Job 24:13
They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) They are of those that rebel against the light.—A very remarkable expression, which seems to anticipate the teaching of St. John (Job 1:9, &c.).

Job 24:13. Those that rebel against the light — Who sin impudently, in the face of the sun, and obstinately, in spite of all their light, as well the light of reason and conscience, which abhors and condemns their wicked actions, as the light of divine revelation, which was then, in good measure, imparted to the people of God, and shortly after committed to writing; all which they set at defiance, sinning with manifest contempt of God, and of men, and of their own consciences. They know not the ways thereof —

That is, of the light, or such ways and courses as are agreeable to the light; they do not approve, love, or choose them. Nor abide in the paths thereof — If they begin to walk in those paths: and do some good actions, yet they do not persevere in well-doing: they are not constant and fixed in a good course of life.

24:13-17 See what care and pains wicked men take to compass their wicked designs; let it shame our negligence and slothfulness in doing good. See what pains those take, who make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts of it: pains to compass, and then to hide that which will end in death and hell at last. Less pains would mortify and crucify the flesh, and be life and heaven at last. Shame came in with sin, and everlasting shame is at the end of it. See the misery of sinners; they are exposed to continual frights: yet see their folly; they are afraid of coming under the eye of men, but have no dread of God's eye, which is always upon them: they are not afraid of doing things which they are afraid of being known to do.They are of those that rebel against the light - That is, they hate the light: compare John 3:20. It is unpleasant to them, and they perform their deeds in the night. Job here commences a reference to another class of wicked persons - those who perform their deeds in the darkness of the night; and he shows that the same thing is true of them as of those who commit crimes in open day, that God does not interpose directly to punish them. They are suffered to live in prosperity. This should be rendered, "Others hate the light;" or, "There are those also who are rebellious against the light." There is great force in the declaration, that those who perform deeds of wickedness in the night are "rebels" against the light of day.

They know not the ways thereof - They do not see it. They work in the night.

Nor abide in the paths thereof - In the paths that the light makes. They seek out paths on which the light does not shine.

13. So far as to openly committed sins; now, those done in the dark. Translate: "There are those among them (the wicked) who rebel," &c.

light—both literal and figurative (Joh 3:19, 20; Pr 2:13).

paths thereof—places where the light shines.

This is added as the general character of the persons before mentioned, and as a great aggravation of their wickedness, that they were not modest sinners, which were ashamed of their evil ways, and therefore sinned in the dark, and in secret, as some who here follow; but sinned impudently in the face of the sun, and in spite of all their light, as well the light of reason and conscience, which abhors and condemns their wicked actions, as the light of Divine revelation, which was then in good measure imparted to the church and people of God in this time, and shortly after was committed to writing; all which they set at defiance, sinning with manifest contempt of God, and of men, and of their own consciences.

They know not; either,

1. They do not desire or care to know them; they are willingly ignorant of them. Or,

2. They do not approve, nor love, nor choose them; as knowing frequently signifies in the Scripture use.

The ways thereof, i.e. of the light, or in such ways and courses as are agreeable to the light. Or, in his ways, i.e. in the ways of God, who is oft understood in this book where he is not expressed.

Nor abide in the paths thereof; if they do some good actions, yet they do not persevere in well-doing, they are not constant and fixed in a good course of life.

They are of those that rebel against the light,.... The light of nature, acting contrary to the dictates of their own consciences, in being guilty of the inhumanity, barbarity, and cruelty they were chargeable with in the above instances; or the light of the law, as the Targum; though as yet the law of the ten commandments was not in being; or however was not known to these persons; or against God himself, who is light, and in him no darkness at all, is clothed with it, and is the Father of lights unto his creatures, the Light of lights, and the Light of the world, from whom all light, natural, spiritual, and eternal, springs, 1 John 1:5; which is the sense of most of the Jewish commentators (s); and every sin is a rebellion against God, and betrays the enmity of the carnal mind to him, is an act of hostility against him, and shows men to be enemies in their minds to him:

they know not the ways thereof; the ways of light, but prefer the ways of darkness to them; or the ways of God, the ways of his commandments, which he has prescribed for men, and directed them to walk in; these they know not, are wilfully ignorant of, desire not the knowledge of them, and will be at no pains to get any acquaintance with them; or they approve not of them, they are not pleasing to them, and they choose not to walk in them:

nor abide in the paths thereof; if at any time they are got into the paths of light, truth, and righteousness, or in the ways of God's commandments, and do a few good actions, they do not continue therein, but quickly go out of the way again, leave the paths of righteousness to walk in the ways of darkness, Proverbs 2:13. Some interpreters understand these words entirely of natural light, and of men who are like owls and bats that flee from the light, who are authors of the works of darkness, and do what they do in the dark secretly, and hate the light, and do not choose to come unto it, that their deeds may not be reproved; and so now Job enters upon the account of another set of men different from the former, who did what they did openly, in the face of the sun, and before all men; but these he is now about to describe are such who commit iniquity secretly and privately, and instances in the murderer adulterer, and thief, in Job 24:14.

(s) Aben Ezra, Ben Gersom, Sephorno, Bar Tzemach.

They are of those that rebel against the {p} light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.

(p) That is, God's word, because they are reproved by it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. They are of those] Rather, these are of them that rebel. The speaker introduces a new class of malefactors. The “light” here is of course the light of day, with the implication, however, that he that is righteous “cometh to the light.”

13–17. The outrages perpetrated by a different class of wrongdoers, the murderer (Job 24:14), the adulterer (Job 24:15), and the robber (Job 24:16). Those described in former verses pursued their violent course openly, they had law or at least custom on their side, and their cruelties did no more than illustrate the rights of property; those now mentioned are “rebels against the light” and operate under cover of the darkness.

