|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:1-12 Job discourses further about the prosperity of the wicked. That many live at ease who are ungodly and profane, he had showed, ch. xxi. Here he shows that many who live in open defiance of all the laws of justice, succeed in wicked practices; and we do not see them reckoned with in this world. He notices those that do wrong under pretence of law and authority; and robbers, those that do wrong by force. He says, God layeth not folly to them; that is, he does not at once send his judgments, nor make them examples, and so manifest their folly to all the world. But he that gets riches, and not by right, at his end shall be a fool, Jer 17:11.
Verse 3 - They drive away the ass of the fatherless. This was another form of oppression. "Whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed?" says Samuel, on laying down his judgeship (1 Samuel 12:3). The "fatherless" were particularly liable to such ill treatment, seeing that they had lost their natural protector. They take the widow's ox for a pledge. It may be true that this was nowhere a legal offence, not even among the Hebrews (Lee); but it was a real act of oppression, and forms a fitting counterpart to the injury done to the orphan. (On the natural tendency of selfish men to bear hard on these two classes, see Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 24:17; Deuteronomy 27:19; Psalm 94:6; Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 10:2; Jeremiah 5:28; Zechariah 7:10.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They drive away the ass of the fatherless,.... Who are left destitute of friends, and have none to take care of them, and provide for them; and who having one ass to carry their goods for them from place to place, or to ride upon, which though a creature of no great worth, yet of some usefulness, this they drove away from its pasture, or however from its right owner; and who having but one, it was the more cruel and inhuman to take it from him, see, 2 Samuel 12:3;
they take the widow's ox for a pledge; or oxen, the singular for the plural, with which her lands were ploughed, for a single ox could be but of little service: some render it "a cow" (h), by the milk of which she and her family were chiefly supported, as many poor country families are by the means of a good milch cow; and to take this, on which her livelihood depended, and retain for a pledge, was very barbarous; when the law concerning pledges took place among the Jews, in the times of Moses, which it seems was in being before with others, whatsoever was useful to persons, either to keep them warm, or by which they got their bread, were not to be taken, at least not detained for a pledge, see Exodus 22:26.
(h) "pro bove foemina, vacca", Bolducius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. pledge—alluding to Job 22:6. Others really do, and with impunity, that which Eliphaz falsely charges the afflicted Job with.
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