Job 12:3
But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?
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Job 12:3. But I have an understanding — Hebrew, a heart, which is often put for the understanding: God hath given me also the knowledge and ability to judge of these matters. I am not inferior to you — In these things; which he speaks, not in a way of boasting, but for the just vindication both of himself and of that cause of God, which, for the substance of it, he maintained rightly, as God himself attests, Job 42:6. Who knoweth not such things — The truth is, neither you nor I have any reason to be puffed up with our knowledge of these things; for the most barbarous nations know that God is infinite in wisdom, and power, and justice. But this is not the question between you and me.

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.But I have understanding as well as you - Margin, as in the Hebrew "an heart." The word "heart" in the Scriptures is often used to denote the understanding or mind. It seems to have been regarded as the source of that which was called life or soul. Indeed, I do not recollect a single instance in the Scriptures in which the word "head" is used, as with us, as the seat of the intellect, or where the distinction is adverted to that is so common with us, between the head and the heart. With us, the heart is the seat of the affections and emotions; with the Hebrews, it was the seat of understanding, and the σπλάγχνα splangchna - the viscera, the bowels, were the seat of the emotions; see the notes at Isaiah 16:11. A more correct physiology has taught us that the brain is the organ of the intellect, and we now speak of "the heart" as the seat of the affections. The Romans regarded the "breast" as the seat of the soul. Thus, Virgil, speaking of the death of Lucagus by the hand of Aeneas, says:

Tum latebras animae pectus mucrone recludit

Aeneid x. 601.

I am not inferior to you - Margin, "fall not lower than." This is the literal translation: "I do not fall beneath you." Job claims to be equal to them in the power of quoting the sayings. of the ancients; and in order to show this, he proceeds to adduce a number of proverbial sayings, occupying the remainder of this chapter, to show that he was familiar with that mode of reasoning, and that in this respect he was fully their equal. This may be regarded as a trial of skill, and was quite common in the East. Wisdom consisted in storing up a large amount of proverbs and maxims, and in applying them readily and pertinently on all public occasions; and in this controversy, Job was by no means disposed to yield to them.

Yea, who knoweth not such things as these? - Margin, "With whom" are "not such as these?" The meaning is, that instead of being original, the sentiments which they advanced were the most commonplace imaginable. Job not only said that he knew them, but that it would be strange if every body did not know them.

3. not inferior—not vanquished in argument and "wisdom" (Job 13:2).

such things as these—such commonplace maxims as you so pompously adduce.

An understanding, Heb. a heart; which is oft put for the understanding, as Job 34:34 Jeremiah 5:21 Acts 8:22; i.e. God hath given me also the knowledge and ability to judge of these matters.

I am not inferior to you in these things; which he speaketh, not in a way of vain-glorious boasting, but for the just and necessary vindication both of himself; and of that cause of God, which for the matter and substance of it he maintained rightly, as God himself attests, Job 42:7.

Who knoweth not such things as these? the truth is, neither you nor I have any reason to be puffed up with our knowledge of these things; for the most foolish and barbarous nations know that God is infinite in wisdom, and power, and justice. But this is not the question between you and me.

But I have understanding as well as you,.... A natural understanding, or an understanding of natural things, which distinguishes a man from a brute; and a spiritual understanding, an understanding enlightened by the spirit of God, which is naturally dark as to divine things; but he had an understanding given him, to know himself, his state and condition by nature; to know God, his love and grace to men, and, as his covenant God, to know Christ his living Redeemer, who should stand on the earth in the latter day, both to be his Redeemer and his Judge; to know his interest in him, and in the blessings of grace and glory by him: or, "I have an heart as well as you" (d); a wise and an understanding one; a new heart, and a right spirit; an heart to fear and serve the Lord, a sincere and upright one, and devoid of hypocrisy and deceit; and as good an one as theirs:

I am not inferior unto you: he was indeed as to estate and substance, being now reduced; though he had been, in that sense, the greatest man in all the east; but in wisdom and knowledge, in gifts and grace: thus a modest man, when oppressed and insulted by the speeches of overbearing men, may be obliged and see it necessary to say some things of himself, in his own vindication, which he otherwise would not; see 2 Corinthians 11:15; or, "I am not falling before you"; or "by you" (e); as one intimidated, conquered, and yielding; I stand my ground, and will not gave way or submit to you, or allow you to have the superiority of me: or, "I am falling no more than you"; they took him for an apostate from God, and the fear of him, and the true religion he had professed, which Job denies; he held fast his integrity; and though he was fallen into calamities and afflictions, he was not fallen from God; from his fear of him, faith in him, and love and obedience to him; he was a holy, good man, a persevering saint; and though he had slips and falls in common with good men, yet fell not finally and totally, or was an apostate from the faith:

yea, who knoweth not such things as these? or, "with whom are not as these" (f)? the things you have been discoursing of, which you would fain have pass for the secrets of wisdom, deep and mysterious things, hid from vulgar eyes, which none have and know but yourselves, are common things, what everyone is possessed of, and understands as well as you; that there is a God that has made the world, and governs it; that he himself is unsearchable, infinite and incomprehensible; a sovereign Being that does according to his will and pleasure, and sees and knows all things, and does all things well and wisely, and according to the counsel of his will: though some think Job has reference not to what Zophar had been discoursing concerning the infinity and wisdom of God, but to the thing or things in dispute between them, or to the assertions of his friends; that it is always well with good men, and ill with bad men, or that wicked men only are punished and afflicted, and particularly what Zophar concluded his speech with, Job 11:20. Now these were vulgar notions, which the common people had taken up, and were vulgar errors, as he proves in the following verses, by giving instances of good men, being afflicted, and of bad men being in prosperity.

(d) "etiam mihi cor sicut vobis", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens; so Broughton. (e) "non cadens ego a vobis", Montanus, Vatablus, Bolducius, Beza, Mercerus, Michaelis; "prae vobis", Schmidt. (f) "et cum quo non sicut haec?" Pagninus, Montanus, Bolducius, Mercerus; and to the same sense Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Schultens.

But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?
3. But I have understanding] Rather, I also have understanding, lit. heart; cf. on ch. Job 11:12, to the depreciating words of which Job refers.

who knoweth not such things as these] lit. with whom are not such things as these? i. e. such knowledge as this. The reference is to Zophar’s exhibition of the Divine wisdom and might, ch. Job 11:7-12.

Verse 3. - But I have understanding as well as you. "I, however, claim to have just as much understanding [literally, 'heart'] as you, and to be just as well entitled to speak, and to claim attention;" since I am not inferior to you. "I am not conscious," i.e., "of any inferiority to you, intellectual or moral. I do not fall below you in either respect." Yea, who knoweth not such things as these? "Not," Job means to say, "that much understanding is necessary in such a case as this; any man of common intelligence can form a correct judgment on the point in dispute between us." The special point, in Job's mind, seems to be God's complete mastery over the world, and absolute control over all that takes place in it (see the introductory paragraph). Job 12:3 1 The Job began, and said:

2 Truly then ye are the people,

And wisdom shall die with you!

3 I also have a heart as well as you;

I do not stand behind you;

And to whom should not such things be known?

The admission, which is strengthened by כּי אמנם, truly then (distinct from אמנם כּי, for truly, Job 36:4, similar to כּי הנּה, behold indeed, Psalm 128:4), is intended as irony: ye are not merely single individuals, but the people equals race of men (עם, as Isaiah 40:7; Isaiah 42:5), so that all human understanding is confined to you, and there is none other to be found; and when once you die, it will seem to have died out. The lxx correctly renders: μὴ ὑμεῖς ἐστὲ ἄνθρωποι μόνοι (according to the reading of the Cod. Alex.); he also has a heart like them, he is therefore not empty, נבוב, Job 11:12. Heart is, like Job 34:10, comp. נלבב, Job 11:12, equivalent to νοῦς διάνοια; Ewald's translation, "I also have a head even as you" ("brains" would better accord with the connection), is a western form of expression, and modern and unbiblical (vid., Division "Herz und Haupt," Psychol. iv. 12). He is not second to them; מן נפל, like Job 13:2, properly to slip from, to be below any one; מן is not the comparative (Ewald). Oetinger's translation is not bad: I cannot slink away at your presence. Who has not a knowledge of such things as those which they, by setting themselves up as defenders of God, have presented to him! אתּי היה is equivalent to ידעתּי, σύνοιδα, Isaiah 59:12.

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