Job 17

1 My spirit is broken, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me.
2 Surely there are mockers around me, and my eye dwells on their provocation.
3 "Lay down a pledge for me with yourself; who is there that will give surety for me?
4 Since you have closed their minds to understanding, therefore you will not let them triumph.
5 Those who denounce friends for reward— the eyes of their children will fail.
6 "He has made me a byword of the peoples, and I am one before whom people spit.
7 My eye has grown dim from grief, and all my members are like a shadow.
8 The upright are appalled at this, and the innocent stir themselves up against the godless.
9 Yet the righteous hold to their way, and they that have clean hands grow stronger and stronger.
10 But you, come back now, all of you, and I shall not find a sensible person among you.
11 My days are past, my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart.
12 They make night into day; "The light,' they say, "is near to the darkness.'
13 If I look for Sheol as my house, if I spread my couch 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 Sheol? Shall 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.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Meaning of Heb 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

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.