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1. Why is it that, seeing that the times of punishment (Eze 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; Joe 1:15; 2Pe 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? that is, 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.
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,
5. wild asses--
So Ishmael is called a "wild ass-man"; Hebrew
These Bedouin robbers, with the unbridled wildness of the ass of the
desert, go forth thither. 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.
6. Like the wild asses
they (these Bedouin robbers) reap (metaphorically) their various grain
(so the Hebrew for "corn" means). The wild ass does not let man
pile his mixed provender up in a stable
so these robbers find their food in the open air, at one time in the
at another in the fields.
7. UMBREIT understands it of the Bedouin robbers, who are quite regardless of the comforts of life, "They pass the night naked, and uncovered," &c. But the allusion to Job 22:6, makes the English Version preferable (see on Job 24:10). Frost is not uncommon at night in those regions (Ge 31:40).
9. from the breast--of the widowed mother. Kidnapping children for
slaves. Here Job passes from wrongs in the desert to those done among
the habitations of men.
10. (See on Job 22:6). In Job 24:7 a like sin is alluded to: but there he implies open robbery of garments in the desert; here, the more refined robbery in civilized life, under the name of a "pledge." Having stripped the poor, they make them besides labor in their harvest-fields and do not allow them to satisfy their hunger with any of the very corn which they carry to the heap. Worse treatment than that of the ox, according to De 25:4. Translate: "they (the poor laborers) hungering carry the sheaves" [UMBREIT].
11. Which--"They," the poor, "press the oil within their wall"; namely, not only in the open fields (Job 24:10), but also in the wall-enclosed vineyards and olive gardens of the oppressor (Isa 5:5). Yet they are not allowed to quench their "thirst" with the grapes and olives. Here, thirsty; Job 24:10, hungry.
12. Men--rather, "mortals" (not the common Hebrew for
"men"); so the Masoretic vowel points read as English Version.
But the vowel points are modern. The true reading is, "The dying,"
answering to "the wounded" in the next clause, so Syriac. Not
merely in the country
but also in the city there are oppressed sufferers, who cry for help in
vain. "From out of the city"; that is, they long to get forth
and be free outside of it
(Ex 1:11; 2:23).
13. So far as to openly committed sins; now, those done in the
dark. Translate: "There are those among them (the wicked) who rebel," &c.
14. with the light--at early dawn, while still dark, when the
traveller in the East usually sets out, and the poor laborer to his
work; the murderous robber lies in wait then
16. dig through--Houses in the East are generally built of sun-dried
mud bricks (so
"Thieves break through," literally, "dig through"
17. They shrink from the "morning" light, as much as other men do
from the blackest darkness ("the shadow of death").
18-21. In these verses Job quotes the opinions of his adversaries
ironically; he quoted them so before
he states his own observation as the opposite. You say, "The sinner is
swift, that is, swiftly passes away (as a thing floating) on the
surface of the waters"
19. Arabian image; melted snow, as contrasted with the living fountain, quickly dries up in the sunburnt sand, not leaving a 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!"
20. The womb--The very mother that bare him, and who is the last to
"forget" the child that sucked her
shall dismiss him from her memory
The worm shall suck, that is, "feed sweetly" on him as a
21. The reason given by the friends why the sinner deserves such a
22-25. Reply of Job to the opinion of the friends. Experience proves the contrary. Translate: "But He (God) prolongeth the life of (literally, draweth out at length; Ps 36:10, Margin) 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" (De 28:66).
23. Literally, "He
(God omitted, as often;
reverentially) giveth to him (the wicked, to be) in safety, or
24. Job repeats what he said
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 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
A natural death
25. (So Job 9:24).