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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Job 22

 

 

Verse 1

Job 22:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,

Ver. 1. Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said] Abruptly, without any preface, he sets upon Job (as doth likewise Bildad, Job 25:1-6), acting the part of a spiteful caviller rather than of an ingenuous accuser; reckoning and ranking just Job among the wicked, not covertly, as before, but overtly and expressly; and then thinking to salve all by an exhortation to repentance, backed with a fair promise of a full restoration. Pulcherrima parsenesis, sed quid ad Iobum? saith Brentius, A very good exhortation, but ill applied. We shall do well to take notice what a dangerous thing it is to give way to unruly passions, which, like heavy bodies down steep hills, once in motion, move themselves, and know no ground but the bottom.


Verse 2

Job 22:2 Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?

Ver. 2. Can a man be profitable unto God] No, neither doth Job say he can, but the contrary, Job 21:22. Howbeit the God of glory, as he is called, Acts 7:2, although his glory is as himself, infinite and eternal, and, therefore, not capable of our addition or detraction (the sun would shine though all the world were blind), yet, to try how we prize his glory, and what we will do for him, he hath declared that he accounteth himself made glorious by us when we get so far as to conceive of him above all creatures.

As he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?] Or, But he that is wise, &c. See Proverbs 9:12, which Solomon seemeth to have taken hence. Natural reason taught Plautus to bring in a countryman animating his son cheerfully to follow his business thus, Thou ploughest, harrowest, sowest, and reapest for thyself; to thee shall this labour bring in joy. The word here rendered wise sometimes signifieth prosperous, quod prudentibus omnia feliciter cedant, because prudent persons do usually prosper. Prudentiam felicitas fere sequitur, Isaiah 52:13.


Verse 3

Job 22:3 [Is it] any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or [is it] gain [to him], that thou makest thy ways perfect?

Ver. 3. Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous?] Num volupe est Omnipotenti? &c. Is anything added to his joy? Or needeth he thy manners and virtues to the making up of his perfection? Nothing less, surely. True it is, that he soliciteth suitors, John 4:23, and is well pleased with our performances, Psalms 51:6. But it is for our sakes, and to our benefit, and not his own. Like as the sun, when he casteth abroad his beams in the world, seemeth to receive light from some other creatures, whereas in truth they all receive light from him, and not he from them; so it is here: and as the same sun draws up vapours from the earth, not for itself, but to render them again to the earth, to moisten and fatten it; so God, the true Sun of our souls, draweth from us our sighs and services, not for his own profit, but to rain them down again upon us in so many blessings.


Verse 4

Job 22:4 Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?

Ver. 4. Will he reprove thee for fear of thee?] Doth he plague and punish thee thus, for fear that in time thou mayest grow so overly good, that he cannot reward thee, or so overly great, that he cannot command thee? No such matter. Others read it thus: Would he reprove thee for thy religion? Vox timoris sire religionis active sumitur, &c. (Merlin), Would he come into judgment with thee? q.d. Surely God would not deal thus harshly with thee if thou didst truly fear him; but thou art a wicked wretch, as Job 22:5. Either God punisheth thee for thy piety or thy sinfulness. Not for the former, doubtless (for piety is profitable to all things, &c.), therefore for the latter. This is Eliphaz’s argument here. But Austin makes answer (besides what Job doth in the two following chapters), Tract. in Joan. 124, God chastiseth his best children sometimes for his own glory, as John 9:3, sometimes for their good; as, namely, for prevention, probation, purgation, preparation, either to the performance of some special service or to the receipt of some special blessing, &c., Vel ad demonstrationem debitae miseriae, vel ad emendationem labilis vitae, vel ad exercitationem necessariae patientiae.

Will he enter with thee into judgment?] This seemeth to be the same in sense with the former hemistich; {The half or section of a line of verse, as divided by the cæsura or the like; also, a line of less than the usual length. spec. Such a half-line or line in Old English verse.} and then it shows Eliphaz’s confidence, though he were in an error.


Verse 5

Job 22:5 [Is] not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?

Ver. 5. Is not thy wickedness great?] Why, no; God of his grace had kept Job innocent of the great transgression, Psalms 19:13, and that wicked one had not touched him, 1 John 5:18, sc. with a deadly touch, Tactu qualitativo (Cajetan); had not thrust his sting into him, or transformed him into sin’s image. Had Eliphaz ever found Job to be such a one as here he maketh him? Or doth he not, by these interrogatories, cunningly come over him (in kindness, as we say), to make him confess it? Had all been true that is alleged, Job’s wickedness must needs have been great, and his iniquity infinite. But to be accused is not enough to render a man guilty; for then who should be innocent? Novit sapiens se ad hoc scamma productum, ut depugnet cum iis qui maledictis aluntur, ut venems capreae. Cato was thirty-two times accused, and as often absolved.

And thine iniquities infinite?] Heb. There is no end of thine iniquities; and hence it is that thy miseries are so many and so long lasting; commeruisti tanta tuis sceleribus. The wicked indeed are eternally tormented: 1. Because, being worthless, they cannot satisfy God’s justice in any time; 2. Because they have an infinite desire for sinning against God. But neither of these could be truly affirmed in Job. That so grave a man as Eliphaz (whom the Jewish doctors account a prophet) should fall so foul upon his innocent friend, and taking occasion by his great afflictions only, conjecture and conclude him so heinous an offender, cannot possibly be excused, Coniectura duntaxat, non rei veritate nititur.


