The Trial of Job

Chapter 21

Job shows that even in the judgment of man he has reason to be grieved, 1-6. Sometimes the wicked prosper, though they despise God, 7-15. Sometimes their destruction is manifest, 16-20. The happy and unhappy are alike in death, 21-26. The judgment of the wicked is in another world, 27-34.

1 But Job answered and said,

"Hear diligently my speech,/
and let this be your consolations.

Allow me that I may speak./
And after I have spoken, mock on.

As for me, is my complaint to man?/
And if it were so, why should my spirit not be troubled?

Mark me, be astonished,/
and lay your hand upon your mouth.

Even when I remember I am afraid,/
and trembling takes hold of my flesh.

Why do the wicked live,/
become old, and are mighty in power?

Their posterity is established in their sight with them,/
and their offspring before their eyes.

Their houses are safe from fear,/
neither is the rod of God upon them.

10 Their bull engenders and does not fail./
Their cow brings forth and does not miscarry her calf.

11 They send forth their little ones like a flock,/
and their children dance.

12 They take the tambourine and harp/
and rejoice at the sound of the pipe.

13 They spend their days in wealth/
and in a moment go down to the grave.

14 Therefore, they say to God, 'Depart from us,/
for we do not desire the knowledge of your ways.

15 What is the Almighty that we should serve him?/
And what profit should we have if we pray to him?'

16 Behold, their good is not in their hand./
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17 How often is the candle of the wicked put out?/
And how often does their destruction come upon them?/
God distributes sorrows in his anger.

18 They are as stubble before the wind/
and as chaff that the storm carries away.

19 God lays up his iniquity for his children./
He rewards him, and he shall know it.

20 His own eyes shall see his destruction/
and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

21 For what pleasure does he have in his house after him/
when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?

22 Shall any teach God knowledge,/
seeing that he judges those who are high?

23 One dies in his full strength,/
being wholly at ease and quiet.

24 His pails are full of milk/
and his bones are moistened with marrow.

25 And another dies in the bitterness of his soul/
and never eats with pleasure.

26 They shall lie down alike in the dust,/
and the worms shall cover them.

27 Behold, I know your thoughts/
and the devices which you wrongfully plot against me.

28 For you say, 'Where is the house of the prince?/
And where are the dwelling places of the wicked?'

29 Have you not asked those who go by the way?/
And do you not know their tokens,

30 That the wicked is reserved for the day of destruction?/
They will be brought forth to the day of wrath.

31 Who shall declare his way to his face?/
And who shall repay him what he has done?

32 Yet he shall be brought to the grave/
and shall remain in the tomb.

33 The clods of the valley will be sweet to him,/
and every man will draw after him,/
as there are innumerable before him.

34 How then do you comfort me in vain,/
seeing in your answers there remains falsehood?"


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 21[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

This chapter contains Job's reply to Zophar's preceding discourse, in which, after a preface exciting attention to what he was about to say (verses 1-6); he describes by various instances the prosperity of wicked men, even of the most impious and atheistical, and which continues with them as long as they live, contrary to what Zophar had asserted in (verse 5, 7-15); as for himself, he disapproved of such wicked men as much as any, and owns that destruction comes upon them sooner or later, and on their posterity also (verses 16-21); but as God is a God of knowledge, and needs no instruction from any, and is a sovereign Being, he deals with men in different ways; some die in great ease, and peace, and prosperity, and others in bitterness and distress, but both are alike brought to the dust (verse 22-26); and whereas he was aware of their censures of him, and their objections to what he had said, he allows that the wicked are reserved to the day of destruction, which is future, and in the mean while lie in the grave, where all must follow; yet they are not repaid or rewarded in this life, that remains to be done in another world (verses 27-33); and concludes, that their consolation with respect to him was vain, and falsehood was in their answers (verse 34).