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Bible Commentaries
Job 21

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-34



Verses 1-34:


Verses 1-3 recount Job’s appeal to Zophar and his colleagues from afar to keep quiet until he had replied to Zophar’s accusations, then they could mock on, as they seemed to find consolation in their derision against him, and rejoice that he was in affliction, agony, and fear, Job 15:11; Job 16:2.

Verse 4 asks them if his complaint is against me. If so why should he be troubled in spirit? No, it was against God that he complained, that his sufferings which the Lord had permitted Satan to lay upon him, were taken by his false friends as evidence that the Lord might lift his suffering as a rebuttal against the assault of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. In the sufferings of Joseph, Job, and Paul may be seen the glory of God, overcoming the afflictions of the flesh, Genesis 50:21; 2 Corinthians 12:6-11.

Verses 5, 6 call upon these accusers to mark him, observe Win and be astonished, laying their hand on their mouth, stopping their hasty, hot air judgments for a few moments of sober thought. Even when he reflected the ceaseless woes of the innocent, it often had caused him to tremble and fear in his flesh. He advised them too to consider that the innocent often suffered and the necessary inference was that they just might be wrong about him, John 9:2-3; John 11; John 4; James 4:12-16, see?

Verse 7 asks these accusers just why and how they might explain the fact that the wicked did go on living, even to old age, remaining mighty in power, even to death at an old age? See? They had asserted that the wicked were cut off early, in the midst of life, Job 7:12; Job 7:14; Job 12:6. See also Romans 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:16; Psalms 73:18; Ec 8; 11-13; Luke 2:35; Proverbs 16:4; Romans 9:22; Psalms 17:10; Psalms 17:14; Jeremiah 12:1; Habakkuk 1:16.

Verses 8, 9 strengthen the argument that their offspring are established with them before their eyes. And their houses have peace and tranquility, with fear removed far from them. This contrasts with the claims of his feigned friends, Job 15:21-24; Job 20:26-28 and Job 5:23-24; Psalms 73:19; Isaiah 57:19; Isaiah 57:21.

Verses 10, 11 describe prosperity of the wicked among their herds and their flocks. Their children have health and skip and dance about with joy and plenty. How does this "square" or harmonize with their "wise consultations?" Job would have them please explain, as he punctured their colorful balloons of feigned logic, 1 Corinthians 3:18-20. They were "wise in their own conceit," Proverbs 3:7; Romans 11:25; Romans 12:16.

Verses 12, 13 add that they, though wicked, take up the timbrel and harp and rejoice or make merry at the sound of the organ or pipe, in symphony with musical instruments, Genesis 4:21. They spend or live up their days in mirth and wealth until the moment that they go down to the grave, Isaiah 43:11; Habakkuk 2:5. Job would have these self esteemed wise friends from afar to explain this, in their light of the premise of their arguments, if their premises had not been invalid or fallacious, Psalms 73:4; Job 24:24.

Verses 14, 15 recounted that the youthful wealthy among the wicked even defy the living God, asking him to depart from them, to leave them alone, not disturb their conscience, for they had no desire for knowledge of his ways, Romans 2:14; Romans Verse15 explains their contempt in asking, "just what is the Almighty that we should serve him?" Job 34:9; Exodus 5:2. They further defiantly challenged, "what profit should we have (what is in it for us), our covetous desires, if we should pray to him?" Job 35:3; Malachi 3:14. If not by words, they -said it by their conduct, as set forth Matthew 8:34; Jeremiah 2:20; Proverbs 30:9; Exodus 5:2; Psalms 73:13. Pharaoh and the Gergeneses express this spirit.

Verse 16 declares that their good is not in their hand, though they enjoyed it. It was in the extended hand of mercy and compassion from the Lord that they lived; It was a mercy and compassion of which these three feigned friends seemed to be incapable, La 3:23; Matthew 5:7; Acts 17:28; Galatians 6:1-2.

Verses 17 relates the platitudes of his friends of how oft or quickly the candle or lamp (of life), of the wicked is put out, and their destruction comes so oft. . .quickly upon them, because God sends sorrows upon the wicked because of His instant anger over their sins, Job 18:5; Job 6:12; Matthew 25:8; Job 20:23; Job 20:29.

