Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 12:4

"I am a joke to my friends, The one who called on God and He answered him; The just and blameless man is a joke.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Persecution;   Prayer;   Thompson Chain Reference - Saints;   Suffering for Righteousness' S;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Justice;   Scorning and Mocking;   Uprightness;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Wisdom literature;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Justice;   Laughing-Stock;   Laughter;   Mock;   Scorn;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Idi B. Jacob Ii;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I am as one mocked of his neighbor - Though I am invoking God for help and salvation, yet my friends mock me in this most solemn and sacred work. But God answereth me.

The just upright man is laughed to scorn - This is a very difficult verse, on which no two critics seem to be agreed. Mr. Good translates the fourth and fifth verses thus: -

"Thus brother is become a laughing-stock to his companions,

While calling upon God that he would succor him.

The just, the perfect man, is a laughing-stock to the proud,

A derision amidst the sunshine of the prosperous,

While ready to slip with his foot.

For a vindication of this version, I must refer to his notes. Coverdale gives at least a good sense. Thus he that calleth upon God, and whom God heareth, is mocked of his neighboure: the godly and innocent man is laughed to scorne. Godlynesse is a light despysed in the hertes of the rich; and is set for them to stomble upon. The fifth verse is thus rendered by Mr. Parkhurst: "A torch of contempt, or contemptible link, (see Isaiah 7:4; Isaiah 40:2, Isaiah 40:3;), לעשתות leashtoth, to the splendours of the prosperous (is he who is) ready (נכון nachon, Job 15:23; Job 18:12; Psalm 38:17;) to slip with his foot." The general sense is tolerably plain; but to emendations and conjectures there is no end.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

I am as one mocked of his neighbour - There has been considerable variety in the interpretation of this verse. The general sense is, that Job felt himself to be a mere laughing-stock for his neighbors. They treated him as if he were not worth regarding. They had no sympathy for him in his sorrows, and they showed no respect for his opinions. Dr. Good understands this and the following verses as a part of the controversy in which Job proposes to show his skill in debate, and to adduce proverbs after the manner of his friends. But it is more probably an allusion to himself, and is designed to state that he felt that he was not treated with the respect which was due to him. Much difficulty has been felt in understanding the connection. Reiske contends that Job 12:2 has no connection with Job 12:3, and that Job 12:11-12, should be interposed between them. The connection seems to me to be this: Job complains that he was not treated with due deference. They had showed no respect for his understanding and rank. They had urged the most common-place topics; advanced stale and trite apothegms, as if he had never heard them; dwelt on maxims familiar even to the meanest persons; and had treated him in this manner as if he were a mere child in knowledge. Thus, to be approached with vague common-places, and with remarks such as would be used in addressing children, he regarded as insult and mockery.

Who calleth upon God, and he answereth him - This phrase has given occasion to great variety in the interpretation. Umbreit renders it, “I, who once called upon God, and he answered me;” that is, I, who once was a happy man, and blessed of God. Schultens renders it, “I, who call upon God,” that is, for trial, “and am ready to answer him.‘ Rosenmuller supposes that Job has reference to the assurances of his friends, that if he would call upon God, he would answer him, and that in view of that suggestion he exclaims, “Shall a man who is a laughing-stock to his neighbor call upon God, and will he answer him!‘ The probable meaning is, that he had been a man who had had constant communion with God. He had been a favorite of the Almighty, for he had lent a listening ear to his supplications. It was now a thing of which he might reasonably complain, that a man who had enjoyed such manifest tokens of the divine favor, was treated with reproach and scorn.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-12.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 12:4

I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and He answereth.

The man who gets answers may mock him who gets none

The antecedent to “who” seems to be uncertain. It may be Job; it may be the neighbour about whom Job speaks. They who have had experience of God’s tenderness to help them and hear their prayers, should be very tender to others, when they call to them, and seek their help. Learn--

1. It is the privilege of the saints, when men fail and reject them, to make God their refuge and their recourse to heaven.

