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Bible Commentaries
Job 21

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 2

Do. "After your opinion." (Menochius) --- Symmachus, "hear." Septuagint, "may this be for your consolation," (Hebrew) which I shall receive from you, or which you may make use of, if you should be afflicted (Calmet) as I am. (Haydock) --- Job undertakes to show that the wicked are sometimes suffered to enjoy a long prosperity.

Verse 4

Troubled. Hebrew, "Why is not my spirit shortened" by death, if your assertion be true? (Haydock) or why may I not be "troubled," since I have to deal, not with an enlightened judge, but with men who are under the greatest prejudices? (Calmet) --- I seem to you to dispute against God. Have I not then reason to tremble? ver. 6. (Haydock) --- Though he disputed with men, it was concerning Providence and eternal things. (Worthington)

Verse 5

Hearken to. Literally, "look steadfastly on me." (Haydock) --- Compare my present with my former condition, and do not pretend to fathom God’s judgments; which fall me also with astonishment, when I consider why the virtuous are distressed, and the wicked prosper, ver. 7. --- Mouth be silent. Harpocrates, the god of silence, was represented in this posture; and Virgil says, Intentique ora tenebant. (Æneid ii.) --- Septuagint, "upon the cheek," like men in deep consideration. (Calmet)

Verse 7

Riches. This is what fills me with great anxiety. Yet it quite destroys the force of your argument, (Calmet) since you pretend that the prosperity of the wicked is never of long duration. We see them, however, live to an advanced old age, (Haydock) continually offending God, and annoying their neighbours. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "yea, they grow old in riches."

Verse 8

Sight. The Jews esteemed this as the greatest blessing and mark of God’s favour. Yet it was also equivocal, as it was often possessed by the wicked. (Calmet)

Verse 9

Rod. Divine judgments. (Menochius) (Psalm lxxii. 5.)

Verse 10

Cattle. Literally, "ox," bos. Protestants, "their bull gendereth, and faileth not." (Haydock) --- But Bochart explains it of the cows’ bringing forth every year. (Calmet) --- Ox is used in the same sense, both by sacred and profane authors. (Haydock) --- A great part of the riches of these nations consisted in cattle, Psalm cxliii. 14., and Zacharias viii. 5.

Verse 11

Their. Septuagint, "They continue like eternal sheep, as if they and their flocks would never die. (Calmet) --- And play, is to shew the nature of the dance. It is not in Hebrew. (Haydock) --- The children are healthy and sportive. (Menochius) --- Septuagint, "they play before them." (Haydock)

Verse 13

Moment. Septuagint, "in the rest of the lower region, Greek: adou, they shall be laid," (Haydock) in the grave. (Menochius) --- A sudden death, without agony or sickness, (Haydock) was the choice of Julius Cæsar, the night before he was slain. Repentinum inopinatumque prætulerat. (Suetonius) --- But the enlightened servant of God would rather desire time to do penance, and to prepare for death. For who shall presume that he has that charity which banisheth fear? (Calmet) --- Hell. The same term is used for the place where the damned are tormented, as for that where the souls of the just waited (chap. vii., and xvii.) for their Redeemer’s coming. But here Job is speaking of the apparent happiness of the wicked; (Haycock) and only alludes to the grave, (Calmet; Menochius) or comfortable death and burial of the reprobate: though, at the same time, he may declare that their souls are buried in hell. (Haydock)

Verse 14

Ways. The too common effect of riches, Proverbs xxx. 8., and Ecclesiasticus v. 2.

Verse 16

Because, is not in Hebrew. "Lo, their good is not." They are not possessed of true riches, or of good sense. Alexandrian Septuagint, "For good things were in their hands: but the works of the impious are not pure." No: the more they possess, the greater is their perversity. Grabe substitutes Greek: oukathora, for Greek: kathara; God "does not behold" the works, &c., which is more conformable to the other editions; and thus the blasphemies of the impious are continued. (Haydock) --- When we are not sensible of our wants and dependance, we think less on God. (Calmet) --- Hand, or power, they are only the gifts of God; far be then such sentiments from me. (Calmet)

Verse 17

How often. When do we witness the downfall of the wicked? (Mercer.) --- Or, in a contrary sense, how often are they miserable as well as the just? Such things are, therefore, a very equivocal argument, to prove either side of the question. Those who are afflicted, and cling closer to God, must be accounted virtuous and happy; while that prosperity is fatal which is an occasion of our neglecting his service. (Calmet) --- Job answers his own questions, ver. 7. If the wicked be happy for a time, their future state is deplorable, and often they forfeit even their temporal advantages. (Menochius)

Verse 19

The sorrow. Protestants, "his iniquity." Marginal note, "that is the punishment." (Haydock) --- The children shall share in his punishment, (Calmet) when they have been partakers, or imitators of his injustice. (Haydock) --- Know his offence, and whether there be a God (Calmet) and Providence. (Menochius)

Verse 21

And if. Hebrew, "when" he is cut off in the midst of his days: he does not regard the happiness or misery of those whom he leaves behind. (Haydock) --- The children are rather taken away for his punishment, while he is living, as their misery would not touch him in the grave. (Menochius)

