Job 17

Listen to Job 17

Job Continues: Where Then Is My Hope?

1 "My spirit is broken; my days are 1extinct; 2the graveyard is ready for me.
2 Surely there are mockers about me, and my eye dwells on their 3provocation.
3 "Lay down a pledge for me with yourself; who is there who will put up 4security for me?
4 Since you have closed their hearts to understanding, therefore you will not let them triumph.
5 He who informs against his friends to get a share of their property-- the 5eyes of his children will fail.
6 "He has made me 6a byword of the peoples, and I am one before whom men spit.
7 My 7eye has grown dim from vexation, and all my members are like 8a shadow.
8 The upright are 9appalled at this, and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless.
9 Yet the righteous holds to his way, and he who has 10clean hands grows stronger and stronger.
10 But you, 11come on again, all of you, and I shall not find a wise man among you.
11 My 12days are past; my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart.
12 They 13make night into day: 'The light,' they say, 'is near to the darkness.'[a]
13 If I hope for 14Sheol as 15my house, if I make my bed in darkness,
14 if I say to the pit, 'You are my father,' and to the worm, 'My mother,' or 'My sister,'
15 where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?
16 Will it go down to the bars of 16Sheol? Shall we 17descend together 18into the dust?"

Job 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

Job appeals from man to God. (1-9) His hope is not in life, but in death. (10-16)

Verses 1-9 Job reflects upon the harsh censures his friends had passed upon him, and, looking on himself as a dying man, he appeals to God. Our time is ending. It concerns us carefully to redeem the days of time, and to spend them in getting ready for eternity. We see the good use the righteous should make of Job's afflictions from God, from enemies, and from friends. Instead of being discouraged in the service of God, by the hard usage this faithful servant of God met with, they should be made bold to proceed and persevere therein. Those who keep their eye upon heaven as their end, will keep their feet in the paths of religion as their way, whatever difficulties and discouragements they may meet with.

Verses 10-16 Job's friends had pretended to comfort him with the hope of his return to a prosperous estate; he here shows that those do not go wisely about the work of comforting the afflicted, who fetch their comforts from the possibility of recovery in this world. It is our wisdom to comfort ourselves, and others, in distress, with that which will not fail; the promise of God, his love and grace, and a well-grounded hope of eternal life. See how Job reconciles himself to the grave. Let this make believers willing to die; it is but going to bed; they are weary, and it is time that they were in their beds. Why should not they go willingly when their Father calls them? Let us remember our bodies are allied to corruption, the worm and the dust; and let us seek for that lively hope which shall be fulfilled, when the hope of the wicked shall be put out in darkness; that when our bodies are in the grave, our souls may enjoy the rest reserved for the people of God.

Cross References 18

  • 1. [Job 18:5, 6]
  • 2. [Psalms 88:3, 4]
  • 3. 1 Samuel 1:6, 7; [Job 12:6]
  • 4. Psalms 119:122; Isaiah 38:14; Hebrews 7:22
  • 5. [Job 11:20; Job 31:16]
  • 6. Job 30:9; Deuteronomy 28:37; [Psalms 44:14; Psalms 69:11]
  • 7. [Psalms 6:7; Psalms 31:9]
  • 8. See Job 14:2
  • 9. Isaiah 52:14
  • 10. See Job 22:30
  • 11. Job 6:29
  • 12. Job 7:6; Job 9:25
  • 13. [Job 11:17]
  • 14. See Job 21:13
  • 15. [Ecclesiastes 12:5]
  • 16. [See ver. 13 above]
  • 17. [Job 3:17-19]
  • 18. Job 21:26; Job 40:13

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

Chapter Summary


In this chapter Job not only enlarges upon the reason given in the
preceding chapter, why he was desirous of an advocate with God, and one
to plead his cause with him for him, Job 17:1; but adds other reasons
taken from the usage of his friends, from the impossibility of any but
a divine Person being his surety; and of anyone being provided and
appointed as such but by God himself; from the insufficiency of his
friends to judge of his cause, and from the condition and circumstances
he was in, Job 17:2-7; then he takes notice of the effects his present
case would have on good men, that though they might be astonished at
it, they would be filled with indignation against hypocrites, and would
not be moved and stumbled by his afflictions to apostatize from and
desert the good ways of God, Job 17:8,9; after which he addresses his
friends, and either calls upon them to renew the dispute with him, or
repent of their notions, and join with him in his sentiments,
Job 17:10; and lastly describes his state and circumstances, according
to his apprehension of things, observing the shortness of his life, and
the darkness of the dispensation he was under, through one thing and
another, Job 17:11,12; that he had nothing but the grave in view,
which, and its attendants, he had made very familiar with him,
Job 17:13,14; and that he had no hope of restoration to a better
condition, as to his outward circumstances, and that he, and his hopes
his friends would have him entertain, and they also, would go down
together to the grave, and there should lie in the dust, and rest
together till the morning of the resurrection, Job 17:15,16.

Job 17 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.