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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Job 27

 

 


Verse 1

Job 27:1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,

Ver. 1. Moreover Job continued his parable, and said] It was Zophar’s turn, and Job waited a while, as it was fitting, to see whether he or any other of them would take up the bucklers again against him; which, when they did not (having heard his high expressions concerning God’s power and providence, and haply having now a better opinion of him than before), he assuageth his grief by defending his innocence and maintaining his opinion, in the five following chapters. Here he is said, after some respite, to recount again his parable; which hath its name in Hebrew from lording it, and bearing sway, because allegories and figurative speeches bear away the bell, as they say, from plainer discourses; are more gladly heard, or read, sooner understood, and better remembered, משׁל Sermo figuratus prineipatum tenet, ac velar dominatur. The word rendered continued is, in the original, added to lift up; importing either that he spake now with courage, as we say, and with a greater emphasis, since having silenced his adversaries; or that he uttered himself in a higher style, and his matter were master sentences, maxims, axioms, speeches of special precellency and predominance; such as might well challenge a throne in the minds of all men.


Verse 2

Job 27:2 [As] God liveth, [who] hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, [who] hath vexed my soul;

Ver. 2. As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment] Job well knew the nature and end of an oath, which is to put an end to all strife and controversy among men, Hebrews 6:16. For more authority’s sake, therefore, to his ensuing discourse, by taking God as witness in a matter of so great moment, and that his friends might the better believe him, he doubteth not to begin his speech with a private oath (for a public is that which is taken before a magistrate, who upon just cause may exact it), which, so it be sparingly and warily used, is not unlawful, as appeareth by the example of Jacob and Laban, Boaz and Ruth, Jonathan and David, sc. to help the truth in necessity, and when the other party will not otherwise be satisfied. But what meaneth Job to say that the God, whom he so solemnly taketh to witness, had taken away his judgment? Can the righteous Judge do otherwise than right? Or doth not the plaintiff know that he is punished less than his iniquities deserved? Ezra 9:13. For answer Job was at present under a sore temptation, and being pressed out of measure above strength, he spake unadvisedly with his lips, and is afterwards barely told of it by Elihu, Job 34:5. The best faith, if long tried, may flag and hang the wing. Moses at Meribah, David at Gath, Elijah under the juniper, sufficiently show that every new man is two men; that the flesh soon lusteth against the spirit, and that the best may have their outbursts; yet so as that the seed of grace still abideth in them, and some way shows itself; Job here, for instance. He complaineth of God’s severity, but stormeth not against him. He blustereth, but he blasphemeth not. He holdeth himself hardly dealt with by God; and yet while he so solemnly sweareth by him, he thereby acknowledgeth him a witness of his conscience, a patron of truth, a lover of right, an avenger of perjury, and, lastly, the author and arbiter of his life, which he resolveth rather to let go than his innocence: he can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth, 2 Corinthians 13:8.

And the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul] Heb. Hath embittered. Job should have remembered that bitter portions bring sweet health, and that το πικρον μικρον, the bitterness would soon be past; but he remembered only at present the affliction and the misery, the wormwood and the gall, Lamentations 3:19. "Now no affliction (but especially soul affliction) for the present seemeth joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby," Hebrews 12:11. But patient Job wanted patience to wait for that. Adeo nihil est in nobis magni, quod non queat minui; such failings are found in the very best.


Verse 3

Job 27:3 All the while my breath [is] in me, and the spirit of God [is] in my nostrils;

Ver. 3. All the while my breath is in me] Periphrasis vitae, - Dum spiritus hos regat artas, While I have an hour to breathe, I will hold to this oath of mine; neither may you ever hope to dispute me out of mine integrity. Life is described by breath, which, when it faileth, the man dieth, 1 Kings 17:17, Psalms 146:4, Isaiah 2:22. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, every moment ready to puff out. What is man, saith Nazianzen, but soul and soil, breath and body, a puff of wind the one, a pile of dust the other, no solidity in either? Jovinian, the emperor, was choked with the smoke of charcoal (Eutrop. Oros.); Pope Adrian with a fly, getting into his throat as he gaped; the cardinal of Lorrain was lighted to his lodging and to his long home both at once by a poisoned torch. Defer not, saith one, since at the next puff of breath thou mayest blow away thy life.

