Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 17:5

"He who informs against friends for a share of the spoil, The eyes of his children also will languish.
New American Standard

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Flattery;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Fail;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that speaketh flattery - There is a great variety of meaning given to the terms in this verse. The general sense is, The man who expects much from his friends will be disappointed: while depending on them his children's eyes may fail in looking for bread.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He that speaketh flattery to his friends - Noyes renders this, “He that delivers up his friend as a prey, the eyes of his children shall fail.” So Wemyss, “He who delivers up his friends to plunder.” Dr. Good, “He that rebuketh his friends with mildness, even the eyes of his children shall be accomplished.” The Septuagint, “He announces evil for his portion; his eyes fail over his sons.” The Vulgate, “He promises spoil to his companions, and the eyes of his sons fail.” The word rendered “flattery” (חלק chêleq ) properly means “that which is smooth, smoothness” (from חלק châlaq to be smooth); and thence it denotes “a lot” or “portion,” because “a smooth stone” was anciently used to cast lots in dividing spoils; Deuteronomy 18:8. Here it is synonymous with plunder or spoil; and the idea is, that he who betrayeth his friends to the spoil or to the spoiler, the eyes of his children shall fail. The meaning in this connection is, that the friends of Job had acted as one would who should announce the residence of his neighbors to robbers, that they might come and plunder them. Instead of defending him, they had acted the part of a traitor. Schultens says that this verse is “a Gordian knot;” and most commentators regard it as such; but the above seems to give a clear and consistent meaning. It is evidently a proverb, and is designed to bear on the professed friends of Job, and to show that they had acted a fraudulent part toward him. In Job 17:4, he had said that God had hid their heart from understanding, and that wisdom had failed them. He “here” says that in addition to a want of wisdom, they were like a man who should betray his neighbors to robbers.

Even the eyes of his children shall fail - He shall be punished. To do this is a crime, and great calamity shall come upon him, represented by the failure of the eyes of his children. Calamity is not unfrequently expressed by the loss of the eyes; see Proverbs 30:17.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-17.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He that speaketh flattery to his friends,.... As Job's friends did to him when they promised great outward prosperity, and a restoration to his former state, and to a greater affluence upon his repentance and reformation; or when they spoke deceitfully for God, pretending great regard to the honour of his justice and holiness, and therefore insisted on it that he must be a wicked man and an hypocrite, that was afflicted by him, as Job was:

even the eyes of his children shall fail; so hateful are some sins to God, and particularly deceitful tongues, and flattering lips, that he will punish them in their posterity; the eyes of their children shall fail for want of sustenance, and while they are looking in vain for salvation and deliverance out of trouble, see Exodus 20:4.

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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.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

f He that speaketh flattery to [his] friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.

(f) He who flatters a man, and only judges him happy in his prosperity, will not himself only but in his posterity be punished.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The Hebrew for “flattery” is “smoothness”; then it came to mean a prey divided by lot, because a smooth stone was used in casting the lots (Deuteronomy 18:8), “a portion” (Genesis 14:24). Therefore translate, “He that delivers up his friend as a prey (which the conduct of my friends implies that they would do), even the eyes,” etc. [Noyes] (Job 11:20). Job says this as to the sinner‘s children, retorting upon their reproach as to the cutting off of his (Job 5:4; Job 15:30). This accords with the Old Testament dispensation of legal retribution (Exodus 20:5).

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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 17:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-17.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 17:5 He that speaketh flattery to [his] friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.

Ver. 5. He that speaketh flattery to his friends] As you, my friends, do to and for God, in seeming to assert his justice in punishing me for my wickedness, so soothing and smoothing up the Almighty ( quod ipsum nihil aliud est quam falso Deo blandiri, saith Merlin), and seeking to make the world believe, by your great words, that you are his great champions, while you go about to clear up his righteousness by concluding that I am unrighteous. See Job 13:7-8. {See Trapp on "Job 13:7"} {See Trapp on "Job 13:8"}

The eyes of his children shall fail] Not himself only shall smart (while the Lord cutteth off flattering lips and the deceitful tongue, Psalms 12:3), but his poor children shall repent for it. They shall lie languishing at hope’s hospital, and after all be disappointed; or their eyes shall fail with long looking after good; but nothing comes. They shall look for peace, and there is no good; and for a time of healing, but behold trouble, Jeremiah 14:19. God will destroy flatterers, head and tail, branch and rush, like as the Thessalians once utterly destroyed the city called Kολακεια, or Flattery (Hen. Steph. Apol. pro Herod.).

