Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 12:13

"With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Atheism;   God;   God Continued...;   Philosophy;   Religion;   Wisdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - God's;   Wisdom;   Wisdom-Folly;   The Topic Concordance - God;   Government;   Nations;   Strength;   Wisdom;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

With him is wisdom and strength - But all these things come from God; he is the Fountain of wisdom and the Source of power. He alone can give us unerring counsel, and understanding to comprehend and act profitably by it. See on Job 12:16; (note).

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 12:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

With him is wisdom - Margin, correctly, “God.” However much wisdom there may seem to be with aged men, yes the true wisdom - that which was supreme and worthy of the name - was to be found in God alone. The object of Job was to lead the thoughts up to God, and to bring his friends to a contemplation of the wisdom which he manifests in his works. Accordingly he goes on in the remainder of this chapter to state some of the illustrations of wisdom and power which God had exhibited, and particularly to show that he was a sovereign, and did his pleasure every where. He made all things; he sustains all things; he reverses the condition of people at his pleasure; he sets up whom he pleases, and when he chooses he casts them down. His works are contrary in many respects to what we should anticipate; and the sense of all is, that God was a holy and a righteous sovereign, and that such were the reverses under his administration that we could not argue that he treated all according to their character on earth.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 12:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-12.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

GOD'S WISDOM AND POWER CONTRASTED WITH THAT OF MEN

"With God is wisdom and might;

He hath counsel and understanding.

Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again;

He shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.

Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up;

Again he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.

With him is strength and wisdom;

The deceived and the deceiver are his.

He leadeth counselors away stripped,

And judges maketh he fools.

He looseth the bond of kings,

And bindeth their loins with a girdle.

He leadeth priests away stripped,

And overthroweth the mighty.

He removeth the speech of the trusty,

And taketh away the understanding of the elders.

He poureth contempt upon princes,

And looseth the belt of the strong.

He uncovereth the deep things of darkness,

And bringeth out to light the shadow of death.

He increaseth the nations, and he destroyeth them;

He enlargeth the nations, and he leadeth them captive.

He taketh away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth,

And causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.

They grope in the darkness without light;

And he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man."

We understand every word of this paragraph as a refutation of the favorite error of his `comforters,' namely, that "wisdom is with aged men and that length of days and understanding are synonymous" (Job 12:12). Notice how many times God's wisdom is mentioned here, along with the corollary in each instance that, "Counselors and judges (Job 12:17), kings (Job 12:18), priests and the mighty (Job 12:19), the trusty and the elders (Job 12:20), the princes and the strong (Job 12:21), and the chiefs of the people of the earth (Job 12:24)" - indeed ALL of the men of the whole earth who might have been accounted wise, without exception, when their wisdom was considered along with God's true wisdom, their true status is described here by Job as, "Stripped (naked), deceived, deceivers, fools, helpless (having their bonds or belts loosed), overthrown, held in contempt, with their speech removed, and their understanding taken away." Such words as these should certainly have exploded the myth that old men were wise!

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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 12:13". "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

With him is wisdom and strength,.... Not with the ancient and long lived man, but with God, who has made the whole universe, and in whose hand and at whose dispose all creatures are, Job 12:9; with him wisdom is originally, essentially, and inderivatively, as the fountain and fulness of it; he is the only and all wise God; his wisdom is displayed in making the world, and all things in it, in the beautiful manner they are set, and in their subserviency to each other; in all the dispensations of his providence, having all a "bathos", a depth of wisdom and knowledge in them, being all according to the counsel of his will; and in the work of redemption and salvation by Christ, in which he has abounded in all wisdom and prudence; in finding out and appointing a Redeemer, mighty and strong, equal to the work; in contriving and bringing it about, in such a manner as to glorify all his perfections; hence the Gospel, which is the publication of this grace, is called the wisdom of God: and with him is wisdom to communicate to his people, to direct them how to behave under every providence, in every station of life, in the church, and in the world, see James 1:5; and he has "strength", which he has shown in making the world out of nothing, in upholding it, and all things in it in being, in executing his designs, decrees, and purposes, in fulfilling his promises, and in supporting and strengthening his people, under all their trials and exercises, to withstand every enemy, and perform every duty; ancient men, though they may increase in wisdom, they decline in strength, but God has both, in infinite perfection:

