Why do those who know him not see his days?
they seize the flock and pasture them. 4
24:3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey;
they take the widow’s ox as a pledge.
24:4 They turn the needy from the pathway,
and the poor of the land hide themselves together. 5
seeking diligently for food;
the wasteland provides 9 food for them
and for their children.
and glean 11 in the vineyard of the wicked.
24:7 They spend the night naked because they lack clothing;
they have no covering against the cold.
24:8 They are soaked by mountain rains
and huddle 12 in the rocks because they lack shelter.
the infant of the poor is taken as a pledge. 15
24:10 They go about naked, without clothing,
and go hungry while they carry the sheaves. 16
they tread the winepresses while they are thirsty. 18
and the wounded 20 cry out for help,
but God charges no one with wrongdoing. 21
they do not know its ways
and they do not stay on its paths.
he kills the poor and the needy;
24:15 And the eye of the adulterer watches for the twilight,
thinking, 26 ‘No eye can see me,’
and covers his face with a mask.
but by day they shut themselves in; 29
they do not know the light. 30
like deep darkness;
they are friends with the terrors of darkness.
their portion of the land is cursed
so that no one goes to their vineyard. 36
24:19 The drought as well as the heat carry away
the melted snow; 37
the worm feasts on him,
no longer will he be remembered.
Like a tree, wickedness will be broken down.
and does not treat the widow well.
24:24 They are exalted for a little while,
and then they are gone, 50
they are brought low 51 like all others,
and gathered in, 52
and like a head of grain they are cut off.’ 53
24:25 “If this is not so, who can prove me a liar
and reduce my words to nothing?” 54
[24:1] 2 tc The LXX reads “Why are times hidden from the Almighty?” as if to say that God is not interested in the events on the earth. The MT reading is saying that God fails to set the times for judgment and vindication and makes good sense as it stands.
[24:2] 3 tn The line is short: “they move boundary stones.” So some commentators have supplied a subject, such as “wicked men.” The reason for its being wicked men is that to move the boundary stone was to encroach dishonestly on the lands of others (Deut 19:14; 27:17).
[24:2] 4 tc The LXX reads “and their shepherd.” Many commentators accept this reading. But the MT says that they graze the flocks that they have stolen. The difficulty with the MT reading is that there is no suffix on the final verb – but that is not an insurmountable difference.
[24:4] 5 sn Because of the violence and oppression of the wicked, the poor and needy, the widows and orphans, all are deprived of their rights and forced out of the ways and into hiding just to survive.
[24:5] 6 tc The verse begins with הֵן (hen); but the LXX, Vulgate, and Syriac all have “like.” R. Gordis (Job, 265) takes הֵן (hen) as a pronoun “they” and supplies the comparative. The sense of the verse is clear in either case.
[24:5] 8 tc The MT has “in the working/labor of them,” or “when they labor.” Some commentators simply omit these words. Dhorme retains them and moves them to go with עֲרָבָה (’aravah), which he takes to mean “evening”; this gives a clause, “although they work until the evening.” Then, with many others, he takes לוֹ (lo) to be a negative and finishes the verse with “no food for the children.” Others make fewer changes in the text, and as a result do not come out with such a hopeless picture – there is some food found. The point is that they spend their time foraging for food, and they find just enough to survive, but it is a day-long activity. For Job, this shows how unrighteous the administration of the world actually is.
[24:6] 10 tc The word בְּלִילוֹ (bÿlilo) means “his fodder.” It is unclear to what this refers. If the suffix is taken as a collective, then it can be translated “they gather/reap their fodder.” The early versions all have “they reap in a field which is not his” (taking it as בְּלִי לוֹ, bÿli lo). A conjectural emendation would change the word to בַּלַּיְלָה (ballaylah, “in the night”). But there is no reason for this.
[24:6] 11 tn The verbs in this verse are uncertain. In the first line “reap” is used, and that would be the work of a hired man (and certainly not done at night). The meaning of this second verb is uncertain; it has been taken to mean “glean,” which would be the task of the poor.
