Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 5:2

"For anger slays the foolish man, And jealousy kills the simple.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Anger;   Envy;   Sin;   The Topic Concordance - Envy;   Foolishness;   Wrath;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Anger;   Envy;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jealousy;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Disease;   Envy;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Medicine;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Eliphaz (2);   Envy;   Fool;   Grief;   Job, Book of;   Wrath (Anger);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Anger;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

For wrath killeth the foolish man - Foolish, silly, and simple, are epithets given by Solomon to sinners and transgressors of all kinds. Such parallelisms have afforded a presumptive argument that Solomon was the author of this book. See the preface. The words of Eliphaz may be considered as a sort of maxim, which the wisdom and experience of ages had served to establish; viz., The wrath of God is manifested only against the wicked and impious; and if thou wert not such, God would not thus contend with thee.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For wrath killeth the foolish man - That is, the wrath of God. The word foolish here is used as synonymous with wicked, because wickedness is supreme folly. The general proposition here is, that the wicked are cut off, and that they are overtaken with heavy calamities in this life. In proof of this, Eliphaz appeals in the following verses to his own observation: The implied inference is, that Job, having had all his possessions taken away, and having been overwhelmed with unspeakably great personal calamities, was to be regarded as having been a great sinner. Some suppose, however, that the word “wrath” here relates to the indignation or the repining of the individual himself, and that the reference is to the fact that such wrath or repining preys upon the spirit, and draws down the divine vengeance. This is the view of Schultens, and of Noyes. But it seems more probable that Eliphaz means to state the proposition, that the wrath of God burns against the wicked, and that the following verses are an illustration of this sentiment, derived from his own observation.

And envy - Margin, “indignation.” Jerome, invidia, envy. Septuagint ζῆλος zēlos Castellio, severitas ac vehementia. The Hebrew word קנאה qı̂n'âh means jealousy, envy, ardor, zeal. It may be applied to any strong affection of the mind; any fervent, glowing, and burning emotion. Gesenius supposes it means here envy, as excited by the prosperity of others. To me it seems that the connection requires us to understand it of wrath, or indignation, as in Deuteronomy 29:20; Psalm 79:5. As applied to God, it often means his jealousy, or his anger, when the affections of people are placed on other objects than himself; Numbers 25:11; Zephaniah 1:18, et al.

Slayeth the silly one - Good and Noyes render this, “the weak man.” Jerome, parvulum, the little one. The Septuagint, πεπλανημένον peplanēmenon the erring. Walton, ardelionem, the busy-body. The Hebrew word פתה poteh is from פתה pâthâh to open, go expand; and hence, the participleis applied to one who opens his lips, or whose mouth is open; that is, a garrulous person, Proverbs 20:19; and also to one who is open-hearted, frank, ingenuous, unsuspicious; and hence, one who is easily influenced by others, or whose heart may be easily enticed. Thus, it comes to mean one who is simple and foolish. In this sense it is used here, to denote one who is so simple and foolish as to be drawn aside by weak arguments and unfounded opinions. I have no doubt that Eliphaz meant, by insinuation, to apply this to Job, as being a weak-minded man, for having allowed the views which he entertained to make such an impression on his mind, and for having expressed himself as he had done. The proposition is general; but it would be easy to undertand how he intended it to be applied.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-5.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 5:2

And envy slayeth the silly one.
--Plutarch says of human passions that they are not evil in themselves, but good affections, which nature has furnished us withal, for great and noble uses. Right, reason, wisdom, and discretion ought to rule; but all our powers and passions have their proper place, and they follow the resolution of our judgment, and exert themselves so far as reason shall direct. Were this order well observed, how blest, how happy, should we be! But how shamefully do we invert the order of our nature! If brutes could understand, they would rejoice in their condition of necessity, and despise our estate of liberty and reason, when they observe how fatally we abuse them. By indulging our passions we destroy our happiness. Eliphaz insults this holy sufferer Job, and would have him believe that he was this malicious man whose vice had killed him, and this envious man whose spite had slain him. Still, apart from Job, the maxim of the text remains a truth,--“Envy slayeth the silly one.”

