Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
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"
3. not inferior--not vanquished in argument and "wisdom"
such things as these--such commonplace maxims as you so pompously
4. The unfounded accusations of Job's friends were a "mockery" of
him. He alludes to Zophar's word, "mockest"
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
"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
7, 8. Beasts, birds, fishes, and plants, reasons Job, teach that
the violent live the most securely
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"
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
10. the soul--that is, the animal life. Man, reasons Job, is subjected
to the same laws as the lower animals.
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
is in reference to Bildad's appeal to the "ancients"
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 mine.
13. In contrast to, "with the ancient is wisdom"
Job quotes a saying of the ancients which suits his argument, "with Him
(God) is (the true) wisdom"
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
The Mohammedan saying is, "if God will, and how God will."
14. shutteth up--
Job refers to Zophar's "shut up"
15. Probably alluding to the flood.
18. He looseth the bond of kings--He looseth the authority of
kings--the "bond" with which they bind their subjects
a girdle--the cord, with which they are bound as captives, instead
of the royal "girdle" they once wore
and the bond they once bound others with. So "gird"--put on one the
bonds of a prisoner instead of the ordinary girdle
19. princes--rather, "priests," as the Hebrew is rendered
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 [UMBREIT].
20. the trusty--rather, "those secure in their eloquence"; for example,
the speakers in the gate
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
quotes, in its first clause, this verse and, in its second,
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 people.
Ps 107:38, 39,
which Psalm quotes this chapter elsewhere. (See on
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.
again quote Job, but in a different connection.