Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 12:1

Then Job responded,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Animals;   Job, the Book of;  

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

JOB 12

JOB'S FOURTH SPEECH:

JOB ANSWERS NOT ONLY BILDAD BUT ALL OF HIS FRIENDS

This, along with the next two chapters is a record of Job's reply to his three friends. Scherer pointed out that the chapter divisions here are fortunate, following the general organization of Job's speech.[1] In this chapter, Job sarcastically rejected the theology of his friends, appealing to a number of facts that clearly contradicted their views.

Job's bitterly sarcastic words here do not contradict the New Testament evaluation of Job as a man of great patience. On the other hand, we should consider that, "The measure of Job's provocation was so great that only a superhuman being could have avoided being disgusted."[2]

As Franks noted, "Eliphaz had appealed to revelation (that vision which he said he had); Bildad appealed to the wisdom of the ancients, and Zophar assumed that he himself was the oracle of God's wisdom."[3] Job answered Zophar's conceited claim. However, Job, in this speech, did not answer Zophar alone, but all of his `comforters.' He labeled all of them as "forgers of lies" (Job 13:4), challenging them with his declaration that, "I am not inferior to you (Job 12:3).

Job 12:1-6

JOB DENIES THAT HIS COMFORTERS HAD ANY KNOWLEDGE THAT HE HIMSELF DID NOT POSSESS

"Then Job answered and said,

No doubt but ye are the people,

And wisdom shall die with you.

But I have understanding as well as you;

I am not inferior to you:

Yea, who knoweth not such things as these?

I am one that is a laughing-stock to his neighbor,

I who called upon God, and he answered:

The just, the perfect man is a laughing-stock.

In the thought of him that is at ease, there is contempt for misfortune;

It is ready for him whose foot slippeth.

The tents of robbers prosper,

And they that provoke God are secure;

Into whose hand God bringeth abundantly."

"And wisdom shall die with you" (Job 12:2). It is amazing that anyone could suppose that these words were intended as a compliment; but Blair wrote, "Job gives them the benefit of the doubt, saying, `Wisdom shall die with you.' He inferred that they were wise."[4] We agree with Barnes that, "This is evidently the language of severe sarcasm; and it shows a spirit fretted and chafed by their reproaches."[5]

"(For) him that is at ease, there is a contempt for misfortune" (Job 12:5). Job, who had been the greatest man in the East, who had been the special object of God's blessings, who had called upon God, and whom God had answered, - even that man, who, at the moment, had been reduced by the most superlative misfortunes, was experiencing the contemptuous laughter of his neighbors; and in these words he truly spoke of a universal trait of our fallen human nature, namely, that of despising the unfortunate.

"In sheer exasperation, Job here bewails the situation. He knows that he is a godly man of great wisdom and understanding; but here he is treated like a criminal and a simpleton, solely upon the basis of his friends' theory, a theory that is flatly contradicted by the fact that known robbers are prospering while he is reduced to mockery."[6]

In these words, Job is thoroughly contemptuous of the conceited and arrogant ignorance of his `comforters'; and in this great response, he blistered them with devastating and unanswerable criticisms.

"The tents of robbers prosper" (Job 12:6). This is the dramatic and unanswerable contradiction of the false theory of his `comforters.' "This was Job's original proposition; and he clung to it throughout the whole encounter, that God does not deal with men in this life according to their character."[7]

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Job 12:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/job-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Job answered and said. In reply to Zophar, and in defence of himself; what is recorded in this and the two following chapters.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 12:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-12.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Job 12:1-14:22. Job‘s reply to Zophar.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 12:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-12.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 12:1 And Job answered and said,

Ver. 1. And Job answered and said] Being nipped and nettled with his friends’ hard usage of him, and harsh language to him, but especially with Zophar’s arrogant and lofty preface in the former chapter, he begins now to wax warm, and more roughly and roundly to shape them an answer.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 12:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-12.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

CHAP. XII.

Job reproves the boasting of his friends: he shews that in this life it is frequently well even with those men who offend the Lord; yet allows that nobody could deny their general doctrine, that all things were governed by an Almighty God.

Before Christ 1645.

Job 12:1. And Job answered In this and the two following chapters Job replies to Zophar. Greatly vexed that his friends should entertain so firm an opinion of his being a wicked man; that they should press him so hard with their maxim, "That affliction was a demonstration of guilt," and should make a mock of his appeal to God, he can no longer refrain from being very sharp in his treatment of them. He taxes them with self-conceit; their maxims he treats as mean and poor, the contrary of which was evident to all observing persons; good men were frequently in distress, while robbers and public plunderers enjoyed their ill-gotten wealth in perfect security; Job 12:2-6. This was so notorious, that it was impossible it could have escaped their observation; Job 12:7 to the end. This was, indeed, the work of Jehovah, who was all-wise and all-powerful, and no one could call him to account. All this he was as sensible of as they could be, for which reason he was the more desirous to argue the point with God; Job 13:1-10. And as for them, if they would pretend to be judges, they should take great care to be upright ones; since God would by no means excuse corruption of judgment, though it should be in his own behalf; and his all-seeing eye would penetrate their motives, though ever so closely concealed from human view; and in his sight, all their maxims of wisdom, on which they seemed so much to value themselves, would be regarded as dross and dung. He was not, he intimated, in the least apprehensive of bringing his cause to an issue; because he was satisfied that the Almighty, far from oppressing him by dint of power, would rather afford him strength to go through his defence; and he was persuaded that the issue would be favourable to him; Job 12:11-19. He, therefore, challenges any one among them to declare himself the accuser; secure enough as to that point, as he well knew they could not make good their charge: and as, in case of false accusation, the accuser was to undergo the punishment due to the accused if guilty, he knew they would run no such hazards, unless they knew themselves able to prove their charge. He, therefore, again ends with a tender expostulation with the Almighty, begging that he might, before his death, have an opportunity of publicly vindicating his integrity; since afterwards he could have no hope of doing it; Job 12:20 to the end of chap. 14: Heath.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 12:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-12.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