I. Explain the vice of envy. When may a man be said to be of an envious mind? Envy is a regret of mind, or an inward trouble at the prosperity of another. There are other vices, as ambition, malice, pride, that carry a resemblance of envy, and are related to it; but they either proceed from a different principle, or terminate in some particular object. They are confined and limited, but envy is indefinite. The principle, the formal reason of this singular vice of envy is, a repining, a gnawing, a trouble in the mind, that any man should prosper. It is more or less predominant and rancorous according to the tempers of men and the indulgence that it finds. Sometimes it appears without disguise; the passion of the envious overcomes him. Sometimes you may see it in a man’s very gratulations; you may discern his envy in his most kind expressions. Sometimes he vents his angry tumour in a pleasing narration of all the evil, or the darker part, of your condition. Sometimes his envy bubbles out in vain insinuations of his own deserts. Sometimes it lurks in a vain pretence of self-denial, of a mortified temper, and of a contempt of the world. Sometimes they throw their envy upon their spleen, and then they think they may vent it freely, and without reflection upon themselves. Sometimes it appears under a cloak of piety and religion. And envy will express itself, as occasion offers, in rapine, violence, and murder.

II. The truth of his character. Or how justly it is said of an envious man, that he is a silly one. His folly is extreme, apparent, and indisputable. Wisdom consists in three particulars. In a perfect knowledge of our happiness, or what is proper for us to pursue, and what to shun. In a right understanding of the fittest means, whereby we may attain the good and avoid the evil. In a skilful application of those means to their ends, that they may operate the most effectually towards the bringing our designs to pass. How folly is directly opposite to wisdom. A fool is one whose understanding is prejudiced, whose judgment is not free; who is governed by his passions, drawn into false opinions, wild, unreasonable ends, and destructive measures. But such a silly one as this is, is that of the text; he endures and cherishes a vice that blinds his reason, and puts him out of all possibility of being happy. An envious man is a common nuisance, that everyone is offended with, and no man can endure. Silly man; while he designs to hurt his neighbour, he destroys himself. His spite and indignation make him overshoot all modest bounds. There is such a complication of evil qualities in envy and detraction; of curiosity, conceit, and pride; of meddling, judging, and malicious censure, as makes the guilty nauseous to all. No man can be happy but in the way of his nature. And therefore he that will grasp at that which is out of his line, he that must have what he lists, and will have all things go according to his mind, or will be angry, is sure to be always miserable. He that does not consider his condition simply, as it is in itself, but with relation and respect to other persons, shall never be easy while he lives.

III. The fatal effects of this foolish vice. It destroys him.

1. It affects his body. Envy, peevishness, and discontent, ferment and sour the blood, precipitate the motion of the spirits, urge outrageous passions, fill the mind with angry thoughts, hinder rest, destroy appetite, take away all enjoyment, breed grief and melancholy, and end in a sickly, livid look, in lassitude, consumption, and despair.

2. It vitiates his mind, and destroys the moral life. If envy divests a man of his virtue and his reason, it must of necessity destroy his soul too.

IV. The methods of recovery.

1. He that would be free from envy must endeavour to deserve, as well as may be, both of God and man. True virtue gives a man an humble opinion of himself; acquaints him with his own defects, or what he is not, as well as what he is.

2. You must bring your mind to a good opinion of your own condition. He that would be easy in his mind must govern his desires, and make the best of what he has.

3. You must wean your affections from the world, and learn to value it at no higher a rate than it deserves. What then remains but that we endeavour to subdue our passions, to master our spirits, and to live according to reason in the world. (J. Lambe, D. D.)

Wrath and envy

I. We have wrath. Notice--

1. Its nature. Wrath is not comely, but it is sometimes useful. A man who never knows anger is in nine case out of ten a colourless being who has neither energy nor brilliance nor power. God is angry. The apostle implies that it may be indulged in without sin. But there are extremes. It may betoken an ungoverned disposition; it may indicate a cruel, passionate, vindictive spirit. It may show a hasty, thoughtless, impetuous, unbalanced character. Apart from this, unnecessary wrath is disagreeable and unpleasant to all. Its habitual indulgence alienates all good. This brings us to note--

2. Its consequence--“Wrath killeth the foolish man.” How does it kill? It killeth the best feelings. It stifles all sense of justice, right, caution, honour. It checks the best impulses and engenders cruelty. It killeth peace and happiness. How many an after-pang it produces, how bitter the divisions, the heart-burnings, the evil it causes! It filleth the body itself. Instances are not uncommon of life being forfeited in a fit of anger. It undermines the health and, even if it has no more effect, creates a morose, peevish, miserable disposition.

