Job 13:4
But you are forgers of lies, you are all physicians of no value.
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(4) Ye are forgers of lies.—He now retorts upon his friends in terms not more deferential than their own, and calls them scrapers together, or patchers up, of falsehood, and physicians who are powerless to heal, or even to understand the case. He feels that they have failed miserably and utterly to understand him.

Job 13:4-5. Ye are forgers of lies — That is, authors of false doctrine, namely, that great afflictions are peculiar to hypocrites and wicked men. All physicians of no value — Unfaithful and unskilful; prescribing bad remedies: and misapplying good ones. O that ye would altogether hold your peace — The best proof of your wisdom would be never to say a word more of these matters; for then your ignorance and folly would be concealed, which are now made manifest by your speaking concerning what you do not understand. Thus Solomon, Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”13:1-12 With self-preference, Job declared that he needed not to be taught by them. Those who dispute are tempted to magnify themselves, and lower their brethren, more than is fit. When dismayed or distressed with the fear of wrath, the force of temptation, or the weight of affliction, we should apply to the Physician of our souls, who never rejects any, never prescribes amiss, and never leaves any case uncured. To Him we may speak at all times. To broken hearts and wounded consciences, all creatures, without Christ, are physicians of no value. Job evidently speaks with a very angry spirit against his friends. They had advanced some truths which nearly concerned Job, but the heart unhumbled before God, never meekly receives the reproofs of men.But ye are forgers of lies - The word lies here seems to be used in a large sense, to denote sophisms, false accusations, errors. They maintained false positions; they did not see the exact truth in respect to the divine dealings, and to the character of Job. They maintained strenuously that Job was a hypocrite, and that God was punishing him for his sins. They maintained that God deals with people in exact accordance with their charactor in this world, all of which Job regarded as false doctrine, and asserted that they defended it with sophistical arguments invented for the purpose, and thus they could be spoken of as "forgers of lies."

Physicians of no value - The meaning is, that they had come to give him consolation, but nothing that they had said had imparted comfort. They were like physicians sent for to visit the sick, who could do nothing when they came; compare Job 16:2.

4. forgers of lies—literally, "artful twisters of vain speeches" [Umbreit]. Forgers of lies, i.e. authors of false doctrine, to wit, that great afflictions are peculiar to hypocrites and wicked men.

Physicians of no value; unfaithful and unskilful; prescribing bad remedies, and misapplying good ones. But ye are forgers of lies,.... This is a hard and very harsh saying; Job was now in a passion, provoked by his friends, and retorts upon them what they had charged him with, Job 11:3; so often in controversies and disputes between good men undue heats arise, and unbecoming words drop from their lips and pens; to tell lies is a bad thing, but to forge them, to tell a studied premeditated lie, is dreadfully shocking, contrary to the grace of God, and which good men cannot allow themselves in, it is the character of bad men, see Isaiah 63:8; but it may be Job may not design lies in a strict and proper sense, but falsehoods and untruths; for though no lie is of the truth, yet every untruth is not a lie; because a man may deliver an untruth, not knowing it to be so, but taking it for a truth, speaks it, without any design to impose upon and deceive others. Doctrinal lies may be intended, such as the false prophets told, whereby they made the hearts of the righteous sad, and were the untempered mortar they daubed with, Ezekiel 13:10; and the word here used has the same signification, and may be rendered, "daubers of lies" (o); that colour over things, and make falsehoods look like truths, and deliver them for such, and like others speak lies in hypocrisy: now those here referred to were these, that God did not afflict good men, at least in any very severe manner, and that Job, being thus afflicted, was a bad man, and an hypocrite; both these Job charges as lies:

ye are all physicians of no value; or "idol physicians" (p); not that pretended to the cure of idols, but were no better than idols themselves, and understood no more how to cure than they, than an Heathen deity, the god of physic Aesculapius, or anyone that might be reckoned such; but was no other than an image of wood or stone, and so could not be possessed of the faculty of healing, and such were Job's friends; an idol is nothing, and is good for nothing, and such were they as physicians, they were idol physicians, like the "idol shepherd", Zechariah 11:17; of no value at all: the Rabbins (q) say, the word used signifies a nerve or sinew of the neck, which when broken is incurable; and such physicians were they, that could do him no service, no more than cure a broken neck; this is to be understood of them, not as physicians of his body, that they pretended not to be; he was greatly diseased from head to foot, and had no hope of a recovery of his health, nor did they pretend to prescribe for him, nor does he reproach them on that account; but as physicians of his soul, afflicted and distressed, they came to administer comfort to him under his afflictions, but they were miserable comforters, as he elsewhere calls them, Job 16:2; instead of acting the part of the good Samaritan, and pouring in oil and wine into his wounds, Luke 10:34, they poured in vinegar, and made them bleed and smart the more, and added affliction to his affliction; instead of healing, they wounded him yet more and more; and, instead of binding up his wounds, opened them wider, and gave him sensible pain; instead of giving him the cordials of the Gospel, they gave him the corrosives the law; and instead of pointing out unto him the gracious promises of God, for the support of his afflicted soul, they loaded him with charges of sin, and set him to work by repentance and reformation to obtain the forgiveness of them: they said many good things, but misapplied them, being ignorant of the case, and so were physicians of no value; as such are who are ignorant of the nature and causes of a disease, and therefore make wrong prescriptions, though the medicines they prescribe may in themselves be good: indeed, in the cases of souls, or for the healing of the diseases of the soul, which are natural and hereditary, epidemical and universal, nauseous and loathsome, and of themselves mortal, all physicians are of no value; but Jesus Christ, who is the only physician of souls, the able, skilful, and infallible one, that cures all fully freely that apply unto him; bodily physicians are no use in such cases, nor merry companions, nor legal preachers, who direct to supple the wounds with tears of repentance, and bind them up with rags of a man's own righteousness; Christ is the only Saviour, his blood the balsam that heals every wound, and his righteousness that affords peace, joy, and comfort to afflicted minds, and delivers from those weights and pressures of mind with which they are bowed down.

