Job 17:2
Are there not mockers with me? and does not my eye continue in their provocation?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Mine eye continue in their provocation?—“It sees, and can see nothing else; has nothing else to look upon “: a bitter reproach against his friends.

Job 17:2. Are there not mockers with me? — Do not my friends, instead of comforting, mock and abuse me, as if I had made use of religion only as a cloak to cover my wickedness? Thus he returns to what he had said chap. Job 16:20), and intimates the necessity and justice of his following appeal, which otherwise might have been thought too bold. And doth not mine eye continue in their provocation? — That is, doth not their provocation continue in mine eye? Do not I still behold them provoking me to my face? Or he may speak of the eye of his mind, and then the meaning is, Their provoking scoffs and reproaches do not only molest me in the day-time, when they are with me, but lodge with me (for the word תלן, talan, here rendered continue, signifies to lodge) in the night, and are continually in my thoughts.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.And doth not mine eye continue in their provocation? - Margin "lodge." This is the meaning of the Hebrew word used here - נלן tālan. It properly denotes to pass the night or to lodge in a place, as distinguished from a permanent residence. The idea here seems to be, that his eye "rested" on their provocations. It remained fixed on them. It was not a mere glance, a passing notice, but was such a view as resulted from a careful observation. It was not such a view as a traveler would obtain by passing hastily by, but it was such as one would obtain who had encamped for a time, and had an opportunity of looking around him with care, and seeing things as they were. Thus explained, there is much poetic beauty in the passage. The Vulgate, however, renders it, "I have not sinned, and mine eye remains in bitterness." The Septuagint, "I supplicate in distress - κάμνων kamnōn - yet what have I done? Strangers came, and stole my substance: who is the man?" The simple meaning is, that Job had a calm view of their wickedness, and that he could not be deceived. 2. Umbreit, more emphatically, "had I only not to endure mockery, in the midst of their contentions I (mine eye) would remain quiet."

eye continue—Hebrew, "tarry all night"; a figure taken from sleep at night, to express undisturbed rest; opposed to (Job 16:20), when the eye of Job is represented as pouring out tears to God without rest.

Do not my friends, instead of comforting, mock and abuse me, as if I had made use of religion only as a cloak to my wickedness? Heb. If there be not mockers with me, understand, let God do so or so to me. It is a form of an oath, which is defectively expressed, after the manner of the Hebrews. Assuredly I am in the midst of cruel mockers, which is a sore aggravation of my affliction. Thus he returns to what he had said Job 16:20, and intimates the necessity and justice of his following appeal, which otherwise might be thought too bold.

Mine eye; either,

1. The eyes of my body. Do they not continue to provoke me to my face? Or rather,

2. The eye of my mind. Their provoking scoffs and reproaches do not only molest me in the day-time, when they are with me, but lodge with me in the night, and are continually in my thoughts, and break my sleep, and disturb me in dreams. And therefore if I be a little disordered, I may be excused. Are there not mockers with me?.... Meaning not irreligious persons, such as make a mock at sin, a jest of religion, a laugh at good men, sneer at the doctrines and ordinances of God, and scoff at things future, as the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and a future judgment; with whom it is very uncomfortable to be, as well as with any sort of profane men, and such there were no doubt in Job's time; but he seems to design his friends, by whom be thought himself mocked, and who were, as he imagined, scorners of him, Job 12:4; and therefore for this reason entreats his case might be heard, and his cause pleaded:

and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation? or "lodge all night" (q); his sense is, that they were continually provoking him with their words, their scoffs and jeers, their censures and calumnies, and the weak reasons and arguments they made use of to support their charges and suspicions; these dwelt upon his mind not only in the daytime but in the night, so that he could not get a wink of sleep for them; their words were so teasing and distressing, and they acted such a cruel part to him, and stuck so close to him, and hung upon his thoughts, that he could not get clear of them in the night season; but his mind ran upon them, which kept him waking, that he could not close his eyelids for thinking of them.

(q) "pernoctat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens.

Are there not {a} mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in {b} their provocation?

(a) Instead of comfort, being now at death's door, he had but them that mocked at him, and discouraged him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. Are there not mockers with me] lit. mockery. The interrogative form is possible, but more likely the verse is a strong asseveration, uttered in a tone of indignant impatience. The connexion indicates that the reference is to the illusory hopes and promises of restoration in this life which the friends held out to Job. He complains that he is beset with such mockeries. This seems also the meaning of the “provocation” on which his eye has to dwell, though in this their offensive exhortations to repentance may also be included. This provocation of theirs his friends were always inflicting upon him, troublesome comforters as they were (Job 16:2). The true state of things Job knows very well (Job 17:1; Job 17:10-16); their delusive hopes are not things he can hope for; and he turns in impatience from them with a greater importunity unto God, and appeals to Him for that which may yet be attained, and which above all things he longs for (Job 17:3).Verse 2. - Are there not mockers with me? literally, mockeries - the abstract for the concrete. (For the sentiment, comp. Job 16:20 and Job 30:1-14.) And doth not mine eye continue in their provocation? i.e. "Have I anything else to look upon? Are not the mockers always about me, always provoking me?" 18 Oh earth, cover thou not my blood,

And let my cry find no resting-place!! -

19 Even now behold in heaven is my Witness,

And One who acknowledgeth me is in the heights!

20 Though the mockers of me are my friends -

To Eloah mine eyes pour forth tears,

21 That He may decide for man against Eloah,

And for the son of man against his friend.

22 For the years that may be numbered are coming on,

And I shall go a way without return.

Blood that is not covered up cries for vengeance, Ezekiel 24:7.; so also blood still unavenged is laid bare that it may find vengeance, Isaiah 26:21. According to this idea, in the lofty consciousness of his innocence, Job calls upon the earth not to suck in his blood as of one innocently slain, but to let it lie bare, thereby showing that it must be first of all avenged ere the earth can take it up;

(Note: As, according to the tradition, it is said to have been impossible to remove the stain of the blood of Zachariah the son of Jehoiada, who was murdered in the court of the temple, until it was removed by the destruction of the temple itself.)

and for his cry, i.e., the cry (זעקתי to be explained according to Genesis 4:10) proceeding from his blood as from his poured-out soul, he desires that it may urge its way unhindered and unstilled towards heaven without finding a place of rest (Symm. στάσις). Therefore, in the very God who appears to him to be a blood-thirsty enemy in pursuit of him, Job nevertheless hopes to find a witness of his innocence: He will acknowledge his blood, like that of Abel, to be the blood of an innocent man. It is an inward irresistible demand made by his faith which here brings together two opposite principles - principles which the understanding cannot unite - with bewildering boldness. Job believes that God will even finally avenge the blood which His wrath has shed, as blood that has been innocently shed. This faith, which sends forth beyond death itself the word of absolute command contained in Job 16:18, in Job 16:19 brightens and becomes a certain confidence, which draws from the future into the present that acknowledgment which God afterwards makes of him as innocent. The thought of what is unmerited in that decree of wrath which delivers him over to death, is here forced into the background, and in the front stands only the thought of the exaltation of the God in heaven above human short-sightedness, and the thought that no one else but He is the final refuge of the oppressed: even now (i.e., this side of death)

(Note: Comp. 1 Kings 14:14, where it is probably to be explained: Jehovah shall raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day, but what? even now (גם עתה), i.e., He hath raised him up ( equals but no, even now).)

continued...

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