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Bible Commentaries
Job 24

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Job Chapter 24

Job 24:1 "Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?" This was Job saying that if we truly know God, we would see Him in the things that He does. God from time to time reveals Himself to man. Sometimes, this is a time of separating the evil men from those who are following God. God may allow the evil ones to continue in their evil for a good long time, but there is a day of reckoning.

Job 24:2 "[Some] remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed [thereof]."

Job 24:3 "They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge."

Job 24:4 "They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together." These were not accusations against Job. This was Job telling of some of the sins of the evil people upon the earth. It may even appear that they were getting away without punishment, but God was keeping a record of it all.

Job 24:5 "Behold, [as] wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness [yieldeth] food for them [and] for [their] children." Job was speaking of the evil people as being like wild asses. They were almost impossible to train. They would rather run free. The evil people did not want any controls either. They wanted to be free to sin. They lived of the world. This could be speaking of the wicked bands of robbers who wandered in the desert and tried to catch a traveler who was helpless. They plundered his goods, and money, and sometimes killed him.

Job 24:6 "They reap [every one] his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked." This was saying that the robbers sometimes ventured in close to the dwellings of the people and robbed the corn in their field. They, also, steal the grapes from their vines. They had no thought for anyone else’s property.

Job 24:7 "They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that [they have] no covering in the cold." They would leave their victims without clothing to cover them. They did not care if they faced the cold night without clothing. It was said that these marauding men sometimes slept at night naked themselves.

Job 24:8 "They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter." These marauding tribes bathed in the mountain streams, and had no place to take shelter, but in caves, near a protective rock.

Job 24:9 "They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor." This was speaking of "loan sharks" taking the babies that were still nursing from their mothers, to pay a debt. They had no pity on anyone. They took anything the poor had to pledge, before they would loan them anything. This was strictly forbidden in God’s law.

Job 24:10 "They cause [him] to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf [from] the hungry;" These people who loaned money to the poor and then took everything they had, were very evil. It appears, the poor man’s only clothing had been taken in pledge, and then, taken from the poor man when he could not pay. The same was true of the grain that he had raised. The poor man and his family faced hunger, because of the ruthless confiscation from the man who loaned them money.

Job 24:11 "[Which] make oil within their walls, [and] tread [their] winepresses, and suffer thirst." The oppressors were making wine with the grapes they had stolen from the very people they were forcing to run the winepress. The person who grew the grapes did not get any of the wine.

Job 24:12 "Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly [to them]." These oppressions were not just isolated to the countryside. There were those who are oppressed by the same people in the city. It appears, that this type of treatment was going unnoticed by the LORD. They might not be paying for their sins at the time they were committing them, but you can be assured that God was keeping a record of it all, and they would have to suffer punishment for such cruel acts.

Job 24:13 "They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof." These evil people had totally rejected the Light of God. They not only rejected it for themselves, but they tried to destroy those who had received it. They knew nothing about God, and were not interested in learning of Him.

Job 24:14 "The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief." The murderer took advantage of the early morning even at the break of light to do his dirty work. This was usually the time when people were sleeping the soundest. He stole in total darkness, believing he would not be found out. What he did not realize was that nothing he did was hidden from God.

Job 24:15 "The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth [his] face." This twilight was a physical light just between daylight and dark. Adultery was one of the worst sins a person could commit at that time. Of course, in God’s sight it is still a very serious sin. They believed they would not be punished for the sin of adultery, if no one knew about it. The two people involved knew about it, and God knew about it. All of the disguises and darkness in the world could not hide this sin from the Light of God.

Job 24:16 "In the dark they dig through houses, [which] they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light." It seems, that in the daylight they picked out a house they planned to rob and marked it, so they could come back to it. In our day, burglars ride around the neighborhood and find some family gone, and go in and rob their house. We are warned that newspapers in the yard, or lights that have not been turned on and off for a few days, will tell the burglar that no one is home. These burglars were taking advantage of the weakened condition of the home-owner.