Verse 6

Job 22:6 For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.

Ver. 6. For thou hast taken a pledge, &c.] Bona verba, quaeso, I seek good words, Eliphaz. How well might Job have cried out, as David afterwards did, Psalms 35:11, "False witnesses rose up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not." Here he stands accused, 1. Of inhumanity and cruelty; 2. Of irreligion and impiety. But he fully cleareth himself of both, Job 30:1-31; Job 31:1-40 Athanasius in like sort was falsely accused of adultery in the Council of Tyre, A. D. 343; Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, was injuriously deprived for the same cause, about the latter end of Constantine the Great; adultery, heresy, and treason were objected to Archbishop Cranmer; parricide to Mr Philpot; sedition to father Latimer; to which he answereth, As for sedition, for aught that I know, methinks I should not need Christ, if I might so say.

For nought] Or unconscionably, as one rendereth it; and herein lay the fault. See Deuteronomy 24:6; Deuteronomy 24:10.

And stripped the naked of their clothing] If naked, how could he strip them, skin them, as the word signifieth? Chrysostom useth this proverb, Nudus nec a centum viris spoliatur, He that is naked cannot be stripped by a hundred men. We also have a proverb, Where nothing can be had the king must lose his right. And again,

He is like to get little

Who robbeth a spital.

In the late German wars, the Crabats, at Altroff, a university, plundered the scholars, and put poor genus and species to their ransom (Life of the King of Sweden). Micah inveigheth against such cannibal princes, as plucked the skin from the flesh, and the flesh from the bones of the poor oppressed, Micah 3:2-3. {See Trapp on "Micah 3:2"}{see Trapp on "Micah 3:3"} That which Eliphaz here chargeth Job with, but without truth, is, that he stripped off the clothing of the naked; that is, that, finding them poor enough, he left them yet poorer, hardly having a rag to hang on their backs, through his extortion.


Verse 7

Job 22:7 Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.

Ver. 7. Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink] But hast slain him with thirst, when thou mightest have saved him with a cup of cold water. Qui non, cum potest, servat, occidit: Who when able did not serve, and died. Not to do good (when it is in the power of a man’s hand) is to do evil; and not to save a life is to destroy it, Mark 3:4. Not robbing only, but not relieving the beggar, was the rich man’s ruin, Luke 16:24, who, for a cup of cold water, duly given, might have had heaven, Matthew 10:42. But what meant Eliphaz to charge innocent and munificent Job with such a cruelty? 1. The man was angry; and,

Impedit ira animum ne possit cernere verum (Horat.).

Anger hinders the soul so that it is not able to know the truth. 2. He seems not directly to charge him with these crimes, but to urge him to consider and confess, that he could not be but a grievous sinner who was so great a sufferer. Surely God would never handle thee so hardly unless thou wert deeply guilty of these or the like enormities, Necesse est, ut fatearis te aut hoc, aut illud, aut omnia commisisse, &c. (Junius).

Thou hast withholden bread from the hungry] Bread thou hadst enough and to spare; but, like a greedy-gut Pamplagus, thou wouldst part with none, though it were to save the life, not of thine enemy (which yet thou shouldest have done, Proverbs 25:21; Elisha feasted his persecutors, 2 Kings 6:22-23; Isaac his wrong doers, Genesis 26:30-31, by a noble revenge), but of thy fellow friend and brother by race, place, and grace. Thou hast hidden thine eyes from thine own flesh, when thou shouldest have dealt thy bread to the hungry, Isaiah 58:7; yea, drawn out thy soul (and not thy sheaf only), famelico to the hunger starved, and satisfied the afflicted soul, Job 22:10.


Verse 8

Job 22:8 But [as for] the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.

Ver. 8. But as for the mighty man, he had the earth] Heb. But as for the man of arm, he had the land. This the Vulgate applieth to Job; as if by his power he had wrought all others out, and seated himself alone in the land; suffering none to dwell by him but those that he could not overly match. Others by the mighty man understand the strong and wealthy, who are said to be gracious with Job, sharing with him in his possessions, and partaking of his privileges, when the poor were slighted and could not have justice, much less mercy, Pauperes non dignaris pane: at potentibus possessiones tuas offers, &c. (Vatab.). Here then Eliphaz accuseth Job of pride and partiality.

And the honourable man dwelt in it] Heb. Eminent, or accepted for countenance; that is, he who came commended by his wealth, friends, great alliances, honours, &c., was in great request with Job, and might easily carry any cause with him. Haec sunt peccata gravissima, quae non reputant homines, saith Vatablus, These are very great sins, though men little think of it.


Verse 9

Job 22:9 Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.

