on Job 9 :24
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked - Is it not most evident that the worst men possess most of this world's goods, and that the righteous are scarcely ever in power or affluence? This was the case in Job's time; it is the case still. Therefore prosperity and adversity in this life are no marks either of God's approbation or disapprobation.
He covereth the faces of the judges thereon - Or, The faces of its decisions he shall cover. God is often stated in Scripture as doing a thing which he only permits to be done. So he permits the eyes of judgment to be blinded; and hence false decisions. Mr. Good translates the verse thus: -
"The earth is given over to the hand of Injustice;
She hoodwinketh the faces of its judges.
Where every one liveth is it not so?"
And vindicates the translation in his learned notes: but I think the Hebrew will not bear this rendering; especially that in the third line.
Where, and who is he? - If this be not the case, who is he that acts in this way, and where is he to be found? If God does not permit these things, who is it that orders them? Coverdale translates, As for the worlde, he geveth it over into the power of the wicked, such as the rulers be wherof all londes are full. Is it not so? Where is there eny, but he is soch one? This sense is clear enough, if the original will bear it. The last clause is thus rendered by the Syriac and Arabic, Who can bear his indignation?
on Job 9 :24
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked - This is evidently designed as an illustration of the sentiment that Job was maintaining - that there was not a distribution of rewards and punishments in this life according to character. In illustration of this, he says that the wicked are raised to places of trust and power. They exercise a wide dominion over the earth, and the world is under their control. Of the truth of this there can be no doubt. Rulers have been, in general, eminent for wickedness, and the affairs of nations have thus far been almost always under the control of those who are strangers to God. At the present time there is scarcely a pious man on any throne in the world, and the rulers of even Christian nations are in general eminent for anything rather than for personal religion.
He covereth the faces of the judges thereof - There has been considerable variety in the exposition of this expression. Some suppose that it refers to the wicked, meaning that they cover the faces of the judges under them so that they connive at and tolerate crime. Others, that it means that God blinds the eyes of wicked rulers, so that they connive at crime, and are partial and unjust in their decisions. Others, that it means that God covers the faces of the judges of the earth with shame and confusion, that though he admits them to prosperity and honor for a time, yet that he overwhelms them at length with calamities and sorrows. Dr. Good supposes it to mean that the earth is given over into the hands of injustice, and that this hoodwinks the faces of the judges. The phrase properly means, to hoodwink, to blind, to conceal the face. It seems to me that the true sense is not expressed by either of the views above. The parallelism requires us to understand it as meaning that while the wicked had dominion over the earth, the righteous were in obscurity, or were not advanced to honor and power. The word "judges," therefore, I think, is to be understood of the righteous judges, of those who are qualified to administer justice. Their face is covered. They are kept in concealment. The wicked have the sway, and they are doomed to shame, obscurity, and dishonor. This interpretation accords with the tenor of the argument, and may be sustained by the Hebrew, though I have not found it in any of the commentaries which I have consulted.
If not, where, and who is he - If this is not a just view, who is God? What are his dealings? Where is he to be seen, and how is he to be known? Or, it may mean, "if it is not God who does these strange things, who is it that does them?" Rosenmuller. But I prefer the former interpretation. "Tell me who and what God is, if this is not a fair and just account of him. These things in fact are done, and if the agency of God is not employed in them, who is God? And where is his agency seen?
on Job 9 :24
9:24 The earth - The dominion over it. Into - Into their power. As good men are frequently scourged, so the wicked are advanced. Faces - Meantime he covers the faces of wise and good men, fit to be judges, and buries them alive in obscurity, perhaps suffers them to be condemned, and their faces covered as criminals, by those to whom the earth is given. This is daily done: if it be not God that doth it, where and who is he that doth?