Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Job 17

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Job Chapter 17

Job 17:1 "My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves [are ready] for me." In chapter 16, which this is actually an extension of, Job was answering his friend and lamenting his situation. He was saying in the verse above, that even the breath of life within him was ruined. He fely he was near death. He thought it was the time that God had chosen.

Job 17:2 "[Are there] not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation?" "Provocation", in this verse, means bitterness. His friends had mocked him, and spoken very hurtful things to him. The truly sad thing was, that Job had done nothing to cause all of this. After this trial was over, however, he would have a different attitude toward these friends.

Job 17:3 "Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who [is] he [that] will strike hands with me?" Job had discovered, at this point, that the only one he could trust was God. He was wanting a handshake from God. This would be a sign that an agreement had been struck.

Job 17:4 "For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt [them]." Job was trying to say, that it was God who had blinded the eyes of his friends, so they could not see his innocence. Of course, he did not want his friends exalted in the eyes of God, because of what they had done and said.

Job 17:5 "He that speaketh flattery to [his] friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail." Job was accusing his friends of attacking him, as they would a prey. In the past, they had flattered him, when he was a wealthy man. Now, they were accusing him of every type of sin, because he was down. They were fair weather friends.

Job 17:6 "He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret." Job became a by-word for his generation for the terrible persecutions he endured. He is still a by-word today to all who read the Bible. We are all amazed how Job stayed faithful to God through such terrible trials. All of us have a tendency to measure our trials with the trials of Job. "Tabret", in the verse here, means smiting, or contempt.

Job 17:7 "Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members [are] as a shadow." He had cried so much that tears were constantly in his eyes. He could see through tears only, and things looked dim to him.

Job 17:8 "Upright [men] shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite." This is the very effect that this book on Job has on everyone. We are astonished at the amount of suffering that Job endured without being overcome. We, also, cannot believe the attitude of his so-called friends. The least of the terrible things we could call them, would be Hypocrites. Notice, Job was speaking of this happening after his trial was over.

Job 17:9 "The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger." The righteous man does not stop being righteous, because problems come his way. He will hold fast to his belief in the face of all sorts of trouble. The Bible tells us that out trials come to us to make us strong. Those who patiently endure tribulation will become stronger and stronger.

Job 17:10 "But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find [one] wise [man] among you." Job had listened to their accusations, and had been truly hurt by their lack of faith in him. He had risen above that, and would not let their accusations bother him anymore. They were not wise, but fools.

Job 17:11 "My days are past, my purposes are broken off, [even] the thoughts of my heart." Job was so weary and had faced so much suffering, that he felt his useful days were over. Job was even weary of trying to defend himself from the terrible accusations. His heart was broken.

Job 17:12 "They change the night into day: the light [is] short because of darkness." They had thoroughly convinced Job that he had no right to expect God to intervene in his behalf. He, now, was just waiting until the time for death. It seemed a cloudy day, when he was so controlled by the pain wracking his body. It seemed as if it was night all the time. He could not see a glimmer of hope {light}.

Job 17:13 "If I wait, the grave [is] mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness." Job was so full of despair, that he had given up hope of any miracles. He did not even expect to be restored to his old glory in this life. He was just sitting in his ashes waiting for death.

Job 17:14 "I have said to corruption, Thou [art] my father: to the worm, [Thou art] my mother, and my sister." He felt as if this disease was gradually doing away with his body. He felt the corruption of the disease all over his body. It was his constant companion. He was not complaining to God about the disease. He had accepted it as his lot. The mother and sister, above, were speaking of him embracing this corruption. He had accepted it as his lot.

Job 17:15 "And where [is] now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?" Job was at the very height of despair. He had decided there was no hope for him anywhere.

Job 17:16 "They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when [our] rest together [is] in the dust." He was convinced that his time for death was near. I believe his sadness was over not being satisfied that he had reconciled with God. Poor Job had no idea what sin he had committed to bring this terrible calamity into his life. He knew he must have done something terrible and had not gotten forgiveness for it, because he did not know what it was. He actually believed that he might wind up in hell.

