Occurring Scripture for the
Hour of Matins
Second Week of September
From the Book of Job
And Job answered, and
said: "Indeed I know it is so, and that man cannot be justified compared
with God. If he will contend with Him, he cannot answer Him one for a
thousand. He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who has
resisted Him, and has had peace? Who has removed mountains, and they
whom He overthrew in His wrath, knew it not. "
"Who shakes the earth out of her
place, and her pillars tremble. Who commands the sun and it rises not:
and shuts up the stars as it were under a seal: Who alone spreads out
the heavens, and walks upon the waves of the sea. Who made Arcturus,
and Orion, and Hyades, and the inner parts of the south. Who does
things great, and incomprehensible, and wonderful, of which there are no
number. If He comes to me, I shall not see Him: if He departs I
shall not understand. If He examines unexpectedly, who shall answer
him? or who can say: Why do You do what You do?"
"God, Whose wrath no man can resist,
and under Whom they stoop that bears up the world. What am I then,
that I should answer Him, and have words with Him? I, who
although I should have any just thing, would not answer, but would make
supplication to my Judge. And if He should hear me when I call,
I would not believe that He had heard my voice. For He shall crush me
in a whirlwind, and multiply my wounds even without cause."
From the Morals on the Book of Job of Pope Saint
Gregory the Great
Book ix, chapter 2
We know that it is
completely true that a man cannot be justified as against God. When God is
put out of the consideration, a man may be considered to be just, but
considered as against God, his righteousness vanishes. When a man
measures himself by his relation to Him, Who is the Author of all good, he
thereby acknowledges that he has no good in himself, but has received from
God all that he has. He that glorifies himself because of good which has
been given him, fights against God with God's own gifts. It is just
therefore that the grounds upon which he ought to be humbled, but upon which
he has puffed himself up, should be used to humble his vain-glory. But
a holy man, because he perceives that the worth of our own good deeds falls
short, when he considers his own spiritual man, justly says If He will
contend with him, he cannot answer Him one of a thousand.
In the Holy Scriptures the
numeral one thousand is used to be taken as signifying a generalization.
Thus, the Psalmist said: "The word which He commanded to a thousand
generations" (Psalm 104:8), whereas it is notorious that the Evangelist does
not reckon more then seventy-and-seven generations between the very
beginning of the world and the coming of our Redeemer. What therefore is to
be understood here by a thousand? The general ripeness of the old generation
to bring forth a new offspring. Hence it is also said by John: "And shall
reign with Him a thousand years" (Apocalypse 20:6), because the reign of the
Holy Church over all mankind will be made perfect.
When times one is ten, and
ten times ten is an hundred, and ten times an hundred is a thousand.
Observing therefore this connection between one and a thousand, what are we
to understand by the one (in the text, connected as it is with the thousand
whereby we understand perfection)? Is it not the beginning of a good life,
even as the thousand represents perfection? The contending with God (which
is spoken of in the text) is the non-acknowledgment of that which is owed to
Him, and the vain-glorying instead in our own strength. But a holy man
should see, that even if one had received the gifts of perfection, and were
to make them the grounds of self-glorifying, such an one thereby would lose
all that he had received.
From the Book of Job
Job also added, taking up
his parable, and said: "As God lives, Who hath taken away my judgment,
and the Almighty, Who has brought my soul to bitterness, as long as
breath remains in me, and the spirit of God in my nostrils, my lips
shall not speak iniquity, neither shall my tongue contrive lying. God
forbid that I should judge You to be just: till I die I will not depart from
my innocence. "
My justice I hold, and I will not
forsake it: for my heart does not reproach me for any day in all my life.
Let my enemy be as the ungodly, and my adversary as the wicked one.
For what is the hope of the hypocrite if through covetousness he robs, and
God delivers not his soul? Will God hear his cry, when distress shall
come upon him? Or can he delight himself in the Almighty, and call
upon God at all times?"
"I will teach you by the hand of God,
what the Almighty has, and I will not conceal it. Behold you all know
it—why do you speak vain things without
cause? This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the
inheritance of the violent, which they shall receive of the Almighty.
If his sons be multiplied, they shall be for the sword, and his grandsons
shall not be filled with bread. His survivors shall be buried in
death, and his widows shall not weep. "
From the Book of Job
"But where is wisdom to be found, and
where is the place of understanding? Man knows not the its price nor
is it found in the land of those who live in delights. The abyss said:
'It is not in me': and the sea said: 'It is not with me.' The finest
gold shall not purchase it, neither shall silver be weighed in exchange for
it. It shall not be compared with the dyed colors of India, or with
the most precious sardonyx, or the sapphire. "
"Gold or crystal cannot equal it, nor
shall any vessels of gold be exchanged for it. High and eminent things
shall not be mentioned in comparison of it: but wisdom is drawn out of
secret places. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not be equal to it, neither
shall it be compared to the brightest dyeing. Whence then cometh
wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? It is hid from
the eyes of all the living. and the fowls of the air know it not.
Destruction and death have said: With our ears we have heard the rumor of
"God understands its way of it, and He knows
its place. For He beholds the ends of the world: and looks on
all things that are under heaven. Who made a weight for the winds and
weighed the waters by measure. When he gave a law for the rain, and a
path for the sounding storms. Then He saw it, and declared, and prepared,
and searched it. And He said to man: 'Behold the fear of the Lord,
that is wisdom: and to depart from evil, is understanding.'"
From the Book of Job
"I made a covenant with my eyes, that I
would not so much as think about a virgin. For what part should God
above have in me, and what inheritance has the Almighty from on high?
Is not destruction for the wicked, and aversion for those who work iniquity?
Does He not consider my ways, and number all my steps? If I have
walked in vanity, and my foot has made haste to deceit: Let him weigh
me in a just balance, and let God know my simplicity. "
"If my step has turned out of the way,
and if my heart has followed my eyes, and if a spot has cleaved to my hands:
Then let me sow and let another eat: and let my offspring be rooted out.
If my heart has been deceived by a woman, and if I have laid wait at my
friend's door: Let my wife be the harlot of another, and let other men
lie with her. For this is a heinous crime, and a most grievous
iniquity. It is a fire that devours even to destruction, and roots up
all things that spring.
"If I have failed to observe justice
with my manservant, or my maidservant, when they had any controversy against
me: For what shall I do when God rises to judge me? and when he shall
examine me, what shall I answer him? Did not He that made me in the
womb make him also: and did not the One and the Same form me in the womb?
If I have denied to the poor what they desired, and have made the eyes of
the widow wait: If I have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless
receives no share: For from my infancy mercy grew up with me: and it
came out with me from my mother's womb:"
From the Book of Job
Then the Lord answered Job out of a
whirlwind, and said: "Who is this that obscures divine plans with
ignorant words? Gird up your loins like a man: I will ask you,
and you will answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of
the earth? tell Me if you have understanding. Who
determined its size, if you know? or who stretched the measuring line upon
it?" Upon what are its bases grounded? or who laid its corner stone,
when the morning stars praised Me together, and all the sons of God made a
"Who shut up the sea within its doors,
when it broke forth as issuing out of the womb: When I made a cloud
the garment thereof, and wrapped it in a mist as in swaddling bands? I
set my bounds around it, and made it bars and doors: And I said: Thus
far you shall come, and shall go no further, and here you shall break your
swelling waves. Since your birth, did you command the morning, and
show the day where to dawn? And have you held the ends of the earth,
shaking them—have you shaken the ungodly
out of it?
The earth is changed as is clay changed
by the seal, and is dyed as is a garment: the light shall be taken
away from the wicked , and the proud arm shall be broken. Have you
entered into the depths of the sea, and walked in the lowest parts of the
deep? Have the gates of death been opened to you, and have you seen
the doors of darkness? Have you considered the breadth of the earth?
tell me, if you know all things? Where is the way to the dwelling of
the light, and where is the place of darkness: that you may bring
every thing to its own bounds, and understand the paths to their house.
From the Book of Job
And the Lord answering Job
out of the whirlwind, said: "Gird up your loins like a man: I will ask
you, and you will tell me. Wilt you make void my judgment: and condemn
me, that you may be justified? And have you an arm like God, and can
you thunder with a voice like him? Clothe yourself with beauty, and
set thyself up on high and be glorious, and put on goodly garments?"
"Scatter the proud in your indignation?
And behold every arrogant man, and humble him? Look on all that are
proud, and confound them, and crush the wicked in their place? Hide
them in the dust together, and plunge their faces into the pit?
Then I will confess that your right hand is able to save you. Behold
the behemoth whom I made with you, he eats grass like an ox. His
strength is in his loins, and his force in the navel of his belly."
Then Job answered the Lord, and said:
"I know that You can do all things, and no thought is hid from You.
Who is it that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have spoken
unwisely, and things that above measure exceeded my knowledge. Hear,
and I will speak: I will ask You, and do You tell me. With the hearing
of the ear, I have heard You, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I
reproach myself, and do penance in dust and ashes."
From the Book of Job
And after the Lord had spoken these
words to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Themanite: "My wrath is kindled against
you, and against your two friends, because you have not spoken what is right
before Me, as has My servant Job. Therefore, take seven oxen, and
seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer for yourselves a holocaust:
and my servant Job shall pray for you: his face I will accept, that folly be
not imputed to you: for you have not spoken right things before me, as my
servant Job has."
So Eliphaz the Themanite, and Baldad
the Suhite, and Sophar the Naamathite went, and did as the Lord had spoken
to them, and the Lord accepted the face of Job. The Lord also was
turned at the penance of Job, when he prayed for his friends. And the Lord
gave Job twice as much as he had before. And all his brethren
came to him, and all his sisters, and all that knew him before, and they ate
bread with him in his house: and bemoaned him, and comforted him upon all
the evil that God had brought upon him. And every man gave him one ewe, and
one earring of gold. And the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more
than his beginning. And he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand
camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. And he
had seven sons, and three daughters. And he called the names of one
Dies, and the name of the second Cassia, and the name of the third
Cornustibil. And there were not found in all the earth women so
beautiful as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance
among their brethren. And Job lived after these things, a
hundred and forty years, and he saw his children, and his children's
children, unto the fourth generation, and he died an old man, and full of
From the feast of the day or from the Saturday Office
of the Blessed Virgin Mary