Job 21:19
God lays up his iniquity for his children: he rewards him, and he shall know it.
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(19) God layeth up his iniquity (i.e., the punishment of it) for his children, may be the hypothetical reply of the antagonists in the mouth of Job, and the second clause his own retort: “Let him repay it to himself that he may know it.”

Job 21:19-20. God layeth up — Namely, in his treasures; his iniquity —

Or rather, the punishment of his iniquity; that is, He will punish him both in his person and in his posterity. His eyes shall see his destruction — That is, he shall be destroyed, as to see death, is to die, Psalm 89:48; Hebrews 11:5; and to see affliction, or any kind of evil, is to feel it, Psalm 90:15; and to see good, is to enjoy it, Job 7:7; Job 9:25. Or, this phrase may be emphatical; he shall foresee his ruin hastening toward him, and not be able to prevent or avoid it: he shall sensibly feel himself sinking and perishing, which aggravates his misery. He shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty — Not sip or taste, but drink; which word commonly denotes receiving abundance of the thing spoken of.21:17-26 Job had described the prosperity of wicked people; in these verses he opposes this to what his friends had maintained about their certain ruin in this life. He reconciles this to the holiness and justice of God. Even while they prosper thus, they are light and worthless, of no account with God, or with wise men. In the height of their pomp and power, there is but a step between them and ruin. Job refers the difference Providence makes between one wicked man and another, into the wisdom of God. He is Judge of all the earth, and he will do right. So vast is the disproportion between time and eternity, that if hell be the lot of every sinner at last, it makes little difference if one goes singing thither, and another sighing. If one wicked man die in a palace, and another in a dungeon, the worm that dies not, and the fire that is not quenched, will be the same to them. Thus differences in this world are not worth perplexing ourselves about.God layeth up his iniquity for his children - Margin, that is, "the punishment of iniquity." This is a reference evidently to the opinion which "they" had maintained. It may be rendered, "You say that God layeth up iniquity," etc. They had affirmed that not only did God, as a great law, punish the wicked in this life, but that the consequences of their sins passed over to their posterity; or, if "they" were not punished, yet the calamity would certainly come on their descendants; see Job 18:19-20; Job 20:10, Job 20:28. This is the objection which Job now adverts to. The statement of the objection, it seems to me, continues to Job 21:22, where Job says, that no one can teach God knowledge, or prescribe to him what he should do, and then goes on to say, that the "fact" was far different from what they maintained; that there was no such exact distribution of punishments; but that one died in full strength, and another in the bitterness of his soul, and both laid down in the dust, together. This view seems to me to give better sense than any other interpretation which I have seen proposed.

He rewardeth him, and he shall know it - That is, you maintain that God will certainly reward him in this life, and that his dealings with him shall so exactly express the divine view of his conduct, that he shall certainly know what God thinks of his character. This opinion they had maintained throughout the argument, and this Job as constantly called in question.

19. Equally questionable is the friends' assertion that if the godless himself is not punished, the children are (Job 18:19; 20:10); and that God rewardeth him here for his iniquity, and that he shall know it to his cost. So "know" (Ho 9:7). God layeth up, to wit, in his treasures, Romans 2:5.

His iniquity, or rather, the punishment of his iniquity, i.e. he will punish him both in his person and in his posterity.

He shall know it, i.e. he shall live to see the destruction of his children. God layeth up his iniquity for his children,.... This is a prevention of an objection which Job foresaw his friends would make, and therefore takes it up and answers to it; you will say, that, be it so, that the wicked are for the most part prosperous, and their prosperity continues; God does not punish them now for their sins in their own persons, yet he will punish them in their children, for whom he reserves the punishment of their iniquity: this way go many of the Jewish commentators (y), in which they are followed by many Christian interpreters (z); and, as it seems, very rightly; now this Job grants, that so it is, God takes notice of the iniquities of men, and lays them up in his mind, and puts them down in the book of his remembrance; he reserves the punishment of their iniquities for their children, iniquity being often put for the punishment of it; this is laid up among his stores of vengeance, and is treasured up against the day of wrath; and when they have filled up the measure of their father's sins by their own transgressions, the deserved punishment shall be inflicted, according to Exodus 20:5; but this will not clear the case, nor support the notions and sentiments of Job's friends, who had all along given out, that wicked men are punished themselves as well as their children; and that, if they are at any time in prosperous circumstances, it is only for a little while; and therefore agreeably to such notions God should take other methods with them, not punish their children only, but themselves, as Job argues in answer to the objection in Job 21:18,

