|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 14. - I have said to corruption, Thou art my father; i.e. I do not murmur; I accept my lot; I am ready to lie down with corruption, and embrace it, and call it "my father," and henceforth remain with it. The idea that the soul is still with the body in the grave, more or less closely attached to it, and sensible of its condition and changes, was widely prevalent in the ancient world. Where bodies were simply buried, the horrible imagination of a close association with corruption naturally and almost necessarily intruded itself, and led to such reflections as those of Job in this verse. It was partly to get rid of this terrible nightmare that the Egyptians were so careful to embalm the bodies of their dead, and that the Babylonians deposited them in baked clay coffins, which they filled with honey (Herod., 1:198); while others still more effectually prevented the process of corruption by cremation. The modern revival of cremation is remarkable as indicating a peculiar form of atavism or recurrence to ancient types. For many ages after the coming of Christ, men so separated between the soul and the body after death that the corruption of the grave had no horror for them. Now materialistic ideas have so far recurred, that many of those who believe the soul to live on after death are doubtful whether it may not still be attached to the body more or less, end, dreading contact with the corruption, of the latter, fall back upon the old remedy. To the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. An expansion of the idea contained in the previous clause.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I have said to corruption, thou art my father,.... Not to the corruptible seed, of which he was begotten; nor to the corruption or purulent matter of his boils and ulcers, and the worms his flesh was now clothed with, Job 7:5; but to that corruption his body would turn to in the grave, lying long enough to see it, which Christ's body did not, Psalm 16:10; that is, "to the pit of corruption" (c), as it may be rendered, meaning the grave, so called because in it dead bodies corrupt and putrefy: in houses are families consisting of various persons, of different relations, who dwell together in friendship and harmony, very lovingly and familiarly, as father and mother, brother and sister; so in the grave, the dwelling house of men, there are inhabitants that dwell together, as if they were familiar friends and acquaintance; and with these, Job claims kindred, such as corruption, rottenness, dust and worms, and these he speaks unto, not only very familiarly, but very respectfully; the note of Bar Tzemach is,
"I honour the grave as a son a father, that it may receive me quickly;''
yea, he speaks as not ashamed of the relation, but is fond of it; "I called" or "cried" (d) that is, aloud, with great vehemency and affection:
to the worm, thou art my mother and my sister; these are the rather mentioned, because the relation is near, and they are very loving and tender, and abide in the house, see Proverbs 7:4; he calls these his mother and sister, as the above Jewish commentator observes, because the might lie in their bosom; by all this Job would represent how familiar death and the grave were to him, and how little he dreaded them; yea, how desirable they were to him, since he should be at home, and among his relations and friends.
(c) "foveam", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Drusius, &c. (d) "vocavi", Montanus; "clamavi", Mercerus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. Thou art my father, &c.—expressing most intimate connection (Pr 7:4). His diseased state made him closely akin to the grave and worm.
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