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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 15

 

 

Verse 1

Job 15:1 Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,

Ver. 1. Then answered Eliphaz, the Temanite, and said] Lapides locutus est. In this second encounter Eliphaz falls upon Job, not so much with stronger arguments as with harder words; reproving him sharply, or rather reproaching him bitterly, Facundia quadam canina, with more eloquence than charity. So hard a thing is it, saith Beza, especially in disputing and reasoning, to avoid self-love, as even in these times experience daily teacheth us. He hinteth, I suppose, at the public conference between himself and Jacobus Andreas at Mompelgard, whereby the strife was rather stirred than stinted, as Thuanus complaineth (Lib. 35, Hist.); or else at the disputation at Possiacum, wherein Beza, speaker for the Protestant party (before the queen mother of France, the young King Charles, and many princes of the blood), entering into the matter of the Eucharist, spake with such heat (unless the historian wrongs him), that he gave but ill satisfaction to those of his own side, so that he was commanded to conclude. Such meetings are seldom successful, saith Luther, because men come with confidence and wit for victory rather than verity. In this reply of Eliphaz to Job we may see what an evil thing it is to be carried away with prejudice and pertinance, which make a man forget all modesty, and fall foul upon his best friends. Here is enough said to have driven this sorrowfull man into utter despair, had not God upheld his spirit, while he is fiercely charged for a wicked man, and hated of God; neither doth any of his friends henceforth afford him one exhortation to repentance, or one comfortable promise, as Lavater well observeth, Non affert ullam consolationem, non invitat eum ad poenitentiam; sed potius ad desperationem compellat.


Verse 2

Job 15:2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?

Ver. 2. Should a wise man utter vain knowledge] Heb. Knowledge of the wind; light, frothy, empty discourses, that have no tack or substance in them, but only words that are no better than wind, a mere flash or airy nothing. Solomon thinks a wise man should beware of falling into this fault, lest he forfeit his reputation: Ecclesiastes 10:1, "Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour"; as spots are soonest observed in the whitest and finest garments; and envy, like worms and moths, doth usually feed on the purest cloth. A great many dead flies may be found in a tar box, and no harm done, but one of them fallen into a pot of sweet odours, or precious perfumes, may soon taint and corrupt them.

And fill his belly with the east wind?] Per ventrem, mentem intellige, et per ventum Orientalem, vanam opinionem, saith Vatablus. By belly understand the mind, and by the east wind a vain conceit, or frothy knowledge, blown forth out of a swelling breast, to the hurt of others; for the east wind is destructive to herbs and fruits, Hosea 12:1, Genesis 41:6. But doth not Eliphaz here by these bubble of words and blustering questions, betraying much choler and confidence, fall into the very same fault which he findeth with Job; doth not he also fill his belly with heat (so the Vulgate rendereth this text), which, kindling in his bosom, blazeth out at his lips? Doth not this angry man exalt folly, and show himself none of the wisest, though he were the oldest in all the company.


Verse 3

Job 15:3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?

Ver. 3. Should he reason with unprofitable talk?] Why? But if he do, should he, therefore, be thus rippled up, and roughly hewen? And not rather reduced and rectified with hard arguments and soft words? Man is a cross crabbed creature: Duci vult, trahi non vult, Persuade him you may; compel him you cannot. A fit time also must be taken to persuade him to better, for else you may lose your sweet words upon him. The husbandman soweth not in a storm; the mariner hoisteth not sail in every wind; good physicians evacuate not the body in extremity of heat and cold. "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city," Proverbs 18:19. This Eliphaz should have considered, and not so rashly censured Job for a fool, and his talk for trash, but rather handled him tenderly, considering his condition, and desired him to explain such of his speeches as he thought not so well and wisely uttered.

Or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?] This is but the same with the former; and indeed this whole verse is but a saying of that plainly which in the foregoing verse he had said figuratively.


Verse 4

Job 15:4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.

Ver. 4. Yea, thou casiest off fear] Heb. Thou makest void fear; that is, religion, whereof the fear of God is both the beginning, Proverbs 1:7, and the end, Ecclesiastes 12:1. This is a heavy charge indeed; as if Job, by saying the extreme miseries of this life are common to the godly and the wicked, had by consequence taught men to cast off all religion as unprofitable, which none but such a shameless man as thyself, saith Eliphaz, would ever have averred. It cannot be denied but that Job, through the bitterness of his grief and the unreasonableness of his adversaries, was sometimes carried beyond the bounds of that reverence which is due unto God, and reasoneth the matter somewhat hotly with God; but that thereby he betrayed his manifest contempt of his majesty, casting off all awful regard and recourse thereto by prayer, as the wicked, who call not upon God, Psalms 14:4, this was a mere conjecture, or rather an unsufferable injury done to the good man, who gave sufficient testimony of his fearing God, and soon poured out his prayer in his presence. All which, notwithstanding, he heareth in the next words,

And restrainest prayer before God] Thou forbearest to pray thyself, and thou discouragest others. If this had been true it had been a foul fault indeed, for while prayer standeth still, the whole trade of godliness standeth still likewise; and to cast off prayer is to cast off God, Jeremiah 10:25. We must take heed of falling from the affections of prayer, though we continue doing the duty. As vessels of wine, when first tapped, are very smart and quick, but at last grow exceedingly flat; so do many Christians, through unbelief, and worldly cares and businesses, or domestic discords, or some other distempers, whereby prayers are hindered, 1 Peter 3:7; either they pray not frequently, or not fervently, but in a customary, formal, dull way. And this Eliphaz might suspect Job of, and assign it as the cause of all his miscarriages in word and deed. Sure it is that, as sleep composeth drunkenness, so doth prayer the affections; a man may pray himself sober again, as a reverend man (Dr Preston) gathereth out of this text.


Verse 5

Job 15:5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.

Ver. 5. For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity] Heb. Thy crooked, wry disposition, that standeth across to God and goodness, Psalms 51:5, Homo est inversus decalogus. Solomon speaketh of perverse lips, as if the upper lip stood where the nether should, Proverbs 4:24. And St Jude speaketh of hard speeches, uttered by ungodly sinners, 1:15, such as Job was none, whatever Eliphaz, by misinterpreting, made of him, wresting his words to a wrong sense, as Psalms 54:5, and, by a spiritual unmannerliness, making the worst of what he spake; there being not anything that may not be taken with the left hand. Now, if this befell Job from his friends and those godly persons, what wonder though the like, and worse, be done to us by wicked enemies?

