Job continueth his discourse through this Chapter. He speaks of the grave as an asylum: still holding fast his integrity, he looks up to God with an hope, that the sufferings he was exercised with, would not afford an occasion of stumbling to the good, nor confidence to the bad; and points out his relationship with the worm and corruption.
(1) ¶ My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me. (2) Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation? (3) Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?
Was not Job a type of JESUS in the very great sufferings, with which he was exercised; and especially in those exercises when despised and afflicted of men? It should seem indeed, that with an eye to the LORD JESUS, the great enemy of souls was permitted to make his attack upon Job; because it is not only suitable that the Son of GOD, in his own person should triumph over the foe, but in his members also, JESUS as the surety of his people, first entered the field of battle with Satan, and conquered him; but all whom GOD did foreknow, are said to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Romans 8:29. Oh! what a blessedness in this point of view, is there in the afflictions of the righteous!
(4) For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them. (5) He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail. (6) He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret. (7) Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow. (8) Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite. (9) The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. (10) ¶ But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.
We shall do well in these calamities of Job, to look beyond the man of Uz, and contemplate him whose sufferings were unequalled. When CHRIST as the surety of his people, bore all the billows of wrath due to the sinner, it was no small aggravation of his calamity, that he endured also the contradiction of sinners against himself. He was reproached as a false prophet, as a sabbath breaker, a deceiver, nay, as in league with the devils, casting out evil spirits, by Beelzebub the prince of them. He was not only scourged, and his sacred head crowned with thorns; but laughed at in the midst of his agonies, and tauntingly required to come down from the cross. Precious JESUS! how do all sorrows sink to nothing in the view of thine? Never was there any like unto that sorrow wherewith the LORD afflicted the sinner's surety in the day of his fierce anger! Lamentations 1:12.
(11) My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart. (12) They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness. (13) If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. (14) I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. (15) And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it? (16) They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.
There are two sweet thoughts of Job contained in these verses, which very highly merit our regard. The first is, of the alliance man hath with corruption; and the other is, of the conduct which should be ever preserved among those, who have worms for their nearest relations. Sweet were Paul's thoughts on the same subject, when he protested to the Corinthian church that he died daily. 1 Corinthians 15:31. And how affectionately doth Job close his address in this chapter toward his friends, notwithstanding all the harsh lectures which they had been reading to him. They shall go down to the bars of the pit, (that is, we shall, saith Job, along with all mankind), and there we shall rest together in the dust. What though we cannot agree here; in that silent home the wicked cease from troubling. However in life men differ; in death contention ceaseth. Blessed consideration to the believer in JESUS! Though, sin brought death into the world, JESUS by taking out the sting of death, hath put a blessing into death. 'Blessed, ' said a voice from heaven, 'are the dead which die in the LORD. Yea, saith the SPIRIT, ' as if confirming the glorious truth, 'for they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.' Revelation 14:13.
READER! let you and I seek-grace from the LORD, that we may gather from this chapter all the blessed improvements the HOLY GHOST intended from it, to convey to his church and people. For you and I may with equal justness, take Job's language as he did, and say, Our breath is corrupt, our days are extinct, and the grave is ready for us. Whether Job's afflictions, or Job's trials may be not our portion in going home through our pilgrimage state, we know not. These things are in a wiser and better appointment than our own. But whether or not a time of trouble come, death must come; for it is appointed unto all men once to die, and after this the judgment. And what an awful thing must it be, to be unprepared for what is so sure! Depend upon it, the man that lives at an uncertainty, will die at an uncertainty. How much doth the example of Job recommend itself to our notice and imitation; If like him, we were to deal familiarly with death; take a turn often to the grave, and fancy ourselves as there, before that in reality we are carried there; this would tend to lessen the apprehension, and lead the soul into a serious enquiry, of the surest means of making it a peaceable and happy dwelling place. This would be to use the world as not abusing it, and to induce, under divine teaching, those blessed effects, which while prompting the heart to say to corruption, thou art my father; and to the worm, thou art my mother and my sister, would lead out the whole soul in desires after him, who by his death hath overcome death, and by his resurrection, hath secured the everlasting happiness of his redeemed. Yes! thou Great, thou Almighty Conqueror of death, hell, and the grave! This would be to become savingly acquainted with thee, and thy precious salvation, that both in a living hour, and in a dying hour, our hearts might be on the lookout for the Master's call, that whether it should be at midnight or at cockcrowing, or in the morning, we might be found like those wise, servants, who wait for their LORD'S approach. Precious JESUS! write thy gracious warning upon each heart, and grant us grace, to live up to the constant exercise of it, by faith in thy blood and righteousness: Be ye always ready, for ye know not at what hour the Son of man cometh.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 17". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany