Job 12:10
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 12:10. In whose hand is the soul — That is, the life, or the principle of life; of every living thing — That is, of all irrational animals, of which he spake, Job 12:7, opposed to man in the last words of this verse. He means, in whose absolute power it is to give life or to take it away, when and how it seemeth good to him; and the breath of all mankind — Or, the spirit, as the word רוח, ruach, here used, commonly means; that is, the immortal soul, which is no less a creature, and in God’s power to dispose of it, than the animal soul or life of brutes.12:6-11 Job appeals to facts. The most audacious robbers, oppressors, and impious wretches, often prosper. Yet this is not by fortune or chance; the Lord orders these things. Worldly prosperity is of small value in his sight: he has better things for his children. Job resolves all into the absolute proprietorship which God has in all the creatures. He demands from his friends liberty to judge of what they had said; he appeals to any fair judgment.In whose hand is the soul of every living thing - Margin, "Life." The margin is the more correct rendering. The idea is, that all are under the control of God. He gives life, and health, and happiness when he pleases, and when he chooses he takes them away. His sovereignty is manifested, says Job, in the inferior creation, or among the beasts of the field, the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of heaven.

And the breath of all mankind - Margin, "Flesh of man." The margin is in accordance with the Hebrew. The meaning is, that man is subjected to the same laws as the rest of the creation. God is a sovereign, and the same great principles of administration may be seen in all his works.

10. the soul—that is, the animal life. Man, reasons Job, is subjected to the same laws as the lower animals. In whose hand, i.e. at whose absolute disposal, it is to give it, or take it away, when and how it seemeth good to him.

The soul; the life, or the soul the principle of life.

Of every living thing, i.e. of all unreasonable creatures, of which he spoke Job 12:7, opposed to man in the last words.

The breath, or, the spirit, as that word is commonly used, i.e. the immortal soul; which is no less a creature, and in God’s power to dispose of it, than the animal soul of unreasonable creatures. In whose hand is the soul of every living thing,.... Of every animal, of every brute creature, as distinct from man, in the next clause: the life of everyone of them is from him, and it is continued by him as long as he pleases, nor can it be taken away without his leave; two sparrows, which are not worth more than a farthing, not one of them falls to the ground, or dies without the knowledge and will of God, Matthew 10:29; of the soul or spirit of beasts, see Ecclesiastes 3:21;

and the breath of all mankind; the breath of man is originally from God, he at first breathed into man the breath of life; and though this is in his nostrils, which makes him of little account, yet it would not continue there long, was it not in the hand, and under the care and providence of God; the breath of a king, as well as the heart of a king, is in the hand of the Lord: the breath of that great monarch Belshazzar, king of Babylon, was in the hand of God, Daniel 5:23; and so is the breath of every peasant; and as when he takes away the breath of other creatures, they die and return to the dust; such is the case of man when God takes away his breath; all our times are in his hand, to be born, to live and die, all is at his dispose: or "the spirit of all the flesh of men" (p), or of all men's flesh; his rational soul, as distinguished from his flesh or body, this is from God, supported in its being by him, and ever will be, being immortal, and will never die.

(p) "spiritus omnis carnis viri?" Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt, Schultens, Michaelis.

In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. This verse rounds off the statement in Job 12:7 seq. that God moves among the living creatures upon the earth, dispensing life and death, in a way absolute and uncontrolled.Verse 10. - In whose hand is the soul of every living thing. A brief summary of what had been said in vers. 7, 8, to which is now appended the further statement, that in God's hand - wholly dependent on him - is the entire race of mankind also. And the breath of all mankind; literally, and the spirit of all flesh of man. 4 I must be a mockery to my own friend,

I who called on Eloah and He heard me;

A mockery - the just, the godly man.

5 Contempt belongs to misfortune, according to the ideas of the prosperous;

It awaits those who are ready to slip.

6 Tents of the destroyer remain in peace,

And those that defy God are prosperous,

Who taketh Eloah into his hand.

