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Verse 19. For the wisdom of this world. That which is esteemed to be wisdom by the men of this world on the subject of religion. It does not mean that true wisdom is foolishness with him. It does not mean that science, and prudence, and law—that the knowledge of his works—that astronomy, and medicine, and chemistry, are regarded by him as folly, and as unworthy the attention of men. God is the Friend of truth, on all subjects; and he requires us to become acquainted with his works, and commends those who search them, Ps 92:4; 111:2. But the apostle refers here to that which was esteemed to be wisdom among the ancients, and in which they so much prided themselves—their vain, self-confident, and false opinions on the subject of religion; and especially those opinions when they were opposed to the simple but sublime truths of revelation. See Barnes "1 Co 1:20,21".


Is foolishness with God. Is esteemed by him to be folly. See Barnes "1 Co 1:20-24".


For it is written", etc. Job 5:13. The word rendered "taketh," here denotes to clench with the fist, gripe, grasp. And the sense is,

(1.) however crafty, or cunning, or skilful they may be, however self-confident, yet that they cannot deceive or impose upon God. He can thwart their plans, overthrow their schemes, defeat their counsels, mid foil them in their enterprises, Job 5:12.

(2.) He does it by their own cunning or craftiness. He allows them to involve themselves in difficulties, or to entangle each other. He makes use of even their own craft and cunning to defeat their counsels. He allows the plans of one wise man to come in conflict with those of another, and thus to destroy one another. Honesty in religion, as in everything else, is the best policy; and a man who pursues a course of conscientious integrity may expect the protection of God; but he who attempts to carry his purposes by craft and intrigue— who depends on skill and cunning, instead of truth and honesty— will often find that he is the prey of his own cunning and duplicity.

{a} "it is written" Job 5:13

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