Job 24:24
They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.
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Job 24:24. They are exalted for a little while — They live in honour and prosperity, but not for ever; it is only, at the most, during this short and mortal life, which lasts but for a very little time; and, therefore, their present happiness is not to be envied; nor is it any reproach to God’s providence, which has time enough to reckon with them hereafter; but are gone — Hebrew, איננו, einennu, are not; namely, in this world, they die. And are brought low — As low as their graves. They are taken out of the way — Out of this world; as all other — They can no more prevent, or delay their death, than the meanest men in the world: and cut off — By the sickle of death, perhaps by the hand of violence; as the tops of the ears of corn — When in its greatest height and maturity; when they are arrived at their perfect stature of worldly power and glory, then God cuts them off, and that suddenly and unexpectedly.

24:18-25 Sometimes how gradual is the decay, how quiet the departure of a wicked person, how is he honoured, and how soon are all his cruelties and oppressions forgotten! They are taken off with other men, as the harvestman gathers the ears of corn as they come to hand. There will often appear much to resemble the wrong view of Providence Job takes in this chapter. But we are taught by the word of inspiration, that these notions are formed in ignorance, from partial views. The providence of God, in the affairs of men, is in every thing a just and wise providence. Let us apply this whenever the Lord may try us. He cannot do wrong. The unequalled sorrows of the Son of God when on earth, unless looked at in this view, perplex the mind. But when we behold him, as the sinner's Surety, bearing the curse, we can explain why he should endure that wrath which was due to sin, that Divine justice might be satisfied, and his people saved.They are exalted for a little while - This was the proposition which Job was maintaining. His friends affirmed that the wicked were punished for their sins in this life, and that great crimes would soon meet with great calamities. This Job denies, and says that the fact was, that they were "exalted." Yet he knew that it was to be but for a little time, and he believed that they would, at no distant period, receive the proper reward of their deeds. He maintains, however, that their death might be tranquil and easy, and that no extraordinary proof of the divine displeasure would be perceived in the manner of their departure.

But are gone and brought low - Margin, "not." Hebrew ואיננו ve'ayı̂nenû - "and are not;" compare Genesis 42:13. "The youngest is this day with our father, and one is not;" Genesis 37:30. "The child is not, and I, whither shall I go?" That is, the child is dead; compare the expression Troja fuit. The meaning here is, that they soon disappear, or vanish.

They are taken out of the way as all other - They die in the same manner as other people do, and without any extraordinary expressions of the divine displeasure in their death. This was directly contrary to what his friends had maintained. The Hebrew word here (קפץ qâphats) means, "to gather", "to collect"; and is often used in the sense of "gathering to one's fathers," to denote death.

And cut off as the tops of the ears of corn - Of wheat, barley, or similar grain. Corn, in the sense in which the word is commonly used in this country, was not known in the time of Job. The allusion here is to the harvest. When the grain was ripe, it seems they were in the habit of cutting off the ears, and not of cutting it near the root, as we do. The body of the stalk was left, and, hence, there is so frequent allusion in the Scriptures to stubble that was burned. So, in Egypt, the children of Israel were directed to obtain the stubble left in the fields, in making brick, instead of having straw furnished them. The meaning of Job here is, that they would not be taken away by a violent death, or before their time, but that they would be like grain standing in the field to the time of harvest, and then peacefully gathered; compare Psalm 73:4.

24. Job repeats what he said (Job 21:13), that sinners die in exalted positions, not the painful and lingering death we might expect, but a quick and easy death. Join "for a while" with "are gone," not as English Version. Translate: "A moment—and they are no more! They are brought low, as all (others) gather up their feet to die" (so the Hebrew of "are taken out of the way"). A natural death (Ge 49:33).

ears of corn—in a ripe and full age, not prematurely (Job 5:26).

They live in honour and happiness, but not for ever, but only at best during this short and mortal life, which lasteth but for a very little time, and therefore their present happiness is not to be envied; nor is it any reproach to God’s providence, which hath time enough to reckon with them hereafter.

Are gone, Heb. are not, to wit, in this world; they die.

Brought low; as low as their graves. Or, after (as the particle vau is elsewhere used, as hath been observed before) they have been brought low, to wit, by pining sickness, or other grievous judgments.

Out of the way, i.e. out of this world and way of living, by death. Or, are restrained, or shut up, to wit in the grave, the place of silence and impotency.

As all other; they can no more prevent or delay their death than the meanest men in the world. Cut off by death’s sickle, or by a violent hand.

As the tops of the ears of corn, to wit, in his greatest height and maturity, when he is arrived at his perfect stature of worldly power and glory, then God cuts him off, and that suddenly and violently.