Qui id quod boni est excerpunt, dicunt quod mali est.

Nihil est quin male narrando possit depravarier. - (Terent. Phorm.)

And thou choosest the tongue of the crafty] Than the which nothing is a greater enemy to piety, saith an interpreter. Politicians formalize and enervate the power of truth, till at length they leave us a heartless and sapless religion, saith another. Such a one Eliphaz makes Job to be: q.d. Thou wast wont to speak prayer, but now thou speakest policy, yea, Thou choosest to do it, thou lovest evil more than good, and lying rather than to speak right, Psalms 52:3. Thou hast as many turnings and windings in thy mind as the serpent hath in his body (so the Hebrew word seemeth to signify, Genesis 3:1). Thus he heighteneth his charge, and layeth on yet more load.


Verse 6

Job 15:6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.

Ver. 6. Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I] Yes, you, and none but you. Job’s heart condemneth him not (and thence his confidence toward God, 1 John 3:21), much less his mouth, had not his words been misconstrued. But as charity maketh a good sense of doubtful speeches and passages, so prejudice and displeasure takes all things (though well meant) at the worst, and as logicians do, Sequitur partem deteriorem. Eliphaz diggeth up evil, Proverbs 16:27, and is like Achilles, of whom Homer saith, that he was a great fault finder (Iliad, xi. 653).

Dεινος ανηρ, ταχα κεν και αναιτιον αιτιοωτο.

Yea, thine own lips testify against thee] Heb. Answer against thee. For witnesses ordinarily answer to interrogatories. So the pride of Israel (breaking forth as a great master pockmark in his forehead) testified to his face, Hosea 5:5, and the heretic is contemned of himself, Titus 3:11. Virtually he doth so, though not formally. But Job did neither, good Eliphaz.


Verse 7

Job 15:7 [Art] thou the first man [that] was born? or wast thou made before the hills?

Ver. 7. Art thou the first man that was born?] Or, Wast thou made before Adam? Ut vox Rishon non significet primus, sed prius (Lavat., Bucholc.). Out of the mouth of Adam, as from a fountain, flowed whatsoever profitable learning, skill, or wisdom, is found in the world, saith the divine chronologer. Job had taxed Zophar for a young puny and a novice. Job 12:9-12 This Eliphaz kindleth at, and taketh upon him to answer in Zophar’s behalf. As indeed these three speakers, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad, stood to one another, as much as any one of them did for himself, as if they had all entered bond, and given security for reciprocal assistance. Here then Eliphaz asketh, Art thou the first man born? that is, Art thou the wisest man alive? and must we all be taught by thee, as Adam’s nephews were by him, in things divine and human.

Or wast thou made before the hills?] i.e. Before the angels, as some sense it. But take it literally for the mountains, called, for their antiquity, the everlasting hills, Genesis 49:26, Habakkuk 3:6, because they were from the beginning, and shall continue to the end. These appeared first at the separation of the waters, Genesis 1:9-10. And Christ, to set forth his eternity, saith, Proverbs 8:25, "Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, was I brought forth." So Psalms 90:2.


Verse 8

Job 15:8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?

Ver. 8. Hast thou heard the secret of God?] Thus he goes on to jeer Job, and to accuse him of insolent arrogance, as if he had taken himself to be of God’s cabinet council, and so to have known more of his mind than any other. Now this never came into Job’s heart; but these hot spirited people, Biliosi et bellicosi, when their choler is once up, will not stick to say anything against another whom they desire to gall, and to make the worst of his words, when as themselves cannot take a reproof, though never so just.

And dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?] Hast thou engrossed all the wisdom in the world? and must it needs live and die with thee? Is every man a fool presently, who is not of thy mind and make? An solus sapis, ita ut te pereunte sit ipsa sapientia peritura? (Vatabl.) Epicurus indeed had such a conceit; and Pulaemen, in Suetonius, and Laurentius Valla, with some others of late: but Job was far from it, as appeareth by his many self-abasing expressions; and it had been well for him if his three friends had taken out that lesson in Wisdom’s school; viz. to judge those certain good things found in another better than they are; and certain evils, less; doubtful good things, certain; and doubtful evil things, none.


Verse 9

Job 15:9 What knowest thou, that we know not? [what] understandest thou, which [is] not in us?

Ver. 9. What knowest thou, that we know not?] Here Eliphaz inveigheth against Job’s pride, sed maiori cam fastu, but with greater pride, else what meaneth this arrogant comparison? Did not a deceived heart turn him aside, as the prophet speaketh in another case? and might it not be said of him, as it was once of Antony, That he hated a tyrant, but not tyranny. {See Trapp on "Job 12:3"} {See Trapp on "Job 13:2"}


Verse 10

Job 15:10 With us [are] both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.

Ver. 10. With us are the grayheaded, &c.] Job had said, Job 12:12, "With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days is understanding." This, though modestly spoken, yet was very ill taken; and is here replied unto with a great deal of heat. Sed ita solent importuni homines, &c., saith Mercer here; but such is the course and custom of unreasonable men, to take everything in the worst way, and to deal rather by reproaches than by reasons; as Eccius, Sanderus, Genebrardus, the whole generation of Jesuits, of whom Aurelius, the Sorbonist, saith, and truly, that they are a sort of men, qui nihil magis habent quam arrogantiam Theologicam: nihil minus possident quam Theologicam sclentiam; Arrogant and yet ignorant; for, while they think they know all things, they know nothing at all as they ought to know, 1 Corinthians 8:2. As for antiquity, here so stifity pleaded, it must have no more authority than what it can maintain. Papists boast much of it, as once the Gibeonites did of old shoes and mouldy bread. But antiquity, severed from verity, is of no value; for, as Cyprian saith well, Consuetudo mala, vetustas erroris est. And our Saviour saith not, I am custom, but, "I am the way, the truth," &c. And God saith, by the prophet Ezekiel, "Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments," &c., but, "walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them," Ezekiel 20:18-19. {See Trapp on "Job 8:8"} {See Trapp on "Job 8:9"} {See Trapp on "Job 8:10"} {See Trapp on "Job 12:12"}


Verse 11

Job 15:11 [Are] the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?

