Job 24:1
Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK

(1) Why, seeing times are not hidden.—Job, in this chapter, gives utterance to this perplexity, as it arises, not from his own case only, but from a survey of God’s dealings with the world generally. “Why is it,” he asks, “since times and events are not hidden from the Almighty, that they who know Him—that is, believe in and love Him—do not see His days?”—that is, His days of retribution and judgment. Even those who love and serve God are as perplexed about His principles of government as those who know Him not. It is to be observed that the position of the second negative in the Authorised Version of this verse renders it highly ambiguous to the majority of readers. This ambiguity would entirely disappear if we read see not instead of “not see.”

Job 24:1. Why, &c. — Job, having by his complaints, in the foregoing chapter, given vent to his passion, and thereby gained some ease, breaks them off abruptly, and now applies himself to a further discussion of the doctrinal controversy between him and his friends, concerning the prosperity of wicked people. That many live at ease, who yet are ungodly and profane, and despise all the exercises of devotion, he had showed, chap. 21. Now he goes further, and shows that many who are mischievous to mankind, and live in open defiance of all the laws of justice and common honesty, yet thrive and succeed in their unrighteous practices; and we do not see them reckoned with in this world. He first lays down his general proposition, That the punishment of wicked people is not so visible and apparent as his friends supposed, and then proves it by an induction of particulars. Why — How comes it to pass; seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty — Seeing the fittest seasons for every action, and particularly for the punishment of wicked men, are not unknown to God: do they that know him — That love and obey him; not see his days? — The times and seasons which he takes for the punishment of ungodly men; which times are frequently called the days of the Lord, as Isaiah 2:12; Isaiah 13:6; Jeremiah 46:10; Acts 2:20. Surely, if they were constant and fixed in this life, they would not be unknown to good men, to whom God is wont to reveal his secrets. His words may be paraphrased a little more at large, thus: To answer a little what you have so often asserted: If punishments from God upon the wicked, in this world, are so certain as you say, why do not they who are truly pious see them openly inflicted? Surely it is most strange, that there are not some certain fixed times when God arises publicly, and in the face of the whole world inflicts these deserved punishments upon the wicked. Whereas, experience shows, that these visible judgments are very rarely inflicted, and many true worshippers of God pass through the world without ever seeing any thing of this kind. Heath renders the verse, Why are not stated seasons set apart by the Almighty? And why do not those who know him see his days? namely, of vengeance on the wicked.

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.Why, seeing times are not hidden froth the Almighty - Dr. Good renders this,

"Wherefore are not doomdays kept by the Almighty.

So that his offenders may eye his periods?"

Dr. Noyes:

"Why are not times of punishment reserved by the Almighty.

And why do not they, who regard him, see his judgments?"

Jerome, "Times are not hidden from the Almighty; but they who know him are ignorant of his days." The Septuagint, "But why have set times - ὧραι hōrai, escaped the notice - ἔλαθον elathon - of the Almighty, and the wicked transgressed all bounds? The word עתים ‛êthı̂ym, here translated "times," is rendered by the Chaldee (עדניא), "set times," times appointed for an assembly or a trial, beforehand designated for any purpose. The Hebrew word properly means, set time, fit and proper times; and in the plural, as used here, means "seasons," Esther 1:13; 1 Chronicles 12:32; and then vicissitudes of things, fortunes, destinies; Psalm 31:16; 1 Chronicles 29:30. Here it means, probably, the vicissitudes of things, or what actually occurs. All changes are known to God. He sees good and bad times; he sees the changes that take place among people. And since he sees all this, Job asks, with concern, Why is it that God does not come forth to deal with people according to their true character? That this was the fact, he proceeds to show further in illustration of the position which he had maintained in Job 21 by specifying a number of additional cases where the wicked undeniably prospered. It was this which perplexed him so much, for he did not doubt that their conduct was clearly known to God. If their conduct had been unknown to God, it would not have been a matter of surprise that they should go unpunished. But since all their ways were clearly seen by him, it might well excite inquiry why they were permitted thus to prosper. "He" believed that they were reserved to a future day of wrath, Job 21:30; Job 24:23-24. They would be punished in due time, but it was not a fact as his friends alleged, that they were punished in this life according to their deeds.

