Yet the righteous will hold to his way, And he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger. Job 17:9
Job’s spirit is broken by his suffering and the conviction that God, the only one who can vindicate him, will not do so during his lifetime. His only hope lies in – and beyond? — the grave.
Undying trust (17:3-9). Job uses the language of ancient business contracts and asks some “pledge” (down payment) from God as security against the vindication that will surely come. Only God can demonstrate Job’s innocence and despite his despair and ambivalence he believes that God will.
3 “Now put down a pledge for me with Yourself. Who is he who will shake hands with me? 4 For You have hidden their heart from understanding; Therefore You will not exalt them. 5 He who speaks flattery to his friends, Even the eyes of his children will fail. 6 “But He has made me a byword of the people, And I have become one in whose face men spit. 7 My eye has also grown dim because of sorrow, And all my members are like shadows. 8 Upright men are astonished at this, And the innocent stirs himself up against the hypocrite. 9 Yet the righteous will hold to his way, And he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger.
17:3 In another legal metaphor, Job appeals to God to act as his advocate by laying down a pledge, that is providing bail. The use of the same metaphor in Ps. 119:121, 122 to indicate the psalmist’s request for relief from his “oppressors” may suggest that Job was pleading for God to demonstrate confidence in his innocence.
17:12 This verse may be a caricature of the friends’ false assurances that if he would repent, his darkness would soon become light.
My days are past, My purposes are broken off, Even the thoughts of my heart. 12 They change the night into day; ‘The light is near,’ they say, in the face of darkness.
–> Job seems to have reached a rock bottom. No way out. It’s better to die and be done with it. Yet, he knows his conscience is clear and he place himself in God’s hands.
It’s okay to feel down. It’s even okay to feel like there is no hope. It’s not the evidence of lack of faith. We can still hold onto the hands of our Lord, a dear friend who went through much worse than our current situation for us.