Ver. 9. Thou hast sent widows away empty] A widow is a calamitous name: 2 Samuel 14:5, "I am indeed a widow woman, and my husband is dead." As a tree whose root is uncovered thriveth not, so it fareth with a widow. R. Jona observeth, That in Hebrew she hath her name from dumbness, quod marito mortuo respondere non possit adversariis, et se adversus eos tueri, because now that her husband is dead, she cannot answer her adversaries, or defend herself against them. Vidua desolata et derelieta nihil est humiliatius: et proinde peculiariter viduarum iudex et vindex est Deus (Bain. in Proverbs 15:25). God, therefore, hath taken them and their orphans into his tuition, owning them as his clients, and commanding all men to be good to them. These, if Job had indeed sent away empty, not only not relieving their necessities, but ravishing their estates, adding the misery of poverty to that of their condition, he had surely subjected himself to the fierce wrath of God, their patron, by a specialty.

And the arms of the fatherless have been broken] Immanis iniuria, si ita res haberet, sed calumnia erat, saith Mercer. This had been a crying crime if it could have been proven against Job; but he was not the man. Some from these words conclude him a judge; others a king. Doubtless he was a potent person, and by his greatness could have borne out his foulest outrages, breaking through the lattice of the laws, as the larger flies do through a spider’s web. Sed alia de se infra profitebitur, saith Mercer here; but Job shall clear himself in the following chapters; where we shall find him described and characterised to have been the oracle of wisdom, the guardian of justice, the refuge of innocence, the comet of the guilty, the patron of peace, and pattern of piety, to magistrates especially, in the wise managing of all public affairs, both of judgment and mercy.


Verse 10

Job 22:10 Therefore snares [are] round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;

Ver. 10. Therefore snares are round about thee] Flagitium et flagellum sunt sicut acus et filum, Sin and punishment are tied together with chains of adamant. Eliphaz having with more earnestness than truth set forth Job’s sins, now discourseth about his snares. Four punishments he assureth him of, and every one worse than the other. 1. He shall be ensnared; 2. Frightened; 3. Benighted; 4. Overwhelmed, if repentance step not in and take up the matter, as Job 22:22. And it is as if he should say, Seek not after any other cause of thy calamities than thy before mentioned wickedness; neither seek any other way to get off than by confessing and forsaking them, that thou mayest have mercy.

And sudden fear troubleth thee] Fear is a troublesome passion; and sudden evils are very terrible, because they expectorate a man’s abilities, and render him helpless, shiftless, comfortless. See this in Saul, who, surprised with sudden horror at his destiny read him by the devil, fell straightway all along on the earth like an ox, and was sore afraid, and there was no strength in him, 1 Samuel 28:20. Job also had his fears, but then he had his cordials too, that kept him from falling under them.


Verse 11

Job 22:11 Or darkness, [that] thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee.

Ver. 11. Or darkness, that thou canst not see] Sunt tenebrae supplicia, et damnatorum desperationes, saith Brentius here. By darkness are meant punishments, temporal and eternal. Others understand the text of blindness and confusion of mind, that can neither see the cause of trouble nor find an issue.

And abundance of waters cover thee] So that although thou shouldest escape, the snares, outlive the fears, run away in the dark, yet how wilt thou avoid the deluge of destruction, the overflowing scourge that carrieth all before it?


Verse 12

Job 22:12 [Is] not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!

Ver. 12. Is not God in the height of heaven?] Some add out of the next verse these words, Sayest thou; making Job’s atheistic speeches (here mimetically fathered upon him by Eliphaz) an argument of his great wickedness; as if Job should say, and so discover himself ("for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," Matthew 12:34) to be of Protagoras’s opinion, who doubted Deity, De Diis, utrum sint non ausim affirmare ( Prot.); or of Diagoras’s, who flatly denied it; or, at least, of Aristotle’s, who pent up God in heaven, and taught that he took little or no care of things done on earth. But what saith the psalmist (and Job was of the same mind whatever the Jewish doctors affirm of him to the contrary)? "Our God is in the heavens; he hath done whatsoever he pleased" in heaven and in earth. "The Lord is high above all nations; and his glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth! He raiseth up the poor out of the dust," &c., Psalms 115:3; Psalms 113:4-7. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro through the whole earth to show himself strong," &c., 2 Chronicles 16:9. His wrath "is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men," Romans 1:18. Job had frequently acknowledged and celebrated the power and providence of God, his judgments upon the wicked, his fatherly chastisements upon himself; deeply detesting all such thoughts and speeches as he is here wrongfully made the author of.

And behold the height of the stars] Heb. The head of the stars; those that are the very highest, and at the top of the visible heaven, the eighth heaven, beyond which some of the ancients acknowledged not any other. Aristotle saith, That beyond the aspect and movement in the heavens, there is neither body, nor time, nor place, nor vacuum. But the Scripture teacheth us that there is beyond the stars, how high set soever, a third heaven, a heaven of heavens, the throne of God, and habitation of the blessed; the starry sky is but as the brick wall encompassing this lofty palace, the glorious and glittering rough cast thereof.

How high they are!] Ut vix eo noster possit aspectus pertingere, so high that our eyes can hardly reach them (Mercer). It is a wonder that we can look up to so admirable a height, and that the very eye is not tired in the way. Now God is far, far above the stars, omnium supremus, altissimorum altissimus. "The high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity," Isaiah 57:15, dwelleth in light inaccessible, 1 Timothy 6:16, such as whereof no natural knowledge can be had, nor any help by human arts, geometry, optics, &c. How, then, can he see from such a distance what is here done on earth? saith the atheist; who thinks to hide himself from God, because he hath hidden God from himself. Propterea quod tantum Chaos sit inter nos et Deum (Vat.). Hear him else in the next verse. See also Ezekiel 8:12; Ezekiel 9:9.


Verse 13

Job 22:13 And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?

Ver. 13. And thou sayest, How doth God know?] A brutish question, Psalms 94:7-8, and never of Job’s making. There are a sort of such miscreants as believe nothing but what they see with their bodily eyes; and indeed, for a finite creature to believe the infinite attributes of God, he is not able to do it thoroughly, without supernatural grace; which therefore must be begged of God, James 1:5, that he would give us "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of our understanding being enlightened," &c., Ephesians 1:17-18. For want whereof, the wicked, blinded with sin, ask such senseless and blasphemous questions as this in the text, and those like this, Psalms 10:11, Zephaniah 1:12; {See Trapp on "Psalms 10:11"} {See Trapp on "Zephaniah 1:12"} It is a ridiculous thing, saith Pliny, to think that the highest Majesty taketh care of human affairs; a service, doubtless, far below him, and unworthy of his greatness.

Can he judge through the dark cloud?] Can he discern through such a dark medium? Men cannot see God; and therefore some fools are apt to think that neither can he see them, Sicut pueri vultum obvelant, putantes sese tum non conspici (Lavat.). But that Job was far from any such thought, see Job 21:16; Job 21:22. To blame therefore was Eliphaz to charge him with such a wickedness; and all because he had said that in this life bad men oft prosper and better men suffer; which yet is verum tanquam ex tripode, very true, and not at all derogatory to the Divine providence.


Verse 14

Job 22:14 Thick clouds [are] a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.

Ver. 14. Thick clouds are a covering to him] He lieth close hid among the clouds, and seeth nothing. But be the clouds never so thick, Christ’s eyes are a flaming fire, Revelation 1:14. And the school of nature teacheth, that the fiery eye needeth no outward light, but seeth extra mittendo, by sending out a ray, &c. He will freely blot out the sins of his people as a cloud, and their transgressions as a thick cloud, Isaiah 44:22; Isaiah 43:25; but the clouds cannot hinder him from sight of their sins; for he is all eye, ολοφθαλμος, and darkness and light are both alike to him, Psalms 139:12. A cloud may come between the body of the sun and us, and the whole hemisphere may be masked and overcast, as we call it, but nothing can keep God from eyeing and ordering all things.

And he walketh in the circuit of heaven] Where it seemeth thou thinkest he only manageth matters and beareth rule, and not below. So indeed the Peripatetics thought, and taught. Agreeably whereunto Lysippus made Alexander’s picture looking up to heaven, with this posy,

Iuppiter, asserni terram mihi, tu assere caelum.

With which picture Alexander was so delighted that he proclaimed that none should take his picture but Lysippus, Plin. l. 6, c. 16.

Augustus also heard with delight,

Divisum imperium cum Iove Caesar habet (Virgil. Vita).

Caesar has with Jupiter divided the empire. And the Great Turk, vexed at his great loss in the last assault of Scodra, most horribly blasphemed against God, saying, That it were enough for him to have care of heavenly things, and not to cross him in his worldly actions. The atheist here taketh it for granted that God hath enough to do to walk from place to place in heaven (as princes do in their progress), and to order those heavenly bodies how they shall affect these lower bodies, by their light, heat, and influence, &c. Fain they would confine him to that circuit or circle (the heavens are supposed to be spherical and circular), that he might meddle no further. Fain they would persuade themselves and others that God hath cast off the care of earthly business, and committed all to fate and fortune; that many might live far more comfortably if they were less conscientious; that it nothing concerneth God, whether men do or not do this or that, &c. Such dust heaps as these may be easily found in every corner; for all places are full of them, and so is hell too. As for Job, the counsel of these wicked ones was far from him, Job 21:16, he was the worse to think of them, whatever Eliphaz (by mistake of his meaning, at the least) thought of him.


Verse 15

Job 22:15 Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?

Ver. 15. Hast thou, marked the old way] Heb. The way of old. Broughton rendereth it, the way of the old world; of those ungodly ones before the flood. Hereby it appeareth, say our learned annotators, that Job lived before the deliverance out of Egypt, because he mentioneth the creation and the flood, but not the deliverance; which, had he known, it would have afforded him an excellent argument to prove that godly men might be in great affliction, as the Israelites were in Egypt; and his friends a plausible argument that God useth to destroy wicked men for their sin, as he did the Egyptians in the Red Sea.

Which wicked men have trodden?] Heb. Mortals of iniquity or vanity. Viri nequam et nequaquam, vel nihili, Men of wickedness with a witness. The face of the old world was grown so foul, that God was fain to wash it with a flood. All was out of order in family, State, and Church. In the family was found luxury and unlawful marriages. In the State tyranny, violence, rapacity, and injustice. In the Church contempt of God’s word, and a fond opinion that God did not order all by his providence, but that a man might do well enough without him. Now that this was the opinion of those antediluvian Belialists, some have gathered from this text, which they read thus, Wilt thou follow the old way; that is, the tenet of those old sinners against their own souls, whom God, for their damnable security and licentiousness (the products of such a portentous opinion), buried all together in one universal grave of waters?


