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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Job 17

Verses 1-16

Job 17:1 . My breath is corrupt. Schultens reads, corruptus est spiritus meus: “My spirit is corrupt, my days are extinct, the sepulchre is my repose. Why then make a jest of me, while my eye weeps all night at the severity of their reproaches?” The French versions nearly coincide with these readings. Mercer, a celebrated German critic, has this gloss on Job 17:1. “The vital power is exhausted and consumed.”

Job 17:7 . All my members are as a shadow. Job here, from the emaciated state of his frame, makes a transition to the pressure of his mind, to the cloud of darkness which overspread all the faculties of his soul.

Job 17:14 . I have said to corruption, thou art my father. Schmidius describes corruption as the heritage we have derived from our father, and the worm as our sister, having the earth for our common mother.

Job 17:15 . Where is now my hope? Much beclouded, obscured with darkness, depressed with complicated afflictions; yet it is a hope. On the contrary the wicked, going down to the bars of the pit, are destitute of hope, and assailed with every fear.


This speech of Job should be read at once, though here divided. He cautions parents against unguarded conduct, either in words or actions, before their children. Family faults are blots in the recollection of our tender offspring for a future age. The infamy of a father casts a damp on the spirit of his children; they are depressed by his conduct.

The visitations of God on the wicked shall encourage the righteous to hold on his way, and grow stronger in faith and piety. We may be shook for a moment, on beholding the prosperity of the wicked; but on seeing their end, we spring the more into the arms of God, and say, “Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.” We have a God, we have a covenant full of promises, we have earnests and foretastes of heaven, that we may progress in religion and grow in grace. This will support us when we fall under a mortal sickness, either by the slow decay, or the more sudden dissolutions of nature. We shall regard the grave, of which the world has so much horror, as the bosom of a parent, and a hidingplace from the ills of life. The soul of the well-tried saint, taking hold of God, casts off the husk of corruption, and regains celestial excellence. Like the butterfly, it leaves the chrysalis behind, and spreads its golden wings in the sunbeams of eternal day.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 17". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.