Job 20:17

17 He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream.

Job 20:17 in Other Translations

17 He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.
17 He will not look upon the rivers, the streams flowing with honey and curds.
17 They will never again enjoy streams of olive oil or rivers of milk and honey.
17 No quiet picnics for them beside gentle streams with fresh-baked bread and cheese, and tall, cool drinks.
17 He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream.

Job 20:17 Meaning and Commentary

Job 20:17

He shall not see the rivers
Of water, or meet with any to assuage his thirst, which poison excites, and so makes a man wish for water, and desire large quantities; but this shall not be granted the wicked man; this might be illustrated in the case of the rich man in hell, who desired a drop of cold water to cool his tongue, but could not have it, ( Luke 16:24 ) ; though rather plenty of good things is here intended, see ( Isaiah 48:18 ) ; as also the following expressions:

the floods, the brooks of honey and butter;
or "cream"; which are hyperbolical expressions, denoting the great profusion and abundance of temporal blessings, which either the covetous rich man was ambitious of obtaining, and hoped to enjoy, seeking and promising great things to himself, which yet he should never attain unto; or else the sense is, though he had enjoyed such plenty, and been in such great prosperity as to have honey and butter, or all temporal good things, flowing about him like rivers, and floods, and brooks; yet he should "see [them] no more", so Broughton reads the words; and perhaps Zophar may have respect to the abundance Job once possessed, but should no more, and which is by himself expressed by such like metaphors, ( Job 29:6 ) ; yea, even spiritual and eternal good things may be designed, and the plenty of them, as they often are in Scripture, by wine, and milk, and honey; such as the means of grace, the word and ordinances, the blessings of grace dispensed and communicated through them; spiritual peace and joy, called the rivers of pleasure; the love of God, and the streams of it, which make glad his people; yea, eternal glory and happiness, signified by new wine in the kingdom of God, and by a river of water of life, and a tree of life by it, see ( Isaiah 55:1 ) ( 66:12 ) ( Joel 3:18 ) ( Psalms 36:8 ) ( 46:4 ) ( Revelation 22:1 Revelation 22:2 ) ; which are what carnal men and hypocrites shall never see or enjoy; and whereas Zophar took Job to be such a man, he may have a principal view to him, and object this to the beatific vision of God, and the enjoyment of eternal happiness he promised himself, ( Job 19:26 Job 19:27 ) . Bar Tzemach observes, that these words are to be read by a transposition thus, "he shall not see rivers [of water], floods of honey, and brooks of butter".

Job 20:17 In-Context

15 He will spit out the riches he swallowed; God will make his stomach vomit them up.
16 He will suck the poison of serpents; the fangs of an adder will kill him.
17 He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream.
18 What he toiled for he must give back uneaten; he will not enjoy the profit from his trading.
19 For he has oppressed the poor and left them destitute; he has seized houses he did not build.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Psalms 36:8
  • 2. Deuteronomy 32:13
  • 3. Deuteronomy 32:14; Job 29:6
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