Job 12:4

4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered— a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!

Read Job 12:4 Using Other Translations

I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.
I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called to God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.
Yet my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer. I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me.

What does Job 12:4 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Job 12:4

I am [as] one mocked of his neighbour
That is, according to Sephorno, if I knew not, or denied those things you have been speaking of concerning God, his immensity, sovereignty, and wisdom, I should be derided by all my friends and acquaintance; but rather the sense is, Job instances in himself as a proof that good men are afflicted by God in this life; he was once in a very prosperous condition, when he was caressed by all, but now was fallen into such low and miserable circumstances as to be the scorn and contempt of his friends and neighbours; and even his being mocked was no small part of his afflictions; to endure cruel mockings has been the common lot of good men in all ages, and is reckoned one part of their distresses and sufferings for righteousness sake, ( Hebrews 11:36 ) ; and to be mocked by a neighbour, or a "friend" F7, as it may be rendered, greatly aggravates the affliction, see ( Psalms 55:12 Psalms 55:13 ) ; which was Job's case; his friends that came to comfort him mocked at him, at least so he understood them, and interpreted what they said unto him, see ( Job 16:20 ) ; and what made it still the heavier to bear, he was mocked by such a neighbour or friend,

who calleth upon God, and he answereth him;
he was mocked at not by profane men only, but by a professor of religion, one that made it his constant business to pray to God, and by the prosperity he was in, and the good things he enjoyed, he seems to be answered; or rather Job means himself who was mocked, and so this is introduced to aggravate the sin of his friends, as well as to prove his point, and also to throw off a charge that had been brought against him. It was an aggravation of their sin in mocking him, that he was a praying man; one that made a conscience of daily calling upon God for the constant supplies of life, for his gracious presence, for help in time of need, for discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy, and for deliverance out of his troubles; and who had in many instances received answers of prayer from God; and this being his character, and this the constant work and business of his life, and being heard and answered of God in times past, showed him to be a good man, and yet an afflicted one; and this also served to wipe off the reproach, and remove the charge which they tacitly insinuated, and sometimes spoke out, that he restrained prayer before God; but he was so far from it, that the scornful usage of his friends made him ply the throne of grace the more frequently, see ( Job 18:20 ) ; and from this single instance of himself he passes on to consider it as a general case, as what usually befalls good and gracious men:

the just upright [man is] laughed to scorn;
or "the just perfect man" {h}; that is, perfectly just; no man is so of himself; none of Adam's posterity, are righteous, no, not one; nor is any man truly just, perfectly righteous in himself, but in Christ; and even such a man does not do good without sinning; only the man Christ Jesus is righteous in such sense; but then all that are made righteous, by the imputation of his righteousness to them, are perfectly justified from all things, and are become the spirits of just men made perfect and complete in him: the character here designs such who are really righteous, truly gracious, are upright in heart, sincere souls, who have the truth of grace in them, and walk uprightly; these become a prey, a laughing stock to wicked men, as Noah, Lot, and others, before the times of Job, had been, which he may have respect unto.


FOOTNOTES:

F7 (wherl) "amico suo", Pagninus, Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Broughton.
F8 (Mymt qydu) "justus perfectus", Pagninus, Montanus; "justus absolutus", Mercerus; so Broughton.
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