Job 17:10
But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.
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(10) But as for you all, do ye return.—This is probably said with irony. “Come again and renew the argument between us; but I shall not be able to find a wise man among you. I am willing to listen to your argument, but I am confident as to the result of it.”

For I cannot find.—Rather, and I shall not find: i.e., if ye renew the argument.

Job 17:10. But as for you all — Who have charged me so heavily. Do you return and come now — Recollect yourselves: reflect on what I have said, and consider my cause again; peradventure your second thoughts may be wiser. For I cannot find one wise man among you — Namely, as to this matter. None of you judge truly of my case; nor speak like wise and good men; but, like rash and inconsiderate persons, you censure me as a hypocrite, judge erroneously of God’s ways, and condemn the generation of his children on false grounds and frivolous pretences.

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.But as for you all, do you return - This may mean, either, "return to the debate;" or, "return from your unjust and uncharitable opinion concerning me." The former seems to accord best with the scope of the passage. Tindal renders it, "Get you hence." Dr. Good, "Get ye hence, and begone, I pray." Wemyss, "Repeat your discourses as often as you may, I do not find a wise man among you." It is doubtful, however, whether the Hebrew will bear this construction.

For I cannot find one wise man among you - Perhaps the idea here is, "I have not yet found one wise man among you, and you are invited, therefore, to renew the argument. Hitherto you have said nothing that indicates wisdom. Try again, and see if you can say anything now that shall deserve attention." If this is the meaning, it shows that Job was willing to hear all that they had to say, and to give them credit for wisdom, if they ever evinced any.

10. return—If you have anything to advance really wise, though I doubt it, recommence your speech. For as yet I cannot find one wise man among you all. Return, and come now, i.e. come now again, (as this phrase is oft used,) and renew the debate, as I see you are prepared and resolved to do, and I am ready to receive you. Or, return into yourselves, and consider my cause again; peradventure your second thoughts may be wiser.

One wise man, to wit, in this matter. None of you speak like wise or good men, but like rash and heady persons; you censure me as a rotten hypocrite, and misjudge of God’s ways, and condemn the generation of God’s children upon frivolous grounds.

But as for you all, do ye return, and come now,.... This is an address to his three friends, all and everyone of them, who he perceived were nettled with his reply, and were either departing, or preparing for a rejoinder; and being conscious of his innocence, and satisfied of the goodness of his cause, and having nothing to fear from them, boldly challenges them to go on with the dispute; for though they were three to one, he was a match for them all; or else he calls upon them to turn and repent of what they had said to him, to relinquish the bad notions and ill opinion they had of him, and to retract their hard speeches and unjust censures, and return to a friendly and amicable conversation; or however, that they would come and sit down quietly, and patiently hear what he had further to say to them for their information and instruction, which they stood in great need of:

for I cannot find one wise man among you; that took his case right, was capable of judging of it, and speaking pertinently to it, and of administering comfort to him in it; they were physicians, but not skilful ones; comforters, but miserable ones; had not the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season; disputants, but wranglers, and knew not where the pinch of the controversy lay; and their arguments were weak and worthless, and their judgment and sense of things not deserving any regard, see 1 Corinthians 6:5.

But as for {l} you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.

(l) Job speaks to the three who came to comfort him.

10. do ye return, and come] Job bids them renew, if they please, their attempts to solve his problem or deal with his case; as often as they did so they only revealed their incapacity and foolishness.

for I cannot find one wise man] Rather, I shall not find. Their renewed attempts would have no better success than their former ones, they would be found by Job as foolish as before.

10–16. Final repudiation by Job of the false hopes of recovery which the friends held out to him. He knows better, his hope is in the grave.

Turning with a last word to his friends Job bids them renew as often as they chose their attempts to explain his condition, they should only shew themselves ignorant and incapable (Job 17:10). The hopes they held out were vain; his days were at an end and all the enterprises and dearest purposes of his life for ever broken off (Job 17:11-12). His hope was in the grave, where alone he would find rest (Job 17:13-16).

Verse 10. - But as for you all, do ye return, and come now. A challenge to his detractors. Return, all of you, to your old work of detraction, if you so please. I care not. Your accusations no longer vex me. For I cannot find one wise man among you. If I could the case would be different. But, as you have all shown yourselves wholly devoid of wisdom (comp. Job 42:8), what you say has no real importance. Job 17:1010 But only come again all of you!

