Job 21:28
For you say, Where is the house of the prince? and where are the dwelling places of the wicked?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Of the princei.e., of the generous, virtuous, princely man?—the antithesis to the wicked man. “Behold I know your thoughts, for ye say, How can we tell who is virtuous and who is wicked? and consequently we know not to which catalogue you belong.” They had all along been insinuating that, though he seemed to be righteous, he was really wicked.

21:27-34 Job opposes the opinion of his friends, That the wicked are sure to fall into visible and remarkable ruin, and none but the wicked; upon which principle they condemned Job as wicked. Turn to whom you will, you will find that the punishment of sinners is designed more for the other world than for this, Jude 1:14,15. The sinner is here supposed to live in a great deal of power. The sinner shall have a splendid funeral: a poor thing for any man to be proud of the prospect of. He shall have a stately monument. And a valley with springs of water to keep the turf green, was accounted an honourable burial place among eastern people; but such things are vain distinctions. Death closes his prosperity. It is but a poor encouragement to die, that others have died before us. That which makes a man die with true courage, is, with faith to remember that Jesus Christ died and was laid in the grave, not only before us, but for us. That He hath gone before us, and died for us, who is alive and liveth for us, is true consolation in the hour of death.For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? - That is, you maintain that the house of the wicked man, in a high station, will be certainly over thrown. The parallelism, as well as the whole connection, requires us to understand the word "prince" here as referring to a "wicked" ruler. The word used (נדיב nâdı̂yb) properly means, one willing, voluntary, prompt; then, one who is liberal, generous, noble; then, one of noble birth, or of elevated rank; and then, as princes often had that character, it is used in a bad sense, and means a "tyrant." See Isaiah 13:2.

And where are the dwelling places of the wicked - Margin, "tent of the tabernacles." The Hebrew is, "The tent of the dwelling places." The dwelling place was usually a "tent." The meaning is, that such dwelling places would be certainly destroyed, as an expression of the divine displeasure.

28. ye say—referring to Zophar (Job 20:7).

the house—referring to the fall of the house of Job's oldest son (Job 1:19) and the destruction of his family.

prince—The parallel "wicked" in the second clause requires this to be taken in a bad sense, tyrant, oppressor (Isa 13:2), the same Hebrew, "nobles"—oppressors.

dwelling-places—rather, "pavilions," a tent containing many dwellings, such as a great emir, like Job, with many dependents, would have.

Ye say, to wit, in your minds. Where is the house of the prince? i.e. it is no where, it is lost and gone. This is spoken either,

1. Of Job, or his eldest son, whose house God had lately overthrown. Or rather,

2. In general of wicked princes or potentates, as the following answer showeth. So the meaning of the question is, that it was apparent from common observation, that eminent judgments, even in this life, were sooner or later the portion of all ungodly men.

Where are the dwelling-places of the wicked? which is added to limit the former expression, and to show that he spoke only of wicked princes. For ye say,.... Or "have said", or "I know that ye say"; or "that ye are about to say" (a); it is in your hearts and minds, and just ready to come out of your lips, and what you will say next:

where is the house of the prince? of the righteous man, as the Syriac and Arabic versions; or "of the good and liberal man", as others (b); of such as are of a princely and ingenuous spirit, who are made willing, free, or princes, in the day of the power of the grace of God upon them; and are endowed and upheld with a free and princely spirit; where is the house, or what is the state and condition, of the families of such? are they the same with that of wicked men in the next clause? is there no difference between the one and the other? according to your way of reasoning, Job, there should not be any: or else this is to be understood rather of a wicked and tyrannical prince, who has built himself a stately palace, which he fancied would continue for ever; but where is it now? it lies in ruins; having respect perhaps to some noted prince of those times: or rather either to Job himself, who had been a prince, and the greatest man in all the east, but in what condition were his house and family now? or else to his eldest son, whose house was blown down with a violent wind:

and where are the dwelling places of the wicked? of the mighty men before the flood, which are now overthrown by it; or of the king and princes, and nobles, and great men of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven; or of Job, his tent or tabernacle, and the several apartments in it; or of the rest of his children and servants, respecting rather, as before observed, the state and condition of his family, than his material house: these questions are answered by putting others.

(a) "vos dicere", Junius & Tremellius; "nempe vos dicturos", Piscator; so Schmidt, Schultens. (b) "liberalis", Montanus; "boni et liberalis hominis", Tigurine version; "ingenui", Schultens.

For ye say, Where is the {p} house of the prince? and where are the dwelling places of the wicked?

