Job Chapter Twelve
In the speech or discourse from Job’s friend Zophar, as we noted at the beginning of chapter eleven this friend is even more direct and to the point than Eliphaz and Bildad. Matthew Henry says in his commentary that Zophar pours as much salt and vinegar in Job wounds as the other two combined. We might also observe that he used fewer words to do so. Job then, in chapter 12 follows his same basic pattern, he answers Zophar; then turns and addresses God again after which he turns again to his friends and their charges.
Read Job 12:1-5
v1-2. “AND JOB ANSWERED AND SAID, NO DOUBT BUT YE are THE PEOPLE, AND WISDOM SHALL DIE WITH YOU.”
Job here is answering Zophar with scathing sarcasm. Zophar has spoken from an attitude of having a high opinion in his own knowledge and wisdom. No doubt you think you’re the person who thinks of himself as having the wisdom to dictate and give law to all mankind, and your judgment to be the standard by which every man’s opinion must be measured and tried. You even think that your wisdom is so great that wisdom will die when you do. But when good men and wise men die, wisdom will not die with them, because wisdom which begins where?
Proverbs “THE FEAR OF THE LORD is THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM: AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY is UNDERSTANDING.”
v3. “BUT I HAVE UNDERSTANDING AS WELL AS YOU; I am NOT INFERIOR TO YOU: YEA, WHO KNOWETH NOT SUCH THINGS AS THESE?”
But Job says I have just as much wisdom as you do. My knowledge and wisdom is not at all inferior to you. The wisdom and understanding that you’re holding so high is common to any man, who is it that doesn’t know these things?
v4. “I AM as ONE MOCKED OF HIS NEIGHBOUR, WHO CALLETH UPON GOD, AND HE ANSWERETH HIM: THE JUST UPRIGHT man is LAUGHED TO SCORN.”
Job complains that they have treated him with contempt. They were haughty and think too well of themselves and are scornful and ready to tromp down others who around them that may be having trials and afflictions.
call upon God; God answers them. Even if
our friends are deaf to our problems and complaints, God is not. If out friends condemn us, God because of his
wisdom and ability to see the condition of the heart knows our integrity.
Much the same as the unknown Psalmist writes and the Holy Spirit recorded for us learning:
Psalms 91:1 “HE THAT DWELLETH IN THE
The attitude Job’s friends toward him is very common among men; the just and upright man is scorned and laughed at by those who live by the wisdom of the world. His honesty towards men and his devotion to God are just silly things that people who don’t know any better burden themselves with. That’s still true today isn’t it?
I Peter “BELOVED, THINK IT NOT STRANGE CONCERNING THE FIERY TRIAL WHICH IS TO TRY YOU, AS THOUGH SOME STRANGE THING HAPPENED UNTO YOU:”
v5. “HE THAT IS READY TO SLIP WITH his FEET is as A LAMP DESPISED IN THE THOUGHT OF HIM THAT IS AT EASE.”
Even the righteous and upright man; if he slips and falls into trouble, though he has formerly shone as a lamp, as we all should with the light of Christ within us, if we enter into a temptation or have our reputations fall under a cloud we’re looked upon with contempt by this present world aren’t we? Or as the wise man Solomon recorded for us:
Proverbs 14:2 “HE THAT WALKETH IN HIS UPRIGHTNESS FEARETH THE LORD: BUT he that is PERVERSE IN HIS WAYS DESPISETH HIM.”
Read Job 12:6-11
v6. “THE TABERNACLES OF ROBBERS PROSPER, AND THEY THAT PROVOKE GOD ARE SECURE; INTO WHOSE HAND GOD BRINGETH abundantly.”
again to the premise that Job’s friends have advocated all along. The wicked are punished for their ways, they
do not prosper while the righteous prosper and are not beset by trials, or
troubles, or disasters or afflictions.
It is an absolute truth that wicked people may, and often do, prosper in
this world. They can and many times do
have even greater prosperity in this world than those who are righteous and
upright. Job says that even the houses
of robbers prosper and those who provoke God are secure in their riches.
Again we turn to the psalmist, this time Asaph:
Psalms 73:11-12 “AND THEY SAY, HOW DOTH GOD KNOW? AND IS THERE KNOWLEDGE IN THE MOST HIGH? BEHOLD, THESE are THE UNGODLY, WHO PROSPER IN THE WORLD; THEY INCREASE in RICHES.”
v7-8. “BUT ASK NOW THE BEASTS, AND THEY SHALL TEACH THEE; AND THE FOWLS OF THE AIR, AND THEY SHALL TELL THEE: OR SPEAK TO THE EARTH, AND IT SHALL TEACH THEE: AND THE FISHES OF THE SEA SHALL DECLARE UNTO THEE.”
