Wherefore do the wicked live
Which question is put either to God himself, as not knowing ow to account for it, or to reconcile it to his divine perfections; that he, a holy, just, and righteous Being, should suffer such wretches to live upon his earth, who had been, and still were, continually sinning against him, transgressing his law, and trampling under foot his power and authority; when he, a man that feared the Lord, as God himself had borne witness of him, laboured under such heavy affliction, that he seemed rather to die than live: or else it is put to his friends, to whom he appeals for the truth of it, as Zophar had to him, about the short time of the prosperity of the wicked, ( Job 10:4 Job 10:5 ) ; and desires them to try how they could make such undeniable facts comport with their own principles, that wicked men are always and only afflicted to any great degree, and not holy and good men; but if so, it is asked, why do they "live", even live at all? why is not their breath stopped at once, that breathe out nothing but sin and wickedness? or why are they "lively?" as Mr. Broughton renders the word; that is, brisk, cheerful, and jocund, live merrily, having an abundance of this world's good things; call upon themselves to eat, drink, and be merry, and indulge themselves in all the gratifications of sensual pleasures and delights; live at ease, in peace and outward comfort, and are not in trouble as other men, having nothing to disturb, disquiet, and distress them; nay, not only live comfortably, but live long: while a righteous man perishes or dies in his righteousness, the wicked man prolongs his life in his wickedness, ( Ecclesiastes 7:15 ) , as it follows:
live to a considerable old age, as Ishmael did, to whom he may have respect, as well as to some others within his knowledge; or are "durable" F14, not only in age, as the sinner is supposed to die, and sometimes does die an hundred years old, or more, but in wealth and riches, in outward prosperity; for though spiritual riches are only durable riches, in opposition to temporal ones, yet these sometimes endure with a wicked man, and he endures with them as long as he lives, as may be seen in the instances of wicked rich men in ( Luke 12:16-20 ) ( Luke 16:19 Luke 16:22 ) ; with which agrees what follows:
yea, are mighty in power?
are in great authority among men, being kings, princes, civil magistrates, see ( Psalms 37:35 ) ; are advanced to great dignity and honour, as the twelve princes that sprung from Ishmael, and the race of kings and dukes that came from Esau. Mr. Broughton renders it, "be mighty in riches", greatly increase in them; and so the Targum, possess substance or riches.
F14 (wqte) "durant", Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis; "edurant", Schultens.