Job 17:15
And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?
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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.And where is now my hope? - What hope have I of life? What possibility is there of my escape from death?

Who shall see it? - That is, who will see any hopes that I may now cherish fulfilled. If I cherish any, they will be disappointed, and no one will see them accomplished.

15. Who shall see it fulfilled? namely, the "hope" (Job 11:18) which they held out to him of restoration. Where is now my hope? and what then is become of that hope which you advised me to entertain?

My hope, i.e. the fulfilling of my hope, or the happiness which you would have me expect; hope being put for the thing hoped for, as Proverbs 13:12 1 Corinthians 9:10.

Who shall see it? no man shall see it: it shall never be.

And where is now my hope?.... Not the grace of hope, which was in his heart; and though it might sometimes be low in exercise, it could not be lost; it is an anchor, sure and steadfast, and is one of the graces that always abides, and never disappoints and makes ashamed; nor the object of hope, eternal glory and happiness in another world, that is laid up in heaven, and for which he was looking and waiting by faith; but his hope of outward happiness, and of being restored to his former state of prosperity, or a better, which his friends encouraged him to; this had no place in him, nor did he see any reason to cherish it; all ground and foundation of it was removed, as he apprehended; there was nothing on which he could build such an hope as that, see Job 6:11;

as for my hope, who shall see it? that is, which his friends would have him hope for, a line house, a large estate, a numerous family, honour and respect among men, long life, and an abundance of outward peace and happiness; this he was firmly persuaded he should never see, being just going into the grave, nor his friends that suggested these things to him, nor anybody else; though indeed what he himself truly hoped for might be rightly thus described, being things not seen by the eye of the body, nor by carnal sense and reason, but are the invisible glories and realities of another world, for "hope that is seen is not hope", &c. Romans 8:24; but Job does not design these, but the former.

And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?
15. If in fact and in his own feeling Job so surely belongs to death, where is the brilliant hope which his friends hold out, and who shall ever see such a hope realized? or, who can perceive a trace of it? His hope in truth is another (Job 17:13).

Verse 15. - And where is now my hope? (comp. Job 14:18-15). At first sight it might seem that to cue in Sheol there could be no hope. But Job is too conscious of his own ignorance to dogmatize on such a subject. What does he know of Sheol? How can he be sure that it is "God's last word to men"? There may be As for my hope, who shall see it? i.e. what eye can penetrate the darkness of the future, and solve the riddle for me? Job 17:1513 If I hope, it is for Shel as my house,

In darkness I make my bed.

14 I cry to corruption: Thou art my father! -

To the worm: Thou art my mother and sister!

15 Where now therefore is my hope?

And my hope, who seeth it?

16 To the bars of Shel it descends,

When at the same time there is rest in the dust.

All modern expositors transl.: If I hope (wait) for Shel as my house, etc., since they regard Job 17:13. as a hypothetical antecedent clause to Job 17:15, consisting of four members, where the conclusion should begin with ואיּה, and should be indicated by Waw apodosis. There is no objection to this explanation so far as the syntax is concerned, but there will then be weighty thoughts which are also expressed in the form of fresh thoughts, for which independent clauses seem more appropriate, under the government of אם, as if they were presuppositions. The transition from the preceding strophe to this becomes also easier, if we take Job 17:13. as independent clauses from which, in Job 17:15, an inference is drawn, with Waw indicative of the train of thought (Ew. 348). Accordingly, we regard אם־אקוה in Job 17:13 as antecedent (denoted by Dech, i.e., Tiphcha anterius, just as Psalm 139:8) and ביתי שׁאול as conclusion; the Waw apod. is wanting, as e.g., Job 9:27., and the structure of the sentence is similar to Job 9:19. If I hope, says Job, "Shel is my house" equals this is the substance of my hope, that Shel will be my house. In darkness he has (i.e., in his consciousness, which anticipates that which is before him as near and inevitable) fixed his resting-place (poet. strata, as Psalm 132:3). To corruption and the worm he already cries, father! and, mother! sister! It is, as it seems, that bold figure which is indicated in the Job-like Psalm 88:19 ("my acquaintances are the realms of darkness"), which is here (comp. Job 30:29) worked out; and, differently applied, perhaps Proverbs 7:4 echoes it. Since the fem. רמּה is used as the object addressed by אמי and אחותי, which is besides, on account of its always collective meaning (in distinction from תילעת), well suited for this double apostrophe, we may assume that the poet will have used a masc. object for אבי; and there is really no reason against שׁחת here being, with Ramban, Rosenm., Schlottm., Bttcher (de inferis, 179), derived not from שׁוּח (as נחת, Job 17:16, from נוח), but from שׁחת (as נחת, Isaiah 30:30, from נחת), especially since the old versions transl. שׁחת also elsewhere διαφθορά (putredo), and thereby prove that both derivations accord with the structure of the language. Now already conscious of his belonging to corruption and the worm as by the closest ties of relationship, he asks: Itaque ubi tandem spes mea?

The accentuation connects אפו to the following word, instead of uniting it with איּה, just as in Isaiah 19:12; Luzzatto (on Isaiah 19:12) considers this as a mistake in the Codd., and certainly the accentuation Judges 9:38 (איה Kadma, אפוא Mercha) is not according to our model, and even in this passage another arrangement of the accents is found, e.g., in the edition of Brescia.

(Note: This accentuates ואיה with Munach, אפו with Munach, which accords with the matter, instead of which, according to Luzz., since the Athnach-word תקותי consists of three syllables, it should be more correctly accentuated ואיה with Munach, אפו with Dech. Both, also Munach Munach, are admissible; vid., Br, Thorath Emeth, S. 43, 7, comp. S. 71, not.)

No other hope, in Job's opinion, but speedy death is before him; no human eye is capable of seeing, i.e., of discovering (so e.g., Hahn), any other hope than just this. Somewhat differently Hirz. and others: and my hope, viz., of my recovery, who will it see in process of fulfilment? Certainly תקותי is in both instances equivalent to a hope which he dared to harbour; and the meaning is, that beside the one hope which he has, and which is a hope only per antiphrasin, there is no room for another hope; there is none such (Job 17:15), and no one will attain a sight of such, be it visible in the distance or experienced as near at hand (Job 17:15). The subj. of Job 17:16 is not the hope of recovery which the friends present to him (so e.g., Ew.), but his only real hope: this, avoiding human ken, descends to the lower world, for it is the hope of death, and consequently the death of hope. בּדּי signifies bars, bolts, which Hahn denies, although he says himself that בדים signifies beams of wood among other things; "bolts" is not here intended to imply such as are now used in locks, but the cross bars and beams of wood of any size that serve as a fastening to a door; vectis in exactly the same manner combines the meanings, a carrying-pole and a bar, in which signification בּד is the synon. of בּריח.

(Note: Accordingly we also explain Hosea 11:6 after Lamentations 2:9, and transl.: The sword moveth round in his (Ephraim's) cities, and destroyeth his (Ephraim's) bars (i.e., the bars of his gates), and devoureth round about, because of their counsels.)

The meanings assigned to the word, wastes (Schnurrer and others), bounds (Hahn), clefts (Bttch.), and the like, are fanciful and superfluous. On תּרדנה, instead of תּרד, vid., Caspari on Obad. Oba 1:13, Ges. 47, rem. 3. It is sing., not plur. (Bttch.), for Job 17:15 does not speak of two hopes, not even if, as it seems according to the ancient versions, another word of cognate meaning had stood in the place of the second תקותי originally. His hope goes down to the regions of the dead, when altogether there is rest in the dust. This "together, יחד," Hahn explains: to me and it, to this hope; but that would be pursuing the figure to an inadmissible length, extending far beyond Job 20:11, and must then be expressed יחד לנוּ. Others (e.g., Hirz., Ew.) explain: if at the same time, i.e., simultaneously with this descent of my hope, there is rest to me in the dust. Considering the use of יחד in itself, it might be explained: if altogether entirely there is rest in the dust; but this meaning integer, totus quantus, the word has elsewhere always in connection with a subj. or obj. to which it is referable, e.g., Job 10:8; Psalm 33:15; and, moreover, it may be rendered also in the like passages by "all together," as Job 3:18; Job 21:26; Job 40:13, instead of "altogether, entirely." Since, on the other hand, the signification "at the same time" can at least with probability be supported by Psalm 141:10, and since אם, which is certainly used temporally, brings contemporary things together, we prefer the translation: "when at the same time in the dust there is rest." The descent of his hope to the bars of Hades is at the same time his own, who hopes for nothing but this. When the death of his hope becomes a reality, then at the same time his turmoil of suffering will pass over to the rest of the grave.


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