With him is wisdom and strength, he has counsel and understanding.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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. 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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.
And the birds of heaven - they shall declare it to thee:
8 Or look thoughtfully to the ground - it shall teach it thee;
And the fish of the sea shall tell it thee.
9 Who would not recognise in all this
That the hand of Jehovah hath wrought this,
10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?!
The meaning of the whole strophe is perverted if זאת (Job 12:9), is, with Ewald, referred to "the destiny of severe suffering and pain," and if that which precedes is accordingly referred to the testimony of creation to God as its author. Since, as a glance at what follows shows, Job further on praises God as the governor of the universe, it may be expected that the reference is here to God as the creator and preserver of the world, which seems to be the meaning of the words. Job himself expresses the purpose of this hymn of confession, Job 12:2., Job 13:1.: he will show the friends that the majesty of God, before which he ought, according to their demands, to humble himself in penitence, is not less known to him than to them; and with ואולם, verum enim vero, he passes over to this subject when he begins his third answer with the following thought: The perception in which you pride yourselves I also possess; true, I am an object of scornful contempt to you, who are as little able to understand the suffering of the godly as the prosperity of the godless, nevertheless what you know I also know: ask now, etc. Bildad had appealed to the sayings of the ancients, which have the long experience of the past in their favour, to support the justice of the divine government; Job here appeals to the absoluteness of the divine rule over creation. In form, this strophe is the counterpart of Job 8:8-10 in the speech of Bildad, and somewhat also of Job 11:7-9 in that of Zophar. The working of God, which infinitely transcends human power and knowledge, is the sermon which is continuously preached by all created things; they all proclaim the omnipotence and wisdom of the Creator.
The plural בּהמות is followed by the verb that refers to it, in the singular, in favour of which Genesis 49:22 is the favourite example among old expositors (Ges. 146, 3). On the other hand, the verb might follow the collective עוף in the plural, according to Ges. 146, 1. The plural, however, is used only in Job 12:8, because there the verb precedes instead of following its subject. According to the rule Ges. 128, 2, the jussive form of the fut. follows the imperative. In the midst of this enumeration of created things, שׂיח, as a substantive, seems to signify the plants - and especially as Arab. šı̂h even now, in the neighbourhood of Job's ancient habitation, is the name of a well-known mountain-plant - under whose shade a meagre vegetation is preserved even in the hot season (vid., on Job 30:4.). But (1) שׂיח as subst. is gen. masc. Genesis 2:5); (2) instead of לערץ, in order to describe a plant that is found on the ground, or one rooted in the ground, it must be על־הארץ or בארץ; (3) the mention of plants between the birds and fishes would be strange. It may therefore be taken as the imperative: speak to the earth (lxx, Targ., Vulg., and most others); or, which I prefer, since the Aramaic construction לו סח, narravit ei, does not occur elsewhere in Hebrew (although perhaps implicite, Proverbs 6:22, תשׂיחך equals לך תשׂיח, favulabitur, or confabulabitur tibi), as a pregnant expression: think, i.e., look meditatively to the earth (Ewald), since שׂוּח (שׂיח), like הגה, combines the significations of quiet or articulate meditation on a subject. The exhortation directs attention not to the earth in itself, but to the small living things which move about on the ground, comprehended in the collective name רמשׂ, syn. שׁרץ (creeping things), in the record of creation. All these creatures, though without reason and speech, still utter a language which is heard by every intelligent man. Renan, after Ewald, translates erroneously: qui ne sait parmi tous ces tres. They do not even possess knowledge, but they offer instruction, and are a means of knowledge; בּ with ידע, like Genesis 15:8; Genesis 42:33, and freq. All the creatures named declare that the hand of Jehovah has made "this," whatever we see around us, τὸ βλεπόμενον, Hebrews 11:3. In the same manner in Isaiah 66:2; Jeremiah 14:22, כּל־אלּה is used of the world around us. In the hand of God, i.e., in His power, because His workmanship, are the souls of all living things, and the spirit (that which came direct from God) of all men; every order of life, high and low, owes its origin and continuance to Him. אישׁ is the individual, and in this connection, in which נפשׁ and רוּח ( equals נשׁמה) are certainly not unintentionally thus separated, the individual man. Creation is the school of knowledge, and man is the learner. And this knowledge forces itself upon one's attention: quis non cognoverit? The perf. has this subjunctive force also elsewhere in interrogative clauses, e.g., Psalm 11:3 (vid., on Genesis 21:7). That the name of God, JEHOVAH, for once escapes the poet here, is to be explained from the phrase "the hand of Jehovah hath made this," being a somewhat proverbial expression (comp. Isaiah 41:20; Isaiah 66:2).
Job now refers to the sayings of the fathers, the authority of which, as being handed down from past generations, Bildad had maintained in his opposition to Job.
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