|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:16-22 Job's faith and hope spake, and grace appeared to revive; but depravity again prevailed. He represents God as carrying matters to extremity against him. The Lord must prevail against all who contend with him. God may send disease and pain, we may lose all comfort in those near and dear to us, every hope of earthly happiness may be destroyed, but God will receive the believer into realms of eternal happiness. But what a change awaits the prosperous unbeliever! How will he answer when God shall call him to his tribunal? The Lord is yet upon a mercy-seat, ready to be gracious. Oh that sinners would be wise, that they would consider their latter end! While man's flesh is upon him, that is, the body he is so loth to lay down, it shall have pain; and while his soul is within him, that is, the spirit he is so loth to resign, it shall mourn. Dying work is hard work; dying pangs often are sore pangs. It is folly for men to defer repentance to a death-bed, and to have that to do which is the one thing needful, when unfit to do anything.
Verse 21. - His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not. The meaning seems to be, "If his sons come to honour, it is of no advantage to him; in the remote and wholly separate region of Sheol he will not be aware of it." The view is more dismal than that of Aristotle, who argues that the fate of those whom they have loved and left on earth will be sure to penetrate, in course of time (ἐπὶ τινα χρόνον)' to the departed, and cause them a certain amount of joy or sorrow ('Eth. Nic.,' 1:11). And they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them. Equally, in the opposite case, if his sons are brought low, he is ignorant of it, and unaffected by their fate.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
His sons come to honour,.... Or "are multiplied" (s), see Nahum 3:15; their families increase like a flock, become very numerous, which was reckoned a great blessing; or "become heavy" (t); being loaded with gold and silver, with riches and honour, raised to great grandeur and dignity, and possessed of much wealth and large estates:
and he knoweth it not; the man whose countenance is changed and sent away into another world; for the dead know nothing of the affairs of this life; a good man indeed after death knows more of God and Christ, of the doctrines of grace, and mysteries of Providence; but he knows nothing of the affairs of his family he has left behind: some understand this of a man on his death bed while alive, who, when he is told of the promotion of his sons to honour, or of the increase of their worldly substance, takes no notice of it; either being deprived of his senses by the disease upon him; or through the greatness of his pains and agonies, or the intenseness of his thoughts about a future state, does not notice what is told him, nor rejoice at it; which in the time of health would have been pleasing to him: but the first sense seems best:
and they are brought low, that is, his sons; or "are diminished" (u); lessened in their numbers, one taken off after another, and so his family decreases; or they come into low circumstances of life, are reduced in the world, and brought to straits and difficulties, to want and poverty:
but he perceiveth it not of them; he is not sensible of their troubles, and so not grieved at them; see Isaiah 63:16; or when he is told of them on his death bed, he does not take notice of them, or regard them, having enough to grapple with himself, and his mind intent on his everlasting state, or carried above them in the views of the love, grace, and covenant of God; see 2 Samuel 23:5.
(s) , Sept. "multiplicabuntur", Vatablus, Bolducius. (t) "Multi vel graves sunt", Drusius; "graves erunt et onusti", Mercerus. (u) , Sept. "minuuntur, numero pauci sunt", Drusius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. One striking trait is selected from the sad picture of the severance of the dead from all that passes in the world (Ec 9:5), namely, the utter separation of parents and children.
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