Job 24:11
Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.
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Job 24:11-12. Which make oil within their walls — The walls of the rich oppressors, for their use and benefit. And tread their wine-presses — That is, the grapes in their wine-presses; and suffer thirst — Because they are not permitted to quench their thirst out of the wine which they make. Men groan — Under the burden of injuries and grievous oppressions; from out of the city — Not only in deserts, or less inhabited places, where these tyrants have the greater opportunity to practise their villanies; but even in cities, where there is a face of order, and government, and courts of justice, and a multitude of people to observe and restrain such actions; whereby they plainly declare that they neither fear God nor reverence man. The soul of the wounded crieth out — The life or blood of those who are wounded to death (as the word חללים, chalalim, properly signifies) crieth aloud to God for vengeance; yet God layeth not folly to them — Does not appear to impute, or lay to their charge, this folly, or wickedness; does not punish them for it as it deserves.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.It is remarkable that in the book of Job there is no mention of the palm, the pomegranate, or any species of flowers. In a country like Arabia, where the date now is so important an article of food, it would have been reasonable to anticipate that there would have been some allusion known, from what is said, of the implements of husbandry, and nothing forbids us to suppose that they were of the rudest sort.

XII. Modes of Traveling

From the earliest period in the East the mode of traveling to any distance appears to have been by caravans, or companies. Two objects seem to have been contemplated by this in making long journeys across pathless deserts that were much infested by robbers; the one was the purpose of selfdefense, the other mutual accommodation. For the purposes of those traveling companies, camels are admirably adapted by nature, alike from their ability to bear burdens, from the scantiness of food which they require, and for their being able to travel far without water. Caravans are first mentioned in Genesis 37:25, "And they sat down to eat bread, and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and behold a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt." A beautiful notice of this mode of traveling occurs in Job JObadiah 6:15-20, as being common in his time:

My brethren are faithless as a brook,

Like the streams of the valley that pass away;

Which are turbid by means of the (melted) ice,

In which the snow is hid (by being dissolved).

In the time when they become warm they evaporate.

When the heat cometh, they are dried up from their place;

The channels of their way wind round about;

They go into nothing, and are lost.

The caravans of Tema look;

The traveling companies of Sheba expect to see them.

They are ashamed that they have relied on them,


11. Which—"They," the poor, "press the oil within their wall"; namely, not only in the open fields (Job 24:10), but also in the wall-enclosed vineyards and olive gardens of the oppressor (Isa 5:5). Yet they are not allowed to quench their "thirst" with the grapes and olives. Here, thirsty; Job 24:10, hungry. To wit, the poor man last mentioned.

Within their walls; either,

1. Within their own walls, i.e. in private and secret places, for fear of the oppressors. Or rather,

2. Within the walls of the rich oppressors, for their use and benefit; for the poor, alas! had no walls, nor houses, nor oliveyards, nor vineyards left to them, but they were violently spoiled of and driven away from all those things, as was said in the foregoing verses.

Their wine-presses, i.e. the grapes in their wine-presses, by a metonymy of the thing containing for the thing contained.

Suffer thirst; because they are not permitted to quench their thirst out of the wine which they make, though their labor’s both need and deserve refreshment. Which make oil within their walls,.... Not the poor within their own walls; as if the sense was, that they made their oil in a private manner within the walls of their houses, or in their cellars, lest it should be known and taken away from them; for such cannot be thought to have had oliveyards to make oil of; rather within the walls of their rich masters, where they were kept closely confined to their work, as if in a prison; or within the walls and fences of their oliveyards, where their olive presses stood; or best of all "within the rows (q) of their olive trees", as the word signifies, where having gathered the olives, they pressed out the oil in the presses and this they did at noon, in the heat of the day, as the word (r) for making oil is observed by some to signify, and yet had nothing given them to quench their thirst, as follows:

and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst; after having gathered their grapes from their vines for them, they trod them in the winepresses, and made their wine, and yet would not allow them to drink of it to allay their thirst.

(q) "inter ordines", Mercerus, Piscator, Cocceius; so Sephorno, and some in Eliae Tishbi, p. 241. (r) "meridiati sunt", V. L. so Bolducius, Schultens.

Which make oil {l} within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.

(l) In such places which are appointed for that purpose; meaning, that those who labour for the wicked, are pined for hunger.

11. A similar contrast between “tread the winepresses” and “suffer thirst.” The expression “within their walls” refers to the walled, well-protected vineyards of the rich nobility, within which these miserable serfs tread out abundant wine all the while that they themselves pant with thirst.Verse 11. - Which make oil within their walls, and tread their wine-presses, and suffer thirst. In the third place, the same unfortunates are employed in the homesteads of their oppressors to express oil from the olives and wine from the rich clusters of grapes, while they themselves are tormented with unceasing thirst. 5 Behold, as wild asses in the desert,

They go forth in their work seeking for prey,

The steppe is food to them for the children.

6 In the field they reap the fodder for his cattle,

And they glean the vineyard of the evil-doer.

7 They pass the night in nakedness without a garment,

And have no covering in the cold.

8 They are wet with the torrents of rain upon the mountains,

And they hug the rocks for want of shelter.

