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Bible Commentaries
Job 12

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-25

Job 12:1-25 . Eliphaz had appealed to revelation, Bildad to the wisdom of the ancients, Zophar assumes that he himself is the oracle of God’ s wisdom. Job answers this assumption. Firstly Zophar is not the only wise man in the world, and secondly, as to this wisdom of God, which explains everything, Job has himself studied the ways of God, and whatever wisdom there may be in them there is certainly also the most arbitrary exercise of Divine power.

The friends take themselves to be the whole people ( Job 12:2); in your own estimation, Job says, “ you’ re everybody” (Peake). Job, however, is not behind them in wisdom: they are not its sole oracle ( Job 12:3).

Job 12:4-6 . According to Duhm an interpolation. They treat of the contrast between the fate of the pious and the rebellious men of the world, and contain sentences suitable enough for Job, but not in this place. The LXX has the passage in a much shorter form. Peake defends the passage. “ Job speaks out of the consciousness of his own piety, and in his reference to the mockery to which he is exposed he does not mean that he was mocked on account of his godliness, which was not true in his case, but that in spite of it he was taunted with impiety.”

Job 12:5 says that the prosperous despise and buffet the unfortunate.

Job 12:6 contrasts with this the happiness of the wicked. As so often in the Psalms, the prosperous and the wicked, the unfortunate and the pious are identified.

Job 12:7-10 Duhm also treats as an interpolation He says that these verses come from another poet, and express the thought that, as the animal world teaches, the life of all living beings is in God’ s hand. Between this and the context he sees not the slightest connexion. The usual interpretation of the passage when it is retained for Job (Davidson, Peake) is that in reply to the boasted wisdom of Zophar, Job intimates that such knowledge is the veriest commonplace. The observation of the animal world may teach it (Davidson), or perhaps the very animals possess it (Peake); “ antiquity did not draw the same sharp line between human and animal intelligence as we draw.” Duhm sees a confirmation of his theory that the passage is an interpolation in the use of the name Yahweh in Job 12:9. “ If the poet wrote Yahweh it must have been by an oversight” (Peake). Some MSS. read Eloah (God).

With Job 12:11 Duhm admits that we return to the genuine speech of Job. “ The ear decides as to the sense or senselessness of what is heard, the palate itself knows best how things taste ( cf. Job 6:6), man can therefore by means of his senses judge of the things of the external world, with which he has to do— why should he then require to be told by others, how anything tastes or sounds? Job stands upon his own individuality; if he has observed God’ s working, as he describes it in Job 12:14 ff., no one need try to persuade him of the opposite of his own impressions and preceptions.” Job 12:12 we must translate as mg., “ With aged men, ye say, is wisdom.” No, says Job, it is God who possesses both wisdom and might. Varied illustrations of this truth follow ( Job 12:14-25).

The above interpretation of Job 12:11-25 is based on the assumption that it is to be retained for Job. We have seen that Duhm questions Job 12:4-6, Job 12:7-10. Siegfried, however, goes further and would reject not only Job 12:4-6, but Job 12:7 to Job 13:1; he thinks that the latter passage is an interpolation intended to bring the speeches of Job into harmony with the orthodox doctrine of retribution. The passage, however, rather illustrates the sovereign might of God’ s working, and is thus more in harmony with the thought of Job than with that of the friends.

Job 12:5 . Take the word translated “ it is ready” as a noun meaning “ a blow.”

Job 12:6 . Translate as mg. “ that bring their god in their hand,” i.e. they worship their own power and make it their god ( cf. Habakkuk 1:11; Habakkuk 1:16).

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 12". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/job-12.html. 1919.
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