Job 17 Study Notes


17:1 Job felt overwhelmed by what he believed was a hopeless situation (6:9; 9:21,25; 16:16,22).

17:2 The word for rebellion may also be rendered “defiance” or “hostility.”

17:3 Job again turned to God as his only hope. The image is that of a friend who was willing to be responsible for any debt should a default occur (Dt 24:6,10-13; Pr 6:1-5; 17:18; 22:26).

17:4 The CSB translation here suggests that because those who might have helped Job were not capable of understanding the issues involved, God would not honor anything they might present on Job’s behalf. Alternatively, Job might have reminded God that with his case not settled, God would not be honored.

17:5 In this verse Job appears to cite an ancient proverb that a person who was paid to inform on his friends endangered his children. If Job’s friends were attempting to gain favor with God by taking his side against him, it could put their families in jeopardy.

17:6 An object of scorn is literally “for a proverb.” That is, Job had become an illustration or object lesson that sin results in suffering.

17:7-8 Job’s desperate condition should have stirred righteous people to compassion. If his friends were truly upright, they would have sought to defend him (7:14-21; 13:4; 16:2-5).

17:10 Job challenged everyone, particularly his friends, to launch further arguments against him. They could only demonstrate that none of them were wise (see notes at 12:1-2; 13:4-5).

17:11-12 Because of Job’s affliction, his plans had been thwarted and turned topsy-turvy.

17:13-16 Sheol meant “the grave” (see notes at 7:9-10; 14:13; 26:5-6). In a graphic metaphor, Job pictured the grave as his future home. Job used personification in calling the grave my father and the maggot that would feed on his body my mother or my sister. It was as though in the grave Job would enter into a new home housing a new family. Gates are often used metaphorically for entrance into the state of death (38:17; Ps 9:13; 107:18). The phraseology of Jb 17:13-16 bears similarities to ideas of the afterlife in ancient Near Eastern mythology. It was believed that at death everyone entered into a dismal subterranean world with a city and gates ruled over by underworld deities. This is not the biblical view.