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Bible Commentaries
Job 21

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Job Chapter 21

Job 21:1 "But Job answered and said,"

Job 21:2 "Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations." Job answered the cutting remarks that his friends had made to him. He was telling them that they had been no consolation at all to him. Perhaps, he would have some consolation in answering their accusations. He wanted them to diligently listen to what he had to say.

Job 21:3 "Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on." Job told them, "if you will listen to me, carefully, first, then you can mock me if you must". Job did not have much faith that the friends would stop their unjustified attack upon him.

Job 21:4 "As for me, [is] my complaint to man? and if [it were so], why should not my spirit be troubled?" This was Job being thankful that these so-called friends of his were not his judge. He had not complained to them, because that would not have helped. He would have been troubled in his spirit, if these friends were his judge. He knew that God was fair, and that He knew his heart. Job was satisfied that God would be his Judge.

Job 21:5 "Mark me, and be astonished, and lay [your] hand upon [your] mouth." It is as if Job was telling them to mark his words. They would be astonished, if they knew the truth. He knew, if they only knew the truth, they would cover their mouths with their hands in shame.

Job 21:6 "Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh." It was almost a frightening thing to say what he was about to say, but these were things he had noticed to be the truth.

Job 21:7 "Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?" Part of the threats, that had been leveled at Job by his friends, said that the wicked did not live very long. Job was directly contradicting their statement with this one. They not only live long sometimes, but seem to prosper in this life. Some of them attain great power, as well. If the friends would consider truthfully what he had said, they would have known it was the truth.

Job 21:8 "Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes." The wicked had as many children as the righteous, and sometimes acquired positions of high office for them. This is true in our country 95 today. Some of the worst criminals are the drug lords, and they establish their children in the very same trade.

Job 21:9 "Their houses [are] safe from fear, neither [is] the rod of God upon them." This, also, is true of them. I personally believe they had better enjoy their ill-gotten gain while they can, because they will have no joy in heaven. They will, probably, not make it to heaven. They are not under attack of the devil, because he already has them. He goes for the believers, such as Job.

Job 21:10 "Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf." There seems to be no barrenness with their animals. This was just saying it rains on the just and on the unjust. The same natural things come to us all.

Job 21:11 "They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance."

Job 21:12 "They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ." This was showing that their children were happy, and had a good time, as other children did.

Job 21:13 “They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.” Job was comparing this terrible disease that he had to those who were evil. There were many evil people living in their land who were not suffering the trouble that Job had suffered. Job was not criticizing God in this. He was just discounting what his friends had said about his illness.

Job 21:14 "Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." They felt they had no need for God. They did not want to be restricted in the things they did by God’s moral laws. Job was saying they saw no need to serve God, since it seemed everything was going so well for them without Him. They actually felt they would have to give up all of their good times, if they served God.

Job 21:15 "What [is] the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?" Job said this was what the evil person would say, if you were trying to get them to follow God. They wanted to know what they would get out of God? They would say, "what’s in this for me"?

Job 21:16 "Lo, their good [is] not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me." Job stopped and speculated on what the wicked had said. Their good was not in their hand. It is God that controls everything. God controlled them and in fact Job, as well. His wicked friends had offered no comfort to Job at all. Job did not accept their wicked counsel.

Job 21:17 "How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and [how oft] cometh their destruction upon them! [God] distributeth sorrows in his anger." Job had decided that the wicked seemed to not be under the attack that he was under. He was asking the question, "How often are the wicked attacked"? Job was aware there was something unusual about this attack on him, but he had no idea it was Satan attacking him. He thought he was protected from Satan by God. He did not know the circumstances of this attack. Job knew that God distributeth anger to those who disobey.

Job 21:18 "They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away." No man can stand against the wrath of God. He could blow them over, as if they were no more than stubble. The stubble and the chaff are speaking of ungodly men, and their helplessness against an angry God.

Job 21:19 "God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know [it]." His friends had said that God’s wrath was on the children of the evil, man. Job was not trying to say that was not true. Job knew that God did punish the wicked, but he, also, knew that He blessed the righteous. God will chasten His own children from time to time, but that is to strengthen them. This attack was not even from God.

Job 21:20 "His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty." Job was saying that a wicked man would learn more from his punishment from God, if God punished him while he could see it himself.

