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The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

29.1 THE SPRING AT MATAREA - DISCOVERED BY JOB.




The spring which appeared at Matarea in answer to the Blessed Virgin's prayers was not a new one, but an old one which gushed forth afresh. It had been choked but was still lined with masonry. I saw that Job had been in Egypt long before Abraham and had dwelt on this spot in this place. [172] It was he who found the spring, and he made sacrifices on the great stone lying here. Job was the youngest of thirteen brothers. His father was a great chieftain at the time of the building of the Tower of Babel. His father had one brother who was Abraham's ancestor. The tribes of these two brothers generally intermarried. Job's first wife was of the tribe of Peleg: after many adventures, when he was living in his third home, he married three more wives of the same tribe. One of them bore him a son whose daughter married into the tribe of Peleg and gave birth to Abraham's mother. Job was thus the great-grandfather of Abraham's mother. Job's father was called Joktan, a son of Eber. He lived to the north of the Caspian Sea, near a mountain range one side of which is quite warm, while the other is cold and ice-covered. There were elephants in that country. I do not think elephants could have gone to the place where Job first went to set up his own tribe, for it was very swampy there. That place was to the north of a mountain range lying between two seas, the westernmost of which was before the Flood a high mountain inhabited by evil angels by whom men were possessed. [173] The country there was poor and marshy; I think it is now inhabited by a race with small eyes, flat noses, and high cheek-bones. It was here that Job's first misfortune befell him, and he then moved southwards to the Caucasus and began his life again. From here he made a great expedition to Egypt, a land which at that time was ruled by foreign kings belonging to a shepherd people from Job's fatherland. One of these came from Job's own country; another came from the farthest country of the three holy kings. They ruled over only a part of Egypt, and were later driven out by an Egyptian king. [174] At one time there was a great number of these shepherd people all collected together in one city; they had migrated to Egypt from their own country.

The king of these shepherds from Job's country desired a wife for his son from his family's tribe in the Caucasus, and Job brought this royal bride (who was related to him) to Egypt with a great following. He had thirty camels with him, and many menservants and rich presents. He was still young--a tall man of a pleasing yellow-brown color, with reddish hair. The people in Egypt were dirty brown in color. At that time Egypt was not thickly populated; only here and there were large masses of people. There were no great buildings either; these did not appear until the time of the children of Israel.

The king showed Job great honor, and was unwilling to let him go away again. He was very anxious for him to emigrate to Egypt with his whole tribe, and appointed as his dwelling-place the city where afterwards the Holy Family lived, which was then quite different. Job remained five years in Egypt, and I saw that he lived in the same place where the Holy Family lived, and that God showed him that spring. When performing his religious ceremonies, he made sacrifice on the great stone.

Job was to be sure a heathen, but he was an upright man who acknowledged the true God and worshipped Him as the Creator of all that he saw in nature, the stars, and the ever-changing light. He was never tired of speaking with God of His wonderful creations. He worshipped none of the horrible figures of beasts adored by the other races of mankind in his time, but had thought out for himself a representation of the true God. This was a small figure of a man with rays round its head, and I think it had wings. Its hands were clasped under its breast, and bore a globe on which was a ship on waves. Perhaps it was meant to represent the Flood. When performing his religious ceremonies he burnt grains before this little figure. Figures of this kind were afterwards introduced into Egypt, sitting in a kind of pulpit with a canopy above.

Job found a terrible form of idolatry here in this city, descending from the heathen magical rites practiced at the building of the Tower of Babel. They had an idol with a broad ox's head, rising to a point at the top. Its mouth was open, and behind its head were twisted horns. Its body was hollow, fire was made in it, and live children were thrust into its glowing arms. I saw something being taken out of holes in its body. The people here were horrible, and the land was full of dreadful beasts. Great black creatures with fiery manes flew about in swarms, scattering what seemed like fire as they flew. They poisoned everything in their path, and the trees withered away under them. I saw other animals with long hind-legs and short fore-legs, like moles; they could leap from roof to roof. Then there were frightful creatures lurking in hollows and between stones, which wound themselves round men and strangled them. In the Nile I saw a heavy, awkward beast with hideous teeth and thick black feet. It was the size of a horse and had something pig-like about it. Besides these I saw many other ugly creatures; but the people here were much more horrible than any of them. Job, whom I saw clearing the evil beasts from around his dwelling by his prayers, had such a horror of these godless folk that he often broke out in loud reproaches of them, saying that he would rather live with all these dreadful beasts than with the infamous inhabitants of this land. I often saw him at sunrise gazing longingly towards his own country, which hay a little to the south of the farthest country of the three holy kings. Job saw prophetic pictures foreshadowing the arrival in Egypt of the children of Israel; he also had visions of the salvation of mankind and of the trials that awaited himself. He would not be persuaded to stay in Egypt, and at the end of five years he and his companions left the country.

There were intervals of calm between the great misfortunes that befell Job: the first interval lasted nine years, the second seven, and the third twelve. The words in the Book of Job: "And while he (the messenger of evil) was yet speaking" mean "This misfortune of his was still the talk of the people when the following befell him." [175] His misfortunes came upon him in three different places. The last calamity--and also the restoration of all his prosperity--happened when he was hiving in a flat country directly to the east of Jericho. Incense and myrrh were found here, and there was also a gold-mine with smithies. At another time I saw much more about Job, which I will tell later. For the present I will only say that Job's story of himself and of his talking with God were written down at his dictation by two trusty servants of his, like treasurers. Their names were Hai and Uis or Ois. [176] This story was preserved by his descendants as a sacred treasure, and was handed down from generation to generation until it reached Abraham and his sons. It was used for purposes of instruction, and came into Egypt with the children of Israel. Moses used it to comfort and console the Israelites during the Egyptian oppression and their journey through the desert, but in a summarized version, for it was originally of much greater length, and a great deal of it would have been incomprehensible to them. Solomon again remodeled it, so that it is a religious work full of the wisdom of Job, Moses, and Solomon. It was difficult to recognize the true history of Job from it, for the names of persons and places had been changed to ones nearer Canaan, and it was thought that Job was an Edomite because the last place where he lived was inhabited long after his death by Edomites, the descendants of Esau. Job might still have been alive when Abraham was born.











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