Job 5:16
So the poor has hope, and iniquity stops her mouth.
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(16) Iniquity stoppeth her mouth.—See Psalm 107:42, where the same phrase occurs.

Job 5:16. So the poor, &c. — Hebrews ותהי לדל, vatehi ladal, even to the poor there is hope: Dal signifies one who is deprived of his strength or power, either by poverty or sickness: in Arabic, He who is submissive, and humbles himself in a low, abject manner. Here the interpretation seems to be, Even the abject, contemptible man hath hope; that is, obtains what he hoped for from God, to whom he had committed his cause. And iniquity — Iniquitous men, the abstract term being put for the concrete, as pride, deceit, injustice, are put for proud, deceitful, unrighteous men, Jeremiah 13:9; 2 Peter 3:13. Stoppeth her mouth — They are silenced and confounded, finding not only the poor are got out of their snares, but that the oppressors themselves are insnared in them.5:6-16 Eliphaz reminds Job, that no affliction comes by chance, nor is to be placed to second causes. The difference between prosperity and adversity is not so exactly observed, as that between day and night, summer and winter; but it is according to the will and counsel of God. We must not attribute our afflictions to fortune, for they are from God; nor our sins to fate, for they are from ourselves. Man is born in sin, and therefore born to trouble. There is nothing in this world we are born to, and can truly call our own, but sin and trouble. Actual transgressions are sparks that fly out of the furnace of original corruption. Such is the frailty of our bodies, and the vanity of all our enjoyments, that our troubles arise thence as the sparks fly upward; so many are they, and so fast does one follow another. Eliphaz reproves Job for not seeking God, instead of quarrelling with him. Is any afflicted? let him pray. It is heart's ease, a salve for every sore. Eliphaz speaks of rain, which we are apt to look upon as a little thing; but if we consider how it is produced, and what is produced by it, we shall see it to be a great work of power and goodness. Too often the great Author of all our comforts, and the manner in which they are conveyed to us, are not noticed, because they are received as things of course. In the ways of Providence, the experiences of some are encouragements to others, to hope the best in the worst of times; for it is the glory of God to send help to the helpless, and hope to the hopeless. And daring sinners are confounded, and forced to acknowledge the justice of God's proceedings.So the poor hath hope - From the interposition of God. They are not left in a sad and comfortless condition. They are permitted to regard God as their protector and friend, and to look forward to another and a better world. This sentiment accords with all that is elsewhere said in the Scriptures, that the offers of mercy are specially made to the poor, and that they are especially the objects of the divine compassion.

And iniquity stoppeth her mouth - That is, the wicked are confounded when they see all their plans foiled, and find themselves entangled in the snares which they have laid for others. A similar sentiment occurs in Psalm 107:41-42 :

Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction,

And maketh him families like a flock.

The righteous shall see it and rejoice,

And all iniquity shall stop her mouth."

It is to be remembered that Eliphaz states this as the result of his own observation, and as clearly demonstrating in his view that there is a superintending and overruling Providence. A careful observation of the course of events would lead undoubtedly to the same conclusion, and this has been embodied in almost every language by some proverbial sentiment. We express it by saying that "honesty is the best policy;" a proverb that is undoubtcdly founded in wisdom. The sentiment is, that if a man wishes long to prosper, he should pursue a straight-forward and an honest course; that cunning, intrigue, underhanded dealing, and mere management, will sooner or later defeat itself, and recoil on the head of him who uses it; and that, therefore, if there were no higher motive than self-interest, a man should be honest, frank, and open. See this argument stated at greater length, and with great beauty, in Psalm 37.

16. the poor hath hope—of the interposition of God.

iniquity stoppeth her mouth—(Ps 107:42; Mic 7:9, 10; Isa 52:15). Especially at the last day, through shame (Jude 15; Mt 22:12). The "mouth" was the offender (Job 5:15), and the mouth shall then be stopped (Isa 25:8) at the end.

