There is a lot of confusion, debate, and disagreement about some of the text of chapter 24. Much of the verbiage in verse 18 and following seems so counter to what Job has been arguing that some translations insert an “implied” beginning to verse 18 of the words “you say.” This actually seems right to the flow of the text upon careful reflection. In any event, the complaining point Job begins the chapter with is one of wonder at why God does not punish the wicked in judgment for their deeds now – for all the world to see.
He then lists the more despicable acts that the wicked regularly commit with impunity, making the point that swift justice against them is certainly warranted. Then in verses 18-20, Job states the viewpoint of the way things work against the wicked that his friends have expressed. Yet he returns to a condemnation of the acts of the wicked in verse 21, followed by the somewhat startling observation that it appears that God actually prolongs their lives, gives them security, and even helps them to “rise up” at times when they are in despair of life.
It is the opinion of this blogger that the meat of Job’s viewpoint lies in verse 24, where he makes the case that the wicked are often exalted for a while in this life, but when they are gone, that is when they are “brought low and gathered up like all others;they are cut off like the heads of grain.”
Job is certain of his position and flatly challenges his friends to refute him in verse 25: “If it is not so, who will prove me a liar and show that there is nothing in what I say?”
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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