And he called the name of the first, Jemimah; and the name of the second, Keziah; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch.
All Commentaries on Job 42:14 Go To Job 42
Gregory The Dialogist
43. Because these names are derived from virtues, the translator appropriately took care not to insert them as they are found in the Arabic language, but to shew their meaning more plainly when translated into the Latin tongue. For who can be ignorant that Dies and Casia are Latin words? But in Cornustibii, (though it is not corn us but cornu, and the pipe of singers is called not tibium but tibia,) I suppose he preferred, without keeping the gender of the word in the Latin tongue, to state the thing as it is, and to preserve the peculiarity of that language from which he was translating. Or because he compounded one word out of the two, (cornu, and tibia,) he was at liberty to call both words, which are translated in Latin by one part of speech, whatever gender he pleased. What is the reason then that the first daughter of Job is said to have been called Dies, the second Casia, but the third Cornustibii, except that the whole human race, which is chosen by the kindness of its Creator, and by the mercy of the same Redeemer, is designated by these names? For man as he was made shone as bright as the day (dies), because his Maker overspread him with the splendour of innate innocence. But when he fell of his own accord into the darkness of sin, because he deserted the light of truth, he concealed himself as it were in the night of error; because he is elsewhere said to have followed a shadow. [Ps. 39, 6] But because the bounteousness of His goodness failed not our Maker, even in spite of the darkness of our iniquity, He afterwards received him by a mightier redemption from his error, whom He at first mightily created for righteousness. And because he wanted, after his fall, the strength of his original creation, He supported him against the inmost assaults of His opposing corruption with the manifold virtues of His gifts. And these virtues of those who are advancing are doubtless fragrant, in the discernment of other men, as if with sweet odours. For hence is that which is said by Paul, We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ. [2 Cor. 2, 15] Hence it is that Holy Church, having scented a kind of fragrant sweetness in her Elect, speaks in the Song of Songs, saying, While the king is at his repose, my spikenard gave forth its odour. [Cant. 1, 12] As if he plainly said, As long as the king is concealed with himself from my sight in the rest of the heavenly retreat, the life of the Elect is regaled [‘exercetur’] with wonderful odours of virtues, in order that as it still beholds not Him Whom it seeks for, it may burn the more ardently with desire. For the spikenard gives forth an odour, as the king is taking his repose, because when the Lord is resting in His blessedness, the virtue of Saints in the Church supplies us with the delight of great sweetness. Because then the human race shone bright, on its creation, with the light of innocence, and afterwards, when redeemed, scattered the odour of sweetness by the exercise of good works, the first daughter is rightly named Dies, and the second is not unfitly named Casia. But she is well called Casia who is spread abroad with so strong an odour of a sublime life. For man, in his very beginning, in which he was created righteous, needed not such great virtues as he now requires. Because if he wished to remain as he had been created, he would have been able without difficulty to overcome his enemy placed without. But after that the adversary, through man’s consent, has forced his way into his inmost parts, he is now cast out with greater labour as conqueror, who would, when still an assailant, be repulsed without difficulty.
44. For many qualities now need to be displayed, which were not necessary in Paradise. For now we require the virtue of patience, laborious instruction in learning, chastening of the body, assiduity in prayer, confession of faults, a deluge of tears; none of which man wanted in truth on his creation, because by his very creation he enjoyed the blessing of salvation. For a bitter cup is held out to a sick man, that he may be restored to a state of health by the removal of disease. But a man in health is never ordered what to take in order to regain his strength, but what to avoid, lest he should be ill. We therefore display now greater zeal, when we do not preserve the health we possess, but endeavour to regain that which we have lost. And because all these efforts for our restoration, are supported by great opinions in Holy Church, the name of the second daughter justly smells as cassia; in order that, as the first daughter existed as ‘the day’ [‘dies’] through the dignity of her creation, the second may be ‘cassia’ through the fragrance of strength by the grace of redemption. Whence also it is said by the prophet to the same Redeemer on His coming; Myrrh and amber and cassia come from Thy garments, from the ivory steps, out of which the daughters of kings have delighted Thee in Thine honour. [Ps. 45, 8] For what is designated by the name of myrrh, amber, and cassia, except the sweetness of virtues? What is expressed by the ivory steps, except the ascent of proficients, which shines with great strength? Our Redeemer, therefore, when He comes, uses myrrh, amber, and cassia in His garment, because He scatters forth from His Elect, with whom He mercifully arrays Himself, the fragrance of the myrrh of virtue. And in them this odour is led on by ivory steps, because, in them an opinion of their virtues arises not from the show of pretence, but from the ascent of true and solid deeds. But it is well subjoined; Out of which the daughters of kings delighted Thee in Thine honour. For holy souls, which had been brought forth by the ancient fathers to the knowledge of the truth, delight their Redeemer in His honour, because they claim nothing to their own credit from all that they do well. But because the human race in its third condition, even when new fashioned for the resurrection of the flesh, is engaged in that concert of eternal praise, the third daughter is called Cornustibii. For what is expressed by ‘Cornustibii’ but the song of those that rejoice? For there is that truly fulfilled which is now said by the Prophet? Sing unto the Lord a new song. [Ps. 149, 1] It is there truly fulfilled, where the song of praise to God will be sung no longer by faith, but in a contemplation of His Person. There does our Creator receive from us the true songs of His praises, Who both made the human race ‘Dies’ by creating it, ‘Casia’ by redeeming it, and ‘Cornustibii’ by taking it to Himself. For we who were ‘light’ when created, and are now ‘casia’ by having been redeemed, shall at last be ‘cornustibii’ when engaged in the exultation of eternal praise. But before the Bride comes to the marriage chamber, she casts off from herself all filthiness of life, and preparing herself for the love of the Bridegroom, adorns and arrays herself with the beautifyings of virtues. For she studies to approve herself to the judgment of the inward Judge, and from being exalted in her inmost desires, to transcend the filthy habits of human conversation.