Ver. 11. Are the consolations of God] Sic fastuose suas consolationes appellat et sociorum, saith Mercer; so Eliphaz, with state enough, calleth the comforts that he and his fellows had ministered to Job, promising him mercy from God upon his sound repentance; but telling him withal, that unless he Would yield himself a hypocrite, those promises would profit him nothing at all. Had Job slighted the precious promises, those conduits of comfort, he had been much to blame, as he was, doubtless, who said, My soul refused comforts, Psalms 77:2; like some sullen child, that will not eat his milk because he hath it not in the golden dish. The soul is ready to turn the back of the hand, and not the palm, to the staff of divine consolations, saying, Oh my stubbornness, &c., and rather to shift and shirk in every by corner for comfort, than to suck it out of those breasts of consolation, and be satisfied, Isaiah 66:11. The apostle taxeth his Hebrews, that they had forgotten the consolation (so the words may be read) which spake unto them as unto children, saying, My son, &c., Hebrews 12:5-11 Wrangling with God by cavilling objections, when they should rather have wrestled with him by earnest supplications, putting the promises in suit, and drawing waters with joy out of those wells of consolation, Isaiah 12:3. Job was not altogether clear of this fault. He was so poor and sore without, and within so full of horror and terror, that he was ready, with Rachel, to refuse to be comforted. Mercies were offered unto him, but he was scarce in case to receive them. The ear, which tasteth words as the mouth doth meat, was so filled with choler, that he could hardly relish any comfort. The easiest medicines of waters are troublesome to sore eyes. The flesh with her roarings and repinings maketh such a din, that the voice of the comforter cannot well be heard in the best heart sometimes. The Spirit knocks, but there is none to open; hence he goes away grieving, and that should not be.

Is there any secret thing with thee?] Hast thou food to eat that we know not of? Are there with thee consolations of thine own better than those of God, which we have ministered unto thee? Some render it, and lieth there any hidden thing within thee? that is, either some greater and more profound wisdom than every man knoweth; or else some secret sin which must be cast out ere comforts can fasten. For as the wound cannot close and heal as long as any part of the iron weapon remaineth in it; so here in the Cordiaea passio, or passion of heart, the heart is so oppressed and overly covered, that the most refreshing cordials cannot come at it, so that it is even suffocated with sorrow. In allusion whereunto, the Church prays, Lamentations 3:65, "Give them sorrow of heart." This was Spira’s case; and for the time might be Job’s. Possibly some sin or sorrow might lie at the fouutain head, and stop the course of his comforts. This Eliphaz fisheth after, and would have found out, and remedied.


Verse 12

Job 15:12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,

Ver. 12. Why doth thine heart carry thee away?] Violently transport thee; sc. beyond all bounds of reason and modesty, Quis te furor cordis exagitat? (Pineda.) There is another charge, and higher than the former, as if he had been emotae mentis, not well in his wits, but wild and wood, as they call it; or, at least, that his passions were so far too hard for his reason, as they did

Rectam de cardine tollere mentem,

We are in no small danger of our naughty hearts. It was no ill prayer of one, Lord, keep me from that naughty man myself, Domine, libera me a malo homine, meipso. Nor was it any ill counsel of another, who said, So take heed to thyself, that thou beware of thyself, Ita cave tibi ut caveas teipsum. Though there were no devil, yet our corrupt nature would act Satan’s part against itself; it would have a supply of wickedness (as a serpent hath of poison) from itself, it hath a spring to feed it. Keep thy heart therefore with all custody, Proverbs 4:24; it will get away else, and carry thee away with it.

And what do thy eyes wink at?] Nictant, celeriter scilicet, et subtiliter. Possibly Job, through pain and anguish, might be made to wink while he was speaking to them, or they to him; and this they miscontrue as done in contempt. See Psalms 35:19. Or that he was plotting some mischief, Proverbs 10:10; Proverbs 16:30, or pretending to some extraordinary devotion, and therefore shutting his eyes, that he might be the more reserved to God. The Vulgate hath it, Why doth thine heart lift thee up? and as if thou wert thinking of some great things, why are thine eyes so set? it is for no goodness, sure.


Verse 13

Job 15:13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest [such] words go out of thy mouth?

Ver. 13. That thou turnest thy spirit against God] A foul fault surely, but merely for want of a fair interpretation. It is as if Eliphaz should have said, Thy spirit was right when thou bravely barest up under the afflicting hand of God, Job 1:13-22, but because patience hath not had her perfect work, as appeareth by thine angry expostulations, thy contesting with God, and chatting against him and his proceedings, therefore I conclude that thou art not perfect and entire, all is not right. Why doth thy spirit swell against God (so the Vulgate rendereth it)? "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him," that is certain, Habakkuk 2:4, Quid tumet contra Deum Spiritus tuus.

And lettest such words go out of thy mouth?] Contumelious and blasphemous words, not fit to be named. Bona verba, quaeso Eliphaz. True it is, Job had spoken some things more freely than was fitting, and not without a tincture of bitterness. But charity would have made the best of those speeches which you thus odiously aggravate against him; and have taught you to use the same equity toward others that you would have others use toward yourself. That faith (and so that love) is easily wrought which teacheth men to believe and think well of themselves, and worse of others. We will make a good exposition if we have but a good disposition.


Verse 14

Job 15:14 What [is] man, that he should be clean? and [he which is] born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Ver. 14. What is man, that he should be clean?] Eliphaz hath now done chiding (it is but time he should), and falls to reasoning; wherein nevertheless he showeth himself an empty and troublesome disputer, urging again the same arguments as before, Job 14:17-19, and not resting satisfied in a sufficient answer. Did Job ever assert himself clean? Said he not the clean contrary in many places? See Job 14:4. Only as washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of his God, 1 Corinthians 6:11, he discoursed of his integrity and righteousness; not denying himself otherwise tainted with original sin, and guilty of actual; which he begged pardon for; according to the tenour of the covenant of grace. And therefore Eliphaz might have spared these words, and better bestowed his pains in comforting Job, and exhorting him to patience. The Jesuits have at this day a device in handling texts of Scripture by their nice distinctions to perplex and obscure the clearest places; and for those that are doubtful, not at all to distinguish or illustrate them. Again, in points of controversy they make a great putter about that which we deny not, but say little or nothing to the main business.

