Job 12:16
With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.
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Job 12:16. With him is strength, &c. — He doth the things mentioned in the foregoing and following verses so powerfully, that no creature can resist him and hinder his operations; and so wisely, that none can prevent him or frustrate his counsels. He had said the same thing before, (Job 12:13,)

but he repeats it here to prepare the way for the following events, which are eminent instances both of his power and wisdom. The deceived and the deceiver are his — Wholly subject to his disposal. He governs the deceiver, and sets bounds to his deceits, how far they shall extend: he also overrules all this to his own glory, and the accomplishment of his righteous designs of trying the good and punishing wicked men, by giving them up to believe lies. Yet God is not the author of any error or sin, but only the wise and holy governor of it.

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?The deceived and the deceiver are his - This is designed to teach that all classes of people are under his control. All are dependent on him, and all are subject to him. He has power to keep them, and he can destroy them when he pleases. Dr. Good supposes that Job refers here to himself and his friends who had beguiled him into expressions of impatience and complaint. But it is more probably a general declaration that all classes of people were under the control of God. 16. (Eze 14:9). He doth the things here mentioned in the foregoing and succeeding verses, and that both powerfully, so as no creature can resist and hinder him, and wisely, so as none can prevent and overreach him. The same thing he had said before, Job 12:13, but he repeats it here to prepare the way for the following events, which are eminent instances both of his power and wisdom.

Are his, i.e. from or by him, and wholly subject to his disposal. That one man deceiveth another, and that the other is deceived by him, either in Divine or civil and worldly things, (which seem to be principally intended here, by comparing the following verses,) this is from God, and by the conduct of his wise and powerful providence. God giveth to the deceiver more wit, and knowledge, and art, and withal opportunity, and all favourable circumstances for his deceit. He also gives less understanding to the deceived, and withdraws from him, either wholly or in part, that common light of discretion which is his free gift; and he may justly give, or take away, as he pleaseth, and leaves him to his own ignorance and error, pride and self-conceit, and to all those prejudices, passions, and lusts which commonly corrupt men’s minds, and to the power and crafts of Satan, that grand deceiver. He governs the deceiver, and sets bounds to his deceits, to whom, and when, and how far they shall extend; as is manifest from Deu 13:1 1 Kings 22:20 Isaiah 19:14 Ezekiel 14:9 Matthew 24:24 2 Thessalonians 2:11 Revelation 20:3,8. He also overrules all this to his own glory, and the accomplishment of his righteous designs of trying the good, and punishing wicked men, by giving them up to believe lies. Yet God is not the cause or author of any error or sin, but only the wise and holy governor and disposer of it.

With him is strength and wisdom,.... Which is repeated from Job 12:13; though different words are used but expressive of the same things; of the greatest strength might, and power of God, as the above instances show and of his most consummate, solid and substantial wisdom, as appears by what follows:

the deceived and the deceiver are his: the wisdom, knowledge, sagacity and penetration into affairs, which the one has not, and the other has are from him; he withholds them from the one, who are simple and void of understanding, and so are easily imposed upon and deceived, and he given them to others, who make as ill use of them, deceive their fellow creatures some are deceivers in civil things, in the business and affairs of life, who circumvent, trick, cheat, and defraud their neighbours in buying and selling, using deceitful weights and measures, and by many other artful methods; others are deceivers in religious affairs, such are false teachers, deceitful workers, that lie in wait deceive; their intention into deceive, they do it knowingly, and on purpose; they walk in craftiness, and handle the word of God deceitfully; there were many of these in the times of the apostles that had then entered into the world, but never more than now; the great impostor and deceiver of all is. Satan, to whom Jarchi restrains the words, who beguiled Eve, and indeed deceives the whole world, Revelation 12:9. Multitudes are deceived by him, as well as by, his emissaries, false teachers, and by their own hearts lusts; and even God's elect themselves, while in a state of unregeneracy, bear this character of "deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures", Titus 3:3. Now these are "his", the Lord's; which Mr. Broughton interprets, "from him", "by him", and "for him"; the wit, wisdom, subtlety, and sagacity of deceivers, are from him; gifts of nature, in themselves good, bestowed on them by him; the ill use they make of it is from themselves, and owing to the vitiosity of their nature; nay, it is not only by his permission, but according to his ordination and will, that there are such persons in the world: in some cases they appear not only to have leave or permission, but an order to seduce, as to the, lying spirit sent forth to seduce Ahab, 1 Kings 22:20; yea, the princes of Noph being deceived, and they seducing Egypt, it is ascribed to the Lord's mingling a perverse spirit in the midst thereof, Isaiah 19:13; nay, when a prophet is deceived, God himself is said to deceive that prophet, Ezekiel 14:9; so much is there of the permissive and efficacious will of God in this matter; not that he is the author of error and deceit, or infuses these into men, only the orderer, disposer, and, overruler of these things to some purposes orb is; he has power over them, and counterworks them, when he pleases; he can and does restrain them, and stops them, that they shall proceed no further, than he wills; false teachers would, if possible, deceive the very elect, Matthew 24:24, but they cannot, and the reason is, God hinders them; Satan can go on no longer deceiving the world than it is the pleasure of God; a notorious instance of, hindering and, restraining him may be seen in Revelation 20:3; and all the deceptions that are suffered to be among men they are all, wisely ordered, and overruled to good purposes, so as to issue well; the deception of our first parents was suffered and willed, that the grace of God might be displayed in the salvation of, men; errors and heresies are and must be for the trial and discovery of sound believers that they which are approved might be manifest; and men that like not to retain God in their knowledge reject both the light of nature and revelation, are left in righteous judgment to a reprobate mind, to give heed to seducing spirits, and are given up to strong delusions to believe a lie, that they might be damned, see 1 Corinthians 11:19, Romans 1:28. Now all this shows the infinite and consummate wisdom of God; it is brought to prove, not only that he "knows" deceivers, and all their arts and tricks, through which men are deceived by them, as Aben Ezra interprets it, and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it; but he is the fountain of all that wisdom and knowledge in them, superior to others, which they abuse, nor can they use it without his leave; and he can and does counterwork them, and restrains them as he pleases, and makes all to work for and issue in his own glory.

