food. It seems natural for animals to vocally express interior torment.
Rursus aliquis dicere posset naturale esse quod dolor conceptus voce exprimatur, sed ad sapientem non pertinere quod ex quibuscumque causis tristitiam corde concipiat, ut Stoici posuerunt. Sed hoc ostendit Iob esse contra naturam sensitivam: nam sensus non potest non refugere id quod est nocivum vel inconveniens, et ideo dicit aut poterit comedi insulsum quod non est sale conditum? Quasi dicat non, quia videlicet huiusmodi insipida non conveniunt ad delectationem gustus; et similiter ea quae non sunt delectabilia non potest cor hominis libenter acceptare, et multo minus illa quae sunt amara et noxia, unde subdit aut potest aliquis gustare quod gustatum affert mortem? Quasi dicat non; et sicut hoc est impossibile in sensu exteriori, ita impossibile est quod ea quae per sensus interiores apprehenduntur ut noxia, sine tristitia recipiantur. On the other hand, someone might concede that it is natural to express pain vocally conceived, but as the Stoics thought, it does not pertain to the wise man to conceive sadness in his heart for any reason whatsoever. Job demonstrates this to be against sensitive nature. For sense cannot but repulsed by the unsuitable and the harmful. So he says, “Can tasteless food be taken without salt?” implying the answer no, because such foods without flavor are not fit to delight the sense of taste. Similarly, the heart of man cannot freely tolerate things which are not pleasant, much less things which are bitter and harmful. So he continues, “Or can someone taste what once tasted brings death?,” as if to say, ‘No’ here. Just as this is impossible for the exterior sense, so it is impossible that what is apprehended by the interior sense as harmful should be received without sadness.
Sed quia sapiens licet tristitiam patiatur eius tamen ratio a tristitia non absorbetur, ostendit Iob consequenter quod licet tristitiam pateretur tamen ei maxima inerat sollicitudo et timor ut se contra tristitiam tueretur, ne per tristitiam deduceretur in aliquod vitiosum: quod ut vitaret praeoptabat mortem, et ad hoc exprimendum dicit quae prius tangere nolebat anima mea, nunc prae angustia cibi mei sunt, quasi dicat: ea quae anima mea prius abhorrebat nunc delectabiliter appetit. Et quae sint ista ostendit dicens quis det ut veniat petitio mea? Et ut hanc petitionem non oretenus tantum sed etiam ex intimo corde proponere ostendatur, subiungit et quod expecto tribuat mihi Deus? Et quae sit ista petitio ostendit subdens et qui coepit, scilicet me affligere, ipse me conterat, scilicet per mortem, et hoc est quod subdit solvat manum suam et succidat me? Manum Dei dicit potentiam divinam qua ipsum Deus afflixerat, quae quidem manus quodammodo ligata videtur divina voluntate et misericordia dum affligere desistit, solvitur autem quodammodo dum ad finem occisionis percussio divina perducitur.  But though it is true the wise man suffers sadness, nevertheless his reason is not absorbed by this sadness. Job shows as a consequence that although he himself might suffer sadness, he still had the greatest concern and caution to protect himself against sadness, so as to be led by sadness to do something evil. To avoid this, he preferred death. To give some expression to this he says, “What my soul did not touch before has now become food in my anguish.” because what my soul formerly abhorred, it now desires as pleasant. He shows this same thing when he says, “Who will grant that my prayer find fulfillment?” He shows that this prayer is made not only with the lips, but also from the bottom of his heart when he continues, “may God grant me my hope!” He expresses the content of the prayer saying, “May he who began this,” i.e. to afflict me, “destroy me,” in death. He continues, “May he free his hand and cut me down.” The hand of God expresses the divine power by which God has afflicted him, and God binds his hand in a way from his mercy and by his will and when he does not afflict him. However, God frees his hand in a sense when the divine chastisement strikes him is directed to killing him.
Et quia dixerat ea quae prius tangere nolebat nunc cibos suos esse, ostendit quomodo hoc sit intelligendum, quia scilicet mors quae sibi fuerat horribilis nunc effecta est dulcis, unde subdit et haec mihi sit consolatio ut affligens me dolore, scilicet Deus, non parcat, idest non retrahat manum suam sed me ad mortem perducat. Et quare hoc optet ostendit per id quod subdit nec contradicam sermonibus sancti, idest Dei, hoc est eius iudiciis sive sententiis quibus me afflixit. Timebat enim Iob ne per afflictiones multas ad impatientiam deduceretur, ita quod ratio tristitiam reprimere non posset; impatientiae autem ratio est cum ratio alicuius adeo a tristitia deducitur quod divinis iudiciis contradicit; si vero aliquis tristitiam quidem patiatur secundum sensualem partem sed ratio divinae voluntati se conformet, non est impatientiae defectus, et sic frustra Eliphaz arguebat Iob ubi dixerat nunc venit super te plaga, et defecisti: licet enim tristaretur non tamen defecerat. Since he said that the things he did not formerly want to touch had now become his food, he shows this must be understood to mean that death which was abhorrent to him, has now become something pleasant. So he continues, “This thought, at least, may give me comfort: that in afflicting me with pain, he (God) will not spare me,” i.e. he does not take away his hand, but leads me to death. He shows why he hopes for this when he continues, “And I will not deny the Holy One’s decrees,” i.e. the decrees of God which are the judgments and sentences by which he afflicted me. For Job feared that he might be led into impatience by his many afflictions, so that his reason could not restrain his sadness. Indeed it is the nature of impatience when reason is so dominated by sadness that one contradicts divine judgments. If, however, someone should suffer sadness in the sensitive part of the soul, but reason remains in conformity with the divine will, this is not the defect of impatience. So Eliphaz accused Job without reason when he said, “And now that the scourge has come on you, you too have fallen away.” (4:5) For although he was sad, he still had not been wanting.
Deinde assignat rationem ex propria fragilitate quare timebat ne ad hoc perduceretur ut contradiceret sermonibus sancti. Huiusmodi enim timor ex duplici causa tolli posset: primo quidem si tanta sibi esset rationis fortitudo ut nullo modo superari posset, sicut est in illis quorum est liberum arbitrium per gratiam confirmatum, sed hanc fortitudinem in se non sentiebat, unde dicit quae est enim fortitudo mea ut sustineam? Scilicet quascumque tribulationes; secundo si tribulationes et tristitias aliquo brevi tempore tolerare oporteret, et ideo ad hoc removendum adiungit aut quis finis meus ut patienter agam? Quasi dicat: quis terminus tribulationibus meis positus est ut usque ad illum expectans possim praesumere me patientiam servaturum? Et ad horum expositionem subiungit dicens nec fortitudo lapidum fortitudo mea: fortitudo enim lapidum sine sensu est; hominis autem fortitudo est cum sensu eorum quae noxia sunt, propter quod subdit nec caro mea aenea est, idest sine sensu, quia quantumcumque ratio mortalis hominis fortis sit tamen necesse est quod ex parte carnis experiatur sensum doloris. Et per hoc excluditur increpatio Eliphaz qui tristitiam in beato Iob arguebat: etsi enim inesset beato Iob fortitudo mentis aderat tamen ex parte carnis sensus doloris, quem tristitia consequebatur. Simul etiam per hoc confutatur opinio Stoicorum dicentium sapientem non tristari, cuius opinionis Eliphaz fuisse videtur; beatus autem Iob hoc defendere intendit quod sapiens tristatur quidem sed ad hoc studet per rationem ut ad inconveniens non deducatur, quod etiam Peripatetici posuerunt. Next he gives the reason from his frailty that he would be led to contradict the decrees of the Holy One. Fear of this kind can be overcome by two causes. First, if the strength of reason is so great in itself that it could be overcome in any way. This is the case in those whose free will has been confirmed in grace. But he did not feel this kind of strength in himself. So he says, “But what kind of strength do I have to resist?” any sort of trial. Second, fear could be removed if it were necessary to tolerate trials and sadnesses for only a short time. To show this is not true with him he says,” When will the end come so that I can comport myself patiently?” He seems to mean here: what end has been put for my trials so that I can remain patient while I wait for it? To explain this he says, “My strength is not the strength of a stone?” For a stone experiences strength without experiencing feeling, but a man experiences strength along with the emotional experience of harmful things. So he continues, “nor is my flesh bronze”, i.e. without feeling because however strong the reason of a mortal man may be, he still must experience the feeling of pain on the part of the flesh. By this he refutes the attempted rebuke of Eliphaz who censured the very existence of sadness in Blessed Job. For although Blessed Job had strength of mind, still he would have had the sensation of pain on the part of the flesh, which causes sadness. At the same time he refutes the opinion of the Stoics in this who said that the wise man is not sad. Eliphaz seems to have shared their opinion. Blessed Job intends to defend the fact that the wise man is truly sad but is zealous through reason not to be led to do anything unfitting. This is what the Peripatetics taught.
The Second Lesson: Job Feels Betrayed by his Friends
הַאִם אֵין עֶזְרָתִי בִי וְתֻשִׁיָּה נִדְּחָה מִמֶּנִּי׃ 13 לַמָּס מֵרֵעֵהוּ חָסֶד וְיִרְאַת שַׁדַּי יַעֲזוֹב׃ 14 אַחַי בָּגְדוּ כְמוֹ־נָחַל כַּאֲפִיק נְחָלִים יַעֲבֹרוּ׃ 15 הַקֹּדְרִים מִנִּי־קָרַח עָלֵימוֹ יִתְעַלֶּם־שָׁלֶג׃ 16 בְּעֵת יְזֹרְבוּ נִצְמָתוּ בְּחֻמּוֹ נִדְעֲכוּ מִמְּקוֹמָם׃ 17 יִלָּפְתוּ אָרְחוֹת דַּרְכָּם יַעֲלוּ בַתֹּהוּ וְיֹאבֵדוּ׃ 18 הִבִּיטוּ אָרְחוֹת תֵּמָא הֲלִיכֹת שְׁבָא קִוּוּ־לָמוֹ׃ 19 בֹּשׁוּ כִּי־בָטָח בָּאוּ עָדֶיהָ וַיֶּחְפָּרוּ׃ 20 כִּי־עַתָּה הֱיִיתֶם לֹא תִּרְאוּ חֲתַת וַתִּירָאוּ׃ 21 הֲכִי־אָמַרְתִּי הָבוּ לִי וּמִכֹּחֲכֶם שִׁחֲדוּ בַעֲדִי׃ 22 וּמַלְּטוּנִי מִיַּד־צָר וּמִיַּד עָרִיצִים תִּפְדּוּנִי׃ 23 הוֹרוּנִי וַאֲנִי אַחֲרִישׁ וּמַה־שָּׁגִיתִי הָבִינוּ לִי׃ 24 מַה־נִּמְרְצוּ אִמְרֵי־יֹשֶׁר וּמַה־יּוֹכִיחַ הוֹכֵחַ מִכֶּם׃ 25 הַלְהוֹכַח מִלִּים תַּחְשֹׁבוּ וּלְרוּחַ אִמְרֵי נֹאָשׁ׃ 26 אַף־עַל־יָתוֹם תַּפִּילוּ וְתִכְרוּ עַל־רֵיעֲכֶם׃ 27 וְעַתָּה הוֹאִילוּ פְנוּ־בִי וְעַל־פְּנֵיכֶם אִם־אֲכַזֵּב׃ 28 שֻׁבוּ־נָא אַל־תְּהִי עַוְלָה וְשֻׁבִי עוֹד צִדְקִי־בָהּ׃ 29 הֲיֵשׁ־בִּלְשׁוֹנִי עַוְלָה אִם־חִכִּי לֹא־יָבִין הַוּוֹת׃ 30 13 Behold, I cannot help myself and those to whom I look for help deserted me. 14 He who takes mercy from a neighbor and forsakes the fear of the Lord. 15 My brothers have passed me by like a torrent, like a stream coursing through the valleys. 16 Those who fear frost will be covered by snow. At the time they are broken up, they will perish; 17 and they will vanish from their place as though dried up. 18 The paths they walk on are confused; they will walk in emptiness and will perish. 19 Look for the paths to Teman, the roads to Saba and wait for a little while. 20 They are embarrassed because I hoped for them and they came to me and were covered with shame. 21 Now you have come to me and in only seeing my disease, you are afraid. 22 Have I said: Bring me and give me a gift from your property? 23 Free me from the clutches of the enemy, or ransom me from the hand of the mighty? 24 Teach me and I will say no more? And if I perhaps have been ignorant: Instruct me? 25 Why do you slander true ideas? For none of you can accuse me. You compose speeches only to rebuke me, 26 You join your words together and you cast your words to the wind. 27 You seize the orphan and strive to ruin your friend. 28 Despite this, finish what you began to say so that the truth may come to light by mutual discussion Lend an ear! See if I am lying. 29 Answer please, without contention and 30 in speaking, judge what you think is right. You will find no evil on my tongue, nor will there be stupidity in my mouth.
Ecce non est auxilium mihi in me et cetera. Ostenderat Iob in praecedentibus se rationabiliter dolorem sensisse et verba doloris protulisse, sed tamen dolore non esse absorptum propter ea quae passus erat; sed quia interdum homo licet aliqua adversa patiatur ita se suo et alieno auxilio et solatio contra adversa tuetur ut vel parvum vel nullum inde dolorem concipiat, vult ostendere beatus Iob se huiusmodi remediis esse destitutum, ut ex hoc appareat evidentius se rationabiliter verba doloris protulisse. Et primo quidem ostendit se praedictis remediis destitutum esse ex parte sua, cum dicit ecce non est auxilium mihi in me: etsi enim bona eius aliqua direpta fuissent, posset hoc absque tristitia tolerare si se posset adiuvare ad recuperandum bona amissa et ad vindicandum iniuriam illatam, sed hoc non poterat, omnibus divitiis, filiis et proprii corporis sanitate destitutus. Job had shown in the preceding verses that he felt pain and spoke words from his pain in conformity with reason, but yet he was not carried away by his pain in the things which he suffered. But because man, although he suffers some adversities, sometimes guards himself by consolations and help in both himself and in others against these adversities so as to feel little or no pain, blessed Job wants to show that he is destitute of aids of this kind. He does this to put in more evident relief that he spoke rationally when he expressed his pain in speech. So he first shows that he was destitute of the aforementioned remedies from his own part when he says, “Behold, I cannot help myself.” For even if he had lost some of his goods, he could have tolerated this without sadness if he could have helped himself to recover these lost goods and so revenge the injury inflicted. But he was not able to do this when he had lost all his riches, children and even the health of his own body.
Rursus multa per nos ipsos non possumus quae possumus per amicos; et ideo Iob secundo ostendit se etiam auxilio amicorum destitutum esse, cum dicit et necessarii quoque mei, idest familiares et domestici, recesserunt a me. Et quod hoc non sine culpa illorum sit, ostendit subdens qui tollit ab amico suo misericordiam, scilicet in tempore miseriae, timorem domini derelinquit, idest reverentiam quam debet habere ad Deum, propter quem et in quo proximus diligendus est: qui non diligit fratrem suum quem videt, Deum quem non videt quomodo potest diligere? Ut dicitur Ioh. IV 20. Further, many things we cannot do ourselves, we can do through friends. So Job shows in the second place that he was also bereft of the help of his friends when he says, “Those to whom I looked for help,” i.e. family and servants,” deserted me.” To show they are blameworthy for this, he continues, “He takes away mercy from a neighbor,” namely in the time of sorrow, “forsakes the fear of the Lord,” that is, the reverence due to God, because of whom and in whom one loves his neighbor. As John says, “Whoever does not love his brother whom he does see, how can he love the God whom he cannot see?” (1 John 4:2)
Deinde ostendit se etiam a consanguineis esse derelictum dicens fratres mei, idest consanguinei, praeterierunt me: loquitur ad similitudinem simul in via incedentium, ac si uno cadente in foveam alii nihilominus praecedant eo dimisso. Et quidem aliqualiter excusabiles essent si, postquam aliquo tempore auxilium tulissent, eum dimisissent vel propter taedium vel propter desperationem adiuvandi; et ideo ut inexcusabiles sint, ostendit se statim et subito ab eis esse desertum, quod significat cum subdit sicut torrens qui raptim transit in convallibus, qui velocissime movetur. Et ne hoc se impune fecisse credant, subiungit qui timent pruinam, irruet super eos nix, quasi dicat: qui propter timorem minoris periculi a iustitia et misericordia discedit in maiora pericula deducetur; unde et fratres Iob qui eum praeterierunt compati nolentes, ipsi tristitiam in propriis damnis sustinebunt. Et quod eorum pericula sint futura sine remedio ostendit subdens tempore quo fuerint dissipati, idest quo incurrent aliqua pericula, peribunt, scilicet totaliter, et ut incaluerint, solventur de loco suo. Loquitur sub metaphora nivis, de qua fecerat mentionem, quae cum multum firmata fuerit per congelationem non statim ad primam calefactionem dissolvitur, sed cum adhuc non est congelata statim ad radium solis dissolvitur et fluit: hoc est ergo quod dicit ut incaluerint, solventur de loco suo, idest statim ad primum impetum adversitatis quasi cuiusdam caloris tota eorum prosperitas dissolvetur. Et causam ostendit subdens involutae sunt semitae gressuum eorum: illud enim quod involvitur, in se ipsum quadam tortuositate redit; illorum igitur semitae involutae sunt qui in consanguineis et amicis nihil nisi propriam utilitatem quaerunt, et propter hoc in tempore prosperitatis amicitiam simulant sed in tempore adversitatis derelinquunt. Sed homines qui fraudulenter propriam utilitatem quaerunt plerumque a sua spe deficiunt, et ideo subdit ambulabunt in vacuum: tunc enim aliqui in vacuum ambulare dicuntur quando a fine ambulationis deficiunt; et non solum eorum spes evacuabitur sed etiam contrarium eis accidet, unde sequitur et peribunt, idest totaliter destruentur. Next he shows his family has abandoned him when he says, “My brothers,” i.e. my relatives, “have passed me by.” He uses the analogy of those who walk along together. If one falls in a ditch, the others pass by nevertheless abandoning him there. In a certain sense, they would be excused for this if they leave him once they have tried to help him because of weariness because they despair of helping him. But he shows that these men are without excuse, because they immediately and suddenly deserted him. He shows this when he says, “like a torrent, like a stream coursing through the valleys,” which moves very quickly. That they might not believe they did this with impunity, he adds, “Those who fear frost will be covered by snow,” as if to say: He who fails in justice and mercy because of fear for a lesser danger, exposes himself to still greater dangers. So, Job’s relatives, too, who passed him by unwilling to show any compassion for him, will themselves sustain suffering in their own losses. He continues showing their danger will be in the future and without remedy, “At the time when they will be broken up,” i.e., when they will suffer dangers, “they will perish,” totally, “and they will vanish from their place as though dried up.” He uses the metaphor of snow, which he has already mentioned, for it does not immediately melt with the first heat when it is very hard and frozen, but when not yet frozen, it melts immediately when touched by the rays of the sun and becomes slush. He shows this saying, “and they will vanish from their place, as though they were dried up,” i.e., immediately their whole prosperity will vanish at the first assault of adversity as the snow does at the first heat. He shows the cause of this when he continues, “The paths they follow are tangled up.” What is entangled goes back on itself with a kind of twist and turn, and so the footpaths of those men are entangled who seek nothing in their kinsmen and friends except their own advantage. Because of this they simulate friendship in time of prosperity but they pass by in time of adversity. Men who deceitfully seek their own advantage very often fall short in what they hope to gain and so he adds, “They will walk in emptiness.” Men are said to walk in emptiness when they do not reach the goal of their walking. Not only will their hope be null, but the opposite will befall them, and so he adds, “and will perish,” i.e. will be totally destroyed.
Sic igitur neque in se ipso neque in domesticis neque in consanguineis auxilium habebat. Consequenter ostendit quod neque in aliis amicis, unde dicit considerate semitas Theman, itinera Saba, in quibus regionibus maxime videbatur habuisse amicos, nam et Eliphaz de Theman venerat, et expectate paulisper, considerantes scilicet utrum aliqui per has vias venerint ad auxilium mihi ferendum; et hoc non videbitis quia confusi sunt, scilicet venire ad me, quia speravi, idest quia tempus erat in quo ab eis auxilium sperare debebam: homines enim qui auxiliari nolunt confunduntur visitare illos a quibus aestimant sibi rationabiliter posse peti auxilium; venerunt quoque, aliqui scilicet eorum, usque ad me, et pudore cooperti sunt, quia scilicet mihi non dederunt auxilium cum recognoscerent se debere. Nec est mirum de aliis cum etiam vos, qui sapientiores videmini, in hoc deficiatis, unde subdit nunc venistis, et modo videntes plagam meam timetis, ne forte scilicet oporteat vos mihi auxilium ferre; sed ne timeatis quia in nullo auxilium vestrum requisivi: neque enim requiro a vobis ut subveniatis mihi in denariis, et hoc est quod dicit numquid dixi: afferte mihi et de substantia vestra donate mihi? Neque petii a vobis auxilium in bello contra hostes, et hoc est quod subdit liberate me de manu hostis, et de manu robustorum eruite me? Neque petii a vobis auxilium doctrinae, et hoc est quod dicit: numquid dixi docete me, scilicet in speculativis, et ego tacebo, et si quid forte ignoravi, instruite me? Scilicet in agendis. Nec solum vos mihi auxilium non praebetis, sed etiam quantum in vobis est me ulterius verbis affligitis, et hoc est quod subdit quare detraxistis sermonibus veritatis? Quos scilicet primo protuli in mea lamentatione, quam Eliphaz reprehendere visus est, ut dictum est. Et ut haec detractio inexcusabilis ostendatur, excludit omnia illa quibus aliquis reprehensor a detractione potest excusari. Quorum primum est cum aliquis maioris auctoritatis alium pro culpa reprehendit, et hoc excludit dicens cum ex vobis nullus sit qui possit arguere me. Secundum est cum aliquis contra aliquem verba dura profert ad eius utilitatem et non ad ipsum exacerbandum, et hoc est quod subdit ad increpandum tantum, et non ad utilitatem, eloquia concinnatis, idest studiose componitis ut non videantur leviter esse dicta. Tertium est cum aliquis verba quae profert contra aliquem efficacibus rationibus munit, et hoc removet dicens et in ventum verba profertis, quasi dicat: verba vestra inania sunt nullum robur rationis habentia. Quartum est cum aliquis aliquem reprehendit eo tempore et in illo statu in quo praesumi potest quod non fiat inde deterior sed melior; sed si aliquis eo tempore aliquem reprehendere velit quo est consternatus animo et ad iram dispositus, videtur non velle correctionem sed subversionem, et ideo dicit super pupillum irruitis, et subvertere nitimini amicum vestrum: se ipsum pupillum nominat quia in tristitia positus omni auxilio destitutus erat. Therefore, he did not have support in himself, in his servants or in his relatives. As a further consequence, he demonstrates that he did not have help from his other friends saying, “Look for the paths to Teman, the roads to Saba,” lands where he seemed to have had his greatest friends, for even Eliphaz had come from Teman. “And wait for a short while,” to see if any friends come by these roads to bring me help. You will not see this because, “They are embarrassed,” to come to me; “because I hoped for them” i.e. because there was a time when I should have hoped for help from them. This is because men who do not want to help someone are ashamed to visit them if they think they will ask them for help reasonably. “They came,” some of them, “to me and they were covered with shame,” because they did not give me help when they recognized that they should have. It is not surprising for others to refuse to help me since even you, who seem wiser, fail to do it. So he continues, “Now you have come to see me and in only seeing my disease, you are afraid,” but perhaps you feel obliged to help me. But do not be afraid, because I haven’t asked you for help in anything, nor do I even request you to assist me with money. This is the meaning of, “Have I said: Bring me and give me a gift from your property?” Nor have I sought aid from you in war against enemies, and so he adds, “Free me from the clutches of an enemy, or ransom me from hand of the mighty?” Nor have I sought the help of instruction from you. So this is the meaning of: Have I said to you: “Teach me’?” in speculative matters, “and I will say no more, and if perhaps I have been ignorant: Instruct me?” in practical actions. Not only do you offer me no help, but you even afflict me further with your words as much as you can. So he adds, “Why do you slander true ideas?” which I spoke first in my lamentation and which Eliphaz seemed to reprove as has been said. He disproves all the reasons which can excuse a detractor to justify his conduct to show this detraction is inexcusable. The first of these is the censure someone in greater authority makes of another for a fault. He disproves this is the case saying, “For none of you can accuse me.” The second is when someone criticizes someone else for his own good and not exacerbate the situation. He refers to this saying, “You compose speeches only to rebuke me,” and not for my good “you join fine words together,” since you carefully compose them so that your words may not seem lightly spoken. The third is when someone strengthens the arguments he uses against someone else with efficacious reasons. He excludes this saying, “You cast your words to the wind,” as if to say: Your words are empty for they do not have the support of reason. The fourth is when someone censures someone in that time and in a state when it can be pursued he will become better and not worse as a result. But if someone wants to censure another when he is perplexed in soul and is disposed to anger, he does not seen to want his amendment so much but his ruin. So he says, “You seize the orphan, and strive to ruin your friend.” He refers to himself as an orphan because set down in his sadness he was destitute of help.
Et ne quis putaret quod hoc diceret timens concertationem cum eis, quasi de veritate suae sententiae et iustitia suae causae non praesumeret, subiungit verum tamen quod coepistis explete, ut ex mutua disputatione veritas elucescat; unde subdit praebete aurem, idest auscultate, et videte, idest considerate, an mentiar: hoc est enim primum impedimentum veritatis inveniendae per disputationem, cum aliquis ea quae ab adversario dicuntur audire non vult. Secundum impedimentum est cum ad audita clamose et contumeliose respondet, et ad hoc removendum dicit respondete, obsecro, absque contentione: est enim contentio, ut Ambrosius dicit, impugnatio veritatis cum confidentia clamoris. Tertium impedimentum est cum aliquis in disputatione non intendit ad veritatem sed ad victoriam et gloriam, ut accidit in disputationibus litigiosis et sophisticis: et loquentes id quod iustum est iudicate, ut scilicet concedatis ea quae vobis videntur vera, et negetis ea quae videntur falsa. Et, si hoc feceritis, non invenietis in lingua mea iniquitatem, scilicet aliquid contra iustitiam quae debetur proximo, nec in faucibus meis stultitia personabit, idest aliquid contra sapientiam qua recte sentitur de Deo: intendebat enim et circa divina et circa humana defendere et probare veritatem. He continues lest anyone think that he says this because he is afraid to argue with them because he could not be confident in the truth of his opinion and the justice of his case, “Despite this, finish what you began to say,” so that the truth can come to light from mutual debate. So he goes on, “Lend an ear,” i.e. listen, “and see,” i.e. consider, “if I am lying.? For the first impediment to finding the truth through debate is when someone does not want to hear what his adversary is saying. The second impediment is when he responds to what he has heard in a loud and abusive way. To exclude this he says, “Answer, please, without quarreling.” To quarrel, according to St. Ambrose, is “the attack on truth accompanied by relying on shouting.” The third impediment exists when someone in a disputation does not aim at the truth but at victory or glory, as happens in law cases or sophistical debates. “In speaking, judge what is right,” i.e. to concede what seems to be true to you, and deny those things which seem false. “And” if you do this, “You will find no evil on my tongue,” i.e. anything contrary to the justice which is due to one’s neighbor. “Nor stupidity in my mouth,” i.e. anything against the wisdom by which one thinks correctly about God. For Job intended to defend and prove the truth about both divine and human matters.

The First Lesson: Life is Combat and Drudgery
1 הֲלֹא־צָבָא לֶאֱנוֹשׁ עֲלֵ־אָרֶץ וְכִימֵי שָׂכִיר יָמָיו׃ 2 כְּעֶבֶד יִשְׁאַף־צֵל וּכְשָׂכִיר יְקַוֶּה פָעֳלוֹ׃ 3 כֵּן הָנְחַלְתִּי לִי יַרְחֵי־שָׁוְא וְלֵילוֹת עָמָל מִנּוּ־לִי׃ 4 אִם־שָׁכַבְתִּי וְאָמַרְתִּי מָתַי אָקוּם וּמִדַּד־עָרֶב וְשָׂבַעְתִּי נְדֻדִים עֲדֵי־נָשֶׁף׃ 1 Man’s life on earth is combat and his day is like the day of the hireling. 2 Like the slave, he sighs for the shade, or the workingman for the end of his work. 3 So I, too, have passed empty months and I have counted sleepless nights. 4 If I sleep, I say: When will I arise? And again I will wait for evening, and I will be filled with pains until dark.
Militia est vita hominis super terram et cetera. Eliphaz in superioribus, volens beatum Iob a desperatione removere, ei quandam terrenam beatitudinem repromiserat si increpationem domini non reprobaret; unde beatus Iob, postquam tristitiae suae rationabiles causas ostendit, vult ulterius ostendere praedictam consolationem Eliphaz ex repromissione terrenae felicitatis esse incongruam. Et primo hoc ostendit ex condicione praesentis vitae, postmodum vero id ostendet ex sua propria condicione. Since Eliphaz spoke before (5:17-27) to move Blessed Job from despair, he promised him earthly happiness if he would not reject the rebuke of the Lord. Here then, after Blessed Job demonstrated the rational causes of his sorrow, wants to further demonstrate that this aforementioned consolation of Eliphaz based on promising him the recovery of earthly happiness is unfitting. He first demonstrates this from the condition of the present life and then, later (v.5) from his own individual condition.
Circa condicionem vero praesentis vitae diversa fuit hominum sententia: quidam enim posuerunt in hac vita ultimam felicitatem esse, et hanc sententiam videntur sequi dicta Eliphaz. Ibi enim est ultimus finis hominis ubi expectat finalem retributionem pro bonis aut malis: unde si in hac vita homo remuneratur a Deo pro bene actis et punitur pro malis, ut Eliphaz astruere nitebatur, consequens videtur quod in hac vita sit ultimus hominis finis. Hanc autem sententiam intendit Iob reprobare et vult ostendere quod praesens vita hominis non habet in se ultimum finem, sed comparatur ad ipsum sicut motus ad quietem et via ad terminum; et ideo comparat eam illis statibus hominum qui tendunt ad aliquem finem, scilicet statui militum qui militando ad victoriam tendunt, et hoc est quod dicit militia est vita hominis super terram, ac si dicat: vita praesens qua super terram vivimus non est sicut status victoriae sed sicut status militiae; comparat etiam eam statui mercennariorum, et hoc est quod subdit et sicut dies mercennarii dies eius, scilicet hominis super terram viventis. Comparat autem praesentem vitam his duobus statibus propter duo quae imminent homini in praesenti vita, ut scilicet resistat impedimentis et nocivis et propter hoc comparatur militiae, et ut operetur utilia ad finem et propter hoc comparatur mercennario. Ex utroque autem exemplo datur intelligi praesens vita divinae providentiae subdi: nam et milites sub duce militant et mercennarii a patrono mercedem expectant. Satis etiam in his duobus exemplis apparet falsitas sententiae quam Eliphaz defendebat. Manifestum est enim quod dux exercitus strenuis militibus non parcit a periculis aut laboribus, sed secundum quod militiae ratio exigit interdum eos et maioribus laboribus et maioribus periculis exponit, sed post victoriam adeptam magis strenuos plus honorat; sic et paterfamilias melioribus mercennariis maiores labores committit, sed in tempore mercedis eis maiora munera largitur; unde nec divina providentia hoc habet ut bonos magis ab adversitatibus et vitae praesentis laboribus eximat, sed quod in fine eos magis remuneret. The opinions of men have differed about the condition of this present life. Some held that ultimate happiness was experienced in this life. The words of Eliphaz seem to follow this opinion. The ultimate end of man is in that place where he expects the final retribution for good or evil. So if man is rewarded by God for good deeds and punished for evil deeds in this life, as Eliphaz is eager to prove, it seems necessary to conclude that the ultimate end of man is in this life. But, Job intends to disprove this opinion and he wants to show that the present life of man does not have the ultimate end in it, but is compared to this end as motion is compared to rest and the journey to the destination. He therefore compares this state to those states of man which tend to some end, namely the state of soldiers who tend to victory in military campaigns. So he says, “Man’s life on earth is combat,” as if to say: The present life which we live on earth is not like a state of victory, but like the state of a military campaign. He also compares it to the state of a hireling, as so he adds, “and his day like the day of the hireling,” i.e. the time of man living on earth. He compares the present life to these two states because of two things which threaten man in this present life. First, he must resist impediments and harmful things and on account of these he is compared to warfare. He must also do works useful for the end and on account of this he is compared to a hired man. From both images, one is given to understand that the present life is subject to divine providence. For soldiers fight under a general and hired men wait for their pay from an employer. Also, the falsity of the opinion which Eliphaz defended is plain enough in these examples. For it is clear that the general of the army does not spare the vigorous soldiers from the dangers or toils, but the whole nature of warfare demands at times that he exposes them to both very great dangers and tasks. After the victory has been won, the general honors those men more who proved more vigorous. In the same way, the father of a family entrusts the more difficult tasks to the better hired men, but on pay day he gives higher salaries to them. So divine providence does not dispose things so that the good are more freed from adversities and labors of the present life, but rewards them more at the end.
Quia igitur ex his verbis Eliphaz sententia tota subruitur, ad eorum confirmationem Iob intendit et ea efficaci ratione demonstrat. Manifestum est enim quod quaelibet res adepto ultimo fine quiescit, unde necesse est quod quando voluntas humana ultimum finem consecuta fuerit, in illo quiescat et ulterius ad alia desideranda non moveatur; huius autem contrarium in praesenti vita experimur, nam semper homo quasi non contentus praesentibus futura desiderat: unde manifestum est in hac vita ultimum finem non esse, sed hanc vitam ordinari ad alium finem sicut ordinatur militia ad victoriam et dies mercennarii ad mercedem. Sciendum est autem quod in praesenti vita praesentia non sufficiunt sed desiderium tendit in futura propter duo: scilicet propter afflictiones praesentis vitae, et propter hoc inducit exemplum servi desiderantis umbram dicens sicut servus, ab aestu afflictus, desiderat umbram, qua refrigeretur; et propter defectum perfecti boni et finalis quod hic non habetur, et ideo ponit exemplum de mercennario dicens et sicut mercennarius praestolatur finem operis sui - perfectum enim bonum est hominis finis -, sic et ego habui menses vacuos, idest reputavi menses praeteritos mihi vacuos praeterisse, utpote in quibus perfectionem finalem adeptus non eram; et noctes, deputatas quieti contra afflictiones, laboriosas numeravi mihi, idest reputavi ac si essent laboriosae, inquantum in eis retardabar a consecutione finis. Therefore, since the whole position of Eliphaz is undermined by these arguments, Job intends to strengthen them and demonstrates them efficaciously from reason. For clearly, each thing rests when it attains its ultimate end. So once the human will has attained its ultimate end, it must rest in that and must not be moved to desire anything else. Our experience is contrary to this in the present life. For man always desires the future as though he were not happy with the things he has in the present. So clearly the ultimate end is not in this life, but this life is ordered to another end like warfare is ordered to victory and the hired man’s day is ordered to his pay. Note however that what we have now is not sufficient in this present life, but desire tends to the future for two reasons. First because of the afflictions of the present life, and so he introduces the example of the slave desiring the shade, saying “Like the slave,” worn out from the heat, “he sighs for the shade,” which refreshes him. Second, from the defect of the perfect final good one does not possess here. So he uses the example of the hired man saying, “or the workman, for the end to his work.” For the perfect good is the end of man. “So I have passed empty months,” for I considered the past months passed empty for me, because I did not obtain final perfection in them. “and nights,” i.e. when I should have been resting from my afflictions. “I have counted sleepless,” i.e. I considered them sleepless because I was delayed in them from the attainment of my end.
Quomodo autem habuerit menses vacuos et noctes laboriosas exponit subdens si dormiero, idest cum fuerit tempus dormiendi de nocte, dico: quando consurgam? Exoptans diem. Et rursum, facto die, expectabo vesperam, sic semper in futurum per desiderium tendens. Et hoc quidem commune est omni homini viventi super terram, sed plus et minus hoc sentiunt homines secundum quod magis aut minus gaudiis seu tristitiis afficiuntur: nam qui in gaudio est minus desiderat futurum, plus autem qui in tristitia; et ideo ut hoc desiderium Iob in se esse vehemens ostendat, subiungit et replebor doloribus usque ad tenebras, propter quos dolores praesens tempus fit mihi taediosum et futurum magis desidero.  He next explains how his months have been empty and his nights sleepless adding, “If I sleep,” when it was time for sleeping at night, “I say, ‘When will I arise,’” longing for day. “And again,” when day has come, “I wait for the evening,” as he is always tending to the future in his desire. This desire is indeed the common experience of all men living on earth, but men feel it more or less in the measure in which they are affected by either sorrows or joys. For he who lives in joy, desires the future less; but he who lives in sorrow, desires it more. So Job passionately shows this desire for the future is in him as he continues, “I will be filled with pain until dark,” for because of these pains, the present time is tedious for me and I desire the future more.
The Second Lesson: The Pains of Life
5 לָבַשׁ בְּשָׂרִי רִמָּה וְגִישׁ עָפָר עוֹרִי רָגַע וַיִּמָּאֵס׃ 6 יָמַי קַלּוּ מִנִּי־אָרֶג וַיִּכְלוּ בְּאֶפֶס תִּקְוָה׃ 7 זְכֹר כִּי־רוּחַ חַיָּי לֹא־תָשׁוּב עֵינִי לִרְאוֹת טוֹב׃ 8 לֹא־תְשׁוּרֵנִי עֵין רֹאִי עֵינֶיךָ בִּי וְאֵינֶנִּי׃ 8 כָּלָה עָנָן וַיֵּלַךְ כֵּן יוֹרֵד שְׁאוֹל לֹא יַעֲלֶה׃ 9 לֹא־יָשׁוּב עוֹד לְבֵיתוֹ וְלֹא־יַכִּירֶנּוּ עוֹד מְקֹמוֹ׃ 10 5 Decay clothes my flesh, and the filth of dust; my skin is dried up and wrinkled. 6 My days have passed swifter than a warp is cut off by a weaver and they have vanished leaving no hope behind. 7 Remember that my life is but a breath and my eye will not turn back to look on good things 8 nor will the eye of man look on me; Your eyes will be on me and I shall not endure. 9 As a cloud dissolves and is gone, so he who goes down below will not ascend again. 10 He will never return home again and his place will know him no more.
Induta est caro mea putredine et cetera. Ostenderat supra beatus Iob consolationem Eliphaz ex promissione felicitatis in vita terrena fuisse ineptam ex generali condicione vitae hominis super terram, nunc autem intendit ostendere eandem consolationem ineptam esse ex sua propria condicione. Et proponit duo quae impediunt ipsum expectare prosperitatem super terram, quorum primum est infirmitas corporis quam patiebatur: homini enim gravi infirmitate detento nihil potest contingere quod eum in hac vita faciat esse felicem, et ideo dicit induta est caro mea putredine, quasi dicat: undique corpus meum circumdatum est putredine ulcerum sicut corpus circumdatur vestimento. Et quia vulnera a principio curata ad sanitatem perveniunt, ostendit ulcera sua fuisse neglecta, unde dicit et sordibus pulveris: non enim erant debito modo curata quia ad litteram in sterquilinio sedebat, ut supra dictum est. Expectatur autem sanitas aliquando etiam si ulcera sint neglecta, quando natura est fortis, sed in Iob vigor naturae defecerat, unde dicit cutis mea aruit et contracta est, quia scilicet humor naturalis iam consumptus est vel propter senectutem vel propter infirmitatem, unde non videtur locus ut in hac vita ulterius felicitatem expectem. Secundum est quia plurimum tempus vitae suae iam praeterierat, unde modicum tempus restabat nec in eo poterat magnam felicitatem expectare, et propter hoc dicit dies mei velocius transierunt quam a texente tela succiditur. Vita enim hominis quantum ad aliquid similis est texturae: sicuti enim ille qui texit telam fila filis adiungit ut ad perfectionem telae perveniat, qua perfecta eam succidit, sic ad hoc quod vita hominis perficiatur dies diebus adduntur, cum autem fuerit perfecta tollitur. Ideo tamen dicit quod velocius transeunt dies hominis quam tela succidatur quia in opere telae textor interdum quiescit, sed tempus vitae hominis absque quiete continuo labitur. Blessed Job had demonstrated above that the consolation in which Eliphaz offered the promise of happiness in this earthly existence was unfitting. He first demonstrated this from the general condition of the life of man on the earth. Now he intends to demonstrate that the same consolation is unfitting considering his own individual condition. He proposes two things which preclude his hoping for prosperity on earth. The first is the weakness of the body which he was suffering. When one is limited by grave weakness of body, nothing can happen which can make him happy in this life, and so he says, “Decay clothes my flesh,” as if to say: My body is covered on all sides with infectious sores like a body is covered on all sides by a garment. Since wounds tended in the beginning heal, he shows that his sores were neglected when he says, “and the filth of dust,” for they were not tended in the proper way because he was literally sitting in a dung heap, as the text already shows. (2:8) One can sometimes hope for health even if his sores have been neglected because he has a strong constitution. But Job lacked the natural strength, and so he says, “my skin is dried up and wrinkled,” because the natural moisture has already been exhausted in it either by old age or by weakness. So there seems to be no place in this life where I can expect to find happiness anymore. The second is because the greater part of his life was already past and therefore very little time remained so he could not hope for a great deal of happiness during that time. Because of this he says, “My days have passed swifter than warp is cut off by a weaver.” The life of man is in a certain sense like something woven. Just as a weaver weaving a warf joins threads to threads to arrive at the product of cloth, and when he makes a cloth he cuts it from the loom, so days are added to days to complete the life of man. When his life is completed, it is taken away. Yet he says the days of man pass away more swiftly than the cloth is cut away because the weaver rests from time to time in the work of weaving, but the time of man’s life slips away continuously without interruption.
Sed posset aliquis dicere quod licet plurimum temporis vitae eius transierit adhuc tamen posset expectare reditum ad statum vitae praeteritae: posuerunt enim aliqui quod post mortem, transactis plurimis annorum curriculis, homo rediturus erat ad eandem vitae seriem quam prius egerat, ut puta quod Plato in futuris temporibus lecturus erit Athenis et eadem acturus quae prius egit, et sic homo licet plurimum temporis vitae eius transierit posset expectare restitutionem beatitudinis in vita terrena; et ideo ad hoc removendum subiungit Iob et consumpti sunt absque ulla spe, redeundi scilicet ad pristinos dies. Et ad hoc probandum subiungit ad Deum loquens - ad quem ab illo loco militia est vita hominis super terram videtur direxisse sermonem -, dicens memento quia ventus est vita mea, idest vento similis: sicut enim ventus pertransit et ultra non revertitur, ita vita hominis cum pertransierit non redit, et hoc est quod subdit et non revertetur oculus meus ut videat bona, scilicet terrenae vitae quae quondam habui et nunc amisi. Et sicut cum vita mea praeterierit ego non revertar ut videam bona terrena, sic nec videbor ab oculo terreno, unde sequitur nec aspiciet me visus hominis; ponit autem haec duo ut significet quod non revertetur ad conversationem humanam quae maxime consistit in videre et videri: nam visus cum sit subtilior sensuum principatum tenet in vita sensibili. Sed quamvis post mortem ab oculo hominis se dixerit non videndum, confitetur tamen se videndum esse ab oculo divino in hoc quod subdit oculi tui in me, scilicet erunt: Deo enim mortui conspicui sunt qui spiritualia intuetur, quia mortui secundum spiritum vivunt, non secundum carnem quam visus hominis aspicere potest. But one might object: although the greater part of his life has passed by, Job could still hope to return to the state of his past life. For some have advanced the theory that after death, when the course of many years has been completed, man returns to the same stages of life which he had lived before. For example, Plato in future times will lecture at Athens and will do the same things which he did before. So although man has lived the greater part of his life, he could hope to be restored to happiness in this earthly life. To remove this possibility, Job continues, “and they have vanished, leaving no hope behind,” of returning to his former days. He had already seemed to address God in the text saying, “The life of man on earth is combat.” (v.1) Now to prove his point he adds, “Remember that my life is but a breath,” like the wind. For as the wind passes by and does not return afterwards, so the life of man does not return when it has passed away. He continues in this vein, “and my eye will not turn back to look on good things,” of the earth which I once possessed but now have lost. In the same way that when my life has passed I will return to see earthly goods, so I will not be seen by any eyes on earth. So he goes on, “Nor will the eye of man look on me.” He posits these two things to show that he will not return to human association which consists chiefly in seeing and being seen. Since sight is the most acute of the senses, it holds a position of authority in sensitive life. Although after death he says that he will not be seen by the eyes of man, yet he confesses that he will be seen by the eye of God saying, “Your eyes” will be “on me.” For the dead are seen by God who observes spiritual things, because the dead live according to the spirit, not according to the flesh which man can see with his eyes.
Posset autem ex hoc aliquis intelligere quod oculi Dei ita respiciant mortuum non secundum statum praesentem sed sicut respicit futura, quasi homo mortuus iterum rediturus sit ad vitam quam dimisit, et ideo ad hoc excludendum subiungit et non subsistam, quasi dicat: sic dico quod oculi tui in me erunt post mortem, quod tamen ego postmodum iterato non subsistam in statu huius vitae terrenae. Et hoc probat per simile cum subdit sicut consumitur nubes et pertransit, sic qui descendit ad Inferos non ascendet. Dicuntur autem mortui ad Inferos descendere, vel quia secundum animam ante Christi mortem omnes ad Infernum descendebant, vel quia secundum carnem sub terra ponuntur; quantum enim ad praesens pertinet, nihil differt quomodolibet exponatur: nihil enim aliud vult dicere nisi quod mortui non redeunt ad vitam praeteritam, et hoc probat in quodam simili, probatione sufficienti. Sicut enim philosophus docet in II de generatione, tam in corporibus corruptibilibus quam in corporibus incorruptibilibus quidam circularis motus apparet; sed haec est differentia quia in corporibus caelestibus secundum circulationem reiteratur idem numero, sicut idem sol numero qui occidit redit ad ortum, et hoc ideo quia substantia non corrumpitur in tali mutatione sed solum locus mutatur; in motu vero generabilium et corruptibilium non redit idem numero sed idem specie. Patet enim quod secundum circularem motum solis annuum, circulatio quaedam fit in dispositione aeris: nam in hieme sunt nubes, et postmodum in aestate consumuntur, et iterum redeunte hieme redeunt nubes, non tamen eadem numero sed eadem specie quia illae nubes quae prius fuerunt omnino dispereunt. Et similiter est in hominibus: non enim iidem homines per generationes redeunt qui prius fuerunt secundum numerum sed solum secundum speciem. One could take this to mean that the eyes of God consider the dead, not according to the present state, but he regards future things, as though a dead man is going to return again to the life which he lost. Therefore to exclude this he continues, “and I shall not endure,” as if to say: I say that your eyes will be on me after death because afterwards, I will not be present again in the state of this earthly life. He proves this by a comparison when he adds, “As a cloud dissolves and is gone, so he who goes down below, will not ascend.” The dead are said to go down to the underworld either because they all descended to Sheol according to the soul there before the death of Christ, or because according to the flesh, they are buried under the earth. The exegesis here makes no difference for the meaning of the present text. For he only wants to say that the dead do not return to their past life and he proves this in the comparison using a sufficient proof. As Aristotle says in On Generation: a kind of circular motion appears in both corruptible and incorruptible bodies. But there is this difference. In heavenly bodies, the same one in number returns in the circular motion, as the same sun in number sets and returns at dawn. This is so because the substance is not corrupted in such a change, but only the place changes. But in the motion of generation and corruption, the same one in number does not return, but the same species does. It is clear that according to the annual circular motion of the sun, a kinds of circulation happens in the disposition of the atmosphere, for in winter there are clouds, which are dispersed later in the summer. When the winter returns again, the clouds return, yet not the identical clouds in number, but only the same in species because these clouds which existed before perish completely. It is so with men. The same men do not return in number through generation who formerly existed, but only in species.
Ex quo patet solutio rationis illorum qui ponebant reditum ad eandem vitam et ad eosdem actus: credebant enim quod inferiora disponuntur secundum motum corporum caelestium, unde cum redierit eadem constellatio post plurima temporum spatia credebant quod rediret eadem res numero; non est autem necesse quod redeant eadem numero, ut dictum est, sed solum similes secundum speciem. Ponebant autem isti quod homo mortuus, post certa temporum spatia non solum rediret ad vitam sed etiam ad easdem possessiones et domos quas prius habuit, et ideo ad hoc excludendum subiungit nec revertetur ultra ad domum suam. Ponebant etiam quod eadem opera acturus erat quae prius egit et eadem officia et dignitates habiturus, unde ad hoc etiam excludendum subiungit neque cognoscet eum amplius locus eius, idest non redibit ulterius ad locum suum; et accipitur hic locus pro statu personae, illo modo loquendi quo dicere consuevimus: iste habet magnum locum in ista civitate. From this the solution to the argument of those who posited a return to the same life and the same acts becomes clear. For they believed that lower things are disposed according to the motion of the heavenly spheres; hence when the same constellation returned after a very long time, they believed that the same thing would return in number. But it is not necessary that the same things return in number as has been said, but only things like them in species. Those men thought that a dead man, after a certain span of time not only returned to life, but also had the same possessions and houses he formerly possessed. To disprove this he says, “He will never return home again.” They also held that he would do the same works he had done before and hold the same offices and dignities. To exclude this position he adds, “and his place will know him no more,” i.e. he will not return again to his place. Here the term “place” means the state of a person in the manner of speaking we commonly use to say: He has a great place in this community.
Manifestum est autem ex his quod Iob hic resurrectionem quam fides asserit non negat, sed reditum ad vitam carnalem quem Iudaei ponunt et quidam philosophi etiam posuerunt. Nec hoc etiam contradicit narrationi Scripturae de hoc quod aliqui sunt resuscitati ad vitam praesentem, quia aliud est quod miraculose agitur, aliud est quod agitur secundum cursum naturae prout hic loquitur Iob. Considerandum est etiam quia quod supra dixit memento quia ventus est vita mea non ideo dixit quasi in Deum oblivio cadat, sed loquitur ex hypothesi positionis adversariorum: si enim Deus repromitteret homini cuius vita iam quasi praeteriit bona in hac vita terrena, videretur quasi oblitus quod vita hominis ad modum venti sine reditu transit. It is clear from these verses that Job here does not deny the resurrection which faith asserts, but a return to carnal life which the Jews hold and certain philosophers also held. Nor is this contrary to the narration of Scripture which asserts that some men are brought back to the present state of life. For one thing is done miraculously and the other is done according to the course of nature and Job speaks in this sense here. Consider also that in saying, “Remember that my life is but a breath,” he did not speak as though God could forget, but he speaks hypothetically putting himself in the position of his adversaries. For if God were to promise the goods in this earthly life to a man whose life has, as it were, already passed, he would almost seem almost to have forgotten that the life of man passes away like the wind which does not return.
The Third Lesson: Job Laments his Terrible Destiny
גַּם־אֲנִי לֹא אֶחֱשָׂךְ פִּי אֲדַבְּרָה בְּצַר רוּחִי אָשִׂיחָה בְּמַר נַפְשִׁי׃ 11 הֲיָם־אָנִי אִם־תַּנִּין כִּי־תָשִׂים עָלַי מִשְׁמָר׃ 12 כִּי־אָמַרְתִּי תְּנַחֲמֵנִי עַרְשִׂי יִשָּׂא בְשִׂיחִי מִשְׁכָּבִי׃ 13 וְחִתַּתַּנִי בַחֲלֹמוֹת וּמֵחֶזְיֹנוֹת תְּבַעֲתַנִּי׃ 14 וַתִּבְחַר מַחֲנָק נַפְשִׁי מָוֶת מֵעַצְמוֹתָי׃ 15 מָאַסְתִּי לֹא־לְעֹלָם אֶחְיֶה 11 For this reason, I will not refrain from speaking; in the trouble of my spirit I will speak; I will talk in the bitterness of my soul. 12 Am I the sea or a whale that you surround me to lock me up? 13 If I say, ‘My bed will comfort me; I will be relieved by talking to myself, on my couch, 14 then you will frighten me with dreams; and terrify me with visions? 15 This is why my soul has chosen hanging, and my bones death. 16 I have despaired; I will not live longer to any purpose.
Quapropter et ego non parcam ori meo. Postquam ostendit Iob consolationem Eliphaz promittentis prosperitatem terrenam fuisse incongruam per rationes ostensivas, nunc ostendit deducendo ad inconvenientia, quia si illi consolationi inniteretur quae ex spe terrenae prosperitatis sibi ab Eliphaz data erat, cum ista spes frivola sit, ut ostensum est, sequebatur quod oporteret eum adhuc in tristitia remanere et doloris verba proferre et penitus desperare. Et ideo quasi contra positionem disputans, concludit quapropter, quia scilicet vanum est expectare prosperitatem terrenam, ut ostensum est, et vos aliunde non habeatis unde me consolemini, et ego, quasi consolatione destitutus, non parcam ori meo quin loquar verba lamentationis prout mens suggerit: et hoc est quod subdit loquar in tribulatione spiritus mei, idest secundum quod tribulatio quam patior spiritum meum impellit ad loquendum. Nec solum aderat ei tribulatio exterior sed tristitia interior exinde concepta, et ideo subdit confabulabor cum amaritudine animae meae, idest inania et quasi fabulosa verba loquar secundum quod amaritudo animae meae mihi ministrabit. After Job showed that the consolation of Eliphaz promising earthly prosperity was inconsistent by arguments, he now shows the same thing by deducing arguments of unfittingness, because if he should rely on that consolation which had been given to him from the hope of earthly prosperity by Eliphaz, as has been shown, it would follow that it would be necessary for him to still remain in sadness, to utter words of sorrow and to despair entirely. This is because Eliphaz’s hope is frivolous. He concludes therefore, as though arguing against this proposition, “For this reason,” because to hope in earthly prosperity is vain, as has been shown. Moreover, you have nothing else with which you console me and therefore, “I”, as if destitute of consolation, “will not refrain from speaking” but rather I will speak words of lamentation which my mind suggests. He continues, “in the anguish of my spirit, I will speak,” that is as the trouble which I suffer impels my spirit to speak. Not only does he suffer exterior trouble, but also interior sadness conceived from it. So he continues, “I will talk in the bitterness of my soul,” for I will speak vain and almost incredible words as the bitterness of my soul will supply me.
Inter cetera autem quae homines amaricati confabulari solent, praecipue solent inquirere de causis suae amaritudinis, quia vix est aliquis amaricatus quin videatur sibi vel penitus iniuste vel plus iusto afflictus esse: et ideo Iob, gerens personam hominis amaricati, inquirit de causa suae afflictionis dicens numquid mare sum ego aut cetus quia circumdedisti me carcere? Ubi notandum est quod aliter providentia Dei operatur circa creaturas rationales et aliter circa irrationales: in creaturis enim rationalibus invenitur meritum et demeritum propter liberum arbitrium, et propter hoc debentur eis poenae et praemia; creaturae vero irrationales cum non habeant liberum arbitrium, nec merentur nec demerentur poenas aut praemia, sed operatur Deus circa eas ad earum ampliationem vel restrictionem secundum quod competit ad bonum universi. Ex qua quidem provisione seu ratione contingit quod Deus mare coercet ne totam terrae superficiem occupet, ut sit locus animalibus et terraenascentibus; similiter etiam cetum infra mare Oceanum coercet ne si in alia maria deduceretur aliquibus posset esse in nocumentum. Et ideo inquirit Iob utrum similis causa sit suae afflictionis causae propter quam coartatur mare aut cetus, ut scilicet afflictus sit non propter aliquod suum demeritum sed propter aliquam utilitatem exinde aliis provenientem. Among other things, which embittered men usually discuss together, they are accustomed especially to search for the causes of their bitterness because there is hardly an embittered man who does not seem in his own mind to have been afflicted either very unjustly or more than is just. So Job, playing the part of an embittered man, inquires as to the cause of his affliction saying, “Am I the sea, or a whale that you surround me to lock me up?” Note here that the providence of God works in one way for rational creatures and in another way for irrational creatures. Rational creatures merit or demerit because of free will. Because of this, rewards and punishments are due to them. Irrational creatures however, neither merit rewards nor incur punishments since they do not have free will. God, however, acts in their regard to increase or restrict them on the basis of what is due to the good of the universe. From this economy God constricts the sea so that it does not occupy the whole surface of the earth, to make the earth a place for animals and the things born on land. In a similar way he constricts the whale to remain in the ocean seas because if he were in the other seas, it could harm someone. Job therefore seeks to know if there is some explanation for his affliction like the confining of the sea and the whale, namely, that he is not afflicted because of some lack of merit but because of some usefulness to others because of it.
Dicit autem se carcere circumdatum eo quod ita oppressus erat tribulatione quod ex nulla parte patebat sibi vel liberatio vel consolatio, et ideo consequenter ostendit se privatum esse illis remediis quibus afflicti solent consolari, quorum unum est somnus, nam post somnum tristitia mitigatur, et hoc notat cum dicit si dixero: consolabitur me lectulus meus, scilicet tempore dormitionis. Aliud remedium est cum homines sapientes per deliberationem rationis se ipsos consolantur, et hoc remedium tangit cum dicit relevabor, scilicet ab oppressione tristitiae, loquens mecum, per deliberationem rationis, in stratu meo: homines enim sapientes quando solitarii sunt et a tumultibus hominum et negotiorum semoti, tunc magis secum loqui possunt secundum rationem aliquid cogitando. Sed ista remedia eum iuvare non poterant, quia tempore quo his remediis uti debebat aderant sibi alia impedimenta quibus perturbabatur, scilicet somnia terribilia et visiones horribiles, et hoc est quod subdit terrebis me per somnia, quae scilicet dormienti apparent, et per visiones, quae scilicet apparent vigilanti ab usu exteriorum sensuum alienato, horrore concuties. Solent enim nocturna phantasmata conformia esse diurnis cogitationibus, unde quia Iob in die quae maeroris sunt cogitabat, similibus phantasmatibus perturbabatur in nocte; infirmitas etiam corporis ad hoc operatur ut perturbata phantasmata dormientibus appareant. Sic igitur undique consolatione exclusa, nullus modus mihi remanet tot angustias evadendi nisi per mortem, et ideo praeeligo mortem quantumcumque abiectam vitae tam miserae, et hoc est quod dicit quamobrem elegit suspendium anima mea. Et ne putaretur haec electio ex aliqua infirma cogitatione provenire, aliis fortibus cogitationibus repugnantibus, subiungit nihil esse in se tam forte quod mortem non desideret, et hoc est quod dicit et mortem ossa mea: solet enim per ossa in Scriptura id quod est in homine roboris designari. Et quare hoc eligat, ostendit cum subdit desperavi, scilicet a spe quam mihi dedisti ut iterum fruar prosperitate terrena; et quare desperaverit, ostendit subdens nequaquam ultra iam vivam: in quo duo possunt intelligi quae supra posuerat, scilicet quod maius tempus vitae suae iam praeterierat et quod non erat reditus post mortem ad eandem vitam, ut scilicet viveret super terram. Hoc igitur inconveniens consequebatur ipsi Iob ex consolatione Eliphaz, quod scilicet desperaret, mortem eligeret et non haberet unde tristitiam reprimeret. He says that he has been surrounded to be locked up in the sense that he had been so burdened by trial that no liberation or consolation lay open to him on any side. Consequently he proves next that he is deprived of those remedies which ordinarily console the afflicted. One is sleep, for sorrow is mitigated after sleep. To note this he says, “If I say: ‘My bed will comfort me’,” in the time of sleep. Another remedy is to consolation wise men give themselves by the deliberation of reason. He touches this cure when he says, “I will be relieved,” from the oppression of sadness by “talking to myself,” by the deliberation of reason, “on my couch.” For when wise men are alone and removed from the distraction of men and commerce, then they can speak more within themselves thinking something through according to reason. These cures too could not help him, because at the time when he should have used these remedies, other impediments like terrible dreams and horrible visions were present in him which disturbed him. To express this he continues, “Then you will frighten me with dreams,” which appear to one when sleeping, and me “with visions,” which appear to the one awake who has lost the use of his exterior senses, “will terrify me”. Images at night are usually formed by thoughts experienced during the day and so because Job thought about sad things during the day, he was disturbed at night by similar images. For the weakness of the body contributes to the fact that people experience disturbing images when sleeping. So, then, when consolation is refused me from every side and no way remains for me to escape so many anguishes but death, I therefore prefer death however abject to such a painful life. He then expresses this saying, “This is why my soul has chosen hanging.” Lest someone should think that this decision comes from some thought opposed by stronger thoughts, he insists there is nothing in him so strong that it does not desire death. So he says, “My bones have chosen death.” For bones in Scripture usually mean what is strength in man. He shows why he chooses this saying, “I have despaired,” i.e. I have lost the hope which you gave me that I might enjoy earthly prosperity. He shows why he despaired adding,” I will not live longer to any purpose.” Two things can be understood which he had posited above in this statement. (v.6) The greater time of his life had already passed away and that he does not return after this life to the same life which he lived on earth. This unfitting conclusion is the result of the consolation of Eliphaz for Job himself and would lead him to despair, choose death, and have not way to curb sorrow.
