By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.
All Commentaries on Job 4:9 Go To Job 4
Gregory The Dialogist
To “sow grief” is to utter deceits, but to “reap grief” is to prevail by speaking this way. Or, surely, they “sow grief” who do evil actions. They “reap grief” when they are punished for this wickedness. For the harvest of grief is the recompense of condemnation. The text immediately introduced the idea that they that “sow and reap grief,” will “perish by the blast of God.” They are “consumed by the breath of his nostrils.” Yet in this passage the “reaping of grief” is not yet punishment but the still further perfecting of wickedness. For in the “breath of his nostrils,” the punishment of that “reaping” is made to follow. Here, then, they “sow and reap grief,” in that all that they do is wicked. They thrive in that very wickedness, as is said of the wicked person by the psalmist, “His ways are always grievous; your judgments are far above his vision. As for all his enemies, he puffs at them.” It is quickly added concerning him, “under his tongue is labor and grief.” Hence, he “sows grief” when he does wicked things. He “reaps grief” when from the same wickedness he grows to temporal greatness. How then is it that they who “perish by the blast of God” are for the most part permitted to abide long here below, and in greater prosperity than the righteous? Thus it is said of them again by the psalmist, “They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other folk.” Therefore, Jeremiah asks, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” Because it is written, “For the Lord is a longsuffering rewarder,” he often puts up with for a long time those whom he condemns for all eternity. Yet sometimes God strikes quickly, in that he hastens to the aid of the fearful innocent. Thus, almighty God sometimes permits the wicked to have their way for a long time, so that the way of the righteous may be more purely cleansed. Yet sometimes he slays the unrighteous with speedy destruction, and by their ruin he strengthens the hearts of the innocent.