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[Here we continue a reprint of a small portion of Joseph Caryl’s study in Job. Mr. Caryl wrote twelve volumes on the book of Job. His study is a great example of how deep one can dig into the truths of the Bible.]
Job 1:4 (pt. 1) -
Job’s Children, by Joseph Caryl
4And his sons went and feasted in their homes, everyone his day, and sent and called for their three sisters, to eat and drink with them.
This verse sets forth the third part of Job’s happiness in respect of his outward estate. He had children, and many children in the second verse: here in the fourth we find all these children, sons and daughters agreeing and feasting one with another. We may note from the words four things concerning this feasting.
1. Their alacrity and cheerfulness, which most do observe out of that expression, they “went and feasted”, which phrase in the Hebrew signifies the doing of a thing with cheerfulness and readiness.
2. Their unanimity: It is not said that some two or three of his sons feasted, but his sons indefinitely, all his sons: and not only his sons, but his daughters, the three sisters were called too. So that they were all of one mind, they all met together in love, though they were ten in number, they were but one in heart, the same in spirit. The place where they feasted, it was in their houses, they did not go to suspected places, but in their own private houses and families, where it was most convenient, and where they might celebrate those meetings with most security, both for their bodies and for their souls.
3. The frequency of that feasting, it was not only once, but “everyone his day”. They did meet at every one of their houses upon a special and a set day. “Everyone his day”, some make the sense thus: they feasted in their houses one every day, as if it had been a continual feast with them, they feasted all the week long; and they would seem to allow it by the moderation used in their feasting. But the words “everyone his day”, note a course, a certain time wherein they did feast, not a continued feasting. Some conceive it was upon their birth days: whether that be so or no there is nothing appears from the text, only it is said, They feasted “everyone his day”.
“And they sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.”
In that, we may observe three things:
1. The humanity of the brethren, they would not banquet alone and leave out their sisters, but they sent and called them.
2. The modesty of the sisters, that they would not come but upon special invitation, they were not forward of themselves, but they were sent and called for.
3. The end of this invitation, it was to eat and to drink with them. As under the notions of bread and water, or bread and wine, all necessaries for food are comprised; so under the actions of eating and drinking, the whole business of feasting is contained.
There is nothing further in the words that we need stay longer in opening or clearing of them. We shall only give you some few notes out of them.
“His sons went and feasted in their houses, everyone his day.”
This is set forth as the third part of Jobs outward happiness. Then note we first that they love, and mutual agreement of children is one of the greatest blessings to a parent.
The love of children is the father’s blessings, and it is a great blessing. How many fathers have their hearts rent and divided by the rents and divisions that are amongst their children. It does blast and wither all the comfort the parent hath, to see that there is no agreement of love, no correspondency of affection amongst those that come all from the same bowels from the same loins. This is a blessing which was not (it seems) common in the world, no not in those times. Adam had not this blessing. Adam when he had only two sons, they could not agree, but one murdered the other. Abraham enjoyed not this blessing, when he had but two sons: Ishmael mocked Isaac. Isaac failed of this blessing, he had but two sons and one threatened to murder the other: “The days of mourning for my father are at hand then will I slay my brother Jacob” (Gen. 27.41). This was not Jacob’s blessing: he had twelve sons, there was one of them, Joseph the common butt of all his brethren’s envy; they did all spite him; the archers did shoot at him and grieved him sorely and hated him. They could not all agree; there were divisions among them. It is no ordinary blessing then. You see David a holy man, yet what divisions were there among his children: one murdereth another (Absolom caused Amnon to be murdered); Adonnah rose up against Solomon (he could not bear it that his brother should have the crown). You see then that it is a blessing and it is an extraordinary blessing. Therefore, take notice of it, you that have an agreeing family, children that live together in love and unity. Look upon it as a special blessing from God.
Secondly, we may observe, that it is a very comely thing for brethren and sisters to live together in unity.
In Job’s children, we have that of Psalm 133 fulfilled, “Behold” (he calls all to look upon it) “how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1). Such a sight may draw all eyes after it. Job’s children were many in number, in heart but one, in love the same. And as there is nothing more troublesome, so nothing more uncomely and unnatural, than rents and divisions in a family.
Thirdly, we may note that it is lawful to use feasting. The children of Job here went and feasted at their houses, everyone his day. The Christians in the primitive churches had their love feasts. In a feast, there are two things: extraordinary provision, and extraordinary company, both are lawful. God hath given us the creature, not only for necessity, but for delight; and it is a clear argument that such using of the creatures in feasting, is lawful, because God hath made more creatures, serving for the delight of man, than He hath made for the necessity of man. If God had meant that men should do nothing but serve their own necessity and maintain their lives; so, as they might go on in their places and callings, one half of the creatures might have been spared. But God made nothing in vain. Therefore He is willing we should use the creatures for moderate delight. Abraham made a great feast at the weaning of Isaac; and Isaac makes a feast for Abimelech and Phicol, the chief captain of his army. And the like examples we have in many other places: And our Savior Christ himself was at a feast in Cana of Galilee, where when wine failed he supplied it by miracle.