Haec quae desperant renitescere posse relinquunt.


Verse 15

Job 15:15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.

Ver. 15. Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints] Here he proceedeth to prove that which Job never denied; and Bildad also hath the same, Job 25:1-6 Lege eius verba, nam non male huc quadrant, saith Lavater; lay his words to these, and they will lend light to each other. {See Trapp on "Job 4:18"} There they are called his servants, here his saints or holy ones; these were the old patriarchs, say the Septuagint, with whom God at some times was angry; and although he was a God that forgave them, yet took he vengeance of their inventions, Psalms 99:8. Others understand it to be the saints in heaven, or the holy angels.

And the heavens are not clean in his sight] Nor they of heaven be clean in his eyes, so Broughton rendereth it. The angels are called angels of heaven, Matthew 24:36, Galatians 1:8; because made with and in the highest heavens, and appointed there to inhabit. Howbeit in the apostate angels, and in heaven, God’s holy and pure eyes found uncleanness, and delivered them therefore into chains of darkness, 2 Peter 2:4. Again, to be clean in God’s sight is another manner of matter than to be simply clean; like as to be just is one thing, and to be just before God another, Luke 1:6. Sordet in conspectu iudicis quod fulget in conceptu operantis. Some understand the text to be the visible heavens, the purest of all inanimate creatures; and therefore Chrysostom, speaking of those praying saints that prayed Peter out of prison, Acts 12:12-17, saith, that they were ipso coelo puriores afflictione facti, more pure than the heavens, yet are they not pure in the sight of God, but have their spots, which we count their beauty spots.


Verse 16

Job 15:16 How much more abominable and filthy [is] man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

Ver. 16. How much more abominable and filthy is man?] And therefore abominable because filthy, or stinking and noisome, as putrefied meat is to the nose and palate. Now this is every man’s case by nature, Psalms 14:3, there being never a barrel of better herring, but all in a pickle, though few believe it. Kακοι κεν θριπες κακοι δε και ιπες. Prov. Circumcision of old taught them, that that which was begotten by that part deserved, in like sort, as abominable and accursed, to be cut off and thrown away by God. And what else doth baptism still teach us? See Colossians 2:11-13, 1 Peter 3:21. David compareth man to the beasts that perish, pecoribus morticinis, to beasts that die of the murrain, and so become carrion, and are good for nothing, Psalms 49:20 (Tremel.). He lieth rotting in the graves of sin, wrapt up in the winding sheet of hardness of heart, and (as the carcass crawleth with worms) swarming with noisome lusts, such as God’s soul abhorreth. This is his nature; and for his life,

He drinketh iniquity like water] He is as it were altogether steeped and soaked in sin; he sucks it in with delight, as an ox doth water, or a drunkard wine, who prefer that you take away his life as his liquor, and could find in his heart to be drowned in a butt of Malmsey; as George, duke of Clarence, was in the Tower of London, and, as some say, by his own election. Sure it is that a draught of sin is the only merry-go-down to a carnal man; he drinks it frequently and abundantly, even till he swelleth therewith. One observeth here, that Eliphaz saith not, Man eateth, but, drinketh iniquity; because to eat a man must chew, and this taketh up some time, and leaveth a liberty to spit out what he liketh not; but drink goeth down without delay, and we usually drink oftener than we eat; so here.


Verse 17

Job 15:17 I will shew thee, hear me; and that [which] I have seen I will declare;

Ver. 17. I will show thee, hear me] Here Eliphaz useth a short but a lofty preface, calling hard for attention, and raising in Job an expectation of no mean matters. But

Quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu - (Horat.)

This is his argument:

This is to be held to be true which experience evinceth, and wise men teach us, just as they have learned it from their religious ancestors.

But, both continued experience and consent of men teach us, that wicked men have terrors within and troubles without.

Therefore this is to be taken for a truth. Therefore also, by consequence, that is false which thou hast spoken concerning the prosperity of wicked men, Job 12:6. Neither canst thou avoid the charge of wickedness who dost suffer the punishments of the wicked. Now what is all this more than Eliphaz had said in a former discourse (so that Job might have cried out, Apage coccysmum?) only there he grounded his argument upon a night vision; here upon the testimony and consent of certain wise men, commended by their power and justice. Some think he meaneth Noah and his pious posterity.

That which I have seen I will declare] Wilt thou not believe an eyewitness? What can be more sure than sight? John 1:1. Surely, if we were well read in the story of our own lives, and had laid up our experiences, we might have a divinity of our own. The ll9th Psalm is made up of experiments; and David oft telleth us what he had seen and observed.


Verse 18

Job 15:18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid [it]:

Ver. 18. Which wise men have told from their fathers] Who have carefully and faithfully transmitted it as a doctrinal truth to us, their posterity, from hand to hand. For in Job’s time it is likely that the Scriptures were not yet written. Which, or, which things wise men Who did, in their generations, Deum recte cognoscere et colere, rightly know and worship God, which is the highest wisdom, saith Lactantius.

Have told] Have spoken it so plainly and plentifully, as if they had showed us the things acted before our eyes.

From their fathers] Who were careful to instil good instructions and heavenly truths into the minds of their children, their familiars, and families, as did Abraham, Genesis 18:17-19, and others according to God’s own appointment, Deuteronomy 6:1-2

And have not hid it] But communicated it for the good of many. Light is diffusive of itself. Knowledge is perfected while it is communicated. The more you teach and impart to others, eo ditior ac doctior fias, saith one, the richer and more skilfull you become (Bodin. Theat. Nat. p. 9). It is not the pouring out which drieth up the streams of grace, like that oil, 2 Kings 4:6. See Proverbs 11:24-25, Psalms 78:2-4.


Verse 19

Job 15:19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.