Verse 16

Job 22:16 Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:

Ver. 16. Which were cut down out of time] Or, Which grew full of wrinkles (as those that have long lain in the water are apt to do), and not time; that is, before that time of life that they had promised themselves on earth; or before they had fulfilled the days of their forefathers, who, though wicked above measure many of them, yet the flood could not come till Methuselah (the last alive of the ten patriarchs) were laid up. God cuts off some notoriously wicked sometimes, Intempeata morte abrepti (Jun.), when in the course of nature they might have lived longer, that they may do no more hurt, as the gardener destroyeth young henbane, and the countryman young vermins.

Whose foundation was overflown with a flood] Heb. A river was poured upon their foundation. This some understand of that river of brimstone and fire poured from heaven upon Sodom and her sisters; but better take it of those in Noah’s days, whose foundation (that is, the earth, that foundation of mankind; or their wealth and prosperity, whereon they thought themselves firmly founded, or their lives, &c.), were overflown with a flood; which came rushing in upon them with mighty force, and drowned the universe. And here the Hebrews make to be the middle of this book of Job, wherein they reckon in all one thousand and seventy verses.


Verse 17

Job 22:17 Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?

Ver. 17. Which said unto God, Depart from us] Atheists those antediluvians were; if not dogmatic, yet practical, such as Job had described, speaking the like language of hell, Job 21:14. Et malitiose eum Eliphazus talium atheorum numero accenset, saith Mercer: And maliciously doth Eliphaz reckon Job among those odious atheists, so thinking to cut his throat with his own sword, and confute him with his own words. Malice cares not how truly things are set forth, so it may gall or kill.

And what can the Almighty do for them?] That is, they asked, What can the Almighty do for them? As if God neither could nor would reward their services; as if he would do them neither good nor evil. The Seventy render it, τι επαξεται ημιν, What will he bring upon us? q.d. He threateneth us with a flood, but when, where, and how? Let the day of the Lord come! Isaiah 5:19. "Where is the promise of his coming?" &c., 2 Peter 3:4. Thus they jeered when it was fitter they should have feared: but what was the issue?


Verse 18

Job 22:18 Yet he filled their houses with good [things]: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

Ver. 18. Yet he filled their houses with good things] Heb. With good; that is, with all precious and pleasant riches, whereof he gave them both plenty and propriety, but no otherwise than as Joseph caused his cup to be conveyed into Benjamin’s sack, the better to furnish out an indictment against him. And as Benjamin’s pretended theft was held more heinous, by how much his welcome was the greater, for he had a five fold portion; so shall it one day fare with such rich wretches, as whose bellies God filleth with his hidden treasure, and whose houses he filleth top-full with good things.

- Eutrapelus cuicunque nocere volebat.

Vestimenta dabat pretiosa - (Horat.)

Well might Eliphaz add, all things reckoned.

But (or yet) the counsel of the wicked is (or be) far from me] See these words expounded Job 20:16, where Job hath the very same. Sed ea vult illi eripere Eliphaz, saith a learned interpreter. But Eliphaz will needs take them away from him, and it is as if be should say, Thou, O Job, seemest by thy words and with thy mouth to detest the counsel of the wicked; but thy doings declare the contrary, while thou so many ways celebrate the prosperity of the ungodly. To me, therefore, and to all righteous men, who do heartily hate the wicked, and do seriously set forth God’s just judgments against them, doth this speech better agree and more truly appertain, &c. And as for these righteous men, let me tell thee further,


Verse 19

Job 22:19 The righteous see [it], and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn.

Ver. 19. The righteous see it, and are glad] And as or myself, the counsel of the wicked is far from me: I do therefore abominate their present prosperity, because they shall shortly be for a laughing stock to all good men; the upright shall see it and be glad, and all iniquity shall stop her mouth, as self condemned, and therefore by the saints (swallowed up with a zeal of God’s glory) rightly derided, Psalms 52:9; Psalms 58:11.

And the innocent laugh them to scorn] Not out of ill will, or envy, or other corrupt affection; but, 1. For the glory of God, whose power, justice, and goodness is hereby evinced and evidenced. 2. For the good of others, who stumble at the prosperity of the ungodly, or else are eased of their cruelty. 3. Add hereunto, that it is never the worse for the wicked themselves that God taketh them off. For if they be elect, they repent ere they die; as if reprobates, they are kept hereby from adding to their sin and so to their torments, which shall be proportioned thereunto. Those who understand this verse of Noah and his sons, rejoicing when they saw the rest drowned and themselves preserved, render the words thus, The righteous saw it and were glad, and the innocent laughed them to scorn. A late reverend man of God among us, in a discourse of his about the benefit of a good conscience in times of common calamity, brings in Noah and those with him in the ark, insulting over the perishing old world thus (Mr Jeremy Dyke, p. 1 83):

“Now, Jubal, let us hear one of your merry songs; pipe now, and make yourself merry, as you were wont in jibing at Noah’s folly in making a ship to sail on dry land. What ailest thou, Jubal, to howl and wring thine hands thus? Where is thy harp and organs now? Now the flood is come, now Noah is in his cabin, and the water begins to be chin deep, tell me, O Jubal, whether building of tents or building of an ark be the wiser work? Would you not give all the shoes in your shop, all the tools in your tents, all the cattle in your flocks, to be but where Noah’s dog lies? And now, sirs, you that were such men of renown, Genesis 6:4, you that were the brave gallants of the earth, now tell me who is the fool and who is the wise man now.”

