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Bible Commentaries
Job 21

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-34

Job 21. Job’ s Reply.— Zophar was graphic and vigorous, but had nothing to say. Nevertheless his speech suggests to Job his next argument. The facts are quite the opposite of what Zophar has said: the wicked do not die prematurely. Is the doctrine of Providence true?

Job 21:1-6 . Job invites the friends to listen in silence ( Job 21:5) at the terrible truths he has to disclose ( Job 21:6). In Job 21:4 read “ of man” ( mg.) : the meaning is that Job complains of God.

Job 21:7-13 . The prosperity of the godless. In Job 21:8 f. the descriptions are quite idyllic.

Job 21:14-22 . Yet they renounced God: like the friends, they regarded religion from the point of view of profit and loss ( Job 21:15), but with opposite results. It is best to treat Job 21:16 as an anticipated objection of the friends (as mg.). after all, the prosperity of the wicked is not in their own power. God will destroy it. Job 21:17 f. will then be Job’ s reply. Job 21:19 a again must be given to the friends, Job 21:19 b is Job’ s reply. The dogma that a man is punished in his children only means that he goes scot free. In ancient Israel the idea of “ corporate personality” made the man and his descendants so closely one, that the punishment of the one was the punishment of the other. But from the Exile onward, a growing individualism made this doctrine seem unsatisfactory ( Jeremiah 31:29, Ezekiel 3:16-21; Ezekiel 18:1-32). In Job 21:21 “ what pleasure” means what concern.

Job 21:22 . The friends profess to know God’ s dealings better than He appears to do Himself, though He is the judge of the angels.

Job 21:23-26 . How God actually governs. The lot of men differs, but at last all alike die.

Job 21:27-34 . Job understands the insinuations of the friends ( Job 21:27) . He appeals to the testimony of travellers ( Job 21:29). The wicked is spared in the day of calamity and led away in the day of wrath (trans, as mg. though it involves slight alteration). In Job 21:31 Job speaks: Who will rebuke the wicked? He rests peacefully in the grave and has innumerable imitators ( Job 21:32 f.). In Job 21:32 if we translate as text, the meaning is that the dead man’ s effigy watches over his tomb, if as mg. that precautions are taken against desecration.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 21". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/job-21.html. 1919.
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