Verse 23

Hale, or healthy. Hebrew, "in perfect strength." (Haydock) --- Septuagint, "simplicity, or folly." St. Augustine reads with the old Vulgate, "in the strength of his simplicity, (Calmet) or innocence. (Haydock) --- These outward appearances prove nothing for interior piety or wickedness. (Calmet)

Verse 24

Bowels. Protestants, "breasts" (Marginal note, "milk-pails") are full of milk. But the Septuagint, Bochart, &c., agree with the Vulgate. Job describes a corpulent man (Calmet) living in luxury, like the glutton. (Haydock)

Verse 25

Any. Hebrew, "ever having eaten with pleasure." (Haydock)

Verse 27

Me. I perceive you are not convinced; and what you say respecting the wicked, is pointed at me. (Menochius)

Verse 28

Prince. Job, (Menochius) or rather the tyrant, whose lot we know is miserable, as he falls a victim of God’s justice, chap. xx. 7.

Verse 29


Way. Travellers, who have seen foreign countries, (Vatable) or any one that may be passing, (Sanchez) will answer this objection (Haydock) in my favour. (Menochius) --- They will all agree in testifying that the wicked prosper, even for a long time. (Calmet)

Verse 30

To the. He will be requited indeed, at last; or rather, when others are in the utmost danger, he will be protected as it were by God. Septuagint, (Calmet) or Theodotion, "the wicked is kept on high," Greek: chouthizetai. All from ver. 28 to 33 inclusively, is marked as an addition to the Septuagint by Grabe, who has supplied many similar omissions, of which Origen and St. Jerome complained. (Haydock)

Verse 31

Done. Man is afraid, and God defers to take cognizance. (Calmet)

Verse 32

Dead. Hebrew, "the sheaves," being quite ripe for harvest, and even in the tomb, the tyrant retains some sore of pre-eminence, as he is buried with honour, an set like a more elevated sheaf, to inspect the rest. (Calmet) --- Godiss, is rendered by Protestants, "tomb," (margin) "heap." But (chap. v. 26.) where only the word occurs again, we find "a shock of corn," and this comparison seems very suitable here. The damned shall watch, alas, when it will be to no purpose, among the heap of fellow-sufferers, who would not think while they had time to repent. After millions of night spent thus without sleep or ease, we may imagine we hear their mournful lamentations from the depth of the abyss. Always misery! and never any hope of ease! (Haydock) --- "Eternity," says Bridayne, (ser. in Maury’s Eloq.) "is a pendulum, the vibration of which sounds continually, Always! Never! In the mean while, a reprobate cries out: What o’clock is it? And the same voice answers, Eternity!" Thus at last the wicked shal awake from the sleep in which they have spent their days; (Haydock) and their watching, restless, and immortal souls (St. Thomas Aquinas) will bitterly lament their past folly. What profit will they derive from the honours paid to their corpse by surviving friends, (Haydock) even though they be embalmed, and seem to live in marble statues? (Pineda)

Verse 33

Acceptable to the gravel of Cocytus. The Hebrew word, which St. Jerome has here rendered by the name Cocytus, (which the poets represent as a river in hell) signifies a valley or a torrent: and in this place, is taken for the low region of death, and hell: which willingly, as it were, receives the wicked at their death: who are ushered in by innumerable others that have gone before them; and are followed by multitudes above number. (Challoner) --- Isaias (xiv. 9.) and Ezechiel (xxxii. 21.) describe the splendid reception in hell of the kings of Babylon and of Egypt, nearly in the same manner as Job does that of any sinner who has lived in prosperity, chap. xxxviii. 17. He gives life to the whole creation, in the true spirit of poetry. (Calmet) --- The rich man is represented as tenderly embraced by his mother earth; (chap. i. 21.; Haydock) the very stones and turf press lightly upon him; as the ancients prayed, Sit tibi terra levis. Hebrew, "the stones or clods of the torrent (Calmet) shall be sweet to him, and he," &c. (Haydock) --- St. Jerome has chosen to mention a particular river, instead of the general term nel, "a torrent or vale," to intimate that Job is speaking of the state after death. --- Cocytus is a branch of the Styx, a river of Arcadia, of a noxious quality, which the poets have place in hell. (Pineda) --- Septuagint, "The pebbles of the torrent became sweet to him, and in his train every man shall come, and unnumbered men before him." Alexandrian manuscript has "men of number;" the two first letters of Greek: anarithmetoi being omitted. (Haydock) --- The Church reads in her office for St. Stephen, Lapides torrentis illi dulces fuerunt: ipsum sequuntur omnes animæ justæ. Many explain this passage of Job as a menace. The wicked have carried their insolence so far as to (Calmet) give orders to (Haydock) be buried with the utmost pomp: but in the other world, they shall be thrown ignominiously among the other dead. (St. Gregory, &c.) (Calmet) --- They were little moved with the thought of death, as it was common to all. But what will they think of eternal misery? (Haydock)

Verse 34

Vain. These arguments shew that your assertions are destitute of proof, and afford me no comfort. (Calmet)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 21". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/job-21.html. 1859.
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