on Job 12 :11
Doth not the ear try words? - All these are common-place sayings. Ye have advanced nothing new; ye have cast no light upon the dispensations of Providence.
on Job 12 :11
Doth not the ear try words? - The literal meaning of this, which is evidently a proverbial expression, is plain; but about its bearing here there is more difficulty. The literal sense is, that it is the office of the ear to mark the distinction of sounds, and to convey the sense to the soul. But in regard to the exact bearing of this proverb on the case in hand, commentators have not been agreed. Probably the sense is, that there ought to be a diligent attention to the signification of words, and to the meaning of a speaker, as one carefully tastes his food; and Job, perhaps, may be disposed to complain that his friends had not given that attention which they ought to have done to the true design and signification of his remarks. Or it may mean that man is endowed with the faculty of attending to the nature and qualities of objects, and that he ought to exercise that faculty in judging of the lessons which are taught respecting God or his works.
And the mouth - Margin, as in the Hebrew חך chêk - "palate." The word means not merely the palate, but the lower part of the mouth (Gesenius), and is especially used to designate the organ or the seat of taste; Psalm 119:103; Job 6:30.
His meat - Its food - the word "meat" being used in Old English to denote all kinds of food. The sense is, man is endowed with the faculty of distinguishing what is wholesome from what is unwholesome, and he should, in like manner, exercise the faculty which God has given him of distinguishing the true from the false on moral subjects. He should not suppose that all that had been said, or that could be said, must necessarily be true. He should not suppose that merely to string together proverbs, and to utter common-place suggestions, was a mark of true wisdom. He should separate the valuable from the worthless, the true from the false, and the wholesome from the injurious. Job complains that his friends had not done this. They had shown no power of discrimination or selection. They had uttered common place apothegms, and they gathered adages of former times, without any discrimination, and had urged them in their arguments against him, whether pertinent or not. It was by this kind of irrelevant and miscellaneous remark that he felt that he had been mocked by his friends, Job 12:4.
on Job 12 :11
12:11 Doth not - This may be a preface to his following discourse; whereby he invites them to hear and judge of his words candidly and impartially; that they and he too might agree in disallowing what should appear to be false, and owning of every truth.