I shall not find a wise man among you. -

11 My days are past, My purposes cut off,

The cherished thoughts of my heart, -

12 Ye explain night as day,

Light is near when darkness sets in.

The truly righteous man, even if in the midst of his affliction he should see destruction before him, does not however forsake God. But (nevertheless) ye - he exclaims to the friends, who promise him a long and prosperous life if he will only humble himself as a sinner who is receiving punishment - repeat again and again your hortatory words on penitence! a wise man who might be able to see into my real condition, I shall not find among you. He means that they deceive themselves concerning the actual state of the case before them; for in reality he is meeting death without being deceived, or allowing himself to be deceived, about the matter. His appeal is similar to Job 6:29. Carey translates correctly: Attack me again with another round of arguments, etc. Instead of ואוּלם, as it is written everywhere else (generally when the speech is drawing to a close), we find ואלּם (as the form of writing אלם, אלּם occurs also in the subst. אוּלם), perh. in order to harmonize with כּלּם, which is here according to rule instead of כּלּכם, which corresponds more to our form of a vocative clause, just as in 1 Kings 22:28; Micah 1:2 (Ewald, 327, a).

(Note: Comp. my Anekdota zur Gesch. der mittelalterlichen Scholastik unter Juden und Moslemen (1841), S. 380.)

In וּבאוּ תּשׁוּבוּ the jussive and imper. (for the Chethib יבאי, which occurs in some Codd. and editions, is meaningless) are united, the former being occasioned by the arrangement of the words, which is unfavourable to the imper. (comp. Ew. 229); moreover, the first verb gives the adverbial notion iterum, denuo to the second, according to Ges. 142, 3, a.

What follows, Job 17:11, is the confirmation of the fact that there is no wise man among them who might be able to give him efficient solace by a right estimate of the magnitude and undeservedness of his suffering. His life is indeed run out; and the most cherished plans and hopes which he had hedged in and fostered for the future in his heart, he has utterly and long since given up. The plur. (occurring only here) of זמּה, which occurs also sensu malo, signifies projects, as מזמות, Job 21:27; Job 42:2, from זמם, to tie; Aben-Ezra refers to the Arab. zamâm (a thread, band, esp. a rein). These plans which are now become useless, these cherished thoughts, he calls מורשׁי, peculia (from ירשׁ, to take possession of) of his heart. Thus, after Obad. Oba 1:17, Gecatilia (in Aben-Ezra) also explains, while, according to Ewald, Beitrge, S. 98, he understands the heart-strings, i.e., the trunks of the arteries (for thus is Arab. n't to be explained), and consequently, as Ewald himself, and even Farisol, most improbably combines מורשׁ with מותר (יתר). Similarly the lxx τὰ ἄρθρα τῆς καρδίας, as though the joints (instead of the valves) of the heart were intended; probably with Middeldorpf, after the Syriac Hexapla, ἄκρα is to be read instead of ἄρθρα; this, however, rests upon a mistaking of מורשׁי for ראשׁי. While he is now almost dead, and his life-plans of the future are torn away (נתּקוּ), the friends turn night into day (שׂים, as Isaiah 5:20); light is (i.e., according to their opinion) nearer than the face of darkness, i.e., than the darkness which is in reality turned to him, and which is as though it stared at him from the immediate future. Thus Nolde explains it as comparative, but connecting Job 17:12 with ישׂימו, and considering פני (which is impossible by this compar. rendering) as meaningless: lucem magis propinquam quam tenebras. It is however possible that מפני is used the same as in Job 23:17 : light is, as they think near before darkness, i.e., while darkness sets in (ingruentibus tenebris), according to which we have translated. If we understand Job 23:12 from Job's standpoint, and not from that of the friends, מן קרוב is to be explained according to the Arab. qrı̂b mn, prope abest ab, as the lxx even translatesφῶς ἐγγὺς ἀπὸ προσώπου σκότους, which Olympiodorus interprets by ου ̓ μακρὰν σκότους. But by this rendering פני makes the expression, which really needs investigation, only still lamer. Renderings, however, like Renan's Ah! votre lumire resemble aux tenbres, are removed from all criticism. The subjective rendering, by which Job 17:12 is under the government of ישׂימו, is after all the most natural. That he has darkness before him, while the friends present to him the approach of light on condition of penitence, is the thought that is developed in the next strophe.

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