he rewarded him, and he shall know it; or "he should reward him, and he should know it" (a); and so the word "should" is to be put instead of "shall" in Job 21:20, which directs to the true sense of these clauses: and the meaning of Job is, that according to the sentiments of his friends, God should reward a wicked man while he lives in his own body, and not in his posterity only; he should render to them a just recompence of reward of their evil works, the demerit of their sins; and in such a manner, that they should know it, be sensible of it, and feel it themselves, and perceive the evil of sin in the punishment of it; see Hosea 9:7.

(y) Nachmanides, Jarchi, Ben Gersom, Bar Tzemach. (z) Beza, Cocceius, Schultens. (a) "redderet illi, et (hoc) sciret", Beza; "retribueret ipsi potius, et sentiret", Cocceius.

God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it.
19–21. A conceivable objection, and its answer by Job. The verses read,

19.  God (say ye) layeth up his iniquity for his children.—

Let him recompense it unto himself, that he may know it;

20.  Let his own eyes see his destruction,

And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty;

21.  For what concern hath he in his house after him,

When the number of his months is cut off?

To his argument that the wicked suffer no calamities Job supposes that his friends may object, founding on the old doctrine of retribution, that if the man himself do not suffer, his children shall be visited for his iniquity (Exodus 20:5); and his answer is, Let the man himself suffer. The expression “that he may know it” means “that he may feel it.”

The word “concern” means “pleasure” as A. V., but also, interest in, care for; so Coverdale, For what careth he what become of his household after his death? The phrase “when the number of his months is cut off” means, when his life is ended. The words might also mean, when the (full) number of his months is dealt out, distributed to himself—when his own life is prolonged to its full measure. But it is not necessary to regard the wicked man as so abandoned as to be destitute of interest in his children even in his life-time, and indifferent to their fate provided his own days be prolonged. Job’s objection to the doctrine that a man’s iniquity is visited on his children is that this is no punishment of the wicked man himself, for he hath no concern in or knowledge of his children’s fate after his death (ch. Job 14:21). From the Prophetic Books of this age it appears that the ancient doctrine of retribution, the doctrine that the fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge (Ezekiel 18:2), had begun to awaken questionings, cf. Jeremiah 31:29 seq., and in this book such doubts are, naturally, brought to a point.Verse 19. - God layeth up his iniquity for his children. Job supposes his opponents to make this answer to his arguments. "God," they may say, "punishes the wicked man in his children" (comp. Exodus 20:5). Job does not deny that he may do so, but suggests a better course in the next sentence. He rewardeth him; rather, let him recompense it on himself - let him make the wicked man himself suffer, and then he shall know it. He shall perceive and know that he is receiving the due reward of his wickedness. 12 They raise their voice with the playing of timbrel aud harp,

And rejoice at the sound of the pipe

13 They enjoy their days in prosperity,

And in a moment they go down to Sehol.

14 And yet they said to God: "Depart from us!

We desire not the knowledge of Thy ways.

15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? -

And what doth it profit us that we should importune Him?" -

16 Lo! they have not their prosperity by their own hand,

The thought of the wicked be far from me!

