Job 12:13
With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
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Job 12:13. With him is wisdom — That is, with God. Perfect wisdom is only in him, and all wisdom in the world cometh from him, who giveth to young and old as it pleaseth him. The ancients were not wise without his gift and grace, and with that a younger man may be wiser than the ancients. He hath counsel — Practical wisdom to guide and govern all the affairs of the world; and understanding — A perfect knowledge of all persons and things. “Job shows, in the following verses, that the affairs of the world, and the fortunes of men, are subject to such variety of changes, that all human reason and wisdom must be silent with respect to them; since the same calamities involve the good and the wicked, and seem rather to flow from the supreme dominion and unsearchable will of God, than to be distributed according to the rule of exact justice.” — Schultens and Dodd.

12:12-25 This is a noble discourse of Job concerning the wisdom, power, and sovereignty of God, in ordering all the affairs of the children of men, according to the counsel of His own will, which none can resist. It were well if wise and good men, who differ about lesser things, would see how it is for their honour and comfort, and the good of others, to dwell most upon the great things in which they agree. Here are no complaints, or reflections. He gives many instances of God's powerful management of the children of men, overruling all their counsels, and overcoming all their oppositions. Having all strength and wisdom, God knows how to make use, even of those who are foolish and bad; otherwise there is so little wisdom and so little honesty in the world, that all had been in confusion and ruin long ago. These important truths were suited to convince the disputants that they were out of their depth in attempting to assign the Lord's reasons for afflicting Job; his ways are unsearchable, and his judgments past finding out. Let us remark what beautiful illustrations there are in the word of God, confirming his sovereignty, and wisdom in that sovereignty: but the highest and infinitely the most important is, that the Lord Jesus was crucified by the malice of the Jews; and who but the Lord could have known that this one event was the salvation of the world?With him is wisdom - Margin, correctly, "God." However much wisdom there may seem to be with aged men, yes the true wisdom - that which was supreme and worthy of the name - was to be found in God alone. The object of Job was to lead the thoughts up to God, and to bring his friends to a contemplation of the wisdom which he manifests in his works. Accordingly he goes on in the remainder of this chapter to state some of the illustrations of wisdom and power which God had exhibited, and particularly to show that he was a sovereign, and did his pleasure every where. He made all things; he sustains all things; he reverses the condition of people at his pleasure; he sets up whom he pleases, and when he chooses he casts them down. His works are contrary in many respects to what we should anticipate; and the sense of all is, that God was a holy and a righteous sovereign, and that such were the reverses under his administration that we could not argue that he treated all according to their character on earth. 13. In contrast to, "with the ancient is wisdom" (Job 12:12), Job quotes a saying of the ancients which suits his argument, "with Him (God) is (the true) wisdom" (Pr 8:14); and by that "wisdom and strength" "He breaketh down," &c., as an absolute Sovereign, not allowing man to penetrate His mysteries; man's part is to bow to His unchangeable decrees (Job 1:21). The Mohammedan saying is, "if God will, and how God will." With him, i.e. with God; the relative being put for the antecedent, which is easily and necessarily understood out of the scope of the place, and all the following verses.

Wisdom; perfect wisdom is only in him, and all wisdom in the world cometh from him, who giveth to old or young as it pleaseth him. The ancient are not wise without his gift and grace, and with that a younger man may be wiser than the ancients, as David was, Psalm 119:100.

Counsel and understanding; counsel, i.e. practical wisdom to guide all the affairs of the world; and understanding, or a speculative knowledge of all persons and things.

With him is wisdom and strength,.... Not with the ancient and long lived man, but with God, who has made the whole universe, and in whose hand and at whose dispose all creatures are, Job 12:9; with him wisdom is originally, essentially, and inderivatively, as the fountain and fulness of it; he is the only and all wise God; his wisdom is displayed in making the world, and all things in it, in the beautiful manner they are set, and in their subserviency to each other; in all the dispensations of his providence, having all a "bathos", a depth of wisdom and knowledge in them, being all according to the counsel of his will; and in the work of redemption and salvation by Christ, in which he has abounded in all wisdom and prudence; in finding out and appointing a Redeemer, mighty and strong, equal to the work; in contriving and bringing it about, in such a manner as to glorify all his perfections; hence the Gospel, which is the publication of this grace, is called the wisdom of God: and with him is wisdom to communicate to his people, to direct them how to behave under every providence, in every station of life, in the church, and in the world, see James 1:5; and he has "strength", which he has shown in making the world out of nothing, in upholding it, and all things in it in being, in executing his designs, decrees, and purposes, in fulfilling his promises, and in supporting and strengthening his people, under all their trials and exercises, to withstand every enemy, and perform every duty; ancient men, though they may increase in wisdom, they decline in strength, but God has both, in infinite perfection:

