Job 29:1 ¶ Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,
Job 29:2 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;
Job 29:3 When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;
Job 29:4 As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;
Job 29:5 When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me;
Job 29:6 When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil.
In this chapter Job reflects on his life before calamity struck. He wishes he could go back to that life, the days when God had a hedge of protection around him. In those days he had walked in the light of God’s leading. He longs for the days when he enjoyed an intimate relationship with God and his house was blessed, a time when he was surrounded by his children and enjoyed God’s bountiful provision.
Job 29:7 ¶ When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!
Job 29:8 The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.
Job longs for the days when he was a respected leader in the city and sat in counsel to others. Both young and old showed him respect.
Job 29:9 The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.
Job 29:10 The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
I think these verses are saying that even those in government leadership deferred to his counsel. It seems that he was recognized as the wisest man in the city.
Job 29:11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:
Job 29:12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.
Job 29:13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
Job remembers that the people were pleased with his counsel and showed their approval publicly. He was respected because he gave help to the poor and the orphans, those that had no one to help them. He offered help to those that were dying and provided for the widows, bringing joy to their hearts. He testifies that he was a very generous man that seemed to follow after God’s own heart.
Admonitions to help those in need abound in scripture.
Deuteronomy 15:7–8 “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.”
Psalms 82:3 “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.”
1 John 3:17 “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Job 29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
Job 29:15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.
Job 29:16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.
Job 29:17 And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.
Job describes himself as having been clothed in righteousness and adorned with justice. He had helped the blind and the lame. He provided for the poor as a father. He made the effort to get to the root of the problem when helping others. He had intervened when he saw the wicked mistreat the helpless.
I don’t think Job is boasting as he talks about his past; I think he is giving evidence of his character. Up to this point, he had maintained his innocence but offered no testimony on his own behalf. It’s obvious to me from this account that his suffering probably directly impacted the lives of many others who now had no “Job” to come to the rescue.
Oh that we had many more like Job among the wealthy today. I believe that if we did, hunger and poverty could be eradicated.
Job 29:18 ¶ Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.
Job 29:19 My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch.
Job 29:20 My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.
In those days Job had expected to live a long life and die in peace at home. He had enjoyed prosperity, good health and honor. The last part of verse 20 seems to indicate that he was also an able fighter.
This brought to mind the words of the psalmist: Psalms 1:1–3 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Job 29:21 Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel.
Job 29:22 After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them.
Job 29:23 And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.
Job 29:24 If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.
Job 29:25 I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners.
Job again longs for the days when his word was sought out, respected and accepted as wisdom. The people liked to please him. They exalted him and treated him like royalty.
Job was known for being one who brought comfort to those in mourning. Can’t you hear the words unsaid—“Certainly not like you!”