The Fourth Lesson: The Prayer of Job
חֲדַל מִמֶּנִּי כִּי־הֶבֶל יָמָי׃ 16 מָה־אֱנוֹשׁ כִּי תְגַדְּלֶנּוּ וְכִי־תָשִׁית אֵלָיו לִבֶּךָ׃ 17 וַתִּפְקְדֶנּוּ לִבְקָרִים לִרְגָעִים תִּבְחָנֶנּוּ׃ 18 כַּמָּה לֹא־תִשְׁעֶה מִמֶּנִּי לֹא־תַרְפֵּנִי עַד־בִּלְעִי רֻקִּי׃ 19 חָטָאתִי מָה אֶפְעַל לָךְ נֹצֵר הָאָדָם לָמָה שַׂמְתַּנִי לְמִפְגָּע לָךְ וָאֶהְיֶה עָלַי לְמַשָּׂא׃ 20 וּמֶה לֹא־תִשָּׂא פִשְׁעִי וְתַעֲבִיר אֶת־עֲוֹנִי כִּי־עַתָּה לֶעָפָר אֶשְׁכָּב וְשִׁחֲרְתַּנִי וְאֵינֶנִּי׃ פ 21 16 Spare me, O Lord, for my days are nothing. 17 What is man that you should make so much of him; or that you turn your heart towards him? 18 You visit him at dawn and immediately test him. 19 How long do you not spare me? Won’t you leave me in peace to swallow my spittle? 20 I have sinned. What will I do for you, O guardian of men? Why do you pit me against you and why have I become a burden to myself? 21 Why do you not take away my sin? Why do you not take away my iniquity? Look! Now I will sleep in the dust; in the morning if you will look for me, I will no longer exist.
Parce mihi, domine. Postquam ostendit Iob quod consolatio Eliphaz ex promissione felicitatis terrenae inducebat eum ad desperationem et desiderium mortis, ostendit quid sibi sperandum relinquatur a Deo, ut scilicet tribulatio illata cesset, et hoc est quod dicit parce mihi, domine, quasi dicat: a spe prosperitatis terrenae decidi, hoc mihi sufficit ut parcas, idest flagellare desistas. Et quia ad parcendum inducere solet parvitas et miseria hominis, subiungit nihil enim sunt dies mei, quod videtur referri ad hominis parvitatem et ad vitae brevitatem: et communiter quantum ad omnes et specialiter quantum ad se ipsum cuius dies iam quasi praeterierant. After Job has shown that the consolation of Eliphaz based on the promise of earthly happiness was leading him to despair and the desire for death, he shows what remains for him to hope for from God, namely, that the trial put on him should cease. He expresses this saying, “Spare me, O Lord,” as if to say: I have abandoned the hope of earthly prosperity, it is sufficient that you spare me, cease to afflict me. Since the unhappiness and weakness of man usually induces another to spare him, he continues, “for my days are nothing,” which seems to refer to the weakness of man and the brevity of life, both with respect to all men in general and to him in a special way because his days were almost at an end.
Utrumque autem consequenter prosequitur, et primo de parvitate dicens quid est homo, idest quam parvum quid et infirmum secundum corpus, quia magnificas eum honore quodam inter ceteras creaturas, aut quia ponis erga eum cor tuum, eum speciali cura custodiendo et protegendo? Ubi considerandum est quod licet omnia subsint divinae providentiae et omnia secundum statum suum magnitudinem consequantur a Deo, aliter tamen et aliter. Cum enim omnia particularia bona quae sunt in universo ordinari videantur ad commune bonum universi sicut pars ad totum et imperfectum ad perfectum, eo modo aliqua disponuntur secundum divinam providentiam secundum quod habent ordinem ad universum; sciendum est autem quod secundum modum quo aliqua participant perpetuitatem, essentialiter ad perfectionem universi spectant, secundum autem quod a perpetuitate deficiunt, accidentaliter pertinent ad perfectionem universi et non per se: et ideo secundum quod aliqua perpetua sunt, propter se disponuntur a Deo, secundum autem quod corruptibilia sunt, propter aliud. Quae igitur perpetua sunt et specie et individuo, propter se gubernantur a Deo; quae autem sunt corruptibilia individuo, perpetua specie tantum, secundum speciem quidem propter se disponuntur a Deo, secundum individuum propter speciem tantum, sicut bonum et malum quod accidit in brutis animalibus, utpote quod haec ovis occiditur ab hoc lupo vel aliquid aliud huiusmodi, non dispensatur a Deo propter aliquod meritum vel demeritum huius lupi vel huius ovis, sed propter bonum specierum, quia divinitus unicuique speciei ordinatus est proprius cibus. Et hoc est quod dicit aut quia ponis erga eum cor tuum, dum scilicet ei provides propter eius bonum; non ponit autem erga animalia singularia cor suum, sed erga bonum speciei quod potest esse perpetuum. Consequently he pursues both points. First he says of his weakness, “What is man,” that is, how small a thing and frail in body, “that you lift him up,” by honoring him among the other creatures or “that you turn your heart towards him,” by guarding him and protecting him with special care? Here note that although all things are subject to divine providence and all things in their state receive their greatness from God, nevertheless some receive it in one way, others in another. For since all particular goods which are in the universe seem ordered to the common good of the universe as part is ordered to whole and imperfect to perfect, they are disposed by divine providence as they are ordered to the universe. Note that according to the way some things participate in perpetuity, they pertain essentially to the order of the universe. However, as they are deficient with respect to perpetuity, they pertain accidentally to the perfection of the universe and not in themselves. Therefore according as they are perpetual they are ordered by God for their own sake; but according as they are corruptible they are ordered for the sake of other things. Things which are perpetual either in individual or in species, are governed for their own sakes by God. But things which are corruptible in individual but only perpetual in species, are ordered for themselves in species by God but for the species only on account of the individual. This is the good and evil which happens to irrational animals. For example, the fact that this lamb is killed by this wolf or some such thing is not arranged by God because of the merit or demerit of this wolf or of this lamb, but because of the good of the species since its own food has been divinely ordained for the good of each species He expresses this saying, “or because you turn your heart towards him, when you provide for him because of his own good. He does not turn his heart to the good of individual animals, but rather to the good of the species which can exist perpetually.
Quomodo autem ponat erga eum cor suum ostendit cum subdit visitas eum diluculo, idest a principio nativitatis tua providentia administras ei quae sunt necessaria ad vitam et magnificationem, tam corporalia quam spiritualia; et subito probas illum per adversa in quibus apparet qualiter se habeat ad virtutem quia, sicut habetur Eccli. XXVII 6, vasa figuli probat fornax, et homines iustos tentatio tribulationis. Dicitur autem Deus hominem probare non ut ipse addiscat qualis est homo sed ut alios eum cognoscere faciat et ut ipsemet se ipsum cognoscat. Haec autem verba Iob non sunt intelligenda tamquam improbantis divinam circa homines sollicitudinem, sed tamquam inquirentis et admirantis: id enim quod de homine videtur exterius parvum quid est, fragile et caducum, unde mirum videretur quod Deus tantam sollicitudinem haberet de homine nisi aliquid lateret in eo quod esset perpetuitatis capax. Unde per hanc inquisitionem et admirationem sententia Eliphaz excluditur, quia si non esset alia vita hominis nisi quae est super terram, non videretur condignus homo tanta Dei sollicitudine circa ipsum: ipsa ergo sollicitudo quam Deus specialiter habet de homine demonstrat esse aliam vitam hominis post corporis mortem. He shows how God turns his heart towards him when he says, “You visit him at dawn,” i.e. from the day of his birth you help him by your providence with things necessary for his life and glorification, whether they are corporeal or spiritual. “And immediately test him,” by adversities in which he shows clearly he is disposed to virtue. As Sirach says, “The oven proves the pot of the potter and the trial of trouble proves the just man.” (27:6) God is said to test a man not so may learn what kind of man he is, but to inform others what sort of man he is and also so that he may know himself. These words of Job are not to be understood as expressing contempt for the divine concern for men, but as investigating and wondering. For if man is considered only as he appears exteriorly, he seems small, fragile and perishable. So it would be astonishing for God to have such great care for man unless he should have something hidden which makes him capable of perpetual existence. Thus by inquiry and wonder, the opinion of Eliphaz is refuted, because if there were no other life for man except life on earth, man would not seem worth such great care God has for him. Therefore the very care which God has especially for man demonstrates that there is another life of man after the death of the body.
Deinde aliam rationem subdit ut sibi parcatur sumptam ex brevitate vitae, eam sub interrogatione proponens cum dicit usquequo non parcis mihi? Quasi dicat: tempus vitae hominis breve est et temporis vitae meae maior pars iam transiit, quis ergo terminus expectatur ut mihi parcas si modo non parcis, ut saltem aliquod breve spatium habeam in quo quiescam? Quod significat in hoc quod subdit nec dimittis me ut glutiam salivam meam? Homines enim dum verba proferunt salivam glutire non possunt: necesse est ergo in loquendo aliquam modicam pausam fieri ut saliva vel expuatur vel glutiatur; cui quidem horulae residuum tempus vitae suae comparat, ac si dicat: si parcere differas, non remanebit mihi a laboribus aliqua quies saltem illi pausae similis qua loquentes salivam glutiunt. Et haec etiam ratio procedit ex suppositione sententiae Eliphaz, quia si non sit vita alia hominis nisi quae est super terram, non restabit quando Deus parcat si in hac vita non parcit. Then he adds another reason that God should spare him taken from the brevity of life. He puts it in question form saying, “How long do you not spare me?” This is like saying: The time of the life of man is short and the greater part of the time of my life is already past. Therefore, what limit is expected so that you spare me if you do not spare me now so that at least I might have at least some brief time in which to rest. He shows the meaning when he says, “Won’t you leave me in peace to swallow my spittle?” For one cannot swallow his saliva while he is speaking. It is necessary to pause briefly while speaking to spit out or to swallow spittle. He compares the time remaining in his life to this brief instant as if he says: If you delay in sparing me, no rest, even the rest during which someone speaking swallows his spittle will remain for me. This way of arguing presupposes that the opinion of Eliphaz, because if there is no other life for man except the one on this earth, there will not remain a time when God may spare Job if God does not spare him in this life.
Posset autem aliquis dicere Iob indignum esse ut sibi parcatur a Deo, quia peccata sua merentur eum ulterius affligi, secundum sententiam Eliphaz qui eum propter peccata flagellari putabat, et ideo subdit peccavi, quasi dicat: esto quod peccaverim et propter hoc merear flagellari, adhuc remanet ratio quare mihi parcere debeas. Et subiungit ad hoc tres rationes quare parcere debeat sumptas ex hominis infirmitate, quarum prima sumitur ex impotentia satisfaciendi. Homo enim nihil condignum facere potest propriis viribus ad recompensandum offensam quam contra Deum commisit, et hoc est quod dicit quid faciam tibi, o custos hominum? Quasi dicat: si tantam sollicitudinem de hominibus habes quasi custos eorum ut de singulis eorum actibus rationem requiras, non suppetunt meae vires ad faciendum aliquid propter quod peccata remittas, unde si hoc expectatur numquam mihi parceres; et ideo hoc non obstante mihi parcas. Someone could object that Job was unworthy to be spared by God because his sins merit that he be afflicted even more. This follows also from the opinion of Eliphaz who thought that he was scourged because of his sins. So he continues, “I have sinned,” as if to say: Given that I have sinned and because of this merited to be afflicted, still there remains a reason why you should spare me. He adds to this three reasons why God should spare him which make reference to the frailty of man. The first is taken from man’s powerlessness to make satisfaction. Man can do nothing worthy from his own powers to compensate for the offense which he committed against God. This is what he means when he says, “What will I do for you, O guardian of men?” as it to say: If you have such great care for man as if you were their watchman that you require an accounting of their individual acts, my powers are not sufficient to perform some act for which you will remit my sins. If then this is expected, you would never spare me and so please spare me despite this powerlessness.
Secunda ratio sumitur ex impotentia perseverandi. Homo enim post corruptionem humanae naturae perseverare non potest sine gratia Dei, unde et in sacra Scriptura consuetum est dici quod Deus aliquem indurat vel excaecat ex hoc quod gratiam non largitur per quam emolliatur et videat; secundum ergo hunc modum et hic Iob loquitur dicens quare posuisti me contrarium tibi? Idest quare mihi gratiam non dedisti per quam in hoc perseverarem ut tibi contrarius non essem per peccatum? Quicumque enim peccat Deo contrarius est, dum divinis mandatis repugnat sive quae sunt in lege scripta tradita sive quae sunt naturaliter indita hominis rationi. Sciendum est autem quod ratio fortior est inter omnes animae virtutes, cuius signum est quod aliis imperat et eis utitur ad suum finem; contingit tamen quod ratio interdum ad modicum absorbetur per concupiscentiam vel iram aut alias inferiorum partium passiones, et sic homo peccat; non tamen inferiores vires sic possunt rationem ligatam tenere quin semper redeat ad suam naturam, qua in spiritualia bona tendit sicut in proprium finem. Sic igitur pugna quaedam fit etiam hominis ad se ipsum ratio renititur ei quod per concupiscentiam vel iram absorpta peccavit; et quia ex peccato praeterito inferioribus viribus est addita pronitas ad similes actus propter consuetudinem, ratio non potest libere uti inferioribus viribus ut eas in superiora bona ordinet et ab inferioribus retrahat: et sic homo dum fit contrarius Deo per peccatum fit etiam sibimet ipsi gravis, et hoc est quod subdit et factus sum mihimet ipsi gravis? In quo apparet quod peccatum statim suam poenam habet; et sic post hanc poenam facilius videtur homini esse parcendum. The second reason is taken from the powerlessness of man to persevere. For man cannot persevere after the corruption of human nature without the grace of God, and so it is customary even in Sacred Scripture to say that God hardens someone or blinds someone in the sense that he does not bestow the grace on him by which he may be softened and see. Job speaks here in this way saying, “Why do you pit me against you?” that is, Why did you not give me the grace of perseverance in this matter so that I might not be opposed to you by sin? For whoever sins is opposed to God, since he spurns the divine commandments which are either handed down in the written Law or naturally inscribed in human reason. Note that reason is the strongest of all the powers of the soul. A sign of this strength is that reason commands the other powers and uses them for its own end. Yet it happens that reason is somewhat absorbed at times by concupiscence, anger, or the other passions of the lower part of the soul and so a man sins. Nevertheless, the lower passions cannot hold reason bound, but rather reason always returns to its nature by which it tends to spiritual goods as its own proper end. Therefore, a kind of struggle goes on even of man against himself when reason resists him because he has sinned absorbed either by concupiscence or anger. Since a tendency to similar acts has been added to the lower powers from past sins as a result of habit, reason cannot freely make use of the lower powers to order them to higher goods or withdraw them from lower ones. Thus man becomes a burden even to himself in being opposed to God through sin. He shows this by saying, “Why have I become a burden to myself?” One sees in this that sin has its own punishment immediately. So too after this punishment, it seems man should be spared more easily.
Tertia ratio sumitur ex impotentia hominis ad purgandum peccatum. Homo enim per se ipsum in peccatum labitur, sed solius Dei est peccatum remittere, et ideo quaerit Iob: si poena mea cessare non debet quandiu peccatum manet, et tu solus peccatum auferre potes, cur non tollis peccatum meum quod in Deum vel in me ipsum commisi? Et quare non aufers iniquitatem meam, si qua est contra proximum commissa? Considerandum est autem quod huiusmodi quaestiones Iob non facit quasi temerarius divinorum iudiciorum inquisitor, sed ad falsitatem destruendam quam adversarii asserere nitebantur, scilicet quod in hac vita tantum essent expectanda a Deo bona vel mala pro factis humanis: quo quidem posito, tota ratio divinorum iudiciorum turbatur, quibus homines in hac vita punit propter peccata vel peccata remittit secundum quod eos praeordinat ad vitam futuram vel praedestinando vel reprobando. Si autem non esset vita futura sed tantum praesens, non esset ratio quare Deus differret parcere his quibus parcere intendit aut eos iustificare et remunerare, et ideo Iob ut suam intentionem aperiat, subdit ecce nunc in pulvere dormiam, quasi iam in promptu est finis vitae meae cum moriar resolvendus in pulverem; et propter incertitudinem mortis non potest expectari firmiter etiam dies crastinus, et ideo subdit et si mane me quaesieris non subsistam, quasi dicat: non possum repromittere mihi tempus vitae usque in mane, nedum longa vitae spatia in quibus expectare possim quod mihi parcas si alia vita non erit. The third reason is taken from the powerlessness of man to cleanse himself from sin. For man sinks into sin by himself, but it is only God’s part to remit sin. So Job asks: If my punishment should not cease for as long a time as my sin remains and you alone can take away my sin. “Why do you not take away my sin?” which I have committed against God or against myself. “Why do you not take away my iniquity?” if any has been committed against my neighbor. Remember, Job does not ask questions of this kind like a rash questioner of divine judgments, but to destroy the falsity which his adversaries were eager to assert, namely that one should hope for good and evil things from God for human deeds only in this life. If this view is asserted, the whole reason for divine judgments by which he punishes men in the life for sin and remits sins in foreordaining those men in the next life to either predestination or reprobation is thrown into confusion. If there is no future life, but only the present one, there would be no reason why God should delay sparing those whom he intends to spare or justify or reward them. So Job shows his own intention clearly, continuing, “Look! Now I will sleep in the dust,” as if the end of my life is almost here, when I will die and decay to dust. One cannot hope even to see tomorrow with certainly because of the uncertainty of death. So he says, “If you will look for me in the morning, I will no longer exist,” for I cannot promise myself even a life until morning, much less a long span of life in which I can hope you would spare me if there will be no other life.
Considerandum est autem quod Iob procedit more disputatoris, cui a principio sufficit falsam opinionem refellere et postmodum aperit quid ipse de veritate sentiat. Notandum est etiam quod Iob in verbis praemissis tres rationes tetigit quare aliquis in hac vita flagellatur a Deo: prima est ut cohibeatur eius malitia ne aliis nocere possit, et hanc rationem tetigit cum dixit numquid mare sum ego aut cetus quia circumdedisti me carcere? Secunda est ad hominis probationem ut virtus eius manifestetur, et hanc tetigit cum dixit visitas eum diluculo et subito probas illum; tertia est in poenam peccatorum, et hoc tetigit cum dixit peccavi, quid faciam tibi, o custos hominum et cetera. Consider that Job proceeds according to the manner of a debater, for whom it suffices at the beginning to disprove false opinion and afterwards to explain what he himself thinks is true. Note too that in these opening words, Job touched three reasons why someone should be afflicted in this life by God. The first is that his malice may be restrained so he cannot harm others. He touched this reason in the text, “Am I the sea or a whale that you should surround me to lock me up?” (v. 14) The second is to try man in order manifest his virtue, and he touched this in the text, “You visit him at dawn and immediately test him.” (v. 18) The third reason is to punish sinners, and he touched on this when he said, “I have sinned, what will I do for you, you guardian of men.”

The First Lesson: God is Just
וַיַּעַן בִּלְדַּד הַשּׁוּחִי וַיֹאמַר׃ 1 עַד־אָן תְּמַלֶּל־אֵלֶּה וְרוּחַ כַּבִּיר אִמְרֵי־פִיךָ׃ 2 הַאֵל יְעַוֵּת מִשְׁפָּט וְאִם־שַׁדַּי יְעַוֵּת־צֶדֶק׃ 3 אִם־בָּנֶיךָ חָטְאוּ־לוֹ וַיְשַׁלְּחֵם בְּיַד־פִּשְׁעָם׃ 4 אִם־אַתָּה תְּשַׁחֵר אֶל־אֵל וְאֶל־שַׁדַּי תִּתְחַנָּן׃ 5 אִם־זַךְ וְיָשָׁר אָתָּה כִּי־עַתָּה יָעִיר עָלֶיךָ וְשִׁלַּם נְוַת צִדְקֶךָ׃ 6 וְהָיָה רֵאשִׁיתְךָ מִצְעָר וְאַחֲרִיתְךָ יִשְׂגֶּה מְאֹד׃ 7 1 Bildad of Shuah spoke next: 2 How long will you go on talking like that? And prolong the high spirit of the speech of your mouth? 3 Can God deceive judgment or the Almighty falsify justice? 4 Even if your sons sinned against him and he delivered them into the hands of their iniquity 5 yet if at dawn, you will rise to God, 6 and you will plead with the Almighty, 6 if you will proceed pure and honest, at once He will awake to you, he will give you back the peaceful dwelling of your justice. 7 As your prosperity was small, so your future prosperity will be greater.
Respondens autem Baldath Suites et cetera. In superioribus beatus Iob dictis Eliphaz responderat eius sententiam efficaciter et profunde evacuando; sed Baldath Suites in eadem sententia cum Eliphaz concordans profunditatem beati Iob non comprehenderat, et ideo contra responsionem beati Iob loquitur sicut solent homines loqui contra sententias non intellectas. Homines autem non comprehendentes mentes loquentium in duobus deficere solent, quorum unum est quia nesciunt quando ille qui loquitur ad finem propositum pervenerit, aliud est quia ordinationem sermonum loquentis capere non possunt. Et hoc in verbis Baldath manifeste apparet, dicitur enim respondens autem Baldath Suites dixit: usquequo loqueris talia? Videbatur enim ei quod nimis protraxisset sermonem, non considerans nec intelligens ad quem finem Iob suum sermonem perducere volebat; similiter etiam neque ordinationem eorum quae Iob dixerat, qualiter scilicet ad invicem compacta erant, capiebat, et ideo subiungit et spiritus multiplex sermonis oris tui? Reputabat enim, quia Iob multa protulerat quorum ordinem ipse non capiebat, quod essent verba dissuta et quasi hominis sine ratione ex impetu spiritus varia loquentis absque ordine rationis. In the discourse which Job just finished, he had responded to the speech of Eliphaz. He showed Eliphaz was mistaken in a deep and efficacious way. But Bildad of Shuah, who agreed with the same opinion of Eliphaz, did not understand the profundity of Blessed Job and so he speaks against the answer of Blessed Job like men usually speak against the opinions they do not understand. For men who do not understand the minds of others speaking are usually deficient in two ways. One of these is because they do not know when the speaker arrives at the conclusion he proposes. Another is because they are not able to understand the order of the discourse of the speaker. This is clearly shown in the speech of Bildad when the text says, “Bildad spoke next, ‘How long will you go on talking like that?’” For Job seemed to him to talk too long because he did not consider or understand the conclusion Job wished to draw in his discourse. Similarly, he did not grasp the order of the things which Job had said, namely, how they had been connected to one another. So he continues, “and prolong the high spirit of the speech of your mouth?” For he concluded that because Job had explained many things whose order he did not understand that his words were haphazard like a man who has no ability to reason, saying various things without rational order, spurred on by the impulse of his spirit.
Et quia, ut dictum est, Baldath intentionem Iob non comprehenderat, eius verba in alia intentione accipiens ad inconveniens deducere conatur. Volens enim Iob superius excludere sententiam Eliphaz ponentis quod adversitates in hoc mundo pro peccatis hominum contingebant et quod peccatores flagellati a Deo si convertantur ad statum prosperitatis reducentur, contra utrumque locutus fuerat: nam contra primum, ut supra expositum est, dixerat utinam appenderentur peccata mea et calamitas quam patior in statera. Contra secundum dixerat desperavi, nequaquam ultra iam vivam, et multa huiusmodi ut ex superioribus patet. Haec autem dicebat Iob intendens quod poena peccatorum et iustitiae praemium non sunt expectanda a Deo in hac vita; Baldath autem, qui aliam vitam nesciebat, sic accepit haec verba ac si Iob intenderet dicere quod Deus peccata non punit nec benefacta remunerat, quod videtur esse divinae iustitiae contrarium, et ideo Baldath proponit dicens numquid Deus supplantat iudicium et omnipotens subvertit quod iustum est? Quasi dicat: hoc sequitur ex tuis verbis si homines in hoc mundo absque peccato punit aut ultra mensuram peccati, vel si ad se reversis bona non reddit. Et notandum est quod iustitia dupliciter corrumpitur, scilicet per astutiam alicuius sapientis et per violentiam alicuius potentis; in Deo autem utrumque est, et perfecta sapientia et omnipotentia, nec tamen per sapientiam quae nomine Dei intelligitur quasi astute agens supplantat iudicium, neque per omnipotentiam quasi violenter subvertit quod iustum est. Also, since, as was said, Bildad did not understand the intention of Job, he takes his words in an entirely different way than intended and tries to deduce that they were not fitting. For in what he said, Job wanted to disprove the proposition of Eliphaz who thought that adversities in this world happened because of the sins of men and that if the sinners afflicted by God were converted, they would return to their former state of prosperity. So he spoke against both these ideas. Against the first he said, “Would that my sins and the calamity which I suffer were weighed in a balance!” (6:2) Against the second he said, “I have despaired; I will not live longer to any purpose,” (7:16) and many other things like this as is clear in the verses above. When Job said these things, he intended to prove that punishment for sinners and rewards for justice should be hoped for from God in this life. But Bildad did not know about the other life. So he took these words as though Job meant that God does not punish sins or reward good deeds, which seems contrary to divine justice. So Bildad makes his first proposition when he says, “Can God deceive judgment, or the Almighty falsify justice?” as if to say: This follows from your words if God punishes man in this world, though sinless or beyond the desert of his sins, or if he does not repay those turning back to him with good things. Note that justice is corrupted in two ways: by the cunning of an astute man and by the violence of a powerful man. There are, however, both perfect wisdom and omnipotence in God. Yet the name wisdom in God does not mean he overturns judgment like an astute man, nor does omnipotence in God mean that he subverts what is just like a violent man.
Duo autem erant quae videbantur impedire Iob ne pristina prosperitas ei restitui posset etiam si converteretur ad Deum, ut Eliphaz dixerat, quorum unum erat quia filii quos amiserat mortui erant, nec expectari poterat quod resuscitarentur per suam conversionem ad vitam, et ideo Baldath dicit etiam si filii tui peccaverunt ei, et dimisit eos in manu iniquitatis suae, quasi dicat: cum tu conversus fueris ad Deum, illa recuperabis quae pro peccatis tuis amisisti; filii autem tui morte oppressi sunt non propter peccata tua sed propter peccata eorum, unde non est contra sententiam Eliphaz - qua dixerat quod per conversionem redibis ad prosperitatem -, si filii tui te converso non resuscitentur. Et notandum est quod quia poenas praesentis vitae pro peccatis accidere credebat, ultima autem poenarum praesentium est mors, tunc homo videtur perfecte pro peccato punitus quando usque ad mortem pro peccato perducitur; et ideo signanter dicit et dimisit eos in manu iniquitatis suae, quasi in potestate peccatorum suorum, ut absque aliquo retinaculo usque ad ultimam poenam pro peccatis deducerentur. There were two things which seemed to keep Job from being restored to his former prosperity even if he were converted to God as Eliphaz advised. One of these was the fact that the children which he lost were dead and he could not expect them to be brought back to life by his conversion. So Bildad says, “Even if your sons sinned against him, and he delivered them into the hands of iniquity,” as if to say: When you have converted to God, you will regain those things which you lost by your sins. Your sons however were not punished by death because of your sins, but because of their own sins. So the fact that your sons will not be restored to life after you have converted is not against the argument of Eliphaz who said that you will be restored to your prosperity by conversion. Note here that because he believed the punishments of this present life are a recompense for sins and the foremost of these present punishments is death, man will be perfectly punished for sin when he is brought to death because of sin. He clearly says this, “and he delivered them up to the hands of their iniquity,” as if into the power of their own sins so that they might be led to the ultimate punishment for their sins without any lifeline.
Aliud autem est, quod reditum ad pristinam prosperitatem impedire videbatur, quod plurimum tempus vitae Iob iam transierat et parvum restabat, ut Iob supra dixerat, unde non videbatur quod in illo modico tempore sufficienter sibi pristina prosperitas posset restitui etiam si converteretur ad Deum; et ideo Baldath ei promittit post conversionem recompensationem fiendam quantitatis ad tempus, ut scilicet multo maiora bona obtineat quam prius habuit per hoc quod modico tempore ea esset habiturus. Et ideo Baldath primo describit ei modum debitae conversionis, ad quam tria requiruntur, quorum primum est ut peccator absque mora a peccato surgat, et hoc est quod dicit tu tamen si diluculo, idest tempestive, consurrexeris ad Deum, relictis peccatis, secundum illud Eccli. V 8 ne tardes converti ad dominum; secundum est ut homo pro peccatis satisfaciat, et quantum ad hoc dicit et omnipotentem fueris deprecatus: inter satisfactionis enim opera quasi praecipuum videtur esse oratio; tertium est ut homo perseveret cavens sibi a recidivo peccati, et ideo dicit si mundus et rectus incesseris, scilicet cavens tibi ab immunditiis carnis et ab iniustitiis quibus laeditur proximus. Sic autem perfecta conversione descripta, subiungit promissionem prosperitatis dicens statim evigilabit ad te: Deus enim quasi dormire videtur cum iustos affligi permittit, evigilare autem quando eos defendit, secundum illud exurge, quare obdormis, domine? Et effectum huius evigilationis subiungit dicens et pacatum reddet habitaculum iustitiae tuae, quasi dicat: domus et familia tua tempore peccati tui fuit perturbata, sed tempore iustitiae tuae pacem habebit. Et ne posset conqueri de temporis brevitate, repromittit excessum prosperitatis dicens intantum ut priora tua fuerint parva, scilicet comparatione sequentium, et hoc est quod subdit et novissima tua multiplicentur nimis, ita quod magnitudo prosperitatis recompenset tibi tempus quo in adversitate fuisti. The other thing which seemed to keep Job from returning to his former prosperity was the fact that he had already finished the greater part of his life and little remained for him, as Job said before. So it did not seem that his former prosperity could be restored sufficiently in that little time, even if he were converted back to God. Thus Bildad promises him that after his conversion a compensation will be made of the quantity of time so that he would obtain goods which were greater than he had before because he was going to have them for such a short time. So Bildad first describes the manner of conversion to him for which three things are required. The first is that the sinner rise from his sin without delay. So he says, “Yet if at dawn,” i.e. at the right time, “you will rise to God,” i.e. leave your sins as Sirach says, “Do not delay in turning back to the Lord.” (5:8) The second is that man make satisfaction for his sins. For this he says, “and you will plead with the Almighty.” Prayer seems like the first among the works of satisfaction. The third is that man persevere in taking care that he does not relapse into sin. So he says, “if you proceed pure and honest,” avoiding uncleanness of the flesh in yourself and the injustices by which your neighbor is injured. So after he has described the perfect conversion, he adds the promise of prosperity saying, “At once, God will awake to you,” For God seems to sleep when he permits the just to be afflicted; but he seems to awaken when he defends them according to the text, “Awake, why are you sleeping, O Lord?” (Psalm 43:23) He expresses the effect of this awakening saying, “he will give you back the peaceful dwelling of your justice,” as if to say: Your house and your family were disturbed at the time of your sin, but in the time of your justice, they will have peace. He promises again an excess of prosperity so that Job could not complain about the shortness of the time, saying, “as your past prosperity was small,” in comparison with the goods which will follow, “so your future prosperity will be greater,” such that the great prosperity will repay you for the time which you spent in adversity.
The Second Lesson: God’s Justice is Traditional Doctrine
כִּי־שְׁאַל־נָא לְדֹר רִישׁוֹן וְכוֹנֵן לְחֵקֶר אֲבוֹתָם׃ 8 כִּי־תְמוֹל אֲנַחְנוּ וְלֹא נֵדָע כִּי צֵל יָמֵינוּ עֲלֵי־אָרֶץ׃ 9 הֲלֹא־הֵם יוֹרוּךָ יֹאמְרוּ לָךְ וּמִלִּבָּם יוֹצִאוּ מִלִּים׃ 10 הֲיִגְאֶה־גֹּמֶא בְּלֹא בִצָּה יִשְׂגֶּה־אָחוּ בְלִי־מָיִם׃ 11 עֹדֶנּוּ בְאִבּוֹ לֹא יִקָּטֵף וְלִפְנֵי כָל־חָצִיר יִיבָשׁ׃ 12 כֵּן אָרְחוֹת כָּל־שֹׁכְחֵי אֵל וְתִקְוַת חָנֵף תֹּאבֵד׃ 13 אֲשֶׁר־יָקוֹט כִּסְלוֹ וּבֵית עַכָּבִישׁ מִבְטַחוֹ׃ 14 יִשָּׁעֵן עַל־בֵּיתוֹ וְלֹא יַעֲמֹד יַחֲזִיק בּוֹ וְלֹא יָקוּם׃ 15 רָטֹב הוּא לִפְנֵי־שָׁמֶשׁ וְעַל גַּנָּתוֹ יֹנַקְתּוֹ תֵצֵא׃ 16 עַל־גַּל שָׁרָשָׁיו יְסֻבָּכוּ בֵּית אֲבָנִים יֶחֱזֶה׃ 17 אִם־יְבַלְּעֶנּוּ מִמְּקוֹמוֹ וְכִחֶשׁ בּוֹ לֹא רְאִיתִיךָ׃ 18 הֶן־הוּא מְשׂוֹשׂ דַּרְכּוֹ וּמֵעָפָר אַחֵר יִצְמָחוּ׃ 19 הֶן־אֵל לֹא יִמְאַס־תָּם וְלֹא־יַחֲזִיק בְּיַד־מְרֵעִים׃ 20 עַד־יְמַלֵּה שְׂחוֹק פִּיךָ וּשְׂפָתֶיךָ תְרוּעָה׃ 21 שֹׂנְאֶיךָ יִלְבְּשׁוּ־בֹשֶׁת וְאֹהֶל רְשָׁעִים אֵינֶנּוּ׃ פ 22 8 Question the generation that has passed; carefully investigate the memory of your father. 9 We are men of yesterday and we know nothing because our days on earth are like a shadow. 10 They themselves will teach you, and these are the words they will speak from the heart. 11 Do rushes flourish without moisture? Without water, can sedge grow? 12 Even at their freshest or not destroyed by a hand, they wither the fastest of all plants. 13 Such are the paths of all those who forget God and the hope of the hypocrite will perish. 14 His folly will not please him and his assurance is like a spider’s web. 15 He will put his trust in the stability of his own house and he will not stand firm. He will prop it up, and he will not rise up. 16 It seems moist before the sun rises and at its rising its buds blossom. 17 Its roots were crowded together on a heap of stones and it will dwell among stones. 18 If someone will pull it from its place, it will deny him and say: I do not know you. 19 For this is the joy of his way (life), that others may be brought forth from the earth again. 20 God does not spurn a simple man nor does he lend his hand to the wicked. 21 Until your mouth will be filled with laughter and from your lips break forth a cry of joy. 22 Those who hate you will be covered with shame and the tent of the wicked will not endure.
Interroga enim generationem pristinam et cetera. Baldath Suites in praecedentibus eandem sententiam cum Eliphaz Themanite defendens, proposuerat homines pro peccato in praesenti vita divinitus punitos post conversionem ad prosperitatis statum redituros, quod quidem ex nunc probare intendit. Probat autem dupliciter: primo quidem ex experimento, secundo ex similitudine. Experimentum enim in rebus particularibus maxime efficax est ad probandum, et tanto magis quanto diuturnius est observatum et infallibile inventum. Ea autem quae diuturnitatem temporis requirunt per antiquorum memorias maxime comprobantur, et ideo ad propositi probationem recurrit ad antiquorum memorias, et quantum ad antiquos cum dicit interroga enim generationem pristinam, et quantum ad immediate praecedentes cum dicit et diligenter investiga patrum memoriam, idest ea quae patres tui in memoria habent. Interrogatio autem generationis pristinae est considerando antiquorum gestorum scripta et ea quae de antiquis per famam feruntur; et quia de rebus antiquis multa fabulose et scribuntur et narrantur, ne ex hoc aliquis se falli reputaret, remittit ad patres qui narrare possunt ea quae viderunt. Necessitatem autem huius investigationis ostendit subdens hesterni quippe sumus, quasi heri nati, et ignoramus propter hoc antiqua; et hoc quidem dicit ad ostendendam vitae nostrae brevitatem, unde subdit quoniam sicut umbra dies nostri sunt super terram: umbra enim cito transit, statim scilicet dum removetur obstaculum lucis, et dum corpus movetur ad cuius obiectum fit umbra, prior umbra transit et alia succedit: ita et dies hominis sunt in continuo transitu dum alii aliis succedunt. Quid autem ex praecedenti investigatione utilitatis assequatur, ostendit subdens ipsi, scilicet pristini et patres interrogati, docebunt te veritatem super praemissis, vel verbis patres, vel scriptis et fama antiqui; et de corde suo proferent eloquia, quod subdit ad ostendendam veritatem huius doctrinae, quasi dicat: non aliud docebunt quam quod corde senserunt quia nulla inest causa eis decipiendi. In the preceding verses, Bildad of Shuah defended the same opinion Eliphaz the Temanite had proposed that men divinely punished in this present life for sin return to a state of prosperity after their conversion. He now intends to prove this in two ways: first from experience, second from analogy. Learning through experience is especially effective in particular things as far as proof and much more so the longer it has been observed and found without error. Those things which require long observation are especially verified by the memories of the ancients and so he has recourse to prove his proposition to the memories of the ancients. With reference to the ancients he says, “Question the generation that has passed.” With reference to those immediately preceding him he says, “carefully investigate the memory of your fathers,” that is those things which your fathers remember. The questioning of an earlier generation is done by considering what is written about the deeds of the ancients and what is reported about the ancients in tradition. Since many things both written and told about deeds of old are legends, he refers Job to the fathers who can speak about those things which they have actually seen so that no one can think him duped. He shows the necessity of this investigation when he continues, “We are men of yesterday,” born almost yesterday, “and we know nothing,” of ancient deeds because of this. He says this certainly to show the shortness of our life and so he continues, “because our days on earth are like a shadow.” For a shadow passes swiftly, namely, immediately when an obstacle to light is removed. When a body is moved whose interruption of light makes a shadow, the former shadow passes and another takes its place. So man’s days are continually passing by as long as one takes the place of the other. He shows the use he makes of the preceding investigation continuing, “They, themselves” who went before and the fathers who are consulted, “will teach you,” the truth about the above questions. Either your fathers will teach you from words or the ancients will teach you by writing and tradition. “And these are the words they will speak from the heart.” He adds this to show the truth of this teaching (about earthly restitution) as if to say: They will teach you nothing other than what they know in their hearts since there is no reason for them to deceive you.
Deinde inducit similitudinem ad propositi probationem ex rebus corporalibus sumptam. Et ponit exemplum de duobus terraenascentibus, quorum unum ad sui conservationem exigit humorem in terra, scilicet scirpus, idest iuncus, unde dicit numquid vivere potest scirpus absque humore? Aliud autem requirit loca aquosa, scilicet carices, et sunt herbae latae et in summitate acutae quae non crescunt nisi in locis aquosis, unde subdit aut crescere carectum sine aqua? Dicitur enim carectum locus in quo huiusmodi herbae crescunt; et quod scirpus humorem requirat et carectum aquam, ostendit quia per solam subtractionem humoris aut aquae faciliter desiccantur, nulla alia causa desiccationis existente. Est autem duplex causa in aliis terraenascentibus desiccationis: una est naturalis propter antiquitatem, alia est violenta quando evelluntur; utraque autem causa cessante, scirpus et carectum arefiunt ex sola subtractione humoris et aquae, et hoc est quod dicit cum adhuc sit in flore, idest cum adhuc sit in sua iuventute et suo vigore, per quod excluditur temporis antiquitas, nec carpatur manu, per quod excluditur violentia, ante omnes herbas arescit, idest prae omnibus aliis herbis facilius. He then introduces an analogy taken from material things to prove the proposition. He gives the example of two plants which grow in the earth. One of them demands moisture from the earth for its preservation, i.e. the bulrush or rushes. About this he says, “Do rushes flourish without moisture?” Also the other plant which requires an aqueous environment is the sedge. These are broad grasses pointed at their highest part which grow in watery places. So he continues, “Can sedge grow without water?” For the place is called a sedge bed where grass of this sort grows. He shows that the rush requires moisture and sedge-bed requires water because they dry out easily by the mere removal of the marsh or water, when there is no other cause of their dehydration. But there is a twofold cause of dehydration in plants things which grow on land. One is natural from old age; the other is violent, when they are forcefully uprooted. Yet when neither cause is present, rush and sedge dry up from the mere removal of marsh or water. This is the meaning of, “Even at their freshest,” i.e. although still in their youth and vigor to exclude old age, “or not destroyed by a hand,” to exclude violence,” they wither fastest of all the plants,” i.e. most easily of all the grasses.
Hoc autem adaptat ad propositum. Ubi considerandum est quod adhaesionem hominis ad Deum hoc modo intellexit esse causam prosperitatis mundanae sicut humor est causa viriditatis herbae, et hoc ideo quia bonum hominis aestimabat esse prosperitatem terrenam; bonum autem hominis manifestum est esse ex hoc quod homo Deo inhaeret, et ideo credidit quod ex quo Deo non inhaeret eius prosperitas terrena deficiat: quod quidem verum est de felicitate spirituali quae est verum hominis bonum, non autem de prosperitate terrena quae inter minima bona computatur utpote organice deserviens ad veram hominis felicitatem; et ideo subdit sic viae omnium qui obliviscuntur Deum, et spes hypocritae peribit. Ubi considerandum est quod duobus supra positis duo hic correspondentia subdit: carectum enim manifestam aquam requirit ad sui viriditatem et per eius subtractionem arescit, scirpus autem requirit aquam in terra occultatam et eam humectantem et per eius defectum siccatur; similiter et aliqui sunt qui secundum eius sententiam pereunt propter hoc quod eis subtrahitur in manifesto adhaesio ad Deum, scilicet quia opera manifeste agunt Deo contraria, quos significat per eos qui obliviscuntur Deum: qui enim manifeste male agere non formidant, omnino Dei reverentiam postponere videntur et eum in memoria non habere; aliqui autem sunt qui secundum eius sententiam pereunt propter subtractionem occultae adhaesionis ad Deum, et hi sunt hypocritae qui exterius praetendunt ac si Deo inhaereant sed cor eorum est ad terrena: et ideo de hypocrita loquens nominavit spem, de obliviscentibus Deum nominavit vias, idest operationes, quia eorum opera sunt aversa a Deo, hypocritae autem spes. He adapts this example to his purpose. Consider that he understood the clinging of man to God in this way to be the cause of earthly prosperity just as water is the cause of the verdant color of the grass. This is because he thought that the good of man consisted in earthly prosperity. It is clear, however, that the good of man consists in the fact that man clings to God. Thus he believed that because Job did not cling to God his earthly prosperity was failing. This is certainly true about spiritual happiness which is the true good of man, but it is not true of earthly prosperity which is reckoned among the least important goods, as it serves as an instrument to the true happiness of man. So he adds, “Such are the paths of all those who forget God, and the hope of the hypocrite will perish.” Here consider he adds two corresponding examples to the two examples mentioned above. Sedge requires clear water to become green and dries out when this is lacking. Rushes require water hidden in moist earth and when this moisture is not present dries up. Likewise, there are some who perish in his opinion because they openly deny clinging to God in visible things. For instance, those who openly do deeds against God, which he represents as those “who forget God.” For men who are not afraid to do evil openly seem to have completely put off reverence for God and not to remember him. But, there are some according to his opinion who perish because they do not cling to God in a hidden way. These are the hypocrites who pretend exteriorly to cling to God, but whose hearts cling to the earth. In speaking of the hypocrite, he talks about hope and of those forgetting God he speaks about paths, i.e. deeds, because the works of the latter are turned away from God, but the hope of the hypocrite is turned away from him.
Quomodo autem spes hypocritae pereat, ostendit cum subdit non ei placebit vecordia sua, ubi considerandum est quod hypocrita cor habet vanum quidem et negligens ad spiritualia sed quantum ad temporalia sollicitum, et hoc quidem ei placet quandiu in temporalibus ei bene succedit secundum quod sperat; si autem ei temporalia subtrahantur, tunc necesse est quod ei displiceat quod circa Deum cor verum et firmum non habuit. Dicit ergo non ei placebit vecordia sua, idest adversitate veniente displicebit ei quod ad Deum cor rectum non habuit; et sollicitudo eius quam circa temporalia habuit omnino deficiet, et hoc est quod subdit et sicut tela aranearum fiducia eius, idest ea in quibus confidebat de facili frangentur sicut aranearum tela: confidebat enim non in divino auxilio sed in domus suae fortitudine, idest in abundantia divitiarum, multitudine consanguineorum et aliis huiusmodi, sed haec ei de facili deficient, unde sequitur innitetur super domum suam, idest fiduciam habebit suae stabilitatis in prosperitate domus suae, et tamen non stabit, quia cum deerit ei divinum auxilium ruet. Contingit autem quod aliquis in futurum adversa prospiciens aliqua adminicula sibi et domui suae contra adversa parat, sed et hoc ei non valebit, sequitur enim fulciet eam, aliquibus scilicet remediis contra adversa, sicut domui quae minatur ruinam fulcimenta aliqua adhibentur, et tamen non consurget vel ipse vel domus sua ad prosperitatis statum. He shows how the hope of the hypocrite perishes, as he continues, “His folly will not please him.” Here we should consider that a hypocrite has a vain heart, indeed, for he neglects spiritual things and is only interested in things of time. He is satisfied as long as he succeeded well in temporal things according to his expectation. But if temporal things should be taken from him, then he must be displeased because he does not have a true and stable heart respecting God. He says therefore, “His folly does not please him,” i.e. he will be displeased when adversity comes, because he does not have a right heart respecting God. His care which he had for temporal things will be completely deficient. To show this he continues, “His assurance is like a spider’s web,” which means that the things in which he confided will easily be broken like a spider’s web. For he did not confide in God’s help, but in the strength of his house, i.e. his great wealth, his many relatives and things like this. But these easily fail him. So he continues, “He will put his trust in the stability of his own house,” for he placed the confidence of his stability in the prosperity of his own house, “and” yet “he will not stand firm,” because when divine help is no longer given him, these goods too will fail. When someone anticipates that tragedy may happen to him in the future, he prepares something to fall back on for himself and his house against the adversities. But even this will not help him because he continues, “he will prop it up,” with those remedies against adversities like supports are placed under a house which is in danger of falling, “and” yet “he will not rise up,” neither he nor his house to the state of prosperity.
Ad hanc autem sententiam quam de fragilitate fiduciae dixerat praemissam similitudinem de scirpo adaptat. Ex duobus enim de scirpo fiducia haberi videtur: primo quidem ex propria viriditate, quae tamen adveniente sole et desiccante terrae humorem cito deficit, et quantum ad hoc dicit humectus videtur, scilicet scirpus, antequam veniat sol, qui eius viriditatem tollat; et in ortu suo, scilicet scirpi, germen eius egreditur: cito enim crescere et proprium fructum facere videtur; et similiter hypocrita quia a principio arridet sibi fortuna proficere videtur, sed veniente sole, idest tribulatione, cito prosperitas eius deficit. Secundo potest haberi fiducia de scirpo ex aliis, scilicet vel ex multitudine aliorum scirporum ei coadhaerentium, vel ex soliditate loci in quo crescit dum nascitur in loco lapidoso: et ideo consequenter dicit super acervum petrarum radices eius, scilicet scirpi, densabuntur, inquantum simul coniunguntur multorum scirporum radices, quod dicit quantum ad primum; quantum ad secundum dicit et inter lapides commorabitur; ita etiam et aliquis hypocrita potest habere fiduciam de sua stabilitate, non solum propter prosperitatem propriam sed etiam propter multitudinem consanguineorum et domesticorum, aut etiam propter fortitudinem regni aut civitatis in qua inhabitat. Sed haec fiducia eius deficit ei sicut et circa scirpum accidit, sequitur enim si absorbuerit eum, scilicet scirpum, aliquis de loco suo, locus eius negabit eum et dicet: non novi te, quasi dicat: ita scirpus de loco suo evellitur quod nec vestigium eius in loco apparet nec locus eius aliquid operatur ad hoc quod ille idem scirpus iterum inseratur. Et causam subiungit dicens haec est enim laetitia viae eius - vel vitae eius - ut rursum de terra alii germinentur, quasi dicat: processus et vita scirporum in aliquo loco commorantium non ad hoc naturali appetitu tendit, nec per hoc conservatur, quod idem numero scirpus qui ereptus est reinseratur, sed ad hoc quod alii eiusdem speciei renascantur; ita etiam est cum aliquis per mortem aut alio modo ab aliqua fortium societate separatur, statim quasi oblivioni traditur, secundum illud Psalmi oblivioni datus sum tamquam mortuus a corde, sed huiusmodi societas gaudet in his qui ei succedunt, secundum illud Eccl. IV 14 alius natus in regno inopia consumatur. Vidi cunctos viventes qui ambulant sub sole cum adolescente secundo qui consurgit pro eo. Haec autem ad hoc introducta sunt ut ostendat quod etsi aliqua prosperitas interdum malis eveniat, non tamen est firma de qua confidere possint, sed cito transit, unde pro nihilo reputanda est. He applies the comparison which he used before about the rushes to this opinion which he has related about the frailty of confidence. For his trust seems to be related to rushes in two ways. First like the verdant color of the rush, which fades quickly when the sun comes out and the moist earth is dried. He expresses this idea saying, “it seems moist,” i.e. rushes,” before the sun rises,” which takes away its verdant color. “And at its rising,” of rushes, “its buds blossom.” For this plant seems to grow quickly and produce its own fruit. In the same way, the hypocrite seemed to prosper, because fortune smiles on him in the beginning, but when the sun, i.e., tribulation comes out, his prosperity quickly fails him. Second, confidence may be placed in the rush in other ways, i.e. either from being rooted bunched together with many others or from the firmness of the place where it grows when it is born in a rocky place. So he consequently says, “its roots,” of the rushes, “were crowded together on a heap of stones,” as the roots of many papyrus are intertwined together. He expresses the first idea with this. He expresses the second idea saying, “and it will dwell among stones.” So even a hypocrite can have trust in his own stability, not only founded in his own prosperity, but also in the great number of his relatives and domestics or even because of the strength of the state or city in which he lives. But this trust proves vain to him as it does to the rush. For the text continues, “if someone will pull it,” the rush, “from its place,” the place, “will deny him and say, ‘I do not know you.’” This means: The rush is so uprooted from a place that no trace appears in the place. Nor is the place disposed to receive the same rushes a second time. He next explains the reason for this, “For this is the joy of his path,” or “of his life that others may be brought forth from the earth again,” as if to say: The progress and life of the rush do not tend to abide in some place by natural desire towards this end nor is it preserved through this outcome, namely, that the same number of rushes replace them as were uprooted, but that other of the same species spring up again. So it is also when someone by death or in some other way is separated from the society of strong men. He passes almost immediately into oblivion as Psalm 30 says, “I was delivered into forgetfulness as though dead in their heart.” (v.13) But society rejoices in those who replace him, as Qoheleth says, “Let another born in the kingdom he consumed by want. I have seen that all the living who walk under the sun, hasten to the young man who takes his place.” (4:14) These two passages are introduced into the argument to show that though the wicked may prosper for a time, nevertheless it is not a firm prosperity in which they confide, but quickly pass away and should be accounted like nothing.
Ex omnibus autem supra dictis ostendit consequenter quid intendat dicens Deus non proiciet simplicem, idest a se eum non elongabit ut eum non sustentet qui simplici corde ei adhaeret; nec porriget manum malignis, idest non dabit eis auxilium ut eorum prosperitas confirmetur. Et quia posset dicere Iob: quicquid tu dicas et similitudinibus confirmare velis, tamen ego contrarium in me sum expertus, qui cum simplex essem adversitatem patior et maligni adversarii mei contra me praevaluerunt, ideo ad hoc excludendum subiungit donec impleatur risu os tuum et labia tua iubilo, quasi dicat: hoc quod dixi intantum verum est quod hoc in te senties, si tamen fueris simplex, ita scilicet quod ex prosperitate quae subsequetur laetitia tua prorumpet in risum et iubilum, quae solent ex magnitudine gaudii provenire; et e contrario, qui oderunt te induentur confusione, idest manifeste ac multipliciter confundentur ut sic sit eis confusio quasi vestimentum. Et ne hoc alicui videatur impossibile propter prosperitatem praesentem qua videntur florere, subiungit et tabernaculum impiorum non subsistet: per tabernaculum enim, in quo plurimi Orientalium habitare consueverunt et suas divitias et supellectiles habere, potest intelligi omne illud quod pertinet ad prosperitatem vitae praesentis. Considerandum est autem quod ideo Baldath de hypocrita et simplici fecit mentionem quia aestimabat Iob non vere sanctum sed hypocritam fuisse, et quod propterea prosperitas eius firma non fuerit, sed si simplex esse inceperit promittit ei prosperitatem affuturam. Consequently he shows what conclusion he intends to draw from all he said already saying, “God does not spurn a simple man,” for he will not place him far from him so that he does not sustain one who clings to him in simplicity of heart. “Nor does he lend his hand to the wicked,” i.e. he will not help them so their prosperity is confirmed. Yet Job could say, “Whatever you may say and you want to prove with analogies I have experienced the contrary. For when I was simple, I suffered adversity and my evil adversaries prevailed against me.” Bildad wishes to disprove this saying, “Until your mouth be filled with laughter and from your lips break forth a cry of joy,” as if to say: What I have told you is so true that you will experience it, in yourself, but only if you will be simple in such a way that your happiness which will follow from your prosperity will be characterized by breaking forth in laughter and jubilation. These usually accompany great rejoicing. Also the contrary is true, for, “Those who hate you will be covered with shame,” for they will be openly confounded in various ways so that in this way they will wear confusion like a garment. So that this would not seem impossible to someone because of the present prosperity in which they seemed to flourish, he continues, “and the tent of the wicked will not endure.” For the tent in which most of the men of the East customarily here and have their chattel and possessions can be understood to mean all those things which pertain to the prosperity of this present life. Consider that Bildad mentions and the hypocrite and the simple man because he thought that Job was not truly holy, but a hypocrite But if he will begin to be simple, he promises him prosperity in the future.

The First Lesson: God is Almighty
וַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃ 1 אָמְנָם יָדַעְתִּי כִי־כֵן וּמַה־יִּצְדַּק אֱנוֹשׁ עִם־אֵל׃ 2 אִם־יַחְפֹּץ לָרִיב עִמּוֹ לֹא־יַעֲנֶנּוּ אַחַת מִנִּי־אָלֶף׃ 3 חֲכַם לֵבָב וְאַמִּיץ כֹּחַ מִי־הִקְשָׁה אֵלָיו וַיִּשְׁלָם׃ 4 הַמַּעְתִּיק הָרִים וְלֹא יָדָעוּ אֲשֶׁר הֲפָכָם בְּאַפּוֹ׃ 5 הַמַּרְגִּיז אֶרֶץ מִמְּקוֹמָהּ וְעַמּוּדֶיהָ יִתְפַלָּצוּן׃ 6 הָאֹמֵר לַחֶרֶס וְלֹא יִזְרָח וּבְעַד כּוֹכָבִים יַחְתֹּם׃ 7 1 Job spoke next. He said: 2 Truly I know this is so and man is not be justified compared to God. 3 If anyone will wish to argue with him, he will not be able to answer him one question for a thousand. 4 He is wise in heart and Almighty in power. What man has resisted him and found peace? 5 He has moved the mountains and they were ignorant whom he has destroyed by his anger. 6 He moves the earth from its place and its pillars will be shaken. 7 He commands the sun and it does not rise and he conceals the stars as though under seal.
Et respondens Iob ait: vere scio quod ita sit. Beatus Iob in superiori responsione qua verbis Eliphaz responderat, unum praetermisisse videbatur quod Eliphaz de Dei iustitia proposuerat cum dixerat numquid homo comparatione Dei iustificabitur? Quin immo quadam quasi contentiosa disputatione visus est ad Deum loqui cum dixit numquid mare sum ego aut cetus etc., et iterum usquequo non parcis mihi et cetera. Et ideo Baldath Suites replicans contra responsionem beati Iob a defensione divinae iustitiae incepit dicens numquid Deus supplantat iudicium etc., et in hoc idem suum sermonem terminavit cum dixit Deus non proiciet simplicem et cetera. Et ideo beatus Iob in hac responsione primo ostendit se divinae iustitiae contradicere nolle nec contra Deum velle contendere, ut illi suspicabantur, et hoc est quod dicitur et respondens Iob ait: vere scio quod ita sit, scilicet quod Deus non supplantat iudicium et quod non proiciet simplicem, quae Baldath proposuit; et scio etiam quod non iustificetur homo compositus Deo, idest comparatus ei, et hoc dicit respondens ei quod supra Eliphaz dixerat numquid homo comparatione Dei iustificabitur? Blessed Job in his answer above in which he had responded to Eliphaz’s words, seemed to have overlooked one argument which Eliphaz had proposed about the justice of God when he said, “Will man ever be justified in comparison with God?” (4:17) He rather seemed to have spoken almost contentiously with God when he said, “Am I the Sea or a whale, etc.” (7:12) and “How long will you not spare me, etc.” (7:19) So Bildad of Shuah replied to the argument of Blessed Job taking his starting point from a defense of divine justice and said, “Can God deceive judgement?” (8:37) and he ended his speech in the same vein saying, “God does not spurn the simple man, etc.” (8:20) So Blessed Job shows in this next response first that he does not want to speak against divine justice, nor does he want to argue against God, as they suspected. This is what the text then says continuing, “Job spoke next. “Truly I know this is so,” namely that “God does not deceive judgment” and that “he does not spurn the simple man.” These were the propositions of Bildad. “And” I also know,” man is not be justified compared with God.” In this response he answers what Eliphaz had said, “Will a man ever be justified in comparison with God?”
Et unde hoc sciat consequenter ostendit ex quodam signo. Cum enim aliquis comparatione alterius iustus est, libere et secure potest cum eo contendere, quia per mutuam disceptationem iustitia et veritas manifestatur; nulli autem homini tutum est cum Deo contendere, et ideo subdit si voluerit contendere cum eo, scilicet homo cum Deo, non poterit respondere ei, scilicet homo Deo, unum pro mille. Sciendum siquidem est quod maior numerorum qui apud nos proprium nomen habeat est millenarius, nam omnes maiores numeri per replicationem inferiorum numerorum nominantur, ut puta decem millia, centum millia; et hoc rationabiliter accidit, nam secundum quosdam antiquorum species numerorum usque ad decem protenduntur, postmodum enim priores numeri repetuntur - quod quidem secundum nominationem manifestum est quicquid sit secundum rei veritatem -; cubicus autem ex denario consurgens millenarius est: decies enim decem decies mille sunt. Millenarium igitur numerum quasi maximum numerorum nominatorum apud nos pro quantumcumque magno determinato numero sumpsit: idem est ergo quod dicit quod non potest homo Deo respondere unum pro mille ac si diceret quod nulla determinata numeri mensura metiri potest quantum divina iustitia humanam excedat, cum haec sit finita, illa autem infinita. He consequently shows a sign of how he knows this. When a man is just in comparison to another man, he can freely and securely argue with him, because justice and truth are made clear in mutual discussion. However, no man is secure when he argues with God. So he adds, “If anyone will wish to argue with him,” i.e. man with God, “he will not be able to answer him “one question for a thousand.” Truly we should note that the greatest number which has a proper name is in our usage a thousand, for all the higher numbers are named as multiples of the lower numbers, for example, ten thousand, one hundred thousand. This happens reasonably, for according to the ancients, the species of numbers extend up to ten and beyond this one repeats the first numbers again (1,2,3,) and this fact is clear according to the names, whatever the truth of the matter. For the cube of ten is one thousand for one thousand is ten times ten times ten. Thus Job chooses the number one thousand as the highest of the numbers which designates for us every large determined quantity. When he says that man cannot respond to God, “one question for a thousand,” it is the same as if he were to say: no determined measure of number can express how much divine justice exceeds human justice, since the latter is finite but the former is infinite.