2. The repulses which we meet with in the world, should drive us nearer to God.

3. Prayer and seeking unto God are not in vain or fruitless.

4. As it is sinful, so it is extremely dangerous to mock those who have the ear of God, or acceptance with God in prayer. (Joseph Caryl.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 12:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-12.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I am as one mocked of his neighbour,.... That is, according to Sephorno, if I knew not, or denied those things you have been speaking of concerning God, his immensity, sovereignty, and wisdom, I should be derided by all my friends and acquaintance; but rather the sense is, Job instances in himself as a proof that good men are afflicted by God in this life; he was once in a very prosperous condition, when he was caressed by all, but now was fallen into such low and miserable circumstances as to be the scorn and contempt of his friends and neighbours; and even his being mocked was no small part of his afflictions; to endure cruel mockings has been the common lot of good men in all ages, and is reckoned one part of their distresses and sufferings for righteousness sake, Hebrews 11:36; and to be mocked by a neighbour, or a "friend"F7לרעהו "amico suo", Pagninus, Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Broughton. , as it may be rendered, greatly aggravates the affliction, see Psalm 55:12; which was Job's case; his friends that came to comfort him mocked at him, at least so he understood them, and interpreted what they said unto him, see Job 16:20; and what made it still the heavier to bear, he was mocked by such a neighbour or friend,

who calleth upon God, and he answereth him; he was mocked at not by profane men only, but by a professor of religion, ong swept away with the flood, were cast into hell, where they have lain ever since, and will lie unto the judgment of the great day; between the place of the damned, and of the happy, in Abraham's bosom, is a great gulf, that there is no passing from one to the other, which is the immutable and unalterable decree of God, which has fixed the everlasting states of men, Luke 16:26.

F18 על איש "super virum", Montanus, Mercerus, Bolducius;_super viro", Schmidt, Michaelis. Job 12:15.

Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up,.... Or "lays a restraint in" or "on the waters"F19; either in the ocean, as he did at the creation, when he gathered the waters that were upon the face of the earth into one place, and restrained them there, even in the decreed place he broke up for them, called the sea, and set bars and doors to keep them within bounds, whereby the places they left became dry and the dry land appeared called earth; and even such a man does not do good without sinning; only the man Christ Jesus is righteous in such sense; but then all that are made righteous, by the imputation of his righteousness to them, are perfectly justified from all things, and are become the spirits of just men made perfect and complete in him: the character here designs such who are really righteous, truly gracious, are upright in heart, sincere souls, who have the truth of grace in them, and walk uprightly; these become a prey, a laughing stock to wicked men, as Noah, Lot, and others, before the times of Job, had been, which he may have respect unto.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-12.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

I am b [as] one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he c answereth him: the just upright [man is] laughed to scorn.

(b) He reproves his friends for two faults: one, that they thought they had better knowledge than they did: and the other, that instead of true consolation, they derided and despised their friend in his adversity.

(c) Who being a mocker and a wicked man, thinks that no man is in God's favour but he, because he has all things that he desires.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-12.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The unfounded accusations of Job‘s friends were a “mockery” of him. He alludes to Zophar‘s word, “mockest” (Job 11:3).

neighbour, who calleth, etc. — rather, “I who call upon God that he may answer me favorably” [Umbreit].

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-12.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

Upon God — Even by my religious neighbours, by those who call upon God, and not in vain; whose prayers therefore I covet, not their reproaches.

The just — I, who, notwithstanding all their hard censures dare still own it, that through God's grace I am an upright man.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-12.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 12:4 I am [as] one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright [man is] laughed to scorn.

Ver. 4. Iam as one mocked of his neighbour] Those that should countenance and comfort me contemn and scorn me. I am their laughter and pastime; so he took it, since they sat so heavily upon the skirts of his conscience, and would not weigh his reasons brought in his own defence.

