|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:1-9 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 1-16. - The general character of this chapter has been considered in the introductory section to ch. 16. It is occupied mainly with Job's complaints of his treatment by his friends, and his lamentations over his sufferings (vers. 1-12). At the end he appeals to the grave, as the only hope or comfort left to him (vers. 13-16). Verse 1. - My breath is corrupt; or, my spirit is oppressed. But the physical meaning is the more probable one. A fetid breath is one of the surest signs of approaching dissolution. My days are extinct; or, cut off. The verb used does not occur elsewhere. The graves are ready for me; or, the chambers of the grave are mine already. The plural form is best explained by regarding it as referring to the niches commonly cut in a sepulchral chamber to receive the bodies of the departed (see Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible,' vol. 3. pp. 1528-1536).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
My breath is corrupt,.... Through the force of his disease, which made it have an ill smell, so that it was strange and disagreeable to his wife, Job 19:17; passing through his lungs, or other parts, which were affected with some disorder, or as frequently is the case of dying persons, and so Job thought himself to be. The word (n) used has the signification of pain, even of the pains of a woman in travail; and so may signify, that Job drew his breath with great pain, as people troubled with an asthma do, or dying persons in the hiccups, or just fetching their last breath; or "my spirit" (o), as it may be rendered, that is, his vital spirits which were exhausted and spent, there were scarce any left in him; or "my mind" (p), or soul, which was overwhelmed with grief, and so disturbed, that he was not himself, but in a manner distracted with the terrors of God, and the severity of his hand upon him:
my days are extinct; here Job corrects himself; he had spoken of a few years before, but it is as if he should say now, why do I talk of a few years, when I have but a few days to live, and even those are as good as gone? meaning not only his days of prosperity, which were at an entire end, as he thought, but the days of his natural life; the lamp of life was almost burnt out, the oil was spent, the wick was just extinguished, it was like the snuff of a candle going out:
the graves are ready for me; the place of his fathers' sepulchres, the burial place of his ancestors, where many graves were; or he may have respect to various things into which the dead are put, as into so many graves; as besides their being rolled up in linen, as was the way of the eastern countries, there was the coffin, a sort of a grave, and which sometimes was made of stone; and then the place dug in the earth, more properly called the grave, and often over that a sepulchral monument was erected; so that there was grave upon grave. Job does not seem to have any respect to the usage of kings, and great personages, preparing stately monuments for themselves while living, such as the pyramids of Egypt, built by and for their kings, as is supposed; for the words "are ready" are not in the text, only supplied, though they are also by the Targum; they are very short and significant in the original text, "the graves for me", or they are mine; the grave is my property, my house, where I expect shortly to be, and there to abide and dwell until the resurrection, and which was desirable to him; "a grave to me"; that is all that I desire, or can expect; here he wished to be, as he did not doubt he quickly should be; and it is as if he should say, I am ready for that, and so Jarchi paraphrases it; and happy is the man that is ready for the grave, for death, and eternity, for the coming of his Lord, having the grace of God wrought in him, and the righteousness of his living Redeemer on him, which was Job's case; such an one shall go into the nuptial chamber at once, and be received into everlasting habitations.
(n) Pineda. (o) "spiritus meus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, &c. (p) "Anima mea", Piscator, Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Job 17:1-16. Job's Answer Continued.
1. breath … corrupt—result of elephantiasis. But Umbreit, "my strength (spirit) is spent."
extinct—Life is compared to an expiring light. "The light of my day is extinguished."
graves—plural, to heighten the force.
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