Job 12



The discourse of Job, here begun, continues through chapters (ch. 12-14.). It is

thought to form the conclusion of the first day’s colloquy. In it Job for the first time

really pours scorn upon his friends, and makes a mock of them (see vs. 2, 8, 20;

ch. 13:4-13). This, however, is a secondary matter; his main object is to justify

his previous assertions:


  • that the whole course of mundane events, whether good or evil, must

be attributed to God (vs. 6-25);


  • that his sufferings entitle him to plead with God, and demand to know

why he is so punished (13:3-28). A comparatively mild expostulation

concludes the first series of speeches (ch. 14.).


1 “And Job answered and said,  2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom

shall die with you.”  Bitterly ironical. Ye are those to whom alone it belongs to speak

the only “people” to whom attention is due. And wisdom shall die with you.

“At your death,” i.e., “all wisdom will have fled the earth; there will be no one left

who knows anything.” At least, no doubt, you think so.



Irony (v.2)


  • IRONY IS TO BE FOUND IN SCRIPTURE. There is great variety in

the style of Scripture. Almost every modification of language is to be found

in the Bible, consecrated to some holy purpose. The prophets abound in

irony. Christ used irony in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:16-20).



be best met just by being exposed. Now, irony is a method of showing a

thing in an unexpected light, so that, while admitting all its claims, we

make it apparent that those very claims are absurd. Slight failings will be

best castigated with simple ridicule; more serious ones, if they are not great

sins, with grave irony.



Job’s three friends has now spoken. Though they were not alike in

attainments nor in natural dispositions, they agreed in their dogmas and in

their judgment of Job. A tone of conscious superiority and irritating

censoriousness rings through all their speeches. This not only vexes Job;

it prompts an ironical retaliation. It is dangerous to make grand pretensions.

Humility is a great security, and when humility is lost, we lay ourselves

open to attack on the ground of our assumptions. Pretentiousness does not

only thus provoke ironical replies; it best meets its merited castigation by

these replies, which humilitate it in a most unanswerable manner.



WIELD. It may be a lawful weapon. There are times when it can be used

in the cause of righteousness with tremendous effect. But there is great

danger lest the employment of it should destroy “the greatest thing in the

world” — love. There is always a tendency to push it too far, and to go

beyond wholesome rebuke in the direction of cruel scorn. This is distinctly

unchristian. Moreover, as Job’s friends did not understand him, possibly he

did not understand them. If so, his irony may have been too severe for

justice. We should be careful that we are in no error before we venture to

use irony against our brother. Even then, zeal for righteousness should be

tempered by brotherly kindness.  (speaking the truth in love” –

Ephesians 4:15).



saw irony in fate. Man’s greatness was shown to be a very small thing, and

his boasted success a mere bubble. The old classical idea was dark and

hard, for it did not take into account the Fatherhood of God. But within

God’s infinite purpose of love there is room for irony. By the slow

unrolling of the course of events, the boasting of the pretentious ends in

confusion. God humbles His creatures in their pride and vanity, giving them

sudden falls, by means of which they cannot but feel their helplessness

 and littleness. The monarch is choked by a fly. Such things are not done

vindictively, or in scorn; but because we are ruined by boasting and saved

in our humiliation. Thus the ugly weapon of irony may PREPARE US



3 “But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you:

yea, who knoweth not such things as these?”  But I have understanding as

well as you. “I, however, claim to have just as much understanding [literally, ‘heart’]

as you, and to be just as well entitled to speak, and to claim attention;” since I am not

inferior to you. “I am not conscious,” i.e., “of any inferiority to you, intellectual or

moral. I do not fall below you in either respect.Yea, who knoweth not

such things as these? “Not,” Job means to say, “that much understanding

is necessary in such a case as this; any man of common intelligence can

form a correct judgment on the point in dispute between us.” The special

point, in Job’s mind, seems to be God’s complete mastery over the world,

and absolute control over all that takes place in it.


4 “I am as one mocked of his neighbor, who calleth upon God, and He

answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.” I am as one

 mocked of his neighbor. You have accused me of mockery (ch.11:3): but it is I

that have been mocked of you. The allusion is probably to 11:2-3,11-12, 20.

Who calleth upon God, and he answereth him. You mock me, though I have

always clung to religion, have called upon God in prayer, and from time to time had

my prayers answered by Him. Thus it is the just upright man that is laughed to scorn.


5 “He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the

thought of him that is at ease.” rather, as in the Revised Version, In

the thought of him that is at ease there is contempt for misfortune; it (i e.

contempt) is ready for them whose foot dippeth. The meaning is, “I am

despised and scorned by you who sit at ease, because my foot has slipped,

and I have fallen into misfortune.”


                        The Conduct of the Friends Criticized (vs. 1-5)




Ø      With sarcastic admiration. “No doubt but ye are the people, and

wisdom shall die with you.” Irony is a weapon difficult and dangerous to

use, apt to wound the hand that wields it as well as the heart that feels it,

and seldom becoming on the lips of any, least of all of good men.

Admirably adapted to sting and lacerate, it rarely improves or conciliates

those against whom it is directed. Yet, not being absolutely sinful, it may

be employed with success against arrogant pretension and haughty

assumption. Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:27), and St. Paul in

his Epistles (Galatians 5:15; Philippians 3:2; 1 Corinthians 4:8),

used satire with remarkable effect. Job also in the present instance may be

held as justified in retorting on Zophar and his colleagues, whose conduct

richly deserved castigation.


Ø      With vehement self-assertion. But I have understanding [literally, ‘a

heart’] as well as you; I am not inferior to you [literally, ‘I fall not

beneath or behind you’].” Modesty, which at all times becomes good

men (Proverbs 30:3; Daniel 2:30; John 1:27; II Corinthians 3:5),

and is specially enjoined upon God’s people (Psalm 25:9; Isaiah

66:2; Micah 6:8), and Christ’s followers (Matthew 5:3; 18:4;

Romans 12:3; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter. 5:5), need not prevent a

frank self-assertion when one is, like Job, unjustly aspersed. It is sometimes

false humility to sit with uncomplaining silence beneath the tongue of

slander. Provided one indulge not in extravagant assertion, and assume not

the credit of gifts and graces which have descended from above, a man may

honestly and even boldly maintain his intellectual and moral worth, should

these appear to be maliciously traduced. Job might have safely claimed to

surpass his antagonists in mental capacity and acquaintance with the

culture of the day, in ripe personal experience and ability to interpret the

ways of God to man; but with much modesty he only aspires to be their

equal, to have a heart (Anglice’ a head, a brain) as well as they, and not to

be the shallow-pated witling, or wild ass’s colt, they insinuated.


Ø      With scornful contempt. “Yea, who knoweth not such things as these?”

The sublime wisdom with which they sought to overwhelm him was the

veriest commonplace; their much-paraded teaching but a string of

threadbare maxims, “familiar in the mouth as household words,” of which

he himself could supply an endless series of examples, as beautiful and

more correct — which he does in the present chapter. It is a just ground of

complaint when old and hackneyed sentiments in morals or religion,

science or philosophy, are served up with the air of, and made to do duty

for, original discoveries. Yet it is proper to remember that truth once

apprehended by the mind does not deteriorate, or become less valuable, by

age. Besides, it is of more consequence that a doctrine should be true than

that it should be new. Still, new truth, or, what is often mistaken for such,

new aspects of old truths, possess a singular fascination for vigorous and

independent minds.




Ø      Its character described. “I am as one mocked of his neighbor;” “The

just upright man is laughed to scorn.” By serving up such trite platitudes as

Job had listened to, they had simply been converting him and his calamities

into a laughing-stock, because they saw him standing on the sharp edge of

ruin, as a traveler might cast away “a despised lamp,” of which he had no

further need. To make a man the subject of laughter, the butt of ridicule,

the object of scornful wit on account of either:


o       personal appearance (Genesis 21:9),

o       bodily infirmity (II Kings 2:23),

o       providential adversity (Lamentations 2:15), or

o       religious character (Psalm 42:3),


is severely reprehended by the Word of God (Proverbs 3:34:; 17:5; 30:17).

Yet good men may expect to receive such treatment at the hands of

worldly unbelievers and nominal professors, since the like was meted out



o       Christ (Matthew 26:67-68; 27:27-31; Luke 23:35),

o       David (Psalm 22:7; 35:16; 69:11-12),

o       the apostles (Acts 2:13),

o       Old Testament saints (II Chronicles 30:10; 1 Kings 22:24; Hebrews

11:36), and

o       New Testament preachers (Acts 17:32) and disciples (  Jude 1:18).