Quod autem homo in contendendo nulla proportione possit ad Deum accedere, ostendit consequenter cum dicit sapiens corde est et fortis robore, scilicet Deus. Duplex enim est contentio: una qua contenditur disputando et haec est per sapientiam, alia qua contenditur pugnando et haec est per fortitudinem; in utroque autem excedit Deus quia et fortitudine et sapientia omnem fortitudinem et sapientiam excedit. Et utrumque horum excessuum ostendit consequenter, et primo excessum fortitudinis, quem quidem ostendere incipit quantum ad homines cum dicit quis restitit ei et pacem habuit? Quasi dicat nullus. Sciendum siquidem est quod aliter homo obtinet pacem a potentiori, aliter a minus potenti vel ab aeque potenti: manifestum est enim quod potentior a minus potenti pacem acquirit contra eum pugnando, sicut cum rex potens contra aliquem rebellem in suo regno bellum movet et victoriam obtinens pacem regni reformat; similiter etiam et ab aeque potenti quandoque aliquis pacem obtinet pugnando: licet enim eum superare non possit, tamen assiduitate pugnae eum fatigat ut ad pacem reducatur; sed a magis potente numquam aliquis pacem obtinet resistendo vel pugnando, sed se ei humiliter subdendo. Hoc est igitur evidens signum quod fortitudo Dei omnem humanam fortitudinem excedit, quia nullus cum eo pacem habere potest resistendo sed solum humiliter oboediendo, unde dicitur Is. XXVI 3 servabis pacem, pacem, quia in te speravimus; sed impii qui Deo resistunt pacem habere non possunt, secundum quod dicitur Is. LVII 21 non est pax impiis, dicit dominus, et hoc est quod hic dicitur quis restitit ei et pacem habuit? He shows as a consequence that man cannot approach God in any proportion in arguing a case when he says, “He (God) is wise in heart and Almighty in power.” For there are two types of dispute. There is one in which the dispute is carried on by argument and this is done by wisdom. There is another when the dispute is carried on by force and this is depends on power. In both of these, God exceeds man, because in both his strength and wisdom he exceeds all strength and wisdom. Consequently he shows both of these pre-eminences. First he shows the preeminence of God in power which he certainly begins to show in relation to men when he says, “what man has resisted him and found peace?” as if to say: “No one.” Note that man obtains peace in one way from someone who is more powerful and in another way from one who is less powerful or his equal in power. For clearly the more powerful acquires peace from the less powerful by fighting against him, as when a powerful king wages war against a rebellious subject in his kingdom and after he obtains victory, re-establishes the peace of his kingdom. In the same way, a man also sometimes obtains peace from someone who is his equal in power by fighting him. For although he cannot overcome him, he can still wear him out by his persistence in the fight and lead him to sue for peace. But one never obtains peace from someone who is more powerful by resisting and fighting him, but by submitting himself to him humbly. Thus, an evident sign that the strength of God exceeds all human strength is the fact that no one can have peace with him by resisting him, but only by obeying him humbly. As Isaiah says, “You will maintain us in peace. Peace surely which comes because we trust in you.” (26:3) However, the wicked who resist God cannot have peace, as Isaiah says, “For the wicked, the Lord says there is no peace.” (57:21) He means this here when he says, “What man has resisted him and found peace?”
Deinde ostendit quod fortitudo Dei omnem fortitudinem rerum naturalium excedit, et hoc quidem ostendit tam in corporibus superioribus quam inferioribus. In corporibus quidem inferioribus hoc ostendit ex hoc quod ea quae maxime videntur esse stabilia et firma in inferioribus corporibus pro sua voluntate movet. Inter corpora igitur mixta, ad quae post homines transitum facit, maxime videntur esse firma et stabilia montes, quorum stabilitati sanctorum stabilitas in Scripturis comparatur, secundum illud Psalmi qui confidunt in domino sicut mons Sion; et tamen montes Deus sua virtute movet, et hoc est quod subditur qui transtulit montes, quod quidem etsi miraculose divina virtute fieri possit - cum hoc videatur firmitati fidei repromissum, secundum illud Matth. XXI 21 si habueritis fidem et non haesitaveritis, si monti huic dixeritis: tolle et iacta te in mare, fiet et Cor. XIII 2 si habuero omnem fidem ita ut montes transferam -, tamen congruentius videtur ut hoc ad naturalem cursum rerum referatur. Hoc enim habet naturae ordo ut omne quod naturaliter generatur etiam determinato tempore corrumpatur: unde cum generatio montium sit naturalis, necesse est quod quandoque montes naturaliter destruantur; et hanc quidem naturalem montium corruptionem translationem vocat, eo quod dissolutio montium et ruina cum quadam translatione partium eius accidit. Nec autem irrationabiliter ea quae naturaliter contingunt divinae virtuti attribuit: cum enim natura agat propter finem, omne autem quod ad finem certum ordinatur vel se ipsum dirigit in finem vel ab alio dirigente in finem ordinatur, necesse est quod res naturalis, quae finis notitiam non habet ut se in ipsum dirigere possit, ab aliquo superiori intelligente ordinetur in finem. Comparatur igitur tota naturae operatio ad intellectum dirigentem res naturales in finem, quem Deum dicimus, sicut comparatur motus sagittae ad sagittatorem: unde sicut motus sagittae convenienter sagittatori attribuitur, ita convenienter tota naturae operatio attribuitur virtuti divinae; unde si per operationem naturae montes subruuntur, manifestum est quod a virtute divina montium stabilitas superatur. Contingit autem quandoque apud homines quod aliquis rex sua virtute aliquam fortem civitatem expugnat, quod quanto citius et insensibilius fit tanto magis virtus regis demonstratur; hoc igitur quod montes transferuntur maxime virtuti divinae attestatur cum quasi subito et insensibiliter fiat, ut etiam ab his qui circa montes habitant et per subversionem montium pereunt praecognosci non possit, et hoc est quod subditur et nescierunt hi quos subvertit in furore suo, quasi dicat: adeo subito tantam rem Deus operatur quod etiam hi qui circa montes habitant praenoscere non possunt, quod inde evidens fit quia si praecognoscerent, sibi caverent ut non subverterentur. Addit autem in furore suo, ad ostendendum quod Deus interdum naturales operationes moderatur secundum ordinem suae providentiae prout necessarium est ad hominum peccata punienda, quibus metaphorice irasci dicitur cum in eos vindictam exercet, quae apud nos solet esse irae effectus. Then he shows that the power of God exceeds all the power of natural things as much in higher as in lower bodies. He shows this in the lower bodies from the fact that he moves those things which seem especially firm and stable among lower things by his will. So among the mixed bodies, to which he alludes after man, the mountains seem to be the especially firm and stable to which the stability of the saints is compared in the Scriptures according to Psalm 124, “They who trust in the Lord are like Mount Sion.” (v.1) Yet the Lord moves the mountains by his power, and he speaks about this saying, “He has moved the mountains.” Even though he can certainly do this miraculously by divine power, since this seems a promise made to those with firm faith in Matthew, “If you have faith and do not hesitate, if you will say to this mountain: Rise and cast yourself into the sea, it will be done,” (21:21) and in 1 Cor., “If I have all faith to move mountains,” (13:2), yet the text seems to more fittingly refer to the natural course of things. For the order of nature demands that everything generated naturally, is also corrupted at a determined time. So since the generation of mountains is natural, it must be that the mountains would naturally be destroyed at some time. He calls this natural corruption of the mountains a moving because the dissolution happens from some moving of their parts. Nor does he attribute these things which happen naturally to divine power against reason. Since nature acts for a given end, everything which is ordered to a certain end either directs itself to the end or is ordered to the end by some other being directing it. Therefore, a natural thing, which does not have knowledge of its end so as to direct itself to it, must be ordered to the end by some higher intelligence. The whole activity of nature then is compared to the intellect directing natural things to the end, which we call God, like the motion of the arrow is fittingly compared to the archer. Therefore, as the motion of the arrow is fittingly attributed to the archer, so the whole activity of nature is fittingly attributed to divine power. So if the mountains are corrupted by the activity of nature, it is clear that the stability of the mountain is overcome by divine power. Now sometimes it happens among men that a king conquers a strong city by his own power, and the more quickly and imperceptibly it happens, the more the king shows his power. The fact then that the mountains are moved especially attests to the divine power since it happens almost immediately and imperceptibly so that even those who live in the mountains cannot forecast their fall and perish as a result of it. So he says, “They were ignorant whom he has destroyed by his anger,” as if to say: God does such great things so suddenly that even those who live in the mountains cannot foresee them. This is evidently because if they knew beforehand, they would take precautions and not be destroyed. He adds, “by his anger” to show that God sometimes regulates natural operations according to the order of his providence as a necessary means to punish the sins of man. He is metaphorically said to be angry with them because he is said to take revenge on them, which is the usual result of anger among men.
Ex corporibus autem mixtis transit ad elementa, inter quae firmissimum et stabilissimum videtur esse terra quae est immobilis sicut centrum motus totius, et tamen quandoque secundum aliquas partes suas movetur naturaliter ex vapore incluso, ut philosophi tradunt, et hoc est quod subdit qui commovet terram de loco suo, non quidem totaliter secundum se totam sed cum aliquae partes eius agitantur, sicut in terraemotu accidit; in quo quidem motu etiam montes concutiuntur, qui sunt quasi columnae super terram fundatae, unde sequitur et columnae eius concutientur. Possunt etiam per columnas ad litteram intelligi columnae et quaecumque alia aedificia videntur terrae adhaerere, quae in terraemotu concutiuntur; vel possunt intelligi per columnas terrae inferiores et intimae partes terrae, eo quod sicut domus stabilitas super columnas firmatur ita stabilitas terrae ex centro procedit, ad quod omnes partes terrae naturaliter tendunt, et per consequens omnes inferiores partes terrae sunt superiorum sustentatrices et quasi columnae: et sic cum terraemotus ex profundis partibus terrae procedat, videtur quasi ex concussione columnarum terrae causari. He passes from the mixed bodies to the elements. Among these the earth seems to be the most fixed and stable which as it is the center of all motion is unmoved. Yet sometimes, it moves naturally because of gas which is contained within it in some of its parts as the philosophers correctly taught. This is the theme he addresses when he continues, “He can move the earth from its place,” not completely as a whole, but he agitates parts of it like in an earthquake. In this movement, even the mountains which are like the pillars based on the earth are struck violently and so he continues, “and its pillars will be shaken.” By pillars can be understood literally columns and other kinds of structures which seem to cling to the earth which are shaken about in an earthquake. Or one can understand by pillars the lower, deep, hidden parts of the earth because just as the foundation of a building is set up firmly on pillars, so the stability of the earth proceeds from its center, to which all the parts of the earth naturally tend. Consequently, all the lower parts of the earth are the supports for the upper regions of the earth and are like pillars. So, since an earthquake proceeds from the deep regions of the earth, it seems to be like a violent shaking of the pillars of the earth.
Ultimo autem ad corpora caelestia procedit, quae etiam virtuti divinae cedunt. Considerandum est autem quod sicut de natura terrae est immobilitas et quies, ita de natura caeli est quod semper moveatur; sicut ergo virtus terrae ostenditur superari a virtute divina per motum qui in ea apparet, ita virtus caelestis corporis ostenditur a virtute divina superari per hoc quod motus eius impeditur per quem fit solis et aliorum siderum ortus et occasus, et ideo subdit qui praecipit soli, et non oritur. Quod quidem non dicitur propter hoc quod ortus solis impediatur secundum rei veritatem, cum motus caeli continuus sit, sed quia secundum apparentiam aliquando non oriri videtur, puta cum aer fuerit nubilosus intantum quod solis ortus habitantibus super terram in solita claritate apparere non possit; huiusmodi autem nebulositas, cum per operationem naturae fiat, convenienter divino praecepto attribuitur, a quo tota natura in sua operatione regulatur, ut dictum est. Et quod sic intelligat solem non oriri inquantum solis ortus occultatur, manifeste apparet ex hoc quod subditur et stellas claudit quasi sub signaculo: stellae enim quasi claudi videntur cum nubibus caelum obtegitur ne stellae inspici possint. Finally, he proceeds to the heavenly bodies, which also result from divine power. Consider that as the nature of the earth is to be unmoved and at rest, so the nature of the heavens is constant motion. Just as then the power of the earth can be overcome clearly by divine power through the motion which appears in it, so the power of a heavenly body is shown to be overcome clearly by divine power the fact that the motion is impeded of the rising and the setting of the sun and the other stars. So he continues, “He commands the sun and it does not rise.” This certainly does not mean that the sun is in fact impeded from rising, since the motion of the sun is continuous. But the sun sometimes appears to human perception not to rise, for example, when the air is so cloudy that the rising sun does not appear to the inhabitants of the earth with its usual brightness. Since cloudiness of this kind happens by the action of nature, it is fittingly attributed to the divine command, which regulates the action of the whole of nature as has been said. (9:5) It is clearly apparent that the statement that the sun does not rise should be understood to mean that the rising sun is hidden from the next verse, “and he conceals the stars as under a seal.” For the stars almost seem to be concealed when the sky is so covered with clouds that the stars cannot be seen.
The Second Lesson: God is Infinitely Wise
נֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם לְבַדּוֹ וְדוֹרֵךְ עַל־בָּמֳתֵי יָם׃ 8 עֹשֶׂה־עָשׁ כְּסִיל וְכִימָה וְחַדְרֵי תֵמָן׃ 9 עֹשֶׂה גְדֹלוֹת עַד־אֵין חֵקֶר וְנִפְלָאוֹת עַד־אֵין מִסְפָּר׃ 10 8 He alone takes the measure of the heavens and treads upon the waves of the Sea. 9 He made Arcturus, Orion, the Pleiades and the deep constellations of the South. 10 He makes great, unfathomable, marvelous things which cannot be numbered.
Qui extendit caelos solus et cetera. Postquam beatus Iob ostendit robur divinae fortitudinis, hic incipit ostendere profunditatem divinae sapientiae. Procedit autem contrario ordine nunc et prius: nam primo quidem incepit ab ostensione divinae fortitudinis in rebus humanis et processit usque ad corpora caelestia, hic autem incipit a corporibus caelestibus et procedit usque ad res humanas; et hoc rationabiliter, nam sapientia factoris ostenditur in hoc quod opera stabilia facit, et ideo in ostensione divinae sapientiae incipit a creaturis magis stabilibus, utpote ab habentibus evidentius divinae sapientiae indicium; robur autem alicuius fortitudinis ostenditur ex hoc quod potest aliqua a suo statu mutare —unde homines consueverunt examinari in elevatione vel proiectione lapidum, prostratione hominum et huiusmodi—, et propterea cum ostendebat robur divinae fortitudinis, incepit ab his in quibus manifestius apparet mutatio. After Blessed Job has shown the firm character of divine power, he here begins to show the depth of divine wisdom. However, he proceeds in an inverse order to the preceding one. Before he began by showing the divine power in human affairs and proceeded to the heavenly bodies, whereas here he begins with the heavenly bodies and proceeds to human affairs. He does this reasonably, for the wisdom of a maker is shown in the fact that he makes things which endure and so to show the wisdom of God, he begins from the creature which are more stable, namely those manifesting divine wisdom more clearly. The power of someone’s strength is shown by the fact that he can change things from their condition and so men are usually tested in lifting and hurling stones, by the size of the men they can pin to the ground and things of this sort. On that account, since he was demonstrating the force of the power of God, he began from those things in which this change appears more clearly.
Sic igitur ad ostendendam divinam sapientiam a corporibus caelestibus incipit dicens qui extendit caelos solus. Sciendum autem est quod sapientia Dei in tribus praecipue commendabilis apparet, primo quidem in hoc quod aliqua magna suo intellectu et sapientia metiri potest, et quantum ad hoc dicit qui extendit caelos solus: in extensione enim caelorum magnitudo quantitatis eorum exprimitur; sic igitur Deus solus extendisse caelos dicitur inquantum ipse solus tantam quantitatem sua sapientia mensuratam caelis dare potuit. Secundo Dei sapientia commendabilis apparet in hoc quod res variabiles et quasi in incertum fluctuantes in certum ordinem reducit et suae gubernationi subditas esse facit, et quantum ad hoc subdit et graditur super fluctus maris: fluctus enim maris inordinatissimi esse videntur utpote quia ventis variis nunc hac nunc illac circumferuntur, et tamen super eos Deus graditur inquantum eos Deus suae gubernationi subdit. Tertio Dei sapientia commendabilis apparet ex hoc quod Deus multa condidit secundum suae sapientiae rationem quae mirabilia hominibus apparent, et eorum rationem investigare non possunt, et haec praecipue sunt quae in situ et dispositione stellarum apparent, quae tamen a Deo sapientissime et rationabiliter sunt instituta. Et haec quidem enumerat incipiens a polo Septentrionali et procedens usque ad polum meridionalem, unde dicit qui facit Arcturum: Arcturus quidem est quaedam constellatio in caelo quae vocatur ursa maior et habet septem stellas claras quae numquam nobis occidunt sed semper circueunt polum Septentrionalem. Sequitur et Oriona: Orion est quaedam constellatio multum evidens in caelo propter sui magnitudinem et claritatem stellarum quae dicuntur esse in tauro et geminis. Sequitur et Hyadas, quae sunt quaedam stellae in pectore tauri, ut dicitur, existentes et sunt etiam multum notabiles visu. Sequitur et interiora Austri, ubi considerandum est quod his qui sub aequinoctiali habitant, si tamen aliqui ibi habitant, uterque polus conspicuus est, cum horizon eorum ad rectos angulos aequinoctialem secet, et sic oportet quod transeat per utrumque polum aequinoctialem, unde uterque polus redditur conspicuus habitantibus sub aequinoctiali, ut dictum est; recedentibus autem ab aequinoctiali et accedentibus versus polum Septentrionalem, elevatur super horizontem polus Septentrionalis et deprimitur polus Australis secundum modum elongationis ab aequinoctiali: unde nobis qui in parte Septentrionali sumus polus Australis numquam potest esse conspicuus, et similiter stellae ei vicinae occultae sunt nobis secundum quantitatem qua elongamur ab aequinoctiali, et haec dicuntur hic interiora Austri quia sunt nobis occulta, quasi sub horizonte abscondita et depressa. So, to show divine wisdom he begins with heavenly bodies, saying,” He alone takes the measure of the heavens.” Note here that the wisdom of God seems especially praiseworthy in three things. First, of course, in the fact that he can measure something great with his understanding and wisdom. He takes up this theme saying, “He alone stretches out the heavens,” for in the extension of the heaven is expressed their greatness of quantity. Thus God alone is said to have extended the heavens in as much as he alone could give the heavens such great quantity measured by his wisdom. Second, the wisdom of God appears praiseworthy in the fact that he reduces things which are variable and in uncertain flux to a certain order and makes them subject to his guidance. To show this point he says, “and treads upon the waves of the sea.” For the waves of the sea seem to be the most disordered things in themselves, in as much as they are born about now here and now there by shifting winds, and yet God treads upon them inasmuch as he subjects them to his government. Third, the wisdom of God seems praiseworthy from the fact that God has established many things according to the reasonability of his wisdom, which appear marvelous to men whose nature they cannot investigate. These appear especially in the position and disposition of the stars, which nevertheless has been fixed wisely and reasonably by God. He enumerates these marvels beginning with the North Pole and proceeding to the South Pole. So he says, “He made Arcturus.” Arcturus is a constellation in the heavens which is called Ursa Maior and has seven bright stars which never set for us but always circle the North Pole. Next comes, “Orion,” for Orion is a very clear constellation in the sky because of its size and the bright clarity of its stars which are found in Taurus and Gemini. Next comes, “The Pleiades,” which are stars existing on the breast of Taurus, as it is called, and which are also very clear to the naked eye. The text continues, “and the deep constellations of the South.” Here we should note that to those who live on the equator, if indeed there are people there, both poles are visible, since their horizon divides the equator at right angles. Thus it is necessary that the horizon should transverse each pole at the equator. So both poles are visible to those living on the equator, as I have said. To those living north of the equator and going towards the North Pole, the North Pole is elevated above the horizon and the South Pole lies hidden in proportion to the distance they live from the equator. So to us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, the South Pole is never visible, and in the same way, the stars near it are hidden from us in direct proportion to the distance which we live from the equator. These are called the deep constellations of the South because they are hidden from us, as though hidden under the horizon.
Et ne aliquis credat quod in praedictis solum divina sapientia se manifestaverit, ostendit consequenter quod multa alia similia innumerabilia nobis Deus fecit, dicens qui facit magna, in quibus scilicet commendabilis apparet Dei sapientia ex commensuratione magnitudinis: et hoc respondet ei quod dixerat qui extendit caelos solus; et inscrutabilia, quae scilicet homines scrutari non possunt propter eorum instabilitatem, quae tamen divina gubernatione ordinantur: et hoc respondet ei quod dixerat et graditur super fluctus maris; et mirabilia, quorum scilicet rationes homines considerare non possunt licet a Deo secundum rationem sint facta: et hoc respondet ei quod dixerat qui facit Arcturum et cetera. Quod autem addit quorum non est numerus ad singula referendum est, ita tamen quod intelligantur divina opera innumerabilia esse hominibus, sed numerabilia Deo qui facit omnia in numero, pondere et mensura. Lest someone should believe that divine wisdom has manifested itself only in the things just explained, he shows next that God made many other similar things which cannot be numbered by us saying, “He makes great things,” in which the wisdom of God appears praiseworthy from the uniformity of their great size. This corresponds to the text already cited, “He alone stretches out the heavens.” (v.8) “Unfathomable things,” because men cannot discover them as a result of their instability and yet they are still ordained by divine government. This corresponds to what he has already said, “and treads upon the waves of the sea.” (v.8) “Marvelous things,” whose natures men cannot consider although they are made according to reason by God. This corresponds to what he already said, “He made Arcturus,” and so on. (v.9) The fact that he adds, “which cannot be numbered,” must be referred to each attribute, so that men cannot count the divine actions, but God can count them who makes all things “according to number, weight, and measure.” (Wisdom 11:21)
The Third Lesson: Job Cannot Struggle against God
הֵן יַעֲבֹר עָלַי וְלֹא אֶרְאֶה וְיַחֲלֹף וְלֹא־אָבִין לוֹ׃ 11 הֵן יַחְתֹּף מִי יְשִׁיבֶנּוּ מִי־יֹאמַר אֵלָיו מַה־תַּעֲשֶׂה׃ 12 אֱלוֹהַּ לֹא־יָשִׁיב אַפּוֹ תַּחַתוֹ שָׁחֲחוּ עֹזְרֵי רָהַב׃ 13 אַף כִּי־אָנֹכִי אֶעֱנֶנּוּ אֶבְחֲרָה דְבָרַי עִמּוֹ׃ 14 אֲשֶׁר אִם־צָדַקְתִּי לֹא אֶעֱנֶה לִמְשֹׁפְטִי אֶתְחַנָּן׃ 15 אִם־קָרָאתִי וַיַּעֲנֵנִי לֹא־אַאֲמִין כִּי־יַאֲזִין קוֹלִי׃ 16 אֲשֶׁר־בִּשְׂעָרָה יְשׁוּפֵנִי וְהִרְבָּה פְצָעַי חִנָּם׃ 17 לֹא־יִתְּנֵנִי הָשֵׁב רוּחִי כִּי יַשְׂבִּעַנִי מַמְּרֹרִים׃ 18 אִם־לְכֹחַ אַמִּיץ הִנֵּה וְאִם־לְמִשְׁפָּט מִי יוֹעִידֵנִי׃ 19 אִם־אֶצְדָּק פִּי יַרְשִׁיעֵנִי תָּם־אָנִי וַיַּעְקְשֵׁנִי׃ 20 תָּם־אָנִי לֹא־אֵדַע נַפְשִׁי אֶמְאַס חַיָּי׃ 21 11 Should he come near me, I will not see; if he withdraws, I will not know him. 12 If he suddenly interrogates someone, who will answer him? Who can say to him, ‘Why are you doing this?’ 13 He is God, whose anger no one can resist. Those who carry the earth bow down before him. 14 Am I great enough to answer him? And to address him in my own words? 15 Even if I were somewhat just, I will not answer him at all, but will rather ward off my judge by earnest prayer. 16 If I appeal to him and he hears my call, I do believe he will listen to my voice. 17 For in the storm he will wear me away and even multiply my wounds without cause. 18 He does not permit my spirit to rest, and he will fill me with bitterness. 19 If it be a question of strength, he is the strongest; if correctness of judgment, no one dares to bear witness on my behalf. 20 If I want to justify myself, my own mouth will condemn me. If I show myself innocent, he will prove me wicked. 21 Even if I am simple, my soul will not know this and I will be weary of life.
Si venerit ad me non videbo. Beatus Iob volens ostendere suam intentionem non esse ut cum Deo contendat, per plura indicia profunditatem divinae sapientiae in rebus naturalibus ostendit; nunc autem vult ostendere profunditatem divinae sapientiae in rebus humanis. Considerandum est autem quod ad rectorem humanarum rerum tria pertinere videntur: primum est ut suis subiectis iustitiae praecepta et alia beneficia dispenset, secundum est ut actus subditorum examinet, tertium est ut quos culpabiles invenit poenis subiciat. In his ergo tribus immensam profunditatem divinae sapientiae ostendit: primo quidem quia tam profunde et subtiliter suis subditis providet sua beneficia quod etiam eis qui recipiunt incomprehensibile est, et hoc est quod dicit si venerit ad me non videbo, si abierit non intelligam eum. Ubi considerandum est quod in Scripturis Deus venire ad hominem dicitur quando ei sua beneficia largitur, sive intellectum eius illuminando sive affectum inflammando sive qualitercumque ei benefaciendo, unde dicitur Is. XXXV 4 Deus noster ipse veniet et salvabit nos; e contrario vero Deus ab homine recedere dicitur quando ei sua beneficia vel suam protectionem subtrahit, secundum illud Psalmi ut quid, domine, recessisti longe, despicis in opportunitatibus, in tribulatione? Contingit autem quandoque quod Deus aliquibus vel tribulationes vel etiam aliquos spirituales defectus evenire permittit ad procurandum eorum salutem, sicut dicitur Rom. VIII 28 diligentibus Deum omnia cooperantur in bonum; sic ergo Deus ad hominem venit eius procurando salutem, et tamen homo eum non videt quia beneficium eius non percipit; e contrario vero multis Deus manifesta beneficia non subtrahit quae tamen in eorum perniciem vergunt, et ideo dicitur quod Deus sic recedit ab homine quod homo eum non intelligit recedentem. Because Blessed Job wished to affirm that he does not desire to argue with God, he showed the depth of the wisdom of God in natural things using many examples. Now, however, he wishes to show the profundity of the divine wisdom in human affairs. Note here that three things pertain to the governor of human affairs. The first is that he should dispense the precepts of justice and other benefits to those subject to him. The second is that he should examine the acts of his subjects and the third is that he should subject those whom he finds guilty to punishments. In these three things he shows the immense profundity of divine power. First, because he provides his benefits so deeply and with such finesse for his subjects that it cannot be grasped even by those who receive them. He addresses this theme when he continues, “Should he come near me, I will not see; if he withdraws, I will not know him.” Note that in the Scriptures, God is said to come near to man when he bestows his benefits on him, either by illuminating his intelligence, exciting his love, or bestowing any kind of good on him. So Isaiah says, “Our God Himself will come and save us.” (35:4) On the other hand, God is said to withdraw from man when he withdraws his gifts or his protection from him. Psalm 9 says, “Why, O Lord, do you stand afar off? Why do you despise me in opportunities in trial?” (v.22) Now it happens that God sometimes permits trials or even some spiritual defects to happen to some to obtain their salvation, as Romans says, “All things work together for the good of those who love God.” (8:28) In this way God comes to man to obtain his salvation, and yet man does not see him because he cannot perceive his kindness. On the other contrary, God does not take away his manifest gifts from many men, and yet they turn them to their own destruction. So God is said to go away from man in the sense that man does not understand that he withdraws from him. Therefore the depth of the divine wisdom appears in the dispensation of his gifts.
Sic ergo apparet profunditas sapientiae divinae in dispensatione suorum beneficiorum. Ostenditur autem secundo divinae sapientiae profunditas in examinatione humanorum actuum, quia videlicet sic subtiliter et efficaciter examinat ut eius examinationem nullus per quamcumque cavillationem subterfugere possit, et hoc est quod dicit si repente interroget, quis respondebit ei? Interrogat autem Deus hominem quando eum ad considerandum suam conscientiam reducit, vel interius inspirando vel exterius provocando beneficiis aut flagellis, secundum illud Psalmi dominus interrogat iustum et impium; tunc autem homo sufficienter Deo responderet quando in eo nihil inveniretur quod iuste a Deo reprehendi posset, quod nulli hominum in hac vita contingit, secundum illud Prov. XX 9 quis potest dicere: mundum est cor meum, purus sum a peccato? Signanter autem dicit si repente interroget, quia si homini spatium respondendi detur potest per poenitentiam delicta diluere. Contingit autem quandoque quod aliquis in examinando aliorum excessus remissus invenitur, timens ne et sui excessus versa vice ab aliis examinentur, sed hoc Deo formidandum non est ut in sua examinatione mollescat, quia non habet superiorem qui de eius factis iudicare possit, et ideo subditur vel quis dicere ei potest: cur ita facis? Quasi eum castigando. Secondly, the depth of divine wisdom is shown in the examination of human acts, because he so acutely and efficaciously scrutinizes them that no one can escape his examination through any sort of craftiness. He says this next, “If he suddenly interrogates someone, who will answer him?” God interrogates man when he leads him to examine his conscience either by inspiring him interiorly or provoking him exteriorly with rewards and punishments. As Psalm 10 says, “God interrogates the just and the unjust.” (v.6) But man would sufficiently answer God when nothing was found in him which could justly be censured by God. This happens to no man in this life, as Proverbs says, “Who can say: My heart is clean; I am pure from sin!” (20:9) He says clearly, “If he suddenly interrogates someone,” because if a space of time is given to man to respond, he can wash his sins away by repentance. For at times it happens that someone is found remiss when he is examining the excesses of others and is afraid that his own excesses will be examined by others in the same way. But God does not fear this so that he becomes easy-going in the examination. For he has no superior who can judge his deeds, and so the question is added, “Who can say to him: Why are you doing this,” to chastise him.
Tertio autem ostenditur divinae sapientiae profunditas in punitione delictorum, quia quocumque se vertat homo, nulla astutia, nulla potentia Dei vindictam declinare potest, secundum illud Psalmi quo ibo a spiritu tuo et quo a facie tua fugiam? Et hoc est quod dicit Deus cuius irae resistere nemo potest: ira enim secundum quod Deo attribuitur in Scripturis non importat commotionem animi sed vindictam. Huius autem probationem consequenter inducit: et sub quo curvantur qui portant orbem. Intelligendi sunt autem portare orbem caelestes spiritus quorum ministerio tota corporalis creatura divinitus procuratur, ut Augustinus dicit III de Trinitate. Hi autem caelestes spiritus sub Deo curvantur quia ei per omnia oboediunt, secundum illud Psalmi benedicite domino omnes Angeli eius, ministri eius, qui facitis voluntatem eius; sic igitur Angelis Deo oboedientibus, manifestum est quod totus cursus rerum corporalium qui per Angelos administratur divinae subiacet voluntati, et sic ex nulla creatura homo potest habere auxilium ad effugiendum Dei vindictam, secundum illud Psalmi si ascendero in caelum tu illic es, si descendero ad Infernum ades; quin immo, ut dicitur Sap. V 21, pugnabit cum illo orbis terrarum contra insensatos. Possent etiam intelligi portare orbem reges et principes mundi qui sub Deo curvantur, secundum illud Prov. VIII 15 per me reges regnant, vel quia nec ipsi reges irae divinae resistere possunt, ut ex hoc a maiori idem de aliis concludi possit. Third, the depth of the divine wisdom is shown in the punishment of the guilty, because no cunning tactics or power can avoid the vengeance of God wherever a man turns as Psalm 138 says, “Where can I flee from your spirit, or where can I hide from your face?” (v.7) He addresses this theme saying, “[He is] God, whose anger no one can resist.” For anger, as attributed to God in the Scriptures, does not mean a movement of the soul but vengeance. Consequently, he proves this saying, “Those who carry the earth bow down before him.” Those who carry the earth mean the celestial spirits, through whose ministry God divinely procures the good of the whole material universe, according to Augustine in De Trinitate III, 4. These celestial spirits bow down before God because they obey him in everything, as Psalm 102 says, “Bless the Lord, all you his angels, his ministers who do his will.” (v.20) Since the angels obey God, it is clear that the whole course of corporeal things which is administered by the angels is subject to the divine will. So no creature can aid man fleeing from the divine vengeance, as Psalm 138 says, “If I climb the heavens, you are there; if I descend to hell, you are there” (v.8) and even more clearly Wisdom, “The whole universe will fight with him against the foolish.” (5:21) The kings and princes of the earth who bow down before God can also be understood to be those who carry the world according to Proverbs, “Kings rule through me,” (8:15) or because even kings themselves cannot resist divine anger, so that from this he could conclude the same from the major about other things.
Sic igitur ostensa multipliciter immensitate divinae potentiae et profunditate divinae sapientiae, concludit propositum, quod scilicet suae intentionis non est cum Deo contendere, et hoc est quod dicit quantus ergo ego sum, idest quam potens, quam sapiens, qui respondeam ei, scilicet Deo interroganti potentissimo et sapientissimo, et loquar verbis meis cum eo, examinando facta eius et dicendo cur ita facis? Ac si diceret: non sufficiens sum ut contendam cum Deo; contentio enim in respondendo et obiciendo consistit. Contingit autem quandoque quod aliquis, etsi non sit multum potens aut sapiens, tamen propter securitatem suae conscientiae non formidat contendere cum quovis iudice; sed hanc etiam causam contendendi cum Deo a se excludit dicens qui etiam si habuero quippiam iustum non respondebo, scilicet Deo examinanti quasi meam iustitiam defendendo, sed meum iudicem deprecabor, quasi non petens iudicium sed misericordiam. Signanter autem dicit si habuero quippiam iustum, ad designandum incertitudinem humanae iustitiae per hoc quod dicit si habuero, secundum illud apostoli I ad Cor. IV 4 nihil mihi conscius sum, sed non in hoc iustificatus sum; et ad ostendendum quod iustitia hominis parva est et imperfecta ad divinum examen relata, propter quod dicit quippiam, secundum illud Is. LXIV 6 omnes iustitiae nostrae quasi pannus menstruatae sic sunt coram illo. Therefore, after he has shown in many ways the immensity of the divine power and the depth of the divine wisdom, he draws the conclusion to the proposition, namely that his intention is not to argue with God. He explains this when he says, “Am I great enough,” how powerful and how wise, “to answer him,” i.e. to answer the most powerful and most wise God when he interrogates me “and to address him in my own words.” This means by examining his deeds and saying, “Why do you do this?” (v.12) as if to say: I am not sufficient to argue with God, for argument consists in answering and making objections. Sometimes although one is not powerful or wise, he is still not afraid to argue with a judge because of the security of his conscience. But Job excludes this reason for disputing with God from his case when he says, “Even if I were somewhat just, I could not answer him at all,” with God examining me in defense of my own justice, “but will rather ward off my judge by earnest prayer,” not asking for justice, but for mercy. He says clearly, “Even if I were somewhat just,” to show the uncertainly of human justice by using the words, “even if I were.” As St. Paul says, “I have nothing on my conscience, but I am not justified in this,” (1 Cor. 4:4) to show that the justice of man is insignificant and imperfect when related to the divine testing of it he says following Isaiah, “All our just deeds”, in his sight, “are like polluted cloth.” (64:6)
Quid autem ex sua deprecatione consequatur, ostendit cum subdit et cum invocantem exaudierit me, non credo quod audierit vocem meam. Contingit enim quandoque quod Deus hominem exaudit non ad votum sed ad profectum: sicut enim medicus non exaudit ad votum infirmum postulantem amoveri medicinam amaram, si medicus eam non removeat eo quod scit eam esse salutiferam, exaudit tamen ad profectum quia per hoc sanitatem inducit quam maxime infirmus desiderat, ita Deus homini in tribulationibus constituto tribulationes non subtrahit, quamvis deprecanti, quia scit eas expedire ad finalem salutem; et sic licet Deus vere exaudiat, tamen homo in miseriis constitutus se exaudiri non credit. Et quare non credat ostendit subdens in turbine enim conteret me; et more suo quod metaphorice dictum est exponit subdens et multiplicabit vulnera mea etiam sine causa: hoc enim est conterere quod multiplicare vulnera, idest tribulationes, et hoc est in turbine, idest in horribili obscuritate, quod dicit sine causa, scilicet manifesta et ab homine afflicto perceptibili; si enim homo afflictus perciperet causam quare Deus eum affligit et quod afflictiones sunt ei utiles ad salutem, manifestum est quod crederet se exauditum, sed quia hoc non intelligit credit se non exauditum. Et ideo non solum exterius affligitur sed etiam interius, sicut infirmus qui nesciret se per medicinam amaram sanitatem consecuturum non solum affligeretur in gustu sed etiam in animo, et ideo subdit non concedet requiescere spiritum meum: requiescit enim spiritus licet carne afflicta propter spem finis, secundum quod dominus docet Matth. V 11 beati eritis cum maledixerint vobis homines, et postea subdit gaudete, quoniam merces vestra copiosa est in caelis; et sic dum affligor exterius et interius non requiesco, implet me amaritudinibus, scilicet intus et extra. He shows the consequence of his prayer for pardon when he says, “If I appeal to him and he hears my call, I do believe that he would hear my words.” For God sometimes does not hear someone’s prayer according to what he wishes, but according to what actually succeeds. Just like a doctor does not heal the plea of the sick man who asks him to take the bitter medicine away, (if the doctor does not remove the remedy he knows to be health inducing, he nevertheless hears the actual advantage of the plea of the patient because he induces the health, which the sick person greatly desires), God does not take away trials from a man set down in the midst of trial, although he prays for mercy, because he knows that trials are useful to final salvation. Thus, although God truly heeds him, nevertheless the man who set down in the midst of miseries does not believe that he is heard. He shows why he does not believe he is heard when he says, “For in the storm, he will wear me away.” As is his custom, he now explains what he has said metaphorically saying, “and even multiply wounds without cause.” To wear away is to multiply wounds, i.e. trials. This wearing away is in “The storm,” in terrifying darkness, which he has said is “without cause,” namely, which is not clear and understood by the man who is afflicted. For if an afflicted man should understand the reason why God afflicts him and that the afflictions are useful to his salvation, clearly he would believe that his prayer had been heard. But because he does not understand this, he does not believe that his prayer has been heard. So he not only suffers exteriorly but also interiorly, like an invalid, who does not know that he will achieve health from a bitter cure, would not only suffer from the bad taste (of the medicine), but also in his spirit. He continues, “He will not permit my spirit to rest,” for a spirit rests although the flesh is afflicted because of the hope of an end to the affliction, according to what the Lord teaches in Matthew, “Blessed are you when they utter evil against you,” and later “Rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven.” (5:11, 12) So when I am struck down exteriorly and I do not rest interiorly, “he fills me with bitterness,” interiorly and exteriorly.
Et est considerandum quod ab illo loco et cum invocantem exaudierit etc. evidenter exposuit quod supra occulte dixerat si venerit ad me non videbo: hoc enim fere ubique in dictis Iob observandum est quod obscure dicta per aliqua consequentia exponuntur. Et quia supra breviter et summarie dixerat quantus ego sum qui respondeam ei? Hoc consequenter diffusius explicat, ubi etiam assignat causam quare non respondet sed iudicem deprecatur. Quod enim aliquis audacter iudici respondeat potest ex duobus contingere: primo quidem si iudex sit debilis qui subditum coercere non possit, sed hoc excludit dicens si fortitudo quaeritur, scilicet in Deo ad subditos coercendum, robustissimus est, omne robur excedens; secundo aliquis audacter respondet iudici quia confidit de sua causa, quod aliquando contingit quia habet multos excusatores, sed hoc excludit dicens si aequitas iudicii, scilicet requiritur, secundum quam aliquis habens pro se multos testes absolvitur, nemo pro me audet testimonium dicere: intellectus enim hominis hoc non capit quod hominis iustitia maior sit quam veritas Dei redarguentis. Note that in the text, “If I appealed to him and he hears my call, etc.” (v.16) he evidently has explained what he had said above in a more metaphorical way, “Should he come near me, I will not see.” (v.11) For one should observe nearly always in the statements of Job that things said in metaphor are clarified in subsequent texts. What he had said above in brief and summary fashion, “Am I great enough to answer him,” (v.14) he explains in the next text in a more extended way where he also assigns the reason why he does not answer but rather entreats his judge for mercy. Someone may answer a judge boldly for two reasons. First, if the judge is a weak one who cannot coerce the subject. He shows this is not the case here saying, “If it be a question of strength,” i.e. in God to coerce his subjects, “he is the strongest,” because he exceeds all strength. Second, someone boldly responds to a judge because he has confidence in his case. This happens sometimes because he has many witnesses to testify on his behalf. But he shows that this is also not the case here when he says, “if correctness of judgment,” is required that someone is absolved by having many witnesses in his favor, “no one dares to bear witness on my behalf.” In fact, the intellect of man does not conceive the justice of man could be greater than the truth of God which contradicts him.
Aliquando vero homo, etsi non habeat alios testes pro se, confidit tamen de causa sua innitens testimonio conscientiae suae; sed testimonium conscientiae non potest valere homini contra redargutionem divinam, et hoc ostendit per singulos gradus. Habet enim testimonium conscientiae tres gradus, quorum summus est quando alicui conscientia sua testimonium reddit quod sit iustus, secundum illud Rom. VIII 16 ipse spiritus testimonium reddit spiritui nostro quod sumus filii Dei; sed hoc testimonium non valet contra divinam reprehensionem, unde dicit si iustificare me voluero, idest si voluero dicere me esse iustum, Deo mihi obiciente quod sim impius, os meum condemnabit me, idest condemnabilem me reddet propter blasphemiam. Secundus gradus est quando aliquis, etsi non praesumat se esse iustum, tamen non reprehendit eum conscientia de aliquo peccato, secundum illud I ad Cor. IV 4 nihil mihi conscius sum; sed nec hoc testimonium valet contra Deum, unde dicit si innocentem ostendero, idest si voluero me ostendere esse sine peccato, pravum me comprobabit, inquantum mihi vel aliis manifestabit peccata quorum mihi non sum conscius quia, ut dicitur in Psalmo, delicta quis intelligit? Tertius gradus est quando aliquis, etsi sit sibi conscius de peccato, tamen praesumit vel quia non habuit malam intentionem aut quia non fecit ex malitia et dolo sed ex ignorantia et infirmitate; sed nec hoc testimonium valet homini contra Deum, et ideo dicit etiam si simplex fuero, idest sine dolo vel duplicitate pravae intentionis, hoc ipsum ignorabit anima mea: homo enim non potest ad liquidum motum sui affectus deprehendere, tum propter variationem eius tum propter permixtionem et impetum multarum passionum, propter quod dicitur Ier. XVII 9 pravum est cor hominis et inscrutabile; quis cognoscet illud? Et propter huiusmodi ignorantiam quod homo se ipsum non cognoscit nec statum suum, redditur etiam iustis sua vita taediosa, et propter hoc subdit et taedebit me vitae meae. Sometimes, however, although a man has no other witnesses to speak in his behalf, he is still confident in his case because he trusts in the testimony of his own conscience. Yet even the witness of conscience cannot prevail for men against the contrary accusation of God. He shows this in several degrees. The testimony of conscience has three levels, the highest of which is when one’s conscience wants to render testimony that he is just, as Romans says, “The spirit himself renders testimony to our spirit that we are sons of God.” (8:16) But this witness cannot stand fast against divine censure. He therefore says, “If I should want to justify myself,” i.e. if I want to say that I am just, when God instead is objecting that I am unjust,” my own mouth will condemn me,” for it will render me worthy of condemnation for blasphemy. The second level is when someone, although he does not presume that he is just, still does not find fault with himself in his conscience for some sin, as 1 Cor. says, “My conscience convicts me of nothing.” (4:4) But this witness cannot stand against God either, and so he says, “if I show myself innocent,” i.e. if I want to show that I am without sin,” he will prove me wicked,” in that he will show sins of which I am not conscious to myself and others. For Psalm 18 says, “Who understands his crimes?” (v.13) The third degree is when someone, although he might be interiorly conscious of sin, still takes for granted either he had no evil intention or he did not do it from malice and deceit, but from ignorance and weakness. But this testimony also does not stand for man against God either. So he says, “If I am simple,” without the deceit and duplicity of a depraved intention, “my soul will not know this.” For man is unable to discern the fluid motion of his affection, both because of its variation and the mingling and impulse of many passions. Because of this, Jeremiah says, “The heart of man is wicked and inscrutable. Who will understand it?” (27:9) It is because of the ignorance of these sorts of things that man knows neither himself nor his state and life is rendered wearisome even to the just. So he says, “and I will be weary of life.”
The Fourth Lesson: The Cruel Lot of the Just and the Wicked
אַחַת הִיא עַל־כֵּן אָמַרְתִּי תָּם וְרָשָׁע הוּא מְכַלֶּה׃ 22 אִם־שׁוֹט יָמִית פִּתְאֹם לְמַסַּת נְקִיִּם יִלְעָג׃ 23 אֶרֶץ נִתְּנָה בְיַד־רָשָׁע פְּנֵי־שֹׁפְטֶיהָ יְכַסֶּה אִם־לֹא אֵפוֹא מִי־הוּא׃ 24 וְיָמַי קַלּוּ מִנִּי־רָץ בָּרְחוּ לֹא־רָאוּ טוֹבָה׃ 25 חָלְפוּ עִם־אֳנִיּוֹת אֵבֶה כְּנֶשֶׁר יָטוּשׂ עֲלֵי־אֹכֶל׃ 26 אִם־אָמְרִי אֶשְׁכְּחָה שִׂיחִי אֶעֶזְבָה פָנַי וְאַבְלִיגָה׃ 27 יָגֹרְתִּי כָל־עַצְּבֹתָי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי־לֹא תְנַקֵּנִי׃ 28 אָנֹכִי אֶרְשָׁע לָמָּה־זֶּה הֶבֶל אִיגָע׃ 29 אִם־הִתְרָחַצְתִּי בְמֵו־שָׁלֶג וַהֲזִכּוֹתִי בְּבֹר כַּפָּי׃ 30 אָז בַּשַּׁחַת תִּטְבְּלֵנִי וְתִעֲבוּנִי שַׂלְמוֹתָי׃ 31 כִּי־לֹא־אִישׁ כָּמֹנִי אֶעֱנֶנּוּ נָבוֹא יַחְדָּו בַּמִּשְׁפָּט׃ 32 לֹא יֵשׁ־בֵּינֵינוּ מוֹכִיחַ יָשֵׁת יָדוֹ עַל־שְׁנֵינוּ׃ 33 יָסֵר מֵעָלַי שִׁבְטוֹ וְאֵמָתוֹ אַל־תְּבַעֲתַנִּי׃ 34 אַדַבְּרָה וְלֹא אִירָאֶנּוּ כִּי לֹא־כֵן אָנֹכִי עִמָּדִי׃ 35 22 I have said one thing: He destroys the innocent and the wicked. 23 If he scourges, let him kill at the same time; and let him not laugh at the punishment of the innocent. 24 The earth is given into the hands of the wicked man, he covers the face of his judges. If it is not he, then who is it? 25 My days pass swifter than a runner; they have fled away and they have not seen the good. 26 They move on like ships laden with fruit; like the eagle swooping down on its prey. 27 If I say: I will speak so to no avail ; I will alter my countenance entirely and I writhe with pain. 28 I was anxious about everything I did knowing that you do not spare anyone who is delinquent. 29 If, however, I am so wicked, why have I labored in vain? 30 If I were washed as with the waters of snow, and my hands shine as though very clean, yet you will dip me in filth and my clothing will deprecate me. 32 For he is not a man like myself that I should answer him, and he cannot be heard in judgment with me as an equal. 33 Nor is there anyone who can evaluate both our arguments, who could lay hands on both of us. 34 May he withdraw his rod from me and let terror of him not frighten me! 35 I will speak and not be afraid of him; nor can I answer him when I am afraid of him.
Unum est quod locutus sum. Postquam beatus Iob ostendit non esse suae intentionis ut cum Deo contendat, proponit illud de quo cum adversariis ei disputatio erat. Dixerat enim Eliphaz quod poenae a Deo non nisi pro peccatis immittuntur, contra quod in superiori responsione Iob locutus fuerat; et quia Baldath sententiam Eliphaz asserere conatus fuerat, Iob iterato sententiam suam repetit dicens unum est quod locutus sum: innocentem et impium ipse consumit, quasi dicat: non solum peccatoribus sed etiam innocentibus mors a Deo immittitur, quae tamen est maxima poenarum praesentium, et sic non est verum quod vos dicitis, quod solum pro peccatis propriis homo puniatur a Deo. Quod autem mors a Deo sit dicitur Deut. XXXII 39 ego occidam et ego vivere faciam; sed cum mors communiter omnibus immittatur a Deo, unum est quod durum videtur, scilicet quod innocentes praeter mortem communem multiplices adversitates sustinent in hac vita, cuius rei causam investigare intendit, et ideo subdit si flagellat, occidat semel, quasi dicat: detur quod flagellum mortis omnibus sit commune, videretur tamen rationabile quod innocentibus, qui ex propriis peccatis non sunt rei, praeter mortem quae debetur peccato communi aliam poenam infligere non deberet. Si enim, ut vos dicitis, nulla alia causa est quare iuste alicui infligi poena possit nisi peccatum, manifestum est autem innocentes pati poenam in hoc mundo, videtur sequi quod sine causa puniantur ac si ipsae poenae propter se Deo placerent, et ideo subdit et de poenis innocentium non rideat: de illis enim ridere solemus quae nobis secundum se placent. After Blessed Job has shown that it is not his intention to argue with God, he proposes the principle issue in dispute between him and his adversaries. For Eliphaz had said that punishments from God are only sent for sins. Job had spoken against this in his first response. Since Baldath had tried to support the opinion of Eliphaz, Job repeats his opinion a second time saying, “I have said one thing: he destroys both the innocent and the wicked.” By this he seems to mean: Death is inflicted by God not only on sinners, but also on the innocent, which is the greatest of the present punishments. So, what you say is not true, i.e. that man is only punished by God for his own sins. Deuteronomy teaches that death comes from God, “I give death and I will give life.” (32:39) But although death is commonly inflicted by God on everyone, one thing which seems most severe is that the innocent experience many adversities in this life, besides the death which is common to all. He now intends to investigate the cause of this. So he then says, “If he scourges, let him kill at the same time,” saying in effect: Granted that the scourge of death is common to all, still it seems reasonable that the innocent, who are not guilty of their own sins, should not be inflicted with any other punishment besides the death which is due to the original sin. For if, as you (the friends) say, there is no other reason why someone can be justly inflicted with punishment except sin, whereas clearly the innocent suffer punishment in this world, it seems to follow that they are punished without reason as though the punishments themselves pleased God. So he says, “and let him not laugh at the punishments of the innocent,” for we ordinarily laugh about those things which please us in themselves.
Si autem hoc est inconveniens quod poenae innocentium Deo secundum se placeant, inveniuntur autem innocentes frequenter in terris puniri, videtur sequi aliud inconveniens, scilicet quod istae poenae ex divino iudicio non procedant sed ex malitia alicuius iniqui domini qui habeat potestatem in terra et puniat innocentes, unde sequitur terra data est in manus impii, quasi dicat: si ipsi Deo non placent secundum se poenae innocentium qui tamen puniuntur in terra, oportebit dicere quod Deus regimen terrae alicui impio commiserit, ex cuius iniquitate iudicium in terra pervertitur ut innocentes puniantur; et hoc est quod subdit vultum iudicum eius operit, idest rationem eorum obnubilat vel cupiditate aut odio aut amore, ne veritatem iudicii in iudicando sequantur. Quod si ille non est, scilicet impius cui tradita est terra, a quo scilicet causatur innocentium punitio, quis ergo est, scilicet huius punitionis causa? Non enim dici potest, ut ostensum est, quod hoc sit a Deo, supposita vestra positione quod solum peccatum sit causa poenarum praesentium. Hoc autem quod dixit terra data est in manus impii est quidem secundum aliquid verum, inquantum scilicet terreni homines sub potestate Diaboli a Deo relinquuntur, secundum illud qui facit peccatum servus est peccati; simpliciter autem est falsum: non enim Diabolo absolute terrae dominium est concessum, ut scilicet libere in ea facere possit quod velit, sed quicquid facere permittitur ex divina dispositione procedit quae omnia ex rationabili causa dispensat; unde hoc ipsum quod innocentes puniantur non dependet absolute ex malitia Diaboli sed ex sapientia Dei permittentis. Unde si peccatum non est causa punitionis innocentium, non sufficit hoc ad malitiam Diaboli reducere, sed oportet ulterius aliquam rationabilem causam esse propter quam Deus permittit, et ideo signanter dicit quod si ille non est, quis ergo est? Quasi dicat: si malitia Diaboli non est sufficiens causa punitionis innocentium, oportet aliam causam investigare. If it is unfitting that the punishments of the innocent please God in themselves and yet the innocent are frequently found to be punished on earth, another conclusion which is equally unfitting seems to follow, i.e. that punishments of that sort do not proceed from divine judgment, but from the malice of some evil ruler who has power over the earth and punishes the innocent. So he continues, “The earth is given into the hands of the wicked,” as if to say: If the punishments of the innocent who are still punished on earth are not pleasing to God in themselves, it is necessary to conclude that God has committed the rule of the earth to some evil person, from whose iniquity, judgment is perverted on earth so that the innocent may be punished. He expresses this when he says, “He covers the face of his judges,” i.e. he obscures their reason either with concupiscence, hate or love, so that they do not follow the truth of judgment in judging. “If it is not he,” i.e. the wicked man to whom the earth has been committed who causes the punishment of the innocent, “then who is it?” i.e. who is the cause of the punishment. For supposing your position that sin alone is the cause of the present punishments, God cannot be the cause of this as he has already demonstrated. He expresses this when he says, “The earth is given into the hands of the wicked.” This is certainly true in a sense inasmuch as materialistic men remain under the power of the devil, as one text says, “He who commits sin is the slave of sin.” (John 8:34) However, it is strictly speaking (simpliciter) false. For the dominion of the earth is not absolutely given over to the devil, so that he can do what he likes freely on it. Whatever he is permitted to do proceeds from divine disposition which dispenses everything from a reasonable cause. So the very fact that the innocent are punished does not absolutely depend on the evil intention of the devil but also on the wisdom of God who permits it. Therefore, if sin is not the cause of the punishment of the innocent, it is insufficient to reduce it to the malice of the devil, but one must also find some reasonable explanation for God permitting it. So he clearly shows this saying, “If it is not he, then who is it?” as if to say: If the evil will of the devil is not the sufficient cause of the punishment of the innocent, one must investigate another cause.
Ad investigandum igitur rationem quare innocentes puniantur in hoc mundo, primo proponit defectum quem sustinuerat in amissione bonorum, ostendens mutabilitatem prosperitatis praesentis ex similitudine eorum quae videntur esse velocissima in hoc mundo. Sed considerandum est quod ad prosperitatem huius mundi aliqui diversimode se habent: quidam enim ipsam pro fine habent nihil ultra ipsam sperantes - ad quod videbatur declinare illorum opinio qui omnia praemia et poenas in hac vita constituebant -, tales autem non pertranseunt prosperitatem huius mundi, sed prosperitas huius mundi fugit ab eis quando eam amittunt; quidam vero, de quorum numero fuit Iob, in prosperitate huius mundi finem non ponunt sed ad alium finem tendunt, et tales prosperitatem huius mundi magis ipsi pertranseunt quam pertranseantur ab ea. To investigate the reason why the innocent are punished in this world, he first proposes the harm which he has experienced in the loss of his goods, and shows the fickleness of the present prosperity using a simile with those things which appear most fleeting in this world. Note first that different people have different relationships to the prosperity of this world. Some men have it as an end because they hope for nothing beyond this. This seems to be the opinion of those who declare that all rewards and punishments are in this life. Such men do not go beyond the prosperity of this world but the prosperity of this world escapes from them when they lose it. Some, however, among whom Job was included, do not place their end in the prosperity of this world, but aim at another end. They pass up the prosperity of this world more than they are passed up by it.
Tendentibus autem ad aliquem finem tria sunt necessaria: primum est ut in nullo alio cor suum figant per quod retardari possint a fine, sed festinent ad finem consequendum, et ideo primo ponit exemplum de cursore qui sic tendit ad finem sui cursus quod in via moram non contrahit, unde dicit dies mei velociores fuerunt cursore, in quibus verbis et labilitatem praesentis fortunae et intentionem suam in aliud tendentem demonstrat; fugerunt, quasi in rebus huius mundi requie cordis non inventa, unde sequitur et non viderunt bonum, scilicet in quod mea intentio ferebatur, quod est verum bonum: unde pro iustitia me remuneratum non reputo; quod si prosperitatem praesentem remunerationem putatis, ea subtracta innocens punitus sum. Secundo requiritur quod tendens in aliquem finem acquirat sibi illa per quae possit ad finem pervenire, sicuti qui vult sanari oportet quod acquirat medicinas quibus sanetur; similiter qui vult ad verum bonum pervenire oportet quod acquirat virtutes quibus illud consequi possit, unde subdit pertransierunt quasi naves poma portantes, in quo etiam duo demonstrat: et labilitatem praesentis fortunae, quia naves poma portantes ad vendendum festinant ne per moram putrescant, et studium tendendi in finem, quasi dicat: dies mei non pertransierunt vacui, sed virtutes congregavi cum quibus tendo ad finem consequendum. Tertium restat consecutio finis, unde dicit sicut aquila volans ad escam, in quo etiam duo praedicta designantur: nam aquila velocis volatus est praecipue cum a fame impellitur, et escam habet pro fine quo reficitur.  Three things are required for someone aiming at an end. The first is that they fix their heart in nothing else which might delay them from the end, but hasten to attain the end. So he gives as his first example a runner who aims at the end of his course so that he does not tarry along the way. So he says, “My days pass swifter than a runner.” In this he shows both the frailty of the present fortune and his intention to pursue something else. “They have fled away,” as if repose for the heart is not found in the things of this world. The text then continues, “they have not seen the good,” namely, to which my intention was born which is the true good. Therefore, I do not count myself rewarded for justice, because if you (the friends) think the present prosperity is a reward, I have been punished, as an innocent man, because this has been taken away. Second, when one pursues some end, he must acquire for himself those means which are capable of attaining the end, just as one who desires to be healed must acquire medicines by which he can be cured him. In the same way, he who wishes to reach the true good, must seek those virtues by which he can acquire that end. So he then says, “They move on like ships laden with fruit.” Two things are demonstrated in this verse: the frailty of present fortune, because ships laden with fruit hasten to sell it to keep the fruit from spoiling by delay, and the enthusiasm in tending to an end. This is as if to say: My days have not gone by empty, but I have collected virtues with which I am aiming at experiencing the end in effect. Third, remains the actual experiencing of the end and so he says, “Like an eagle swooping down on its prey,” which he uses as an explanation for the first two things. For the eagle is a bird of swift flight and is especially fast when it is driven on by hunger and has the prey by which it renews its existence as a goal.
Quia ergo in his verbis quasi innuerat se esse iustum et innocentem, quod praesumptuosum ab adversariis reputabatur, incipit de sua innocentia conferre cum Deo qui solus est conscientiae iudex, unde subdit cum dixero, scilicet in corde meo: nequaquam ita loquar, ut scilicet sim iustus et innocens, commuto faciem meam, scilicet a fiducia quam conceperam de mea innocentia ad quandam sollicitudinem investigandi peccata, et dolore torqueor, in conscientiae propriae discussione recogitans ne forte pro aliquo peccato sic puniar. Et causam doloris subdit dicens verebar omnia opera mea: est enim alicui magna causa doloris quando magnam sollicitudinem habet de re aliqua et tamen incidit in illud quod vitare studebat; ipse autem circa omnia opera sua magnam sollicitudinem apponebat, timens ne in aliquo a iustitia declinaret, et hoc est quod dicit verebar omnia opera mea. Et causa quare sic verebatur in omni suo opere erat timor de severitate divini iudicii, unde subditur sciens quod non parceres delinquenti, nisi scilicet convertatur quia, sicut in Psalmo dicitur, nisi conversi fueritis gladium suum vibrabit. Si autem, post tantum studium innocentiae, et sic impius sum ut tam gravibus poenis a Deo puniri meruerim, quare frustra laboravi in tanta sollicitudine innocentiae conservandae? Frustra enim laborare dicitur qui suo labore tendit ad finem ad quem non pertingit. Because his adversaries thought he was presumptuous as in these words he had implied that he was just and innocent, he begins to confer with God about his innocence for God alone can judge the conscience. So he continues, “If I say,” in my heart, “I will speak so to no avail,” claiming that I am just and innocent, “I alter my countenance entirely,” from the assurance which I began to feel about my innocence to the anxiety in searching for my sins, “and I writhe with pain,” reflecting in examining my conscience, that perhaps I will not be punished for some sin. He then expresses the cause of his pain saying, “I was anxious about everything I did.” For the cause of pain is great for someone when he has great anxiety about some one thing and yet he falls in the very thing he tries to avoid. However, he experiences great anxiety about everything he does fearing lest he will fall away from justice in some way. This is what he means when he says, “anxious about everything I did.” The reason why he was so anxious about everything he did was fear of the severity of the divine judgment. So he says next, “knowing that you do not spare anyone who is delinquent,” unless he be converted because as Psalm 7 says, “Unless you will be converted, he will brandish his sword.” (v.13) “If however,” after such great zeal for innocence, “I am so wicked,” that I merit to be punished with such great punishments from by God, “why have I labored in vain?” i.e. with such great anxiety to maintain my innocence? For he labors in vain who tends to an end by his labor which he does not attain.