Job 17 Questions

1. What was Job saying in Job 17:1?

2. What does "provocation" in Job 17:2 mean?

3. Who were the mockers of Job 17:2?

4. What was Job wanting from God in Job 17:3?

5. What would that mean, if he got it?

6. What did Job believe was the reasons for his friends not believing him?

7. Quote Job 17:5.

8. When had the friends flattered Job?

9. They were _______ _________ friends.

10. God had made Job a ________ of the people.

11. Why is he a by-word to our generation?

12. What does "tabret" mean?

13. Why was Job’s eye dim?

14. What is everyone astonished of about Job?

15. What is the least terrible thing we could call Job’s friends?

16. What will a righteous man do in the face of trouble?

17. How had Job’s attitude toward his friends changed?

18. Job had become so weary and had faced so much suffering, that he felt he was about to ______.

19. If I wait, the _______ is mine house.

20. What did he call corruption in Job 17:14?

21. When Job was at the height of despair, what question did he ask?

Verses 1-2

Job 17:1-2


Job 17:1-2


DeHoff’s excellent summary of this chapter is: "Job’s discourse here is broken, and he passes suddenly from one thing to another, as is usual with men in trouble. He pictures himself as a despised man, a man of sorrows, full of misery, abandoned by his friends, and crying to God for mercy." Rowley noted that the triple formation in verse 1 indicates that, "Job was speaking in great emotional strain."

Job 17:1-2


"My Spirit is consumed, My days are extinct,

The grave is ready for me.

Surely there are mockers with me,

And mine eye dwelleth upon their provocation."

We like Van Selms’ paraphrase of Job 17:1 : "I spoke of years just now, but I am all but dead now. I have no spirit left; I cannot do anything."

"Surely there are mockers with me" (Job 17:2). "Job charged his friends with mockery, the penalty of which (Deuteronomy 19:15-21) prescribed that the false accuser would receive the punishment assigned to the crime wrongly alleged." It was perhaps to this that Job alluded in Job 17:5.

"Their provocation" (Job 17:2). This verse is obscure in meaning, as indicated by various renditions: "Mine eye is weary of their contentiousness," or "Mine eyes are wearied by your stream of peevish complaints."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 17:1-2. Job was not only ready for the grave apparently, but his days were being made more bitter by the provocation of mockers. Because of such a sorrowful condition he turned his attention to God.

Verses 3-5

Job 17:3-5

Job 17:3-5


"Give now a pledge, be surety for me with thyself;

Who is there that will strike hands with me?

For thou hast hid their heart from understanding:

Therefore shalt thou not exalt them.

He that denounceth his friends for a prey,

Even the eyes of his children shall fail."

"Be surety for me with thyself" (Job 17:3). The next clause demands a negative answer; and since Job’s friends who normally should be his surety are not willing to do so, Job prays that God Himself will be his surety in the day of Judgment. Here again we have that magnificent leap of faith which envisioned God Himself as surety for Job against God Himself in the Judgment. What a marvelous premonition (rather inspiration) of God the Son being Surety for his saints against God the Father’s Judgment! As Kline expressed it, "This was Job’s prayer for God to establish Job’s integrity at the Judgment." " Job 17:3 is clearly Job’s appeal for God his Judge to be also God his Witness or Advocate as well."

"For thou hast hid their heart from understanding" (Job 17:4). Job here stated that his friends’ blindness was due to God’s having blinded them, and therefore they thought Job was guilty. But, since they were most certainly wrong, their error would prevent God’s exalting them. Driver complained that the text here is "hopelessly corrupt." Nevertheless, the rendition we have here (American Standard Version) makes excellent sense. Not only will God be unable to exalt Job’s mocking friends (serving in this great drama as prime agents of the devil); but they will also incur the penalty pointed out in Job 17:5.

"He that denounceth his friends for a prey" (Job 17:5). It is not clear exactly what particular sin against Job is meant by this; but whatever it was, a severe penalty would overtake them, exactly the same penalty mentioned above in Job 17:2 (Deuteronomy 19:15 ff). "This verse (Job 17:5), as translated here, is a threat to Job’s friends that their denunciations of him will be punished by the sufferings of their children."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 17:3. Strike hands means to join hands in support of another. Job pleads with God to give him someone to help him in his burdens instead of making them heavier.

Job 17:4. Thou hast hid is a negative term. It means that God had not given these friends a heart of understanding that they might use better reasoning.

Job 17:5. Job did not want the friends to flatter him, for even the children of flatterers are in• danger. What he wanted was for them to speak the plain truth.

Verses 6-16

Job 17:6-16

Job 17:6-16


"But he hath made me a byword of the people;

And they spit in my face.

Mine eye is dim also by reason of sorrow,

And all my members are as a shadow.

Upright men shall be astonished at this,

And the innocent shall stir up himself against the godless.

Yet shall the righteous hold on his way,

And he that hath clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger.

But as for you all, come on now again;

And I shall not find a wise man among you.

