Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?…
I. DEEDS OF VIOLENCE AND FRAUD. (Vers. 1-4.) "Why are not times laid up," i.e. reserved, determined by the Almighty, "and why do those who know him (i.e. his friends) not see his days?" - the days when he arises to judgment, days of revelation, days of the Son of man (Ezekiel 30:3; Luke 17:22). Then comes a series of acts of violence, oppression, persecution, permitted by God the removal of landmarks (Deuteronomy 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:17; Proverbs 22:28; Proverbs 23:10); the plunder of herds (Job 20:19); the taking of the property of the helpless in pledge (Exodus 22:26; Deuteronomy 24:6); the thrusting of the poor from the way into pathless spots, so that the miserable of the land are compelled to hide themselves from the intolerable oppression.
II. THE MISERY OF THE PERSECUTED. (Vers. 5-8) Ver. 5 is an apt description of the beggarly vagabond way of life of these Troglodytes, the types of the present Hottentots or Bushmen in South Africa: "As wild asses in the desert they go forth in their daily work, looking out for booty; the steppe gives them food for their children. On the field they reap the fodder of the cattle, and glean the vineyard of the wicked," thievishly not labouring in his service. Naked, cold, shelterless, exposed to the rain amidst the mountains, they cower for shelter among the rocks (vers- 7, 8).
III. FURTHER DESCRIPTIONS OF TYRANNY. (Vers. 9-12.) The orphan is torn from the mother's breast by cruel creditors, who intend to repay themselves by bringing up the child as a slave. The property of the poor is seized in pledge (comp. Amos 2:8; Micah 2:9). Then follows another picture of the victims of oppression, not now as wanderers of the steppe, but as the wretched denizens of inhabited cities (vers. 10-12). In nakedness and hunger, they carry sheaves for the supply of the rich man's table, while they themselves are starving. And thus the cry of those whose wages have been kept back by fraud goes up to Heaven (Deuteronomy 25:4; 1 Timothy 5:18; James 5:4). We have a picture of ancient labour in the olive- and vine-growing East. While they press the olive or tread the wine-press they suffer cruelly from thirst. The groans of dying men fill the air, "and yet God never speaks a word!" "He heeds not the folly" with which these impious tyrants disregard and trample upon the moral order. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?