Behold, [as] wild asses in the desert
The word "as" is a supplement, and may be omitted, and the words be interpreted literally of wild asses, as they are by Sephorno, whose proper place is in the wilderness, to which they are used, and where their food is provided for them, and which they diligently seek for, for them and their young; and so the words may be descriptive of the place where the poor hide themselves, and of the company they are obliged to keep; but the Targum supplies the note of similitude as we do; and others F9 observe it to be wanting, and so it may respect wicked men before described, who may be compared to the wild asses of the wilderness for their folly and stupidity, man being born like a wild ass's colt, ( Job 11:12 ) ; and for their lust and wantonness, and for their rebellion against God and his laws, and their unteachableness. Perhaps some regard may be had to the wild Arabs that were in Job's neighbourhood, the descendants of Ishmael, called the wild man, as he is in ( Genesis 16:12 ) ; who lived by plunder and robbery, as these here:
they go forth to their work:
of thieving and stealing, robbing and plundering, as their trade, and business, and occupation of life, and as naturally and constantly as men go to their lawful employment, and as if it was one:
rising betimes for a prey;
getting up early in a morning to meet the industrious traveller on the road, and make a prey of him, rob him of what he has about him; for they cannot sleep unless they do mischief:
the wilderness [yieldeth] food for them, [and] for [their] children;
though they are lurking in a wilderness where no sustenance is to be had, yet, by robbing everyone that passes by, they get enough for them and their families: though some understand all this of the poor, who are obliged to hide themselves from their oppressors, and go into the wilderness in droves like wild asses, and as timorous and as swift as they in fleeing; and are forced to hard service, and to rise early to earn their bread, and get sustenance for their families; and who in the main are obliged to live on berries and roots, and what a wild desert will afford; but the, word "prey" is not applicable to the pains and labours of such industrious people, wherefore the former sense is best; and besides, there seems to be one continued account of wicked men.
F9 Aben Ezra, Ben Gersom, Bar Tzemach.