Who calleth upon God, and he answereth him] i.e. I, Job, do make God my refuge when these jeering neighbours of mine do shame my counsel, Psalms 14:6, and would mock me out of my religion; but God favoureth me though men frown; and where human help faileth Divine appeareth. Or thus rather: I am derided by those who profess to call upon God, and to hear often from heaven. They are hard hearted to me, though themselves have liberally tasted of God’s tenderness; and they pull up the bridge of mercy before me, which themselves have oft gone over.

The just upright man is laughed to scorn] "Shame shall be the promotion of fools," Proverbs 3:35, and such a dissembler as Doeg may well be derided, Psalms 52:6-7. But what hath the righteous done? And why should just, upright Job be laughed to scorn? But this is no news. Christ and his people have ever been for signs and for wonders in this mad world, always beside itself in point of salvation. "He that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey," or is accounted mad, Isaiah 59:15. If he will needs be a just upright man, if he will live godly in Christ Jesus (if he be so set upon it, that none shall hinder him), he shall suffer persecution, this of the tongue howsoever, 2 Timothy 3:12. A wolf flieth not upon a painted sheep. We can look upon a painted toad with delight; it is the reality of godliness that is hated.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 12:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-12.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 12:4. I am as one mocked of his neighbour I am a mocking-stock to my neighbour. "He hath appealed to God, to be sure he will answer him! The integrity of the righteous man is become a scoff." He hath appealed to God, was the mock which had been thrown out to him, and alludes to what he had said, chap. Job 10:7 which had drawn forth that wish of Zophar (Job 12:5-6 of the last chapter), that God would appear, and convict him of his hypocrisy. Heath.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 12:4". 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

As one mocked of his neighbour, Heb. I am a derision (the infinitive being put for a noun, as is usual both in the Hebrew and other languages) to my neighbour, i.e. to these three, who have pretended and would be thought to be my friends and neighbours; whom therefore such carriage doth very ill become. Instead of supporting and comforting me, they make a sport and scorn of me.

Who calleth upon God, and he answereth him. This who belongs either,

1. To Job, who here declares his own practice in this case: When you mock me, I go to God with my complaints and prayers, and he hears me, though you will not. But this seems not to agree either with the context, or with other passages of Job; in which he constantly complains that God did not hear nor regard his prayers, nor pity and help him. Or,

2. To Job’s friends; and so this is either,

1. An aggravation of their crime, that they should mock him who made a great profession of religion, who used duly to call upon God, and to receive answers from him, and therefore should have carried themselves more piously, and charitably, and compassionately towards their miserable brother. Or,

2. As the reason of their mockage of Job, because God, who neglected Job’s prayers, heard theirs, and gave them those mercies for which they prayed; and therefore being themselves well and at ease, they were hard-hearted towards their poor afflicted brother, as the manner of men is. This seems to suit well with the following verse. Or,

3. As all argument against their scorning or slighting of him: God hears you when you pray, therefore you should turn your mocks of me into prayers for me; and you should pity me, whom God doth not hear when I pray; and as God hears you, so you should hear and comfort me, when I pour out my complaints to you. But these words may be brought in mimetically, as being some of their scoffing words: They say of me, Let him call upon God, and God will hear him; for so they had suggested to Job, Job 5:8 8:5 11:13. But this, saith Job, I take for a piece of mockery, and insulting over my miseries; for I know by sad experience, and they see the contrary, that though I call and cry again and again, yet God hath no regard to me.

The just, upright man is laughed to scorn, i.e. I, who, notwithstanding all their hard censures and reproaches, must and dare still own it, that through God’s grace I am a just and upright man, am derided by them. This he repeats again, because it was very grievous and burdensome to him.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 12:4". 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

4.I am one mocked — Literally, A mockery to his friend, am I; [I] who railed upon God and he answered him: a mockery is the just, upright man.

Answereth him — As if it were too great a thing for Job to say that God had heard and answered his prayer, he passes from the first to the third person. What appears to be a solecism, is really the humility of true greatness. If we truly appreciate the significance of prayer we shall not wonder at this; for prayer assumes that the invisible God is near to hearken to, and consciously answer, the cry of mortals. Its privilege confers on the mind of man the greatest conceivable exercise of might — none the less than to move the Divine Being to the exertion of his power for our good. The secret of this lies in the parental affection of God. No attainment of greatness raises the Father above the touching appeal of an infant’s cry. “When ye pray, say, Our Father.”

