Job 12

There is a wise providence which guides and governs all things by rules with which the wisest men are but imperfectly acquainted. The afflicted one should learn to acquiesce in His disposals and the one who is tempted to criticize and censure should learn not to be over-wise in his expressions of judgment.

1 And Job answered and said,

2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.

3 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?

4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

5 He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.

6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.

7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:

8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?

10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

11 Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?

12 With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

13 With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.

14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.

15 Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.

16 With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.

17 He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.

18 He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.

19 He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.

20 He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.

21 He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.

22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.

23 He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.

24 He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.

25 They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.

Job 12 – “God’s Paths in Deep Waters”

   Job sets himself to disprove Zophar’s contention that wickedness invariably causes insecurity in men’s dwellings; and in doing so he bitterly complains that his friends mocked at him so contemptuously. He says that they remind him of those who are glad enough of a torch when their foot is slipping in the dark, but cast it aside when they reach their quarters, Job 12:5.
   Those who rob are often the most prosperous, Job 12:6, and nature teaches that the animals and plants which are most sturdy in their self-assertion are most secure. Is not the vulture more secure than the dove, the lion than the ox, the shark than the dolphin, the rose than the thorn which tears it? In all such cases you cannot explain the mystery except by referring it to the will of God, whose reasons are past finding out. Similar mysteries beset human life.
   Job still further illustrates his point from human life, showing that the lives of counselors, judges, kings, priests, princes, and elders are exposed to the same apparent anomalies and inequalities of treatment. We know, however, that suffering is purifying to the soul, and often redemptive, as Christ’s was, for others. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Job 12:11—Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?

   There is no appeal from the verdict of our palate. We know in a moment whether a substance is sweet or bitter, palatable or disagreeable. Now, what the taste is to articles of diet, that the ear is to words, whether of God or man. More especially we can tell in a moment whether the fire of inspiration is burning in them. This is the test which Job proposed to apply to the words of his friends; and it would be well for all of us to apply the same test to Holy Scripture.
   The humble student of the Word of God is sometimes much perplexed and cast down by the assaults which are made on it by scholars and teachers, who do not scruple to question the authorship and authority of large tracts of Scripture. We cannot vie with these in scholarship, but the humblest may apply the test of the purged ear; and it will detect a certain quality in the Bible which is absent everywhere beside. There is a tone in the voice of Scripture, which the child of God must recognize. This is the interesting characteristic in the quotations made in the New Testament from the Old. All the writers in the later Revelation detect the voice of God in the Old; to them, it is the Divine utterance through holy lips. Hearken, they cry, “the Holy Ghost saith” (Hebrews 3:7). God is speaking in the prophets, as He spake in His Son.
   It is one of the characteristics of Christ’s sheep that they know His voice, and follow Him, they flee from the voice of strangers. Ask that the Lord may touch your ears, that they may discern by a swift intuition the voice of the Good Shepherd from that of strangers; and for grace to follow immediately He calls you. —Our Daily Homily