Do they that know him? - His true friends; the pious.

Not see his days - The days of his wrath, or the day when he punishes the wicked. Why are they not permitted to see him come forth to take vengeance on his foes? The phrase "his days" means the days when God would come forth to punish his enemies. They are called "his days," because at that time God would be the prominent object that would excite attention. They would be days when he would manifest himself in a manner so remarkable as to characterize the period. Thus, the day of judgment is called the day "of the Son of Man," or "his day" Luke 17:24, because at that time the Lord Jesus will be the prominent and glorious object that shall give character to the day. The "question" here seems to have been asked by Job mainly to call attention to "the fact" which he proceeds to illustrate. The fact was undeniable. Job did "not" maintain, as Eliphaz had charged on him Job 22:12-14, that the reason why God did not punish them was, that he could not see their deeds. He admitted most fully that God did see them, and understood all that they did. In this they were agreed. Since this was so, the question was why the wicked were spared, and lived in prosperity. The fact that it was so, Job affirms. The "reason" why it was so, was the subject of inquiry now. This was perplexing, and Job could solve it only by referring to what was to come hereafter.


Job 24:1-25.

1. Why is it that, seeing that the times of punishment (Eze 30:3; "time" in the same sense) are not hidden from the Almighty, they who know Him (His true worshippers, Job 18:21) do not see His days (of vengeance; Joe 1:15; 2Pe 3:10)? Or, with Umbreit less simply, making the parallel clauses more nicely balanced, Why are not times of punishment hoarded up ("laid up"; Job 21:19; appointed) by the Almighty? that is, Why are they not so appointed as that man may now see them? as the second clause shows. Job does not doubt that they are appointed: nay, he asserts it (Job 21:30); what he wishes is that God would let all now see that it is so.The practice and prosperity of the wicked, Job 24:1-16. Their punishment and curse in the end, Job 24:17-25.

The sense of the words according to this translation is this,

Why, ( how comes it to pass,)

seeing times (i.e. the several times of every man’s life, how long he shall live, or the fittest seasons and opportunities (which are oft called times, as Genesis 24:11 Psalm 31:15 119:126 Acts 1:6,7) for every action, and particularly for the punishment of wicked men, about which the present controversy was)

are not hidden from or unknown to the almighty God, ( i.e. seeing all times, and men that live, and things that are done, or to be done, in their tines and seasons, are exactly known to God,)

do they that know him (i.e. who love and obey him, as that word is oft used, as, Psalm 9:10 36:10 91:14, or they who observe and regard his ways and works done in the world)

not see (whence is it that they cannot discern)

his (i.e. God’s)

days, i.e. his times and seasons which he takes for the punishment of ungodly men? which if they were constant and fixed in this life, as you pretend they are, they would not be unknown to good men, to whom God useth to reveal his secrets, and they could not be unobserved by so many good men, who make it their business to mind and study the works of God, and especially the course and methods of his providence towards good and bad men. The times or days of God’s executing judgments upon sinners are frequently called the days of the Lord, as Isaiah 2:12 13:6 Jeremiah 46:10; compare Job 20:28 Proverbs 6:34 Acts 2:20; as the time of man’s judging is called man’s day, 1 Corinthians 4:3. But this verse is in part, and may very agreeably to the Hebrew text be rendered and interpreted thus, Why or how are not times (i.e. the times and seasons appointed for the punishment of evil-doers, about which the dispute was) hidden or reserved by or with God, (i.e. kept as a secret in his own breast, and concealed from the knowledge of mankind. How can you say or think with any colour that these times are fixed and manifest to all men, and that sinners are constantly punished in this life, and that so notoriously that all good men see it, as was said, Job 22:15-19) seeing (as the particle you is rendered, Job 19:28; or for, as it is frequently used) they that know him (that give themselves to understand and consider his doings in the world, who of all men are most likely to know this, if it were true and certain) do not see his days, to wit, of punishing the wicked in this life? as was said before. And this he mentions as a fit preface to usher in the following discourse concerning the manifold wickedness of men, and withal their present impunity.

Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty,.... Which seems to be an inference deduced from what he had said in Job 23:14; that since all things are appointed by God, and his appointments are punctually performed by him, the times of his carrying his purposes and decrees into execution cannot be hidden from him; for, as he has determined what shall be done, he has determined the time before appointed for the doing of them; as there is a purpose for everything under the heavens, there is a time set for the execution of that purpose, which must be known unto God that has fixed it; for as all his works are known to him from the beginning, or from eternity, the times when those works should be wrought must also be known to him. The Vulgate Latin, version reduces the words to a categorical proposition, "times are not hidden from the Almighty"; either temporal things, as Sephorno interprets it, things done in time, or the times of doing those things; no sort of time is hid from God; time respecting the world in general, its beginning, duration, and end; all seasons in it, day and night, summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, which are all fixed and settled by him; the several distinct ages and periods of time, into which it has been divided; the old and new world, the legal and Gospel dispensation, the various generations in it; the four great monarchies of the world, their rise, and duration, and end, with all other lesser kingdoms and states; time respecting the inhabitants of the world, their coming into and passing out of it in successive generations, the time of their birth, and of their death, and of adversity and prosperity, which interchangeably take place during their abode in it; and particularly the people of God, the time of their redemption by Christ, of their conversion by the grace of God, and all their times of darkness, desertion, temptation, and afflictions, and of peace, joy, and comfort; time, past and future, respecting the church of God, and the state of it, and all things relative thereunto; and the times of Israel's affliction in a land not theirs, four hundred years, and of their seventy years' captivity in Babylon, were not hidden from the Almighty, but foretold by him; the suffering times of the church under the New Testament; the ten persecutions of it by the Roman emperors; the flight and nourishment of it in the wilderness for a time, and times, and half a time; the treading down of the holy city forty two months; the witnesses prophesying: in sackcloth 1260 days; the killing of them, and their bodies lying unburied three days and a half, and then rising; the reign of antichrist forty two months, at the end of which antichristian time will be no more; the time of Christ's coming to judgment, which is a day appointed, though unknown to men and angels, and the reign of Christ on earth for a thousand years; all these times are not hidden from, but known to the Almighty, even all time, past, present, and to come, and all things that have been, are, or shall be done therein. Several Jewish commentators (c) interpret these words as an expostulation or wish, "why are not times hidden?" &c. if they were, I should not wonder at it that those that knew him do not know what shall be; but he knows the times and days in which wicked men will do wickedness, why is he silent? Mr. Broughton, and others (d), render them, "why are not", or "why should not times be hidden by the Almighty?" that is, be hidden in his own breast from men, as they are; for the times and seasons it is not for man to know, which God has put in his own power, Acts 1:6; as the times of future troubles, of a man's death, and the day of judgment; it is but right and fit, on many accounts, that they should be hid by him from them; but others of later date translate the words perhaps much better, "why are not certain stated times laid up", or "reserved by the Almighty" (e)? that is, for punishing wicked men in this, life, as would be the case, Job suggests, if it was true what his friends had asserted, that wicked men are always punished here: and then upon this another question follows, why

do they that know him not see his days? that know him not merely by the light of nature, but as revealed in Christ; and that have not a mere knowledge of him, but a spiritual and experimental one; who know him so as to love him, believe in him, fear, serve, and worship him; and who have a greater knowledge of him than others may have, and have an intimate acquaintance and familiarity with him, are his bosom friends; and if there are fixed times for punishing the wicked in this life, how comes it to pass that these friends of God, to whom he reveals his secrets, cannot see and observe any such days and times of his as these? but, on the contrary, observe, even to the stumbling of the greatest saints, that the wicked prosper and increase in riches. Job seems to refer to what Eliphaz had said, Job 22:19; which he here tacitly denies, and proves the contrary by various instances, as follows.

