Bible Commentaries
Job 17

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-16



Verses 1-16: .

Verse 1 is a further lament of Job that breath is corrupt, meaning his spirit is broken. He states that his days are extinct, like a light that has burned out; and he adds that the graves, (plural) to heighten the force, await his soon coming, Psalms 88:3-4; Psalms 31:12; Psalms 42:7.

Verse 2 adds "are there not mockers with me?" instead of friends who show compassion? Job further asks if his age does not continue in their provocation. Are not his pretended friends repeatedly "poking" him, gouging him in the eye, provoking him with their unkind and unfounded accusations? he inquires, 1 Samuel 1:6. They were.

Verse 3 is a direct address of Job to the Lord to "laydown," or become his pledge of security of his innocence, since his pretended friends had become his prodding adversaries. Ancient litigating parties had to lay down a sum before a trial. Job asks who it is that will strike hands with him, be his mediator-friend in his trial? Who, other than God, could do this for me? Job asks, Psalms 119:122; Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 22:26; Hebrews 7:22.

Verse 4 declares that the Lord had surely hid or withheld their heart (affections and intellect) of his friends from comprehending truth. Therefore he calls upon the Lord not to exalt them, or permit them to conquer in their dogged condemnations against him, Isaiah 6:9-10.

Verse 5 declares that one who engaged in, delivered up flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail, as a matter of just, legal retribution, in the lives of his offspring, Exodus 20:5; Galatians 6:7-8.

Verse 6 declares that God has made him (Job) to be a byword of the people, as if he had been a superlative sinner, to earn the calamity and affliction that had come to him, Deuteronomy 28:37; Psalms 69:11. And before the people he had now, with the accusations of his feigned friends, become as a tabret, an object of disgust, to be spit upon, in the face, Numbers 12:14; Matthew 5:22.

Verse 7 adds that Job’s eye or vision was dim by reason of his deep and extended sorrow. And all his members, the members of his body, and even his thoughts, had come to be as a shadow, weakened and dim. For when one member suffers, all suffer, or are affected hurtfully, 1 Corinthians 12:26; Psalms 6:7; Deuteronomy 34:7.

Verse 8 contends that "upright" men should be astonished at his unmerited suffering, especially as attributed to hypocrisy and concealed sin in his life, as held by the three friends. An upright person, falsely accused, can but feel indignantly toward his false accusers. This was Job’s contention, because the most wicked prospered, as well as the righteous; And that without suffering as he had suffered. The innocent so accused should be stirred up against his ungodly, hypocritical accusers Job asserts, as he perhaps "eye-balled" these feigned wise friends, as set forth Psalms 37, 83.

Verse 9 declares that the truly righteous person would hold faith in God through all his misfortune. From the example of Job’s suffering and victory the afflicted should not grow bitter. The one who suffers with "clean hands," being innocent of any grave sin, should gain courage, like a warrior, a soldier in battle, till the victory is won, Isaiah 40:30-31; Philippians 1:14. See also Psalms 81:7; Psalms 81:11; Proverbs 4:18; Proverbs 14:16; 1 Peter 1:5; 1 John 2:19; Psalms 24:4; Psalms 26:5.

Verse 10 addresses the three pretended friends of Job. He advises them that in spite of their proverbial platitudes, and feigned wisdom in their wave after wave of speeches of folly, he cannot detect a wise one among them, Job 6:29. So, like Paul later advised, he received their babbling as one should that of a moron. He tolerated it, but did not let it be his guide, 1 Corinthians 3:18-20; Job 5:13.

Verses 11, 12 recount Job’s lament that his life was fast ebbing away, was almost gone, his days were nigh end, broken off as the threads of a bolt of cloth are cut off from the loom, Isaiah 38:12. Even the thoughts of his heart, his fondest hopes, former days have now faded and gone, as possession from his soul, Job 7:6; Job 9:25; Isaiah 38:10. He adds that "they," his friends, would change the night into day, telling him that prosperity and light would return to him, if he would only confess guilt and hypocrisy he did not have. His view was that the light of life was now short, because of fast falling shadows of darkness, Job 13:4.

Verses 13, 14 is a statement of the mind of Job in his weakening condition. He would not give up on God or quietly accept the wrong advice of his friends. He asserted that if he waited, became weakly resigned to death without protest, he would be saying to corruption that it was his father and to the devouring worms they were his mother and his sister. He would be thereby making his own bed, ­grave in the darkness of his own house or residence. He was resolved to trust God and live on through his affliction, though the Lord should slay him, Job 13:15; Proverbs 3:3-5.

Verse 15 asks where Job’s hope existed, in his present state. If there was future hope for his prosperity, on what could it be based, he inquired, Job 11:18; For "hope deferred makes the heart sick," Proverbs 13:12.

Verse 16 concludes that the kind of hope his feigned friends held out to him, future prosperity if he would confess sins he did not have, would surely go down to the bars of the pit, to rest with his polluted body in the grave. God was too righteous to demand that he confess wickedness and hypocrisy of which he was not guilty, was his conclusion. The hope these friends held out for him was empty, no grounds for hope at all, he concluded, 2 Corinthians 1:9; Job 2:6; Job 3:17. Yet there is hope for the trusting soul, Psalms 39:7; Psalms 119:116; Colossians 1:27; Hebrews 6:18-19; 1 John 3:3.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 17". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.