Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
Fill — Satisfy his mind and conscience.
East wind — With discourses not only unprofitable, but also pernicious both to himself and others; as the east-wind was in those parts.
 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.
Castest off — Heb. thou makes void fear; the fear of God, piety and religion, by thy unworthy speeches of God, and by those false and pernicious principles, that God makes no difference between good and bad in the course of his providence, but equally prospers or afflicts both: thou dost that which tends to the subversion of the fear and worship of God.
Restrainest prayer — Thou dost by thy words and principles, as far as in thee lies, banish prayer out of the world, by making it useless and unprofitable to men.
 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.
Uttereth — Thy words discover the naughtiness of thy heart.
Crafty — Thou speakest wickedly, and craftily: thou coverest thy impious principles with fair pretences of piety.
 Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?
Are — Are those comforts, which we have propounded to thee on condition of thy repentance, small and contemptible in thine eyes? Secret - Hast thou any secret and peculiar way of comfort which is unknown to us, and to all other men?
 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,
Why — Why dost thou suffer thyself to be transported by the pride of thine heart, to use such unworthy expressions? Wink - Why dost thou look with such an angry, supercilious, and disdainful look?
 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?
Against God — Eliphaz here does in effect give the cause on Satan's side, and affirms that Job had done as he said he would, Curse God to his face.
 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.
Saints — In his angels, chap. Psalms 103:20. Who though they were created holy, yet many of them fell.
Heavens — The angels that dwell in heaven; heaven being put for its inhabitants. None of these are pure, simply and perfectly, and comparatively to God. The angels are pure from corruption, but not from imperfection.
 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
Who — Who besides his natural proneness to sin, has contracted habits of sinning; and sins as freely, as greedily and delightfully, as men, especially in those hot countries, drink up water.
 I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare;
I — I will prove what I have affirmed, that such strokes as thine are peculiar to hypocrites.
Seen — I speak not by hear-say, but from my own experience.
 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it:
Hid — They judged it to be so certain and important a truth, that they would not conceal it in their own breasts.
 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.
To whom — By the gracious gift of God: this he alleges to make their testimony more considerable, because these were no obscure men, but the most worthy and famous men in their ages; and to confute what Job had said, chap. 9:24, that the earth was given into the hand of the wicked. By the earth he means the dominion and possession of it.
Stranger — No person of a strange nation and disposition, or religion.
Passed — Through their land, so as to disturb, or spoil them, as the Sabeans and Chaldeans did thee. God watched over those holy men so, that no enemy could invade them; and so he would have done over thee, if thou hadst been such an one.
 The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.
Pain — Lives a life of care, and fear, and grief, by reason of God's wrath, the torments of his own mind, and his outward calamities.
Hidden — He knows not how short the time of his life is, and therefore lives in continual fear of losing it.
Oppressor — To the wicked man: he names this one sort of them, because he supposed Job to be guilty of this sin, in opposition of what Job had affirmed of the safety of such persons, chap. 12:6, and because such are apt to promise themselves a longer and happier life than other men.
 A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him.
A sound — Even when he feels no evil, he is tormented with perpetual fears.
Come upon him — Suddenly and unexpectedly.
 He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.
Believeth not — When he falls into trouble, he despairs of deliverance, by reason of his guilty conscience.
Waited for — Besides the calamity which is upon him, he is in constant expectation of greater; the sword is used for any grievous affliction.
 He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.
Knoweth — From his own guilty conscience.
 For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.
For — Now he gives the reason of all the fore-mentioned calamities, which was his great wickedness.
Against God — He sinned against God with an high hand.
The Almighty — Which aggravates the madness of this poor worm that durst fight against the omnipotent God.
 He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:
He — The wicked man.
Neck — As a stout warrior who cometh close to his adversary and grapples with him. He acts in flat opposition to God, both to his precepts and providences.
Bosses — Even where his enemy is strongest.
 Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.
Because — This is mentioned as the reason of his insolent carriage towards God, because he was fat, rich, potent, and successful, as that expression signifies, Jeremiah 46:21. His great prosperity made him proud and secure, and regardless of God and men.
Fat — His only care is to pamper himself.
 And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.
But — This is fitly opposed to the prosperity last mentioned, and is the beginning of the description of his misery.
 He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.
Substance — What he had gotten shall be taken from him.
 He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.
Depart — His misery shall have no end.
Flame — God's anger and judgment upon him.
Branches — His wealth, and power, and glory, wherewith he was encompassed, as trees are with their branches.
His mouth — And this expression intimates, with how much ease God subdueth his enemies: his word, his blast; one act of his will is sufficient.
Go — Heb. go back: that is, run away from God faster than he ran upon him, verse 26. So it is a continuation of the former metaphor of a conflict between two persons.
 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.
Vanity — In the vain and deceitful things of this world, he subjoins a general caution to all men to take heed of running into the same error and mischief.
Vanity — Disappointment and dissatisfaction, and the loss of all his imaginary felicity.
Recompence — Heb. his exchange; he shall exchange one vanity for another, a pleasing vanity for a vexatious vanity.
 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
Accomplished — That vanity should be his recompence.
Before — When by the course of nature, and common providence he might have continued much longer.