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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(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.

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, 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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