This knowledge is so common that even the beasts of the fields and fowls of the air understand and they could tell you that the wicked prosper as well as the righteous. Or turn to the earth and the fish of the sea shall declare this truth unto you. God’s through his providence does provide equal physical blessings on all mankind doesn’t He? Jesus himself teaches us in the sermon on the mount:
Matthew “THAT YE MAY BE THE CHILDREN OF YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN: FOR HE MAKETH HIS SUN TO RISE ON THE EVIL AND ON THE GOOD, AND SENDETH RAIN ON THE JUST AND ON THE UNJUST.”
God is no respecter of persons, the crops of the fields, the offspring of the animals that we use for food, the abundance of the sea is not held back from one and given to another but provided to all equally regardless of character, righteousness or wickedness.
v9. “WHO KNOWETH NOT IN ALL THESE THAT THE HAND OF THE LORD HATH WROUGHT THIS?”
Who doesn’t know this to be true? That there is a wise Providence which guides and governs all these things by rules that we are still learning, we’re not really acquainted with nor do we have the ability to judge.
v10. “IN WHOSE HAND is THE SOUL OF EVERY LIVING THING, AND THE BREATH OF ALL MANKIND.”
In the hand of this almighty God rests the soul of every living thing. He rules the very breath of all men whom he can build up or destroy with equal ease.
We see it in the lesson of Belshazzer when he rebelled against God. He learned nothing from the humbling that God brought to the king Nebuchadnezzar by causing him to be driven from among men, graze like an oxen until he knew the most high God ruled the kingdoms of men.
Daniel 5:23 “BUT HAST LIFTED UP THYSELF AGAINST THE LORD OF HEAVEN; AND THEY HAVE BROUGHT THE VESSELS OF HIS HOUSE BEFORE THEE, AND THOU, AND THY LORDS, THY WIVES, AND THY CONCUBINES, HAVE DRUNK WINE IN THEM; AND THOU HAST PRAISED THE GODS OF SILVER, AND GOLD, OF BRASS, IRON, WOOD, AND STONE, WHICH SEE NOT, NOR HEAR, NOR KNOW: AND THE GOD IN WHOSE HAND THY BREATH is, AND WHOSE are ALL THY WAYS, HAST THOU NOT GLORIFIED:”
All creatures and especially mankind receive all of their being from Him, depend upon Him for the support of it, lie at His mercy, and are under His dominion and entirely at his disposal to do with as He wishes.
v11. “DOTH NOT THE EAR TRY WORDS? AND THE MOUTH TASTE HIS MEAT?”
Doesn’t your ear try men’s words, doesn’t your mouth know through taste what is sweet and what is bitter. The mind of man can discern between good and evil, truth and error just as his taste can tell the difference between sweet and bitter.
Job is demanding from his friends the right to judge for himself what they have said and wants them to use the same judgment about what he has said. Do away with your pre-conceived ideas about my righteousness, about my relationship with God. This is the same way we can determine which is sound doctrine or teaching and which is not, just as we have studied in other lessons.
Read Job 12:12-25
v12. “WITH THE ANCIENT is WISDOM; AND IN LENGTH OF DAYS UNDERSTANDING.”
Job first declares the unsearchable wisdom and almighty power of God. But it will be found only by a few, those who gain the wisdom of His Word by their very length of days as true Christians and/or who get it by long and constant study.
v13. “WITH HIM is WISDOM AND STRENGTH, HE HATH COUNSEL AND UNDERSTANDING.”
But the wisdom that man does manage to gain in his experience and through his long life does not begin to compare with God’s. Blessed are those who have God for their God for they have the wisdom that God had chosen to reveal and with Him is wisdom, strength, wise counsel and understanding.
v14. “BEHOLD, HE BREAKETH DOWN, AND IT CANNOT BE BUILT AGAIN: HE SHUTTETH UP A MAN, AND THERE CAN BE NO OPENING.”
