It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
All Commentaries on Job 15:32 Go To Job 15
Gregory The Dialogist
58. The days foreordained to each individual by the Divine Prescience can neither be increased nor lessened, except it happen that they be so foreknown as either to be longer if they be accompanied with the most perfect works, or shorter with the most wicked, just as Hezekiah obtained increase of days by the bestowing of tears, and as it is written concerning the wicked, Death meets the undisciplined. [Ed. Ben. suggests that this may be taken from Ecclus. 20, 9] Yet oftentimes the wicked man, though in the secret foreknowledge of God no protracted periods of life may be predestined him, himself, forasmuch as he desires to live after the flesh, sets length of days before his imagination. And because he cannot attain to that time that he looks forward to, he, as it were, ‘perishes before his days are fulfilled.’ Which same we may likewise understand in another sense also. For very commonly we see persons that both lead wicked lives, and attain to the very extreme of old age. How then is it said, Before his days are fulfilled, he shall perish; when in the case of particular persons we often see, that their limbs already fail from age, and yet their passions do not cease to carry out their wickedness?
59. For there are some, who after a lost way of life turn back to themselves, and their conscience accusing them, forsake their froward ways, alter their doings, withstand their old wickedness, flee earthly courses, and pursue heavenly aims, but before they be firmly rooted in those holy aims, from deadness of mind they return to the things which they began to pass sentence on, and fall back to the evil habits which they had determined to eschew. For whereas it often happens that for the profit of many, even holy men bow their necks to external actions, and are busied with the governance of a people, the weak seeing this, and, from their former pride still by them, seeking to follow their example, set themselves in outward ways of action; but in proportion as they do not come thereto well imbued with the things of the Spirit, they execute them in a carnal manner. For except the heart be first confirmed in heavenly desires by long application and a continued conversation, when it is poured back again for the executing of things exterior, it is rooted out from all its standing in good practice. Whence too it is rightly said of this wicked man, Before his days are fulfilled, he shall perish. In that even if he begin perchance to do any thing good, before he is strengthened therein by length of time, he falls back to outward things, and wickedly abandons what he appeared to have entered upon rightly. And hence it is fitly added; And his hands shall wither; in that whilst he is prematurely involved in exterior actions, he is dried up of all good practice.