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 17:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-17.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 17:5. He that speaketh flattery to his friends The Hebrew of this verse literally runs thus: תכלננ בניו ועיני רעים יגיד לחלק lechelek yaggiid reiim veeinei banaiv tiklenah, He shall reckon friends for a portion or inheritance, and the eyes of his children shall fail; i.e. with expectation. They may look their eyes out before they receive any benefit or assistance from these friends. The expression is proverbial, intimating how liable men are to be disappointed who depend upon the constancy of human friendships; and nothing could be more apposite to Job's purpose. Peters.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 17:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-17.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Hereby Job chargeth them, either,

1. With flattering him with vain hopes, and promises of the return of his former prosperity, when he knew that his case was desperate. Or,

2. With flattering and befriending God, and giving a partial sentence out of respect to him; for which he reproved and condemned them before, Job 13:7-9, where see the notes. Some render the words thus, He that uttereth or declareth his mind or thoughts (as this word signifies, Psalms 139:2,17) with flattery, or to flatter or deceive another.

The eyes of his children shall fail; he shall be severely punished, not only in his person, but even in his children, whose eyes shall fail with vain expectations of relief and deliverance out of those calamities which shall come upon them for this sin of their parents.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 17:5". 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

5.He’ friends — The common reading is, He who betrays friends for a spoil.

Flattery Hhelck, signifies a share of spoil. The spoil which the treacherous gain proves a curse to their children. Hitzig unites the verse with the preceding, thus: Exalt not “him who invites friends to a feast (tsum Theilen) while the eyes of his children fail.” Comp. Job 11:20. He is profuse in his hospitality, while his children have nothing to eat. Job’s friends rejoice in a superabundance of wisdom for others, but have none for themselves. The well-timed thrust for which — though he had to overleap the lists of continuous thought — Job was always ready, assorts well with the preceding verse. The verse, however, looks like a proverbial saying whose exact meaning has been lost.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "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 17:5. He that speaketh flattery to his friends — “The Hebrew of this verse,” says Peters, “literally, runs thus: He shall reckon friends for a portion, or inheritance, and the eyes of his children shall fail; that is, with expectation. They may look their eyes out before they receive any benefit or assistance from these friends. The expression is proverbial, intimating how liable men are to be disappointed, who depend upon the constancy of human friendships. And nothing could be more apposite to Job’s purpose.” Heath renders the words,” Whoso becometh the accuser of his friends, the eyes of his children will fail; that is, not only he, but his sons after him may look till they be weary, before they get more.” Bishop Patrick’s paraphrase on this and the two preceding verses appears to be perfectly consistent with the context, and is certainly well deserving of the reader’s attention. Lay down now, &c. Job 17:3. “Once more, therefore, I beseech thee, O God, to assure me that thou wilt judge my cause thyself; let somebody undertake for thee; who is it, that on thy behalf will engage to do me right? Job 17:4. Not these friends of mine, for they comprehend nothing of the way of thy judgments: therefore thou shalt not confer this honour on them who talk so absurdly. Job 17:5. I must speak the truth of them, (though it displease them,) and not sooth them up in their errors: for he that flatters his friends, when he should reprove them, may look long enough before either he, or his children, find one that will deal sincerely with them.” We add also the following interpretation of this verse, proposed by Poole. “He that uttereth, or declareth his mind, or thoughts, with flattery, or to flatter, or deceive another, he shall be severely punished, not only in his person, but even in his children, whose eyes shall fail with vain expectations of relief, and deliverance out of those calamities which shall come upon them for this sin of their parents.”

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 17:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-17.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

He. My friend. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "speaketh flattery," (Haydock) or promiseth to caress me, while he neglects his own children. But the sense of the Vulgate and Chaldean seem preferable. My friends speak as if they could do any thing, and as if no trial would stagger their resolution. But they durst not be in my situation for a short time. (Calmet) --- Like hunters, who have promised their children some prey, my friends will not, however, gain the victory over me. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-17.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

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.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-17.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

He that, &c. Supply Ellipsis, as in translation below; and treat Job 17:5 as a quotation.

children = sons.

fail = look in vain.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "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

He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail. He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.

Not only are the friends void of intelligence, but also they plot Job's ruin. The Hebrew for flattery is smoothness: then it came to mean a prey divided by lot, because a smooth stone was used in casting the lots (Deuteronomy 18:8); "a portion" (Genesis 14:24). Therefore translate, "He that delivers up (literally, discloses, so betrays) his friend as a prey [ l

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "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

(5) He that speaketh flattery to his friends.—The three words thus rendered are, from their very brevity, most obscure. Literally, they run: for a portion he will tell friends. But what is the meaning of this? Some render, “He denounceth his friends for a prey,” i.e., such is the conduct of Job’s friends towards Job. Others understand it, “He would say, friends should take their part,” i.e., any one who would undertake to be surety for me would naturally expect my friends to share the responsibility; but so far from this, the eyes of his sons would fail in looking for it; they would never see it.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.
He that
32:21,22; Psalms 12:2,3; Proverbs 20:19; 29:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:5
the eyes
Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 28:65; 1 Kings 11:12; Lamentations 4:17
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 28:32 - fail;  Job 13:7 - GeneralProverbs 19:22 - and

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 17:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-17.html.