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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

Section I. I Have Risen Up Because the Lord Hath Protected Me

PS. 3

1. STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM.—The third psalm consists of four stanzas, each stanza containing four heptasyllabic iambic verses. Each stanza, too, closes with the word Selah.

2. AUTHOR OF THE PSALM.—a. De Wette argues against the Davidic origin of the third psalm from the circumstance that in it we find no complaint of king David over the conduct of his son Absolom. This argument loses all its weight if we consider that David suppliantly addresses Jehovah, who knows all the king’s wants even before he begins to pray. Moreover, it was not for his private edification alone that the shepherd-king composed his psalms. He instructed and exhorted the members of the Synagogue by his inspired songs.

b. There is no cogent reason why we should abandon the express statement contained in the title of the psalm, that David is its author. That the psalm belongs to David’s time will appear in the following paragraphs. The contents of the song show that the author was a man of high dignity and manly courage. The Lord he calls “my glory” and “the lifter up of my head.” He does not fear thousands of people surrounding him; the Lord has often struck all his adversaries. The psalmist is therefore a king; but excepting Solomon, who wrote no warrior-psalms, and David, no royal personage is known to have written any psalms. David must, therefore, be the author of the third psalm. This is confirmed by the position of the psalm among those of David.

3. SUBJECT OF THE PSALM.—1. The opinion of Venerable Bede that the psalm refers to Ezechias and the Assyrian troubles may be passed over without comment. 2. Hitzig refers the psalm to the troubles occasioned by Saul’s persecutions of David. But at that period David was not yet king, and Mount Sion was not yet the holy hill, as the composition of the psalm supposes. To refer “the holy hill” to mount Horeb is, at best, only an unsatisfactory makeshift. Horeb may have been revered on account of its hallowed memories; but no Israelite is known to have expected help from God present on its sacred heights. 3. Thus we are led to adhere to the declaration contained in the title of the psalm, according to which the subject is David at the time of Absolom’s rebellion. Evidently, the past tribulations from which the psalmist says he has been delivered through God’s special assistance must be identified with the troubles he suffered in Saul’s persecution. The contents of the psalm give us a more accurate description of the time and circumstances to which the song refers. In verse 6 there is question of a special protection by which divine providence guarded the psalmist during a certain night. From 2 Kings 17 we know that David passed such a perilous night immediately after he had fled, weeping, barefooted, and with his head covered, from the riotous followers of his rebellious son Absolom. The counsel of Achitophel, David’s faithless and treacherous friend, was in those days looked upon as the oracle of God (2 Kings 16:23). He advised Absolom to pursue David with twelve thousand men, to scatter and annihilate his few wearied followers, and to slay the king himself (2 Kings 17:1–3). Then the Lord heard David’s prayer: “Infatuate, O Lord, I beseech thee the counsel of Achitophel” (2 Kings 15:31). For Chusai, David’s secret adherent, advised Absolom to let all Israel be gathered from Dan to Bersabee before attacking David and his followers, who “are very valiant, and bitter in their mind, as a bear raging in the wood when her whelps are taken away” (2 Kings 17:7–13). Chusai’s counsel prevailed, and David gained time to cross the Jordan and gather forces. This news was brought to David by Jonathan and Achimas, the sons of the priests Sadoc and Abiathar, whom Chusai had informed of the state of affairs (2 Kings 17:14–22). A careful reading of the psalm shows allusions to most of these particulars. Some writers think that David composed the psalm the very day or night of his greatest danger (Kimchi); others suppose that he wrote or spoke it as a kind of battle-hymn before the fight against Absolom (2 Kings 18) in order to encourage his faithful adherents (Theodoret, etc.); others again are of opinion that the psalm was written later, after the restoration of peace, and that it treats of well-known occurrences of the past (Muis, Calmet, etc.).

From what has been said it follows that the literal sense of the psalm is rather historical than prophetic. But the Fathers (Arnobius, Theodoret, Venerable Bede, Jerome, Augustine, Didymus, etc.) see in David expelled from his city, betrayed by his friends, attacked by his son, a type of Jesus Christ going forth from Jerusalem, praying in the garden of Gethsemani, taken and bound by the soldiers, delivered up to Pilate, crucified, and risen again from the dead. Typically, therefore, the third psalm refers to the Messias. The patristic references are found in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica, ed. II. vol. ii. 10. The typical meaning referring to the Church is less insisted on by the Fathers, while the application to the various phases and conditions of the spiritual life is tropological.

PS. 3

Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me?

Many are they who rise up against me;

Many say to my soul:

There is no salvation for him in his God.

But thou, O Lord, art my protector,

My glory, and the lifter up of my head;

I have cried to the Lord with my voice,

And he hath heard me from his holy hill.

I have slept, and have taken my rest,

And I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me;

I will not fear thousands of the people surrounding me,

Arise, O Lord, save me, O my God.

For thou hast struck all them who are my adversaries without cause,

Thou hast broken the teeth of sinners;

Salvation is of the Lord,

And thy blessing is upon thy people.

It follows from the different interpretations of the psalm and from its special historical reference to David, that only its typical meaning is to be applied to the Messias. We need not repeat the observation that type and antitype resemble each other not only in their state of humiliation, but also in that of their exaltation; both too owe their fortitude in their suffering and their final glory to a special intervention of the divine goodness.

