For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tents of bribery.
All Commentaries on Job 15:34 Go To Job 15
Gregory The Dialogist
61. For the good things he has begun he would not lose, if he had not been a hypocrite. Now hypocrites gather together good works, but their gathering itself is barren, in that in the things they do they never make it their object to receive fruit in the eternal recompensing. They look fruitful and green to the eyes of their fellow-creatures, but in the sight of the hidden Judge they appear unfruitful and blasted. But oftentimes, being inflamed with the fever of avarice, they display greater works of their own before the eyes of men, in proportion as they desire to have larger rewards offered them by their fellow-creatures. Hence it is yet further added;
And fire shall consume the tabernacles of those who are ready to take rewards.
62. For as the body dwells in a tabernacle, so the mind dwells in thought. But the ‘fire consumes the tabernacles,’ when the heat of avarice wastes the thoughts. And it very commonly happens that the hypocrite scorns to receive gold, or the several good things of the body, at the hands of his fellow-creatures, but because he does not take these, he aims to win greater commendations from them; and perhaps he does not reckon that he has ‘received a reward,’ because he refuses to take the good things of the body. Hence it is proper to be known that a gift is sometimes proffered by the hand, and sometimes by the mouth. Thus one who presents money, has given a reward with the hand; but he that bestows the word of applause, has put forward a reward from the mouth. Though, then, the hypocrite refuse to take external gifts, which may perhaps answer earthly necessity, yet that is a greater thing which he aims to have paid him in return, when desiring to be extolled beyond his desert, he seeks a reward from the mouth. And because in the mere appetite of praise his heart is kindled with overmuch heat, let it be rightly said, And fire shall consume the tabernacles of those that are ready to take rewards.
63. But if we are to understand by their ‘tabernacles’ the bodies which their souls inhabit, then the fire consumes the ‘tabernacles,’ because those who here are on fire in the soul with the flames of avarice, are there consumed in the flesh too by the fires of hell, and because the mind of the hypocrite is never at rest from the thinking of wickedness, in that whether he goes after the things of earth, or applause, he grudges those things to others, which he pants to have awarded to himself, and strives to make others appear wicked in proportion as he desires to appear more holy to all the world, so that by means of this, that others are rendered contemptible, he may himself at all times appear more worthy of respect. Whence it comes to pass, that as touching his credit with his neighbour, he spreads out the nets of his tongue before the judgments of his fellow-creatures, that he by himself may catch the good opinion of those whom he seeks to please.