Job 21:21 "For what pleasure [hath] he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?" Job was speaking from first-hand knowledge. There had been no pleasure in his house, since this attack from Satan began. Even Satan knew that sores on Job’s bodies would make him completely miserable.

Job 21:22 "Shall [any] teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high." Job was speaking to himself here. He knew that all of this he was saying to God would not change God at all. God is supreme knowledge. Nothing that mere man could say to Him would make Him any smarter.

Job 21:23 "One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet."

Job 21:24 "His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow." Job had noticed that some people died when they did not appear to be really sick. Every person dies on this earth. It is our everlasting life with Jesus, that we should prepare for, not this very short time on this earth. Some die in their youth, as it says in verse 24. God has numbered each person’s life upon this earth.

Job 21:25 "And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure." This is speaking of someone who lives a very long life filled with bitterness and sorrow.

Job 21:26 "They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them." The flesh of man was not made to live forever. It is made from the dust of the earth, and it will return to dust. It is the spirit within that flesh that will live on.

Job 21:27 "Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices [which] ye wrongfully imagine against me." Job was, again, speaking to his evil friends, here. He knew that they had a very bad opinion of him. Their accusations were unfounded, however. Job had not done anything to cause them to have this opinion of him. They were quick to judge him, without knowing for sure why this had happened to Job.

Job 21:28 "For ye say, Where [is] the house of the prince? And where [are] the dwelling places of the wicked?" They were judging Job guilty of sin, because of the persecution that had come upon him. They thought just because he had so many problems, that undoubtedly this was punishment from God. We, like Job’s friends, had better be careful about pointing fingers at the innocent.

Job 21:29 "Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens," Job was suggesting that they ask any stranger off the street, and he would tell them that, what he said was true.

Job 21:30 "That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath." Job was reminding his friends that there is a day of judgement, when all men stand before God to be judged. On that day, the wicked would get their punishment that had been reserved for them.

Job 21:31 "Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him [what] he hath done?" Job was saying that there would be no one brave enough to go to the powerful wicked man on this earth, and accuse him to his face. Job, also, was explaining that it was not the place of another man to judge him, or to punish him. That should be left to God.

Job 21:32 "Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb." Job was saying, here, that the rich evil man sometimes has a big funeral with many mourners. The poor honest man may not have many to mourn his death. Such is the way of the world. After the death of the flesh is when the difference is made in favor of the honest man.

Job 21:33 "The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as [there are] innumerable before him." Job had suffered so long, that he had begun to think of death of his body as something to look forward to. He said the rich man who had many to accompany his body to his grave would not have as great fear of death. He would be placed in a nice place, where his body would not decay as fast.

Job 21:34 "How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?" All of these friends had not really comforted Job. They had been a discomfort to him instead. He thought he could depend on them for their sympathy and their understanding, and they had given neither. They had not even believed in his innocence, even though they had known him a long time. The very people he thought he could depend on for moral support, had turned on him and accused him falsely.

Job 21 Questions

1. What did Job ask of his friends in Job 21:2?

2. What did he say they could do, after they listened to him?

3. Job was thankful that his __________ were not his judge.

4. If they had been his judge, he would have been troubled in his ________.

5. In Job 21:5, what did Job mean by "mark me"?

6. If his friends only knew the truth, they would cover their _______ with their ________.

7. What was Job saying in Job 21:6?

8. How did Job contradict what his friends had said in Job 21:7?

9. How did Job describe the life of the wicked many times?

10. In Job 21:14, what did Job say the wicked said to God?

11. Who did Job say made the rash statement in Job 21:15?

12. How did Job feel about the counsel of his friends?

13. Why did Job not recognize what was happening to him as coming from Satan?

14. The wicked are as _________ before the wind.

15. Why does God chasten His own from time to time?

16. In Job 21:21, Job was speaking from first-hand __________.

17. Why can a person not teach God?

18. What two things had Job noticed about those who die?

19. The flesh of man was not intended to live ___________.

20. What is it made from?

21. What is the part of man that lives on?

22. Job’s friends’ accusations were ______________.

23. Why were they judging Job guilty?

24. The wicked is reserved to the day of __________.

25. What special attention was paid the rich man at his death?

Verses 1-5

Job 21:1-5

Introduction

Job 21

JOB’S SEVENTH DISCOURSE:

JOB’S REPLY TO ZOPHAR AND HIS OTHER FRIENDS

Job’s message here was directed particularly to Zophar; "And Job’s tone was so sharp that Zophar would not take part in the third cycle of dialogues." "This speech is unusual for Job. It is the only one in which he confined his remarks to his friends and did not fall into either a soliloquy or a prayer. The time had now come for Job to demolish his friends arguments." This he proceeded to do with sledge-hammer blows of truth and logic. "He attacked their position from every side; and, in the end, he left no line of their arguments unchallenged."