Section II. My Flesh Shall Rest in Hope

PS. 15 (16)

1. STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM.—The psalm consists of three stanzas, each of which numbers seven octosyllabic trochaic verses. The first stanza states that the psalmist attaches himself entirely to God and God’s servants; the second stanza develops the idea that God is the prophet’s sovereign good; the third derives therefrom several consoling inferences.

2. AUTHOR OF THE PSALM.—According to its title and its place in the psalter, David is author of the psalm. This same truth is expressed by St. Peter (Acts 2:25) and implied in the words of St. Paul (Acts 13:35). There is no good reason for disagreeing with this opinion. But regarding the particular time of its composition opinions vary. Five other psalms have the same title as Ps. 15 (55, 56, 57, 58, 59). Now three of these psalms were composed by David at the time of his exile, when he fled from the machinations of Saul. Consequently, we are justified in referring Ps. 15 to the same period. This inference is confirmed by its similarity in style and sentiment with the other three psalms. Hezel and Knappe are of opinion that David refers in the psalm to his residence in Siceleg, the Philistine town assigned to him by Achis, king of Geth (1 Kings 27). For they say that during this period David was constantly in danger of his life, since the Philistines distrusted him by reason of his faithful adherence to Israel’s God. But Rosenmüller can find no indication of any such serious peril for David’s life in the Bible account of his Philistine residence. Consequently he understands the psalm as alluding to David’s first arrival at Geth, when Saul’s enmity was implacable and Achis’ suspicions were almost at their greatest height (1 Kings 21 (22):11–16). In Ps. 33 (34) we have David’s hymn of thanksgiving for his happy escape from that frightful danger. It is therefore probable that Ps. 15 (16) also refers to the same period.

3. SUBJECT OF THE PSALM.—Opinions: 1. The whole psalm refers to the Messias in its literal sense. St. Peter applies the last four verses to Jesus in this sense, and even insists on the fact that they cannot be applied to David (Acts 2:25 ff.). St. Paul understands the tenth verse of the psalm as referring to Christ’s resurrection, and he too argues on the supposition that it cannot apply to David (Acts 13:35). Rosenmüller and de Wette contend that the apostles in the foregoing passages speak by way of accommodation. A careful reading of the texts suffices to refute this opinion: a. Peter and Paul would have deserved the name of deceivers had they proved Jesus’ Messianic dignity in such a way. b. Again, as Hengstenberg well observes, St. Luke (24:27, 46) tells us that Jesus after his resurrection explained to his disciples the predictions concerning himself, and especially concerning his resurrection. Since, then, the apostles shortly afterwards pointed to Ps. 15 as referring to Christ’s resurrection, we reasonably infer that they did so on account of their Master’s own teaching, c. Besides, the Messianic interpretation of verses 9–11 is the easiest and the most natural of all explanations and would, no doubt, be generally accepted did not theological bias warp the sound judgment of unbelieving interpreters. d. Lightfoot’s commentary on Acts 2:29 shows that the verse “my flesh also shall rest in hope” must be explained of incorruptibility, since the Jewish fable that David’s body did not putrefy was based on this prophetic promise. Kimchi offers a similar explanation of the verse and applies the succeeding promises to the resurrection. e. The difficulty of rightly understanding the full import of the psalm before Jesus’ resurrection is no valid argument against its Messianic character. This is fully granted by all who acknowledge the relative obscurity of most prophecies. f. We are right, therefore, in explaining the present psalm of Christ’s death-struggle and resurrection, as Eusebius, Theodoret, Jerome, Augustine, and Athanasius have done. Michaelis, Dathe, Anton, Schnurrer, Ringeltaube, Dereser, Pareau, Hengstenberg, etc., among the more recent interpreters give the same explanation.

2. Certain other authors refer the psalm’s literal sense to David, its spiritual sense to Jesus Christ. The last three verses must, according to these authors, be applied to David’s delivery in their metaphorical sense. To this class of commentators belong Muis, Bossuet, du Pin, etc.; Grotius, Jansenius of Ghent, and several Rabbinic writers find in the psalm David’s prayer occasioned by the bitter taunt of his enemies described in 1 Kings 26:19: “Go, serve strange gods.”

3. Knapp and Jahn understand verse 4 as alluding exclusively to David’s strong temptations to idolatry which he suffered from Philistine devotees. a. Jahn finds another argument for the exclusively Davidic bearing of the psalm in its third verse, “to the saints who are in his land.” Here David is supposed to express his longing after the pious worshippers of God that dwell in Palestine. But Hengstenberg has rightly observed that the third verse concerns the saints on earth as contrasted with the angels in heaven; while in the fourth verse is repudiated the society of all those that depart from God in any way whatever, whether they confide in themselves, in idols, or in any other creature. b. Two other arguments for the psalm’s solely Davidic character, based by Rosenmüller, Jahn, de Wette, and Hufnagel on verse 10, will be considered in the commentary on the passage. c. The assertion that the Jews knew no suffering Messias is fully invalidated by the prophecies collected in chapter 7 d. The opinion of Maimonides, put forth by Rosenmüller and Rupertus, that the Jews never looked forward to a resurrection of the Messias is of no weight whatever in the present question. α. For, on the one hand, it is not necessary that the Jews should have fully understood the Messianic prophecies before their fulfilment; β. and on the other, we cannot expect a post-Christian Jewish writer like Maimonides to describe the Jewish idea of the Messias in a way favorable to Christian apologists. γ. Hengstenberg refers us, besides, to passages which Schötttgen (De Messia, pp. 565 f.) has collected from the Zohar, the Talmud, and Yalkut Shimeoni, all of which show that the Jews had the idea of a Messianic resurrection. e. The exception of Rosenmüller, that the same piece of writing cannot have different significations and cannot treat at the same time of events occurring in ages far distant from each other and possessing an altogether different character, simply destroys all typical meaning in Sacred Scripture. α. In this respect the learned author does not admit any difference between the inspired and the profane writers. He ought to consider that the profane historian, speaking to men in a human way, must employ the whole series of language-signs in its accepted value, while the sacred writer, inspired and directed by the Holy Ghost, may, if God so wills it, employ the very things he speaks of as so many signs of other persons and events. β. This freedom must be granted to the sacred writer all the move, because God tells us through the apostle (1 Cor. 10:11) that “all things happened to them [the Israelites] in figure.” David’s delivery from exile and danger of life may, therefore, be not less a prophecy of Christ’s resurrection than Jonas’ miraculous escape from death is acknowledged to be.

