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. Job 24:11 9 They tear the fatherless from the breast,

And defraud the poor.

10 Naked, they slink away without clothes,

And hungering they bear the sheaves.

11 Between their walls they squeeze out the oil;

They tread the wine-presses, and suffer thirst.

12 In the city vassals groan, And the soul of the oppressed crieth out -

And Eloah heedeth not the anomaly.

The accentuation of Job 24:9 (יגזלו with Dech, משׁד with Munach) makes the relation of שׁד יתום genitival. Heidenheim (in a MS annotation to Kimchi's Lex.) accordingly badly interprets: they plunder from the spoil of the orphan; Ramban better: from the ruin, i.e., the shattered patrimony; both appeal to the Targum, which translates מביזת יתום, like the Syriac version, men bezto de-jatme (comp. Jerome: vim fecerunt depraedantes pupillos). The original reading, however, is perhaps (vid., Buxtorf, Lex. col. 295) מבּיזא, ἀπὸ βυζίου, from the mother's breast, as it is also, the lxx (ἀπὸ μαστοῦ), to be translated contrary to the accentuation. Inhuman creditors take the fatherless and still tender orphan away from its mother, in order to bring it up as a slave, and so to obtain payment. If this is the meaning of the passage, it is natural to understand יחבּלוּ, Job 24:9, of distraining; but (1) the poet would then repeat himself tautologically, vid., Job 24:3, where the same thing is far more evidently said; (2) חבל, to distrain, would be construed with על, contrary to the logic of the word. Certainly the phrase חבל על may be in some degree explained by the interpretation, "to impose a fine" (Ew., Hahn), or "to distrain" (Hirz., Welte), or "to oppress with fines" (Schlottm.); but violence is thus done to the usage of the language, which is better satisfied by the explanation of Ralbag (among modern expositors, Ges., Arnh., Vaih., Stick., Hlgst.): and what the unfortunate one possesses they seize; but this על equals אשׁר על directly as object is impossible. The passage, Deuteronomy 7:25, cited by Schultens in its favour, is of a totally different kind.

But throughout the Semitic dialects the verb חבל also signifies "to destroy, to treat injuriously" (e.g., Arab. el-châbil, a by-name of Satan); it occurs in this signification in Job 34:31, and according to the analogy of הרע על, 1 Kings 17:20, can be construed with על as well as with ל. The poet, therefore, by this construction will have intended to distinguish the one חבל from the other, Job 22:6; Job 24:3; and it is with Umbreit to be translated: they bring destruction upon the poor; or better: they take undue advantage of those who otherwise are placed in trying circumstances.

The subjects of Job 24:10 are these עניים, who are made serfs, and become objects of merciless oppression, and the poet here in Job 24:10 indeed repeats what he has already said almost word for word in Job 24:7 (comp. Job 31:19); but there the nakedness was the general calamity of a race oppressed by subjugation, here it is the consequence of the sin of merces retenta laborum, which cries aloud to heaven, practised on those of their own race: they slink away (הלּך, as Job 30:28) naked (nude), without (בּלי equals מבּלי, as perhaps sine equals absque) clothing, and while suffering hunger they carry the sheaves (since their masters deny them what, according to Deuteronomy 25:4, shall not be withheld even from the beasts). Between their walls (שׁוּרת like שׁרות, Jeremiah 5:10, Chaldee שׁוּריּא), i.e., the walls of their masters who have made them slaves, therefore under strict oversight, they press out the oil (יצהירוּ, ἅπ. γεγρ.), they tread the wine-vats (יקבים, lacus), and suffer thirst withal (fut. consec. according to Ew. 342, a), without being allowed to quench their thirst from the must which runs out of the presses (נּתּות, torcularia, from which the verb דּרך is here transferred to the vats). Bttch. translates: between their rows of trees, without being able to reach out right or left; but that is least of all suitable with the olives. Carey correctly explains: "the factories or the garden enclosures of these cruel slaveholders." This reference of the word to the wall of the enclosure is more suitable than to walls of the press-house in particular. From tyrannical oppression in the country,

(Note: Brentius here remarks: Quantum igitur judicium in eos futurum est, qui in homines ejusdem carnis, ejusdem patriae, ejusdem fidei, ejusdem Christi committunt quod nec in bruta animalia committendum est, quod malum in Germania frequentissimum est. Vae igitur Germaniae!)

Job now passes over to the abominations of discord and was in the cities.

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