So this poor man obtaineth what he in some measure hoped or expected from God, to whom he committed his cause; and other poor men will be encouraged by his example to place their hope in God.

Iniquity, i. e. wicked men; the abstract for the concrete, as pride, deceit, injustice, are put for proud, deceitful, and unrighteous men, Jeremiah 13:9 2 Peter 3:13.

Stoppeth her mouth, i.e. they are silenced and confounded, being convicted of their own wickedness and folly, and finding that not only the poor are got out of their nets and snares, in which they thought that they had them fast, but also the oppressors themselves are insnared in them; and all this by sudden and unexpected means. So the poor hath hope,.... Who observing this and that and the other poor man crying to the Lord and saved, hopes that he may be saved by him also; and having had experience of salvation out of one trouble or more, even out of six troubles, as in Job 5:19, entertains a comfortable hope he shall be saved out of the seventh, or whatsoever he is in: the word (y) used signifies one that is weak and feeble, attenuated, and exhausted of his strength, wealth, and substance; and may be applied to one spiritually poor, and in a very destitute and forlorn condition in himself; and yet, through the revelation of the grace and mercy of God to him, has hope of safety in Christ, the strong hold and hope set before him to flee unto; and of salvation by him, it being in him, and for the chief of sinners, and altogether free; and of eternal life through him, as being promised of God, that cannot lie: the free gift of God through Christ, and in his hands to dispose of:

and iniquity stoppeth her mouth: that is, iniquitous men: very wicked men, who are iniquity and wickedness itself; these shall stop their mouths, through shame at what they have said concerning the poor that God saves, see Micah 7:9; and through admiration at the goodness of God in saving them, Isaiah 52:15; having nothing to say against the ways and dispensations of Divine Providence, they are apt to quarrel with, Psalm 107:40; and especially at the last day such shall have their mouths stopped, and shall not be able to open them against the Lord or his people, being convinced of their hard speeches which they have spoken against them, Jde 1:15; and will be like the man at the feast without a wedding garment, speechless, or muzzled, and his mouth stopped, Matthew 22:12.

(y) "tenai", Montanus, Vatablus, Junius, Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.

So the poor hath hope, and iniquity {r} stoppeth her mouth.

(r) If the wicked are compelled by God's works to shut their mouths, how much more they who profess God.

16. The end contemplated and reached by the all-embracing sweep of God’s benevolent purpose and providence.Verse 16. - So the poor hath hope. With the fall of each crafty oppressor, the poor man's hopes revive. He feels that "God ruleth in Jacob, and unto the ends of the world" (Psalm 59:13). He recognizes the fact that the Almighty "maintains the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor" (Psalm 140:12), that he is "a Refuge for the oppressed, a Refuge in times of trouble" (Psalm 9:9). And iniquity stoppeth her mouth (comp. Psalm 107:42). Either "the oppressors themselves are struck dumb, recognizing the fact that God is against them;" or "those who perversely question God's ways are struck dumb, seeing his retributive justice." If we understand the passage in the latter sense, we may see in it a reproof of Job's murmurs against his treatment by God (Job 3:11-26). 6 For evil cometh not forth from the dust,

And sorrow sprouteth not from the earth;

7 For man is born to sorrow,

As the sparks fly upward.

8 On the contrary, I would earnestly approach unto God,

And commit my cause to the Godhead;

9 To Him who doeth great things and unsearchable;

Marvellous things till there is no number:

10 Who giveth rain over the earth,

And causeth water to flow over the fields:

11 To set the low in high places;

And those that mourn are exalted to prosperity.

As the oracle above, so Eliphaz says here, that a sorrowful life is allotted to man,

(Note: Fries explains יוּלּד as part., and refers to Geiger's Lehrb. zur Sprache der Mischna, S. 41f., according to which מקטּל signifies killed, and קטּל ( equals Rabb. מתקטּל) being killed (which, however, rests purely on imagination): not the matter from which mankind originates brings evil with it, but it is man who inclines towards the evil. Bttch. would read יולד: man is the parent of misery, though he may rise high in anger.)


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