Job 24:2
Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Some remove the landmarks.—Now follows a description of the wrong-doings of various classes of men. The removal of landmarks was expressly provided against by the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:17).

And feed thereof.—Rather, probably, feed them: i.e., pasture them, the more easy to do when the landmarks are so removed.

Job 24:2. Some, &c. — In proof that wicked persons prosper, he instances in two sorts of unrighteous people, whom all the world saw thriving in their iniquity: 1st, Tyrants, and those that did wrong under pretence of law and authority; and, 2d, Robbers and plunderers, that did wrong by downright force, as the bands of the Sabeans and Chaldeans, who had lately plundered him. Remove the landmark — By which men’s lands are distinguished, and their properties secured, that so they may enlarge their own border by diminishing the estate of their neighbour — which is so great an act of injustice that it was not only very strictly forbidden by God in his law, but also declared execrable by the heathen, among some of whom it was permitted to any man to kill him that did it. Forging or destroying deeds is now a crime equivalent to this. They violently take away flocks, and feed thereof — They take away cattle by force, and use them as if they were their own. Or, they feed them; they do not hide, or kill them, but openly feed them in their pastures, without any remorse, or shame, or fear of punishment, either from God or man.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.Some remove the land-marks - Landmarks are pillars or stones set up to mark the boundaries of a farm. To remove them, by carrying them on to the land of another, was an act of dishonesty and robbery - since it was only by marks that the extent of a man's property could be known. Fences were uncommon; the art of surveying was not well understood, and deeds describing land were probably unknown also, and their whole dependence, therefore, was on the stones that were erected to mark the boundaries of a lot or farm. As it was not difficult to remove them, it became a matter of special importance to guard against it, and to make it a crime of magnitude. Accordingly, it was forbidden in the strictest manner in the law of Moses. "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor's land-mark;" Deuteronomy 27:17; compare Deuteronomy 19:14; Proverbs 22:28; Proverbs 23:10.

And feed thereof - Margin, "or, them." The margin is correct. The meaning is, that they drive off the flocks of others, and "pasture" them; that is, they are at no pains to conceal what they do, but mingle them with their own herds, and feed them as if they were their own. If they drove them away to kill, and removed them wholly from view, it would be less shameful than to keep and claim them as their own, and to make the robbery so public.

2-24. Instances of the wicked doing the worst deeds with seeming impunity (Job 24:2-24).

Some—the wicked.

landmarks—boundaries between different pastures (De 19:14; Pr 22:28).

Some remove the landmarks; or, they (i.e. the wicked, of whom he here treats) touch (to wit, in an unlawful manner, and with evil design, as this word is oft used, as Genesis 26:11,29 Rth 2:9, so as to invade, or possess, or remove)

the landmarks, by which men’s lands are discerned, and their properties secured; that so they may enlarge their own border by diminishing their neighbour; which is so horrid an act of injustice, that it hath not only been severely forbidden by God, Deu 19:14 27:17 Proverbs 22:28 23:10, but also declared execrable by the heathens, among whom it was permitted to any man to kill him that did it.

Feed thereof; or, feed them. They do not hide or kill them, but openly feed them, either in their oppressed neighbour’s ground, which, by taking away the landmarks, they have made their own, or in their own pastures, without any remorse, or shame, or fear of punishment, either from God or men. Some remove the landmarks,.... Anciently set to distinguish one man's land from another, to secure property, and preserve from encroachments; but some were so wicked as either secretly in the night to remove them, or openly to do it, having power on their side, pretending they were wrongly located; this was not only prohibited by the law of God, and pronounced an accursed thing, Deuteronomy 19:14; but was reckoned so before the law was given, being known to be such by the light of nature, as what was now, and here condemned, was before that law was in being; and so we find that this was accounted an execrable thing among the Heathens, who had a deity they called Jupiter Terminalis, who was appointed over bounds and landmarks; so Numa Pompilius appointed stones to be set as bounds to everyone's lands, and dedicated them to Jupiter Terminalis, and ordered that those that removed them should be slain as sacrilegious persons, and they and their oxen devoted to destruction (f): some render it, "they touch the landmarks" (g), as if to touch them was unlawful, and therefore much more to remove them:

they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof; not content with a sheep or a lamb, they took away whole flocks, and that by force and violence, openly and publicly, and slew them, and fed on them; or else took them and put them into their own grounds, or such as they had got by encroachments from others, where they fed them without any fear of men; which shows the effrontery and impudence of them.

(f) Dion. Halicarnass. & Festus apud Sanctium in loc. Vid. Rycquium de Capitol. Roman. c. 14. Ovid. Fasti, l. 2.((g) "attigerunt", Pagninus, Bolducius; "attingunt", Vatablus.

Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. Some remove] Or, there are who remove. In the absence of hedgerows or walls, the landmark defined the boundary of a man’s field or estate. Its removal was equivalent to violent appropriation of the property of another; see Deuteronomy 19:14; Hosea 5:10.

and feed thereof] Rather, and feed them. They are open and defiant in their violent wrong, they seize a flock and publicly graze it as their own.

2–4. Job now proceeds to illustrate his complaint of the absence of righteousness in God’s rule of the world. The instances are in the first place general.Verse 2. - Some remove the landmarks. (On this form of wickedness, see Deuteronomy 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:17; Proverbs 22:28; Proverbs 23:10; Hosea 5:10.) Where neighbouring properties are not divided by fences of any kind, as in the East generally, the only way of distinguishing between one man's land and another's is by termini, or "landmarks," which are generally low stone metes or bourns, placed at intervals on the boundary-line. An easy form of robbery was to displace these bourns, putting them further back on one's neighbour's land. They violently take away flocks. Others openly drive off their neighbours' flocks from their pastures, mix them with their own flocks, and say that they are theirs (comp. Job 1:15-17). And feed thereof; rather, and feed them (as in the margin); i.e. pasture them. 10 For He knoweth the way that is with me:

If He should prove me, I should come forth as gold.