4. There is another opinion which applies the literal meaning of the first part of the psalm to David, while it connects the last three or four verses with the Messias in a literal sense. This view endeavors to combine the first opinion with the third, as far as this can be done. Patrizi and Calmet are among its defenders.

5. Lastly, we may enumerate a few opinions which have been less favorably received by interpreters. Venerable Bede supposes that the psalm is a prayer of king Ezechias, uttered during the time of his deathly sickness. Others refer it to the people of Israel at the time of the Babylonian captivity, or, again, to the pious sufferer in general. In all these opinions room is left for either a partially literal or a typical reference of the psalm to the Messias.

6. The views of the Fathers on the meaning of the psalm are indicated in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica, ed. II. vol. ii. p. 17. See also Reinke, Messianische Psalmen, i. pp. 129 f.

7. Edersheim (Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, II. App. ix. in loc.) gives a few of the Rabbinic testimonies in which the psalm is explained Messianically.

Verse 5. Ber. R. 88 discusses this verse in connection with the cup which Pharao’s butler saw in his dream. From this the Midrash proceeds to speak of the four cups appointed for the Passover night, and to explain their meaning in various manners; among others, it contrasts the four cups of fury which God would make the nations drink with the four cups of salvation which he would give Israel in the latter days, i.e., Ps. 15:5; 115:13; 22:5.

Verse 9. The Midrash on this passage reads: “My glory shall rejoice in the king Messias, who in the future shall come forth from me, as it is written in Is. 4:5: Upon all the glory a covering.” And the Midrash continues: “My flesh also shall dwell in safety,” i.e., after death, to teach us that corruption and the worm shall not rule over it.

4. TITLE OF THE PSALM.—a. The Vulgate renders the title: “The inscription of a title to David himself.” b. The Septuagint rendering is probably more intelligible. It reads: “The inscription of a pillar [a monument] to David [or by David].” The Chaldee version gives the same rendering, as if the title indicated that this psalm is worthy to be engraved on an everlasting monument. c. Aquila, Symmachus, Jerome, and several of the more recent commentators render the title as if the Hebrew word “michtam” consisted of two words, “mach” and “tam.” Hence are explained the translations “[a psalm] of the humble and upright David” and “[a psalm] of the humble and simple David.” d. Vorstmann, adopting the same principle of interpretation, renders “the distressed, delivered.” e. Hengstenberg insists on the fact that the Hebrew word “michtam” of the title is in every case constructed like the words “maskil” (didactic psalm), “mizmor” (psalm), and “tephillah” (prayer), and that it never occurs together with any of these words. It must, therefore, stand in the same line with them, having like them the meaning of a noun. f. Aben-Ezra derives “michtam” from “kethem” (pure gold) and renders the title “A golden psalm of David.” Vatable, Ludovicus de Dieu, and several others of the later interpreters have adopted the same derivation of “michtam” and rendered it “a jewel of David” or “a golden jewel.” They, moreover, point to the seven Arabic pre-Mohammedan golden poems, to Alli’s gold of morals, and to the golden verses of Pythagoras as instances of similar metaphorical appellations. g. There is another class of scholars who prefer to keep the obscure Hebrew phrase “Michtam of David.” h. Some even imagine that “michtam” is the name of a musical instrument, or the beginning of a well-known song, according to the melody of which the present psalm is to be rendered in public divine service. i. Gesenius believes that the final letter m of “michtam” has been introduced instead of an original final b, and he, consequently, translates the title “A writing of David.” j. Others, like Hengstenberg, deriving “michtam” from a verb meaning “to conceal,” “to cover,” give the translation “A secret of David,” and refer the title to the hidden ways of God’s providence in his dealings with his faithful servants. It has been stated above that Ps. 55–59 (56–60) have the same title, “michtam,” but they vary in the other parts of the superscription.

PS. 15 (16)

Preserve me, O Lord, for I put my trust in thee.

I have said to the Lord, thou art my God, for thou hast no need of my goods.

To the Saints who are in his land

He hath made wonderful all my desires in them.

Their infirmities were multiplied, afterwards they made haste.

I will not gather together their meetings for blood-offerings,

Nor will I be mindful of their names by my lips.