Piscator takes the next verse, "Whereas" (or, though) "our substance is not cut down, but" (or yet) "the remnant of them the fire consumeth," to be spoken in the person of Noah, whom he makes the innocent man here mentioned; and adds, saying in the beginning of the next verse: as if Noah coining out of the ark should wash his feet in the blood of those wicked; and say, God hath preserved me and mine (our sincerity hath prevailed for our safety), and in his wrath destroyed the ungodly. But I rather concur with Tremellius, and Merlin, and others, who make this verse coherent with, and preparatory to, the following famous exhortation to repentance, Job 22:21-23, &c. Acquaint thyself now with him, and be at peace, &c. But be sure thou do it now, that is, speedily and timously.


Verse 20

Job 22:20 Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.

Ver. 20. Whereas our substance is not cut down] That is, while life lasteth, and while it is called today; before death cometh: and after death, judgment; when the remnant of the wicked fire shall consume. Where we have a forcible motive to repent, because we must either turn or burn, Aut poenitendum, aut pereundum. See Acts 17:31, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, Hebrews 12:28-29. Eliphaz seemeth here on purpose to have mentioned that fire wherewith wicked men shall be tormented at the last day (and before, for every man’s death day is his doomsday), and to have changed the person.

The remnant (or excellence) of them the fire consumeth] That it might the more effectually move men to repent, that they might be delivered from the wrath to come. And here I could willingly take up Chrysostom’s wish, Utinam ubique de Gehenna dissereretur! Oh that men would talk more everywhere of hell fire unquenchable, intolerable, and the fuel thereof made of the most tormenting temper, Isaiah 30:33. It was a speech of Gregory Nyssen, He that does but hear of hell is, without any further labour or study, taken off from sin filled pleasures, and set upon the practice of mortification. But men’s hearts are grown harder today, and he that shall observe their impiety and impenitence may well say to them, as Cato once did to Caesar, Credo quae de inferis dicuntur falsa existimas, I believe thou thinkest all but a fable that is said concerning hell (Juven. Sat. 2.).

Esse aliquos Manes, &c.

Nec pueri credunt nisi qui nondum aere lavantur.


Verse 21

Job 22:21 Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.

Ver. 21. Acquaint now thyself with him] Accommoda te nunc illi, assuesce cum illo. Converse with God in a humble familiarity; set him at the right hand, Psalms 16:8, be ever at his hand, ut famulus seu accensus, as attendant upon his person. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and let him direct thy paths, Proverbs 3:6. Ask counsel at his mouth, aim at his glory, be thou in his fear all the day long, Proverbs 23:17. Account it thine happiness to be in communion with him, and conformity to him in all parts and points of duty. The Lord is with you if you be with him, 2 Chronicles 15:3.

And be at peace] Return to him by repentance from whom thou hast so deeply revolted, and against whom thou hast so shamefully rebelled. For Eliphaz here takes it for granted that Job had estranged himself from God; and therefore could not possibly be at peace till better acquainted with him, and acquiescing in him, as the Vulgate here hath it. Acquiesce ei. No creature is more fearful than a fish, fleeing at the shadow of a man; yet it feareth not the roaring ocean (which yet lions and other fierce creatures fear), because it is of its own nature and acquaintance. A sheep feareth not his shepherd; nor shall we God, if once acquainted with him. Peace shall be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy tabernacles.

Thereby good shall come unto thee] Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee, Psalms 128:2. A cornucopia, a confluence of all manner of comforts and contentments, shall betide thee; but then thou must humble thyself to walk with thy God, Micah 6:8. By faith walk with God, and by reflection walk with thyself, Compone et emenda vias tuas coram Domino, and then thou needest not say, with the worldling, "Who will show us any good?" Psalms 4:6; for God himself will say to thee, as once he did to Moses, when he gave him but a glimpse of himself and his glory, Ostendam tibi omne bonum, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee," Exodus 33:19.


Verse 22

Job 22:22 Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.

Ver. 22. Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth] Now he speaks Job fair whom before he had sufficiently ripped up, and roughly hewen without mercy, or so much as truth. That which he here persuadeth him to is to depend upon God for direction and success in all his enterprises; to consult with him upon all occasions, and not to do aught without his warranty and approbation. God’s testimonies were David’s delight and his counsellors, Psalms 119:24. All that advise not with these must needs be without understanding, a nation void of counsel, Deuteronomy 32:28.

And lay up his words in thine heart] Heb. Put his word, as the tables were put in the ark; mingle God’s word with faith in thine heart, as in a vessel. Cor autem sit carneum fide, the flinty heart is made fleshy by faith, and capable of divine impressions.


Verse 23

Job 22:23 If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.

Ver. 23. If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up] By sin men run from God, by repentance they return to him. Break off thy sins by repentance, and put away iniquity far from thy tabernacle (for iniquity and repentance cannot cohabit, and he is no true penitentiary that reformeth not his family, that setteth not up God wherever he hath to do), so shalt thou be built up; that is, thou shalt be restored, and all thy losses in wealth and children shall be made up again; prorsus erigeris qui iam collapsus es; thou, who art now down on all fours, shalt be new set up, and made to stand in thy former strength. Only thou must return usque ad Omnipotentem, all out as far as to the Almighty, thou must not give the half turn only, as hypocrites do, but with thy whole heart; and as Joel 2:12. {See Trapp on "Joel 2:12"} Thus Eliphaz discourseth very well and handsomely of the business in hand; only he was out in this, that he looked upon Job as an impenitent person, and upon his family as ill ordered. As, also, in that he conceived that true repentance is ever rewarded with outward and inward prosperity; whereas a penitent person may continue under crosses, though God will surely save the humble, as he saith afterwards, Job 22:29, and repentance can turn crosses into comforts; and, like the philosopher’s stone, make golden afflictions, 1 Peter 1:7. As scarlet pulls out the teeth of a serpent, so this takes away the sting of a judgment. As wine draweth a nourishing virtue from the flesh of vipers, &c.


Verse 24

Job 22:24 Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the [gold] of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.

Ver. 24. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust] Which is as much as to say, saith one, Thou shalt make pavements of gold. See 2 Chronicles 1:15, Psalms 68:30. Then shalt thou have thy desire; for thou shalt be rich with content, which is worth a million, as another paraphraseth it. Beza rendereth it thus: Cast thy gold on the ground (even that worldly wealth, whereto thou hast been wholly addicted), and let the gold of Ophir be unto thee as the pebble stones of the brooks (make no more account of it than of those small stones), and let the Almighty be thy tower, let him be unto thee as plenty of silver. The Spaniards are said to have found in the mines of America more gold than earth. Perhaps Eliphaz here promiseth Job, that upon his return to God his land should have many rich veins of gold. And so Senault paraphraseth this text thus, Then shall you acquit yourself of all your losses, and you shall recover with usury what was taken from you; for, for barren lands, which could bring forth nothing, you shall have such as in their entrails shall produce porphyry; and instead of those unprofitable rocks which made a part of your estate, you shall have fertile mines, from whence shall issue rivers of gold. Agreeable whereunto is that exposition of Brentius, Reponetur pro pulvere aurum, pro vili preciosure, pro fluviis arenam trahentibus torrentes aureis lapillis impleti, Thou shalt have for dust gold, for vile things those that are precious, for sandy rivers golden torrents. A hyperbolic expression.

And the gold of Ophir] Where the best gold grew. Possibly the same with Peru, the letters only transposed. Ophir, Genesis 10:29, was one of the sons of Joktan, who came from Shem, from whom, saith Josephus, a country in India, abounding with gold, had its name. Hine aurum obrizum dictum, quasi Ophirizum. Ophir is here put for the gold of Ophir; for the word gold is not in the original.


Verse 25

Job 22:25 Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.

Ver. 25. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence] Or, thy gold, for the same word signifieth both, Job 36:19, because gold is the worldly man’s defence, Proverbs 18:11, though but a sorry one, Zephaniah 1:18, Proverbs 11:4, Ezekiel 7:19. It is as if he should say, Either thou shalt have gold gods plenty; or else, thou shalt have that which is better than gold, viz. God the maker and master of all the world, saith Junius, who rendereth the text thus, And the Almighty shall be thy choicest gold, and silver, and strength to thee. He shall be all that heart can wish or need require. A friend of Cyrus, in Xenophon, being asked where his treasure was? answered, οπου Kυρος φιλος, Where Cyrus is my friend. Let us answer, οπου Kυριος φιλος, Where God is my friend. When David had said, "The Lord is my portion," he subjoined in the next verse, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage," Psalms 16:5-6. When God had said to Abraham, I am thy shield, he easily slighted the king of Sodom’s rich offers.

And thou shalt have plenty of silver] Heb. Silver of strengths or of heights; that is, as the Vulgate interpreteth it, argentum coacervabitur tibi, thou shalt have high heaps of silver, store of money. Godliness hath the promise of both lives; and if godly men are not always rich men, it is that godliness may be admired for itself. And they must know, that what they lack in temporals shall be made up in spirituals, according to that which followeth.


Verse 26

Job 22:26 For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.

Ver. 26. For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty] As in thine only portion. Thou shalt enjoy him, which is the peak of human happiness; solace thyself in the fruition of him, taste and see how good the Lord is, and thereupon love him dearly, Psalms 18:1; not only with a love of desire, as Psalms 42:1-2, but of complacence, as Psalms 73:25-26, affecting not only a union, but a unity, with him; and conversing with him, as we may, in the mean while, in a fruitful and cheerful use of his holy ordinances.

And shall lift up thy face unto God] Wrapping thyself in Christ’s righteousness, thou shalt draw nigh to God with a humble boldness in duty, and not doubt but he will draw nigh to thee in mercy. It is said of Luther, that he prayed with so great reverence, as unto God; and yet with so great confidence, as to his friend (Melch. Ad. in Vita).


Verse 27

Job 22:27 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.

Ver. 27. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee] Yea, though thou multiply prayers, Multiplicabis verba tua (Mer.), and intercessions for thyself and others (as the word signifieth, and as afterwards Job did for Eliphaz and his fellows, or else it had gone worse with them), yet he shall hear thee in all. Thou shalt, as his favourite, have the royalty of his ear, and he shall say unto thee seriously, as Zedekiah did once to his courtiers soothingly, The king can deny you nothing. Iste vir potuit apud Deum quod voluit, said one concerning Luther, That man could have of God whatsoever he wanted. This David took (as well he might) for a singular mercy, Psalms 13:6; Psalms 66:20.

And thou shalt pay thy vows] i.e. Thou shalt return thy thanks, and so shalt drive a holy trade, as it were, between heaven and earth. Nulla tibi a Duo nisi gratias agendi occasio dabifur. Thou shalt have unmiscarrying returns of thy suits; so that thou must be ready with thy praises after their prayers; for that is all thou shalt have to do. "Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion; and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayers, unto thee shall all flesh come," with their thanks in their hands as it were, Psalms 65:1-2.


Verse 28

Job 22:28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.

Ver. 28. Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee] God will be better to thee than thy prayers; and prosper all thy counsels, effect thy designs. The ungodly are not so, as is to be seen in those revolted Israelites, 2:1-3, in King Saul, and in our King John. Or if they have their designs, it is for a further mischief to them. As, if the godly be crossed, it is in mercy; like as the story is told of our Queen Isabel, that being to repass from Zealand into England with an army, they had all been utterly cast away had she come unto the port intended, being there expected by her enemies. But Providence, against her will, brought her to another place, where she safely landed. The like is reported of Bishop Jewel, that being sought for by the Popish persecutors, he had been caught, but that, going to London, he lost his way (Mr Clark in his Life, p. 262).

And the light shall shine upon thy ways] That is to say, God will inspire thee with good counsel and direction in all thine affairs (Diod.), and turn thine ill-counsels into good unto thee (as the heathens thought Minerva did to her Athenians, and as the Romans fancied of their goddess Vibilia, that she set them in their right way when they were wandering), or will shine over them with his blessing, contrary to thy complaint, Job 19:8.


Verse 29

Job 22:29 When [men] are cast down, then thou shalt say, [There is] lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.

Ver. 29. When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up] And that by the force of thy faith, the nature whereof is to gather one contrary out of another (as life out of death, assurance of deliverance out of deepest distresses, Deuteronomy 32:36), and to believe God upon his bare word, and that against sense in things invisible, and against reason in things incredible. Because they are humbled, thou shalt say, Exaltation: and saving of him that boweth his eyes down; whereof some make this to be the sense: Job, attaining to such a blessed change, shall be able out of his own experience to comfort others in misery, who likewise humble themselves. Junius rendereth it and the following verse thus: When men shall have cast down any one, and thou shalt think of his lifting up; then will God save the low of eyes, or him that is low in his own eyes: he will deliver that guilty person, and he shall be delivered by the purity of thy hands; that is, saith he, So great shall his love be to thee, and his blessing upon thee, that for thy sake he shall show mercy to others, though they be none of the best, according to the promise made to Abraham, Genesis 12:3; Genesis 18:24. And hence Job’s intercession is joined with that of Noah and Daniel, Ezekiel 14:14.

And he shall save the humble person] Heb. Him that is low of eyes, as was Job at this time; and the publican, Luke 18:13. "A high look and a proud heart" go together, Psalms 101:5. And as God resisteth such, James 4:4, 1 Peter 5:5, so he giveth grace to the humble; and not grace only, but glory too, as here; safety here, and salvation hereafter.


Verse 30

Job 22:30 He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.

Ver. 30. He shall deliver the island of the innocent] Or, He shall deliver the not innocent; him that is not guiltless; and even such shall be delivered for the purity of thine hands. Thus God gave Zoar to Lot, and all the souls in the ship to Paul, and the guilty Israelites to Moses. See Jeremiah 5:1. Or, The innocent shall deliver the island; or, Liberabitur vita innocentis, the innocent shall be freed from affliction: so Brentius.

And it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands] i.e. Of thy works, or by thy pure hands lifted up in prayer. Semen sanctum statumen terrae, the saints bear up the state, Isaiah 6:13, they uphold the pillars of the earth by their piety and prayers; and therefore when God is unchangeably resolved to ruin a people he silenceth his saints, as Jeremiah 7:16, or removeth them out of the world, as he did Methuselah the year before the flood. And as one sinner may destroy much good, Ecclesiastes 9:18; so one praying saint may save an island, a whole country; it is delivered by the pureness of thy hands. It may be the work sticks at thee; why then is not thy shoulder at the wheel when the cart is stalled?

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 22:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-22.html. 1865-1868.

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Thursday, December 5th, 2019
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