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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Job 22

 

 

Verse 1

Job 22:1. Then Eliphaz answered — Eliphaz, in this chapter, charges Job home with particular facts of cruelty and oppression, which he supposes him to be guilty of, though he cannot allege one proof of them; to which he adds the atrocious crime of atheism, and a denial or disbelief of God’s providence; and this latter he assigns as the reason of Job’s obstinacy in refusing to submit and acknowledge his guilt. He compares his wickedness to that of the mighty oppressors of the antediluvian world; to that of the inhabitants of Sodom and the cities of the plain; not obscurely intimating that his end would probably be the same as theirs, unless prevented by a speedy submission and full restitution; to which he therefore earnestly presses him, and endeavours to allure him by placing full in his view the great advantages he would probably reap from such a conduct. — Heath.


Verse 2

Job 22:2. Can a man be profitable unto God — That is, add any thing to his perfection or felicity? namely, by his righteousness, as the next verse shows. Why then dost thou insist so much upon thy own righteousness, as if thou didst oblige God by it; or, as if he could not, without injustice, afflict thee, who supposest thyself to be a righteous person? As, or because, he that is wise — He that is a truly righteous and good man; may be profitable to himself — Does much good to himself; promotes his own peace, and honour, and happiness, by his goodness. Because a wise man receives great benefit by his virtue, shall we think that God is a gainer by it too?


Verse 3

Job 22:3. Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous? — That is, any such pleasure as he needs in order to his happiness? Heath renders it, any advantage. God, we know, approves of and accepts the good actions of his people, and is often said in Scripture to delight in them; but certainly cannot be advantaged by them. He needs not us or our services. We are undone, for ever undone, without him: but he is happy, for ever happy, without us.


Verse 4

Job 22:4. Will he reprove thee — That is, rebuke, chastise, or punish thee; for fear of thee? — Because he is afraid lest, if he should let thee alone, thou wouldst grow too great and powerful for him: surely no. As thy righteousness cannot profit him, so thy wickedness can do him no hurt.


Verse 5

Job 22:5. Is not thy wickedness great? — Thy great sins are the true and only cause of thy misery. Or, the verse may be translated, Is not thy evil (thy affliction or punishment) great, because, אין קצ, ein ketz, there is no end to thy iniquities? Are not thy calamities procured by, and in proportion to thy sins? Thy conscience tells thee they are so. And therefore thou hast no reason to accuse God, or any person but thyself.


Verse 6

Job 22:6. For thou hast taken a pledge — Or, surely thou hast taken. He speaks thus, by way of conjecture, or strong presumption: as if he had said, When I consider thy grievous and unusual calamities, I justly conclude thou art guilty of some, or all, of these following crimes; and do thou search thy own conscience whether it be not so with thee. From thy brother — Of thy neighbour, or of thy kinsman; for naught — Without a sufficient and justifiable cause. And stripped the naked of their clothing — By taking their garments for a pledge, and thereby rendering them naked; or, by robbing them of their rights, all other injuries being comprehended under this.


Verse 8

Job 22:8. The mighty man had the earth — That is, he had the firm possession, or free enjoyment of it. Which is meant, either, 1st, of Job, of whom he speaks invidiously in the third person: as if he had said, The mighty man Job possessed, enlarged, and enjoyed his estate, without any compassion to the poor. Or, 2d, of other rich and potent men, who had the earth or land by Job’s kindness and courtesy. The rich were always welcome to him; his house was open to them; his land was before them, when the poor were driven away from his house and territories. The honourable man dwelt in it — Either by Job’s sentence or permission, he had a peaceable and sure possession of it, whether he had a right to it or not. Heath renders this verse, But, as for the mighty man, the whole land was for him; and thy particular favourite, he might dwell in it.


Verse 9

Job 22:9. Thou hast sent widows — Whose helpless state called for thy pity; away empty — Either by denying them that relief that their poverty required, or that right which their cause deserved; or, by spoiling them of their goods, because thou knewest them to be unable to oppose thee, or to defend themselves. And the arms of the fatherless have been broken —

That is, all their supports and rights, a heinous sin, but falsely charged upon Job.


Verse 10-11

Job 22:10-11. Therefore snares are round about thee — For these and the like crimes thou art encompassed with dangers and calamities. And sudden fear troubleth thee — Besides thy present miseries, thou art tormented with the dread of further and greater judgments. Or darkness, that thou canst not see — Such confusion and perplexity of mind that thou canst not discern the true cause and use of thy sufferings; or grievous calamities, often called darkness, which are such that thou canst see no way or possibility of escaping; and abundance of waters cover thee — That is, a variety of sore afflictions, frequently compared to waters.