The theological error of Job’s friends was simple enough. They believed that everyone in this life received exactly what he deserved. Righteous people were healthy and prosperous; the wicked suffered in illness, poverty and destitution. Supporting their foolish error was the truth that virtuous and godly lives indeed do, in many instances, tend toward blessings and happiness; and, conversely, wickedness tends in the opposite direction. Job’s friends, seeing his epic misfortunes, terrible financial reverses, and hopeless physical disease, applied their doctrine as positive and undeniable truth of Job’s gross wickedness. In the light of the real facts, Job labeled their "consolations" as outright falsehoods (Job 21:34).

When we compare Job’s position with that of his friends, "It is easy to see that both understandings are unrealistic extremes; and both betray a fundamental error." What is that error? It is simply this that, "The rewards of either wickedness or righteousness are limited to what occurs in one’s earthly lifetime."

Such an error is incompatible with God’s truth. As Paul put it, "If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Corinthians 15:19). The unpredictably variable fortunes of both the righteous and the wicked in this life are the result of the following divinely-arranged circumstances of our earthly lives:

1. God provided that, "Time and chance happeneth to all men" (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

2. God endowed his human children with the freedom of the will.

3. Our great progenitors, Adam and Eve in Eden, elected to do the will of Satan, rather than the will of God. Satan’s invariable purpose has been the total destruction of all mankind; and the bringing in of such an enemy as `the god of this world’ has produced innumerable sorrows, even death itself. That, of course, is exactly what Adam and Eve did.

4. God cursed the ground (the earth) for Adam’s sake. The purpose of this action was that Adam’s posterity might never find their earthly existence to be free of natural impediments. Following the fall of mankind, God made it impossible for man ever to find his earthly life altogether comfortable. This not only explains the briars and thistles, but the floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, droughts, hurricanes and all other natural disasters. With a list of uncertainties like all of these things, it became a mathematical certainty that there would be unpredictable variations in the lives of all men, both of the wicked and of the righteous.

It is evident that Job had as little understanding of the whole picture’ of human suffering as did his friends. The glory of Job, however, is that in spite of everything he trusted God. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him" (Job 13:15).

Job 21:1-6

JOB CHALLENGES HIS FRIENDS TO HEAR HIM

"Then Job answered, and said,

Hear diligently my speech;

And let this be your consolations.

Suffer me, and I also will speak;

And after that I have spoken, mock on.

As for me, is my complaint to man?

And why should I not be impatient?

Mark me, and be astonished,

And lay your hand upon your mouth.

Even when I remember, I am troubled,

And horror taketh hold on my flesh."

"Hear my speech ... let this be your consolations ... lay your hand on your mouth" (Job 21:2; Job 21:5). "Job is angered by his friends’ lack of sympathy. Instead of all that talk, their silence would have been better." "They can keep on mocking him if they wish, for that is all that their `consolations’ amount to."

"Is my complaint to man ... why should I not be impatient" (Job 21:4)? Barnes gave the meaning of this. "It is not so much what you friends have said that troubles me, it is what God has done to me."

"Mark me, and be astonished" (appalled) (Job 21:5). "What Job is about to say will astound his friends, because God’s government of the world is utterly different from what they say in their vain theorizing."

