Job 20:29
This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.
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Job 20:29. This is the portion of the wicked man from God — Allotted to him, designed for him, as his portion: and he will have it for a perpetuity; it is what he must abide by. And the heritage appointed unto him by God — Hebrew, נחלת אמרו, nachalath imro, the heritage of his word; that is, appointed by the word or sentence of God; and termed a heritage, to signify the stability and assurance of it; that it is as firm and certain to him as an inheritance to the right heir; and in opposition to that inheritance which he had gotten by fraud and violence. Though impenitent sinners do not always fall under such temporal judgments as are here described, and in that Zophar was mistaken; yet the wrath of God abides upon them: and they are made miserable by spiritual judgments, which are much worse; their consciences being either, on the one hand, a terror to them, and then they are in continual amazement; or, on the other hand, seared and silenced, and then they are given up to a reprobate mind, and bound over to eternal ruin. “Never was any doctrine better explained,” says Henry, “nor worse applied, than this here by Zophar: who intended by all this to prove Job to be a hypocrite. Let us receive the good explication, and make a better application, for warning to ourselves to stand in awe and not to sin.”

20:23-29 Zophar, having described the vexations which attend wicked practices, shows their ruin from God's wrath. There is no fence against this, but in Christ, who is the only Covert from the storm and tempest, Isa 32:2. Zophar concludes, This is the portion of a wicked man from God; it is allotted him. Never was any doctrine better explained, or worse applied, than this by Zophar, who intended to prove Job a hypocrite. Let us receive the good explanation, and make a better application, for warning to ourselves, to stand in awe and sin not. One view of Jesus, directed by the Holy Spirit, and by him suitably impressed upon our souls, will quell a thousand carnal reasonings about the suffering of the faithful.This is the portion of a wicked man - This conclusion is similar to that which Bildad drew at the close of his speech, Job 18:21. Zophar intended, undoubtedly, that Job should apply it to himself, and that he should draw the inference, that one who had been treated in this manner, must be a wicked man.

And the heritage appointed - Margin, "of his decree from." The Hebrew is," Of his word" (אמרוּ 'êmerô ) - that is, of his "purpose." The idea is, that this is the divine rule, or arrangement. It is not a matter of chance. It is the result of appointment, and when people are afflicted in this manner, we are to conclude that "God" regards them as guilty. The whole object of the discussion was to arrive at the principles of the divine administration. Nothing is attributed to chance; and nothing is ascribed to second causes, except as indicating the will of God. It is assumed, that the course of events in the world was a sufficient exponent of the divine intention, and that when they understood how God "treated" a man, they could clearly understand how he regarded his character. The principle is a good one, when "the whole of existence" is taken into the account; the fault here was in taking in only a small part of existence - this short life - and hastening to the conclusion, that the character could be certainly determined by the manner in which God deals with people here.

29. appointed—not as a matter of chance, but by the divine "decree" (Margin) and settled principle. From God; who like a wise master of a feast gives to every man his proper portion, and as a just judge distributes to him according to his deserts.

The heritage appointed unto him by God, Heb. the heritage (i.e. the portion, as before; called here a heritage; partly to note the stability and assurance of it, that it is as firm as an inheritance to the right heir; and partly in opposition to that inheritance which he had gotten by fraud and violence) of his word; either,

1. Of God’s word, i.e. which is allotted to him by the word or sentence of God. Or,

2. Of the wicked man’s word, the reward of his speeches; which, like his actions, are and may well be presumed to be wicked and blasphemous, and many ways offensive to God: and he instanceth in his speeches rather than his actions, to meet with Job, who, though he had made some colourable excuses for his actions, yet was manifestly guilty of hard and sinful speeches against God, which he would hereby intimate that they were not such harmless and excusable things as Job pretended, as appeared by these severe judgments which they brought upon wicked men.

This is the portion of a wicked man from God,.... All before related, and which is very different from the portion of a good man, which is God himself, both here and hereafter; the wicked man has indeed his portion from God, which he has assigned him, but his portion is not himself; nor is it with him, nor with his people, but it is at most and best in this life, and but a worldly one, and hereafter will be with devils and damned spirits; and a dreadful portion it is to be banished from the presence of God to all eternity, and take up an everlasting abode with such company:

and the heritage appointed unto him by God; it is not only a portion allotted to him, but an inheritance to abide continually with him; and this by the irreversible decree and appointment of God, who has foreordained ungodly men to condemnation, and made, appointed, and reserved them to the day of wrath and destruction. Some choose to render the clause, "and the inheritance of his word or words (i) is unto him by God"; that is, punishment shall be inflicted upon him, and continue with him as an inheritance, because of his words, his indecent words, hard speeches and blasphemies uttered by him; referring, as it is thought, to the words which had dropped from the lips of Job.

(i) "haereditas eloquii ejus", Pagninus, Montanus; "verborum ejus", V. L. "impie dictorum ejus", Codurcus.

This is the portion of a wicked man from {r} God, and the heritage appointed unto him by {s} God.

(r) Thus God will plague the wicked.

(s) Against God, thinking to excuse himself, and to escape God's hand.

29. Like all the speakers in this second round of debate Zophar concludes by pointing with an impressive gesture to the picture he has drawn. Job should see himself there. He finishes by saying “from God.” This forces Job into the arena; he has no help, however unwilling he may be, but face this argument (ch. Job 21:27), and he shews that that which comes “from God” (ch. Job 21:22) is something very different.

