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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Job 12

Verses 1-25

Job 12:2

Speaking in Fors Clavigera (lx.) of the need of acquainting ourselves with the opinions of older thinkers, Ruskin satirically observes: 'For though a man of superior sagacity may be pardoned for thinking, with the friends of Job, that Wisdom will die with him, it can only be through neglect of the existing opportunities of general culture that he remains distinctly under the impression that she was born with him'. Job 12:4 'She saw there something that she had not,' says Meredith of Lady Charlotte in Sandra Belloni (chap. XXVIII.) 'And being of a nature leaning to greatmindedness, though not of the first rank, she could not meanly mask her own deficiency by despising it. To do this is the secret evil by which souls of men and women stop their growth.'

Job 12:5

Before we reached Adrianople, Methley had been seized with we know not what ailment, and when we had taken up our quarters in the city he was cast to the very earth by sickness.... I have a notion that tenderness and pity are affections occasioned in some measure by living within doors; certainly, at the time I speak of, the open-air life which I had been leading, or the wayfaring hardships of the journey, had so strangely blunted me, that I felt intolerant of illness, and looked down upon my companion as if the poor fellow, in falling ill, had betrayed a want of spirit.

Kinglake, Eothen, chap. 11.

Job 12:6

Now and again while repeating the maxims of piety he [i.e. Theognis] suddenly breaks off, overcome by the thought of the sufferings of the righteous; he turns to Zeus and charges him with injustice in his government of the world in language almost as bold as that of the Prometheus of Æschylus, or of the book of Job: 'Zeus, lord beloved, I marvel at thee; for thou reignest over all; thine is honour and great power, and thou knowest the very heart and spirit of each man, for thy might, O king, is supreme. How then, son of Cronos, can thy soul endure to hold in like regard the sinner and the righteous?... Heaven has given to mortals no clear token, nor shown the way by which if a man walk he may please the Immortals. Howbeit the wicked prosper, and are free from trouble, while those who Keep their soul from base deeds, although they love justice have for their portion poverty poverty, mother of helplessness, which tempts the mind of man to transgression, and by a cruel constraint mars the reason in his breast.'

S. H. Butcher, Aspects of the Greek Genius, pp. 143, 144.

References. XII. 8. W. R. Inge, All Saints' Sermons, 1905-1907, pp. 191, 201. XII. 9, 10. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vi. No. 326.

Job 12:18

The People have time enough, they are immortal; kings only are mortal.

Heine.

Job 12:22

For us vain is the dream of a shadowless world, with no interruption of brilliancy, no remission of joy. Were our heaven never overcast, yet we meet the brightest morning only in escape from recent night.... Where is that tincture of sanctity which Christ has given to sorrow, and which makes His form at once the divinest and most pathetic in the world? It is that He has wakened by His touch the illimitable aspirations of our bounded nature, and flung at once into our thought and affection a holy beauty, a Divine Sonship into which we can only grow. And this is a condition which can never cease to be. Among the true children of the Highest, who would wish to be free from it? Let the glorious burden lie! How can we be angry at a sorrow which is the birth-pang of a Diviner life.

Martineau.

Job 12:23

In our greatest literary epoch, that of the Elizabethan age, English society at large was accessible to ideas, was permeated by them, was vivified by them, to a degree which has never been reached in England since. Hence the unique greatness in English literature of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. They were powerfully upheld by the intellectual life of their nation; they applied freely in literature the then modern ideas, the ideas of the Renascence and the Reformation. A few years afterwards the great English middle-class, the kernel of the nation, the class whose intelligent sympathy had upheld a Shakespeare, entered the prison of Puritanism, and had the key turned on its spirit there for two hundred years. He enlargeth a nation, says Job, and straiteneth it again.

Matthew Arnold, Essays in Criticism, vol. I. p. 176.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Job 12". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/job-12.html. 1910.