(c) Aben Ezra, Nachmanides, & Simeon Bar Tzemach. (d) "quinam ab omnipotente", Beza; so Junius & Tremellius. (e) "Quare ab omnipotente non sunt recondita in poenam stata tempora", Schultens.

Why, seeing times {a} are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his {b} days?

(a) Thus Job speaks in his passions, and after the judgment of the flesh: that is, that he does not see the things that are done at times, nor yet has a peculiar care over all, because he does not punish the wicked or avenge the godly.

(b) When he punishes the wicked and rewards the good.

1. This verse reads,

Why are not times appointed by the Almighty?

And why do they that know him not see his days?

By “times” and “days” Job means diets of assize for sitting in judgment and dispensing right among men. The speaker complains that such times and days are not appointed by the ruler and judge of the world; He fails to exercise a righteous rule; they that know Him (the godly) and look for the manifestation of His righteousness are disappointed. The A. V. why, seeing times are not hidden, &c., appears to mean, Why, seeing God has appointed judgment-days known to Himself, are the godly not permitted to perceive them? The complaint in this case does not touch the Divine rectitude itself, but only laments that it does not manifest itself to men. But the distinction is one not drawn by Job. When he complains that God does not make visible His righteous rule, his meaning is that God does not exercise such a rule. This is the thought about God that alarms him, and makes his heart soft (ch. Job 22:16).

Verse 1. - Why, seeing times are not hidden from the almighty. By "times" seem to be meant God's special periods of exhibiting himself in action as the moral Governor of the world, vindicating the righteous, and taking vengeance upon sinners. Such "times" are frequently spoken of in the prophetical Scriptures as "days of the Lord" (see Isaiah 2:12; Isaiah 3:18; Isaiah 4:1; Isaiah 13:6, 9; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1, 11; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7, 14, etc.). They are, of course, "not hidden" from him, seeing that it is he who determines on them beforehand, and, when their fixed date is come, makes them special "days," or "times," different from all others. Do they who know him not see his days? i.e. why are even they, who know and serve God, kept in the dark as to these "times," so that they do not foresee them or know when they are coming? This is to Job a great perplexity. Job 24:1 1 Wherefore are not bounds reserved by the Almighty,

And they who honour Him see not His days?

2 They remove the landmarks,

They steal flocks and shepherd them.

3 They carry away the ass of the orphan,

And distrain the ox of the widow.

4 They thrust the needy out of the way,

The poor of the land are obliged to slink away together.

The supposition that the text originally stood מדּוּע לרשׁעים משּׁדּי is natural; but it is at once destroyed by the fact that Job 24:1 becomes thereby disproportionately long, and yet cannot be divided into two lines of comparatively independent contents. In fact, לרשׁעים is by no means absolutely necessary. The usage of the language assumes it, according to which את followed by the genitive signifies the point of time at which any one's fate is decided. Isaiah 13:22; Jeremiah 27:7; Ezekiel 22:3; Ezekiel 30:3; the period when reckoning is made, or even the terminus ad quem, Ecclesiastes 9:12; and ywm followed by the gen. of a man, the day of his end, Job 15:32; Job 18:20; Ezekiel 21:30, and freq.; or with יהוה, the day when God's judgment is revealed, Joel 1:15, and freq. The boldness of poetic language goes beyond this usage, by using עתּים directly of the period of punishment, as is almost universally acknowledged since Schultens' day, and ימיו dna ,y of God's days of judgment or of vengeance;

(Note: On עתים, in the sense of times of retribution, Wetzstein compares the Arab. ‛idât, which signifies predetermined reward or punishment; moreover, עת is derived from עדת (from ועד), and עתּים is equivalent to עדתּים, according to the same law of assimilation, by which now-a-days they say לתּי instead of לדתּי (one who is born on the same day with me, from Arab. lidat, lida), and רתּי instead of רדתּי (my drinking-time), since the assimilation of the ד takes place everywhere where ת is pronounced. The ת of the feminine termination in עתים, as in שׁקתות and the like, perhaps also in בתים (bâttim), is amalgamated with the root.)