Ver. 19. To whom alone the earth was given] Noah and his pious posterity (as was above noted), whom Methodius and other ancients call, Mundi chiliarchos, the lords of the whole world, given them by the possessor of heaven and earth, as Melchisedek first called God, Genesis 14:19, and from him Abraham, another prince of God, Genesis 22:3, as those heathens acknowledged him, and heir of the whole world, Romans 4:13 As for Melchisedek (commonly taken to be Shem), he was king in Salem, and no stranger, that is, no enemy, molested him; no, not those great spoilers, Chedorlaomer and his accomplices; these never meddled with Melchisedek and his subjects (probably out of respect to his wisdom and holiness, for which he was famous), no, not when, marching against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, they wasted and smote all the neighbour countries. So true of his subjects and territories was that which followeth here,

And no stranger passed among them] viz. In a hostile way, in a warlike manner, Nehemiah 4:15 Some read, No strange thing passeth among them; as not the devouring sword, so neither the pestilence that walketh in darkness nor the destruction that wasteth at noonday, Psalms 91:6. Such as was the reign of Ferdinando III, king of Spain, for five and thirty years’ time. In quibus nec fames nec pestes fuit ni regno, saith Lopez, wherein there happened neither famine nor pestilence (Gloss. in Prolog. par. 1).


Verse 20

Job 15:20 The wicked man travaileth with pain all [his] days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.

Ver. 20. The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days] He tormenteth himself, or thrusteth himself through (so some read it), 1 Timothy 6:10. He takes no more rest than one upon a rack; he hath his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, Jeremiah 30:6; he smiteth upon his thigh; sicut mulierculae in puerperio facere solent, saith Luther in his marginal note on Jeremiah 31:19. And if he would do so for his sin, as he doth for his misery, pia esset illa tristitia, et, si disci potest, beata miseria, as Austin hath it (Aug. Epist. 545), his grief would be godly, and his misery a blessing, God would pity him, as he did his moan making Ephraim, and earnestly remember him still, Job 15:23. But, alas, that wicked are strong, the hypocrite in heart, as he heaps up wrath, so he crieth not when God bindeth him, Job 36:16. Or if he do cry, it is peril, and not peccavi, I am undone, and not, I have done amiss. Hence God many times turneth loose upon him those three vultures, care, fear, and grief, to feed upon his heart. It is seldom seen that God alloweth unto the greatest darlings of the world a perfect contentment. In the very pursuit of these outward vanities is much anguish, many grievances, fears, jealousies, disgraces, interruptions, discontentments. In the unsanctified enjoyment of them, something the wicked shall have to complain of, that shall give an unsavoury verdue to their sweetest morsels, and make their very felicity miserable; witness Ahab, Haman, &c. But then followeth the sting of conscience, that maketh a Cain, a Pashur, a Richard III, to be a terror to himself. And with this pain some wicked men travail all their days here, but hereafter it shall infallibly and inexpressibly torment the souls of them all, through all eternity. And this, with the following illustrations, is that oracle or divine sentence which Eliphaz received from those famous men above mentioned, and which he not obscurely applieth and wresteth against Job, whom herehence he would prove a wicked man by his own confessions, Job 3:25-26; Job 7:13-14, compared with Leviticus 26:36, Deuteronomy 28:65, for that which Eliphaz had heard from his ancestors was but the same law, for substance, that was afterwards written by Moses.

And the number of years is hidden to the oppressor] Heb. To the terrible tyrant, who, as he hath not a more cruel executioner than his own conscience, so not a more sensible displeasure than to know that he is mortal, and yet to be ignorant when his tyranny must end. The number of the years of his tyranny is uncertain, saith the Vulgate translation. And from this uncertainty, which he knoweth not how to remedy (though he run to light a candle at the devil sometimes, viz. by consulting with soothsayers and sorcerers, to know of them how long he shall live, and who shall succeed him, as Tiberius and other tyrants did), followeth suspicion and fear, saith Aquinas upon this text.


Verse 21

Job 15:21 A dreadful sound [is] in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him.

Ver. 21. A dreadfid sound is in his ears] Heb. A sound of fear and terror. Not one, but many at once, so that he is a Magormissabib, factus a corde sua fugitivus (Tertul.), as Cain, that wretch, and those Hivites, with their hornets of a clamorous conscience, worse to them than if their bodies had been tormented with stings or torn with stripes, Exodus 23:28. What a sound of terror in their ears frighted those Syrians! 2 Kings 7:6; and those Persians and Saracens overcome by Theodosius! Panico terrore incusso, saith the historian, afraid of their own shadows, they desperately cast themselves into the river Euphrates, and there perished above a hundred thousand of them, A.D. 394. The wicked flee when none pursueth, Proverbs 28:1; the sound of a shaken leaf chaseth him, Leviticus 26:36, when the righteous is bold as a lion, and not dismayed at evil tidings, Psalms 112:7. His heart is balanced with the fear of God; and thence it is that he floateth steadily; blow what wind it will, he sails to the port; storms and tempests do but beat him into it.

In prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him] Heb. In peace, when he shall say, Peace and safety, 1 Thessalonians 5:3. When he is at the highest he shall be destroyed, Daniel 4:30-31. In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits, Job 20:22. His short spring shall have an eternal winter, Psalms 92:7. Ultimus sanitatis gradus est morbo proximus, say physicians, The utmost degree of health is nearest to sickness; so the wicked when nearest misery have greatest prosperity.


Verse 22

Job 15:22 He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.

Ver. 22. He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness] He despondeth and despaireth of a better condition, sighing out that doleful ditty, Spes et fortuna valete; Farewell hope and fortune, he looks for no further light and delight of former comforts; he knows that they that go down into the dark pit cannot hope for God’s truth, Isaiah 38:18; there being left them neither hope of better nor place of worse. Desperat qui summus est diffidentiae gradus (Jun.).

And he is waited for of the sword] Or, looked upon by the sword, which waiteth, as it were, an opportunity to slay him. Circumspectans undique gladium, so the Vulgate; he looketh this way and that way, as fearing the murderer; his guilt representing to him on all sides nothing but naked swords; he believeth that they will assassinate him in his bed. This was the case of Saul, who suspected his best servants; of Dionysius the tyrant, who durst not trust his own daughter with his throat; of Alexander Pheraeus, who would not go to bed to his wife Thebe, whom he loved, till he had first searched the room and her pocket for edge-tools (Cicero. Offic. lib. 2); of Richard III, who, after the death of his two innocent nephews, had fearful dreams and apprehensions, insomuch that he did often leap out of his bed in the dark, and catching his sword (which, always naked, stuck by his side), he did go distractedly about the chamber, everywhere seeking to find out the cause of his own occasioned disquiet, saith the chronologer (Dan. Hist. 249). Tiberius felt the remorse of conscience so violently, that he protested to the Senate that he suffered death daily through fear of death; whereupon the historian maketh this profitable observation, Tandem facinora et flagitia in supplicium vertuntur, Heinous sins will at length have heavy punishments (Tacit.).


Verse 23

Job 15:23 He wandereth abroad for bread, [saying], Where [is it]? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.

Ver. 23. He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it?] He is hard put to it for necessaries, and would be glad of a piece of bread, as 1 Samuel 2:5; 1 Samuel 2:36. This was the case of Pythias, once so rich, that he entertained a million men (even Xerxes’ whole huge host) for three days’ time at his own proper charge; but afterwards so poor, that he died through hunger (Herodot.). And the like befell Gillimer, king of Vandals, of whom the story is told, that being overcome and beleaguered by Belisarius, he sent to him for a sponge to dry his tears, a cittern to ease his grief, and a piece of bread to save his life. Belisarius himself was afterwards glad to beg for his bread. And Henry IV, emperor of Germany, after ten years’ reign, was deposed and driven to the like exigent; whereupon he is said to have made use of those words of Job, Job 19:21, "Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends, for the hand of God hath touched me." And there is no doubt but Eliphaz glanceth at Job in all these expressions, as if he were the man whom he here describeth with much eloquence, but small charity.

He knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand] His conscience telleth him that he is not yet at worst; he knows in himself, say the Septuagint, that further evil shall be upon him, that his misery is inevitable, and next door; and this knowledge being full of fear, is also full of torment; it is even hell aforehand, and above ground.


Verse 24

Job 15:24 Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.

Ver. 24. Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid] Or scare him, not only out of his comforts, but out of his wits and senses too, as it did Charles the Great, Cardinal of Lorrain (Meutis inops moritur). See Deuteronomy 28:34. Tullus Hostilius, the third king of Romans, deriding the religion of his predecessor Numa, as that which did emasculate men’s minds, was afterwards so terrified, that he set up and worshipped two new gods, viz. Pavorem et Pallorem, trouble and anguish, which he had perpetually present with him, as Lactantius reporteth. What a pitiful agony Vitellius the emperor was in when Vespasian’s army marched toward Rome, is notably set forth by Dio in his Life ( Eμπλεκτως ανω και κατω εφερετο ωσπερ εν κλυδωνι). Not long after that, at the sack of Jerusalem, some Jews killed themselves, lest they should fall into the hands of Vespasian’s soldiers.

Hic rogo; non furor est, ne moriare, mori?

They shall prevail against him] Or, begirt him, as a king is surrounded, in peace by his guard, in war by his army. Or, they shall destroy him, as a king ready to the battle doth his enemies’ forces, which he routeth and ruineth. Fear hath a deadly force upon feeble spirits; neither is it any wonder that they ring their bells backward when things begin once to be on fire.


Verse 25

Job 15:25 For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.

Ver. 25. For he stretcheth out his hand against God] Worthy therefore to have a dead palsy transfused into it, or dried up, as Jeroboam’s was, when but stretched out against a prophet; and as Valens the emperor’s hand was made unable to hold a pen, when he would have subscribed a warrant for the banishing of Basil. Such a giant-like generation there are to this day among men, as face the heavens, cast down the gauntlet against God, Erecto collo valido impetu, arrogantia incurva cervice, saith Brentius upon the text, with stiff necks, full force, and insufferable insolence, as it were on purpose to cross the Almighty, and to wrestle a fall with him; they sin with a high hand, Leviticus 26:21, Numbers 15:30, and do as wickedly as they can, Jeremiah 3:5, yea, with both hands earnestly, Micah 7:3; persecuting his people who are unto him as the apple of his eye, and resisting the Holy Ghost always, Acts 7:51. Surely he would even destroy God if he could, for he hateth him, Romans 1:30, with a hellish hatred, as the word θεοστυγεις there signifieth, such as striketh at God’s very essence, Psalms 18:40; confer 1 John 3:15.

And strengtheneth himself against the Almighty] Sed vanae sine viribus irae. To his sinews of iron he hath added brows of brass, Isaiah 48:4. To his natural crossness habitual hardness and hardiness; so that now, like a stout warrior, he bends all his strength against the Almighty, but with no better success than to be broken in pieces, Isaiah 8:9, with his iron mace, Psalms 2:9, Sennacherib for instance. {See Trapp on "Job 9:4"}


Verse 26

Job 15:26 He runneth upon him, [even] on [his] neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:

Ver. 26. He runneth upon him, even on his neck] Vulgate, He runneth upon him (God) with an erected neck; such is his audaciousness and impudence, daring to do any heinous wickedness, and not fearing to run against the strongest part of God’s armour, though able to grind him to powder. Sin hath etched such an impudency in his face, that he dare with a full forehead encounter God, even upon the points of his justice and righteous judgments, wherein he is the ablest to give us the shock, &c. Thus some sense the text. Others (of good note also) refer the word runneth to God, and render it thus, God runneth upon him, even upon the neck, &c. He breaking his shields, how many and how thick soever they be, drags him by the neck, as a miserable vanquished wretch, and lays upon him exquisite and high punishments, according to that, Job 31:3, "Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?"

Upon the thick bosses of his bucklers] Wherewith the Belialist, this champion for hell, thinks himself best armed and secured against the dint of the divine displeasure. Bucklers, besides other bosses for ornament, had one great boss in the middle, with a sharp spike in it for use, to pierce and wound the adversary. Now God runs upon this also, and is no whit hindered thereby from punishing the refractories, these high attempters, these monstrous men of condition, that so fiercely and so fearlessly lift up their hands against heaven, as if they would pull God out of his throne, and throw the house, yea, the world, out at the windows. Surely as pride resisteth God in a special manner, so doth God in a special manner resist it, 1 Peter 5:5. The reason whereof is given by Boetius: All other vices, saith he, fly from God, only pride flies at him, stands out, and makes head against him.


