The Trial of Job

Chapter 17

Job appeals from men to God, 1-5. The unmerciful dealing of men with the afflicted may astonish, but not discourage the righteous, 6-10. His hope is not in life, but in death, 11-16.

"My breath is corrupt. My days are extinct./
The graves are ready for me.

Are there not mockers with me?/
And does my eye not continue in their provocation?

Give now a pledge and put me in a surety with you./
Who is he who will strike hands with me?

For you have hid their heart from understanding;/
therefore, you shall not exalt them.

He who speaks flattery to his friends,/
even the eyes of his children shall fail.

He has made me also a by-word of the people,/
and they spit in my face.

My eye also is dim by reason of sorrow,/
and all my members are like a shadow.

Upright men shall be astonished at this,/
and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.

The righteous shall also hold on his way,/
and he who has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger.

10 But as for you all, return, and come now,/
for I cannot find one wise man among you.

11 My days are past. My purposes are broken off,/
even the thoughts of my heart.

12 They change the night into day./
The light is short because of darkness.

13 If I wait, the grave is my house./
I have made my bed in the darkness.

14 I have said to corruption, 'You are my father,'/
and to the worm, 'You are my mother and my sister.'

15 And now where is my hope?/
As for my hope, who will see it?

16 They shall go down to the bars of the pit/
when our rest together is in the dust."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 17[➚]


John Gill's 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 (verse 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 (verses 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 (verses 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 (verse 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 (verses 11-12); that he had nothing but the grave in view, which, and its attendants, he had made very familiar with him (verses 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 until the morning of the resurrection (verses 15-16).

[v.1] - "My breath is corrupt" - Or, "My spirit is consumed."

[v.3] - "strike hands with me" - From Matthew Poole's Commentary: "That is, agree and promise, or be surety to me; whereof that was the usual gesture (Proverbs 6:1-2, 17:18, 22:26)."