Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,XXVII.
(1) Job continued his parable.—The remainder of Job’s speech—now, for the first time, called his parable—consists of his determination not to renounce his righteousness (Job 27:2-6); his own estimate of the fate of the wicked (Job 27:7-23); his magnificent estimate of the nature of wisdom (Job 28); his comparison of his former life (Job 29) with that of his present experience (Job 30); his final declaration of his innocent and irreproachable conduct (Job 31).
As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;(2) As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment.—Job’s faith leads him to see that, though there may be no explanation for his sufferings, yet they are laid upon him by God for purposes of His own, which are veiled from him.
God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.(5) God forbid that I should justify you.—To admit the wickedness with which his friends charged him would have been to justify them—to say that they were right and he was wrong. This he resolves not to do.
My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.(6) My heart shall not reproach me.—Or, doth not reproach me for any of my days.
Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.(7) Let mine enemy be as the wicked.—While, however, he admits that the wicked is often a prosperous man, he declares that he has no envy for him, but would have only his adversaries to be like him.
For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?(8) What is the hope?—Better, What is the hope of the godless, though he get him gain, when God taketh away his soul?
Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?(10) Will he delight himself?—It is only the godly who can say, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison with Thee;” and again, “I will praise Thy name, because it is so comfortable;” but this man hath no promise that he can plead, and therefore no assurance of access at all times to the presence of God.
I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal.(11) I will teach you.—Better, I will teach you of the hand of God; or, what is in the power of God.
Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain?(12) Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it.—That is, “You have seen me so proclaim the great power of God.”
This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.(13) This is the portion of a wicked man.—Some have thought that the remainder of this chapter, if not Job 28 also, constitutes the missing third speech of Zophar, and that the usual words, “Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,” have dropped out; but whatever may so be gained in symmetry seems to be lost in dramatic effect. We have seen that Bildad had but little to say, and that was only a few truisms; it is not surprising, therefore, that when it came to the turn of Zophar he had nothing more to say, and Job was left virtually master of the field. It is, however, a little remarkable that, supposing these words to be rightly ascribed to Job, he should precisely adopt those with which Zophar had concluded (Job 20:29). Perhaps Job is willing to show how completely he is prepared to accept the facts of his friends, although he will not admit their inferences. He, like them, is quite ready to allow that the prosperity of the wicked must be seeming rather than real, and that it must eventually come to nought.
Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.(15) Those that remain of him shall be buried in death.—That is, as the context shows, it shall be obscure, and excite no sympathy; their very death shall be as it were a burial, and shall consign them to oblivion.
His widows.—That is, those commonly hired for the purpose of making lamentation for the dead, or the widows of those that remain of him.
The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not.(19) But he shall not be gathered.—Some ancient versions read, “but he shall do so no more;” but the “gathering” may refer to his wealth. “He openeth his eyes, and it (i.e., his wealth) is not;” or it may mean that as soon as he opens his eyes, hoping to enjoy his riches, he shall be no more, but be suddenly cut off. This sense appears to accord with the following verses.
For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.(22) For God shall cast upon him.—The Authorised Version supplies God as the subject; but we obtain very good sense by understanding it of the man who constantly fled from his power now being only too glad of the opportunity of avenging himself on him, while he or others clap their hands at him, and hiss him from his place.