Job 15:32
It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
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(32) It shall be accomplished.—That is, paid in full before its time.

The remainder of this chapter calls for little explanation. In it the speaker only repeats the orthodox and familiar saw that the wicked are punished in life, and therefore, by implication, the good rewarded: a maxim which fails utterly in the face of afflictions like those of Job, unless, as his friends insinuated, he was one of the wicked. After stating the doom of the ungodly, Eliphaz, in the last verse, sums up the character of those he has been denouncing. Not only are they evil in themselves, but they hatch evil; but it is evil that recoils on themselves.

Job 15:32-33. It shall be accomplished — Namely, that which was last mentioned, that vanity should be his recompense: before his time — When, by the course of nature, and common providence, he might have continued and flourished much longer. And his branch — His glory and prosperity, or his children; shall not be green — Shall not continue to flourish as heretofore. He shall shake off his unripe grapes — The wicked man, who, by his sins, is the author of his own ruin, shall be deprived of his fruit, of his children, and other comforts, before their time; as the vine — Which either of itself drops its tender grapes, or loses them when they are plucked off by a violent hand; and shall cast off his flower as the olive — Which flourishes much about the same time with the vine, and commonly suffers similar injuries.

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?It shall be accomplished before his time - Margin, "cut off." The image here is that of a tree, which had been suggested in Job 15:30. Here it is followed up by various illustrations drawn from the flower, the fruit, etc., all of which are designed to denote the same thing - that a wicked man will not be permanently prosperous; he will not live and flourish as he would if he were righteous. He will be like a tree that is cut down before its proper time, or that casts its flowers and fruits and brings nothing to perfection. The phrase here literally is, "It shall not be filled up in its time;" that is, a wicked man will be cut off before he has filled up the measure of his days, like a tree that decays and falls before its proper time. A similar idea occurs in Psalm 55:23. "Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days." As a general fact this is all true, and the observation of the ancient Idumeans was correct. The temperate live longer than the intemperate; the chaste longer than the licentious; he that controls and governs his passions longer than he who gives the reins to them; and he who leads a life of honesty and virtue longer than he who lives for crime. Pure religion makes a man temperate, sober, chaste, calm, dispassionate, and equable in his temper; saves from broils, contentions, and strifes; subdues the angry passions, and thus tends to lengthen out life.

His branch shall not be green - It shall be dried up and withered away - retaining the image of a tree.

32. Literally, "it (the tree to which he is compared, Job 15:30, or else his life) shall not be filled up in its time"; that is, "he shall be ended before his time."

shall not be green—image from a withered tree; the childless extinction of the wicked.

It shall be accomplished, to wit, that which was last mentioned, that vanity should be his recompence. Or, it, i.e. his branch, mentioned in the next clause of the verse, from which it is understood in this former clause, as is very usual in the Holy Scripture, shall be consumed, or cut off.

Before his time, i.e. when by the course of nature and common providence it might have continued and flourished much longer.

His branch; either,

1. His glory and prosperity. Or rather,

2. His children, by comparing Job 15:34, where the desolation is said to fall upon all the congregation and tabernacles of these men; and so he reflects upon Job, who lost his children.

Shall not be green, i.e. shall not continue to flourish, as it had done.

It shall be accomplished before his time, Either the recompence or reward of his trusting vanity, in vain persons or things, the punishment of such a trust, the sorrows and troubles following upon it; these shall come upon the wicked man "before his day" (f), as it may be rendered; before the day of his death, even before his old age; before the evil days come in a course of nature, and those years in which he has no pleasure: or his life, and the days of his life, "shall be filled up" (g); or be at an end before his time; not before the time fixed in the decree and purpose of God, Job 14:5; but before his own time, that he and his friends thought he might have lived, and as his healthful constitution promised; or before the then common term of human life; and so the phrase is expressive or an immature death:

and his branch shall not be green; but dried up and wither away; his wealth and riches, his children and family, be utterly extinct; instead of being like a branch, green and flourishing, shall be like a dry stick, useless and unprofitable, only fit for burning; see Job 15:30.