Verse 12

Job 22:12. Is not God in the height of heaven? — Surely, he is; and from that high tower he looketh down upon men, to behold, and govern, and recompense all their actions, whether good or bad. And, therefore, O Job, thou art grossly mistaken, in thinking that good men suffer as deeply as any others in this lower world, while the vilest of men flourish and are exalted; which would imply that all things are managed here by chance, or without any regard to justice and to just men, and not by the wise and holy providence of God. Behold the stars, how high they are — Yet God is far higher than they, and from thence can easily observe all men and things here below.


Verse 13

Job 22:13. And — Or therefore, thou sayest, How doth God know? &c. — From this true and certain principle, thou drawest a false and wicked conclusion, and fanciest, perhaps, that because he is so high he minds not what is done here below: or, that he cannot discern the difference of things so very remote, through those immense and innumerable clouds which lie between the heaven and the earth.


Verse 14

Job 22:14. Thick clouds are a covering to him — He is surrounded, thou imaginest, with such thick clouds that they conceal us from his sight. And he walketh in the circuit of the heaven — His delight is in heaven, which is worthy of his care, but he will not burden himself with the care of earth; which was the opinion of many heathen philosophers, and, as his friends fancied, was Job’s opinion also.


Verse 15-16

Job 22:15-16. Hast thou marked the old way? — Hebrew, ארח עולם, orach gnolam, the way of antiquity, that is, of men living in ancient times, or former ages. And, by their way, he either means their course, and common practice, or their end and success. Which were cut down out of time — Before their time; who died a violent and untimely death. Whose foundation was overflown, &c. — Who, together with their foundation the earth, and all their supports and enjoyments, were destroyed by a flood of waters. As the universal deluge was a most signal and memorable instance of God’s displeasure against wickedness and wicked men, and was, doubtless, very well known in those days, Eliphaz takes occasion to enlarge upon it, for five or six verses together, as a proper lesson (so he thought it) for his friend; and then closes it with the mention of another destruction by fire, either past or to be expected, which is described to be as general and as fatal to the wicked.


Verse 17

Job 22:17. Which said unto God, Depart from us — He repeats Job’s words, Job 21:14-15; but to a contrary purpose. Job alleged them to show that some men prospered, notwithstanding their professed wickedness, and Eliphaz produces them to show that they were cut off for it. And, What can the Almighty do for them? — Thus did that wicked generation, whom Noah had in vain called to repentance, as it were, defy God, contemning both his threatenings and his promises.


Verse 18

Job 22:18. Yet he filled their houses with good things — Yet it is true, that for a time God did prosper them, but, at last, cut them off in a tremendous manner. But the counsel of the wicked, &c. — He repeats Job’s words, (Job 21:16,) not without reflection: thou didst say so, but against thy own principle, that God carries himself indifferently toward good and bad; but I, who have observed God’s terrible judgments upon wicked men, have much more reason to abhor their counsels.


Verse 19

Job 22:19. The righteous see it — Whom God often spares in common calamities, and gives them to see the destruction of the wicked; as Noah, Lot, &c. And are glad — Not that they insult over, or rejoice in, the ruin of any men, but because they delight in the vindication of God’s honour, and justice, and holiness, which is connected with the destruction of his enemies, and which is, and ought to be, dearer to them than all the interests of men. And the innocent laugh them to scorn — Justly deride them, for their vain and strong confidences, which are now destroyed; for their profane contempt of God’s wrath and judgments, which they now feel; and for their deep and crafty counsels, which are now frustrated and turned against themselves.


Verse 20

Job 22:20. Whereas — Or rather, seeing that, or, because, when wicked men are destroyed, they are preserved. He should have said their substance; but he changes the person, and saith, our substance; either as including himself in the number of righteous persons, and thereby intimating that he pleaded the common cause of all such, while Job pleaded the cause of the wicked; or because he would hereby thankfully acknowledge some eminent and particular preservation given to him among other righteous men. The remnant of them — All that was left undestroyed in the general calamity. The fire consumeth — He is thought by some to allude to the judgment of God upon Sodom and Gomorrah: as if he had said, Thou mayest find here and there an instance of a wicked man dying in peace. But what is that to the two great instances of the final perdition of ungodly men, the drowning the whole world, and the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems, however, much more natural, as Dr. Dodd observes, to understand him as referring to the last general conflagration: “for how could the destroying a little city or two be said, with any propriety, to consume the remnant; that is, the whole remainder of wicked men? when, at the very same time, Chaldea, and perhaps the greatest part of the world, was overrun with idolatry. The dissolution of the world by fire is what St. Peter calls expressly, The day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, 2 Peter 3:7. And St. Jude, Job 22:14, seems to say, that this was prophesied of by Enoch before the flood; and if so, must have been known to Noah, and by him, no doubt, transmitted to posterity, and so might be well known to Job and his friends.” Eliphaz, therefore, may be understood as saying, Though the judgment by water, extensive as it was, did not thoroughly purge the world, but wickedness and wicked men again sprung up, spread widely, and abounded; yet know, there shall come a time hereafter when the world shall be consumed by fire, and then the whole race and remainder of wicked men shall be delivered up, once for all, to such an absolute destruction, as that none shall ever spring from their ashes, nor shall the new world and its inhabitants know wickedness, or a defection from God any more. If this view of the passage be admitted, it will appear that the doctrine of the future dissolution of the world by fire, so plainly taught us in the New Testament, and so immediately connected with that of the resurrection, was not unknown in Job’s time, and consequently we shall have a further confirmation of the interpretation we have given of Job 19:25, and some other passages in this book. See Peters, p. 409; and the 24th, 25th, and 26th chapters of Isaiah, where the prophet seems to speak copiously on this subject, using an expression, Job 26:11, very like to this of Eliphaz. The fire of thine enemies, which is prepared for thine enemies, shall consume them.


Verse 21

Job 22:21. Acquaint now thyself with him — That is, with God, as appears both from Job 22:23, where he is expressed, and from the nature of the matter in hand, there being no other way to happiness. Renew thy acquaintance with God by prayer, and repentance for all thy sins, and true humiliation under his hand, and hearty compliance with all his commands, and diligent care to serve and enjoy him. It is our honour, that we are made capable of this acquaintance; our misery, that by sin we have lost it; our privilege, that through Christ we may return to it; and our unspeakable advantage, to renew and cultivate it. And be at peace — At peace with God, and at peace with thyself; not fretful or uneasy. Good shall come unto thee — All the good thou canst desire, temporal, spiritual, eternal.


Verse 22

Job 22:22. Receive the law from his mouth — Take the rule, whereby thou mayest govern thy thoughts, and words, and whole life, not from idolaters and profane heathen, whose opinion concerning God’s providence thou appearest to have embraced, nor from thy own imaginations or violent passions, which have led thee into thy present errors; but from God, and from his law, which is written in thy own mind, and from the doctrines and instructions of the wise and holy men of God, who are all of our mind in this matter. And lay up his words in thy heart — Not only hear them with thine ears, but let them sink into thy heart, being received there with hearty affection, and fixed by the serious, frequent, and practical consideration of them.


Verse 23

Job 22:23. If thou return to the Almighty — The Hebrew phrase, תשׁוב עד שׁדי, tashub gnad shaddai, is emphatical, and implies a thorough turning from sin to God, so as to love him, and cleave to him, and sincerely devote a man’s self to his fear and service. Thou shalt be built up — God will repair thy ruins, and give thee more children, and bless thee with prosperity. Thou shalt put away iniquity, &c. — It is either, 1st, A spiritual promise; if thou dost sincerely repent, God will give thee grace effectually to reform thyself and family: or, 2d, A temporal promise, meaning, thou shalt put away the punishment of thy sins, as iniquity is very often used; far from thy tabernacles — From all thy dwellings, and tents, and possessions.


Verse 24-25

Job 22:24-25. Then shalt thou lay up gold — The word בצר, batzer, here rendered gold, is a word of dubious meaning. R. Levi, indeed, makes it parallel to zahab, gold: Ab. Ezra, to cheseph, silver. “In Arabic,” says Chappelow, “it sometimes signifies some particular stones, diversified with white lines. And this, perhaps, is the true sense of the term.” As dust — In great abundance. Or, as על עפר, gnal gnaphar, rather means, upon the dust, or ground. It shall be so plentiful, and therefore vile, that thou shalt not lock it up in chests, but scatter it anywhere, and suffer it to lie, even upon the ground; as the stones of the brook — As if pieces of gold were but so many pebble-stones, which are to be found in or near every brook. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence — Against the incursions of neighbouring spoilers: thy wealth shall not then lie exposed, as it did to Sabeans and Chaldeans; God, by his watchful providence, shall protect thee from all dangers and calamities. And thou shalt have plenty of silver — The Hebrew, כסŠ תועפות, cheseph tognapoth, is literally, argentum virium tibi, or, the strength of silver shall be to thee: that is, shall by God’s blessing be thy defence, Ecclesiastes 7:12; or, as the phrase may be rendered, silver of heights, that is, high and heaped up like a mountain, Henry very properly calls our attention here to the margin, which reads gold instead of defence in the former clause of the verse, the original word being the same with that rendered gold, Job 22:24. Thus interpreted the sense is, The Almighty shall be thy gold, and silver of strength to thee; which translation is perfectly agreeable to the Hebrew. On this the same pious author observes, “Worldlings make gold their god; saints make God their gold: they that are enriched with his favour and grace may truly be said to have abundance of the best gold, and best laid up.”


