[Is it] good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress?
&c.] This God does not approve of in others; he dehorts men from it; he threatens to punish those that do so, and to be a swift witness against them; he promises to arise to the help of the oppressed, and to be a refuge for them, and therefore will never do the same himself; it can never be pleasant to him, nor right and just in his sight, nor is it of any advantage to him. Job here suggests that his afflictions were an oppression to him; and, indeed, no affliction is joyous, but grievous, and sometimes the hand of God presses hard and sore, but then there is no injury nor any injustice done, as the word F5 here used signifies; and he intimates also, as if God took some seeming delight and pleasure in thus oppressing him, and therefore expostulates with him about it, as if such conduct was not fit and becoming him, not agreeable to his perfections, and could afford neither pleasure nor profit. This, and what follows in this verse, are expostulations too bold and daring, and in which Job uses too much freedom with the Almighty, and in which he is not so modest as in ( Job 10:2 ) :
that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands?
which he tacitly insinuates he did. Job means himself, who, as to his body, and the several members of it, were the work of God's hands, curiously and wonderfully made by him, as is afterwards expressed; and as to his soul, and the powers and faculties of it, they were his make, who is the Father of spirits; and moreover, as a new man, he was made by him, was the workmanship of God, and a curious piece indeed, created after his image in righteousness and true holiness; and he was in every sense the work of his hands, or "the labour of his hands" F6; wrought with great care and labour, even with the "palms of his hands", as is the word F7 used; and could Job think that God "despised" such a work? he who, upon a survey of his works, said they were all very good; who forsakes not the work of his hands, nor despises the day of small things, could never do this; nor are afflictions to be interpreted in such a manner, as if God was indifferent unto, slighted and thought meanly of, what he himself has wrought; since these are so far from having such a meaning, that they flow from that great respect he has for his own work, and are for the good of it:
and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?
either the counsel of the wicked one, Satan, who moved God to afflict him in the manner he had, or of the Sabeans and Chaldeans, who thrived and prospered, notwithstanding the injury they had done him; or of his friends, who consulted to brand his character with hypocrisy; or, rather, of wicked men in general, on whose counsel God may be thought to "shine", when it succeeds, and God seems to smile upon them in his providence, and they are in prosperous circumstances, and have what heart can wish, when good men are greatly afflicted; which sometimes has been a temptation, and greatly distressing, to the latter; see ( Psalms 73:2-14 ) ( Jeremiah 12:1 Jeremiah 12:2 ) ; but this is not always the case; the counsel of the froward is sometimes carried headlong, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is made brutish, and that of Ahithophel was defeated by him; and whenever he seems to countenance it, it is to answer some ends of his glory.
F5 (qvet) "est opprimere vim injustam alicui facere", Schmidt.
F6 (eygy) "laborem", Pagninus, Montanus, Schultens, Michaelis.
F7 (Kypk) "volarum tuarum", Montanus, Bolducius.