Verse 13. - They are of those who rebel against the light. These city oppressors go beyond the others in entirely rejecting the light of reason, conscience, and law. They threw off every restraint. The "light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" is nothing to them. They know not the ways thereof. They will not know, will not have anything to do with, the law of moral restraint - much less will they abide in the paths thereof; i.e. acknowledge and be guided by such restraints continually. On the contrary, Job 24:1313 Others are those that rebel against the light,

They will know nothing of its ways,

And abide not in its paths.

14 The murderer riseth up at dawn,

He slayeth the sufferer and the poor,

And in the night he acteth like a thief.

15 And the eye of the adulterer watcheth for the twilight;

He thinks: "no eye shall recognise me,"

And he putteth a veil before his face.

With המּה begins a new turn in the description of the moral confusion which has escaped God's observation; it is to be translated neither as retrospective, "since they" (Ewald), nor as distinctive, "they even" (Bttch.), i.e., the powerful in distinction from the oppressed, but "those" (for המה corresponds to our use of "those," אלּה to "these"), by which Job passes on to another class of evil-disposed and wicked men. Their general characteristic is, that they shun the light. Those who are described in Job 24:14 are described according to their general characteristic in Job 24:13; accordingly it is not to be interpreted: those belong to the enemies of the light, but: those are, according to their very nature, enemies of the light. The Beth is the so-called Beth essent.; היוּ (comp. Proverbs 3:26) affirms what they are become by their own inclination, or as what they are fashioned, viz., as ἀποστάται φωτός (Symm.); מרד (on the root מר, vid., on Job 23:2) signifies properly to push one's self against anything, to lean upon, to rebel; מרד therefore signifies one who strives against another, one who is obstinate (like the Arabic mârid, merı̂d, comp. mumâri, not conformable to the will of another). The improvement מרדי אור (not with Makkeph, but with Mahpach of mercha mahpach. placed between the two words, vid., Br's Psalterium, p. x.) assumes the possibility of the construction with the acc., which occurs at least once, Joshua 22:19. They are hostile to the light, they have no familiarity with its ways (הכּיר, as Joshua 22:17, Psalm 142:5; Ruth 2:19, to take knowledge of anything, to interest one's self in its favour), and do not dwell (ישׁבוּ, Jer. reversi sunt, according to the false reading ישׁבוּ) in its paths, i.e., they neither make nor feel themselves at home there, they have no peace therein. The light is the light of day, which, however, stands in deeper, closer relation to the higher light, for the vicious man hateth τὸ φῶς, John 3:20, in every sense; and the works which are concealed in the darkness of the night are also ἔργα τοῦ σκότους, Romans 13:12 (comp. Isaiah 29:15), in the sense in which light and darkness are two opposite principles of the spiritual world. It need not seem strange that the more minute description of the conduct of these enemies of the light now begins with לאור. It is impossible that this should mean: still in the darkness of the night (Stick.), prop. towards the light, when it is not yet light. Moreover, in biblical Hebrew, אור does not signify evening, in which sense it occurs in Talmudic Hebrew (Pesachim 1a, Seder olam rabba, c. 5, אור שׁביעי, vespera septima), like אורתּא ( equals נשׁף) in Talmudic Aramaic. The meaning, on the contrary, is that towards daybreak (comp. הבקר אור, Genesis 44:3), therefore with early morning, the murderer rises up, to go about his work, which veils itself in darkness (Psalm 10:8-10) by day, viz., to slay (comp. on יקטל...יקוּם, Ges. 142, 3, c) the unfortunate and the poor, who pass by defenceless and alone. One has to supply the idea of the ambush in which the waylayer lies in wait; and it is certainly inconvenient that it is not expressed.

The antithesis וּבלּילה, Job 24:14, shows that nothing but primo mane is meant by לאור. He who in the day-time goes forth to murder and plunder, at night commits petty thefts, where no one whom he could attack passes by. Stickel translates: to slay the poor and wretched, and in the night to play the thief; but then the subjunctivus ויהי ought to precede (vid., e.g., Job 13:5), and in general it cannot be proved without straining it, that the voluntative form of the future everywhere has a modal signification. Moreover, here יהי does not differ from Job 18:12; Job 20:23, but is only a poetic shorter form for יהיה: in the night he is like a thief, i.e., plays the part of the thief. And the adulterer's eye observes the darkness of evening (vid., Proverbs 7:9), i.e., watches closely for its coming on (שׁמר, in the usual signification observare, to be on the watch, to take care, observe anxiously), since he hopes to render himself invisible; and that he may not be recognised even if seen, he puts on a mask. סתר פּנים is something by which his countenance is rendered unrecognisable (lxx ἀποκρυβὴ προσώπου), like the Arab. sitr, sitâreh, a curtain, veil, therefore a veil for the face, or, as we say in one word borrowed from the Arabic mascharat, a farce (masquerade): the mask, but not in the proper sense.

(Note: The mask was perhaps never known in Palestine and Syria; סתר פנים is the mendı̂l or women's veil, which in the present day (in Hauran exclusively) is called sitr, and is worn over the face by all married women in the towns, while in the country it is worn hanging down the back, and is only drawn over the face in the presence of a stranger. If this explanation is correct the poet means to say that the adulterer, in order to remain undiscovered, wears women's clothes comp. Deuteronomy 22:5; and, in fact, in the Syrian towns (the figure is taken from town-life) women's clothing is always chosen for that kind of forbidden nocturnal undertaking, i.e., the man disguises himself in an ı̂zâr, which covers him from head to foot, takes the mendı̂l, and goes with a lantern (without which at night every person is seized by the street watchman as a suspicious person) unhindered into a strange house. - Wetzst.)

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