Job 17:12
They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.
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(12) They change the night into day.—Comp. Job 11:17. So little did his friends enter into his case that they wanted him to believe that his night of trial was the reverse of darkness, and that there was light at hand. This was to him only the more painful mockery, because of its contrast to his felt condition. He, on the contrary, says that his only hope is in the grave. “The light,” say they, “is near unto the darkness; that it is near before the darkness cometh; they try to persuade me that prosperity is close at hand.”

Job 17:12. They change the night into day — My distressing thoughts, griefs, and fears, so incessantly pursue and disturb me, that I can no more sleep in the night than in the day. The light is short — The day-light, which often gives some comfort to men in misery, seems to be gone and fled as soon as it is begun; because of darkness — Because of my grievous pains and torments, which follow me by day as well as by night.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.They change - The word "they" in this place, some understand as referring to his friends; others, to his thoughts. Rosenmuller supposes it is to be taken impersonally, and that the meaning is, "night is become day to me." Wemyss translates it, "night is assigned me for day." So Dr. Good renders it. The meaning may be, that the night was to him as the day. He had no rest. The period when he had formerly sought repose, was now made like the day, and all was alike gloom and sadness.

The light is short because of darkness - Margin, near. The meaning is, probably, "even the day has lost its usual brilliancy and cheerfulness, and has become gloomy and sad. It seems to be like night. Neither night nor day is natural to me; the one is restless and full of cares like the usual employments of day, and the other is gloomy, or almost night, where there is no comfort and peace. Day brings to me none of its usual enjoyments. It is short, gloomy, sad, and hastens away, and a distressing and restless night soon comes on."

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.

They; either,

1. My friends. Or,

2. My sorrows, of which he is here speaking. Or,

3. My thoughts, last mentioned. Possibly these words may be joined with them thus, The thoughts of my heart change the night into day.

Change the night into day; they do so incessantly pursue and disturb me, that I can no more rest and sleep in the dark and silent nights, than in the midst of the light and tumults of the day. Or,

they change the day into night, Heb. they put the night for or instead of (as the Hebrew lamed is elsewhere used) the day, i.e. they make the day as sad and dark as the night to me. So it seems best to agree with the following branch of the verse.

The light is short, i.e. the day-light, which ofttimes gives some little comfort and refreshment to men in misery, seems to be gone and fled as soon as it is begun.

Because of darkness, i.e. because of my grievous pains and torments, which follow me by day as well as by night. 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.

They change the {m} night into day: the light is short because of darkness.

(m) That is, have brought me sorrow instead of comfort.

12. This verse appears to be a description by Job of the delusive and foolish proceeding of his friends.

They change the night into day] The night of calamity and death in which Job is enveloped and into which he is entering more deeply they change into the day of life and renewed prosperity. While in truth the shadows of the final night encompass Job the friends are for ever pretending that the bright day of restoration is going to dawn (cf. ch. Job 5:17 seq., Job 8:20 seq. &c.). The second clause of the verse is obscure.

the light is short because of darkness] The meaning of the A.V. is not easy to perceive. The words most naturally continue Job’s account of the representations of his friends, and express what they hold out. The fair literal rendering is either, the light is near the face of darkness; or, the light is nearer than the face of darkness. The light, the same as the “day” of the first clause, is life and prosperity; this the friends make out to be near, close upon, the face of darkness—Job’s present condition of affliction. The other translation, “nearer than the face of darkness,” gives a fuller sense to the phrase face of darkness. By this expression Job means the darkness of death, whose face was visible and manifest, so close was it upon him.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. 6 And He hath made me a proverb to the world,

And I became as one in whose face they spit.

7 Then mine eye became dim with grief,

And all my members were like a shadow.

8 The upright were astonished at it,

And the innocent is stirred up over the godless;

9 Nevertheless the righteous holdeth fast on his way,

And he that hath clean hands waxeth stronger and stronger.

Without a question, the subj. of Job 17:6 is God. It is the same thing whether משׁל is taken as inf. followed by the subject in the nominative (Ges. 133, 2), or as a subst. (lxx θρύλλημα; Aq., Symm., Theod., παραβολήν), like שׂחוק, Job 12:4, followed by the gen. subjectivus. משׁל is the usual word for ridicule, expressed in parables of a satirical character, e.g., Joel 2:17 (according to which, if משׁל were intended as inf., משׁל־בּי עמּים might have been expected); עמּים signifies both nations and races, and tribes or people, i.e., members of this and that nation, or in gen. of mankind (Job 12:2). We have intentionally chosen an ambiguous expression in the translation, for what Job says can be meant of a wide range of people (comp. on Job 2:11 ad fin.), as well as of those in the immediate neighbourhood; the friends themselves represent different tribes; and a perishable gipsy-like troglodyte race, to whom Job is become a derision, is specially described further on (Job 24, 30).

Job 17:6

By תּפת (translated by Jer. exemplum, and consequently mistaken for מופת) the older expositors are reminded of the name of the place where the sacrifices were offered to Moloch in the valley of the sons of Hinnom (whence גּיהנּם, γέεννα, hell), since they explain it by "the fire of hell," but only from want of a right perception; the לפנים standing with it, which nowhere signifies palam, and cannot here (where אהיה, although in the signification ἐγενόμην, follows) signify a multo tempore, shows that תפת here is to be derived from תּוּף, to spit out (as נפת, gum, from נוּף). This verb certainly cannot be supported in Hebr. and Aram. (since רקק is the commoner word), except two passages in the Talmud (Nidda 42a, comp. Sabbath 99b, and Chethuboth 61b); but it is confirmed by the Aethiopic and Coptic and an onomatopoetic origin, as the words πτύειν, ψύειν, spuere, Germ. speien, etc., show.

(Note: תוף is related to the Sanskrit root shttı̂v, as τέγη, τρύχους, τρύζω, and the like, to στέγη, στρύχνος, στρύζω,, vid., Kuhn's Zeitschrift, Bd. iv. Abh. i.((the falling away of s before mutes).)

Cognate is the Arabic taffafa, to treat with contempt, and the interjection tuffan, fie upon thee,

(Note: Almost all modern expositors repeat the remark here, that this tuffan is similar in meaning to ῥακά, Matthew 5:22, while they might learn from Lightfoot that it has nothing to do with רק, to spit, but is equivalent to ריקא, κενέ.)


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