Job 12:6
The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.
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(6) Into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.—Some understand these words, to him that bringeth his god in his hand (comp. Habakkuk 1:11; Habakkuk 1:16); but the other seems more in accordance with the usage. (Comp., e.g., Proverbs 3:27, &c.)

Job 12:6. The tabernacles of robbers prosper — Job’s friends had all supposed that wicked men cannot prosper long in the world. This Job opposes, and maintains that God herein acts as sovereign, and reserves that exact distribution of rewards and punishments for the other world. As if he had said, Thy opinion, O Zophar, (see Job 11:14, &c.,) is confuted by daily experience; which shows that very wicked, injurious, and impudent oppressors, tyrants, and robbers, are so far from always meeting with those disappointments and miseries of which thou spakest as being their certain portion, that they frequently succeed in their iniquitous and daring enterprises, flourish in wealth and glory, and fill their houses with the goods of others, which they violently took away; of which the Chaldeans and Sabeans (Job 1:15; Job 1:17) are a present and striking evidence. And they that provoke God are secure — They, whose common practice it is to despise and provoke God, are confident and safe, apparently living without danger or fear. Into whose hands God bringeth abundantly — So far is God from crushing such persons, that he seems to favour them with wonderful success; by his providence, puts into their hands the opportunities which they seek, of enriching themselves by injustice and oppression, and the persons and goods of other more righteous men, for which they lie in wait.

12:6-11 Job appeals to facts. The most audacious robbers, oppressors, and impious wretches, often prosper. Yet this is not by fortune or chance; the Lord orders these things. Worldly prosperity is of small value in his sight: he has better things for his children. Job resolves all into the absolute proprietorship which God has in all the creatures. He demands from his friends liberty to judge of what they had said; he appeals to any fair judgment.The tabernacles of robbers prosper - The tents or dwellings of robbers are safe and secure. This is Job's original proposition, to which he all along adheres. It is, that God does not deal with people in this life according to their character; and in support of this he now appeals to the fact that the tents or dwellings of robbers are safe. Arabia would furnish many illustrations of this, which could not be unknown to the friends of Job. The Arabs dwelt in tents, and they were then, as now, wandering, predatory tribes. They lived, to a great extent, by plunder, and doubtless Job could appeal to the observation of his friends for the proof of this. He affirms that so far from dealing with people according to their character, God often seemed to protect the public robber, and the blasphemer of his name.

Prosper - They are secure, tranquil, at rest - for so the Hebrew word means. They are not disturbed and broken in upon.

And they that provoke God - Or rather, "the tents are secure to those who provoke God." Dr. Good renders it, "and are fortresses to those who provoke God;" but the true idea is, that the tents of those who provoke God by their conduct are safe. God does not seem to notice them, or to come out in judgment against them.

Into whose hand God bringeth abundantly - Dr. Noyes renders this, "who carry their God in their hand;" but with much less accuracy, as it seems to me, than commonly characterizes his version. Eichhorn renders it in a sense somewhat similar:

Die ihre Faust fur ihre Gottheit achten -

"Who regard their fist as their God."

And so Stuhlman renders it:

Und wem die Faust fur Gottheit gilt -

"And to whom the fist avails for their God;"

That is, says he, Job means that this is the course of the world. Dr. Good renders it, "of him who hath created all these things with his hand" - still less accurately. In order to this, he is obliged to suppose an error in the text, but without the slightest authority. Jerome renders it as in our version. The Septuagint, "who provoke the Lord as if there would be no trial to them - ἔτασις αὐτῶν etasis autōn - here-after;" which certainly makes sense, but it was never obtained from the Hebrew. Rosenmuller renders it, "who have their own hand, that is, power for God;" a description, says he, of a wicked and violent man who thinks it right for him to do as he pleases. It seems to me, however, that the common interpretation, which is the most simple, is most in accordance with the Hebrew, and with the drift of the passage. According to this it means, that there is security to the man who lives to provoke that God who is constantly bringing to him in abundance the tokens of kindness. This is the fact on which Job is insisting - that God does not treat people in this world according to their real character, but that the wicked are prospered and the righteous are afflicted.