Sed quia puritas hominis quantacumque sit ad divinum examen relata deficiens invenitur, ideo consequenter ostendit quod cum se purum et innocentem dicit, se purum et innocentem intelligit quasi hominem, non quasi in nullo penitus a rectitudine divinae iustitiae recedentem. Est autem sciendum quod duplex est puritas: una quidem innocentis altera paenitentis; utraque autem imperfecta est in homine si ad perfectam rectitudinem divinae regulae comparetur. Dicit ergo quantum ad puritatem poenitentis si lotus fuero, idest si a peccatis meis me purgare studuero, quasi aquis nivis, quae bene ablutivae esse dicuntur; quantum vero ad puritatem innocentis subdit et fulserint velut mundissimae manus meae, idest et in operibus meis, quae per manus designantur, nulla inveniatur immunditia, sed fulgeat in eis iustitiae claritas - dicit autem velut mundissimae ad insinuandum quod in homine perfecta munditia esse non potest -; si, inquit, sic fuero mundus, tamen sordibus intinges me, idest sordidus demonstrabor tuae iustitiae comparatus et per tuam sapientiam convictus. Semper enim in operibus humanis aliquis defectus invenitur: quandoque quidem ex ignorantia propter debilitatem rationis, quandoque autem ex negligentia propter infirmitatem carnis; quandoque autem aliqua infectio alicuius terrenae affectionis etiam in bonis operibus admiscetur, propter volubilitatem humani cordis quod non fixum in eodem perseverat: unde semper aliquid in humanis operibus invenitur quod deficit a puritate divinae iustitiae. Cum autem aliquis immundus est qui tamen exterius aliquam iustitiae ostensionem habet, signa iustitiae quae de eo exterius apparent ei non competunt, et ideo subdit et abominabuntur me vestimenta mea: per vestimenta enim exteriora opera designantur quibus homo quasi contegitur, secundum illud Matth. VII 15 veniunt ad vos in vestimentis ovium; tunc ergo vestimenta alicuius aliquem abominantur quando exteriora hominis quae iustitiam praetendunt interioribus non concordant. But since man’s purity however great it can be is found wanting under divine scrutiny, he shows as a consequence that when he says that he is pure and innocent, he understands himself to be pure and innocent as a man, not as though he were lacking in nothing from the standpoint of the righteousness of divine justice. Know that there are two kinds of purity: one is of innocent man, the other is of the repentant man. Both of these are imperfect in man if he is compared to the perfect righteousness of the divine standard. He speaks about the purity of the repentant saying, “If I were washed,” if I will be zealous to cleanse myself from my sins, “as with the waters of snow,” which are said to be very cleansing. He speaks about the purity of the innocent when he says, “and my hands shine as though very clean,” i.e. if in my works, which are designated by the term hands, no uncleanness would be found, but the bright clarity of justice would shine from them. However, he uses the expression, “as though very clean,” to suggest that perfect cleansing cannot exist in man. He says, I will be cleansed, “yet you will dip me in filth,” because I will be shown to be filthy compared to your justice and convicted by your wisdom. For there is always some defect found in human works. Sometimes this results from ignorance because of the weakness of the intellect, but sometimes from negligence because of the weakness of the flesh; sometimes from the infection of some affection for earthly things even mingled with good works because of the mutability of the human heart which does not persevere fixed always in the same state. So there is always something in human works which is deficient from the purity of divine justice. When someone is unclean, who nevertheless has shown some exterior manifestation of justice, the signs of justice which appear in him exteriorly do not suit him. So he then says, “and so my clothing will deprecate me,” for exterior works are designated as garments because they wrap someone round about as Matthew says, “They will come to you in sheep’s clothing.” (7:15) Clothes then deprecate someone when the exterior works of a man who pretends to be just are not in accord with his interior desires.
Quare autem quantumcumque sit purus non potest se defendere quin a Deo convincatur impurus, consequenter ostendit ex duobus in quibus Deus homines excellit, videlicet ex puritate iustitiae et ex auctoritate maiestatis. Quantum ergo ad primum dicit neque enim viro qui similis mei est respondebo, quasi dicat: si aliquis homo me impurum vellet convincere, possem ei resistere, si mihi obiceret quae ipse sentiret in homine servari non posse de perfecta iustitiae puritate; sed sic respondere non possum Deo in quo nullus defectus invenitur. Quantum ad secundum dicit nec qui mecum in iudicio ex aequo possit audiri: cum enim duo homines ad invicem contendunt, iudicem possunt habere qui utriusque dicta examinet; sed hoc inter Deum et hominem esse non potest duplici ratione: una ratio est quia oportet quod in iudice sit altior sapientia quae sit quasi regula ad quam examinentur dicta utriusque partis: manifestum est autem quod divina sapientia est prima regula ad quam omnium veritas examinatur, et propter hoc subdit non est qui utrumque valeat arguere, quasi dicat: non est alius superior Deo ex cuius maiori sapientia divina sapientia corrigi possit. Alia ratio est quia oportet quod in iudice sit maior potestas qua possit utramque partem comprimere, et hoc excludit dicens et ponere manum suam in ambobus, idest coercere utrumque: hoc enim excluditur per immensitatem divinae potentiae, quam supra ostendit. He shows next why no matter how pure he is he cannot defend himself for being convicted as impure by God because of two things in which God excels man. These are the purity of his justice and the authority of his majesty. As to the first, he says, “For he is not a man like myself that I should answer him,” as if to say: If any man wants to convict me of impurity, I would be able to resist him, if he should charge me with things he thinks cannot be preserved in man concerning the perfect purity of justice. But I cannot respond in this way to God for there is no defect found in him. As to the second he says, “and he cannot gain a hearing with him as an equal.” For when two men contend with each other, they can have a judge who examines both arguments. But there can be no arbiter between God and man for two reasons. One reason is because a judge must have a higher wisdom which is like the standard according to which the arguments of both parties are examined. It is clear, however, that divine wisdom is the first standard according to which the truth of all things is examined. Because of this he then says, “Nor is there anyone who can evaluate both our arguments.” He means here: There is no one superior to God from whose greater wisdom divine wisdom can be corrected. Another reason is because there must be a greater power in the judge by which he can sanction both parties. Job excludes this quality saying: “Who could lay hands on both of us,” i.e. coerce both for this is excluded by the immensity of divine power, which he has already demonstrated. (vv. 4-7)
Et quia, ut dictum est, intendit perscrutari qua ratione innocentes puniantur in hoc mundo, consequenter ostendit quid eum impedire posset ab hac perscrutatione et qua intentione hoc perscrutari velit. Impediri autem posset ab hac perscrutatione ex duobus, primo quidem ex afflictione quam patiebatur: homines enim quorum mens occupata est tristitia non possunt subtiliter perscrutari, et quantum ad hoc dicit auferat a me virgam suam; secundo ex reverentia quam ad Deum habebat: homines enim aliquando ex quadam reverentia quam ad Deum habent omittunt ea quae Dei sunt perscrutari, et quantum ad hoc dicit et pavor eius non me terreat, quasi dicat: concedat spiritum meum requiescere ab afflictione quam patior, et non imputetur mihi ad irreverentiam quod de divinis disputo; et sic potero perscrutari, unde sequitur loquar et non timebo eum, idest ac si non timerem eum; neque enim possum metuens respondere, idest dum ex reverentia eius revocor a perscrutatione. Sciendum est autem quod timor Dei aliquando timentes Deum a perscrutatione divinorum non revocat, quando scilicet perscrutantur divina desiderio veritatis cognoscendae, non ut comprehendant incomprehensibilia sed semper eo moderamine ut intellectum suum divinae subiciant veritati; revocantur autem per timorem Dei ne sic perscrutentur divina quasi comprehendere volentes et intellectum suum divina veritate non regulantes. Sic igitur per haec verba Iob intendit ostendere quod eo moderamine de his quae ad divinam providentiam pertinent perscrutatur, ut intellectum suum divinae veritati subiciat, non ut divinam veritatem impugnet, quod esset contra reverentiam divini timoris. Since, as has been said, he intends to investigate why the innocent are punished in the world, he shows in conclusion what could impede him from this investigation and with what intention he wishes to make this investigation. He could be impeded from this investigation by two things. First, by the affliction from which he was suffering. For men whose minds are occupied with sorrow are not able to investigate accurately. He refers to this saying, “May he withdraw his rod from me.” Second, from the reverence which he had for God. For men sometimes omit to investigate things which pertain to God from the reverence which they have for him. As to this he says, “Let terror of him not frighten me.” He means: May he grant my spirit rest from the affliction which I suffer and not impute irreverence to me because I debate about divine things. Therefore, I will be able to investigate and so he continues, “I will speak and not be afraid of him,” i.e. not being frightened by him. “Nor can I answer when I am afraid of him,” i.e. when I hold myself back from investigating something because of reverence for him. Note that the fear of God sometimes does not restrain those fearing God from investigating divine things. This is the case when one investigates divine matters from a desire to know the truth, not to comprehend the incomprehensible, but always with the rudder that one submits one’s intelligence to the truth of divine things. However, they are restrained by the fear of God lest they seek to investigate divine things, willing to comprehend them and not regulating their intellect with divine truth. So, by these words, Job intends to show that with this rudder he is investigating things which pertain to divine providence so that he may subject his intellect to divine truth, and not oppose divine truth which would be against the reverence for the fear of God.

The First Lesson: Job Returns to Himself: The Creator does not deny His Creature
נָקְטָה נַפְשִׁי בְּחַיָּי אֶעֶזְבָה עָלַי שִׂיחִי אֲדַבְּרָה בְּמַר נַפְשִׁי׃ 1 אֹמַר אֶל־אֱלוֹהַּ אַל־תַּרְשִׁיעֵנִי הוֹדִיעֵנִי עַל מַה־תְּרִיבֵנִי׃ 2 הֲטוֹב לְךָ כִּי־תַעֲשֹׁק כִּי־תִמְאַס יְגִיעַ כַּפֶּיךָ וְעַל־עֲצַת רְשָׁעִים הוֹפָעְתָּ׃ 3 הַעֵינֵי בָשָׂר לָךְ אִם־כִּרְאוֹת אֱנוֹשׁ תִּרְאֶה׃ 4 הֲכִימֵי אֱנוֹשׁ יָמֶיךָ אִם־שְׁנוֹתֶיךָ כִּימֵי גָבֶר׃ 5 כִּי־תְבַקֵּשׁ לַעֲוֹנִי וּלְחַטָּאתִי תִדְרוֹשׁ׃ 6 עַל־דַּעְתְּךָ כִּי־לֹא אֶרְשָׁע וְאֵין מִיָּדְךָ מַצִּיל׃ 7 יָדֶיךָ עִצְּבוּנִי וַיַּעֲשׂוּנִי יַחַד סָבִיב וַתְּבַלְּעֵנִי׃ 8 זְכָר־נָא כִּי־כַחֹמֶר עֲשִׂיתָנִי וְאֶל־עָפָר תְּשִׁיבֵנִי׃ 9 הֲלֹא כֶחָלָב תַּתִּיכֵנִי וְכַגְּבִנָּה תַּקְפִּיאֵנִי׃ 10 עוֹר וּבָשָׂר תַּלְבִּישֵׁנִי וּבַעֲצָמוֹת וְגִידִים תְּסֹכְכֵנִי׃ 11 חַיִּים וָחֶסֶד עָשִׂיתָ עִמָּדִי וּפְקֻדָּתְךָ שָׁמְרָה רוּחִי׃ 12 וְאֵלֶּה צָפַנְתָּ בִלְבָבֶךָ יָדַעְתִּי כִּי־זֹאת עִמָּךְ׃ 13 1 My soul is weary of my life, I will unleash my eloquence against myself, I will speak from the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God: Do not condemn me. Tell me why you judge me so. 3 Does it seem good to you to calumniate me, to chastise me, the work of your hands, and to aid the plot of the wicked? 4 Are your eyes made of flesh? Or do you see like a man sees? 5 Are your days like the days of a man? And are your years like man’s time 6 that you should interrogate me about my evildoing and examine my sin? 7 Know that I have done nothing wicked since there is no one who can take me from your hand. 8 It was your hands that made me, they fashioned me wholly round about, and so do you cast me down unexpectedly? 9 Remember, I beseech you, that you have made me like clay, and will you grind me to dust? 10 Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? 11 With skin and flesh you clothed me; with bones and sinew knit me together. 12 You gave me life and mercy and your visitation guarded my spirit. 13 Although you hide these things in your heart, yet I know you remember everything.
Taedet animam meam vitae meae et cetera. Postquam proposuit superius Iob quod tam innocentes quam impii in hoc saeculo tribulantur, et tetigit unam causam punitionis innocentium quae posset aestimari, scilicet quod terra quasi derelicta a Deo sit exposita voluntati quasi iniquae potestatis innocentes pro libitu punientis, hoc autem remoto quia manifestum inconveniens continet, inquisivit quis esset innocentium punitor et qua de causa, et hanc quaestionem hic prosequi intendit. Prius tamen quam ad investigationem procedat, ostendit quo animo hic loquatur: loquitur enim in persona hominis afflicti secundum conceptiones quas ei tristitia subministrat; unde primo ponit taedium quod patitur in hac vita propter tribulationes quas patitur, quae intantum graves sunt quod etiam ipsam vitam reddunt taediosam: licet enim vivere delectabile sit, tamen in angustiis vivere taediosum est, unde dicit taedet animam meam vitae meae. Sicut autem homo cui delectabilis est sua vita optat se vivere, ita cui taediosa est sua vita optat se vita privari, et ideo subiungit dimittam adversum me eloquium meum; hoc enim est contra aliquem quod est peremptivum ipsius: tunc ergo homo adversum se loquitur quando se vita privari exoptat. Sed signanter dicit dimittam: multotiens enim homo aliquos motus in corde patitur propter aliquam passionem vel tristitiae vel concupiscentiae vel irae aut cuiuscumque alterius, sed tamen ita ratione omnes motus reprimit quod ad verbum exterius non procedit; quando autem ratio ostendere volens quid interius patiatur occultos motus in verba producit, tunc eloquium dimittere dicitur quasi prius retentum, et propter hoc subdit loquar in amaritudine animae meae, quasi dicat: verba quae exterius proferam interiorem amaritudinem ostendunt, ut det intelligere se in persona hominis amaricati loqui. Sed ne rursus intelligatur quod ista eloquii dimissio sit per hoc quod ratio a tristitia superatur, subiungit dicam Deo: noli me condemnare; cum enim ratio a passione vincitur, homo contra Deum remurmurat et quandoque usque ad blasphemiam procedit, sed dum inter tribulationes hominis ratio recta manet, Deo se subdit et ab ipso remedium praestolatur dicens Deo noli me condemnare. Simul etiam in hoc ad quaestionem accedit: cum enim supra quaesivisset quis esset causa innocentium poenae in hoc mundo, hic iam confitetur Deum esse auctorem punitionis dum petit quod ab eo non condemnetur, secundum illud I Reg. II 6 dominus mortificat et vivificat, ex quo Manichaeorum haeresis confutatur. Job earlier proposed that both the innocent and the unjust are assailed by trials in this world, and touched upon one reason for the punishment of the innocent which he could think of, i.e. that the earth, as if forsaken by God, had been exposed to the almost evil will of an iniquitous power which punishes the innocent at will. He showed that this explanation was not true because there was something clearly unfitting in that argument. Then he asked who was the one who punishes the innocent and why. He intends now to pursue this question here. Before proceeding to this investigation, however, he shows from what point of view he is speaking. For he is speaking in the person of the afflicted man according to the conceptions which sadness supplies him. So he first speaks about the weariness which he suffers in this life because of the tribulations which is suffering. These render life itself wearisome in proportion to their depth. For although living is enjoyable in itself, living in anguish is wearisome. So he says, “My soul is weary of my life.” For just as a man who finds his life enjoyable chooses to live, so a man who finds life burdensome tries to deprive himself of life. For this reason he adds, “I will unleash my eloquence against myself.” Something is against someone which is destructive to him. A man therefore speaks against himself when he chooses to be deprived of life. But he clearly says, “I will unleash,” for many times a man suffers some disturbances in his heart because of passion either of sorrow, desire, anger or the like, but he still controls all these movements by reason so that he does not express them externally by word. However, when his reason wishes to show what it is suffering internally, it produces the hidden disturbances in words, and then reason is said to unleash eloquence which was previously kept hidden internally. To express this he says, “I will speak from the bitterness of my soul,” as if to say: The words which I will reveal externally show internal bitterness, giving us to understand that he speaks in the persona of the bitter man. But lest this unleashing of speech again be interpreted as reason being overcome by sorrow, he adds, “I will say to God: Do not condemn me.” For when reason is overcome by passion, man murmurs against God and at times goes so far as blasphemy. But when reason remains rightly ordered amid tribulations, one submits himself to God and expects the cure to come from him saying, “Do not condemn me.” At the same time, he addresses the resolution of the question. Since the author had asked above (9:24) what was the cause of the punishment of the innocent in the world, he here at last confesses that God is the author of punishment when he begs that he not be condemned by him, as I Kings says, “The Lord brings death and gives life,” (2:6) the text by the heresy of the Manichees is refuted.
His autem praemissis, supposito quod Deus sit punitionis auctor, inquirit de causa suae punitionis ad Deum loquens: indica mihi cur me ita iudices, idest facias me cognoscere causam propter quam a te puniar: sciebat enim quod rationis investigatio ad veritatis terminum pervenire non potest nisi divinitus doceatur. Scire autem causam suae punitionis necessarium est homini vel ad correctionem vel ut patientius flagella sustineat. Ad inquisitionem autem huius quaestionis procedit sub quadam disiunctione: necesse est enim quod ipse qui punitur vel sit innocens vel peccator. With these premises and supposing that God is the author of punishment, he inquires about the cause of his own punishment saying to God, “Tell me why you judge me so,” i.e., help me understand the reason why I am punished by you. For he knew that the investigation of reason cannot arrive at the goal of truth unless God divinely teaches it. Man must know the cause of his punishment, either to correct himself or to endure the trials with more patience. He proceeds to investigate the question with a kind of disjunction: It is necessary that one who suffers is either innocent or a sinner. He first proceeds supposing that he is innocent. Because we come to the knowledge of divine things through human ones, he proposes two ways the innocent are sometimes condemned by human judgment.
Primo autem procedit supponendo quod sit innocens; et quia ad cognitionem divinorum per res humanas pervenimus, proponit duos modos quibus in humano iudicio quandoque innocentes puniuntur. Primus modus est propter malitiam punientis, ex qua contingit tripliciter poenas innocentibus irrogari: aliquando quidem dum per astutiam innocentibus calumnias ingerunt, et quantum ad hoc dicit numquid bonum tibi videtur si calumnieris; aliquando vero per potentiam opprimunt, et quantum ad hoc subdit et opprimas me opus manuum tuarum; aliquando vero ipsi quidem ex proprio motu innocentes non puniunt, sed quia inordinate aliquos impios diligunt, eos etiam in oppressione innocentium iuvant, unde subditur et consilium impiorum adiuves? Sed considerandum est quod aliquando diversis naturis unum et idem potest esse bonum et malum, sicut iracundum esse cani quidem est bonum, homini autem malum; nullus autem sanae mentis hoc in dubitationem ducit si Deus ex malitia aliquid operetur: non enim potest in summo bono aliquid mali esse; sed potest contingere quod aliquid malum est in homine quod ad divinam pertinet bonitatem, sicut non misereri secundum quod misericordia in passionem sonat in homine quidem vituperatur, quod tamen divina bonitas ex sui perfectione requirit. Manifestum est autem quod tria praedicta, calumniari, opprimere et consilium impiorum adiuvare, in hominibus mala sunt: unde hoc in quaestionem inducit utrum Deo possint esse bona, unde non quaerit numquid calumniaris et opprimis? Sed numquid bonum tibi videtur ut calumnieris et opprimas? Quasi supponens pro firmo quod Deus numquam aliquid facit nisi quod bonum sibi videtur, et hoc vere est bonum. Item considerandum est quod ea quae naturaliter sunt nulli imputantur in culpam vel in malum; naturale autem est quod unumquodque perdat suum contrarium, unde et Deus qui est summe bonus, odit ea quae contra se fiunt et ipsa disperdit, secundum illud Psalmi odisti omnes qui operantur iniquitatem, perdes etc.; si ergo homines non essent a Deo facti sed a principio contrario, ut Manichaei fabulantur, bonum videretur quod Deus homines opprimeret propter se ipsos: ad hoc igitur excludendum non simpliciter dicit ut opprimas me, sed addit opus manuum tuarum. Item bonum videtur quod Deus iustorum voluntates adimpleat; qui autem innocentem calumniari aut opprimere volunt non sunt iusti sed impii, et praecipue si non ignoranter vel casu sed ex consilio et deliberatione hoc velint: unde cum se innocentem supponat in prima parte quaestionis, sequitur impios esse qui eum ex deliberato consilio opprimere vel calumniari vellent, et ideo signanter dicit et consilium impiorum adiuves. The first way is because of the malice of the one meting out the punishment. Punishments are inflicted on the innocent in three ways from this cause. Sometimes they heap calumnies upon the innocent through cunning. On this theme he says, “Does it seem good to you to calumniate me?” Sometimes, however, they oppress them by violence, and he expresses this saying, “and to chastise me, the work of your hands?” Sometimes they do not cause the innocent to suffer for their own interest, but since they inordinately love evil men, they even help them in the persecution of the innocent. Therefore he adds, “and to aid the plot of the wicked?” Consider carefully, however, that sometimes one and the same thing can be both good and evil in different natures. For a dog to become angry is something good; but for a man to become angry is something evil. No one in his right mind entertains any doubt as to whether God does anything from an evil intention. For there cannot be anything evil in the highest good. But there may be something evil in man which belongs to divine goodness, e.g., not being merciful inasmuch as mercy implies passion, is something blameworthy in man. Yet divine goodness requires it because of its perfection. It is clear that the three actions cited, i.e. to calumniate, to chastise and to aid the counsels of evil men are evil in man. So he calls into the question whether they can be goods in God. He does not ask then, “Do you calumniate me or do you oppress?” but “Does it seem good to you to calumniate me and to chastise,” as if supposing as a certainty that God never does anything unless it seems good to him, and this is truly good. Likewise note here that no one imputes to anyone those things which exist naturally to fault or evil. For it is natural that each thing destroy its contrary, and so God, too, who is good in highest degree, hates those things which happen contrary to him and destroys them. Psalm 5 expresses this, “You hate all who do evil and you will destroy them.” (v.7) If then men were not made by God but by some contrary principle, as the Manichees falsely claimed, it would seem good that God would chastise men on their own account. To exclude this possibility, he does not simply say, “to oppress me,” but he adds, “the work of your hands.” Also, it would seem good that God would fulfill the wills of the just. However, those who will to calumniate and oppress innocent men are not just but wicked and especially if they should will this not from ignorance or accidentally but from deliberate, premeditated choice. So, since he supposes himself to be innocent in the first part of the debate, it follows that those who wish to oppress him or to calumniate him from deliberation are evil. He therefore clearly says, “and to aid the plot of the wicked?”
Hac igitur causa remota, quia Deo hoc bonum videri non potest, cum ipse sit opus manuum Dei et cum eius hostes qui ipsum oppresserant impii comprobentur, procedit consequenter ad secundum modum quo in humano iudicio quandoque innocentes affliguntur. Contingit enim quandoque quod quando aliquis innocens falso apud iudicem accusatur, iudex ad exquirendam veritatem eum tormentis subicit secundum iustitiam agens, sed huius rei causa est defectus cognitionis humanae, qui triplex est: unus quidem quia omnis cognitio hominis a sensu procedit et, quia sensus corporei et corporalium sunt, non potest iudex interiorem conscientiam accusati cognoscere; ut ergo hoc excludat a Deo dicit numquid oculi carnei tibi sunt? Ac si dicat: numquid tu corporalibus sensibus cognoscis ut sola corporalia videas et interiora cognoscere non possis? Ponit autem oculos quia visus inter alios sensus excedit. Secundus defectus est quod homo per sensus corporeos nec etiam omnia corporalia conspicere potest: non enim potest cognoscere quae a remotis et in abditis fiunt, quod a Deo removet dicens aut sicut videt homo ita et tu vides, ut scilicet non possis quae ubique fiunt etiam occulta cognoscere? Tertius defectus humanae cognitionis est ex tempore, tum quia homo de die in diem plura cognoscit tum etiam quia per temporis longitudinem obliviscitur eorum quae novit, ut sic oporteat eum iterato quasi addiscere: hoc ergo a Deo removet dicens numquid sicut dies hominis dies tui, ut scilicet de die in diem tua crescat cognitio; et anni tui sicut humana sunt tempora, ut scilicet per cursum temporum aliquid tuae cognitioni decrescat? Et subdit ut quaeras iniquitatem meam et peccatum meum scruteris, idest ut per flagella inquiras an ego peccaverim opere et iniquus sim mente, sicut homines per tormenta peccata exquirunt? Et sic post inquisitionem huiusmodi in me peccata non inveniens, scias quia nihil impium fecerim, quasi hoc aliunde cognoscere non possis nisi per flagella peccata mea exquiras; et hoc libere facias absque contradictione, cum sit nemo qui de manu tua possit eruere: aliquando enim ab hac inquisitione quae est per tormenta iudices deficiunt, dum hi qui torqueri debent ab eorum manibus eruuntur. After removing this cause, since this cannot seem good to God, since Job is the work of the hands of God and since his enemies who oppress him are shown to be evil, he next proceeds to the second way in which the innocent are sometimes afflicted in human judgment. Sometimes, when someone innocent is falsely accused before a judge, the judge acting according to justice subjects him to torture to discover the truth. The cause of this are three defects in human knowledge. One is because all human knowledge proceeds from sense, and because the senses belong to the body and are about corporeal objects, a judge cannot know the interior conscience of the accused. He excludes this from God when he says, “Are your eyes made of flesh?” as if to say: Do you know through the corporeal senses that you see only corporeal things and cannot know interior things? He uses the eyes because the sight exceeds all the other senses in man. The second defect is that man cannot even understand even all corporeal things through the bodily senses. For he cannot know what happens in things far away and concealed from him. He shows this is not the case with God when he says, “Or do you see like a man sees,” in that you cannot know what happens everywhere, even things which are hidden? The third defect of human knowledge is the result of the nature of time, both because his knowledge increases from day to day and also because he forgets those things which he knows through a long period of time, so it is necessary for him to learn by repetition as it were. He then shows this is not the case with God saying, “Are your days like the days of a man?” in that your knowledge increases from day to day. “And are your years like man’s time,” in that some of your knowledge decreases in the course of time. He continues, “That you should interrogate me about my evildoing and examine my sin,” to investigate through tribulations if I have sinned in my work or am evil in my thought, like men investigate criminal guilt using torture. So, after the investigation of this sort is completed and you find no sin in me, “Know that I have done nothing wicked,” as though you could not know this otherwise than you do not search my sins using scourges. Do this freely and without contradiction, “since there is no one who can take me from your hand.” For sometimes judges fail to discover the truth using torture while those who ought to be tortured are taken out of their hands.
Et quia supra dixerat se esse opus manuum Dei, ut ex hoc ostenderet quod bonum Deo videri non potest ut eum opprimat propter se, quasi in oppressione eius delectatus, quod supposuerat manifestat, unde subdit manus tuae fecerunt me. Et ne aliquis credat, secundum Manichaeorum haeresim, hominis animam a Deo factam corpus vero a contrario auctore formatum, subiungit et plasmaverunt me totum in circuitu. In circuitu dicit quia corpus videtur esse animae in circuitu sicut vestimentum vestito vel sicut domus habitatori; totum dicit ut ad singula corporis membra referatur; plasmaverunt dicit ut alludat ei quod homo ex limo terrae dicitur esse formatus; per manus autem operatio divina intelligitur, unde dicit pluraliter manus quia licet sit una divina virtus operans, multiplicatur tamen eius operatio in effectibus, tum propter diversitatem effectuum tum etiam propter varietatem causarum mediarum mediantibus quibus suos effectus producit. Subdit autem et sic repente praecipitas me? Quia repentinum esse videtur ut aliquis qui aliquam rem produxit eam absque causa manifesta corrumpat: qui enim facit aliquid vult illud esse - ad hoc enim facit ut sit -, qui autem corrumpit vult illud non esse; videtur igitur si aliquis destruat quod prius fecit, videtur repentina mutatio voluntatis, nisi aliqua manifesta causa de novo oriatur ex qua appareat illud esse corrumpendum quod prius fuit fiendum; huiusmodi autem repentina mutatio voluntatis in Deum cadere non potest, et ideo quasi admirative quaerit et sic repente praecipitas me? Quasi dicat: hoc inconveniens videtur si quem prius fecisti sine causa nunc destruas. Vel quod dixit fecerunt me potest referri ad constitutionem substantiae, quod autem dixit et plasmaverunt me totum in circuitu potest referri ad ea quae substantiae adveniunt, sive sint bona animae sive corporis sive exterioris fortunae. Since he had already stated that he was the work of God’s hands to show by this that it cannot seem good to God to oppress him for his own sake, as though he delighted in suffering, he clearly explains what he had merely stated as a given. “It was your hands that made me.” To preclude someone from accepting the heresy of the Manichees that the soul of man was made by God but the body was formed by a creator contrary to God, he continues, “they fashioned me wholly, round about.” He says, “round about” because the body seems to be round about the soul like a garment is to the one wearing it, or the house is to the dweller. He says, “wholly” to refer to each member of the body. He says, “fashioned” to allude to the fact that man is said to be formed from the slime of the earth. “The hands” may be interpreted as the divine operation, and so he uses the plural, “hands” because although there is one divine power operating, its operation is nevertheless multiplied in its effects, both because of the diversity of the effects and also because of the variety of mediate causes through the mediation of which he produces its effects. He says then, “and so will you cast me down unexpectedly?” because it seems sudden when someone who produces something corrupts it without clear cause. When someone creates something, he wills it to exist, indeed he made it to exist. Someone who destroys something wills it not to exist. So it seems that if someone destroys something which he made before, it seems to be a sudden change of will, unless some obvious new cause arises which makes it clear that what earlier had to be made, now should be corrupted. But no sudden change of will can happen in God, and so he asks almost in surprise, “and so will you cast me down unexpectedly?” He seems to say: It seems unfitting for you now to destroy without cause someone you earlier made. Or the words, “made me,” can refer to the constitution of the substance and the words, “They fashioned me wholly round about,” can refer to those things which modify the substance, whether they are the goods of the soul or of the body or of exterior chance.
Et quia in generali se factum et plasmatum a Deo posuerat, in speciali prosequitur de modo suae factionis, ad similitudinem alicuius qui alicui vult reducere aliquid ad memoriam quod oblitus videtur: particulariter ei cuncta edisserit ut vel sic ei in memoriam reducatur. Videtur autem Deus benivolentiae quam ad suam facturam habet oblivisci cum eam corruptioni exponit: ad modum enim obliviscentis se habet, et secundum hunc modum dicitur in Psalmo usquequo, domine, oblivisceris me in finem, et ideo dicit memento, quaeso, quod sicut lutum feceris me. Ubi considerandum est quod duplicem hominis factionem commemorat, primo quidem eam quae pertinet ad primam institutionem naturae, alludens ei quod dicitur Gen. I Deus hominem de limo terrae formavit, et ideo dicit quod sicut lutum feceris mei ubi etiam compositionem hominis ex primis elementis tangere videtur. Et quia etiam primo homini dictum est pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris, consequenter subiungit et in pulverem reduces me, quod etiam naturali materiae competit: nam ea quae ex terra generantur consequens est secundum naturae ordinem ut resolvantur in terram. Sed de hoc aliquis mirari potest, cum maius videatur de terra formare hominem quam hominem formatum retinere ne in pulverem redigatur, unde est quod Deus qui hominem de luto formavit eum in pulverem redigi permittit: utrum scilicet hoc sit solum ex necessitate materiae, ut homo in hoc nihil plus habeat aliis quae ex terra formantur, vel hoc sit ex divina providentia aliquam hominis culpam puniente. Since he had generally posited that he had been formed and created by God, he proceeds specifically to the manner of his creation comparing himself with someone who wants remind someone of something which he seems to have forgotten. He explains everything to him part by part so that even so it may be brought back to mind. For the God seems to forgot the benevolence which he had toward his creation when he exposes it to corruption. He acts like one who forgets and Psalm 12 expresses the same idea, “How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever.” (v.1) Therefore he says, “Remember, I beseech you, that you have made me like clay.” Consider that he recalls two productions of man. The first is the first institution of nature, which alludes to what Genesis says, “God formed man from the slime of the earth,” (2:7) and so he says, “you made me like the clay.” Here he also seems to refer to the composition of man from primary elements. Since it was also said to the first man, “You are dust and to dust you shall return,” (Gen. 3:19) he says as a consequence, “and will you grind me to dust,” which also befits the natural matter. For it follows that what is generated from earth according to nature is fittingly resolved back into the earth. From this someone might wonder, since it seems a greater work to form a man from the earth than to retain men already formed in being so that he does not revert to the earth, hence it is that God who formed man from the dust permits him to return to the dust. The question is whether this is only the result of the necessity of matter that man in this respect has not advantage over other things formed from the earth, or whether it is a result of divine providence punishing man for some fault.
Consequenter autem tangit factionem hominis quantum ad opus propagationis secundum quod homo ab homine generatur. Ubi considerandum est quod omnia naturae opera Deo attribuit non ut excludat naturae operationem sed eo modo quo principali agenti attribuuntur ea quae per causas secundas aguntur, ut artifici operatio serrae: hoc enim ipsum quod natura operatur a Deo habet, qui ad hoc eam instituit. In hac autem hominis generatione primo occurrit seminis resolutio, et quantum ad hoc dicit nonne sicut lac mulsisti me? Sicut enim semen est superfluum alimenti ita et lac. Secundo autem occurrit compactio massae corporeae in utero mulieris, et quantum ad hoc subdit et sicut caseum me coagulasti? Ita enim se habet semen maris ad materiam quam femina ministrat in generatione hominis et aliorum animalium sicut se habet coagulum in generatione casei. Tertio autem occurrit distinctio organorum, quorum quidem consistentia et robur est ex nervis et ossibus, circumdantur autem exterius a pelle et carnibus, unde dicit pelle et carnibus vestisti me, ossibus et nervis compegisti me. Quartum autem est animatio fetus, et praecipue quantum ad animam rationalem quae non infunditur nisi post organisationem; simul autem cum anima rationali infunduntur homini divinitus quaedam seminaria virtutum, aliqua quidem communiter omnibus, aliqua vero specialiter aliquibus secundum quod homines quidam sunt naturaliter dispositi ad unam virtutem, quidam ad aliam: Iob autem dicit infra ab infantia crevit mecum miseratio, et de utero egressa est mecum, unde et hic dicit vitam et misericordiam tribuisti mihi. Ultimum autem est conservatio vitae tam in materno utero quam post exitum ex utero, quae quidem conservatio est partim quidem per principia naturalia, partim autem per alia Dei beneficia naturae superaddita, sive pertineant ad animam sive ad corpus sive ad exteriora bona, et quantum ad hoc subdit et visitatio tua custodivit spiritum meum: sicut enim Deus ab aliquo recedere dicitur in Scripturis quando Deus ab eo sua dona subtrahit, sic eum visitare dicitur quando ei sua dona largitur. Next he treats the making of man with reference to the work of propagation by which man is generated from man. Note here that he attributes every work of nature to God, not so as to exclude the operation of nature, but in the way things done through secondary causes are attributed to the principle agent. Similarly the operation of the saw is attributed to the carpenter. The fact that nature operates comes from God, who instituted it for that purpose. In the generation of man, first comes the release of the seed and to express this he says, “Did you not pour me out like milk?” For just as semen is the product of nourishment, so too is milk, Second, the physical mass is joined together in the womb of the woman and he expresses this saying, “and curdle me like cheese?” For the seed of the male is related to the matter which the female furnishes in the generation of man and other animals like the coagulant is related to the generation of cheese. Third, the distinction of the organs takes place. Their strength and consistency comes from the nerves and bones and they are encased externally by skin and flesh. So he says, “With skin and flesh you clothed me, with bones and sinews knit me together.” Fourth comes the animation of the fetus, and this is especially true in the case of the rational soul, which is not infused until after organization of the matter. Certain seeds of virtue are divinely infused together with the rational soul into man, some common to all and others special to the individual. For this reason, some men are naturally disposed to one virtue; others to another. Job says further on, “Mercy grew in me from my infancy and came forth from the womb with me.” (31:18) He therefore says here, “You gave me life and mercy.” Last comes the conservation of life, as much in the womb of the mother as after leaving the womb. This conservation is partly due to natural principles and partly to gifts of God which are added over and above nature, whether they pertain to the soul, the body, or exterior goods. Expressing this theme he says, “and your visitation guarded my spirit.” For according to the language of Scripture, as God is said to draw back from someone when he withdraws his gifts from him, so he is said to visit him when he bestows his gifts on him.
Ne autem ex hoc quod Deo dixerat memento, quaeso, quod sicut lutum feceris me aliquis credere posset eum huius opinionis esse quod oblivio in Deum cadere posset, excusat se ab hoc subdens licet haec celes in corde tuo, tamen scio quia universorum memineris; dicitur autem Deus ad similitudinem hominis aliquid in corde celare quando non ostendit per effectum quod habet in cognitione vel affectione: sic itaque Deum praedicta in corde celare dicit quia in effectu non ostenditur quod eum pro sua factura recognoscat, quem sic repente praecipitare videtur. To preclude someone thinking because he had said to God, “Remember, I beseech you, that you made me like clay,” that he was of the opinion that God could forget, he excuses himself concerning this language saying, “Although you hide these things in your heart, I know that you still remember everything.” For God is said by analogy to hide something in his heart like a man when he does not show by effect what he has in thought or in affection. So therefore he says that God hides these things in his heart the thing cited before because he does not externally show in effect that he recognizes him as his own creation him whom he seems to cast down so suddenly.
The Second Lesson: Is Job Blameworthy?
אִם־חָטָאתִי וּשְׁמַרְתָּנִי וּמֵעֲוֹנִי לֹא תְנַקֵּנִי׃ 14 אִם־רָשַׁעְתִּי אַלְלַי לִי וְצָדַקְתִּי לֹא־אֶשָּׂא רֹאשִׁי שְׂבַע קָלוֹן וּרְאֵה עָנְיִי׃ 15 וְיִגְאֶה כַּשַּׁחַל תְּצוּדֵנִי וְתָשֹׁב תִּתְפַּלָּא־בִי׃ 16 תְּחַדֵּשׁ עֵדֶיךָ נֶגְדִּי וְתֶרֶב כַּעַשְׂךָ עִמָּדִי חֲלִיפוֹת וְצָבָא עִמִּי׃ 17 14 If I have sinned and you have spared me for a moment, why did you not allow me to be cleansed from my iniquity? 15 If I will be unjust, woe is me! And if I am just, I will not lift up my head drowned in unhappiness and misery. 16 Because of my pride, you will capture me like a lioness and returning you torment me wondrously. 17 You set up witnesses against me, you redouble your anger, and punishments battle against me.
Si peccavi et ad horam pepercisti mihi et cetera. Superius inquisivit Iob causam suae punitionis supposito quod innocens esset, nunc autem procedit ad inquirendum si propter hoc puniatur quia peccator est. Et quod pro peccato non puniatur primo ostendit utens tali ratione: si enim peccatum commisit, maxime hoc commisisse videtur tempore prosperitatis; si autem peccatum est tota causa quare aliqui adversitates sustineant in praesenti, posita autem causa ponitur effectus, oporteret quod statim cum aliquis peccat adversitas sequeretur; manifestum autem erat quod Iob tempore suae prosperitatis eundem modum vivendi servavit: unde si peccavit hoc modo vivendo, diu ante peccaverat quam adversitatem pateretur; oporteret ergo dicere quod, cum statim post peccatum adversitas secuta non sit, quod Deus pro tempore illo ei pepercerit quo adversitates non induxit; inconveniens autem est dicere quod peccatum quod Deus pepercit iterum imputet ad poenam: non ergo videtur quod pro peccato prius ab eo commisso nunc puniatur. Hoc est ergo quod dicit si peccavi, scilicet tempore prosperitatis meae, et ad horam pepercisti mihi, quia scilicet non statim adversitatem induxisti, cur ab iniquitate mea mundum me esse non pateris? Quasi dicat: cur ex quo reputasti me aliquo tempore quasi purum parcendo mihi iniquitatem meam, nunc iterum me punis quasi non sim purus? Job sought the cause of his punishment in what he said before based on the supposition that he was innocent. Now he proceeds to inquire whether he is punished because he is a sinner. To show first that he is not punished for sin, he uses the following argument: If he did commit sin, he must have sinned most in the time of his prosperity. But if sin is the only reason why some suffer adversities in the present life, given the presence of the cause, the effect must follow. Therefore, immediately after someone sins, adversity must follow. However, it is clear that Job preserved the same way of living in the times of his prosperity. If he sinned living in this way then, he had sinned for a long time before he suffered adversity. So since adversity did not immediately follow after sin, it would be necessary to say that God spared him for that time because he did not bring any adversity on him. To say that a sin which God had spared him again for punishment seems unfitting. Therefore it does not seem right that he be punished now for a sin which he committed before. He speaks to this theme when he says, “If I have sinned,” in the time of my prosperity,” and you have spared me for a moment,” because you did not immediately cause adversity for me, “why did you not allow me to be cleansed from my iniquity?” This is as if he said: Why since you thought I was pure in pardoning my sin at some time do you punish me again as though I were not pure?
Aliam etiam rationem consequenter subiungit quae talis est: si peccatum est tota causa adversitatum praesentium, sequeretur quod non tam iusti quam peccatores adversitates in hoc mundo patiantur; videmus autem et iustis et peccatoribus adversitates esse communes, et hoc est quod dicit et si impius fuero, vae mihi est. Idest adversitates sustineo; et si iustus vel prius fui vel modo factus, non propter hoc levabo caput, quasi a miseria sublevatus: ego dico existens saturatus afflictione, quantum ad dolores, et miseria, quantum ad penuriam et confusionem. In saturitate autem abundantiam afflictionis et miseriae designat, et hoc videtur dicere contra dictum Eliphaz et Baldath qui dixerant quod si converteretur ab adversitate liberaretur: contra quod dicit quod etiam si iustus effectus sit non tamen propter hoc a miseria relevatur, quamvis pro praecedentibus peccatis si qua fuerint iam sufficienter punitus sit, quod per saturitatem afflictionis et miseriae designat. He also adds another argument as a consequence which is this: If sin is the whole cause for the present adversities, it would follow that the just would not suffer adversities in this world like sinners do. Now, we see that adversities are universally suffered by both the just and sinners. This is just what he says, “If I am unjust, woe is me!” because I suffer adversities; “and if I will be just,” either I was that way earlier or only now became so, “I will not,” on this account, “lift up my head,” as if I have been raised up from misery. I speak as one existing “drowned in affliction” from sorrow, “and misery,” from need and confusion. By drowning he refers to the abundance of his affliction and misery, and he seems to say this against the words of Eliphaz (5:18) and Bildad (8:5) who had said that if he were converted he would be freed from adversity. Against this he says that even if he were justified, he is still not free from misery on this account, although he has been sufficiently punished for his past sins, if there were any. He shows this using the term designating the fullness of misery and affliction.
Et quia hoc ei ad superbiam Eliphaz imputaverat quod se innocentem dicebat, subiungit et propter superbiam quasi leaenam capies me: dixerat enim supra Eliphaz in denotatione Iob rugitus leonis et vox leaenae et dentes catulorum leonum contriti sunt; dicit ergo propter superbiam quasi leaenam capies me, quasi dicat: facis me reputari ab his qui capiunt verba mea quasi leaenam propter superbiam. Et hoc ipsum quod sic malus reputabatur erat ei poena super poenam, unde subdit reversusque mirabiliter me crucias, quasi prius venisti affligens me per subtractionem rerum et corporis vulnera, et nunc iterato redisti et crucias me per amicos, quod est mirabile quia ab amicis magis consolationem deberem accipere; vel hoc dicit quia maxime homo affligitur cum ab amicis deridetur. Qualis autem sit iste cruciatus ostendit subdens instauras testes tuos contra me: Eliphaz enim dum videbatur iustitiam Dei defendere et similiter socii eius, in quo quasi testes Dei se demonstrabant, contra Iob loquebantur eum de peccato arguentes; et sic multiplicas iram tuam, idest effectum irae dum me multipliciter punis, et poenae militant in me, quasi cum quadam auctoritate et sine contradictione me impugnant: milites enim consueverunt cum auctoritate regia et absque ulla contradictione aliquem qui reputatur reus invadere.  Because Eliphaz imputed the fact that he said he was innocent to pride, he then says, “Because of my pride, you will capture me like a lioness.” For Eliphaz had already referred to Job saying, “The roaring of the lion and the voice of the lioness and the teeth of the lion’s whelps have been broken.” (4:10) Therefore he says, “Because of my pride, you will capture me like a lioness,” as if he should say: You make me to be reckoned by those who hear my words like a lioness because of pride. The very fact that he was considered evil for that reason was for him a further punishment on top of the first one. So he continues, “and returning you torment me wondrously,” for you first came afflicting me taking away things and wounding my body and now you have returned again and torment me through my friends. This is cause for wonder because I ought rather to receive consolation from my friends. Or he says this because a man is most tormented when he is derided by his friends. He shows the type of torment this is continuing, “You set up witnesses against me.” For Eliphaz and his companions made a pretense of defending the justice of God and in this they wanted to stand like witnesses to speak on behalf of God and attack Job to convict him of sin. Therefore, “you multiply your anger,” that is the effect of your anger when you punish me in so many different ways, “and your punishments battle against me,” when they assault me with a certain authority and without contradiction. For soldiers who normally attack with royal authority and without contradiction anyone who is thought to be a criminal.
The Third Lesson: Job Desires a Respite
וְלָמָּה מֵרֶחֶם הֹצֵאתָנִי אֶגְוַע וְעַיִן לֹא־תִרְאֵנִי׃ 18 כַּאֲשֶׁר לֹא־הָיִיתִי אֶהְיֶה מִבֶּטֶן לַקֶּבֶר אוּבָל׃ 19 הֲלֹא־מְעַט יָמַי יַחֲדָל *וְשִׁית מִמֶּנִּי וְאַבְלִיגָה מְּעָט׃ 20 בְּטֶרֶם אֵלֵךְ וְלֹא אָשׁוּב אֶל־אֶרֶץ חֹשֶׁךְ וְצַלְמָוֶת׃ 21 אֶרֶץ עֵיפָתָה כְּמוֹ אֹפֶל צַלְמָוֶת וְלֹא סְדָרִים וַתֹּפַע כְּמוֹ־אֹפֶל׃ פ 22 18 Why did you take me from the womb? Would that I had perished so that no eye would see me. 19 I would have been as though I had not been, carried from womb to tomb. 20 Will not the short span of my days finish quickly? Leave me then for a little while to myself, so that I may lament my pain; 21 before I go away and I do not return to the land of gloom, covered with the mist of death; 22 a land of unhappiness, a land of shadows; where the shades of death and no order but everlasting terror dwells.
Quare de vulva eduxisti me et cetera. Terminaverat Iob inquisitionem suam in hoc quod, sive iustus sive peccator esset, tribulationibus multiplicibus subiacebat; et ne aliquis posset credere Deum in eius tribulationibus delectari, vult inquirere an hoc verum esse possit. Inconveniens autem videtur quod aliquis effectum suum producat ad hoc quod male se habeat, cum potius omne agens in suo effectu bonum intendat; supponit autem, sicut ex praemissis patet, se esse opus Dei, et ideo ab eo quaerit quare de vulva eduxisti me? Quasi dicat: numquid propter hoc me nasci fecisti ut tribulationibus subdas? Et quia posset aliquis dicere quod etiam sic in tribulationibus esse melius est simpliciter quam natum non esse, excludit hoc dicens qui utinam consumptus essem, scilicet in materno utero, ne oculus me videret, idest ne confusionem paterer ex tantis malis quae in me oculi hominum conspiciunt; et tamen si in materno utero consumptus essem, habuissem dignitatem essendi sine miseria quae mihi existenti accidit, et hoc est quod dicit fuissem, quasi participans, idest participassem id quod boni est in esse, quasi non essem, idest immunis forem a malis huius vitae ac si numquam fuissem; non est enim dignitas humani esse ut in perpetuum conservetur sed, ut tandem homo moriatur et transferatur ad tumulum qui mortuo praeparatur ad hoc quod aliqualis eius memoria post mortem remaneat: et hoc etiam mihi non defuisset, unde sequitur de utero translatus ad tumulum. Job had finished his investigation with the statement that he has suffered a great many tribulations regardless of the fact that he is just or unjust. He wants to ask if this can be true lest anyone could believe that God rejoiced in his tribulations. It would seem unfitting that someone would cause an effect as his own to treat it evilly, because every agent rather intends the good in its effect. This supposes, however, that he is the work of God as he made clear in the foregoing arguments. (vv. 3 and 4) So he asks him, “Why did you take me from the womb,” as if to say: Did you cause my birth in order to subdue me with trials? Because someone could object that absolutely considered (simpliciter) it is better to exist even in tribulations than not to have been born at all, he rejects this opinion saying, “would that I had perished,” in my mother’s womb,” so that no eye would see me,” so as not to suffer shame from the great evils which the eyes of men contemplate in me. If I had perished in my mother’s womb, I would still have had the dignity of existing without the unhappiness which befell me in existing. He speaks about this saying, “I would have been,” i.e. I would have participated in what is good in existing, “as though I had not been,” I would have been free from the evils of this life as though I had never existed. For the dignity of man’s being does not consist in being preserved perpetually. But rather, at length, as man dies and is carried to a tomb which is prepared for the dead so that his memory may remain after death in some way. I would have been without even this, and so the text continues, “carried from womb to tomb.”
Nullus autem in poenis alicuius delectatus ita crudelis invenitur qui vel non ad modicum ab affligendo cesset; dato ergo quod Deus causa nativitatis hominis non esset, tamen dies hominis breves sunt et praecipue in comparatione ad aeternitatem Dei, et ista etiam brevitas, quando homo iam magnam partem vitae transivit, cito finienda expectatur, et hoc est quod dicit numquid non paucitas dierum meorum, quia omnes dies vitae meae pauci sunt, finietur brevi iam ipsius paucitatis magna parte transacta? Non est ergo magnum si de cetero a percutiendo cesses, et hoc est quod concludit dimitte ergo me. Et si tibi durum videtur quod vel ad horam absque afflictionibus sim, certum est quod etiam te cessante a percussione non mihi remanet unde gaudeam sed unde doleam, et hoc est quod subdit ut plangam paululum dolorem meum, scilicet quem ex praecedentibus percussionibus concepi; hoc autem dicit quia percuti se adhuc reputabat dum amici eum obiurgabant, de quibus dixerat instauras testes tuos contra me. There is no one who delights in the torments of another who is so cruel that he would give him at least a brief respite from afflicting him. So even if one supposes that God were not the cause of the birth of man, the man’s days are still short, especially in comparison to the eternity of God. Man expects even that brief time will be ended quickly when he has already passed a great part of his life. This is what he says now,” will not the short span of my days,” because all the days of my life are few,” finish quickly,” when a great part of that short span is already past? It is not a great thing to stop persecuting me for the rest of my days, and so he concludes, “Leave me, then.” If it seems difficult for you to not afflict me for at least one hour, it is certain that even after you cease to afflict me, there remains no cause for joy for me, but only cause for grief. He continues on this theme, “A little comfort in my pain,” which I feel from the blows I am suffering. He says this because still he considered himself to be struck hard as long as his friends reproved him. He spoke about this when he said, “You set up witnesses against me.” (v.17)
Et quia posset sibi responderi immo potius hic modico tempore affligendus es, quando hinc transibis consolationem invenies, quod posset esse dupliciter: uno modo iterato redeundo ad hanc vitam, et hoc excludit cum dicit antequam vadam, scilicet per mortem, et non revertar, ut iterum vivam - quod potest exponi dupliciter: uno modo ut dicat se non reverti ad similem modum vivendi, ut quidam fabulabantur; vel melius dicendum quod more disputatoris loquitur secundum id quod adversarii sentiunt antequam veritas manifestetur: infra autem Iob manifeste veritatem resurrectionis indicabit, et ideo in omnibus praecedentibus loquitur de resurrectione supponendo opinionem eorum cum quibus disputabat, qui non credebant aliam vitam esse nisi istam, sed in hac sola homines aut puniri aut praemiari pro malis ac bonis quae agunt; alio modo posset post finem huius vitae consolationem expectare in ipso statu mortis, sed hoc excludit dicens ad terram tenebrosam, ad quam scilicet vadam post mortem. But one could object: On the contrary you should rather be afflicted here for a little time so that when you go from here, you will find consolation. This can be interpreted in two ways. In one way by returning a second time to this life. He excludes this saying, “Before I go away in,” in death, “and I do not return to live,” again. This can be explained in two ways. In one way it means that he is not to return to the same kind of life as some have falsely maintained. A better interpretation would be that he is speaking in the manner of a debater adopting the point of view of his adversaries before the truth is shown. (14:13 and 19:25) In a subsequent chapter, Job will clearly give evidence about the truth of the resurrection. In all the foregoing, therefore, he speaks about the resurrection supposing the opinion of those with whom he argues to be true, for they do not believe that there is another life except this one. They think men are either punished or rewarded for the evil or the good deeds which they do only in this life. In another way, he could expect consolation after the end of this life in the very state of death itself. But he rejects this saying, “to the land of gloom,” where I will go after death.
Et potest hoc exponi dupliciter: uno modo de Inferno ad quem animae omnium hominum descendebant etiam iustorum ante Christum, licet iusti ibi poenas sensibiles non paterentur sed solum tenebras, alii vero et poenas et tenebras; sed quia Iob sic locutus fuerat ac si dubium esset utrum ipse esset iustus ut rei veritas erat, vel peccator ut amici eius calumniabantur, describit Infernum communiter et quantum ad bonos et quantum ad malos. Accipiendo ergo Infernum sic communiter dicitur terra tenebrosa inquantum caret claritate divinae visionis; dicitur operta mortis caligine quantum ad peccatum originale quod est caligo inducens ad mortem; dicitur terra miseriae quantum ad poenas quas ibi reprobi patiuntur; dicitur terra tenebrarum quantum ad obscuritates peccatorum actualium quibus mali involvuntur; dicitur autem ibi esse umbra, idest similitudo, mortis quia sic affliguntur ac si semper morerentur; dicitur autem ibi nullus ordo esse vel propter confusionem mentium quam patiuntur damnati vel propter hoc quod ille ordo non ibi servatur qui hic: hic enim ignis ardet et lucet, quod ibi non est; sempiternus autem horror ibi inhabitat quia licet semper doleant de poenis praesentibus, semper tamen timent futuras. This too can be explained in two ways. In one way it can be interpreted to express the hell (infernus) to which the souls of all men, even the souls of the just before Christ, descended. Although the just did not suffer sensible pains there, but only darkness, the others suffer both pains and darkness. But since Job had spoken as if it were doubtful whether he himself was just or a sinner as his friends unjustly accused him (in fact, he was just) he describes hell in a way common to both the good and the wicked. If hell is considered in this common sense, it is called a “land of gloom,” because it lacks the clarity of the divine vision. It is said to be “covered with the mist of death,” because of original sin which is the mist leading to death. It is said to be a “land of unhappiness” because of the punishments which the condemned suffer. It is called “land of shadows” because of the obscurities of actual sins which entangle the wicked. A “shadow” is said to be there, i.e. a likeness “of death” because they are afflicted it is like a perpetual death. There is said to be “confusion” there either because of the confusion of minds which the damned suffer or because of the fact that the order is not observed there which is observed here. Here fire burns and gives light but not so there. There “one dwells in everlasting terror” because although they are always in pain from present punishments there, they still always fear future ones.
Sed quia illi contra quos disputabat immortalitatem animae non ponebant ut sic post mortem remaneret, ipse autem adhuc loquitur secundum positiones eorum, melius quantum ad sensum litterae sic exponitur ut totum referatur ad corpus quod in terra sepelitur et in terram convertitur. Dicit ergo ad terram tenebrosam quantum ad ipsam proprietatem terrae, quae in se opaca est; sed licet in se sit opaca, tamen viventes qui super terram habitant illustrantur lumine aeris operientis terram, sed isto lumine mortui non perfruuntur, unde subdit et opertam mortis caligine, quasi dicat: mors facit ut post mortem aliquis non utatur lumine quo vivi utuntur. Contingit autem quandoque quod licet aliquis vivus lumine circumdante terram non perfruatur, tamen in aliquo occulto loco terrae existens fruitur desideratis quoad appetitum et considerat veritates secundum intellectum, sed hoc mortui carent, unde subdit terram miseriae quantum ad carentiam omnium desiderabilium, et tenebrarum inquantum deficit consideratio veritatum. Inter alia etiam in quibus vivi delectantur, praecipuum est societas humana cum debito ordine quo quidam praesunt et alii subsunt et alii serviunt, sed hoc mortui privantur, unde subdit ubi umbra mortis, quasi dicat: apud mortuos non sunt nisi umbrae secundum aestimationem viventium, ut dicitur Sap. XVII 4 personae apparentes tristes pavorem illis dederunt; et nullus ordo, quia absque differentia honoris et dignitatis similis est condicio mortuorum; sed sempiternus horror inhabitat, quantum ad viventes quibus horrori sunt mortui, quasi dicat: nihil est in statu mortuorum nisi quae homines horrent, et hoc in sempiternum apud eos erit si ad vitam non redeunt. But since those against whom he disputes did not assert the immortality of the soul in that it survived after death, he still speaks expressing their position. The passage is better explained according to the literal sense, so that the whole text refers to the body which is buried in the ground and converted into dust. So he says, “to a land of gloom,” to express the very property of earth which is opaque in itself. Although it is opaque considered in itself, those who inhabit it are illuminated by the light of the air covering the earth. The dead, however, do not enjoy that sort of light and so he says, “covered with the mist of death,” as if to say: Because of death, someone does not enjoy the light after death which the living enjoy. Sometimes it happens that although some living person does not enjoy the light surrounding the earth, yet while living deep in the hidden caverns of the earth, he enjoys thing according to his appetite and considers truths according to their intellect. But the dead cannot do this, and so he says, “the land of unhappiness,” because of the lack of all things desirable and “of shadows” because the consideration of truth is lacking. Among things enjoyed by the living, human society is special with proper order according to which certain people rule, others are under them and others serve them. The dead are deprived of this society and so he continues, “whereas the shade of death,” as if to say: There are nothing but shadows among the dead from the point of view of the living. For Wisdom says, “Specters who appeared sad made them tremble with fear.” (17:4) “No order” because the condition of the dead is like it without honor or dignity. “But everlasting terror dwells “with respect to the living for whom the dead are a horror as if to say: There is nothing in the state of the dead except what men shudder at and this will be eternally true for them if they do not return to life.
Sic igitur Iob inquirendo causam suae tribulationis ostendit hoc non esse ab aliquo impio in cuius manu data sit terra, non esse a Deo calumniose opprimente, non esse a Deo culpam inquirente, non esse a Deo peccata puniente, non esse a Deo in poenis sibi complacente: unde adhuc remanet sub dubio causa tribulationis eius. Quae omnia prosequitur Iob ut de necessitate inducat eos ad ponendum aliam vitam in qua et iusti praemiantur et mali puniuntur, ex quo ea non posita non potest reddi causa tribulationis iustorum, quos certum est aliquando in hoc mundo tribulari. Therefore, Job shows in the investigation of the causal explanation for his trial that this is not caused by some unjust person into whose hands the earth has been given (9:24 ff.), nor by God persecuting him on a false charge, (v.3) nor God looking for a fault (v.4), nor by God punishing sins (v.14), nor by God enjoying the punishments. (v.18) As a result, the cause of his pains still remains in doubt. Job pursues all these things to lead the friends to conclude that there must of necessity be another life in which the just are rewarded and the wicked punished. It this position is not posited no cause can be given for the suffering of the just who certainly sometimes are troubled in this world.

The First Lesson: The Infinite Grandeur of God
וַיַּעַן צֹפַר הַנַּעֲמָתִי וַיֹּאמַר׃ 1 הֲרֹב דְּבָרִים לֹא יֵעָנֶה וְאִם־אִישׁ שְׂפָתַיִם יִצְדָּק׃ 2 בַּדֶּיךָ מְתִים יַחֲרִישׁו וַתִּלְעַג וְאֵין מַכְלִם׃ 3 וַתֹּאמֶר זַךְ לִקְחִי וּבַר הָיִיתִי בְעֵינֶיךָ׃ 4 וְאוּלָם מִי־יִתֵּן אֱלוֹהַּ דַּבֵּר וְיִפְתַּח שְׂפָתָיו עִמָּךְ׃ 5 וְיַגֶּד־לְךָ תַּעֲלֻמוֹת חָכְמָה כִּי־כִפְלַיִם לְתוּשִׁיָּה וְדַע כִּי־יַשֶּׁה לְךָ אֱלוֹהַ מֵעֲוֹנֶךָ׃ 6 הַחֵקֶר אֱלוֹהַ תִּמְצָא אִם עַד־תַּכְלִית שַׁדַּי תִּמְצָא׃ 7 גָּבְהֵי שָׁמַיִם מַה־תִּפְעָל עֲמֻקָּה מִשְּׁאוֹל מַה־תֵּדָע׃ 8 אֲרֻכָּה מֵאֶרֶץ מִדָּהּ וּרְחָבָה מִנִּי־יָם׃ 9 אִם־יַחֲלֹף וְיַסְגִּיר וְיַקְהִיל וּמִי יְשִׁיבֶנּוּ׃ 10 1 Then Sophar the Naamathite answered: 2 Will he who talks a great deal not also listen? Or will a glib man be justified? 3 Will men keep silence for you alone? When you have derided the others, will no one answer you? 4 For you have said: My speech is pure. And I am clean in your sight. 5 Would that God could speak with you and open his lips to you 6 to show you the secrets of his wisdom, that his law is versatile. Then you would understand that you are being punished much less that your evil merits. 7 Will you perhaps understand the footprints of God, and will you discover the truth even to the perfect Omnipotence of God. 8 He is higher than the heaven and what will you do? He is deeper than hell and from what will you know him? 9 He is longer than the earth in measure and wider than the sea! 10 If he wills to sweep them all away or draw them together into one mass, who will contradict him? Or who can say to him: Why did you do this?’
Respondens autem Sophar Naamathites dixit et cetera. Superius Iob inter cetera mala quae patiebatur, mirabiliter cruciari se dixerat ab amicis suis qui contra eum insurgebant quasi testes pro Deo, a quo verbo tactus Sophar respondit, unde dicitur respondens autem Sophar Naamathites dixit: numquid qui multa loquitur nonne et audiet? Quasi dicat: tu multa locutus es inordinate, unde non est mirum si ab amicis tuis reprehensus es; quia si homo qui loquitur multa non reprehenderetur, sequeretur hoc inconveniens quod homines ex hoc ipso quod sunt loquaces iusti reputarentur, unde sequitur aut vir verbosus iustificabitur, idest iustus reputabitur? Et quia posset dicere Iob sibi debere deferri propter suam dignitatem, excludit hoc subdens tibi soli tacebunt homines, et cum ceteros irriseris a nullo confutaberis? Intelligebat enim et alios esse irrisos in hoc quod eos testes Dei vocaverat et in hoc quod supra dixerat quare detraxistis sermonibus veritatis? Et ideo dicit non esse mirandum si etiam alii contra ipsum loquantur. Sed forte posset dicere quod non haberent quid dicerent contra eum vel contra verba eius, et ad hoc excludendum subdit dixisti enim: purus est sermo meus: hoc accipit ab eo quod supra dixerat non invenietis in lingua mea iniquitatem, nec in faucibus meis stultitia personabit; et mundus sum in conspectu tuo: hoc Iob expresse non dixerat, sed ex verbis eius accipere volebat quia disputaverat se non pro peccato punitum, vel ex eo quod dixerat scias quia nihil impium fecerim, vel ex eo quod supra dixit nonne dissimulavi? Nonne silui? In the speech above (10:16), Job had remarked with wonder that among other evils which he was suffering he had been tormented by his friends who rose against him like witnesses speaking for God. Sophar, who was touched by this argument answers. So the text says, “Then Sophar the Naamathite answered, ‘Will he who talks a lot not also to listen?” He means: You have spoken many things in a disordered way and so it is not surprising that you are censured by your friends. For if a man who speaks many things were not censured, it would follow that men would be held just simply from the fact that they talked a lot. So the text continues, “Or will a glib man be justified?” i.e. will he be considered just? Since Job could say to him that he should have been deferred to because of his dignity, he excludes this objection saying, “Will men keep silence for you alone, when you have derided the others? will no one answer you?” For he understood Job had mocked the others because he termed them witnesses for God (10:17) and when he had said above, “Why do you slander true ideas?” (6:25) So he says Job ought not to be surprised if the others also speak against him. But perhaps Job could say that they have no reason to reproach him or his words. To reject this he continues, “For you have said: My speech is pure.” He makes this interpretation according to what Job had said already, “You will find no evil on my tongue, nor will stupidity resound on my lips” (6:30); and “I am clean in your sight.” Job had not expressly said this, but Sophar wanted to take this interpretation from his words to say that Job had argued that he was not punished for sin. (10:14) Also from his statement, “Know I have done nothing wicked,” (10:17) or “Have I not dissembled? Was I not silent?” (3:26) he infers the same interpretation.
Considerandum est autem quod cum peccatum sit obliquatio a lege Dei, non potest plene cognosci peccatum vel quantitas eius nisi lex Dei cognoscatur: rectum enim est iudex sui ipsius et obliqui; quod igitur Iob se diceret immunem a peccato vel non ita graviter peccasse sicut puniebatur, ex hoc reputabat Sophar accidere quod Iob legem Dei non perfecte cognosceret, et ideo dicit atque utinam Deus loqueretur tecum et aperiret labia sua tibi. Hoc videtur in suggillationem Iob dicere, quia dixerat indica mihi cur me ita iudices; et potest dici quod Deus simpliciter loquitur homini cum eius cordi aliquid de sua sapientia inspirat, secundum illud Psalmi audiam quid loquatur in me dominus Deus; labia autem sua aperit cum per aliquos effectus hominibus aliquid revelat: labiis enim formantur voces exterius quibus interiores conceptus cordis exprimimus. However, one should be careful to note that since sin is a turning aside from the law of God, one cannot know if something is a sin or its magnitude, if one does not know the law of God for “The straight line is the judge of both itself and the crooked line.” So since Job said he was free from sin or he had not sinned as gravely as he was punished, Sophar understood from this that Job did not perfectly understand the law of God. Therefore he says, “Would that God would speak with you and open his lips to you!” He seems to want to insult Job because Job had asked, “Tell me why you judge me so.” (10:3) God is said to speak to man simply when he inspires something of his wisdom in man’s heart, according to Psalm 84, “I will hear what my God says to me.” (v.9) However, God opens his lips when he reveals something to men by means of his effects. For words are formed exteriorly with the lips by which we express the interior concepts of the heart.
Considerandum autem quod ab intellectu divinorum duplici ratione deficimus: primo quidem quia cum invisibilia Dei cognoscere non possimus nisi per ea quae facta sunt, ea vero quae facta sunt multum deficiant a virtute factoris, oportet quod remaneant multa in factore consideranda quae nobis occultantur, et haec vocantur secreta sapientiae Dei, de quibus dicit ut ostenderet tibi secreta sapientiae. Secundo quia etiam ipsum creaturarum ordinem ad plenum comprehendere non possumus secundum quod a divina providentia dispensatur; aliter enim est in humano regimine et aliter in divino: nam apud homines quanto aliquis est superior in regendo tanto eius ordinatio ad universaliora solum se extendit, particularia vero relinquit inferioribus rectoribus dispensanda, et sic lex regiminis superioris rectoris est universalis et simplex; sed Deus quanto est superior in regendo tanto eius ordinatio etiam usque ad minima se extendit: unde lex sui regiminis non solum est secreta, si respiciamus ad altitudinem rectoris excedentem universam proportionem creaturae, sed etiam est multiplex, universa etiam singularia et minima sub certo ordine, dispensans, et ideo addidit et quod multiplex sit lex eius. Take note that we fail to understand divine things in two ways. First, because as we cannot know “the invisible things of God” except through “things which have been created” (Rom. 1:20) and things which have been created express the power of the creator very weakly, many things must remain to be considered in the creator which are hidden from us. These are called the secrets of the wisdom of God. He speaks about these saying, “to show you the secrets of his wisdom.” Second, because we are not even able to understand the very order of creatures in itself completely in the manner in which it is governed by divine providence. For divine government functions in a very different way from human government. Among men, one is superior in ruling to the extent that his ordering extends to more universal considerations only and he leaves the particular details of government to his subordinates. Thus the law under the direction of a higher ruler is universal and simple. But God is more superior in ruling the more his ordering power extends even to the most insignificant matters. So, the law of his rule is not only secret if we consider the high character of the ruler in exceeding completely any proportion to a creature, but also in the versatility with which he governs every single thing, even the most isolated and most insignificant according to a fixed order. So he continues, “his law is versatile.”
Et hoc quidem non solum in rebus naturalibus est considerare, prout divino subduntur regimini, sed etiam in rebus humanis. Leges enim humanae, quia non potuerunt earum latores omnia singularia respicere, ad universalia quaedam respiciunt quae ut in pluribus accidunt; qualiter autem universalia statuta humana sint factis singularibus applicanda relinquitur prudentiae operantis: unde in multis homo potest deficere a rectitudine, in quibus tamen non contrariatur legi humanitus positae; sed lex divina secundum quod est in sapientia Dei ad omnia particularia et minima se extendit, et sic non potest contingere quod homo in aliquo a rectitudine discordet et non contrarietur legi divinae. Quia igitur homo ad ipsam legem divinam, prout est in secreto sapientiae Dei inspiciendam, pertingere non potest et per consequens nec eius multiplicitatem agnoscere, contingit quod aliquando non putet se contra legem Dei agere cum tamen agat, vel parum delinquere cum multum delinquat, unde subdit et intelligeres, scilicet si essent tibi ostensa secreta sapientiae et multiplicitas legis Dei, quod multo minora exigaris ab eo, scilicet in sustinendo poenas, quam meretur iniquitas tua, quam vel non cognoscis vel aestimas parvam. Et in hoc videtur reprehendere quod Iob supra dixerat utinam appenderentur peccata mea quibus iram merui et calamitas quam patior in statera. Quasi arena maris haec gravior appareret. One must certainly reflect on this not only in natural things in that they are subject to the rule of God, but also in human affairs. For human laws respect certain universal things which happen in the majority of cases because those who frame them were not able to consider every single case. The manner in which universal human statutes should be applied to individual deeds is left to the prudence of the administrator. Therefore, man can fall short of righteousness in many things, which are still not contrary to human positive law. But divine law extends to all particulars even to the most insignificant things because it exists in the wisdom of God. Thus a man cannot be discordant with righteousness in something and not be in violation of the divine law. Since then man cannot attain the divine law itself as though investigating things hidden in the wisdom of God, and consequently cannot understand its complexity, he sometimes does not think he is acting against the law of God when in fact he is, or he thinks he is sinning a little when he is sinning a lot. So he then says, “Then you would understand,” i.e. if the secrets of God’s wisdom and the complex character of the law of God had been revealed to you, “that you are being punished much less by him,” in sustaining your punishments, “than your evil merits,” which you are either not aware of or think is small. In this he seems to be criticizing what Job had said already, “Would that my sins for which I merit your anger were weighed in scales and the calamity which I suffer was weighed in a scale. The sands of the shore of the sea could not match them.” (6:2)
Et quia supposuerat in divina sapientia esse aliquod secretum quod nondum erat Iob ostensum, ne hoc posset negari, per sequentia confirmat dicens forsitan vestigia Dei comprehendes. Vestigia signa sunt per viam procedentis; opera autem Dei viae ipsius dicuntur, et productio creaturarum a Deo quidam processus Dei intelligitur in creaturas, prout divina bonitas ab eo in quo simpliciter et summe existit gradatim ad effectus derivata procedit dum superiora inferioribus meliora inveniuntur: vestigia ergo Dei sunt signa quaedam in creaturis inventa, ex quibus per eas Deus aliquatenus cognosci potest. Sed cum humana mens nec ipsas creaturas totaliter et perfecte cognoscere possit, multo minus et de ipso creatore perfectam notitiam habere potest, et ideo interrogando subdit et usque ad perfectum omnipotentem reperies? Quasi dicat: si creaturas perfecte cognoscere non potes, multo minus nec creatorem; et signanter dicit reperies quia per quandam inquisitionem ratio ab effectibus procedit ad causam, quam dum per effectus cognoscit eam dicimur invenire. Because he thought there was some hidden secret in God’s wisdom which had not yet been revealed to Job, he strengthens this opinion in what follows trying to make it so sure that Job cannot deny it saying, “You will not perhaps understand the footprints of God.” Footprints are signs of someone walking on a road. So the works of God are called his road and the production of creatures by God is understood as a kind of procession of God in his creatures inasmuch as the divine good derived from him in whom it exists simply and in the highest sense proceeds from him by degrees to effects when higher creatures are understood to be better than lower creatures. Therefore, the footprints of God are certain signs found in creatures by which God can be known in a certain sense through his creatures. But since the human mind cannot totally and perfectly understand creatures in themselves, much less can it have perfect knowledge about the Creator himself. Therefore, he then asks, “and will you discover the truth even about the perfect Omnipotence of God?” as if to say: If you cannot know creatures perfectly, much less can you know the Creator. He says plainly “will you discover” because reason proceeds by a certain process of investigation from effects to cause and as soon as reason knows the causes through the effects we are said to discover it.
Nec est mirum si creaturis non perfecte cognitis creator non perfecte cognoscitur, quia etiam creaturis perfecte cognitis adhuc creator non perfecte cognosceretur: tunc enim per effectus perfecte causa cognosci potest quando effectus adaequant causae virtutem, quod de Deo dici non potest, et ideo subdit excelsior caelo est, et quid facies? Profundior Inferno, et unde cognosces? Longior terra mensura eius et latior mari. Haec sub metaphora dicuntur: non enim debet intelligi quod Deus qui incorporeus est dimensionibus corporalibus distendatur, sed magnitudinem virtutis sub similitudine magnitudinis corporalis describit, quia quantumcumque quantitates corporeae videntur esse magnae vel altitudine vel profunditate vel longitudine vel latitudine, deficiunt tamen a magnitudine virtutis Dei quae maiora facere posset, et ideo signanter Deum omnipotentem prius nominavit. Ex hoc ergo ostendit quod perfecte in creaturis inveniri non potest, quia dato quod omnes creaturae perfecte cognoscerentur, ex eis cognosci non posset virtus ei aequalis: quod ergo medium sumi potest ad cognoscendum virtutem Dei secundum quod excedit omnem creaturam? Et hoc significat cum dicit quid facies? Et unde cognosces? One should also not be surprised if the Creator is not known if creatures are not perfectly understood, because even if creatures were perfectly known, the Creator would still not be. For a cause can only be perfectly known through it effects when the effects equal in power to the cause. This cannot be attributed to God. So he continues, “He is higher than the heaven and what will you do? He is deeper than hell and from what will you know him? He is longer than the earth in measure and wider than the sea.” He says these things metaphorically. For he does not mean that God, who is incorporeal, is divided into corporeal dimensions, but he describes the greatness of his power using the metaphor of the great size of a body. This is because no matter how great the quantities of bodies seem to be in height, depth, length or breadth, they are still deficient if compared to the greatness of the power of God who can make greater things. So he plainly attributed “omnipotence” to God before (v.7). From this he shows that God cannot be discovered perfectly in his creatures, because even given the fact that all creatures were perfectly known, one cannot know the power equal to that of God adequately from them. Can one take a measure to know the power of God which exceeds every creature? He clarifies this difficulty when he says, “what will you do?” and “from what can you know him?”
Non solum autem divina virtus excedit omnem creaturam in producendo sed etiam in conservando: non enim creaturae conservatio est nisi a Deo, nec est aliqua virtus in creatura quae divinae voluntati resistere posset si ipsam creaturam ulterius conservare non vellet, et ideo subdit si subverterit omnia, in nihilum redigendo, subtrahendo scilicet eis esse, vel in unum coartaverit, confusionem inducendo per subtractionem ordinis quo res distinguit, quis contradicet ei? Idest quae virtus creaturae poterit esse contraria, contra eius voluntatem conservans vel se vel alia in esse? Sed ne aliquis dicat quod licet nihil posset conservari in esse nisi per eum, tamen quasi ex debito res in esse conservat, ad hoc excludendum subdit vel quis dicere ei potest: cur ita facis? Quasi ab eo exigens rationem de debito praetermisso. Divine power not only exceeds every being in producing them, but also in preserving them in being. For the preservation of a creature is only from God and there is no power in the creature which could resist the divine will if he does not will to preserve the creature itself any more. So he continues, “If he wills to sweep them all away,” by reducing them to nothing, i.e. by taking away their being, “or draw them together into mass,” by confusing them when he takes away the order which distinguishes things, “who will contradict him?” i.e. what power of the creature will be able to so contrary to his will. To preclude someone from arguing that although nothing could be preserved in being except through him as if he is duty-bound, he next rejects this argument saying, “Or who can say to him: Why did you do this?” as though he were trying to require an explanation by him about some duty which he overlooked.
The Second Lesson: The Great Infinity of God
כִּי־הוּא יָדַע מְתֵי־שָׁוְא וַיַּרְא־אָוֶן וְלֹא יִתְבּוֹנָן׃ 11 וְאִישׁ נָבוּב יִלָּבֵב וְעַיִר פֶּרֶא אָדָם יִוָּלֵד׃ 12 אִם־אַתָּה הֲכִינוֹתָ לִבֶּךָ וּפָרַשְׂתָּ אֵלָיו כַּפֶּךָ׃ 13 אִם־אָוֶן בְּיָדְךָ הַרְחִיקֵהוּ וְאַל־תַּשְׁכֵּן בְּאֹהָלֶיךָ עַוְלָה׃ 14 כִּי־אָז תִּשָּׂא פָנֶיךָ מִמּוּם וְהָיִיתָ מֻצָק וְלֹא תִירָא׃ 15 כִּי־אַתָּה עָמָל תִּשְׁכָּח כְּמַיִם עָבְרוּ תִזְכֹּר׃ 16 וּמִצָּהֳרַיִם יָקוּם חָלֶד תָּעֻפָה כַּבֹּקֶר תִּהְיֶה׃ 17 וּבָטַחְתָּ כִּי־יֵשׁ תִּקְוָה וְחָפַרְתָּ לָבֶטַח תִּשְׁכָּב׃ 18 וְרָבַצְתָּ וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד וְחִלּוּ פָנֶיךָ רַבִּים׃ 19 וְעֵינֵי רְשָׁעִים תִּכְלֶינָה וּמָנוֹס אָבַד מִנְהֶם וְתִקְוָתָם מַפַּח־נָפֶשׁ׃ פ 20 11 For he knows the vanity of men. When he sees something wicked, does he not consider it? 12 The vain man puffs himself up with pride. He thinks he is born free as the young wild ass. 13 But you have hardened your heart and you have stretched out your hands to God. 14 If you will take away the evil from yourself which is on your head, and if you will not remain in your tent, 15 then you will be able to lift up your head, free from stain and you will be stable. You will not fear. 16 Your misery also you will forget and you will not remember them, like floods which have passed. 17 The radiance of noon will come to you in the evening, and although you thought you had been used up, you will arise like Lucifer. 18 You will have confidence because hope has been proposed to you and when you have been buried you will sleep safe; 19 you will rest and there will be no one to frighten you, and many intercede in longing for your face. 20 The eyes of the wicked will be deficient and they will lose every means of flight, and their hope is the loathing of the soul.
Ipse enim novit hominum vanitatem et cetera. Postquam ostendit Sophar quod in divina sapientia est aliquid secretum quod homini incomprehensibile est, procedit ad aliud manifestandum quod prius supposuerat, scilicet quod Deus pro peccato ab homine exigat poenam et, ad hoc quidem manifestandum, quod Deus facta hominum cognoscat, unde dicit: recte dico quod exigeris a Deo minora quam mereatur tua iniquitas, ipse enim novit hominum vanitatem, idest hominum facta vana. Vana autem dici consueverunt quae instabilia sunt eo quod debitis finibus non stabiliuntur: ex hoc igitur est vanitas hominis quod cor eius in veritate non figitur per quam solam potest stabiliri, et ex hoc quod a veritate recedit iniquitatem operatur, dum videlicet appetit illud quod apparet bonum loco eius quod est bonum, unde subdit et videns, scilicet Deus, iniquitatem, ex vanitate hominum prodeuntem, nonne considerat, scilicet ad puniendum? Tunc enim iudex peccatum videns inconsiderate pertransire videtur quando dissimulat et poenam apponere non curat, quod de Deo videtur non esse dicendum: cum igitur ipse videat hominum vanitatem, pro iniquitate exigit poenam. After Sophar has shown that there is something hidden in divine wisdom which is incomprehensible to men, he proceeds to clarify something which he had only supposed before, namely that God exacts punishment for sin from man and he concludes as a certainty that God knows the deeds of man. So he says: I am right in saying that smaller penalties are being exacted from you by God than your evil merits, “For he knows the vanity of man,” i.e. the vain deeds of men. Thing are commonly called vain when they are unstable because they have not been fixed in due ends. The vanity of man then comes from the fact that his heart is not fixed in the truth by which alone it can be securely founded. From the fact that he withdraws from the truth he does evil when he desires what is the apparent good in place of what is good. So he then says, “When he (God) sees something wicked,” produced by the vanity of men, “should he (God) not consider it,” as worthy of punishment? For a judge who sees a sin seems to pass over it without considering it when he keeps it secret and does chooses not to punish it. This shall not be said about God. When he sees the vanity of men, he exacts punishment for their evil.
Sicut autem ex vanitate contingit quod homo ad iniquitatem declinat, ita ex eadem vanitate provenit quod homo divino iudicio se subiectum esse non reputat, et ideo subdit vir vanus in superbiam erigitur, ut scilicet suo superiori se subditum esse non credat, et hoc est quod subdit et tamquam pullum onagri natum se liberum putat. Onager asinus silvestris est, cuius pullus ab hominis dominio liber nascitur; pulli autem asinorum qui ab hominibus possidentur in servitute hominum nascuntur: homines igitur qui se divino iudicio subiectos esse non putant reputant se quasi pullos onagri natos, licet videant alios homines eiusdem condicionis divino iudicio coerceri. Hoc in suggillationem beati Iob dicere videbatur, intelligens ex verbis eius quod quasi de pari cum Deo vellet contendere quia dixerat auferat a me virgam suam et pavor eius non me terreat; loquar et non timebo eum, et ideo subdit tu autem firmasti cor tuum, ut scilicet defenderes iniquitatem tuam. Et tamen cum hac cordis obfirmatione, expandisti ad Deum manus tuas orando, supra scilicet cum dixit dicam Deo: noli me condemnare; et ideo inutilis est oratio tua: utilis enim oratio est quando homo primo iniquitatem dimittit et postea a Deo petit ut a puniendo cesset, et hoc est quod subdit si iniquitatem quae est in manu tua abstuleris a te, ut scilicet desistas ab opere iniquo quod adhuc prae manibus habes, et non manserit in tabernaculo tuo iniustitia, ut scilicet quae iniuste accepta reposita habes restituas, vel ut tuos familiares corrigas pro quorum delictis interdum domini puniuntur propter negligentiam corrigendi, tum levare poteris, scilicet ad Deum orando, faciem tuam absque macula, scilicet culpae. Et sic cessabit condemnatio, primo quidem quantum ad futura, unde subdit et eris stabilis, ut scilicet ulterius per tribulationes non commovearis, et etiam non timebis futura pericula; et quia aliquando licet non timeat de futuro, homo tamen affligitur pro his quae amisit vel passus est, subiungit miseriae quoque, scilicet quam hactenus passus es, oblivisceris, propter abundantiam bonorum supervenientium; et hoc exemplo confirmat cum subdit et quasi aquarum quae praeterierunt non recordaberis, quod dicit quia homo post tempestatem pluviae, cum serenitas advenit, pluviarum praecedentium obliviscitur, vel propter hoc quod aquae fluviorum citissime currunt, et earum postquam transeunt nulla remanet memoria. Just as man turns to evil from vanity, so man does not think he is subject to divine judgment from the same vanity. He therefore continues, “The vain man puffs himself up with pride,” so that he does not believe he is subject to a superior. So he continues, “He thinks he is born as free as the foal of a wild ass.” The foal of a wild ass is born free from the domestication of man. However, the foal of the asses which are born in human possession are born to serve the needs of man. Thus, men who do not think they are subject to divine judgment think they are like the foal of asses born wild, even though they see that other men are coerced by divine judgment who are in the same condition. He seemed to say this as an insult to Blessed Job because he takes Job’s words as an argument with God as with an equal when he said, “May he withdraw his rod from me, let terror of him not frighten me. I will speak and not be afraid of him.” (9:34) So he continues, “But you have hardened your heart,” so you defend your evil. Yet, “You have stretched out your hands to God,” in this condition of hardness of heart in prayer when you said, “I will say to God: Do not condemn me.” (9:34) So your prayer is useless. For prayer is useful when man first puts evil aside and then asks God to stop punishing him. He speaks to this theme saying, “If you will take away the evil from yourself which is on your hands,” namely, so that you and desist from the evil work which you still have on your hands,” and if you will not remain in your tent,” i.e. if you make restitution of what you have unjustly taken away and stored away. Or you correct the members of your household for whose delinquencies the masters are sometimes punished for whose because of their negligence in correcting them. “Then you lift up your head,” in prayer to God, “free from stain,” of fault. In this your condemnation will end, first for the future, and so he says, “and you will be stable,” so that you are not shaken by trials later. Also “you will not fear” future dangers, because sometimes although he does not fear the future, a man is still afflicted about those things which he has lost or has suffered. He continues, “Your misery also,” which you have suffered till not, “you will forget” because of the superabundance of the goods coming to you. He strengthens this with an example when he next says, “and you will not remember them, like floods which have passed.” He says this because a man forgets the floods which have happened after the rainy season when calm returns, or because the waters of the flood rush swiftly away, and after they go, no memory of them remains.
Sed quia contra promissionem prosperitatis in hac vita Iob supra duo opposuerat, scilicet devastationem proprii corporis cum dixit induta est caro mea putredine, et praeteritionem dierum vitae suae cum dixit dies mei velocius transierunt etc., ideo ad utramque obiectionem excludendam subiungit et quasi meridianus fulgor consurget tibi ad vesperam, ac si dicat: licet tibi videatur quod dies tui pertransierint et vita tua sit in fine quasi ad vesperam, tamen tanta poterit tibi supervenire prosperitas quod quasi reducet te ad gaudium iuventutis tuae: sicut enim per vesperam intelligitur senectus, ita per meridiem iuventus; fulgorem autem vocat claritatem terrenae prosperitatis. Contra hoc vero quod dixerat de consumptione proprii corporis subiungit et cum te consumptum putaveris, scilicet propter infirmitatem quam passus es, orieris ut Lucifer, idest ad pristinum decorem revertetur corpus tuum. But since Job had proposed above two arguments against the promise of prosperity in this life : the devastation of his own body when he said, “Decay clothes my flesh,” (7:5) and the passing of the days of his life when he said, “My days have passed more quickly and so on.” (7:6) So he answers both objections saying, “The radiance of noon will come to you in the evening,” as it so say: Although it seems to you that your days have passed away and your life is over almost like the twilight, such great prosperity can still come to you that it will almost lead you back to the joy of your youth. For as old age is understood by twilight, so youth is understood by noon. Now he calls the clarity of earthly prosperity radiance. He then says, against what Job had said about the consumption of his own body, “although you thought that you have been used up,” because of the weakness which you have suffered, “you will arise like the Lucifer,” because your body will return to its youthful beauty.
Et quia iterum supra Iob dixerat quod dies sui consumpti erant absque ulla spe, subiungit et habebis fiduciam, proposita tibi spe. Et quia Iob supra improbaverat opinionem dicentium quod homo post mortem, transactis multis saeculis, iterum redit ad hunc modum vivendi, non huius rei spem dicit ei esse propositam sed secundum quod homo post mortem vivit in memoriis hominum. Quod quidem ex duobus contingit: uno quidem modo ex tumulis in quibus corpora mortuorum conduntur ut conservetur memoria defunctorum, unde et monumenta dicuntur, et quantum ad hoc dicit et defossus securus dormies, quasi nullus sepulcrum tuum violabit, nec etiam timendum erit quod aliquis attentet, unde subdit requiesces et non erit qui exterreat; alio modo mortui vivunt in memoriis hominum propter bona quae fecerunt dum viverent, ex quibus eorum vita desideraretur, et quantum ad hoc subdit et deprecabuntur faciem tuam plurimi, idest plurimi exoptabunt praesentiam tuam vel reverentiam exhibebunt tumulo tuo, memorantes beneficia tua. As Job had said a second time above that his days has been used up, “without any hope,” (7:6) Sophar then says, “You will have confidence when hope has been proposed to you.” Because Job also had rejected above the opinion of those who said that man returns again after death, after the passage of many centuries, to this same kind of life [7:16 ff.], he does not say that this hope is proposed to him, but hope of the kind in which men live after death in the memories of men. This happens in two ways: In one way in the graves in which the bodies of the dead are placed, so that the memory of the dead is preserved So they are even called monuments, and to show this he says, “When you have been buried, you will sleep safe in the grave,” as if to say: No one will violate your tomb nor should you even be afraid that anyone may try, and so he then says, “You will rest and there will be no one to frighten you.” In another way, the dead live in the memories of men because of the good deeds which they did while they were alive for which their life would be desirable. Addressing this he then says, “many intercede in longing for your face,” that is, very many will earnestly desire your presence or show reverence for your tomb, remembering your good deeds.
Et quia haec promiserat si Iob ab iniquitate vellet discedere, ostendit consequenter quod iniquis ista non dantur, et ideo subdit oculi autem impiorum deficient, quia videlicet bona quae exoptant non obtinebunt: tunc enim oculi alicuius deficere dicuntur quando aspicit ad aliquod apprehendendum ad quod attingere non valet. Et sicut bona desiderata non adipiscuntur, ita etiam mala quae patiuntur vel timent vitare non possunt, unde sequitur et effugium peribit ab eis, quia scilicet non poterunt fugere mala. Post mortem autem non erunt in veneratione vel desiderio sed in abominatione propter mala quae fecerunt, et hoc est quod subditur et spes eorum abominatio animae, idest illud quod de eis potest sperari post mortem est quod sint in abominatione. Because he had promised these rewards if Job be willing to depart from evil, he shows as a consequence that these rewards are not given to the evil man. So he continues, “The eyes of the wicked will be deficient,” because they will not obtain the good which they desire. For the someone’s eyes are said to be deficient when he looks to obtain something which he is not strong enough to obtain. Just as the wicked cannot obtain desired goods, so too they cannot avoid evils which they suffer or fear. So he continues, “they will lose every means of flight,” because they will not be able to flee evil things. After death, however, they will not be held in veneration or missed, but they will be held in abomination because of the evils which they have done, and he addresses this theme he saying, “and their hope is the loathing of the soul,” which means, that what they can hope for after death is to be in abomination.

The First Lesson: God Aids the Humble
וַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃ 1 אָמְנָם כִּי אַתֶּם־עָם וְעִמָּכֶם תָּמוּת חָכְמָה׃ 2 גַּם־לִי לֵבָב כְּמוֹכֶם לֹא־נֹפֵל אָנֹכִי מִכֶּם וְאֶת־מִי־אֵין כְּמוֹ־אֵלֶּה׃ 3 שְׂחֹק לְרֵעֵהוּ אֶהְיֶה קֹרֵא לֶאֱלוֹהַּ וַיַּעֲנֵהוּ שְׂחוֹק צַדִּיק תָּמִים׃ 4 לַפִּיד בּוּז לְעַשְׁתּוּת שַׁאֲנָן נָכוֹן לְמוֹעֲדֵי רָגֶל׃ 5 יִשְׁלָיוּ אֹהָלִים לְשֹׁדְדִים וּבַטֻּחוֹת לְמַרְגִּיזֵי אֵל לַאֲשֶׁר הֵבִיא אֱלוֹהַּ בְּיָדוֹ׃ 6 וְאוּלָם שְׁאַל־נָא בְהֵמוֹת וְתֹרֶךָּ וְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וְיַגֶּד־לָךְ׃ 7 אוֹ שִׂיחַ לָאָרֶץ וְתֹרֶךָּ וִיסַפְּרוּ לְךָ דְּגֵי הַיָּם׃ 8 מִי לֹא־יָדַע בְּכָל־אֵלֶּה כִּי יַד־יְהוָה עָשְׂתָה זֹּאת׃ 9 אֲשֶׁר בְּיָדוֹ נֶפֶשׁ כָּל־חָי וְרוּחַ כָּל־בְּשַׂר־אִישׁ׃ 10 1 But Job answered: 2 So are only you men, and will wisdom die with you? 3 I, too, have a heart as you do and this heart is not less than yours. For who is ignorant of the things which you know? 4 Someone who is derided by his friends like I am, will call upon God and he will hear him. For the simplicity of the just man is derided, 5 his light is condemned by the thought of the rich, prepared at the appointed time. 6 The tent of the robbers is abound and they audaciously provoke God, since he has given everything into their hands. 7 Ask the beasts and they will teach you; the birds of the air will be your counselors. 8 Speak to the earth and it will answer you, the fish of the sea will make it known to you. 9 Who does not know that the hand of the Lord made all these things? 10 In whose hand lies the soul of every living thing even the spirit of all human flesh.
Respondens autem Iob dixit et cetera. Sophar in verbis praecedentibus conatus fuerat ostendere quod secreta sapientiae Dei homo comprehendere non potest, ad suggillandum Iob qui quasi cum Deo disputationem requirere videbatur. Et sicut ex verbis eius et aliorum amicorum perpendi potest, circa tria tota eorum versabatur intentio: primo enim studebant ad dicendum aliqua magnifica de Deo, extollentes eius sapientiam et potentiam et iustitiam, ut ex hoc eorum causa favorabilior appareret; secundo huiusmodi magnifica de Deo assumpta ad falsa quaedam dogmata applicabant, utpote quod propter iustitiam homines prosperarentur in hoc mundo et propter peccata tribularentur, et quod post hanc vitam non esset aliquid expectandum; tertio ex huiusmodi assertionibus, propter adversitatem quam patiebatur Iob, arguebant eum quasi iniquum et promittebant ei quaedam inania si iniquitatem desereret, utpote quod defossus securus dormiret et quod ad vesperam oriretur ei fulgor meridianus, quae Iob quasi irrisiones reputabat: et circa haec tota Iob responsio versatur. Primo ergo contra eos loquitur de hoc quod se extollebant, quaedam magnalia de Deo proponentes ac si soli ipsi ea scirent et Iob ea ignoraret, et ideo dicitur respondens autem Iob dixit: ergo vos soli estis homines? Quod sequitur si vos haec solos scire reputatis de magnitudine Dei quae omnes homines cognoscunt; et cum in cognitione magnitudinis Dei consistat sapientia, sequitur quod, si haec soli vos nostis, quod in vobis solum sit sapientia, et ita cessantibus vobis sapientia cessat, et ideo subdit et vobiscum morietur sapientia? Quasi dicat: inconveniens est vel quod vos soli sitis homines vel quod vos soli sitis sapientes. In the preceding chapter Sophar had tried to show that man cannot understand the secrets of the wisdom of God (11:6) to insult Job who seemed almost to demand a debate with God. So one can posit from his words and the words of the other friends that their whole intention was directed to three things. First, they were eager to speak about the wonderful things of God, extolling his wisdom, power, and justice, to make their case appear more favorable. Second, they applied these wondrous things which are accepted by everyone about God to certain false dogmas, specifically, that men prospered in this world because of justice and had tribulations because of sins, and that after this life one should hope for nothing. Third, from these sorts of assertions, they denounced Job as evil because of the adversity which he had suffered, and they promised him certain vain things if he would desert his evil. This was specifically, that “after he was buried” he would sleep in a “safety” (11:17,18) and that the radiance of noon would rise in the evening for him, promises which Job considered almost derision. Job‘s whole response turns around these points. First, he speaks against them because they praised themselves in speaking about certain wondrous things of God as though they alone knew them and Job were ignorant of them. So the text says, “But Job answered: So are only you men?” which follows if you consider yourselves alone to know these things about the greatness of God which all men know. Further, since wisdom consists in the knowledge of the greatness of God, it follows that, if you alone know these things, that wisdom is found only in you, and thus wisdom will pass away when you pass away. So he continues, “and will wisdom die with you?” as if to say: It is not fitting either that you alone are men or that you alone are wise.
Sed quia possent dicere non soli nos scimus sed tamen tu nescis, respondet subdens et mihi est cor, scilicet ad haec scienda, sicut et vobis, nec inferior vestri sum, quantum scilicet ad hanc cognitionem. Et ne hoc arrogantiae posset ascribi, subiungit quis enim haec quae nostis ignorat? Quasi dicat: non est magnum si dico me scire ea quae scitis quia non est magnum ea scire, cum quilibet ea sciat; sed in hoc quod me haec ignorare reputatis, me contemptui habere videmini quasi ignorem ea quae omnes sciunt, unde subdit qui deridetur ab amico suo sicut ego, a vobis scilicet dum me insipientem reputatis, invocabit Deum, et exaudiet eum, quia ubi deest auxilium humanum ibi maxime adest auxilium divinum, secundum illud Psalmi quoniam pater meus et mater mea dereliquerunt me, dominus autem assumpsit me; et in hoc videtur quasi respondere ei quod supra dixerat Sophar tunc levare poteris faciem tuam, ac si dicat: non oportet me amplius expectare ad fiducialiter orandum, quia ex hoc ipso quod ab amicis derideor datur mihi spes recurrendi ad Deum. Since they could object, ‘We are not the only ones who know, but even so, you still do not know,’ he answers saying, “I too have a heart,” to know these things, “as do you, and this heart is not less than yours,” in this knowledge. Lest this be ascribed to arrogance, he continues, “For who is ignorant of these things which you know?” as if to say: It is no great thing if I say I know what you know, since it is no great claim to know them, since every man can know them. But by the fact that you say that I am ignorant of these things, you seem to hold me in contempt as though I am ignorant of things which everyone knows. Thus he says, “Someone who is derided by his friends like I am,” as you do when you think me foolish, “will call upon God and he will hear him,” because God especially helps those bereft of human aid. As Psalm 26 says, “Though my mother and father abandoned me, yet the Lord raised me.” (v.10) In this he attempts to answer Sophar’s argument above, “Then you will be able to lift up your head,” (11:15) as if to say: I should not wait any longer to pray faithfully because by the very fact that I am derided by my friends, hope is given to me of having recourse to God.
Quare autem irrisus ab amico a Deo exaudiatur, ostendit subdens deridetur enim iusti simplicitas, ubi ostendit et qui sunt qui derideantur et quare, et etiam a quibus, cum subdit lampas contempta apud cogitationes divitum. Derideri enim deficientis est, deridere autem superabundantis; qui autem in virtutibus superabundant eos qui in virtutibus deficiunt non irrident, sed magis compatiuntur et iuvant si possunt, sed illi qui in temporalibus abundant maxime solent irridere eos qui in temporalibus deficiunt, et praecipue quando studium non adhibent ad temporalia conquirenda; studium autem iustorum non est ad temporalia conquirenda sed ad rectitudinem sectandam, unde a fraudibus et dolis abstinent quibus plerumque divitiae acquiruntur, et ex hoc simplices reputantur: ergo ut plurimum deridentur iusti. Causa autem irrisionis est simplicitas, sed non sic irridetur quasi malum manifestum sed quasi bonum occultum, et ideo hic simplicitas vocatur lampas propter claritatem iustitiae, sed contempta apud cogitationes divitum, scilicet qui finem suum in divitiis ponunt - qui enim summum bonum in divitiis ponit, oportet quod cogitet quod intantum sunt aliqua magis bona inquantum magis prosunt ad divitias conquirendas -, unde oportet quod eis sit contemptibilis iustorum simplicitas per quam divitiarum multiplicitas impeditur. Sed licet ipsa simplicitas iustorum in cogitationibus divitum contemnatur, tamen suo tempore a fine debito non fraudatur, unde dicit parata ad tempus statutum; non autem dicit hoc quasi in aliquo tempore praesentis vitae iustis pro sua simplicitate aliqua terrena prosperitas sit reddenda, sed indeterminatum relinquit quod sit istud tempus statutum et ad quem finem iustorum simplicitas praeparetur: nondum enim ad hoc disputatio pervenit sed in sequentibus ostendetur. Sic igitur Iob occulte insinuat quare ab amicis irrideretur, quos divites vocat, quia prosperitatem huius mundi finem hominis ponebant quasi praemium iustitiae hominis; ipse autem sua simplicitate non hoc praemium quaerebat sed aliud in tempore statuto, et ideo fiduciam habebat ut si invocaret dominum ab eo exaudiretur. He shows why the one derided by a friend is heard by God saying, “For the simplicity of the just man is deride,” when he shows who these just men are, who are derided and why, and also by whom when he continues, “his light is condemned by the thoughts of riches.” To be derided is the lot of someone deficient in resources, but to deride is the lot of someone who has a superabundance of possessions. But those who super-abound in virtue do not laugh at those who are deficient in virtues. Rather they have compassion on them and help them if they can. But those who abound in temporal goods often especially deride those who lack temporal goods and especially when they do not show enthusiasm for acquiring temporal goods. But the enthusiasm of just men is not to acquire temporal goods, but to pursue righteousness eagerly, and so they abstain from fraud and the evil intent by which more riches are generally acquired. They are accounted naive because of this. So most people laugh at the just. Moreover, their simplicity is the cause of their mockery, but simplicity is not mocked as a clear evil but as a hidden good, and so here simplicity is called “a light” because of the clarity of justice. So simplicity, is “condemned by the thoughts of the rich” by those who put their end in riches. Truly those who place their highest good in riches must think that goods are greater in proportion to their utility for acquiring riches. They must have contempt for the simplicity of the just since it is the opposition of the growth of wealth. But although the simplicity itself of the just is condemned in the thoughts of the wealthy, at the same time it is not frustrated from realizing its true end, and so he says, “prepared at the appointed time.” However, he does not say this as though at some moment in this present life some earthly prosperity must be given to the just as a reward for his simplicity. Rather he leaves the appointed time undetermined and the end to which the simplicity of the just was prepared. For the argument has not yet arrived at this point, but it will be clarified in the following things. So then Job insinuates in a hidden way why he is derided by his friends whom he calls rich men, because they placed the prosperity of this world as the end of man as if it were the reward of the just man. (cf. c. 2) He, however, does not seek this as a reward in his simplicity, but another at the appointed time. Thus he has faith that if he invoked the Lord he will be heard by him.
Et quia divites iusti simplicitatem irridentes non in hoc sistunt sed usque ad contemptum Dei procedunt, unde subditur abundant tabernacula praedonum: consequens enim est quod, ex quo aliqui finem suum in divitiis ponunt, quod omnes vias exquirant ad hunc finem ultimum consequendum vel fraudando vel quocumque alio modo, et sic efficiuntur praedones et dum praedantur divitiis abundant; ex hac autem abundantia sequitur contemptus Dei, unde subditur et audacter provocant Deum. Tunc enim aliquis aliquid audacter facit quando credit hoc esse bonum quod facit: cum enim conscientia remordet de malo, non sine timore homo perpetrat malum quia, ut dicitur Sap. XVII 10, cum sit timida nequitia data est in omnium condemnationem; qui autem finem ultimum in divitiis ponunt, ex hoc ipso aestimant bona omnia esse per quae hunc finem consequuntur; manifestum est autem quod cum divitias acquirunt praedando, provocant Deum contra eius iustitiam facientes: unde consequens est quod audacter provocent Deum. Vel aliter: ex divitiis homo in superbiam erigitur reputans se per eas sibi sufficere, et ex hoc contemnit Deum audacter in divitiis suis confidens, secundum illud Deut. XXXII 15 incrassatus est dilectus et recalcitravit. Since the rich who deride the simplicity of the just do not stop at this but go as far as contempt of God, he adds, “the tents of the robbers abound.” Because some place their end in riches, it follows they search carefully for all the ways to attain this last end either by fraud or by some other manner. So they become robbers who abound in the wealth when they rob. Contempt of God follows from this abundance, and so he adds, “and they audaciously provoke God.” For someone acts audaciously when he believes what he is doing is good. For since the conscience is vexed about evil, man does not perpetrate evil without fear, as Wisdom says, “Since iniquity is fearful, it is condemned by all.” (Wisdom, 17:10) Those who place their ultimate end in riches, think from this very fact that everything is good which is useful to attain this end. Now it is clear that when they acquire riches by robbery, they provoke God by acting against his justice, and so they consequently audaciously provoke God. Or, another interpretation is: from riches man becomes so welled with pride he thinks he is sufficient unto himself through them and so he has audacious contempt for God, because he put his confidence in riches. As Deuteronomy says, “The beloved grew fat and disobedient.” (Deut. 32:15)
Sed quia dixerat abundare praedonum tabernacula qui provocant Deum, ne forte responderetur quod talis abundantia non est a Deo, subiungit cum ipse dederit omnia in manibus eorum, idest in potestate eorum, quia potestas nocendi alicui non est nisi a Deo, voluntas autem malefaciendi non est nisi a se ipso, et ideo in hoc quod praedantur Deum provocant, sed abundantia consequens est eis a Deo. Et hoc consequenter probat cum subdit nimirum interroga iumenta et docebunt te, et volatilia caeli et indicabunt tibi; loquere terrae et respondebit tibi, et narrabunt pisces maris; quid autem omnia ista interrogata respondeant, ostendit subdens quis ignorat quod omnia haec manus domini fecerit? Hoc ergo est quod omnia confitentur se a Deo esse facta; tunc autem homo creaturas interrogat quando eas diligenter considerat, sed interrogatae respondent dum per considerationem ipsarum homo percipit quod tanta ordinatio quae invenitur in dispositione partium, in ordine actionum, nullo modo posset esse nisi ab aliqua superiori sapientia dispensante. Si autem huiusmodi creaturae a Deo factae sunt, manifestum est quod in Dei potestate sunt sicut artificiata in potestate artificis, et ideo subdit in cuius manu, idest potestate, est anima omnis viventis, et non solum aliorum animalium sed et spiritus universae carnis hominis; si autem in potestate eius sunt, manifestum est quod nullus illas habere potest nisi ab ipso, secundum illud Dan. IV 14 dominatur excelsus in regno hominum, et cuicumque voluerit dabit illud. Manifestum est igitur quod et terram et animalia de quibus supra dixerat, in quibus humanae divitiae consistunt, nullus homo habere potest nisi Deus in manu eius dederit: et sic si praedones abundant, Deus dedit in manibus eorum; per hoc ergo confutatur illorum opinio qui ponebant divitias a Deo dari pro merito iustitiae, cum etiam praedonibus a Deo dentur. He had said that the tents of robbers who provoke God abounded. So lest someone perhaps object that this kind of abundance is not from God, he says, “since he has given everything into their hands,” into their power. For the power to harm someone comes only from God, but the will to do evil comes only from oneself. (cf. c. 1) By the fact then that they rob they provoke God, but their resulting abundance comes to them from God. He proves this as a consequence when he continues, “Ask the beasts and they will teach you, the birds of the air will be your counselors; Speak to the earth and it will answer you, the fish of the sea will make it known to you.” He shows that all these things answer when asked, “Who does not know that the hand of the Lord made all these things?” So, then, all things confess that they have been made by God. Man asks creatures when he diligently considers them. But they respond to the questioner when in considering them, he perceives that there is such a great order found in their disposition of parts and in the order of their actions that they could exist only governed by the disposition of some superior wisdom. If, however, creatures of this sort were made by God, it is evident that they are in the power of God as artifacts in the power of the artisan, and so he adds, “In whose hand,” in whose power “lies the soul of every living thing,” not only of other animals, “and even the spirit of all human flesh.” If, then, they are in his power, it is clear that no one can have them, except from him, as Daniel says, “The Most High rules in all the kingdoms of men, and he will give to each one what he will.” (4:14) So it is evident that no man can possess the earth and the animals spoken of above which are the wealth of man unless God will give them into his hand. So if robbers prosper, God gave it into their hands. By this opinion he refutes those who asserted that wealth is given by God as a reward for justice, since wealth is even given to thieves by God.
The Second Lesson: God rules Everything
הֲלֹא־אֹזֶן מִלִּין תִּבְחָן וְחֵךְ אֹכֶל יִטְעַם־לוֹ׃ 11 בִּישִׁישִׁים חָכְמָה וְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים תְּבוּנָה׃ 12 עִמּוֹ חָכְמָה וּגְבוּרָה לוֹ עֵצָה וּתְבוּנָה׃ 13 הֵן יַהֲרוֹס וְלֹא יִבָּנֶה יִסְגֹּר עַל־אִישׁ וְלֹא יִפָּתֵחַ׃ 14 הֵן יַעְצֹר בַּמַּיִם וְיִבָשׁוּ וִישַׁלְּחֵם וְיַהַפְכוּ אָרֶץ׃ 15 עִמּוֹ עֹז וְתוּשִׁיָּה לוֹ שֹׁגֵג וּמַשְׁגֶּה׃ 16 מוֹלִיךְ יוֹעֲצִים שׁוֹלָל וְשֹׁפְטִים יְהוֹלֵל׃ 17 מוּסַר מְלָכִים פִּתֵּחַ וַיֶּאְסֹר אֵזוֹר בְּמָתְנֵיהֶם׃ 18 מוֹלִיךְ כֹּהֲנִים שׁוֹלָל וְאֵתָנִים יְסַלֵּף׃ 19 מֵסִיר שָׂפָה לְנֶאֱמָנִים וְטַעַם זְקֵנִים יִקָּח׃ 20 שׁוֹפֵךְ בּוּז עַל־נְדִיבִים וּמְזִיחַ אֲפִיקִים רִפָּה׃ 21 מְגַלֶּה עֲמֻקוֹת מִנִּי־חֹשֶׁךְ וַיֹּצֵא לָאוֹר צַלְמָוֶת׃ 22 מַשְׂגִּיא לַגּוֹיִם וַיְאַבְּדֵם שֹׁטֵחַ לַגּוֹיִם וַיַּנְחֵם׃ 23 מֵסִיר לֵב רָאשֵׁי עַם־הָאָרֶץ וַיַּתְעֵם בְּתֹהוּ לֹא־דָרֶךְ׃ 24 יְמַשְׁשׁוּ־חֹשֶׁךְ וְלֹא־אוֹר וַיַּתְעֵם כַּשִּׁכּוֹר׃ 25 11 Does not the ear judge words and the mouth of one eating flavor? There is wisdom in the ancients and prudence comes with advanced age. 13 With him is wisdom and courage; he has counsel and understanding. 14 If he destroys something, there is no one who rebuilds; and if he closes a man in, there is no one to free him. 15 If he will withhold the rain, everything will dry up, and if he will send the rain, it will cover the earth. 16 With him is strength and wisdom, he knows the one who deceives and the one who is deceived. 17 He leads counselors to a foolish end and judges to dullness. 18 The belt of kings he loosens and he girds their loins with ropes; 19 he makes the priests inglorious and he dispossesses the nobles. 20 He alters the truth from their lips and takes away instruction from the elders. 21 He pours contempt on princes. Those who have been oppressed he relieves. 22 He reveals those deep in darkness and he kindles light where death’s shadow lay. 23 He brings growth to the races and ruin to them, and when they are overturned he restores them to integrity. 24 It is he who changes the heart of the leaders of the people of the land and he deceives them so that they proceed in vain along a trackless way: 25 they will grope in darkness and not in the light, and he make them wander like drunkards.
Nonne auris verba diiudicat et cetera. Quia superius posuerat Iob ea quae Sophar de excellentia divinae magnitudinis dixerat esse omnibus manifesta, intendit hic ostendere quod hoc ad notitiam hominum pervenire potest per experimentum divinae potentiae et sapientiae in rebus humanis. Unde primo manifestat quomodo homines per experimentum in rerum cognitionem deveniant, dicens nonne auris verba diiudicat, scilicet dum ea audit? Et fauces comedentis saporem nonne diiudicant? Quia experimentum a sensu est, convenienter per iudicium sensuum virtutem experimenti manifestat, et praecipue per auditum et gustum, quia auditus inter omnes sensus est disciplinabilior, unde plurimum ad scientias contemplativas valet; gustus autem est perceptivus ciborum qui homini sunt necessarii ad vitam, unde per iudicium gustus experimentum significat quod de rebus activae vitae habetur. Et propter hoc ex iudicio duorum sensuum ostendit virtutem experimenti tam in speculativis quam in operativis, cum subdit in antiquis est sapientia, quae ad contemplationem pertinet, quia scilicet antiqui multa audierunt; et in multo tempore prudentia, quae ad actionem pertinet, quia scilicet in multo tempore homines multa degustant, utilia vel nociva. Job asserted above (v.2) that what Sophar had said about the excellence of the greatness of God that was evident to all men. Here he intends to show that men can come to an understanding of these things by the experience of divine power and wisdom in human affairs. First, then, he shows how men arrive at knowledge in things from experience, saying, “Does not the ear judge words” namely when it hears them, “and” does not “the palate of one eating,” distinguish “flavor”. Since experience is from sense, he fittingly shows the power of experience for the judgment of the senses especially in hearing and taste. For, since hearing is the most teachable of all the senses, hence it is most valuable in the contemplative sciences. Taste, however, is appreciative of food, which is necessary for the life of men; and the hence through the judgment of taste he expresses the experience which one has about things in the active life. Because of this, from the judgment of the two senses, he shows the power of experience as much in speculative things as in practical things. When he then says, “There is wisdom in the ancients,” this expresses the contemplative life because old men heard many things. “Prudence comes with advanced age.” This express the active life because men taste many things in a long life, both helpful and harmful.
Sic igitur manifestata experimenti virtute, subiungit quid homines de Deo experiri possunt cum dicit apud ipsum est sapientia et fortitudo, ipse habet consilium et intelligentiam. Ubi quatuor Deo attribuit quae se per ordinem habent: nam primum quidem est occulta cognoscere, quod ad intelligentiam pertinet; secundum autem est, ex his quae homo intelligit, invenire in activis quidem vias accommodas ad aliquem finem, quod ad consilium pertinet, sicut et in speculativis, per ea quae homo intelligit, rationes deducit ad aliquas conclusiones cognoscendas; tertium autem est ut de his quae homo adinvenit rectum iudicium habeat, quod ad sapientiam pertinet; quartum autem est ut ea quae aliquis iudicat esse facienda potenter exequatur, et ad hoc pertinet fortitudo. After he has shown the power of experience, he then adds what men can know by experience about God when he says, “With him is wisdom and courage, he has counsel and understanding.” Here he attributes four things to God which have an order among themselves. The first, certainly, is to know hidden things, which pertains to understanding. Second, from the things he understands one discovers in actions means which are fitting for an end. This pertains to the counsel just as in speculative things, by also those things which a man understands he deduces reasons to know certain conclusions. The third is for the purpose of having a right judgment about the things which man investigates, which pertains to wisdom. The fourth is that he might vigorously execute those things which he judges ought to be done, and this pertains to fortitude.
Quia vero experimentum procedit a sensibilibus, quae licet sint priora secundum nos sunt tamen simpliciter et secundum naturam posteriora, ideo incipit ostendere quomodo homines experiri possunt fortitudinem divinam, et primo quidem in ipsis rebus humanis. Videmus enim quod aliqui homines totaliter destruuntur, vel per mortem quantum ad esse naturae vel per omnimodam abiectionem quantum ad esse civile cum tamen habeant multos manutentores; unde cum adiuvari per homines non possunt ne ad destructionem perveniant, manifestum est quod ab aliqua occulta causa et divina et excellente humanam virtutem hoc contingit, cum ei virtus humana resistere non possit, et hoc est quod dicit si destruxerit nemo est qui reaedificet. Item videmus aliquos homines in suis processibus impediri, etsi non totaliter destruantur, licet habeant plurimos directores; unde manifestum est quod hoc etiam ab aliqua excellentiori virtute fit, unde subditur et si incluserit hominem, involvendo eum diversis difficultatibus, nullus est qui aperiat, idest qui expedire possit, unde Eccl. VII 14 dicitur nemo potest corrigere eum quem Deus despexerit. For since experience proceeds from sensible things, which although prior as to our way of being, are yet simply and in their nature posterior, he therefore begins to show how men can know divine power by experience. He does this first in human affairs themselves. For we can see that some men are totally destroyed, either by death, as far as natural being, or by complete humiliation, as to life in civil society even though they still have many protectors. So when they cannot be helped by men to escape destruction, it is clear that this happens to from some concealed cause both, divine and excelling human power, since human power cannot resist him. This is what he says, “If he destroys, there is no one who rebuilds.” In the same way we see that some are impeded in their projects, even if they are not completely destroyed, although they may have many counselors. Thus it clear that this destruction also results from by some more excellent power. So he then says, “if he closes a man in,” by involving him in different kinds of difficulties, “there is no one to free him,” i.e. who can set him free, for according to the Qoheleth, “No one can correct him whom God has despised.” ( 7:14)
Deinde ostendit quomodo possint homines experiri divinam potentiam in rebus naturalibus, praecipue quantum ad pluvias et siccitates, unde dicit si continuerit aquas, ne scilicet pluendo cadant, omnia siccabuntur, scilicet quae ex terra germinant, et si emiserit eas, in magna abundantia, subvertent terram, sicut in diluviis accidit. Et licet hoc ex aliquibus causis naturalibus proveniat quod aliquando pluviae cessent usque ad omnimodam siccitatem, aliquando autem abundent usque ad terrae subversionem, non tamen hoc a divina potentia subtrahitur quae etiam ipsas naturales causas ad proprios ordinavit effectus: sic igitur quasi ex praemissis concludens, subdit apud ipsum est fortitudo. Then he shows how men can experience divine power in natural things, especially in rains and droughts. So he says, “If he will withhold the rain,” so that it does not fall, “everything will dry up,” which grows on the earth. “If he will send the rain,” in great abundance, “it will cover the earth,” as in floods. Although from some natural causes the rains sometimes cease to the point of a complete drought and sometimes are so heavy they flood the earth, this still does not detract from divine power which has ordered even natural causes themselves to their proper effects. Thus, as a conclusion from these premises he says, “With him is strength.”
Deinde incipiens progredi ad secundum membrum, adiungit et sapientia, quasi proponens quod manifestare intendit. Est autem proprium sapientiae ut per eam rectum iudicium habeatur de rebus; ille autem recte iudicat de rerum veritate qui potest discernere quomodo aliquis decipiatur a veritate declinans: et ideo ad ostendendum quod in Deo sit sapientia, subdit ipse novit decipientem et eum qui decipitur, idest discernit recto iudicio deceptiones, quibus aliquis praetermittit veritatem, a recta veritatis cognitione. Et hoc quidem supponit ab eo quod communiter ipse et amici conveniunt in hoc quod res humanae divino iudicio subduntur, de quibus iudicare non posset nisi peccata cognosceret, inter quae magnum locum obtinent deceptiones et fraudes. Then he begins to progress to the second point, saying, “and wisdom,” as though proposing what he intends to clarify. For it is a property of wisdom that through it one may have right judgment about things. The man judges correctly about the truth of things who can discern how someone is deceived in turning aside from the truth. Thus, to show that in God there is wisdom, he then says, “he knows the one who deceives and the one who is deceived,” that is, he discerns by right judgment the deception by which someone neglects the truth from a right understanding of the truth. He supposes this from what he and the friends hold in common; which is that human affairs are subjected to divine judgment, which God could not judge unless he knew man’s sins, among which frauds and deceptions hold a great place.
