|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:18-25 Sometimes how gradual is the decay, how quiet the departure of a wicked person, how is he honoured, and how soon are all his cruelties and oppressions forgotten! They are taken off with other men, as the harvestman gathers the ears of corn as they come to hand. There will often appear much to resemble the wrong view of Providence Job takes in this chapter. But we are taught by the word of inspiration, that these notions are formed in ignorance, from partial views. The providence of God, in the affairs of men, is in every thing a just and wise providence. Let us apply this whenever the Lord may try us. He cannot do wrong. The unequalled sorrows of the Son of God when on earth, unless looked at in this view, perplex the mind. But when we behold him, as the sinner's Surety, bearing the curse, we can explain why he should endure that wrath which was due to sin, that Divine justice might be satisfied, and his people saved.
Verse 20. - The womb shall forget him: Some regard this as equivalent to "Earth shall forget him;" but most suppose "the womb" to mean "his own mother." The worm shall feed sweetly on him (comp. Job 17:14). He shall be no more remembered. Oblivion shall fall upon him and his doings. And wickedness shall be broken as a tree. As a strong wind suddenly snaps off a tree at the root, so wickedness, in the person of the wicked man - the abstract for the concrete - shall be overtaken by death, and perish in a moment (comp. ver. 24).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The womb shall forget him,.... His mother that bore him; or his wife, by whom he had many children; or his friend, as Gersom, who had a tender and affectionate respect for him; these all, and each of them, either because of his wicked life and infamous death, care not to speak of him, but bury him in oblivion; or because of his quiet and easy death, are not distressed with it, but soon forget him; unless this is to be understood of the womb of the earth, in which being buried, he lies forgotten, to which the next clause agrees; though some interpret it of God himself the word having the signification of mercy (b); who, though mercy itself, is rich and abundant in it, yet has no mercy for, nor shows any favour to, such men; but they lie in the grave among those whom he remembers no more in a way of grace and favour, Psalm 85:5;
the worm shall feed sweetly on him; for being brought to the grave at once, without any wasting distemper, is a fine repast for worms, his breasts being full of milk, and his bones moistened with marrow, and full of flesh; or "the worm is sweet unto him" (c); he feels no pain by its feeding on him, and so the sense is just the same with that expression, "the clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him", Job 21:33;
he shall be no more remembered; with any mark of honour and respect; his memory shall rot with him, while the righteous are had in everlasting remembrance; or rather dying a common death, and not made a public example of:
and wickedness shall be broken as a tree; that is, wicked men, who are wickedness itself, extremely wicked, and are like to a tree, sometimes flourishing in external prosperity, having an affluence of the things of this world, and always like barren and unfruitful trees, with respect to grace and good works; these, when the axe of death is laid to the root of them, they are cut down, and their substance comes to nothing, and their families are destroyed, and so they become like trees struck with thunder and lightning, and broken into ten thousand shivers; or as the trees in Egypt were broken to pieces by the plague of hail, Exodus 9:25.
(b) "misericordia", V. L. "miseratio", Montanus, Bolducius; so Tigurine version, Grotius. (c) "dulcescit ei", Beza, Piscator; "suavis", Cocceius; so Michaelis, Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. The womb—The very mother that bare him, and who is the last to "forget" the child that sucked her (Isa 49:15), shall dismiss him from her memory (Job 18:17; Pr 10:7). The worm shall suck, that is, "feed sweetly" on him as a delicate morsel (Job 21:33).
wickedness—that is, the wicked; abstract for concrete (as Job 5:16).
as a tree—utterly (Job 19:10); Umbreit better, "as a staff." A broken staff is the emblem of irreparable ruin (Isa 14:5; Ho 4:12).
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