Verse 18 continues to review their claims that the wicked are always like dried stubble or chaff the the wind whiffs away, Job 13:25; Psalms 1:4; Psalms 35:5.

Verse 19 Indicates that equally questionable are Zophar’s adamant conclusions that if punishment is not sent hastily upon the Godless it surely will always be on his children, and the father and child will know why the suffering is sent, Job 18:19; Job 29:10; Hosea 9:7.

Verse 20 relates Zophar’s contention that the eyes of all the wicked will see his own destruction, comprehend it, and he will drink of the cup of the wrath of Almighty God for his deeds in this life before he goes to the grave, Psalms 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15-16; Psalms 11:6; La 4:21.

Verses 21, 22 first inquire just what pleasure the wicked would have in his house or household after his few months of remaining life were cut off, after he is dead, Ecclesiastes 3:22. Job then asks Zophar if anyone can give God knowledge, inform him what He should do about wrong in the life of the wicked, just how long He should let one live before He killed him? For he had shown that his own prosperity that he had lost did not prove that he was wicked; God gives prosperity and adversity as it pleases Him, not by irreversible laws of nature, Isaiah 40:13; Isaiah 45:9; Romans 11:34. He judges the exalted, whether angels or men, as it pleases Him, Isaiah 2:12-17; 1 Corinthians 2:16.

Verses 23, 24 begin a contrast of the manpower or state in which men die. One may die in full strength of years in prosperity, wholly at ease, quite suddenly, without pain. Another dies with his breasts full of milk and his bones full of live marrow, well fed, with no hunger, physically satisfied.

Verses 25, 26 add that yet another, neither more wicked or righteous than those who died at ease and well fed, dies with bitterness of soul, neither eating with pleasure nor breathing without pain. Each lies down in death alike, to be eaten of worms, as it is appointed, Job 3:18-19; Ecclesiastes 9:2; Ecclesiastes 9:5.

Verses 27, 28 declare that Job knew the thoughts and veiled insinuations of wickedness that Zophar and his colleague accusers from afar had imagined and thrust against him. For they had sarcastically asked where the house of the eldest son of Job could now be found, and the offspring of the prince or emir (Arab ruler) who might succeed him, Job 1:19; Job 20:7. They had further rhetorically added, just where are the many residences, pavilions, or dwelling places befitting the prosperous ruler and his household? Had not all that Job once possessed been suddenly swept away, by reason of hypocritical sin in his own life? they argued. He understood.

Verse 29 challenges, them, since they will not accept anything he says about his innocence, to inquire of the opinions of the travelers who passed by who were in no way related to him, La 1:12. He posed this to both Bildad, Job 8:8, and Zophar, Job 20:4. He inquired if they were aware of the opinions, testimony, and intimations of travelers from afar about this matter, as he was, except these opinions of their own party, Isaiah 7:11.

Verse 30 declares that the judgment of knowledgeable men, travelers from afar verified or validated his contention that the judgment of the wicked was reserved to or toward a future day of judgment of wrath and destruction, as set forth Proverbs 16:4; Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 2:9. Hereafter the lot of the righteous and the wicked shall be reversed, Luke 16:25.

Verse 31 asks just who dares to charge the prosperous wicked with his bad ways in this present life? He is so powerful now that men dare not, but Job grants that he shall be repaid, v. 20, Hebrews 9:27; John 5:28-29.

Verses 32, 33 then declare that the prosperous wicked shall surely be brought to the grave with solemn pomp and remain in the tomb, Psalms 45:15. In the tomb monument he is memorialized. He is remembered, in conflict with Bildad’s opposition, Job 18; Job 17. There the wicked wealthy find sweet rest, are not disturbed, till the hour of judgment, Judges 4:6; Job 3:17-18; John 5:28-29.

Verse 34 concludes that the false consolations, really irritations, that these feigned friends had boastfully brought Job were vain, empty, meaningless, contradictory to truth, facts, and experiences of life, Job 15:11. Their platitudes and proverbs only betrayed their evil or wicked intent against him; They were indeed "forgers of lies" and "physicians of no value," fakes, counterfeits, and, fraudulent prophets, Job 13:4.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 21". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-21.html. 1985.
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