Ø      Its aggravations recited. These were twofold.


o       Job, who had been subjected to this scornful laceration, had been:


§         a good man, personally just and upright, and therefore such a one

as saints should not have ridiculed;

§         one who had enjoyed confidential communications with Heaven —

a man of prayer, who had called upon God and been answered

by Him — and therefore not a person to be lightly spoken of

or to; and

§         a miserable sufferer overtaken by adversity — one who was

ready to slip with his feet,” and on that account all the more

requiring to be comforted instead of scorned.


o       They who had scorned him had been:


§         his neighbors, his friends, at whose hands he should rather have

received pity (ch. 6:14); and

§         were themselves in the enjoyment of ease, which might have

kindled in their flinty bosoms a spark of sympathy for his



Ø      Its extenuation stated. It was common. “Contempt for the weak, who

totter and fall on slippery paths, is the habitual impulse of those who stand

firmly on the firm ground of security, and see no reason why other men

should not be as vigorous and ‘resolute’ and prosperous as themselves”

(Cox). The world worships success; failure is its unpardonable sin. When

fortune smiles upon a person he is known of all; when adversity engulfs

him, he is forgotten by all (ch. 8:18). Recall the language of

Buckingham on his way to execution: “This from a dying man receive as

certain,” etc. (‘King Henry VIII.,’ act 2. sc., 1); and Mark Antony’s

address over Ceasar’s dead body: “But yesterday,” etc. (Julius Caesar,’ act

3. sc. 2).


·         LEARN:


1. If adversity has its uses, prosperity has its dangers, being prone to

    engender self-conceit, arrogance, lack of sympathy, and contempt for


2. Wisdom is the noblest excellence of man; yet of wisdom no man enjoys a


3. It is no disparagement to truth to be styled commonplace, since precisely

    as it becomes commonplace does it accomplish its mission.

4. As prayer will not always hinder persecution, so neither should

    persecution by either friends or foes be allowed to extinguish prayer.

5. Few faults of men are so completely bad that no sort of extenuation can

                be discovered for them.




                                    Contempt for the Unfortunate (v. 5)


Like Jesus, when He prayed for His murderers, with the plea that they knew

not what they were doing (Luke 23:34), though in much less perfect

magnanimity, Job sees some excuse for the conduct of his censors. He

finds that conduct to be an instance of a common rule of action, viz. that

the prosperous despise the unfortunate.



SHARE. Job’s vast woe was quite beyond the comprehension of his

would-be sympathizers. They thought that they had fathomed its depths,

and that they were in a position to adjudicate upon its merits. But they had

scarcely skimmed its surface. They did not know what Job suffered; much

less did they see why God had permitted him to be thus afflicted. The

happy look from their sunny homes on the dark abodes of misery, but they

cannot understand the sorrows they have never tasted. They who have

always had their wants satisfied simply do not know what hunger and thirst

are. The unbroken family cannot conceive of the agony of bereavement



UNDERSTAND. As We have not the faculty to dive into its mystery, it

seems to us a shallow thing. Therefore, when the sufferers appear to make

much of it, we are inclined to think that they are exaggerating it; that they

are giving way to it in a cowardly weakness; that they are indecently

demonstrative or even shamming hypocritically. The rich are too often

ready to regard the very poor as whining impostors. They who have never

felt the pangs of conscience look with contempt on the penitent’s tears.




OTHERS. Possibly this is one reason why it is sent to us. We have been

too narrow and selfish in our view of it, thinking it must be confined to

some effect directly and solely beneficial to ourselves. But it may be largely

intended to prepare us for our work in helping others in trouble. The

widow can sympathize with the widow; the poor show most kindness to

the poor. The experience of the prostration of a great illness enables a

person to understand and help sick people. Thus sorrow is a talent to be

used for the good of others, by being invested in sympathy.



PERFECT SAVIOUR. If Christ understands anything, it is sorrow; for was

He not “a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”? Therefore the

sufferer who is despised by his prosperous brethren can turn with assurance

of sympathy to the Saviour of men. Christ not only understands sorrow, He

knows how to use it. He converted His cross into a lever for raising a fallen

world. He will help His suffering disciples to despise their own sorrows

while sympathizing with the sorrows of others. Strong in His victory over

sin, sorrow, and death, Christ for ever sanctifies suffering. While the

superficial may despise it, true Christians can now see in it a means of

heavenly grace.


6 “The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are

secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.” The tabernacles of

 robbers prosper. Having set at rest the personal question between himself and

his friends, Job reverts to his main argument, and maintains that, the whole course

of mundane events being under God’s governance, all the results are to be attributed

to Him, and among them both the prosperity of the wicked, and, by parity of

reasoning, the sufferings of the righteous. And they that provoke God are secure

(compare ch.9:24; 10:3). Into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.

So both the Authorized and the Revised Versions; but recent critics mostly

render, “who bring their God in their hand,” i.e. “who regard their own

right hand as their God.”



The Resentment of a Wounded Spirit (vs. 1-6)


Repeated reproaches and accusations falling upon the conscience of an

innocent man sting him into self-defense. They may do a service by rousing

him out of stupor and weakness, and may bring to light the nobler qualities

of his soul. We are indebted to the slanders of the Corinthians for some of

the noblest self-revelations of Paul.


  • OUTBURST OF INDIGNANT SCORN. (vs. 1-3.) With bitter irony

Job rebukes the assumption of these men to know better than himself

concerning matters which belonged to the common stock of intelligence,

and in which he was in no wise inferior to them. To claim superior

knowledge over others is always offensive. To do so against a sick and

broken man from the vantage-ground of health and prosperity is nothing

less than a cruelty. And to make this pretension in matters of common

tradition and acceptance, where all stand about on a level, is an insult to

the sufferer’s understanding.



THE WORLD. (vs. 4-6.)


Ø      Cruel inversions of life. Job, who in his just and innocent life, had

hitherto stood in confidential relations with God, who had prayed and

whose prayers had been heard, is now a butt for laughter and scorn.


Ø      The injustice of human opinion. (v. 5.) “Contempt belongs to

misfortune, in the opinion of the secure.” A true description of the

opinion of the world. If “nothing succeeds like success; then nothing

damns like failure in the common opinion of the UNFEELING

WORLD.  “It awaits those whose foot is slipping.” As the pack of

wolves turn upon the sick and fallen beast, so the thoughtless man

tramples upon the man who is down. To those who are banded

together by the tie of selfish pleasure only or convenience, the very

sight of that which interferes for a moment with their content is hateful.

How different the sanctified instincts of pity, compassion, and

 helpfulness which Christ has planted in His society, the

Church!   It is the mission of the Christian community to leaven with its

principles the heartless mass of society. On the other hand, nothing

succeeds like success; “restful dwellings” (v. 6) and confident security

are enjoyed by the wasters or desolators who by word and deed hold

God in contempt, and think to make Him bend to their purposes. The

rude man of violence, who owns no law but that of the strong hand,

thinks that where force is there is God, and all must bow to force as

if to God. So he “taketh God in his hand;” he “imputes his power unto

his god;” he sacrifices to his net, and burns incense unto his drag

(Habakkuk 1:11, 16). His motto is like that of the impious warrior,

“My right hand is god” (Virg.,AEn.’ 10:773, “Dextra mihi deus”).




                                    Contempt the Lot of Misfortune (vs. 1-6)


Job is driven to respond. He affirms his own competency to speak. He claims

equality with his would-be teachers, whose words are yet far from healing

or comforting his sorely afflicted heart. “I have understanding as well as

you.” But to him belongs the contempt which is the lot of misfortune. Sad

is the story told in a sentence here, but repeated in every day’s history and

in every land and every age. The selfish heart, rising to a higher level of

prosperity, looks down, and looks contemptuously down, on him over

whom Misfortune casts her dark shade. “The just upright man is laughed to

scorn.” Note the truth of this, its wrong and its remedy.




from a thousand sufferers towards whom fortune has shown no favor.

