Job 29

1 Job again took up his discourse and said:
2 "O that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me;
3 when his lamp shone over my head, and by his light I walked through darkness;
4 when I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent;
5 when the Almighty was still with me, when my children were around me;
6 when my steps were washed with milk, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!
7 When I went out to the gate of the city, when I took my seat in the square,
8 the young men saw me and withdrew, and the aged rose up and stood;
9 the nobles refrained from talking, and laid their hands on their mouths;
10 the voices of princes were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
11 When the ear heard, it commended me, and when the eye saw, it approved;
12 because I delivered the poor who cried, and the orphan who had no helper.
13 The blessing of the wretched came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy, and I championed the cause of the stranger.
17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made them drop their prey from their teeth.
18 Then I thought, "I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix;
19 my roots spread out to the waters, with the dew all night on my branches;
20 my glory was fresh with me, and my bow ever new in my hand.'
21 "They listened to me, and waited, and kept silence for my counsel.
22 After I spoke they did not speak again, and my word dropped upon them like dew.
23 They waited for me as for the rain; they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
24 I smiled on them when they had no confidence; and the light of my countenance they did not extinguish.
25 I chose their way, and sat as chief, and I lived like a king among his troops, like one who comforts mourners.

Job 29 Commentary

Chapter 29

Job's former comforts. (1-6) The honour paid to Job, His usefulness. (7-17) His prospect of prosperity. (18-25)

Verses 1-6 Job proceeds to contrast his former prosperity with his present misery, through God's withdrawing from him. A gracious soul delights in God's smiles, not in the smiles of this world. Four things were then very pleasant to holy Job. 1. The confidence he had in the Divine protection. 2. The enjoyment he had of the Divine favour. 3. The communion he had with the Divine word. 4. The assurance he had of the Divine presence. God's presence with a man in his house, though it be but a cottage, makes it a castle and a palace. Then also he had comfort in his family. Riches and flourishing families, like a candle, may be soon extinguished. But when the mind is enlightened by the Holy Spirit, when a man walks in the light of God's countenance, every outward comfort is doubled, every trouble is diminished, and he may pass cheerfully by this light through life and through death. Yet the sensible comfort of this state is often withdrawn for a season; and commonly this arises from sinful neglect, and grieving the Holy Spirit: sometimes it may be a trial of a man's faith and grace. But it is needful to examine ourselves, to seek for the cause of such a change by fervent prayer, and to increase our watchfulness.

Verses 7-17 All sorts of people paid respect to Job, not only for the dignity of his rank, but for his personal merit, his prudence, integrity, and good management. Happy the men who are blessed with such gifts as these! They have great opportunities of honouring God and doing good, but have great need to watch against pride. Happy the people who are blessed with such men! it is a token for good to them. Here we see what Job valued himself by, in the day of his prosperity. It was by his usefulness. He valued himself by the check he gave to the violence of proud and evil men. Good magistrates must thus be a restraint to evil-doers, and protect the innocent; in order to this, they should arm themselves with zeal and resolution. Such men are public blessings, and resemble Him who rescues poor sinners from Satan. How many who were ready to perish, now are blessing Him! But who can show forth His praises? May we trust in His mercy, and seek to imitate His truth, justice, and love.

Verses 18-25 Being thus honoured and useful, Job had hoped to die in peace and honour, in a good old age. If such an expectation arise from lively faith in the providence and promise of God, it is well; but if from conceit of our own wisdom, and dependence on changeable, earthly things, it is ill grounded, and turns to sin. Every one that has the spirit of wisdom, has not the spirit of government; but Job had both. Yet he had the tenderness of a comforter. This he thought upon with pleasure, when he was himself a mourner. Our Lord Jesus is a King who hates iniquity, and upon whom the blessing of a world ready to perish comes. To Him let us give ear.

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Traditional rendering of Heb [Shaddai]
  • [b]. Or [like sand]
  • [c]. Heb lacks [like dew]
  • [d]. Meaning of Heb uncertain

Chapter Summary


In this chapter Job gives an account of his former and wishes it was with him now as then; and which he describes with respect to his own person, and the favours he personally enjoyed, whether temporal or spiritual, Job 29:1-4; with respect to his family and domestic affairs, Job 29:5,6; with regard to the esteem he had from men of every age and station, Job 29:7-11; the reasons of which were the mercy and compassion he showed to the poor, the fatherless, and the widow, and the justice he administered in the execution of his office as a magistrate, Job 29:12-17; in which honour and prosperity he expected to have lived and died, Job 29:18-20; and which he further describes by the respect he had among men, and the power and authority he exercised over them, Job 29:21-25.

Job 29 Commentaries

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.