Deinde ostendit per ea quae in rebus humanis apparent quod apud Deum sit consilium. Circa quod tamen considerandum est quod sicut Deus scit et principia speculativarum scientiarum et conclusiones et ordinem eorum ad invicem, non tamen per principia conclusionum cognitionem accipit sed omnia primo et simplici aspectu cognoscit, ita et in operativis et fines et ea quae sunt ad finem novit et quae viae ad fines aliquos consequendos expediant, non tamen vias ex finibus inquirit sicut nos dum consiliamur; sicut igitur in Deo dicitur esse ratio inquantum cognoscit ordinem principiorum ad sequentia, non tamen ei convenit investigare aliquid per modum rationis ut ratio facit, ita apud ipsum dicitur esse consilium non per modum inquisitionis sed per modum simplicis et absolutae cognitionis. Profunditas autem alicuius in consiliis ex duobus perpendi potest: primo quidem quando subtilitate sui consilii adversarios, etiam si exercitati in consiliis videantur, ad hoc deducit eos quod necesse sit eis, deficientibus omnibus viis eorum, ad finem inconvenientem pervenire; et quantum ad hoc dicit adducit consiliarios in stultum finem, impediendo scilicet profunditate sui consilii vias quas adinveniunt ad finem huiusmodi evitandum. Secundo autem ostenditur profunditas alicuius in consiliis quando adversarios ad hoc deducere potest subtilitate sui consilii ut ignorent quid eos oporteat agere; et quantum ad hoc subdit et iudices in stuporem: dicit autem iudices sapientes qui de agendis rectum iudicium consueverunt habere. Sicut etiam et in disputationibus speculativis accidit quod aliquis efficax disputator habetur, qui adversarium ad inconveniens ducere potest vel propositum taliter firmare quod in contrarium nihil dici possit, sic autem et Deus contra suos adversarios facit, quia et per vias quas ipsi eligunt eos ad perditionem ducit et suam veritatem et opera sic firmat ut ab adversariis commoveri non possint. Then he shows that there is counsel in God by those things which appear in human affairs. On this point, consider that as God knows both the principles and conditions of speculative sciences and their order to one another, and he still does not acquire knowledge of the conclusions through the principles, but he knows all things in the first, simple glance. In the same way, in practical matters we know the end and those things which are for the end and what ways are most expeditious for attaining the end, but he does not inquire as to the means in view of the end as we do when we take counsel. Thus just as one says that there is reason in God, insofar as he knows the order of principles with respect to their consequences; yet it does not belong to him to investigate anything by the method of reasoning as reason does. Thus counsel is attributed to him not, by the method of investigation, but by way of simple and absolute knowledge. The depth of a man’s counsel can depend on two things. First, when from the ingenuity of his counsel he leads his adversaries (even though they may seem skilled in counsels) to the necessary fact that they must arrive at an unfitting conclusion when all their means prove inadequate. To this he says, “He leads counselors to a foolish end,” when by the profundity of his counsel he keeps them from the means by which they seek attain such an end. Second, someone shows the depth of his counsel when he can lead his adversaries by the subtlety of his counsel to ignore what they ought to do. To this he says, “and judges to dullness.” He calls judges wise who usually have the habit of right judgment about what should be done. Just as in speculative disputes someone is called a skilled debater who can lead his adversary into an erroneous conclusion, or can so prove some proposition that nothing can be said against it, so God does against his adversaries. Since by ways which they themselves chose, he both leads them to perdition, and so he strengthens his truth and works so that they cannot be shaken by his adversaries.
Et quia hoc generaliter dixerat, consequenter per specialia exempla manifestat, ostendens quomodo omnia quae in rebus humanis excellere videntur profunditate divini consilii in stultum finem et in stuporem adducuntur. In rebus autem humanis excellunt reges secundum potentiam, et quantum ad hos dicit balteum, idest cingulum militare, regum dissolvit: in cingulo enim eorum potentia designatur, secundum illud Psalmi accingere gladio tuo super femur tuum, potentissime; et praecingit fune renes eorum, dum in captivitatem trahuntur, in quo maximus defectus potentiae denotatur. Sacerdotes autem excellunt quantum ad reverentiam in qua habentur, de quibus subdit ducit sacerdotes inglorios. Primarii autem et consiliarii civitatis aut regni excellere videntur secundum prudentiam in consiliis, et de his subdit et optimates supplantat, idest decipit. Philosophi autem excellunt in consideratione veritatis, et de his dicit commutans labium veracium, idest eorum qui ad veritatem loquendam student: aliquando enim Deus obnubilat eorum mentem per subtractionem suae gratiae, ut veritatem invenire non possint et per consequens nec loqui, secundum illud Rom. I 22 dicentes se esse sapientes stulti facti sunt. Excellunt etiam senes in directione iuvenum, et de his subdit et doctrinam senum auferens, vel quia senes infatuantur, vel quia totaliter de medio subtrahuntur, secundum illud Is. III 1 auferet dominus a Ierusalem iudicem et prophetam et ariolum et senem. Excellunt autem principes in auctoritate quam habent aliis praecipiendi, et de his subdit effundit despectionem super principes, ut scilicet despiciantur ab his qui eis oboedire debebant. Since he has said this in a general way, he now makes it clear by specific examples, showing how all things which seem excellent in human affairs are brought by the depth of divine counsel “to a foolish end” and “to dullness.” In human affairs, kings excel with respect to power. As to them he says, “The belt,” that is the swordbelt, “of kings he loosens,” for their power is designated in their swordbelt, according to the Psalm 44, “Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one: (v.4); “and he girds their loins with ropes,” when they are led into captivity, in which he notes the complete failing of their power. Priests excel by the reverence in which they are held, concerning which he adds, “he makes the priests inglorious.” The first men and counselors in a kingdom or a city seem to excel in the prudence of their advice, and he says regarding them, “and he dispossesses the nobles,” that is, he deceives them. Philosophers excel in the consideration of the truth. He says regarding these, “He alters the truth from their lips,” i.e. the lips of those who are eager to speak the truth. For God sometimes darkens the mind of those men by taking away his grace so that they cannot find the truth, and, consequently cannot speak it, as Romans says, “Saying that they were wise, they have become foolish.” (1:22) Old men also excel in the direction of the young, and in their regard he continues, “he takes away instruction from the elders,” either because old men are made fools of, or because they are completely taken out of society, as Isaiah says, “the Lord will take away from Jerusalem the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder.” (Is. 3:1) Princes excel in the authority which they have for ruling others, and he says about these, “he pours contempt on princes,” so that they are despised by those who should obey them.
Haec igitur omnia pertinere videntur ad hoc quod dixerat adducit consiliarios in stultum finem; sed quod aliquando aliqui ex infimo statu provehantur ad summum, pertinere videtur ad hoc quod dixerat et iudices in stuporem, et quantum ad hoc subdit et eos qui oppressi fuerant relevat, ut hoc referatur ad impotentes potentia maiorum oppressos, qui oppressoribus deiectis interdum ad statum potentiae elevantur. Quantum vero ad eos qui nullius sunt gloriae sed in infimo statu latent, subdit qui revelat profunda de tenebris, idest homines in infimo statu positos, et propter hoc ignotos quasi in tenebris existentes, in gloriam adducit, eos aliis revelando. Quantum vero ad eos qui ignorantes reputantur et stulti, subdit et producit in lucem umbram mortis: umbra enim mortis ignorantia esse videtur vel stultitia, cum per cognitionem maxime viventia a non viventibus distinguantur; producit ergo in lucem umbram mortis quando vel ignorantibus sapientiam tribuit vel eos qui sapientes erant sapientes esse demonstrat quorum sapientia erat prius ignota. Ut sic quod dictum est eos qui oppressi fuerant relevat, dicatur quasi in oppositum eius quod dixerat balteum regum dissolvit; quod vero subditur qui revelat profunda de tenebris, contra id quod dixerat ducit sacerdotes inglorios; quod vero subditur et producit in lucem umbram mortis, contra omnia quae sequuntur. Sicut autem huiusmodi alternationem sublimitatis et deiectionis circa singulares personas a Deo fieri dixerat, hoc idem et circa totam gentem ostendit subdens qui multiplicat gentes, ut scilicet numerositate hominum crescant, et perdit eas, idest destruit aut bellis aut pestilentiis, et subversas, vel ex his casibus, vel ex oppressione alicuius vel aliquorum qui inique praesident, in integrum restituit, idest ad bonum statum reducit. All these things seem to relate to what he had said, “He leads counselors to a foolish end.” (v.17) But the fact that sometimes some are advanced from lower state to the highest seems to relate to what he had said, “and judges to dullness.” (v. 17) As to this he then says, “and those who have been oppressed he relieves,” which refers to the weak oppressed by the power of greater men, who are sometimes elevated to a state of power, after those oppressing them are cast aside. As to those men who have no prestige, but live hidden in the lowest state, he then says, “he reveals those deep in darkness,” that is, men placed in a lower state, who are unknown because of this, as though existing in darkness. He leads these to glory by revealing them to others. As to those that are thought foolish and ignorant, he then says, “he kindles the light where death’s shadow lay,” for the shadow of death seems to be ignorance or stupidity, since the living are distinguished from the nonliving especially by knowledge. Thus, “he kindles the light where death’s shadow lay,” when he gives either wisdom to the ignorant or he shows those who were wise but whose wisdom was unknown before actually to be wise. What he has just said, “Those who had been oppressed he relieves,” is in opposition to what his other statement, “he removes the belt of kings.” (18a) When he added, “he reveals those deep in darkness,” he says this in opposition to “he makes the priests inglorious.” (19a) When he next said, “he kindles the light where death’s shadow lay,” he says this in opposition to everything which follows. As he had said that such alternation of sublimity and dejection happens among particular persons from God, he shows this same thing among all men saying of them, “who brings growth to the races,” so that they increase in the great number of men, “and ruin to them,” when he destroys them either by wars or pestilence. “And when they have been overturned,” either by these things or from the oppression of one or of many who preside unfairly, “he restores them to integrity,” for he returns it to a good condition.
Ostenso igitur quod in Deo sit fortitudo, sapientia et consilium, ultimo ostendit quod in eo sit intelligentia, quam diximus pertinere ad cognitionem occultorum, quae maxime videntur esse ea quae in corde latent: haec autem Deum cognoscere ostendit per hoc quod in cordibus hominum operatur, et sic occulta cordium quasi suos effectus cognoscit. Dicit ergo qui immutat cor principum populi terrae, quantum scilicet ad voluntatem, unde et Prov. XXI 1 dicitur cor regis in manu domini, quocumque voluerit inclinabit illud; et licet omnium hominum voluntates Deus inclinet, tamen specialis mentio fit de regibus et principibus quia eorum voluntates maius pondus habent, utpote quorum voluntatem multi sequuntur. Quantum vero ad intellectum subiungit et decipit eos, quod quidem dicitur non quod in falsitatem eos inducat, sed quia lumen suum eis subtrahit ne veritatem cognoscant, et eorum rationem obnubilat ne ad mala quae proponunt consequenda vias idoneas invenire possint, unde sequitur ut frustra incedant per invium, idest ut procedant per vias non convenientes quibus ad finem suum pervenire non possint. Contingit autem aliquem errare in agendis dupliciter: uno modo per ignorantiam, et quantum ad hoc dicit palpabunt in tenebris et non in luce, ut per tenebras ignorantia, per lucem cognitio designetur; palpant autem aliqui per ignorantiam ad modum caecorum dum non considerant nisi quae praesentialiter quasi tangendo sentiunt; alio modo errant aliqui in agendis propter passiones, quibus eorum ratio ligatur circa particularia ut ne universalem cognitionem applicet ad agenda, et quantum ad hoc subdit et errare eos faciet quasi ebrios: sic enim passione ligatur ratio quasi quadam ebrietate. After he has shown there is strength, wisdom, and counsel in God, he finally shows that God is intelligent, understanding by this the knowledge which He has of hidden things, which seem above all to designate what is hidden in the heart. He shows that God knows these things by the fact that he works in the hearts of men, and thus he knows the hidden things of hearts like his own effects. So he says, “It is he who changes the heart of the leaders of the people of the land,” with respect to their wills. As Proverbs says, “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, who will incline it to whatever he wills.” (21:1) Although God inclines the wills of all men, yet special mention is made of kings and princes because their wills carry more weight, for many follow their will. As to the intellect he adds, “he deceives them,” which means certainly not that he leads them into falsity, but because he takes his light away from them, so that they may not know the truth, and clouds their reasoning power so that they cannot find suitable means to do the wicked deeds which they propose. So he then says, “so that they proceed in vain and along a trackless way,” that is, so they proceed by ways which are unfitting, by means of which they cannot arrive at their end. One errs in acting in two ways: first, by ignorance, and regarding this he says, “they will grope in the darkness and not in the light,” so that ignorance is designated by darkness and knowledge by light. Some grope in ignorance like blind men when they only consider what they can feel is right in front of them as if by touch. Some err in another way in actions because of their passions, by which their reason is bound in particular choices, so that they do not apply universal knowledge to action. As to this he adds, “and he will make them wander like drunkards,” for their reason is so bound by passion that it is like a kind of drunkenness.

The First Lesson: The Perversity of the Friends of Job
הֶן־כֹּל רָאֲתָה עֵינִי שָׁמְעָה אָזְנִי וַתָּבֶן לָהּ׃ 1 כְּדַעְתְּכֶם יָדַעְתִּי גַם־אָנִי לֹא־נֹפֵל אָנֹכִי מִכֶּם׃ 2 אוּלָם אֲנִי אֶל־שַׁדַּי אֲדַבֵּר וְהוֹכֵחַ אֶל־אֵל אֶחְפָּץ׃ 3 וְאוּלָם אַתֶּם טֹפְלֵי־שָׁקֶר רֹפְאֵי אֱלִל כֻּלְּכֶם׃ 4 מִי־יִתֵּן הַחֲרֵשׁ תַּחֲרִישׁוּן וּתְהִי לָכֶם לְחָכְמָה׃ 5 שִׁמְעוּ־נָא תוֹכַחְתִּי וְרִבוֹת שְׂפָתַי הַקְשִׁיבוּ׃ 6 הַלְאֵל תְּדַבְּרוּ עַוְלָה וְלוֹ תְּדַבְּרוּ רְמִיָּה׃ 7 הֲפָנָיו תִּשָּׂאוּן אִם־לָאֵל תְּרִיבוּן׃ 8 הֲטוֹב כִּי־יַחְקֹר אֶתְכֶם אִם־כְּהָתֵל בֶּאֱנוֹשׁ תְּהָתֵלּוּ בוֹ׃ 9 הוֹכֵחַ יוֹכִיחַ אֶתְכֶם אִם־בַּסֵּתֶר פָּנִים תִּשָּׂאוּן׃ 10 הֲלֹא שְׂאֵתוֹ תְּבַעֵת אֶתְכֶם וּפַחְדּוֹ יִפֹּל עֲלֵיכֶם׃ 11 זִכְרֹנֵיכֶם מִשְׁלֵי־אֵפֶר לְגַבֵּי־חֹמֶר גַּבֵּיכֶם׃ 12 1 Behold my eye has seen all these things and my ear has heard them, and I understood each one. 2 I also know in the same way you do nor am I inferior to you. 3 Yet, let me speak to the Almighty and I desire to dispute with him.- 4 First, I will show you are makers of a lie and worshippers of false dogmas. 5 Would that you were silent so that people would think you were wise men! 6 Listen, then, to my correction and hear the judgment of my lips. 7 Do you think that God needs your lie so that you can speak deception for him? 8 Do you take God’s part and try to judge for God? 9 Or will it please him from whom nothing can be concealed? Or will he be deceived like a man by your fraudulent practices? 10 He himself will blame you because you took his part secretly. 11 He will rouse himself immediately and he will throw you into confusion and his terror will rush upon you. 12 Your memory will be like ashes and your necks will be laid low in the mud.
Ecce haec omnia vidit oculus meus. Postquam ostenderat Iob quod per experimentum cognosci poterat divinae virtutis excellentia, quasi concludens subdit ecce haec omnia vidit oculus meus et audivit auris mea, quasi dicat: effectus praedictos, quibus divina fortitudo et sapientia ostenditur, partim visu partim auditu cognovi; nec in his sensibilibus effectibus mea cognitio requievit, sed ex eis ad intelligentiam veritatis ascendi, unde subdit et intellexi singula, quid scilicet singuli effectus demonstrarent circa Deum vel eius sapientiam vel intelligentiam vel consilium vel fortitudinem. Unde eorum iactantiam excludens, qua magnifica de Deo proponendo se Iob praeferre videbantur, subdit secundum scientiam vestram et ego novi, ea scilicet quae ad Dei magnificentiam pertinent, nec inferior vestri sum, quasi vel minus vel imperfectius ea cognoscens vel a vobis modo addiscens. After Job had shown that the excellence of divine power could be known by experience, he concludes, “Behold, my eye has seen all these things and my ear has heard them,” as if to say: I know the effects described before which show divine strength and wisdom partly by sight and partly by hearing. Nor has my knowledge rested in these sensible effects; but from them I have ascended to the understanding of the truth, and so he says, “and I understood each one,” that is, what each effect demonstrated about God, or about his wisdom, understanding, counsel, or strength. So excluding their boasting, by which they seemed to be putting themselves before Job by manifesting the great things of God, he then says, “I also know in the same way you do,” those things which pertain to the magnificence of God, “nor am I inferior to you,” in that I know less or imperfectly those things or I were learning them only from you.
Sed quia Sophar excellentiam divinam proposuerat ad arguendum Iob de eo quod cum Deo disputare moliretur, subiungit sed tamen ad omnipotentem loquar, quasi dicat: quamvis intelligam ex diversis eius effectibus excellentiam divinae sapientiae et virtutis non minus quam vos, tamen per hoc rationabiliter a meo proposito non mutor quin Deum alloqui velim, motus cordis mei aperiendo ei qui est cordium scrutator et iudex, et ab eo qui totius veritatis est doctor veritatem exquirendo; unde subdit et disputare cum Deo cupio, non quidem ut eius iudicia improbare velim sed ut vestros errores destruam, quibus suppositis sequeretur quod esset iniustitia apud Deum, unde subdit prius vos ostendens fabricatores mendacii, quia hoc mendacium adinvenerant quod Iob iniquam vitam duxisset. In hoc autem mendacium devenerant propter hoc quod circa fidem qua Deus colitur errabant, credentes quod in hac vita tantum fieret meritorum ac poenarum retributio, et ideo subdit et cultores perversorum dogmatum: quicumque enim a vera Dei cognitione declinat, non Deum sed sua falsa dogmata colit. Non autem sic intelligendum est quod dicit prius vos ostendens, quasi prius in ordine sequentis doctrinae destructurus sit prava eorum dogmata et postmodum cum Deo disputaturus, sed quia dum cum Deo disputare intendit, hoc primum est in intentione sua ut eorum dogmata destruat. But as Sophar had proposed the divine excellence (11:6) as an argument against Job for undertaking to dispute with God, he continues, “Yet let me speak to the Almighty,” as if to say: Although I understand from his diverse effects the excellence of divine wisdom and power not less than you, I am still not reasonably altered by this from my proposition. But rather I want to address God moved by opening my heart to Him who is the searcher and judge of hearts, and by searching for the truth from Him who is the doctor of all truth. So he adds, “and I desire to dispute with him,” not to disapprove of his judgments, but to destroy your errors, according to which it would follow that there would be injustice in God. So he continues, “First I will show that you are makers of lies,” because they had invented the lie that Job had led an evil life. They had arrived at this lie because they were mistaken about the faith with which one worships God, believing that recompense of merits and punishments only happen in this life, and he therefore says, “and you are worshippers of perverse dogmas.” For whoever turns aside from the true knowledge of God worships not God but with his own false dogmas. In saying, “first I will show you,” one should not understand as if first in the order of the following teaching he is going to destroy their perverse doctrines and then afterward dispute with God; but that while he intends to dispute with God first in his intention is to destroy their doctrines.
Contingit autem quandoque ut aliqui aliqua probabilia licet falsa proponant, sed dum ea verisimiliter defendere nesciunt aut probare, in loquendo suam insipientiam manifestant, quod amicis Iob contingebat, et ideo subdit atque utinam taceretis ut putaremini esse sapientes. Quia hoc ipsum quod vestra falsa dogmata inconvenienter defenditis et probatis vos insipientes esse demonstrat. Quia ergo falsa dogmata proponitis et ad eorum manifestationem inconvenientia media assumitis, ideo correctione indigetis, et hoc est quod concludit subdens audite ergo correctionem meam, qua vestrum processum corrigam, et iudicium labiorum meorum attendite, quo vestra falsa dogmata condemnabo. Men often propose some things as capable of being proved, although they are false; but when they do not know how to defend them or prove them convincingly they show their ignorance when they speak. This was the case with the friends of Job. So he then says, “Would that you were silent so that people would think you were wise men,” because the very fact that you defend and prove false dogmas unfittingly shows that you are foolish. So, since you propose false dogmas and you take unsuitable means to prove them, you are in need of correction. This is what he concludes, saying then, “Listen, then, to my correction,” by which I will correct your process of reasoning, “and hear the judgment of my lips,” with which I will condemn your false dogmas.
Primo autem intendit corrigere eorum inconvenientem processum. Quia enim ponebant bonorum et malorum operum praemia et poenas in hac vita retribui, ad iustitiam Dei defendendam oportebat quod quaedam mendacia assumerent: cum enim manifestum sit quosdam innocentes et iustos in hac vita adversitatibus premi, necesse erat eis iustis imponere crimina ad Dei iustitiam defendendam, et sic Iob quem afflictum videbant impietatis arguebant; non autem convenienti medio utitur qui veritatem per mendacia defendit, et ideo dicit numquid Deus indiget mendacio vestro? Quasi dicat: numquid necessarium est quod ad defendendum divinam iustitiam mendacia assumantur? Quod enim non potest nisi per mendacia defendi impossibile est esse verum. Cum autem aliquis contra manifestam veritatem mentiri nititur, cogitur aliquas dolosas et fraudulentas vias adinvenire ut mendacium aliqua fraude coloret; sic et isti cum contra iustitiam Iob quae omnibus manifesta erat mentiri conarentur, quibusdam dolis utebantur, ostendendo scilicet fragilitatem humanam quae facile labitur in peccatum et comparando eam ad divinam excellentiam, ut sic probabilius reputaretur Iob iniquum fuisse quam Deum esse iniustum, et ideo subiungit ut pro illo loquamini dolos? Quia quasi pro Deo dolos loquebantur, dum dolose impietatem Iob conabantur imponere ut Deum esse iustum defenderent. First he intends to correct their unfitting process of reasoning, for since they had posited that rewards and punishments of good and evil works are repaid in this present life, it was necessary for them to use lies in defending the justice of God. Because it is evident that some innocent and just men are oppressed by adversities in this life, it was therefore necessary to impute crimes to the just to defend the justice of God. So they charged Job with impiety because they saw him afflicted. But one who defends the truth by lies uses unfitting means, so he says, “Do you think that God needs your lie?” as if to say: Is it necessary to use lies to defend divine justice? In fact, what cannot be defended except by lies cannot possibly be true. However when someone strives to lie against the clear truth, he is compelled to invent some crafty and fraudulent means to color his lie with fraud. So when these men too tried to lie against the justice of Job which was clear to all, they used some deceptions, namely, they pointed to the human frailty which falls easily into sin and compared it to divine excellence, so that one might think it was more likely that Job was evil than that God was unjust. So he then says, “so that you might speak deception for him?” because they were speaking with deceit in God’s behalf when they tried deceitfully to charge Job with impiety to defend God’s justice.
Possent autem dicere se non dolose contra Iob aliquid dicere, sed hoc tantum dicere quod putabant. Ostendit ergo Iob quod si hoc verum esset, a dolositate excusati in aliud vitium labebantur, scilicet in acceptionem personarum, quae iustitiam iudicantis excludit. Est enim personarum acceptio si aliquis iustitiam alicuius quae apparet contemnit aut negat propter magnitudinem alterius, licet iustitiam eius non cognoscat; si igitur amici Iob eum esse iniquum iudicabant, videntes in eo iustitiam manifestam, ac sola divinae magnitudinis consideratione licet intelligere non possent secundum sua dogmata qualiter Iob iuste puniretur a Deo, in suo iudicio quo Iob condemnabant quasi Dei personam accipere videbantur. Et ideo subdit numquid faciem eius accipitis et pro Deo iudicare nitimini? Quod signanter dicit quia ille pro aliquo iudicare nititur, qui eius iustitiam non cognoscit et tamen conatur qualescumque vias adinvenire ad hoc quod eius causam iustam esse ostendat. They could respond, however, that they did not say anything deceitfully against Job, but only what they thought. Job therefore shows that if this were true, they would fall into another vice although they had been excused from deceit, namely, the respect of persons which excludes the justice of a judge. Respect of persons consists in someone condemning or denying the justice of another which is apparent because of the greatness the other person, although he does not know his justice. If, therefore, the friends of Job judged him to be evil, though they saw justice clearly in him and did so only in the consideration of the divine greatness, although they could not understand according to their own dogmas how Job might be punished by God justly, it is as if they were respecting the person of God in the judgment with which they condemned Job. So he then says, “Do you take God’s part and try to judge for God?” He clearly says this because someone strives to judge for another, who does not know his justice, and yet tries to invent any means he can to show that his cause is just.
Contingit autem quandoque quod aliquis alicuius causam fraudulenter defendens, ei placeat etiam si sit iustus, quod potest esse dupliciter: uno modo quia ignorat suam causam esse iniustam, unde placet ei quod ab aliquo defendatur, et hoc a Deo excludit dicens aut placebit ei, scilicet Deo, quod pro eo iniuste iudicare nitimini cum hoc ei non possit esse ignotum, propter quod subdit quem celare nihil potest? Alio modo quando ille cuius causa per fraudem defenditur fraudibus defendentis decipitur ut eius defensionem reputet esse iustam, et hoc etiam a Deo excludit subdens aut decipietur ut homo vestris fraudulentiis? Sic igitur manifestum est quod divina bonitas et iustitia mendacio non indiget ad sui defensionem quia veritas sine mendacio defendi potest: ex quo etiam patet quod, si positis eorum dogmatibus hoc inconveniens sequitur quod iustitia Dei mendacio indigeat ad sui defensionem, manifestum fit dogmata proposita esse falsa. Sometimes one person in fraudulently defending another’s cause pleases him despite the fact that he is a just man. This can happen in two ways: in one way because he is ignorant that his cause is unjust, and so he is pleased that he is defended by someone, and this he excludes from God saying, “Or will it please him (God),” that you strive to judge unjustly in his behalf. He cannot be ignorant of the case and so he says, “from whom nothing can be concealed?” This can happen in another way when the man whose case is defended by fraud is deceived by the frauds of the one defending him, so that he thinks his defense is just. He excludes this from God saying, “Or is he deceived like a man by your fraudulent practices?” Therefore it is clear that God does not need a lie to defend his goodness and justice because truth can be defended without a lie. So then, it is also evident if when their dogmas are accepted, the unfitting conclusion follows that the justice of God needs a lie for its defense, then it becomes clear that their proposed teachings are false.
Sed ulterius considerandum est quod ille qui ad ostendendam Dei iustitiam vel bonitatem mendacio utitur non solum rem agit qua Deus non indiget, sed etiam hoc ipso contra Deum vadit: cum enim Deus veritas sit, omne autem mendacium veritati contrarietur, quicumque mendacio utitur ad Dei magnificentiam ostendendam hoc ipso contra Deum agit. Et hoc manifeste patet per apostolum Cor., ubi dicit invenimur autem et falsi testes Dei, quoniam testimonium diximus adversus Deum quod suscitaverit Christum, quem non suscitavit si mortui non resurgunt; dicere ergo quod Deus mortuum suscitavit, si verum non sit, contra Deum est quamvis videatur divinae virtutis ostensivum, quia est contra Dei veritatem. Sic igitur qui ad Deum defendendum mendacium assumunt non solum praemium non accipiunt quasi ei placentes, sed etiam poenam merentur quasi contra Deum agentes, et ideo subdit ipse vos arguet quoniam in abscondito faciem eius accipitis; et dicit in abscondito quia licet viderentur exterius causam Dei agere quasi Dei iustitiam cognoscentes, tamen in conscientiis eorum hoc erat quod nesciebant qua iustitia Iob punitus esset, et sic quantum ad cordis eorum absconditum faciem Dei accipiebant dum eius iustitiam falso defendere nitebantur. One must also carefully consider that he who uses a lie to show the justice and the goodness of God not only does a thing which God does not need, but also offends God in this very act. For since God is truth, and every lie is contrary to the truth, whoever uses a lie to show the magnificence of God acts against God by this very act. The Apostle Paul says this very clearly, “We are found to be false witnesses of God, because we have given testimony against God that He raised Christ to life who has not been raised if the dead are not raised.” (1 Cor. 15:15) To say then that God raised the dead, if this is not true, is against God although it may seem to show divine power, because it is against the truth of God. So those who use a lie to defend God not only do not receive a reward as though they were pleasing to Him, but they also merit punishment as though acting against God, and so he continues, “He Himself blames you because you took His part secretly.” He says, “secretly” because although they seem exteriorly to take the part of God, as if knowing the justice of God, yet in their consciences they did not know by what justice Job had been punished, and thus in the hidden part of hearts they respected God’s person in trying to defend his justice falsely.
Quomodo autem eos arguet, ostendit subdens statim ut se commoverit, turbabit vos, quasi dicat: vos quia modo adversitatem non patimini tranquilla mente de Dei iustitia disputatis, sed si super vos veniat tribulatio - quam commotionem Dei nominat eo modo loquendi quo punitio in Scriptura ira Dei nominatur - mens vestra conturbabitur, et praecipue cum in veritate solidata non sit. Et quia non alia bona vel mala reputabant nisi haec temporalia, dum a peccatis cavebant ne mala eis supervenirent, propter solum timorem praesentium malorum Deo servire velle videbantur, et ideo subdit et terror eius irruet super vos, quasi dicat: illud propter quod tantum Deum timetis vobis superveniet, scilicet adversitas praesens, secundum illud quod dicitur Prov. X 24 quod timet impius veniet super eum. Et quia ipsi vane Iob promiserant quod etiam post mortem in memoria hominum remaneret, ipse contrarium eis promittit quasi eos irridens, dicens memoria vestra comparabitur cineri: sicut enim cinis post consumptionem lignorum ad modicum durat, ita fama hominis post mortem cito pertransit, unde expectare famam post mortem vanum videtur. Promiserant etiam ei immunitatem et reverentiam quandam habendam ad eius sepulcrum post mortem, sed hoc etiam pro nihilo ducens contrarium eis promittit dicens et redigentur in lutum cervices vestrae, per cervices eorum potentiam et dignitatem designans, quas dicit esse redigendas in lutum, idest in rem contemptibilem et infirmam. He now shows how God will blame them saying, “He will rouse himself immediately and he will throw you into confusion,” as if to say: Merely because you are not suffering adversity, dispute about the justice of God with a tranquil mind. But if tribulation comes upon you (which he calls God rousing himself because in Scripture punishment is called the anger of God) your minds will be thrown into confusion, especially because it is not solidly grounded in the truth. Since they did not think anything was good or evil but temporal goods, when they avoided sins so that no evil thing would befall them, they seemed to wish to serve God only because of the fear of present evils. So he says, “and his terror will rush upon you,” for you only fear God because of the fear of experiencing evil now, and that is just what will happen to you according to Proverbs, “What the unjust man fears will come upon him.” (10:24)) Because they had vainly promised Job that even after death he would live in the memory of men (11:18), in his turn he promises the contrary to them as though mocking them, saying, “Your memory will be like ashes.” For as ashes after the consumption of wood remain a short time, so the reputation of man passes away quickly after death. Hence, it is vain to expect fame after death. They also had promised him immutability and reverence for his tomb after death, (11:19) but this also he accounts as leading to nothing and he promises the contrary to them saying, “your necks will be cast down in the mud.” By their necks he means their power and dignity which he says will be thrown down “in the mud” i.e., to a weak and contemptible thing.
The Second Lesson: Job asks God what Grievances He has against Him
הַחֲרִישׁוּ מִמֶּנִּי וַאֲדַבְּרָה־אָנִי וְיַעֲבֹר עָלַי מָה׃ 13 עַל־מָה אֶשָּׂא בְשָׂרִי בְשִׁנָּי וְנַפְשִׁי אָשִׂים בְּכַפִּי׃ 14 הֵן יִקְטְלֵנִי לֹא אֲיַחֵל אַךְ־דְּרָכַי אֶל־פָּנָיו אוֹכִיחַ׃ 15 גַּם־הוּא־לִי לִישׁוּעָה כִּי־לֹא לְפָנָיו חָנֵף יָבוֹא׃ 16 שִׁמְעוּ שָׁמוֹעַ מִלָּתִי וְאַחֲוָתִי בְּאָזְנֵיכֶם׃ 17 הִנֵּה־נָא עָרַכְתִּי מִשְׁפָּט יָדַעְתִּי כִּי־אֲנִי אֶצְדָּק׃ 18 מִי־הוּא יָרִיב עִמָּדִי כִּי־עַתָּה אַחֲרִישׁ וְאֶגְוָע׃ 19 אַךְ־שְׁתַּיִם אַל־תַּעַשׂ עִמָּדִי אָז מִפָּנֶיךָ לֹא אֶסָּתֵר׃ 20 כַּפְּךָ מֵעָלַי הַרְחַק וְאֵמָתְךָ אַל־תְּבַעֲתַנִּי׃ 21 וּקְרָא וְאָנֹכִי אֶעֱנֶה אוֹ־אֲדַבֵּר וַהֲשִׁיבֵנִי׃ 22 כַּמָּה לִי עֲוֹנוֹת וְחַטָּאוֹת פִּשְׁעִי וְחַטָּאתִי הֹדִיעֵנִי׃ 23 לָמָּה־פָנֶיךָ תַסְתִּיר וְתַחְשְׁבֵנִי לְאוֹיֵב לָךְ׃ 24 הֶעָלֶה נִדָּף תַּעֲרוֹץ וְאֶת־קַשׁ יָבֵשׁ תִּרְדֹּף׃ 25 כִּי־תִכְתֹּב עָלַי מְרֹרוֹת וְתוֹרִישֵׁנִי עֲוֹנוֹת נְעוּרָי׃ 26 וְתָשֵׂם בַּסַּד רַגְלַי וְתִשְׁמוֹר כָּל־אָרְחוֹתָי עַל־שָׁרְשֵׁי רַגְלַי תִּתְחַקֶּה׃ 27 וְהוּא כְּרָקָב יִבְלֶה כְּבֶגֶד אֲכָלוֹ עָשׁ׃ 28 13 Be silent for a little while so I can say everything the mind suggests to me. 14 Why should I tear my flesh with my teeth and carry my soul in my hands? 15 Even if he should kill me, I will hope in him; nevertheless, I will blame my own conduct in his sight, 16 and he will be my savior: for no hypocrite will come into his presence. 17 Hear my discourse and understand my riddles with your ears. 18 If I were judged, I know I would be found just. 19 Who will be judged with me? Let him come! Why must I be spent in remaining silent? 20 Spare me in only two things and then I will not hide myself from your face. 21 Put your hand far from me, and let not your power terrify me. 22 Call me and I will answer you, or at least allow me to speak and you will answer me. 23 Show me how many crimes, sins, wicked deeds and faults I have. 24 Why do you hide your face and think of me as your enemy? 25 Do you show your power against a leaf which is driven by the wind? Do you break a dry stick? 26 Do you write bitter things against me and do you want to consume me with the sins of my youth? 27 Have you places my foot in fetters; have you observed my paths and have you considered the traces of my footsteps, I who must be consumed like something rotten and like a garment eaten by moths?
Tacete paulisper ut loquar et cetera. Postquam Iob correxerat amicorum processum qui mendaciis divinam iustitiam defendere nitebantur, nunc procedit ad eorum falsa dogmata destruenda sub figura divinae disputationis, et primo petit audientiam quasi grandia dicturus, dicens tacete paulisper ut loquar quaecumque mihi mens suggesserit; hoc addit ne forte dicerent: tu inania loqueris et ideo non es audiendus, sed paulisper audire quicquid aliquis loquatur non est durum; vel hoc addit ad designandum quod non componendo mendacia vel adinveniendo dolos locuturus sit sed illud quod habet in mente. After Job had corrected the process of reasoning of the friends who sought to defend divine justice with lies, he now proceeds to destroy their false dogmas under the form of a debate with God. First he asks for attention, as though he were about to say important things saying, “Be silent for a little while, so I can say everything my mind suggests to me.” He adds this because perhaps they could say, “You say useless things and so you should not be heard.” But to listen to whatever someone says for a little while is not burdensome. Or he adds this phrase to show that he is not going to speak by composing lies or by devising frauds, but what he has in his mind.
Duo autem imposuerant Iob eius amici, scilicet impatientiam et iactantiam, quorum utrumque a se excludit ne videatur in sequenti disputatione vel ex ira vel ex superbia locuturus. Considerandum est autem quod impatientia contingit ex tristitiae superabundantia non moderatae per rationem, superabundans autem tristitia desperationem inducit; ex desperatione autem contingit quod homo salutem et corporis et animae parvipendit: ut ergo a se impatientiam excludat, dicit quare lacero carnes meas dentibus meis? Quasi dicat: nulla est ratio quare de corporis salute desperem per impatientiam ad modum eorum qui, desperantes de corporali vita, fame oppressi carnes suas comedunt; et iterum quare animam meam porto in manibus meis? Idest nulla est ratio quare salutem animae meae parvipendam: illud enim quod in manibus portatur de facili amittitur, unde videtur quod eius amissio non multum timeatur: quae enim aliquis amittere timet diligenter abscondit. Et rationem quare nec per impatientiam carnem lacerare debeat nec animam in manibus portare, subdit dicens etiam si occiderit me in ipso sperabo, quasi dicat: non credatis quod propter mala temporalia quae patior de Deo sperare cessaverim; si enim spes mea esset de Deo propter bona temporalia tantum, cogerer desperare —sicut supra dixit desperavi—, sed quia spes mea de Deo est propter bona spiritualia quae manent post mortem, etiam si me usque ad occisionem afflixerit spes quam de ipso habeo non cessabit. Sed quia inordinata spes in praesumptionem degenerat, propter hoc subdit verum tamen vias meas in conspectu eius arguam, quasi dicat: non sic spero in ipso quasi ab ipso liberandus etiam si in peccatis perseveravero, sed quia me liberabit si peccata mea reprehendero, et hoc est quod subditur et ipse erit salvator meus, si scilicet peccata mea mihi displicuerint. Quare autem salvet eos qui in conspectu eius vias suas arguunt, ostendit subdens non enim veniet in conspectu eius omnis hypocrita, idest simulator qui cum sit iniquus se tamen iustum profitetur et vias suas non arguit coram Deo: unde non veniet in conspectu eius ut Deum videat in quo ultima salus hominis consistit, sicut infra magis exponet, veniet tamen in conspectu eius quasi ab eo iudicandus. Sic igitur non solum impatientiam a se exclusit sed etiam praesumptionem innocentiae, dum profitetur quod vias suas arguit coram Deo, ut sic omnis amicorum calumnia cesset. His friends have accused Job of two things: impatience and ostentation, (4:2 and 7) both of which he excludes from himself so that he might not seem in the following disputation to speak either from anger or from pride. Observe that impatience comes from an overabundance of sorrow not moderated by reason, for sorrow leads to despair when excessive. As a result of despair a man disregards the health of both his body and soul. So to exclude impatience he says, “Why do I tear my flesh with my teeth?” as it to say: There is no reason why I should despair of the health of my body through impatience like those who in despair of bodily life and devour their own flesh when they are oppressed by hunger. And also why “should I carry my soul in my hands?” for there is no reason why I should disregard the salvation of my soul. For what a man carries in his hands is lost easily, and so it seems one is not very afraid to lose it. But a man hides what he is afraid of losing. He then states the reason why he should neither tear his flesh through impatience nor carry his soul in his hands, saying, “Even if he should kill me, I will hope in him,” saying in effect: You do not believe because of the temporal evils which I suffer that I have stopped hoping in God. For if my hope were in God only because of temporal goods, I would be driven to despair for he already said, “I have despaired.” (7:16) But because my hope is in God because of spiritual goods which remain after death, even if he afflicts me unto death, the hope which I have in him will not end. However, because hope which is inordinate degenerates into presumption, he adds, “nevertheless, I will blame my own conduct in his sight,” as if to say: I do not hope in him because I believe he will free me even if I will persevere in sin, but because I believe he will free me if I will renounce my sins. Therefore, “he will be my savior,” if my sins will be displeasing to me. He shows why God saves those who blame their own conduct in his presence saying, “for no hypocrite will come into his presence,” for he is a hypocrite who although is unjust, nevertheless professes openly to be just and does not accuse his conduct in the presence of God. Therefore “he will not come into the presence of God,” to see God in whom the ultimate salvation of man consists something which Job will explain later at greater length (4:13 and 19:25). He will still come into his presence to be judged by him. Thus he has not only excluded impatience from himself, but also the presumption of innocence, when he confesses publicly that he blames his conduct in the presence of God so that in so doing every calumny of his friends may end.
Deinde ingressurus disputationem, primo reddit auditores attentos dupliciter: uno quidem modo per occultationem dicendorum - cum enim ea quae dicenda sunt difficilia profitemur, auditores attentiores redduntur -, unde dicit audite sermonem meum et aenigmata percipite auribus vestris: aenigma dicitur sermo obscurus qui aliud praetendit in superficie et aliud interius significat; alio vero modo ex certitudine veritatis eorum quae dicenda sunt, unde subdit si fuero iudicatus, scio quod iustus inveniar, quod quidem non dicit de iustitia vitae, cum supra dixerit vias meas in conspectu eius arguam, sed de veritate doctrinae de qua quasi in iudicio contendebatur; ille autem in iudicio invenitur iustus pro quo sententia fertur: unde cum aliquis disputando verum dicere demonstratur, quasi in iudicio iustus invenitur. Then as he is about to enter into a debate, he first renders his listeners attentive in two ways: in one way by couching what he will say with a certain mystery, since if we declare what must be said to be difficult, our listeners would be more attentive. So he says, “Hear my discourse and understand my riddle with your ears.” A riddle is an obscure discourse, which presents one thing on the surface and means something else internally. In another way he renders them attentive by assuring them of the truth of what he is about to say, and so he says, “If I am judged, I know I will be found just,” which he certainly does not say about his own innocence, since he has already said, “I will blame my own conduct in His presence.” (v.15) But he says this of the truth of the doctrine about which they were disputing as though in a trial. The one is found just in a trial in whose favor the sentence is decided. So when someone in debate is shown to be speaking the truth he is found just as if in a trial.
Postquam ergo auditores reddidit attentos, modum disputationis suae determinat: vult enim disputare quasi cum alio contendens, et hoc est quod subdit quis est qui iudicetur mecum, idest cum quo de veritate disputem? Veniat, idest ad disputandum accedat. Causam autem quare de veritate disputare intendit, subdit dicens quare tacens consumor? Homo enim per decursum praesentis vitae paulatim consumitur, et praecipue cum est infirmitati subiectus sicut erat Iob; tacens autem consumitur qui sic praesentem vitam decurrit quod tamen suae sapientiae per doctrinam nullum vestigium relinquit: ne ergo Iob hoc pateretur, disposuit non tacere de veritate ut consumptus corpore post mortem viveret in sua doctrina. Vel potest hoc ad aliam intentionem referri: cum enim aliquis dolorem quem in corde patitur exterius exprimit, quodammodo eius animus mitigatur, sed tacendo interius magis a dolore angustatur et quodammodo sua taciturnitate consumitur. After he has rendered his listeners attentive, he determines the manner of his disputation. For he wants to dispute in the form of a debate. He expresses this saying, “Who will be judged with me?” that is, with whom may I debate about the truth? “Let him come,” that is, let him come forward to dispute! He then states the reason why he intends to dispute about the truth, saying, “Why am I spent in remaining silent?” For man is spent little by little in the course of this present life, especially when he has been subjected to infirmity like Job. He is spent in silence when he so passes this present life that he still does not leave any trace of his wisdom by his teaching. To avoid suffering this fate then, Job had decided not to be silent about the truth so that he might live on after death in his teaching, although consumed in his body. There can also be another explanation. Indeed, when someone expresses externally a pain which he suffers in his heart, his soul is in a certain sense pacified, whereas in remaining silent, his pain becomes more acute interiorly and he is somehow consumed by his own silence.
Quia ergo condisputatorem petierat dicens quis est qui iudicetur mecum? Et supra dixerat disputare cum Deo cupio, ex nunc loquitur quasi Deum habens praesentem et cum eo disputans. Videbatur autem disputatio hominis ad Deum esse indebita propter excellentiam qua Deus hominem excellit; sed considerandum est quod veritas ex diversitate personarum non variatur, unde cum aliquis veritatem loquitur vinci non potest cum quocumque disputet; certus autem erat Iob quod veritatem loquebatur sibi a Deo per donum fidei et sapientiae inspiratam, unde de veritate non diffidens petebat se divina fortitudine non premi, neque per mala praesentialiter illata neque per timorem inferendorum, et hoc est quod dicit duo tantum ne facias mihi, et tunc a facie tua non abscondar, quasi non timebo tecum disputare: timentes enim se abscondere solent a facie eorum quos timent. Quae autem sint ista duo ostendit subdens manum tuam longe fac a me, idest non me percutias per flagella praesentia; et fortitudo tua non me terreat, quantum ad flagella futura: his enim duobus modis potest impediri homo ne etiam veritatem quam certissime novit disputando defendere possit, dum vel molestatur in corpore vel sollicitatur in anima timore aut aliqua alia passione. Since, then, he has sought someone to argue with him, saying, “Who will be judged with me?” and as he had said already, “I desire to dispute with God,” (v.3) from here on he speaks as if he is in the presence of God and is disputing with Him. But for a man to dispute with God does not seem fitting because of the excellence by which God excels man. However, one must consider that the truth does not change because of the difference of persons and so when someone speaks the truth, he cannot be convinced of the contrary no matter with whom he argues. Now Job was sure that he was speaking the truth inspired by God through the gift of faith and wisdom. So, though he confided in the truth, he asks that divine strength might not strike him down, either through the evils he presently bore, or through the fear others to be inflicted. He says this, “Spare me in only two things, and then I will not hide myself from your face,” as if: I will not be afraid to dispute with you. For when someone is afraid, he usually hides himself from the sight of those whom he fears. He shows these two things when he says, “Keep your hand far from me,” that is, do not whip me with the scourges of the present. “And let not your power terrify me,” with future punishments. For a man can be impeded in these two ways from being able to defend even the truth which he knows for certain in a disputation: when he is either molested in body or disturbed by fear or by some other passion in the soul.
Est autem disputatio inter duas personas, scilicet opponentem et respondentem; ingrediens ergo disputationem cum Deo, dat ei optionem utramlibet personam eligendi vel opponentis vel respondentis, unde dicit voca me et respondebo tibi, quasi dicat: obicias et respondebo, aut certe loquar, obiciendo, et tu responde mihi; hoc autem dicit aenigmatice ostendendo paratum se esse ad utrumque, sive ad defendendam veritatem quam profitetur sive ad impugnandum quod contra veritatem diceretur. Primo autem Deo dat partes opponentis dicens quantas habeo iniquitates et peccata, scelera mea atque delicta ostende mihi. Ubi considerandum est quod amici Iob quasi causam Dei agentes contra Iob disputare videbantur, secundum illud quod supra dixit numquid faciem eius accipitis et pro Deo iudicare nitimini? Amici autem Iob hoc contra ipsum opponebant quod pro peccatis suis punitus erat: hoc igitur sibi a Deo obiciendum expetit dicens quantas habeo iniquitates et peccata, scelera mea atque delicta ostende mihi, quasi dicat: si sic est quod pro peccatis meis me affligis, ut amici mei pro te loqui conantes calumniantur, peto ut mihi ostendas pro quibus peccatis tam graviter me affligis. Unde non dicit quas habeo iniquitates sed quantas, quia si non est alia ratio adversitatum praesentium quam peccata hominum, ut amici Iob opinabantur, necesse est maxima esse peccata quae maximis afflictionibus puniuntur. Peccatorum autem quaedam sunt commissa quae contra praecepta legis negativa fiunt, quaedam omissa quibus praecepta affirmativa negliguntur; committitur autem aliquid contra praeceptum legis tripliciter: uno modo quia est in nocumentum proximi, ut furtum, homicidium et huiusmodi quae proprie iniquitates dicuntur, quia aequitati iustitiae quae est ad alium contrariantur; alio modo secundum quod homo peccat in se ipso per deordinationem sui actus, ut apparet in peccatis praecipue gulae et luxuriae, et haec dicuntur peccata, quasi deordinationes quaedam hominis; tertio modo committuntur aliqua directe contra Deum, ut blasphemiae, sacrilegium et huiusmodi, et haec propter sui gravitatem scelera dicuntur. Omissiones autem proprie nominantur delicta. Now a debate is between two persons: namely, the one making objections and the other one answering them. So, in entering a dispute with God, he gives him the option of choosing which role he wants to take: the one making objections or the one answering. He therefore says, “Call me and I will answer you,” saying in effect: You object and I will answer. “Or at least allow me to speak,” by raising objections, “and you will answer me.” He says this figuratively to show that he is prepared to do both, either to defend the truth which he professes, or to refute what might be said against the truth. First he offers God the part of the opposing party saying, “Show me what great crimes, sins, wicked deeds, and faults I have.” Here one must consider that Job’s friends seemed to argue against Job, as though taking the part of God, according to what was said already, “Do you take God’s part to try to judge for God?” (v:8) Now the friends of Job used the argument against him that he had been punished for his sins. He therefore asks that God will use this objection against him saying; “Show me what great iniquities, sins, wicked deeds and faults I have,” saying in effect: If then you afflict me for my sins, as my friends charge falsely trying to speak for you, I ask you to show me for what sins you afflict me so gravely. So he does not say, “what evils I have,” but “what great,” because if there is no other reason for present afflictions than the sins of men, as is the opinion of the friends of Job, those sins must be the most grievous which are punished with the most grievous afflictions. Some sins are sins of commission done against the negative precepts of the law. There are other sins of omission by which one neglects affirmative precepts of the law. One does something against a precept of the law in three ways: in one way when he harms his neighbor, like theft, murder, and things of this sort which are properly named “wickedness” because they are contrary to the equity of justice which regards the other. In another way a man sins against himself by a disorder of his own act, as appears especially in the sins of gluttony and lust, and these are called “sins,” as certain disorders of man. In a third way one sins directly against God in deeds like blasphemy and sacrilege. These are called “crimes” because of their gravity. Omissions are properly called “delinquencies.”
Deinde quasi tacente eo cui partes opponentis dederat, ipse partes obicientis assumit et inquirit de causis suae punitionis. Et primo quia posset aliquis dicere quod Deus eum punivit quasi inimicum, hanc causam excludit dicens cur faciem tuam abscondis et arbitraris me inimicum tuum? Iniquum enim videtur quod aliquis alium sibi inimicum arbitretur absque causa; causa autem inimicitiae conveniens esse non potest nisi offensa: tunc igitur manifestum est quod Deus hominem inimicum sibi arbitratur quando eius peccata manifestantur; petiverat autem Iob sibi ostendi sua peccata, nec erant ei ostensa; non ergo apparebat ratio quare Deus sibi inimicaretur, et hoc est quod insinuat dicens cur faciem tuam abscondis, quasi latenter et ex ratione occulta eum odio habens? Facies enim hominis odientis aperta est quando rationem sui odii non occultat. Then, as though the one to whom he had given the part of the opponent were silent, Job himself assumes the part of the objector and asks about the causes of his punishment. First, since someone could object that God punished him as his enemy, he rejects this by saying, “Why do you hide your face and think of me as your enemy?” For it seems evil that someone regard someone else as an enemy without proof. But the only fitting cause for hostility is an offense. Thus it is evident that God thinks a man his enemy when his sins are clear. But Job had asked Him to show him his sins, and they had not been shown to him. So there appeared no reason why God was unfriendly to him. He insinuates this when he says, “Why do you hide our face?” as though he hated Job secretly for a hidden motive. For the face of a man who hates is uncovered when he does not hide the reason for his hatred.
Secundo quia posset aliquis dicere quod Deus eum punivit ut in ipso ostenderet suam potentiam, hanc etiam causam excludit dicens contra folium quod vento rapitur ostendis potentiam tuam? Non enim conveniens est quod aliquis fortissimus suam potentiam velit ostendere in re debilissima; comparatur autem humana condicio folio quod vento rapitur, quia et in se ipso homo fragilis est et infirmus sicut folium quod de facili cadit, et nihilominus decursu temporis et varietate fortunae ducitur ut folium vento: unde non videtur convenienter dici quod Deus ad hoc solum aliquem hominem puniat quod in eo suam potentiam ostendat. Second, because someone could object that God punished him in order to show his power, he rejects this cause saying, “Do you show your power against the leaf which is driven by the wind?” For it is not fitting that some very powerful man should wish to show his power against something very weak. The human condition is compared to a leaf, which is driven by the wind, because man himself is both frail and weak like a leaf which falls easily, and notwithstanding the passing of time and the variety of fortune, he is driven like a leaf by the wind. So it does not seem fitting to say that God punishes man only in order to show his power in man’s case.
Tertio quia posset aliquis dicere quod Deus punivit eum propter peccata quae in sua iuventute commisit, etiam et hoc excludit dicens et stipulam siccam persequeris? Scribis enim contra me amaritudines, et consumere me vis peccatis adolescentiae meae? Homo enim in iuventute comparatur herbae virenti, sed in senectute comparatur quasi stipulae siccae: idem ergo videtur hominem in senectute punire pro peccatis adolescentiae ac si aliquis pro defectu herbae virentis desaeviret in stipulam. Sed considerandum est quod in hac inquisitione, ab hac sententia non recedit quod adversitates hominum ex divino iudicio inferuntur, ad quod significandum dicit scribis contra me amaritudines, ac si amaritudines, idest adversitates hominum, ex Scriptura divinae sententiae procedant. Third, since someone could object that God punished him because of the sins which he committed in his youth, he also rejects this by saying, “Do you break a dry stalk? Do you write bitter things against me, and do you want to consume me for the sins of my youth?” For a man in his youth is compared to green grass, but in his old age he is compared to a dry stalk. It seems that to punish a man in his old age for the sins of his youth is as though someone should rage violently against a stalk for not being green grass. But we should note in this examination that he does not deviate from this opinion that the adversities of man are caused by divine judgment, and to indicate this he says, “You write bitter things against me,” as though bitter things, that is, the adversities of man result from the writing of divine sentence.
Quarto quia posset aliquis dicere quod, licet Iob gravia peccata non commiserit, tamen aliqua peccata commisit sine quibus praesens vita non agitur, et pro his sic punitus est, hoc etiam excludit dicens posuisti in nervo pedem meum et observasti omnes semitas meas et vestigia pedum meorum considerasti, qui quasi putredo consumendus sum et quasi vestimentum quod comeditur a tinea? Ubi considerandum est quod illi qui ponuntur in carceris nervo, sic ligantur quod a nervo divertere non possunt: sicut autem pes hominis constringitur nervo, ita processus hominis constringitur lege divinae iustitiae a qua divertere non licet, et hoc est quod dicit posuisti in nervo pedem meum. Ad divinam autem iustitiam pertinet ut facta hominum discutiat, non solum quid unusquisque faciat sed etiam quo animo vel quo fine, et ideo dicit observasti omnes semitas meas, quantum ad facta, et vestigia pedum meorum considerasti, quantum ad affectum facientis vel etiam quantum ad quascumque circumstantias operis. Irrationabile autem videtur quod Deus tantam diligentiam de actibus hominum habeat, si totaliter esse desinunt per corporis mortem: quae quidem quandoque est naturalis, quandoque autem violenta, unde de utraque subiungit dicens qui quasi putredo consumendus sum, quantum ad mortem naturalem, et sicut vestimentum quod comeditur a tinea, quantum ad mortem violentam, ac si dicat: si, ut amici mei suspicantur, non est alia vita nisi praesens quam homo amittit vel per modum putredinis vel per modum succisionis, irrationabile videretur quod Deus tanta districtione de actibus hominum curam haberet ut etiam pro minimis peccatis et negligentiis hominem puniret. Fourth, someone could object that, even though Job had not committed grave sins, he had still committed some sins which are inevitable in this present life, and so he is punished for these in this way. He also rejects this saying, “Have you placed my foot in fetters; and observed all my paths, and have you considered the traces of my footsteps, I who am consumed like something rotten and like a garment eaten by the moth?” Here we should consider that those who are placed in prison fetters are so bound that they cannot get free. Just as a man’s foot is bound in fetters, so the proceeding of man is bound by the law of divine justice from which he cannot turn away. This is why he says, “Have you places my foot in fetters? Divine justice evaluates the deeds of men, not only as to what each one does, but also as to what spirit and with what end, and so he says, “and observed all my paths,” that is, my deeds, “and have you considered the traces of my footsteps,” as to the good-will of the doer and also all of the circumstances of the deed. It seems unreasonable that God should have such great care for human acts if they disappear completely in the death of the body, a death which is sometimes natural and sometimes violent. So for both he adds, “I who am consumed like something rotten,” expressing natural death, “and like a garment eaten by the moth,” expressing a violent death, saying in effect: If as my friends suppose there is no other life except the present one which man loses either by rotting away or by being cast down, it seems unreasonable that God would be concerned with such great strictness about human acts that he punishes man even for the slightest sins and negligence.

The First Lesson: Wonder about Divine Care
אָדָם יְלוּד אִשָּׁה קְצַר יָמִים וּשְׂבַע־רֹגֶז׃ 1 כְּצִיץ יָצָא וַיִּמָּל וַיִּבְרַח כַּצֵּל וְלֹא יַעֲמוֹד׃ 2 אַף־עַל־זֶה פָּקַחְתָּ עֵינֶךָ וְאֹתִי תָבִיא בְמִשְׁפָּט עִמָּךְ׃ 3 מִי־יִתֵּן טָהוֹר מִטָּמֵא לֹא אֶחָד׃ 4 1 Man, born of woman, lives for a short time, is filled with many sorrows: 2 who like a flower comes forth and is crushed, and he flees like a shadow, he never rests in the same state. 3 And you consider it worthy to open your eyes on someone like this and you bring him with yourself in judgment. 4 Who can make clean one conceived of unclean seed, if not you alone?
Et quia hoc quod ultimo dictum est magnam viam praestat ad inquisitionem veritatis, circa hanc manifestandam magis insistit, et quod de se singulariter dixerat generaliter ad totum genus humanum reducit. Since this last point is of particular value for the investigation of the truth, he insists more on clarifying this truth. What he had said about himself in particular he applies again generally to the whole human race.
Ubi primo exponit fragilitatem humanae condicionis: et quantum ad originem cum dicit homo natus de muliere, quasi de re fragili, et quantum ad durationem cum dicit brevi vivens tempore, et quantum ad condicionem cum dicit repletur multis miseriis, ubi quasi exponere videtur quod supra dixerat contra folium quod vento rapitur ostendis potentiam tuam? Here he first explains the frailty of the human condition, as to origin when he says, “Man, born of woman,” like from something frail; as to duration when he says, “lives for a short time”; and as to condition when he says, “is filled with many sorrows.” Here he explains what he said above, “Do you show your power against the leaf which is driven by the wind?” (v.25)
Secundo excludit ea de quibus homo gloriari posset, quorum primum est corporis pulcritudo qua pollet in iuventute: sed ista gloria nulla est quia cito transit ad modum floris, unde dicit qui quasi flos egreditur et conteritur, scilicet de facili; secundum est fama quae diu non durat, unde dicit et fugit velut umbra: umbrae enim transeuntis nullum vestigium aut memoria manet; tertium est potestas et virtus qua aliquis se et sua conservare conatur, et contra hoc dicit et numquam in eodem statu permanet. Et possunt haec tria ad tria superiora referri: homo enim natus de muliere quasi flos egreditur et cito conteritur, sic autem brevi vivit tempore ut velut umbra fugiat cuius non restat vestigium, sic autem multis repletur miseriis ut si interdum prosperitate et gaudio potiatur numquam tamen in eodem statu permaneat. Second he excludes those things in which a man can take glory; the first among these is the beauty of the body with which a man is strong in his youth. But this glory is nothing because it passes quickly like the flower. So he says, “Who like a flower comes forth and is crushed,” easily. The second is fame, which does not last for a long time, and so he says, “and he flees like a shadow.” For no trace or memory of a shadow which passes remains. The third is power and strength with which someone tries to preserve himself and his own things, and against this he says, “he never rests in the same state.” These three things can refer to the three others which the previous verse treats. For man born of woman is like a flower which comes forth and is quickly crushed, but he lives for so brief a time so that he flees like a shadow whose trace does not remain. Therefore he is filled with many sorrows so that though at times he might acquire prosperity and joy, yet he would never rest in the same state.
Tertio admiratur diligentiam divinae providentiae circa hominem: mirabile enim videtur quod de re tam fragili et despecta Deus tantam curam habet. Quamvis autem omnia divinae providentiae subsint, specialiter tamen sollicitudo divina circa hominem apparet in tribus: primo quidem quantum ad hoc quod ei leges et praecepta vivendi dedit, et hoc tangit cum dicit et dignum ducis super huiuscemodi aperire oculos tuos, eo modo loquendi quo aliquis dicitur super aliquem oculos suos aperire cum eum dirigit et vias eius considerat; secundo quantum ad hoc quod Deus hominem pro bonis praemiat et pro malis punit, et hoc tangit cum dicit et adducere eum tecum in iudicium; tertio quantum ad hoc quod Deus eum virtutibus ornat quibus contra foeditates peccati se mundum conservat, et hoc tangit cum dicit quis potest facere mundum de immundo conceptum semine? Semen quidem hominis immundum est non secundum naturam sed secundum concupiscentiae infectionem; de hoc tamen immundo semine homo conceptus interdum mundus invenitur per virtutes. Sicuti autem de frigido facere calidum est eius quod per se calidum est, ita de immundo facere mundum est eius qui per se mundus est, et ideo subdit nonne tu qui solus es, scilicet vere et per te ipsum mundus? Puritas enim et munditia in solo Deo perfecte invenitur, in quo nec potentialitas nec defectus aliquis esse potest, unde quicquid quocumque modo mundum vel purum est, a Deo munditiam et puritatem habet. Third, he wonders about the attentiveness of divine providence for man. For it seems marvelous that God should have such great care about a thing so fragile and despicable. Although everything is submitted to divine providence, still God’s care for man appears especially in three things. First, he has given him laws and precepts for living. He touches this when he says, “and you consider it worthy open your eyes on someone like this,” for someone is said to open his eyes on someone when he directs him and considers his ways. Second, God rewards man for good deeds and punishes him for evil deeds, and he touches this when he says, “and bring him with yourself in judgment.” Third, God adorns him with the virtues by which he preserves himself pure against the deformity of sin. He touches this when he says, “Who can make clean one conceived of unclean seed?” The seed of man is certainly unclean, not according to nature, but according to the infection of concupiscence. Yet a man conceived from this unclean seed is sometimes proven pure by virtue. As the power to make hot what is cold belongs to what is hot in itself, so the power to make pure what is impure belongs to what is pure in itself, and so he says then, “If not you alone,” who are really pure in yourself? For purity and cleanliness are found perfectly only in God, in whom there can be no potentiality or defect. So whatever is clean and pure in any way takes this purity and cleanness from God.
