New American Standard Bible
"A mother will forget him; The worm feeds sweetly till he is no longer remembered. And wickedness will be broken like a tree.
King James Bible
The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.
Darby Bible Translation
The womb forgetteth him; the worm feedeth sweetly on him: he shall be no more remembered; and unrighteousness is broken as a tree, --
World English Bible
The womb shall forget him. The worm shall feed sweetly on him. He shall be no more remembered. Unrighteousness shall be broken as a tree.
Young's Literal Translation
Forget him doth the womb, Sweeten on him doth the worm, No more is he remembered, And broken as a tree is wickedness.
Job 24:20 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
The womb shall forget him - His mother who bare him shall forget him. The idea here seems to be, that he shall fade out of the memory, just as other persons do. He shall not be overtaken with any disgraceful punishment, thus giving occasion to remember him by a death of ignominy. At first view it would seem to be a calamity to be soon forgotten by a mother; but if the above interpretation be correct, then it means that the condition of his death would be such that there would be no occasion for a mother to remember him with sorrow and shame, as she would one who was ignominiously executed for his crimes. This interpretation was proposed by Mercer, and has been adopted by Rosenmuller, Noyes, and others. It accords with the general scope of the passage, and is probably correct. Various other interpretations, however, have been proposed, which may be seen in Good, and in the Critici Sacri.
The worm shall feed sweetly on him - As on others. He shall die and be buried in the usual manner. He shall lie quietly in the grave, and there return to his native dust. He shall not be suspended on a gibbet, or torn and devoured by wild beasts; but his death and burial shall be peaceful and calm; see Job 21:26, note; Job 19:26, note.
He shall be no more remembered - As having been a man of eminent guilt, or as ignominiously punished. The meaning is, that there is nothing marked and distinguishing in his death. There is no special manifestation of the divine displeasure. There is some truth in this, that the wicked cease to be remembered. People hasten to forget them; and having done no good that makes them the objects of grateful reminiscence, their memory fades away. This, so far from being a calamity and a curse, Job regards as a favor. It would be a calamity to be remembered as a bad man, and as having died an ignominious death.
And wickedness shall be broken as a tree - Evil here or wickedness (עולה ‛avlâh) means an evil or wicked man. The idea seems to be, that such a man would die as a tree that is stripped of its leaves and branches is broken down. He is not like a green tree that is violently torn up by the roots in a storm, or twisted off in a tempest, but like a dry tree that begins to decay, and that falls down gently by its own weight. It lives to be old, and then quietly sinks on the ground and dies. So Job says it is with the wicked. They are not swept away by the divine judgments, as the trees of the forest are torn up by the roots or twisted off by the tornado.
LibraryWhether in Hell the Damned are Tormented by the Sole Punishment of Fire?
Objection 1: It would seem that in hell the damned are tormented by the sole punishment of fire; because Mat. 25:41, where their condemnation is declared, mention is made of fire only, in the words: "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire." Objection 2: Further, even as the punishment of purgatory is due to venial sin, so is the punishment of hell due to mortal sin. Now no other punishment but that of fire is stated to be in purgatory, as appears from the words of 1 Cor. 3:13: "The fire …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
The Desire of the Righteous Granted;
"For now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest,
"Memory of him perishes from the earth, And he has no name abroad.
"He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; And He has uprooted my hope like a tree.
"Together they lie down in the dust, And worms cover them.
The face of the LORD is against evildoers, To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.
"Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
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