The synallage of לרעהוּ for לרעי is not nearly so difficult as many others: a laughing-stock to his own friend; comp. Isaiah 2:8, they worship the work of their (his) own hands (ידיו). "One who called on Eloah (לאלוהּ, for which לאלוהּ is found in lxx at Job 36:2) and He heard him" is in apposition to the subject; likewise תמים צדיק, which is to be explained according to Proverbs 11:5, צדיק (from צדק, Arab. ṣdq, to be hard, firm, stiff, straight), is one who in his conduct rules himself strictly according to the will of God; תמים, one whose thoughts are in all respects and without disguise what they should be-in one word: pure. Most old translators (Targ., Vulg., Luther) give לפּיד the signification, a torch. Thus e.g., Levi v. Gerson explains: "According to the view of the prosperous and carnally secure, he who is ready for falterings of the feet, i.e., likely to fall, is like a lighted torch which burns away and destroys whatever comes in contact with it, and therefore one keeps aloof from him; but it is also more than this: he is an object of contempt in their eyes." Job might not inappropriately say, that in the eyes of the prosperous he is like a despised, cast-away torch (comp. the similar figure, Isaiah 14:19, like a branch that is rejected with contempt); and Job 12:5 would be suitably connected with this if למועדי could be derived from a substantive מעד, vacillatio, but neither the usage of the language nor the scriptio plena (after which Jerome translates tempus statutum, and consequently has in mind the מועדים, times of festal pilgrimages, which are also called ררלים in later times), nor the vowel pointing (instead of which מעדי would be expected), is favourable to this. רגל מועדי signifies vacillantes pede, those whose prosperity is shaken, and who are in danger of destruction that is near at hand. We therefore, like Abenezra and modern expositors, who are here happily agreed, take לפיד as composed of ל and פּיד, a word common to the books of Job (Job 30:24; Job 31:29) and Proverbs (ch. Proverbs 24:22), which is compared by the Jewish lexicographers, according both to form and meaning, to כּיד (Job 21:20) and איד, and perhaps signifies originally dissolution (comp. פדה), decease (Syr. f'jodo, escape; Arab. faid, dying), fall, then generally calamity, misfortune: contempt (befits) misfortune, according to the thoughts (or thinking), idea of the prosperous. The pointing wavers between לעשׁתּות and the more authorized לעשׁתּוּת, with which Parchon compares the nouns עבדוּת and מרדּוּת; the ת, like ד in the latter word, has Dag. lene, since the punctuation is in this respect not quite consistent, or follows laws at present unknown (comp. Ges. 21, rem. 2). Job 12:5 is now suitably connected: ready (with reference to בוז) for those who stumble, i.e., contempt certainly awaits such, it is ready and waiting for them, נכון, ἕτοιμος, like Exodus 34:2.

While the unfortunate, in spite of his innocence, has thus only to expect contempt, the tents, i.e., dwellings and possessions, of the oppressor and the marauder remain in prosperity; ישׁליוּ for ישׁלוּ, an intensive form used not only in pause (Psalm 36:8; comp. Deuteronomy 32:37) and with greater distinctives (Numbers 34:6; Psalm 122:6), but also in passages where it receives no such accent (Psalm 36:9; Psalm 57:2; Psalm 73:2). On אהלים, instead of אהלים, vid., Ges. 93, 6, 3. The verbal clause (Job 12:6) is followed by a substantival clause (Job 12:6). בּטּחות is an abstract plural from בּטּוּח, perfectly secure; therefore: the most care-less security is the portion of those who provoke God (lxx περοργίζουσι);

(Note: Luther takes בטחות as the adverb to מרגיזי: und toben wider Gott thrstiglich (vid., Vilmar, Pastoraltheolog. Bltter, 1861, S. 110-112); according to the Vulg., et audacter provocant Deum.)

and this is continued in an individualizing form: him who causes Eloah to go into his hand. Seb. Schmid explains this passage in the main correctly: qui Deum in manu fert h.e. qui manum aut potentiam suam pro Deo habet et licitum sibi putat quodlibet; comp. Habakkuk 1:11 : "this his strength becomes God to him," i.e., he deifies his own power, and puts it in the place of God. But הביא signifies, in this connection with לידו (not בידו), neither to carry, nor to lead (Gesenius, who compares Psalm 74:5, where, however, it signifies to cause to go into equals to strike into); it must be translated: he who causes Eloah to enter into his hand; from which translation it is clear that not the deification of the hand, but of that which is taken into the hand, is meant. This which is taken into the hand is not, however, an idol (Abenezra), but the sword; therefore: him who thinks after the manner of Lamech,

(Note: [Comp Pentateuch, at Genesis 4:25, Clark's Foreign Theological Library. - Tr.])

as he takes the iron weapon of attack and defence into his hand, that he needs no other God.

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