Verse 29. - This is the portion of a wicked man from God; i.e. the lot, or possession of a wicked man - that which God makes over to him as his own in the last resort, and which is all that he has to look for. In other words, it is the heritage appointed unto him by God (comp. Job 27:13). As to some God, at the last, will assign an inheritance of good, so to others he will appoint an inheritance of evil

Job 20:2926 All darkness is reserved for his treasured things,

A fire that is not blown upon devoureth him;

It feedeth upon what is left in his tent.

27 The heavens reveal his iniquity,

And the earth riseth up against him.

28 The produce of his house must vanish,

Flowing away in the day of God's wrath.

. . . . . .

29 This is the lot of the wicked man from Elohim,

And the heritage decreed for him from God.

As in Psalm 17:14 God's store of earthly goods for the children of men is called צפוּן (צפין), so here the stores laid up by man himself are called צפוּניו. Total darkness, which will finally destroy them, is decreed by God against these stores of the godless, which are brought together not as coming from the hand of God, but covetously, and regardless of Him. Instead of טמוּן it might also have been צפוּן (Job 15:20; Job 21:19; Job 24:1), and instead of לצפוּניו also לטמוּניו (Deuteronomy 33:19); but טמוּן is, as Job 40:13 shows, better suited to darkness (on account of the ט, this dull-toned muta, with which the word begins). כּל־חשׁך signifies sheer darkness, as in Psalm 39:6, כל־הבל, sheer nothingness; Psalm 45:14, כל־כבודה, sheer splendour; and perhaps Isaiah 4:5, כל־כבוד, sheer glory. And the thought, expressed with somewhat of a play upon words, is, that to the θησαυρίζειν of the godless corresponds a θησαυρίζειν of God, the Judge (Romans 2:5; James 5:3): the one gathers up treasures, and the other nothing but darkness, to whom at an appointed season they shall be surrendered. The תּאכלהוּ which follows is regarded by Ges. as Piel instead of תּאכּלהוּ, but such a resolving of the characteristic sharpened syllable of Piel is unsupportable; by Hirz., Olsh. 250, b, and Pual instead of תּאכּלהוּ, but אכּל signifies to be eaten, not (so that it might be connected with an accusative of the obj.) to get to eat; by Ew., Hupf., as Kal for תּאכלהוּ, which is possible both from the letters and the matter (vid., on Psalm 94:20); but more correctly it is regarded as Poel, for such Poel forms from strong roots do occur, as שׁפט (vid., on Job 9:15), and that the Cholem of these forms can be shortened into Kametz-chatuph is seen from ודרשׁוּ, Psalm 109:10 (vid., Psalter in loc.).

(Note: Such a contraction is also presented in the readings תּרצחוּ, Psalm 62:4; מלשׁני, Psalm 101:5; and ויּחלקם, 1 Chronicles 23:6; 1 Chronicles 24:3. All these forms are not resolved forms of Piel (Ges., Berth., Olsh. 248, a), but contracted forms of Poel with Kametz-chatuph instead of Cholem. תּהתלּוּ, Job 13:9, is not a resolved form of Piel, but a non-syncopated Hiphil. It should be observed that the Chateph-Kametz in "wedorschu" above and at p. 328 is used as an unmistakeable sign of the ŏ. - Tr.])

The Poel is in the passage before us the intensive of Kal: a fire which is not blown upon shall eat him up. By this translation נפּח is equivalent to נפּחה, since attention is given to the gender of אשׁ in the verb immediately connected with it, but it is left out of consideration in the verbs נפח and ירע which stand further form it, which Olshausen thinks doubtful; there are, however, not a few examples which may be adduced in favour of it, as 1 Kings 19:11; Isaiah 33:9; comp. Ges. 147, rem. 1. Certainly the relative clause לא נפח may also be explained by supplying בּהּ: into which one has not blown, or that one has not blown on (Symm., Theod., ἄνευ φυσήματος): both renderings are possible, according to Ezekiel 22:20, Ezekiel 22:22; but since the masc. ירע follows, having undoubtedly אשׁ as its subject, we can unhesitatingly take the Synallage gen. as beginning even with נפח. A fire which needs no human help for its kindling and its maintenance is intended (comp. on לא ביד, Job 34:20); therefore "fire of God," Job 1:16. This fire feasts upon what has escaped (שׂריד, as Job 20:21; Job 18:19), i.e., whatever has escaped other fates, in his tent. yeera` (Milel) is fut. apoc. Kal; the form of writing ירע (fut. apoc. Niph.) proposed by Olsh. on account of the change of gender, i.e., it is devoured, is to be rejected for the reason assigned in connection with נפח. The correct interpretation has been brought forward by Schultens.

It is not without reference to Job 16:18-19, where Job has called upon earth and heaven as witnesses, that in Job 20:27 Zophar continues: "the heavens reveal his guilt, and the earth rises against him;" heaven and earth bear witness to his being an abhorrence, not worthy of being borne by the earth and shone upon by the light of heaven; they testify this, since their powers from below and above vie with one another to get rid of him. מתקוממה is connected closely with לו (which has Lamed raphatum) by means of Mercha-Zinnorith, and under the influence of the law, according to which before a monosyllabic accented word the tone is drawn back from the last syllable of the preceding word to the penultima (Ew. 73, 3), is accented as Milel on account of the pause.


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