Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Job
Book: Job
Chapter: 21

Job entreats attention. (1-6) The prosperity of the wicked.
(7-16) The dealings of God's Providence. (17-26) The judgement
of the wicked is in the world to come. (27-34)

1-6 Job comes closer to the question in dispute. This was,
Whether outward prosperity is a Mark of the true Church, and the
true members of it, So that ruin of a Man's prosperity proves
him a Hypocrite? This they asserted, but Job denied. If they
looked upon him, they might see misery enough to demand
compassion, and their bold interpretations of this mysterious
Providence should be turned into silent wonder.

7-16 Job says, Remarkable judgments are sometimes brought upon
notorious sinners, but not always. Wherefore is it So? This is
the Day of God's patience; and, in some way or other, he makes
use of the prosperity of the wicked to serve his own counsels,
while it ripens them for ruin; but the chief reason is, because
he will make it appear there is another world. These prospering
sinners make Light of God and religion, as if because they have
So much of this world, they had No need to look after another.
But religion is not a vain thing. If it be So to us, we may
thank ourselves for resting On the outside of it. Job shows
their folly.

17-26 Job had described the prosperity of wicked people; in
these verses he opposes this to what his friends had maintained
about their certain ruin in this Life. He reconciles this to the
Holiness and Justice of God. Even while they prosper thus, they
are Light and worthless, of No account with God, or with Wise
men. In the height of their pomp and power, there is but a step
between them and ruin. Job refers the difference Providence
makes between one wicked Man and another, into the Wisdom of
God. He is Judge of all the Earth, and he will do right. So vast
is the disproportion between time and eternity, that if Hell be
the Lot of every sinner at last, it makes little difference if
one goes singing thither, and another sighing. If one wicked Man
die in a Palace, and another in a Dungeon, the Worm that dies
not, and the Fire that is not quenched, will be the same to
them. Thus differences in this world are not worth perplexing
ourselves about.

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.