Job 12:4
I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) I am as one mocked of his neighbour.—The laughing-stock of his companion—he who called on God, and He answered him. This is either the character Job claims for himself, or it is the supposed taunt of his friends—the righteous and the perfect a laughing-stock, or, the righteous and the perfect might be a laughing-stock. Ridicule is no test of truth or of merit.

Job 12:4. I am as one mocked of his neighbour — שׂחק לרעהו אהיה, sechok leregnehu ehjeh, literally, a jest to his friend, I am. Thus Jeremiah complains, I was a derision to all my people, Lamentations 3:14. Who calleth upon God, and he answereth him — This is applied by Sol. Jarchi, and the commentators in general, to Job’s neighbour or friend; intimating that such a one, addressing himself to God, received a favourable answer; when Job himself had no satisfactory return paid to his loud cries and importunate complaints. But the words are capable of a very different construction if we refer them to Job, and not to his friend, and as containing the mocking words thrown out against him: Thus, He calleth (say they) upon God; but doth he answer him? — He is loud and importunate in protesting his innocence; in clearing and vindicating himself; in appealing to the tribunal of Heaven. But to what purpose? Are his importunities and clamours received, his solemn protestations heard or admitted? His trust and confidence (he would have us to believe) are entirely on God; but is he eased of his troubles; is he delivered from his miseries? Thus the Jews mocked our Lord Jesus: “He trusted in God; (said they;) let him deliver him now, if he will have him.” “This man calleth for Elias; let us see whether Elias will come and save him.” The just upright man is laughed to scorn — The words have a peculiar beauty, being spoken with much religious concern and modesty; for Job does not say, I, a just and upright man, am made a laughing-stock; but he delivers himself in general terms; the just and upright man, &c. His meaning however is, that, notwithstanding all their hard censures and reproaches, he must still believe himself to be, through God’s grace, a just and upright man; and must say that, as such, he was derided by them.

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.I am as one mocked of his neighbour - There has been considerable variety in the interpretation of this verse. The general sense is, that Job felt himself to be a mere laughing-stock for his neighbors. They treated him as if he were not worth regarding. They had no sympathy for him in his sorrows, and they showed no respect for his opinions. Dr. Good understands this and the following verses as a part of the controversy in which Job proposes to show his skill in debate, and to adduce proverbs after the manner of his friends. But it is more probably an allusion to himself, and is designed to state that he felt that he was not treated with the respect which was due to him. Much difficulty has been felt in understanding the connection. Reiske contends that Job 12:2 has no connection with Job 12:3, and that Job 12:11-12, should be interposed between them. The connection seems to me to be this: Job complains that he was not treated with due deference. They had showed no respect for his understanding and rank. They had urged the most common-place topics; advanced stale and trite apothegms, as if he had never heard them; dwelt on maxims familiar even to the meanest persons; and had treated him in this manner as if he were a mere child in knowledge. Thus, to be approached with vague common-places, and with remarks such as would be used in addressing children, he regarded as insult and mockery.

Who calleth upon God, and he answereth him - This phrase has given occasion to great variety in the interpretation. Umbreit renders it, "I, who once called upon God, and he answered me;" that is, I, who once was a happy man, and blessed of God. Schultens renders it, "I, who call upon God," that is, for trial, "and am ready to answer him.' Rosenmuller supposes that Job has reference to the assurances of his friends, that if he would call upon God, he would answer him, and that in view of that suggestion he exclaims, "Shall a man who is a laughing-stock to his neighbor call upon God, and will he answer him!' The probable meaning is, that he had been a man who had had constant communion with God. He had been a favorite of the Almighty, for he had lent a listening ear to his supplications. It was now a thing of which he might reasonably complain, that a man who had enjoyed such manifest tokens of the divine favor, was treated with reproach and scorn.

4. The unfounded accusations of Job's friends were a "mockery" of him. He alludes to Zophar's word, "mockest" (Job 11:3).

neighbour, who calleth, &c.—rather, "I who call upon God that he may answer me favorably" [Umbreit].

As one mocked of his neighbour, Heb. I am a derision (the infinitive being put for a noun, as is usual both in the Hebrew and other languages) to my neighbour, i.e. to these three, who have pretended and would be thought to be my friends and neighbours; whom therefore such carriage doth very ill become. Instead of supporting and comforting me, they make a sport and scorn of me.

