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In this chapter, Job makes reply. He still dwells upon the same arguments of his own integrity, as it concerned his trust and dependence upon God. He manifests great strength of understanding, concerning the afflictions of the righteous, and contends that they are by no means marks of God's displeasure.
(1) ¶ And Job answered and said, (2) No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. (3) But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? (4) I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. (5) He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease. (6) ¶ The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly. (7) But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: (8) Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. (9) Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? (10) In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
Poor Job, irritated by his friends, and no doubt vexed by his adversary, as Hannah felt, 1 Samuel 1:6 . seems for a while to forget his bodily ailments, and gives scope to an asperity not unlike those who opposed him; but his arguments are strong and conclusive. He insists upon it; that even the brute creation, since the fall, were living evidences that much evil might abound in the midst of GOD'S goodness: the whole creation groaneth under oppression; yet no impeachment ariseth out of it against the divine love and wisdom. Poor harmless animals are slaughtered to gratify the luxury of worthless men: and even the fishes of the sea are dragged forth to pamper the appetites of sinners. But, saith Job, who doth not see that in all these the goodness of GOD is the same?
(11) Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat? (12) ¶ With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. (13) With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding. (14) Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening. (15) Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. (16) With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his. (17) He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. (18) He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. (19) He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. (20) He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. (21) He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty. (22) He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death. (23) He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again. (24) He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way. (25) They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.
I do not offer a paraphrase on this most delightful discourse of Jobadiah It is too plain to need any, and too sublime to be aided by any. The sum and substance of it is, that the LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. And that he breaketh down, and it cannot be again built; that he shutteth, and none can open; that the deceiver and the deceived are his; yea, all shall ultimately minister to his glory, however various the designs of men, or whatever are their devices. And, Reader! pause with me, just to remark what beautiful and glorious illustrations there are in the word of GOD, in confirmation of GOD'S sovereignty, and wisdom in that sovereignty. When Joseph was sold as slave, here both the deceiver and the deceived were GOD'S; and the issue, in the salvation of the whole patriarch's family, arose out of that dark event. When Haman erected a gallows for Mordecai, how little did he think that he himself should be hung upon it. Nay, infinitely higher, and more important than thousand, or ten thousand such instances; when the LORD JESUS was crucified by the malice of the Jews, who but the LORD could have known that this one event was the salvation of a world! Reader! allow me to make the same remark as the Psalmist hath, after giving the church a long and beautiful account of GOD'S leading his people by the hand through the whole of the dispensation in the wilderness; Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand, the loving kindness of the Lord. Psalms 107:43 .
READER! you and I shall go over this sweet and interesting book of Job to very little good, if we do not, as we read it, look up for the teaching of the HOLY GHOST, and seek from it to search our own interest in what we meet with in the several chapters. Our own life is the most important of all lives to be well versed in: and depend upon it, what we meet with in the history of Job and his friends, may, in numberless occasions, under the SPIRIT'S teaching, be made profitable to our own. It was a blessed command the man of GOD had in commission to give the church, when he said, 'thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy GOD led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no'. Under this idea, is there nothing in what we have already reviewed of Job's history, applicable to ourselves? is not Satan accusing us as he did Job? Hath our gracious GOD permitted him to harass us with his devices? Have we the unkindness of friends, or the malice of open enemies, to grapple with also? Hath the LORD brought us under any bereaving providences; any bodily or spiritual afflictions? How are we exercised on any of these occasions! Pause, Reader! look into your own heart, as I pray GOD to search mine. How are we dealing with GOD; and how is the LORD dealing with us? Oh! Sir, depend upon it, that is ever a sweet mercy, however harsh it may at first seem, which, in the close, brings the soul to JESUS. The medicine we take may be nauseous, but its effect is salutary. Job was stripped of all his earthly comforts: but Job lost not his GOD. This brought him up. Let our bodies be ever so poor, ever so sickly, ever so sore, yet, if we have JESUS formed in our souls, the hope of glory, here is enough to sing Hallelujah in the whole. And if the trials the LORD sends come with a commission to lead to JESUS, surely love was at the bottom, and by and by our praises will be called forth in acknowledgment. LORD, I would say for myself and Reader, give us both grace to be ever on the lookout, for the LORD'S manifestations to us, and our proper and wise use of them; and then we shall assuredly find that at evening time it will be light. Mercy and goodness have been following us all the days of our life, until we come to dwell in the house of our GOD forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 12". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter