Job 21:23-34

23 One person dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease,
24 well nourished in body,[a]bones rich with marrow.
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good.
26 Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.
27 “I know full well what you are thinking, the schemes by which you would wrong me.
28 You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great, the tents where the wicked lived?’
29 Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts—
30 that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity, that they are delivered from[b] the day of wrath?
31 Who denounces their conduct to their face? Who repays them for what they have done?
32 They are carried to the grave, and watch is kept over their tombs.
33 The soil in the valley is sweet to them; everyone follows after them, and a countless throng goes[c] before them.
34 “So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”

Job 21:23-34 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JOB 21

This chapter contains Job's reply to Zophar's preceding discourse, in which, after a preface exciting attention to what he was about to say, Job 21:1-6; he describes by various instances the prosperity of wicked men, even of the most impious and atheistical, and which continues with them as long as they live, contrary to what Zophar had asserted in Job 20:5, Job 21:7-15; as for himself, he disapproved of such wicked men as much as any, and owns that destruction comes upon them sooner or later, and on their posterity also, Job 21:16-21; but as God is a God of knowledge, and needs no instruction from any, and is a sovereign Being, he deals with men in different ways; some die in great ease, and peace, and prosperity, and others in bitterness and distress, but both are alike brought to the dust, Job 21:22-26; and whereas he was aware of their censures of him, and their objections to what he had said, he allows that the wicked are reserved to the day of destruction, which is future, and in the mean while lie in the grave, where all must follow; yet they are not repaid or rewarded in this life, that remains to be done in another world, Job 21:27-33; and concludes, that their consolation with respect to him was vain, and falsehood was in their answers, Job 21:34.

Job 21:23-34 In-Context

21 For what do they care about the families they leave behind when their allotted months come to an end?
22 “Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest?
23 One person dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease,
24 well nourished in body,bones rich with marrow.
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good.
26 Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.
27 “I know full well what you are thinking, the schemes by which you would wrong me.
28 You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great, the tents where the wicked lived?’
29 Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts—
30 that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity, that they are delivered from the day of wrath?
31 Who denounces their conduct to their face? Who repays them for what they have done?
32 They are carried to the grave, and watch is kept over their tombs.
33 The soil in the valley is sweet to them; everyone follows after them, and a countless throng goes before them.
34 “So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”

Cross References 19

  • 1. S Genesis 15:15; S Job 13:26
  • 2. S Job 3:13
  • 3. Psalms 73:4
  • 4. Job 20:11
  • 5. Proverbs 3:8
  • 6. S Job 10:1
  • 7. S Job 17:16
  • 8. S Job 7:5
  • 9. Job 24:20; Ecclesiastes 9:2-3; Isaiah 14:11
  • 10. Job 1:3; Job 12:21; Job 29:25; Job 31:37
  • 11. S Job 8:22
  • 12. Job 31:3; Proverbs 16:4
  • 13. S Job 20:22,28; S Isaiah 5:30; Romans 2:5; 2 Peter 2:9
  • 14. Job 34:11; Psalms 62:12; Proverbs 24:11-12; Isaiah 59:18
  • 15. Isaiah 14:18
  • 16. Job 3:22; Job 17:16; Job 24:24
  • 17. S Job 3:19
  • 18. ver 2; Job 16:2
  • 19. S Job 6:15; Job 8:20

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  • [b]. Or "wicked are reserved for the day of calamity," / "that they are brought forth to"
  • [c]. Or "them," / "as a countless throng went"
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