Job 15:33
He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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?He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine - The idea here is, that the wicked man shall be like a vine that casts off its grapes while they are yet sour and green, and brings none to perfection; compare the notes at Isaiah 18:5. Scott renders this,

"As when the vine her half-grown berries showers,

Or poisoned olive her unfolding flowers."

It would seem from this passage that the vine might be so blasted by a hot wind or other cause, as to cast its unripe grapes to the earth. The employment of a figure of this kind to illustrate an idea supposes that such a case was familiar to those who were addressed. It is well known that in the East the grape and the olive might be blasted while in blossom, or when the fruit was setting, as all fruit may be. The injury is usually done in the flower, or when the fruit is just forming. Yet our observations of the effects of the burning winds that pass over the deserts on fruit that is half formed, in blasting it and causing it to fall, are too limited to allow us to come to any definite conclusion in regard to such effects in general. Anyone, however, can see the beauty of this image. The plans and purposes of wicked people are immature. Nothing is carried to perfection. They are cut off, their plans are blasted, and all the results of their living are like the sour, hard, crabbed, and useless fruit that falls from the tree before it is ripe. The results of the life of the righteous, on the other hand, are like a tree loaded with ripe and mellow fruit - their plans are brought to maturity, and resemble the rich and heavy clusters of grapes, or the abundant fruits of the olive when ripe.

And shall cast off his flower as the olive - The olive is a well-known tree that abounds in the East. The fruit is chiefly valuable for the oil which it produces; compare the notes at Romans 11:17. The olive is liable to be blasted while the fruit is setting, or while the tree is in blossom. In Greece, a northeast wind often proves destructive to the olive, and the same may be true of other places. Dr. Chandler speaking of Greece, says, "The olive groves are now, as anciently, a principal source of the riches of Athens. The crops had failed five years successively when we arrived; the cause assigned was a northerly wind, called Greco-tramontane, which destroyed the flower. The fruit is set in about a fortnight, when the apprehension from this unpropitious quarter ceases. The bloom in the following year was unhurt, and we had the pleasure of leaving the Athenians happy in the prospect of a plentiful harvest." A wicked man is here elegantly compared with such a tree that casts its flowers and produces no fruit.

33. Images of incompleteness. The loss of the unripe grapes is poetically made the vine tree's own act, in order to express more pointedly that the sinner's ruin is the fruit of his own conduct (Isa 3:11; Jer 6:19). He; either,

1. The wicked man, who by his sins is the author of his own ruin. Or,

2. God, who is easily understood, both from the matter and context.

Shall shake off, Heb. shall take away by violence.

His unripe grape, i. e. his fruit, his children, or other comforts, before their time.

As the vine, i.e. as the vine either itself droppeth, or rather loseth, its tender grapes, which are plucked off by a violent hand.

As the olive; which flourisheth much about the same time with the vine, and is commonly handled in the same manner. He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine,.... Either the wicked man himself shall shake off or lose his substance; or God shall shake off from him all that was dear and valuable to him; or he shall be shaken by one providence or another, just as a vine is shaken by a violent wind and tempest, and its unripe grapes are battered off by an hailstorm, or plucked off by the hand, or drop off through rottenness; so it is signified by this metaphor, that a wicked man should be stripped of his wealth and riches in a sudden manner; or his children should be snatched from him in their youth, before they were well grown up to maturity, and so like the unripe grape; perhaps respect is had to Job's case, both with regard to his substance and his family:

and shall cast off his flower, as the olive: which tree, when shaken in a violent manner, drops its flower, and so brings forth no fruit; it is observed by naturalists (h), that these two trees, the vine and the olive, flourish much about the same time, and suffer much by storms and tempests, which destroy their fruits, and especially when rain falls in the time of their flowering; the some thing is intended in this clause as in the former.

(h) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 25. l. 17. c. 2. 24.

He shall shake off his unripe {u} grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.

(u) As one who gathers grapes before they are ripe.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
33. It is doubtful if the A. V. expresses a meaning which is true to nature; the vine does not shake off its unripe grapes. The words must rather express the meaning that the grapes are not brought to maturity. The word “shake off” means to “wrong” Proverbs 8:36, and probably the idea is that the vine fails to nourish its grapes and leaves them to dry and wither. This carries out the conception of Job 15:32. The general idea of these verses is that the wicked man is “subject to vanity,” his branch prematurely withers (Job 15:32), he puts forth grapes but cannot ripen them, he flowers but he fails of fruit. His endeavours in all directions come short.Verse 33. - He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine. Blight and untimely cold cause the vine to drop its grapes before they are mature. So the wicked man will be deprived, one by one, of his possessions. And shall cast off his flower as the olive. The olive often sheds its blossoms in vast numbers. "In spring," says Canon Tristram, "one may see the bloom, on the slightest breath of wind, shed like snowflakes, and perishing by millions" ('Natural History of the Bible,' p. 375). According to some commentators, this happens regularly in alternate years. 25 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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