(p) Thus they called Job's house in derision concluding that it was destroyed because he was wicked.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. house of the prince] “Prince” here perhaps in a bad sense like the classical “tyrant,” cf. Isaiah 13:2.

the dwelling places of the wicked] Or, the tents in which the wicked dwelt, lit. the tent of the dwellings of the wicked. The question, Where is the house of the prince? implies that it has been swept away and has disappeared.Verse 28. - For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? i.e. "What has become of the house of the powerful man (Job himself)? How is it fallen and gone to decay!" And whore are the dwelling-places (literally, the tent of the habitations) of the wicked! Again Job is intended, although the insult is veiled by the plural form being used. Job supposes that his opponents will meet his statement, that the righteous are afflicted and the wicked prosper, by pointing to his own case as one in which wickedness has been punished. 22 Shall one teach God knowledge,

Who judgeth those who are in heaven?

23 One dieth in his full strength,

Being still cheerful and free from care.

24 His troughs are full of milk,

And the marrow of his bones is well watered.

25 And another dieth with a sorrowing spirit,

And hath not enjoyed wealth.

26 They lie beside one another in the dust,

And worms cover them both.

The question, Job 21:22, concerns the friends. Since they maintain that necessarily and constantly virtue is rewarded by prosperity, and sin by misfortune, but without this law of the divine order of the world which is maintained by them being supported by experience: if they set themselves up as teachers of God, they will teach Him the right understanding of the conduct which is to be followed by Him as a ruler and judge of men, while nevertheless He is the Absolute One, beneath whose judicial rule not merely man, but also the heavenly spirits, are placed, and to which they must conform and bow. The verb למּד, instead of being construed with two acc., as in the dependent passage Isaiah 40:14, is here construed with the dat. of the person (which is not to be judged according to Job 5:2; Job 19:3, but according to διδάσκειν τινί τι, to teach one anything, beside the other prevailing construction). With והוא a circumstantial clause begins regularly: while He, however, etc. Arnh. and Lwenth. translate: while, however, He exaltedly judges, i.e., according to a law that infinitely transcends man; but that must have been מרום (and even thus it would still be liable to be misunderstood). Hahn (whom Olsh. is inclined to support): but He will judge the proud, to which first the circumstantial clause, and secondly the parallels, Job 35:2; Job 15:15; Job 4:18 (comp. Isaiah 24:21), from which it is evident that רמים signifies the heavenly beings (as Psalm 78:69, the heights of heaven), are opposed: it is a fundamental thought of this book, which abounds in allusions to the angels, that the angels, although exalted above men, are nevertheless in contrast with God imperfect, and therefore are removed neither from the possibility of sin nor the necessity of a government which holds them together in unity, and exercises a judicial authority over them. The rule of the all-exalted Judge is different from that which the three presumptuously prescribe to Him.

The one (viz., the evil-doer) dies בּעצם תּמּו, in ipsa sua integritate, like בעצם היום, ipso illo die; the Arabic would be fı̂ ‛yn, since there the eye, here the bone (comp. Uhlemann, Syr. Gramm. 58), denote corporeality, duration, existence, and therefore identity. תּם is intended of perfect external health, as elsewhere מתם; comp. תּמימים, Proverbs 1:12. In Job 21:23 the pointing שׁלאנן (adj.) and שׁלאנן (3 praet.) are interchanged in the Codd.; the following verbal adjective favours the form of writing with Kametz. As to the form, however (which Rd. and Olsh. consider to be an error in writing), it is either a mixed form from שׁאנן and שׁלו with the blended meaning of both (Ew. 106, c), to which the comparison with שׁליו ( equals שׁלו) is not altogether suitable, or it is formed from שׁאנן by means of an epenthesis (as זלעף from זעף, aestuare, and בלסם, βάλσαμον, from בשׂם), and of similar but intensified signification; we prefer the latter, without however denying the real existence of such mixed forms (vid., on Job 26:9; Job 33:25). This fulness of health and prosperity is depicted in Job 21:24. The ancient translators think, because the bones are mentioned in the parallel line, עטיניו must also be understood of a part of the body: lxx ἔγκατα, Jer. viscera; Targ. בּיזוי, his breasts, βυζία

(Note: Vid., Handschriftliche Funde, 2. S. V.)

(for Hebr. שׁדים, שׁד); Syr. version gabauh ( equals ganbauh), his sides in regard to עטמא, Syr. ‛attmo equals אטמא, side, hip; Saad. audâguhu, his jugular veins, in connection with which (not, however, by this last rendering) חלב is read instead of חלב: his bowels, etc., are full of fat.

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