11 My foot held firm to His steps;

His way I kept, and turned not aside.

12 The command of His lips - I departed not from it;

More than my own determination I kept the words of His mouth.

13 Yet He remaineth by one thing, and who can turn Him?

And He accomplisheth what His soul desireth.

That which is not merely outwardly, but inwardly with (אם) any one, is that which he thinks and knows (his consciousness), Job 9:35; Job 15:9, or his willing and acting, Job 10:13; Job 27:11 : he is conscious of it, he intends to do it; here, Job 23:10, עם is intended in the former sense, in Job 23:14 in the latter. The "way with me" is that which his conscience (συνείδησις) approves (συμμαρτυρεῖ); comp. Psychol. S. 134. This is known to God, so that he who is now set down as a criminal would come forth as tried gold, in the event of God allowing him to appear before Him, and subjecting him to judicial trial. בּחנני is the praet. hypotheticum so often mentioned, which is based upon the paratactic character of the Hebrew style, as Genesis 44:22; Ruth 2:9; Zechariah 13:6; Ges. 155, 4, a. His foot has held firmly

(Note: On אחז, Carey correctly observes, and it explains the form of the expression: The oriental foot has a power of grasp and tenacity, because not shackled with shoes from early childhood, of which we can form but little idea.)

to the steps of God (אשׁוּר, together with אשּׁוּר, Job 31:7, from אשׁר Piel, to go on), so that he was always close behind Him as his predecessor (אחז( ro synon. תּמך, Psalm 17:5; Proverbs 5:5). He guarded, i.e., observed His way, and turned not aside (אט fut. apoc. Hiph. in the intransitive sense of deflectere, as e.g., Psalm 125:5).

In Job 23:12, מצות שׂפתיו precedes as cas. absolutus (as respects the command of His lips); and what is said in this respect follows with Waw apod. ( equals Arab. f) without the retrospective pronoun ממּנּה (which is omitted for poetic brevity). On this prominence of a separate notion after the manner of an antecedent. The Hiph. המישׁ, like הטּה, Job 23:11, and הלּיז, Proverbs 4:21, is not causative, but simply active in signification. In Job 23:12 the question arises, whether צפן מן is one expression, as in Job 17:4, in the sense of "hiding from another," or whether מן is comparative. In the former sense Hirz. explains: I removed the divine will from the possible ascendancy of my own. But since צפן is familiar to the poet in the sense of preserving and laying by (צפוּנים( y, treasures, Job 20:26), it is more natural to explain, according to Psalm 119:11 : I kept the words (commands) of Thy mouth, i.e., esteemed them high and precious, more than my statute, i.e., more than what my own will prescribed for me.

(Note: Wetzstein arranges the significations of צפן as follows: - 1.((Beduin) intr. fut. i, to contain one's self, to keep still (hence in Hebr. to lie in wait), to be rapt in thought; conjug. II. c. acc. pers. to make any one thoughtful, irresolute. 2.((Hebr.) trans. fut. o, to keep anything to one's self, to hold back, to keep to one's self; Niph. to be held back, i.e., either concealed or reserved for future use. Thus we see how, on the one hand, צפן is related to טמן, e.g., Job 20:26 (Arab. itmaanna, to be still); and, on the other, can interchange with צפה in the signification designare (comp. Job 15:22 with Job 15:20; Job 21:19), and to spy, lie in wait (comp. Psalm 10:8; Psalm 56:7; Proverbs 1:11, Proverbs 1:18, with Psalm 37:32).)

The meaning is substantially the same; the lxx, which translates ἐν δὲ κόλπῳ μου (בּחקי), which Olsh. considers to be "perhaps correct," destroys the significance of the confession. Hirz. rightly refers to the "law in the members," Romans 7:23 : חקּי is the expression Job uses for the law of the sinful nature which strives against the law of God, the wilful impulse of selfishness and evil passion, the law which the apostle describes as ἕτερος νόμος, in distinction from the νόμος τοῦ Θεοῦ (Psychol. S. 379). Job's conscience can give him this testimony, but He, the God who so studiously avoids him, remains in one mind, viz., to treat him as a criminal; and who can turn Him from His purpose? (the same question as Job 9:12; Job 11:10); His soul wills it (stat pro ratione voluntas), and He accomplishes it. Most expositors explain permanet in uno in this sense; the Beth is the usual ב with verbs of entering upon and persisting in anything. Others, however, take the ב as Beth essentiae: He remains one and the same, viz., in His conduct towards me (Umbr., Vaih.), or: He is one, is alone, viz., in absolute majesty (Targ. Jer.; Schult., Ew., Hlgst., Schlottm.), which is admissible, since this Beth occurs not only in the complements of a sentence (Psalm 39:7, like a shadow; Isaiah 48:10, after the manner of silver; Psalm 55:19, in great number; Psalm 35:2, as my help), but also with the predicate of a simple sentence, be it verbal (Job 24:13; Proverbs 3:26) or substantival (Exodus 18:4; Psalm 118:7). The same construction is found also in Arabic, where, however, it is more frequent in simple negative clauses than in affirmative (vid., Psalter, i. 272). The assertion: He is one (as in the primary monotheistic confession, Deuteronomy 6:4), is, however, an expression for the absoluteness of God, which is not suited to this connection; and if הוא באחד is intended to be understood of the unchangeable uniformity of His purpose concerning Job, the explanation: versatur (perstat) in uno, Arab. hua fi wâhidin, is not only equally, but more natural, and we therefore prefer it.

continued...

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