Job 12:1-14:22. Job's Reply to
2. wisdom shall die with you—Ironical,
as if all the wisdom in the world was concentrated in them and would
expire when they expired. Wisdom makes "a people:" a foolish nation is
"not a people" (Ro 10:19).
3. not inferior—not vanquished in
argument and "wisdom" (Job 13:2).
such things as these—such commonplace
maxims as you so pompously adduce.
4. The unfounded accusations of Job's friends
were a "mockery" of him. He alludes to Zophar's word, "mockest" (Job 11:3).
neighbour, who calleth,
&c.—rather, "I who call upon God that he may
answer me favorably" [Umbreit].
5. Rather, "a torch" (lamp) is an object of
contempt in the thoughts of him who rests securely (is at ease), though
it was prepared for the falterings of the feet [Umbreit] (Pr 25:19).
"Thoughts" and "feet" are in contrast; also rests "securely," and
"falterings." The wanderer, arrived at his night-quarters,
contemptuously throws aside the torch which had guided his uncertain
steps through the darkness. As the torch is to the wanderer, so Job to
his friends. Once they gladly used his aid in their need; now they in
prosperity mock him in his need.
6. Job shows that the matter of fact
opposes Zophar's theory (Job 11:14, 19, 20) that wickedness causes insecurity in
men's "tabernacles." On the contrary, they who rob the "tabernacles"
("dwellings") of others "prosper securely" in their own.
into whose hand, &c.—rather, "who
make a god of their own hand," that is, who regard their might as their
only ruling principle [Umbreit].
7, 8. Beasts, birds, fishes, and plants,
reasons Job, teach that the violent live the most securely (Job 12:6). The vulture lives more securely
than the dove, the lion than the ox, the shark than the dolphin, the
rose than the thorn which tears it.
8. speak to the earth—rather, "the
shrubs of the earth" [Umbreit].
9. In all these cases, says Job, the agency
must be referred to Jehovah, though they may seem to man to imply
imperfection (Job 12:6; 9:24). This is the only undisputed passage of
the poetical part in which the name "Jehovah" occurs; in the historical
parts it occurs frequently.
10. the soul—that is, the animal life.
Man, reasons Job, is subjected to the same laws as the lower
11. As the mouth by tasting meats selects what
pleases it, so the ear tries the words of others and retains what is
convincing. Each chooses according to his taste. The connection with
12:12 is in reference to
Bildad's appeal to the "ancients" (Job 8:8). You are right in appealing to them,
since "with them was wisdom," &c. But you select such proverbs of
theirs as suit your views; so I may borrow from the same such as suit
12. ancient—aged (Job 15:10).
13. In contrast to, "with the ancient is
wisdom" (Job 12:12),
Job quotes a saying of the ancients which suits his argument, "with Him
(God) is (the true) wisdom" (Pr 8:14); and
by that "wisdom and strength" "He breaketh down," &c., as an
absolute Sovereign, not allowing man to penetrate His mysteries; man's
part is to bow to His unchangeable decrees (Job 1:21). The Mohammedan saying is, "if God
will, and how God will."
14. shutteth up—(Isa 22:22). Job refers to Zophar's "shut up"
15. Probably alluding to the flood.
16. (Eze 14:9).
18. He looseth the bond of kings—He
looseth the authority of kings—the "bond" with which they bind
their subjects (Isa 45:1; Ge 14:4; Da 2:21).
a girdle—the cord, with which
they are bound as captives, instead of the royal "girdle" they once
22:21), and the bond they
once bound others with. So "gird"—put on one the bonds of a
prisoner instead of the ordinary girdle (Joh 21:18).
19. princes—rather, "priests," as the
Hebrew is rendered (Ps 99:6).
Even the sacred ministers of religion are not exempt from reverses and
the mighty—rather, "the firm-rooted in
power"; the Arabic root expresses ever-flowing water
20. the trusty—rather, "those secure in
their eloquence"; for example, the speakers in the gate (Isa 3:3) [Beza].
understanding—literally, "taste," that
is, insight or spiritual discernment, which experience gives the aged.
The same Hebrew word is applied to Daniel's wisdom in
interpretation (Da 2:14).
21. Ps 107:40
quotes, in its first clause, this verse and, in its second, Job 12:24.
weakeneth the strength—literally,
"looseth the girdle"; Orientals wear flowing garments; when active
strength is to be put forth, they gird up their garments with a girdle.
Hence here—"He destroyeth their power" in the eyes of the
22. (Da 2:22).
23. Isa 9:3; Ps 107:38, 39, which Psalm quotes this chapter
elsewhere. (See on Job 12:21).
straiteneth—literally, "leadeth in,"
that is, "reduces."
wander in a wilderness—figurative; not
referring to any actual fact. This cannot be quoted to prove Job lived
after Israel's wanderings in the desert. Ps 107:4, 40 quotes this passage.
25. De 28:29; Ps 107:27 again quote Job, but in a different