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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Job 12



Verse 11


‘Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?’

Job 12:11

I. There is no appeal from the verdict of our palate.—We know in a moment whether a substance is sweet or bitter, palatable or disagreeable. Now, what the taste is to articles of diet, that the ear is to words, whether of God or man. Especially we can tell in a moment whether the fire of inspiration is burning in them. This is the test which Job proposed to apply to the words of his friends, and all of us may apply to Holy Scripture.

II. The humble student of the Word of God is sometimes much perplexed and cast down by the assaults which are made on it by scholars and teachers, who do not scruple to question the authorship and authority of large tracts of Scripture.—To all these we may apply the test of the purged ear, and it will detect a certain quality in the Bible which is absent everywhere beside. There is a tone in the voice of Scripture which the child of God must recognise. God is speaking in the prophets, as He spake in His Son. Hearken, ‘the Holy Ghost saith.’ This is the interesting characteristic in the quotations made in the New Testament from the Old. All the writers in the later Revelation detect the voice of God in the old; to them it is the Divine utterance through holy lips.

III. Ask that the Lord may touch your ears, that they may discern by a swift intuition the voice of the Good Shepherd from that of strangers.—It is one of the characteristics of His sheep that they know His voice, and follow Him, whilst they flee from the voice of strangers.


‘The things which give us most evidence of God are just the dark things of life; this was the experience of the man who, of all others, knew most of life’s dark things. And what Job learned by his sorrow we are all learning—that the cross is our crown, that the rejected stone is the head of the corner. Thou art seeking light on the life beyond the grave—light that shall dispel the gloom of death and turn back its shadow. But it does not occur to thee that the shadow of death is itself to be the light that thou seekest. “He bringeth out to light the shadow of death,” says Job—causes illumination to come from the very source which threatened to shut it out for ever. It is from thy vision of death that there comes to thee the clearest sight thou hast of immortality.’


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Job 12:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

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