Job 12

Job Chides His Accusers

1 Then Job responded *,
2 "Truly then 1you are the people, And with you wisdom will die!
3 "But 2I have intelligence as well as you; I am not inferior to you. And who does not know such things as these?
4 "I am a 3joke to my friends, The one who called on God and He answered him; The just and 4blameless man is a joke.
5 "He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt, As prepared for those whose feet slip.
6 "The 5tents of the destroyers prosper, And those who provoke God 6are secure, Whom God brings 7into their power.
7 "But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
8 "Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
9 "Who among all these does not know That 8the hand of the LORD has done this,
10 9In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And 10the breath of all mankind *?
11 "Does not 11the ear test words, As the palate tastes its food?
12 "Wisdom is with 12aged men, With long life is understanding.

Job Speaks of the Power of God

13 "With Him are 13wisdom and 14might; To Him belong counsel and 15understanding.
14 "Behold, He 16tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt; He 17imprisons a man, and there can be no release.
15 "Behold, He 18restrains the waters, and they dry up; And He 19sends them out, and they inundate the earth.
16 "With Him are strength and sound wisdom, The 20misled and the misleader belong to Him.
17 "He makes 21counselors walk barefoot And makes fools of 22judges.
18 "He 23loosens the bond of kings And binds their loins with a girdle.
19 "He makes priests walk barefoot And overthrows 24the secure ones.
20 "He deprives the trusted ones of speech And 25takes away the discernment of the elders.
21 "He 26pours contempt on nobles And 27loosens the belt of the strong.
22 "He 28reveals mysteries from the darkness And brings the deep darkness into light.
23 "He 29makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.
24 "He 30deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth's people And makes them wander in a pathless * waste.
25 "They 31grope in darkness with no light, And He makes them 32stagger like a drunken man.

Images for Job 12

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 32

Footnotes 14

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