Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,
It was now Zophar's turn to speak. But as he and the other two were silent, virtually admitting defeat, after a pause Job proceeds.
1. parable—applied in the East to a figurative sententious embodiment of wisdom in poetic form, a gnome (Ps 49:4).
continued—proceeded to put forth; implying elevation of discourse.
As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;
2. (1Sa 20:3).
taken away … judgment—words unconsciously foreshadowing Jesus Christ (Isa 53:8; Ac 8:33). God will not give Job his right, by declaring his innocence.
vexed—Hebrew, "made bitter" (Ru 1:20).
All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;
3. Implying Job's knowledge of the fact that the living soul was breathed into man by God (Ge 2:7). "All the while." But Maurer, "As yet all my breath is in me" (notwithstanding my trials): the reason why I can speak so boldly.
My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.
4. (Job 6:28, 30). The "deceit" would be if he were to admit guilt against the witness of his conscience.
God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.
5. justify you—approve of your views.
mine integrity—which you deny, on account of my misfortunes.
My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
6. Rather, my "heart" (conscience) reproaches "not one of my days," that is, I do not repent of any of my days since I came into existence [Maurer].
Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.
7. Let … be—Let mine enemy be accounted as wicked, that is, He who opposes my asseveration of innocence must be regarded as actuated by criminal hostility. Not a curse on his enemies.
For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?
8. "What hope hath the hypocrite, notwithstanding all his gains, when?" &c. "Gained" is antithetic to "taketh away." Umbreit's translation is an unmeaning tautology. "When God cuts off, when He taketh away his life."
taketh away—literally, "draws out" the soul from the body, which is, as it were, its scabbard (Job 4:21; Ps 104:29; Da 7:15). Job says that he admits what Bildad said (Job 8:13) and Zophar (Job 20:5). But he says the very fact of his still calling upon God (Job 27:10) amid all his trials, which a hypocrite would not dare to do, shows he is no "hypocrite."
Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?
9. (Ps 66:18).
Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?
10. Alluding to Job 22:26.
always call—He may do so in times of prosperity in order to be thought religious. But he will not, as I do, call on God in calamities verging on death. Therefore I cannot be a "hypocrite" (Job 19:25; 20:5; Ps 62:8).
I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal.
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.
Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain?
12. "Ye yourselves see" that the wicked often are afflicted (though often the reverse, Job 21:33). But do you "vainly" make this an argument to prove from my afflictions that I am wicked?
This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.
13. (See on Job 27:11).
If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.
14. His family only increases to perish by sword or famine (Jer 18:21; Job 5:20, the converse).
Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.
15. Those that escape war and famine (Job 27:14) shall be buried by the deadly plague—"death" (Job 18:13; Jer 15:2; Re 6:8). The plague of the Middle Ages was called "the black death." Buried by it implies that they would have none else but the death plague itself (poetically personified) to perform their funeral rites, that is, would have no one.
his—rather, "their widows." Transitions from singular to plural are frequent. Polygamy is not implied.
Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay;
16. dust … clay—images of multitudes (Zec 9:3). Many changes of raiment are a chief constituent of wealth in the East.
He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.
17. Introverted parallelism. (See Introduction). Of the four clauses in the two verses, one answers to four, two to three (so Mt 7:6).
He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.
18. (Job 8:14; 4:19). The transition is natural from "raiment" (Job 27:16) to the "house" of the "moth" in it, and of it, when in its larva state. The moth worm's house is broken whenever the "raiment" is shaken out, so frail is it.
booth—a bough-formed hut which the guard of a vineyard raises for temporary shelter (Isa 1:8).
The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not.
19. gathered—buried honorably (Ge 25:8; 2Ki 22:20). But Umbreit, agreeably to Job 27:18, which describes the short continuance of the sinner's prosperity, "He layeth himself rich in his bed, and nothing is robbed from him, he openeth his eyes, and nothing more is there." If English Version be retained, the first clause probably means, rich though he be in dying, he shall not be honored with a funeral; the second, When he opens his eyes in the unseen world, it is only to see his destruction: the Septuagint reads for "not gathered," He does not proceed, that is, goes to his bed no more. So Maurer.
Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.
20. (Job 18:11; 22:11, 21). Like a sudden violent flood (Isa 8:7, 8; Jer 47:2): conversely (Ps 32:6).
The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.
21. (Job 21:18; 15:2; Ps 58:9).
For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.
22. cast—namely, thunderbolts (Job 6:4; 7:20; 16:13; Ps 7:12, 13).
Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.
23. clap … hands—for joy at his downfall (La 2:15; Na 3:19).
hiss—deride (Jer 25:9). Job alludes to Bildad's words (Job 18:18).