Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 5:13

"He captures the wise by their own shrewdness, And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Faith;   God;   Philosophy;   Quotations and Allusions;   Righteous;   Wisdom;   The Topic Concordance - Counsel;   Craftiness;   Frowardness;   God;   Poverty;   Salvation;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Job;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ahithophel;   Job;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Hypocrisy;   Quotations;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Wisdom (1);  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Take;   Wisdom;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He taketh the wise in their own craftiness - So counterworks them as to cause their feet to be taken in their own snares, and their evil dealings to fall on their own pate. Such frequent proofs has God given of his especial interference in behalf of the innocent, who have been the objects of the plots and evil designs of the wicked, by turning those evil devices against their framers, that he who digs a pit for his neighbor shall fall into it himself has become a universal adage, and has passed, either in so many words or in sense, into all the languages of all the people of the earth. Lucretius expresses it strongly:

Circumretit enim vis atque injuria quemque,

Atque, unde exorta est, ad eum plerumque revortit.

Lucret. lib. v., ver. 1151.

"For force and wrong entangle the man that uses them;

And, for the most part, recoil on the head of the contriver."

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 5:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He taketh the wise in their own craftiness - This passage is quoted by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:19, with the usual formula in referring to the Old Testament, γέγραπται γάρ gegraptai gar “for it is written,” showing that he regarded it as a part of the inspired oracles of God. The word “wise” here undoubtedly means the cunning, the astute, the crafty, and the designing. It cannot mean those who are truly wise in the Scripture sense; but the meaning is, that those who form plans which they expect to accomplish by cunning and craft, are often the victims of their own designs. The same sentiment not unfrequently occurs in the Scriptures and elsewhere, and has all the aspect of being a proverb. Thus, in Psalm 7:15:

He made a pit and digged it,

And is fallen into the ditch which he made.”

So Psalm 9:15:

The pagan are sunk down into the pit that they made;

In the net which they hid is their own foot taken.”

So Psalm 35:8:

Let his net that he hath bid catch himself

Into that very destruction let him fall.”

So Psalm 37:15:

Their sword shall enter into their own heart,

And their bow shall be broken.”

Compare Eurip. Med. 409:

Κακῶν δὲ πάντων τέκτονες σοφώταται

Kakōn de pantōn tektones sofōtatai also the same sentiment in Lucretius, v. 1151:

Circumretit enim visatque injuria quemque,

Atque, unde exorta cst, ad caim plerumque revertit.

“For force and rapine in their craftiest neta

Oft their own sons entangle; and the plague Ten-fold recoils.”

It is to be remembered that Eliphaz here speaks of his own observation, and of that as a reason for putting confidence in God. The sentiment is, that he had observed that a straightforward, honest, and upright course, was followed with the divine favor and blessing; but that a man who attempted to carry his plans by intrigue and stratagem, would not be permanently successfu. Sooner or later his cunning would recoil upon himself, and he would experience the disastrous consequences of such a course. It is still true. A man is always sure of ultimate success and prosperity, if he is straightforward and honest. He never can be sure of it, if he attempts to carry his plans by management. Other men may evince as much cunning as himself; and when his net springs, it may include himself as well as those for whom he set it. It will be well for him if it is not made to spring on him, while others escape.

And the counsel of the froward - The design of the perverse. The word here rendered “froward,” נפתלים nı̂pâthalı̂ym is from פתל pâthal to twist, to twine, to spin. It then means, to be twisted, crooked, crafty, deceitful. Here it means those who are crooked, artful, designing. Septuagint, πολυπλόκων poluplokōn the involved - the much-entangled.

Is carried headlong - Hebrew is precipitated, or hastened. There is not time for it to be matured; there is a development of the scheme before it is ripe, and the trick is detected before there is time to put it in execution. Nothing can be more true than this often is now. Something that could not be anticipated develops the design, and brings the dark plot out to mid-day; and God shows that he is the foe of all such schemes.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 5:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-5.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 5:13

