What know you, that we know not? what understand you, which is not in us?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 12:3 13:2. Job 12:3; and to the same sense is what follows:
what understandest thou which is not in us? in our hearts, minds, and understanding; or among us, which one or other, or all of us, have not: yet all men have not knowledge alike; some that profess themselves to be wise, and to have a large share of knowledge, are fools; and such who think they know something extraordinary, and more than others, know nothing as they ought to know; and such who have gifts of real knowledge have them different one from another; even of the things known there is not a like degree of knowledge, and particularly in spiritual things; some are little children in understanding, some are young men and know more, and some are fathers, and know most of all; an equality in knowledge belongs to another state, to the latter day glory, when the watchmen shall see eye to eye, and all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, and especially to the ultimate glory, when saints will know as they are known.What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. Abandoning irony Eliphaz comes to the facts, which hardly bear out Job’s pretensions. His words recall those of Job, ch. Job 12:3, Job 13:2.Verse 9. - What knowest thou, that we know not? So far as worldly wisdom went, this was probably quite true. Job was not more advanced in knowledge than Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. But he had a keener spiritual insight. He was wiser in the "wisdom which is from above." Perplexed and confused as were his thoughts concerning the Divine government of the universe, they were nearer the truth, more worthy of the Divine nature, than those of his adversaries. In his reply, without claiming any special wisdom, he pours contempt on their pretensions to spiritual understanding (Job 17:4, 10). What understandest thou, which is not in us? A mere repetition of the first member of the verse in different words.
2 Doth a wise man utter vain knowledge,
And fill his breast with the east wind?
3 Contending with words, that profit not,
And speeches, by which no good is done?
4 Moreover, thou makest void the fear of God,
And thou restrainest devotion before God;
5 For thy mouth exposeth thy misdeeds,
And thou choosest the language of the crafty.
6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee and not I,
And thine own lips testify against thee.
The second course of the controversy is again opened by Eliphaz, the most respectable, most influential, and perhaps oldest of the friends. Job's detailed and bitter answers seem to him as empty words and impassioned tirades, which ill become a wise man, such as he claims to be in assertions like Job 12:3; Job 13:2. החלם with He interr., like העלה, Job 13:25. רוּח, wind, is the opposite of what is solid and sure; and קדים in the parallel (like Hosea 12:2) signifies what is worthless, with the additional notion of vehement action. If we translate בּטן by "belly," the meaning is apt to be misunderstood; it is not intended as the opposite of לב fo et (Ewald), but it means, especially in the book of Job, not only that which feels, but also thinks and wills, the spiritually receptive and active inner nature of man (Psychol. S. 266); as also in Arabic, el-battin signifies that which is within, in the deepest mystical sense. Hirz. and Renan translate the inf. abs. הוכח, which follows in Job 15:3, as verb. fin.: se dfend-il par des vaines paroles; but though the inf. abs. is so used in an historical clause (Job 15:35), it is not an interrogative. Ewald takes it as the subject: "to reprove with words-avails not, and speeches - whereby one does no good;" but though דּבר and מלּים might be used without any further defining, as in λογομαχεῖν (2 Timothy 2:14) and λογομαχία (1 Timothy 6:4), the form of Job 15:3 is opposed to such an explanation. The inf. abs. is connected as a gerund (redarguendo s. disputando) with the verbs in the question, Job 15:2; and the elliptical relative clause יסכּן לא is best, as referring to things, according to Job 35:3 : sermone (דּבד from דּבר, as sermo from serere) qui non prodest; בּם יועיל לא, on the other hand, to persons, verbis quibus nil utilitatis affert. Eliphaz does not censure Job for arguing, but for defending himself by such useless and purposeless utterances of his feeling. But still more than that: his speeches are not only unsatisfactory and unbecoming, אף, accedit quod (cumulative like Job 14:3), they are moreover irreligious, since by doubting the justice of God they deprive religion of its fundamental assumption, and diminish the reverence due to God. יראה in such an objective sense as Psalm 19:10 almost corresponds to the idea of religion. שׂיחה לפני־אל is to be understood, according to Psalm 102:1; Psalm 142:3 (comp. Psalm 64:2; Psalm 104:34): before God, and consequently customary devotional meditation, here of the disposition of mind indispensable to prayer, viz., devotion, and especially reverential awe, which Job depreciates (גּרע, detrahere). His speeches are mostly directed towards God; but they are violent and reproachful, therefore irreverent in form and substance.
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