Job 24:1
Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XXIV.

(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.

CHAPTER 24

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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. 10 For He knoweth the way that is with me:

If He should prove me, I should come forth as gold.

11 My foot held firm to His steps;

His way I kept, and turned not aside.

12 The command of His lips - I departed not from it;

More than my own determination I kept the words of His mouth.

13 Yet He remaineth by one thing, and who can turn Him?

And He accomplisheth what His soul desireth.

That which is not merely outwardly, but inwardly with (אם) any one, is that which he thinks and knows (his consciousness), Job 9:35; Job 15:9, or his willing and acting, Job 10:13; Job 27:11 : he is conscious of it, he intends to do it; here, Job 23:10, עם is intended in the former sense, in Job 23:14 in the latter. The "way with me" is that which his conscience (συνείδησις) approves (συμμαρτυρεῖ); comp. Psychol. S. 134. This is known to God, so that he who is now set down as a criminal would come forth as tried gold, in the event of God allowing him to appear before Him, and subjecting him to judicial trial. בּחנני is the praet. hypotheticum so often mentioned, which is based upon the paratactic character of the Hebrew style, as Genesis 44:22; Ruth 2:9; Zechariah 13:6; Ges. 155, 4, a. His foot has held firmly

(Note: On אחז, Carey correctly observes, and it explains the form of the expression: The oriental foot has a power of grasp and tenacity, because not shackled with shoes from early childhood, of which we can form but little idea.)

to the steps of God (אשׁוּר, together with אשּׁוּר, Job 31:7, from אשׁר Piel, to go on), so that he was always close behind Him as his predecessor (אחז( ro synon. תּמך, Psalm 17:5; Proverbs 5:5). He guarded, i.e., observed His way, and turned not aside (אט fut. apoc. Hiph. in the intransitive sense of deflectere, as e.g., Psalm 125:5).

In Job 23:12, מצות שׂפתיו precedes as cas. absolutus (as respects the command of His lips); and what is said in this respect follows with Waw apod. ( equals Arab. f) without the retrospective pronoun ממּנּה (which is omitted for poetic brevity). On this prominence of a separate notion after the manner of an antecedent. The Hiph. המישׁ, like הטּה, Job 23:11, and הלּיז, Proverbs 4:21, is not causative, but simply active in signification. In Job 23:12 the question arises, whether צפן מן is one expression, as in Job 17:4, in the sense of "hiding from another," or whether מן is comparative. In the former sense Hirz. explains: I removed the divine will from the possible ascendancy of my own. But since צפן is familiar to the poet in the sense of preserving and laying by (צפוּנים( y, treasures, Job 20:26), it is more natural to explain, according to Psalm 119:11 : I kept the words (commands) of Thy mouth, i.e., esteemed them high and precious, more than my statute, i.e., more than what my own will prescribed for me.

(Note: Wetzstein arranges the significations of צפן as follows: - 1.((Beduin) intr. fut. i, to contain one's self, to keep still (hence in Hebr. to lie in wait), to be rapt in thought; conjug. II. c. acc. pers. to make any one thoughtful, irresolute. 2.((Hebr.) trans. fut. o, to keep anything to one's self, to hold back, to keep to one's self; Niph. to be held back, i.e., either concealed or reserved for future use. Thus we see how, on the one hand, צפן is related to טמן, e.g., Job 20:26 (Arab. itmaanna, to be still); and, on the other, can interchange with צפה in the signification designare (comp. Job 15:22 with Job 15:20; Job 21:19), and to spy, lie in wait (comp. Psalm 10:8; Psalm 56:7; Proverbs 1:11, Proverbs 1:18, with Psalm 37:32).)

The meaning is substantially the same; the lxx, which translates ἐν δὲ κόλπῳ μου (בּחקי), which Olsh. considers to be "perhaps correct," destroys the significance of the confession. Hirz. rightly refers to the "law in the members," Romans 7:23 : חקּי is the expression Job uses for the law of the sinful nature which strives against the law of God, the wilful impulse of selfishness and evil passion, the law which the apostle describes as ἕτερος νόμος, in distinction from the νόμος τοῦ Θεοῦ (Psychol. S. 379). Job's conscience can give him this testimony, but He, the God who so studiously avoids him, remains in one mind, viz., to treat him as a criminal; and who can turn Him from His purpose? (the same question as Job 9:12; Job 11:10); His soul wills it (stat pro ratione voluntas), and He accomplishes it. Most expositors explain permanet in uno in this sense; the Beth is the usual ב with verbs of entering upon and persisting in anything. Others, however, take the ב as Beth essentiae: He remains one and the same, viz., in His conduct towards me (Umbr., Vaih.), or: He is one, is alone, viz., in absolute majesty (Targ. Jer.; Schult., Ew., Hlgst., Schlottm.), which is admissible, since this Beth occurs not only in the complements of a sentence (Psalm 39:7, like a shadow; Isaiah 48:10, after the manner of silver; Psalm 55:19, in great number; Psalm 35:2, as my help), but also with the predicate of a simple sentence, be it verbal (Job 24:13; Proverbs 3:26) or substantival (Exodus 18:4; Psalm 118:7). The same construction is found also in Arabic, where, however, it is more frequent in simple negative clauses than in affirmative (vid., Psalter, i. 272). The assertion: He is one (as in the primary monotheistic confession, Deuteronomy 6:4), is, however, an expression for the absoluteness of God, which is not suited to this connection; and if הוא באחד is intended to be understood of the unchangeable uniformity of His purpose concerning Job, the explanation: versatur (perstat) in uno, Arab. hua fi wâhidin, is not only equally, but more natural, and we therefore prefer it.

continued...

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