And Job answered and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)XII.
(1) And Job answered and said.—Each of the friends has now supplied his quota, and Job proceeds to reply to the third, showing that he is far more conversant with the wisdom and majesty of God than they are themselves, though in their own esteem they alone are wise.Job 12:1. And Job answered — Greatly vexed that his friends should entertain so firm an opinion of his being a wicked man, and that they should press him so hard with their maxim, “that affliction was a demonstration of guilt,” he can no longer refrain from answering them with great sharpness. He taxes them with self-conceit; their maxims he treats as mean and poor, the contrary of which was evident to all observing persons; good men were frequently in distress, while robbers and public plunderers enjoyed their ill-gotten wealth in perfect security, Job 12:2-6. This was so notorious, that it was impossible it could have escaped their observation, Job 12:7. This was indeed the work of Jehovah, who was all-wise and all- powerful, and no one could call him to account. All this he was as sensible of as they could be, for which reason he was the more desirous to argue the point with God, Job 13:1-10. And, as for them, if they would pretend to be judges, they should take great care to be upright ones; since God would by no means excuse corruption of judgment, though it should be in his own behalf; and his all-seeing eye would penetrate their motives, though ever so closely concealed from human view; and in his sight all their maxims of wisdom, on which they seemed so much to value themselves, would be regarded as dross and dung. That he was not in the least apprehensive of bringing his cause to an issue; because he was satisfied that the Almighty, far from oppressing him by dint of power, would rather afford him strength to go through his defence; and he was persuaded the issue would be favourable to him, Job 12:11-19. He, therefore, challenges any one among them to declare himself the accuser; secure enough as to that point, as he was sensible they could not make good their charge. He again ends with a tender expostulation with the Almighty, begging he might have, before his death, an opportunity of publicly vindicating his innocence, since afterward he could have no hope of doing it, Job 12:20 to the end of chap. 14. — Heath.
And they shall not escape - Margin, "Flight shall perish from them." The margin is a literal translation of the Hebrew. The sense is, escape for the wicked is out of the question. They must be arrested and punished.
And their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost - literally, "the breathing out of the life or soul." Their hope shall leave them as the breath or life does the body. It is like death. The expression does not mean that their hope would always expire at death, but that it would certainly expire as life leaves the body. The meaning is, that whatever hope a wicked man has of future happiness and salvation, must fail. The time must come when it will cease to comfort and support him. The hope of the pious man lives until it is lost in fruition in heaven. It attends him in health; supports him in sickness; is with him at home; accompanies him abroad; cheers him in solitude; is his companion in society; is with him as he goes down into the shades of adversity, and it brightens as he travels along the valley of the shadow of death. It stands as a bright star over his grave - and is lost only in the glories of heaven, as the morning star is lost in the superior brightness of the rising sun. Not so the hypocrite and the sinner. His hope dies - and he leaves the world in despair. Sooner or later the last ray of his delusive hopes shall take its departure from the soul, and leave it to darkness. No matter how bright it may have been; no matter how long he has cherished it; no matter on what it is founded - whether on his morals, his prayers, his accomplishments, his learning; if it be not based on true conversion, and the promised mercy of God through a Redeemer, it must; soon cease to shine, and will leave the soul to the gloom of black despair.
Job 12:1-14:22. Job's Reply to ZopharJob’s answer: his friends’ self-conceit: the miserable always despised, though upright; the wicked prosper, Job 12:1-6. God’s power and providence is seen in his works, Job 12:7-11. With the ancient is wisdom, but especially in God, and power: judges are fools, princes weak and mean, darkness light, before him, Job 12:12-22; and whole nations are overruled by him, Job 12:23-25.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 1, 2. - And Job answered and said, No doubt but ye are the people. Bitterly ironical. Ye are those to whom alone it belongs to speak - the only "people" to whom attention is due. And wisdom shall die with you. "At your death," i.e., "all wisdom will have fled the earth; there will be no one left who knows anything." At least, no doubt, you think so.
And spread out thy hands to Him -
14 If there is evil in thy hand, put it far away,
And let not wickedness dwell in thy tents -
15 Then indeed canst thou lift up thy face without spot,
And shalt be firm without fearing.
The phrase הכין לב signifies neither to raise the heart (Ewald), nor to establish it (Hirz.), but to direct it, i.e., give it the right direction (Psalm 78:8) towards God, 1 Samuel 7:3; 2 Chronicles 20:33; it has an independent meaning, so that there is no need to supply אל־אל, nor take וּפרשׂתּ to be for לפרושׂ (after the construction in 2 Chronicles 30:19). To spread out the hands in prayer is כּפּים (פּרשׂ) פּרשׂ; ידים is seldom used instead of the more artistic כפים, palmas, h.e. manus supinas. The conditional antecedent clause is immediately followed, Job 11:14, by a similarly conditional parenthetical clause, which inserts the indispensable condition of acceptable prayer; the conclusion might begin with הרהיקהוּ: when thou sendest forth thy heart and spreadest out thy hands to Him, if there is wickedness in thy hand, put it far away; but the antecedent requires a promise for its conclusion, and the more so since the praet. and fut. which follow אם, Job 11:13, have the force of futt. exact.: si disposueris et extenderis, to which the conclusion: put it far away, is not suited, which rather expresses a preliminary condition of acceptable prayer. The conclusion then begins with כּי־אז, then indeed, like Job 8:6; Job 13:19, comp. Job 6:3, with עתּה כּי, now indeed; the causal signification of כי has in both instances passed into the confirmatory (comp. 1 Samuel 14:44; Psalm 118:10-12; Psalm 128:2, and on Genesis 26:22): then verily wilt thou be able to raise thy countenance (without being forced to make any more bitter complaints, as Job 10:15.), without spot, i.e., not: without bodily infirmity, but: without spot of punishable guilt, sceleris et paenae (Rosenmller). מן here signifies without (Targ. דּלא), properly: far from, as Job 21:9; 2 Samuel 1:22; Proverbs 20:3. Faultless will he then be able to look up and be firm (מצּק from יצק, according to Ges. 71), quasi ex aere fusus (1 Kings 7:16), one whom God can no longer get the better of.
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