Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 15:35

"They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity, And their mind prepares deception."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Belly;   Deceit;   Malice;   Wicked (People);   Thompson Chain Reference - Mischief;   The Topic Concordance - Hypocrisy;   Wickedness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Deceit;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Eliphaz;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Vanity;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Belly;   Bring;   Conception;   Vanity;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

They conceive mischief - The figure here is both elegant and impressive. The wicked conceive mischief, from the seed which Satan sows in their hearts; in producing which they travail with many pangs, (for sin is a sore labor), and at last their womb produces fraud or deception. This is an accursed birth, from an iniquitous conception. St. James gives the figure at full length, most beautifully touched in all its parts: When lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death; James 1:15; (note), where see the note. Poor Job! what a fight of affliction had he to contend with! His body wasted and tortured with sore disease; his mind harassed by Satan; and his heart wrung with the unkindness, and false accusations of his friends. No wonder he was greatly agitated, often distracted, and sometimes even thrown off his guard. However, all his enemies were chained; and beyond that chain they could not go. God was his unseen Protector, and did not suffer his faithful servant to be greatly moved.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-15.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

They conceive mischief - The meaning of this verse is, that they form and execute plans of evil. It is the characteristic of such men that they form such plans and live to execute them, and they must abide the consequences. All this was evidently meant for Job; and few things could be more trying to a man‘s patience than to sit and hear those ancient apothegms, designed to describe the wicked, applied so unfeelingly to himself.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-15.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

They conceive mischief,.... That is, such wicked persons as before described; they meditate sin in their minds, and contrive how to commit it, and form schemes within themselves to do mischief to others:

forth vanity; or sin; for lust when it is conceived bringeth forth sin, and that is vanity, an empty thing, and neither yields profit nor pleasure in the issue, but that which is useless and unserviceable, yea, harmful and ruinous; for sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death, even death eternal, James 1:14;

and their belly prepareth deceit; their inward part frames and devises that which is designed to deceive others, and in the end proves deceitful to themselves: the allusion is to a pregnant woman, or rather to one who seems to be so, and whose conception proves abortive, and so deceives and disappoints herself and others; see Psalm 7:14.

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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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Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-15.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

They y conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

(y) Therefore all their vain devises will turn to their own destruction.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-15.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Bitter irony, illustrating the “unfruitfulness” (Job 15:34) of the wicked. Their conceptions and birthgivings consist solely in mischief, etc. (Isaiah 33:11).

prepareth — hatcheth.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-15.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 15:35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

Ver. 35. They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity] Here Elipbaz for a close, by an elegant and usual metaphor taken from child bearing, showeth that all such as conceive with guile or wrong to others, by that time they have reckoned their months aright, though they grow never so big, shall bring forth nothing but wind and vanity. Like as a woman that thinks she hath conceived and is deceived, pleaseth herself with the thoughts of a child, but brings forth nothing but wind, water, or some dead mass. Brentius exemplifieth this by the Papists, devising tot modos et formas confitendi et missandi, so many ways and forms of confessing and massing. Poor souls, when stung by the friars’ sermons, or otherwise troubled in mind, run to those practices for help, but all in vain; for though stilled for a while, yet conscience recoileth upon them, and, making them miserable, leaveth them desperate, as Popery is a doctrine of desperation. Meanwhile, till they are confuted by the event, wicked men please themselves not a little in their sinful conceptions; they have a kind of a sensus veneris (which Scaliger will have to be the sixth sense, besides those five commonly counted of), a sensual delight in their sinful projects, In male agendo voluptatem quaesierunt (Merlin). As one, speaking of the Council of Trent, saith, That it was carried on by the pope with such infinite guile and craft, as that themselves will even smile in the triumphs of their own wits, when they hear it but mentioned, as at a master stratagem (Spec. Europ.). These heathens (so they are called, Revelation 6:2) consider not, that while they thus tumultuate they do but imagine a vain thing, Psalms 2:1, and that the child’s name is vanity, as here.

And their belly prepareth deceit] Not their head, but their belly, prepareth (accurately and strongly prepareth, so the word signifieth) deceit, self deceit (so some sense it), or rather to deceive and undo others whom they cannot overcome by might, to overcome by sleight. And in these guileful projects they delight and take a contemplative kind of pleasure, as the voluptuous person doth in his lust, Psalms 52:1-2.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 15:35". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-15.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 15:35. They conceive mischief, &c.— Conceiving in misery, and bringing forth in sorrow, their belly hath at last proved a deception. This whole description is evidently pointed at the situation of Job. His prosperity, was become vanity; his children were all cut off before their time; his family become solitary; and his hopes, to all appearance, an illusion. All the fine prospect with which the wicked man entertained himself, and for which he endured all the anguish here described, produceth only a deceit. He hath imposed on himself. Heath.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Job's friends had all spoken in turn; and Eliphaz, who had opened the dispute, undertakes again to reply, much offended that Job presumed to controvert their arguments, and endeavouring, from his own words, to produce sundry accusations in confirmation of the point which he so strenuously denied.

