|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 16. - They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust. There is great difficulty in determining the subject to the verb "go down," which is the third person plural feminine, whereas the only plural substantive at all near - the word translated "bars" - is masculine. Some suppose Job's hopes to be meant, "hope" in the preceding verse having the force of any number of "hopes" (so the R.V.) Others disregard the grammatical difficulty of the plural feminine verb, and, making "bars" the nominative, translate, "The bars of Sheol shall go down," i.e. "be broken down, perish;" or interrogatively, "Shall the bars of Sheol go down?" This rendering is thought to be "in harmony with the whole undercurrent of thought in the chapter;" but it has not approved itself to many commentators. The present commentator must acknowledge that he is unable to attach any satisfactory meaning to the words of the Hebrew text.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They shall go down to the bars of the pit,.... He himself, and his friends, and the hopes they would have him entertain; these should all go down together to the grave, and there lie barred and locked up; these hopes, so as never to rise anymore, and the bodies of himself, and his friends, till loosed by him who has the keys of hell and death: or "the bars shall go down to the grave"; the members of his body, as Jarchi, which are the bars of it, as some in Bar Tzemach; the strength and support of it, as particularly the bones, these shall go down to the grave, and there turn to rottenness and dust; and therefore, as if he should say, as he elsewhere does, "what is my strength, that I should hope?" Job 6:11;
when our rest together is in the dust; which is man's original, and to which he returns, and in which the dead lie and sleep until the resurrection; and where they are at rest from all adversity and affliction of body, mind, and estate; from all the troubles and vexations occasioned by wicked men, and from all disputes, wranglings, contentions, and animosities among friends, which would be the case of Job, and his friends, when their heads were laid in the dust, and which he supposed would quickly be; and therefore it was in vain for them to feed him with hopes of outward happiness, and for him to entertain them; it best came them both to think of death and the grave as near at hand, where their controversies would be buried, and they would be good friends, and lie quietly together, and take their rest until they should awake and rise to everlasting life.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. They—namely, my hopes shall be buried with me.
bars—(Isa 38:10). Rather, the wastes or solitudes of the pit (sheol, the unseen world).
rest together—the rest of me and my hope is in, &c. Both expire together. The word "rest" implies that man's ceaseless hopes only rob him of rest.
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