|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:10-16 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.
Verse 12. - They change the night into day. They, my detractors, who are also my so-called "comforters," pretend to change my night into day; assure me that the cloud which rests on me is only for a time, and will ere long give place to the brightness of day, to a glorious burst of sunshine (see Job 5:18-26; Job 8:21, 22; Job 11:15-19). The light (they say) is short because of darkness; or, rather, is near because of the darkness. To extreme darkness shows that dawn must be near, that the day must soon break when my sorrow will be turned into joy. Job had not found himself comforted by these assurances, which lacked the ring of sincerity, and could not be accomplished except by miracle, which he did not feel that he had any right to expect.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They change the night into day,.... Meaning either his friends, by what they had said unto him, or the thoughts of his heart, which comes to the same sense; these being in the night season employed about what had been said to him in the day, insomuch that he could get no sleep, the night was as broad day unto him; or they put the day before the night, contrary to the order of nature, as Noldius (z) observes, whereas the night is before the day, Genesis 1:5; his friends promising him long days, and an age clearer than noon day, as bright as the morning, Job 11:17; when the night of death was coming on, and he was hastening to the dark and silent grave:
the light is short because of darkness; the morning light, or light of the day, when that comes continues but for a short time, because of the darkness of the evening, which quickly follows; or because of the darkness of fiction, which fills it up, and makes it uncomfortable; or the light of prosperity, could it be enjoyed, is but short, because of the darkness of adversity; or "the light is near" (a), as in the original text; though Jarchi interprets the word "short" as we do; Noldius renders it, "the light is rather nearer than darkness" (b); after the night has been spent without sleep, the morning light is nearer than darkness; that may soon be expected, and so an end to sleep and rest.
(z) Ebr. Part. Concord. No. 1931. (a) "propinquam", Pagninus, Montanus; so Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. (b) Ib. p. 642.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. They—namely, "my friends."
change the night into day—that is, would try to persuade me of the change of my misery into joy, which is impossible [Umbreit] (Job 11:17); (but) the light of prosperity (could it be enjoyed) would be short because of the darkness of adversity. Or better for "short," the Hebrew "near"; "and the light of new prosperity should be near in the face of (before) the darkness of death"; that is, they would persuade me that light is near, even though darkness approaches.
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