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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Job 20

Verses 1-29

Job 20:12-13

Zophar, the Naamathite, mentioneth a sort of men in whose mouths wickedness is sweet. 'They hide it under their tongues, they spare it, and forsake it not, but keep it still in their mouths.' This furnisheth me with a tripartite division of men in the world.

The first and best are those who spit sin out, loathing it in their judgments, and leaving it in their practice.

The second sort, notoriously wicked, who swallow sin down, actually and openly committing it.

The third, endeavouring an expedient between heaven and hell, neither do not deny their lusts, neither spitting them out, nor swallowing them down, but rolling them under their tongues, epicurizing thereon in their filthy fancies and obscene speculations.

Thomas Fuller.

Job 20:19

What right have we to complain of the indifference of the universe, what right have we to declare it unintelligible and monstrous? Why this surprise at an injustice in which we ourselves have taken so active a part?... Poverty, for example, which we continue to rank among the irremediable ills, such as shipwrecks and plagues; poverty, with all its crushing sorrows and transmitted degeneration how often may this be ascribed to the injustice of the elements, and how often to the injustice of our social condition, which is man's crowning injustice? When we see undeserved misery, need we look to the skies for the reason of it, as if a flash of lightning had caused it?

Maeterlinck in The Buried Temple.

The hidden and awful Wisdom which apportions the destinies of mankind is pleased so to humiliate and cast down the tender, good, and wise; and to set up the selfish, the foolish, or the wicked. Oh, be humble, my brother, in your prosperity! Be gentle with those who are less lucky, if not more deserving. Think, what right have you to be scornful, whose virtue is a deficiency of temptation, whose success may be a chance, whose rank may be an ancestor's accident, whose prosperity is very likely a satire.

Thackeray, Vanity Fair, chap. LVII.

Job 20:27

Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge and fox and squirrel and mole. Some damning circumstance always transpires.

Emerson.

Reference. XXI. 2. H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2183.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Job 20". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/job-20.html. 1910.