Job 21:30
That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.
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(30-33) That the wicked. . . .—These verses contain the result of their experience.

21:27-34 Job opposes the opinion of his friends, That the wicked are sure to fall into visible and remarkable ruin, and none but the wicked; upon which principle they condemned Job as wicked. Turn to whom you will, you will find that the punishment of sinners is designed more for the other world than for this, Jude 1:14,15. The sinner is here supposed to live in a great deal of power. The sinner shall have a splendid funeral: a poor thing for any man to be proud of the prospect of. He shall have a stately monument. And a valley with springs of water to keep the turf green, was accounted an honourable burial place among eastern people; but such things are vain distinctions. Death closes his prosperity. It is but a poor encouragement to die, that others have died before us. That which makes a man die with true courage, is, with faith to remember that Jesus Christ died and was laid in the grave, not only before us, but for us. That He hath gone before us, and died for us, who is alive and liveth for us, is true consolation in the hour of death.That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? - He is not punished, as you maintain, at once. He is "kept" with a view to future punishment; and though calamity will certainly overtake him at some time, yet it is not immediate. This was Job's doctrine in opposition to theirs, and in this he was undoubtedly correct. The only wonder is, that they had not at all seen it sooner, and that it should have been necessary to make this appeal to the testimony of travelers. Rosenmuller, Noyes, and Schultens, understand it as meaning that the wicked are "spared" in the day of destruction, that is, in the day when destruction comes upon other people. This accords well with the argument which Job is maintaining. Yet the word (חשׂך châśak) rather means, especially when followed by ל l, to hold back, reserve, or retain "for" something future; and this is the sentiment which Job was maintaining, that the wicked were not cut off at once, or suddenly overwhelmed with punishment. He did not deny that they would be punished at some period; and that exact justice would be done them. The point of the controversy turned upon the inquiry whether this would come "at once," or wheather the wicked might not live long in prosperity.

They shall be brought forth - יובלו yûbālû. They shall be led or conducted - as one is to execution. This appears as if Job held to the doctrine of "future" retribution. But when that time would be, or what were his exact views in reference to the future judgment, is not certainly intimated. It is clear, however, from this discussion, that he supposed it would be "beyond" death, for he says that the wicked are prospered in this life: that they go down to the grave and sleep in the tomb; that the clods of the valley are sweet unto them, Job 21:32-33, yet that the judgment, the just retribution, would certainly come. This passage, therefore, seems to be decisive to prove that he held to a state of retribution beyond the grave, where the inequalities of the present life would be corrected, and where people, though prospered here, would be treated as they deserved. This, he says, was the current opinion.

It was that which was brought by travelers, who had gone into other lands. What impropriety is there in supposing that he may refer to some travelers who had gone into the country where Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob had lived, or then lived, and that they had brought this back as the prevalent belief there? To this current faith in that foreign land, he may now appeal as deserving the attention of his friends, and as meeting all that they had said. It "would" meet all that they said. It was the exact truth. It accorded with the course of events. And sustained, as Job says it was, by the prevailing opinion in foreign lands, it was regarded by him as settling the controversy. It is as true now as it was then; and this solution, which could come only from revelation, settles all inquiries about; the rectitude of the divine administration in the dispensation of rewards and punishments. It answers the question," How is it consistent for God to bestow so many blessings on the wicked, while his own people are so much afflicted?" The answer is, they have "their" good things in this life, and in the future world all these inequalities will be rectified.

Day of wrath - Margin, as in Hebrew "wraths." The plural form here is probably employed to denote emphasis, and means the same as "fierce wrath."

30. Their testimony (referring perhaps to those who had visited the region where Abraham who enjoyed a revelation then lived) is that "the wicked is (now) spared (reserved) against the day of destruction (hereafter)." The Hebrew does not so well agree with [Umbreit] "in the day of destruction." Job does not deny sinners' future punishment, but their punishment in this life. They have their "good things" now. Hereafter, their lot, and that of the godly, shall be reversed (Lu 16:25). Job, by the Spirit, often utters truths which solve the difficulty under which he labored. His afflictions mostly clouded his faith, else he would have seen the solution furnished by his own words. This answers the objection, that if he knew of the resurrection in Job 19:25, and future retribution (Job 21:30), why did he not draw his reasonings elsewhere from them, which he did not? God's righteous government, however, needs to be vindicated as to this life also, and therefore the Holy Ghost has caused the argument mainly to turn on it at the same time giving glimpses of a future fuller vindication of God's ways.

brought forth—not "carried away safe" or "escape" (referring to this life), as Umbreit has it.

wrath—literally, "wraths," that is, multiplied and fierce wrath.

That the wicked, & c. this is the thing which they might learn of passengers.