(f) "ante diem suam", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (g) "complebitur", Montanus; "implebitur", Schultens.

It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
32. Before his time] lit. before his day, that is, the natural day of his death, cf. ch. Job 22:16; and the clause means, in the midst of his years (Psalm 55:23) his recompence, or exchange, is fulfilled and goes into accomplishment—he is cut off. The words might also mean that his recompence accrues to him in its fulness. In the second clause “branch” is the palm-branch, or crowning tuft (Isaiah 9:14), and the figure is that of such a tree withered and dead.

Verse 32. - It shall be accomplished before his time. "It [i.e. the recompense] shall be accomplished [or, 'paid in full '] before its time [i.e. before payment is due]." A vague threat, probably intended to signify that death will come upon the wicked man prematurely, before he has lived out halt the days of his natural life. And his branch shall not be green; i.e. he shall wither and fade, like a tree not planted by the waterside (Psalm 1:3). Job 15:3231 Let him not trust in evil-he is deceived,

For evil shall be his possession.

32 His day is not yet, then it is accomplished,

And his palm-branch loseth its freshness.

33 He teareth off as a vine his young grapes,

And He casteth down as an olive-tree his flower.

34 The company of the hypocrite is rigid,

And fire consumeth the tents of bribery.

35 They conceive sorrow and bring forth iniquity,

And their inward part worketh self-deceit.

אל does not merely introduce a declaration respecting the future (Luther: he will not continue, which moreover must have been expressed by the Niph.), but is admonitory: may he only not trust in vanity (Munach here instead of Dech, according to the rule of transformation, Psalter, ii. 504, 4) - he falls, so far as he does it, into error, or brings himself into error (נתעה, 3 praet., not part., and Niph. like Isaiah 19:14, where it signifies to be thrust backwards and forwards, or to reel about helplessly), - a thought one might expect after the admonition (Olsh. conjectures נתעב, one who is detestable): this trusting in evil is self-delusion, for evil becomes his exchange (תּמוּרה not compensatio, but permutatio, acquisitio). We have translated שׁוא by "evil" (Unheil), by which we have sought elsewhere to render און, in order that we might preserve the same word in both members of the verse. In Job 15:31, שׁוא (in form equals שׁוא from שׁוא, in the Chethib שוּ, the Aleph being cast away, like the Arabic sû', wickedness, form the v. cavum hamzatum s-'a equals sawu'a) is waste and empty in mind, in Job 15:31 (comp. Hosea 12:12) waste and empty in fortune; or, to go further from the primary root, in the former case apparent goodness, in the latter apparent prosperity - delusion, and being undeceived "evil" in the sense of wickedness, and of calamity. תּמּלא, which follows, refers to the exchange, or neutrally to the evil that is exchanged: the one or the other fulfils itself, i.e., either: is realized (passive of מלּא, 1 Kings 8:15), or: becomes complete, which means the measure of the punishment of his immorality becomes full, before his natural day, i.e., the day of death, is come (comp. for expression, Job 22:16; Ecclesiastes 7:17). The translation: then it is over with him (Ges., Schlottm., and others), is contrary to the usage of the language; and that given by the Jewish expositors, תּמּלא equals תּמּלל (abscinditur or conteritur), is a needlessly bold suggestion. - Job 15:32. It is to be observed that רעננה is Milel, and consequently 3 praet., not as in Sol 1:16 Milra, and consequently adj. כּפּה is not the branches generally (Luzzatto, with Raschi: branchage), but, as the proverbial expression for the high and low, Isaiah 9:13; Isaiah 19:15 (vid., Dietrich, Abhandlung zur hebr. Gramm. S. 209), shows, the palm-branch bent downwards (comp. Targ. Esther 1:5, where כּפּין signifies seats and walks covered with foliage). "His palm-branch does not become green, or does not remain green" (which Symm. well renders: οὐκ εὐθαλήσει), means that as he himself, the palm-trunk, so also his family, withers away. In Job 15:33 it is represented as בּסר ( equals בּסר), wild grapes, or even unripe grapes of a vine, and as נצּה, flowers of an olive.

(Note: In order to appreciate the point of the comparison, it is needful to know that the Syrian olive-tree bears fruit plentifully the first, third, and fifth years, but rests during the second, fourth, and sixth. It blossoms in these years also, but the blossoms fall off almost entirely without any berries being formed. The harvest of the olive is therefore in such years very scanty. With respect to the vine, every year an enormous quantity of grapes are used up before they are ripe. When the berries are only about the size of a pea, the acid from them is used in housekeeping, to prepare almost every kind of food. The people are exceedingly fond of things sour, a taste which is caused by the heat of the climate. During the months of June, July, and August, above six hundred horses and asses laden with unripe grapes come daily to the market in Damascus alone, and during this season no one uses vinegar; hence the word בסרא signifies in Syriac the acid (vinegar) κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν. In Arabic the unripe grapes are exclusively called hhossrum (Arab. htsrm), or, with a dialectic distinction, hissrim. - Wetzst.)

In Job 15:32 the godless man himself might be the subject: he casts down, like an olive-tree, his flowers, but in Job 15:32 this is inadmissible; if we interpret: "he shakes off (Targ. יתּר, excutiet), like a vine-stock, his young grapes," this (apart from the far-fetched meaning in יחמס) is a figure that is untrue to nature, since the grapes sit firmer the more unripe they are; and if one takes the first meaning of חמס, "he acts unjustly, as a vine, to his omphax" (e.g., Hupf.), whether it means that he does not let it ripen, or that he does not share with it any of the sweet sap, one has not only an indistinct figure, but also (since what God ordains for the godless is described as in operation) an awkward comparison. The subject of both verbs is therefore other than the vine and olive themselves. But why only an impersonal "one"? In Job 15:30 רוח פיו was referred to God, who is not expressly mentioned. God is also the subject here, and יחמס, which signifies to act with violence to one's self, is modified here to the sense of tearing away, as Lamentations 2:6 (which Aben-Ezra has compared), of tearing out; כגפן, כזית, prop. as a vine-stock, as an olive-tree, is equivalent to even as such an one.

Job 15:34 declares the lot of the family of the ungodly, which has been thus figuratively described, without figure: the congregation (i.e., here: family-circle) of the ungodly (חנף according to its etymon inclinans, propensus ad malum, vid., on Job 13:16) is (as it is expressed from the standpoint of the judgment that is executed) גּלמוּד, a hard, lifeless, stony mass (in the substantival sense of the Arabic galmûd instead of the adject. גלמודה, Isaiah 49:21), i.e., stark dead (lxx θάνατος; Aq., Symm., Theod., ἄκαρπος), and fire has devoured the tents of bribery (after Ralbag: those built by bribery; or even after the lxx: οἴκους δωροδεκτῶν). The ejaculatory conclusion, Job 15:35, gives the briefest expression to that which has been already described. The figurative language, Job 15:35, is like Psalm 7:15; Isaiah 59:4 (comp. supra, p. 257); in the latter passage similar vividly descriptive infinitives are found (Ges. 131, 4, b). They hatch the burdens or sorrow of others, and what comes from it is evil for themselves. What therefore their בּטן, i.e., their inward part, with the intermingled feelings, thoughts, and strugglings (Olympiodorus: κοιλίαν ὅλον τὸ ἐντὸς χωρίον φησὶ καὶ αὐτὴν τῆν ψυχήν), prepares or accomplishes (יכין similar to Job 27:17; Job 38:41), that on which it works, is מרמה, deceit, with which they deceive others, and before all, themselves (New Test. ἀπάτη).


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