The wounds may be deep, the pangs of sorrow keen; dark desolation may

encompass; but the joyful, the well-to-do, on whom the smile of prosperity

rests, become incompetent to descend to the lowly lot. On such the tale of

woe makes little impression. There is a sad, if not even natural, revulsion

from the mere sight of suffering, and the step is easy from this to the bitter,

scathing complaint, “Ah! he brought it all upon himself!’ From Job’s days

downward the same has been ever seen. Prosperity seems to:


Ø      blind the eyes,

Ø      harden the heart,

Ø      withdraw the sympathies


even from the friend overtaken in misfortune. It is an interruption to ease

and felicity, to quiet and comfort. And Well-to-do resists as impertinent

the appeals of the victim of misfortune; or, as here, takes up an accusation

against him, and treats him as an offender. Everywhere the truth of this is seen.

“He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thoughts

of him that is at ease;”


·         IT IS NOT MORE GENERAL THAN IT IS WRONG. It is unworthy,

unbrotherly, unneighborlike. The great Teacher hit the evil with His hard

words (the Good Samaritan - Luke 10:25-37) , and exposed for ever to the gaze

of men the self-sufficiency of the prosperous one and his carelessness as to the

condition of the sufferer. He passes by on the other side, indisposed to help the

poor wretch lying in his blood, stripped and sore. Pride fills the heart to

overflowing that is well-nigh full of treasure. There is little room in it for

sympathy and pity, and the tender communion of sorrow. He who is lifted

up does not feel that the lot of him who is trodden down is any affair of his.

He cannot be hindered on his way. Shame upon the heart that is so far

forgetful of the common interest that it leaves the needy and sad, and

finds itself absorbed in its own comfort! The curl of contempt upon the lip

and the hard word upon the tongue — Job fathomed this depth, and in the

bitterness of his soul rebukes the wrong.



THIS ERROR. True, Job by his irony accuses his severe friends, who

transport themselves into accusers. In their hard words he traces the

contempt of which he complains, and takes his lot with others who suffer

like himself. He is not unmindful of the true Source of help. He is one who

calleth upon God.” He retains his integrity, and the consciousness of it

gives him support even under this trouble. “The just upright man is laughed

to scorn.” But the assurance of his uprightness is a deep consolation. Here,

then, are the true sources of help. The tested faith in God will find its

reward, and the testimony of a good conscience is of price untold. By these

Job is upheld, and by that strength which is secretly imparted to all faithful

ones who call upon God, though it may seem as though they were

abandoned and forgotten. If the “neighbor” mocketh, the righteous Judge

does not mock; and though the trial is permitted and continued, a Divine

and gracious end is reserved which Job lived fully to prove.


7 “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of

the air, and they shall tell thee:” But ask now the beasts, and they shall

 teach thee. Job here begins his review of all creation, to show that God has the

absolute direction of it. The order of:


  • beasts,
  • birds,
  • fishes,


is that of dignity (compare Genesis 9:2; Psalm 8:7-8).  Job maintains that, if appeal

were made to the animal creation, and they were asked their position with respect

to God, they would with one voice proclaim him their absolute Ruler and Director.

And the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee. The instincts of birds, their

periodical migrations, their inherited habits, are as wonderful as anything in

the Divine economy of the universe, and as much imply God’s continually

directing hand.


8 “Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the

sea shall declare unto thee.” Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee.

If the material earth be intended, the appeal must be to its orderly course, its summers

And winters, its seedtime and harvest, its former and latter rains, its constant

productivity, which, no less than animal instincts, speak of a single ruling

power directing and ordering all things. If the creeping things of the earth,

the reptile creation, be meant, then the argument is merely an expansion of

that in the preceding verse. The instincts of reptiles are to be ascribed, no

less than those of beasts and birds, to the constant superintending action

and PROVIDENCE OF THE ALMIGHTY!   And the fishes of the sea

shall declare unto thee. The testimony will be unanimous — beasts, birds,

reptiles, and fishes will unite in it.


9 Who knoweth not in all these; or, by all these; i.e. by all these

Instances - That the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?”  literally, the

hand of Jehovah. The name “Jehovah does not occur elsewhere in the

dialogue, though it is employed frequently in the historical sections

(ch. 1:6-12, 21; 2:1-7; 38:1; 40:1,3,6; 42:1, 7-12). The writer

probably regards the name as unfamiliar, if not unknown, to Job’s

neighbors, and therefore as avoided by him in his discussions with them.

But here, for once, he forgets to be consistent with himself. Outside

Scripture, the name is first found on the Moabite Stone (about B.C. 890),

where it designates the God worshipped by the Israelites (see ‘Records of

the Past,’ vol. 11. p. 166, 1. 18).


10 “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of

all mankind.” In whose hand is the soul of every living thing. A brief

summary of what had been said in vs. 7- 8, to which is now appended the

further statement, that in God’s hand — wholly dependent on Himis the

entire race of mankind also. And the breath of all mankind; literally, and

the spirit of all flesh of man.



                        The Testimony of the Creature to the Divine Government

                                                            (vs. 7-10)


Job again vindicates himself in presence of his accusing friends. He

professes his knowledge to be as theirs, and he even points them to the

lower animals to find wisdom from them. The very beasts of the earth, the

fowls of the air, the fruitful field, the fishes in the deep, all tell the great

truthJEHOVAH REIGNS SUPREME!  “In His hand is the soul of every

living thing, and the breath of all mankind;” all proclaim the Almighty, all speak

of the Ever-living One in whom all live. This testimony is witnessed:



the head of all, is conscious of the dependence of his life upon some power

higher than himself. There is one LORD OF LIFE, AUTHOR OF ALL

LIFE, SUPPORTER OF ALL!  Every individual life declares “the hand

 of the Lord hath wrought this.” In His hand alone is “the soul the life

of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” He is the Creator

and Preserver of every life.


·         IN THE INFINITE VARIETY OF LIFE. What an unlimited variety do

we behold! The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the fish of the sea,

abound in a wide diversity of life. ALL SPEAK OF THE INFINITE

CREATOR in whom are the possibilities of infinite life; who, of His

own infinite resources, has created and made the whole. That the species

vary according to the encircling conditions of their life does not detract from

their testimony to the infinite and supreme Power. For the very existence of

every life speaks of THAT POWER!  How great is He whose creative skill

reveals itself in this unlimited variety!




power continues to bring forth, each after its own kind, is another

testimony to the greatness of Him “in whose hand is the soul of every living

thing.” The creation and preservation of the many species age after age

speaks to the thoughtful mind of Him who is the one Lord of all life, who

by his omnipotent overruling preserves all in their order and in their




ANOTHER TESTIMONY IS BORNE. How delicate are the organs of the

body — the powers of sight, of hearing, of activity; the strength of one, the

delicacy of the structure of another! How wonderful are the nerves of the

body, conveying the impression from the outer world to the brain! Equally

so the blood-vessels, and the hidden powers by which the bones are built

up, and again the powers of nutrition gathering food from without and

assimilating it to the body in all its parts. This is done without the

knowledge and consent of the creature; for the creature, even man, knows

not how it is done. it is above him; it speaks definitely and distinctly and

loudly of God, “in whose hand is the breath of all mankind.”  (v. 10;

compare Psalm 139)




Notwithstanding the vastness of the realm in which creature-life is found,

and the variety of the forms of life, each having its own peculiar needs, yet

He satisfieth the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:16).  Food is

abundant  for man and beast, and of the fowls of the air it is truly said,

“He feedeth them.” So the Divine work is seen on every side; and from all

the varieties of conscious life one testimony arises to the great truth,

“The Lord reigneth.”  (Psalms 93 and 97)  On every work the truth lies

clearly stamped, “The hand of Jehovah made this.”   (We can joyfully say,

“My God made it all!  CY  - 2021)





                                                Lessons of Nature (vs. 7-10)


·         NATURE REBUKES MAN’S IGNORANCE. Job refers his friends to

nature in a tone of reproach. They ought to have known what nature was

proclaiming. There are two grounds for this rebuke.


Ø      The wealth and fullness of natures testimony to her Creator. Go

     where one may, nature is ready to speak for God. The beasts of the field,

the fowls of the air, the creeping things on the ground, the fishes of the

sea, all speak for the power and wisdom of their Maker. There is variety

in this grand utterance of nature, yet there is unity. Many creatures,

of diverse sorts, agree to bear witness to the same great truths. If we

cannot understand the beasts, the birds may teach us; if the insects

are an enigma, the fishes may instruct us. Though all these different

voices of nature may not be sounding in our ears as once, we cannot

be long out of the reach of some of them. Therefore:


“In contemplation of created things

By steps we may ascend to God.”