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup,

It is thou that wilt restore my inheritance to me;

The lines are fallen unto me in goodly places,

For my inheritance is goodly to me;

I will bless the Lord who hath given me understanding, moreover my reins also have corrected me even till night;

I set the Lord always in my sight,1

For he is at my right hand, that I be not moved.

Therefore my heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath rejoiced,1

Moreover my flesh1 also shall rest in hope;

Because thou wilt not leave1 my soul in hell,

Nor wilt thou give thy holy one1 to see corruption.

Thou hast made known to me1 the ways of life,

Thou shalt fill me with joy with thy countenance

At thy right hand are delights even to the end.

1. It follows from what we have seen that Ps. 15 is Messianic, not merely by accommodation, nor in a merely ideal sense, in so far as Jesus Christ is the ideal just man, but really and properly.

2. It follows also that the psalm is Messianic probably in its literal sense; the probability of its typical reference to Christ, or of its partially literal and partially typical Messianic bearing, is not wholly excluded.

3. Since the first part of the psalm (vv. 2–7) expresses the speaker’s confidence in and love of God, and since the second gives expression to the hope that God will not give up the speaker to death forever (vv. 8–11), the text of the inspired poem points clearly to Christ’s victory over death.

4. What is thus rendered probable by intrinsic evidence becomes certain by the extrinsic evidence advanced in the opening paragraphs of this section.

Section III. On the Third Day He Will Raise Us Up

Os. 5:15–6:3

1. THE PROPHECY AND THE CONTEXT.—In ch. 4–14 we have a series of discourses, a summary, arranged probably by the prophet himself at the close of his ministry, of the prophecies delivered by him in the years following the death of Jeroboam II. Though the line of thought is not continuous in these chapters, they may be divided into three sections: a. ch. 4–8 dwell principally on the guilt of Israel; b. ch. 9–11:11 develop Israel’s punishment; c. in ch. 11:12–14 both these thoughts are continued, but they end in a glimpse of a brighter future. If ch. 4 treats of Israel’s moral corruption, increased and abetted by the worldliness and the indifference of the priests, ch. 5–7 exhibit the self-indulgence and sensuality of the nation, and especially of its leaders, resulting in the degradation of public life and the decay of national strength, intermingled with the bitter consequences which must inevitably follow. The prophecy which we shall have to consider now belongs to this section, and is one of those rays of hope that promise a brighter future for the theocracy.

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PROPHECY.—a. A number of writers have explained the phrases “after two days” and “on the third day,” in the passage “he will revive us after two days, on the third day he will raise us up,” as meaning “in a very short space of time he will revive us and raise us up” (cf. Ephrem, Ps. Rufinus, Theodoret, Theophilus, Barhebræus, a Lapide, Mariana, Tirinus, Schegg, Keil, Trochon). Calmet interprets the same phrases as implying that God will revive Israel without difficulty. But this explanation appears to do violence to the letter of the prophecy.

b. St. Cyril is of opinion that the three days signify three definite periods of time: the first day represents the beginnings of the human race; the second, the time immediately following; the third, finally, the time of the Messias. Haymo, following the explanation of St. Jerome, applies the first and second day to the first and second advent of Christ, while the third is the figure of our own resurrection. Scholz understands the two days as signifying a couple of days of misery which appear to the sufferer twice as long as they really are (cf. Os. 13:13; Is. 26:17). But since the resurrection is to follow after the two days spent in misery and repentance, this explanation appears hardly probable. As to other explanations given by St. Cyril and Haymo, they are at best very far-fetched.

c. Other writers have seen a proverbial expression in the phrases “after two days” or “on the third day.” They either appeal to Luke 13:32, where our Lord says that he acts to-day, to-morrow, and the third day, or to the fate of Jonas. But it must be remembered that the proverbial character of the passage in the gospel of St. Luke is not at all certain; as to the view according to which the story of Jonas serves as the foundation of this proverb (Sanchez), it is very doubtful whether Jonas lived before the prophet Osee. Indeed, it is uncertain whether any proverb of this kind existed at all.

d. It is of importance to notice the great prominence given in Sacred History to the third day: Abraham saw the place of Isaac’s sacrifice on the third day (Gen. 22:4); the third day was the birthday of Pharao (Gen. 40:20); the brothers of Joseph were freed from their prison on the third day (Gen. 42:18); Moses asked Pharao for a journey of three days into the desert in order to sacrifice unto Jehovah (Ex. 5:3); the unclean must be sprinkled on the third and the seventh day with the water of purification (Num. 19:12, 19); a preparation of three days preceded the passage of the Jordan (Jos. 1:11); Roboam asked the people to return on the third day for his answer (3 Kings 12:5); God predicted that king Ezechias would go up into the temple on the third day (4 Kings 20:5); on the third day the prayers of Tobias and Sara ascended up to heaven, on the third night they were to receive the divine blessing, and for three nights they were joined to God in prayer (Tob. 3:12; 6:18; 8:4); on the third day Esther went to the king in order to save her people from destruction (Esther 5:1; 15:4); Jonas was saved from the belly of the sea-monster on the third day (Jon. 2:1). We are therefore antecedently disposed to see in the third day something sacred, far beyond the meaning of a proverb, or the significance of a purely historical symbol.