They are exalted for a little while,.... To seats of honour, to places of profit and trust, to great wealth and riches, to be highly esteemed among men, and to have a large affluence of the good things of life; see Malachi 3:15; though this exaltation, dignity, and glory, wealth and riches, last but for a little time, this life at longest being but short, like a vapour that appears, and soon vanishes away; and then all a man's honours and glory, riches and substance, are at an end, who is soon cut down as the grass, and withers as the green herb, Psalm 37:2; but as this pretty much falls in with the sentiment of Zophar, or seems to do so, Job 20:5; rather this phrase, "for a little while", may be joined with what follows, "a little while, and they are gone";

but are gone; out of the world, to their own place, and death puts an end to all their prosperity, to all their outward enjoyments, which yet they retain till death: or "they are not" (i); in the land of the living, in their houses and shops, and places of trade and commerce; they are no more about their business, and in their callings of life, nor in the possession of their worldly estates; the places which knew them know them no more; and this comes to pass in a very little time; their honour is short lived, and their earthly portion is not forever:

and brought low; not diminished in their substance in life, nor lessened in their honour and grandeur, nor are brought into poverty and disgrace; but are brought at last to death, and laid low in the grave, and are fed upon by worms, and reduced to rottenness and dust:

they are taken out of the way, as all others; out of the world, by death, and out of the way of others; who come in their room, and were hoping for their death, and waiting for their posts of honour, and places of profit, or for their worldly estates; and out of the way of doing more mischief, and especially to good men; or they are "closed" or "shut up" (k); that is, in the grave, where they lie imprisoned until the resurrection morn, and out of which prison none can release themselves; nor will they be released, until Christ, who has the keys of the grave, unlocks it, and sets the prisoners free; but then all this is no other than what befalls the rest of mankind; all die, and must die, and all are brought to the grave, and laid in that, and shut up in it, which is the house appointed for all living:

and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn; when they are fully ripe at harvest time; it being usual in some places, as I have somewhere read, when they gather their corn, only to cut off the ears of corn at the top, which is very easily and quickly done; and so this may denote the quiet and easy death of wicked men, and when they are come to a full age, and are like a shock of corn in its season, Job 5:26.

(i) "et non ipse", Montanus, Bolducius; "et non sunt", Schultens. (k) "claudentur", Pagninus, Montanus; "clauduntur", Piscator.

They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.
24. To be translated as above. The wicked are exalted, rise high in life, and suddenly, with no pain, they die; comp. ch. Job 21:13, Psalm 73:4. And when they are brought low at last in death, it is a natural death that overtakes them, like that of all others,—men in general; and they are cut off (or, wither) like the tops of the ears of corn, not prematurely, but having attained to full ripeness; comp. Job 5:26.

Verse 24. - They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; rather, they are exalted: after a little while they are gone they are brought low. Job has to admit that death comes upon wicked men at last; but he minimizes the terrors of their death, and exaggerates its alleviations. First, it comes on them when they have risen to eminence, have gained themselves a reputation, and "are exalted." Next, it is sudden and painless, preceded by no long, lingering illness, but just a sinking into non-existence; a tranquil passing away. Thirdly, it is at a ripe age, when they have reached the full term of human life, and are as ears of corn ripe for the harvest. Further, it is the common fate: They are taken out of the way as all other (comp. Job 9:22; Job 21:13), and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. We may gather from this expression that the reaping in the land of Uz was conducted in Job's time much in the same way as it was in Egypt under the early Pharaohs, viz. by cutting the stalk with a sharp sickle almost immediately below the ear, and collecting the ears in baskets (see the author's 'Hist. of Ancient Egypt,' vol. 1. p. 162; and his 'Herodotus,' vol. 2. p. 59, 3rd edit.). Job 24:2422 And He preserveth the mighty by His strength;

Such an one riseth again, though he despaired of life.

23 He giveth him rest, and he is sustained,

And His eyes are over their ways.

24 They are exalted - a little while, - then they are no more,

And they are sunken away, snatched away like all others,

And as the top of the stalk they are cut off. -

25 And if it is not so, who will charge me with lying,

And make my assertion worthless?

Though it becomes manifest after their death how little the ungodly, who were only feared by men, were beloved, the form of their death itself is by no means such as to reveal the retributive justice of God. And does it become at all manifest during their life? The Waw, with which the strophe begins, is, according to our rendering, not adversative, but progressive. God is the subject. משׁך, to extend in length, used elsewhere of love, Psalm 36:11; Psalm 109:12, and anger, Psalm 85:6, is here transferred to persons: to prolong, preserve long in life. אבּירים are the strong, who bid defiance not only to every danger (Psalm 76:6), but also to all divine influences and noble impulses (Isaiah 46:12). These, whose trust in their own strength God might smite down by His almighty power, He preserves alive even in critical positions by that very power: he (the אבּיר) stands up (again), whilst he does not trust to life, i.e., whilst he believes that he must succumb to death (האמין as Psalm 27:13, comp. Genesis, S. 368; חיּין, Aramaic form, like מלּין, Job 4:2; Job 12:11; the whole is a contracted circumstantial clause for והוא לא וגו). He (God) grants him לבטח, in security, viz., to live, or even directly: a secure peaceful existence, since לבטח is virtually an object, and the ל is that of condition (comp. לרב, Job 26:3). Thus Hahn, who, however, here is only to be followed in this one particular, takes it correctly: and that he can support himself, which would only be possible if an inf. with ל had preceded. Therefore: and he is supported or he can support himself, i.e., be comforted, though this absolute use of נשׁען cannot be supported; in this instance we miss על־טוּבו, or some such expression (Job 8:15). God sustains him and raises him up again: His eyes (עיניחוּ equals עיניו) are (rest) on the ways of these men, they stand as it were beneath His special protection, or, as it is expressed in Job 10:3 : He causes light to shine from above upon the doings of the wicked. "They are risen up, and are conscious of the height (of prosperity) - a little while, and they are no more." Thus Job 24:24 is to be explained. The accentuation רומו with Mahpach, מעט with Asla legarmeh (according to which it would have to be translated: they stand on high a short time), is erroneous. The verb רוּם signifies not merely to be high, but also to rise up, raise one's self, e.g., Proverbs 11:11, and to show one's self exalted, here extulerunt se in altum or exaltati sunt; according to the form of writing רומּוּ, רוּם is treated as an Ayin Waw verb med. O, and the Dagesh is a so-called Dag. affecuosum (Olsh. 83, b), while רמּוּ (like רבּוּ, Genesis 49:23) appears to assume the form of a double Ayin verb med. O, consequently רמם (Ges. 67, rem. 1).

מעט, followed by Waw of the conclusion, forms a clause of itself, as more frequently עוד מעט ו (yet a little while, then ... ), as, e.g., in an exactly similar connection in Psalm 37:10; here, however, not expressive of the sudden judgment of the ungodly, but of their easy death without a struggle (εὐθανασία): a little, then he is not (again a transition from the plur. to the distributive or individualizing sing.). They are, viz., as Job 24:24 further describes, bowed down all at once (an idea which is expressed by the perf.), are snatched off like all other men. המּכוּ is an Aramaizing Hophal-form, approaching the Hoph. of strong verbs, for הוּמכּוּ (Ges. 67, rem. 8), from מכך, to bow one's self (Psalm 106:43), to be brought low (Ecclesiastes 10:18); comp. Arab. mkk, to cause to vanish, to annul. יקּפצוּן (for which it is unnecessary with Olsh. to read יקּבצוּן, after Ezekiel 29:5) signifies, according to the primary signification of קפץ, comprehendere, constringere, contrahere (cogn. קבץ, קמץ, קמט, comp. supra, p. 481): they are hurried together, or snatched off, i.e., deprived of life, like the Arabic qbḍh allâh (קפצו אלהים) and passive qubiḍa, equivalent to, he has died. There is no reference in the phrase to the componere artus, Genesis 49:33; it is rather the figure of housing (gathering into the barn) that underlies it; the word, however, only implies seizing and drawing in. Thus the figure which follows is also naturally (comp. קמץ, Arab. qabḍat, manipulus) connected with what precedes, and, like the head of an ear of corn, i.e., the corn-bearing head of the wheat-stalk, they are cut off (by which one must bear in mind that the ears are reaped higher up than with us, and the standing stalk is usually burnt to make dressing for the field; vid., Ges. Thes. s.v. קשׁ).

(Note: Another figure is also presented here. It is a common thing for the Arabs (Beduins) in harvest-time to come down upon the fields of standing corn - especially barley, because during summer and autumn this grain is indispensable to them as food for their horses - of a district, chiefly at night, and not unfrequently hundreds of camels are laden at one time. As they have no sickles, they cut off the upper part of the stalk with the ‛aqfe (a knife very similar to the Roman sica) and with sabres, whence this theft is called qard קרץ, sabring off; and that which is cut off, as well as the uneven stubble that is left standing, is called qarid. - Wetzst.)).

On ימּלוּ (fut. Niph. equals ימּלּוּ), vid., on Job 14:2; Job 18:16; the signification praedicuntur, as observed above, is more suitable here than marcescunt (in connection with which signification Job 5:26 ought to be compared, and the form regarded as fut. Kal). Assured of the truth, in conformity with experience, of that which has been said, he appeals finally to the friends: if it be not so (on אפו equals אפוא in conditional clauses, vid., Job 9:24), who (by proving the opposite) is able to charge me with lying and bring to nought (לאל equals לאין, Ew. 321, b, perhaps by אל being conceived of as originally infin. from אלל (comp. אליל), in the sense of non-existence, Arab. 'l-‛adam) my assertion?

The bold accusations in the speech of Eliphaz, in which the uncharitableness of the friends attains its height, must penetrate most deeply into Job's spirit. But Job does not answer like by like. Even in this speech in opposition to the friends, he maintains the passionless repose which has once been gained. Although the misjudgment of his character has attained its height in the speech of Eliphaz, his answer does not contain a single bitter personal word. In general, he does not address them, not as though he did not wish to show respect to them, but because he has nothing to say concerning their unjust and wrong conduct that he would not already have said, and because he has lost all hope of his reproof taking effect, all hope of sympathy with his entreaty that they would spare him, all hope of understanding and information on their part.


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