"I am troubled, and horror takes hold on my flesh" (Job 21:6). The implications of these words apparently are: "As I am about to speak of the mysterious workings of Providence, I tremble at the thought of it; my very flesh trembles." Barnes believed that Job here stated that, "His sufferings had overwhelmed him and filled him with horror, and that the very recollection of them caused his flesh to tremble." Van Selms paraphrased the whole thought here as follows: "If you really took into account what has happened to me, you would realize that no words are of any help here; and you would be silent, just as you were at first. I myself do not know how I should interpret my fate; one’s soul and body shudder at the thought of God’s incomprehensible decrees." In the light of these comments, it is apparent that we cannot be absolutely sure of what Job might have meant here. There could have been some suggestion of all of these interpretations.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 21:1-3. The friends seemed to get much satisfaction out of their talking. Job wanted to have some of the same kind of satisfaction or consolation. He requested them to listen to him for a while after which they might mock on if they wished.

Job 21:4. Job was not looking to man for justice, therefore man had no reason to interfere with his complaining.

Job 21:5. In view of the thought in the preceding verse, Job asked them to take notice of his condition and then keep still until he made his speech.

Job 21:6. At every notice that Job took of his condition he was filled with fear.

Verses 7-16

Job 21:7-16

Job 21:7-16

EVEN THE WICKED WHO RENOUNCE GOD PROSPER

Against the doctrinaire assertions of his friends, Job here opposed their arguments with the brutal truth that the facts of life do not fit their theory.

"Wherefore do the wicked live,

And become old, yea, wax mighty in power? Their seed is established with them in their sight,

And their offspring before their eyes.

Their houses are safe from fear,

Neither is the rod of God upon them.

Their bull gendereth, and faileth not;

Their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.

They send forth their little ones like a flock,

And their children dance.

They sing to the timbrel and the harp,

And rejoice at the sound of the pipe.

They spend their days in prosperity.

And in a moment they go down to Sheol.

And they say unto God, Depart from us;

For we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.

What is the Almighty that we should serve him?

And what profit should we have if we pray unto him?

Lo, their prosperity is not in their hand:

The counsel of the wicked is far from me."

All of his friends had been preaching to Job that the wicked never prospered, that they always died young, that their children did not live, etc., etc. Job here replies, "If that is so, why do the wicked prosper, attain mighty power, live long lives, see their children after them happy and prosperous, and their houses safe from fear"? Job’s friends had no answer. What Job said was universally known to be the truth.

We do not know the names of any of the wicked that Job might have had in mind; but there were doubtless many who exemplified the truth he stated. It has been so in all generations, even in our own. Take Joseph Stalin, for example, the notorious Communist murderer of at least forty million people. Did he prosper? Of course! Did he die young? No! On his 72nd birthday, he received seventy-two train loads of birthday presents from the peoples whom he dominated. Did he renounce God? Certainly.

"Job was correct in his insistence that his friends’ theory was based on `falsehood’ (Job 21:34), and that it is too easy to suggest that our fortunes in this life are related to our godliness. That flies in the face of all the facts."

"Zophar said the wicked die prematurely (Job 20:11), Eliphaz and Bildad said the prosperity of the wicked was a fleeting thing that did not last (Job 15:20; Job 18:5; Job 20:5); but the truth was contrary to all that."

"Bildad asserted that the wicked die childless (as he felt certain Job would do); but here Job pointed out the happy, prosperous, singing, and dancing children of the wicked."

"Their bull gendereth ... their cow calveth" (Job 21:10). Job’s friends had not mentioned anything like this. However, "The idea was commonplace (Deuteronomy 28:4; Deuteronomy 28:18; Psalms 144:12-15). The people whose God is the Lord were promised such blessings; but Job pointed out that the wicked received such blessings."

"They sing ... and rejoice ...and in a moment ... go down to Shem" (Job 21:12-13). Absolutely opposite to the claims of his friends, Job here said, that, "The wicked live a merry life, and die an easy death."

"Their prosperity is not in their hand" (Job 21:16). The thought is that only God could bless the wicked so richly; their prosperity is not all due to their efforts.

"The counsel of the wicked is far from me" (Job 21:16 b). Scholars differ sharply on what, exactly, is meant by this. This writer’s guess is that Job meant, "I simply cannot understand all that I see." Andersen noted that, "The meaning of this verse is unclear." Whatever the passage may mean, it is clear that, "Job maintains his integrity; he rejects the counsel of the wicked who denounce God; and far from crying for God to depart from him, he continually desires that fellowship with God, which he feels has been denied him through no fault of his own."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 21:7. There are several verses on the position that Job has maintained all through the discussions. He said that unworthy men were known to be favored by the good things of life, therefore the misfortunes of one man did not prove him to be sinful. This and some following verses are on that line of thought.

