Job 24:15
The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight; - compare the description in Proverbs 7:8-9, "He went the way to her house; in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night."

And disguiseth his face - Margin, "setteth his face in secret." The meaning is, that he put a mask on his face, lest he should be recognized. So Juvenal, Sat. viii. 144, as quoted by Noyes:

- si nocturnus adulter

Tempora Santonico velas adoperta cucullo.

These deeds of wickedness were then performed in the night, as they are still; and yet, though the eye of God beheld them, he did not punish them. The meaning of Job is, that people were allowed to commit the blackest crimes, but that God did not come forth to cut them off.

15. (Pr 7:9; Ps 10:11).

disguiseth—puts a veil on.

The eye of the adulterer, i.e. the adulterer; but he mentions his eye, because the eye discerns the difference between light and darkness.

The twilight, to wit, for the evening twilight, which is his opportunity.

Saying in his heart, comforting himself with the thoughts of secretness and impunity.

Disguiseth his face, Heb. putteth his face in secret; covers it with a vizard or cloak, that he may be undiscovered.

The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight,.... Not of the morning, which would not give him time enough to satiate his lust, but of the evening, that he may have the whole night before him to gratify his impure desires, and that these may be indulged in the most private and secret manner; and having fixed the time in the evening with his adulteress, he waits with impatience, and earnestly wishes and longs for its coming, and diligently looks out for the close of day, and takes the first opportunity of the darkness of the evening to set out on his adventure, see Proverbs 7:7; and the "eye" is particularly observed, not only because that is the instrument by which the twilight is discerned, and is industriously employed in looking out for it, but is full of adultery, as the Apostle Peter expresses it, 2 Peter 2:14; it is what is the inlet to this sin, the leader on to it, the caterer for it, and the nourisher, and cherisher of it, see Job 30:1;

saying, no eye shall see me; no eye of man, which such an one is careful to guard against; and especially the eye of the husband of the adulteress, whose raging jealousy will not spare the adulterer, but take revenge on him by an immediate dispatch of him. And few care to have it known by any that they are guilty of this sin, because it brings dishonour and reproach upon them, which cannot be wiped off: the fact of Absalom going in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel, 2 Samuel 16:21, and lying with them in the face of the sun, is the most notorious instance of this kind to be read; usually both sexes choose the utmost secrecy. Potiphar's wife took the opportunity to tempt Joseph when none of the men of the house were within, Genesis 35:10; and when Amnon intended to force his sister, he ordered all the men to be had out of the room, 2 Samuel 13:9, and moreover, the adulterer foolishly fancies that God sees him not, or at least is not concerned about that; though there is no darkness where such workers of iniquity can hide themselves from his all seeing eye, the darkness and the light are both alike to him. These men are like the ostrich, which thrusting its head into a thicket, as Tertullian (t) observes, fancies it is not seen; so children cover their faces, and, because they see none, think that nobody sees them; and as weak and childish a part do such act, who imagine that their evil deeds, done in the dark, are not seen by him, before whom every creature is made manifest, and all things are naked and open:

and disguiseth his face; puts a mask upon it, that he may not be known by any he meets, when upon his amorous adventure, as harlots used to cover themselves with a vail, Genesis 38:14.

(t) De Virgin, Veland. c. 17.

The eye also of the {q} adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.

(q) By these particular vices and the licence of it, he would prove that God did not punish the wicked and reward the just.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. The adulterer waits for the “twilight,” i. e. of even. Then he disguises himself, or puts a cover on his face, that he may enter undetected the house of his neighbour.

Verse 15. - The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me. There is an analogy between moral and physical light, and between moral and physical darkness. The class of men here spoken of (vers. 14-16), who have rebelled against moral light (ver. 13), and refused its ways, and rejected its paths, are no great lovers of physical light. Their deeds of darkness are only suited to be done in the dark, and they wait for the evening twilight or the dusk of dawn to engage in them (comp. John 3:19-21, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." See also John 8:12; John 12:35; Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:8-14, etc.). And he disguiseth his face. As a further precaution against discovery, the adulterer disguiseth, or covereth up, his face. The same is often done by thieves and murderers. Job 24:1513 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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