Job 24:17 "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." The burglars in the lesson, here, were afraid they would be found out, if it was daylight. They knew if they were caught in the act of burglary, they would, probably, be killed.

Job 24:18 "He [is] swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards." This was, possibly, speaking of the swift judgement that came upon the burglars who were found out. God would not bring them blessings, but curses for their sins.

Job 24:19 "Drought and heat consume the snow waters: [so doth] the grave [those which] have sinned." This was speaking of the punishment on those who have sinned and not repented being just as certain as the snow melting during a drouth and heat. He was calling hell the grave, in this particular instance.

Job 24:20 "The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree." This was speaking of someone so evil, that even his own mother forgot him. The only thing that enjoyed him after death, was the worm that ate his body. This wickedness would not be allowed to continue. They would be broken off from life, like a dead limb was broken off a tree.

Job 24:21 "He evil entreateth the barren [that] beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow." This was speaking of this evil man tormenting the poor woman who could not have children. He took advantage of the widow who could not protect herself.

Job 24:22 "He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no [man] is sure of life." This was just saying that the evil men gathered together, so their combined threat would be greater. These evil men saw that no one could be 113 sure they would not kill them. They were not just robbers, but murderers, as well.

Job 24:23 "[Though] it be given him [to be] in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes [are] upon their ways." God’s eyes were on these wicked men. It might appear for a time, that they did not get caught, and they were safe, but God marked it all down to deal with them later.

Job 24:24 "They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all [other], and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn." These wicked men might appear to prosper for a while, but they would die as all other men, and then would come the judgement of God upon them for their evil deeds.

Job 24:25 "And if [it be] not [so] now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?" Job was expressing the desire for someone to come forward and prove him wrong, if he was.

Job 24 Questions

1. What was Job saying in Job 24:1?

2. God may allow the evil one to continue for awhile, but there is a day of ____________.

3. What were some of the sins that these evil people committed, that Job listed in Job 24:2-4?

4. These were not accusations against _______.

5. What were the evil men compared to in Job 24:5?

6. How were they alike?

7. What was one specific group this could be speaking of?

8. What did the robbers do, besides rob the strangers passing through the land?

9. Who were the naked, in Job 24:7?

10. Where did these marauding tribes hide?

11. What had these wicked people taken for pledge, that was forbidden by God?

12. The oppressors were making wine with what?

13. It appeared, that this type of sin was going unnoticed by ______.

14. What Light had these evil men rejected?

15. When did the murderer choose to kill?

16. Why did he choose that particular time?

17. When did the thief choose to steal?

18. What was one of the worst sins, besides murder, the evil committed?

19. How did the robbers know which house to rob?

20. What would, probably, happen to a burglar, if he was caught?

21. What was Job 24:18 speaking of?

22. How certain was it that the murderer would be punished of God?

23. What was meant by the womb forgetting him, in Job 24:20?

24. Who did the evil man torment?

25. _____ _____ were on these wicked men.

Verse 1

Job 24:1

Job 24:1

THE CONCLUSION OF JOB’S EIGHTH ADDRESS

"Why are times not laid up by the Almighty?

And why do not they that know him see his days?"

In this verse, Job raises the question of why God does not establish set days (or times) for judging men’s conduct, and assigning rewards and punishment to men as they may be deserved. Job here poses this question as an argument against Eliphaz’ notion that the wicked are invariably punished in this present life, and that the righteous are invariably rewarded, propositions which Job has rejected and resisted throughout the controversy as being absolutely contrary to the known facts of life.