Verse 27

Job 15:27 Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on [his] flanks.

Ver. 27. Because he covereth his face with his fatness] This is given in as one chief cause of his insolence; he is a belly god, he maketh plaits upon the paunch, so Broughton rendereth it; he hath fattened his guts, so Calvin; he maketh it his business to pamper his body; his heart also is as fat as grease, Psalms 119:70. Bene curavit cutem suam in hoc mundo He takes good care of his skin in this world. (Vat.). He is waxen fat, that is, prosperity proud, and kicketh, Deuteronomy 32:15. Pride and fulness of bread were Sodom’s twin sins, Ezekiel 16:49. When people are provender pricked, as we call it, they easily turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, 1:4, and that fulness breeds forgetfulness; as the fed hawk soon forgets his master, and the moon at fullest gets farthest off the sun. Sensualists who love feasts, 5:10, are void of the Spirit, 1:19. A full belly maketh a foul heart. The rankest weeds grow out of the fattest soil; and those that make their gut a gulf, well, they may have collops in their flanks, but they have leanness in their souls; indeed, they have (as swine) their souls for salt only, to keep their bodies from putrefying.

And maketh collops of fat on his flanks] Heb. And maketh mouths, that is, wrinkles, upon his flanks. He is active about it, and makes it his business to make provision for the flesh, Romans 13:14. He labours "for the meat that perisheth," John 6:27. He lives to eat, and laughs himself fat, till his heart, now hardened for the deceitfulness of his sin, becomes as insensible as Dionysius’, the Heracleot, who felt not when men thrust needles into his fat belly; or those bears in Pliny, that could not be stirred with the sharpest prickles.


Verse 28

Job 15:28 And he dwelleth in desolate cities, [and] in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.

Ver. 28. And he dwelleth in desolate cities] Such as had been before desolated, but are now by him edified again, to get him a name and a renown amongst men, and to make himself formidable, as those do who build themselves strongholds upon high rocks, as if they would wage war against heaven, Ad numinis contemptum et hominum terrorem (Merlin). Peradventure, saith Diodati here, he meaneth those kings of violent empires, who repaired or built great cities after the deluge, as Nimrod, Ashur, and others, Genesis 10:8, Job 3:14, Isaiah 23:13, and raised themselves upon other men’s ruins. Eliphaz’s scope is to show that a man that hath great power amongst men begins to think himself strong enough for God also.

And in houses where no man inhabiteth] For he hath driven away the inhabitants through his oppressions. This is that crying sin of depopulators, who build themselves desolate places, Job 3:14; and enclosers, who betray towns, as Rome did Carthage, with a distinction, We will save the city, but destroy the town. This hath been noted as a great fault in our nation, and therefore Goropius thinks the English were called Angli, because they were good anglers, and had skill to lay various baits when they fished for other men’s livings. But that is his mistake, though perhaps wilful, for we were so called from the old Angli who came in with the Saxons, and were subdued by the Normans, whose duke, William the Conqueror, paid dearly for his depopulations at New Forest, wherein six and thirty parish churches had been demolished, and the inhabitants removed, to make room for beasts’ or dogs’ game. Various of his sons and nephews came there to untimely ends, so dangerous it is for men to prove Abaddons or destroyers.

Which are ready to become heaps] Heaps of stones: the strongest structures in the world are subject to ruin. Make sure of heaven, which the philosopher fondly dreamed to be made of stone (arch-work), and would one day come to ruin. But whatever becometh of the visible heavens, which shall be purified by the fire of the last day, upon the invisible we may well write, as Hippocrates telleth us it was engraven on the gates of a certain city, Intacta manet, it remaineth untouched. And as the Venetians boast of their city, that she is still a virgin, because from the first founding thereof (which is 1200 years since or near upon) it never came into the hands of a foreign enemy.


Verse 29

Job 15:29 He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.

Ver. 29. He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance, &c.] If he be rich, it is for a mischief, neither is it likely long to continue with him, for God will blow upon and blast his substance, which is the fort and strength, Isaiah 10:14. He resolves he will be rich, 1 Timothy 6:9, and is set upon it. God, to cross him, saith here, He shall not be rich, but I will make a poor fool of him, according to that Jeremiah 17:11, "As the partridge sitteth on eggs and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool." There is a curse upon unlawful practices, though men be industrious, as in Jehoiakim, Jeremiah 22:19 It is God that giveth power to get wealth, Deuteronomy 8:18. Our care can no more add a penny to our estate than it can a cubit to our stature, Matthew 6:27.

He shall not prolong the perfection thereof] Vulgate, He shall not send forth his root in the earth. "A man shall not be established by wickedness," saith Solomon: "but the root of the righteous shall continue," Proverbs 12:3; {See Trapp on "Proverbs 12:3"}


Verse 30

Job 15:30 He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.

Ver. 30. He shall not depart out of darkness] But be held under remediless misery, being ever blasted and benighted, till God at last breathe forth upon him his final displeasure. When God hath brought wicked men into straits, there he holdeth them; not so the godly, Psalms 34:19, they are sure of deliverance in due season. And as before the morning light is the thickest darkness, so before help hardest trials. Post tenebras lux, After the darkness, light, is the Christian’s motto; not so the ungodly, they are ex tenebris in tenebras, infelieiter exclusi, infelicius excludendi, as Austin hath it, to pass out of one darkness into another, till they be cast into utter darkness (Hom. 16).

The flame shall dry up his branches] That ventus urens et exsiccans of God’s wrath shall blast and consume, not his offspring only, but all his beauty and bravery; he shall be as a tree that is thunder struck, Zechariah 11:16.

And by the breath of his mouth shall he go away] God will blow him to destruction, his very breath shall leave him breathless, Isaiah 11:4, Psalms 18:15, Job 4:9; {See Trapp on "Isaiah 11:4"} {See Trapp on "Psalms 18:15"} {See Trapp on "Job 4:9"} Others understand it to be the wicked man’s mouth, and take this to be the sense, He shall be so choleric and impatient in his trouble, that he shall send out his last breath suddenly in a passionate fit. So did Nerva, the emperor, likewise Valentinian, Wenceslaus, king of Bohemia, and our Henry II.


Verse 31

Job 15:31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.

