Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 17:11

"My days are past, my plans are torn apart, Even the wishes of my heart.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;  
Encyclopedias:
The Jewish Encyclopedia - Heart;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

My days are past - Job seems to relapse here into his former state of gloom. These transitions are very frequent in this poem; and they strongly mark the struggle of piety and resignation with continued affliction, violent temptation, and gloomy providences.

The thoughts of my heart - All my purposes are interrupted; and all my schemes and plans, in relation to myself and family, are torn asunder, destroyed, and dissipated.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

My days are past - “I am about to die.” Job relapses again into sadness - as he often does. A sense of his miserable condition comes over him like a cloud, and he feels that he must die.

My purposes are broken off - All my plans fail, and my schemes of life come to an end. No matter what they could say now, it was all over with him, and he must die; compare Isaiah 38:12:

“My habitation is taken away, and is removed from me

Like a shepherd‘s tent;

My life is cut off as by a weaver

Who severeth the web from the loom;

Between the morning and the night thou wilt make an end of me.”

Even the thoughts of my heart - Margin, possessions. Noyes, “treasures.” Dr. Good, “resolves.” Dr. Stock, “the tenants of my heart.” Vulgate, “torquen‘es cor meum.” Septuagint, τὰ ἄρθρα τῆς καρδίας μου ta arthra tēs kardias mou - the strings of my heart. The Hebrew word (מורשׁ môrâsh ) means properly possession (from ירשׁ yârash to inherit); and the word here means the dear possessions of his heart; his cherished plans and schemes; the delights of his soul - the purposes which he had hoped to accomplish. All these were now to be broken on by death. This is to man one of the most trying things in death. All his plans must be arrested. His projects of ambition and gain, of pleasure and of fame, of professional eminence and of learning, all are arrested midway. The farmer is compelled to leave his plow in the furrow; the mechanic, his work unfinished; the lawyer, his brief half prepared; the student, his books lying open; the man who is building a palace, leaves it incomplete; and he who is seeking a crown, is taken away when it seemed just within his grasp. How many unfinished plans are caused by death every day! How many unfinished books, sermons, houses, does it make! How many schemes of wickedness and of benevolence, of fraud and of kindness, of gain and of mercy, are daily broken in upon by death! Soon, reader, all your plans and mine will be ended - mine, perhaps, before these lines meet your eye; yours soon afterward. God grant that our purposes of life may be such that we shall be willing to have them broken in upon - all so subordinate to the GREAT PLAN of being prepared for heaven, that we may cheerfully surrender them at any moment, at the call of the Master summoning us into his awful presence!

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-17.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 17:11

My purposes are broken off.

Broken purposes

What mental anguish is concentrated in these few words! They raise the sufferings of Job from one of mere physical pain to one of mental despair: Let us glance, first, at some objects of human ambition--their wreck, their loss, and their gain.

I. The cherished purposes of life. The generality of persons live without forming any purposes at all. They drift along the current, and laying aside the strength and glory of manhood are nothing but logs. The true purposes of life are not mere languid dreams, or objectless hopes, or anticipations of pleasure, and we must not confound these with the ambition alluded to by Job. But they are the thought out plans and aspirations of a vigorous mind in true earnest.

1. Sometimes these purposes are selfish.

2. Sometimes these ambitions are philanthropic.

3. Sometimes these purposes are religious.

There is the longing to lead a notably pious life, to be a pattern for others to copy, to bring up a godly family, to convert sinners, and to be worthy soldiers of the cross.

II. The broken purposes of life. How often are ambitions formed; how seldom are they realised! Our purposes are always being broken. We have had a cherished plant, and longed to see it flower. But the frost has nipped the bud, and it has withered and drooped. We have had a loved child for whom we cherished a hope of carrying forward the work of our lives. But the loved one had been taken from us altogether or has turned out a sorrow instead of a joy. We have intended to go hither or thither, but the storm has intervened and we have been left behind.

III. The hand of God in the purposes of life. Job did not realise that his purposes had been cut off by God, and that there was an object underlying the sorrow which filled his heart. Neither do men understand that there may be a reason that they cannot fathom which has hindered the success of their cherished hopes. Eternity will show that man’s purposes are broken--

1. Because if successful they would have been injurious to ourselves. Many souls have been saved by being kept from riches or power. Many have been kept from ruin by having their cherished idol taken away.

