The Meaning of Job 21:17 Explained

Job 21:17

KJV: How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.

YLT: How oft is the lamp of the wicked extinguished, And come on them doth their calamity? Pangs He apportioneth in His anger.

Darby: How often is the lamp of the wicked put out, and cometh their calamity upon them? Doth he distribute sorrows to them in his anger?

ASV: How oft is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out? That their calamity cometh upon them? That God distributeth sorrows in his anger?

What does Job 21:17 Mean?

Context Summary

Job 21:1-34 - "shall Any Teach God?"
After a brief introduction, in which he claims the right to reply, Job 21:1-6, Job brings forward a new argument. He affirms that his friends are wrong in assuming that the connection between sin and suffering is invariable. On the contrary, he urges that wicked men often spend their lives in prosperity, on the farm, in the fold, and in the home, Job 21:10-11. Sounds of joy issue from their dwellings, Job 21:12. They die without prolonged torture, Job 21:13. From the contention of his friends, Job turns to the passer-by for confirmation of his words. Surely, he says, it is a matter of common observation that some wicked men do prosper and die in peace, Job 21:29.
With Job's answer the second colloquy ends. His friends have gained nothing by their arguments, but Job has learned much by his afflictions. On the dark background of his night the Morning Star has actually begun to shine. He appeals to God with greater confidence and even finds refuge in Him; but so far, though arguing his case, he has preserved a humble and reverent attitude. [source]

Chapter Summary: Job 21

1  Job shows that even in the judgment of man he has reason to be grieved
7  Sometimes the wicked prosper, though they despise God
16  Sometimes their destruction is manifest
21  The happy and unhappy are alike in death
27  The judgment of the wicked is in another world

What do the individual words in Job 21:17 mean?

How often is the lamp of the wicked put out and [How often] does come upon them their destruction the sorrows [God] distributes in His anger
כַּמָּ֤ה ׀ נֵר־ רְשָׁ֘עִ֤ים ! יִדְעָ֗ךְ וְיָבֹ֣א עָלֵ֣ימוֹ אֵידָ֑ם חֲ֝בָלִ֗ים יְחַלֵּ֥ק בְּאַפּֽוֹ

כַּמָּ֤ה ׀  How  often 
Parse: Interrogative
Root: לָמָּה 
Sense: what, how, of what kind.
נֵר־  is  the  lamp 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: נִיר 
Sense: lamp.
רְשָׁ֘עִ֤ים  of  the  wicked 
Parse: Adjective, masculine plural
Root: רָשָׁע  
Sense: wicked, criminal.
! יִדְעָ֗ךְ  put  out 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: דָּעַךְ  
Sense: to go out, be extinguished, dry up.
וְיָבֹ֣א  and  [How  often]  does  come 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Conjunctive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: בֹּוא 
Sense: to go in, enter, come, go, come in.
עָלֵ֣ימוֹ  upon  them 
Parse: Preposition, third person masculine plural
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
אֵידָ֑ם  their  destruction 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine plural
Root: אֵיד  
Sense: distress, burden, calamity.
חֲ֝בָלִ֗ים  the  sorrows 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: חֶבֶל 
Sense: a cord, rope, territory, band, company.
יְחַלֵּ֥ק  [God]  distributes 
Parse: Verb, Piel, Imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: חָלַק 
Sense: to divide, share, plunder, allot, apportion, assign.
בְּאַפּֽוֹ  in  His  anger 
Parse: Preposition-b, Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: אַף 
Sense: nostril, nose, face.