Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 22:12

"Is not God in the height of heaven? Look also at the distant stars, how high they are!
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blasphemy;   God;   Heaven;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Eliphaz;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Astronomy;   Eliphaz (2);   Job, Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Is not God in the height of heaven? - It appears, from this and the following verses, that Eliphaz was attributing infidel and blasphemous speeches or sentiments to Job. As if he had said: "Thou allowest that there is a God, but thou sayest that he is infinitely exalted above the heavens and the stars, and that there is so much dense ether and thick cloud between his throne and the earth, that he can neither see it nor its inhabitants." These were sentiments which Job never held, and never uttered; but if a man be dressed in a bear's skin, he may be hunted and worried by his own dogs. Job's friends attribute falsities to him, and then dilate upon them, and draw inferences from them injurious to his character. Polemic writers, both in theology and politics, often act in this way.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-22.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Is not God in the height of heaven? - In the highest heaven. That is, Is not God exalted over all worlds? This seems to be intended to refer to the sentiments of Job, as if he had maintained that God was so exalted that he could not notice what was occurring on earth. It should, therefore, be read in connection with the following verse: “God is so exalted, that thou sayest, How can he know? Can he look down through the thick clouds which intervene between him and man?” Job had maintained no such opinion, but the process of thought in the mind of Eliphaz seems to have been this. Job had maintained that God did “not” punish the wicked in this life as they deserved, but that they lived and prospered. Eliphaz “inferred” that he could hold that opinion only because he supposed that God was so exalted that he could not attend to worldly affairs. He knew no other way in which the opinion could be held, and he proceeds to argue “as if” it were so.

Job had in the previous chapter appealed to plain “facts,” and had rested his whole argument on them. Eliphaz, instead of meeting the “facts” in the case, or showing that they did not exist as Job said they did, considered his discourse as a denial of Divine Providence, and as representing God to be so far above the earth that he could not notice what was occurring here. How common is this in theological controversy! One man, in defending his opinions, or in searching for the truth, appeals to “facts,” and endeavors to ascertain their nature and bearing. His adversary, instead of meeting them, or showing that they are not so, at once appeals to some admitted doctrine, to some established article of a creed, or to some tradition of the fathers, and says that the appeal to fact is but a denial of an important doctrine of revelation. It is easier to charge a man with denying the doctrine of Providence, or to call him by a harsh name, than it is to meet an argument drawn from fact and from the plain meaning of the Bible.

And behold the height of the stars - Margin, as in Hebrew “head” - ראשׁ rô'sh God is more exalted than the highest of the stars. The stars are the highest objects in view, and the sense, therefore, is, that God is infinitely exalted.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-22.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ELIPHAZ WARNS: JOB CANNOT HIDE HIS SINS FROM GOD

"Is not God in the height of heaven?

And behold the height of the stars, how high they are!

And thou sayest, What doth God know?

Can he judge through the thick darkness?

Thick clouds are a covering to him, so that he seeth not;

And he walketh on the vault of heaven.

Wilt thou keep the old way

Which wicked men have trodden?

Who were snatched away before their time,

Whose foundation was poured out as a stream."

Eliphaz parades himself as a mind-reader in this passage. He charges that Job thinks that God is so high and far away that he cannot see Job's sins, and that God cannot see what Job did on cloudy days.

"Wilt thou keep the old way which wicked men have trodden" (Job 22:15)? Such unfeeling, ignorant and insulting words must have been particularly obnoxious to Job.

"Whose foundation was poured out as a stream" (Job 22:16). Our American Standard Version translators evidently missed it here. Foundations cannot be `poured out' because they are not liquids. The KJV has, "Whose foundation was overflown with a flood"; and the RSV has, "Their foundation was washed away." Kline,[12] DeHoff[13] and Driver[14] interpreted this as a reference to the flood; and Driver gave the literal meaning as, "The foundations of whose houses were carried away by the Deluge."[15] However, Pope disputed this interpretation, stating that, "Many interpreters incorrectly take this line to refer to the Flood; but the thought is only of the sudden destruction of the wicked, exactly as in Jesus's parable (Matthew 7:26)."[16] Pope himself is in error here, because Eliphaz was not referring to some local flood, but to the destruction of wicked men walking in the "way of old" (Job 22:15), which is clearly a reference to some specific event of great antiquity. In all the editions which we have consulted, the marginal references list Genesis 6:5,13,17 as shedding light on what is written here. These, of course, refer to the Deluge.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/job-22.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Is not God in the height of heaven?.... The heaven is high, it has its name from its height, and is noted for it; some of the heavens are higher than others, as the heaven of heavens, the third heaven, the habitation of angels and glorified saints; and here God dwells, this is the habitation of his holiness, and the high and holy place he inhabits; his throne is in heaven, in the heaven of heavens is his throne, where he in an especial manner manifests his glory, and the lustre of it; he is not indeed continued here, the heaven of heavens cannot contain him, he is everywhere; yet this is his court and palace, where his residence and retinue is and angels behold his face, and wait upon him; and because this is the principal seat of his majesty, it becomes one of his names, Daniel 4:26; and the words here will bear to be rendered, "is not God the height of the heavens?"F20גבה שמים "sublimitas coelorum", Bolducius; "altitudo coeli", Michaelis; "altitudo coelorum", Schultens. or, as the Vulgate Latin version, "higher than the heavens"; he is above them, more exalted than they, being the Creator of them, see Hebrews 7:26;

