Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Job 24

Verse 1

Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?

Why is it that, seeing that the times of punishment (Ezekiel 30:3; "time" in the same sense) are not hidden from the Almighty, they who know Him (His true worshippers, Job 18:21) do not see His days? (of vengeance; Joel 1:15; 2 Peter 3:10.) Or, with Umbreit, less simply, making the parallel clauses more nicely balanced, Why are not times of punishment hoarded up ('laid up,' Job 21:19; appointed) by the Almighty? - i:e., why are they not so appointed as that man may now see them? as the second clause shows. Job does not doubt that they are appointed; nay, he asserts it (Job 21:30); what he wishes is, that God would let all now see that it is so.

Verses 2-14

Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.

Instances of the wicked doing the worst deeds with seeming impunity. Some - the wicked.

Landmarks - boundaries between different pastures (Deuteronomy 19:14; Proverbs 22:28).

Verse 3. Pledge - alluding to Job 22:6. Others really do, and with impunity, that which Eliphaz falsely charges the afflicted Job with.

Verse 4. Literally, they push the poor out of their road in meeting them.} Figuratively, they take advantage of them by force and injustice (alluding to the charge of Eliphaz (Job 22:8; 1 Samuel 8:3).

Poor - in spirit and in circumstances (Matthew 5:3).

Hide - from the injustice of their oppressors, who have robbed them of their all, and driven them into unfrequented places (Job 20:19; Job 30:3-6; Proverbs 28:28). The aboriginal inhabitants were driven into the deserts, to live in the greatest misery and want; and when, compelled by need, they have ventured out of their hiding-places, they are cruelly driven back into them by their oppressors: a frequent occurrence in early times.

Verse 5. Wild asses - (Job 11:12). So Ishmael is called a wild donkey-man; Hebrew (Genesis 16:12). These Bedouin robbers, with the unbridled wildness of the donkey of the desert, go forth there. Robbery is their lawless "work." The desert, which yields no food to other men, yields food for the robber and his children by the plunder of caravans.

Rising betimes. In the East traveling is begun very early, before the heat comes on.

Verse 6. Like the wild donkeys (Job 24:5), they (these Bedouin robbers) reap (metaphorically) their various grain (so the Hebrew for "grain" means [ b

Verse 15

The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.

(Proverbs 7:9; Psalms 10:11.)

Disguiseth - puts a veil on.

Verse 16

In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light.

Dig through. Houses in the East are generally built of sun-dried mud bricks (so Matthew 6:19) [ diorussousin (Greek #1358)]. "Thieves break through" - literally, dig through (Ezekiel 12:7, "I digged through the wall with mine hand").

Had marked - rather, as in Job 9:7, 'They shut themselves up' (in their houses) - literally, they seal up.

For themselves - for their own ends, namely, to escape detection.

Know not - shun.

Verse 17

For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.

They shrink from the "morning" light, as much as other men do from the blackest darkness ("the shadow of death").

If one know - i:e., recognize them. Rather, 'they know well (are familiar with) the terrors of,' etc. (Umbreit.) Or, as Maurer. 'They know the terrors of (this) darkness'-namely, of morning light, that it is as terrible to them as darkness ("the shadow of death") is to other men.

Verses 18-21

He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.

In these verses Job quotes the opinion of his adversaries, ironically: he quoted them so before (Job 21:17-21). In Job 24:22-24 he states his own observation as the opposite. You say, 'The sinner is swift - i:e., swiftly passes away (as a thing floating) - on the surface (literally, on the face) of the waters' (Ecclesiastes 11:1; Hosea 10:7).

Is cursed - by those who witness their "swift" destruction.

Beholdeth not - `turneth not to' [ yipneh (Hebrew #6437)]: figuratively, because he cannot enjoy his pleasant possession (Job ; 4:33 ).

The way of the vineyards - including his fields, fertile as vineyards: opposite to 'the way of the desert.'

Verse 19. Arabian image: melted snow, as contrasted with the living fountain, quickly dries up in the sun-burnt sand, not leaving as trace behind (Job 6:16-18). The Hebrew is terse and elliptical, to express the swift and utter destruction of the godless: (so) "the grave-they have sinned!"

Verse 20. The womb - the very mother that bare him, and who is the last to "forget" the child that sucked her (Isaiah 49:15), shall dismiss him from her memory (Job 18:17; Proverbs 10:7, "The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot"). The worm shall suck; i:e., 'feed sweetly' on him as a delicate morsel (Job 21:33).

Wickedness - i:e., the wicked; abstract for concrete (as Job 5:16).

As a tree - utterly (Job 19:10). Maurer, better, 'As as staff' [ `eets (Hebrew #6086)] (Umbreit). A broken staff is the emblem of irreparable ruin (Isaiah 14:5).

Verse 21. The reason given by the friends why the sinner deserves such a fate.

Barren - without sons, who might have protected her.

Widow - without a husband to support her.

Verses 22-25

He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.

Reply of Job to the opinions of the friends. Experience proves the contrary. Translate, 'But He (God) prolongeth the life of (literally, draweth out at length; margin, Psalms 36:10, "continue;" Hebrew, 'draw out at length') the mighty with His (God's) power. He (the wicked) riseth up (from his sick bed), although he had given up hope of (literally, when he no longer believed in) life' (Deuteronomy 28:66, "Thy life shall hang in doubt before thee ... and thou shalt have none assurance of thy life"). (Umbreit.) (Cf. margin)

Verse 23. Literally, He (God omitted as often: Job 3:20); Ecclesiastes 9:9 : reverentially) giveth to him (the wicked, to be) in safety, or security.

Yet. Job means, How strange that God should so favour them, and yet have His eyes all the time open to their wicked ways! (Proverbs 15:3, "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.")

Verse 24. Job repeats what he said (Job 21:13), that sinners die in exalted positions, not the painful and lingering death we might expect, but a quick and easy death. Join "for a ... while" with "are gone," not as the English version. Translate 'A moment-and they are no more! They are brought low, as all (others) gather up (their feet) to die' (so the Hebrew of 'are taken out of the way') [ yiqaap

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.