And the Spirit of God is in my nostrils] He seems to allude to Genesis 2:7, or some tradition of the fathers to like purpose; Acts 17:25, God giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. And again, Acts 17:28, "In him we live, and move, and have our being." Wherefore "let everything that hath breath praise the Lord," Psalms 150:6; yea, let every breath (as some read it) praise the Lord. Let it be as the smoke of the tabernacle, as pillars of incense ascending up to heaven. Tam Dei meminisse opus est, quam respirare (Chrysost.).


Verse 4

Job 27:4 My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.

Ver. 4. My lips shall not speak wickedness] Which I should do, should I, contrary to that which the Spirit of God witnesseth to my conscience, through a feigned humility, confess that I have been wicked. Let God’s dejected servants take heed, lest by the temptation of Satan, and the misgivings of their own evil hearts of unbelief, they be drawn to belie the work of God’s Spirit in them, and to hold themselves utterly void of grace, because not endued with such and such measures of grace. Learn to distinguish between imbecility and nullity; show yourselves faithful in weakness, though but weak in faith. There is an allowance to gold, with which it may pass; neither is it to be cast aside because it wanteth some grains, and hath a crack. Nec vinum reiecimus et si faecem habeat, saith Spinaeus (de Instit. Christ.). God seeth nothing amiss in that man whose heart is upright, 2 Chronicles 15:17. He lays the finger of mercy on the scars of his people’s sins, as that limner in the story. He will not crush, but cherish, that worm Jacob.

Nor my tongue utter deceit] No, for that were to speak wickedness, yea, to speak yourself wicked. For the remnant of Israel shall not, by betraying the truth, do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth, Zephaniah 3:13. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie; so he was their Saviour, Isaiah 63:8.


Verse 5

Job 27:5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.

Ver. 5. God forbid that I should justify you] sc. By saying as you say; viz. that I am a hypocrite, and secretly guilty of some foul practices, for which I thus grievously suffer. I know nothing of this nature by myself, God forbid, Absit, res profana sit mihi. The Hebrew word signifies a profanation, or profane thing. It was the same they used when they rent their clothes at blasphemy.

Till I die, I will not remove mine integrity] My perfection, some render it; and so God accounteth it, when the bent, frame, and tendencies of the heart are for him; though the man’s wants be many and great. This Job knew, and would hold to. Let not the devil baffle us out of our integrity.


Verse 6

Job 27:6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach [me] so long as I live.

Ver. 6. My righteousness I hold fast] As with tooth and nail, yea, though it be to the loss of my teeth, Mordicus tenebo, as it befell that valiant Sir Thomas Challoner, who served, when he was young, under Charles V, in the expedition of Algiers, where, being shipwrecked, after be had swam till his strength and his arms failed him, at the length, catching hold of a cable with his teeth, he escaped, not without the loss of some of his teeth.

And will not let it go] sc. Upon your persuasions or suspicions, so long as the bird in my bosom continueth singing.

My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live] His heart must needs reproach him who habitually doth evil, what good show soever he doth make before men; and though he hide his wickedness with no less subtle sleights than once Rachel did the idols, Rahab the spies. Conscience is God’s spy, and man’s overseer. It is Index, Iudex, Vindex: neither is a body so torn with stripes as a mind with remembrance of evil actions. This Job knew, and would therefore keep his conscience clear. This was also St Paul’s greatest, both care, Acts 24:16, and comfort, 2 Corinthians 1:12.


Verse 7

Job 27:7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.