and behold the height of the stars, how high they are; or "the head" or "top of the stars"F21ראש כוכבים "capat stellarum", Montanus, Bolaucius, Mercerus, Cocceius; "verticem stellarum", V. L. Tigurine version, Michaelis, Schultens. , which Ben Gersom interprets of the supreme orb, or that high and vast space in which the fixed stars are, or the highest of them, which are at the greatest distance; according to Mr. HuygensF23Cosmotheoros, l. 2. p. 125, 137. a cannon ball discharged would be twenty five years in passing from the earth to the sun, from, Jupiter to the sun an hundred twenty five years, from Saturn two hundred fifty, and from the sun to the dog starF22(The Dog Star is the brighest star in the heavens when viewed from the earth. It has a visual magnitude of -1.4 and is 8.7 light years from the earth. It is in the constellation Sirius. The closest star to the earth is α Centaurus and has a visual magnitude of 0 and is 4.3 light years from the earth. It is several times fainter the the Dog Star but is still quite bright compared to neighbouring stars. 1969 Oberserver's Handbook, p. 74, 75. The Royal Astonomical Society of Canada, Toronto, Ontario. Editor) 691,600 years; and if therefore it would be so long going to the nearest of the fixed stars, how great must be the distance of them from our earth, which are so much higher than the dog star as that is from the sun? But, though these are so exceeding high, yet God is higher than they, see Isaiah 14:13; the truth contained in these words was what both Eliphaz and Job were agreed in, let them be spoken by which they will, some ascribing them to the One, and some to the other; from whence Eliphaz represents Job drawing an inference very impious, blasphemous, and atheistical.

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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 22:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-22.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

[Is] not God in the g height of heaven? and behold the height of the h stars, how high they are!

(g) He accuses Job of impiety and contempt of God, as thought he would say, If you pass not for men, yet consider the height of God's majesty.

(h) That so much the more by that excellent work you may fear God, and reverence him.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-22.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Eliphaz says this to prove that God can from His height behold all things; gratuitously inferring that Job denied it, because he denied that the wicked are punished here.

heightHebrew, “head of the stars”; that is, “elevation” (Job 11:8).

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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.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-22.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!

Heaven — And from that high tower looketh down upon men, to behold, and govern, and recompense all their actions, whether good or bad.

How high — Yet God is far higher than they, and from thence can easily see all things.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-22.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 22:12 [Is] not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!

Ver. 12. Is not God in the height of heaven?] Some add out of the next verse these words, Sayest thou; making Job’s atheistic speeches (here mimetically fathered upon him by Eliphaz) an argument of his great wickedness; as if Job should say, and so discover himself ("for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," Matthew 12:34) to be of Protagoras’s opinion, who doubted Deity, De Diis, utrum sint non ausim affirmare ( Prot.); or of Diagoras’s, who flatly denied it; or, at least, of Aristotle’s, who pent up God in heaven, and taught that he took little or no care of things done on earth. But what saith the psalmist (and Job was of the same mind whatever the Jewish doctors affirm of him to the contrary)? "Our God is in the heavens; he hath done whatsoever he pleased" in heaven and in earth. "The Lord is high above all nations; and his glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth! He raiseth up the poor out of the dust," &c., Psalms 115:3; Psalms 113:4-7. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro through the whole earth to show himself strong," &c., 2 Chronicles 16:9. His wrath "is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men," Romans 1:18. Job had frequently acknowledged and celebrated the power and providence of God, his judgments upon the wicked, his fatherly chastisements upon himself; deeply detesting all such thoughts and speeches as he is here wrongfully made the author of.