1. He reproaches him with folly and emptiness in his arguments, whereby he had for ever forfeited the character of a wise man. His reasonings were vain, and his words blustering as the east wind, yet without solidity; unprofitable and useless. Note; (1.) It is much easier to treat an adversary with contempt, than to answer him. (2.) Unprofitable talk deserves censure: they who must give an account of every idle word had need keep well the door of their lips.

2. He charges him with great impiety, as casting off the fear of God, and restraining prayer before him; since the principles that he advanced, according to Eliphaz's opinion, made all religion void. If the tabernacles of robbers prospered, if just men were laughed to scorn, and God destroys the perfect and the wicked, then, says he, of what use is it to fear him, or to pray to him, who laugheth at the trial of the innocent? Such speeches Eliphaz regards as deep iniquity, and the crafty glosses of piety, with which Job covered his words, but could not conceal the hypocrisy within. His own lips spoke his condemnation, and there was no need for further proof. Note; (1.) It is too common for angry disputants to distort the arguments of their adversaries and to charge them with inferences from them, not only never dreamt of, but utterly abhorred. (2.) They that cast off the fear of God will not think of prayer; and they who restrain prayer, can have no fear of God before them; and such a prayerless and careless state is the sum proof of a man's impiety, and the forerunner of eternal ruin.

3. He arraigns him of arrogance and self-conceit, as if his claim to an equality of understanding, chap. Job 13:2 was to be interpreted a monopoly of wisdom. Art thou the first man that was born? or before Adam? that all knowledge and experience must center in thee? Yea, art thou wise as God, pretending to be from everlasting? Wast thou made before the hills? or, did God consult with thee in his glorious works, and communicate to thee his great designs? Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou arrogate and restrain wisdom to thyself? What knowest thou that we know not? respecting numbers, and the current of antiquity, all are on our side: with us are both the gray-headed, and very aged men, much elder than thy father. Note; (1.) Nothing is easier than to triumph over our adversary, by making him speak what he never meant, and then confuting our own suppositions. (2.) There are secret things which belong unto God; to pretend to fathom which, proves not our wisdom, but our pride and folly. (3.) Many appeal to antiquity, who would often find it hard to support their pretensions; not that error supported by antiquity is at all the better for being the older: God's word is the only sure guide. (4.) Gray-heads are not always oracles; whatever veneration is due to them, truth is too great a sacrifice to make to any man.

4. He accuses him of contemning the counsels of his friends, and the consolations of God, when those were the very things that he wanted, and for want of which his complaint was bitter; but, because he declared them miserable comforters, they would infer, as they spoke for God, that it was a slight put upon him. Are the consolations of God small with thee? despised and slighted? Is there any secret thing with thee? any charm which others know not of, to support thee; or any secret sin, which being indulged prevents the entrance of divine comforts? Note; (1.) Many speak in God's name, whom he never sent; and would interest him in their quarrel, though he disowns any relation to them. (2.) The consolations of God are what an afflicted soul wants above all things; with these every trial is lightened; without them, every burden is grievous. (3.) Allowed sin necessarily cuts off the sources of true comfort.

5. He charges him with insolence against God. Why doth thine heart carry thee away? like an unruly horse, which refuses bit or bridle; and what do thine eyes wink at? Why so contemptuous of us? or what is thy aim and intention in those hard speeches of thine, that thou turnest thy spirit against God, as if daring to contend with him, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth? arraigning his wisdom, justice, and providence. It must be owned, that Job had given some handle for this charge, chap. Job 9:12, Job 10:3, Job 13:22-27 but Eliphaz draws a sudden temptation into a settled enmity and opposition against God, exaggerates the evil, and makes no allowance for Job's heavy afflictions, nor any account of the expressions of unfeigned piety which he constantly mingles with his most impatient complaints.

6. From the glaring proofs of man's original corruption, Eliphaz would infer Job's falsehood in his self-vindication. What is man that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? If the saints in glory are not trusted by him, and the bright heavens are not clean in his sight, how much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? as naturally disposed to it, as the appetite craves for food, and swallows it as greedily and copiously as those who are parched with thirst do the cooling draught. Note; (1.) Man is naturally disposed to evil, and only evil, and that continually. (2.) Indulgence in sin makes our bestial appetites only the more craving. (3.) Sin is the abominable thing which God hates, and will assuredly punish, unless the soul be washed in that blood of Jesus which alone can make us clean.

2nd, Eliphaz proceeds with his arguments, which are as weak as his reproaches are unjust. He insists that the wicked are always miserable; and Job's sufferings, therefore, are to him a sufficient proof of his guilt.

