It was now Zophar's turn to speak. But as he and the other two were silent, virtually admitting defeat, after a pause Job proceeds.
1. parable--applied in the East to a figurative sententious embodiment
of wisdom in poetic form, a gnome
continued--proceeded to put forth; implying elevation of discourse.
taken away . . . judgment--words unconsciously foreshadowing Jesus Christ (Isa 53:8; Ac 8:33). God will not give Job his right, by declaring his innocence.
vexed--Hebrew, "made bitter" (Ru 1:20).
3. Implying Job's knowledge of the fact that the living soul was breathed into man by God (Ge 2:7). "All the while." But MAURER, "As yet all my breath is in me" (notwithstanding my trials): the reason why I can speak so boldly.
4. (Job 6:28, 30). The "deceit" would be if he were to admit guilt against the witness of his conscience.
5. justify you--approve of your views.
mine integrity--which you deny, on account of my misfortunes.
6. Rather, my "heart" (conscience) reproaches "not one of my days," that is, I do not repent of any of my days since I came into existence [MAURER].
7. Let . . . be--Let mine enemy be accounted as wicked, that is, He who opposes my asseveration of innocence must be regarded as actuated by criminal hostility. Not a curse on his enemies.
8. "What hope hath the hypocrite, notwithstanding all his gains,
when?" &c. "Gained" is antithetic to "taketh away."
translation is an unmeaning tautology. "When God cuts off, when He
taketh away his life."
taketh away--literally, "draws out" the soul from the body, which is, as it were, its scabbard (Job 4:21; Ps 104:29; Da 7:15). Job says that he admits what Bildad said (Job 8:13) and Zophar (Job 20:5). But he says the very fact of his still calling upon God (Job 27:10) amid all his trials, which a hypocrite would not dare to do, shows he is no "hypocrite."
9. (Ps 66:18).
10. Alluding to
always call--He may do so in times of prosperity in order to be thought religious. But he will not, as I do, call on God in calamities verging on death. Therefore I cannot be a "hypocrite" (Job 19:25; 20:5; Ps 62:8).
11-23. These words are contrary to Job's previous sentiments
Job 21:22-33; 24:22-25).
They therefore seem to be Job's statement, not so much of his own
sentiments, as of what Zophar would have said had he spoken when his
turn came (end of the twenty-sixth chapter). So Job stated the friends'
(Job 21:17-21; 24:18-21).
The objection is, why, if so, does not Job answer Zophar's opinion, as
stated by himself? The fact is, it is probable that Job tacitly, by
giving, in the twenty-eighth chapter, only a general answer, implies,
that in spite of the wicked often dying, as he said, in
prosperity, he does not mean to deny that the wicked are in the
main dealt with according to right, and that God herein vindicates
His moral government even here. Job therefore states Zophar's
argument more strongly than Zophar would have done. But by comparing
with Job 20:29
("portion," "heritage"), it will be seen, it is Zophar's argument,
rather than his own, that Job states. Granting it to be true, implies
Job, you ought not to use it as an argument to criminate me. For
the ways of divine wisdom in afflicting the godly are inscrutable: all
that is sure to man is, the fear of the Lord is wisdom
by the hand--rather, concerning the hand of God, namely, what God does in governing men.
with the Almighty--the counsel or principle which regulates God's dealings.
12. "Ye yourselves see" that the wicked often are afflicted (though often the reverse, Job 21:33). But do you "vainly" make this an argument to prove from my afflictions that I am wicked?
13. (See on Job 27:11).
14. His family only increases to perish by sword or famine (Jer 18:21; Job 5:20, the converse).
15. Those that escape war and famine
shall be buried by the deadly plague--"death"
The plague of the Middle Ages was called "the black death." Buried
by it implies that they would have none else but the death plague
itself (poetically personified) to perform their funeral rites, that
is, would have no one.
his--rather, "their widows." Transitions from singular to plural are frequent. Polygamy is not implied.
16. dust . . . clay--images of multitudes (Zec 9:3). Many changes of raiment are a chief constituent of wealth in the East.
(Job 8:14; 4:19).
The transition is natural from "raiment"
to the "house" of the "moth" in it, and of it, when in its larva state.
The moth worm's house is broken whenever the "raiment" is shaken
out, so frail is it.
booth--a bough-formed hut which the guard of a vineyard raises for temporary shelter (Isa 1:8).
19. gathered--buried honorably (Ge 25:8; 2Ki 22:20). But UMBREIT, agreeably to Job 27:18, which describes the short continuance of the sinner's prosperity, "He layeth himself rich in his bed, and nothing is robbed from him, he openeth his eyes, and nothing more is there." If English Version be retained, the first clause probably means, rich though he be in dying, he shall not be honored with a funeral; the second, When he opens his eyes in the unseen world, it is only to see his destruction: the Septuagint reads for "not gathered," He does not proceed, that is, goes to his bed no more. So MAURER.
21. (Job 21:18; 15:2; Ps 58:9).
22. cast--namely, thunderbolts (Job 6:4; 7:20; 16:13; Ps 7:12, 13).