Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
2. consolations--If you will listen calmly to me, this will be
regarded as "consolations"; alluding to Eliphaz' boasted "consolations"
which Job felt more as aggravations ("mockings,"
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 case."
5. lay . . . hand upon . . . mouth--
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
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
old--in opposition to the friends who asserted that sinners are "cut
(Job 8:12, 14).
8. In opposition to
Job 18:19; 5:4.
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
11. send forth--namely, out of doors, to their happy sports under
the skies, like a joyful flock sent to the pastures.
little ones--like lambkins.
children--somewhat older than the former.
dance--not formal dances; but skip, like lambs, in joyous and
12. take--rather, "lift up the voice" (sing) to the note of
organ--not the modern "organ," but the "pipe"
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 for "prosperity."
in a moment--not by a lingering disease. Great blessings! Lengthened
life with prosperity, and a sudden painless death
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,
How differently the godly
ways--The course of action, which God points out; as in
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!"
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, however prosperous.
17. Job in this whole passage down to
quotes the assertion of the friends, as to the short continuance of the
sinner's prosperity, not his own sentiments. In
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 (compare
how oft--"God distributeth," &c. (alluding to
Job 20:23, 29).
sorrows--UMBREIT translates "snares," literally, "cords," which
lightning in its twining motion resembles
18. Job alludes to a like sentiment of Bildad
using his own previous words
19. Equally questionable is the friends' assertion that if the
godless himself is not punished, the children are
(Job 18:19; 20:10);
and that God rewardeth him here for his iniquity, and that he
shall know it to his cost. So "know"
20. Another questionable assertion of the friends, that the sinner
sees his own and his children's destruction in his lifetime.
21. The argument of the friends, in proof of
What pleasure can he have from his house (children) when he is
when the number, &c.--Or, rather, "What hath he to do with his
children?" &c. (so the Hebrew in
Ec 3:1; 8:6).
It is therefore necessary that "his eyes should see his
and their destruction" (see
cut off--rather, when the number of his allotted months is
From an Arabic word, "arrow," which was used to draw lots with.
Hence "arrow"--inevitable destiny [UMBREIT].
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"
those . . . high--the high ones, not only angels, but men
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
the first clause refers to his abundant substance, the second to his
moistened--comparing man's body to a well-watered field
27. Their wrongful thoughts against Job are stated by him in
They do not honestly name Job, but insinuate his
28. ye say--referring to Zophar
the house--referring to the fall of the house of Job's oldest son
and the destruction of his family.
prince--The parallel "wicked" in the second clause requires this to
be taken in a bad sense, tyrant, oppressor
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
who have the experience drawn from observation, and who are no way
connected with him. Job opposes this to Bildad
tokens--rather, "intimations" (for example, inscriptions, proverbs,
signifying the results of their observation), testimony. Literally,
"signs" or proofs in confirmation of the word spoken
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
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
and future retribution
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
be "repaid" hereafter.
32. Yet--rather, "and."
brought--with solemn pomp
grave--literally, "graves"; that is, the place where the graves
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
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
UMBREIT not so well (for it is not true of
"every man"). "Most men follow in his bad steps, as
countless such preceded him."
34. falsehood--literally, "transgression." Your boasted "consolations"
are contradicted by facts ("vain"); they therefore only betray your
evil intent ("wickedness") against me.