(o) "incrustatores fuci", Schultens. (p) "curatores idoli", Bolducius; so Ramban; "medici idoli", Pineda; so some in Drusius. (q) Jarchi & Bar Tzemach.

But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all {b} physicians of no value.

(b) You do not well apply your medicine to the disease.

4. but ye are forgers of lies] The but in Job 13:3 had for its background the knowledge of the Divine wisdom (Job 13:1-2); Job knows this well, but for all his knowledge of it he desires to plead his cause before God, he will speak unto the Almighty. This desire and purpose, however, are crossed by the thought of the use which his friends make of the Divine wisdom against him, and he is diverted from his great object to administer a rebuke to them—but ye are forgers of lies. Job 13:4-12 are therefore a digression, the main object being resumed in Job 13:13; the digression, however, is profoundly interesting. In clause one Job tells his friends that their assumptions of his guilt and the application which they made to his case of the Divine omniscience are false; in the second he compares them to ignorant physicians, who take in hand a disease which they are incompetent to treat.Verse 4. - But ye are forgers of lies. A harsh expression, indicating that Job was thoroughly exasperated. The lies which his friends had forged were, partly, misrepresentations of what he had said, as for example Job 11:4, but mainly statements, more or less covert, which implied that he had brought all his calamities on himself by a course of evil-doing (see Job 4:7, 8; Job 8:13, 14; Job 11:11, 14, 20). Ye are all physicians of no value. Job's friends had come to him to "comfort" him (Job 2:11), and act as physicians of his soul. But they had entirely failed to be of the least service. They had not even understood his case. 22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness,

And bringeth out to light the shadow of death;

23 He giveth prosperity to nations and then destroyeth them,

Increase of territory to nations and then carrieth them away;

24 He taketh away the understanding of the chief people of the land,

And maketh them to wander in a trackless wilderness;

25 They grope in darkness without light,

He maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.

The meaning of Job 12:22 in this connection can only be, that there is nothing so finely spun out that God cannot make it visible. All secret plans of the wicked, all secret sins, and the deeds of the evil-doer though veiled in deep darkness, He bringeth before the tribunal of the world. The form of writing given by the Masora is עמוּקות with koph raphatum, consequently plur. from עמוּק, like ערוּמים, עצוּמים from ערוּם, עצוּם, not from עמק.

(Note: Kimchi in his Wrterbuch adopts the form עמקּות, but gives Abulwalid as an authority for the lengthened form, which, according to the Masora on Leviticus 13:3, Leviticus 13:25, is the traditional. The two exceptions where the form occurs with a long vowel are Proverbs 23:27 and this passage.)

The lxx translates משגיא πλανῶν, as it is also explained in several Midrash-passages, but only by a few Jewish expositors (Jachja, Alschech) by מטעה. The word, however, is not משׁגּיא, but משׂגּיא with ש sinistrum, after which in Midrash Esther it is explained by מגדיל; and Hirzel correctly interprets it of upward growth (Jerome after the Targ. unsuitably, multiplicat), and שׁטח, on the other hand, of growth in extent. The latter word is falsely explained by the Targ. in the sense of expandere rete, and Abenezra also falsely explains: He scatters nations, and brings them to their original peace. The verb שׁטח is here connected with ל, as הפתּה (Genesis 9:27); both signify to make a wider and longer space for any one, used here of the ground where they dwell and rule. The opposite, in an unpropitious sense, is הנחה, which is used here, as 2 Kings 18:11, in a similar sense with הגלה (abducere, i.e., in servitutem). We have intentionally translated גוים nations, עם people; for גּוי, as we shall show elsewhere, is the mass held together by the ties of a common origin, language, and country; (עם) עם, the people bound together by unity of government, whose membra praecipua are consequently called העם ראשׁי. הארץ is, in this connection, the country, although elsewhere, as Isaiah 24:4, comp. Job 42:5, הארץ עם signifies also the people of the earth or mankind; for the Hebrew language expresses a country as a portion of the earth, and the earth as a whole, by the same name. Job dwells longer on this tragic picture, how God makes the star of the prosperity of these chiefs to set in mad and blind self-destruction, according to the proverb, quem Deus perdere vult prius dementat. This description seems to be echoed in many points in Isaiah, especially in the oracle on Egypt, Job 19 (e.g., כּשּׁכּור, Job 19:14). The connection ברך לא בתהו is not genitival; but דרך לא is either an adverbial clause appended to the verb, as חקר לא, Job 34:24, בנים לא, 1 Chronicles 2:30, 1 Chronicles 2:32, or, which we prefer as being more natural, and on account of the position of the words, a virtual adjective: in a trackless waste, as אישׁ לא, Job 38:26; עבות לא, 2 Samuel 23:4 (Olsh.).

Job here takes up the tone of Eliphaz (comp. Job 5:13.). Intentionally he is made to excel the friends in a recognition of the absolute majesty of God. He is not less cognizant of it than they.

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