on Job 8 :16
He is green before the sun - This is another metaphor. The wicked is represented as a luxuriant plant, in a good soil, with all the advantages of a good situation; well exposed to the sun; the roots intervolving themselves with stones, so as to render the tree more stable; but suddenly a blast comes, and the tree begins to die. The sudden fading of its leaves, etc., shows that its root is become as rottenness, and its vegetable life destroyed. I have often observed sound and healthy trees, which were flourishing in all the pride of vegetative health, suddenly struck by some unknown and incomprehensible blast, begin to die away, and perish from the roots. I have seen also the prosperous wicked, in the inscrutable dispensations of the Divine providence, blasted, stripped, made bare, and despoiled, in the same way.
on Job 8 :16
He is green before the sun - Vulgate, "antequam veniat sol - before the sun comes." So the Chaldee, "before the rising of the sun." So Eichhorn renders it. According to this, which is probably the true interpretation, the passage means that he is green and flourishing before the sun rises, but that he cannot hear its heat and withers away. A new illustration is here introduced, and the object is to compare the hypocrite with a vigorous plant that grows up quick and sends its branches afar, but which has no depth of root, and which, when the intense heat of the sun comes upon it, withers away. The comparison is not with a tree, which would bear the heat of the sun, but rather with those succulent plants which have a large growth of leaves and branches, like a gourd or vine, but which will not bear a drought or endure the intense heat of the sun. "This comparison of the transitory nature of human hope and prosperity to the sudden blight which over throws the glory of the forest and of the garden," says the Editor of the Pictorial Bible (on Psalm 37:35), "is at once so beautiful and so natural, as to have been employed by poets of every age." One such comparison of exquisite finish occurs in Shakespeare:
This is the state of man! Today he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope; tomorrow blossoms,
And hears his blushing honours thick upon him:
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening, nips his shoot,
And then he falls, as Ido.
And his branch shooteth forth ... - A comparison of a prosperous person or nation with a vine which spreads in this manner, is common in the Scriptures. See Psalm 80:11 :
She sent out her boughs unto the sea,
And her branches unto the river.
Compare the note at Isaiah 16:8. A similar figure occurs in Psalm 37:35 :
I have seen the wicked in great power,
on Job 8 :16
8:16 He - The secure and prosperous sinner may think himself wronged, when he is compared to a rush or flag. Compare him then to a flourishing and well - rooted tree. Yet even then shall he be suddenly cut off. Green - Flourisheth in the world. Before the sun - Publickly and in the view of all men. Branch - His children, who are here mentioned as additions not only to his comfort, but also to his strength and safety. Garden - A place where it is defended from those injuries to which the trees of the field are subject, and where, besides the advantages common to all trees, it hath peculiar helps from the art and industry of men. So he supposes this man to be placed in the most desirable circumstances.