6. Job shows that the matter of fact opposes Zophar's theory (Job 11:14, 19, 20) that wickedness causes insecurity in men's "tabernacles." On the contrary, they who rob the "tabernacles" ("dwellings") of others "prosper securely" in their own.

into whose hand, &c.—rather, "who make a god of their own hand," that is, who regard their might as their only ruling principle [Umbreit].

The tabernacles of robbers prosper: thy opinion, delivered Job 11:14, &c, is confuted by daily experience; which shows that the most wicked, and injurious, and impudent oppressors, tyrants, and robbers, are so far from meeting with those disappointments and miseries wherewith thou didst threaten them, that they commonly succeed in their cursed enterprises, and flourish in wealth and glory, and fill their houses with the goods of others which they violently took away; whereof the Chaldeans and Sabeans, Job 1:15,17, are a present and pregnant evidence.

They that provoke God are secure; they whose common practice it is to despise and provoke God are confident and secure, live without danger or fear.

Into whose hand God bringeth abundantly; so far is God from crushing such persons, that he seems to favour them with wonderful success, and by his special and more than common providence puts into their hands the opportunities which they seek, and the persons and goods of other more righteous men, which they lie in wait for.

The tabernacles of robbers prosper,.... Such as the Chaldeans and Sabeans, who had robbed Job of his substance, and filled their houses with the spoils of others, and lived in the greatest fulness and prosperity, and whom he might have in his view; and the like is what has been since observed by good men, and has been a trial and temptation to them, not knowing well how to reconcile this to the justice and wisdom of God in providence, yet so it is, a fact that cannot be denied, see Psalm 73:2;

and they that provoke God are secure; all sin is abominable to God, contrary to his nature, will, and law, and so provoking; yet there are some sins that are more provoking than others, as idolatry, blasphemy, murder, theft, robbery, rapine, and oppression, and the like, as well as attended with more aggravating circumstances; and yet many who are guilty of such enormous crimes, and God provoking iniquities, are "secure", live in the greatest tranquillity and safety, free from the incursions, invasions, and insults of others: "their houses", as Job elsewhere says, "are safe from fear", Job 21:9;

into whose hand God bringeth abundantly; an abundance of the good things of this world, who have as much or more than heart can wish; whose belly is filled with hid treasure, whose grounds and fields bring forth plentifully, that they have no room to bestow their fruits; this, as it is an aggravation of their sin in provoking the God of their mercies, who is so liberal and bountiful to them, so it is the more full and express for the point in hand Job is confuting. Some, as Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom, understand this of idol makers and idol worshippers, and render the words, "who makes a god with his hand", or "carries a god in his hand" (l), and worships it; which others interpret of his doing what he will with God, having him, as it were, in his hand, or reckoning his hands his god, and thinks to do what he pleases (m).

(l) "quique deum portant vel portat in manu sua", Tigurine version, Munster; so Bolducius, De Dieu, Schultens. (m) Schmidt, &c.

The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.
6. The other side of the picture, the peace of the wicked.

into whose hand God bringeth abundantly] The words might also mean: they who carry (their) god in their hand, the idea being that their god is their own strong hand or the weapon in it; cf. what the prophet says of the Chaldeans, This their power is their god, Habakkuk 1:11 with Job 12:16. The commentators quote from Vergil the words of the contemptor deorum, dextra mihi deus, and Hitzig refers to Ammianus, 17. 12, who says of some Scythian tribes, mucrones pro numinibus colunt. In Job 12:5 Job said that the afflicted righteous were despised; the strict antithesis would have been that the prosperous wicked received respect; but Job, with the keen eye which he has at present for the anomalies of the Divine government, attributes the peace of the wicked to God, though they recognise no God but their own strong arm. Cf. ch. Job 5:24.

Verse 6. - The tabernacles of robbers prosper. Having set at rest the personal question between himself and his friends, Job reverts to his main argument, and maintains that, the whole course of mundane events being under God's governance, all the results are to be attributed to him, and among them both the prosperity of the wicked, and, by parity of reasoning, the sufferings of the righteous. And they that provoke God are secure (comp. Job 9:24; Job 10:3). Into whose hand God bringeth abundantly. So both the Authorized and the Revised Versions; but recent critics mostly render, "who bring their God in their hand," i.e. "who regard their own right hand as their God" (comp. Virgil, 'Aen., 10:773, "Dextra mihi Dens") Job 12:6 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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