1. He bespeaks Job's attention; I will shew thee, hear me, something worth notice, and not such unprofitable talk as he had declared his to be, Job 15:3. He had claimed antiquity for his voucher, and professed to speak not more his own sentiments, than the traditions of the wisest and best of men, who were as great as they were good; and no stranger passed among them, either to share their blessings, or, as robbers, to plunder them; but their prosperity, the reward of their piety, was uninterrupted: in which he seems to glance at Job, unlike them in prosperity, and therefore unlike them in piety.

2. He describes the wicked man, and his constant misery, wherein, though he speaks in a third person throughout, it is easy to see that the application is designed for Job himself. He draws the character of the wicked man, as daring in iniquity, fearless of God's threatenings, mocking at his wrath as a bugbear, and, as a combatant in arms, rushing on the thick bosses of his buckler, as if defying his power. In ease and luxury he riots, fed to the full, fattened as an ox in a rich pasture, gratifying every lust, and ministering to the cravings of a pampered appetite. By oppression he enlarges his habitation, and, having seized the houses of others, makes desolations around him, as if he would dwell alone in the earth, to enjoy the fruits of his ill-gotten abundance. Note; (1.) God is patient toward daring sinners; but their time of ruin is at hand. (2.) Sensual appetite is the soul's ruin, and fleshly indulgence stupifies the conscience against all fear of God, or sense of danger.

3. The misery of the wicked man is largely described. His mischievous devices cost him much painful thought, his conscience feels at times the pangs of guilt; and short is the reign of iniquity. Terror haunts him, a dreadful found is in his ears, a fearful looking-for of judgment. In the midst of his prosperity, some calamity sweeps away his wealth, or disease embitters all his portion, and Death seizes him as his prey. In his afflictions he sinks under despair, and in hell it will be the consummation of his misery. The sword of vengeance hangs terrible over him, threatening each moment to fall. Reduced to beggary, he wanders, famished with hunger, and none give unto him. The day of death approaching scares him, and still more the dreadful darkness which obscures his prospect beyond the grave. Increasing troubles expected distress him; eternal anguish in his view dismays him; and, unable to resist, as a man before an armed host, he falls a prey to his own fears. Poor in the midst of his abundance, his covetousness and carking care withhold from him enjoyment; or, squandered on his lusts, he wastes quickly his ill-gotten wealth: at least, his possessions are transitory and vanishing as a dream. His afflictive dispensations are without any prospect of an end; his children, like withered branches struck with lightning, die around him; and, at last, himself is cut off by the blasts of God's displeasure. Deluded by Satan to trust in present vanities, he finds a lie in his right-hand: let others see and dread such fatal delusion! An immature death shall seize him, before the time that his vain hope suggested; and, like a dry stick, all his wealth, family, and friends, shall perish before him, or forsake him. Stripped by the tempest of wrath, like the unripe grape, or the flower of the olive, he shall see the desolation of all that was dear to him. Though hand join in hand, the congregation of the hypocrites shall be desolate: vain will be their pretexts of religion, when God comes to detect and punish them; his fire will consume the tabernacles of the wicked magistrates, where bribery and corruption dwelt. Thus shall the mischief, craft, and falsehood of the wicked return upon his own head, and vanity, vexation, and ruin, be his only portion. Throughout all this description he seems to keep Job in his eyes; whose losses, calamities, afflictions in his children, family, substance, and person, he would intimate, proved him to be this wicked man, this oppressor and hypocrite. Note; (1.) It is true, the curse of God is upon the houses of the wicked, and sometimes, though not always, visible in this world. (2.) The happiest sinner has inward terrors, which all his enjoyments cannot sooth or chase away. (3.) A dying hour and judgment-day, at farthest, will verify all that is here asserted of the wicked, and much more.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 15:35". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-15.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

READER! let us pause over what we have been reading of the aggravated afflictions of Jobadiah Was it not enough that the LORD was exercising his servant, but those three men must throw in their unkind and unjust interpretations of GOD'S dealings? Surely those sharp and bitter reproaches could not fail to add to poor Job's misery. We naturally look round in our sorrows for some to commiserate. But this distressed sufferer, instead of consolation, met with nothing but reproof.

But let us pass over the view of men, that are but instruments, and behold how the LORD produces good from evil. Though no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby. No calamity, no stroke of trouble, however heavy, however severe, can rob a follower of the LORD of his favor. Nothing can take away our CHRIST, that first, and best, and comprehensive gift of a covenant GOD! What shall separate us from the love of CHRIST? (saith Paul) Neither death, nor life, (saith the apostle) neither things present, nor things to come. Having him then, in him we possess all things.