In this chapter, Job makes reply. He still dwells upon the same arguments of his own integrity, as it concerned his trust and dependence upon God. He manifests great strength of understanding, concerning the afflictions of the righteous, and contends that they are by no means marks of God's displeasure.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 12:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/job-12.html. 1828.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

JOB’S THIRD REPLY, Job 12:12-14.

1.Job answered — He scouts the pompous pretensions of the “friends” to superior wisdom, which, however, he remarks, do not prevent their treating misfortune with contempt. A single matter-of-fact utterance, (Job 12:6,) foils all their laboured arguments — a fact which they should have learned from the most ordinary view of society. The inferior creation is ready to instruct man, if he will but listen, instead of pluming himself with the wise saws of the ancients, which Job says are not to be accepted until they have been fully tested. Infinite in knowledge and in power, God holds all events and results in his hands; and his wisdom and might are not less mysterious and inexplicable in his providence over men than in the worlds of nature. (Chap. 13.) Conscious of innocence, and assured that he will not find justice at the hands of men, who, for various reasons, are ever ready to pervert the truth, Job takes the only course open to him, and formally, as in open court, makes his appeal to God. He is painfully sensible that he takes his life in his hands; and yet, such is his faith in God and in truth, that he triumphantly declares that if God should smite him down he would still hold fast to his faith — even in death God should be his salvation. Though pain, passion, and despair burn within him, the flame that lifts itself to sight is one of blended faith and hope which nothing can extinguish. His appeal commences with a bold and unjustifiable challenge, (23-28,) and ends in a heart-rending wail. Chap. 14. Heir of a fleeting existence, which brings with it the taint of corruption, Job pleads the miserable lot of man as a reason for clemency on the part of God. For vegetation there is a possible renewal of life, but for man there is none in this present world, not even till the heavens be no more. His one striking prayer is, that he may be hidden in the grave until the present dark scheme shall have ended, and another day have dawned, when God shall try the cause of Job under an economy different from that which now prevails (Job 12:15). In a scene where even rocks and mountains waste away, man can cherish but little, if any, hope. A gloom rests upon the whole of mortal life, “which is lighted up as by a lightning flash, only by the possibility of another life after death.” — Dillmann. This, the last and greatest address of Job in the first debate, divides itself according to the chapters, the first of which is in two sections of about equal length.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 12:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-12.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 12:1. And Job answered — Greatly vexed that his friends should entertain so firm an opinion of his being a wicked man, and that they should press him so hard with their maxim, “that affliction was a demonstration of guilt,” he can no longer refrain from answering them with great sharpness. He taxes them with self-conceit; their maxims he treats as mean and poor, the contrary of which was evident to all observing persons; good men were frequently in distress, while robbers and public plunderers enjoyed their ill-gotten wealth in perfect security, Job 12:2-6. This was so notorious, that it was impossible it could have escaped their observation, Job 12:7. This was indeed the work of Jehovah, who was all-wise and all- powerful, and no one could call him to account. All this he was as sensible of as they could be, for which reason he was the more desirous to argue the point with God, Job 13:1-10. And, as for them, if they would pretend to be judges, they should take great care to be upright ones; since God would by no means excuse corruption of judgment, though it should be in his own behalf; and his all-seeing eye would penetrate their motives, though ever so closely concealed from human view; and in his sight all their maxims of wisdom, on which they seemed so much to value themselves, would be regarded as dross and dung. That he was not in the least apprehensive of bringing his cause to an issue; because he was satisfied that the Almighty, far from oppressing him by dint of power, would rather afford him strength to go through his defence; and he was persuaded the issue would be favourable to him, Job 12:11-19. He, therefore, challenges any one among them to declare himself the accuser; secure enough as to that point, as he was sensible they could not make good their charge. He again ends with a tender expostulation with the Almighty, begging he might have, before his death, an opportunity of publicly vindicating his innocence, since afterward he could have no hope of doing it, Job 12:20 to the end of chap. 14. — Heath.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 12:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-12.html. 1857.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"And with you wisdom will die!" The arguments from Job"s friends have not silenced him, in fact this speech is the longest thus far. Job ridicules their claim to wisdom, "He sarcastically responded to Zophar"s snidely calling him a stupid donkey (11:12) by saying that they thought they were so smart that when they would die all wisdom would be gone!" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 733).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 12:1". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-12.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

answered. See note on Job 4:1.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 12:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-12.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Job answered and said,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 12:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-12.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XII.

(1) And Job answered and said.—Each of the friends has now supplied his quota, and Job proceeds to reply to the third, showing that he is far more conversant with the wisdom and majesty of God than they are themselves, though in their own esteem they alone are wise.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 12:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-12.html. 1905.