Job 17

1 My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.
2 Surely mockers surround me; my eyes must dwell on their hostility.
3 “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me?
4 You have closed their minds to understanding; therefore you will not let them triumph.
5 If anyone denounces their friends for reward, the eyes of their children will fail.
6 “God has made me a byword to everyone, a man in whose face people spit.
7 My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow.
8 The upright are appalled at this; the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.
9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.
10 “But come on, all of you, try again! I will not find a wise man among you.
11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart
12 turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near.
13 If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness,
14 if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’
15 where then is my hope— who can see any hope for me?
16 Will it go down to the gates of death? Will we descend together into 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 34

  • 1. Psalms 143:4
  • 2. Isaiah 38:12
  • 3. Psalms 88:3-4; Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
  • 4. S Job 11:3; 1 Samuel 1:6-7
  • 5. S Job 6:14; Psalms 22:7; Psalms 119:51; Jeremiah 20:7; Lamentations 3:14
  • 6. Psalms 35:27; Psalms 119:122
  • 7. Proverbs 6:1
  • 8. Psalms 35:2; Psalms 40:17; Isaiah 38:14
  • 9. S Job 12:12
  • 10. S Exodus 22:15
  • 11. S Job 11:20
  • 12. S 1 Kings 9:7; Job 30:9; Jeremiah 15:4
  • 13. S ver 2
  • 14. S Numbers 12:14
  • 15. S Job 16:8
  • 16. S Job 2:12; S Job 16:16
  • 17. S Exodus 4:14; Job 22:19
  • 18. Proverbs 4:18
  • 19. S 2 Samuel 22:21; S Job 9:30; Job 22:30
  • 20. S 1 Samuel 2:4; Psalms 84:7
  • 21. S Job 12:2
  • 22. ver 15; Isaiah 38:10
  • 23. S Job 7:6
  • 24. Isaiah 50:11
  • 25. Job 5:17-26; S Job 11:17
  • 26. S 2 Samuel 14:14; S Job 3:13
  • 27. Psalms 139:8
  • 28. Psalms 88:18
  • 29. Job 13:28; Job 30:28,30; Psalms 16:10; Psalms 49:9
  • 30. S Job 4:19; S Job 7:5; Job 21:26
  • 31. S Job 7:6
  • 32. Psalms 31:22; Lamentations 3:18; Ezekiel 37:11
  • 33. Job 3:17-19; S Job 7:9; Job 33:28; Psalms 9:13; Psalms 30:3; Psalms 107:18; Isaiah 38:10,17; John 2:6
  • 34. S Genesis 2:7; S Job 3:19; Job 20:11; Job 21:26

Chapter Summary

\\INTRODUCTION JOB 17\\

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