Job 21:1
But Job answered and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XXI.

(1) But Job answered.—Having, in Job 19, declared his belief in a retribution to come, Job now proceeds to traverse more directly Zophar’s last contention, and to show that even in this life there is not the retribution which he maintained there was.

Job 21:1. But Job answered and said — It has been thought strange that Job should never resume the argument of a resurrection, which was so full of piety and conviction; but, when resuming the dispute with his friends, should stick to that he first set out with. Whether this be the case or not, we shall see in the course of our observations. But if it be, a very sufficient reason may be assigned for it. For, if one such appeal as this, made in the most solemn manner, would not convince them of his innocence, he had reason to think it would be much the same, if he had repeated it a second and a third time. He had, therefore, no other resource left, but to follow the argument with which he had begun; namely, to combat the false principle upon which they were so forward to condemn him: and this he does effectually throughout the present chapter, by showing that many wicked men live long and prosperously, and at last die in apparent peace, and are buried with great pomp; which shows that this life is not the proper state of retribution, but that men shall be judged and recompensed hereafter. See Peters and Dodd.

21:1-6 Job comes closer to the question in dispute. This was, Whether outward prosperity is a mark of the true church, and the true members of it, so that ruin of a man's prosperity proves him a hypocrite? This they asserted, but Job denied. If they looked upon him, they might see misery enough to demand compassion, and their bold interpretations of this mysterious providence should be turned into silent wonder.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.

CHAPTER 21

SECOND SERIES.

Job 21:1-34. Job's Answer.Job’s reply: he complaineth not to man, in whose judgment he hath most reason to grieve; but exciteth their attention to convincing and amazing truths, Job 21:1-6. The wicked prosper till in their pride they fear not God, Job 21:7-15. Yet he purgeth himself from their counsel, and acknowledgement that often their destruction from God is manifest, at least in their children, Job 21:16-21. God is righteous in both cases, and both are alike in their death, Job 21:22-26. The wicked are indeed reserved for destruction, but who dareth now withstand them? and in the grave they are at rest, whither all others follow them, Job 21:27-34.

No text from Poole on this verse.

But Job answered and said. In reply to what Zophar had asserted, concerning the prosperity of the wicked being only for a short time, Job 20:5; the contrary to which he most clearly proves, and that in many instances their prosperity continues as long as they live; that they die in it, and it is enjoyed by their posterity after them. But Job answered and said,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 1-34. - Job answers Zophar, as he had answered Bildad, in a single not very lengthy chapter. After a few caustic introductory remarks (vers. 2-4), he takes up the challenge which Zophar had thrown out, respecting the certain punishment, in this life, of the wicked (Job 20:4-29), and maintains, "in language of unparalleled boldness" (Cook), the converse of the proposition. The wicked, he says, live, grow old, attain to great power, have a numerous and flourishing offspring, prosper, grow rich, spend their time in feasting and jollity - nay, openly renounce God and decline to pray to him - yet suffer no harm, and when they die, go down to the grave without suffering, "in a moment" (vers. 5-15). To the suggestion that from time to time they are cut off suddenly in a signal way, he answers, "How often is this?" or rather, "How seldom!" (vers. 17, 18). To the further suggestion that they are punished in their children he replies, "How much better if they were punished in their own persons!" (vers. 19-21). As it is, he argues, one event happens to all (vers. 23-26). In conclusion, he observes that common opinion supports his view (vers. 29-33), and denounces as futile the attempts of his comforters to convince him, since his views and theirs respecting the facts of God's government are diametrically opposed to each other (ver. 34). Verses 1, 2. - But Job answered and said, Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations. As ye have no other consolation to offer me, at least attend diligently to what I say. That will be some comfort to me, and I will accept it in lieu of the consolations which I might have looked for at your hands. Job 21:1 1 Then began Job, and said:

2 Hear, oh hear, my speech,

And let this be instead of your consolations.

3 Suffer me, and I will speak,

And after I have spoken thou mayest mock.

4 As for me, then, doth my complaint concern man,

Or wherefore should I not become impatient?

5 Turn ye to me and be astonished,

And lay your hand upon your mouth.

6 Even if I think of it I am bewildered,

And my flesh taketh hold on trembling - :

The friends, far from being able to solve the enigma of Job's affliction, do not once recognise the mystery as such. They cut the knot by wounding Job most deeply by ever more and more frivolous accusations. Therefore he entreats them to be at least willing to listen (שׁמעוּ with the gerund) to his utterance (מלּה) respecting the unsolved enigma; then (Waw apodosis imper.) shall this attention supply the place of their consolations, i.e., be comforting to him, which their previous supposed consolations could not be. They are to bear with him, i.e., without interruption allow him to answer for himself (שׂאוּני with Kametz before the tone, as Jonah 1:12, comp. קחהוּ, 1 Kings 20:33, not as Hirz. thinks under the influence of the distinctive accent, but according to the established rule, Ges. 60, rem. 1); then he will speak (אנכי contrast to the "ye" in שׂאוני without further force), and after he has expressed himself they may mock. It is, however, not תלעיגוּ (as Olshausen corrects), but תלעיג (in a voluntative signific. equals תלעג), since Job here addresses himself specially to Zophar, the whole of whose last speech must have left the impression on him of a bitter sarcasm (sarkasmo's from sarka'zein in the sense of Job 19:22), and has dealt him the freshest deep blow. In Job 21:4 שׂיחת is not to be understood otherwise than as in Job 7:13; Job 9:27; Job 10:1; Job 23:2, and is to be translated "my complaint." Then the prominently placed אנכי is to be taken, after Ezekiel 33:17, Ges. 121, 3, as an emphatic strengthening of the "my": he places his complaint in contrast with another. This emphasizing is not easily understood, if one, with Hupf., explains: nonne hominis est querela mea, so that ה is equivalent to הלא (which here in the double question is doubly doubtful), and ל is the sign of the cause. Schultens and Berg, who translate לאדם more humano, explain similarly, by again bringing their suspicious ל comparativum

(Note: In the passage from Ibn-Kissa quoted above, p. 421, Schultens, as Fleischer assures me, has erroneously read Arab. lmchâlı̂b instead of kmchâlı̂b, having been misled by the frequent failing of the upper stroke of the Arab. k, and in general Arab. l is never equals k, and also ל never equals כ, as has been imagined since Schultens.)

here to bear upon it. The ל by שׂיחי (if it may not also be compared with Job 12:8) may certainly be expected to denote those to whom the complaint is addressed. We translate: As for me, then, does my complaint concern men? The אנכי which is placed at the beginning of the sentence comes no less under the rule, Ges. 145, 2, than 121, 3. In general, sufferers seek to obtain alleviation of their sufferings by imploring by words and groans the pity of sympathizing men; the complaint, however, which the three hear from him is of a different kind, for he has long since given up the hope of human sympathy, - his complaint concerns not men, but God (comp. Job 16:20).

continued...

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