Job 24:8
They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.
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Job 24:8. They are wet — That is, the poor, being stripped of their raiment, and forced away from their houses; with the showers of the mountains — With the rain-water, which, in great showers, runs down from the rocks or mountains into the caves or holes in the sides of them, to which they have fled for shelter. And embrace the rock — That is, are glad when they can find a cavern, or cleft of a rock, in which they may have some protection against the injuries of the weather, and a hiding-place from the fury of their oppressors.

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.They are wet with the showers of the mountains - That is, the poor persons, or the travelers whom they have robbed. Hills collect the clouds, and showers seem to pour down from the mountains. These showers often collect and pour down so suddenly that there is scarcely time to seek a shelter.

And embrace the rock for want of a shelter - Take refuge beneath a projecting rock. The robbers drive them away from their homes, or plunder them of their tents, and leave them to find a shelter from the storm, or at night, beneath a rock. This agrees exactly with what Niebuhr says of the wandering Arabs near mount Sinai: "Those who cannot afford a tent, spread out a cloth upon four or six stakes; and others spread their cloth near a tree, or endeavor to shelter themselves from the heat and the rain in the cavities of the rocks. Reisebeschreib. i. Thes s. 233.

8. They—the plundered travellers.

embrace the rock—take refuge under it (La 4:5).

They, i.e. the poor, being stripped of their raiment, and forced away from their houses.

With the showers of the mountains; with the rain water, which in great showers run down from the rocks or mountains into the caves or holes in the sides of them, to which they fled for shelter.

Embrace the rock, i.e. are glad when they can find a cavern or cleft of a rock in which they may have some protection against the injuries of the weather, and a hiding-place from the fury of their oppressors. Compare Lamentations 4:5.

They are wet with the showers of the mountains,.... They that are without any clothes to cover them, lying down at the bottom of a hill or mountain, where the clouds often gather, and there break, or the snow at the top of them melts through the heat of the day; and whether by the one or by the other, large streams of water run down the mountains, and the naked poor, or such who are thinly clothed, are all over wet therewith, as Nebuchadnezzar's body was with the dew of heaven, when he was driven from men, and lived among beasts, Daniel 4:33,

and embrace the rock for want of a shelter; or habitation, as the Targum; having no house to dwell in, nor any raiment to cover them, they were glad to get into the hole of a rock, in a cave or den there, and where some good men in former times were obliged to wander, Hebrews 11:38; and whither mean persons, in the time and country in which Job 54ed, were driven to dwell in, see Job 30:6.

They are wet with the showers of the mountains, {h} and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.

(h) The poor are driven by the wicked into the rock and holes where they cannot lie dry for the rain.

8. The mountain rains, more violent than even those in the plain, drench these thinly-clad outcasts; and they “embrace the rock,” i. e. huddle in closely under its ledge.

Verse 8. - They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter. Further unpleasant consequences of marauding, but endured without complaint by the wild robber-tribes. Job 24:8 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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