Verse 26

Job 22:26. For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty — Thou shalt find delight, not only or chiefly in these outward comforts, but also and especially in God, whose face shall shine upon thee; and who shall give thee these things, not in anger, as he doth to wicked men, but as pledges of his love and favour to thee, and of those greater and eternal blessings which he hath in store for thee. And accordingly thou shalt delight thyself in him as worldly people delight themselves in their money, and shalt find real and continual pleasure in worshipping, obeying, and serving him in and with all his mercies. Thus these words contain a reason why he might confidently expect all those forementioned blessings, because he should set his affections on God, and possess his favour, which is the spring and foundation of all good. And lift up thy face unto God — Look up to him with cheerfulness and confidence.


Verse 27

Job 22:27. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him — Hebrew, תעתיר אליו, tagnter eelaiv, thou shalt pray earnestly and importunately, or, thou shalt multiply thy prayer. Under all thy burdens, in all thy wants, cares, and fears, thou shalt apply to heaven for wisdom, strength, and comfort. Thou shalt pay thy vows — Thou shalt obtain those blessings for which thou didst make vows to God, and therefore, according to thy obligation, shalt pay thy vows to him.


Verse 28-29

Job 22:28-29. It shall be established — Thy purposes shall not be disappointed, but ratified by God. And in all thy counsels and actions God shall give thee the light of his direction and governance, and of comfort and success. When men are cast down — When, in a time of general calamity, all are cast down round about thee, cast down in their affairs, cast down in their spirits, sinking, desponding, ready to despair; when men’s hearts fail them for fear, or, rather, according to the Hebrew, (in which there is nothing for men, and which is only כי השׁפילו, chi hishpilu, cum depresserint,) when they have cast thee down, or, when thou art cast down; when God, in the course of his providence, shall bring thee, or suffer thee to be brought, into any trouble which he sees will be good for thee; thou shalt say — Within thyself, with good confidence and assurance; There is lifting up — Or, there shall be lifting up; either, 1st, For them, who, if they repent and humble themselves, shall be preserved and restored: or, rather, for thee and thine: God will deliver thee, when others are crushed and destroyed. Hebrew, Thou shalt say, גרה, gerah, exaltation! an expression to be admired for its conciseness and comprehensiveness. Thou shalt expect exaltation in the time of depression; nay, thy depression shall be in order to, and the means of, thy exaltation. And thou shalt find that consolation in thyself, which will not only bear thee up under thy troubles, and keep thee from fainting, but lift thee up above thy troubles, and enable thee to rejoice notwithstanding them. And he — God, from whom alone cometh salvation; shall save — Temporally from the evils here mentioned, and eternally from other and infinitely greater evils; the humble person — Hebrew, שׁח עינים, shach gneinaim, him that hath low or cast-down eyes; which phrase may denote, either, 1st, Humility and lowliness of mind, as pride is often expressed by high or lofty looks; and so this is a tacit reproof of Job, for his confident justification of himself: or, 2d, Lowness of state and condition, as James 1:10. And so understood, it describes him, whose eyes and countenance are dejected by reason of great troubles and miseries.


Verse 30

Job 22:30. He — Whose prerogative it is to give deliverances; shall deliver Namely, upon thy request, as the following clause shows; the island of the innocent — Not only thyself, when thou shalt become innocent, or righteous, but, for thy sake, he will deliver the whole island, or country, in which thou dwellest: God will have so great a respect to thy innocence, that for thy sake he will deliver those that belong to thee, or live with thee, or near thee, though, in themselves, they be ripe for destruction. By the pureness of thy hands — By thy prayers, proceeding from a pure heart and conscience. So Eliphaz and his two friends, who, in this matter, were not innocent, were delivered by the pureness of Job’s hands, Job 42:8.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 22:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-22.html. 1857.

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