Summary: This is a study into Job seventeen.
1 "My spirit is broken, My days are extinguished, The grave is ready for me. 2 Are not mockers with me? And does not my eye dwell on their provocation? 3 "Now put down a pledge for me with Yourself. Who is he who will shake hands with me? 4 For You have hidden their heart from understanding; Therefore You will not exalt them. 5 He who speaks flattery to his friends, Even the eyes of his children will fail.” Job 17:1-5 (NKJV)
JOB – A BROKEN MAN
Job is still speaking in this chapter. Broken in body and spirit, Job feels the grave is near. Verse one shows that he has lost all hope. He states his condition by pointing out three facts.
1. My spirit is broken.
2. My days are used up.
3. The grave is dug and ready.
Then Job speaks of the environment that he finds himself.
1. Mockers stand about me.
2. I stare at their charges.
The mockers that Job speaks of are none other then his friends. From the time that they opened their mouths – they brought changes against Job. None of them would even consider that Job was telling the truth or that he could be innocent. Do the innocent suffer? Their answer was always no. Their thought process was that God does not punish the innocent. God does not allow bad things to happen to good people. Their minds were closed to even considering that possibility.
Job laments his loss of the respect of neighbors and friends. It hurt as deeply as the material losses he has suffered. The total loss of standing in the community is like rubbing salt in his open wounds.
In verse three Job turns his attention to God. Job asks God to make an agreement with him. The Message Bible says; "O God, pledge your support for me. Give it to me in writing, with your signature. You’re the only one who can do it!” Job 17:3 (MSG) The New King James says that the agreement was sealed with a handshake. The point of verse three is found in verse four. Job’s believes his friends do not have understanding – that God has hidden understanding from them – therefore Job wants to be assured that God is on his side.
It is difficult to stand when everyone around says that you have fallen. No wonder Job wants to know that God is on his side. “If God is for us – who can be against us?”
The Message Bible renders verse five as: “Those who betray their own friends leave a legacy of abuse to their children.” Job 17:5 (MSG) Job knows that his friends had turned their backs on him. Even though they were by his side – they were far from him. Job did not want his friends to flatter him, for even the children of flatterers are in danger. What Job wanted was for them to have an open mind and to see the possibility that he was speaking the truth. He would have liked them to consider that possibility.
6 "But He has made me a byword of the people, And I have become one in whose face men spit. 7 My eye has also grown dim because of sorrow, And all my members are like shadows. 8 Upright men are astonished at this, And the innocent stirs himself up against the hypocrite. 9 Yet the righteous will hold to his way, And he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger. 10 "But please, come back again, all of you, For I shall not find one wise man among you. Job 17:6-10 (NKJV)
THE SOCIAL STANDING OF JOB
Job again addresses himself to the men before him. He has become a spectacle before men, and his crushed condition a byword among his neighbors. He fears that all hope for righting this wrong will go to the grave with him, but we later learn that God did not let it happen. Socially Job has become an outcast. Physically his condition has deteriorated.
Verses eight and nine show how the people around Job are treating him. Men of good reputation are “amazed” of what has happened to Job. They believe Job is a hypocrite. The word “hypocrite” has its roots in Greek. Its origin goes back to a term used for a stage actor. It means one who pretends to be something that he is not. Job of course is claiming this is not what he is doing. He claims his innocence – and believes in his innocence – there is no acting here. But Job goes on to say that the righteous hold to the truth – not letting go and are getting stronger.
Job makes a plea of his friends in verse ten. He asks them to “come back”. The reason being – he is still looking for “one wise man”. Perhaps Job can still win one over.