Job 21:1-34. Job's
2. consolations—If you will listen
calmly to me, this will be regarded as "consolations"; alluding to
Eliphaz' boasted "consolations" (Job 15:11), which Job felt more as aggravations
("mockings," Job 21:3)
than consolations (Job 16:2).
3. literally, "Begin your mockings"
4. Job's difficulty was not as to man,
but as to God, why He so afflicted him, as if he were the guilty
hypocrite which the friends alleged him to be. Vulgate
translates it, "my disputation."
if it were—rather, "since this is the
5. lay … hand upon …
mouth—(Pr 30:32; Jud 18:19). So the heathen god of silence was
pictured with his hand on his mouth. There was enough in Job's case to
awe them into silence (Job 17:8).
6. remember—Think on it. Can you wonder
that I broke out into complaints, when the struggle was not with men,
but with the Almighty? Reconcile, if you can, the ceaseless woes of the
innocent with the divine justice! Is it not enough to make one tremble?
7. The answer is Ro 2:4; 1Ti 1:16; Ps 73:18; Ec 8:11-13;
Lu 2:35-end; Pr 16:4; Ro 9:22.
old—in opposition to the friends who
asserted that sinners are "cut off" early (Job 8:12, 14).
8. In opposition to Job 18:19;
9. Literally, "peace from fear"; with poetic
force. Their house is peace itself, far removed from fear.
Opposed to the friends' assertion, as to the bad (Job
15:21-24; 20:26-28), and
conversely, the good (Job 5:23, 24).
10. Rather, "their cattle conceive." The first
clause of the verse describes an easy conception, the second, a
happy birth [Umbreit].
11. send forth—namely, out of doors, to
their happy sports under the skies, like a joyful flock sent to the
little ones—like lambkins.
children—somewhat older than the
dance—not formal dances; but skip,
like lambs, in joyous and healthful play.
12. take—rather, "lift up the voice"
(sing) to the note of [Umbreit].
organ—not the modern "organ," but the
4:21). The first clause
refers to stringed, the latter, to wind instruments; thus, with "the
voice" all kinds of music are enumerated.
13. wealth—Old English Version
in a moment—not by a lingering
disease. Great blessings! Lengthened life with prosperity, and a sudden
painless death (Ps 73:4).
14. Therefore—rather, "And yet
they are such as say," &c., that is, say, not in so many words, but
virtually, by their conduct (so the Gergesenes, Mt 8:34). How differently the godly (Isa 2:3).
ways—The course of action, which God
points out; as in Ps 50:23,
15. (Compare Jer 2:20; Pr 30:9, Margin, Ex 5:2).
35:3; Mal 3:14; Ps 73:13).
Sinners ask, not what is right, but what is for the profit of
self. They forget, "If religion cost self something, the want of it
will cost self infinitely more."
16. not in their hand—but in the hand of
God. This is Job's difficulty, that God who has sinners prosperity
(good) in His hand should allow them to have it.
is—rather, "may the counsel of the
wicked be far from me!" [Umbreit]. This
naturally follows the sentiment of the first clause: Let me not hereby
be thought to regard with aught but horror the ways of the wicked,
17. Job in this whole passage down to Job
21:21 quotes the assertion of
the friends, as to the short continuance of the sinner's prosperity,
not his own sentiments. In Job 21:22 he
proceeds to refute them. "How oft is the candle" (lamp), &c.,
quoting Bildad's sentiment (Job 18:5, 6), in order to question its truth
how oft—"God distributeth," &c.
(alluding to Job 20:23, 29).
sorrows—Umbreit translates "snares," literally, "cords,"
which lightning in its twining motion resembles (Ps 11:6).
18. Job alludes to a like sentiment of Bildad
18:18), using his own
previous words (Job 13:25).
19. Equally questionable is the friends'
assertion that if the godless himself is not punished, the children are
18:19; 20:10); and that
God rewardeth him here for his iniquity, and that he shall
know it to his cost. So "know" (Ho 9:7).
