Job 17:1-16. Job's Answer
1. breath … corrupt—result of
elephantiasis. But Umbreit, "my strength
(spirit) is spent."
extinct—Life is compared to an
expiring light. "The light of my day is extinguished."
graves—plural, to heighten the
more emphatically, "had I only not to endure mockery, in the
midst of their contentions I (mine eye) would remain quiet."
eye continue—Hebrew, "tarry all
night"; a figure taken from sleep at night, to express undisturbed
rest; opposed to (Job 16:20),
when the eye of Job is represented as pouring out tears to God
3. Lay down now—namely, a pledge or
security; that is, be my surety; do Thou attest my innocence, since my
friends only mock me (Job 17:2).
Both litigating parties had to lay down a sum as security before the
put me in a surety—Provide a surety
for me (in the trial) with Thee. A presage of the "surety" (Heb 7:22), or "one Mediator between God and
man" (see on Job 16:21).
strike hands—"who else (save God
Himself) could strike hands with me?" that is, be my security (Ps 119:122). The Hebrew strikes the
hand of him for whom he goes security (Pr 6:1).
4. their heart—The intellect of
shalt … exalt—Rather imperative,
"exalt them not"; allow them not to conquer [Umbreit], (Isa 6:9, 10).
5. The Hebrew for "flattery" is
"smoothness"; then it came to mean a prey divided by lot,
because a smooth stone was used in casting the lots (De 18:8), "a portion" (Ge 14:24). Therefore translate, "He that delivers
up his friend as a prey (which the conduct of my friends implies that
they would do), even the eyes," &c. [Noyes] (Job 11:20).
Job says this as to the sinner's children, retorting upon their
reproach as to the cutting off of his (Job 5:4; 15:30). This accords with the Old Testament
dispensation of legal retribution (Ex 20:5).
6. He—God. The poet reverentially
suppresses the name of God when speaking of calamities inflicted.
by-word—(De 28:37; Ps
69:11). My awful punishment
makes my name execrated everywhere, as if I must have been
superlatively bad to have earned it.
aforetime … tabret—as David was
honored (1Sa 18:6).
Rather from a different Hebrew root, "I am treated to my face as
an object of disgust," literally, "an object to be spit upon in the
12:14). So Raca means
7. (Ps 6:7; 31:9; De 34:7).
members—literally, "figures"; all the
individual members being peculiar forms of the body; opposed to
"shadow," which looks like a figure without solidity.
8. astonied—at my unmerited
against the hypocrite—The upright
shall feel their sense of justice wounded ("will be indignant") because
of the prosperity of the wicked. By "hypocrite" or "ungodly," he
perhaps glances at his false friends.
9. The strength of religious principle is
heightened by misfortune. The pious shall take fresh courage to
persevere from the example of suffering Job. The image is from a
warrior acquiring new courage in action (Isa 40:30, 31; Php 1:14).
10. return—If you have anything to
advance really wise, though I doubt it, recommence your speech. For as
yet I cannot find one wise man among you all.
11. Only do not vainly speak of the
restoration of health to me; for "my days are past."
broken off—as the threads of the web
cut off from the loom (Isa 38:12).
that is, all the feelings and fair hopes which my heart once nourished.
These belong to the heart, as "purposes" to the
understanding; the two together here describe the entire inner
12. They—namely, "my friends."
change the night into day—that is,
would try to persuade me of the change of my misery into joy, which is
impossible [Umbreit] (Job 11:17); (but) the light of prosperity (could
it be enjoyed) would be short because of the darkness of adversity. Or
better for "short," the Hebrew "near"; "and the light of new
prosperity should be near in the face of (before) the darkness of
death"; that is, they would persuade me that light is near, even though
13. Rather, "if I wait for this grave (Sheol,
or the unseen world) as my house, and make my bed in the darkness
17:14), and say to
corruption," rather, "to the pit" or "grave," &c. (Job 17:15). Where then is my hope? [Umbreit]. The apodosis is at Job 17:15.
14. Thou art my father,
&c.—expressing most intimate connection (Pr 7:4). His diseased state made him closely
akin to the grave and worm.
15. Who shall see it fulfilled? namely, the
"hope" (Job 11:18)
which they held out to him of restoration.
16. They—namely, my hopes shall be
buried with me.
bars—(Isa 38:10). Rather, the wastes or
solitudes of the pit (sheol, the unseen world).
rest together—the rest of me and my
hope is in, &c. Both expire together. The word "rest" implies that
man's ceaseless hopes only rob him of rest.