Ver. 7. Let mine enemy be as the wicked] q.d. I need wish my greatest enemy no greater harm than to be as the wicked, for then he is sure to be wretched. So far am I from saying that God favoureth the wicked, or that he always suffereth them to escape unpunished.

And he that riseth up against me, as the unrighteous] Or, froward and perverse. This is the same again in other words; and it is well noted to be a popular manner of speaking, wherein when men express an abomination of a thing, they wish it to their enemies; taking it for granted that the power of malice is so great that no man can express it in the wish of any particular evil. See the like phrase 2 Samuel 8:2-3, 1 Samuel 25:26, Daniel 4:27.


Verse 8

Job 27:8 For what [is] the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?

Ver. 8. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, &c.] Here Job proveth himself to be no hypocrite, by his and their different character and carriage, especially under affliction. Though God kill Job, yet he will trust in him; but "what is the hope of the hypocrite?" &c. He that maketh a bridge of his own shadow must needs fall into the brook. The common hope thinks it takes hold of God; but it is but as a child that catcheth at the shadow on the wall, which he thinks he holdeth fast in his hand, but soon finds it otherwise; so shall the hypocrite at death, his hope shall be then as the giving up of the ghost, and that is but cold comfort. While he was in health, and had all well about him, he nourished strong hopes of God’s favour, and the rather because he gained and gathered wealth apace. So bladder like is the soul that is filled with earthly vanities, though but wind, it grows great, and swells in high conceitedness; but if pricked with the least pin of piercing grief (how much more when struck with death’s dart!) it shriveleth to nothing, and is ready to say, as one rich wretch did on his death bed, Spes et fortuna valete, Life and hope, adieu to you both at once.

Though he hath gained] Or, When he hath been covetous; raking together Rem, rem, quocunque modo rem. See this notably exemplified in that rich fool, Luke 12:20, whose life and hopes ended together.

When God taketh away his soul?] Extrahet, Shall pull it out by violence, as a sword out of his sheath; when God shall make a breach upon their citadel, come upon them by forcible entry, turn them out of their cottages of clay, by a firmae eiectione, cut them in twain, as he did that evil servant, Matthew 24:50-51, tear their bodies and souls asunder, as a man teareth the bark from the tree, or the shell from the fish, leaving it naked. Where, then, shall be the high hopes of the hypocrite? And oh what a dreadful shriek giveth his guilty soul then, to see itself launching into an infinite ocean of scalding lead, and to consider that it must swim naked in it for ever!


Verse 9

Job 27:9 Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?

Ver. 9. Will God hear his cry] Here is another distinctive note between a hypocrite and an honest man. As many are said in Daniel to cleave to the better side by flattery, so many false signs will come in, and flatter a man (when he is in health and prosperity), and give their testimony, speak the same thing that true evidences do; but this will not always hold.

When trouble cometh upon him?] Then the hypocrite will cry, and make pitiful moans; as a prisoner at the bar begs for his life. Then Joab and Adonijah will run to the horns of the altar, who till then little cared to come there. But with as ill success they cry to God as Saul did, 1 Samuel 28:15, and as other of David’s enemies did, Psalms 18:41; for either God answereth them not at all, Ezekiel 21:2-3, or else he answereth them according to the idols of their hearts, Ezekiel 14:3, gives them bitter answers, as 10:13-14. Or if better, it is for the good of others, and for a further mischief to themselves, that he may snatch away his own and be gone, Hosea 2:9, and that he may consume them after he hath done them good, Joshua 24:20 : their preservation proverb but a reservation.


Verse 10

Job 27:10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?

