on Job 17 :14
I have said to corruption - I came from a corrupted stock, and I must go to corruption again. The Hebrew might be thus rendered: To the ditch I have called, Thou art my father. To the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister. I am in the nearest state of affinity to dissolution and corruption: I may well call them my nearest relations, as I shall soon be blended with them.
on Job 17 :14
I have said - Margin, cried, or called. The sense is, "I say," or "I thus address the grave."
To corruption - The word used here (שׁחת shachath) means properly a pit, or pit-fall, Psalm 7:15; Psalm 9:15; a cistern, or a ditch, Job 9:31; or the sepulchre, or grave, Psalm 30:9; Job 33:18, Job 33:30. The Septuagint renders it here by θανάτον thanaton - death. Jerome (Vulgate), putredini dixi. According to Gesenius (Lex), the word never has the sense of corruption. Schultens, however, Rosenmuller, and others, understand it in the sense of corruption or putrefaction. This accords, certainly, with the other hemistich, and better constitutes a parallelism with the "worm" than the word "grave" would. It seems probable that this is the sense here; and if the proper meaning of the word is a pit, or the grave, it here denotes the grave, as containing a dead and moulderling body.
Thou art my father - "I am nearly allied to it. I sustain to it a relation like that of a child to a father." The idea seems to be that of family likeness; and the object is to present the most striking and impressive view of his sad and sorrowful condition. He was so diseased, so wretched, so full of sores and of corruption (see Job 7:5), that he might be said to be the child of one mouldering in the grave, and was kindred to a family in the tomb!
To the worm - The worm that feeds upon the dead. He belonged to that sad family where the body was putrifying, and where it was covered with worms; see the notes at Isaiah 14:11.
My mother - I am so nearly allied to the worms, that the connection may be compared to that between a mother and her son.
And my sister - "The sister here is mentioned rather than the brother, because the noun rendered worm in the Hebrew, is in the feminine gender." Rosenmuller. The sense of the whole is, that Job felt that he belonged to the grave. He was destined to corruption. He was soon to lie down with the dead. His acquaintance and kindred were there. So corrupt was his body, so afflicted and diseased, that he seemed to belong to the family of the putrifying, and of those covered with worms! What an impressive description; and yet how true is it of all! The most vigorous frame, the most beautiful and graceful form, the most brilliant complexion, has a near relationship to the worm, and will soon belong to the mouldering family beneath the ground! Christian reader! such are you; such am I. Well, let it be so. Let us not repine. Be the grave our home; be the mouldering people there our parents, and brothers, and sisters. Be our alliance with the worms. There is a brighter scene beyond - a world where we shall be kindred with the angels, and ranked among the sons of God. In that world we shall be clothed with immortal youth, and shall know corruption no more. Then our eyes will shine with undiminished brilliancy forever; our cheeks glow with immortal health; our hearts beat with the pulsations of eternal life. Then our hands shall be feeble and our knees totter with disease or age no more; and then the current of health and joy shall flow on through our veins forever and eye! Allied now to worms we are, but we are allied to the angels too; the grave is to be our home, but so also is heaven; the worm is our brother, but so also is the Son of God! Such is man; such are his prospects here, such his hopes and destiny in the world to come. He dies here, but he lives in glory and honor hereafter forever.
Shall man, O God of light and life,
For ever moulder in the grave?
Canst thou forget thy glorious work,
Thy promise and thy power to save?
Shall life revisit dying worms,
And spread the joyful insects' wing;
And O shall man awake no more,
To see thy face, thy name to sing?
on Job 17 :14
17:14 Corruption - Heb. to the pit of corruption, the grave. Father - I am near a - kin to thee, and thou wilt receive and keep me in thy house, as parents do their children.