e. Many have, therefore, explained the prophecy as referring literally to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but their commentaries differ in particulars. St. Gregory applies the passage directly to our own resurrection, as being brought about by the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. St. Augustine sees in the prophecy a prediction that Christ will rise up on the third day. The Deacon Hilary agrees with St. Augustine; Cyprian, Gregory of Nyssa, Lactantius, and Origen too give a similar explanation, but each of these latter connects the commentary with a context that renders the reference to the resurrection on the third day somewhat doubtful. Tertullian even appeals to the preceding words, “until you are consumed and seek my face; in their affliction they will rise early to me,” as referring to the holy women who went to the sepulchre before sunrise. But then it is well known that Tertullian is free in accommodating Scripture texts. Rufinus too applies the words of the prophecy to Christ’s resurrection on the third day; but what has been said of Tertullian applies also to Rufinus. Among recent writers, Pusey contends that no prophet could have predicted Christ’s resurrection more clearly, though he freely grants that the prophet’s contemporaries could not have understood the prediction, which remained involved in mystery till the fulfilment had removed the veil (cf. Knabenb., Prophet. Minor., I. p. 84 f.). It follows from all this that the Fathers substantially agree as to the fact that Osee’s prophecy refers to the resurrection of the Messias, though they disagree as to the manner in which it must be applied.

f. Considering the text of the prophecy and its end, we can hardly believe that it refers to the Messias in a literal sense. It follows, therefore, that the typical sense of the prediction foretells the resurrection of Christ. The connection between the people of Israel and the Messias is too well known to need explanation. We may refer the reader to the celebrated passage of Is. 52:13–53:12, where the personal servant, or the Messias, expiates the sins of the moral servant, or of the theocratic kingdom, and where he gives life to the latter after he has victoriously fulfilled his charge of expiation. This typical representation of the Messias by the people of Israel is also well known to the Fathers (Cyril, Hilary, Rufinus, Theophylactus, etc.). They expressly apply the prophecy to the Messias in a typical sense, since the members of the theocracy cannot be said to live unless they receive their life from their head, the Messias, whose expiatory death is at the same time supposed to have already happened; for it is only by this that life can come to the redeemed. Cf. Knab., l. c.; the references to the patristic treatment of the prophecy may be found in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica, ed. II. vol. i. p. 478.

g. Finally, it must be observed that the Targum applies both the principal verse of the prophecy (6:2) and its parallel passage (Os. 3:5) in a Messianic sense. Concerning this latter the Targum expressly says: “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the service of the Lord their God, and be obedient to Messias the son of David, their king.”

OSEE 5:15–6:3

I will go and return to my place, until you are consumed and seek my face. In their affliction they will rise early to me. Come and let us return to the Lord. For he hath taken us, and he will heal us; he will strike, and he will cure us. He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. We shall know, and we shall follow on, that we may know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning light, and he will come to us as the early and the latter rain to the earth.

As the national restoration presupposes the redeeming merits of the Messias and his restoration to life, so does the abundance of the happiness, found in the restored theocracy, imply the abundance of life found in the head of the theocracy, the risen Redeemer.

Section IV. O Death, I Will Be Thy Death

Os. 13:6–15a

1. THE PROPHECY AND ITS CONTEXT.—We have seen in the Introduction to the preceding chapter the general character of Os. 4–14. From 11:12–14 the thought of Israel’s sin again forces itself upon the prophet; they had fallen short of the example set them by their ancestors; in vain had Jehovah sought to reform them by his prophets; the more he warned and blessed them, the more persistently did they turn from him; the judgment, therefore, must take its course (13:15 ff). Then follows an invitation to Israel to repent and renounce its besetting sins; with a description of the blessings that Jehovah will confer, in case Israel responds, the prophecy closes (ch. 14; cf. Driver, Literature of the Old Testament, p. 285).

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PROPHECY.—The Messianic nature of the prophecy may be proved especially from the words of verse 14: “I will deliver them out of the hand of death, I will redeem them from death; O death, I will be thy death, O hell, I will be thy bite.”

Explanations: a. The promise of redemption and liberation refers to the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the forces of Sennacherib (Ps. Rufinus). This explanation cannot even claim the shadow of a probability, since the prophet addresses Israel, not Juda.

b. The words apply generally to the deliverance of Israel from Assyria (Theodore of Mopsuestia, Barhebræus). But this deliverance has been hardly so full and complete as the redemption implies which the prophet promises. Besides, there are other reasons that compel us not to limit the prediction to this merely temporal deliverance.

c. The prophecy is applied by St. Paul (1 Cor. 15:54, 55) to the resurrection of the body: “And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory; O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” The same apostle (Heb. 2:14) alludes to Osee’s prophecy where he speaks of Christ’s resurrection: “Therefore, because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself, in like manner, hath been partaker of the same; that through death he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say the devil, and might deliver them who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude.” And since our own resurrection is nothing but the completion of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, it follows that the Apostle understands the passage in both passages of Christ’s rising from the dead taken in its full completion. (Cf. Comment. on passage, pp. 383 ff.)

d. It cannot be denied that the prophet must, at the same time, have predicted some special deliverance for the people of Israel; otherwise he would not have given them that consolation in their affliction and that support in their sufferings which we justly expect to find in his writings. Knabenbauer (in loc.) is, therefore, of opinion that the prophet announces rather the general tenor of divine providence with regard to the people of Israel than any particular national blessing. Theodoret and Theophilus believe that the prophecy was fulfilled typically in the national restoration of the people of Israel, while its real fulfilment is found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A Lapide applies the passage to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but in such a manner that it alludes at least to the delivery from the Babylonian captivity. Tirinus and St. Ephrem defend a similar opinion, and Theodoret and Theophylactus contend that even Ezechiel had foreshown the restoration of the nation in his prophecy concerning the resurrection of the dead.

e. Yalkut on Is. Par. 269 applies Os. 13:14 to the redemption by the Messias of those in Israel who are in Gehinnom, whom he sets free; the term Sion is understood of Paradise. (Cf. Maas. de R. Joshua in Jellinek’s Beth ha-Midr. ii. p. 50.)