Ver. 10. Will he delight himself in the Almighty?] viz. When trouble cometh upon him, as in the former verse. No, this is Christianorum propria virtus, a practice that none can skill of but God’s people, saith Jerome, to rejoice in tribulation, and then to continue instant in prayer, Romans 12:12, for deliverance, with some confidence grounded upon former experience. Crux enim iis inuncta est, saith Bernard. Together with the cross, they have an unction from the Father; anointed they are with that oil of gladness, the Spirit of glory and of God, which resteth upon them, 1 Peter 2:14, and refresheth them amidst all their sorrows and sufferings; and hence their delight in the Almighty, yea, though he frown and lay upon them, as he did upon Job, with his own bare hand. Not so the hypocrite; for what reason? he hateth God in his heart, as doth every evildoer, John 3:20. Est enim talium poena Deus, utpote qui lux est: et quid talibus tam invisum? (Bernard.) God is light, and therefore hated as a punishment to such inauspicate night birds. He is holiness, but the hypocrite filthiness, as his name also importeth. How then can he delight himself in the Almighty? What complacence can there be, where is such an utter contrariety? They that love the Lord hate evil, Psalms 31:23, but so doth not any hypocrite; leave it he may, but not loathe it. Part with it he may (as Jacob did with Benjamin, lest otherwise he should starve; or as Phaltiel with Michal, lest he should lose his head), but his heart is glued to it still; he hath a month’s mind to be doing, if he dare. Finally, he is without faith, and therefore without joy and peace of conscience. And as for his spider web of hope, a little wind bloweth it down. The world hath his heart, and so the love of the Father cannot be in him, 1 John 2:15. He leaneth upon the Lord, and saith, Is not the Lord among us? Micah 3:11, yet is he rooted in the delights of life. Like as the apricot tree leaneth against the wall, but is fast rooted in the earth.

Will he always call upon God?] Heb. In every time? No, nor scarce at any time. Indeed, as beggars have learned to cant, so have some hypocrites to pray; Isaiah 26:16, "They have poured forth a charm when thy chastening was upon them." "When he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned and inquired after God," Psalms 78:34. But this was only a prayer of the flesh for ease, and not of the Spirit for grace. They spoke God fair (as the devil did Christ) only to be rid of him. Thus Pharaoh, when on the rack, roared out a confession, and called for a prayer. Joab, in danger of death, hangs on the horns of the altar. The captivated Jews fasted and prayed for seventy years, to get off their chains rather than their sins, Zechariah 7:5, which Daniel therefore reckoned lost labour, Job 9:13. But many wicked men, though in prosperity they have some short winded wishes (such as was that of Balaam, Numbers 23:10, wherewith compare that of David, Psalms 26:9, and see a difference), or perhaps are able by strength of wit and memory to pray handsomely; yet in adversity they set their mouths against heaven, as hunger bitten wolves, and howl upward; they curse their king and their God, and look upward, saith Isaiah, Isaiah 8:21; they murmur and mutiny, as the Israelites in the wilderness; they ban and blaspheme, as did that Israelitish woman’s son, Leviticus 14:11, and Micah’s mother, 17:2. A parrot may be taught to talk like a man (histories tell us of one at Rome that could repeat the whole creed), but let him be but beaten, and he returns to his own natural harsh voice. So a hypocrite, while all goes well with him, may seem very devout at his orisons, but lay thy hand upon him (saith Satan to God concerning Job, presuming thereby to prove him a hypocrite), and he will curse thee to thy face, Job 2:5. But say he be somewhat better conditioned, as they call it, and for a while pray to God for ease and help; yet he will not pray always, he will not persevere in prayer, follow on to pray, wait upon God for an answer, and be content to want it, if God see good to deny it. He cannot draw nigh to God "with a true heart" (such a heart as is well satisfied, if God may be glorified, though himself be not gratified) "in full assurance of faith," Hebrews 10:22; which is, saith Brentius, Orationis medulla, the marrow of prayer. Hence St James calleth it "the prayer of faith," Job 5:15. Afflictions cause a saint to seek out God’s promise, the promise to seek faith, faith to seek prayer, and prayer to find God; to find him at length, for he is a God that hideth himself, Isaiah 45:15. But what saith faith? "I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him," Isaiah 8:17. See this exemplified in the woman of Canaan, who fetched Christ out of his retiring room by the force of her faith, Mark 7:24, and prayed on, though denied. She would not be said nay, or set down either with silence or sad answers, but showed herself a woman of a well knit resolution, such as could credere invisibilia, sperare dilata, et amare Deum se ostendentem contrarinm, as Luther speaketh: Believe things invisible, hope for things deferred, and love God when he shows himself most angry and opposite. Now this the hypocrite (who is an infidel) cannot skill of. He is short spirited, and cannot hold out in prayer, cannot, as our Saviour taught by that parable, Luke 18:1, always pray, and not faint, εκκακειν, shrink back, as sluggards do in work, or cowards in war. Oratio est res ardua, et magni laboris, saith Luther. Prayer is a hard work, and a man must tug at it and stick to it, as Jacob did, who wrestled and raised dust, as the Hebrew word signifieth; he held fast, and hung on, yea, he held with his hands when his thigh was lamed. Let me go, saith God, bespeaking his own liberty. No, thou shalt not, saith Jacob, until thou bless me. Lo, such is the generation of them that seek God in sincerity, of them that seek thy face; this is Jacob, Psalms 24:6. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that I will seek after," saith David, Psalms 27:4. If his suit had not been honest, he would never have begun it; but being so, he will never give it over till he hath prevailed; he will pray till he faint, and then to it again, Psalms 119:81-82. "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer," Romans 12:12. So doth not the hypocrite, for want of an inward principle. If God come not at a call, he is out of patience, and ready to say, with that profane prince, 2 Kings 6:33, "Behold, this evil is of the Lord; and what should I wait for the Lord any longer?" Away to the witch of Endor, to the god of Ekron. Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. This Job would not do, and therefore no hypocrite.