The Second Lesson: The Hope for Another Life
אִם חֲרוּצִים יָמָיו מִסְפַּר־חֳדָשָׁיו אִתָּךְ חֻקּוֹ עָשִׂיתָ וְלֹא יַעֲבוֹר׃ 5 שְׁעֵה מֵעָלָיו וְיֶחְדָּל עַד־יִרְצֶה כְּשָׂכִיר יוֹמוֹ׃ 6 5 The days of man are short, the number of his months are in your presence. You set up limits which cannot be passed. 6 Leave him a little while so that he might rest until the desired day comes like a hired man.
Breves dies hominis sunt et cetera. Admiratus fuerat Iob de dignatione divina circa homines, cum tamen homo sit tam fragilis et miserae condicionis considerato statu vitae praesentis, sed haec admiratio cessat si consideretur quod post hanc vitam homini alia vita reservatur in qua in aeternum permaneat: et ideo ad hoc ostendendum ex nunc conatur. Praemittit ergo, quasi supponens quod ostendere intendit, et brevitatem praesentis vitae, cum dicit breves dies hominis sunt; et quod ipsa mensura vitae humanae determinatur a Deo, cum dicit numerus mensium eius apud te est, sicut apud nos numerum illorum esse dicimus quorum numerus a nobis stabilitur; et iterum immutabilitatem divinae determinationis, cum dicit constituisti terminos eius qui praeteriri non poterunt: divina enim dispositio non fallitur, unde hominem vel diutius vel minus vivere quam divina dispositio habet est impossibile, licet hunc hominem nunc vel prius mori sit contingens si in se consideretur. Sunt autem et termini humanae vitae praestituti ex aliquibus corporalibus causis, puta ex complexione vel ex aliquo huiusmodi, ultra quos vita hominis protendi non potest, quamvis ante possit deficere ex aliqua accidentali causa, sed terminos praestitutos secundum divinam providentiam, sub qua omnia cadunt, nec in plus nec in minus vita hominis potest praeterire. Job had wondered about the divine esteem for men, since man is still of such a frail and unhappy condition, considered in the state of the present life. But this wonder would cease if one considers that after this life there is another life reserved for man in which he remains in eternity, and so from here on he tries to show this. Therefore he presupposes what he intends to show as a proposition, the brevity of the present life, when he says, “The days of man are short.” He shows that the very measure of human life is determined by God, when he says, “the number of his months is in your presence,” as we say the number of those things is in our presence whose number is established by us. Moreover, he uses the unchangeableness of divine determination as a premise when he says, “You set up limits which cannot be passed.” God’s order is not deceived, and so to live either longer or shorter than divine disposition has established is impossible, although it may be contingent that this man or that man die now or before if considered in himself. There are boundaries established beforehand for human life from some corporeal causes, for example, from constitution or something like that. The life of man cannot extend beyond this, although it can be shortened because of some accidental cause. But the life of man can neither extend more nor less than the limits determined according to divine providence, under which everything falls.
Praemittit etiam alterius vitae expectationem cum dicit recede paululum ab eo ut quiescat donec optata veniat et sicut mercennarii dies eius. Ubi considerandum est quod sicut sol est causa diei, ita Deus est auctor vitae; recedente autem sole, dies finitur et nox venit: per recessum ergo Dei intelligit terminationem praesentis vitae quae est homini a Deo. Vita autem praesens multis turbationibus repletur, secundum hanc enim dictum est de homine quod repletur multis miseriis; et quia quies finis laboris esse videtur ideo mortem quietem vocat: dicit ergo recede paululum ab eo ut quiescat, idest subtrahe virtutem tuam qua hominem vivificas, ut moriatur. Sed mors hominis non est in perpetuum, sed iterum reparabitur ad vitam immortalem; status ergo mortis humanae, quantocumque tempore resurrectio differatur, brevis est in comparatione ad statum futurae immortalitatis, unde signanter dicit paululum: ab aliis enim rebus quae non reditura intereunt non paululum sed in aeternum Deus recedit, sed ab hominibus qui sic intereunt ut resurgant, per modicum tempus. Dictum est autem supra quod vita hominis super terram est sicut dies mercennarii desiderantis tempus mercedis; tempus autem retributionis hominis non est in hac vita, ut amici Iob opinabantur, sed in illa vita ad quam homo resurgendo reparatur: dicit ergo ut quiescat, idest ut moriatur, non tamen in perpetuum sed donec veniat optata dies eius, sicut mercennarii dies est optata in qua mercedem recipit, ubi primo Iob suam intentionem aperuit: non enim sic negat adversitates praesentes esse punitiones quasi Deus hominum actus non remuneret vel puniat, sed quia tempus retributionis proprie est in alia vita. He also uses as a premise the expectation of the other life when he says, “Leave him a little while so that he might rest until the desired day comes like a hired man.” Here it is necessary to observe that as the sun is the cause of day, so God is the author of life. When the sun leaves, the day ends and night comes. By God leaving, he understands the termination of the present life which man has from God. The present life, however, is filled with many tribulations, indeed he spoke about this when he said about man, “he is filled with many sorrows.” (v.1) Since rest seems to be the end of toil, he calls death rest. So he says, “Leave him for a little while so that he might rest,” i.e., take away the power by which you give life to man so that he can die. But the death of a man is not definitive, for he will be made whole again for life which does not die. Thus the state of human death, until whatever time resurrection is deferred, is brief in comparison to the state of future immortality, and so he clearly says, “for a little while.” For God does not leave other things perish which will not return for a little while but for eternity, but he goes away from man for a short time, for man perishes in such a way that he will rise again. He said above that the life of man on earth is like the day of the hired man, (7:1) desiring his payday. But the time of the repayment of man is not in this life, as was the opinion of the friends of Job, but in that life to which man is restored by resurrection. He then says, “that he might rest,” that is, that he might die, yet not forever, but “until the day comes he desires,” like the day of the hired man when he receives his pay is desired. Here Job for the first time makes clear his intention. For he does not deny that the present adversities are punishments, as though God did not reward or punish the acts of man, but maintains that the time of retribution is properly in the other life.
The Third Lesson: The Strength of the Tree and the Weakness of Man
כִּי יֵשׁ לָעֵץ תִּקְוָה אִם־יִכָּרֵת וְעוֹד יַחֲלִיף וְיֹנַקְתּוֹ לֹא תֶחְדָּל׃ 7 אִם־יַזְקִין בָּאָרֶץ שָׁרְשׁוֹ וּבֶעָפָר יָמוּת גִּזְעוֹ׃ 8 מֵרֵיחַ מַיִם יַפְרִחַ וְעָשָׂה קָצִיר כְּמוֹ־נָטַע׃ 9 וְגֶבֶר יָמוּת וַיֶּחֱלָשׁ וַיִּגְוַע אָדָם וְאַיּוֹ׃ 10 אָזְלוּ־מַיִם מִנִּי־יָם וְנָהָר יֶחֱרַב וְיָבֵשׁ׃ 11 וְאִישׁ שָׁכַב וְלֹא־יָקוּם עַד־בִּלְתִּי שָׁמַיִם לֹא יָקִיצוּ וְלֹא־יֵעֹרוּ מִשְּׁנָתָם׃ 12 7 If a tree is cut down, it has hope; it grows green again and its branches sprout. 8 If its roots age in the earth and its trunk has rotted in the dirt, 9 it will be rejuvenated by the mere scent of water, and it will put forth a shoot as when it was first planted. 10 Where, I ask you, is man when he has died, been stripped, and destroyed? 11 As the waters recede from the sea and the rivers dry up empty, 12 so when a man sleeps, he will not rise again; until heaven passes away, 13 he will not awaken nor will arise from his sleep.
Lignum habet spem si praecisum fuerit. Posita sententia sua, hic Iob ad eius manifestationem procedit, et primo ostendit quod homo secundum ea quae apparent in hac vita est peioris condicionis quibusdam etiam infimis creaturis quae post interitum reparantur, ut praecipue apparet in lignis. Dupliciter autem vita arboris deficit, sicut et vita hominis, scilicet per violentiam et per naturam: quantum ergo ad violentum defectum arboris dicit lignum si praecisum fuerit habet spem, idest naturalem aptitudinem ut iterum reparetur, quia rursum virescit ipsum in se ipso si plantetur; et rami eius pullulant, in quo ostenditur perfectam vitam recuperare sicut et prius. Quantum autem ad defectum naturalem arboris subdit si senuerit in terra radix eius, cum non possit attrahere alimentum propter defectum virtutis naturalis, et sic consequenter in pulvere emortuus fuerit truncus illius, idest per putredinem in pulvere sit redactus secundum aliquam partem, ad odorem aquae germinabit, idest veniente pluvia, ex putredine ligni habente vim sementinam, et faciet comam, scilicet frondium, quasi cum primo plantatum est. Hoc autem in homine non invenitur secundum decursum praesentis vitae, unde subdit homo vero cum mortuus fuerit et nudatus atque consumptus, ubi, quaeso, est? Et ponit tria quae gradatim homo amittit: primo enim anima separatur a corpore, et ad hoc pertinet quod dicit cum mortuus fuerit; secundo vero tegumenta et ornatus corporis, quae interdum post mortem homini remanent sed postea etiam his nudatur, et ad hoc pertinet quod dicit et nudatus; ad ultimum vero etiam ipsa compago corporis solvitur, et ad hoc pertinet quod dicit atque consumptus. Quae cum peracta fuerint, nihil sensibiliter apparet de homine remanens, unde apud illos qui nihil nisi sensibilia et corporalia esse credunt videtur totaliter in nihilum redactus: horum igitur dubitationem exprimens dicit ubi, quaeso, est? After stating his opinion, Job here proceeds to make it clear. First, he shows that as things appear in this life man is in a worse condition than even those weak creatures which are renewed after their destruction. This fact is especially clear in trees. The life of the tree, like the life of a man, can fail in two ways, by violence or by nature. He speaks about the violent destruction of the tree, “If a tree is cut down, it has hope,” the natural aptitude to renew its existence again because, “it grows green again,” if it is replanted, “and its branches sprout.” In this he demonstrates that it recovers the perfect life it formerly had. He expresses the natural failure of the tree saying, “If its roots age in the earth,” when it cannot take in food because of some defect in natural power, and consequently, “its trunk has rotted in the dirt,” because it is reduced to dust in some place by rot, “it will be rejuvenated by the mere scent of water,” when the rain comes because the rottenness of the wood possesses a seminal potency. “And it will put forth a shoot,” in a growth of leaves, “as when it was first planted.” This is not found to be the case in man with the passing of the present life and so he then says, “Where, I ask you, is man when he has died, been stripped and destroyed?” Job posits there are three things which man loses by degrees. First, the soul is separated from the body, and he expresses this saying, “when he has died.” Second, he loses his covering and decorations of the body, which remain for some time to someone who has died. But afterwards he is stripped of even these and so he says, “been stripped.” Finally, even the very structure of his body is dissolved and expresses this saying, “and destroyed.” After these things have been completed, no sensible appearance of man remains and so to those who believe in only the sensible and corporeal appearances of man he seems entirely reduced to nothing. To express the doubt of these people, Job then says, “Where, I ask you, is man?”
Considerandum est autem quod ea quae non totaliter pereunt reparari posse videntur, sicut de ligno praeciso vel senescente dictum est, sed ea quorum nihil remanet impossibile videtur iterum reparari, sicut si totaliter aqua maris aut fluminis desiccaretur; homo autem, sicut iam dictum est, videtur sic per mortem consumi ut nihil eius remaneat, unde secundum hanc rationem apparet quod impossibile sit ipsum iterum reparari ad vitam, et hoc est quod subdit quomodo si recedant aquae de mari et fluvius vacuefactus arescat, sic homo cum dormierit, idest cum mortuus fuerit, non resurget a morte. Eiusdem autem impossibilitatis esse videtur ut incorruptibilia corrumpantur et ut totaliter corrupta iterum reparentur; caelum autem incorruptibile est, et ideo subdit donec atteratur caelum, non evigilabit, quasi reviviscens, nec consurget de somno suo, ad opera vitae peragenda, quasi dicat: sicut impossibile est caelum atteri, idest corrumpi, ita impossibile est hominem mortuum resurgere; et hoc quidem dicitur, ut dictum est, supposito quod de homine nihil remaneat post mortem, secundum hoc quod dictum est ubi, quaeso, est? Vel potest hoc referri ad opinionem illorum qui ponebant totum universum corporale istud corrumpendum et iterum reparandum, in qua quidem reparatione ponebant eosdem homines redituros, ut sit sensus: durante isto mundo, homo a morte non resurget; fides autem Catholica non ponit substantiam mundi perituram, sed huius mundi statum qui nunc est, secundum illud I Cor. VII 31 praeterit figura huius mundi; haec ergo mundi immutatio secundum figuram potest hic intelligi per caeli attritionem: resurrectio enim mortuorum communis in fine mundi expectatur, secundum illud Iob XI 24 scio quia resurget in resurrectione, in novissimo die. Note here that what does not perish totally can be renewed, as he has already said about wood which is cut down or is old. (vv. 7-9) But the renewal of something again when nothing remains seems impossible, for example, to renew water in the sea or a river which has completely evaporated. Man, however, as the text has already explained, seems to be so consumed by death that nothing remains of him, and so according to this argument it seems impossible that he is restored to life again. He expresses this theme saying, “As the waters recede from the sea and the rivers dry up empty, so when a man sleeps (when he has died), he will not rise again (from the dead).” Just as it seems impossible for incorruptible things to be corrupted, so it seems impossible for what is totally corrupted to be restored again. Heaven is incorruptible, and so he says, “until heaven passes away, he will not awaken,” i.e. come to life again, “nor arise from his sleep,” to do the works of the living again. He is saying in effect: As it is impossible for heaven to pass away, i.e. to be corrupted, so it is impossible for man to rise again from the dead. This is said, as we already established, in the supposition that nothing remains of man after death, according to his question,” “Where, I ask you, is man.” (v.10) One can also refer this to the opinion of those who posited that the whole corporeal universe should be corrupted and renewed again. In this reparation, they posited that the same men would return. So the sense would be: While this world lasts, man will not rise again from the dead. The Catholic faith, however, does not submit that the substance of the world with perish, but only the state of this world as it now exists. Paul expresses this in 1 Corinthians, “The figure of this world is passing away.” (7:31) Therefore this change in the figure of the world can be understood here by the wearing away of heaven. For the common resurrection of the dead at the end of the world is expected, as John says, “I know that I will again in the resurrection on the last day.” (11:24)
The Fourth Lesson: Waiting for Darkness and Hope of Resurrection
מִי יִתֵּן בִּשְׁאוֹל תַּצְפִּנֵנִי תַּסְתִּירֵנִי עַד־שׁוּב אַפֶּךָ תָּשִׁית לִי חֹק וְתִזְכְּרֵנִי׃ 13 אִם־יָמוּת גֶּבֶר הֲיִחְיֶה כָּל־יְמֵי צְבָאִי אֲיַחֵל עַד־בּוֹא חֲלִיפָתִי׃ 14 תִּקְרָא וְאָנֹכִי אֶעֱנֶךָּ לְמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ תִכְסֹף׃ 15 כִּי־עַתָּה צְעָדַי תִּסְפּוֹר לֹא־תִשְׁמוֹר עַל־חַטָּאתִי׃ 16 חָתֻם בִּצְרוֹר פִּשְׁעִי וַתִּטְפֹּל עַל־עֲוֹנִי׃ 17 13 Who will grant that you will protect me and hide me in Sheol until your anger passes and you will determine a time for me when you may remember me? 14 Do you think a dead man can live again? For all the days during which I have now struggled, I await the time when my transformation will come. 15 You will call me and I will answer you; you will stretch forth your right hand to the work of your hands. 16 You have numbered my steps, but spare my sins. 17 You have sealed my faults in a sack, but you cared for my iniquity.
Quis mihi hoc tribuat ut in Inferno protegas me et cetera. Postquam Iob ostenderat quid ex his quae sensibiliter apparent de resurrectione hominis conici possit, hic suam sententiam circa resurrectionem ponit. Esset autem valde horrendum et miserabile si homo per mortem sic deficeret quod numquam esset reparandus ad vitam, quia unumquodque naturaliter esse desiderat: unde Iob suum desiderium ostendit de resurrectione futura, dicens quis mihi hoc tribuat ut etiam post mortem in Inferno protegas me, idest sub speciali cura qua homines protegis me contineas, donec pertranseat furor tuus, idest tempus mortis - quia, sicut supra dictum est, mors hominis accidit per subtractionem divinae operationis conservantis vitam, unde dixerat recede paululum ab eo -: videtur enim Deus homini esse iratus quando beneficium vitae ei subtrahit, et praecipue cum credamus mortem ex peccato primi hominis provenisse. Quomodo autem se protegi velit etiam in Inferno, exponit subdens et constituas mihi tempus in quo recorderis mei? Videtur enim Deus hominis esse oblitus quando ei subtrahit beneficium vitae, tunc ergo eius recordatur cum ipsum ad vitam reducit: constituere ergo tempus in quo Deus hominis mortui recordetur nihil est aliud quam constituere tempus resurrectionis. Et satis convenienter hoc nominat protectionem: cum enim artifex, dissoluto artificio, ex eadem materia non intendit iterum aedificium reparare, utpote domum vel aliquid huiusmodi, de materia dissoluti aedificii nullam curam agere videtur; sed quando ex ea intendit aedificium reparare, diligenter custodit ne pereat: hanc ergo custodiam protectionem vocat. After Job has shown what one can conclude about the resurrection of man from things which are apparent to the senses, he posits here his own opinion about the resurrection. It would be a horrendous and unhappy thing if man should so depart after death that he would never be brought back to life. This is because everything naturally desires its own existence. So Job shows his desire for the future resurrection saying, “Who will grant,” even after death,” that you will protect me in Sheol,” i.e. you would preserve me with the special care with which you protect man, “until you anger passes,” at the time of death. The death of man is caused by the removal of the divine action which conserves life, and so he said before, “Go away from him for a little.” (v. 6) God seems angry with a man when he takes his gift of life away from him, especially for us who believe that death came from the sin of the first man. He explains how he wishes to be protected even in Sheol when he says, “and will you determine a time for me when you may remember me?” For God seems to have forgotten man when he takes the gift of life away from them. Then he remembers man when he leads him back to life. Therefore, to determine the time in which God remembers the dead man is nothing else than to determine the time of the resurrection. He very fittingly calls this “protection.” (v.13) For when an artist, having dismantled his work, does not want to repair the building with the same material, like a house or something of the sort, he seems to have no care for the material of the house which is falling into ruin. But when he intends to repair the building from this material, he guards it diligently so that it does not perish. He calls this guardianship “protection.”
Postquam igitur desiderium suum de resurgendo expressit, quia desideria quandoque sunt etiam impossibilium consequenter sub quaestione ponit utrum hoc quandoque futurum sit quod ipse desideravit, unde subdit putasne mortuus homo rursum vivet? Et super hoc quid ipse sentiat, ostendit dicens cunctis diebus quibus nunc milito expecto donec veniat immutatio mea. Ubi considerandum est quod supra vitam hominis super terram militiae comparaverat et diebus mercennarii, quia tam milites quam mercennarii aliquid post statum praesentem expectant, et ideo sicut supra resurrectionis statum per diem optatam mercennarii expressit, ita et nunc sub similitudine militis idem ostendit. Et notandum est quod optatum finem non expectat in aliqua parte temporis huius vitae, quia cunctos dies huius vitae statui militiae deputat dicens cunctis diebus quibus nunc milito. Item notandum est quod non expectat aliam vitam huic similem, quia tunc et illa esset militia, sed expectat vitam in qua non militet sed triumphet et regnet, et ideo dicit expecto donec veniat immutatio mea, quasi dicat: in hac tota vita milito, mutabilitati, laboribus et angustiis subiectus, sed expecto immutari in statum alterius vitae quae sit sine labore et angustia; et de hac immutatione dicit apostolus I Cor. XV 51 omnes quidem resurgemus sed non omnes immutabimur. After he has expressed his desire to rise again, he next asks if his desire could ever be realized at some future time for desires are sometimes for things which are also impossible. He then says, “Do you think a dead man can live again?” He shows what he himself thinks about this saying, “For all the days during which I have not struggled, I await the time when my transformation will come.” We should note here that he had compared the life of man on earth to a soldier’s (7:1) and to the days of a hired man in another place (7:6) because both soldiers and hired men await something after their present state. Therefore, just as he expressed that the state of the resurrection is like payday for the hired man, so he now shows the same concept using the metaphor of the soldier. Note that he does not await the desired end in any part of the present life, because he likens all the days of this life to the state of military life saying, “For all the days during which I have now struggled.” One should also note that man does not await another life like this one, because then that one would be like a warfare also. But he awaits a life in which he would not struggle like a soldier, but will triumph and reign. So he says, “I await the time when my transformation will come.” He means here: For my whole life I struggle like a soldier, changeable and subject to labors and anguish. But I wait to be transformed in the state of the other life which is without labors and anguish. The Apostle Paul expresses the same theme of transformation in 1 Corinthians when he says, “We shall all arise but we shall not all be changed.” (15:51)
Et ne aliquis crederet quod naturali virtute homo in statum alterius vitae immutaretur, hoc excludit subdens vocabis me et ego respondebo tibi, quasi dicat: futura immutatio ex virtute tuae vocis sive ex tuo imperio procedet, secundum illud Ioh. V 28 omnes qui in monumentis sunt audient vocem filii Dei, et qui audierint vivent; vocare enim ad imperium pertinet, sed respondere ad oboedientiam qua creatura creatori oboedit. Sed quia mortui ad imperium Dei non solum resurgent ad vitam sed in quendam altiorem statum immutabuntur, et hoc virtute divina, propter hoc subdit operi manuum tuarum porriges dexteram, quasi dicat: homo resurgens non erit opus naturae sed opus tuae virtutis, cui quidem operi adiutricem dexteram tuam porriges dum per auxilium tuae gratiae in gloriam novitatis exaltabitur. Vel quod dicit vocabis me et ego respondebo tibi, potest referri ad corporis reparationem, quod autem subdit operi manuum tuarum porriges dexteram, ad animam quae naturaliter appetit uniri suo corpori, cui Deus adiutricem dexteram porriget dum quod sua virtute non potest consequi virtute divina consequetur. He excludes man being transformed in the state of the other life natural power saying, “You will call me and I will answer you,” as if to say: The future transformation will proceed from the power of your voice or your command, as John says, “All those who are in the tombs will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear it will live.” (5:28) Calling is characteristic of commanding, but answering is the obedience by which the creature obeys the Creator. Since the dead will rise not only according to the command of God to life, but also will be changed to some higher state by divine power, he then says, “You will stretch forth your right hand to the work of your hands,” as if to say: The man who rises again will not be the work of nature, but of your power and you stretch forth your helping right hand to this work when he will be elevated to the glory of the new state by the help of your grace. Or his statement, “You will call and I will answer you,” can be refer to the renewal of the body because he adds, “you will stretch forth your right hand to the work of your hands,” to the soul which naturally desires to be united with the body to which God will stretch forth his right hand as a helper when the soul will attain by divine power what it cannot attain by his own power.
Posita ergo sententia sua de resurrectione mortuorum futura, redit ad id quod supra admiratus fuerat, quod Deus tam sollicite opera hominum considerat, cum dixit observasti omnes semitas meas et vestigia pedum meorum considerasti, unde subdit tu quidem gressus meos dinumerasti, quasi dicat: iam non est mirum si facta hominum sic diligenter examinas ex quo eum ad aliam vitam reservas. Considerandum est autem quod circa humanos actus divina providentia secundum duo attenditur: primo quidem secundum hoc quod ea examinat et discutit, quod quidem significatur in hoc quod dicit tu quidem gressus meos dinumerasti: dinumeramus enim ea de quibus diligentiam habemus; et ne videretur alicui esse magnae severitatis quod Deus hominis fragilis facta tanta diligentia examinaret, innuit consequenter eius pronitatem ad parcendum cum dicit sed parce peccatis meis, quasi dicat: licet dinumeres tamen hanc spem retineo quod parcas. Secundo vero secundum hoc quod facta hominum bona vel mala in sua memoria conservat ad retribuendum pro eis bona vel mala, unde subdit signasti quasi in sacculo delicta mea: ea enim quae signantur in sacculo diligenter conservantur; et ne ista signatio divinam misericordiam excluderet, subdit sed curasti iniquitatem meam, quasi dicat: sic pro peccatis reservas poenam quod tamen per poenitentiam delicta curas. Now that he has posited his opinion about the resurrection of the dead, he returns to the subject of his wonder before at how much careful attention God gives to the works of man. He expressed this when he said, “You observed all my paths and considered the traces of my footsteps.” (13:27) Here then he says, “You have numbered my steps,” as if to say: Now it is no wonder if you so diligently examine the deeds of man since you reserve him for another life. Note however that divine providence considers human acts in two ways. First, in the fact that he examines and evaluates them. He clarifies this when he says, “you have numbered my steps.” One numbers things which one cares about. Lest someone object that it is a mark for very great severity for God to examine the deeds of frail man with such great care, Job consequently emphasizes the tendency of God to pardon us when he says, “but spare my sins.” He means: Although you number these things still I am filled with hope that you may spare me. Second, divine providence is attentive to human acts in that he preserves the good and wicked deeds of men in his memory to repay them with good or evil, and so he continues, “You have sealed my faults in a sack.” For what one seals in a sack is carefully kept. Lest anyone say this sealing excludes divine mercy he then says, “But you cured my iniquity,” as if to say: You lay up punishments for sins in such a way that you nevertheless cure my faults by penance.
The Fifth Lesson: One cannot return from Sheol
וְאוּלָם הַר־נוֹפֵל יִבּוֹל וְצוּר יֶעְתַּק מִמְּקֹמוֹ׃ 18 אֲבָנִים שָׁחֲקוּ מַיִם תִּשְׁטֹף־סְפִיחֶיהָ עֲפַר־אָרֶץ וְתִקְוַת אֱנוֹשׁ הֶאֱבַדְתָּ׃ 19 תִּתְקְפֵהוּ לָנֶצַח וַיַּהֲלֹךְ מְשַׁנֶּה פָנָיו וַתְּשַׁלְּחֵהוּ׃ 20 יִכְבְּדוּ בָנָיו וְלֹא יֵדָע וְיִצְעֲרוּ וְלֹא־יָבִין לָמוֹ׃ 21 אַךְ־בְּשָׂרוֹ עָלָיו יִכְאָב וְנַפְשׁוֹ עָלָיו תֶּאֱבָל׃ פ 22 18 A falling mountain is leveled, and the rock is displaced. 19 Water wears away stones and the earth is gradually consumed by flood. Will you destroy men in the same way? 20 Have you strengthened him a little to allow him to disappear forever? Will you change his face and let him go to waste? 21 Whether his sons are noble or base, he will not understand. 22 Yet his flesh will suffer grief while he lives, his soul will grieve over him.
Mons cadens defluit et saxum transfertur de loco suo. Postquam Iob suam sententiam de futura resurrectione posuerat, hic probabilibus rationibus eam munit, et prima ratio sumitur ex comparatione hominis ad inferiores creaturas, quae totaliter consumuntur absque spe reparationis. Omnia enim quae generantur corruptioni subiecta sunt, unde et montes, licet videantur firmissimi, tamen ex certis causis post aliqua temporum curricula dissolvuntur, et hoc est quod dicit mons cadens defluit; saxa etiam, licet videantur fortissima, tamen vel per violentiam vel ex aliqua causa naturali exciduntur, et hoc est quod sequitur et saxum transfertur de loco suo; lapides etiam, licet videantur durissimi, tamen aquis excavantur, et hoc est quod subditur lapides excavant aquae; terra etiam, licet videatur stabilissima, tamen a sua dispositione paulatim immutatur, et hoc est quod subditur et abluvione paulatim terra consumitur. Inconveniens autem esset si esset eadem ratio corruptionis hominis et rerum praedictarum, et ideo concludit, quasi inconveniens, et homines ergo similiter perdes? Quasi dicat: non est conveniens quod similiter corrumpantur homines sicut aliae creaturae corporales; nam praedictae creaturae totaliter corrumpuntur, unde non reparantur eaedem numero; homo vero, licet corrumpatur secundum corpus, remanet tamen incorruptibilis secundum animam quae totum genus corporalium transcendit, ut sic remaneat spes reparationis. After Job has posited his idea about the future resurrection, he here strengthens it with probable arguments. The first argument is taken from a comparison of man to lower creatures which are totally consumed without hope of restoration. For all things which are generated are subject to corruption and so even the mountains are dissolved by certain causes after the passage of some periods of time, although they seem very solid. He speaks to this theme saying, “A falling mountain is leveled.” Rocks also are still dashed to pieces either by violence or by some natural cause, even though they seem very strong. He next speaks to this, “and the rock is displaced.” Even stones are still worn away by water, although they seem very hard. He expresses this saying, “water wears away stones.” The earth too is gradually changed in its disposition although it seems very stable and so he says, “The earth is gradually consumed by flood.” But it would not be fitting to apply the same reasoning to the corruption of man and the corruption of these other things. So he concludes as though leading the argument to an unfitting conclusion, “Will you then destroy man in the same way?” He seems to say here: It is not fitting that men experience corruption like other corporeal creatures. For all the other creatures mentioned are completely corrupted and therefore they are not renewed the same in number. However, although man may be corrupted in body, he still remains incorrupt in soul which transcends the whole genus of corporeal things, and so the hope of restoration remains.
Deinde inducit ad idem rationes sumptas ex proprietatibus hominis. In duobus autem excellit homo omnes inferiores creaturas, quorum unum est virtus operativa: est enim dominus sui actus per liberum arbitrium, quod nulli alii creaturae corporali competit, et secundum hoc homo est potentior qualibet creatura corporali, unde et aliis utitur propter se ipsum; aliud autem in quo excellit est cognitio intellectiva, quae cum sit in mente, aliquod tamen eius indicium apparet in corpore, et praecipue in facie quam habet homo valde diversam ab aliis animalibus; et ex his duobus apparet quod homo non sic corrumpitur sicut alia ut in perpetuum non sint. Quantum ergo ad primum horum dicit roborasti eum paululum ut in perpetuum pertransiret? Quasi dicat: non est conveniens quod tantum robur homini praestiteris ad modicum tempus, sic quod postea in perpetuum non esset; stultum enim videretur si aliquis faceret fortissimum instrumentum ut ad modicam horam eo uteretur, et postea ipsum omnino proiceret; virtus autem cuiuscumque creaturae corporeae est determinata ad finitos effectus, sed virtus liberi arbitrii se habet ad infinitas actiones: unde hoc ipsum attestatur virtuti animae ad hoc quod in infinitum duret. Quantum autem ad secundum, scilicet ad intellectum, dicit immutabis faciem eius et emittes eum? Quasi dicat: non est conveniens quod tu faciem eius immutaveris, idest diversificaveris ab aliis animalibus, et tamen emittas eum a statu vitae in perpetuum non rediturum sicut alia animalia. Per faciem autem intellectiva cognitio accipi solet propter hoc quod est proprium rationalis creaturae; intellectualis autem cognitio non potest convenire nisi substantiae incorruptibili, ut a philosophis probatur. He then deduces the same things using reasons drawn from the properties of man. Man excels all lower creatures in two ways. One of these is operative power. For he truly is the lord of his own act by free will, which is proper to no other corporeal creature. Because of this, man is more powerful that every other corporeal creature. Therefore, he uses the others for his own sake. He also excels them in intellectual knowledge. Since he has a mind, yet this is somewhat indicated in his body especially in the face which man has and is very different from the other animals. As a result of these two properties, it is apparent that man is not corrupted like other things so that they do not exist perpetually. He expresses the first of these properties saying, “Have you strengthened him a little to allow him to disappear forever?” He means: It is not fitting for you to strengthen man so much for a short time and in such a way that he would not exist perpetually afterwards. For it seems foolish for someone to make a very strong tool to use it for only a short time and then throw it away for good. The power of every corporeal creature is determined by finite effects while power of the free will is directed toward infinite actions. This in itself bears witness to the power of the soul to make it endure infinitely. As to the second property he says, “will you change his face and let him go to waste?” He means here: It is not fitting that you should make his face so different from the other animals and yet still dismiss him from the from this state of life forever never to return to life like the other animals. Intellectual knowledge is commonly perceived by the “face” because it is proper to the rational creature. Intellectual knowledge can only fittingly belong to an incorruptible substance, as the philosophers prove.
Posset autem aliquis dicere quod, licet homo post mortem ad vitam non redeat, tamen non in perpetuum pertransit, inquantum quodammodo vivit in suis filiis: quod etiam verba Baldath sonant, cum supra dixit haec est laetitia viae eius ut rursum alii de terra germinentur. Sed hanc responsionem excludit Iob subdens sive nobiles fuerint filii eius sive ignobiles, non intelliget, quasi dicat: homo per intellectum capit aeternum bonum, unde et naturaliter ipsum desiderat; bonum autem quod est in successione filiorum non potest satiare appetitum intellectualem, si homo totaliter per mortem consumatur ut in perpetuum non sit, quia appetitus intellectualis non quiescit nisi in bono intellecto; bonum autem quod est in successione filiorum non intelligit homo neque dum vivit neque post mortem si totaliter desinat esse per mortem. Non ergo ad aeternitatem huius boni tendit appetitus intellectivus hominis sed ad bonum vel malum quod in se ipso habet, unde subdit attamen caro eius dum vivet dolebit, et anima illius super semet ipso lugebit, ubi duplicem dolorem distinguit: unum quidem carnis in apprehensione sensus, alium autem animae ex apprehensione intellectus vel imaginationis qui proprie dicitur tristitia et hic luctus nominatur. But someone could object that, although man does not return after death to life, he does not still pass away perpetually because he still lives on in a sense in his sons. The words of Baldath seem to have spoken to this theme when he said, “This is the joy of its life, that others may be brought forth from the earth again.” (8:19) But Job excludes this saying, “Whether his sons are noble or base, he will not understand.” He means here: Man seizes eternal good by the intellect and so he also naturally desires it. The good however which is in the succession of sons cannot satisfy the intellectual appetite if man is totally consumed by death so that he does not exist perpetually. A man does not comprehend the good in the succession of his sons either while he lives or after he dies if he completely ceases to exist through death. The intellectual appetite of man does not tend to the eternity of this good then, but to the good or evil which he has in himself and so he adds, “yet his flesh will suffer pain while he lives, his soul will grieve over him.” Here he distinguishes two pains. One is of the flesh in the apprehension of sense. The other is of the soul from the apprehension of the intellect or imagination which is properly called sorrow and here is termed grief.

The First Lesson: Job’s Pride and Presumption
וַיַּעַן אֱלִיפַז הַתֵּימָנִי וַיֹּאמַר׃ 1 הֶחָכָם יַעֲנֶה דַעַת־רוּחַ וִימַלֵּא קָדִים בִּטְנוֹ׃ 2 הוֹכֵחַ בְּדָבָר לֹא יִסְכּוֹן וּמִלִּים לֹא־יוֹעִיל בָּם׃ 3 אַף־אַתָּה תָּפֵר יִרְאָה וְתִגְרַע שִׂיחָה לִפְנֵי־אֵל׃ 4 כִּי יְאַלֵּף עֲוֹנְךָ פִיךָ וְתִבְחַר לְשׁוֹן עֲרוּמִים׃ 5 יַרְשִׁיעֲךָ פִיךָ וְלֹא־אָנִי וּשְׂפָתֶיךָ יַעֲנוּ־בָךְ׃ 6 הֲרִאישׁוֹן אָדָם תִּוָּלֵד וְלִפְנֵי גְבָעוֹת חוֹלָלְתָּ׃ 7 הַבְסוֹד אֱלוֹהַ תִּשְׁמָע וְתִגְרַע אֵלֶיךָ חָכְמָה׃ 8 מַה־יָּדַעְתָּ וְלֹא נֵדָע תָּבִין וְלֹא־עִמָּנוּ הוּא׃ 9 גַּם־שָׂב גַּם־יָשִׁישׁ בָּנוּ כַּבִּיר מֵאָבִיךָ יָמִים׃ 10 הַמְעַט מִמְּךָ תַּנְחֻמוֹת אֵל וְדָבָר לָאַט עִמָּךְ׃ 11 מַה־יִּקָּחֲךָ לִבֶּךָ וּמַה־יִּרְזְמוּן עֵינֶיךָ׃ 12 כִּי־תָשִׁיב אֶל־אֵל רוּחֶךָ וְהֹצֵאתָ מִפִּיךָ מִלִּין׃ 13 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered saying: 2 Will the wise man answer as though he were speaking to the wind and will he fill his stomach with? 3 You blame with words one who is not equal to you and you say what is not profitable to you. 4 As much as you can, you have rejected fear and you have born away prayer from the presence of God. 5 For your wickedness has taught your tongue and you imitate the tongue of blasphemers. 6 Your mouth will condemn you and not I and your lips will answer for you. 7 Were you born the first man and formed before all the hills? 8 Have you been a party to the counsel of God, and will his wisdom be beneath you? 9 What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand which we do not? 10 Both old men and the elders are much older among us than your fathers. 11 Is it a great thing for God to console you? For your evil words prohibit this. 12 Why does your heart lift you up and as if you were thinking great things do you open your eyes wide in astonishment? 13 What causes your spirit to swell against God so that you speak words like this from your mouth.
Respondens autem Eliphaz Themanites dixit. Auditis verbis Iob, Eliphaz non ad profunditatem sententiarum eius respondet sed nititur ad calumniose reprehendendum aliqua verba a Iob prolata, secundum superficiem ipsorum verborum ea considerans et non secundum profunditatem intellectus eorum. Et primo quidem reprehendit hoc quod Iob dixerat in principio suae locutionis et mihi est cor sicut et vobis, nec inferior vestri sum, in quo quidem de duobus eum notat: primo quidem de inani gloria quia se ipsum commendat, et hoc est quod dicit numquid sapiens respondebit quasi in ventum loquens: in ventum enim loqui videtur qui ad gloriam captandam verba componit; secundo autem de iracundia, propter hoc quod obiurgando loqui inceperat cum dixerat ergo vos estis soli homines etc., et ideo subdit et implebit ardore stomachum suum, idest iracundia animum suum? After hearing Job’s response, Eliphaz does not answer the depth of his reasoning but tries to calumniously misrepresent certain words Job has spoken and interpret them according to their superficial meaning, not the depth of their meaning. He first reproaches Job’s statement in the beginning of his discourse when he said, “I too have a heart as do you and this heart is not less than yours.” (12:3) In this Eliphaz cites him for two things. First, he says he is guilty of empty boasting because he commends himself and he speaks to this theme saying, “Will the wise man answer as though he were speaking to the wind?” This is because someone seems to speak to the wind when he composes a speech to obtain glory. Second, about anger because he had begun to speak by reproaching them saying, “So you think only you are men.” (12:2) Therefore he says, “and will he fill his stomach with passion?” i.e. his spirit with anger.”
Deinde reprehendit eum de hoc quod dixerat disputare cum Deo cupio, et iterum duo tantum ne facias mihi, et tunc a facie tua non abscondar etc., in quo quidem eum notat multipliciter: primo quidem de superbia quia contra maiorem se contendit, et hoc est quod dicit arguis eum verbis qui non est aequalis tui; secundo de stultitia quia Eliphaz talem disputationem nocivam reputabat, unde subdit et loqueris quod tibi non expedit, disputando scilicet cum Deo. Et quare non expediat cum eo disputare, ostendit per hoc quod huiusmodi disputatio duo valde necessaria excludere videtur, quorum primum est timor Dei: qui enim timet aliquem non praesumit cum eo contendere, unde etiam et Iob supra dixerat fortitudo tua non me terreat, et ideo Eliphaz hic subdit quantum in te est evacuasti timorem, quia scilicet conatus es a te timorem Dei excludere; secundum est oratio ad Deum: non enim est eiusdem contendere cum aliquo et eum rogare, et ideo subdit et tulisti, idest abstulisti, preces coram domino, contra id quod supra Eliphaz dixerat quamobrem ego deprecabor dominum. Disputaverat autem Iob cum Deo non ex superbia sed ex fiducia veritatis, sed Eliphaz temerarie iudicavit hoc ex iniquitate procedere, unde subdit docuit enim iniquitas tua os tuum; et hoc ex effectu apparet quia blasphemas, unde sequitur et imitaris linguam blasphemantium. Blasphemans enim est qui Dei iustitiam negat, sed linguam blasphemantis imitari videtur qui cum Deo disputat de eius iustitia: disputare enim de aliquo videtur esse dubitantis de illo, dubitans autem propinquus est neganti. He next reproves him for saying, “I want to dispute with God,” (13:3) and again, “Spare me in only two things and then I will not hide myself from your face and so on.” (13:20) In this reproach he cites him for many things. First, for pride because he contends against someone who is greater than he is. He speaks to this theme saying,” You blame with words one who is not equal to you.” Second, for foolishness because Eliphaz thought such a dispute was harmful, and so he says, “You say what is not profitable for you,” by arguing with God. He shows why it is not advantageous to debate with God because this sort of dispute excludes two most necessary things. The first of these is the fear of God. For he who fears someone does not presume to discuss contentiously with him. Job had also expressed the same thing already saying, “And let your power not terrify me.” (13:21) Therefore Eliphaz says here, “As much as you can, you have rejected fear,” because you tried to exclude the fear of God from yourself. The second is prayer to God. For arguing with someone and entreating him are two different sorts of things. So he then says, “You have born away,” taken away, “prayer from the presence of God.” This goes against what Eliphaz had said, “This is why I entreat the Lord.” (5:8) Job had not disputed with God from pride, but out of confidence in the truth. But Eliphaz rashly judged this to flow from wickedness and so he then says, “For your wickedness has taught your tongue,” as if to say: It is apparent from the effect that you blaspheme and so he then says, “and you imitate the tongue of blasphemers.” In reality, the man who blasphemes denies the justice of God. But one who disputes with God about his justice seems to imitate the language of the blasphemers. To argue about something seems characteristic of one who doubts it; and one who doubts it is close to denying.
Volens ergo Eliphaz contra disputationem Iob loqui, primo dicit quod Iob tam manifeste male locutus est quod non indiget alio reprehensore sed ipsa verba eius indicant eius malitiam, et hoc est quod dicit condemnabit te os tuum et non ego, et labia tua respondebunt tibi, quasi dicat: non indigent verba tua alio respondente sed ipsa se interimunt. Ostendit tamen multipliciter disputationem praedictam non fuisse convenientem: primo quidem per comparationem eius ad omnes creaturas; si enim aliqua creatura cum Deo contendere posset, hoc praecipue competeret primae et excellentissimae creaturae: quod non conveniebat Iob, unde dicit numquid primus homo tu natus es et ante omnes colles formatus, ut ex hoc scilicet competat tibi pro toto humano genere vel pro tota creatura disputare cum Deo? Secundo per comparationem ad Deum: ille enim potest cum aliquo de factis eius disputare convenienter qui cognoscit rationem qua ille cum quo disputat operatur, quam quidem cognoscere potest dupliciter: uno modo ut ab eo addiscens, alio modo ut per superiorem sapientiam de factis alterius iudicans; sed neutrum competit Iob in comparatione hominis ad Deum, et hoc est quod dicit numquid consilium Dei audisti, quantum ad primum, et inferior te erit eius sapientia, quantum ad secundum, ut sic cum Deo disputare possis? Tertio per comparationem ad alios homines, quibus non magis sciens apparet ut ex fiducia maioris scientiae cum Deo disputare praesumat, unde dicit quid nosti, scilicet per fidem vel revelationem, quod ignoremus? Quid intelligis, naturali cognitione, quod nesciamus? Sed quia posset se Iob iactare de scientia accepta ab aliis, subdit et senes, scilicet dignitate scientiae et vitae, et antiqui tempore sunt in nobis multo vetustiores quam patres tui, idest quam magistri tui a quibus scientiam accepisti vel, ad litteram, quam tui progenitores; per maiorem autem vetustatem maiorem sapientiam vult intelligi, quia per experimentum longi temporis aliquis sapientior redditur. Quarto ex parte ipsius Iob ostendit disputationem eius cum Deo fuisse inconvenientem, et primo quidem quia fuit ei nociva, explicans quod supra dixerat loqueris quod tibi non expedit, unde dicit numquid grande est ut consoletur te Deus? Quasi dicat: facile est Deo ut te ad statum prosperitatis reducat, quia ipse vulnerat et medetur, ut supra dixerat, sed verba tua prava hoc prohibent, quibus iram Dei magis contra te provocas. Secundo ostendit quod fuit vana et superba, quasi exponens quod supra dixerat numquid sapiens respondebit quasi in ventum loquens? Unde subdit quid te elevat cor tuum, scilicet per superbiam, ut intantum de tua sapientia praesumas? Et signum superbiae ostendit subdens et quasi magna cogitans, attonitos habes oculos? Cum enim aliquis aliqua magna et mirabilia considerat, in stuporem adducitur et exinde contingit quod oculos attonitos habet. Tertio ostendit quod disputatio eius fuit praesumptuosa et impia, exponens quod supra dixerat arguis eum verbis qui non est aequalis tui, unde subdit quid tumet contra Deum spiritus tuus, ut proferas de ore tuo huiuscemodi sermones, quibus scilicet Deum ad disputationem provocas? So Eliphaz wishes to condemn Job for arguing and he first says that Job had spoken such manifest evil that no other reproof is necessary. His very words themselves show his evil intent. He expresses this saying, “Your mouth will condemn you and not I, and your lips will answer for you,” as if to say: Your words need no other answer but they destroy themselves. Still he shows that the argument he used was unfitting in many ways. First, by comparison of Job to all creatures. For if any creature could argue with God, this would be really fitting only for the first and most excellent of creatures, a condition which does not befit God and so Eliphaz says, “Were you born the first man and formed before all the hills,” so that for this reason you would have the competence to argue with God on behalf of the whole human race and every creature? Second, by comparison with God. For one can dispute with someone about his deeds fittingly when he knows the reason why the one with whom he is arguing acts. He can know this in two ways. In one way, by learning it from him. In another way, by judging the deeds of the other from a higher wisdom. Neither of these ways is fitting to Job in the comparison of man to God. So he says, “Have you been a party to the counsel of God?” to express the first theme of learning from him and “and will his wisdom be beneath you,” to express the second theme. Third, he shows it in comparison to other men. But Job does not in fact seem to be any wiser than others from confidence in the possession of a higher knowledge so that he can presume to dispute with God. So he then says, “What do you know,” from faith or revelation, “that we do not know?” “What do you understand,” by natural knowledge,” that we do not know?” But since Job could boast of knowledge received from others, he then says, “Both old men,” in dignity of knowledge and life, “and the elders,” in time, “are much older among us than your fathers,” than your teachers from whom you received knowledge, or according to the literal sense, your ancestors. He wants to convey a greater knowledge from a greater age, because a man is made wiser by long experience in years. Fourth, on the part of Job himself, he shows his dispute with God has not been fitting. First, because it was harmful to him expanding what he had already said, “You say what is not profitable for you.” (v.3) So, he says, “Is it a great thing for God to console you?” He means here: It is easy for God to lead you back to a state of prosperity, “for he both wounds, and he binds up,” as was already said. (5:18) “But your evil words prohibit this,” by which you provoke the anger of God more against you. Second, he shows that the debate was vain and proud, expanding something he had said already, “Will the wise man answer as though he were speaking to the wind?” (v.2) So he then says, “Why does your heart lift you up,” in pride to make you presume so much on your wisdom. He tries to demonstrate a sign of pride saying, “and as if you were thinking great things, why do you open your eyes wide in astonishment?” For when someone thinks about great, wonderful things, he is entranced and he opens his eyes wide in astonishment. Third, he shows that this dispute was presumptuous and impious, also explaining a previous statement, “You blame with words someone who is not equal to you.” (v.3) Here then he says, “What causes your spirit to swell against God so that you speak words like this from your mouth,” with which you start an argument with God?
The Second Lesson: Divine Punishment is Inevitable
מָה־אֱנוֹשׁ כִּי־יִזְכֶּה וְכִי־יִצְדַּק יְלוּד אִשָּׁה׃ 14 הֵן בִּקְדֹשׁוֹ לֹא יַאֲמִין וְשָׁמַיִם לֹא־זַכּוּ בְעֵינָיו׃ 15 אַף כִּי־נִתְעָב וְנֶאֱלָח אִישׁ־שֹׁתֶה כַמַּיִם עַוְלָה׃ 16 אֲחַוְךָ שְׁמַע־לִי וְזֶה־חָזִיתִי וַאֲסַפֵּרָה׃ 17 אֲשֶׁר־חֲכָמִים יַגִּידוּ וְלֹא כִחֲדוּ מֵאֲבוֹתָם׃ 18 לָהֶם לְבַדָּם נִתְּנָה הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא־עָבַר זָר בְּתוֹכָם׃ 19 כָּל־יְמֵי רָשָׁע הוּא מִתְחוֹלֵל וּמִסְפַּר שָׁנִים נִצְפְּנוּ לֶעָרִיץ׃ 20 קוֹל־פְּחָדִים בְּאָזְנָיו בַּשָּׁלוֹם שׁוֹדֵד יְבוֹאֶנּוּ׃ 21 לֹא־יַאֲמִין שׁוּב מִנִּי־חֹשֶׁךְ וְצָפוּ הוּא אֱלֵי־חָרֶב׃ 22 נֹדֵד הוּא לַלֶּחֶם אַיֵּה יָדַע כִּי־נָכוֹן בְּיָדוֹ יוֹם־חֹשֶׁךְ׃ 23 יְבַעֲתֻהוּ צַר וּמְצוּקָה תִּתְקְפֵהוּ כְּמֶלֶךְ עָתִיד לַכִּידוֹר׃ 24 כִּי־נָטָה אֶל־אֵל יָדוֹ וְאֶל־שַׁדַּי יִתְגַּבָּר׃ 25 יָרוּץ אֵלָיו בְּצַוָּאר בַּעֲבִי גַּבֵּי מָגִנָּיו׃ 26 כִּי־כִסָּה פָנָיו בְּחֶלְבּוֹ וַיַּעַשׂ פִּימָה עֲלֵי־כָסֶל׃ 27 14 What is man that he should be without stain and be born just from his mother’s womb? 15 Look! Among his holy ones, not one is unchangeable and the heavens are not pure in his presence. 16 How much more abominable and useless is man who drinks evil like water? 17 I will show you, listen to me; what I have seen, I will tell you. 18 Wise men confess and do not hide their fathers. 19 The earth is given to men alone and the stranger will not tread their ground. 20 For all his days, the evil man is proud, and the number of years of his tyranny is uncertain. 21 The sound of terror is always in the ear of that man, and when there is peace, he suspects plots. 22 He does not believe he can return from darkness to light when he sees the sword everywhere around him. 23 When he goes to look for bread, he knows that a day of darkness is at hand. 24 Tribulation will terrify him and anguish will wall him it, like a king who is prepared for battle. 25 For truly he extended his hand against God and he fortified himself against the Almighty. 26 He ran against him with head erect, and he is furnished with a fat neck. 27 Thick darkness covered his face and lard hangs from his sides.
Quid est homo ut immaculatus sit et cetera. Postquam Eliphaz reprehenderat Iob de hoc quod Deum ad disputandum provocaverat, quod videbatur ad praesumptionem sapientiae pertinere, nunc reprehendit eum de praesumptione iustitiae quia dixerat si fuero iudicatus, scio quod iustus inveniar. Quod quidem Eliphaz impugnat, primo quidem ex fragilitate condicionis humanae per quam homo, et difficulter vitat peccatum, unde dicit quid est homo ut immaculatus sit? Et etiam difficulter operatur bonum, unde subdit et ut iustus appareat natus de muliere? Quia, ut dicitur Prov., in abundanti iustitia virtus maxima est, quae non videtur competere ei qui ex infirma re originem habet. Secundo impugnat idem ex comparatione sublimiorum creaturarum, unde subdit ecce inter sanctos eius, idest Angelos, nemo est immutabilis, scilicet per naturam propriam sed solum dono divinae gratiae, quin possit in peccatum deflecti; et caeli, qui tenent supremum locum puritatis inter corpora, non sunt mundi, in conspectu eius, idest per comparationem ad ipsum, quia sunt materiales et corporei et mutabiles. Tertio impugnat idem ex propria condicione ipsius Iob, quasi a maiori concludens: quanto magis abominabilis, per peccatum, et inutilis, per defectum iustitiae, homo qui bibit quasi aquam iniquitatem, idest qui pro nihilo et absque aliqua observatione iniquitatem committit; qui enim bibit vinum cum aliqua observatione bibit ne inebrietur, quod in potu aquae non observatur: in hoc ergo ipsum Iob notat quod de facili ad iniquitatem declinaret, sicut aliquis de facili et in promptu habet quod aquam bibat. Ostendam tibi, audi me et cetera. After Eliphaz had censured Job for his provoking God to argue which he thought pertained to presumption of wisdom, he now censures him for presumption of justice because he had said, “If I am judged, I know I would be found just.” (13:18) Eliphaz attacks this statement first because of the frailty of the human condition in which man avoids sin with difficulty and so he says, “What is man that he should be without stain.” Man even does good with difficulty and so he continues, “and be born just from his mother’s womb?” For, as Proverbs says, “Justice in abundance is the greatest virtue.” (15:5) This does not seem to suit one who has his origin from the basest thing. Second, he attacks the same statement by comparing him to more noble creatures, and so he then says, “Look! Among his holy ones,” the angels, “not one is unchangeable,” from his own nature, but they can only be turned away from sin because of the gift of divine grace. “And the heavens,” which hold the supreme place of purity among bodies, “are not pure in his presence,” in comparison to him since they are material, corporeal and changeable. Third, he attacks the same statement from the personal condition of Job himself, as a conclusion to the major (premise above in v. 15) “How much more abominable,” through sin, “and useless,” by the failure of justice, “is the man who drinks evil like water,” i.e. who commits evil as if it were nothing and without any consideration. For someone who drinks wine has to drink with careful attention so that he does not become drunk. This is not the case with someone who drinks water. In this he notes that Job would easily fall into evil like a man drinks water easily and readily.
Postquam Eliphaz reprehenderat Iob quod Deum ad disputationem provocaverat et quod de sua iustitia praesumebat, nunc reprehendit eum de verbis quae disputando dixerat, et praecipue de illis arbitraris me inimicum tuum; contra folium quod vento rapitur ostendit potentiam tuam, et posuisti in nervo et cetera. Et primo excitat attentionem dicens ostendam tibi, scilicet illud quod a Deo quaerebas, audi me attente; unde autem ostendere possit, manifestat subdens quod vidi, scilicet ex proprio intellectu inveniens, narrabo tibi; et iterum non erubescam dicere quod ab aliis audivi, eos in auctoritatem inducens, quia sapientes confitentur et non abscondunt patres suos, a quibus scilicet sapientiam perceperunt: hoc enim insipientium et superborum est ut quae ab aliis acceperunt sibi ascribant. Et quare non sint abscondendi, ex eorum dignitate ostendit cum subdit quibus solis data est terra; et potest hoc indifferenter et sub eodem sensu referri vel ad sapientes vel ad patres sapientum, quos vult intelligi etiam sapientes: sapientibus enim solis terra data esse dicitur quia bonorum terrenorum ipsi sunt domini, utentes eis ad suum bonum, insipientes autem utuntur eis ad suum damnum, secundum illud Sap. XIV 11 creaturae factae sunt in muscipulam pedibus insipientium. Et iterum ad eorundem dignitatem ostendendam subdit et non transibit alienus per eos, quia videlicet hi qui sunt a sapientia alieni consortio sapientum annumerari non possunt; vel quia sapientes ab extraneis non suppeditantur: per illos enim alienus transire dicitur qui ab aliquo alieno vincuntur et subiciuntur. After Eliphaz had censured Job for provoking God to argument and presuming his own justice, he now censures him about the words he used in the argument and especially for his statement, “Do you think of me as your enemy? Do you show your power against the leaf which is driven by the wind?” (13:24 and 25) and “You have placed my feet in fetters and so on.” (13:27) First he gets his attention saying, “I will show you,” what you were asking from God, “listen to me,” carefully. He shows how he can show him saying next, “what I have seen,” in the discovery of his own intellect, “I will tell you.” Besides, I will not be embarrassed to tell you what I have heard from others, putting them forward as my authority, because “Wise men confess and do not hide their fathers,” from whom they learned wisdom. It is truly the lot of the ignorant and the proud to attribute what they have learned from others to themselves. He then shows why they should not be hidden because of their dignity saying, “The earth has been given to men alone.” This statement can be related indifferently and in the same sense either to the wise men or to their fathers, whom he also wishes to be understood as wise. The earth is said to have been given only to wise men because they are lords of earthly goods in that they use them only for their own good. However, foolish men use them to their own harm, as Wisdom says, “Creatures were made as a snare to the feet of the foolish.” (14:11) To show the dignity of these men he says, “and the stranger will not tread their ground,” because those who are strangers to wisdom cannot be numbered among the fellowship of the wise. Or because the wise are not supplied by strangers. For the stranger is said to tread on those who are conquered and are made subject to the power of a foreigner.
Postquam ergo auditorem attentum reddiderat, iam contra verba Iob disputantis respondere conatur, ex quibus duo intellexit: primo quidem quod Iob in angustia et timore vivebat, quasi Deo eum persequente et insidias ei ponente, quia dixerat arbitraris me inimicum tuum et observasti omnes semitas meas; secundo quia de sua consumptione credebat eum dubitare, quia dixerat scribis contra me amaritudines, et consumere me vis peccatis adolescentiae meae: primo ergo loquitur contra primum et secundo contra secundum, ibi habitabit in civitatibus desolatis. Ostendit ergo primo ex qua radice praedicta suspicio in corde Iob oriatur: quia ex eius impietate et voluntate nocendi, unde dicit cunctis diebus suis impius superbit, idest extollitur contra Deum et in nocumentum hominum. Dies autem suos dicit non dies vitae eius sed dies potestatis vel prosperitatis; sed quia voluntas nocendi est homini a se ipso, potestas autem a Deo, non potest scire quanto tempore ei detur potestas implendi suam impiam voluntatem, unde subditur et numerus annorum incertus est tyrannidis eius. Et ex ista incertitudine sequitur suspicio et timor, quam consequenter describit dicens sonitus terroris semper in auribus illius, quia scilicet ad quemlibet rumorem timet aliquid contra se parari, quasi de nullo confidens, propter quod subdit et cum pax sit, ille insidias suspicatur, idest cum nullus contra eum aliquid moliatur, ipse tamen de omnibus formidat propter suam impiam voluntatem qua paratus esset omnibus nocere. After he has gotten the attention of his listener, he then tries to answer the arguments which Job had used in debate. He understood Job to have said two things in these arguments. First, Job was living in anguish and fear, as though God pursued him and laid traps for him because he said, “Why do you think of me as your enemy?” (13:24) and “Have you observed all my paths?” (13:27) Second, because he believed that Job doubted his own ruin when he said, “Do you write bitter things against me and want to consume me for the sins of my youth?” (13:26) First, then, he speaks against the first argument and then against the second in these words, “He will live in desolate cities.” (v.28) Therefore, he first shows the root for which the suspicion mentioned already arises in Job’s heart: his impiety and his will to do harm. So he says, “For all his days, the evil man is proud,” because he exalts himself against God to harm men. He uses the term “days” to mean not the days of his life, but the days when he has power and prosperity. But since the will to harm someone else comes from the man himself, but the power to harm comes from God, he cannot know how long he is given the power to carry out his evil will. So he continues, “The number of years of his tyranny is uncertain.” From this lack of certainty, suspicion and fear arise. He describes this suspicion and fear as a consequence saying, “The sound of terror is always in the ear of that man,” since he is threatened by every rumor thinking some attack is being prepared against him. It is as though he confides in no one. To express this theme, he adds, “when there is peace, that man suspects plots,” for although no one is plotting against him, he still is terrified of everyone because of his own evil will by which he will be prepared to harm anyone.
