Job 17 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Job 17)

Verse 1

[1] My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.

The graves — He speaks of the sepulchres of his fathers, to which he must be gathered. The graves where they are laid, are ready for me also. Whatever is unready, the grave is ready for us: it is a bed soon made. And if the grave be ready for us, it concerns us, to be ready for the grave.

Verse 2

[2] Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation?

Are not — Do not my friends, instead of comforting, mock me? Thus he returns to what he had said, chap. 16:20, and intimates the justice of his following appeal.

Verse 3

[3] Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?

Surety — These words contain, an humble desire to God that he would be his surety, or appoint him a surety who should maintain his righteous cause against his opposers.

Strike hands — Be surety to me; whereof that was the usual gesture.

Verse 4

[4] For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.

Hid — Thou hast blinded the minds of my friends: therefore I desire a more wise and able judge.

Therefore — Thou wilt not give them the victory over me in this contest, but wilt make them ashamed of their confidence.

Verse 7

[7] Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow.

As a shadow — I am grown so poor and thin, that I am not to be called a man, but the shadow of a man.

Verse 8

[8] Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.

Astonied — At the depth and mysteriousness of God's judgments, which fall on innocent men, while the worst of men prosper.

Yet — Notwithstanding all these sufferings of good men, and the astonishment which they cause, he shall the more zealously oppose those hypocrites, who make these strange providences of God an objection to religion.

Verse 10

[10] But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.

Come — And renew the debate, as I see you are resolved to do.

Verse 11

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

My days — The days of my life. I am a dying man, and therefore the hopes you give me of the bettering of my condition, are vain.

Purposes — Which I had in my prosperous days, concerning myself and children.

Verse 12

[12] They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.

They — My thoughts so incessantly pursue and disturb me, that I can no more sleep in the night, than in the day.

The light — The day-light, which often gives some comfort to men in misery, seems to be gone as soon as it is begun.

Darkness — Because of my grievous pains and torments which follow me by day as well as by night.

Verse 13

[13] If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.

Wait — For deliverance, I should be disappointed; for I am upon the borders of the grave, I expect no rest but in the dark grave, for which therefore I prepare myself. I endeavour to make it easy, by keeping my conscience pure, by seeing Christ lying in this bed, (so turning it into a bed of spices) and by looking beyond it to the resurrection.

Verse 14

[14] I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.

Corruption — Heb. to the pit of corruption, the grave.

Father — I am near a-kin to thee, and thou wilt receive and keep me in thy house, as parents do their children.

Verse 15

[15] And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?

Hope — The happiness you would have me expect.

Verse 16

[16] They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.

They — My hopes, of which he spake in the singular number, verse 15, which he here changes into the plural, as is usual in these poetical books.

Bars — Into the innermost parts of the pit: my hopes are dying, and will be buried in my grave. We must shortly be in the dust, under the bars of the pit, held fast there, 'till the general resurrection. All good men, if they cannot agree now will there rest together. Let the foresight of this cool the heat of all contenders, and moderate the disputers of this world.