Job xxii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. Knowledge. How then canst thou dispute with God?

Ver. 3. Profit. God rules all with justice or with mercy: since, therefore, he punishes, it must be for some guilt, and not for his own advantage. But he might still chastise for the good of man, or to manifest his own power, John ix. 3. God also punishes the sinner for the wrong which he does to himself. (St. Augustine, Conf. iii. 8.) Any one may discover the sophism of Eliphaz. If God were indifferent with regard to our virtue, who would be able to advance one step towards him? (Calmet) — Man is unprofitable indeed to God, but he may reap great advantage from piety himself; and this is what God desires, as well as his own glory, Matthew v. 17. (Worthington)

Ver. 4. Fear. Thus malefactors are condemned, that they may no longer disturb society. But may not God afflict the just, though he have nothing to fear? (Calmet)

Ver. 5. Iniquities. He adduces no fresh arguments, but boldly taxes Job with many crimes, which a person in his station might have committed. He rashly concludes that he must have fallen into some of them at least. (Calmet)

Ver. 6. Pledge. Hebrew, “person.” Debtors might be sold, Matthew xviii. 30.

Ver. 7. Water. Job’s disposition was the reverse, chap. xxix. 15. Such inhumanity would hardly be conceived possible among us. But the Idumeans were guilty of it; (Numbers xx. 18., and Isaias xxi. 14.) and if it had not been probable, Eliphaz would not have dared to speak thus. (Calmet)

Ver. 8. It. Hebrew and Septuagint intimate that Job accepted persons, and gave sentence in favour of his rich friends. (Haydock)

Ver. 9. Arms; possessions, condemning orphans unjustly.

Ver. 11. Waters, and misery, (Calmet) which such conduct deserved. (Haydock)

Ver. 12. 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.)

Ver. 14. Doth. Hebrew, “seeth not.” Septuagint, “is not seen.” — Poles, on which the whole machine seems to turn. (Calmet) — “Hipparchus intimated that there would be a time when the hinges, or poles of heaven, would be moved out of their places.” (Colum. i. 1.) Hebrew and Septuagint, (according to Origen’s edition, ver. 13 to 16) “he walketh about in the circuit of heaven.” (Haydock)

Immortali ævo summa cum pace fruatur

Semota a nostris rebus, sejunctaque longe. (Lucretius)

This was the error of the Egyptians, (Aristotle, Mun. 84.) which Eliphaz unjustly lays to the charge of Job, as heretics often impute condemned tenets to Catholics. (Worthington)

Ver. 15. Wicked. Alexandrian Septuagint, “just.” But Grabe substitutes unjust; (Haydock) as otherwise, Eliphaz would argue against his own principles: unless just be put ironically for hypocrites. (Calmet) — Wilt thou imitate the ancient giants, before the deluge? (Calmet)

Ver. 16. Flood. Hebrew, “river,” (Septuagint; Calmet) or “flood.” (Protestants) This does not certainly allude to the deluge, though Job could not be unacquainted with an event (Haydock) which appears in the writings of the most ancient pagan authors. (Grotius, Relig.)

Ver. 18. From me. He thus insinuates that Job entertained such sentiments, though he seemed to condemn them, chap. xxi. 16. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “is far from him,” God.

Ver. 19. Shall. Septuagint, “saw.” The Jews explain this of Noe, who saw the ruin of the giants with pity, mixed with joy, as he approved of the divine judgments. (Vatable, &c.) — The just can thus rejoice, only on this account; as they would not be just if they were devoid of charity. (St. Gregory) (Psalm lvii. 11., and cvi. 42.) (Calmet)

Ver. 20. Their. Hebrew, “our.” (Calmet) — “Whereas our substance is not cut down.” (Protestants) (Haydock) — But the Septuagint and Chaldean agree with the Vulgate, which gives a better sense. — Fire, which consumed Sodom, &c. (Calmet)

Ver. 22. Law of Moses, (Rabbins) or rather (Haydock) the natural law, which teaches that God is just, and deserves to be adored. He addresses Job, as if he had acknowledged no law or restraint.

