Job 21:1
But Job answered and said,
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(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.



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,
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. The two futt. may be arranged as in a conditional clause, like Psalm 91:7, comp. Amos 9:2-4; and this is, as it seems, the mutual relation of the two expressions designed by the poet (similar to Isaiah 24:18): if he flee from the weapons of iron, i.e., the deadly weapon in the thick of the fight, he succumbs to that which is destructive by and by: the bow of brass (נחוּשׁה poet. for נחשׁת, as Psalm 18:35, although it might also be an adj., since eth, as the Arab. qaws shows, is really a feminine termination) will pierce him through (fut. Kal of חלף, Arab. chlf, to press further and further, press after, here as in Judges 5:26). The flight of the disheartened is a punishment which is completed by his being hit while fleeing by the arrow which the brazen bow sends with swift power after him. In Job 20:25 the Targ. reads מגּוהּ with He mappic., and translates: he (the enemy, or God) draws (stringit), and it (the sword) comes out of its sheath, which is to be rejected because גּו cannot signify vagina. Kimchi and most Jewish expositors interpret מגּוה by מגּוּף; the lxx also translates it σῶμα. To understand it according to גּו (back), of the hinder part of the body, gives no suitable sense, since the evil-doer is imagined as hit in the back, the arrow consequently passing out at the front;

(Note: Thus sings the warrior Cana'an Tjr (died about 1815) after the loss of his wife: -

"My grief for her is the brief of him whose horse is dashed in pieces in the desert.

The way is wild, and there is no help from the travellers who have hurried on before.

My groaning is like the groaning of one who, mortally wounded between the shoulders,

Will flee, and trails after him the lance that is fastened in him."

- Wetzst.)

whereas the signification body is suitable, and is also made sufficiently certain by the cognate form גּויּה. The verb שׁלף, however, is used as in Judges 3:22 : he who is hit drawn the arrow out, then it comes out of his body, into which it is driven deep; and the glance, i.e., the metal head of the arrow (like להב, Judges 3:22, the point in distinction from the shaft), out of his gall (מררה equals מררה, Job 16:13, so called from its bitterness, as χολή, χόλος, comp. χλόος, χλωρός, from the green-yellow colour), since, as the Syriac version freely translates, his gall-bladder is burst.

(Note: Abulwalid (in Kimchi) understands the red gall, i.e., the gall-bladder, by מרורה, after the Arabic marâre. If this is pierced, its contents are emptied into the lower part of the body, and the man dies.)

Is יהלך, as a parallel word to ויּצא, to be connected with ממררתו, or with what follows? The accentuation varies. The ordinary interpunction is וברק with Dech, ממררתו Mercha, or more correctly Mercha-Zinnorith, יהלך Rebia mugrasch (according to which, Ew., Umbr., Vaih., Welte, Hahn, Schlottm., and Olsh. divide); ממררתו is, however, also found with Athnach. Although the latter mode of accentuation is only feebly supported, we nevertheless consider it as the more correct, for עליו אמים, in the mind of the poet, can hardly have formed a line of the verse. If, however, יהלך עליו אמים is now taken together, it is a matter for inquiry whether it is to be explained: he passes away, since terrors come upon him (Schult., Rosenm., Hirz., Von Gerl., Carey), or: terrors come upon him (lxx, Targ., Syr., Jer., Ramban). We consider the latter as the only correct interpretation; for if יהלך ought to be understood after Job 14:20; Job 16:22, the poet would have expressed himself ambiguously, since it is at least as natural to consider אמים as the subject of יהלך, as to take עליו אמים as an adverbial clause. The former, however, is both natural according to the syntax (vid., Ges. 147, a) and suitable in matter: terrors (i.e., of certain death to him in a short time) draw on upon him, and accordingly we decide in its favour.

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