With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the {h} deceiver are his.

(h) He shows that there is nothing done in this world without God's will and ordinance, else he would not be Almighty.

16. The word “wisdom” in this verse is that in ch. Job 5:12, Job 11:6.

the deceived and the deceiver] lit. he that errs and he that leads into error, he that is ruled and he that rules oppressively. These are distinctions among men; to God both are the same, or both are equally in his hand, cf. Proverbs 22:2.

Verse 16. - With him is strength and wisdom; rather (as in the Revised Version), with him is strength and effectual working. God has not only the wisdom to design the course of events (ver. 13), but the power and ability to carry out all that he designs. The deceived and the deceiver are his. Not only does God rule the course of external nature, but also the doings of men. "Shall there be evil in a city, and shall not he have done it?" (Amos 3:6) He allows some to deceive, and others to be deceived. Moral evil is thus under his control, and, in a certain sense, may be celled his doing. But it behoves men, when they approach such great mysteries, to be very cautious and wary in their speech. Job touches with somewhat too bold a hand the deepest problems of the universe. Job 12:1614 Behold, He breaketh down and it cannot be built again,

He shutteth up, and it cannot be opened.

15 Behold, He restraineth the waters and they dry up,

And He letteth them out and they overturn the earth.

16 With Him is might and existence,

The erring and the deceiver are His.

God is almighty, and everything in opposition to Him powerless. If He break down (any structure whatever), it can never be rebuilt; should He close upon any one (i.e., the dungeon, as perhaps a cistern covered with a stone, Lamentations 3:53, comp. Jeremiah 38:6; על with reference to the depth of the dungeon, instead of the usual בּעד), it (that which is closed from above) cannot be opened again. In like manner, when He desires to punish a land, He disposes the elements according to His will and pleasure, by bringing upon it drought or flood. יעצר, coercet, according to the correct Masoretic mode of writing יעצר with dagesh in the Ssade, in order clearly to distinguish in the pronunciation between the forms j'a-ssor and jaa'ssor (יעצר);

(Note: Vid., my notice of Br's Psalter-Ausgabe, Luth. Zeitschr. 1863, 3; and comp. Keil on Leviticus 4:13 (Comm on Pent., Clark's transl.).)

ויבשׁוּ (for which Abulwalid writes ויבשׁוּ) is a defective form of writing according to Ges. 69, 3, 3; the form ויהפכוּ with the similarly pointed fut. consec., 1 Samuel 25:12, form a pair (zuwg) noted by the Masora. By תּוּשׁיּה, which is ascribed to God, is here to be understood that which really exists, the real, the objective, knowledge resting on an objective actual basis, in contrast with what only appears to be; so that consequently the idea of Job 12:16 and Job 12:13 is somewhat veiled; for the primary notion of חכמה is thickness, solidity, purity, like πυκνότης.

(Note: The primary notion of חכם, Arab. hkm, is, to be thick, firm, solid, as the prim. notion of Arab. sachfa (to be foolish, silly) is to be thin, loose, not holding together (as a bad texture). The same fundamental notions are represented in the expression of moral qualities (in distinction from intellectual) by צדק, Arab. sdq, and רשׁע, (Arab. rs', rsg).)

This strophe closes like the preceding, which favours our division. The line with עמּו is followed by one with לו, which affirms that, in the supremacy of His rule and the wisdom of His counsels, God makes evil in every form subservient to His designs.

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