|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:17-26 Job had described the prosperity of wicked people; in these verses he opposes this to what his friends had maintained about their certain ruin in this life. He reconciles this to the holiness and justice of God. Even while they prosper thus, they are light and worthless, of no account with God, or with wise men. In the height of their pomp and power, there is but a step between them and ruin. Job refers the difference Providence makes between one wicked man and another, into the wisdom of God. He is Judge of all the earth, and he will do right. So vast is the disproportion between time and eternity, that if hell be the lot of every sinner at last, it makes little difference if one goes singing thither, and another sighing. If one wicked man die in a palace, and another in a dungeon, the worm that dies not, and the fire that is not quenched, will be the same to them. Thus differences in this world are not worth perplexing ourselves about.
Verse 21. ? For what pleasure hath he in his house after him? What does he care, ordinarily, about the happiness of his children and descendants? "Apres moi le deluge" is the selfish thought of bad men generally, when they cast a glance at the times which are to follow their decease. The fate of those whom they leave behind them troubles them but little. It would scarcely cause them a pang to know that their posterity would soon be "clean put out." When the number of his months is cut off in the midst; i.e. when his appointed time is come, and he knows that "the number of his months' is accomplished.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For what pleasure hath he in his house after him,.... As, on the one hand, the prosperity of his children after his decease gives him no pleasure and delight, so, on the other hand, the calamities and distresses of his family for his sins and theirs give him no pain or uneasiness; he knows nothing that befalls them, and it is no part of his concern; and let what will befall them, he cares not for it; he feels it not, he is not sensible of it; and therefore to object that signifies nothing; see Job 14:21; or, "what business has he with his house after death?" the affairs (d) of his family do not at all concern him, one way or another; he is not affected with them; he can neither consider their happiness as a blessing nor their calamities as a punishment to him:
when the number of his months is cut off in the midst? the years, the months, and the days of the lives of men, are numbered and determined by the Lord, Job 14:5; which, when finished, the thread of life is cut off in the midst, from the rest of the months, which a man or his friends might have expected he would have lived; or rather, "when his number of the months is fully up" (e); when the calculation of them is complete, and the full number of them is perfected; the sense is, what cares a wicked man for what befalls his family after his death, when he has lived out the full term of life in great outward happiness and prosperity; has lived to be full of days, of months, and years, to a full age, even to an age that may be truly called old age?
(d) So Schultens. (e) "integro numero calculis ducti sunt", Cocceius; "cumulatam sortem habuerint", Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. The argument of the friends, in proof of Job 21:20, What pleasure can he have from his house (children) when he is dead—("after him," Ec 3:22).
when the number, &c.—Or, rather, "What hath he to do with his children?" &c. (so the Hebrew in Ec 3:1; 8:6). It is therefore necessary that "his eyes should see his and their destruction" (see Job 14:21).
cut off—rather, when the number of his allotted months is fulfilled (Job 14:5). From an Arabic word, "arrow," which was used to draw lots with. Hence "arrow"—inevitable destiny [Umbreit].
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