Verse 11

Job 27:11 I will teach you by the hand of God: [that] which [is] with the Almighty will I not conceal.

Ver. 11. I will teach you by the hand of God] That is, by the help of God, συν Yεω, or concerning the hand of God, what is in the hand of the Lord (so the Septuagint), what things he is wont to do by his power, and what are his usual proceedings, his actual and efficacious providence, Acts 4:28. Deo iuvante et subministrante facultates (Vat.).

That which is with the Almighty I will not conceal] Neque celabo, ut res divinae comparatae sint, so the Tigurines translate. Envious masters use to hide from their scholars the best and chiefest part of their skill. It is reported of that spotted beast, the lynx, that knowing that his urine will congeal into a precious stone, and so stand man in stead, of pure envy, when he pisseth he maketh a hole in the ground to cover it. Cardan, speaking of one that had a receipt that would suddenly and certainly dissolve a stone in the bladder, and died, not imparting his skill to any one, I doubt not, saith he, but that man went to hell, quod moriens, artem suam mortalibus inviserit, because he envied his skill to those that survived him. Job was none such: but what he knew of God’s mind and manner of dealing (which hath no certain law, nor invariable rule, but dependeth upon his mere pleasure) he was ready to impart to his friends, who measured God’s actions by a wrong rule.


Verse 12

Job 27:12 Behold, all ye yourselves have seen [it]; why then are ye thus altogether vain?

Ver. 12. Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it] And can say as much to it as I can in these sc. that God afflicteth good men as well as bad, &c. Ecce autem cum vos omnes speculationibus (theologicis) operam dederitis, quare tam vanas opiniones habetis? So the Tigurine translation hath it; that is, But behold, whereas all ye have spent your time in theological speculations, how is it that ye have taken up such vain opinions? The Hebrew runs thus, Behold, you all have seen, or are seers (and he that is now called a prophet was before time called a seer, 1 Samuel 9:9), ye are knowing men, and of great experience, why then do ye go against your own knowledge, by speaking vainly and vilely notwithstanding?

Why then are ye thus altogether vain?] Heb. And why is this that ye are vain in vanity? sc while ye assert that God’s love may be known by prosperity, and his hatred by adversity; and while ye conclude me a hypocrite because afflicted? for so they had all done with one consent. Bildad, Job 8:13; Eliphaz, Job 15:34; and Zophar, Job 20:5. When as yet Job had given sufficient proof to the contrary; the matter was clear enough; but they did, data opera, for the nonce, obscure it: this was a vanity of vanities, and Job tells them as much.


Verse 13

Job 27:13 This [is] the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, [which] they shall receive of the Almighty.

Ver. 13. This is the portion of a wicked man with God] q.d. So ye say, and so I say too; for herein I will not deny to comply and to chime in with you. Zophar had said the same in effect, and used the selfsame expressions that Job here doth, Job 20:29. See the notes there. But must Job therefore be a hypocrite, though he continue to hope, and pray, and delight in God amidst all his miseries? Job 27:8-10. Negatur. He had spoken much before of the wicked man’s prosperity; now, to prevent mistakes, he discourseth largely of his punishment, and how ill he beareth it.

And the heritage of oppressors, &c.] Of fierce and formidable tyrants, that are a terror to others. These are the rewards they shall receive from the God of recompences, the Almighty, who can well enough deal with them, and delights to get him a name in their just destruction.


Verse 14

Job 27:14 If his children be multiplied, [it is] for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.

Ver. 14. If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword] As were Ahab’s seventy sons, for instance, 2 Kings 10:1, whom he had begotten after God had threatened to root out his posterity. He, therefore, as it were to cross the Almighty, gives himself so much the more strenuously to the work of generation; but this was (like Ephraim) to bring forth children to the murderer, Hosea 4:13. See the like of Ahaziah and his forty-two brethren slain at the shearing house. [2 Kings 10:14]

And his offspring] Heb. His issues, or egressions, his shoots or branches, his pledges: so Mercer rendereth it.

Shall not be satisfied with bread] i.e. Shall be pined and famished, which their wicked parents, by heaping and hoarding, sought to prevent, but it could not be. And this shall be a more cruel kind of death than the former, Lamentations 4:9. Drusus, the son of Tiberius Nero, was put to this death; so was our Richard II, at Pomfret Castle; Sanders, that traitor in Ireland; and many others.


Verse 15

Job 27:15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.

Ver. 15. Those that remain of him shall be buried in death] That is, shall be presently and privately buried (as some sense it), without any noise or notice. Or, they shall be so hated, that no man shall speak well of them when they are dead; but their name shall be buried, and shall rot with them: so others understand it. Or, they shall be buried alive; as was Zeno the emperor in a fit of an apoplexy. Sepelientur adhuc vivi moribundi (Vatab.). And when as he recovered of that fit in his sepulchre, and cried for help, his wife, Ariadne, was so kind as to deny it him. The like is recorded of Scotus, the great school man. Diodati saith, that by this being buried in death is meant that the wicked dying are plunged into everlasting death, which only is the true death, εν θανατω τελευτησουσι (Sept.). Agreeable whereunto is that phrase, Revelation 2:23, "I will kill her children with death." It is one thing to die, and another thing to be killed with death; this last is the time when death proves a harbinger to hell, when it haleth hell at the heels of it. This is a woeful death indeed.

And his widows shall not weep] Mors mea ne careat lacrimis, saith one. Tears are one of the dews of the dead; but some men, as they have lived undesired (their friends and whole neighbourhood being sick of them, and even longing for a vomit), so they die unlamented by their own widows (for in those days men took many wives, as now the Turks do so many as they are able to maintain, and very coarsely they use them), who are glad that they are thus rid of them, who were wont to lay upon them with their unmanly fists, or otherwise to abuse them. Of King Edwin it is said, that he lived wickedly, died wishedly. And of Henry II, that hearing that his son and successor, John, had conspired against him, he fell into a grievous passion, both cursing his sons and the day wherein himself was born, and in that distemper departed the world which so often he himself had distempered, and had now every man’s good word to be gone hence. See Jeremiah 22:18.

