Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty
Which seems to be an inference deduced from what he had said in ( Job 23:14 ) ; that since all things are appointed by God, and his appointments are punctually performed by him, the times of his carrying his purposes and decrees into execution cannot be hidden from him; for, as he has determined what shall be done, he has determined the time before appointed for the doing of them; as there is a purpose for everything under the heavens, there is a time set for the execution of that purpose, which must be known unto God that has fixed it; for as all his works are known to him from the beginning, or from eternity, the times when those works should be wrought must also be known to him. The Vulgate Latin, version reduces the words to a categorical proposition, "times are not hidden from the Almighty"; either temporal things, as Sephorno interprets it, things done in time, or the times of doing those things; no sort of time is hid from God; time respecting the world in general, its beginning, duration, and end; all seasons in it, day and night, summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, which are all fixed and settled by him; the several distinct ages and periods of time, into which it has been divided; the old and new world, the legal and Gospel dispensation, the various generations in it; the four great monarchies of the world, their rise, and duration, and end, with all other lesser kingdoms and states; time respecting the inhabitants of the world, their coming into and passing out of it in successive generations, the time of their birth, and of their death, and of adversity and prosperity, which interchangeably take place during their abode in it; and particularly the people of God, the time of their redemption by Christ, of their conversion by the grace of God, and all their times of darkness, desertion, temptation, and afflictions, and of peace, joy, and comfort; time, past and future, respecting the church of God, and the state of it, and all things relative thereunto; and the times of Israel's affliction in a land not theirs, four hundred years, and of their seventy years' captivity in Babylon, were not hidden from the Almighty, but foretold by him; the suffering times of the church under the New Testament; the ten persecutions of it by the Roman emperors; the flight and nourishment of it in the wilderness for a time, and times, and half a time; the treading down of the holy city forty two months; the witnesses prophesying: in sackcloth 1260 days; the killing of them, and their bodies lying unburied three days and a half, and then rising; the reign of antichrist forty two months, at the end of which antichristian time will be no more; the time of Christ's coming to judgment, which is a day appointed, though unknown to men and angels, and the reign of Christ on earth for a thousand years; all these times are not hidden from, but known to the Almighty, even all time, past, present, and to come, and all things that have been, are, or shall be done therein. Several Jewish commentators F3 interpret these words as an expostulation or wish, "why are not times hidden?" &c. if they were, I should not wonder at it that those that knew him do not know what shall be; but he knows the times and days in which wicked men will do wickedness, why is he silent? Mr. Broughton, and others F4, render them, "why are not", or "why should not times be hidden by the Almighty?" that is, be hidden in his own breast from men, as they are; for the times and seasons it is not for man to know, which God has put in his own power, ( Acts 1:6 ) ; as the times of future troubles, of a man's death, and the day of judgment; it is but right and fit, on many accounts, that they should be hid by him from them; but others of later date translate the words perhaps much better, "why are not [certain stated] times laid up", or "reserved by the Almighty" F5? that is, for punishing wicked men in this, life, as would be the case, Job suggests, if it was true what his friends had asserted, that wicked men are always punished here: and then upon this another question follows, why
do they that know him not see his days?
that know him not merely by the light of nature, but as revealed in Christ; and that have not a mere knowledge of him, but a spiritual and experimental one; who know him so as to love him, believe in him, fear, serve, and worship him; and who have a greater knowledge of him than others may have, and have an intimate acquaintance and familiarity with him, are his bosom friends; and if there are fixed times for punishing the wicked in this life, how comes it to pass that these friends of God, to whom he reveals his secrets, cannot see and observe any such days and times of his as these? but, on the contrary, observe, even to the stumbling of the greatest saints, that the wicked prosper and increase in riches. Job seems to refer to what Eliphaz had said, ( Job 22:19 ) ; which he here tacitly denies, and proves the contrary by various instances, as follows.
F3 Aben Ezra, Nachmanides, & Simeon Bar Tzemach.
F4 (ydvm ewdm) "quinam ab omnipotente", Beza; so Junius & Tremellius.
F5 "Quare ab omnipotente non sunt recondita in poenam stata tempora", Schultens.