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Job 23-24. Job’ s Reply to Eliphaz.— He dwells on the mystery of Providence. He cannot put his own personal conviction of final justification forward as a general solution of the problem. Hence he seems to lose the vantage ground already reached and viewing his own case as a part of the general world-problem, restates it as a prelude to stating this on the large scale. His tone is, however, very different from what it was before. Job dwells little on his own misery, but much on the misery of the world.
To solve the world-problem a revelation here and now seems requisite. The question is no longer, Shall I again find God on my side? but, Does God govern the world righteously? Job, therefore, putting out of sight the thought of meeting God by and by, comes back to the thought expressed in Job 13:22, though in a very different mood, of meeting Him here and now.
Job 24. This chapter has since Merx in 1871 been subjected to much criticism, the general trend of which has been to deny the whole or a considerable part of the chapter to Job. Peake, however, considers that the chapter as a whole reflects Job’ s point of view, though alien elements are to be recognised in it. Davidson sums up the chapter under the heading: The Divine rectitude which Job misses in his own instance he equally misses in the broad field of the world.
Job 24:1 asks why days of assize are wanting in the universe? With Job 24:2 begins a series of examples of injustice. In Job 24:5-8 we have the description of a wretched tribe of pariahs, nameless outcasts, probably aborigines. In Job 24:6 “ provender” is literally fooder as for animals. But as the Heb. is literally “ his fodder,” perhaps it would be better to emend “ They reap by night in the field” (Merx).
Job 24:9 should probably be put after Job 24:4. Then Job 24:10 f. may continue the description of the outcasts who by stealth raid the sheaves and the oil and wine of the rich, or it may be that we have a fresh description of day labourers, who starve in the midst of the harvest they gather and press.
Job 24:12 speaks of equal injustice in the cities. But God took no heed of it.
Job 24:13 f. describes the night-birds, who hate the light. In Job 24:14 for “ with the light” read “ when there is no light.”
Job 24:16 See Exodus 12:22 *.
Job 24:17 means that the morning is to them a time of peril, on the other hand they know and care little for the terrors of the deep darkness.
Job 24:18-24 describes what happens to these wrong-doers, but Job 24:18-21 takes the popular view. The Revisers recognise this by inserting “ Ye say” in the margin: according to which Job is here to be regarded as anticipating the views of the friends. Or else we must regard the passage as misplaced from one of their speeches, or as a later gloss of an orthodox scribe. The text of Job 24:18 is obscure. As it stands, it seems to mean that the wicked is swept away like a twig upon the waters ( Hosea 10:7). He no longer visits his vineyards, which a curse has made barren. In Job 24:19 f. again the text is not good.
Job 24:22 resumes Job’ s speech: translate as mg. “ Yet God by His power maketh the mighty to continue: they rise up, when they believed not they should live.” The meaning is, they recover even from an apparently fatal illness.
Job 24:23 refers to God’ s watching their ways to keep them from harm.
Job 24:24 is most naturally understood in the sense that the prosperity of the wicked is brief, and is therefore contrary to Job’ s point of view and to be regarded as a gloss.
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 24". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent