|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 24. - He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth; rather. the chiefs of the people or "the popular chief talus" (Lee). 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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth,.... The people of the earth are the common people; the "chief" or "heads" (f) of them, as it may be rendered, are kings, princes and generals of armies; whose "hearts" may be said to be "taken away" when they are dispirited, and deprived both of courage and conduct; have neither valour nor wisdom, neither fortitude of mind, nor military skill to defend themselves and their people against their enemies. Sephorno interprets this of Sihon and Og, whose spirits the Lord hardened, and made their hearts obstinate to war with Israel, Deuteronomy 2:30; but it may be better understood of the Israelites, and the heads of them, when they were discomfited by the Amalekites, quickly after their coming out of Egypt, see Numbers 14:45; about which time Job 54ed: and the rather, since it follows,
and caused them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way: no track, no beaten path to follow, to be a guide to them, and direct their way; in such a wilderness the Israelites wandered near forty years, see Psalm 107:40.
(f) "capitum", Montanus, Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
wander in a wilderness—figurative; not referring to any actual fact. This cannot be quoted to prove Job lived after Israel's wanderings in the desert. Ps 107:4, 40 quotes this passage.
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