Job 21:8. The children of wicked men are often seen to be successful thus giving them much to be happy over. On the other hand, Job had lost his children by violence.

Job 21:9. The homes of wicked men are often known to be secure, while those of Job’s children had been destroyed by a storm of wind.

Job 21:10. This verse means that the live stock would reproduce. Casteth not her calf means the calf would not be born prematurely.

Job 21:11-12. The children of the wicked are often numerous and happy, and are able to engage in exercises of pleasure.

Job 21:13. In a moment indicates they will die in peace; not suffer from a lingering disease before death.

Job 21:14-15. The success of their plans for pleasure causes them to feel independent of God. On that account they will say, "Depart from us." Being thus successful they cannot think of any reason for serving God.

Job 21:16. The pronouns in this verse are used a little vaguely. The thought is that the persons being considered are acting independently of God.

Verses 17-22

Job 21:17-22

Job 21:17-22

HOW RARELY DO VISITATIONS FROM GOD BEFALL THE WICKED?

In this section, Job admitted that disasters and misfortunes sometimes befall the wicked, but he denies that such a thing is in any sense common, affirming that indeed it seldom happens.

"How oft is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?

That their calamity cometh upon them?

That God distributeth sorrows in his anger?

That they are as stubble before the wind,

And as chaff that the storm carrieth away?

Ye say, God layeth up his iniquity for his children.

Let him recompense it unto himself, that he may know it.

Let his own eyes see his destruction,

And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

For what careth he for his house after him,

When the number of his months is cut off?.

Shall any teach God knowledge,

Seeing he judgeth those that are high?"

"How oft is the lamp of the wicked put out" (Job 21:17)? "Job here replied to what Bildad said (Job 18:5). He did not deny that it ever happened, but replied that it was so rare as to be insignificant."

"You say the wicked are as stubble ... as chaff" (Job 21:18). "You say that God deals with men exactly according to their character; but how often does that occur"? Job insists that, although calamity may now and then fall upon the wicked, it is such an unusual thing as to be scarcely noticeable.

As a hedge against the fact that Job stressed here, his friends had insisted that in case a wicked man got away with his wickedness unpunished, God would wreak vengeance upon his children.

"Let his own eyes see his destruction ... What careth he for his house after him" (Job 21:19-21)? Here Job skillfully turned one of his friend’s arguments into support for his own position. "Job urges that punishment inflicted on a man’s children when the man is dead cannot be justified; because, since the dead man is beyond suffering in his own person, and beyond knowing it if his children suffer, he, the guilty person, escapes, and the children, innocent ones, suffer. This supported Job’s position. It really gives an illustration of what Job has been maintaining all along, namely, that the innocent suffer and the guilty prosper."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 21:17. The wicked are not always successful; Job has not claimed they were. He maintained only that they were as likely to be so as were the righteous. But they also are liable to feel the wrath of God as against evil doers.

Job 21:18. When stubble and chaff are used for purposes of comparison it is to indicate lightness. The characters are likened thus because they are so unimportant that they will soon vanish away as the chaff disappears before the wind.

Job 21:19. Iniquity is from AVON and is sometimes translated, "punishment of iniquity." It is true that God will punish the best of his children. (Hebrews 12:6.) In view of that it would be no reflection on Job if his present afflictions were a chastisement from the Lord. That still would not prove the theory of the three friends.

Job 21:20-22. Knowing that these unpleasant experiences may come to the man who displeases God, surely a man would not stubbornly disobey him as the friends had been intimating against Job’s conduct.

Verses 23-26

Job 21:23-26

Job 21:23-26

DEATH LEVELS ALL; BOTH THE WICKED AND THE RIGHTEOUS

"One dieth in his full strength,

Being fully at ease and quiet:

His pails are full of milk,

And the marrow of his bones is moistened.

And another dieth in bitterness of soul,

And never tasteth of good.

They lie down alike in the dust,

And the worm covereth them."