Cum autem aliquis de aliquibus suis inimicis timet, potest sperare liberationem, etiam si ad horam succumbat, per adiutorium amicorum; sed ille qui de nullo confidit sed de omnibus timet, non potest sperare quod post oppressionem relevetur, et ideo subdit non credit quod reverti possit de tenebris ad lucem, idest de statu adversitatis in statum prosperitatis, circumspectans undique gladium, idest ex omni parte inimicos sibi imminere videns; et hoc specialiter dicit propter hoc quod Iob dixerat quasi putredo consumendus sum, et quasi vestimentum quod comeditur a tinea, per quod intellexit Eliphaz Iob desperare de sua liberatione. Contingit autem quandoque quod aliquis tyrannus etsi ab omnibus extraneis timeat, habet tamen aliquos familiares et domesticos cum quibus secure conversatur; sed quando est superabundans malitia eius, etiam a domesticis suis timet cum quibus vivit, unde sequitur cum se moverit ad quaerendum panem, novit quod paratus sit in manu eius tenebrarum dies, idest mortis, quasi dicat: non solum insidias suspicatur in actibus exterioribus in quibus necesse habet cum extraneis conversari, sed etiam in actibus domesticis comedendo et bibendo et huiusmodi, a domesticis suis mortem sibi parari credens. Et cum ipse sic timeat de omnibus, non quiescit sed contra eos quos timet semper aliquid machinatur, et sic crescit ei timoris occasio, unde subdit terrebit eum tribulatio, scilicet ab aliis sibi imminens, et angustia vallabit eum, scilicet per cordis timorem ex omni parte, sicut regem qui praeparatur ad proelium: rex enim qui praeparatur ad proelium sic angustiatur timore ne perdat quod tamen molitur inimicos destruere. Now when one has fears about some of his enemies, he can hope to escape even if he is defeated for a while with the help of his friends. But one who confides in no one and fears everyone cannot hope for deliverance after he is oppressed, and so he next says, “He does not believe that he can return from darkness to light,” from a state of adversity to a state of prosperity, “when he sees the sword everywhere around him,” when he sees enemies threatening him on all sides. He says this especially to answer what Job had said already, “I, who am consumed by rot and like a garment eaten by a moth.” (13:28) Eliphaz understood by this the Job was in despair of being delivered. Now although a tyrant fears all strangers, he still can sometimes confide in the members of his family or his household with whom he lives securely. But when his evil is beyond all measure, he fears even the members of his own household with whom he lives and so the text continues, “When he goes to look for bread, he knows that the day of darkness is at hand,” i.e. the day of death. This is as if to say: Not only is he suspicious of plots in his dealings with outsiders when he must associate with strangers, but he also is suspicious in his dealings with the members of his household in eating, drinking and the like. He believes that death is being prepared for him by the members of his own household. Since he has such fears of everyone, he does not rest but is always plotting something against those whom he fears. Therefore, the occasion of fear is ever multiplied for him, and so he says, “Tribulation will terrify him,” threatening him by the actions of others, “and anguish wall him it,” because he fears danger from every quarter. “Like a king who is prepared for battle,” because a king who is prepared for battle is so in anguish from fear that he will lose, that he still tries to destroy his enemies.
Quo autem merito in tantam miseriam timoris impius et tyrannus deveniat, ostendit subdens tetendit enim adversus Deum manum suam, contra Deum agendo, et contra omnipotentem roboratus est, idest potentia sibi data usus est contra Deum. Et quomodo contra Deum egerit, ostendit subdens cucurrit adversus eum erecto collo, idest superbiendo: per superbiam enim maxime homo Deo resistit cui per humilitatem subici debet, secundum illud Eccli. X 14 initium superbiae hominis apostatare a Deo; et sicut ille qui Deum diligit in via eius currere dicitur propter promptitudinem voluntatis ad serviendum ei, ita et superbus propter praesumptionem spiritus contra Deum currere dicitur. Superbia autem ex abundantia temporalium rerum oriri solet, et ideo sequitur et pingui cervice armatus est, scilicet contra Deum superbiendo: pinguedo enim ex abundantia humorum causatur, unde abundantiam temporalium significat. Sicut autem humilitas principium est sapientiae, ita et superbia sapientiae est impedimentum, unde sequitur operuit faciem eius crassitudo: per operimentum enim faciei impedimentum cognitionis designatur. Nec solum opulentia quae est superbiae causa in ipso invenitur, sed etiam ad collaterales eius derivatur, unde sequitur et de lateribus eius arvina dependet. Per quae omnia significare intendit quod Iob ex opulentia in superbiam incidit, per quam contra Deum se erexit et tyrannidem in homines exercuit, et ideo in hanc suspicionem devenit ut Deum sibi adversarium et insidiatorem suspicaretur. He next shows why the tyrannical, evil man goes astray in such great unhappiness caused by fear saying, “For truly he extended his hand against God,” by acting against God, “and he fortified himself against the Almighty,” i.e. because he used the power given him against God. He shows how Job has acted against God saying, “He ran against him with his head erect,” proudly. For man resists God whom he ought to serve in humility most through pride. Sirach agrees with this, “The proud man begins by falling away from God.” (10:14) Just as one who loves God is said to run in his ways because of his readiness in will to serve him, so the proud man is said to run against God because of his presumption of spirit. Pride usually arises from an abundance of temporal goods, and so the text continues, “he is furnished with a far neck,” by acting proud against God. For fat is caused by an abundance of humors and so is an image for an abundance of temporal goods. Just as humility is the first stage of wisdom, so pride is an obstacle to wisdom and so the text continues, “Thick darkness covered his face,” because the covering of his face is an image for the impediment to knowledge. Not only does Job have the opulence which causes pride, but this extends even to his companions and so the text continues, “lard hangs from his sides.” By all these expressions he intends to show that opulence made Job fall into the pride which makes him stand against God and act tyrannically against other men. Therefore he came to the suspicion that he suspects God as his adversary and a conspirator.
The Third Lesson: The Unhappy Finish of the Wicked
וַיִּשְׁכּוֹן עָרִים נִכְחָדוֹת בָּתִּים לֹא־יֵשְׁבוּ לָמוֹ אֲשֶׁר הִתְעַתְּדוּ לְגַלִּים׃ 28 לֹא־יֶעְשַׁר וְלֹא־יָקוּם חֵילוֹ וְלֹא־יִטֶּה לָאָרֶץ מִנְלָם׃ 29 לֹא־יָסוּר מִנִּי־חֹשֶׁךְ יֹנַקְתּוֹ תְּיַבֵּשׁ שַׁלְהָבֶת וְיָסוּר בְּרוּחַ פִּיו׃ 30 אַל־יַאֲמֵן בַּשּׁוֹ נִתְעָה כִּי־שָׁוְא תִּהְיֶה תְמוּרָתוֹ׃ 31 בְּלֹא־יוֹמוֹ תִּמָּלֵא וְכִפָּתוֹ לֹא רַעֲנָנָה׃ 32 יַחְמֹס כַּגֶּפֶן בִּסְרוֹ וְיַשְׁלֵךְ כַּזַּיִת נִצָּתוֹ׃ 33 כִּי־עֲדַת חָנֵף גַּלְמוּד וְאֵשׁ אָכְלָה אָהֳלֵי־שֹׁחַד׃ 34 הָרֹה עָמָל וְיָלֹד אָוֶן וּבִטְנָם תָּכִין מִרְמָה׃ ס 35 28 He will live in desolate cities and in deserted houses which have been turned into mounds of earth. 29 He will not become wealthy nor preserve his substance, nor put forth roots in the earth. 30 He will not emerge from darkness, a flame will dry his branches, and will be born away by the breath of his mouth. 31 Let him not trust in vain, deceived by error, that he is redeemed by some price. 32 He will perish before his days are complete and his hands will dry up. 33 His grapes will be blighted just like the vineyard in first flower and as the olive lets its flowers fall, 34 what the hypocrite collects is sterile and fire will devour the tents of those who freely accept gifts. 35 He has conceived pain and given birth to evil and his womb prepares evil intent.
Habitabit in civitatibus desolatis et cetera. Postquam ostendit Eliphaz angustias timoris quas impius patitur etiam in statu prosperitatis existens, nunc loquitur de amaritudinibus quibus in adversitatem deiectus consumitur, propter hoc quod Iob dixerat scribis contra me amaritudines, et consumere me vis peccatis adolescentiae meae. Inter alias amaritudines primam ponit quod efficitur fugitivus; est autem fugitivorum consuetudo quod loca occulta et inhabitata quaerunt, et ideo dicit habitabit in civitatibus desolatis et in domibus desertis, quae in tumulos sunt redactae: huiusmodi enim loca consueverunt esse fugitivorum receptacula. Secundam, quod suis divitiis spoliatur, unde dicit non ditabitur, ut scilicet de novo divitias acquirat, nec perseverabit substantia eius, ut divitias prius acquisitas retinere possit. Tertiam ponit impossibilitatem recuperandi, dicens nec mittet in terra radicem suam: arbor enim si extirpetur et iterum plantetur, convalescit si in terram mittat radicem, sed si in terram radicem mittere non possit, non potest iterum convalescere. Et quasi hoc exponens subdit non recedet de tenebris, idest de statu adversitatis; et rationem non redeundi ad lucem assignat subdens ramos eius arefaciet flamma: arbor enim si extirpata fuerit, ramis virentibus adhuc remanet spes reparationis quia possunt inseri vel plantari, sed si rami comburantur, nulla spes ultra remanet recuperationis; rami autem hominis sunt filii et aliae personae coniunctae per quas homo interdum a statu adversitatis resurgit, sed filii Iob occisi erant et eius familia perierat; et ipsemet infirmitate oppressus erat, quod innuit subdens et auferetur spiritu oris sui, idest superbia verborum suorum, ut non posset aliquo modo recuperationem sperare, nec etiam a Deo quem superbia verborum offendit, unde subdit non credat frustra errore deceptus quod aliquo pretio redimendus sit, idest quod aliquo auxilio liberandus sit de tribulatione. Quartam amaritudinem ponit abbreviationem vitae, unde subdit antequam dies eius impleantur peribit, idest morietur antequam perficiatur tempus aetatis eius, et manus eius arescent, idest eius filii et propinqui deficient. Et subdit exemplum dicens laedetur quasi vinea in primo flore botrus eius, quae quidem laesio ex frigore solet accidere, unde significat exteriorem persecutionem; et quasi oliva proiciens florem suum, quod solet accidere ex aliqua interiori causa, unde significat meritum adversitatis ex parte ipsius qui patitur. Unde de hoc merito subdit congregatio enim hypocritae sterilis, idest illa quae congregantur ab hypocrita infructuosa redduntur, et ignis devorabit tabernacula eorum qui munera libenter accipiunt: fit enim interdum ex divino iudicio ut ea quae male acquisita sunt de facili consumantur; et hoc dicit notans Iob de rapacitate et hypocrisi quasi propter huiusmodi peccata ei adversitas acciderit. Et addit tertium peccatum, scilicet dolositatem, unde sequitur concepit dolorem, idest praeexcogitavit in corde suo qualiter alii dolorem inferret; cuius quidem conceptus partus est nocumentum iniuste illatum, unde sequitur et peperit iniquitatem. Adiungit consequenter modum quo hoc perficiat dicens et uterus eius praeparat dolos: hypocritarum enim est non manifeste sed dolose aliis nocumentum inferre; per uterum autem cor intelligitur in quo fiunt conceptus spirituales, sicut in utero conceptus corporales. After Eliphaz shows the anxieties of fear which the wicked man suffers even when his is in the state of prosperity, he now speaks about the bitter things by which he is consumed when he has been cast down in adversity to answer Job’s statement, “Do you write bitter things against me and punish me for the sins of my youth?” (13:26) He places becoming a fugitive as the first of these bitter things. Fugitives normally seek out hidden and uninhabited places and so he says, “He will live in desolate cities and in deserted houses which have been turned into mounds of earth.” These are the kind of places where fugitives usually take refuge. Second is that he is despoiled of his riches and so he says, “He will not become wealthy,” by acquiring new riches, “nor will he preserve his substance,” to retain the riches he has already acquired. The third bitter thing is the impossibility of recovering his wealth. So he says, “nor will he put forth his roots in the earth.” If a tree is uprooted and replanted, it recovers its strength if it can put forth its root in the earth. But if it cannot put forth its root in the earth, it cannot grow strong again. To explain this he says, “He will not emerge from the darkness,” i.e. from the state of adversity. He gives the reason for not returning to the light when he says, “a flame will dry his branches.” For there is still hope of reviving a tree if it has been uprooted as long as its branches remain green because they can be grafted and replanted. But if the branches are burned up, no further hope of reviving it remains. The branches of a man are his sons and other persons related to him in whom a man sometimes rises again from adversity. But the sons of Job had been killed and his household had perished. He himself had even been afflicted with illness, which he states continuing, “and will be born away by the breath of his mouth,” by his proud words. He cannot hope for any sort of renewal, not even from God whom pride of words offends and so he says, “Let him not trust in vain, deceived that he is deemed by some price,” for he must be freed by some help from tribulation. He posits as a fourth bitter thing the shortness of his life. So he then says, “He will perish before his days are complete,” since he will die before his time may be completed, “and his hands will dry up,” for his sons and his relations will fail. Then he gives an example. “His grapes will be blighted just like the vineyard in first flower.” This blighting usually results from frost by which he means exterior persecution. “And as the olive lets its flowers fall,” usually from some intrinsic cause which means here the meriting of adversity on the part of the one who suffers. Respecting this merit he says, “what the hypocrite collects is sterile,” because what is gathered by the hypocrite bears no fruit, “and fire will devour the tents of those who freely accepts gifts.” For things acquired wickedly are sometimes easily destroyed according to divine judgment. He says this throwing the theft and hypocrisy of Job in relief as though adversity had befallen him because of his sins. He adds a third sin of deceit. So the text continues, “He conceived pain,” because he premeditated in his heart the kind of pain he would inflict on others. The conception of this pain has born harm unjustly inflicted and so the text continues, “and given birth to evil.” He adds as a consequence the manner in which he accomplished this saying, “and his womb prepares evil intent.” Truly a hypocrite’s nature is to plot harm against others by deceit, not in the open. By the term “womb” he means the heart in which spiritual conceptions take place after the manner of the corporeal conceptions which take place in the womb.

The First Lesson: Job again describes his Trials
וַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃ 1 שָׁמַעְתִּי כְאֵלֶּה רַבּוֹת מְנַחֲמֵי עָמָל כֻּלְּכֶם׃ 2 הֲקֵץ לְדִבְרֵי־רוּחַ אוֹ מַה־יַּמְרִיצְךָ כִּי תַעֲנֶה׃ 3 גַּם אָנֹכִי כָּכֶם אֲדַבֵּרָה לוּ־יֵשׁ נַפְשְׁכֶם תַּחַת נַפְשִׁי אַחְבִּירָה עֲלֵיכֶם בְּמִלִּים וְאָנִיעָה עֲלֵיכֶם בְּמוֹ רֹאשִׁי׃ 4 אֲאַמִּצְכֶם בְּמוֹ־פִי וְנִיד שְׂפָתַי יַחְשֹׂךְ׃ 5 אִם־אֲדַבְּרָה לֹא־יֵחָשֵׂךְ כְּאֵבִי וְאַחְדְּלָה מַה־מִנִּי יַהֲלֹךְ׃ 6 אַךְ־עַתָּה הֶלְאָנִי הֲשִׁמּוֹתָ כָּל־עֲדָתִי׃ 7 וַתִּקְמְטֵנִי לְעֵד הָיָה וַיָּקָם בִּי כַחֲשִׁי בְּפָנַי יַעֲנֶה׃ 8 אַפּוֹ טָרַף וַיִּשְׂטְמֵנִי חָרַק עָלַי בְּשִׁנָּיו צָרִי יִלְטוֹשׁ עֵינָיו לִי׃ 9 פָּעֲרוּ עָלַי בְּפִיהֶם בְּחֶרְפָּה הִכּוּ לְחָיָי יַחַד עָלַי יִתְמַלָּאוּן׃ 10 יַסְגִּירֵנִי אֵל אֶל עֲוִיל וְעַל־יְדֵי רְשָׁעִים יִרְטֵנִי׃ 11 שָׁלֵו הָיִיתִי וַיְפַרְפְּרֵנִי וְאָחַז בְּעָרְפִּי וַיְפַצְפְּצֵנִי וַיְקִימֵנִי לוֹ לְמַטָּרָה׃ 12 יָסֹבּוּ עָלַי רַבָּיו יְפַלַּח כִּלְיוֹתַי וְלֹא יַחְמוֹל יִשְׁפֹּךְ לָאָרֶץ מְרֵרָתִי׃ 13 יִפְרְצֵנִי פֶרֶץ עַל־פְּנֵי־פָרֶץ יָרֻץ עָלַי כְּגִבּוֹר׃ 14 שַׂק תָּפַרְתִּי עֲלֵי גִלְדִּי וְעֹלַלְתִּי בֶעָפָר קַרְנִי׃ 15 פָּנַי חֳמַרְמְרָה מִנִּי־בֶכִי וְעַל עַפְעַפַּי צַלְמָוֶת׃ 16 עַל לֹא־חָמָס בְּכַפָּי וּתְפִלָּתִי זַכָּה׃ 17 אֶרֶץ אַל־תְּכַסִּי דָמִי וְאַל־יְהִי מָקוֹם לְזַעֲקָתִי׃ 18 גַּם־עַתָּה הִנֵּה־בַשָּׁמַיִם עֵדִי וְשָׂהֲדִי בַּמְּרוֹמִים׃ 19 1 Then Job answered saying: 2 I have often heard such things. You are all burdensome consolers. 3 When then will these hollow words end? What trouble is there for you if you speak? 4 I myself could also speak like you. Would that your souls were in the place of mine. 5 I would console you with words. I would shake my head over you. 6 I would encourage you with my mouth and I would move my lips and appear to console you. 7 But what am I to do? If I speak, my pain will not be stilled, and if I keep silence, it will not go away from me. 8 Now my pain has oppressed me, and all my limbs have been reduced to nothing. 9 My wrinkles give testimony against me. The slanderer is raised up against my face contradicting me. 10 He has collected his anger against me. He gnashed his teeth against me threateningly. My enemy has fixed me with frightening eyes. 11 They opened their jaws about me, they struck my jaw with their reproaches. They have contented themselves with my punishments. 12 God has confined me with the wicked man and he has surrendered me into the hands of evil men. 13 I, who was the rich man, suddenly have been ruined; He seized the nape of my neck and he broke me in pieces, he has set me up as his target. 14 He encompassed me about with spears, he wounded my loins, he did not spare me and he poured forth my bowels on the earth. 15 He cut me down with wound upon wound, he has seized me like a giant. 16 I stitched a sack over my skin, and I have covered my flesh with ashes. 17 My face was puffed up from weeping, and my eyelids are misty. 18 I suffered these things without iniquity on my hand because I wanted my prayers to God to be pure. 19 Earth, do not cover over my blood, nor let my cry find a hiding place in you. 20 For behold, my witness is in heaven, my conscience is above.
Respondens autem Iob dixit et cetera. Eliphaz in sua responsione durius contra Iob locutus fuerat: unde Iob in principio sui sermonis eum arguit de indecenti consolatione, primo quidem quia frequenter eadem repetebat, tam ipse quam amici eius, unde dicit audivi frequenter talia, quasi dicat: vestra locutio semper circa idem versatur. Diversis enim verbis ad idem intendebant, scilicet ad arguendum Iob quod pro peccatis suis in adversitates inciderat, et ideo subdit consolatores onerosi omnes vos estis: consolatoris enim officium est ea dicere quibus dolor mitigetur; onerosus ergo consolator est qui ea loquitur quae magis animum exasperant. Possent tamen haec excusationem habere quando ad utilitatem aliquam verba exasperantia proferrentur et veritatem continerent aut etiam breviter et pertranseundo dicerentur, sed si aliquis verba exasperantia contristatum falso, inutiliter et prolixe prosequatur, onerosus consolator videtur, unde subdit numquid habebunt finem verba ventosa? In hoc enim quod dicit numquid habebunt finem, ostendit quod prolixe immorabantur circa verba exasperantia; in hoc vero quod dicit verba ventosa, ostendit quod inutilia et falsa erant, soliditatem non habentia. Eliphaz had spoken harshly against Job in his answer, and so Job accuses him of unfitting consolation in the beginning of his speech. First, because both he and his friends frequently repeat the same things and so he says, “I have often heard such things,” as if to say: Your speech is always about the same subject. For with different words they really intended to prove the same things, namely, that Job had fallen into adversities because of his sins. So he then says, “You are all burdensome counselors.” For the duty of a counselor is to say something by which suffering will be mitigated. Therefore, a burdensome counselor is someone who says things which aggravate the soul more. Yet one could excuse these things if the irritating words were uttered for some use and contained truth or even if they were spoken only briefly in passing. But if someone uses language which is calculated to sadden another falsely, uselessly, and over a lengthy period of time, he seems to be a burdensome counselor. So he says, “When then will these hollow words end?” In saying, “When will these hollow words end,” he shows here that they have dwelled for a long time on irritating words. When he says “hollow words”, he shows that they were useless and false, because they were without foundation.
Ostendit autem consequenter quod non erat paritas ex utraque parte in hac disputatione quia amici Iob absque molestia loquebantur, unde dicit aut aliquid molestum tibi est si loquaris? Quasi dicat: ideo tam prolixe loqueris in meam calumniam quia ex hoc nullam molestiam sentis; Iob autem molestabatur. Et ne aliquis crederet quod haec disputatio esset facilis amicis Iob propter eminentem scientiam, Iob autem molesta propter scientiae defectum, hoc excludit ostendens quod si adversitate non deprimeretur et esset in statu amicorum suorum, similia loqui posset, unde dicit poteram et ego similia vobis loqui, scilicet si adversitate non gravarer. Et huius rei experiendae sibi facultatem desiderat dicens atque utinam esset anima vestra pro anima mea, ut scilicet vos adversitatem pateremini quam ego patior. Quod quidem dicit non affectu odii aut livore vindictae sed ut a crudelitate qua utebantur, suis verbis Iob exasperantes, revocarentur dum sentirent sibi esse aspera verba similia si eis dicerentur: unde subdit consolarer et ego vos sermonibus, scilicet similibus quibus vos me consolamini, et moverem caput meum super vos, in signum compassionis vel in signum reprobationis, sicut vos me arguitis; et etiam roborarem vos ore meo, ne per impatientiam deficeretis, et moverem labia, scilicet ad loquendum, quasi parcens vobis, idest simulans me ex misericordia quam ad vos haberem loqui, sicut vos circa me facitis. He shows in what follows that there is not equality on both sides in this dispute because the friends of Job spoke without being troubled, and so he says, “What trouble is there for you if you speak?” as if to say: You speak for such a long time in deprecating me because you are not troubled by this situation. Job, however, was annoyed. To preclude anyone thinking that ease in argumentation was attributed to the prominence of the friends in knowledge, Job shows that if adversity had not deprived him and he were in the condition of the friends, he would speak with the same confidence. So he says, “I myself could also speak like you,” if I were not weighed down with adversity. He wants for them the opportunity to feel the same thing as he does saying, “would that your souls were in place of mine,” in that you suffered the adversity I do. He does not say this because of a feeling of hatred or with ill will seeking revenge, but to recall them from the cruel approach they were using in exasperating Job by their words when they realized that similar words would be rough on them if they were spoken to them. So he then says, “I too would console you with words,” like those which you used to console me, “and I would shake my head over you,” as a sign of compassion or reprobation like you censure me. Also, “I would encourage you with my mouth,” lest you should despair in your impatience, “and I would move my lips,” to speak, “and appear to console you,” by pretending to speak from pity which I had for you, just as you are doing to me.
Sic igitur leve esset mihi loqui sicut et vobis si in statu vestro essem, sed nunc impedior dolore qui non tollitur neque locutione neque taciturnitate, unde subdit sed quid agam? Si locutus fuero non quiescet dolor meus, et si tacuero non recedet a me. Est autem duplex dolor: unus quidem interior qui tristitia nominatur, proveniens ex apprehensione alicuius mali inhaerentis; alius autem est dolor exterior qui est dolor secundum sensum, puta ex solutione continui proveniens vel ex aliquo huiusmodi. Primus quidem igitur horum dolorum collocutione tolli potest, non autem secundus, et ideo consequenter ostendit quod intelligit de hoc secundo dolore qui verbis non tollitur, dicens nunc autem oppressit me dolor meus, idest impedivit me ne faciliter et libere uti possim ratiocinatione sicut antea solebam: nam cum est dolor vehemens in sensu, oportet quod intentio animae avocetur vel impediatur ab intellectualium consideratione. Et quod de dolore corporali intelligat, ostendit subdens et in nihilum redacti sunt omnes artus mei: omnia enim membra eius ulcerata erant, sicut supra dictum est quod Satan percussit Iob ulcere pessimo a planta pedis usque ad verticem. It would be easy for me to speak like this just as you did if I were in your condition. But now I am impeded by a pain which neither speech nor silence does not take away, and so he continues,” But what am I to do? If I speak, my pain will not be stilled and if I keep silence, it will not go away from me.” For there are two kinds of pain. One is interior and is called sadness. This proceeds from the experience of a present evil. The other is external pain and this is pain according to sense, for example a pain which comes from the dissolution of something joined together or something of the sort. The first kind of pain can be taken away by conversation, but not the second. He shows as a result what he understands about this second pain which cannot be taken away by words when he says, “now my pain has oppressed me,” i.e. impeded me so that I cannot easily or freely reason like I did before. For when sensible pain is violent, the attention of the soul is distracted and is impeded from the consideration of intellectual things. He shows what he understands about corporeal pain adding, “and all my limbs have been reduced to nothing.” This is because all his members were infected with sores as the text says above “Satan afflicted Job with sores which were most loathsome from the sole of his feet to the top of his head.” (2:7)
Et non solum dissipationes membrorum dolorem sensibilem mihi ingerunt, sed etiam sunt in argumentum contra me: amici enim Iob videntes eum sic ulceratum ex hoc argumentabantur quod graviter peccasset, putantes hoc ei in poena peccati accidisse, et hoc est quod sequitur rugae meae testimonium dicunt contra me: ex infirmitatibus enim corrugatur corpus propter humidi consumptionem sicut et ex senectute. Quomodo autem rugae contra ipsum testimonium perhibeant, ostendit subdens et suscitatur falsiloquus adversum faciem meam, contradicens mihi: falsum enim dixerat Eliphaz quod propter peccatum in hanc infirmitatem incidisset. Vel potest dici quod Iob intellexit per spiritum sanctum suam adversitatem a Diabolo procuratam, Deo permittente; unde quicquid passus est vel in damnis rerum et filiorum vel in proprii corporis ulcere vel etiam in molestatione uxoris et amicorum, totum hoc Diabolo attribuit quasi instiganti: ipsum ergo vocat falsiloquum contra suam faciem suscitatum quia intelligebat instigante Diabolo amicos suos contradicentes ei. Et secundum hunc sensum planius est quod sequitur collegit furorem suum in me: videtur enim Diabolus totum furorem suum contra Iob collegisse dum omni modo nocendi ipsum impugnavit; et non solum in praeterito me afflixit sed etiam in futurum mihi comminatur, et hoc est quod sequitur et comminans mihi infremuit contra me dentibus suis. Et loquitur per similitudinem bestiae quae homini comminando dentes contra ipsum parat; hoc autem dicit propter hoc quod Eliphaz usque ad mortem ei sub persona impii mala imminere praenuntiaverat: intelligebat autem Iob huiusmodi comminationes per os Eliphaz a Diabolo esse procuratas, et ideo dicebat quod dentibus contra eum infremuerat. The dissipation of my members not only cause me sensible pain, but it also bears witness against me. For when the friends of Job saw that he was so covered with ulcers, from this they charged that he had sinned grievously because they thought this had happened to him as a punishment for sin. The text continues in this vein, “my wrinkles give testimony against me,” for his body is wrinkled from dehydration as a result of weakness as happens also in old age. He shows the manner in which his wrinkles testify against him when he says, “and the slanderer is raised up against me face, contradicting me.” Eliphaz had slandered him when he said that he had fallen into this weakness because of sin. (4:7) This could also be explained saying that Job knew by the Holy Spirit that his adversity had been brought on by the devil, although God had permitted it to happen. So whatever he suffered whether in the loss of goods and children, the sores of his own body, or the annoyance caused by his wife and friends, he attributed all this to the devil as instigator. So he calls him a slanderer who has been raised up against his face because he understood that his friends at the instigation of the devil were speaking against him. According to this second interpretation, the following verse is clearer. “He has collected his anger against me.” For the devil seems to have collected his complete anger against Job when he assailed him with every kind of harm. He afflicted me not only in the past; but he also threatens me in the future, and the text speaks about this saying, “and he gnashed his teeth against me threateningly.” He uses the imagery of an animal who threatens man by baring his teeth. He says this because Eliphaz had foretold before that evil things would menace him unto death, using the person of the impious man. (15:32) Job however understood that the threats pronounced by the lips of Eliphaz were directed by the devil and so he said that he had growled at him with his teeth.
Non solum autem Eliphaz verbis comminationis contra eum usus fuerat mala praenuntiando sed etiam de factis eius male iudicaverat, eum impium et hypocritam nominans, et ideo subdit hostis meus terribilibus oculis me intuitus est: placidis enim oculis aliquem aliquis intuetur quando facta eius benigne interpretatur, sed quando bona interpretatur in malum tunc terribilibus oculis intuetur, et ideo subdit aperuerunt super me ora sua, scilicet amici mei ab hoste meo instigati; et hoc exponit subdens exprobrantes percusserunt maxillam meam: ille enim dicitur in faciem aliquem percutere qui ei improperium in facie dicit; amici autem Iob multa improperia contra eum dixerant, peccata multa ei exprobrantes. Et quia iusti homines videntes peccata puniri de iustitia laetantur, secundum illud Psalmi laetabitur iustus cum viderit vindictam, amici Iob se iustos reputantes, Iob autem peccatorem, de poenis eius gaudebant quodammodo quasi divinae iustitiae congratulantes, et ideo sequitur satiati sunt poenis meis. But Eliphaz not only used threatening words against him by foretelling evil things, but he also rashly judged his deeds, claiming that he was an evil man (15:20) and a hypocrite (15:34). So he then says, “My enemy fixed me with frightening eyes.” For one looks at another with gentle eyes when he interprets his deeds in a benign way, but when he interprets his good deeds as evil, then he fixes him with frightening eyes. So he continues, “They spread their jaws about me,” i.e. my friends instigated by my enemy. He interprets this saying, “they struck my jaw with their reproaches.” For one is said to strike one in the face when he utters a reproach to his face. The friends of Job had uttered many reproaches against him as they rebuked him for many sins. Because just men rejoice about justice when they see sins punished as Psalm 57 says, “The just will rejoice at the sight of vengeance,” (v.11), the friends of Job thought themselves just and Job was a sinner. So they rejoiced seeing his punishments almost as though applauding divine justice, and so the text continues, “they have contented themselves with my punishments.”
Et ne aliquis crederet quod Iob opinaretur huiusmodi poenas sibi a Deo inflictas non esse quia dixerat ab hoste se esse afflictum, ad hoc excludendum subdit conclusit me Deus apud iniquum, idest Diabolum, concedendo me scilicet potestati ipsius, et manibus impiorum me tradidit, quantum ad eos qui instinctu Diaboli eum vel factis vel verbis afflixerant: intellexit enim Iob afflictiones suas sibi per Diabolum quidem sed Deo permittente irrogatas. Et huius signum evidens ostendit quadruplex: primo quidem quia a maxima prosperitate non paulatim decidit, sicut consuetum est in rebus humanis, sed subito totaliter corruit, quod non videtur potuisse subito casu accidere sed ex sola divina ordinatione, et hoc est quod dicit ego ille opulentus quondam repente contritus sum; et in hoc quod dicit opulentus designatur divitiarum abundantia, in hoc autem quod dicit ille designatur claritas famae eius qua ab omnibus demonstrabatur. Secundum autem signum est quod totaliter corruit, ad quod significandum subdit tenuit cervicem meam, confregit me; et loquitur ad similitudinem alicuius fortissimi viri qui, alicuius debilis cervice apprehensa, eam confringeret et sic totaliter eum de vita auferret: sic enim Iob videbatur totaliter prosperitatis statum amisisse. Tertium signum est quod non una adversitate sed multis simul concurrentibus oppressus fuit, ut supra narratum est, et quantum ad hoc subdit posuit me sibi quasi in signum, quod scilicet ponitur diversis sagittis feriendum, et ideo subdit circumdedit me lanceis suis, ubi tripliciter multitudinem suarum adversitatum describit: primo namque ostendit se exterius vulneratum in rebus possessis, et ad hoc pertinet quod dicit circumdedit me lanceis suis; res enim exteriores circa nos sunt quasi extrinsecae: tunc ergo homo lanceis adversitatis circumdatur quando in rebus exterioribus damnificatur. Secundo autem dicit se percussum interius quantum ad personarum afflictionem, et hoc est quod subdit convulneravit lumbos meos, quasi dicat: non solum in circuitu lanceatus sum, sed vulnera pervenerunt usque ad interiora in quibus delectabatur, quae per lumbos significantur in quibus est delectatio vel etiam generationis origo, unde etiam per lumbos filii oppressi possunt designari; et insuper ostendit multiplicitatem percussionis ex acerbitate vulneris, cum subdit non pepercit, quasi retrahens manum suam a percussione ne gravius offenderet, sed gravissime laesit, et hoc est quod subdit et effudit in terram viscera mea, quia scilicet omnes filios suos et filias una ruina in mortem oppressit. Tertio ostendit multitudinem percussionis ex his quae in propria persona est passus, unde subdit concidit me, in propria scilicet persona, vulnere ulceris pessimi, super vulnus mortis filiorum. Quartum signum est, quod eius tribulatio ex divina providentia processerit, quod resisti non potuit nec remedium adhiberi, secundum illud quod supra IX 13 dictum est Deus cuius irae resistere nemo potest, et hoc est quod subdit irruit in me quasi gigas, cui propter magnitudinem potestatis homo debilis resistere non potest. Et possunt haec omnia intelligi vel de Deo qui conclusit, vel melius de iniquo, scilicet Diabolo, apud quem conclusit. Lest anyone believe that Job was of the opinion that punishments of this kind were inflicted on him by God since he had said he had been afflicted by an enemy as he continues, “God has confined me with the wicked,” i.e. the devil, by consigning me into his power. “He has surrendered me into the hands of evil men,” who afflicted me by the instigation of the devil with words and deeds. For Job understood that his trials had been inflicted on him by the devil, but God permitted it. He gives an understanding of this in four clear signs. First, because he fell from the greatest prosperity, not little by little as is usually the case in human affairs, but suddenly. It does not seem to have happened by sudden chance, but only by divine ordination. He speaks about this saying, “I, who was the rich man, suddenly have been ruined.” By the fact that he says “rich”, he shows the abundance of his wealth, but in the fact that he says, “I, the” he shows the glory of his reputation because of which he was recognized by everyone. The second sign is that he was utterly struck down. He refers to this when he says, “he seized the nape of my neck and he broke me in pieces.” He uses the image of a very strong man who seizes a weak man by the nape of the neck, breaks it, and so completely takes his life away. For just so it seemed Job has completely lost his prosperity. The third sign is that he was not oppressed with one adversity, but many all at once as was recounted above. (cf. cc. I and II) He expresses this saying, “He has set me up as his target,” which is set up to be hit by different arrows. Here he describes the great number of his trials using three images. First, he shows that he was wounded exteriorly in his possessions saying, “He encompassed me about with his spears.” For exterior things encircle us as something extrinsic to us. Thus a man is encompassed with the spears of adversity when he loses exterior goods. Second, he says that he is persecuted interiorly in the affliction of his person. He expresses this saying, “He wounded my loins,” as if to say: I have not only been wounded round about me, but my wounds penetrate even to my inner parts where I find enjoyment which are signified by loins. “The loins” may refer to the place we experience pleasure or the origin of generation. So this reference to the loins can also mean his crushed children. Moreover he expresses the great number of the blows from the intensity of the wound when he says, “he did not spare me,” by taking away his hand which struck the blow so that I would not be wounded more deeply. Rather, he wounded me very deeply. He expresses this saying, “and he poured forth my bowels on the earth,” because he crushed to death all my sons and daughters in one blow. Third, he shows the great number of blows which he has suffered in his own person, and so he then says, “he cut me down,” in my own person, “with wound,” i.e. with a very grave ulcer, “upon wound,” coupled with the deaths of his children. The fourth sign is that he can apply no cure to or resistance against his tribulation because it proceeded from divine providence, reflecting what he said already, “The God whose anger none can resist...” (9:13) He expresses this saying, “he has seized me like a giant,” whom a weak man cannot resist because of his great strength. All these signs can be understood either about God who confined him or in a better sense about the evil one, the devil, with whom he was confined.
Haec igitur omnia commemoravit Iob de magnitudine suae adversitatis ad ostendendum quod non de pari poterat cum eis contendere, quia ab huiusmodi adversitatibus immunes erant. Verum Eliphaz eum de superbia notaverat dicens quid te elevat cor tuum etc. quae tanto fuisset detestabilior quanto per graves adversitates emendari potuisset, secundum quod contra quosdam in Psalmo dicitur dissipati sunt nec compuncti; et ideo consequenter descripta sua adversitate, ostendit se humiliatum, primo quidem quantum ad exteriorem habitum, cum dicit saccum consui super cutem meam: talis enim habitus est humilitatis signum, ut legitur de Ninivitis Ion. III 5; similiter etiam cinis adhibetur ad recognoscendum propriam fragilitatem - unde Abraham dixit Gen. XVIII 27 loquar ad dominum meum, cum sim pulvis et cinis -, unde subdit et operui cinere carnem meam: legitur enim supra quod in sterquilinio sedebat in signum humilitatis. Secundo ostendit suam humilitatem per multitudinem fletus, cuius duo signa ponit: primo quidem tumorem faciei, cum dicit facies mea intumuit a fletu: ascendens enim multa lacrimarum materia ad caput, facies plorantium intumescit; secundum vero impedimentum visus, et hoc est quod subdit et palpebrae meae caligaverunt, scilicet a fletu: ad litteram enim propter discursum humorum visus oculorum impeditur. Job calls to mind all these things about the greatness of his adversity to show that he cannot be the equal of his friends with whom he is arguing, because they were free from adversities of this kind. However Eliphaz had accused him of pride saying, “Why do you puff up your heart? and so on,” (15:12ff). This pride was even more detestable the graver adversities were by which it could have been corrected, as Psalm 34 says against some, “They were dissipated and not filled with remorse.” (v.16) Thus as a consequence having described his adversities he shows now his humiliation, first, regarding external dress, he says, “I stitched a sack over my skin,” for such a vesture is a sign of humility, as we read about the Ninevites in Jonah 3:5. One wears ashes for the same reason to show one’s frailty as Abraham said in Genesis, “I will speak to my God, since I am dust and ashes,” (18:27) and so he continues, “I have covered my flesh with ashes.” For the text said above that he sat “in a dung heap” (2: 8) as a sign of humility. Second he shows his humility by his great weeping. He uses two signs. First, the swelling of the face, when he says, “My face was puffed up from weeping,” because the great matter of tears ascends to the head, and swells the face of the weeper. Second he speaks of his vision being obscured, and expressing this he says, “My eyelids are misty,” from weeping, for because of the flow of moisture, the sight of the eyes is literally impeded.
Ex his autem quae de gravitate suae adversitatis praemisit et de magnitudine suae humiliationis, posset aliquis suspicari quod ipse, quasi recognoscens gravitatem suorum peccatorum, se paenitendo humiliaverit reputans se pro suis peccatis afflictum, quod Eliphaz innuere volebat dicens ecce inter sanctos nemo immutabilis etc., et ideo ad hoc removendum dicit haec passus sum absque iniquitate manus meae, per quod excludit a se peccata operum; subdit autem cum haberem mundas ad Deum preces, ut excludat a se peccatum indevotionis et omissionis, per quod videtur respondere ei quod supra XI 14 dixerat Sophar si iniquitatem quae est in manu tua abstuleris, levare poteris manum tuam absque macula. Sed ad excludendum innocentiam Iob Eliphaz iam bis usus fuerat argumento supposito ex fragilitate terrenae naturae: nam supra IV 18 dixerat ecce qui serviunt ei non sunt stabiles, quanto magis hi qui habitant domos luteas, et postea supra XV 15 idem repetierat dicens caeli non sunt mundi in conspectu eius, quanto magis abominabilis et inutilis homo; et ideo ad hoc excludendum subdit terra, ne operias sanguinem meum, et intelligit per sanguinem sui corporis afflictionem: hic autem sanguis operiretur si pro culpa fuisset effusus, sic enim non haberet gloriam; operiretur autem a terra si occasione terrenae fragilitatis praesumptio de praecedenti culpa praesumeretur. Si autem sanguis eius absque culpa fuit effusus, iustam querelam habuit contra effundentem, sicut Gen. IV 10 dicitur ecce vox sanguinis fratris tui clamat ad me de terra; hic autem clamor lateret si iniusta conquestio sua videretur, quasi eius qui pro culpa fuerit punitus, et ideo subdit neque inveniat in te locum latendi clamor meus, ut scilicet ex terrenae conversationis fragilitate videar iniuste conqueri, quasi sim pro culpa punitus. Verum est autem quod difficile est hominem terrena conversatione absque iniquitate peccati mortalis uti, non est tamen impossibile, Deo adiuvante per gratiam, qui etiam interioris puritatis est testis, et ideo subdit ecce enim in caelo testis meus, quasi dicat: ideo terra non potest operire sanguinem meum quia maius est testimonium caeli quam praesumptio de fragilitate terrae. Est autem hic testis caeli idoneus quia etiam conscientiae secreta rimatur, unde subdit et conscius meus in excelsis, quasi dicat: ideo in infimo terrae non potest locum latendi clamor meus invenire quia conscientia mea nota est in excelso. From what he has said before about the gravity of his adversity and the greatness of his humiliation, one could surmise that he had recognized in effect the gravity of his sins, and was humbling himself in repentance thinking that he had been afflicted for his own sins. Eliphaz wanted to make this clear saying, “Look among his holy ones; no one is unchangeable.” (15:15) Thus to remove this suspicion he says, “I suffered these things without iniquity in my hand.” By this he excludes from himself sins of commission. But he then says, “because I wanted my prayers to God to be pure,” to exclude from himself the sins of lukewarmness and omission. In this he seems answer what Sophar said above, “If you take away the evil which is on your hand, then you will be able to raise your hands without stain.” (11:14) However to disprove the innocence of Job, Eliphaz had already used twice the argument based on the frailty of earthly nature. He had said above “Even those who serve him are not firm, how much more those who dwell in houses of clay.” (4:18-19) He had repeated the same thing later saying, “The heavens are not clean in his sight, how much more abominable and useless is man.” (15:15) So to reject this he says, “Earth, do not cover over my blood,” and he understands here by blood the affliction of his body. Here blood would be covered over if it were shed for crime, for so it would not have any glory. However it would be covered over by the earth if by the accusation of earthly frailty one could presume a preceding fault. If his blood was shed without fault, he had a just complaint against the one who sheds it, as Genesis says, “Behold the voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the earth.” (Gen 4:10) This cry would go unnoticed if his complaint seemed unjust, like the one who had been punished for some fault, and so he says, “Nor let my cry find a hiding place in you,” so that I would seem from the frailty of the earthly condition to complain unjustly, as though I were punished for faults. It is true that it is difficult for a man to act according to his earthly condition without the evil of mortal sin, yet it is not impossible, with the help of God through grace who is a witness also to our interior purity. Thus he then says, “For behold my witness is in heaven,” for the earth cannot cover over my blood because the witness of heaven is greater than the presumption on the frailty of earth. This witness of heaven is fitting because it even investigates the secret intention of conscience, and so he then says, “my conscience is above,” as if to say: My cry cannot find a place to hide in the earth below because my conscience is known in heaven.
The Second Lesson: The Promises of His Friends are Vain
מְלִיצַי רֵעָי אֶל־אֱלוֹהַ דָּלְפָה עֵינִי׃ 20 וְיוֹכַח לְגֶבֶר עִם־אֱלוֹהַּ וּבֶן־אָדָם לְרֵעֵהוּ׃ 21 כִּי־שְׁנוֹת מִסְפָּר יֶאֱתָיוּ וְאֹרַח לֹא־אָשׁוּב אֶהֱלֹךְ׃ 22 21 My wordy friends, my eye pours out for God 22 And would that man were so judged by God as the son of man is judged by his colleague! 23 Behold, the short years pass away and I walk a path by which I will not return.
Verbosi amici mei et cetera. Postquam Iob descripsit magnitudinem suae adversitatis et suam humilitatem et innocentiam, procedit ulterius ad improbandum vanam consolationem quam amici eius ei frequenter iterabant, scilicet de spe temporalis prosperitatis recuperandae, unde et Eliphaz supra dixerat numquid grande est ut consoletur te Deus et cetera. Unde huius consolationis vanitatem ostendere intendens, praemittit verbosi amici mei, quasi dicat: verba inania mihi promittunt; non enim in temporalibus recuperandis est consolatio mea sed in Dei fruitione adipiscenda, et hoc est quod subdit ad Deum stillat oculus meus, idest lacrimatur prae Dei desiderio, secundum illud Psalmi fuerunt mihi lacrimae meae panes die ac nocte, dum dicitur mihi quotidie: ubi est Deus tuus? After Job described the greatness of his adversity, (v.14) his humility (v.16) and his innocence (v.18), he proceeds further to reprove the vain consolation which his friends repeated to him again and again, about the hope of recovering temporal prosperity. As Eliphaz said above, “Is it s a great thing for God to console you.” (15:11ff) So he intends to show the vain character of this consolation, and he begins with the words, “My wordy friends,” as if to say: They promise me empty words. My consolation is not in recovering temporal goods, but in acquiring the enjoyment of God, and expressing this he says, “my eye pours out for God,” that is it weeps because of the desire for God, according to Psalm 41, “My tears have been for me my bread by night by day, when I hear it said daily, where is your God?” (v.4)
Et ad expositionem eius quod dixerat subdit atque utinam sic iudicaretur vir cum Deo quomodo iudicatur filius hominis cum collega suo. Iudicatur enim vir cum collega suo dum unus alteri praesentialiter adest et invicem sibi suas rationes promunt: desiderabat ergo Deo praesens existere et rationes divinorum operum et iudiciorum cognoscere, in quo felicitas humana consistit, in cuius spe erat eius consolatio, non in vanis amicorum verbis quibus recuperationem temporalis prosperitatis promittebant; et ideo ad ostendendam vanitatem huius promissionis subiungit ecce enim breves anni transeunt, quia scilicet homo brevi vivit tempore, ut supra XIII 1 dictum est; temporis autem vitae Iob iam transierat magna pars, unde breves anni ei restabant in quibus si esset prosperitas non magnam consolationem afferret propter temporis brevitatem. Fuerunt autem aliqui qui credebant hominem post mortem iterato ad praesentis vitae cursum redire, et sic videri posset quod in spe terrenae prosperitatis recuperandae saltem in illa futura vita, posset Iob consolationem habere; et ideo ad hoc excludendum subdit et semitam per quam non revertar ambulo: homo enim in hac mortali vita per aetatis processum tendit in mortem, nec in hoc processu iteratio potest esse, ut scilicet iterato homo sit puer et aetates huius vitae perambulet. To explain what he had said, he continues, “and would that man were so judged by God as the son of a man is judged by his colleague.” For a man is judged by his own colleague when one is actually present to the other and they express their arguments to each other. He desired therefore to be in the presence to God and to know the reasons for the divine works and judgments, by which human happiness consists. His consolation was in this hope, not in the vain words of his friends by which they promised the recovery of temporal prosperity. So to show the vanity of this promise he adds, “Behold! The short years pass away,” because “man lives for a short time,” as he had said above. (14:1) A great part of Job’s lifetime had already passed; and so few years remained for him in which, even if there were prosperity, it would not bring him much consolation because of the shortness of the time. Some men believed that after death man returned again to the course of this present life, and so it could seem possible for Job to be consoled in the hope of recovering earthly prosperity at least in that future life. So to reject this he then says, “and I walk a path by which I will not return.” For man in this mortal life tends through the process of aging tends to death, and there cannot be a repetition in this process, so that man would be a boy once again and walk through all ages of this life.

The First Lesson: Job call on God
רוּחִי חֻבָּלָה יָמַי נִזְעָכוּ קְבָרִים לִי׃ 1 אִם־לֹא הֲתֻלִים עִמָּדִי וּבְהַמְּרוֹתָם תָּלַן עֵינִי׃ 2 שִׂימָה־נָּא עָרְבֵנִי עִמָּךְ מִי הוּא לְיָדִי יִתָּקֵעַ׃ 3 כִּי־לִבָּם צָפַנְתָּ מִּשָּׂכֶל עַל־כֵּן לֹא תְרֹמֵם׃ 4 לְחֵלֶק יַגִּיד רֵעִים וְעֵינֵי בָנָיו תִּכְלֶנָה׃ 5 וְהִצִּגַנִי לִמְשֹׁל עַמִּים וְתֹפֶת לְפָנִים אֶהְיֶה׃ 6 וַתֵּכַהּ מִכַּעַשׂ עֵינִי וִיצֻרַי כַּצֵּל כֻּלָּם׃ 7 יָשֹׁמּוּ יְשָׁרִים עַל־זֹאת וְנָקִי עַל־חָנֵף יִתְעֹרָר׃ 8 וְיֹאחֵז צַדִּיק דַּרְכּוֹ וּטֳהָר־יָדַיִם יֹסִיף אֹמֶץ׃ 9 1 My spirit will be weakened, my days will be shortened and nothing remains for me but the tomb. 2 I have not sinned and my eye lingers on bitter things. 3 Free me and place me near you, and do not let the hand of anyone fight against me. 4 You have made their hearts far from learning, yet they will not be lifted up. 5 He promises plunder to his companions and the eyes of his sons will fail. 6 He has set me up as a proverb to the people and his example in their midst. 7 Anger misted over my vision with indignation and my limbs are reduced to almost nothing. 8 The just will be astonished at this and the innocent will arouse himself against the hypocrite. 9 The just will preserve his course and add courage to pure hands.
Spiritus meus attenuabitur et cetera. Ostenderat superius Iob multiplicitatem suae afflictionis et mentis humilitatem et innocentiam et vitae irrevertibilis brevitatem ex qua verbositas amicorum eius convincebatur, et ideo in hoc capitulo intendit manifestare praemissa et finaliter eorum ignorantiam concludere. Primo autem incipit manifestare quod dixerat de processu vitae humanae, et praemittit causam brevitatis vitae, cum dicit spiritus meus attenuabitur: vita enim corporis est per vitales spiritus qui a corde ad omnia membra diffunduntur, qui quandiu in corpore durant corpus vivit; sed quando virtus caloris naturalis incipit debilitari in corde, huiusmodi spiritus minuuntur, quam quidem diminutionem et debilitationem per spiritus attenuationem designat. Et huius causae subiungit effectum dicens dies mei breviabuntur: debilitas enim vitalis spiritus abbreviat dies vitae. Et ne aliquis crederet quod attenuatus spiritus iterum roborandus esset secundum speciem huius vitae mortalis, ad hoc excludendum subdit et solum mihi superest sepulcrum, quasi dicat: finitis huius brevibus vitae diebus, nihil de praesenti vita mihi relinquitur nisi sepulcrum et ea quae sepulcro conveniunt. Job had shown above the great number of his afflictions, (16:14) the humiliation of his mind, (16:16) the innocence (16:18) and the brevity of a life definitively lost, (16:23) and by which the wordiness of his friends is conclusively proved. In this chapter then he intends to prove the premises and finally conclude their ignorance. (v.10) First he begins to prove what he had said about the process of human life, and he presents beforehand the cause of the shortness of life, when he says, “My spirit will be weakened.” For the life of the body is lived through vital spirits which are diffused from the heart to all its members. The body lives as long as they are strong in the body. But when the natural caloric power (energy) begins to grow weak in the heart, such spirits grow less. By this growing less and debilitation he, of course, means the weakening of the spirit. He then states the effect of this cause saying, “my days will grow shortened.” For weakness of the vital spirit shortens the days of life. To answer the objection that a spirit once weakened would again be strengthened again according to kind of existence of this mortal life, he says, “nothing remains for me but the tomb,” as if to say: Once the span of this present life is finished, nothing of this present life remains for me except the grave and those things which befit the grave.
Deinde alio modo consolationis eorum vanum ostendit: consolabantur enim eum dicentes huiusmodi adversitates propter peccata ei provenisse, de quibus si paeniteret ad prosperitatem rediret; sed ipse hoc excludens dicit non peccavi, quia scilicet non habebat conscientiam remordentem de aliquo gravi peccato propter quod tantas adversitates incurrisset, unde et infra XXVII 6 dicit neque enim reprehendit me cor meum in omni vita mea et ideo non est contra id quod dicitur I Ioh. I 8 si dixerimus quia peccatum non habemus, ipsi nos seducimus, et per hoc exprimit quod supra dixerat de sua innocentia haec passus sum absque iniquitate manus meae. Subdit autem et in amaritudinibus moratur oculus meus; pluraliter autem dicit amaritudinibus, propter multiplices adversitates quas supra enumeravit; dicit autem moratur, quia quamvis inter amaritudines se humiliaverit saccum consuens super cutem suam, adhuc tamen amaritudines perseverant; attribuit autem amaritudines oculo propter fletum, de quo supra dixerat facies mea intumuit a fletu, et iterum ad Deum stillat oculus meus, quia sic oculus eius flebat inter amaritudines quod ad solum divinum auxilium intendebat, et ideo hic subditur libera me: intelligebat enim se ab eo solo liberari posse qui eum apud iniquum concluserat. Non autem sic se liberari ab adversitate petebat sicut qui post adversitatem prosperitatem terrenam assequuntur, sed petit ut ad celsitudinem spiritualem perducatur, unde subdit et pone me iuxta te: quia enim Deus est ipsa essentia bonitatis, necesse est ut qui iuxta Deum ponitur a malo liberetur. Ponitur autem homo iuxta Deum inquantum ei mente appropinquat per cognitionem et amorem, sed hoc quidem imperfecte contingit in statu viae in quo homo impugnationes patitur, et quia est iuxta Deum positus ab eis non superatur; perfecte autem homo mente iuxta Deum ponitur in statu ultimae felicitatis in quo impugnationes iam pati non potest, et hoc est quod desiderare se ostendit dicens et cuiusvis manus pugnet contra me, quia scilicet quantumcumque aliqui me velint impugnare, si iuxta te perfecte positus fuero nullius impugnatio me molestabit: hoc est ergo in quo Iob inter amaritudines consolationem habebat, sperans se iuxta Deum ponendum ubi impugnationes timere non posset. Then he shows their consolation to be vain in another way. For they consoled him saying sin was the cause of such adversities coming on him, and that if he repented then he would return to prosperity. But he rejects this saying, “I have not sinned,” because he did not have the remorse of conscience about any grave sin for which he had incurred such great adversities, thus he even says later in the text, “For my heart has not accused me in my whole life.” (27:6) Thus this is not against what is said in 1 John, “If we have said we have no sin, we lie to ourselves.” (1 John 1:8) By this he explains what he had said above about his innocence, “I have suffered these things without having evil on my hand.” (16:18) He then says, “and my eye lingers on bitter things.” He uses the plural, “bitter things” because of the many adversities which he had enumerated above. He says, “lingers” because although he has humbled himself among bitter things and sewn up a sack over his skin, (16:16), the bitter things nevertheless remain. He attributes bitter things to the eye because of the weeping they cause, which he already expressed saying, “My face was puffed up from weeping,” (16:17) and again, “my eye pours out for God,” (16:21) because his eye was weeping among the bitter things so that it aimed only at divine help, and that is why he continues here, “Free me.” For Job understood that he alone could free him who placed him in the power of the evil one. (16:12) Truly he was not praying to be freed from adversity like those who would procure earthly prosperity after the adversity, but he prayed to be led to high-mindedness, and so he then says, “and place me near you.” For since God is the very essence of good, it is necessary that he who is placed close to God, be freed from evil. Man is placed near to God insofar as he approaches him with his mind through knowledge and love, but this happens imperfectly in the state of a sojourner on earth in which man suffers attacks. Because he is placed near to God, however, he is not be overcome by them. Man is perfectly placed near to God in his mind in the state of ultimate happiness in which he cannot suffer attacks, and he shows he desires this saying, “do not let the hand of anyone fight against me,” because no matter how much someone would want to attack me, if I were placed perfectly near to you, no one’s attack will disturb me. This is then the expectation Job had for his consolation in the midst of bitter things, hoping to be placed near to God where he could not fear attacks.
Hanc autem spiritualem consolationem ipsius Iob amici eius verbosi non intelligebant, et ideo subdit cor eorum longe fecisti a disciplina, scilicet tua spirituali, per quam doces spiritualia bona contemptis temporalibus sperare; et quia in solis temporalibus et infimis rebus spem ponunt, ad spiritualem altitudinem pervenire non possunt ut iuxta Deum ponantur, et hoc est quod subdit propterea non exaltabuntur. Et ex hoc quod longe facti sunt a disciplina spirituali, procedit quod sola temporalia Eliphaz Iob in consolationem promittebat, et hoc est quod subdit praedam pollicetur sociis, idest temporalium adeptionem quae uni advenire non possunt nisi alio amittente, unde temporalium acquisitio depraedationi assimulatur. Non est autem hoc universaliter verum ut post poenitentiam homines temporalem prosperitatem recuperent, quia nec boni semper temporali prosperitate florent, unde subdit et oculi filiorum eius deficient; filios eius dicit illos qui eius promissioni credentes ex bonis quae agunt temporalia sperant, sed dum ea non assequuntur oculi eorum deficiunt, quasi a spe sua decidentes. Sicut autem bene agentibus temporalia Eliphaz promittebat, ita etiam omnes adversitates temporales propter peccata eius qui patitur asserebat provenire; et quia Iob multas adversitates passus erat, eum in exemplum apud vulgus ponebat, et hoc est quod subdit posuit me quasi in proverbium vulgi et exemplum suum coram eis, quia scilicet ad suam sententiam asserendam de causa adversitatum Iob in exemplum ponebat, ac si esset pro peccato punitus. The prattling friends of Job did not understand this spiritual consolation of Job, and so he then says, “You have made their hearts far from learning,” from your spiritual teaching through which you teach one to hope for spiritual goods and to hold temporal goods in contempt. Since they only place their hope in things weak and time bound, they cannot arrive at spiritual height and be placed near to God. He therefore express this saying, “yet they will not be lifted up.” From the fact that they were placed far from spiritual teaching, he concludes that Eliphaz promises only temporal goods to Job as a consolation, (5:18) and he expresses this saying, “He promises plunder to his companions,” that is, the procurement of temporal goods which can only come to one person if another loses. So the acquisition of temporal goods is likened to plundering. It is not universally true that after repentance men recover temporal prosperity, since even the good do not always enjoy temporal prosperity, and so then he says, “the eyes of his sons will fail.” He calls his sons those who believe his promise, hope for temporal rewards for the goods which they do, but when they do not attain them their eyes fail, like those ceasing from their hope. Just as Eliphaz promised temporal goods to those doing good, so also he asserted that all temporal adversities come about because of the sins of the one who suffers them. Since Job had suffered many adversities, Eliphaz uses him as an example to the people, and as he expresses this saying, “He has used me as a proverb to the people and his example in their midst.” This is because to prove his opinion about the cause of adversities he used Job as an example, presuming he was punished for sin.
Pertinet autem ad iustorum zelum ut videntes per falsam doctrinam rectitudinem divinorum iudiciorum perverti indignentur, et ideo Iob consequenter magnitudinem sui zeli ostendit dupliciter: primo quidem per quandam mentis turbationem - ira enim per vitium oculum caecat, sed ira per zelum oculum turbat, ut Gregorius dicit -, et ideo subdit caligavit ad indignationem oculus meus, scilicet rationis, cuius acies est per iram zeli turbata; secundo per hoc quod ira per zelum etiam in corpore ex dolore quandam commotionem facit - unde dicitur I Mach. II 24 quod Mathathias videns Iudaeum idolis sacrificantem doluit et contremuerunt renes eius -, et ideo hic subditur et membra mea quasi in nihilum sunt redacta, inquantum scilicet per dolorem corpus hominis tabescere videtur. Posset autem aliquis credere quod ista oculi caligatio contra iustitiam esset et indignatio contra innocentiam, et ideo ad hoc excludendum subdit stupebunt iusti super hoc, quasi diceret: etiam ad iustos pertinet ut videntes malorum doctrinam obstupescant, et hunc stuporem supra caligationem dixit. Sequitur autem et innocens contra hypocritam suscitabitur, quasi dicat: non est contra innocentiam si aliquis contra hypocritam perversorem verae doctrinae per zelum iustitiae indignatus concitetur. Et