II. Envy. The word translated “envy” may mean “indignation.” The two are only divided one from another by a very narrow line. Envy is an evil indignation with another because he happens to be better off than ourselves. We are told that “envy slayeth the silly man.” Notice how this is the case--

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 5:2". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For wrath killeth the foolish man,.... Not one that is an idiot, and destitute of common sense, and has no understanding in things natural and civil; but a wicked man, who has no knowledge of things divine and spiritual, and so foolish; which is the character of every natural man, and of God's people before conversion; and even of some professors, who are foolish virgins, and carry the lamp of a religious profession without the oil of grace; and such an one Eliphaz took Job to be, whom sooner or later the wrath of the Lord, as the Targum interprets it, which is revealed from heaven, and comes down upon the children of disobedience, would consume like devouring fire: or this may be understood of the wrath and passion of such men themselves, which sometimes rises in them to such an height, as that they die in a fit of it; or do those things which bring them to death, either by the hand of God, or by the civil magistrate:

and envy slayeth the silly one; one that is simple and void of understanding, and is easily persuaded and drawn into sin, either by his own heart, or by evil men, or by the temptations of Satan; and in whose heart envy at the prosperity of others dwells, and which insensibly preys upon him, eats up his own spirits, and is rottenness to his bones, and crumbles them into dust, Proverbs 14:30; or the word may be rendered "jealousy", or "zeal"F17קנאה "zelus", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens. , as it sometimes is, and may signify the jealousy of the Lord, zeal for his own glory, which he sometimes stirs up as a man of war, and which smokes against wicked men, and consumes them as fire, see Isaiah 42:13; Eliphaz by all this would represent and insinuate that Job was such a man, hot, passionate, and angry with God and his providence, and envious at the prosperity of others, particularly his friends; and so was a foolish and silly man, in whose breast wrath and envy rested, and would be his ruin and destruction, as he was already under slaying and killing providences.

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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 5:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-5.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For b wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

(b) Murmuring against God in afflictions increases the pain, and uttered man's folly.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-5.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

envy — fretful and passionate complaints, such as Eliphaz charged Job with (Job 4:5; so Proverbs 14:30). Not, the wrath of God killeth the foolish, and His envy, etc.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-5.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

Killeth — A man's wrath, and impatience, preys upon his spirit, and so hastens his death; and provokes God to cut him off.

The foolish — The rash and inconsiderate man, who does not weigh things impartially.

Envy, … — I perceive thou art full of envy at wicked men, who seem to be in a happier condition than thou, and of wrath against God; and this shews thee to be a foolish and weak man. For those men, notwithstanding their present prosperity, are doomed to great and certain misery. I have myself seen the proof of this.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 5:2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

Ver. 2. For wrath killeth the foolish man] Such as thou art, Job; hot and hasty, pettish and passionate, fretting thyself to do evil, and so provoking God to fall foul upon thee as a just object of his wrath, to thine utter ruin, without repentance. Surely, with the froward God will show himself froward, Psalms 18:26. Neither hath ever any one hardened himself against the Lord and prospered, Job 9:4. For what reason? he is wise in heart, and mighty in strength, as it is there, every way able to overly master an adversary: if he but turn his own passions loose upon him, such as are wrath and envy, they will soon dispatch him. How many are there who, like sullen birds in a cage, beat themselves to death! Did not Bajazet do so? and was Diodorus any wiser (Laert. lib. 2)? or Homer, who died for anger that they could not resolve certain questions put unto them? or Terence, who drowned himself for grief, that he had lost certain comedies that he had composed? We read of some, that, out of discontent, they turned atheists, as Diagoras, Lucian, Porphyry, &c.; and of others, that, missing of bishoprics, or other church preferments, they turned heretics in sui solatium: were not these great sinners against their own souls, like the angry bee, who, to be revenged, loseth her sting, and soon after her life? Died they not like fools indeed, that died of the sullens, and so were deeply guilty of suicide? especially if their wrath were bent against God, if they howl against heaven; such are at once twice slain; slain with the wrath of God, and with their own.

And envy slayeth the silly one] Him that is under the power of his passions, et minima afflictione ab officio abducitur, saith Mercer, and is turned off from duty by every light affliction; such a one doth envy at another man’s prosperity, Aγηνορια δε μιν εκτα (De Ajace, Homer). It is the same with wrath, nisi quod vehementius est, but that it is somewhat worse, saith the same author, as being a most quick sighted and sharp fanged malignity. Hence that of Solomon, Wrath is cruel, and anger outrageous; but who can stand before envy? Proverbs 27:4. It is the rottenness of the bones, Proverbs 14:30. And like the serpent porphyrius, it drinks the most part of its own venom. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 14:30"}

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 5:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-5.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 5:2. For wrath killeth, &c.— "It would surely well befit the fool, that impatience should be the murder of him; and the simple, that repining should bring him to his death." Heath.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 5:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-5.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Either,

1. The wrath of God; or rather,

2. A man’s own wrath, fretting, and impatience, and indignation; which kills men, partly, naturally, as it preys upon a man’s spirit, and wasteth him inwardly, and so hastens his death, of which see Proverbs 14:30 17:22; partly, morally, as it prompts him to those rash, and furious, and wicked actions which may procure his death; and partly, meritoriously, as it provoketh God to cut him off, and to bring upon him those further and severe strokes which he mentions in the following words.

