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Job’s Seventh Speech (concluded)
1-25. Job continues to express his perplexity at the ways of Providence in the ordering of the world. The poor and the weak suffer; violence and wrong go unpunished.
1. Render, ’Why are times not laid up’ (i.e. set apart for doing justice) ’by the Almighty, and why do not those who know Him see His days?’ The last clause means, Why do not the godly see signs of divine retribution?
2-12. Those who commit open violent crimes are left unpunished.
2. Remove the landmarks] cp. Deuteronomy 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:17. Feed thereof] RV ’feed them’: as if they were their own.
3. Pledge] i.e. security for debt: cp. Job 22:6; 1 Samuel 12:3.
5-12. This passage depicts the misery of the homeless outcasts from society, driven into the rocks and mountains, unsheltered from the pitiless storms and hard put to it to save themselves and their children from starvation. The outcasts, lean with hunger like the wild ass in the desert, have to search diligently for the poor bits of food on which they keep body and soul together.
5c. Render, ’The Arabah’ (the plain W. of Edom near Job’s home) ’gives food to their young men.’
6. Merx reads, ’They reap by night in the field.’ They are driven to theft to get food. ’Wicked’ should perhaps be ’rich.’
7. RV ’They lie all night naked without clothing, and have no covering in the cold.’
9a. RV ’There are that pluck the fatherless from the breast.’ The v. appears to introduce a new description. Since, however, Job 24:10-11 seem to continue Job 24:8, this v. is apparently out of place.
9b. Perhaps we should read, ’And take the suckling of the poor in pledge.’
10. EV ’So that they go about naked without clothing, And being an-hungered they carry the sheaves.’ Probably the outcasts are described as stealing the corn, and making oil and wine at the expense of the farmer.
12. Layeth not folly to them] render, ’regardeth not the wrong.’
13-17. Criminals who work at night. They hate (rebel against) the light of day, preferring darkness for their crimes.
13. They are of those] EV ’These are of them.’
14. With the light] i.e. while it is still twilight. But with a very slight emendation we might read, ’when there is no light.’
16. Dig through houses] Walls of Eastern houses are often made of clay or sun-burnt bricks, which crumble easily: cp. Matthew 6:20; RM. The robbers do not break in by the door since the threshold is sacred.
17. If one know, etc.] RV ’For they know (are familiar with) the terrors.’ The shadow of death] i.e. midnight. Light they shrink from, but midnight is their day.
18-21. These vv. cannot express the sentiments of Job, and we must either, with RM, prefix ’ye say,’ to indicate that Job is giving the views of the friends, or remove it from this speech either as an insertion or as part of a speech by one of the friends which has been displaced, or possibly as an interruption by one of them. RV renders Job 24:18, ’He is swift upon the face of the waters; Their portion is cursed in the earth: He turneth not by the way of the vineyards.’ The meaning is apparently that the doom of the wicked comes rapidly; there is a curse upon his property; he goes no more to gaze upon its prosperity. Job 24:19-20 then describe the complete destruction of sinners. Job 24:21 render, ’Even he that evil entreated,’ etc.
22-24. In these vv. we have Job’s own view, viz. that (22) God continues the wicked in power, (23) His eyes watch over their welfare, and (24) when they die, it is in the maturity of old age like ripe ears of corn.
24. Tops of the ears of corn] Egyptian wall-paintings show that the ripe corn was cut just below the ears instead of near the ground as with us. The straw was ploughed in.
25. ’Who can dispute my contention?’
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Job 24". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany