Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 17:3

"Lay down, now, a pledge for me with Yourself; Who is there that will be my guarantor?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Hand;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Hands, the;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Job;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Surety;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Lay;   Strike;   Surety;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Hand;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Lay down now - Deposit a pledge; stake your conduct against mine, and your life and soul on the issue; let the cause come before God, let him try it; and see whether any of you shall be justified by him, while I am condemned.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Lay down now - This is evidently an address to God - a repetition of the wish which he had so often expressed, that he might be permitted to bring his cause directly before him; see Job 13:3. The whole passage here is obscure, because we are in a great measure ignorant of the ancient practices in courts of law, and of the ancient forms of trial. The general sense seems to be, that Job desires the Deity to enter into a judicial investigation, and to give him a “pledge” - or, as we should say, a “bond,” or “security” - that he would not avail himself of his almighty power, but would place him on an equality in the trial, and allow him to plead his cause on equal terms; see the notes at Job 13:20-22. The phrase “lay down now” means, lay down a pledge, or something of that kind; and may have referred to some ancient custom of giving security on going to trial, that no advantage would be taken, or that the parties would abide by the decision in the case.

Put me in a surety with thee - The word used here (ערבני ‛ârabı̂yn ) is from ערב ‛ârab to mix, mingle; to exchange, to barter and then to become surety for anyone - that is, to “exchange” places with him, or to stand in his place; Genesis 43:9; Genesis 44:32. Here the idea seems to be, that Job wished the Deity to give him some pledge or security that justice would be done, or that he would not take advantage of his power and majesty to overawe him. Or, as has been remarked, it may refer to some custom of furnishing security on a voluntary trial or arbitration, that the award of the referees would be observed. I think it most probable that this is the idea. The controversy here was to be voluntary. In a voluntary trial, or an arbitration, there is a necessity of some security by the parties that the decision shall be submitted to - a pledge to each other that they will abide by it. Such a pledge Job desired in this case. All this is language taken from courts, and should not be pressed too much, nor should Job be hastily charged with irreverence. Having once suggested the idea of a “trial” of the cause, it was natural for him to use the language which was commonly employed in reference to such trials; and these expressions are to be regarded as thrown in for the sake of “keeping,” or verisimilitude.

Who is he that will strike hands with me? - Striking hands then, as now, seems to have been one mode of confirming an agreement, or ratifying a compact. The idea here is,” Who is there that will be surety to me for thee?” that is, for the faithful observance of right and justice. There is an appearance of irreverence in this language, but it arises from carrying out the ideas pertaining to a form of trial in a court. In entering into “sureties,” it was usual to unite hands; see Proverbs 6:1:

My son, if thou be surety for thy friend,

If thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger.

So Proverbs 17:18:

A man void of understanding striketh hands,

And becometh surety in the presence of his friend

Compare Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 22:26. The same custom prevailed in the times of Homer and of Virgil. Thus, Homer (Iliad, β b says:

Ποῦ δὴ -

- δεξιαὶ ἦς ἐπέπιθμεν -

Pou de4 -

- dexiai hēs epepithmen -

And so Virgil (Aeneid 4:597) says;

- en dextra fidesque.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-17.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

AGAIN JOB APPEALS TO GOD FOR VINDICATION

"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."[6] " Job 17:3 is clearly Job's appeal for God his Judge to be also God his Witness or Advocate as well."[7]

"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."[8] 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 19:15ff). "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."[9]

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/job-17.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Lay down now,.... A pledge that thou wilt provide a surety, appoint and admit one to plead for me, and that thou wilt hear my cause, and determine it; or "put now", or "put, I pray thee"F18שימה נא "pone nunc", Montanus; "poae quaeso", Pagninus, Piscator, Mercerus, Cocceius, Schmidt; "sub cor tunm", Vatablus. , thy heart and mind to me and my case, to my petition and request, and grant it:

put me in a surety with thee; appoint, provide, and place a surety for me with thee, and let him appear to do his work and office: such an one Jesus Christ is; he is of God the Father's appointing to be the Mediator between God and men, and who himself voluntarily engaged and agreed to be the surety of the better testament; and this was known to the Old Testament saints, and to Job; and his prayer was the prayer of faith: and this work and office Christ performs; he was surety for his people from eternity, he drew nigh to God on their account, and struck hands with his Father, or covenanted and agreed with him about the salvation of his people, and the manner of it; he gave his word, his bond, to his Father for them, that he would save them; and upon that suretyship engagement of Christ all the Old Testament saints were pardoned, justified, and glorified; he promised and bound himself to pay all their debts, to satisfy for all their sins, to bring in an everlasting righteousness for them, and to bring them all safe to heaven and happiness; in order to which, he put himself in their room and stead, and laid down his life a ransom for them; upon which Job might say, and so may every believer, what follows,

who is he that will strike hands with me? that will enter the lists, litigate and dispute the point with me, or bring any charge or accusation against me, having such a surety to answer for me, such an advocate to plead my cause, such a Mediator between God and man, who has made reconciliation for sin, brought in everlasting righteousness, and satisfied law and justice, see Romans 8:33; or else the sense is, "who is he", besides him that is a surety of God's appointing and providing, "can strike bands with me?" or be a surety for me? there is no other Mediator, Saviour, or Redeemer, besides him; if he had not undertaken the cause of his people, and the redemption of them, it must have ceased for ever, no other was equal to such a work; so that here is another reason used with the Lord to provide a surety, since no other could to any purpose.

