Devotional Readings, M'Cheyne Bible Reading Notes

Job 15:20 – Verse of the Day

These texts have a word for the wicked, hypocrites and unjust.
There is plenty of text in the New Testament, both from Jesus and the Apostles directed at these groups also, which you can look up on your own.

Job 15:20  The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.
Job 15:34 For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. Job 15:35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

Job 15:20
The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days,…. Either to commit iniquity, which he is at great pains to do, and even to weariness; and, agreeably to the metaphor used, he conceives it in his heart, he travails with it in his mind, and he brings forth falsehood and a lie, what disappoints him, and which issues in death, eternal death, see Psa 7:14; or to get wealth and riches, in obtaining of which he pierces himself through with many sorrows; and these being like thorns, in using them he gets many a scratch, and has a good deal of trouble, pain, and uneasiness in keeping them, insomuch that he cannot sleep comfortably through fear of losing them; wherefore he does not enjoy that peace, comfort, and happiness, it may be thought he does; and, besides all this, he has many an inward pain and gripe of conscience for his many sins and transgressions, which lie at the door of conscience, and when it is opened rush in, and make sad work, and put him to great pain and distress; for otherwise this cannot be said of every wicked man, that they are in outward pain and distress, or in uncomfortable circumstances, at least in appearance; for of some it is said, “they are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men”, Psa 73:5; they live wholly at ease, and are quiet, and die so, at least seemingly: some restrain this to some particular person whom Eliphaz might have in view; the Targum paraphrases it of wicked Esau, who it was expected would repent, but did not; others think that he had in his eye some notorious oppressor, that had lived formerly, or in his time, as Nimrod, the mighty hunter and tyrant, or Chedorlaomer, who held for some years several kings in subjection to him; but it is much if he does not design Job himself; however, he forms the description of the wicked man in such a manner, that it might as near as possible suit his case, and in many things he plainly refers to it: and this is a sad case indeed, for a wicked man to travail in pain all his days in this life, and in the world to come to suffer the pains of hell fire to all eternity; the pains of a woman, to which the allusion is, are but short at most, but those of the wicked man are for life, yea, for ever; and among the rest of his pains of mind, especially in this world, what follows is one, and which gives much uneasiness: and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor; Mr. Broughton renders it, soon numbered years; that is, few, as the years of man’s life at most are but few, and those of the oppressor fewer still, since bloody and deceitful men do not live out half the days of the years of man’s life, but are oftentimes cut off in the midst of their days; and be they more or fewer, they are all numbered and fixed, and the number of them is with God, and him only; they are fixed and settled by the decree of God, and laid up in his purposes, and reserved for the oppressor; but they are a secret to him, he does not know how long he shall live, or how soon he may die, and then there will be an end of his oppression and tyranny, and of his enjoyment of his wealth and riches unjustly got; and this frets him, and gives him pain, and makes him uneasy; whereas a good man is easy about it, he is willing to wait his appointed time, till his change comes; he is not so much concerned to know the time of his death as to be in a readiness for it. The Targum paraphrases this of Ishmael the mighty: the oppressor is the same with the wicked man in the preceding clause.

Job 15:34
For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate,…. Hypocrites are such who seem to and would be thought to be, what they are not; they are outwardly righteous before men, but inwardly very wicked; have a form of godliness, but are destitute the power of it, 2Ti 3:5; pretend to much religion, and to be worshippers of God, when it is only in outward appearances, and not in reality and sincerity: and such as these have been in the congregations of the righteous, in all ages; but here Eliphaz speaks of a congregation of them, a society, a family of them; and very probably has his eye upon Job’s, and would represent hereby that he, the head of his family, and his children, when living, and his servants and associates, were all hypocrites, and now become desolate, reduced to want and poverty, and in distressed circumstances: or were “solitary” (i) and alone, as the word is rendered in Job 3:7; destitute of friends, and of the comforts of life; and perhaps reference may be had to the future state of such, when they shall aloud be bid to depart from God, have no society with angels and saints, but shall have their portion with those of the same character with them, hypocrites, in the highest degree of torment and misery, Mat 24:51;

and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery; either such tents, or houses, as were built with money taken as bribes; see Hab 2:12; or where such who received bribes dwelt; unjust judges, who took a gift that blinds the eyes, to pervert justice. Job is afterwards by Eliphaz represented as if he was an oppressor, a wicked magistrate, and guilty of such like crimes as here pointed at, Job 22:6; and the “fire” said to consume the dwelling places of such may be understood either of material fire, such as came down from heaven, and destroyed Job’s sheep, Job 1:16; or figuratively, the wrath of God often compared to fire, which would appear in one way or another, to the utter ruin of such persons, their habitations, and those that dwelt in them.

“solitarium”, Montanus; and to the same sense Vatablus, Beza, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Cocceius.

Job 15:35
They conceive mischief,…. That is, such wicked persons as before described; they meditate sin in their minds, and contrive how to commit it, and form schemes within themselves to do mischief to others:

forth vanity; or sin; for lust when it is conceived bringeth forth sin, and that is vanity, an empty thing, and neither yields profit nor pleasure in the issue, but that which is useless and unserviceable, yea, harmful and ruinous; for sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death, even death eternal, Jas 1:14;

and their belly prepareth deceit; their inward part frames and devises that which is designed to deceive others, and in the end proves deceitful to themselves: the allusion is to a pregnant woman, or rather to one who seems to be so, and whose conception proves abortive, and so deceives and disappoints herself and others; see Psa 7:14.

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