20. Another questionable assertion of the
friends, that the sinner sees his own and his children's destruction in
drink—(Ps 11:6; Isa 51:17; La
21. The argument of the friends, in proof of
21:20, What pleasure can he
have from his house (children) when he is dead—("after him,"
when the number, &c.—Or, rather,
"What hath he to do with his children?" &c. (so the Hebrew
3:1; 8:6). It is therefore
necessary that "his eyes should see his and their
destruction" (see Job 14:21).
cut off—rather, when the number of his
allotted months is fulfilled (Job 14:5). From an Arabic word, "arrow,"
which was used to draw lots with. Hence "arrow"—inevitable
22. Reply of Job, "In all these assertions you
try to teach God how He ought to deal with men, rather than
prove that He does in fact so deal with them. Experience is
against you. God gives prosperity and adversity as it pleases Him, not
as man's wisdom would have it, on principles inscrutable to us" (Isa
40:13; Ro 11:34).
those … high—the high ones, not
only angels, but men (Isa 2:12-17).
23. Literally, "in the bone of his
perfection," that is, the full strength of unimpaired prosperity [Umbreit].
24. breasts—rather, "skins," or
"vessels" for fluids [Lee]. But [Umbreit] "stations or resting-places of his
herds near water"; in opposition to Zophar (Job 20:17); the first clause refers to his
abundant substance, the second to his vigorous health.
moistened—comparing man's body to a
well-watered field (Pr 3:8; Isa 58:11).
26. (Ec 9:2).
27. Their wrongful thoughts against Job are
stated by him in Job 21:28.
They do not honestly name Job, but insinuate his
28. ye say—referring to Zophar (Job 20:7).
the house—referring to the fall of the
house of Job's oldest son (Job 1:19) and the destruction of his
prince—The parallel "wicked" in the
second clause requires this to be taken in a bad sense, tyrant,
oppressor (Isa 13:2),
the same Hebrew, "nobles"—oppressors.
dwelling-places—rather, "pavilions," a
tent containing many dwellings, such as a great emir, like Job, with
many dependents, would have.
29. Job, seeing that the friends will not
admit him as an impartial judge, as they consider his calamities prove
his guilt, begs them to ask the opinion of travellers (La 1:12), who have the experience drawn from
observation, and who are no way connected with him. Job opposes this to
8:8) and Zophar (Job 20:4).
tokens—rather, "intimations" (for
example, inscriptions, proverbs, signifying the results of their
observation), testimony. Literally, "signs" or proofs in confirmation
of the word spoken (Isa 7:11).
30. Their testimony (referring perhaps to
those who had visited the region where Abraham who enjoyed a revelation
then lived) is that "the wicked is (now) spared (reserved) against the
day of destruction (hereafter)." The Hebrew does not so well
agree with [Umbreit] "in the day of
destruction." Job does not deny sinners' future punishment, but
their punishment in this life. They have their "good things"
now. Hereafter, their lot, and that of the godly, shall be
reversed (Lu 16:25).
Job, by the Spirit, often utters truths which solve the difficulty
under which he labored. His afflictions mostly clouded his faith, else
he would have seen the solution furnished by his own words. This
answers the objection, that if he knew of the resurrection in Job 19:25, and future retribution (Job 21:30), why did he not draw his
reasonings elsewhere from them, which he did not? God's righteous
government, however, needs to be vindicated as to this life
also, and therefore the Holy Ghost has caused the argument mainly to
turn on it at the same time giving glimpses of a future fuller
vindication of God's ways.
brought forth—not "carried away safe"
or "escape" (referring to this life), as Umbreit has it.
wrath—literally, "wraths," that is,
multiplied and fierce wrath.
31. That is, who dares to charge him openly
with his bad ways? namely, in this present life. He shall, I grant
21:30), be "repaid"
32. Yet—rather, "and."
brought—with solemn pomp (Ps 45:15).
grave—literally, "graves"; that is,
the place where the graves are.
remain in—rather, watch on the
tomb, or sepulchral mound. Even after death he seems still to live and
watch (that is, have his "remembrance" preserved) by means of the
monument over the grave. In opposition to Bildad (Job 18:17).
33. As the classic saying has it, "The earth
is light upon him." His repose shall be "sweet."
draw—follow. He shall share the common
lot of mortals; no worse off than they (Heb 9:27). Umbreit
not so well (for it is not true of "every man"). "Most
men follow in his bad steps, as countless such preceded him."
"transgression." Your boasted "consolations" (Job 15:11) are contradicted by facts ("vain");
they therefore only betray your evil intent ("wickedness")