The poet could only draw such a picture as this, after having himself seen the home of his hero, and the calamitous fate of such as were driven forth from their original abodes to live a vagrant, poverty-stricken gipsy life. By Job 24:5, one is reminded of Psalm 104:21-23, especially since in Job 24:11 of this Psalm the פּראים, onagri (Kulans), are mentioned, - those beautiful animals

(Note: Layard, New Discoveries, p. 270, describes these wild asses' colts. The Arabic name is like the Hebrew, el-ferâ, or also himâr el-wahsh, i.e., wild ass, as we have translated, whose home is on the steppe. For fuller particulars, vid., Wetzstein's note on Job 39:5.)

which, while young, as difficult to be broken in, and when grown up are difficult to be caught; which in their love of freedom are an image of the Beduin, Genesis 16:12; their untractableness an image of that which cannot be bound, Job 11:12; and from their roaming about in herds in waste regions, are here an image of a gregarious, vagrant, and freebooter kind of life. The old expositors, as also Rosenm., Umbr., Arnh., and Vaih., are mistaken in thinking that aliud hominum sceleratorum genus is described in Job 24:5. Ewald and Hirz. were the first to perceive that Job 24:5 is the further development of Job 24:4, and that here, as in Job 30:1, those who are driven back into the wastes and caves, and a remnant of the ejected and oppressed aborigines who drag out a miserable existence, are described.

The accentuation rightly connects פראים במדבר; by the omission of the Caph similit., as e.g., Isaiah 51:12, the comparison (like a wild ass) becomes an equalization (as a wild ass). The perf. יצאוּ is a general uncoloured expression of that which is usual: they go forth בפעלם, in their work (not: to their work, as the Psalmist, in Psalm 104:23, expresses himself, exchanging ב for ל). משׁחרי לטּרף, searching after prey, i.e., to satisfy their hunger (Psalm 104:21), from טרף, in the primary signification decerpere (vid., Hupfeld on Psalm 7:3), describes that which in general forms their daily occupation as they roam about; the constructivus is used here, without any proper genitive relation, as a form of connection, according to Ges. 116, 1. The idea of waylaying is not to be connected with the expression. Job describes those who are perishing in want and misery, not so much as those who themselves are guilty of evil practices, as those who have been brought down to poverty by the wrongdoing of others. As is implied in משׁחרי (comp. the morning Psalm 63:2; Isaiah 26:9), Job describes their going forth in the early morning; the children (נערים, as Job 1:19; Job 29:5) are those who first feel the pangs of hunger. לו refers individually to the father in the company: the steppe (with its scant supply of roots and herbs) is to him food for the children; he snatches it from it, it must furnish it for him. The idea is not: for himself and his family (Hirz., Hahn, and others); for v. 6, which has been much misunderstood, describes how they, particularly the adults, obtain their necessary subsistence. There is no MS authority for reading בּלי־לו instead of בּלילו; the translation "what is not to him" (lxx, Targ., and partially also the Syriac version) is therefore to be rejected. Raschi correctly interprets יבולו as a general explanation, and Ralbag תבואתו: it is, as in Job 6:5, mixed fodder for cattle, farrago, consisting of oats or barley sown among vetches and beans, that is intended. The meaning is not, however, as most expositors explain it, that they seek to satisfy their hunger with food for cattle grown in the fields of the rich evil-doer; for קצר does not signify to sweep together, but to reap in an orderly manner; and if they meant to steal, why did they not seize the better portion of the produce? It is correct to take the suff. as referring to the רשׁע which is mentioned in the next clause, but it is not to be understood that they plunder his fields per nefas; on the contrary, that he hires them to cut the fodder for his cattle, but does not like to entrust the reaping of the better kinds of corn to them. It is impracticable to press the Hiph. יקצירו of the Chethib to favour this rendering; on the contrary, הקציר stands to קצר in like (not causative) signification as הנחה to נחה (vid., on Job 31:18). In like manner, Job 24:6 is to be understood of hired labour. The rich man prudently hesitates to employ these poor people as vintagers; but he makes use of their labour (whilst his own men are fully employed at the wine-vats) to gather the straggling grapes which ripen late, and were therefore left at the vintage season. the older expositors are reminded of לקשׁ, late hay, and explain ילקּשׁוּ as denom. by יכרתו לקשׁו (Aben-Ezra, Immanuel, and others) or יאכלו לקשׁו (Parchon); but how unnatural to think of the second mowing, or even of eating the after-growth of grass, where the vineyard is the subject referred to! On the contrary, לקּשׁ signifies, as it were, serotinare, i.e., serotinos fructus colligere (Rosenm.):

(Note: In the idiom of Hauran, לקשׂ, fut. i, signifies to be late, to come late; in Piel, to delay, e.g., the evening meal, return, etc.; in Hithpa. telaqqas, to arrive too late. Hence laqı̂s לקישׂ and loqsı̂ לקשׂי, delayed, of any matter, e.g., לקישׁ and זרע לקשׂי, late seed ( equals לקשׁ, Amos 7:1, in connection with which the late rain in April, which often fails, is reckoned on), ולד לקשׂי, a child born late (i.e., in old age); bakı̂r בכיר and bekrı̂ בכרי are the opposites in every signification. - Wetzst.)


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