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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Job 21

 

 

Verses 1-34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 21:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/job-21.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 9th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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