But, Reader! let us not close this chapter of the relation of Job's sufferings, nor indeed any other, without looking beyond Job, to him that was the Prince of Sufferers, as he was the Prince of Peace. Yes! blessed JESUS! it behoved thee, that in all things thou mightest have the pre-eminency. Oh! thou gracious Redeemer! how do all sorrows sink to nothing, when we behold thee in the garden, and on the tree; when we behold thy agony and bloody sweat, thy cross and passion; and hear that heart-piercing cry, My GOD, my GOD, why hast thou forsaken me? And all this, not for thyself, but for thy people; not that thy holy life needed ought, but for thy voluntary grace and favor to our poor, lost, ruined, and undone nature: thou didst suffer, the just for the unjust, to bring us to GOD and didst even admit the being deserted of thy FATHER for a space, that we might not be deserted forever! Boundless love of a most precious, loving Saviour!

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/job-15.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

They conceive mischief, i.e. they devise and contrive injurious and pernicious enterprises against others.

Vanity, or iniquity, or injury, or trouble; either,

1. To others; they execute what they had contrived. Or,

2. To themselves; the mischief they designed for others falleth upon their own heads, and they reap what they sowed. And their belly, i.e. their inward parts, their hearts and minds. See Poole "Job 15:2".

Prepareth deceit; either,

1. For others, whom they design to cheat; or,

2. For themselves, who whilst they seek to deceive others, shall find that they themselves are most deceived, as being deprived of all their desires and hopes wherewith they fed themselves, and cast into all those calamities which they thought to prevent by these artifices.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 15:35". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-15.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

35.Deceit — This word is but the refrain of the entire address of Eliphaz — Job is self-deceived.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-15.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sorrow. Hebrew, "mischief." (Haydock) See Psalm vii. 15., and Isaias xlix. 4. --- The tree is known by its fruit. Eliphaz sufficiently insinuates, that he is speaking of Job. (Calmet) --- His, or "its," the congregation's womb, ver. 34. Protestants, "their belly." (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-15.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

mischief. Hebrew. "amal. App-44.

belly. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject), App-6, for the thoughts produced by emotion.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-15.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

Bitter irony, illustrating the "unfruitfulness" (Job 15:34) of the wicked. Their conceptions and birth-givings consist solely in mischief etc.

Bring forth vanity. Their plans, when on the eve of execution, are brought to nought (Psalms 7:14-15; Isaiah 59:4; Isaiah 33:11, "Ye, shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble").

Their belly - as a womb.

Prepareth - hatcheth.

Deceit - what deceives their expectation. The evil which they meditate against others falls on themselves.

Remarks:

(1) Nothing more exhibit a man's wisdom, or betrays his folly, than the character of his speech (Job 15:2-3). "Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge! Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom" (James 3:13). But the sinner's own mouth condemns him, and his own lips testify against him (Job 15:6). (2) How suicidal is the folly of the ungodly in putting away from him in time of trouble the only solace, the true source of peace, namely, "the consolations of God" (Job 15:11). Pride is at the root of his rejection of God's offer of love. Self-willed impatience and passion lead him to fret aganist God, instead of bowing humbly, to God (Job 15:12-13). "The wicked through the pride of his countenance will not seek after God" (Psalms 10:4; cf. Jeremiah 13:17). The godly weep in secret for the pride which keeps the ungodly from hearkening to our loving God. But Job was not such a one as the friends thought him to be. It is true, the severity of his Satan-inflicted trials clouded his spiritual perceptions for a time, and led him to use unwarranted language in justification of himself and complaint against God; but, in the main, Job was a sincere, humble, and consistent worshipper. This teaches us not to be too ready in supplying to others, without the surest proof, Scripture condemnations of pride and hypocrisy, which, however true in the abstract, are untrue in the particular case wherein we apply them.

(3) The state of the ungodly man, however seemingly prosperous, is anything but an enviable state. Anxieties and apprehensions mar most of his enjoyments (Job 15:20). He knows not how soon his days shall end. Conscience, from time to time, creates within an uneasy misgiving and an alarm, as though some unforeseen and undefined calamity is coming upon him (Job 15:20-22). This is the necessary consequence of his lifting himself up against God (Job 15:25; Job 15:27). As men sow they shall also reap. Sinners shall eat of the fruit of their own way, sod shall be filled with their own devices (Proverbs 1:31). The man who trusts in vanity-and all sin is vanity-shall have vanity for has righteous recompence.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-15.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.
conceive
Psalms 7:14; Isaiah 59:4,5; Hosea 10:13; Galatians 6:7,8; James 1:15
vanity
or, iniquity. Reciprocal: 1 Kings 20:7 - seeketh mischief;  Psalm 10:7 - mischief;  Proverbs 24:2 - GeneralIsaiah 33:11 - conceive;  Acts 5:4 - why

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 15:35". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-15.html.