"They lie down alike in the dust" (Job 21:26). Job here declares that as in life there is no visible separation of the wicked from the righteous in the degree of their prosperity, even so it is the same way in death. "One man dies in prosperity and another in misery; and both may be either wicked or good."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 21:23-25. I have made one paragraph out of these verses so the reader will see and appreciate the argument of Job. The first and last of the verses should be considered especially. The experiences of the two men in them are just opposite to each other, yet one of them is as likely to be sinful as the other. The words of the middle verse are figurative, meaning the man is healthy and prosperous.

Job 21:26. The frailty of all human beings and their common lot in the grave is the subject of the verse. It brings to mind some words of an old song, "Six feet of earth makes us all of one size."

Verses 27-34

Job 21:27-34

Job 21:27-34

UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE CONTRADICTS HIS FRIENDS’ THEORY

"Behold, I know your thoughts,

And the devices wherewith ye would wrong me.

For ye say, Where is the house of the prince?

And where is the tent wherein the wicked dwelt?

Have ye not asked wayfaring men?

And do ye not know their evidences,

That the evil man is reserved to the day of calamity?

That they are led forth to the day of wrath?

Who shall declare his way to his face?

And who shall repay him what he hath done?

Yet shall he be borne to the grave,

And men shall keep watch over the tomb.

The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him,

And all men shall draw after him.

How then comfort ye me in vain,

Seeing in your answers there remaineth only falsehood?"

"Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices wherewith ye would wrong me" (Job 21:27). "I see you are disposed to maintain your position ... You say the wicked are overwhelmed with calamities; and, from this, you infer that I am wicked."

"Where is the house of the prince" (Job 21:28)? "The context here requires us to understand `the prince’ as a reference to a wicked ruler." The second clause is their inference that even his palace shall be destroyed.

The next two or three verses are somewhat ambiguous, and scholars read them differently; but we paraphrase Job’s reply to his friend’s argument which he here anticipated.

How could you say a thing like that? Ask anyone who has traveled, and knows the way of the world, what happens to an evil ruler. The evil flatterers that surround him would not dare accuse him of any wrong-doing; and when he dies, his body will be ceremoniously carried to a magnificent tomb; a monument will be erected, and an honor guard will stand by the grave!

"Who shall declare his way to his face ... repay him what he hath done" (Job 21:31)? Job’s knowledge of what goes on in the houses of rulers was perfect. The answer to the question raised here is: "Nobody, but nobody, would dare suggest to any ancient ruler that he was anything less than absolutely perfect." It is nothing less than astounding that Job’s friends were either ignorant of this, or pretended to be ignorant. "None would dare oppose a wicked ruler to his face for fear of the consequences." "Wicked rulers are not only spared by God but left unrebuked by men."

"In your answers there remaineth only falsehood" (Job 21:34). "All that Job’s friends say was but a dishonest attempt to prove him wicked." This may appear as a harsh judgment to some; but it should never be forgotten that, in this astounding narrative, Job’s friends were cardinal agents of Satan himself, determined to destroy one of the noblest men who ever lived.

The discerning reader knows what is going on here. "Job is not wicked, or stubborn, or arrogant. He is honest and tenacious. From the very depth of a suffering body and a distressed mind, he cries out for understanding," still trusting God, in spite of the blind stupidity and/or evil intent of his friends. Job is still perplexed by the mysteries of God’s dealing with men; "But, by now, the reader knows that such enigmas do not prevent Job from trusting in his inexplicable God."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 21:27-28. The arrogant questions of the friends implied that Job was wicked though he was prosperous. But now where are the dwelling places he once had?

Job 21:29. Job would have his accusers take information from almost anyone. They would be able to speak from observation and form a better conclusion than the "friends."

Job 21:30. The New Testament teaches this same truth in 2 Peter 2:9. Since all are to get their just dues at last, the wicked will not be punished in this life.

Job 21:31-32. The pronouns refer to the wicked man. He is not to be punished in this life, therefore no one can confront him face to face with his doom. No, he will go to his grave the same as other men and remain there until the day of accounts.

Job 21:33. Clods of the valley is a poetic reference to the grave. It is the same valley referred to by David in Psalms 23:4 except that he meant the ordeal of death itself, while Job meant the narrow vale of the grave where the body will rest after death. In comparison with the afflictions of the body while in this life, the cold earth will be a place of sweet rest.

Job 21:34. In view of Job’s belief in the final plans of the Lord, he considered the so-called comfort offered to him by his friends as a false one.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 21". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-21.html.
 
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