he hath counsel and understanding; his decrees and purposes, wisely formed within himself, are his counsels of old, and which are truly and punctually performed in time; his plan of peace, reconciliation, and salvation by Christ, may, with propriety, be called the counsel of peace between them both; and the Gospel, and the various doctrines of it, are the whole counsel of God, and so are the ordinances of it; and besides these, by which he counsels and advises his people, he has counsel with him, and which he gives unto them by his spirit, for which they bless his name; and so even did Christ as man and Mediator, Psalm 16:7; he has counsel to give, and does give in things temporal, relating to the common affairs of life, and in things concerning the good and welfare of immortal souls; all which comes from him who is "wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working", Isaiah 28:29; and he has an "understanding" that is infinite and unsearchable; he has an understanding of himself, his nature, perfections, and persons of all his creatures, and of all things past, present, and to come; the same things are said of Christ, the wisdom of God, Proverbs 8:14. Job, having observed these things of God, passes on to discourse most admirably and excellently of the power and wisdom of God in various instances, especially in the dispensations of his providence, by which he appears to have known the secrets of wisdom, and not so ignorant as represented by Zophar.

With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
13. With him is wisdom and strength] i. e. with God, him being emphatic. There is no antithesis however between His wisdom and that of the aged referred to Job 12:12. The passage that follows to the end of the chapter describes God’s power and wisdom as their operations had been observed by men, though naturally the picture receives its colour from the state of Job’s mind. “Strength” is rather might or power to execute what wisdom devises. These attributes of God’s confound and bring to nought everything bearing the same name among men.

Verse 13. - With him is wisdom and strength. With God wisdom and strength dwell essentially. He is not wiser or stronger at one time than at another. Time and experience add nothing to the perfection of his attributes, which are unchangeable. Such wisdom infinitely transcends any to which man can attain, and therefore is doubtless the wisdom whereby the world is governed. He hath counsel and understanding. God has these qualities as his own. They are not acquired or imparted, but belong to him, necessarily and always. Job 12:1311 Shall not the ear try sayings,

As the palate tasteth food?

12 Among the ancients is wisdom,

And long life is understanding.

13 With Him is wisdom and strength;

Counsel and understanding are His.

The meaning of Job 12:11 is, that the sayings (מלּין, Job 8:10, comp. Job 5:27) of the ancients are not to be accepted without being proved; the waw in וחך is waw adaequationis, as Job 5:7; Job 11:12, therefore equivalent to quemadmodum; it places together for comparison things that are analogous: The ear, which is used here like αἰθητήριον (Hebrews 5:14), has the task of searching out and testing weighty sayings, as the palate by tasting has to find out delicious and suitable food; this is indicated by לו, the dat. commodi. So far Job recognises the authority of these traditional sayings. At any rate, he adds (Job 12:12): wisdom is to be expected from the hoary-headed, and length of life is understanding, i.e., it accompanies length of life. "Length of days" may thus be taken as the subject (Ewald, Olsh.); but בּ may also, with the old translations and expositors, be carried forward from the preceding clause: ἐν δὲ πολλῷ βίῳ ἐπιστήμη (lxx). We prefer, as the most natural: long life is a school of understanding. But - such is the antithesis in Job 12:13 which belongs to this strophe - the highest possessor of wisdom, as of might, is God. Ewald inserts two self-made couplets before Job 12:12, which in his opinion are required both by the connection and "the structure of the strophe;" we see as little need for this interpolation here as before, Job 6:14. עמּו and לו, which are placed first for the sake of emphasis, manifestly introduce an antithesis; and it is evident from the antithesis, that the One who is placed in contrast to the many men of experience is God. Wisdom is found among the ancients, although their sayings are not to be always implicitly accepted; but wisdom belongs to God as an attribute of His nature, and indeed absolutely, i.e., on every side, and without measure, as the piling up of synonymous expressions implies: חכמה, which perceives the reason of the nature, and the reality of the existence, of things; עצה, which is never perplexed as to the best way of attaining its purpose; תּבוּנה, which can penetrate to the bottom of what is true and false, sound and corrupt (comp. 1 Kings 3:9); and also גּבוּרה, which is able to carry out the plans, purposes, and decisions of this wisdom against all hindrance and opposition.

In the strophe which follows, from his own observation and from traditional knowledge (Job 13:1), Job describes the working of God, as the unsearchably wise and the irresistibly mighty One, both among men and in nature.

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