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "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 12:4. I am as one mocked of his neighbour — שׂחק לרעהו אהיה, sechok leregnehu ehjeh, literally, a jest to his friend, I am. Thus Jeremiah complains, I was a derision to all my people, Lamentations 3:14. Who calleth upon God, and he answereth him — This is applied by Sol. Jarchi, and the commentators in general, to Job’s neighbour or friend; intimating that such a one, addressing himself to God, received a favourable answer; when Job himself had no satisfactory return paid to his loud cries and importunate complaints. But the words are capable of a very different construction if we refer them to Job, and not to his friend, and as containing the mocking words thrown out against him: Thus, He calleth (say they) upon God; but doth he answer him? — He is loud and importunate in protesting his innocence; in clearing and vindicating himself; in appealing to the tribunal of Heaven. But to what purpose? Are his importunities and clamours received, his solemn protestations heard or admitted? His trust and confidence (he would have us to believe) are entirely on God; but is he eased of his troubles; is he delivered from his miseries? Thus the Jews mocked our Lord Jesus: “He trusted in God; (said they;) let him deliver him now, if he will have him.” “This man calleth for Elias; let us see whether Elias will come and save him.” The just upright man is laughed to scorn — The words have a peculiar beauty, being spoken with much religious concern and modesty; for Job does not say, I, a just and upright man, am made a laughing-stock; but he delivers himself in general terms; the just and upright man, &c. His meaning however is, that, notwithstanding all their hard censures and reproaches, he must still believe himself to be, through God’s grace, a just and upright man; and must say that, as such, he was derided by them.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 12:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Mocked. He retaliates on Sophar, (chap. xi. 3.; Haydock) who had very seriously exhorted Job to call on God, as if he had been ignorant of this duty. (Calmet) --- God will one day force the wicked to retract their false notion, in despising his servants, Wisdom v. 3. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-12.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Job has looked for sympathy but received scorn. "Their inflexible approach to justice that God always blesses the upright does not fit the facts. Job illustrated his point in several ways. First he cited his own case" (Zuck p. 56). "Job resents the grounds on which Zophar has made him an inferior. First, he says that he is mocked and made a laughing-stock by his friends because he dares to ask God why he suffers when he is just and blameless" (McKenna p. 110).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-12.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

GOD Hebrew Eloah. App-4.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "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

I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

Mocked. The unfounded accusations of Job's friends were a 'mockery' of him. He alludes to Zophar's words, "when thou mockes" (Job 11:3).

I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him - rather, 'who called upon God, and He answered him.' Job speaks of himself in the third person, standing as it were outside of himself, and contemplating himself as an object. 'I am like one mocked of his neighbour, though that one formerly was always answered in all that he called upon God for (enjoying the favour of God: a proof that I could not have been the wicked hypocrite which ye make me out)' (cf. Job 29:3-5).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "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

(4) I am as one mocked of his neighbour.—The laughing-stock of his companion—he who called on God, and He answered him. This is either the character Job claims for himself, or it is the supposed taunt of his friends—the righteous and the perfect a laughing-stock, or, the righteous and the perfect might be a laughing-stock. Ridicule is no test of truth or of merit.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.
one mocked
11:3; 16:10; 17:2,6; 21:3; 30:1; Psalms 22:7,8; 35:16; Matthew 27:29; Hebrews 11:36
calleth
16:20; Psalms 91:15; Jeremiah 33:3; Micah 7:7
the just
Proverbs 14:2; Mark 5:40; Luke 16:14; Acts 17:32
Reciprocal: Genesis 6:9 - just;  1 Chronicles 4:10 - called;  2 Chronicles 30:10 - they laughed;  Job 1:8 - upright;  Matthew 2:16 - when;  Luke 8:53 - laughed

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 12:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-12.html.