Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 22:13

"You say, ‘What does God know? Can He judge through the thick darkness?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blasphemy;   Blindness;   God Continued...;   Infidelity;  
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 - Eliphaz (2);   Job, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Cloud;   Constellations;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And thou sayest, How doth God know? - That is, it “follows” from what you have said; or the opinion which you have advanced is “the same” as if you had affirmed this. How common it is to charge a man with holding what we “infer,” from something which he has advanced, he must hold, and then to proceed to argue “as if” he actually held that. The philosophy of this is plain. He advances a certain opinion. “We” infer at once that he can hold that only on certain grounds, or that if he holds that he must hold something else also. We can see that if “we” held that opinion, we should also, for the sake of consistency, be compelled to hold something which seems to follow from it, and we cannot see how this can be avoided, and we at once charge him with holding it. But the truth may be, that “he” has not seen that such consequences follow, or that he has some other way of accounting for the fact than we have; or that he may hold to the fact and yet deny wholly the consequences which legitimately follow from it. Now we have a right to show him “by argument” that his opinions, if he would follow them out, would lead to dangerous consequences, but we have a right to charge him with holding only what he “professes” to hold. He is not answerable for our inferences; and we have no right to charge them on him as being his real opinions. Every man has a right to avow what he actually believes, and to be regarded as holding that, and that only.

How doth God know? - That is, How can one so exalted see what is done on the distant earth, and reward and punish people according to their deserts? This opinion was actually held by many of the ancients. It was supposed that the supreme God did not condescend to attend to the affairs of mortals, but had committed the government of the earth to inferior beings. This was the foundation of the Gnostic philosophy, which prevailed so much in the East in the early ages of the Christian church. Milton puts a similar sentiment into the mouth of Eve in her reflections after she had eaten the forbidden fruit:

And I, perhaps, am secret: heaven is high,

High and remote from thence to see distinct

Each thing on earth; and other care perhaps

May have diverted from continual watch

Our great Forbidder, safe with all his spies about him.

Paradise Lost, B. ix.

Can he judge through the dark cloud? - Can he look down through the clouds which interpose between man and him? Eliphaz could not see how Job could maintain his opinions without holding that this was impossible for God. He could see no other reason why God did not punish the wicked than because “he did not see them,” and he, therefore, charges this opinion on Job.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 22:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-22.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And thou sayest, how doth God know?.... What is done on earth, the works of the children of men, their sinful actions, when he dwells at such a distance, and so remote from the earth, as the height of the stars, and highest heavens, be; not that Job said this expressly with his lips, but in his heart; Eliphaz imagined and supposed that such was the reasoning of his mind; it was an invidious consequence he had drawn from what Job had said concerning the afflictions of the godly, and the prosperity of the wicked; which he interpreted as a denial of the providence of God, as if he had no regard to human affairs, but things took place in a very disorderly and confused way, without any regard to right or wrong; and he concluded that Job was led into these sentiments by the consideration of the distance of God from the earth; that, dwelling in the highest heavens, he could not and did not see what was done here, and therefore men might commit all manner of sin with impunity; that their sins would never be taken notice of, or they be called to an account for them; which are the very language and sentiments of the most abandoned of men, see Psalm 10:11;

can he judge through the dark clouds? if he cannot see and know what is done, he cannot judge of it, whether it is good or bad, and so can neither justify nor condemn an action. By "the dark cloud" is not meant the matter, or corporeal mass, with which man is covered, as a Jewish commentatorF24Peritzol. interprets it; rather the cloudy air, or atmosphere around us; or that thick darkness in which Jehovah dwells, clouds and darkness being around him, Psalm 97:2; but all this hinders not his sight of things done here below; what is thick darkness to us is pure light to him, in which also he is said to dwell, and with which he covers himself as with a garment; and the darkness and the light are both alike to him, he can see and judge through the one as well as the other.

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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 22:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-22.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And thou sayest, How doth God i know? can he judge through the dark cloud?

(i) He reproves Job, as though he denied God's providence and that he could not see the things that were done in this world.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 22:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-22.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Rather, And yet thou sayest, God does not concern Himself with (“know”) human affairs (Psalm 73:11).

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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 22:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-22.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 22:13 And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?

Ver. 13. And thou sayest, How doth God know?] A brutish question, Psalms 94:7-8, and never of Job’s making. There are a sort of such miscreants as believe nothing but what they see with their bodily eyes; and indeed, for a finite creature to believe the infinite attributes of God, he is not able to do it thoroughly, without supernatural grace; which therefore must be begged of God, James 1:5, that he would give us "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of our understanding being enlightened," &c., Ephesians 1:17-18. For want whereof, the wicked, blinded with sin, ask such senseless and blasphemous questions as this in the text, and those like this, Psalms 10:11, Zephaniah 1:12; {See Trapp on "Psalms 10:11"} {See Trapp on "Zephaniah 1:12"} It is a ridiculous thing, saith Pliny, to think that the highest Majesty taketh care of human affairs; a service, doubtless, far below him, and unworthy of his greatness.

Can he judge through the dark cloud?] Can he discern through such a dark medium? Men cannot see God; and therefore some fools are apt to think that neither can he see them, Sicut pueri vultum obvelant, putantes sese tum non conspici (Lavat.). But that Job was far from any such thought, see Job 21:16; Job 21:22. To blame therefore was Eliphaz to charge him with such a wickedness; and all because he had said that in this life bad men oft prosper and better men suffer; which yet is verum tanquam ex tripode, very true, and not at all derogatory to the Divine providence.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 22:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-22.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And, or, therefore; from this true and certain principle thou drawest this false and wicked conclusion. Or, yet, notwithstanding this undeniable argument.

Thou sayest; thou reasonest thus within thyself, as it may seem by thy discourses.

How doth God know? i.e. God cannot discern, and therefore doth not mind things so far below him and distant from him.

Can he judge through the dark cloud, i.e. through those immense and innumerable clouds which lie between the heaven and the earth, although our eyes see but few of them?

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 22:13". 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

13.How What doth God know? The sentiment ascribed to Job was subsequently that of Epicurus and the English Deists. “Eliphaz here attributes to Job (who in Job 21:22 had appealed to the exaltation of God in opposition to the friends) a complete misconception of the truth, and thus skilfully turns against Job himself the weapon which the latter had sought to wrest from him.” — Schlottmann.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 22:13". "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 22:13. And — Or therefore, thou sayest, How doth God know? &c. — From this true and certain principle, thou drawest a false and wicked conclusion, and fanciest, perhaps, that because he is so high he minds not what is done here below: or, that he cannot discern the difference of things so very remote, through those immense and innumerable clouds which lie between the heaven and the earth.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 22:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-22.html. 1857.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"You say, "What does God how?"": Eliphaz claimed that Job had been very insolent to question God"s knowledge and His awareness of man. Actually, Job had said that God did know, and that was the very thing that was so frustrating to him. "Job had not said God cannot see man; in fact he affirmed just the opposite (7:17-20; 14:6)" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 745).

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 22:13". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-22.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

And, &c. = "and [yet may be] thou sayest".

How . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

dark cloud. Hebrew. "araphel. See note on Job 3:6.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 22:13". "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

And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?

Rather, And yet thou sayest, God does not concern himself with ("know") human affairs, (Psalms 73:11, "How doth God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?")

Judge through ... cloud? - Can His judgment penetrate "through the dark cloud" to the earth?

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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 22:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-22.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?
How
or, What. doth God know.
Psalms 10:11; 59:7; 73:11; 94:7-9; Ezekiel 8:12; 9:9; Zephaniah 1:12
Reciprocal: Genesis 4:9 - I know;  Exodus 14:24 - and troubled;  2 Chronicles 18:12 - Behold;  Job 11:11 - he seeth;  Job 24:15 - No eye;  Psalm 14:1 - no;  Isaiah 29:15 - seek;  Isaiah 47:10 - thou hast said;  Jeremiah 23:24 - hide;  Acts 5:3 - lie to;  1 Corinthians 15:35 - How

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 22:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-22.html.