My days are past, my purposes are broken off,

Even the thoughts of my heart.

They change the night into the day:

The light, say they, is near unto the darkness.

If 50took for Sheol as my house;

If I have spread my couch in the darkness;

If I have said to corruption, Thou art my father;

To the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister;

Where then is my hope?

And, as for my hope, who shall see it?

It shall go down to the bars of Sheol,

When once there is rest in the dust."

Job 17:6-9 here are difficult. "It is hard to find a path through the profusion of ideas here."

"All my members are as a shadow" (Job 17:7). Barnes paraphrased this, "I am a mere skeleton; I am emaciated and exhausted by my sufferings."

"Upright men shall be astonished at this" (Job 17:9). "They will be amazed that God has permitted a holy man to suffer such calamity and to be treated in such a manner by his friends."

"Yet shall the righteous hold on their way" (Job 17:9). "As these words stand, they express Job’s conviction of final victory." They do even more than that. They constitute Job’s pledge, that in spite of his friends’ unbelief, in spite of his terrible sufferings, in spite of everything, he will continue in the way of righteousness.

"These words confounded the hopes of Satan to destroy Job’s integrity; for they indicate that the righteous (including Job), in spite of the irregular dealings of providence and the slanders of the public (including Job’s friends), will persevere more and more in righteousness." "The human spirit here rose to the height of moral grandeur."

The authorship of Job continues to be more and more impossible to attribute to anyone other than to Job himself. No writer during Israel’s captivity, or at any other time than that of Job’s lifetime, could have revealed the innermost thoughts of Job, as do these chapters. Job himself is the author of this great central section of the book; and his words are most certainly inspired of God.

"But as for you all, come on now again; and I shall not find a wise man among you" (Job 17:10). Rawlinson gave the meaning here as, "A challenge to Job’s detractors. `Return, all of you, to your old work of detraction, if you please’; I don’t even care." Jamieson interpreted it thus: "Return if you have anything really wise to advance, although I doubt it. As yet, I cannot find one wise man among you all."

"My purposes are broken off" (Job 17:11). No sadder words than these were ever written. "How many unfinished plans are terminated every day! The farmer leaves his plow in the furrow; the lawyer his brief half prepared, the mechanic his work undone, the student his books lying open, the author his writing not finished! How many schemes of wickedness or of benevolence, of fraud or of kindness, or of hatred or mercy are concluded every day by death! Dear reader, soon all your plans, and mine will be forever terminated.

In the concluding verses of this chapter, Job clearly contemplated death, but there is no hint of disrespect for God. "There is a note of acceptance and confidence throughout the passage." Despite his perplexity and suffering, "One finds this growing sense that all is not as it seems, and that one day, at another time, and another place, he will be vindicated."

"When once there is rest in the dust" (Job 17:16). Rowley wrote that this rendition does not conform to the Masoretic text, and recommended the RSV which reads: "Where then is my hope ... Shall we descend together into the dust"?

E.M. Zerr:

Job 17:6. The original for tabret is from another Hebrew word that means a drum; something to beat upon. When used figuratively it means something to be held in contempt and be cuffed about as a football. The people had been using Job in that way.

Job 17:7. The condition of Job’s eyes was described at Job 16:16. Members means his limbs. They had become so lean from his afflictions and undernourishment that they looked like skeletons. Doubtless his observers said he was but a shadow of himself.

Job 17:8. Job knew that he would receive little comfort from his "friends," but he believed that upright men would be astonied (astonished) at their hyprocrisy.

Job 17:9. Job had confidence in the conduct of the righteous and believed all such would become stronger and stronger.

Job 17:10. This verse was addressed to the three friends. Come thou is an obsolete way of saying, "see here and listen to me." He then told them there was riot a wise man among them.

Job 17:11. The misfortunes of Job had changed all of his plans.

Job 17:12. Ordinarily we think of night more unfavorably than of day. The verse is merely a picture of the upside-down experiences that had been forced on Job.

Job 17:13. If Job should think to find solace by looking into the future, all he could see was the grave. His lack of accommodations was like a man who had no light to see how to make his bed.

Job 17:14. In this verse the terms father, mother and sister are used figuratively because they signify nearness to one. Job had been closely connected with corruption and the worms that had been ever creeping over him.

Job 17:15-16. Job asked what hope he had of being relieved of the worms that infested his body. He then answered the question by a reference to the pit which here means the grave. He expected to have no relief from all these pests until his body went with them to the grave, at which time they would rest together in the duet.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 17". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-17.html.
Ads FreeProfile