|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:12-25 This is a noble discourse of Job concerning the wisdom, power, and sovereignty of God, in ordering all the affairs of the children of men, according to the counsel of His own will, which none can resist. It were well if wise and good men, who differ about lesser things, would see how it is for their honour and comfort, and the good of others, to dwell most upon the great things in which they agree. Here are no complaints, or reflections. He gives many instances of God's powerful management of the children of men, overruling all their counsels, and overcoming all their oppositions. Having all strength and wisdom, God knows how to make use, even of those who are foolish and bad; otherwise there is so little wisdom and so little honesty in the world, that all had been in confusion and ruin long ago. These important truths were suited to convince the disputants that they were out of their depth in attempting to assign the Lord's reasons for afflicting Job; his ways are unsearchable, and his judgments past finding out. Let us remark what beautiful illustrations there are in the word of God, confirming his sovereignty, and wisdom in that sovereignty: but the highest and infinitely the most important is, that the Lord Jesus was crucified by the malice of the Jews; and who but the Lord could have known that this one event was the salvation of the world?
Verse 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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He looseth the bonds of kings,.... Not with which they themselves may be bound, being taken prisoners, or being so before made kings, and brought from thence to reign, as in Ecclesiastes 4:14; but that which they bind on their subjects, a yoke of bondage, tyranny, and oppression; so that to loose their bond is to loose their subjects from it, and free them from their arbitrary and despotic power, and from the burdens they lay upon them: unless rather it should be understood of loosing their waistbands, as an emblem of their government, ungirding them, or unkinging them, stripping them of their royal power and authority, called a "loosing of their loins", Isaiah 45:1; and this power God has over such great personages, as to set up kings, and remove them at his pleasure, Daniel 2:21; which shows that strength and power, as well as wisdom, are with him; this may respect Chedorlaomer casting off the yoke of Nimrod, and the kings of Canaan casting off the yoke of Chedorlaomer, and being loosed from it, Genesis 14:1;
and girdeth their loins with a girdle; not with a royal waistband, as an ensign of government; see Isaiah 11:5; which he looses, and strips them of, but another instead of that; he girds them with the girdle of a servant or traveller; the allusion being to the custom in those eastern countries, where they wore long garments, for servants to gird them up, when they waited on their masters, or when men went long journeys, see Luke 17:7; and so may signify that kings sometimes become servants, or go into captivity, and there be used as such, as they sometimes are; the Vulgate Latin version is, "he girds their reins with a rope".
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. He looseth the bond of kings—He looseth the authority of kings—the "bond" with which they bind their subjects (Isa 45:1; Ge 14:4; Da 2:21).
a girdle—the cord, with which they are bound as captives, instead of the royal "girdle" they once wore (Isa 22:21), and the bond they once bound others with. So "gird"—put on one the bonds of a prisoner instead of the ordinary girdle (Joh 21:18).
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