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Job 7:17 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him, And that thou shouldest set thy mind upon him,
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— What [is] man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “What is man that You magnify him, And that You are concerned about him,
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— What [is] man, that thou shouldst magnify him? and that thou shouldst set thy heart upon him?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— What is man, that thou makest much of him? and that thou settest thy heart upon him?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— What is a mortal, that thou shouldst nurture him? Or that thou shouldst fix upon him thy mind?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— What [is] man that Thou dost magnify him? And that Thou settest unto him Thy heart?
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— What is a man, that thou shouldst magnify him or why dost thou set thy heart upon him?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— What [is] man, that thou shouldest magnifie him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart vpon him?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— For what is man, that thou hast magnified him? or that thou givest heed to him?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— What [is] man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
What x4100
(4100) Complement
A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses.
[is] man, 582
{0582} Prime
From H0605; properly a mortal (and thus differeing from the more dignified H0120); hence a man in general (singly or collectively). It is often unexpressed in the English Version, especially when used in apposition with another word.
that x3588
(3588) Complement
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
thou shouldest magnify 1431
{1431} Prime
A primitive root; properly to twist (compare H1434), that is, to be (causatively make) large (in various senses, as in body, mind, estate or honor, also in pride).
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
him? and that x3588
(3588) Complement
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
thou shouldest set 7896
{7896} Prime
A primitive root; to place (in a very wide application).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
thine heart 3820
{3820} Prime
A form of H3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything.
upon x413
(0413) Complement
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Job 7:17

_ _ (Psalms 8:4; Psalms 144:3). Job means, “What is man that thou shouldst make him [of so much importance], and that thou shouldst expend such attention [or, heart-thought] upon him” as to make him the subject of so severe trials? Job ought rather to have reasoned from God’s condescending so far to notice man as to try him, that there must be a wise and loving purpose in trial. David uses the same words, in their right application, to express wonder that God should do so much as He does for insignificant man. Christians who know God manifest in the man Christ Jesus may use them still more.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Job 7:17-21

_ _ Job here reasons with God,

_ _ I. Concerning his dealings with man in general (Job 7:17, Job 7:18): What is man, that thou shouldst magnify him? This may be looked upon either, 1. As a passionate reflection upon the proceedings of divine justice; as if the great God did diminish and disparage himself in contending with man. “Great men think it below them to take cognizance of those who are much their inferiors so far as to reprove and correct their follies and indecencies; why then does God magnify man, by visiting him, and trying him, and making so much ado about him? Why will he thus pour all his forces upon one that is such an unequal match for him? Why will he visit him with afflictions, which, like a quotidian ague, return as duly and constantly as the morning light, and try, every moment, what he can bear?” We mistake God, and the nature of his providence, if we think it any lessening to him to take notice of the meanest of his creatures. Or, 2. As a pious admiration of the condescensions of divine grace, like that, Psalms 8:4; Psalms 144:3. He owns God's favour to man in general, even when he complains of his own particular troubles. “What is man, miserable man, a poor, mean, weak creature, that thou, the great and glorious God, shouldst deal with him as thou dost? What is man,” (1.) “That thou shouldst put such honour upon him, shouldst magnify him, by taking him into covenant and communion with thyself?” (2.) “That thou shouldst concern thyself so much about him, shouldst set thy heart upon him, as dear to thee, and one that thou hast a kindness for?” (3.) “That thou shouldst visit him with thy compassions every morning, as we daily visit a particular friend, or as the physician visits his patients every morning to help them?” (4.) “That thou shouldst try him, shouldst feel his pulse and observe his looks, every moment, as in care about him and jealous over him?” That such a worm of the earth as man is should be the darling and favourite of heaven is what we have reason for ever to admire.

_ _ II. Concerning his dealings with him in particular. Observe,

_ _ 1. The complaint he makes of his afflictions, which he here aggravates, and (as we are all too apt to do) makes the worst of, in three expressions: — (1.) That he was the butt to God's arrows: “Thou hast set me as a mark against thee,Job 7:20. “My case is singular, and none is shot at as I am.” (2.) That he was a burden to himself, ready to sink under the load of his own life. How much delight soever we take in ourselves God can, when he pleases, make us burdens to ourselves. What comfort can we take in ourselves if God appear against us as an enemy and we have not comfort in him. (3.) That he had no intermission of his griefs (Job 7:19): “How long will it be ere thou cause thy rod to depart from me, or abate the rigour of the correction, at least for so long as that I may swallow down my spittle?” It should seem, Job's distemper lay much in his throat, and almost choked him, so that he could not swallow his spittle. He complains (Job 30:18) that it bound him about like the collar of his coat. “Lord,” says he, “wilt not thou give me some respite, some breathing time?” Job 9:18.

