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Job 38:17

    Job 38:17 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Have the gates of death been opened to you? or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee? Or hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Have the doors of death been open to you, or have the door-keepers of the dark ever seen you?

    Webster's Revision

    Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee? Or hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death?

    World English Bible

    Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee? or hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death?

    Clarke's Commentary on Job 38:17

    Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? - Dost thou know in what the article of death consists? This is as inexplicable as the question, What is animal life?

    The doors of the shallow of death? - צלמות tsalmaveth, the intermediate state, the openings into the place of separate spirits. Here two places are distinguished: מות maveth, death, and צלמות tsalmaveth, the shadow of death. It will not do to say, death is the privation of life, for what then would be the shadow of that privation?

    Barnes' Notes on Job 38:17

    Have the gates of death been opened unto thee - That is, the gates of the world where death reigns; or the gates that lead to the abodes of the dead. The allusion here is to "Sheol," or "Hades," the dark abodes of the dead. This was supposed to be beneath the ground, and was entered by the grave, and was inclosed by gates and bars; see the notes at Job 10:21-22. The transition from the reference to the bottom of the sea to the regions of the dead was natural, and the mind is carried forward to a subject further beyond the ken of mortals than even the unfathomable depths of the ocean. The idea is, that God saw all that occurred in that dark world beneath us, where the dead were congregated, and that his vast superiority to man was evinced by his being able thus to penetrate into, and survey those hidden regions. It is common in the Classical writers to represent those regions as entered by gates. Thus, Lucretius, i.1105,

    - Haec rebus erit para janua letl,

    Hae se turba foras dabit omnis materai.

    - "The doors of death are ope,

    And the vast whole unbounded ruin whelms."

    Good.

    So Virgil, Aeneid ii.661,

    - Pater isti janua leto,

    "The door of death stands open."

    Or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? - The doors which lead down to the gloomy realms where death spreads its dismal shades. This expression is more emphatic than the former, for the word צלמות tsalmâveth "shadow of death," is more intensive in its meaning than the word מות mâveth, "death." There is the superadded idea of a deep and dismal shadow; of profound and gloomy darkness; see the word explained in the notes at Job 3:5; compare Job 10:21-22. Man was unable to penetrate those gloomy abodes and to reveal what was there; but God saw all with the clearness of noon-day.

    Wesley's Notes on Job 38:17

    38:17 Death - Hast thou seen, or dost thou know the place and state of the dead; the depths and bowels of that earth in which the generality of dead men are buried. Death is a grand secret? We know not when or by what means we shall be brought to death: by what road we must go the way, whence we shall not return. We cannot describe what death is; how the knot is untied between soul and body, or how the spirit goes To be we know not what, and live we know not how. With what dreadful curiosity does the soul launch out into an untried abyss? We have no correspondence with separate souls, nor any acquaintance with their state. It is an unknown, undiscovered region, to which they are removed. While we are here in a world of sense, we speak of the world of spirits, as blind men do of colours, and when we remove thither, shall be amazed to find how much we were mistaken.
    Book: Job