Ø      The greater intelligence of man. “But ask now the beasts, and they

     shall teach thee” — as though those dull brutes knew what man had

missed discovering. So the lord of creation is sent to be a pupil of his

humblest subjects. Of course, to be prosaically accurate, it must be said

that the beasts do not understand the lessons they teach; that only man

can know God, and that the testimony of nature is unconscious. Still,

the higher faculty of man makes it a shame that he should not know

what nature is teaching in so many ways all around him.




Ø      By its constitution. The very variety of the creation bespeaks the mind

and power of the Creator. For this variety is not confused, but orderly.

There must be a sameness about the very disorder of chaos which is not

seen in the cosmos. The various species of living creatures keep their

several places in the scale of creation, fulfill their distinctive destinies

and perform their separate functions. There is mind and purpose in

the very variety of nature.


Ø      By its life. Nature is not a huge mosaic. If its variegated picture were

motionless and changeless, we could not but admire the infinite skill

with which it had been put together. The exhibition of stuffed specimens

of dead animals in a natural history museum gives us abundant proof of

the skill of the Creator. But the fields show us what no museum can

reveal. In the great world of nature all is life and movement. Thus we

have not the relics of an ancient Divine activity of God, like fossils of

extinct animals, but the creatures in the very flush of life. And this life

must be constantly maintained. Then by its very continuance it proclaims

the presence of God. He is in nature, energizing in it every moment.

In his hand is the soul of every living creature.


Ø      By its human connections. Man shares in the common life of nature.

     The hand that holds the soul of every living thing holds the breath of all

mankind. “In him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Therefore we have not only to look around us on the animal creation.

If we do but consider our own existence, we have daily evidence of the

presence of God. The testimony of creation is designed to remind us

of our own dependence on God. It is especially a good corrective of

the subjective notions of a visionary. Job answers Eliphaz and his

                        awful vision most aptly by appealing to the great living voice of nature.


11 “Doth not the ear try words? and the month taste his meat?”

rather, as the palate tasteth its meat? (see the Revised Version). In other

words, “Is it not as much the business of the ear to discriminate between

wise and unwise words, as of the palate to determine between pleasant and

unpleasant tastes?” The bearing of the verse on the general argument is not






            Discrimination  (v. 11)


Job seems to mean that, as the mouth detects differences of taste, so the

ear discerns distinctions of words. We do not eat all that we taste. We can

reject the nauseous and select the palatable. In the same way we do not

accept and believe all that we hear. We can discriminate between the

sayings that come to us. Bildad in particular has been attempting to settle

the question of providence by appealing to the traditions of antiquity. Job

shows that he can make the same appeal to another series of proverbs, and

the result will be very different. Tradition is not unanimous. It is not

reasonable, therefore, to take all that comes to hand from it as infallible

truth. We must examine and test it, selecting what is wise, rejecting what is





Ø      Many voices claim a hearing. We are not left to a monotone of advice.

A very Babel of tongues assails us. We are besieged on all sides by

claimants for our belief. We live under a perfect rain of rival notions.

Every theory pretends to be absolute truth; yet each novel theory gives

the lie to its predecessor. In religion this is very painfully apparent.

Not only do the great historic religions of the world compete for

supremacy, but Christianity itself speaks to us in many voices. What

are we to believe amid the conflict of the sects and parties, some

urging to extreme sacerdotalism (priestly), others to evangelicalism;

some contending for the ancient creeds, others favoring new lights?

We must use discrimination, for it is childish folly to

give our assent to the first voice that chances to attract our attention.


Ø      It is important to accept the purest truth. Truth is the food of the soul.

We dare not play with its ideas in dilettante indifference. To be deluded

is to be ensnared. We suffer by feeding on error. As we must distinguish

between wholesome and unwholesome diet if we would be in good

bodily health, so we must distinguish between truth and error if we

would be in spiritual health. There are even deadly poisons which

look beautiful They must be detected and rejected if our souls are

not to be killed.




Ø      We have a natural faculty of judgment. Job claimed to possess this, and

he compared it with the natural discriminating ability of the palate. Our

minds were made by God FOR USE!  If we weakly and indolently fail

to employ them, and so become the slaves of any unscrupulous deceiver,

we have only ourselves to blame for our ruinous error. While we have

to walk by faith, we need first to use our reason in order to be assured

of a good ground of faith. To deny the possibility of doing so is to play

into the hands of the ultramontane Roman Catholics.


Ø      Our judgment can be enlightened by the Holy Spirit. We must be

aware that we often err. The palate is not an infallible guide, for what

is pleasant to the taste may be most unwholesome. There are sweet

poisons. How shall we be able to avoid attractive errors? This question

is most important, because our taste has been depraved; a vicious

appetite has perverted the natural faculty of discrimination. But Christ

has provided for the difficulty by promising the Holy Spirit to guide

us into all truth (John 16:13). Let us but be sure we are humbly

                         depending on the Spirit of God, and we cannot err fatally


12 “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.”

 Men get their wisdom gradually and painfully by much experience during a long

stretch of time, so that it is not until they are “ancient” that we can call them

wise or credit them with “understanding.” But with God the case is wholly





            The Wisdom and the Power of God a Truth Universally Known

                                                            (vs. 7-12)


Wisdom is not the peculiar possession of those fancied wise friends. It is a truth

impressed on all nature and on the experience of man.


·         APPEAL TO THE LIVING CREATURES. (vs. 7-10.) The beasts,

the birds of the air, the earth with all its living growths, the creatures of the

sea, — all bear traces of His skill, all receive from Him their life and

sustenance, all are subject to His omnipresent power (compare Psalm



·         APPEAL TO THE EXPERIENCE OF AGE. As the palate tries and

discriminates between the different dishes on the table, so does the ear try

the various opinions to which it listens, and selects the best, the ripest, as

its guide (v, 11). Long life means large experience, and largo experience

gives the criterion of truth and the guide of life. (“.....we glory in

tribulations...tribulation worketh patience; And patience , experience,

and experience hope, - Romans 5:3-4). Yet experience is but the

book of common experiences. It fails us when we have to deal with the

peculiar and the exceptional, which is the present situation of Job (v. 12).



GOD. (vs. 13-25.) Here Job rivals and surpasses his friends. With

repeated blows, as of the hammer on the anvil, he impresses the truth that

the might and intelligence of the Supreme are irresistible, and before Him

all human craft and power must be reduced to impotence. The power and the

wisdom of God alternately occupy His thought, appear and reappear in a

variety of images.


13 “With Him is wisdom and strength, He hath counsel and understanding.”

With Him is wisdom and strength. With God wisdom and

strength dwell essentially. He is not wiser or stronger at one time than at

another. Time and experience add nothing to the perfection of His

attributes, which are unchangeable. Such wisdom infinitely transcends any

to which man can attain, and therefore is doubtless the wisdom whereby

the world is governed. He hath counsel and understanding. God has

these qualities as His own. They are not acquired or imparted, but belong

to Him, necessarily and always.




                        The Dogma of the Friends Demolished (vs. 5-13)




Ø      The prosperous fortunes of the bad. Apt illustrations were at hand in

      the seemingly unchanging success which waited on the footsteps of those

marauding caterans (bands of fighting men) with which Arabia Deserta

was overrun.  The adverse fortunes of the good. Exemplified in Job’s

own case, which showed


o        that a man might be upright and yet fall into misfortune;


o        that a person enjoying confidential relations with Heaven, calling upon

God and receiving answers, might sink so low in the mire of adversity

as to become a scorn and a byword, and be regarded as a sort of infidel

and outcast; and


o        that the largest and heaviest portion of a good man’s affliction might

even come from the good themselves, from those who enjoyed the

reputation at least of being religious, from his neighbors and friends,

who were themselves sitting in the sunshine of prosperity. And the

entire veracity of these deductions is abundantly confirmed by the

concurrent testimony of all past ages, by the histories, e.g.


§         of Abel,

§         of Joseph,

§         of David,

§         of Christ;


while it is sustained by the voice of all contemporary



Ø      The prosperous fortunes of the bad. Apt illustrations were at hand in the

seemingly unchanging success which waited on the footsteps of those

marauding caterans (bands of fighting men) with which Arabia Deserta

was overrun.


o       As to character, they were notoriously wicked, in fact, flagrantly

immoral, outrageously ungodly.


§         They were Robbers of men, violent and rapacious

plunderers, who put might for right, “men of the arm”

(ch. 22:8), acting on


“The good old rule, the simple plan,

That they should take who have the power,

And they should keep who can;”


like the Nephilim and Gibborim of Noah’s day, who deluged the

world with immorality and violence (Genesis 6:4)


o       Defiers of God, impudent and audacious sinners who openly and

presumptuously trampled on Heaven’s laws in order to obtain

their unhallowed will, like:


§         the tower-builders of Babel (Genesis 11:4),

§         Pharaoh (Exodus 5:2),

§         Sennacherib (II Kings 18:19-35), and

§         like wicked men generally, whose foolish tongues


talk loftily,” and “set themselves against the heavens,” and

walk through the earth” (Psalm 73:8-9), and whose carnal

minds, inflamed with enmity against God (Romans 8:7),

conspire against the Lord and His Anointed (Psalm 2:2).


o       Worshippers of the sword, who had no deity but the dagger

which they carried in their hands, as the glutton has no god

but his belly (Philippians 3:19); who:


§         like Lamech, made  ballads to their rapiers (Genesis 4:23);

§         like Laban, regarded brute force as the supreme power

of the world (Genesis 31:29); and

§         like the ancient Chaldeans, took military strength for

their god (Habakkuk 1:11).


Ø      As to fortune it was as widely removed from that of the virtuous and

pious as it could well be.


o       Their tents were peaceful. That is, their habitations were tranquil,

      their families were united and numerous; their domestic felicity

was deep (compare ch. 21:8-11; Psalm 17:14; 49:11).


o       Their persons were secure. Calamity seldom, almost never,

      overtook them. Winds and hurricanes that desolated the

righteous left them untouched (Psalm 73:4).


o       Their baskets were full. Retaining the Authorized Version

      (Carey and others), we understand Job to have said that God

brought to them abundantly with His own hand, as if He had

taken them under His especial protection.




o                               The teachers. The entire circle of animate and inanimate creation —

everything on the earth, in the air, and in the sea. The natural and the

supernatural, the visible and the invisible, the material and the spiritual,

the mundane and the heavenly, are in God’s universe so indissolubly

linked together, and so wisely adjusted to each other, that the one is

a picture or reflection of the other, the earthly and material an

emblem of the heavenlyand spiritual. Hence all nature is full of

subtle analogies to things and thoughts existing in the realms

above it — the intellectual, the moral, the spiritual, the human,

the celestial. Hence the wise student of nature may find


“Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,

Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

(‘As You Like It,’ act 2. sc. 1.)


Hence man is frequently counseled by Scripture writers to learn wisdom

from the creatures.


o       “Solomon sends us to the ant;

o       Agur to the coney, the locust, the spider;

o       Isaiah to the ox and the ass;

o       Jeremiah to the stork, the turtle-dove, the crane, the swallow;


o       the heavenly Teacher Himself to the fowls of the air”


Of all teachers Christ stood indisputably first in interpreting the hidden

thoughts of nature.


Ø      The teaching. While the creatures say much to man concerning God, His

almighty power, unerring wisdom, unwearied goodness, and ever-watchful

care; and concerning duty, reminding man that He, like them, should act

in harmony with the laws of his nature, and in obedience to the will of his

Creator (Psalm 148:7-13), they are here introduced as instructors on

the subject of Divine providence. Among the lower creatures phenomena

exist analogous to those above described as occurring in the higher world

of men. How often is the harmless lamb devoured by the wolf, the kid by

the panther, the gazelle by the tiger, the patient ass by the ferocious lion!

Are not the eagle, the vulture, and the hawk but as rapacious robbers

swooping down upon the dove the sparrow, and the robin? Can greater

plunderers be found than the vast aquatic monsters, the whale, the shark,

and the crocodile, which roam through the deep, striking terror among the

lesser tribes that haunt the seas? And yet “who knoweth not in all these

that the hand of Jehovah hath wrought this, in whose hand is the soul of

every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?”  (V. 9) Well, if these

things occur under God’s government among the lower creatures, why,

asks Job, might similar occurrences not transpire under the same

government among men?




1. The ground of their authority. The weight attached by Zophar, and

indeed allowed by Job himself, to the maxims of antiquity, was derived

from the fact that they were the concentrated wisdom of antecedent ages,

which had been carefully elaborated by long-lived sages as the result of

their individual and collective experience (see homiletics on Job 8:8-

22).  This is what a deceived, misguided and wicked Cancel Culture

is consumed with trying to exterminate.  Unfortunately, Revelation 11:18

describes their fate:  “O Lord God Almighty..............shouldest destroy

them which destroy the earth.”  CY - 2021)


2. The limit of their authority. Granting that these sagacious apothegms

and profound parables were fairly entitled to be heard, Job contended that

they were not possessed of absolute authority. They were not to be

accepted with unquestioning submission, but with wise and intelligent

discrimination, the ear, and of course “the judgment which sits behind the

ear,” having been given to try words as the palate does food. And even at

the best they were only human judgments, the thoughts of long-lived

patriarchs, of much-observing as well as deep-reflecting sages, but not at

all to be compared with the thoughts of Him with whom is “wisdom and

strength, counsel and understanding” (v. 13). They were, therefore, not

to be accepted as final interpretations of the facts of providence, which

were the concrete expressions of eternal Wisdom, as much as these

traditional maxims were the abstract utterances of patriarchal wisdom.

Man’s thoughts never can be more than a finite projection, or contracted

image, of God’s. Hence the danger of setting man’s thoughts in place

of God’s, investing confessions, catechisms, and symbolical books

generally with the authority which belongs only to the supreme

revelation  of God’s mind. Hence also the folly of attempting to


narrow dimensions of any formula, however beautiful or

well-arranged, however strictly scientific or profoundly philosophic.

(Contemporary Progressivism attempts to replace God with science

which is promoted by the modern Media - CY - 2021) The fundamental

principles of  all intelligent Protestantism may be summed up in

two thoughts: man’s formulas are not the exact measure of God’s

revelations; “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.”

(I Thessalonians 5:21)


3. The verdict of their authority. If rightly discriminated, the voice of

patriarchal wisdom will be found to be on Job’s side; in support of which

assertion he proceeds, in the next section, to recite other sayings of

antiquity, which certainly give countenance rather to his than to their

view of God’s providential government of the world and mankind.

So perhaps it will be generally found that the best thoughts of men

in all ages harmonize with the thoughts of God as expressed both

in the Bible and in providence.


·         LEARN:


1. “He that is first in his own cause seemeth right; but his neighbor

      cometh and searcheth him.”  (Proverbs 18:17)

2. “A half-truth is sometimes as dangerous as a whole lie.”

3. “In contemplation of created things, by steps we may ascend to God.”

4. It is not true that “man is the measure of the universe.”

5. “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in

      man’s philosophy.”  (For proof, enter Fantastic Voyage - You

      Tube - in your browser and see what happens.  CY - 2021)

6. “That alone is true antiquity which embraces the antiquity of the

      world (this Cancel Culture refuses to do - CY - 2021,

      and not that which would refer us back to a period when the

      world was young.”


14 “Behold, He breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: He shutteth

up a man, and there can be no opening.”  Behold, He breaketh down, and

 it cannot be built again. Professor Lee thinks that the allusion is to the cities of

the plain (Genesis 19:24-29 – see – CY - 2013). But the

sentiment is so general, that we may well doubt if particular instances were in Job’s

mind. At any rate, the destructive agencies of nature must be as much included as

any supernatural acts. He shutteth up a man (compare ch.11:10). God “shuts

up” men when be hedges them in with calamities or other circumstances,

which take away from them all freedom of action (ch.3:23; 19:8)

When He does this, the result follows — There can be no opening. No

other power can give release.


15 “Behold, He withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also He

sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.” Behold, he withholdeth

the waters, and they dry up. God, at His pleasure, causes great droughts, which

are among the worst calamities that can happen. He withholds the blessed rain from

heaven (Deuteronomy 11:17; I Kings 8:35; 17:1), and the springs shrink,

and the rivers dry up, and a fruitful land is turned into a desert, and famine

stalks through the land, and men perish by thousands. Also He sendeth

them out, and they overturn the earth; i.e. He causes floods and

inundations. Once upon a time He overwhelmed the whole earth, and

destroyed almost the entire race of mankind, by a deluge of an

extraordinary character, which so fixed itself in the human consciousness,

that traces of it are to be found in the traditions of almost all the various

races of men. But, beside this great occasion, He also in ten thousand other

cases, causes, by means of floods, tremendous ruin and devastation,

sweeping away crops and cattle, and even villages and cities, sometimes

even “overturning the earth,” causing lakes to burst, rivers to change their

course, vast tracts of land to be permanently submerged, and the contour

of coasts to be altered.


