Job 12:2
No doubt but you are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 12:2. No doubt but ye are the people — You, of all people, are the most eminent for wisdom; the only men living of distinguished knowledge and prudence. You have engrossed all the reason of mankind, and each of you has as much wisdom as a whole people put together. And wisdom shall die with you — All the wisdom which is in the world lives in you, and will be utterly lost when you die. When wise and good men die, it is a comfort to think that wisdom and goodness do not die with them: it is folly to think that there will be a great, irreparable loss of us when we are gone, since God has the residue of the Spirit, and can raise up others more fit to do his work.12:1-5 Job upbraids his friends with the good opinion they had of their own wisdom compared with his. We are apt to call reproofs reproaches, and to think ourselves mocked when advised and admonished; this is our folly; yet here was colour for this charge. He suspected the true cause of their conduct to be, that they despised him who was fallen into poverty. It is the way of the world. Even the just, upright man, if he comes under a cloud, is looked upon with contempt.No doubt but ye are the people - That is, the only wise people. You have engrossed all the wisdom of the world, and all else are to be regarded as fools. This is evidently the language of severe sarcasm; and it shows a spirit fretted and chafed by their reproaches. Job felt contempt for their reasoning. and meant to intimate that their maxims, on which they placed so much reliance, were common-place, and such as every one was familar with.

And wisdom shall die with you - This is ironical, but it is language such as is common perhaps every where. "The people of the East," says Roberts, "take great pleasure in irony, and some of their satirical sayings are very cutting. When a sage intimates that he has superior wisdom or when he is disposed to rally another for his meagrc attainments, he says, 'Yes, yes, you are the man! ' 'Your wisdom is like the sea.' 'When you die, whither will wisdom go?'" In a serious sense, language like this is used by the Classical writers to describe the death of eminently great or good men. They speak of wisdom, bravery, piety, or music, as dying with them. Thus, Moschus, Idyll. iii.12.

Ὅττι βίων τέθνηκεν ὁ βώκολος, ἔττι σὺν αὐτῷ

Καὶ τὸ μέλος τέθνακε, καὶ ὤλετο Δωρίς ἀειδός.

Hotti biōn tethnēken ho bōkolos, esti sun autō

Kai to melos tethnake, kai ōleto Dōris aeidos.

"Bion the swain is dead, and with him song

Has died, and the Doric muse has perished."

Expressions like these are common. Thus, in the "Pleasures of Hope" it is said:

And Freedom shrieked when Kosciusko fell.

2. wisdom shall die with you—Ironical, as if all the wisdom in the world was concentrated in them and would expire when they expired. Wisdom makes "a people:" a foolish nation is "not a people" (Ro 10:19). Ye are the people; you three, and you only, are the people, i.e. people of all people for eminency of wisdom, the only company of reasonable creatures; all others are but fools or beasts: you have engrossed all the reason of mankind; and each of you have as much wisdom as a whole people put together. It is an ironical expression, as the next verse showeth.

Wisdom shall die with you; all the wisdom and knowledge of Divine things which is in the world lives in you, and will die and be utterly lost when you die. This you think of yourselves; and this makes you so confidently and peremptorily deliver your opinions, and give laws to me and all mankind, and even to God himself. No doubt but ye are the people,.... Which is said not seriously, meaning that they were but of the common people, that are generally ignorant, and have but little knowledge, at least of things sublime, especially in matters of religion; wherefore, though they took upon them to be his teachers and dictators to him, and censors of him, they were not above the rank, but in the class of people of low and mean understandings; see John 7:49; this sense indeed agrees with what is after said, "who knoweth not such things as these?" but since Job compares himself with them, and asserts he is not inferior to them, it supposes them to have a degree of knowledge and understanding of things somewhat above the common people; wherefore these words are to be taken ironically, exposing their vanity and self-conceit: "ye are the people"; the only, and all the people in the world of importance and consequence for good sense and wisdom; the only wise and knowing folk, the men of reason and understanding; all the rest are but fools and asses, or like the wild ass's colt, as Zophar had said, and which Job took as pointing to him; so the word in the Arabic language (c) signifies the more excellent and better sort of people; or, ye are the only people of God, his covenant people, his servants; that are made acquainted with the secrets of wisdom, as none else are:

and wisdom shall die with you; you have all the wisdom of the world, and when you die it will be all gone; there will be none left in the world: thus he represents them as monopolizers and engrossers of wisdom and knowledge, full of it in their conceit, allowing none to have any share with them: and by all this he not only upbraids them with their vanity and self-conceit, but puts them in mind, that, as wise as they were, they must die; and that, though their wisdom with respect to them, or any use they could make of it in the grave, where there is none, would die too; or that their wisdom was but the wisdom of the world, which comes to nought; yet there would be wisdom still in the world, and that which is true, which God makes known to men, even the wisdom of God in a mystery, the wisdom hid in himself; and who has the residue of the Spirit and his gifts to instruct men in it, and qualify them to be teachers of others; by which means, though men, even the best of men, die, yet the word of God, the means of true wisdom and knowledge, will always abide.

(c) Golii Lex. Ar. Col. 1743. Vid. Lud. Capell. in loc.

No doubt but ye are the people, and {a} wisdom shall die with you.

(a) Because you do not feel what you speak, you think the whole stands in words, and so flatter yourselves as though no one else knew anything, or could know except you.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. ye are the people] Sarcastic admiration of the wisdom of his three friends, cf. ch. Job 11:6. “The people” does not seem to mean the right people, persons worthy of the name of “people;” rather “the people” is used as three other persons, well known to history, employed it, when they said, “We, the people of England.” It means the whole people; hence Job adds, “Wisdom will die with you.”16 For thou shalt forget thy grief,

Shalt remember it as waters that flow by.

17 And thy path of life shall be brighter than mid-day;

If it be dark, it shall become as morning.

18 And thou shalt take courage, for now there is hope;

And thou shalt search, thou shalt lie down in safety.

19 And thou liest down without any one making thee afraid;

And many shall caress thy cheeks.

20 But the eyes of the wicked languish,

And refuge vanisheth from them,

And their hope is the breathing forth of the soul.

The grief that has been surmounted will then leave no trace in the memory, like water that flows by (not: water that flows away, as Olshausen explains it, which would be differently expressed; comp. Job 20:28 with 2 Samuel 14:14). It is not necessary to change אתּה כּי into עתּה כּי (Hirzel); אתה, as in Job 11:13, strengthens the force of the application of this conclusion of his speech. Life (חלד, from חלד to glide away, slip, i.e., pass away unnoticed,

(Note: Vid., Hupfeld on Psalm 17:14, and on the other hand Bttcher, infer. 275 s., who, taking חלד in the sense of rooting into, translates: "the mildew springs up more brilliant than mid-day." But whatever judgment one may form of the primary idea of חלד, this meaning of חלד is too imaginary.)

as αἰών, both life-time, Psalm 39:6, and the world, Psalm 49:2, here in the former sense), at the end of which thou thoughtest thou wert already, and which seemed to thee to run on into dismal darkness, shall be restored to thee (יקום with Munach on the ult. as Job 31:14, not on the penult.) brighter than noon-day (מן, more than, i.e., here: brighter than, as e.g., Micah 7:4, more thorny than); and be it ever so dark, it shall become like morning. Such must be the interpretation of תּעפה. It cannot be a substantive, for it has the accent on the penult.; as a substantive it must have been pointed תּעוּפה (after the form תּקוּדה, תּקוּמה, and the like). It is one of the few examples of the paragogic strengthened voluntative in the third pers., like Psalm 20:4; Isaiah 5:19

continued...

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