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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Job 12

 

 

Verses 1-25


Job's Third Speech (Job 12-14)

The friends have said God is wise and mighty. Job replies, 'I know that as well as you. You infer that He is also righteous, but experience shows that His power and wisdom are directed to unrighteous ends.' But it is with God rather than with them that he wishes to argue, and come what may he will utter all he feels. He challenges God to name his sins, presses man's hopeless destiny as a reason for God's pity, longs that God might shelter him out of reach of His anger, till it has passed away, and then renew His communion with him, but closes again on the note of man's hopeless fate. The thought that God might take Job's part against Himself here comes to expression.

1-12. Job sarcastically praises the wisdom of the friends, which, however, is not greater than his own, or indeed than any one may learn from God's creation and government of the world. It is easy to mock one who is down: yet the prosperity of the wicked is a fact as patent as the wisdom and power of God.

2. A sarcastic allusion to the omniscience of the friends: Ye are the people the only wise ones.

4. Who calleth] RV 'A man that called.' Job complains that he, a servant of God, has become the subject of mockery.

5. RV 'In the thought of him that is at ease there is contempt for misfortune; it is ready for them whose foot slippeth.' An allusion to the way his friends treat him now that he is in trouble. How easy to despise the man who is down! 6. The wicked, on the other hand, seem to fare better than the good. Into whose hand, etc] Another rendering is, 'Who bears (his) god in his hand'; i.e. who regards his sword as his god: cp. Habakkuk 1:11-16.

7. Even the animals know the commonplaces that constitute the friends' stock of wisdom.

9. In all these] among all these creatures. The lord] see on Job 1:21. Hath wrought this] i.e. orders all things.

11, 12. 'I test your arguments as the palate tests its food; the aged are not necessarily wise.'

11. And the mouth, etc.] RV 'Even as the palate tasteth its meat.'

12. RM 'With aged men, ye say, is wisdom.' Job is not stating his own views.

13-25. With God are wisdom and might, no one can reverse His actions. The mightiest are overthrown by Him, and He takes away the understanding of the wise.

13. With him] viz. God. Absolute power and wisdom are inherent in God, not acquired by pains and years as man acquires such power and wisdom as he possesses.

14. The impotence of man in the hands of the Almighty.

Shutteth up a man] e.g. in prison.

16. Are his] exist by His permission.

17. Perhaps the original text meant 'He sends mad counsellors.'

18. God sets kings free, or imprisons them according to His will.

19. Princes] RV 'priests.' Perhaps, 'He sends mad priests and perverts the mighty.'

22. 'The v. means that God through His wisdom sees into the profoundest and darkest deeps, and brings what is hidden to light' (Davidson).

23. Straiteneth them again] RM 'leadeth them away into captivity.'

24. Wilderness] The Heb. is used of the primeval chaos of Genesis 1:2.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/job-12.html. 1909.

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