16 “With Him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver

are His.”  With Hm is strength and wisdom; rather (as in the Revised

Version), with Him is strength and effectual working. God has not only the

wisdom to design the course of events (v. 13), but the POWER AND


had promised, HE WAS ABLE TO PERFORM.”  (Romans 4:21).

The deceived and the deceiver are His.  Not only does God rule the course

of external nature, but also the doings of men. “Shall there be evil in a city,

and shall not He have done it?”  (Amos 3:6) He allows some to deceive,

and others to be deceived.  Moral evil is thus under His control, and, in a

 certain sense, may be called His doing. But it behoves men, when they approach

such great mysteries, to be very cautious and wary in their speech. Job touches

with somewhat too bold a hand the deepest problems of the universe.


17 “He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.”

He leadeth counsellors away spoiled. The wise of the earth cannot resist or

escape Him; He frustrates their designs and overthrows them, and, as it were,

leads them away captive. And maketh the judges fools; rather, and judges

maketh He fools. There is no article, and no particular judges are referred to

(compare Isaiah 44:25).


18 “He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a

girdle.”  This may either mean that God at His pleasure both looses kings

from captivity, and also binds them with a cord and causes them to be

carried away captive; or that He looses the authority which kings have over

their subjects, and then lets them be carried away captive by their enemies.

The latter is perhaps the more probable sense.


19 “He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.”

He leadeth princes away spoiled; rather, priests (μynhk), as

in the Revised Version. This is the only mention of “priests” in the Book of

Job, and a priest-caste, such as that of Egypt or of Israel, can scarcely be

meant. The priests are placed among the mighty, on a par with kings (v.

18), princes (v. 21), and “the strong” (Ibid.). This context makes us

naturally think of those priest-kings whom we hear of in the olden times,

such as were Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20) and Jethro (Exodus

3:1; 18:1-27), and the Egyptian kings of the twenty-first dynasty (‘History

of Ancient Egypt,’ vol. 2. pp. 408-415), and Ethbaal of Tyre (‘History of

Phoenicia,’ p. 435), and Sethos (Herod., 2, 141), and others. Job’s allusion

is probably to persons of this exalted class, who no doubt were sometimes

defeated and dragged into captivity, like other rulers and governors. And

overthroweth the mighty. Schultens understands by ethanim (μynjya)

“great teachers;” but the ordinary meaning of the word is “strong” or

“mighty” (see ch. 33:19; Micah 6:2).


20 “He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the

understanding of the aged.”  He removeth away the speech of the trusty.

God deprives trusted statesmen of their eloquence, destroys their reputation and

their authority. And taketh away the understanding of the aged. He turns

wise and aged men into fools and drivellers, weakening their judgments

and reducing them to imbecility.


21 “He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of

the mighty.” He poureth contempt upon princes; literally, upon the

munificent. But the word has often the more generic sense of “princes,”

“great men” (see I Samuel 2:8; Proverbs 25:7). And weakeneth the

strength of the mighty; literally, looseth the belt of the strong. But our

version sufficiently expresses the meaning.


22 “He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to

light the shadow of death.” He discovereth deep things out of darkness. By

“deep things” are probably meant the “deeply laid schemes” which wicked men

concoct in darkness (or secrecy). These God often “discovers,” or causes

to be laid bare. English history can point to such a case in the discovery of

the famous “Gunpowder Plot” in the second year of King James I. And

bringeth out to light the shadow of death. There is nothing secret which

God cannot, if He choose, reveal; nor is there anything hid which He cannot

make known.  (In fact, Christ said, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not

be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever ye

 have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have

spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”  -

Luke 12:3-4 – CY – 2013)  Dark, murderous schemes, on which lies a shadow as

Of death, which men plan in secret, and keep hidden in their inmost thoughts,

He can, and often does, cause to be brought to light and made manifest in

the sight of all. Every such scheme, however carefully guarded and

concealed, SHALL ONE DAY BE MADE KNOWN!   (Matthew 10:26).

Many are laid bare even in the lifetime of their devisers.




                                    Instances of the Overruling Wisdom of God

                                                            (vs. 16-17, 22)


·         THE DECEIVER AND THE DECEIVED ARE HIS. (v. 16.) He can

cause the spirit of the faithless prophet to be a lying spirit (1 Kings 22.), to

be deceived in his oracles, and incur destruction (Ezekiel 14:9).


·         SO THE JUDGES ARE MADE FOOLS. (v. 17.) In short, God hath

made from time to time the wisdom of this world foolishness (1

Corinthians 1.), that no flesh might glory IN HIS PRESENCE!



      This is the revelation of God in history, and its page is full of

illustrations. The calling of Abraham; the raising up of Moses; the

deliverance of Israel; the elevation of David, the “rod out of his stem’” the

lowly Messiah; the progress of the gospel and triumph over the wisdom of

Greece and pride of Rome; the beginnings of the Reformation, — are but a

few of the salient (important) points in this providential history of the world.

The whole description is fitted to teach:


Ø      Humility in the sense of the feebleness of our power, the inferiority of

our knowledge in the presence of the power and wisdom of God.


Ø      Reverence in the study of history and the observation of nature.


Ø      Watchful and confident expectation of changes in the course of

providence, by which:


o       iniquity will be overturned,

o       the rule of falsehood be brought to an end, and

o       the Divine kingdom be advanced in the world.




                                     Deep Things Out of Darkness (v. 22)



has means of knowledge which are sealed to us, a key which unlocks the

most secret chamber, an eye that can see down to the most hidden depths.

He sees the skeleton in the cupboard. The mask of the hypocrite can never

deceive Him.


Ø      God sees inwardly. Man looks on the outward countenance, God on the

heart (1 Samuel 16:7). His indwelling Spirit sees as far as it influences,

and it influences the inmost springs of our being.


Ø      God sees immediately. This results from His inward vision. We have to

infer and draw conclusions by means of a chain of reasoning. God can

dispense with this process. He sees everything; His knowledge is direct

and intuitive.


Ø      God sees everywhere. Our vision is limited to a certain area.  (There is

     only one secular thing on this website # 1522.  The Art of Free Throw Shooting   -

The last entry on the site.  In it I talk about focus from a human eye

standpoint which makes the above point - CY - 2021) Even

      when we stand on the top of a mountain and endeavor to take in a

great panorama of scenery, we can only look attentively at one part

of the prospect at a time. But God’s infinite gaze takes in all the

facts of the universe at once.




Ø      He discovers hidden sin.


o       The nefarious (wicked or criminal) design of the unscrupulous

      statesman concocted within the locked doors of the council-


o       the dark plot of the little band of desperate conspirators,

o       the ugly scheme of the robber horde,

o       the fell purpose of the betrayer,


are all quite known to God from the moment when the first black

thoughts entered the minds of their originators.  (“For there is

nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, neither hid, that shall

                        not be known.”  Luke 12:2; “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and

known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou

understandest my thought afar off.  Thou compassest my path and

my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.  For there is

not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon

me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot

attain unto it.  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall

I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there:

 if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  If I take the wings

of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold

                        me.  If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall

                        be light about me.  Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the

night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to

thee.” Psalm 139:1-12)  The sin which has once been committed is all

known to God, though it may have been hushed up and kept from the

observation of men. In the great day of judgment God will bring it



Ø      He discovers hidden goodness. All that God brings out of its secret

hiding-place is not evil. There are hidden treasures. Miners bring up

precious minerals from the dark interior of the earth. The voyage of the

Challenger was a means of bringing to light many wonderful works

of God from the dim depths of the sea. God observes all hidden worth.


“The violet born to blush unseen”


is perfectly well known to Him. He also understands the innocence that is

cruelly misjudged and condemned as guilt by men. Some day He will

bring that to light, and vindicate the cause of every true martyr.




all wrong. He will give righteous judgments. The dark creatures of sin that

are brought to light cannot be left out in the full blaze of the sun to befool

the day with their obscenity. As we stamp on the unclean things that creep

out of dark places when they are suddenly disturbed and crush them, so

God must destroy the wicked when their evil is brought TO LIGHT!

