Job 15:28
And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Which are ready to become heaps.—This completes the description of the haughty tyrant. He dwelt in cities that are to be desolate, or that are desolate, which are ready to become heaps. This may point either to what they were in his intention, or to what he had made them, or to what, in the opinion of the speaker, they were likely to become, notwithstanding his having fortified and dwelt in them.

Job 15:28-29. And he dwelleth — It should rather be translated, But he dwelleth in desolate places. This is fitly opposed to the prosperity last mentioned, and is the beginning of the description of his misery, which is continued in the following verses. Which are ready to become heaps — Which are ready to fall, and to be turned into heaps of stones. He shall not be rich — He shall not remain rich, but shall become poor. Neither shall his substance continue — He shall lose what he had gotten. Neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof — The perfection of his substance, or that complete estate and glory which he had attained, shall not be continued to him and his posterity. Or, neither shall their perfection (that is, that prosperity, wealth, and power, wherein they placed their perfection or happiness) spread itself, or be spread abroad; but shall be diminished and taken away. It is a metaphor from a tree. See Job 8:16.

15:17-35 Eliphaz maintains that the wicked are certainly miserable: whence he would infer, that the miserable are certainly wicked, and therefore Job was so. But because many of God's people have prospered in this world, it does not therefore follow that those who are crossed and made poor, as Job, are not God's people. Eliphaz shows also that wicked people, particularly oppressors, are subject to continual terror, live very uncomfortably, and perish very miserably. Will the prosperity of presumptuous sinners end miserably as here described? Then let the mischiefs which befal others, be our warnings. Though no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby. No calamity, no trouble, however heavy, however severe, can rob a follower of the Lord of his favour. What shall separate him from the love of Christ?And he dwelleth - Or rather, "therefore he shall dwell." As a consequence of his opposing God, and devoting himself to a life of sensuality and ease, he shall dwell in a desolate place. Instead of living in affluence and in a splendid city, he shall be compelled to take up his abode in places that have been deserted and abandoned. Such places - like Petra or Babylon now - became the temporary lodgings of caravans and travelers, or the abodes of outcasts and robbers. The meaning here is, that the proud and wicked man shall be ejected from his palace, and compelled to seek a refuge far away from the usual haunts of men.

Which are ready to become heaps - Which are just ready to tumble into ruin.

28. The class of wicked here described is that of robbers who plunder "cities," and seize on the houses of the banished citizens (Isa 13:20). Eliphaz chooses this class because Job had chosen the same (Job 12:6).

heaps—of ruins.

He dwelleth in desolate cities: these words may note either,

1. His tyranny and cruelty, whereby he makes the places of his abode and dominion desolate by his frequent murders, spoils, and oppressions, wherewith he destroyeth great numbers of his people, and forceth others to flee out of his reach. Or,

2. His pride, and power, and wealth; which enabled and engaged him to build desolate houses and cities for his own glory, and safety, and conveniency; of which See Poole "Job 3:14". Or,

3. His punishment and misery; that for his impiety towards God, and oppression of men, he was driven out of his dominions and possessions, and forced to flee into desolate places for safety and a habitation. This seems best to agree with the Hebrew words, which run thus, But (for so the particle and is commonly used, as hath been oft said) he shall dwell, &c. And so this is fitly opposed to this last-mentioned prosperity, and is the beginning of the description of his misery, which is continued in the following verses.

Which are ready to become heaps; which were ready to fall, and to be turned into a heap of stones.

And he dwelleth in desolate cities,.... This is either a continuation of the account of the wicked man's prosperity, which makes him haughty; such is his might and power, that he destroys cities and palaces, built and enjoyed by others, and then out of the ruins of them builds greater cities and more noble palaces, to perpetuate his name to posterity; which sense agrees with Job 3:14; and with the Targum,

"and he makes tabernacles in desert cities, that he may dwelt in houses which were not inhabited;''

and so Ben Gersom: and hence because of his success among men, and the grandeur he lives in, his heart is lifted up, and his hand is stretched out against God; or else this may express the sinful course of life such a man lives, who chooses to dwell in desolate places, and deserts, to do harm to others, to seize upon travellers as they pass by, and rob and plunder them of their substance, sitting and waiting for them in such places, as the Arabians in the wilderness, Jeremiah 3:2; which is the sense of some, as Aben Ezra observes; or rather this points at the punishment of the wicked man, who though for the present may be in great prosperity, possessed of large cities and stately palaces, "yet" or "but" (a), for so the particle may be rendered, "he dwelleth in desolate cities"; in such as shall become desolate, being destroyed by a superior enemy, that shall come upon him; or through his subjects forsaking him, not being able to bear his tyranny and cruelty; or he shall be driven from his dominions by them, and be obliged to fly, and dwell in desert places; or he shall choose to dwell there, through the horrors of a guilty conscience; or, best of all, he shall be reduced to such distress and poverty, that he shall not have a house fit to dwell in; but "shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited", Jeremiah 17:6; as follows:

and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps; such as have been deserted by their former inhabitants, because come to decay, and ready to fall down upon them, and become heaps of stones and rubbish.

(a) So the Annotator of the Assembly of Divines.

And he dwelleth {r} in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.

(r) Though he build and repair ruinous places to gain fame, yet God will bring all to nothing, and turn his great prosperity into extreme misery.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. and he dwelleth] and he dwelt.

which no man inhabiteth] which should not be inhabited.

are ready to become] which were destined to be heaps. The idea seems to be that the wicked man settled in and rebuilt places that were under the curse of God, and destined by Him for perpetual desolation. Such places in the East are those on which God’s judgment has fallen because of some great wickedness perpetrated there. To settle in and rebuild such ruins indicates the extreme of impiety, cf. Deuteronomy 13:13 seq.; Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:34.

Verse 28. - And he dwelleth in desolate cities. Blot only was he sensual and gluttenous, but he was covetous and rapacious also. He dwelt in cities which his hand had desolated - in houses which no man inhabiteth - since he had driven their owners from them - and which were ready to become heaps, i.e. were in a ruinous condition. Job 15:2825 Because he stretched out his hand against God,

And was insolent towards the Almighty;

26 He assailed Him with a stiff neck,

With the thick bosses of his shield;

27 Because he covered his face with his fatness,

And addeth fat to his loins,

28 And inhabited desolated cities,

Houses which should not be inhabited,

Which were appointed to be ruins.

29 He shall not be rich, and his substance shall not continue

And their substance boweth not to the ground.

30 He escapeth not darkness;

The flame withereth his shoots;

And he perisheth in the breath of His mouth.

continued...

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