Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Days, when he will punish. (Menochius) — They are convinced it will be sometime: while the wicked flatter themselves with impunity. (Worthington) — Job has already shewn that his complaints had not been excessive, and that they were extorted chiefly by the dread which he had of God. He now comes to prove that he had not denied Providence. For though he asserted that the wicked were sometimes at ease, he maintained that there was another world, where all would be set to rights. Without this the book would be inexplicable. (Calmet) — Know him. Septuagint, “the impious.” (Haydock)
Ver. 2. Marks. This was a heinous offence, (Deuteronomy xix. 14.) which Numa punished with death. (Halyc. i.) (Calmet) — And fed. Septuagint, “and those who fed them.”
Ver. 4. Poor, by oppression, not allowing them to get their bread, or to walk on the same road. (Calmet) — And have. Hebrew and Septuagint, “the meek….have hidden themselves together.”
Ver. 5. Others. Hebrew, “Behold as,” (Haydock) which may be explained of these oppressors, or rather of the poor, who are forced to flee before them to seek for food. (Calmet) — The Vulgate and Septuagint seem more favourable to the former supposition. (Haydock)
Ver. 6. Not, is omitted by the Protestants. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “they reap in the field food for the cattle.” (Calmet) — His. Hebrew, “the wicked man’s vineyard.” (Haydock) — They do not examine whether the person whom they plunder be just or not. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “they have reaped before the season the field which was not theirs. But the poor (helpless men) have laboured in the vineyards of the wicked without wages or meat.” (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Cold. Hebrew is still ambiguous, as it may be understood either of the oppressor or of the poor. The cruelty here reprobated is contrary to the law, Exodus xxii. 26. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Stones, for their bed, though they be so wet. (Haydock)
Ver. 9. Robbed. Hebrew and Septuagint, “snatched from the breast.” — Stript. Septuagint, “knocked down.” Hebrew, “taken a pledge of, or seized the poor.” (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Corn, which they had gleaned for their daily sustenance. Hebrew also, “the poor, perishing through hunger, carry the sheaf” of the rich.
Ver. 11. Of them. Hebrew, “of corn, and thirst while pressing out their olives.” (Calmet) — Protestants, “they take away the sheaf from the hungry, (11) which make oil within their walls, and tread their wine-presses, and suffer thirst,” (Haydock) not being allowed to taste any thing, though the law of Moses would not suffer even the ox to be muzzled, Deuteronomy xxv. 4. The rich look on without pity, taking their rest at noon, amid the heaps which really belong to the poor, whom they force to labour for them.
Ver. 12. Suffer. Hebrew, “and God suffers no disorder,” according to you. (Calmet) — Symmachus, “God inspireth not folly: but they have,” &c., ver. 13. Septuagint, “But why does he not regard,” (Haydock) or punish these things? (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Light of reason and humanity. (Calmet) — Pineda understands that they have sought darkness, (ver. 14.) to do evil. But this expression would be too harsh. (Calmet) — Heretics, acting against their own conscience, are stricken with blindness, so that they see not the truth. (St. Gregory xvi. 26.) (Worthington)
Ver. 14. Thief. Oppressing the poor, (Ven. Bede) and taking away their bread, Ecclesiasticus xxxiv. 25.
Ver. 15. Face. Septuagint insinuate “with a mask.” Protestants, “disguiseth his face.”
Ver. 16. Themselves. The band of robbers had marked out their prey. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “In the day time they lie concealed, and know not the light.” (Calmet) — Septuagint, or rather Theodotion, from whom ver. 15 to 17., is taken, “They have sealed themselves up during the day.” If we should read eautois, Hebrew lamo, we might translate as well “they marked them out for themselves.” (Haydock) — The adulterer had made is his arrangement with the faithless woman, when he should break into the house. (Menochius)
Ver. 17. Death. They are as much afraid of the light as others are of profound darkness. (Calmet) — They dread being detected. (Haydock)
Ver. 18. He is light, &c. That is, the adulterer, that he may not be perceived and discovered, steps as nimbly and as light as if he were walking upon the waters. Or the sense is: he is as light, that is, as swift and nimble as the running waters. — By the way of the vineyards. That is, by the way where he may meet with fruit and blessings. (Challoner) — The wicked are always inconstant. (Calmet) (Isaias lvii. 29.) — He deserves no temporal nor eternal happiness. If he were deprived of the former, he might perhaps endeavour to escape the torments of hell. (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Let. Hebrew, “Drought and heat consume the snow waters; so doth the grave those which have sinned.” (Protestants) (Chaldean) (Haydock) — The wicked die quickly, and without a lingering illness. (Piscator) — What foundation, therefore, has the hell of cold as well as of fire? says Amama. St. Jerome (in Matthew x.) observes, “We read very plainly in the Book of Job that there is a double gehenna, both of too much heat and of too much cold;” the latter occasions the gnashing of teeth, Matthew viii. (Denis the Carthusian) — “In this world people pass through a medium or temperate state. But in hell, they pass from the excess of tormenting cold to that of burning fire; they will know no medium, because in this life they proceeded from one vice to another, even to the heat of lust. (Albertus Magnus.) (Haydock) — Therefore they are punished with torments of a contrary nature. (Worthington) — They go from the coldness of infidelity to the heat of heresy; (St. Gregory) from one calamity to another. (Sa) — Septuagint, ” For they have torn away the arm of the orphans. Then his or their sin has been remembered, and, like a dew-drop, he has disappeared. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. Sweetness. These will inherit him; (Haydock) for here all his pleasures will terminate. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Fed the barren. That is, the harlot. Or else, he hath fed; that is, he hath fed upon the barren; that is, the poor and desolate. (Challoner) — He has not had posterity, but pleasure, in view, when he married. (Rabbins) — Septuagint agree with the Vulgate. (Haydock) — But most explain the Hebrew, “He hath oppressed the barren;” which may denote those whose husband and children have been slain. (Calmet) — No good, but even dealt with them dishonestly. (Cajetan)
Ver. 22. Down. Hebrew, “taketh along with him his guards for his defence. He riseth and is not sure of his life,” fearing lest his enemies may still overpower him. This is a description of the tyrant’s continual anxiety. (Calmet) — Protestants, “And no man is sure of life,” may intimate that the wicked put all men in danger. (Haydock) — He who puts others in fear, must also be alarmed. (Menochius)
Ver. 23. God. Septuagint, “Being sick, let him not expect to be healed, but he shall fall under sickness.” Hebrew, “Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth, yet his eyes are upon their ways,” (Protestants) or “he has given (Haydock) himself, or appointed them (guards) for his defence, and rests on them; yet his eyes,” &c. He suspects the fidelity of his servants. (Calmet) — Pride. Man abuseth by his free-will the time which God had allowed him to repent for former sins, Romans ii. (Worthington)
Ver. 25. And set. Septuagint and Protestants, “and make my speech nothing worth.” (Haydock) — This conclusion come frequently, chap. ix. 15., and xvii. 15. Job defies his friends to shew the fallacy of his arguments, or that the wicked do not enjoy prosperity, though they may be inwardly miserable. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God’s providence often suffers the wicked to go on a long time in their sins: but punishes them in another life.
1 Times are not hid from the Almighty: but they that know him, know not his days.
2 Some have removed land-marks, have taken away flocks by force, and fed them.
3 They have driven away the ass of the fatherless, and have taken away the widow’s ox for a pledge.
4 They have overturned the way of the poor, and have oppressed together the meek of the earth.
5 Others, like wild asses in the desert, go forth to their work: by watching for a prey, they get bread for their children.
6 They reap the field that is not their own, and gather the vintage of his vineyard whom by violence they have oppressed.
7 They send men away naked, taking away their clothes who have no covering in the cold:
8 Who are wet with the showers of the mountains, and, having no covering, embrace the stones.
9 They have violently robbed the fatherless, and stript the poor common people.
10 From the naked, and them that go without clothing, and from the hungry, they have taken away the ears of corn.
11 They have taken their rest at noon among the stores of them who, after having trodden the wine-presses, suffer thirst.
12 Out of the cities they have made men to groan, and the soul of the wounded hath cried out, and God doth not suffer it to pass unrevenged.
13 They have been rebellious to the light, they have not known his ways, neither have they returned by his paths.
14 The murderer riseth at the very break of day, he killeth the needy, and the poor man: but in the night he will be as a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer observeth darkness, saying: No eye shall see me: and he will cover his face.
16 He diggeth through houses in the dark, as in the day they had appointed for themselves, and they have not known the light.
17 If the morning suddenly appear, it is to them the shadow of death: and they walk in darkness as if it were in light.
18 He is light upon the face of the water: cursed be his portion on the earth; let him not walk by the way of the vineyards.
19 Let him pass from the snow waters to excessive heat, and his sin even to hell.
20 Let mercy forget him: may worms be his sweetness: let him be remembered no more, but be broken in pieces as an unfruitful tree.
21 For he hath fed the barren that beareth not, and to the widow he hath done no good.
22 He hath pulled down the strong by his might: and when he standeth up, he shall not trust to his life.
23 *God hath given him place for penance, and he abuseth it unto pride: but his eyes are upon his ways.
24 They are lifted up for a little while and shall not stand, and shall be brought down as all things, and shall be taken away, and as the tops of the ears of corn they shall be broken.
25 And if it be not so, who can convince me that I have lied, and set my words before God?
23: Apocalypse ii. 21.