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17:1 Job is depressed and feels that his life is coming to an end, his days were about gone and the grave was ready for him.
17:2 Yet only mockery surrounded him, through his tear-filled eyes he only sees his friends attacking him and viewing him as some terrible sinner.
17:3 "Lay down, now, a pledge for me with Yourself": Job turns to God Himself, asking Him to lay down a pledge for Job. "This was apparently a custom in which a person, when going to trial, would give a bond or security to the other party as a certainty that no advantage would be taken of him. Here Job was saying that no one would agree to stand up for him as his advocate at his trial (certainly none of his friends would!) God, therefore, who is the Judge, must provide the bond and agree to appear in court" (Zuck p. 79). Notice Job's faith, even though Job thought that God was attacking him, yet he knew that his own only hope was in God.
17:4 "For You have kept their heart from understanding": Job's friends were mindless of his innocence.
17:5 Job is so disgusted with the actions of his friends that he accuses them of turning against him from no other motive than an informer would in hopes of gaining a share of the spoil. They had selfishly turned against him in the hopes of gaining some of his property, thus the punishment for such would be that their children would become blind.
17:6 "Like a roller coaster, Job's emotions moved up and down rapidly. After requesting God to provide a bond for him, he accused God of making him a byword (literally, a proverb). In other words, people had been talking about his sufferings in a derogatory way. Not only did they deride him with their words; they even spat on him. What a picture of abject humiliation-a sick person, grieving over personal loss, chided by former friends, and then even rejected as a mangy, unwanted tramp by people who came to the garbage dump" (Zuck p. 79). This verse reveals that the view held by Job's friends, that is, Job was really a sinner, was a common view held by many other people.
17:7 So intense was his personal grieving that he was losing his sight and that his body, (his members) were wasting away. He was now only a shadow of his former self.
17:8 Anyone who was upright and innocent would be appalled at such outlandish treatment of Job. Clearly this infers that Job's friends were not righteous men.
17:9 Job, in spite of the accusations of his friends and mistreatment of the people, is now more determined than ever to hold fast to his innocence. Here is a man who has lost everything yet still feels determined to be righteous. Would we be as determined to do the right thing, even if all immediate and earthly rewards for such behavior were removed?
17:10 "But come again all of you now, for I do not find a wise man among you": Here he challenges all of his friends to another round of debate and is prepared to take them on, fully aware that they are totally lacking in wisdom.
17:11 Here is another description of death. He feels that much of his life was already over and that many of his plans and goals were unfulfilled. This is typical of people who feel that they no longer have a reason to live.
17:12 "They make night into day, saying": In their first speeches, the three friends had held out hope for Job and that repentance would solve all his problems (11:17). But for Job, since there was no reason to repent, he was convinced that only darkness awaited him. He knew that repentance was not the answer, for he was innocent! Thus his only hope was Sheol.
17:13-14 He was so close to dying that he could call the pit (the grave) his father, and he could refer to the worm that would consume his body, as his mother or sister.
17:15-16 He felt that his hope would die with him. "He had no hope of future prosperity, which his friends predicted" (Strauss p. 169). Job had already stated that he had no hope of recovering (6:11; 7:6; 14:19).
Notice how our emotions can be completely wrong! Job was sure he was going to die soon, but he would live on for another 140 years (42:16). He would see prosperity again. How short-sighted we can be when depressed! Contrast Job's depressing view of death with what the New Testament teaches (Philippians 1:21-23; 1 Peter 1:4; Revelation 14:13; 1 Thess. 4:13).
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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 17". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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