He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

1. The wisdom of natural men is nothing but craft or wit to do wickedly.

2. Satan makes use of subtle, crafty men, and abuseth their parts for his own purposes.

3. The crafty are full of hopes that their devices will succeed; and full of trouble, because they succeed not.

4. What such plot and devise, they labour to act and effect.

5. Crafty men may devise strongly, but they have not strength sufficient to accomplish their devices.

6. It is a great and wonderful work of God, to disappoint the devices and stop the enterprises of crafty men. (J. Caryl.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 5:13". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He taketh the wise in their own craftiness,.... As beasts are taken in a pit, or birds in a snare or net, or with birdlime; so these crafty men, who are wise in their own opinion, and really so in things natural, civil, and worldly, or however, to do evil are entangled and taken in their own schemes; they fall into the pit they have digged for others, and are snared in the works of their own hands, as Haman and his sons were hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai, Esther 7:10; or, "by their own craftiness"F17בערמם "per suam ipsorum astutiam", Schultens. , by the crafty schemes they themselves have formed: so sometimes those very things crafty men design to prevent, are brought about by the very means they make use of; thus Joseph's brethren designed to prevent the accomplishment of his dreams, which portended their subjection to him, Genesis 37:9, by selling him to the Ishmaelites, who carried him to Egypt, where, in process of time, he was made governor of the land, and where his brethren became obedient to him, Genesis 42:6; with which fact Eliphaz might be acquainted, it being not long before his time: so the Jews, to prevent the Romans taking away their city and nation, contrived to put Christ to death, and did, whereby they brought the wrath of God upon them, executed by those very persons; the same they did also, to prevent the spread of his fame and glory in the world, and that he might not be believed on as the Saviour of men, whereas, hereby he became the Saviour of them; and he a crucified Christ, being preached to the world by his ministers, the savour of his knowledge has been diffused in every place, his glory great in all the earth, and will be more so: the Targum applies this to the wise men of Pharaoh, and the Apostle Paul to the Jewish doctors and wise philosophers of the Gentiles, 1 Corinthians 3:19; which quotation proves the authority of this book:

and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong: that is, the counsel or well contrived schemes of the crafty and wise before mentioned, who twist and wind about, as the wordF18נפתלים "intorquentium", Schmidt; "tortuosorum", Schultens. here used signifies, that there is no tracing their measures, and finding out the spring of them, nor the ends they have in view; yet these are sometimes carried on to execution in a rash and precipitate manner, and so miscarry; and like a man that is had to a precipice, and is thrown down from thence, and is destroyed at once, so are their counsels and schemes dashed to pieces by the providence of God: or, "is hastened"F19נמהרה "festinata, ab origine festinandi", Schultens. ; too much haste is made to accomplish it, and so it comes to nought, through an over eagerness to have it done at once; not waiting a fit opportunity for the accomplishment of it.

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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 5:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-5.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Paul (1 Corinthians 3:19) quoted this clause with the formula establishing its inspiration, “it is written.” He cites the exact Hebrew words, not as he usually does the Septuagint, Greek version (Psalm 9:15). Haman was hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai (Esther 5:14; Esther 7:10).

the wise — that is, “the cunning.”

is carried headlong — Their scheme is precipitated before it is ripe.

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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 5:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-5.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.

The wise — Men wise to do evil, and wise in the opinion of the world, he not only deceives in their hopes and counsels, but turns them against themselves.

Froward — Or, wrestlers: such as wind and turn every way, as wrestlers do, and will leave no means untried to accomplish their counsels.

Is carried — Is tumbled down and broken, and that by their own precipitation.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 5:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 5:13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.

Ver. 13. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness] Those wise to do evil, worldly wise, mere Machiavellians; for though the Florentine secretary was not born of some thousands of years after Eliphaz spoke this, yet the devil was well nigh as great a master then as now, and had his crafty cubs, students, and great proficients in that wisdom which St James affirmeth to be from beneath, and not from above (like the wings of the ostrich, it may help a man to outrun others upon earth, but helps not at all towards heaven); and further describeth it to be earthly, sensual, devilish. Earthly, as managing the lusts of the eyes unto the ends of gain; sensual, as managing the lusts of the flesh unto ends of pleasure; and devilish, as managing the pride of life unto ends of power: these subtle sirs, these profound politicians, that dig deep to hide their counsels, not from men only, but (which is impossible) from the Lord, Isaiah 29:15, that think they can work out anything ( πανουργια), 1 Corinthians 3:19, and that none can prevent them (as the apostle’s word from this text importeth), God takes and makes fools of them; he frustrateth the tokens of these liars, and maketh the diviners mad; he turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish, Isaiah 44:25. "Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: - they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof: the Lord hath mingeled a spirit of perversities in the midst thereof; and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit," Isaiah 19:11; Isaiah 19:13-14. Did ever any man deal so unwisely as Ahithophel, that oracle, 2 Samuel 17:23, curious to provide for his family after his death, and yet careless to preserve himself from eternal death? Was not this a madness even to a miracle? He should first (saith a reverend man) have set himself in order, and then he might have hanged his house with coverings of tapestry, Proverbs 7:16, and with embroidered work of Egypt, Ezekiel 27:7. And if he had bridled his anger when he saddled his ass he would not have broken the lantern of his body, and quenched the light of his life, he would not have put his house in order, and himself into such a desperate and irrecoverable confusion. But what saith Solomon? "His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins," Proverbs 5:22. "The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion, Selah." Mark and meditate, as one rendereth it, Psalms 9:16.