_ _ 2. The concern he is in about his sins. The best men have sin to complain of, and the better they are the more they will complain of it. (1.) He ingenuously owns himself guilty before God: I have sinned. God had said of him that he was a perfect and an upright man; yet he says of himself, I have sinned. Those may be upright who yet are not sinless; and those who are sincerely penitent are accepted, through a Mediator, as evangelically perfect. Job maintained, against his friends, that he was not a hypocrite, not a wicked man; and yet he owned to his God that he had sinned. If we have been kept from gross acts of sin, it does not therefore follow that we are innocent. The best must acknowledge, before God, that they have sinned. His calling God the observer, or preserver, of men, may be looked upon as designed for an aggravation of his sin: “Though God has had his eye upon me, his eye upon me for good, yet I have sinned against him.” When we are in affliction it is seasonable to confess sin, as the procuring cause of our affliction. Penitent confessions would drown and silence passionate complaints. (2.) He seriously enquires how he may make his peace with God: “What shall I do unto thee, having done so much against thee?” Are we convinced that we have sinned, and are we brought to own it? We cannot but conclude that something must be done to prevent the fatal consequences of it. The matter must not rest as it is, but some course must be taken to undo what has been ill done. And, if we are truly sensible of the danger we have run ourselves into, we shall be willing to do any thing, to take a pardon upon any terms; and therefore shall be inquisitive as to what we shall do (Micah 6:6, Micah 6:7), what we shall do to God, not to satisfy the demands of his justice (that is done only by the Mediator), but to qualify ourselves for the tokens of his favour, according to the tenour of the gospel-covenant. In making this enquiry it is good to eye God as the preserver or Saviour of men, not their destroyer. In our repentance we must keep up good thoughts of God, as one that delights not in the ruin of his creatures, but would rather they should return and live. “Thou art the Saviour of men; be my Saviour, for I cast myself upon thy mercy.” (3.) He earnestly begs for the forgiveness of his sins, Job 7:21. The heat of his spirit, as, on the one hand, it made his complaints the more bitter, so, on the other hand, it made his prayers the more lively and importunate; as here: “Why dost thou not pardon my transgression? Art thou not a God of infinite mercy, that art ready to forgive? Hast not thou wrought repentance in me? Why then dost thou not give me the pardon of my sin, and make me to hear the voice of that joy and gladness?” Surely he means more than barely the removing of his outward trouble, and is herein earnest for the return of God's favour, which he complained of the want of, Job 6:4. “Lord, pardon my sins, and give me the comfort of that pardon, and then I can easily bear my afflictions,” Matthew 9:2; Isaiah 33:24. When the mercy of God pardons the transgression that is committed by us the grace of God takes away the iniquity that reigns in us. Wherever God removes the guilt of sin he breaks the power of sin. (4.) To enforce his prayer for pardon he pleads the prospect he had of dying quickly: For now shall I sleep in the dust. Death will lay us in the dust, will lay us to sleep there, and perhaps presently, now in a little time. Job had been complaining of restless nights, and that sleep departed from his eyes (Job 7:3, Job 7:4, Job 7:13, Job 7:14); but those who cannot sleep on a bed of down will shortly sleep in a bed of dust, and not be scared with dreams nor tossed to and fro: “Thou shalt seek me in the morning, to show me favour, but I shall not be; it will be too late then. If my sins be not pardoned while I live, I am lost and undone for ever.” Note, The consideration of this, that we must shortly die, and perhaps may die suddenly, should make us all very solicitous to get our sins pardoned and our iniquity taken away.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Job 7:17

What, &c. — What is there in that poor, mean, creature called man, miserable man, as this word signifies, which can induce thee to take any notice of him, or to make such account of him? Man is not worthy of thy favour, and he is below thy anger; that thou shouldest concern thyself so much about him, as one near and dear to thee?

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Job 7:17

What [is] man, that thou (m) shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?

(m) Seeing that man of himself is so vile, why do you give him that honour to contend against him? Job uses all kinds of persuasion with God, that he might stay his hand.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
What is man:

Psalms 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalms 144:3 LORD, what [is] man, that thou takest knowledge of him! [or] the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
Hebrews 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?


Job 7:12 [Am] I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?
1 Samuel 24:14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.

set thine:

Job 34:14-15 If he set his heart upon man, [if] he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; ... All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
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1S 24:14. Jb 7:12; 34:14. Ps 8:4; 144:3. He 2:6.

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