No one can
contend with the divine providence. What
God says cannot be gainsaid, nor what he does undone. There is no rebuilding what God would have
lie in ruins such as the
Ezekiel 26:14 “AND I WILL MAKE THEE LIKE THE TOP OF A ROCK: THOU SHALT BE a place TO SPREAD NETS UPON; THOU SHALT BE BUILT NO MORE: FOR I THE LORD HAVE SPOKEN it, SAITH THE LORD GOD.”
describes the removal of control of the house of
Isaiah 22:22 “AND THE KEY OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID WILL I LAY UPON HIS SHOULDER; SO HE SHALL OPEN, AND NONE SHALL SHUT; AND HE SHALL SHUT, AND NONE SHALL OPEN.”
v15. “BEHOLD, HE WITHHOLDETH THE WATERS, AND THEY DRY UP: ALSO HE SENDETH THEM OUT, AND THEY OVERTURN THE EARTH.”
God controls the forces of nature as well, as we already know. He can use either the lack of water or the abundance of water to punish mankind.
Proverbs 30:4-5 “WHO HATH ASCENDED UP INTO HEAVEN, OR DESCENDED? WHO HATH GATHERED THE WIND IN HIS FISTS? WHO HATH BOUND THE WATERS IN A GARMENT? WHO HATH ESTABLISHED ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH? WHAT is HIS NAME, AND WHAT is HIS SON'S NAME, IF THOU CANST TELL? EVERY WORD OF GOD is PURE: HE is A SHIELD UNTO THEM THAT PUT THEIR TRUST IN HIM.”
We can indeed put our trust in God to do what he says he will do because every word of God is pure. As Solomon acknowledged in his prayer:
I Kings 8:35 “WHEN HEAVEN IS SHUT UP, AND THERE IS NO RAIN, BECAUSE THEY HAVE SINNED AGAINST THEE; IF THEY PRAY TOWARD THIS PLACE, AND CONFESS THY NAME, AND TURN FROM THEIR SIN, WHEN THOU AFFLICTEST THEM:”
v16. “WITH HIM is STRENGTH AND WISDOM: THE DECEIVED AND THE DECEIVER are HIS.”
God who having this strength and this wisdom, knows how to make use of it, not only for those who are wise and good, who willingly and by design serve him, but even of those who are foolish and bad, who, one would think, could in no way be made to serve the purpose of His providence. The world is full of deceit; the one half of man cheats the other half and God allows it to happen. God makes tools of them both and neither can do anything about it.
v17. “HE LEADETH COUNSELLORS AWAY SPOILED, AND MAKETH THE JUDGES FOOLS.”
He leads counselors away spoiled and makes fools out of judges as Paul reminds us as well.
I Corinthians 1:19 “FOR IT IS WRITTEN, I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND WILL BRING TO NOTHING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRUDENT.”
v18-19. “HE LOOSETH THE BOND OF KINGS, AND GIRDETH THEIR LOINS WITH A GIRDLE. HE LEADETH PRINCES AWAY SPOILED, AND OVERTHROWETH THE MIGHTY”
God can take kings from their positions and place them in situations where they have to bind their loins with a girdle as a slave, servant or common working man. An example would be Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon who spent time living as a beast of the field because of his attitude toward God.
v20. “HE REMOVETH AWAY THE SPEECH OF THE TRUSTY, AND TAKETH AWAY THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE AGED.”
Even those that are eloquent and trusted with the business of the public or of government can be silenced and have nothing to say. Those that are revered for their wisdom or even called to prophesy as in the account of Balaam can be made to say that which they did not intend to say.
v21-25. “HE POURETH CONTEMPT UPON PRINCES, AND WEAKENETH THE STRENGTH OF THE MIGHTY. HE DISCOVERETH DEEP THINGS OUT OF DARKNESS, AND BRINGETH OUT TO LIGHT THE SHADOW OF DEATH. HE INCREASETH THE NATIONS, AND DESTROYETH THEM: HE ENLARGETH THE NATIONS, AND STRAITENETH THEM again. HE TAKETH AWAY THE HEART OF THE CHIEF OF THE PEOPLE OF THE EARTH, AND CAUSETH THEM TO WANDER IN A WILDERNESS where there is NO WAY. THEY GROPE IN THE DARK WITHOUT LIGHT, AND HE MAKETH THEM TO STAGGER LIKE a DRUNKEN man.”
God is in control, He knows all things, He can see into the deepest darkness to see what man is wishes to hide, He can turn the shadow of death unto light, He creates nations and destroys them, he allows them to prosper and then when they become wicked and evil He reduces them again. Without the light of God and his Word we grope about in the darkness and stumble and stagger around like a drunken man.