Wickedness often unpunished. (1-12) The wicked shun the light. (13-17) Judgements for the wicked. (18-25)
Verses 1-12 Job discourses further about the prosperity of the wicked. That many live at ease who are ungodly and profane, he had showed, ch. xxi. Here he shows that many who live in open defiance of all the laws of justice, succeed in wicked practices; and we do not see them reckoned with in this world. He notices those that do wrong under pretence of law and authority; and robbers, those that do wrong by force. He says, "God layeth not folly to them;" that is, he does not at once send his judgments, nor make them examples, and so manifest their folly to all the world. But he that gets riches, and not by right, at his end shall be a fool, ( Jeremiah 17:11 ) .
Verses 13-17 See what care and pains wicked men take to compass their wicked designs; let it shame our negligence and slothfulness in doing good. See what pains those take, who make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts of it: pains to compass, and then to hide that which will end in death and hell at last. Less pains would mortify and crucify the flesh, and be life and heaven at last. Shame came in with sin, and everlasting shame is at the end of it. See the misery of sinners; they are exposed to continual frights: yet see their folly; they are afraid of coming under the eye of men, but have no dread of God's eye, which is always upon them: they are not afraid of doing things which they are afraid of being known to do.
Verses 18-25 Sometimes how gradual is the decay, how quiet the departure of a wicked person, how is he honoured, and how soon are all his cruelties and oppressions forgotten! They are taken off with other men, as the harvestman gathers the ears of corn as they come to hand. There will often appear much to resemble the wrong view of Providence Job takes in this chapter. But we are taught by the word of inspiration, that these notions are formed in ignorance, from partial views. The providence of God, in the affairs of men, is in every thing a just and wise providence. Let us apply this whenever the Lord may try us. He cannot do wrong. The unequalled sorrows of the Son of God when on earth, unless looked at in this view, perplex the mind. But when we behold him, as the sinner's Surety, bearing the curse, we can explain why he should endure that wrath which was due to sin, that Divine justice might be satisfied, and his people saved.
This chapter contains the second part of Job's answer to the last discourse of Eliphaz, in which he shows that wicked men, those of the worst characters, prosper in the world, and go through it with impunity; he lays down this as a certain truth, that though no time is hid from God, yet they that are most familiar with him, and know most of him, do not see, and cannot observe, any days of his for judging and punishing wicked men in, this life, Job 24:1; and instances in men guilty of injustice, violence, oppression, cruelty, and inhumanity, to their neighbours, and yet God lays not folly to them, or charges them with sin, and punishes them for it, Job 24:2-12; and in persons that commit the most atrocious crimes in secret, such as murderers, adulterers, and thieves, Job 24:13-17; he allows that there is a curse upon their portion, and that the grave shall consume them, and they shall be remembered no more, Job 24:18-20; and because of their ill treatment of others, though they may be in safety and prosperity, and be exalted for a while, they shall be brought low and cut off by death, but generally speaking are not punished in this life, Job 24:21-24; and concludes with the greatest assurance of being in the right, and having truth on his side, Job 24:25.