When I went out to the, gate through the city
Job having described his former state of happiness by the personal favours he enjoyed, and by the prosperity of his family, and his abundance of plenty at home, proceeds to give an account of the honour and respect he had from men of every age and rank abroad: though he had an affluence of the things of this world, he did not indulge himself at home in ease and sloth; but went abroad to take care of the public welfare, maintain public peace, and administer public justice among his neighbours; performing the office of a civil magistrate, which is often expressed in Scripture by going in and out before the people: Job went out from his own house to the gate of the city, where a court of judicature was kept, as it was usual in those times and countries to hold them in the gates of the city; see ( Zechariah 8:16 ) ; and to which he passed through the city, very probably, in great pomp and splendour, suitable to his office and character, which drew the eyes and attention of the people to him; by which it should seem that his house was on one side of the city, and the gate where justice was administered was on the other; though it may be rendered, "over the city" F15, and the sense be, that he passed along as he that was over the city, the chief man in it, and president of the court of justice, see ( 2 Kings 10:5 ) ;
[when] I prepared my seat in the street;
where he sat, not as a teacher, though he was an instructor, not only of his family, but of his neighbours, as Eliphaz himself testifies, ( Job 4:3 Job 4:4 ) ; and it was usual for such to have seats to sit upon, as those had who succeeded Moses, and are said to sit in his chair; and it was usual to call to men and instruct them in open public places; hence Wisdom is said to utter her voice in the streets, in the opening of the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors, ( Proverbs 1:20 Proverbs 1:21 ) ( 8:3 ) ; but Job here speaks of himself as a civil magistrate, as a judge upon the bench, who had a seat or throne erected for him to sit upon, while he was hearing and trying causes; and this was set up in the street under the open air, before the gate of the city, where the whole city might be convened together, and hear and see justice done to their neighbours; in such a street, before the gate of the city, Ezra read the law to Israel; and in such an one Hezekiah got the people of Israel together, and spoke comfortably to them when invaded by Sennacherib; see ( Nehemiah 8:2 Nehemiah 8:3 ) ( 2 Chronicles 32:6 ) ; and the Arabs, to this day, hold their courts of justice in an open place under the heavens, as in a field, or in a market place F16; and it is right that courts of justice should be open and accessible to all.
F15 (tlq yle) "super civitatem", Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt; "super urbe", Schultens.
F16 Norden's Travels in Egypt and Nubia, vol. 2. p. 140, 141, 158. See Joseph. Antiqu. l. 18. c. 5. sect. 6.