Copyright Statement
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 17:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

c Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who [is] he [that] d will strike hands with me?

(c) He reasons with God as a man beside himself, so that his cause might be brought to light.

(d) And answers for you?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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 trial.

put me in a surety — Provide a surety for me (in the trial) with Thee. A presage of the “surety” (Hebrews 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 (Psalm 119:122). The Hebrew strikes the hand of him for whom he goes security (Proverbs 6:1).

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
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 17:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-17.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?

Surety — These words contain, an humble desire to God that he would be his surety, or appoint him a surety who should maintain his righteous cause against his opposers.

Strike hands — Be surety to me; whereof that was the usual gesture.

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 17:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-17.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 17:3 Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who [is] he [that] will strike hands with me?

Ver. 3. Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee] This Job speaketh not to Eliphaz (as R. Moses, Beza, and some others would have it), but to God himself, as Job 16:7, whom be desireth to lay down or appoint, as Exodus 1:11, and put in Christ as a surety to plead for him; see Hebrews 7:22; and so Brentius expoundeth it: There is one only surety, saith he, one only intercessor, the Lord Jesus Christ, who if he appear not in the eyes of our faith, we have none else that can undertake for us to God; neither is there any creature which can stand in the judgment of God, though he would never so fain be surety for us: thus he. And accordingly our late learned annotators, reading the words thus: Appoint, I pray thee, my surety with thee; who is he then that will strike upon my hand? that is, Appoint Christ, who is with thee in heaven, and hath undertaken to be my surety; appoint him, I say, to plead my cause and to stand up for me, and then no man will dare to contend with me. And so it is suitable to the notes on {See Trapp on "Job 16:21"} {See Trapp on "Romans 8:33"} The Vulgate Latin (not altogether from the purpose, saith Brentius) translates the whole verse thus, Put me near thyself, and then let whoso will contend with me.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 17:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-17.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He turneth his speech either to Eliphaz, who spoke last; or rather to God, as is evident from the matter and scope of the words, and from the next verse. These words contain either,

1. A humble desire to God that he would appoint him a surety, who should undertake for his friends; that they should refer the cause in difference between them to God or to some other person, who should determine the matter in God’s name, and according to God’s will; or that God would be his Surety, or appoint him a surety who should maintain his righteous cause against his opposers; for so this phrase is oft used, as Psalms 119:121,122 Isa 38:14. And some expound this, as they did Job 16:21, of Christ Jesus, who was called our Surety, Hebrews 7:22; appoint, I pray thee, my Surety (i.e. Christ, who is now) with thee, to plead my cause. Or rather,

2. An appeal from God unto God, or a kind of challenge or desire of debating his cause with God; which, though it savoureth of too much boldness and irreverence to God, yet seeing Job expresseth the same desire almost in the same manner, Job 9:33,34, and is sharply reproved by God for contending with him, Job 40:2, I know no inconvenience of ascribing the same thing to him here. So the sense is, Because I am not able to deal with thee immediately, considering the dread of thy majesty, my only desire is, that thou wouldst deal with me upon fair and equal terms, as if thou wert a man like myself, and appoint some man who shall in thy name and stead determine the time and place for the trial of my cause with thee. And this suits well enough with the two following verses, because his friends were without understanding, Job 17:4, and partial, Job 17:5; therefore he desires to cease discoursing with them, and to debate his cause with God, who was just and impartial, and also would be favourable to him.

Strike hands with me, i.e. agree and promise, or be surety to me; whereof that was the usual gesture, Proverbs 6:1,2 17:18 22:26.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 17:3". 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

Second strophe — That God alone will, or can, guarantee the righteous adjudication of Job’s cause, is evident from the blind and unprincipled conduct of his representative friends; and that God should do this is urged by Job’s own outrageous sufferings, and by the injury that would otherwise result to the cause of virtue. HIS PRAYER STILL IS FOR A MEDIATOR, Job 17:3-9.

3.Lay down . “A pledge” is evidently understood; some kind of security like that which binds a bargain. The clause reads, Lay down, (a pledge,) I pray.

