|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:11-23 Job's friends, on the same subject, spoke of the misery of wicked men before death as proportioned to their crimes; Job considered that if it were not so, still the consequences of their death would be dreadful. Job undertook to set this matter in a true light. Death to a godly man, is like a fair gale of wind to convey him to the heavenly country; but, to a wicked man, it is like a storm, that hurries him away to destruction. While he lived, he had the benefit of sparing mercy; but now the day of God's patience is over, and he will pour out upon him his wrath. When God casts down a man, there is no flying from, nor bearing up under his anger. Those who will not now flee to the arms of Divine grace, which are stretched out to receive them, will not be able to flee from the arms of Divine wrath, which will shortly be stretched out to destroy them. And what is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and thus lose his own soul?
Verses 11-23. - It is impossible to deny that this passage directly contradicts Job's former utterances, especially Job 24:2-24. But the hypotheses which would make Job irresponsible for the present utterance and fix on him, as his steadfast conviction, the opposite theory, are unsatisfactory and have no solid basis. To suppose that Zophar is the real speaker is to imagine the absolute loss and suppression of two entire verses - one between vers. 10 and 11, assigning the speech to him, and another at the beginning of ch. 28, reintroducing Job and making him once more the interlocutor. That this should have happened by accident is inconceivable. Τὰ κατὰ τύχην οὐ πάνυ συνδυάζεται To ascribe it to intentional corruption by a Hebrew redactor, bent on maintaining the old orthodox view, and on falsely and wickedly giving the authority of Job to it (Froude 'Short Studies on Great Subjects,' vol. 1. p. 316), is to take away all authority from the existing text of the Hebrew Scriptures, and to open a door to any amount of wild suggestion and conjectural emendation. The other hypothesis - that of Eichhorn - that Job is here simply anticipating what his adversaries will say, though a less dangerous view, is untenable, since Job never does this without following up his statement of the adversaries' ease with a reply, and here is no reply whatever, but a simple turning away, after ver. 23, to another subject. The explanation of the contradiction by supposing that Job's former statement was tentative and controversial, or else hasty and ill-considered, and that now, to prevent misconception, he determines to set himself right, is, on the other hand, thoroughly defensible, and receives a strong support from the remarkable introduction in ver. 11, which "prepares us, if not for a recantation, yet (at any rate) for a modification of statements wrung from the speaker when his words flowed over from a spirit drunk with the poison of God's arrows" (see the remarks of Canon Cook, in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 4. p. 90, which are in substantial agreement with those of Ewald said Dillmann). Verse 11. - I will teach you by (or, concerning) the hand of God. Job is now at last about to deliver his real sentiments respecting God's dealings with men in the world, and prefaces his. remarks with this solemn introduction, to draw special attention to them. He is aware that his previous statements on the subject, especially in Job 24:2-24, have been overstrained and exaggerated, and wishes, now that he is uttering his last words (Job 31:40), to correct his previous hasty utterances, and put on record his true views. That which is with the Almighty will I not conceal. By "that which is with the Almighty" Job means the Divine principles of action.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I will teach you by the hand of God,.... To serve God, and speak truth, says one of the Jewish commentators (g); rather the works of God, and methods of his providence, with wicked men and hypocrites; the wisdom of God in his dispensations towards them; the reasons why he suffers them to live in outward prosperity and happiness, and what in the issue will be their case and circumstances; wherefore some render the words, "I will teach you the hand of God", or "of", or "concerning the hand of God" (h); and so Mr. Broughton, of God, his hand; not his works of nature which his hand had wrought, of which he had discoursed in the preceding chapter; but his works of providence, and those more mysterious ones relating to the afflictions of the godly, and the prosperity of the wicked. Job had been a teacher and instructor of others in the times of his prosperity, and his words had upheld, strengthened, and comforted many, Job 4:3; and he was not the less qualified for, nor the less capable of such an office now in his adversity, which had been a school to him, in which he had learned many useful lessons himself, and so was in a better capacity of teaching others. Thus some render the words, "I will teach you", being in or "under the hand of God" (i); under his mighty hand, his afflicting, chastising hand, which had touched him, and pressed him sore, and yet had guided and instructed him in many things, and particularly relating to the subject he proposed to instruct his friends in; who, though they were men of knowledge, and in years, yet he apprehended needed instruction; and he undertook to give them some by the good hand of God upon him, through his help and assistance, and under the influences and teachings of his spirit. The Targum is,
"I will teach you by the prophecy of God;''
see Ezekiel 1:3;
that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal; meaning not the secret purposes and decrees of God within himself, which cannot be known, unless he reveals them; rather secret truths, which are not obvious to everyone, the mysteries of the kingdom, the wisdom of God in a mystery, the knowledge of which the Lord vouchsafes to some of his people in a very peculiar manner; though the mysteries of Providence seem chiefly intended, which those that carefully observe attain to an understanding of, so as to be capable of instructing others; and indeed what is in reserve with God for men among his treasures, whether of grace or glory for his own peculiar people, or especially of wrath and vengeance for wicked men and hypocrites, may be here designed; and whatever knowledge men have of the mysteries of nature, providence, and grace, which may be profitable unto others, and make for the glory of God, should not be concealed from men, see Job 6:10.
(g) Simeon Bar Tzemach. (h) "manum Dei", Beza, Cocceius; "de manu Dei", Mercerus, Piscator, Drusius, Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens. (i) "In plaga Dei fortis versans", Junius & Tremellius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11-23. These words are contrary to Job's previous sentiments (see on Job 21:22-33; Job 24:22-25). Job 21:22-33; 24:22-25). They therefore seem to be Job's statement, not so much of his own sentiments, as of what Zophar would have said had he spoken when his turn came (end of the twenty-sixth chapter). So Job stated the friends' opinion (Job 21:17-21; 24:18-21). The objection is, why, if so, does not Job answer Zophar's opinion, as stated by himself? The fact is, it is probable that Job tacitly, by giving, in the twenty-eighth chapter, only a general answer, implies, that in spite of the wicked often dying, as he said, in prosperity, he does not mean to deny that the wicked are in the main dealt with according to right, and that God herein vindicates His moral government even here. Job therefore states Zophar's argument more strongly than Zophar would have done. But by comparing Job 27:13 with Job 20:29 ("portion," "heritage"), it will be seen, it is Zophar's argument, rather than his own, that Job states. Granting it to be true, implies Job, you ought not to use it as an argument to criminate me. For (Job 28:1-28) the ways of divine wisdom in afflicting the godly are inscrutable: all that is sure to man is, the fear of the Lord is wisdom (Job 28:28).
by the hand—rather, concerning the hand of God, namely, what God does in governing men.
with the Almighty—the counsel or principle which regulates God's dealings.
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