Who calleth upon God, and he answereth him. This who belongs either,

1. To Job, who here declares his own practice in this case: When you mock me, I go to God with my complaints and prayers, and he hears me, though you will not. But this seems not to agree either with the context, or with other passages of Job; in which he constantly complains that God did not hear nor regard his prayers, nor pity and help him. Or,

2. To Job’s friends; and so this is either,

1. An aggravation of their crime, that they should mock him who made a great profession of religion, who used duly to call upon God, and to receive answers from him, and therefore should have carried themselves more piously, and charitably, and compassionately towards their miserable brother. Or,

2. As the reason of their mockage of Job, because God, who neglected Job’s prayers, heard theirs, and gave them those mercies for which they prayed; and therefore being themselves well and at ease, they were hard-hearted towards their poor afflicted brother, as the manner of men is. This seems to suit well with the following verse. Or,

3. As all argument against their scorning or slighting of him: God hears you when you pray, therefore you should turn your mocks of me into prayers for me; and you should pity me, whom God doth not hear when I pray; and as God hears you, so you should hear and comfort me, when I pour out my complaints to you. But these words may be brought in mimetically, as being some of their scoffing words: They say of me, Let him call upon God, and God will hear him; for so they had suggested to Job, Job 5:8 8:5 11:13. But this, saith Job, I take for a piece of mockery, and insulting over my miseries; for I know by sad experience, and they see the contrary, that though I call and cry again and again, yet God hath no regard to me.

The just, upright man is laughed to scorn, i.e. I, who, notwithstanding all their hard censures and reproaches, must and dare still own it, that through God’s grace I am a just and upright man, am derided by them. This he repeats again, because it was very grievous and burdensome to him.

I am as one mocked of his neighbour,.... That is, according to Sephorno, if I knew not, or denied those things you have been speaking of concerning God, his immensity, sovereignty, and wisdom, I should be derided by all my friends and acquaintance; but rather the sense is, Job instances in himself as a proof that good men are afflicted by God in this life; he was once in a very prosperous condition, when he was caressed by all, but now was fallen into such low and miserable circumstances as to be the scorn and contempt of his friends and neighbours; and even his being mocked was no small part of his afflictions; to endure cruel mockings has been the common lot of good men in all ages, and is reckoned one part of their distresses and sufferings for righteousness sake, Hebrews 11:36; and to be mocked by a neighbour, or a "friend" (g), as it may be rendered, greatly aggravates the affliction, see Psalm 55:12; which was Job's case; his friends that came to comfort him mocked at him, at least so he understood them, and interpreted what they said unto him, see Job 16:20; and what made it still the heavier to bear, he was mocked by such a neighbour or friend,

who calleth upon God, and he answereth him; he was mocked at not by profane men only, but by a professor of religion, ong swept away with the flood, were cast into hell, where they have lain ever since, and will lie unto the judgment of the great day; between the place of the damned, and of the happy, in Abraham's bosom, is a great gulf, that there is no passing from one to the other, which is the immutable and unalterable decree of God, which has fixed the everlasting states of men, Luke 16:26.

(r) "super virum", Montanus, Mercerus, Bolducius;_super viro", Schmidt, Michaelis. Job 12:15.

Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up,.... Or "lays a restraint in" or "on the waters" (s); either in the ocean, as he did at the creation, when he gathered the waters that were upon the face of the earth into one place, and restrained them there, even in the decreed place he broke up for them, called the sea, and set bars and doors to keep them within bounds, whereby the places they left became dry and the dry land appeared called earth; and even such a man does not do good without sinning; only the man Christ Jesus is righteous in such sense; but then all that are made righteous, by the imputation of his righteousness to them, are perfectly justified from all things, and are become the spirits of just men made perfect and complete in him: the character here designs such who are really righteous, truly gracious, are upright in heart, sincere souls, who have the truth of grace in them, and walk uprightly; these become a prey, a laughing stock to wicked men, as Noah, Lot, and others, before the times of Job, had been, which he may have respect unto.

(g) "amico suo", Pagninus, Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Broughton. (h) "justus perfectus", Pagninus, Montanus; "justus absolutus", Mercerus; so Broughton.

I am {b} as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he {c} answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

(b) He reproves his friends for two faults: one, that they thought they had better knowledge than they did: and the other, that instead of true consolation, they derided and despised their friend in his adversity.

(c) Who being a mocker and a wicked man, thinks that no man is in God's favour but he, because he has all things that he desires.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4.  I am to be one that is a laughing-stock to his friends,

I, who called on God and he answered me:

A laughing-stock the just and perfect man!

4, 5. Job laments how low he had fallen when men thought to instruct him, a man of God, with such primary truths regarding God’s operation in the world. Yet it was but an illustration of the general truth—righteousness when unfortunate was held in contempt. The verses read,

Verse 4. - I am as one mocked of his neighbour. You have accused me of mockery (Job 11:3): but it is I that have been mocked of you. The allusion is probably to Job 11:2, 3, 11, 12, and 20. Who calleth upon God, and he answereth him. You mock me, though I have always clung to religion, have called upon God in prayer, and from time to time had my prayers answered by him. Thus it is the just upright man that is laughed to scorn. Job 12:4 4 I must be a mockery to my own friend,

I who called on Eloah and He heard me;

A mockery - the just, the godly man.

5 Contempt belongs to misfortune, according to the ideas of the prosperous;

It awaits those who are ready to slip.

