Job 12

Listen to Job 12

Job Replies: The Lord Has Done This

1 Then Job answered and said:
2 "No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you.
3 But I have 1understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know 2such things as these?
4 I am 3a laughingstock to my friends; I, who 4called to God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.
5 In the thought of one who is 5at ease there is contempt for misfortune; it is ready for those whose feet slip.
6 6The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hand.[a]
7 "But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
8 or the bushes of the earth,[b] and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
9 Who among all these does not know that 7the hand of the LORD has done this?
10 In 8his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.
11 Does not 9the ear test words as the palate tastes food?
12 Wisdom is with 10the aged, and understanding in length of days.
13 11"With God[c] are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.
14 If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he 12shuts a man in, none can open.
15 If he 13withholds the waters, they dry up; if he 14sends them out, they overwhelm the land.
16 With him are strength and 15sound wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17 He leads 16counselors away stripped, and 17judges he makes fools.
18 He 18looses the bonds of kings and binds a waistcloth on their hips.
19 He leads priests away stripped and overthrows the mighty.
20 He deprives of speech those who are trusted 19and takes away the discernment of the elders.
21 He 20pours contempt on princes and loosens the belt of the strong.
22 He 21uncovers the deeps out of darkness and brings 22deep darkness to light.
23 He 23makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and 24leads them away.
24 He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and 25makes them wander in a pathless waste.
25 They 26grope in the dark without light, and he makes them 27stagger like a drunken man.

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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?

Cross References 27

  • 1. [Job 13:2; Job 15:9]
  • 2. Job 16:2
  • 3. Job 16:10; Job 17:2, 6; Job 21:3; Job 30:1
  • 4. Psalms 91:15
  • 5. Job 3:18
  • 6. See Job 21:7
  • 7. Isaiah 41:20; [Job 1:21]
  • 8. Numbers 16:22; Daniel 5:23; Acts 17:28
  • 9. Job 34:3
  • 10. Job 32:7; [Psalms 119:100]
  • 11. [Job 9:4; Job 36:5]
  • 12. Job 11:10; [Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7]
  • 13. [Deuteronomy 11:17; 1 Kings 8:35; 1 Kings 17:1]
  • 14. [Genesis 7:11-24; Psalms 147:18; Amos 9:6]
  • 15. [Job 5:12]
  • 16. [2 Samuel 17:23]
  • 17. Job 9:24; Isaiah 40:23; [Isaiah 29:14; Isaiah 44:25; 1 Corinthians 1:19]
  • 18. Psalms 116:16
  • 19. [Job 32:9]
  • 20. Psalms 107:40
  • 21. Daniel 2:22; 1 Corinthians 4:5
  • 22. See Job 3:5
  • 23. Isaiah 9:3; Isaiah 26:15
  • 24. [2 Kings 18:11]
  • 25. Psalms 107:40; [Job 6:18]
  • 26. See Job 5:14
  • 27. Psalms 107:27; Isaiah 19:14

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