|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 22. - Shall any teach God knowledge? Job has been searching the "deep things of God," speculating upon the method of the Divine government of the world, he has perhaps rashly ventured to "rush in where angels fear to tread." Now, however, he cheeks himself with the confession that God's ways are inscrutable, his knowledge far beyond any knowledge possessed by man. Men must not presume to judge him; it is for him to judge them. Seeing he judgeth those that are high. None so exalted, none so advanced in wisdom and knowledge, none so venturesome in sounding depths that they cannot fathom, but God is above them, judges them, knows their hearts, and, according to his infallible wisdom, condemns or approves them. This is a chastening thought, and its effect on Job is to make him contract his sails, and, leaving the empyrean, content himself with s lower flight. Previously he has maintained, as if he were admitted to the Divine counsels, that the prosperity of the wicked was a rule of God's government. Now he goes no further than to say that there is no rule discoverable. Happiness and misery are dispensed - as far as man can see - on no definite principle, and, at the end, one lot happens to all: all go down into the tomb, and lie in the dust, and the worms devour them (vers. 23-26).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Shall any teach God knowledge?.... Who is a God of knowledge, and knows all things, that teaches men knowledge; will any one take upon him to teach him the path of judgment, and the way of understanding, how he shall govern the world, and dispose of men and things in it? see Isaiah 40:13. Will anyone be so bold and audacious as to pretend to direct and instruct him whom he shall afflict, and whom not, and when he shall do it, and in what manner? should not these things be left to him, who does all things after the counsel of his own will? shall his dealings with men in an outward way of providence be the criterions of the characters and estates of men, as if love and hatred were to be known by those things, and therefore God must be taught what he should do in order to fix them?
seeing he judgeth those that are high; not the high heavens, as the Targum, nor the angels in them, though he has judged them that sinned, and cast them down to hell; but the high ones on earth, kings, princes, and civil magistrates, such as are in high places, and are lifted up with pride above others: God is above them; he is higher than the highest, and judges them; he is the Judge of all the earth, that will do right, the Governor of the universe, and who overrules all things for his own glory and the good of his creatures; and therefore none should pretend to direct him what is fit and proper to be done by him, who is a Sovereign, and distinguishes men in his providence, in life, and at death, as follows; but their characters, as good or bad men, are not to be determined thereby.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. Reply of Job, "In all these assertions you try to teach God how He ought to deal with men, rather than prove that He does in fact so deal with them. Experience is against you. God gives prosperity and adversity as it pleases Him, not as man's wisdom would have it, on principles inscrutable to us" (Isa 40:13; Ro 11:34).
those … high—the high ones, not only angels, but men (Isa 2:12-17).
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