OS. 13:6–15a

According to their pastures they were filled, and were made full; and they lifted up their heart, and have forgotten me. And I will be to them as a lioness, as a leopard in the way of the Assyrians. I will meet them as a bear that is robbed of her whelps, and I will rend the inner parts of their liver, and I will devour them there as a lion, the beast of the field shall tear them. Destruction is thy own, O Israel; thy help is only in me. Where is thy king? now especially let him save thee in all thy cities; and thy judges of whom thou saidst: Give me kings and princes. I will give thee a king in my wrath, and will take him away in my indignation. The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up, his sin is hidden. The sorrows of a woman in labor shall come upon him; he is an unwise son; for now he shall not stand in the breach of the children. I will deliver them out of the hand of death, I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy death; O hell, I will be thy bite; comfort is hidden from my eyes, because he shall make a separation between brothers.

The contemporaries of the prophet could not understand the full import of the prediction, except in the general way that they would be saved in the end, after the greatest trials, and that God alone could be their Saviour.

Section V. I Know that My Redeemer Liveth

Job 19:23–27

1. CONNECTION OF THE PASSAGE WITH ITS CONTEXT.—The just man Job had by the permission of God and through the envy of Satan been despoiled of all his goods, and afflicted with an ulcer of the most malignant type from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet (ch. 1, 2). Job’s cries for pity pass through three phases: he first curses the day of his birth (3:3–10); then he asks why he did not pass to the grave immediately after birth (vv. 11–19); in the third place he expresses his surprise at seeing the life of those prolonged who earnestly wish for death because of their countless miseries (20–26). This outburst of Job occasions the debate with his friends. The first cycle of speeches comprises ch. 4–14. Eliphaz commences apologetically (ch. 4, 5), and Job shows that, however well meant, Eliphaz’s words do not meet the sufferer’s case (ch. 6, 7). Bildad attacks Job’s speech, which seems to impugn the discriminating character of the divine justice (ch. 8), and Job replies to Bildad in ch. 9 and 10. Zophar impeaches Job’s innocence more emphatically than the other two friends had done (ch. 11), and Job replies in ch. 12–14. The friends have failed to console Job by dwelling upon the nature and attributes of God. Eliphaz’s appeal to his universal goodness, Bildad’s to his discriminating justice, Zophar’s to his omniscient insight, have equally failed to dislodge Job from his position: he still maintains that his afflictions are unmerited.

The friends adopt now a different line of argument. Instead of insisting on the nature of God, they now turn to his government of men. Eliphaz begins the second cycle of speeches in ch. 15. Job answers in ch. 16 and 17. Bildad is in no way moved by Job’s piteous expression of his mental conflict; he shows himself rather offended by the hard words of Job against his friends, and he draws a vivid picture of the misery in life and the dishonor after death that are sure to befall the sinner (ch. 18). Job is acutely pained by his friends’ cruel insinuation, and he breaks forth into a yet more agonizing and pathetic description of his sufferings, ending with a moving appeal to his friends for pity. Then suddenly illumined by a higher light, Job breaks forth into what is more a canticle of triumph than a prayer for delivery. And this is precisely the passage that we shall have to consider in the present chapter.

According to Prof. Bickell the poetic text of Job consists of stanzas, containing each two heptasyllabic verses.

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PASSAGE.—In order to investigate the Messianic nature of Job’s words we shall first consider the nature of the restoration which he expects, and secondly the nature of the Redeemer through whose mediation he expects to obtain his restoration.

A. Nature of the Restoration.—a. The restoration which the patriarch expects is not a mere recovery of his health of body, as St. Chrysostom and others appear to believe.

1. It is true that the restoration of the sufferer must be such as to convince his unpitying friends of his innocence in the sight of God; and God, on his part, must be expected to restore to full health the sufferer whom he has afflicted with sickness for the mere sake of trying him. These reasons are confirmed by the circumstance that Job must have predicted that restoration and that vision of God which he actually obtained; now in 42:5, 7–16 the holy sufferer is restored to health, and he sees God in a sensible manner. Again the whole drift of the speeches urges us to understand Job’s restoration as applying only to the health of his body: if his friends believed in a future state of retribution, their arguments against the sufferer were worthless even from their own point of view; and if the friends did not believe in a future life, Job’s arguments implying such a state were not convincing. It is, besides, improbable that at such an early age the Gentiles around Job had such a definite idea of a future retribution.