Cum mors crudelem rapuisset saeva Neronem,

Credibile est multos Romanam agitasse iocos.


Verse 16

Job 27:16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay;

Ver. 16. Though he heap up silver as the dust] Silver and gold, what are they else but white and red earth, the guts and garbage of the earth, as one saith? Yet how greedy of them and gripple after them are many muck worms, heaping up riches, and not knowing who shall gather them, Psalms 39:6; laying up, as if their lives were riveted upon eternity; or were sure to leave it to their children, who yet shall never enjoy it. This is a great vanity, saith Solomon; and yet such dust heaps as these are to be found in every corner.

And prepare raiment as the clay] Tantum vestium quantum est luti, saith Vatablus, that he have as great store of suits in his wardrobe as he hath dirt in his ditches.


Verse 17

Job 27:17 He may prepare [it], but the just shall put [it] on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.

Ver. 17. He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on.] Well may he prepare it, so Broughton. Let the wicked man toil and take pains for it; God hath prepared for him an executor never mentioned in his will. God gave the Egyptians’ and Canaanites’ goods to Israel; Nabal’s to David; Haman’s to Mordecai. See Proverbs 28:8, Ecclesiastes 2:26. This plague among the rest God threateneth the disobedient with, Deuteronomy 28:30. Sed haec non semper, saith Mercer, although we see not this always so to be, but the contrary; yet it is easy to observe that many spend their strength and waste their wits in congerendo et converrendo, in getting and gathering these outward things; and then, when to possess them might seem a happiness, they die and leave them to uncertain heirs, as did Absalom and Alexander the Great, who left his ring to Perdiceas, but his dominions, τω κρατιστω, to him that should best deserve them (Plut.).

And the innocent shall divide the silver] Shall share it among them, as their child’s portions. Soles enim Deus dividere aliis dona, aliis donorum usum et lucrum, saith Brentius here. God gives gifts unto men, even to the rebellious, but the use and enjoyment of those gifts he bestoweth upon the righteous. The former have "great treasure and trouble therewith," Proverbs 15:16. Misera est magni custodia census (Juvenal). The latter have, howsoever, contented godliness; and though they gather less of this manna here below, yet they have no want.


Verse 18

Job 27:18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth [that] the keeper maketh.

Ver. 18. He buildeth his house as a moth] Which lodgeth itself in some stately garment, and thinks there to die in his nest, which he hath feathered (as the silkworm endeth his life in his long wrought clew), but is soon bruised or brushed out; so shall the oppressor be cast out of his sumptuous buildings, which he hath with much cost and care erected, rather for a moth than a man to dwell in. It is not unlawful to build houses; only men must not build them, as the moth doth, with loss and hurt to others. Tremellius reads the text thus, He shall build his house at Arcturus (so this word is translated, Job 9:9), that is, a heavenly house, and as it were a second paradise. But God did not cast man out of one paradise that he should build him another. Haec sunt quae nos invitos faciunt mori, said Charles V to the duke of Venice (who had showed him his palace, which was very magnificent and majestic), These be the things that make us loth to die. The Turks’ private houses in Constantinople are for the most part low and base; they, after their homely manner (by long custom received), never build anything sumptuously for their own private use; but content themselves with their simple cottages, how mean soever; commonly saying, that they are good enough for the short time of their pilgrimage.

And as a booth that the keeper maketh] i.e. The keeper of the field, orchard, or vineyard, who setteth him up a booth, cabin, or cottage, to defend him from the parching heat of the sun, which lasteth only for one summer at utmost; so here, the experience whereof we have had abundantly in these late desolating wars; for how many gallant houses have been utterly ruined,

Ut praeter nomen solum, nihil amplius extet?


