Job 27:12
Behold, all you yourselves have seen it; why then are you thus altogether vain?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it.—That is, “You have seen me so proclaim the great power of God.”

Job 27:12. Ye yourselves have seen it — I speak no false or strange things: but what is known and confirmed by your own experience, and that of others. Why then are ye thus altogether vain? — In maintaining such a foolish and false opinion against your own knowledge and experience?

Why do you so obstinately defend your opinion, and not comply with mine, for the truth of which I appeal to your own consciences?27:11-23 Job's friends, on the same subject, spoke of the misery of wicked men before death as proportioned to their crimes; Job considered that if it were not so, still the consequences of their death would be dreadful. Job undertook to set this matter in a true light. Death to a godly man, is like a fair gale of wind to convey him to the heavenly country; but, to a wicked man, it is like a storm, that hurries him away to destruction. While he lived, he had the benefit of sparing mercy; but now the day of God's patience is over, and he will pour out upon him his wrath. When God casts down a man, there is no flying from, nor bearing up under his anger. Those who will not now flee to the arms of Divine grace, which are stretched out to receive them, will not be able to flee from the arms of Divine wrath, which will shortly be stretched out to destroy them. And what is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and thus lose his own soul?Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it - You have had an opportunity of tracing the proofs of the wisdom of God in his works.

Why then are ye thus altogether vain - Why is it that you maintain such opinions - that you evince no more knowledge of his government and plans - that you argue so inconclusively about him and his administration! Why, since you have had an opportunity of observing the course of events, do you maintain that suffering is necessarily a proof of guilt, and that God deals with all people, in this life, according to their character? A close observation of the course of events would have taught you otherwise. Job proceeds to state what he supposes to be the exact truth on the subject, and particularly aims, in the following chapter, to show that the ways of God are inscrutable, and that we cannot be expected to comprehend them, and are not competent to pronounce upon them.

12. "Ye yourselves see" that the wicked often are afflicted (though often the reverse, Job 21:33). But do you "vainly" make this an argument to prove from my afflictions that I am wicked? I speak no false or strange things, but what is known and confirmed by your own as well as others’ experiences.

Why then are ye thus altogether vain, in maintaining such a foolish and false opinion against your own knowledge and experience? Why do you obstinately defend your opinion, and not comply with mine, for the truth of which I appeal to your own consciences? Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it,.... As they were men of observation, at least made great pretensions to it, as well as of age and experience, they must have seen and observed somewhat at least of the above things; they must have seen the wicked, as David afterwards did, spreading himself like a green bay tree, and the hypocrites in easy and flourishing circumstances, and good men labouring under great afflictions and pressures, and Job himself was now an instance of that before their eyes:

why then are ye thus altogether vain? or "become vain in vanity" (k); so exceeding vain, so excessively trifling, as to speak and act against the dictates of their own conscience, against their own sense, and what they saw with their own eyes, and advance notions so contrary thereunto; as to affirm that evil men are always punished of God in this life, and good men are succeeded and prospered by him; and so from Job's afflictions drew so vain and empty a conclusion, that he must be a wicked man and an hypocrite.

(k) "vanitate vanescitis", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis, Schultens; "vel evanescitis", Montanus, Bolducius, Beza, Mercerus, Drusius, Piscator, Cocceius.

Behold, all ye yourselves {h} have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether {i} vain?

{h} That is, these secret judgments of God and yet do not understand them.

(i) Why do you then maintain this error?

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. are ye thus altogether vain?] i. e. wherefore do ye cherish and express opinions regarding me so foolish? “Two things are surprising here,” says Dillmann, “first, that Job should undertake to teach the three friends what they had always affirmed; and second, that he should say the opposite of what he had maintained in ch. 21, and 24 of the prosperity of the wicked even to their death.” A third thing might also seem surprising, namely that Job, while now coinciding with his friends in opinion, should reproach them with folly. To appropriate their sentiments and cover the operation by calling them foolish persons was not generous. The connexion, however, of the two clauses in this verse implies that what the three friends had seen of the fate of the wicked (as now to be described by Job , vv13-23) ought to have prevented them from coming to such conclusions regarding Job’s character as they had expressed or insinuated. Obviously to make such a reproach appropriate there must have been a difference clear to the eye between Job’s case and the fate of the wicked. But wherein lay the difference, in Job’s present condition? The three friends might be excused if they did not perceive it. The words do not seem to fit the condition in which Job still remains at the stage of development which the Poem has up to the present reached.Verse 12. - Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it. The true Divine scheme of action has been so long and so frequently made manifest - openly set forth in the sight o! men - that Job cannot believe that those whom he addresses are ignorant of it. They must themselves have seen the scheme at work. Why then are ye thus altogether vain? Why, then, do they not draw true inferences from the facts that come under their notice? 1 Then Job continued to take up his proverb, and said:

2 As God liveth, who hath deprived me of my right,

And the Almighty, who hath sorely saddened my soul -

3 For still all my breath is in me,

And the breath of Eloah in my nostrils -

4 My lips do not speak what is false,

And my tongue uttereth not deceit!

5 Far be it from me, to grant that you are in the right:

Till I die I will not remove my innocence from me.

6 My righteousness I hold fast, and let it not go:

My heart reproacheth not any of my days.

7 Mine enemy must appear as an evil-doer,

And he who riseth up against me as unrighteous.

The friends are silent, Job remains master of the discourse, and his continued speech is introduced as a continued שׂאת משׁלו (after the analogy of the phrase נשׂא קול), as in Numbers 23:7 and further on, the oracles of Balaam. משׁל is speech of a more elevated tone and more figurative character; here, as frequently, the unaffected outgrowth of an elevated solemn mood. The introduction of the ultimatum, as משׁל, reminds one of "the proverb (el-methel) seals it" in the mouth of the Arab, since in common life it is customary to use a pithy saying as the final proof at the conclusion of a speech.

continued...

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