2. In reply to all this we may α. appeal to the many passages of the Book of Job in which the sufferer himself does not expect his restoration to health in this life. Such are 6:8, 11; 7:2, 16 f.; 13:15; 14:13; 10:20–22. Hence his restoration to health was not only not certain to the mind of the patriarch, but it was not even probable. β. As to the fact that Job was really restored to health in the end, this clearly happened against the expectation of all (42:7–10). The patriarch himself expected to die of his sickness, even after he had uttered the prophecy now under consideration (30:23). γ. Besides, if his restoration to health proved effectively that he was innocent, his glorious resurrection will show this much more clearly; δ. and the restoration of his bodily health could after all be only an accidental reward of the sufferer’s patience. The substance of the reward must consist in the resurrection and the beatific vision it implies. ε. As to the fact that in 42:5 Job professes to see God with the eye of his body, it must be remembered that his suffering continued even then, and that he saw God not as his redeemer, but as his judge. This cannot, therefore, be the vision to which the patriarch looks fowrard in the prophecy. ζ Nor can it be said that the point of the argument would have been lost, had Job referred to his future resurrection; it suffices that Job’s hopes were futile according to the views of his friends, who expected to see God’s justice fully exercised in this life. η. The circumstance that the friends nowhere refute this hope of the patriarch cannot surprise us, since they do not give any direct answer to Job’s arguments. ρ. Since the Egyptian monuments and the records of the Old Testament testify that both the Egyptians and the Hebrews had, at a very early age, a sufficiently clear knowledge of future retribution (Gen. 15:15; 4 Kings 22:18; Job 12:17–19; 17:16; 6:8–10; 27:8; 13:15; 14:13–15), Job’s enlightenment on this point is not at all surprising. ι. If those who refer the prophecy to Job’s restoration to health insist that, if he had looked forward to a resurrection, he would have referred to it more frequently in the course of the Book; we reply in the same manner, that if Job in the prophecy now in question had predicted his bodily restoration to health, he would have referred to it more frequently during the course of his argument, whereas he expresses in several passages the opposite conviction.

b. Omitting the view that the restoration predicted by the patriarch is his return to honor and fame among his fellow-men as purely conjectural and unsatisfactory, we maintain that the restoration expected by the patriarch is not even the spiritual vision of God the just rewarder of all patient suffering. This we maintain against Ewald, Dillmann, etc.

1. The following considerations seem at first sight to favor Ewald’s opinion: The real and substantial reward of Job’s sufferings consists in the beatific vision; hence he must have referred to it in his prophecy. Again, the commentary shows that Job expected to see God “without his flesh,” “after the period of his skin,” i.e., after this life; and the phrase “my eyes shall behold” is often used of purely intellectual vision where it is applied to God. The great emphasis, too, which Job gives to his prediction suggests that he must refer to the beatific joys of heaven.

2. But though the expression “my eyes” may be taken metaphorically, still in the context everything demands the literal meaning of the phrase; for the metaphorical signification destroys the meaning of the clauses “I shall rise out of the earth” or “he [the redeemer] shall stand upon the dust” (cf. the comment.). Again, the metaphorical explanation does not sufficiently account for the words, “I shall be clothed again with my skin.”

c. The restoration predicted by Job refers to the public vindication of his innocence on the day of the last judgment and of the general resurrection of the dead. This opinion is commonly held by Catholic interpreters (Patrizi, Le Hir, Pineda, Vavassor), and is founded on the authority of a number of Fathers (Clement, Origen, Cyril, Ambrose, Epiphanius, Jerome; cf. Corluy, Spicil. I. p. 290).

1. This explanation elucidates the whole context, and fully agrees with its setting in the argument of the patriarch. α. The 29th verse of the chapter (19) demands this explanation, for it supposes the exercise of a peculiarly divine judgment: “and know ye that there is a judgment.” β. Patrizi shows that in 14:14, 15 also the patriarch refers to the resurrection, so that his appeal to the same event in the present prophecy is not surprising. γ. These arguments are still more confirmed by a comparison with the Egyptian monuments (Ancessi, Job et l’Égypte, pp. 119–155): “that glorious spirit itself sees [God] from its flesh;” and again, “he sees with his eyes, he hears with his ears the truth, the truth” (Todtenbuch, 149, 24; 133, 8). δ. We have already referred to the testimony of several Fathers; if St. Chrysostom (Ep. 2 ad Olympiad, 8) expresses a different opinion, his authority has to yield to that of the Latin Fathers. However, it is not at all certain that St. Chrysostom’s passage must be rendered: “But he [Job] being a just man, and understanding nothing of the resurrection;” the Greek word σαφὲς, omitted in this rendering, may be taken as qualifying Job’s knowledge of the resurrection, so that we may render: “but he [Job] being a just man, and knowing nothing certain about the resurrection.” ε. The LXX. version, too, well agrees with the reference of the passage to the resurrection: “For I know that he is eternal who shall free me in order to restore my skin which suffers this.” ζ. The Targum does not oppose the reference of the prophecy to the resurrection, for it reads: “but I know that my redeemer liveth, and that after this my redemption shall rise on the dust; and after my skin hath healed, this shall come to pass; and out of my flesh shall I see my God.” η. As to the philological considerations, a number of authors (Schultens, Schlottmann, etc.) freely grant that they do not oppose our explanation.

2. Exceptions: α. The Jewish commentators admit the fact of a future resurrection, and still they do not refer to it the prophecy now under discussion. But it is well known that these do not reach beyond the 11th century; since at that period Christian interpreters explained the prophecy of the resurrection, the Rabbinic writers had good reason for abstaining from a similar exposition of the passage.

