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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Job 17

Verses 1-16

Job’s Fourth Speech (concluded)

1-9. Job prays God to pledge Himself to vindicate his innocence in the future, for his friends have failed him, and he rejects their promises of restoration in the present life.

1. RV ’My spirit is consumed, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me.’ The v. is connected with Job 16:22.

2. Job rejects the delusive hopes of restoration held out by the friends.

3. RV ’Give now a pledge, be surety for me with thyself; who is there that will strike hands with me?’ Job begs that God will promise to testify to his innocence after he is dead. There is no one else who will do this. To ’strike hands’ was the Hebrew sign of becoming surety for another.

4. The friends are too prejudiced against Job to speak on his behalf. Not exalt them] i.e. not let their views triumph.

5. RV ’He that denounceth his friends for a prey, even the eyes of his children shall fail.’

6. He hath made me] Render, ’I am made.’ And aforetime, etc.] RV ’And I am become an open abhorring.’

8, 9. The upright, astonished at Job’s calamities, will rise against the ungodly, while the righteous holds on his way with increasing strength. This does not fit in well with Job’s attitude, so that there is plausibility in the view of some scholars that the vv. are a misplaced fragment of Bildad’s speech.

10. Job invites the friends to renew their arguments, although he expects nothing worth hearing from them.

11, 12. The thoughts, etc.] Render, perhaps,’ The thoughts of my heart put night for day. Darkness is nearer than light.’

13-16. Job declares that it is vain to look for any restoration or justification (my hope) in this life. His hope will go to the grave with him.

13. RM ’If I hope, Sheol is mine house.’

16. They] RV ’it’ (i.e. his hope). Bars of the pit] the gates of the world of the dead: cp. Isaiah 38:10. When, etc.] RV ’when once there is rest in the dust.’ Job moves forward in this speech to the great thought that after he is dead, God will clear his reputation of the stain placed upon it by his disasters, which seemed to the world to prove his guilt. He does not expect the old relations between God and himself to be renewed, but since he cannot bear the thought that he will be permanently branded as an evil-doer, he wins the conviction that he will ultimately be righted. And since God alone can or will clear his honour (for man cannot and will not) he is assured that God, who is now slaying him by slow torture, will at last vindicate him. God’s present mood is not an index to His permanent character.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Job 17". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.