Matthew Henry's Commentary
Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?
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 landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.
They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge.
They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together.
Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.
They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.
They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.
They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.
They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor.
They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;
Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.
Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them.
They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.
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 murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.
The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.
In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light.
For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.
He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.
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.
Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.
The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.
He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow.
He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.
Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways.
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.
And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?