|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 21. - He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not. Oppressors of another class are perhaps here spoken of, or perhaps there is a mere return to the idea with which Job's enumeration opened (ver. 3), which was the oppression of the weaker and more defenceless classes. As barrenness in women was considered the greatest possible misfortune (1 Samuel 1:5-8; 1 Samuel 3:1-10), so oppressing one that was barren indicated extreme cruelty. And doeth not good to the widow; i.e. neglects to vindicate her cause - an admitted part of man's duty (see Job 22:9; Job 29:13; Job 31:16).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He evil entreateth the barren, that beareth not,.... Here Job returns, to give some further account of the sins of some wicked men, who prosper in this world, and go through it with impunity; and speaks of such that use their wives ill because they are barren, upbraid them with it, and are churlish to them on account of it; or use them ill that they may be barren, and bear no children, having no pleasure in them, as not in vineyards, before, Job 24:18; and some interpret this of deflowering virgins, who never bore children, and of using methods to make them abortive, when with child; the word we translate "evil entreateth" sometimes signifies joining to, or being a companion of others, as in Proverbs 13:20; hence various senses are given; some, he joins himself to a barren woman, that he may have no children, being not desirous of any; others, he, joins himself to, and is a companion of harlots, who are commonly barren: and like the prodigal, spends his substance among them. Some interpreters take this verse and Job 24:22; as expressive of the punishment of wicked men: so Mr. Broughton renders the words, "he adjoineth the barren" (d), and gives the sense of them thus; God sends after him a barren wife, that he shall have no help by children; but, though a numerous offspring has been reckoned an outward happiness, and not to have any an infelicity, yet it has been the case of many good men and women to be childless; wherefore love and hatred are not known hereby: besides, such a sense is contrary to the scope and design of Job, which is to prove that wicked men often go unpunished in this life; wherefore, rather the meaning is, that a wicked man uses ill such, who having not only lost their husbands, but having been barren, and so childless, have none to take their part, and to protect and defend them from the abuses of such men; the Targum renders the word, "he breaketh", and so some understand it (e); he breaketh the barren, tears them to pieces, ruins and destroys them, as to their outward substance, because they have no children to help them; with which agrees what follows,
and doth not good to the widow; does not make her glad and cheerful, as Job did, who made the widow's heart to sing for joy, Job 29:13; does not relieve and assist her when in distress, either by counsel and advice, or by administering to her necessities; but, on the contrary, afflicts and oppresses her; takes her ox, or her raiment, for a pledge, and plunders her house, and devours the substance of it; for more is intended than is expressed.
(d) "consociat ei sterilem", Junius & Tremellius. (e) Pagninus, Montanus, Bolducius, Piscator, Mercerus, Drusius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
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