|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.
Verse 5. - He that speaketh flattery to his friends; rather, he that denounceth his friends for a prey. Job means to accuse his "comforters" of so acting. By their persistent belief in his grievous wickedness they give him up, as it were, for a prey to calamity, which they pronounce him to have deserved on account of his secret sins. Even the eyes of his children shall fail. Whoever so acts shall be punished, not only in his own person, but also in the persons of his descendants (comp. Exodus 20:5).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He that speaketh flattery to his friends,.... As Job's friends did to him when they promised great outward prosperity, and a restoration to his former state, and to a greater affluence upon his repentance and reformation; or when they spoke deceitfully for God, pretending great regard to the honour of his justice and holiness, and therefore insisted on it that he must be a wicked man and an hypocrite, that was afflicted by him, as Job was:
even the eyes of his children shall fail; so hateful are some sins to God, and particularly deceitful tongues, and flattering lips, that he will punish them in their posterity; the eyes of their children shall fail for want of sustenance, and while they are looking in vain for salvation and deliverance out of trouble, see Exodus 20:4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. The Hebrew for "flattery" is "smoothness"; then it came to mean a prey divided by lot, because a smooth stone was used in casting the lots (De 18:8), "a portion" (Ge 14:24). Therefore translate, "He that delivers up his friend as a prey (which the conduct of my friends implies that they would do), even the eyes," &c. [Noyes] (Job 11:20). Job says this as to the sinner's children, retorting upon their reproach as to the cutting off of his (Job 5:4; 15:30). This accords with the Old Testament dispensation of legal retribution (Ex 20:5).
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