And behold the height of the stars] Heb. The head of the stars; those that are the very highest, and at the top of the visible heaven, the eighth heaven, beyond which some of the ancients acknowledged not any other. Aristotle saith, That beyond the aspect and movement in the heavens, there is neither body, nor time, nor place, nor vacuum. But the Scripture teacheth us that there is beyond the stars, how high set soever, a third heaven, a heaven of heavens, the throne of God, and habitation of the blessed; the starry sky is but as the brick wall encompassing this lofty palace, the glorious and glittering rough cast thereof.

How high they are!] Ut vix eo noster possit aspectus pertingere, so high that our eyes can hardly reach them (Mercer). It is a wonder that we can look up to so admirable a height, and that the very eye is not tired in the way. Now God is far, far above the stars, omnium supremus, altissimorum altissimus. "The high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity," Isaiah 57:15, dwelleth in light inaccessible, 1 Timothy 6:16, such as whereof no natural knowledge can be had, nor any help by human arts, geometry, optics, &c. How, then, can he see from such a distance what is here done on earth? saith the atheist; who thinks to hide himself from God, because he hath hidden God from himself. Propterea quod tantum Chaos sit inter nos et Deum (Vat.). Hear him else in the next verse. See also Ezekiel 8:12; Ezekiel 9:9.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 22:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-22.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 22:12. Is not God in the height of heaven? Is not God high above the heavens? Yea, see the summit of the stars how high they are. This verse is the answer which he supposes Job to make; the consequences of which he draws out at large in the following verses. He takes his handle from Job 22:16 of the former chapter, as appears from his retorting the latter clause of it against Job in Job 22:18. See Heath; who observes, that the particle rendered and at the beginning of the next verse, should be rendered from whence, as it is the inference drawn from the infinite distance at which he supposes God to be removed from human affairs.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 22:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-22.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Is not God in the height of heaven? Surely he is; and from that high tower he looketh down upon men, Psalms 14:2, to behold, and govern, and recompense all their actions, whether good or bad. And therefore, O Job, thou art grossly mistaken, in thinking that all things in this lower world are managed by chance, and without any regard to justice, or to just men, and not by the wise and holy providence of God; for this is the genuine consequence of thy great principle, that good men suffer as deeply as any others, whilst the vilest of men are exalted and flourish.

Behold the height of the stars, how high they are; yet God is far higher than they, and from thence can easily spy all men and things here below; as the highest places afford the best prospects.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 22:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-22.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Second double strophe — THE FATE OF THE ANTEDILUVIANS A WARNING TO Job, vv12-20.

a. The sceptical views of Job, which exalted God above all concern for and knowledge of the universe, have led Job into the commission of the sins alleged, and aggravated the punishment they called forth, Job 22:12-15.

12.In the height of heaven — The abrupt original appears by omitting in. Is not God high as the heavens? (Job 11:8,) — exalted so high that he cannot see. The language that Milton attributes to Eve after her terrible sin breathes the same godless spirit.

And I perhaps am secret: heaven is high;

High and remote to see from thence distinct

Each thing on earth.

Paradise Lost, book 9.

It belongs to sinful nature to solace itself with the treacherous sense of secrecy. “They will gladly allow God his heavens, if he will only allow them their earthly life of pleasure.” — Starke.

Height of the stars — The highest stars.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-22.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

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.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 22:12". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-22.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Stars: and of course, that his Providence regardeth not human affairs. (Calmet) --- When an infidel observed, "I think the gods are too great to want my adoration," Socrates well replied, "The greater they appear to thee, the more oughtest thou to treat them with respect and honour." (Xenophon, Memor.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-22.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Again Eliphaz stresses God"s distance above man (see 4:17-19; 5:9; 15:14-16). God is even higher than the farthest star.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-22.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Is not. ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

GOD. Hebrew Eloah App-4.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-22.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!

Eliphaz says this to prove that God can from His height behold all things; gratuitously inferring that Job denied it, because he denied that the wicked are punished here.

Height - Hebrew, head; i:e., elevation (Job 11:8).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-22.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!
not God
Psalms 115:3,16; Ecclesiastes 5:2; Isaiah 57:15; 66:1
height
Heb. head. the stars.
Psalms 8:3,4
Reciprocal: 2 Chronicles 6:21 - thy dwelling place;  Job 11:8 - It is as high as heaven;  Job 35:5 - Look;  Psalm 59:7 - who;  Psalm 94:7 - they say;  Psalm 102:19 - the height;  Psalm 103:11 - as the;  Psalm 139:11 - Surely;  Ezekiel 8:12 - The Lord seeth

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 22:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-22.html.