[24:9] 15 tc The MT has a very brief and strange reading: “they take as a pledge upon the poor.” This could be taken as “they take a pledge against the poor” (ESV). Kamphausen suggested that instead of עַל (’al, “against”) one should read עוּל (’ul, “suckling”). This is supported by the parallelism. “They take as pledge” is also made passive here.
[24:11] 17 tc The Hebrew term is שׁוּרֹתָם (shurotam), which may be translated “terraces” or “olive rows.” But that would not be the proper place to have a press to press the olives and make oil. E. Dhorme (Job, 360-61) proposes on the analogy of an Arabic word that this should be read as “millstones” (which he would also write in the dual). But the argument does not come from a clean cognate, but from a possible development of words. The meaning of “olive rows” works well enough.
[24:12] 19 tc The MT as pointed reads “from the city of men they groan.” Most commentators change one vowel in מְתִים (mÿtim) to get מֵתִים (metim) to get the active participle, “the dying.” This certainly fits the parallelism better, although sense could be made out of the MT.
[24:12] 21 tc The MT has the noun תִּפְלָה (tiflah) which means “folly; tastelessness” (cf. 1:22). The verb, which normally means “to place; to put,” would then be rendered “to impute; to charge.” This is certainly a workable translation in the context. Many commentators have emended the text, changing the noun to תְּפִלָּה (tÿfillah, “prayer”), and so then also the verb יָשִׂים (yasim, here “charges”) to יִשְׁמַע (yishma’, “hears”). It reads: “But God does not hear the prayer” – referring to the groans.
[24:16] 29 tc The verb חִתְּמוּ (khittÿmu) is the Piel from the verb חָתַם (khatam, “to seal”). The verb is now in the plural, covering all the groups mentioned that work under the cover of darkness. The suggestion that they “seal,” i.e., “mark” the house they will rob, goes against the meaning of the word “seal.”
[24:18] 32 tc Many commentators find vv. 18-24 difficult on the lips of Job, and so identify this unit as a misplaced part of the speech of Zophar. They describe the enormities of the wicked. But a case can also be made for retaining it in this section. Gordis thinks it could be taken as a quotation by Job of his friends’ ideas.
[24:18] 36 tn The text reads, “he does not turn by the way of the vineyards.” This means that since the land is cursed, he/one does not go there. Bickell emended “the way of the vineyards” to “the treader of the vineyard” (see RSV, NRSV). This would mean that “no wine-presser would turn towards” their vineyards.
[24:21] 41 tc The form in the text is the active participle, “feed; graze; shepherd.” The idea of “prey” is not natural to it. R. Gordis (Job, 270) argues that third he (ה) verbs are often by-forms of geminate verbs, and so the meaning here is more akin to רָעַע (ra’a’, “to crush”). The LXX seems to have read something like הֵרַע (hera’, “oppressed”).
[24:22] 45 tn This line has been given a number of interpretations due to its cryptic form. The verb יָקוּם (yaqum) means “he rises up.” It probably is meant to have God as the subject, and be subordinated as a temporal clause to what follows. The words “against him” are not in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation to specify the object and indicate that “rise up” is meant in a hostile sense. The following verb וְלֹא־יַאֲמִין (vÿlo’-ya’amin), by its very meaning of “and he does not believe,” cannot have God as the subject, but must refer to the wicked.
[24:24] 50 tn The Hebrew throughout this section (vv. 18-24) interchanges the singular and the plural. Here again we have “they are exalted…but he is not.” The verse is clear nonetheless: the wicked rise high, and then suddenly they are gone.
[24:24] 51 tn The verb is the Hophal of the rare verb מָכַךְ (makhakh), which seems to mean “to bend; to collapse.” The text would read “they are made to collapse like all others.” There is no reason here to change “like others” just because the MT is banal. But many do, following the LXX with “like mallows.” The LXX was making a translation according to sense. R. Gordis (Job, 271) prefers “like grass.”
[24:24] 52 tn The verb קָפַץ (qafats) actually means “to shut in,” which does not provide exactly the idea of being gathered, not directly at least. But a change to קָטַף (qataf, “pluck”) while attractive, is not necessary.