he hath counsel and understanding; his decrees and purposes, wisely formed within himself, are his counsels of old, and which are truly and punctually performed in time; his plan of peace, reconciliation, and salvation by Christ, may, with propriety, be called the counsel of peace between them both; and the Gospel, and the various doctrines of it, are the whole counsel of God, and so are the ordinances of it; and besides these, by which he counsels and advises his people, he has counsel with him, and which he gives unto them by his spirit, for which they bless his name; and so even did Christ as man and Mediator, Psalm 16:7; he has counsel to give, and does give in things temporal, relating to the common affairs of life, and in things concerning the good and welfare of immortal souls; all which comes from him who is "wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working", Isaiah 28:29; and he has an "understanding" that is infinite and unsearchable; he has an understanding of himself, his nature, perfections, and persons of all his creatures, and of all things past, present, and to come; the same things are said of Christ, the wisdom of God, Proverbs 8:14. Job, having observed these things of God, passes on to discourse most admirably and excellently of the power and wisdom of God in various instances, especially in the dispensations of his providence, by which he appears to have known the secrets of wisdom, and not so ignorant as represented by Zophar.

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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 12:13". "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

In contrast to, “with the ancient is wisdom” (Job 12:12), Job quotes a saying of the ancients which suits his argument, “with Him (God) is (the true) wisdom” (Proverbs 8:14); and by that “wisdom and strength” “He breaketh down,” etc., as an absolute Sovereign, not allowing man to penetrate His mysteries; man‘s part is to bow to His unchangeable decrees (Job 1:21). The Mohammedan saying is, “if God will, and how God will.”

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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 12:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-12.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 12:13 With him [is] wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.

Ver. 13. With him is wisdom and strength, &c.] Wisdom, strength, counsel, and understanding, are all concentred in the Ancient of days; complete he is in all excellence and perfection, all which meet in him, and continue always in the highest degree. The mighty God "fainteth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of his understanding," Isaiah 40:28. He is also no less good than great and wise; good, original, universal, all sufficient, and satisfactory, proportionate, and fitting for our soul; which, as it was made by him, and for him, so it is never at quiet till it resteth in him. See Job 9:4.

He hath counsel and understanding] Counsel he hath, but without consultation; wisdom, but without experience; knowledge, but without discourse; decree, but without deliberation: Loquimur de Deo, &c., We speak of God, saith one, not as we ought, but as we are able. And these things we speak of God, saith Augustine, because we find not what better to speak of him. But Job hath a mind to say the utmost that may be said.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 12:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-12.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 12:13. With him is wisdom and strength With him dwell, &c. Counsel and understanding are peculiar to him. Thus Houbigant; who supposes the expression of dwelling to be in immediate opposition to the foregoing verse, where wisdom is said to BE with old men, but here to DWELL with GOD, as in its proper and peculiar home, the fountain of all human wisdom. Job shews, in the following verses, that the affairs of the world, and the fortunes of men, are subject to such a variety of changes and chances, that all human reason and wisdom must be silent with respect to them; since the same misfortunes involve the good and the wicked, and seem rather to flow from the supreme dominion and unsearchable will of God, than to be distributed according to the rule of exact justice. See Schultens.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 12:13". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-12.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

With him, i.e. with God; the relative being put for the antecedent, which is easily and necessarily understood out of the scope of the place, and all the following verses.

Wisdom; perfect wisdom is only in him, and all wisdom in the world cometh from him, who giveth to old or young as it pleaseth him. The ancient are not wise without his gift and grace, and with that a younger man may be wiser than the ancients, as David was, Psalms 119:100.

Counsel and understanding; counsel, i.e. practical wisdom to guide all the affairs of the world; and understanding, or a speculative knowledge of all persons and things.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 12:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Section Second — THE WISDOM OF GOD, SUBORDINATED TO INFINITE AND IRRESISTIBLE POWER, INVOLVES THE DIVINE MORAL GOVERNMENT IN AN INEXPLICABLE MAZE, Job 12:13-25.