2. Because they might work some evil for others. We often see instances of misdirected philanthropy. But how seldom we can see behind the scenes, and how little do we know what will really benefit our fellow creatures!

3. Because God sees that we are not fitted for the work,

4. Because He has higher and better purposes for us.

5. Because He desires to bring us to a state of perfect trust in Himself. He crushes our plans to show us how weak, how foolish we are, and to lay us low in humility. How much wiser are His arrangements! (J. J. S. Bird.)

Broken purposes

I. Men form purposes. Mind is active and made to think. Men speculate and resolve. Pleasure and wealth, honour and worldly position eagerly sought.

II. These purposes not always fulfilled. Broken off as threads of the web cut off from the loom (Isaiah 32:1-20). Impossible to realise. Providence intervenes; man proposeth, God disposeth. Greeks represented the fates as spinning the threads of human life. Procrastination prevents performance. Satan hinders (1 Thessalonians 2:18).

III. This is a sad fact in experience. “My” purposes. Good resolutions formed and never carried out; plans adopted and forsaken; principles never come to maturity, and life wasted in attempting, and nothing done! (The Study.)

Broken purposes

The world is full of broken columns. Every heart carries its own crowded cemetery. The cemeteries in which you lay dead flesh and bones are not the true cemeteries. The graveyards are in the heart. “My purposes are broken off”; this is the cry of a disappointed man; the muffled moan of a baffled hope. It is not the peculiar cry of a Jew, or of a Gentile, of an Orientalist, or an Occidentalist, it is simply the voice of universal man. God has graciously enriched the world with example men; men who have been made to show in their melancholy experience how vain is ambition, how uncertain is expectation, how unstable is strength. Job is such man.

I. As revealing the speculative side of human life. All men have purposes. Man cannot live by history alone; he must strengthen himself by hope. Man puts out his hand and plucks of the tree of tomorrow. Every man speculates concerning the future, and feels himself inspired as he dwells on the charms of the coming time. Man’s power of speculation always exceeds man’s power of realisation. The poetic fancy is in advance of the toiling hand. The wanderer’s mind is at the destination long before the wanderer’s foot has taken the first step of the journey! The power of speculation and the power of realisation are not coordinate. We paint many a fire which we never can enkindle. We plant olive yards which bear no fruit, and dig wells which hold no water. Yet we would not give up this power of projecting ourselves into the future! We would not like to be barred in the small prison called “today.” Not a man but is pleasing himself with some dream of fancy. Each is saying, “The times will change for the better; the cold winds will die out; the sky will be a cloudless arch; I shall walk on a carpet of violets through palaces of perfume.”

II. As disclosing the real side of human experience. “Purposes”!--that is poetry; “Broken”! - that is history! This is a sad combination of words! Life is full of half-built towers. Men had begun to build, but were not able to finish. Life is a pile of fragments. Nowhere is there aught complete. Life is all beginnings; there is no finished pinnacle!

III. As suggesting man’s true course as a speculatist and as a worker. “Go to now, ye that say today or tomorrow,” etc. There is a “tonight” between today and tomorrow. Learn--

1. All purposes against God must be broken off.

2. Form the loftiest purposes for God, and they will be fulfilled.

3. Remember the moral import of uncertainty. (Anon.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 17:11". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-17.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

My days are past,.... Or "passed away", or "passed over"F23עברו "transierunt", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. ; not that they passed over the time fixed and appointed by God, for there is no passing the bound settled by him, Job 14:5; but either the common term of man's life was passed with Job, or he speaks of things in his own apprehension; he imagined his death was so near, that he had not a day longer to live; his days, as he before says, were extinct, were at an end, he should never enjoy another day; and therefore it was folly to flatter him with a promise of long life, or encourage him to expect it; which he may mention as a proof of there being not a wise man among them, since they all suggested this in case of repentance; or his meaning is, that his good days, or days of goodness, as Jarchi interprets it, were past; his days of prosperity were at an end, and evil days were come upon him, in which he had no pleasure; nor had he any reason to believe it would be otherwise with him:

my purposes are broken off; Job doubtless had formed in his mind great designs of good things, natural, civil; and religious, concerning the enlargement of his temporal estate, the settlement of his children in the world, making provision for the poor, supporting and enlarging the interest of true religion, the reformation of his Heathenish neighbours, and the spread of divine truths among them; but now they were all frustrated, he was not in a capacity of carrying them into execution, and was obliged to drop them, and think no more of them, nor was there with him any prospect of ever renewing them; they were "rooted up"F24נתקו "evulsae sunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator; "radicitus evulsae sunt", Michaelis. , or plucked up, as some render the word, so that there was no likelihood of their ever rising up again, and coming to any effect:

even the thoughts of my heart; or "the possessions"F25מורשי "possessiones", Montanus, Vatablus, Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt; "haereditariae possessiones", Schultens; so Drusius & Michaelis. of it, as the thoughts are; they are the things of a man, which especially belong to him; they are the inheritance of his mind, what none have a right unto, and a claim upon, but himself, nor can any know but himself, and to whom he discovers them: now the thread of these is broken off at death, they then cease; not that the mind or soul of man ceases to be, or ceases to be a thinking being, it still thinks; but only its thoughts are not employed about the same things in a future state, or in the state after death, as in this, see Psalm 146:4.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-17.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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 (Isaiah 38:12).

thoughts — literally, “possessions,” 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 man.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-17.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.

My days — The days of my life. I am a dying man, and therefore the hopes you give me of the bettering of my condition, are vain.

Purposes — Which I had in my prosperous days, concerning myself and children.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-17.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 17:11 My days are past, my purposes are broken off, [even] the thoughts of my heart.

Ver. 11. My days are past] q.d. It is past time of day for me to hope for a return of a prosperous condition, since I am irrecoverably diseased, and cannot be long of life.

My purposes are broken off] Or, My thoughts are plucked up by the roots, even the possessions of mine heart, that is, those thoughts that should wholly possess me, and take me up entirely, seizing upon my spirit; q.d. I am not now in case to think settledly and seriously of any good, my sorrows are so many, and my sores so grievous. The Chaldee hath it, The tables of my heart are broken. How foolish then are they who put off their repentance till they are cast upon their sick beds, when they may soon find enough to do to attend the pain and infirmity of their bodies! To suffer and be sick (saith one) is work enough for any man at one time; he had not need to have his greatest work to do when he hath such work to do.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 17:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-17.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

My days; the days of my life. I am a lost and dying man, and therefore the hopes you give me of the bettering of my condition are vain and groundless.

My purposes; or, my designs, or

thoughts, to wit, which I had in my prosperous days, concerning myself and children, and the continuance of my happiness.

The thoughts of my heart, Heb. the possessions of my heart, i.e. those thoughts which in a great measure possessed my heart, which were most natural, and familiar, and delightful to me. All my thoughts, and designs, and hopes are disappointed, and come to nothing.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 17:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-17.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11.My days are past — The want of wisdom Job has just spoken of, the friends have shown in their glowing promises of future worldly bliss provided he will repent; that, too, while he has both feet in the grave. The thought serves as a transition to the elegy renewed in this verse.

Thoughts , possessions, or treasures. Zockler calls them the wards, or nurslings, of the heart. The term comprehends thought, hope, purpose, affection — all the furniture of the soul.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-17.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 17:11. My days are past — The days of my life. I am a dying man, and therefore the hopes you give me of the bettering of my condition are vain. My purposes are broken off — Or the designs and expectations which I had in my prosperous days concerning myself and children, and the continuance of my happiness. Even the thoughts of my heart — Hebrew, מורשׁי, morashei; the possessions of my heart; that is, those counsels and intentions which in a great measure possessed my heart, and were natural and familiar to me. All these are disappointed and come to nothing.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 17:11". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-17.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Thoughts, or fine projects of living happy a long time. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-17.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

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.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-17.html. 1999-2014.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.

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 (Isaiah 38:12).

Thoughts - literally, possessions - i:e., all the feelings and fair hopes which my heart once cherished. These belong to the heart, as "purposed" to the understanding: the two together here describe the entire inner man.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-17.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.
My days
7:6; 9:25,26; Isaiah 38:10
purposes
Proverbs 16:9; 19:21; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Isaiah 8:10; Lamentations 3:37; Romans 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:15-17; James 4:13-15
thoughts
Heb. possessions.
Reciprocal: Job 17:7 - members;  Job 19:10 - I am gone;  Job 33:17 - withdraw;  Psalm 88:15 - afflicted;  Psalm 146:4 - his thoughts;  Ecclesiastes 2:20 - GeneralLamentations 3:54 - I said

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 17:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-17.html.