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A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown [1882] at

Job Chapter 12

Job 12:2

job 12:2

JOB'S REPLY TO ZOPHAR (Job 12:1-14:22)

wisdom shall die with you--Ironical, as if all the wisdom in the world was concentrated in them and would expire when they expired. Wisdom makes "a people:" a foolish nation is "not a people" (Rom 10:19).

Job 12:3

job 12:3

not inferior--not vanquished in argument and "wisdom" (Job 13:2).

such things as these--such commonplace maxims as you so pompously adduce.

Job 12:4

job 12:4

The unfounded accusations of Job's friends were a "mockery" of him. He alludes to Zophar's word, "mockest" (Job 11:3).

neighbour, who calleth, &c.--rather, "I who call upon God that he may answer me favorably" [UMBREIT].

Job 12:5

job 12:5

Rather, "a torch" (lamp) is an object of contempt in the thoughts of him who rests securely (is at ease), though it was prepared for the falterings of the feet [UMBREIT] (Pro 25:19). "Thoughts" and "feet" are in contrast; also rests "securely," and "falterings." The wanderer, arrived at his night-quarters, contemptuously throws aside the torch which had guided his uncertain steps through the darkness. As the torch is to the wanderer, so Job to his friends. Once they gladly used his aid in their need; now they in prosperity mock him in his need.

Job 12:6

job 12:6

Job shows that the matter of fact opposes Zophar's theory (Job 11:14, Job 11:19-20) that wickedness causes insecurity in men's "tabernacles." On the contrary, they who rob the "tabernacles" ("dwellings") of others "prosper securely" in their own.

into whose hand, &c.--rather, "who make a god of their own hand," that is, who regard their might as their only ruling principle [UMBREIT].

Job 12:7

job 12:7

Beasts, birds, fishes, and plants, reasons Job, teach that the violent live the most securely (Job 12:6). The vulture lives more securely than the dove, the lion than the ox, the shark than the dolphin, the rose than the thorn which tears it.

Job 12:8

job 12:8

speak to the earth--rather, "the shrubs of the earth" [UMBREIT].

Job 12:9

job 12:9

In all these cases, says Job, the agency must be referred to Jehovah, though they may seem to man to imply imperfection (Job 12:6; Job 9:24). This is the only undisputed passage of the poetical part in which the name "Jehovah" occurs; in the historical parts it occurs frequently.

Job 12:10

job 12:10

the soul--that is, the animal life. Man, reasons Job, is subjected to the same laws as the lower animals.

Job 12:11

job 12:11

As the mouth by tasting meats selects what pleases it, so the ear tries the words of others and retains what is convincing. Each chooses according to his taste. The connection with Job 12:12 is in reference to Bildad's appeal to the "ancients" (Job 8:8). You are right in appealing to them, since "with them was wisdom," &c. But you select such proverbs of theirs as suit your views; so I may borrow from the same such as suit mine.

Job 12:12

job 12:12

ancient--aged (Job 15:10).

Job 12:13

job 12:13

In contrast to, "with the ancient is wisdom" (Job 12:12), Job quotes a saying of the ancients which suits his argument, "with Him (God) is (the true) wisdom" (Pro 8:14); and by that "wisdom and strength" "He breaketh down," &c., as an absolute Sovereign, not allowing man to penetrate His mysteries; man's part is to bow to His unchangeable decrees (Job 1:21). The Mohammedan saying is, "if God will, and how God will."

Job 12:14

job 12:14

shutteth up-- (Isa 22:22). Job refers to Zophar's "shut up" (Job 11:10).

Job 12:15

job 12:15

Probably alluding to the flood.

Job 12:16

job 12:16

(Eze 14:9).

Job 12:18

job 12:18

He looseth the bond of kings--He looseth the authority of kings--the "bond" with which they bind their subjects (Isa 45:1; Gen 14:4; Dan 2:21).

a girdle--the cord, with which they are bound as captives, instead of the royal "girdle" they once wore (Isa 22:21), and the bond they once bound others with. So "gird"--put on one the bonds of a prisoner instead of the ordinary girdle (Joh 21:18).

Job 12:19

job 12:19

princes--rather, "priests," as the Hebrew is rendered (Psa 99:6). Even the sacred ministers of religion are not exempt from reverses and captivity.

the mighty--rather, "the firm-rooted in power"; the Arabic root expresses ever-flowing water [UMBREIT].

Job 12:20

job 12:20

the trusty--rather, "those secure in their eloquence"; for example, the speakers in the gate (Isa 3:3) [BEZA].

understanding--literally, "taste," that is, insight or spiritual discernment, which experience gives the aged. The same Hebrew word is applied to Daniel's wisdom in interpretation (Dan 2:14).

Job 12:21

job 12:21

Psa 107:40 quotes, in its first clause, this verse and, in its second, Job 12:24.

weakeneth the strength--literally, "looseth the girdle"; Orientals wear flowing garments; when active strength is to be put forth, they gird up their garments with a girdle. Hence here--"He destroyeth their power" in the eyes of the people.

Job 12:22

job 12:22

(Dan 2:22).

Job 12:23

job 12:23

Isa 9:3; Psa 107:38-39, which Psalm quotes this chapter elsewhere. (See on Job 12:21).

straiteneth--literally, "leadeth in," that is, "reduces."

Job 12:24

job 12:24


wander in a wilderness--figurative; not referring to any actual fact. This cannot be quoted to prove Job lived after Israel's wanderings in the desert. Psa 107:4, Psa 107:40 quotes this passage.

Job 12:25

job 12:25

Deu 28:29; Psa 107:27 again quote Job, but in a different connection.

Next: Job Chapter 13