Ver. 31. Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity] Let it suffice him that he hath been once already deceived by the uncertainty of riches, which were never true to those which trusted them, nor ever will be, 1 Timothy 6:17. As Charondas was wont to say of going to sea, and another of going to law, That he wondered not at those that go once, but at those who go a second time. So may we at those that having found the deceitfulness of sin, and the instability of creature comforts, that they should again be drawn in and deceived. This folly Eliphaz here forewarneth Job of, and would not have him twice stumble at the same stone, but deliver his soul, if ever God should restore him again, and say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" Why feed I upon ashes? &c., Isaiah 44:20.

For vanity shall be his recompense] i.e. Poverty and misery shall be his portion, as shame shall be the portion of fools, Proverbs 3:35. As he hath sowed the wind, so he shall reap the whirlwind, whereof he is likely to have a great catch, Hosea 8:7; {See Trapp on "Hosea 8:7"}


Verse 32

Job 15:32 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.

Ver. 32. It shall be accomplished before his time] Heb. In not his day. That recompense before mentioned of calamity and death shall be hastened, so that they shall not live out half their days, Psalms 55:22, but die tempore non suo, Ecclesiastes 7:15, then when it were better for them to do anything rather than to die, since they perish in their corruptions, they are killed with death, Revelation 2:23; see Proverbs 7:27. Death ever taketh a wicked man unprovided, Haec enim vena nobis ab Adam agnata est, ut nullam arborem ad suspendium aptam invenire possimus: neque unquam caro mortem eligit, nisi pressa iudicio (Brent. in loc.). We naturally dream of an immortality here, neither yield we to die till there be a necessity, Miserandum est autem, saith Lavater; but it is a pitiful thing, that, being all so desirous of life, we should so little care for those things that would lengthen our lives, such as are piety, justice, temperance, &c.; we forget that short way to long life, Psalms 34:12.

His branch shall not be green] Heb. His crooked or bowed down branch; this is his full estate or numerous issue, those boughs of his, laden and bowed down with fruit, shall not be green, but blasted and dried up; ramificans eius non virescet. It is a misery to be the branch of a wicked stock, for such, as they leave the rest of their substance to their little ones, Psalms 17:14, so they leave them God’s curse, as Joab’s legacy, 2 Samuel 3:29, or as Gehazi’s leprosy, 2 Kings 5:27, a wretched bequeath.


Verse 33

Job 15:33 He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.

Ver. 33. He shall shake off his unripe grapes as the vine] Filios intelligit per batra, et pueros per florem, saith Vatablus: i.e. By unripe grapes he meaneth the wicked man’s sons grown up; and by flowers of the olive, his little ones: and so it is the same with the former, only flourished over with two similitudes, He (that is, God) will snap off his sour grapes as the vines; so Broughton rendered it: Luctuosa foecunditas (such as was that of Laeta, in Jerome, Epist. 7, who buried many children) is a sore affliction. If the bud or flower decay, what hope can there be of fruit? Others understand it to be the untimely death, as before, or of the decay of his wealth and possessions.


Verse 34

Job 15:34 For the congregation of hypocrites [shall be] desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.

Ver. 34. For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate] Heb. Of the hypocrite; where he seemeth to point at Job, as by the unripe grapes, and blasted flowers of the olive, he had understood Job’s children and possessions, Job 15:33. Now the whole congregation or train and retinue of the hypocrite God will unnest and ruin, saith Eliphaz; they shall all be as one desolated, so the original hath it.

And fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery] Heb. The tabernacles of a bribe. Under these two heads, saith one, we may reduce all sorts of sinners; sinners against God under the notion of hypocrites; and sinners against men under the notion of bribe takers; δωροδεκτον, say the Septuagint, that is, receivers of gifts; and the Hebrew word signifieth, a gift in general; it is taken also for a bribe, because very many gifts are bribes, Munera sunt honoraria vel corruptoria (Lavat. in loc.). Now houses built by bribes or very many gifts shall be consumed and come to nothing, Jeremiah 22:13-17, Habakkuk 2:9-12; see the note there. This Eliphaz casteth in Job’s teeth, but herein he dealt with him as injuriously as Bouner did with Philpot, the martyr, when he said to him, Also I lay to thy charge, that thou killedst thy father, and wast accursed of thy mother on her death bed (Acts & Mon. fol. 1650).


Verse 35

Job 15:35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

Ver. 35. They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity] Here Elipbaz for a close, by an elegant and usual metaphor taken from child bearing, showeth that all such as conceive with guile or wrong to others, by that time they have reckoned their months aright, though they grow never so big, shall bring forth nothing but wind and vanity. Like as a woman that thinks she hath conceived and is deceived, pleaseth herself with the thoughts of a child, but brings forth nothing but wind, water, or some dead mass. Brentius exemplifieth this by the Papists, devising tot modos et formas confitendi et missandi, so many ways and forms of confessing and massing. Poor souls, when stung by the friars’ sermons, or otherwise troubled in mind, run to those practices for help, but all in vain; for though stilled for a while, yet conscience recoileth upon them, and, making them miserable, leaveth them desperate, as Popery is a doctrine of desperation. Meanwhile, till they are confuted by the event, wicked men please themselves not a little in their sinful conceptions; they have a kind of a sensus veneris (which Scaliger will have to be the sixth sense, besides those five commonly counted of), a sensual delight in their sinful projects, In male agendo voluptatem quaesierunt (Merlin). As one, speaking of the Council of Trent, saith, That it was carried on by the pope with such infinite guile and craft, as that themselves will even smile in the triumphs of their own wits, when they hear it but mentioned, as at a master stratagem (Spec. Europ.). These heathens (so they are called, Revelation 6:2) consider not, that while they thus tumultuate they do but imagine a vain thing, Psalms 2:1, and that the child’s name is vanity, as here.

And their belly prepareth deceit] Not their head, but their belly, prepareth (accurately and strongly prepareth, so the word signifieth) deceit, self deceit (so some sense it), or rather to deceive and undo others whom they cannot overcome by might, to overcome by sleight. And in these guileful projects they delight and take a contemplative kind of pleasure, as the voluptuous person doth in his lust, Psalms 52:1-2.

 


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 15:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-15.html. 1865-1868.

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