Job protests his sincerity. (1-6) The hypocrite is without hope. (7-10) The miserable end of the wicked. (11-23)
Verses 1-6 Job's friends now suffered him to speak, and he proceeded in a grave and useful manner. Job had confidence in the goodness both of his cause and of his God; and cheerfully committed his cause to him. But Job had not due reverence when he spake of God as taking away his judgment, and vexing his soul. To resolve that our hearts shall not reproach us, while we hold fast our integrity, baffles the designs of the evil spirit.
Verses 7-10 Job looked upon the condition of a hypocrite and a wicked man, to be most miserable. If they gained through life by their profession, and kept up their presumptuous hope till death, what would that avail when God required their souls? The more comfort we find in our religion, the more closely we shall cleave to it. Those who have no delight in God, are easily drawn away by the pleasures, and easily overcome by the crosses of this life.
Verses 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?
Job 27:1-23 .
It was now Zophar's turn to speak. But as he and the other two were silent, virtually admitting defeat, after a pause Job proceeds.
1. parable--applied in the East to a figurative sententious embodiment of wisdom in poetic form, a gnome ( Psalms 49:4 ).
continued--proceeded to put forth; implying elevation of discourse.
2. ( 1 Samuel 20:3 ).
taken away . . . judgment--words unconsciously foreshadowing Jesus Christ ( Isaiah 53:8 , Acts 8:33 ). God will not give Job his right, by declaring his innocence.
vexed--Hebrew, "made bitter" ( Ruth 1:20 ).
3. Implying Job's knowledge of the fact that the living soul was breathed into man by God ( Genesis 2:7 ). "All the while." But MAURER, "As yet all my breath is in me" (notwithstanding my trials): the reason why I can speak so boldly.
4. ( Job 6:28 Job 6:30 ). The "deceit" would be if he were to admit guilt against the witness of his conscience.
5. justify you--approve of your views.
mine integrity--which you deny, on account of my misfortunes.
6. Rather, my "heart" (conscience) reproaches "not one of my days," that is, I do not repent of any of my days since I came into existence [MAURER].
7. Let . . . be--Let mine enemy be accounted as wicked, that is, He who opposes my asseveration of innocence must be regarded as actuated by criminal hostility. Not a curse on his enemies.
8. "What hope hath the hypocrite, notwithstanding all his gains, when?" &c. "Gained" is antithetic to "taketh away." UMBREIT'S translation is an unmeaning tautology. "When God cuts off, when He taketh away his life."
taketh away--literally, "draws out" the soul from the body, which is, as it were, its scabbard ( Job 4:21 , Psalms 104:29 , Daniel 7:15 ). Job says that he admits what Bildad said ( Job 8:13 ) and Zophar ( Job 20:5 ). But he says the very fact of his still calling upon God ( Job 27:10 ) amid all his trials, which a hypocrite would not dare to do, shows he is no "hypocrite."
9. ( Psalms 66:18 ).
10. Alluding to Job 22:26 .
always call--He may do so in times of prosperity in order to be thought religious. But he will not, as I do, call on God in calamities verging on death. Therefore I cannot be a "hypocrite" ( Job 19:25 , 20:5 , Psalms 62:8 ).
11-23. These words are contrary to Job's previous sentiments (see notes on Job 21:22-33 , 24:22-25 ). They therefore seem to be Job's statement, not so much of his own sentiments, as of what Zophar would have said had he spoken when his turn came (end of the twenty-sixth chapter). So Job stated the friends' opinion ( Job 21:17-21 , 24:18-21 ). The objection is, why, if so, does not Job answer Zophar's opinion, as stated by himself? The fact is, it is probable that Job tacitly, by giving, in the twenty-eighth chapter, only a general answer, implies, that in spite of the wicked often dying, as he said, in prosperity, he does not mean to deny that the wicked are in the main dealt with according to right, and that God herein vindicates His moral government even here. Job therefore states Zophar's argument more strongly than Zophar would have done. But by comparing Job 27:13 with Job 20:29 ("portion," "heritage"), it will be seen, it is Zophar's argument, rather than his own, that Job states. Granting it to be true, implies Job, you ought not to use it as an argument to criminate me. For ( Job 28:1-28 ) the ways of divine wisdom in afflicting the godly are inscrutable: all that is sure to man is, the fear of the Lord is wisdom ( Job 28:28 ).
by the hand--rather, concerning the hand of God, namely, what God does in governing men.
with the Almighty--the counsel or principle which regulates God's dealings.
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?
14. His family only increases to perish by sword or famine ( Jeremiah 18:21 ; Job 5:20 ,the converse).
15. Those that escape war and famine ( Job 27:14 ) shall be buried by the deadly plague--"death" ( Job 18:13 , Jeremiah 15:2 , Revelation 6:8 ). The plague of the Middle Ages was called "the black death." Buried by it implies that they would have none else but the death plague itself (poetically personified) to perform their funeral rites, that is, would have no one.
his--rather, "their widows." Transitions from singular to plural are frequent. Polygamy is not implied.
16. dust . . . clay--images of multitudes ( Zechariah 9:3 ). Many changes of raiment are a chief constituent of wealth in the East.
17. Introverted parallelism. Of the four clauses in the two verses, one answers to four, two to three (so Matthew 7:6 ).
18. ( Job 8:14 , 4:19 ). The transition is natural from "raiment" ( Job 27:16 ) to the "house" of the "moth" in it, and of it, when in its larva state. The moth worm's house is broken whenever the "raiment" is shaken out, so frail is it.
booth--a bough-formed hut which the guard of a vineyard raises for temporary shelter ( Isaiah 1:8 ).
19. gathered--buried honorably ( Genesis 25:8 , 2 Kings 22:20 ). But UMBREIT, agreeably to Job 27:18 , which describes the short continuance of the sinner's prosperity, "He layeth himself rich in his bed, and nothing is robbed from him, he openeth his eyes, and nothing more is there." If English Version be retained, the first clause probably means, rich though he be in dying, he shall not be honored with a funeral; the second, When he opens his eyes in the unseen world, it is only to see his destruction: the Septuagint reads for "not gathered," He does not proceed, that is, goes to his bed no more. So MAURER.
20. ( Job 18:11 , Job 22:11 Job 22:21 ). Like a sudden violent flood ( Isaiah 8:7 Isaiah 8:8 , Jeremiah 47:2 ): conversely ( Psalms 32:6 ).
21. ( Job 21:18 , 15:2 , Psalms 58:9 ).
22. cast--namely, thunderbolts ( Job 6:4 , 7:20 , 16:13 , Psalms 7:12 Psalms 7:13 ).
23. clap . . . hands--for joy at his downfall ( Lamentations 2:15 , Nahum 3:19 ).
hiss--deride ( Jeremiah 25:9 ). Job alludes to Bildad's words ( Job 18:18 ).