Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 2. You. Hebrew, “Truly you are the people, and wisdom will die with you!” This irony is very sharp. (Calmet) — “Are you alone men? or shall?” &c. (Septuagint; Syriac)
Ver. 4. Mocked. He retaliates on Sophar, (chap. xi. 3.; Haydock) who had very seriously exhorted Job to call on God, as if he had been ignorant of this duty. (Calmet) — God will one day force the wicked to retract their false notion, in despising his servants, Wisdom v. 3. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. The lamp. Such is the just man, who under affliction is (Haydock) exposed to the ridicule of men who live at their ease. — For. Hebrew, “to fall.” (Calmet) Septuagint, “It was appointed for me to fall under others at the time fixed.”
Ver. 6. Abound. Hebrew, “are at peace.” (Calmet) — The prosperity of the wicked is therefore no proof that they are pleasing to him. (Haydock) — All nature testifies that God exercises a sovereign dominion over his works. He may therefore cause the just to suffer, though they be guiltless. This is one of Job’s grand maxims. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Taste. For this no master is requisite; so I stood in no need of your information, (Calmet) of such trite remarks. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Ancient. He rather chides the youth of Sophar for offering to give him lessons. Old age is indeed commonly wiser and more experienced. Yet, what is man’s knowledge compared to that of God! ver. 13.
Ver. 17. To a. Hebrew, “to be despoiled” of their wisdom and riches. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “into captivity.” (Haydock) — Crafty plotters at last fall into such misconduct, as to be derided by men of the meanest capacity. (Worthington)
Ver. 18. Looseth. Septuagint, “setteth kings upon the throne,” &c. — Belt. This was usually very magnificent, and a military ornament. See that of Pallas described. (Virgil, Æneid x.) Job intimates that God deprives kings of their authority, at pleasure. Hebrew may also signify that he looseth the bond or prisoner of kings, and reduces themselves to slavery. (Calmet) — Things never remain long in the same state. (Haydock) — Even kings are sometimes obliged to beg. (Menochius)
Ver. 19. Without. Hebrew, “despoiled.” Septuagint, “captives.” Cohanim, may comprise both sacred ministers and civil princes, 1 Kings viii. 18. All are equally subject to God. (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Speakers. Permitting them to speak deceitfully, (Calmet) or causing their oracles to be contemned. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “he withdraws speech from men of confidence.” (Calmet) — Neemanim, (Haydock) ambassadors or prime ministers, Numbers xii. 7. He disconcerteth the best concerted plans.
Ver. 21. Relieveth. Hebrew, “ungirdeth (disarms) the strong.” (Calmet) — Septuagint, “but the lowly (humble) he has healed.”
Ver. 22. Of death. Tsalmaveth (Haydock) may perhaps simply denote darkness. (Calmet) — God bringeth to light the most hidden things. (Haydock)
Ver. 23. Multiplieth. Hebrew, Septuagint, and Syriac, “deceiveth,” (Calmet) suffering them to confide too much in their strength, so that they fall an easy prey. (Haydock) — How many nations, once so powerful, are now fallen; while others of no account have risen to eminence!
Ver. 24. Changeth. Hebrew, “taketh away the heart,” or prudence “of princes.” Hence they follow the most absurd counsels, Isaias xxix. 19. (Calmet) — No way. This was the case of Pharao, when he pursued the Israelites into the sea; (Tirinus) and the like may rationally be feared by those princes, who attempt to make innovations in the true religion, or in the sound laws of a kingdom. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Job’s reply to Sophar. He extols God’s power and wisdom.
1 Then Job answered, and said:
2 Are you then men alone, and shall wisdom die with you?
3 *I also have a heart as well as you; neither am I inferior to you: for who is ignorant of these things, which you know?
4 *He that is mocked by his friends as I, shall call upon God and he will hear him: for the simplicity of the just man is laughed to scorn.
5 The lamp despised in the thoughts of the rich, is ready for the time appointed.
6 *The tabernacles of robbers abound, and they provoke God boldly; whereas it is he that hath given all into their hands.
7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee: and the birds of the air, and they shall tell thee.
8 Speak to the earth, and it shall answer thee: and the fishes of the sea shall tell.
9 Who is ignorant that the hand of the Lord hath made all these things?
10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the spirit of all flesh of man.
11 *Doth not the ear discern words, and the palate of him that eateth, the taste?
12 In the ancient is wisdom, and in length of days prudence.
13 With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
14 *If he pull down, there is no man that can build up: if he shut up a man, there is none that can open.
15 If he withhold the waters, all things shall be dried up: and if he send them out, they shall overturn the earth.
16 With him is strength and wisdom: he knoweth both the deceiver and him that is deceived.
17 He bringeth counsellors to a foolish end, and judges to insensibility.
18 He looseth the belt of kings, and girdeth their loins with a cord.
19 He leadeth away priests without glory, and overthroweth nobles.
20 He changeth the speech of the true speakers, and taketh away the doctrine of the aged.
21 He poureth contempt upon princes, and relieveth them that were oppressed.
22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth up to light the shadow of death.
23 He multiplieth nations, and destroyeth them, and restoreth them again after they were overthrown.
24 He changeth the heart of the princes of the people of the earth, and deceiveth them, so that they walk in vain where there is no way.
25 They shall grope as in the dark, and not in the light, and he shall make them stagger like them that are drunk.
3: Job xx. 2.
4: Proverbs xiv. 2.
6: Psalm xliii. 11. and xlviii. 7.
11: Job xxxiv. 3.
14: Isaias xxii. 22.; Apocalypse iii. 7.