And the counsel of the froward is carried headlong] More haste it maketh than good speed, though it be the counsel that is the extract of reason, the result of serious and sad debates (as Cicero defineth it, Lib. 2, de Invent.), because it proceedeth from froward persons, obtorti, contortuplicati, such as have one crafty device twisted within another, like a rope; such as of whom we use to say in a proverb, there never wanteth a new knack in a knave’s cap.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 5:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-5.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The wise in their own craftiness; wicked men, who are wise to do evil, and wise in the opinion of the world, he not only deceiveth in their hopes and counsels, but turns them against themselves; as we see in Ahithophel, Haman, &c. The froward, or perverse, or wrestlers; such as wind and turn every way, as wrestlers do, and will leave no means untried to accomplish their counsels. Is carried headlong, i.e. is tumbled down and broken, and that by their own precipitation and haste. Their malice cannot have the patience to proceed wisely and leisurely against God’s church and people, but makes them eager and venturous, and so to make more haste than good speed in their wicked designs.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 5:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-5.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.The wise — Those whose “wisdom is of this world,” as in 1 Corinthians 3:19, a verse in which the apostle quotes this very passage from the Hebrew, rather than the Septuagint. There lurks an insinuation, that Job’s boasted wisdom may prove to be a like counterfeit of the real. “He captures the wise, not when their wisdom has forsaken them, and they make a false step, but at the very point where they make the highest use of it.” — Hengstenberg. “This,” says Hitzig, “is the only passage in this book which is cited in the New Testament.”

Froward Crooked or cunning.

The Koran has a similar thought: “God outwits the cunning,” 13:44. Lucretius is still more in point: —

“Circumretit enim vis, atque injuria, quemque

Atque unde exorta est, ad eum plerumque revortit.”

“For force and rapine in their craftiest nets

Oft their own sons entangle, and the plague Tenfold recoils.”

 

 

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 5:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-5.html. 1874-1909.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"He captures the wise by their own shrewdness": "The image of total confusion which ensnares the crafty (Deut. 28:29; Isaiah 19:14; 59:10)" (Strauss p. 48). This is the only verse quoted directly from the book of Job in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 3:19). The person who seeks success or victory without regard to morality will often become caught in their own traps.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 5:13". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-5.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

He taketh, &c. This is quoted in 1 Corinthians 3:19 direct.

froward = perverse. Hebrew. pathal, to twist.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 5:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.

He taketh - Paul (1 Corinthians 3:19) quoted this clause with the formula establishing its inspiration, It is written. He cites the exact Hebrew words, not as he usually does the Septuagint, Greek version. "In the net which they hid is their own foot taken (cf. Psalms 9:15). Haman was hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai (Esther 5:14; Esther 7:10).

The wise - the cunning.

Is carried headlong - their scheme is precipitated before it is ripe.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 5:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-5.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) He taketh the wise.—St. Paul quotes the former half of this verse in his warning to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:19): “The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” The word rendered “froward” means crooked, perverse, or tortuous. The name Naphtali is derived from the same root (Genesis 30:8).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 5:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.
taketh
2 Samuel 15:31,34; 17:23; Esther 6:4-11; 7:10; 9:25; Psalms 7:15,16; 9:15,16; Psalms 35:7,8; Luke 1:51; 1 Corinthians 1:19,20
of the froword
Psalms 18:26; Proverbs 3:32
Reciprocal: Genesis 11:7 - confound;  Genesis 31:22 - GeneralGenesis 41:8 - but there;  Exodus 1:10 - wisely;  Numbers 22:25 - crushed Balaam's;  Joshua 8:17 - a man;  1 Samuel 23:22 - haunt is;  1 Kings 14:6 - thou wife;  2 Kings 6:8 - took;  Ezra 6:13 - so they did;  Nehemiah 4:15 - God;  Job 11:12 - would;  Job 18:7 - his own;  Job 37:24 - he;  Psalm 33:10 - The Lord;  Psalm 140:8 - Grant not;  Proverbs 22:12 - he;  Isaiah 19:3 - and I;  Isaiah 19:11 - the princes;  Isaiah 29:14 - for the wisdom;  Isaiah 31:2 - he also;  Jeremiah 8:8 - We;  Jeremiah 18:18 - counsel;  Jeremiah 19:7 - I will make;  Daniel 2:27 - cannot;  Habakkuk 2:13 - is it;  Matthew 2:8 - go;  Mark 11:33 - Neither;  Mark 12:17 - And they;  Luke 20:8 - GeneralLuke 20:26 - they could;  John 7:53 - GeneralJohn 8:9 - went out;  Acts 23:16 - when;  1 Corinthians 3:19 - For

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 5:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-5.html.