β. Many Fathers might well have used the passage as an argument for a future resurrection, and still they have not done so (Justin, Athenagoras, Tertullian, Irenæus, Theophilus, Tatian, Didymus, Isidore of Pelusium, Theodoret, John Damascene). But some of these Fathers wrote against Gentiles, and could not, therefore, appeal to the passage; others abstained from using the prophecy in their argumentation on account of its obscurity in the Alexandrian and the Itala versions. Tertullian, e.g., assigns the obscurity of the prophecies as the reason for his not appealing to them in behalf of a future resurrection (De Resurrect. 22).

γ. In the third place, it is objected that the hope of a future life is repeatedly denied in the Book of Job and that, therefore, the prophecy of the patriarch cannot refer to a future resurrection (Job 7:8, 9, 21; 14:10, 11, 14; 15:23). But all the alleged passages merely assert that there is no hope of ever returning to our temporal life. The spiritual life is not at all considered in them.

B. Nature of the Redeemer.—Having thus far proved that the restoration predicted by Job is no other than the resurrection of the dead, we must now briefly consider the nature of the redeemer through whose intervention the patriarch expects this restoration.

a. The expected redeemer is God acting as judge on occasion of the general resurrection of the dead. Several reasons seem at first to support this explanation of the redeemer. α. This final judgment satisfies all the requisite conditions of Job’s vindication as described in the inspired record. β. At the time of Job the Messianic idea was not yet sufficiently evolved to allow the recognition of an incarnate God-man as the Messianic redeemer. γ. The patriarchs conceived the Messianic redemption as a general blessing which would come upon all nations from the seed of the chosen nation.

b. The redeemer is the God incarnate, the Messianic God-man. α. This may be inferred in the first place from the office which is ascribed to the redeemer. According to the Hebrew text it is the office of the “Avenger” or “Goel,” and we have seen that this is peculiarly Messianic (cf. Is. 44:23; 52:9; 48:20; 49:7; 59:20). If Job did not yet conceive the Messias as the Avenger in the technical sense of the word, the expression requires at least a redeemer who belongs in some way to the patriarch’s own flesh and blood; for the term Avenger implies, at the least, blood-relationship. Moreover, the ancient Egyptians conceived their redeemer as a god incarnate, who had been killed unjustly and raised from the dead. And finally, the fulfilment suggests that Job’s expected redeemer must be the Messias, because it is Jesus Christ who will exercise the universal judgment (John 5:22, 27), and who is said to be the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and to possess the keys of death and hell (Apoc. 22:13; 1:18). Now the commentary on the words “and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth” shows that these are precisely the characteristics of the expected redeemer announced by the patriarch.

β. It may finally be asked whether Job expects his salvation from the Messias as judge, or from the Messias as risen from the dead.

(1) Many contend that Job says nothing about the resurrection of Christ from the dead, but that he merely represents his redeemer as the Goel standing upon the dust. The context appears to favor this view, because, far from representing the redeemer as having died and risen from the dead (1 Cor. 15:23), it speaks of him as living and standing at the last upon the dust. This is the opinion of Knabenbauer (in loc.), Corluy (Spicil. i. 295), Patrizi, and other writers of the greatest authority.

(2) Pineda, Sanchez, Malvenda, and others are of opinion that the holy patriarch predicts Christ’s resurrection from the dead. This view is based on the words “he shall rise [or stand] upon the dust” and, at the same time, it is implied in the fact of Job’s own resurrection, which really presupposes the resurrection of the redeemer.

(3) Still, it must not be supposed that Job himself perceived all that is either explicitly or implicitly contained in his prophecy. The expressions of the prediction are so vague that without a further revelation, such as we possess in the New Testament, no one could have fully comprehended its meaning. It is not at all probable that Job had such a private revelation, unless we either grant him a greater insight into the Messianic dispensation than has been granted to the Saints of the Jewish community, or admit that all these Saints had private revelations concerning the future Messias analogous to those vouchsafed to Job. On the other hand, it is equally certain that the Holy Ghost intended to reveal in Job’s prophecy all the Messianic mysteries we have enumerated. For the expressions used by the prophet vaguely indicate them, and the Holy Ghost clearly foreknew them in their diverse causal connections.

JOB 19:23–27

Who will grant me that my words may be written?

Who will grant me that they may be marked down in a book

With an iron pen, and in a plate of lead,

Or else be graven with an instrument in flint-stone?

For I know that my Redeemer liveth,

And in the last day I shall rise out of the earth;

And I shall be clothed again with my skin,

And in my flesh I shall see my God.

Whom I myself shall see,

And my eyes shall behold, and not another.

This my hope is laid up in my bosom.

1. It follows from what has been said that Job expected not a mere restoration of the health of his body, nor of his honor and good name, but a restoration in the future life, based on the vision of God.

2. The vision of God expected by the holy patriarch is not purely mental, but manifest to the bodily eye.

3. The vision will take place most probably after Job’s Avenger shall have judged all the dead, restored to life.

4. Job’s Avenger will not be merely a divine judge, but he will be related to Job by blood, and of such a nature that he can be seen with the eye of the body; hence he will be God incarnate.

5. Though Job’s prophecy does not explicitly state either the mystery of the Incarnation or that of the Resurrection of Christ, the term of the patriarch’s prophetic vision presupposes both these mysteries not only in the order of time, but also in the order of causation. Both mysteries are, therefore, implicitly foretold in Job’s prophecy. And since the Holy Ghost foreknew the causal and temporal connection of events, it follows that he really predicted both the Incarnation of the Word and Christ’s Resurrection when he inspired the prophecy of the great sufferer of the Old Testament.








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