Job 42:13

He had also seven sons and three daughters.
Read Chapter 42

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
36. That he had had seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, before the trial of his scourging, the preface of this same history points out to us. Those things which were lost through his scourging, were now restored twofold. But as many children were restored as he had lost. For he had seven sons and three daughters. But he is now described as having received seven sons and three daughters, in order that those who had been destroyed may be shewn to be alive. For when it is said; The Lord added all that had been to Job twofold, and yet He restored him as many children as he had lost, He also added to him a double number of children, to whom He afterwards restored ten in the flesh, but reserved the ten that had been lost, in the hidden abode [‘vita’] of souls. But if any one wishes, as an intellectual being, to put aside the chaff of the history, and to feed on the grain of mysteries, it is necessary for him to learn what is our opinion. For it is possible for us to understand that by these animals is designated the universal body of the faithful. For hence is that which is said by the Psalmist to the Father concerning the Son; Thou hast put all things under His feet, sheep and all kine, and, moreover, the herds of the plain. [Ps. 6, 7] Hence is it that the same Prophet, beholding the simple ones inhabiting Holy Church, says; Thine animals shall dwell therein. [Ps. 68, 10] 37. What then do we understand by ‘sheep,’ but the innocent, what by ‘camels,’ but those who surpass the evil doings of others by the involved mass of their exuberant vices; what by ‘yoked oxen,’ but the Israelites subject to the Law; what by ‘asses,’ but the simple minds of the Gentiles? For that the innocent are designated by the name of ‘sheep’ the Psalmist witnesses, who says, But we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. [Ps. 95, 7] For those who neglect to preserve their innocence, are not fed with that refreshment of the spiritual pasture. 38. But by the name of ‘camel’ is expressed in Holy Scripture sometimes the Lord, sometimes the pride of the Gentiles, tortuous, as it were, with a swelling excrescence from above. For since a camel bends itself of its own accord to take up its burdens, it designates not improperly the grace of our Redeemer, Who, in deigning to hear the burden of our infirmity, descended of His own accord from the height of His power. Whence He says also in the Gospel; I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it up again, and no man taketh it from Me. [John 10, 38] Whence He also says again; It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. [Matt. 19, 24] For what does He mean by the name ‘rich,’ but any haughty person, what by the expression ‘camel,’ but His own condescension? For a camel passed through the eye of a needle, when the same our Redeemer entered through the narrow straits of His passion to the suffering of death. And this passion was like a needle, because it wounded His body with pain. But a camel goes more easily through the eye of a needle, than a rich man enters the kingdom of heaven, because, unless He took on Him first the burdens of our infirmity, and shewed us the opening [‘foramen’] of humility by His passion, our haughty stubbornness would never bend itself down to His humility. Again, by the name ‘camel’ is designated the Gentile world, tortuous and full of sins; as it is said by Moses, that when the day had already declined, Rebecca sitting on a camel beheld Isaac who had gone forth in the field, and that she immediately descended from the camel, and being ashamed at the sight of him, covered herself with a veil. [Gen. 24, 64. 65.] For whom did Isaac designate, in having gone forth in the field when the day had already declined, but Him, Who, coming in this last age of the world, as if in the close of the day, went forth as it were into the field? Because though He is invisible, yet He shewed Himself to be visible in this world. And Rebecca when sitting on a camel beheld him, because the Church, coming forth from the Gentiles, when it was still resting on its sins, and cleaving not to spiritual, but animal emotions, listened to Him. But she immediately descended from the camel, because it abandoned the sins, with which it had before been proudly elated, and was careful to cover itself with a veil, because, on beholding the Lord, it blushed at the infirmity of its own conduct; and she, who was before carried by the camel unconstrained, is afterwards on descending modestly covered. Whence it is said by the voice of the Apostle to this same Church, when converted from her former pride, as if to Rebecca descending from the camel, and throwing over her a veil; For what fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? [Rom. 6, 21] 39. But in ‘oxen’ is expressed sometimes the madness of the lustful, sometimes the laborious strength of preachers, sometimes the humility of the Israelites. For that by the name of ox is designated by comparison the madness of the lustful, Solomon points out. For when he had first mentioned the wantonness of the seducing woman, he added; Immediately he followeth her, as an ox led for a victim. [Prov. 7, 22] Again, that the labour of preachers is expressed by the name of ox, the words of the Law witness, which says; Thou shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox when treading out the corn. [Deut. 25, 4] As if it plainly said; Thou shalt not keep the preachers of the word from obtaining their stipends. [1 Cor. 9, 9; 1 Tim. 5, 18] Again, that the people of Israel is typified by the name of ox, the Prophet asserts, who says, when announcing the coming of the Redeemer, The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib. [Is. 1, 3] Signifying in truth by the ‘ox’ the people of Israel, brought into subjection to the yoke of the Law, but indicating by the ‘ass’ the people of the Gentiles, given up to pleasures, and more overwhelmingly brutish. 40. Under the name also of he asses and she asses is designated sometimes the wantonness of the lustful, sometimes the gentleness of the simple, but sometimes, as we have before said, the foolishness of the Gentiles. For that the wantonness of the lustful is expressed, by way of comparison, by the term he asses, is plainly declared, when it is said by the Prophet; Whose flesh is as the flesh of asses. [Ez. 23, 20] Again, because the life of the simple is typified by the name of she asses, when our Redeemer was going to Jerusalem, He is said to have sat on a she ass. For Jerusalem means the vision of peace. [Matt. 21, 5] What then does it signify, that our Lord sits on a she ass, and guides it to Jerusalem, except that when He possesses simple minds by ruling over them, He leads them by His own sacred indwelling [‘sessione’] to the vision of peace? Again, that by the name of he asses the foolishness of the Gentiles is designated, the Prophet witnesses, saying; Blessed are ye that sow upon all waters, sending in thither the foot of the ox and the ass. [Is. 32, 20] For to sow upon all waters is to preach to all people the fruitful words of life. But to send in the foot of the ox and the ass, is to bind the ways of the Israelitish and the Gentile people by the bands of heavenly precepts. 