Job 20 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Job 20)

Verse 2

[2] Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste.

Therefore — For this thy severe sentence.

Make haste — I speak sooner than I intended. And possibly interrupted Job, when he was proceeding in his discourse.

Verse 3

[3] I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.

The check — Thy opprobrious reproofs of us.

Understanding — I speak, not from passion, but certain knowledge.

Verse 4

[4] Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth,

This — Which I am now about to say.

Since — Since the world was made.

Verse 6

[6] Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds;

Though — Though he be advanced to great dignity and authority.

Verse 11

[11] His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.

Bones — His whole body, even the strongest parts of it.

The sin — Of the punishment of it.

Verse 12

[12] Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue;

Mouth — To his taste; though it greatly please him for the present.

Hide — As an epicure doth a sweet morsel, which he keeps and rolls about his mouth, that he may longer enjoy the pleasure of it.

Verse 14

[14] Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him.

Turned — From sweet to bitter.

Gall of asps — Exceeding bitter and pernicious. Gall is most bitter; the gall of serpents is full of poison; and the poison of asps is most dangerous and within a few hours kills without remedy.

Verse 15

[15] He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly.

Vomit — Be forced to restore them.

God, … — If no man's hand can reach him, God shall find him out.

Verse 17

[17] He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.

See — Not enjoy that abundant satisfaction and comfort, which good men through God's blessings enjoy.

Verse 18

[18] That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein.

Swallow — So as to hold it. He shall not possess it long, nor to any considerable purpose. Yea, he shall be forced to part with his estate to make compensations for his wrongs. So that he shall not enjoy what he had gotten, because it shall be taken from him.

Verse 20

[20] Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired.

Belly — He shall have no peace in his mind.

Desired — Any part of his desirable things, but shall forfeit and lose them all.

Verse 21

[21] There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods.

Therefore — It being publickly known that he was totally ruined, none of his kindred shall trouble themselves about any relicks of his estate.

Verse 22

[22] In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: every hand of the wicked shall come upon him.

In, … — In the height of prosperity he shall be distressed.

Hand, … — So his wickedness shall be punished by those as wicked as himself.

Verse 23

[23] When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.

Rain — This phrase denotes both the author of his plagues, God, and the nature and quality of them, that they shall come upon him like rain; with great vehemency, so that he cannot prevent or avoid it.

Eating — As it fell upon thy sons.

Verse 24

[24] He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.

Flee — From the sword or spear; and so shall think him self out of danger.

Verse 25

[25] It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him.

It — The arrow, which had entered into his body, and now was drawn out of it either by himself or some other person; having in general said, that it came out of his body, he determines also the part of the body, the gall; which shews that the wound was both deep and deadly.

Terrors — The terrors of death; because he perceived his wound was incurable.

Verse 26

[26] All darkness shall be hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle.

Darkness — All sorts of miseries.

Hid — Or, laid up; by God for him. It is reserved and treasured up for him, and shall infallibly overtake him.

Secret — In those places where he confidently hopes to hide himself from all evil: even there God shall find him out.

Not blown — By man, but kindled by God himself. He thinks by his might and violence to secure himself from men, but God will find him out.

With him — With his family, who shall inherit his curse as well as his estate.

Verse 27

[27] The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him.

Heaven — God shall be a swift witness against him by extraordinary judgments; still he reflects upon Job's case, and the fire from heaven.

Earth — All creatures upon earth shall conspire to destroy him. If the God of heaven and earth be his enemy, neither heaven nor earth will shew him any kindness, but all the host of both are, and will he at war with him.

Verse 28

[28] The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.

Increase of his house — His estate.

Depart — Shall be lost.

Flow — Like waters, swiftly and strongly, and so as to return no more.

His — Of God's wrath.

Verse 29

[29] This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.

Heritage — Heb. the heritage; so called, to denote the stability and assurance of it, that it is as firm as an inheritance to the right heir; and in opposition to that inheritance which he had gotten by fraud and violence.