Verse 19

Job 27:19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he [is] not.

Ver. 19. The rich man shall lie down] That is, the wicked rich man, as James 5:1. Magna cognatio ut rei sic nominis, divitiis, et vitiis. He shall lie down, viz. in the streets, as being left homeless.

But he shall not be gathered] i.e. Taken into house or harbour by any man; but abhorred by all for his former cruelty.

He openeth his eyes, and he is not] He looketh about him on every side, but findeth no succour. There are that understand it of death: The rich man shall lie down, sc. in the dust of death; but shall not be gathered, that is, nec honorifice funerabitur; he shall not have the honour of a comely burial (Tigur.). Besides, he openeth his eyes, and he is not; upon his death bed he looks about for comfort (the mole, they say, never openeth her eyes till the pangs of death are upon her); but instead thereof shall see that threefold terrible spectacle, death, judgment, hell, and all to be passed through by his poor soul; hence, and no wonder.


Verse 20

Job 27:20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.

Ver. 20. Terrors take hold on him as waters] Abundantly, suddenly, irresistibly; he is even swallowed up by them and overwhelmed; as he that is plunged into a deep pit full of water, or that hath the proud surges going over his soul, Psalms 124:5. The misery of it is, that these waters are fiery, and hell is a lake; but a burning lake, and such also as hath eternity to the bottom.

A tempest stealeth him away in the night] i.e. Furtim, et repente et horribiliter. Night is itself full of terror; but much more when a tempest is up, and thieves are abroad, &c. Oh! it must needs be a terrible time indeed, when death shall come with a writ of Habeas corpus, and the devil with another of Habeas animam upon a man at once. Petrus Suetorius speaketh of one that preaching a funeral sermon on a certain canon at Paris, and giving him large commendations, heard at the same time a voice in the church, Mortuus sum, iudicatus sum, damnatus sum, I am dead, judged, and damned (Pet. Suetor. de Vit. Carth). Oh! let us but think with ourselves, though it pass all thought, what a screech the poor soul giveth when hurled into hell; there to suffer such tortures and torments as it shall never be able to avoid or abide!


Verse 21

Job 27:21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.

Ver. 21. The east wind carrieth him away] Deus subito et severo suo iudicio (Lavat.). God, by his sudden and severe judgment, hurrieth him hence to the place of torment, without the least hope of ever either mending or ending.

And he departeth] But with as ill a will as ever did Lot out of Sodom; Adam out of Paradise; the Jebusites out of Jerusalem; the unjust steward out of his office; the devil out of the demoniac.

And as a storm hurleth him] Turbinat eum, tosseth him like a ball into a far country, as if he were wherried away by a fierce whirlwind, or served as pastime for tempests.


Verse 22

Job 27:22 For [God] shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.

Ver. 22. For God shall cast upon him, and not spare] But set himself to inflict upon this cursed caitiff all the plagues written and unwritten in his book, full vials of vengeance; an evil, an only evil, even punishment without pity, misery without mercy, sorrow without succour, crying without comfort, mischief without measure, torments without end, and past imagination.

He would fain flee out of his hand] But that will not be; like a wretched caitiff, he runs without resting, but God’s hand pursueth him till he perisheth. He may shuffle from side to side, as Balaam’s ass did; he may skip up and down, as the wounded deer; Sed haeret lateri lethalis arundo, the deadly dart sticks in his side, &c.


Verse 23

Job 27:23 [Men] shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.

Ver 23. Men shall clap their hands at him, &c.] Heb. He shall clap, &c. Every he shall, or God shall, as some read it. God shall kick him off this stage of the world, and then men shall clap and hiss at him in sign of detestation; as they did once at Sejanus, Phocas, Richard III, whose miseries were a part of other men’s happiness, who looked upon them as wolves and public pests.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 27:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-27.html. 1865-1868.

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Monday, November 30th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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