Put me in a surety — Better, Be thou my surety with thee. , harab, signifies to pledge one’s self for another, and by implication protect or deliver. Comp. Genesis 43:9; Psalms 119:122; Isaiah 38:14; (undertake for me.) In Job 16:21, Job speaks of God in a twofold character: also here, “as a judge and He who gives security before the judge.” — Olshausen. The security became liable for his client’s debts in case he failed. Strike hands, etc. — The custom of ratifying compacts by the joining or striking together of hands prevailed quite universally in ancient times. Proverbs 6:1. The “surety” struck hands with the party he represented, “for Solomon warns his son against giving his hand to a stranger, that is, against being surety for a person unknown.” — MICHAELIS, Laws of Moses, 2:323. Ewald takes an erroneous view, that “the debtor and surety gave the hand to the creditor,” (Alt., S. 165,) whereas the surety joined hands with the debtor. (Dillmann, etc.) Job’s prayer, “Be thou my surety with thee,” is urged by the momentous consideration, Who is he? who can be my surety if not thou? If man have hope at all, it must come from the Godhead. Christ, the Son of God, strikes hands with man, assumes his nature, becomes his surety. The prayer of Job became wonderfully prophetic.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "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 17:3. Lay down now — Some earnest or pledge. Put me in a surety with thee — Let me have an assurance that God will take the hearing and determining of the cause into his own hands, and I desire no more. Who is he that will strike hands with me? — That is, agree and promise, or be surety to me, whereof striking or joining hands was the usual sign. But, probably, we ought rather to consider Job as addressing God in these words, and then we must understand them as containing an humble desire that he would be his surety, or would appoint him a surety, who should maintain his righteous cause against his opposers. “Our English annotations,” says Henry, “give this reading of the verse; Appoint, I pray thee, my surety with thee, namely, Christ, who is with thee in heaven, and hath undertaken to be my surety: let him plead my cause, and stand up for me, and who is he then that will strike upon my hand? that is, who dares then contend with me? Who shall lay any thing to my charge, if Christ be an advocate for me? Romans 8:32-33. Christ is the surety of the better testament, (Hebrews 7:22,) a surety of God’s appointing; and if he undertake for us we need not fear what can be done against us.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 17:3". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-17.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Fight. I am secure under thy protection. Hebrew, "who will strike hands with me?" or stand bondsman for my debt? (Proverbs vi. 1.) Who will take my place? You accuse me of weakness and of impiety: but how would you act, if you were treated in the same manner? (Calmet)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-17.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-17.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Lay down now = Appoint it so, I pray.

put me, &c. = be thou my bond. Compare Isaiah 38:14 ("undertake").

who is he . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6. The answer is given in Job 17:4 by Figure of speech Ellipsis (App-6), "[not they]".

strike hands. The idiom for making a compact. Compare Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 22:26, &c.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-17.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?

Lay down - namely, a pledge or security - i:e., 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 trial.

Put me in surety - provide a surety for me in the trial with thee. A presage of the "surety of a better testament (Hebrews 7:22); or "one Mediator between God and man" (see notes Job 16:21).

Strike hands - `Who else, except God Himself; could strike hands with me!; - i:e., be my security (Psalms 119:122, "Be surety for thy servant for good"). The Hebrew strikes the hand of him for whom he goes security (Proverbs 6:1, "If thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger").

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 17:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-17.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) Lay down now . . .—i.e., Give now a pledge; be surety for me with Thyself. He has declared that he has a witness in the heavens, but he desires some present token of the vindication to come of which he is confident, and so he asks God to give him such a pledge. This is virtually the same prayer that we find Hezekiah using (Isaiah 38:14): “O Lord, I am oppressed: undertake for me,” that is, “Be surety for me.” (See also Psalms 119:122 : “Be surety for thy servant for good.”) There is that in man which demands exact and rigorous fulfilment or expiation of non-fulfilment. Job felt that his only hope of this fulfilment or expiation of non-fulfilment lay with God Himself: that same God who had put this sense of obligation within him; therefore he says, Be surety for me with Thyself.” He longed for the daysman who should lay his hand upon both him and God; he now longs for that surety with God that God alone can give. The surety must be Divine if his witness is in the heavens; it must be the witness of God to God himself. In this wonderful way does the language of Job fit in with all that we have since and elsewhere learnt of the persons in the Godhead.

Who is he that will strike hands with me?—This was the method of becoming surety; but he knows that there is no one among his friends who will do this, or that could do it if he would. (Comp. Psalms 49:7.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?
put me
9:33; Genesis 43:9; 44:32; Proverbs 11:15; 20:16; Hebrews 7:22
strike
Proverbs 6:11; 11:15; *marg:; Proverbs 17:18; 22:26
Reciprocal: Job 31:35 - Oh

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 17:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-17.html.