As we have pointed out earlier, there are definite reasons WHY there must be variations in the life patterns both of the wicked and of the righteous, making it an impossibility to lay down set laws that it must always be either this way or that way for either class of men. These reasons are: (1) God has given all men the freedom of their will. (2) By reason of the Fall, Satan enjoys many powers as `the god of this world." (3) God has cursed the ground (the earth) for Adam’s sake, and from this all kinds of natural disasters fall continually upon mankind. (4) "Time and chance happeneth unto them all (all men)" (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

All of these things, to which there must also be added the uncertainty of chance (luck), enter into the uncertainty and unpredictability of the life of any man, either wicked or righteous. The result of this is spelled out in the scripture just cited. "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill" (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

A SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING THIS CHAPTER

"In Job 24, we run into all kinds of problems. First, there are textual difficulties that render many lines almost unintelligible. The translators have patched them up to their satisfaction; but there is no unanimous agreement in the many solutions offered. A number of verses are rejected and removed by different scholars; but there’s no agreement on any of this. The speech as a whole is incoherent; some of it seems at variance with what Job has maintained all along. Some scholars, such as Pope in the Anchor Bible have shuffled the verses around into a different order."

This problem is related by some to the brevity of the speech by Bildad in this third cycle, some supposing that what is here accredited to Job may, in fact have been spoken by Bildad. These problems and uncertainties which continue to appear throughout the last half of the text of Job are utterly beyond the scope of any ability of this writer to solve them.

We shall proceed, therefore, as Andersen stated it and, "Be content with accepting the text as it stands in our version, and to do the best we can to interpret it.”

E.M. Zerr:

Job 24:1. Times are not hidden means that God knows all about man and his conduct. That being so, why are wicked men suffered to be prosperous?

Verses 2-12

Job 24:2-12

Job 24:2-12

A LIST OF EVIL DEEDS COMMITTED BY THE WICKED AGAINST OTHERS

"There are that remove the landmarks;

They violently take away flocks, and feed them.

They drive away the ass of the fatherless;

They take the widow’s ox for a pledge.

They turn the needy out of the way;

The poor of the earth all hide themselves.

Behold, as wild asses in the desert

They go forth to their work, seeking food;

The wilderness yieldeth them bread for their children.

They cut their provender in the field;

And they glean the vintage of the wicked.

They lie all night naked without clothing,

And have no covering in the cold.

They are wet with the showers of the mountains,

And embrace the rock for want of a shelter.

There are that pluck the fatherless from the breast,

And take a pledge of the poor.

So that they go about naked without clothing,

And being hungry they carry the sheaves.

They make oil within the walls of these men;

They tread their winepresses and suffer thirst.

From out of the populous city, men groan,

And the soul of the wounded crieth out:

Yet God regardeth not the folly."

The picture that emerges here is that of the heartless oppressors of the poor. These wicked men steal land by moving landmarks (Job 24:2), they steal whole flocks of animals and keep them (Job 24:3), they steal an orphan’s ass, exact an unjust pledge from widows (Job 24:4) and force their poor laborers who work for them to scavenge for food in the mountains, where they have no residences, and are not sufficiently clothed, and where they are often cold and hungry (Job 24:5-7).

"The soul of the wounded crieth out, yet God regardeth not the folly" (Job 24:12).They violate the spirit of the Law of God (Deuteronomy 25:4) by denying those who tread their winepresses even a taste of the juice, and by forbidding them to eat of the grain as they carry the sheaves of the wicked (Job 24:10-11). Yet all of this wickedness does not result in any direct interference of God in the affairs of such evil men.

Job’s argument throughout these verses is simply that the wicked are not judged and punished for such evil immediately, but that they get away with it, at least in many instances.

Driver and others have complained that much of the text here is obscure, damaged, uncertain, corrupt, etc. In spite of such objections, it is clear enough what Job was telling us in this review of what the wealthy wicked were doing to the poor.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 24:2-10. This entire paragraph is a description of the ways of wicked men. The argument of Job is that if such wicked men can be thus happy and prosperous, the misfortunes of another do not prove him to be wicked as the friends have been arguing.

Job 24:11. The wicked are able to quench their thirst by the wine of their own production, thus enjoying the fruit of their own labors.

Job 24:12. These wicked men may impose on others until they groan, yet God does not stop them with any punishment in the way of afflictions.

