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Bible Commentaries

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Job 12

 

 

Verse 1

"And with you wisdom will die!" The arguments from Job"s friends have not silenced him, in fact this speech is the longest thus far. Job ridicules their claim to wisdom, "He sarcastically responded to Zophar"s snidely calling him a stupid donkey (11:12) by saying that they thought they were so smart that when they would die all wisdom would be gone!" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 733).


Verse 3

Though Job is suffering, he can still think, and he was not inferior to them in wisdom (13:2). In fact, the things that they said about God and His justice and wisdom were simply common knowledge, "who does not know such things as these?" "After all, he was a wise man of the East, too" (Zuck p. 55).


Verse 4

Job has looked for sympathy but received scorn. "Their inflexible approach to justice that God always blesses the upright does not fit the facts. Job illustrated his point in several ways. First he cited his own case" (Zuck p. 56). "Job resents the grounds on which Zophar has made him an inferior. First, he says that he is mocked and made a laughing-stock by his friends because he dares to ask God why he suffers when he is just and blameless" (McKenna p. 110).


Verse 5

Job also resents his "comfortable" friends telling him how to handle adversity. "It seemed so unfair, Job observed, for men at ease (like the three advisers!) to have such an attitude toward his misfortune" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 733). "A certain ghoulish glee always attends the downfall of the high and mighty" (McKenna p. 110).


Verse 6

Despite what his friends have said in the real world sinners do prosper. This is his second line of evidence, robbers and God-haters who prosper and are secure.


Verse 7

Here is the third line of evidence, even animals know that calamities come from God"s hand. Zophar had called Job a stupid donkey, and now Job responds by telling Zophar that that he needs to learn from the animals.


Verse 8

"Job said that all of them were smarter than Zophar, knowing that calamities come from God"s hand, not necessarily from one"s sin. They also know that their very breath comes from God"s hand" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 734).


Verse 11

Job could see through their faulty arguments just as his tongue tasted food.


Verse 12

Is Job here agreeing with Bildad (8:8-10), quoting him or giving a sarcastic comment? "Some feel that Job is presenting a contrast between the shallow wisdom of the aged men, the traditional of the day, and that of God"s sovereign wisdom as demonstrated in world affairs. Others suggest that these passages (13-25) are further sarcastic affirmations of the patriarch in which he seems to be saying that the world is filled with outrageous acts of divine intervention; who, therefore, knows what God is doing?" (Jackson p. 42). "Added to my experience, the case of wicked robbers, and the experience of animals is a fourth illustration: many kinds of leaders are destroyed by God" (Zuck p. 56).


Verse 13

"God"s destructive powers are irreversible. If He tears down, "it cannot be rebuilt", and if He imprisons someone, he cannot escape. When He holds back waters, there is drought, and if He releases the waters they flood the earth. Captives and captors alike are both under His control. He conquers, puts down, and reverses the fortunes of counselors, judges, kings, priests, "the secure ones" (i.e., well-established officials), "the trusted ones, elders, nobles, and the strong"-those who are the very foundations of justice and order in government, court, and temple. God is also sovereign over entire nations. He makes them great and destroys them; He spreads them out (i.e., causes their territory to extend) and leads them away as captives. All the above-mentioned human leaders are supposed to give light and security to others by their counsel and leadership. But in contrast to God, they are in darkness. Only He can reveal mysteries from the darkness and bring to light what is in the deep darkness. Is this an answer to Zophar"s question "Can you discover the depths of God?" (11:7). If so, Job"s response is that he cannot comprehend the infinite ways of God, but neither can Zophar! If man is ever to understand anything of what is incomprehensibly dark, God must take the initiative in revealing it to him. Job said that God can deprive chiefs of their intelligence, even giving them such confusion that they stagger in the wasteland, grope in darkness , and stagger like drunken men. What a picture of the directionless and unintelligible stupor of leaders who are objects of God"s destructive powers. And how cleverly Job demolished his counselors" counsel: If their theological system were followed, then all the world"s authorities ought to be blessed by God. But history destroys that logic, as Job has just shown" (Zuck pp. 56-57).

 


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Bibliography Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-12.html. 1999-2014.

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