The foolish man; either,

1. The rash and inconsiderate man, who doth not ponder things impartially; but, like a man mad, rageth against God, and torments himself and all that hear him. Or,

2. The ungodly man, who is frequently called a fool in Scripture language, and who is here opposed to the saints, Job 5:1.

Envy: he taxeth Job, who spoke with great envy at those that were never born, or were in their graves, Job 3:10,12, &c.

The silly one; properly, the man who, for want of true wisdom, is soon deceived with false opinions, and appearances, and present things; which is thy case, O Job. The sense of the verse may be this, I perceive, O Job, that thou art full of envy at wicked men, who at present are, or seem to be, in a happier condition than thou; and of wrath against God, who denies thee that mercy, and loads thee with afflictions; and this shows thee to be a foolish and weak man. For those men, notwithstanding their present prosperity, are doomed to great and certain misery, as it here follows. And so this verse coheres with the following as well as the foregoing verses.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 5:2". 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

2.For wrath signifies also grief. Passionate sorrow, such as Job had indulged, slays the foolish. 2 Corinthians 7:10. In the word for, Eliphaz resumes the leading thought of this discourse — men reap what they sow. The passions of a man — for instance, “envy,” (jealousy,) — an envy that even looks wistfully at non-existence, (Job 3:3) — are not only the ruin of a man, but they are the marks of “a fool,” — a word which he repeats in the next verse. “The violence of sin brings no help, but destruction, to itself, which is the nerve of all Eliphaz is saying: Job 5:6-7.” — DAV. At the opening of the debate the implication against Job is of folly, manifesting itself through jealousy and passionate murmurings against God, rather than of crime. The latter is reserved for a direct charge, which the now courteous Eliphaz himself brings against Job at a later stage of the debate; chap. 22. Nevertheless, these words sink deep into the heart of Job, as is seen by his allusion (Job 6:2) to this very word wrath.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-5.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 5:2. For wrath killeth the foolish man, &c. — That is, say some, a man’s wrath and impatience prey upon his spirit, and so hasten his death. But the meaning seems rather to be, as Bishop Patrick observes, that “God in his anger and indignation destroys the wicked, and such as err from his precepts.” It is probable that Eliphaz intended to distinguish Job by the characters of foolish and silly one, to insinuate that all his misfortunes were owing to his folly and weakness, or to his sins and vices. By the foolish is meant the rash and inconsiderate man, who does not weigh things impartially; and by the silly one, the man who, for want of true wisdom, is soon deceived with false opinions, and with appearances of present things.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 5:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-5.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Foolish and....little, here denote the wicked, as in the book of Proverbs. (Calmet) --- He accuses Job of anger (Menochius) and folly. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-5.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"For anger slays the foolish man, and jealousy kills the simple": Eliphaz may have been interpreting Job"s lament in chapter three as being the anger of a foolish man and as a simple man"s jealousy.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-5.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

silly. English = Anglo-Saxon saelig = inoffensive. Hebrew. pathah = credulous. Compare Hosea 7:11.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "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

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

For - so far are you from profiting by your complaints. you only destroy yourself by justifying yourself and impatiently complaining against God.

Foolish man ... silly one - imply at once the sin and folly of him who dreams he has merited nothing but good at Gods hands, and is impatient at affliction being sent upon him.

Wrath ... envy - fretful and passionate complaints, such as Eliphaz charged Job with (Job 4:5). So Proverbs 14:30 - "Envy [is] the rottenness of the bones." For "envy," translate 'fretful passion killeth the foolish.' Not, the wrath of God killeth the foolish, and His envy, etc.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-5.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.
wrath
18:4; Jonah 4:9
the foolish
Psalms 14:1; 75:4; 92:6; 107:17; Proverbs 1:22,23; 8:5; Ecclesiastes 7:9
envy
or, indignation.
Genesis 30:1; 1 Samuel 18:8,9; Romans 2:8
one
Hosea 7:11; 2 Timothy 3:6
Reciprocal: Genesis 4:5 - wroth;  Genesis 4:6 - GeneralGenesis 26:14 - envied;  Genesis 38:9 - lest that;  Exodus 1:9 - the people;  Exodus 1:12 - grieved;  Judges 8:1 - the men;  1 Samuel 20:30 - Saul's;  1 Kings 20:43 - went;  1 Kings 21:4 - heavy;  Esther 3:5 - full of wrath;  Psalm 37:8 - Cease;  Proverbs 14:30 - envy;  Proverbs 27:4 - but;  Daniel 2:12 - GeneralActs 5:17 - indignation;  James 3:14 - if

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 5:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-5.html.