1 And Iob answered, and sayd,
2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisedome shall die with you.
3 But I haue vnderstanding as well as you, I am not inferiour to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?
4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth vpon God, and he answereth him: the iust vpright man is laughed to scorne.
5 He that is ready to slippe with his feet, is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.
6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that prouoke God are secure, into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.
7 But aske now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the foules of the aire, and they shall tell thee.
8 Or speake to the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare vnto thee.
9 Who knoweth not in all these, that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?
10 In whose hand is the soule of euery liuing thing, and the breath of all mankinde.
11 Doeth not the eare trie wordes? and the mouth taste his meate?
12 With the ancient is wisedome, and in length of dayes, vnderstanding.
13 With him is wisedome & strength, he hath counsell and vnderstanding.
14 Behold, he breaketh downe, and it cannot be built againe: hee shutteth vp a man, and there can be no opening.
15 Behold, hee withholdeth the waters, and they drie vp: also hee sendeth them out, and they ouerturne the earth.
16 With him is strength & wisedome: the deceiued, and the deceiuer, are his.
17 He leadeth counsellers away spoiled, and maketh the Iudges fooles.
18 He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loines with a girdle.
19 He leadeth Princes away spoiled, and ouerthroweth the mightie.
20 He remooueth away the speech of the trustie, and taketh away the vnderstanding of the aged.
21 He powreth contempt vpon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mightie.
22 Hee discouereth deepe things out of darkenesse, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.
23 He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: hee inlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them againe.
24 He taketh away the heart of the chiefe of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wildernes where there is no way.
25 They grope in the darke without light, and hee maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.
Job reproves his friends. (1-5) The wicked often prosper.(6-11) Job speaks of the wisdom and power of God. (12-25)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.
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.
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?
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.