Job 12

A living joke

1 Job responded:
2 Surely you are the people, and wisdom will die with you.
3 I am also intelligent; I'm not inferior to you. Who isn't like these people?
4 I'm a joke to friends who called to God and he answered; the innocent and blameless one is a joke,
5 a torch of contempt to one who is idle, a fixed point for slipping feet.

Proverbial wisdom

6 Raiders' tents are prosperous and God's provokers secure, who carry God in their hands.
7 But ask Behemoth, and he will teach you, the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
8 or talk to earth, and it will teach you; the fish of the sea will recount it for you.
9 Among all these, who hasn't known that the LORD's hand did this?
10 In whose grasp is the life of every thing, the breath of every person?
11 Doesn't the ear test words and the palate taste food?
12 "In old age is wisdom; understanding in a long life."

God’s majesty

13 With him are wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.
14 If he tears down, it can't be rebuilt; if he ties a person up, he can't be set free.
15 If he restricts water, they have drought; if he lets it loose, it overturns the land.
16 With him are might and success; the deceiver and the deceived are his.
17 He leads advisors away barefoot; makes madmen of judges;
18 unties the belt of kings, binds a garment around their loins;
19 leads priests away barefoot; overthrows the well-established;
20 silences the talk of trusted people; takes away elders' discernment;
21 pours contempt on royalty; loosens the belt of the strong;
22 discloses deep secrets of darkness, makes utter darkness enter the light;
23 makes nations prominent and destroys them, expands nations and leads them astray;
24 takes away the power to think from earth's leaders, making them wander in untraveled wastelands.
25 They feel their way in the dark without light; he makes them stumble like drunks.

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Job 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

Job reproves his friends. (1-5) The wicked often prosper.(6-11) Job speaks of the wisdom and power of God. (12-25)

Verses 1-5 Job upbraids his friends with the good opinion they had of their own wisdom compared with his. We are apt to call reproofs reproaches, and to think ourselves mocked when advised and admonished; this is our folly; yet here was colour for this charge. He suspected the true cause of their conduct to be, that they despised him who was fallen into poverty. It is the way of the world. Even the just, upright man, if he comes under a cloud, is looked upon with contempt.

Verses 6-11 Job appeals to facts. The most audacious robbers, oppressors, and impious wretches, often prosper. Yet this is not by fortune or chance; the Lord orders these things. Worldly prosperity is of small value in his sight: he has better things for his children. Job resolves all into the absolute proprietorship which God has in all the creatures. He demands from his friends liberty to judge of what they had said; he appeals to any fair judgment.

Verses 12-25 This is a noble discourse of Job concerning the wisdom, power, and sovereignty of God, in ordering all the affairs of the children of men, according to the counsel of His own will, which none can resist. It were well if wise and good men, who differ about lesser things, would see how it is for their honour and comfort, and the good of others, to dwell most upon the great things in which they agree. Here are no complaints, or reflections. He gives many instances of God's powerful management of the children of men, overruling all their counsels, and overcoming all their oppositions. Having all strength and wisdom, God knows how to make use, even of those who are foolish and bad; otherwise there is so little wisdom and so little honesty in the world, that all had been in confusion and ruin long ago. These important truths were suited to convince the disputants that they were out of their depth in attempting to assign the Lord's reasons for afflicting Job; his ways are unsearchable, and his judgments past finding out. Let us remark what beautiful illustrations there are in the word of God, confirming his sovereignty, and wisdom in that sovereignty: but the highest and infinitely the most important is, that the Lord Jesus was crucified by the malice of the Jews; and who but the Lord could have known that this one event was the salvation of the world?

Footnotes 3

Chapter Summary


In this and the two following chapter Job makes answer to Zophar's discourse in the former; who having represented him as an ignorant man, he resents it, and begins his defence with a biting sarcasm on him and his friends, as being self-conceited, and having an high opinion of their own wisdom, as if none had any but themselves, Job 12:1,2; and puts in his claim for a share with them, as being not at all inferior to them, Job 12:3; and then refutes their notions, that it always goes well with good men, and ill with bad men; whereas the reverse is the truth, Job 12:4-6; and which they might learn from the brute creatures; or he sends them to them, to observe to them, that the best things they had knowledge of concerning God and his providence, and of his wisdom therein, were common notions that everyone had, and might be learned from beasts, birds, and fishes; particularly, that all things in the whole universe are made by God, and sustained by him, and are under his direction, and at his disposal, Job 12:7-10; and such things might as easily be searched, examined, and judged of, as sounds are tried by the ear, and food by the mouth, Job 12:11; and seeing it is usual among men, at least it may be expected that men in years should have a considerable share of wisdom and knowledge, it might be strongly inferred from thence, without any difficulty, that the most perfect and consummate wisdom was in God, Job 12:12,13; whence he passes on to discourse most admirably and excellently of the wisdom and power of God in the dispensations of his providence, in a variety of instances; which shows his knowledge of his perfections, ways, and works, was not inferior to that of his friends, Job 12:14-25.

Job 12 Commentaries