First double strophe. Job 12:13-18.

a. Admits the wisdom and power of God, as illustrated by the divine government in the natural world, Job 12:13-15.

13.Him — God. The rest of this chapter is thought by some to be an old Idumaean poem, or else a collection of maxims handed down from antediluvian ancestors or sages. (Wemyss.) In the original, the first word, WISDOM, (hhokmah,) is the general and most comprehensive word for wisdom; the second, STRENGTH, (gebourah,) from the same root as geber, man, implies the ability to carry into execution the behest of the will; the third, COUNSEL, (hetsah,) gives the idea of “strength,” the “making firm” — practical wisdom; fourth, UNDERSTANDING, (tebounah,) implies the intellectual perception, characterized by its power of penetrating into, and distinguishing between, the true and false.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 12:13". "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 12:13. With him is wisdom — That is, with God. Perfect wisdom is only in him, and all wisdom in the world cometh from him, who giveth to young and old as it pleaseth him. The ancients were not wise without his gift and grace, and with that a younger man may be wiser than the ancients. He hath counsel — Practical wisdom to guide and govern all the affairs of the world; and understanding — A perfect knowledge of all persons and things. “Job shows, in the following verses, that the affairs of the world, and the fortunes of men, are subject to such variety of changes, that all human reason and wisdom must be silent with respect to them; since the same calamities involve the good and the wicked, and seem rather to flow from the supreme dominion and unsearchable will of God, than to be distributed according to the rule of exact justice.” — Schultens and Dodd.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 12:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-12.html. 1857.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"God"s destructive powers are irreversible. If He tears down, "it cannot be rebuilt", and if He imprisons someone, he cannot escape. When He holds back waters, there is drought, and if He releases the waters they flood the earth. Captives and captors alike are both under His control. He conquers, puts down, and reverses the fortunes of counselors, judges, kings, priests, "the secure ones" (i.e., well-established officials), "the trusted ones, elders, nobles, and the strong"-those who are the very foundations of justice and order in government, court, and temple. God is also sovereign over entire nations. He makes them great and destroys them; He spreads them out (i.e., causes their territory to extend) and leads them away as captives. All the above-mentioned human leaders are supposed to give light and security to others by their counsel and leadership. But in contrast to God, they are in darkness. Only He can reveal mysteries from the darkness and bring to light what is in the deep darkness. Is this an answer to Zophar"s question "Can you discover the depths of God?" (11:7). If so, Job"s response is that he cannot comprehend the infinite ways of God, but neither can Zophar! If man is ever to understand anything of what is incomprehensibly dark, God must take the initiative in revealing it to him. Job said that God can deprive chiefs of their intelligence, even giving them such confusion that they stagger in the wasteland, grope in darkness, and stagger like drunken men. What a picture of the directionless and unintelligible stupor of leaders who are objects of God"s destructive powers. And how cleverly Job demolished his counselors" counsel: If their theological system were followed, then all the world"s authorities ought to be blessed by God. But history destroys that logic, as Job has just shown" (Zuck pp. 56-57).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 12:13". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-12.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Him: i.e. Jehovah (Job 12:9).

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 12:13". "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

With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.

In contrast "with the ancient is wisdom" (Job 12:12), Job quotes a saying of the ancients which suits his argument - "With Him (God) is (the true) wisdom;" "Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength" (Proverbs 8:14): and by that "wisdom and strength" "He breaketh down," etc., as an absolute Sovereign, not allowing man to penetrate His mysteries: man's part is to bow to His unchangeable decrees (Job 1:21). The Mohammedan saying is, 'If God will, and how God will.'

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 12:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-12.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
him
that is, God.
32:6-9
wisdom
16; 9:4; 28:20-28; 36:5; Psalms 147:5; Proverbs 2:6,7; Jeremiah 10:12; Daniel 2:20; Luke 21:15; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Colossians 2:3; James 1:5
counsel
Proverbs 8:14; Isaiah 40:13,14; 46:10; Romans 11:34; Ephesians 1:8,11
Reciprocal: 2 Chronicles 10:6 - took counsel;  Job 36:24 - magnify;  Job 37:23 - excellent;  Acts 4:28 - and

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 12:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-12.html.