Ver. 24. Gold, to build and adorn thy habitation, ver. 23. Hebrew, “He will give thee gold instead of dust; (or more abundant) yea, gold of the torrents of Ophir.” The Phasis is said to roll gold dust, which is of the purest kind, Genesis ii. 11. (Calmet) — “Thou shalt lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir, as the stones of the brooks.” (Protestants) (Haydock) — This is an exaggeration, (3 Kings x. 27.; Calmet) and a sort of proverb, intimating that strength and plenty should succeed to infirmity. The foundations should be the hard rock, instead of earth, &c.

Ver. 25. Silver. Septuagint, “But he shall purify thee, as silver, which has passed the fire.” (Haydock)

Ver. 26. Face, with confidence of being in favour and accepted. (Calmet)

Ver. 27. Vows, after obtaining thy requests. (Menochius) —

Et positis aris jam vota in littore solves. (Virgil, Æneid iii.)

Ver. 28. Decree. Thy projects shall succeed. Septuagint, “But he shall appoint for thee the rule of justice.” (Haydock)

Ver. 29. Glory, as the gospel declares, Matthew xxiii. 12. The Hebrew is more perplexed. “When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, there is lifting up;” (Protestants; Haydock) or “when thy eyes shall be cast down, they shall say to thee, Arise.” (Calmet)

Ver. 30. Innocent. Hebrew, “He shall deliver even the man who is not innocent, and that for the sake of the purity of thy hands.” (Chaldean; Junius, &c.) — God will even spare the guilty, to manifest the regard which he has for the intercession of the saints. These interpreters have taken ai in the same sense as ain, which is the case, 1 Kings iv. 21. (Calmet) — Others explain, “He shall deliver the island of the innocent, and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.” (Protestants) This also would shew the merit and protection of the saints, as a whole island may owe its safety to one of God’s servants. In effect, the world stands by the prayers of the saints. (Haydock) — All that has been said from ver. 21 tends to shew that God favours his friends; and, consequently, that he would never have punished Job, if he had not been guilty. (Calmet)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Eliphaz falsely imputes many crimes to Job: but promises him prosperity if he will repent.

1 Then Eliphaz, the Themanite, answered, and said:

2 Can man be compared with God, even though he were of perfect knowledge?

3 What doth it profit God if thou be just? or what dost thou give him if thy way be unspotted?

4 Shall he reprove thee for fear, and come with thee into judgment:

5 And not for thy manifold wickedness, and thy infinite iniquities?

6 For thou hast taken away the pledge of thy brethren without cause, and stript the naked of their clothing.

7 Thou hast not given water to the weary, thou hast withdrawn bread from the hungry.

8 In the strength of thy arm thou didst possess the land, and, being the most mighty, thou heldest it.

9 Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless thou hast broken in pieces.

10 Therefore art thou surrounded with snares, and sudden fear troubleth thee.

11 And didst thou think that thou shouldst not see darkness, and that thou shouldst not be covered with the violence of overflowing waters?

12 Dost not thou think that God is higher than heaven, and is elevated above the height of the stars?

13 And thou sayst: What doth God know? and he judgeth as it were through a mist.

14 The clouds are his covert, and he doth not consider our things, and he walketh about the poles of heaven.

15 Dost thou desire to keep the path of ages, which wicked men have trodden?

16 Who were taken away before their time, and a flood hath overthrown their foundation:

17 Who said to God: Depart from us: and looked upon the Almighty as if he could do nothing.

18 Whereas he had filled their houses with good things: whose way of thinking be far from me.

19 *The just shall see, and shall rejoice, and the innocent shall laugh them to scorn.

20 Is not their exaltation cut down, and hath not fire devoured the remnants of them?

21 Submit thyself then to him, and be at peace: and thereby thou shalt have the best fruits.

22 Receive the law of his mouth, and lay up his words in thy heart.

23 If thou wilt return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, and shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacle.

24 He shall give for earth flint, and for flint torrents of gold.

25 And the Almighty shall be against thy enemies, and silver shall be heaped together for thee.

26 Then shalt thou abound in delights in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face to God.

27 Thou shalt pray to him, and he will hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.

28 Thou shalt decree a thing, and it I shall come to thee, and light shall shine in thy ways.

29 *For he that hath been humbled, shall be in glory: and he that shall bow down his eyes, he shall be saved.

30 The innocent shall be saved, and he shall be saved by the cleanness of his hands.



19: Psalm cvi. 42.

29: Proverbs xxix. 23.