Reserved; or, withheld, or kept back, to wit, from falling into common calamities, though in truth he be not so much kept from evil as kept for evil; he is reserved from a less, that he may be swallowed up in a greater misery; as Pharaoh was kept from the other plagues, that he might be drowned in the sea.

They shall be brought: he speaketh of the same person; only the singular number is changed into the plural, possibly to intimate, that although for the present only some wicked men were punished, yet then all of them should suffer. Shall be brought forth, to wit, by the conduct of God’s providence and justice, as malefactors are brought forth from prison to judgment and execution, though they be brought to it slowly, and by degrees, and with some kind of pomp and state, as this word signifies.

To the day of wrath; Heb. to the day of wraths, i.e. of special and extraordinary wrath; either to some terrible and desolating judgments, which God sometimes sends upon wicked princes or people; or to the day of the last and general judgment, which is called in Scripture the day of wrath; for the day of the general resurrection and judgment was not unknown to Job and his friends, as appears from Job 19:25, &c, and other passages of this book.

That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction?.... That is, that they are spared, withheld, restrained, as the word (d) signifies, or kept and preserved from many calamities and distresses, which others are exposed unto; and so are reserved, either unto a time of greater destruction in this life or rather to eternal destruction in the world to come; which is the same with the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men, when they will be destroyed soul and body, in hell, with an everlasting destruction, as the just demerit of sin; or of that sinful course of life they live, being the broad way which leads to and issues in destruction, and for which there is a day appointed, when it will take place; and unto that day are the wicked reserved, in the purpose and decree of God, by which they are righteously destined to this day of evil, and by the power and providence of God, even the same chains of darkness, in which the angels are reserved unto the same time, being fitted and prepared for destruction by their own sins and transgressions, 2 Peter 2:4, and unto which they are kept, as condemned malefactors are in their cells, unto the day of execution, they being condemned already, though the sentence is not yet executed; in order to which

they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath; the wrath of God, which is very terrible and dreadful, and is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men, and is here expressed in the plural number, "wraths" (e), either as denoting both present and future wrath; or the vehemency of it, it being exceeding fierce and vehement; and the continuance and duration of it, there will be wrath upon wrath, even to the uttermost, and for ever; and for this a day is fixed, against which day wicked men are treasuring up wrath to themselves, and they shall be brought forth at the day of judgment, to have it poured forth upon them. This is the true state of the case with respect to them, that, though sometimes they are involved in general calamities, as the old world, and the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 7:23; and sometimes good men are delivered from them, as Noah and Lot were, Genesis 7:23, or are taken away by death from the evil to come; yet for the most part, generally speaking, wicked men escape present calamities and distresses, and are not in trouble as other men, but live in ease and pleasure all their days; nevertheless, wrath and ruin, and everlasting destruction, will be their portion.

(d) "prohibebitur", Pagninus, Montanus, Bolducius; so Beza, Vatablus, Mercerus; "subtrahitur", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "subdueitur", Schultens. (e) "irarum", Pagninus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Schultens.

That the wicked is reserved to the day of {r} destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.

(r) Though the wicked flourish here, yet God will punish him in the last day.

30. they shall be brought forth to] Rather, they are led forth in, i. e. led away in safety from the destroying wrath, parallel to “spared” or withholden, in the first clause; cf. Isaiah 55:12 (led forth), or “conducted,” Psalm 45:14.

Verse 30. - These conclusions are now set forth. They are, that the wicked is reserved for (or rather, spared in) the day of destruction, and that they shall be brought forth to (rather, removed out of the way in) the day of wrath. This, according to Job, was the popular sentiment of his time; and, no doubt, there is in all ages a large mass of fleeting opinion to the same effect. Striking examples of wickedness in high places draw attention, and provoke indignation, and are much talked about; whence arises an idea that such cases are common, and ultimately, by an unscientific generalization in the vulgar mind, that they form the rule, and not the exception to the rule. It requires some power of intellect to take a broad and comprehensive view over the whole of human life, and fairly to strike the balance. Such a view seems to have been taken by Bishop Butler (among others); and the conclusion, reached by calm investigation and philosophic thought, is that, on the whole, ever in this life, the balance of advantage rests with the virtuous, who really prosper more than the wicked, have greater and higher satisfactions, escape numerous forms of suffering, and approach more nearly to happiness. An exact apportionment of happiness and misery to desert is a thing that certainly in this life does not take place; but the tendency of virtue to accumulate to itself other goods is clear; and Job's pessimistic view is certainly an untrue one, which we may suspect that he maintained, rather from a love of paradox, and from a desire to puzzle and confuse his friends, than from any conviction of its absolute truth. Job 21:3027 Behold I know your thoughts

And the stratagems, with which ye overpower me!

28 When ye say: Where is the house of the tyrant,

And where the pavilions of the wicked - :

29 Have ye not asked those who travel,

Their memorable things ye could surely not disown:

30 That the wicked was spared in the day of calamity,

In the day of the outburst of wrath they were led away.

31 Who liketh to declare to him his way to his face?

And hath he done aught, who will recompense it to him?

Their thoughts which he sees through, are their secret thoughts that he is such an evil-doer reaping the reward of his deeds. מזמּות (which occurs both of right measures, good wise designs, Proverbs 5:2; Proverbs 8:12, and of artful devices, malicious intrigues, Proverbs 12:2; Proverbs 14:17, comp. the definition of בּעל מזמּות, Proverbs 24:8) is the name he gives to the delicately developed reasoning with which they attack him; חמס (comp. Arab. taḥammasa, to act harshly, violently, and overbearingly) is construed with על in the sense of forcing, apart from the idea of overcoming. In Job 21:28, which is the antecedent to Job 21:29, beginning with כּי האמרוּ (as Job 19:28), he refers to words of the friends like Job 8:22; Job 15:34; Job 18:15, Job 18:21. נדיב is prop. the noble man, whose heart impels (נדב, Arab. nadaba) him to what is good, or who is ready and willing, and does spontaneously that which is good (Arab. naduba), vid., Psychol. S. 165; then, however, since the notion takes the reverse way of generosus, the noble man (princely) by birth and station, with which the secondary notion of pride and abuse of power, therefore of a despot or tyrant, is easily as here (parall. רשׁעים, comp. עשׁיר, Isaiah 53:9, with the same word in the parallel) combined (just so in Isaiah 13:2, and similarly at least above, Job 12:21, - an anomaly of name and conduct, which will be for the future put aside, according to Isaiah 32:5). It is not admissible to understand the double question as antithetical, with Wolfson, after Proverbs 14:11; for the interrogative איּה is not appropriate to the house of the נדיב, in the proper sense of the word. Job 21:28, משׁכנות is not an externally but internally multiplying plur.; perhaps the poet by byt intends a palace in the city, and by אהל משׁכנות a tent among the wandering tribes, rendered prominent by its spaciousness and the splendour of the establishment.

(Note: Although the tents regularly consist of two divisions, one for the men and another for the women, the translation "magnificent pavilion" (Prachtgezelt), disputed by Hirz., is perfectly correct; for even in the present day a Beduin, as he approaches an encampment, knows the tent of the sheikh immediately: it is denoted by its size, often also by the lances planted at the door, and also, as is easily imagined, by the rich arrangement of cushions and carpets. Vid., Layard's New Discoveries, pp. 261 and 171.)

Job thinks the friends reason a priori since they inquire thus; the permanent fact of experience is quite different, as they can learn from ערי דרך, travellers, i.e., here: people who have travelled much, and therefore are well acquainted with the stories of human destinies. The Piel נכּר, proceeding from the radical meaning to gaze fixedly, is an enantio'seemon, since it signifies both to have regard to, Job 34:19, and to disown, Deuteronomy 32:27; here it is to be translated: their אתת ye cannot nevertheless deny, ignore (as Arab. nakira and ankara). אתת are tokens, here: remarkable things, and indeed the remarkable histories related by them; Arab. âyatun (collective plur. âyun), signs, is also similarly used in the signification of Arab. ‛ibrat, example, historical teaching.

That the כּי, Job 21:30, as in Job 21:28, introduces the view of the friends, and is the antecedent clause to Job 21:31 : quod (si) vos dicitis, in tempora cladis per iram divinam immissae servari et nescium futuri velut pecudem eo deduci improbum (Bttcher, de fin. 76), has in the double ל an apparent support, which is not to be denied, especially in regard to Job 38:23; it is, however, on account of the omission of the indispensable תאמרו in this instance, an explanation which does violence to the words. The כּי, on the contrary, introduces that which the accounts of the travellers affirm. Further, the ל in ליום indicates here not the terminus ad quem, but as in לערב, in the evening, the terminus quo. And the verb חשׂך, cohibere, signifies here to hold back from danger, as Job 33:18, therefore to preserve uninjured. Ew. translates Job 21:30 erroneously: "in the day when the floods of wrath come on." How tame would this הוּבל, "to be led near," be! This Hoph. signifies elsewhere to be brought and conducted, and occurs in Job 21:32, as in Isaiah 55:12 and elsewhere, of an honourable escort; here, in accordance with the connection: to be led away out of the danger (somewhat as Lot and his family by the escort of angels). At the time, when streams of wrath (עברה, the overflowing of vexation equals outburst of wrath, like the Arab. ‛abrt, the overflowing of the eye equals tears) go forth, they remain untouched: they escape them, as being under a special, higher protection.


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