קולם is to be supplied to ישׂאוּ in Isaiah 42:11, and instead of בּתף with בּ of the musical accompaniment (as Psalm 4:1, Psalm 49:5), it is to be read כּתף after the Masora with Kimchi, Ramban, Ralbag, and Farisol,

(Note: The Masora observes לית כותיה (not occuring thus elsewhere), and accordingly this כתף is distinguished in the Masoretic אב מן חד חד נסבין כף ברישׁיה (alphabetic list of words which take at one time the prefix כ and at another the prefix )ב, from בתף, which occurs elsewhere. The Targ. has read בטף; the reading of Raschi and Aben-Ezra is questionable.)

but not with Rosenm. to be explained: personaut velut tympano et cythera, but: they raise their voice as the timbrel and harp sound forth simultaneously; כּ, as Isaiah 18:4 (which is to be transl.: during the clear warmth of the sunshine, during the dew-clouds in the heat of harvest). תּף (Arabic duff, Spanish adufe) is τύμπανον (τύπανον), כּנּור, (Arab. canare) κινύρα or κιθάρα) Daniel 3:5), עוּגב or עגב, Job 30:31 (from עגב, flare; vid., on Genesis 4:21), the Pan-pipe (Targ. from a similar root אבּוּבא, whence the name of the ambubajae). In Job 21:13 and Keri gives the more usual יכלּוּ (Job 36:11) in place of the Chethib יבלּוּ, though יבלּוּ occurs in Isaiah 65:22 without this Keri; יכלו signifies consument, and יבלו usu deterent: they use up their life, enjoy it to the last drop. In connection with this one thinks of a coat which is not laid aside until it is entirely worn out. It is therefore not, as the friends say, that the ungodly is swept away before his time (Job 15:32), also a lingering sickness does not hand him over to death (Job 18:13), but בּרגע, in a moment (comp Job 34:20, not: in rest, i.e., freedom from pain, which רגע never signifies), they sink down to Hades (acc. loci). The matter does not admit of one's deriving the fut. יהתּוּ here, as Job 39:22, Job 31:34, from the Niph. of the verb חתת, terrore percelli; it is to be referred to נחת or נחת (Aram. for ירד), which is the only certain example of a Hebrew verb Pe Nun ending with ת, whose fut. ינחת, Psalm 38:3, also יחת (Proverbs 17:10, Jeremiah 21:13), instead of יחת, and in the inflexion its ת sti (after the analogy of יצּתּוּ, Isaiah 33:12) is doubled; as an exception (vid., Psalter, ii. 468), the lengthening of the short vowel (יחתוּ, Olsh. 83 b) by Silluk does not take place, as e.g., by Athnach, Job 34:5.

The fut. consec. ויּאמרוּ, in which Job 21:14 is continued, does not here denote temporally that which follows upon and from something else, but generally that which is inwardly connected with something else, and even with that which is contradictory, and still occurring at the same time, exactly as Genesis 19:9, 2 Samuel 3:8, comp Ew. 231, b: they sink down after a life that is completely consumed away, without a death-struggle, into Hades, and yet they denied God, would not concern themselves about His sways (comp. the similar passage, Isaiah 58:2), and accounted the service of God and prayer (פּגע בּ, precibus adire) as useless. The words of the ungodly extend to Job 21:15; according to Hirz., Hlgst., Welte, and Hahn, Job 21:16 resumes the description: behold, is not their prosperity in their hand? i.e., is it not at their free disposal? or do they not everywhere carry it away with them? But Job 21:16 is not favourable to this interrogative rendering of לא ( equals הלא). Schlottm. explains more correctly: behold, their prosperity is not in their power; but by taking not only Job 21:16 (like Schnurrer), but the whole of Job 21:16, as an utterance of an opponent, which is indeed impossible, because the declining of all fellowship with the godless would be entirely without aim in the mouth of the opponent. For it is not the fnends who draw the picture of the lot of the punishment of the godless with the most terrible lines possible, who suggest the appearance of looking wishfully towards the godless, but Job, who paints the prosperity of the godless in such brilliant colours. On the other hand, both sides are agreed in referring prosperity and misfortune to God as final cause. And for this very reason Job thinks that בּרך את־האלהים, which he makes the godless, in Job 21:14, Job 21:15, express in their own words, so horrible.


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