The revelation can only be preliminary to the condemnation. Meanwhile the

delusion which leads men to harbor their sin is fatal. Whatever excuse

covers it is a lie.


                                    For love of grace,

Lay not that flattering unction to your soul;

It will but skin and film the ulcerous place;

Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,

Infects unseen.”


On the other hand, the ultimate vindication of the right is a grand

            encouragement to “patient perseverance in well-doing.”


23 “He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: He enlargeth the

nations, and straiteneth them again.” He increaseth the nations, and

destroyeth them. God’s providence concerns itself, not only with the fate of

individual men, but also with that of nations. With Israel, His “peculiar people”

(Deuteronomy 14:2), He especially concerned Himself, but not with

Israel only. Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Elam, Edom, Ammon, Moab, were

likewise objects of His attention, of His guidance, of His chastening hand, of

His avenging rod. Particular nations were consigned by God to the charge

of particular angels (Daniel 10:13, 20). At His pleasure He can “increase”

nations by blessing them with extraordinary fecundity (Exodus 1:7-12), or

“destroy” them by internal decay, by civil wars, or by the swords of their

neighbors. He enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again; i.e.

 “enlarges their bounds, or diminishes them.”  In Western Asia, where Job lived,

empires were continually starting up, growing and expanding, increasing to vast

dimensions, and then after a while shrinking back again to their original narrow

limits Egypt, Elam, Babylon, and the Hittite nation were cases in point.


24 “He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and

causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.”

He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth; rather.

the chiefs of the people’ or the popular chieftains.. He deprives these “chiefs”

of their wisdom or courage, or both, and thus brings down the nations

under their governance. And causeth them to wander in a wilderness

where there is no way; rather, in a chaos — one of the words used in Genesis

1:2  to describe the condition of the material universe before God had ordered and

arranged it. The chieftains, deprived of their “heart,” are so confused and

perplexed that they do not know what to do, or which way to turn.


25 “They grope in the dark without light, and He maketh them to

stagger like a drunken man.” They grope in the dark without light

(compare ch.5:14 and Deuteronomy 28:29). And he maketh them to stagger

 like a drunken man; literally, to wander — to pursue a devious course

instead of a straight one.





                        The Divine Supremacy Illustrated (vs. 11-25)


Bildad appeals to “the ancients.” Job replies, “I also know their teaching.”

But there is a wisdom higher than that of the ancients. Wisdom — unfailing

wisdom — is A DIVINE ATTRIBUTE!  From the earthly to the heavenly wisdom

Job turns. He speaks of a higher and a mightier One — One “with whom is

strength and wisdom,” by which He rules. The supremacy of that Divine

rule he illustrates from a very wide field of survey. He points to the

evidences of the DIVINE ALMIGHTYNESS!






The very “waters” obey His behest (v. 15).




PURPOSE. (v. 16.)



counselors away spoiled,” and bringing down the judge to the level

of the fool (v. 17).  (I wonder how the Judges on the Supreme Court of

the United States of America would react to being told that their liberal rulings

in the last sixty years - [1960-2020] in the undermining of biblical

and religious foundations, were of God?  CY - 2021)



(vs. 18-19.)







He giveth or taketh away wisdom and might as it pleaseth Him, proving

that He is wise and mighty above all; for these are His gifts to the children of

men that have them.



DARKNESS ARE OPEN TO HIS VIEW. He discovereth the secret

works of evil. Even the thick shadow of death cannot hide from Him

(v. 22; compare Psalm 139:12 - no doubt God sees in some superior

form of infra-red - CY - 2021). 



His power is over the nations; He enlarges or straitens as He pleases. He

scatters or gathers as He will (v. 23).




for Him to remove the light of reason from them, confounding and

confusing them, and casting them into darkness and gloom. Elsewhere we

learn why and when the Almighty deals thus with men. Job’s purpose is to

show that man is as nothing before Him. In his highest honor, in his

utmost wisdom, in his greatest strength, He cannot contend with JEHOVAH!

Over the individual life in all its various conditions, over the combined

lives of men in their national or political combinations, HE IS STILL

SUPREME!   And over the heavens and the earth He is Lord — even

over all. This is Job’s faith and his declaration. He can proclaim THE


and even more strikingly than his friends.




The Wisdom and Might of God (vs. 13-25)


Job meets his friend’s authoritative utterances of proverbs and worldly

maxims by a citation of similar sayings, but with a different import. It is not

true that the righteous always prosper, and that the wicked always suffer.

Such a primitive notion implies too anthropocentric a conception of the

universe; it goes on the assumption that all things are done just to suit our

condition and conduct. Now, Job takes a higher and wider view. He

appeals to sayings that speak of the supreme wisdom and irresistible

 might of God, altogether irrespective of man and his concerns.



fathom his thought; we cannot resist his arm. He will do what he thinks best

whether we concur or not. The universe is under an irresistible Ruler. It is

possible for us to question what God does, but we cannot answer Him.

We may rebel against His authority, but we cannot overthrow it.

Therefore we should escape from our petty parochialism, and consider

God’s large world and universal rule, before we attempt to form any

theory of life.



INTERESTS THAN THOSE OF MAN. Our narrow views of God’s

government lead to false opinions about His action. We are tempted to

fancy that all He does is solely with a view to its effect on ourselves. Thus

we try to color the universe with our egotism. But the Lord of all must

have vast interests to consider of which we know nothing. What looks foolish

to us because we cannot see the end in view — an end often quite outside

ourselves, would appear in a very different light if we knew all God’s far

reaching designs.



WITH HIS GOODNESS. This is not so apparent in Job’s representation of

the Divine action as it must be to a Christian. The patriarch has fallen into

the error of a one-sided view in combating the narrow and erroneous

opinion of his friends, and he has come to represent God too much as the

irresponsible Oriental autocrat, whose only law is his will, but whose will

may follow mere caprice, and may be free from all considerations of

justice. Job would not say as much of God, but his description leans in this

direction. Now, we know that the most supreme thing in God is not his

might, nor is it his wisdom; it is HIS LOVE (I John 4:8-9). Therefore,

although we cannot understand His large purpose, that must be a good one.

We see God in His irresistible might casting down kings and princes,

leading clever people into scenes of bewilderment, apparently playing with

all sorts of men as mere pawns. But this is only because we are shortsighted.

The large purposes which include other worlds than ours do not

exclude our world. God does not brush man aside as a nonentity when He

goes forth to achieve His vast designs. One of God’s greatest purposes is


BEGOTTEN SON!   (John 3:16).




The Providence of God Described (vs. 13-25)



and strength, He hath counsel and understanding”  (v. 13) — a

sentiment repeated in v. 16. Of the two attributes here mentioned, the first is

involved in His supreme Divinity; though in the connection Job seems to

base it on His eternal existence, as if he meant to say, “You affirm that in

length of days is understanding, and I grant it; but what then must be the

wisdom of Him who is eternal in his years?” The second, which is equally

involved in the conception of  the Godhead, may here be said to rest upon the

already stated fact that “in His hand is the soul of every living thing, and

the breath of all mankind” (v. 10). The Creator of the universe must be

strong, and the Eternal Intelligence must be wise. Being, then,


 the like qualities must appear in His handiwork. As the artist puts his conceptions

into the painting which he executes, and the artificer directs attention to the work

he has fashioned as a proof of his ability; so, reasons Job, will the providential

government of God be seen, when thoroughly examined, to reflect the matchless

wisdom of HIS OMNISCIENT MIND and attest the measureless force




breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: He shutteth up a man, and

there can be no opening” (v. 14). The first may allude to the destruction

of the Tower of Babel, and the second to the confusion of tongues; though

the reference may be more general, to such acts of destruction (and, by

implication, of restoration) and of restraint (and again, by implication, of

liberation) as attest His Almighty Power. Illustrations of the former may be

found in the burning of Sodom by fire (for a first hand look, I recommend and look up the section on the Destruction of Sodom –

CY – 2013); the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Titus; the overthrow

of Babylon and Nineveh; the engulfment of Herculaneum and Pompeii by

volcanic agency; while the shutting up of men in prisons may be regarded as

having been exemplified in Joseph (Genesis 37:24), Jeremiah (Lamentations

3:53; compare Jeremiah 38:6), Jonah 1:17.