and it is the less ambiguous, since צפן, in the sense of the divine predetermination of what is future, Job 15:20, especially of God's storing up merited punishment, Job 21:19, is an acknowledged word of our poet. On מן with the passive, vid., Ew. 295, c (where, however, Job 28:4 is erroneously cited in its favour); it is never more than equivalent to ἀπό, for to use מן directly as ὑπό with the passive is admissible neither in Hebrew nor in Arabic. ידעו (Keri ידעיו, for which the Targ. unsuitably reads ידעי) are, as in Psalm 36:11; Psalm 87:4, comp. supra, Job 18:21, those who know God, not merely superficially, but from experience of His ways, consequently those who are in fellowship with Him. לא חזוּ is to be written with Zinnorith over the לא, and Mercha by the first syllable of חזו. The Zinnorith necessitates the retreat of the tone of חזו to its first syllable, as in כי־חרה, Psalm 18:8 (Br's Pslaterium, p. xiii.); for if חזו remained Milra, לא ought to be connected with it by Makkeph, and consequently remain toneless (Psalter, ii.507).

Next follows the description of the moral, abhorrence which, while the friends (Job 22:19) maintain a divine retribution everywhere manifest, is painfully conscious of the absence of any determination of the periods and days of judicial punishment. Fearlessly and unpunished, the oppression of the helpless and defenceless, though deserving of a curse, rages in every form. They remove the landmarks; comp. Deuteronomy 27:17, "Cursed is he who removeth his neighbour's landmark" (מסּיג, here once written with שׂ, while otherwise השּׂיג from נשׂג signifies assequi, on the other hand הסּיג from סוּג signifies dimovere). They steal flocks, ויּרעוּ, i.e., they are so barefaced, that after they have stolen them they pasture them openly. The ass of the orphans, the one that is their whole possession, and their only beast for labour, they carry away as prey (נהג, as e.g., Isaiah 20:4); they distrain, i.e., take away with them as a pledge (on חבל, to bind by a pledge, obstringere, and also to take as a pledge, vid., on Job 22:6, and Khler on Zechariah 11:7), the yoke-ox of the widow (this is the exact meaning of שׁור, as of the Arab. thôr). They turn the needy aside from the way which they are going, so that they are obliged to wander hither and thither without home or right: the poor of the land are obliged to hide themselves altogether. The Hiph. הטּה, with אביונים as its obj., is used as in Amos 5:12; there it is used of turning away from a right that belongs to them, here of turning out of the way into trackless regions. אביון (vid., on Job 29:16) here, as frequently, is the parallel word with ענו, the humble one, the patient sufferer; instead of which the Keri is עני, the humbled, bowed down with suffering (vid., on Psalm 9:13). ענוי־ארץ without any Keri in Psalm 76:10; Zephaniah 2:3, and might less suitably appear here, where it is not so much the moral attribute as the outward condition that is intended to be described. The Pual חכּאוּ describes that which they are forced to do.

The description of these unfortunate ones is now continued; and by a comparison with Job 30:1-8, it is probable that aborigines who are turned out of their original possessions and dwellings are intended (comp. Job 15:19, according to which the poet takes his stand in an age in which the original relations of the races had been already disturbed by the calamities of war and the incursions of aliens). If the central point of the narrative lies in Haurn, or, more exactly, in the Nukra, it is natural, with Wetzstein, to think of the Arab. 'hl 'l-wukr or ‛rb 'l-ḥujr, i.e., the (perhaps Ituraean) "races of the caves" in Trachonitis.

Job 24:1 Interlinear
Job 24:1 Parallel Texts

Job 24:1 NIV
Job 24:1 NLT
Job 24:1 ESV
Job 24:1 NASB
Job 24:1 KJV

Job 24:1 Bible Apps
Job 24:1 Parallel
Job 24:1 Biblia Paralela
Job 24:1 Chinese Bible
Job 24:1 French Bible
Job 24:1 German Bible

Bible Hub

Job 23:17
Top of Page
Top of Page