6 Tents of the destroyer remain in peace,

And those that defy God are prosperous,

Who taketh Eloah into his hand.

The synallage of לרעהוּ for לרעי is not nearly so difficult as many others: a laughing-stock to his own friend; comp. Isaiah 2:8, they worship the work of their (his) own hands (ידיו). "One who called on Eloah (לאלוהּ, for which לאלוהּ is found in lxx at Job 36:2) and He heard him" is in apposition to the subject; likewise תמים צדיק, which is to be explained according to Proverbs 11:5, צדיק (from צדק, Arab. ṣdq, to be hard, firm, stiff, straight), is one who in his conduct rules himself strictly according to the will of God; תמים, one whose thoughts are in all respects and without disguise what they should be-in one word: pure. Most old translators (Targ., Vulg., Luther) give לפּיד the signification, a torch. Thus e.g., Levi v. Gerson explains: "According to the view of the prosperous and carnally secure, he who is ready for falterings of the feet, i.e., likely to fall, is like a lighted torch which burns away and destroys whatever comes in contact with it, and therefore one keeps aloof from him; but it is also more than this: he is an object of contempt in their eyes." Job might not inappropriately say, that in the eyes of the prosperous he is like a despised, cast-away torch (comp. the similar figure, Isaiah 14:19, like a branch that is rejected with contempt); and Job 12:5 would be suitably connected with this if למועדי could be derived from a substantive מעד, vacillatio, but neither the usage of the language nor the scriptio plena (after which Jerome translates tempus statutum, and consequently has in mind the מועדים, times of festal pilgrimages, which are also called ררלים in later times), nor the vowel pointing (instead of which מעדי would be expected), is favourable to this. רגל מועדי signifies vacillantes pede, those whose prosperity is shaken, and who are in danger of destruction that is near at hand. We therefore, like Abenezra and modern expositors, who are here happily agreed, take לפיד as composed of ל and פּיד, a word common to the books of Job (Job 30:24; Job 31:29) and Proverbs (ch. Proverbs 24:22), which is compared by the Jewish lexicographers, according both to form and meaning, to כּיד (Job 21:20) and איד, and perhaps signifies originally dissolution (comp. פדה), decease (Syr. f'jodo, escape; Arab. faid, dying), fall, then generally calamity, misfortune: contempt (befits) misfortune, according to the thoughts (or thinking), idea of the prosperous. The pointing wavers between לעשׁתּות and the more authorized לעשׁתּוּת, with which Parchon compares the nouns עבדוּת and מרדּוּת; the ת, like ד in the latter word, has Dag. lene, since the punctuation is in this respect not quite consistent, or follows laws at present unknown (comp. Ges. 21, rem. 2). Job 12:5 is now suitably connected: ready (with reference to בוז) for those who stumble, i.e., contempt certainly awaits such, it is ready and waiting for them, נכון, ἕτοιμος, like Exodus 34:2.

While the unfortunate, in spite of his innocence, has thus only to expect contempt, the tents, i.e., dwellings and possessions, of the oppressor and the marauder remain in prosperity; ישׁליוּ for ישׁלוּ, an intensive form used not only in pause (Psalm 36:8; comp. Deuteronomy 32:37) and with greater distinctives (Numbers 34:6; Psalm 122:6), but also in passages where it receives no such accent (Psalm 36:9; Psalm 57:2; Psalm 73:2). On אהלים, instead of אהלים, vid., Ges. 93, 6, 3. The verbal clause (Job 12:6) is followed by a substantival clause (Job 12:6). בּטּחות is an abstract plural from בּטּוּח, perfectly secure; therefore: the most care-less security is the portion of those who provoke God (lxx περοργίζουσι);

(Note: Luther takes בטחות as the adverb to מרגיזי: und toben wider Gott thrstiglich (vid., Vilmar, Pastoraltheolog. Bltter, 1861, S. 110-112); according to the Vulg., et audacter provocant Deum.)

and this is continued in an individualizing form: him who causes Eloah to go into his hand. Seb. Schmid explains this passage in the main correctly: qui Deum in manu fert h.e. qui manum aut potentiam suam pro Deo habet et licitum sibi putat quodlibet; comp. Habakkuk 1:11 : "this his strength becomes God to him," i.e., he deifies his own power, and puts it in the place of God. But הביא signifies, in this connection with לידו (not בידו), neither to carry, nor to lead (Gesenius, who compares Psalm 74:5, where, however, it signifies to cause to go into equals to strike into); it must be translated: he who causes Eloah to enter into his hand; from which translation it is clear that not the deification of the hand, but of that which is taken into the hand, is meant. This which is taken into the hand is not, however, an idol (Abenezra), but the sword; therefore: him who thinks after the manner of Lamech,

(Note: [Comp Pentateuch, at Genesis 4:25, Clark's Foreign Theological Library. - Tr.])

as he takes the iron weapon of attack and defence into his hand, that he needs no other God.

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