41. While preserving then the truth of the letter, we rightly believe that under the name of blessed Job, the people of Holy Church are designated by all these animals; in order that those things that are written, by the dispensation of the Holy Spirit Which wonderfully orders all things, may both relate to us what has happened, and announce what is to come. Let us recognise then in the ‘sheep’ the faithful and innocent people from Judaea, which had been before fed with the pastures of the Law. Let us recognise in the ‘camels’ the simple-minded from the Gentiles coming to the faith, who before, when under sacrilegious rites, through a kind of deformity of limbs, from the foulness, that is, of their vices, appeared very hideous. And because, as we have before said, the Holy Scriptures take good care to repeat their assertions, the Israelites, who were crushed, as it were, by the yoke of the Law, can again he understood by the ‘oxen.’ But, as has been said, by asses, can be understood the Gentile people, who, when they used to bow down to worship stones, foolishly, as it were, bent down their back, and, with no reluctant mind, served any idols whatever with brutish sense. Holy Church therefore which, when oppressed at her first beginnings with innumerable temptations, lost either the people of Israel, or many of the Gentiles, (those, namely, whom she was unable to gain,) receives double at the end; because there springs up in her, out of each people, a multiplied number of believers. By yoked oxen preachers can also be understood. Whence, when the Lord sent them forth to preach, He is described as having sent them two and two; [Luke 10, 1] in order that either because there are two precepts of charity, or that society cannot exist between a less number than two, the holy preachers might learn from the very mode of their sending forth, how much they should love the agreement of fellowship. By she asses, as we have before said, the minds of the simple can be designated. But Holy Church receives oxen and she asses in double number; because holy preachers, who from being oppressed with fear in the time of her temptation had hitherto remained silent, and the minds of the simple, which from being overpowered by terrors were afraid to confess her truth, now exert their voices with greater powers in confession of the truth, the more weakly they were before afraid. 42. We have briefly stated these points as typical of Holy Church. But how they serve to set forth the Head of this same Holy Church, we remind you that we have stated at greater length in the beginning of this work. Whoever therefore is anxious to be more fully satisfied on these points, should deign to read the second book of this work. But if we are now asked to discuss the number of the animals, why a thousand yoke of oxen, or a thousand she asses, and six thousand camels, and fourteen thousand sheep, are mentioned; we can state briefly, that in secular knowledge the number thousand is considered perfect, because it is the solid square of the number ten. For ten times ten are a hundred, which though a square, is a plane figure. But in order that it may rise in height and become solid, the hundred is again multiplied by ten, and becomes a thousand. But the number six is perfect, because it is the first number which is made up of its several parts, that is, its sixth, its third, and its half, which are one, and two, and three, and these added together become six. Nor is any other number found before six, which, when it is divided into its several parts, has its whole amount made up. But because we transcend all this knowledge, by advancing through the loftiness of Holy Scripture, we there find the reason why the numbers six, seven, ten, and a thousand, are perfect. For the number six is perfect in Holy Scripture, because in the beginning of the world God completed on the sixth day those works which He began on the first. The number seven is perfect therein, because every good work is performed with seven virtues through the Spirit, in order that both faith and works may be perfected at the same time. The number ten is perfect therein, because the Law is included in ten precepts, and no fault is forbidden further than by the ten words, and as the Truth relates, the labourers in the vineyard are rewarded with a denarius. [Mat. 20, 2] For in a denary three are joined to seven. But man, who consists of soul and body, consists of seven qualities. For he flourishes in three spiritually and in four bodily. For in the love of God he is excited in three qualities spiritually, when it is said to him by the Law; Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. [Matt. 22, 37] But he consists of four qualities bodily; because, namely, he is composed of hot and cold, of moist and dry matter. Man therefore who consists of seven qualities is said to be rewarded with a denarius, because in that attainment of the heavenly country our seven are joined to the eternal Three, in order that man may enjoy the contemplation of the Trinity, and, by the reward of his work, live as though made perfect by a denarius. Or certainly, because there are seven virtues in which we toil in this life, and when the contemplation of the Trinity is granted them as a reward, the life of those that toil is rewarded with a denarius. But every one who is perfect receives a denarius even in this life, when he unites to these same seven virtues, faith, hope, and charity. The number thousand is also considered as perfect in Holy Scripture, because universality is designated by its appellation. Whence it is written; The word which He commanded to a thousand generations. [Ps. 105, 8] For since it cannot be believed that the world can be extended to a hundred generations, what else is set forth by a thousand generations but the whole number of generations? Blessed Job therefore received fourteen thousand sheep. For since in Holy Church the perfection of virtues extends to both sexes, the number seven is doubled therein. And six thousand camels; because they receive therein the plenitude of their work, who were before cut off from her by the filthiness of their sins. He received also a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses, because she exalts Israelites and Gentiles, learned and simple, after the falls of temptations, to the height of perfection. He received also seven sons and three daughters, because to the minds of those whom she had begotten with seven virtues, she adds faith, hope, charity, to complete their perfection, in order that she may the more truly rejoice in her offspring, the more she considers that there is no virtue wanting to her faithful ones. But because we have run over these points briefly, let us now turn to examine also the names themselves of his daughters.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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