Ø      To nature. “Behold, He withholdeth the waters, and they dry up:

also He sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth” (v. 15).

Perhaps exemplified in the first formation of the dry land (Genesis 1:9),

and in the Deluge (Ibid. 7:11); though more probably pointing to the

Divine agency as the true cause of drought (I Kings 17:1), and of

floods or destructive inundations.


Ø      To man. The deceived and the deceiver are His” (v. 16). Possibly

alluding to himself and his companions, though it is better to

give the language a wider reference. Exemplified in:


o       Satan and man (ch. 1:12; Revelation 20:3),

o       the lying spirit and Ahab (I Kings 22:22),

o       antichrist and unbelievers (II Thessalonians 2:11).


The language forcibly expresses God’s complete control over





Ø      Individuals.


o       Civic rulers. He leadeth counselors away spoiled

[literally, ‘naked,’ i.e. ‘stripped of their official robes,

and of their clothes and shoes as captives ‘], and maketh

judges fools,” destroying their power and degrading

their position (compare Isaiah 3:2, 4; 40:23; 44:25).

“He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their

loins with a girdle” or cord; meaning either He unbinds

their prisoners, and makes them prisoners instead, or He

unlooses the jeweled girdle of kings, the insignia of royalty,

and ties their loins with the cords of servitude. Illustrations:

Zedekiah, Napoleon, etc.


o       Ecclesiastical officers. “He leadeth princes [literally,

‘priests’] away spoiled [literal]y, ‘stripped of their robes ‘],

and overthroweth the mighty [or, ‘the long established’ —

those of great and high repute for sanctity and wisdom,

probably such priest-princes as Melchizedek and Jethro].’


o       Eloquent senators.He removeth away the speech

[literally, ‘the lip’] of the trusty, and taketh away the

 understanding of the aged” (v. 20). So He turned the

counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness (II Samuel 15:31).


o       Haughty nobles. “He poureth contempt upon princes,

 and weakeneth the strength of the mighty;” literally,

looseth the girdle of the strong” (v. 21). The girdle

being the belt by which the garments were fastened prior to

undertaking any violent exertion, the language expresses the

idea that it is God’s province either to impart or to

 withhold the strength requisite for any undertaking

in which man may engage.


o       Intriguing politicians. “He discovereth deep things

 out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow

 of death” (v. 22). While the language may with perfect

propriety be applied to the power possessed by God of

disclosing truths which lie beyond the reach of the human

intellect, as e.g. those of revelation, or of bringing to light

recondite discoveries in science and philosophy, which are

ever wrapped in impenetrable darkness till He is

pleased to unfold them, the connection seems to rather

point to God’s ability to read the secret thoughts and

intentions of the human heart (Psalm 139:1-13; Hebrews

4:12-13), and in particular to detect and expose “the deep

and desperate designs of traitors, conspirators, and

other STATE VILLAINS, as those, e.g. of Absalom

against David (II Samuel 15:6), and Haman against the Jews

(Esther 3:9), of Herod against Christ (Matthew 2:8), and of

the Jews against Paul (Acts 23:21), as the Catiline conspiracy

in Rome, and the Gunpowder Plot in England (And,

hopefully, what is going on in the Supreme Court, Justice

Department, the Oval Office, and halls of the US Senate

 and House of Representatives – CY – 2013)


Ø      Communities.


o       National tendencies. The deep things out of darkness and

The discovered death-shade may also allude to “the hidden

bents and currents which slowly give shape to the character

and functions of a nation or ever it is aware, or ever even its

rulers are aware, of them; that stream of tendency running

partly underground for a while, which silently carries us

we know not whither, we know not how, and lands us in

 enterprises and modes of national activity alien and

opposed to those towards which our subtlest politicians

supposed they were guiding us.


o       National movements. “He increaseth the nations, and

destroyeth them:  He enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth

them again” (v. 23). The original distribution of mankind into

nations, and their dispersion over the face of earth, although

effected in accordance with natural law, WAS DIRECTLY

THE WORK OF GOD!  (Genesis 10 and 11.). So national

increase and national diminution, national prosperity and national

adversity, however these may seem to be the result of well-known

and invariably operating causes, are traceable in the last

 analysis to THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD!   (Psalm

22:28; 24:1; 47:2-3; Isaiah 40:22-23; Daniel 4:17; Acts 17:26).

He increased Israel in Egypt (Exodus 1:12), and diminished it in

the wilderness (Numbers 14:29), advanced it to prosperity under

David (II Samuel 8:6, 11, 14), and gave it up to decay from the

time of Rehoboam forward (I Kings 12:24). He enlarged in turn

Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, Rome, and in turn

straitened them. He has exalted Britain, America, Germany,

but He has not deprived Himself of power to bring them to the

dust again.


o       National leaders. “He taketh away the heart of the chief

of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in

 a wilderness where there is no way,” leaving them to their

own foolish and distracted counsels (Romans 1:24, 26, 28),

 so that “they grope in the dark without light,” and causing

them “to wander in a wilderness where there is no way”

(vs. 24-25). It is not in man that walketh, whether he be a

statesman or a ploughman, to direct his steps aright

(Jeremiah 10:23).  They that guide either themselves or others

by the light of their own understanding are like travelers who

follow an ignis fatuus  (A will-o'-the-wisp - atmospheric ghost

lights seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or

marshes) to their destruction. HENCE NO POLITICIAN


FIRST GUIDES HIM).  A gigantic intellect, splendid

eloquence, prolonged experience, the subtlest craft,

the most careful deliberation, the rarest sobriety of

judgment, will not suffice for political success

(America Beware! – CY – 2013) without the help of


deserted by God, WILL BEGIN TO PLAY THE


MEN!  (Delilah said, “The Philsitines be upon thee,

Samson.  And he awoke out of his sleep, and said,

I will go out as at other times before and shake

myself.  And he wist not that THE LORD WAS

DEPARTED FROM HIM.” Judges 16:20)


  • Notes.  We are not to look for an exact distribution of rewards and punishments

on earth. It is not included in the Divine program that the justice of God’s

procedure here shall always be perceptible by those to whom it relates.

Rest assured notwithstanding that God doeth all things well “Shall not

the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)  We can carry the

thought of God’s overruling providence with us into all the relations and

duties of life. It is a great help to piety to recollect that GOD IS NEAR!




                                    Images of the Irresistible Power of God.

                                                (vs. 13-15, 18-21, 23-25)



CANNOT BE BUILT UP AGAIN.  (v. 14.) Swept with the besom (a broom)

of destruction, it becomes the possession of the bittern and pools of water

(Isaiah 14:23). The ruined walls of Babylon and her charred gates defy

the weary toil of the people (Jeremiah 51:58); she sinks, and shall not

rise from the evil that Jehovah will bring upon her (ibid. v. 64).

Men may build, but he will throw down (Malachi 1:4).  (One thing

the Progressive Movement of the Twenty-First century is producing

is a rapid decline in such a great country as the United States of

America!  “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

(Psalm 11:3)



(v. 14.) He hath the key of David (Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7).

Vain is all human bravery when the Lord hath determined to “deliver a man

into the hand of his enemy” (1 Samuel 26:8). Yet there is a merciful

aspect of this seeming harsh truth, as pointed out by St. Paul: “He hath

shut them all up in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all”

(Romans 11:32).



illustrated in the ancient story of Genesis 6. and 8., and of the drought in

Elijah’s time (1 Kings 17.). He shuts the heaven (1 Kings 8:35), and He

alone can give showers (Jeremiah 14:22).



illustrated in the carrying of Manasseh captive to Babylon (II Chronicles

23.), and of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 52.). The thought is repeated in v. 21,

and further illustrations may be drawn from the cases of Pharaoh, of Saul,

and of Ahab.



sagacity is turned to folly; their prudence is vain when it pleases Him to put

forth His power (compare Isaiah 3:1-3). So in v. 24, where we are

reminded of the striking judgment upon Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4.).



The rise and fall of empires and peoples is determined by constant laws.

Obedience to law means increase and prosperity; violation of law, decay

and ruin.


·         CONFUSION AND BEWILDERMENT are evidences of the

practical power of God (vs. 24-25). Chaos, wandering, darkness,

helpless vacillation, fall upon men and nations from time to time, because

they have been unfaithful to the true light and the Divine leading.




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