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Job 24:18

18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes to the vineyards.

Read Job 24:18 Using Other Translations

He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.
"You say, 'Swift are they on the face of the waters; their portion is cursed in the land; no treader turns toward their vineyards.
“But they disappear like foam down a river. Everything they own is cursed, and they are afraid to enter their own vineyards.

What does Job 24:18 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Job 24:18

He [is] swift as the waters
Or "upon the face of the waters" F25; which some interpret of another set and sort of wicked men, guilty of like crimes, not on land, but upon the mighty waters; pirates, such that commit robberies upon the high seas; who generally choose the swiftest vessels to run from place to place for their prey, and to carry off their booty when pursued; whose manner of life is detestable to other persons; and especially they are cursed by those on land, who suffer by robbing the ships of their goods they send abroad; but these men best like such a manner of life, and prefer it to any thing by land, to agriculture or cultivation of vineyards, which they have no regard unto, as is supposed to be intimated by the following clauses; but it is greatly to be questioned whether there were any such persons, or that such practices obtained so early as the time of Job. Schultens thinks Sodomites are meant, who are most profuse to lust, and flow in it like water, plough the accursed field, by going after strange flesh, and have no regard to lawful marriage, or honest wives, comparable to vines and vineyards; but I should rather think those guilty of the sin of Onan are meant, who have no regard to the propagation of posterity. Others, as Ben Gersom are of opinion that this refers to the above persons, murderers, adulterers, and thieves, ( Job 24:14-16 ) ; who, being conscious of their crimes and due deserts, and in danger of being taken up, and brought to just punishment, flee to the sea with all the haste they can, take shipping, and go abroad into foreign parts; where they dwell in desolate and uncultivated places of the earth, which are cursed, or nigh unto cursing, and never more see pleasant fields, gardens, orchards, and vineyards: though others suppose that these words describe the temper and disposition of such wicked persons, who are unstable as water, carried about as any light thing upon the water with every wind of temptation, run swiftly into evil, and make haste to commit sin; though it seems best of all to interpret the words as respecting the state of wicked men at death, who then pass away swiftly and suddenly as gliding waters, and are "lighter" or swifter "than the waters", as Mr. Broughton renders the words:

their portion is cursed in the earth;
that part and portion of the good things of this world they have is with a curse; their very blessings are cursed, and what they leave behind has a curse entailed on it, and in process of time is blasted, and comes to nothing; for, the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, ( Proverbs 3:33 ) ;

he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards;
as in their lifetime they had no regard to the way of good and righteous men, of whom Jarchi in a mystical sense, interprets the vineyards; so at death they are taken away from all their worldly enjoyments they set their hearts upon; their places know them no more, and they no more see their fields, and vineyards, and oliveyards, and take no more walks unto them nor in them.


FOOTNOTES:

F25 (Mym ynp le) "super faciem aquarum", Mercerus, Bolducius, Beza, Drusius, Schultens.
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