Verses 13-17

Job 24:13-17

Job 24:13-17

REGARDING MURDERERS; ADULTERERS; AND THIEVES

"These are of them that rebel against the light;

They know not the ways thereof,

Nor abide in the paths thereof.

The murderer riseth with the light;

He killeth the poor and needy;

And in the night he is a thief.

The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight,

Saying, No eye shall see me;

And he disguiseth his face.

In the dark they dig through houses:

They shut themselves up in the day time;

They know not the light

For the morning is to all of them as thick darkness;

And they know the terrors of the thick darkness."

This whole paragraph identifies the gross wickedness of evil men as generally being perpetrated at night. This is in full harmony with the New Testament references to such sins as, "the works of darkness" (Romans 13:12), "the hidden things of darkness" (1 Corinthians 4:5), and "the unfruitful works of darkness" (Ephesians 5:11). Like certain animals of prey, such men sleep in the daytime and operate their nefarious business at night. Christians are everywhere referred to in the New Testament as the "Children of light."

"The morning is to all of them as thick darkness" (Job 24:17). "This means that they dread the morning as much as ordinary people dread the night."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 24:13-14. This paragraph should take the comments on Job 24:2-10.

Job 24:15-17. The New Testament has this teaching on the attitude of unrighteous men toward light (John 3:19-21). The burglar observes the conditions while he has the light to assist him, then uses the cover of darkness to help in his wicked action.

Verses 18-25

Job 24:18-25

Job 24:18-25

THAT PART OF JOB’S SPEECH THAT SOME QUESTION

"Swiftly they pass away upon the face of the waters;

Their portion is cursed on the earth:

They turn not into the way of the vineyards.

Drought and heat consume the snow waters:

So doth Sheol those that have sinned.

The womb shall forget him;

The worm shall feed sweetly on him;

He shall be no more remembered;

And unrighteousness shall be broken as a tree.

He devoureth the barren that beareth not,

And doth not good to the widow.

Yet God reserveth the mighty by his power:

He riseth up that hath no assurance of life.

God giveth them to be in security, and they rest thereon.

And his eyes are upon their ways.

They are exalted; and yet a little while and they are gone;

Yea, they are brought low, they are taken out of the way as all others,

And are cut off as the tops of the ears of grain.

And if it be not so now, who will prove me a liar,

And make my speech nothing worth?"

This, of course, is that part of Job’s speech which is thought by some to be part of Bildad’s speech, which follows at once, and seems to be unusually short; but, as the text stands, there is very little of it that is inappropriate upon the lips of Job.

"Swiftly they pass away" (Job 24:18), for example, may be only a reference to the brevity of life for all men.

"He shall be no more remembered" (Job 24:20), does not seem to fit all that Job has said earlier.

"Unrighteousness shall be broken as a tree" (Job 24:20) is in the same category as the first clause.

The best understanding of this perplexing paragraph among the writers we have consulted is that of Dr. Dale Hesser:

"The big thing that Job objected to was Eliphaz’ theory that the wicked are punished at once. Job admits that if one looks at the whole picture, he will see that wickedness leads to suffering and that righteousness leads to rewards; but what puzzles Job is the exceptions which are obviously quite numerous. Job is pointing out that in the course of things crime brings misery to the criminal, but that God has not ordered that each crime shall bring immediate retribution."

We are not to suppose that Job here has changed his basic thesis. Both Job and his friends believed that God punishes the wicked; but Job vehemently rejected the notion (1) either that God always punished the wicked immediately upon their commission of wicked deeds, or (2) that sufferings and calamities coming upon any person were to be considered as proofs of his wickedness.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 24:18-25. In grouping so many verses into one paragraph I am not depriving the reader of any comments that otherwise would have been offered. Job has argued from the start that men who have been successful have been as free from affiictions as the unsuccessful ones. From that fact he based his denial that his afflictions were sent on him as a punishment for sin. That position made it logical for him to give much detail to his description of men who were prosperous though wicked. He closed this paragraph with a demand that his friends disprove his words.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 24". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-24.html.
 
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