Job has been maintaining his innocence against the onslaught of those who have been insisting on his sinfulness. They may view Job as a sinner, but no one has yet to catalog his transgressions – or even to give an example of them.
Job counters here with a list of his good deeds. No one will argue his reputation. In fact, this is the point of mentioning the respect given him by young and old (vss. 8-9), the silence of leaders in the community and the general lack of detractors.
God began this story by complimenting Job: There is no one like him in all the earth. If you want a list of things God prizes in us, just consider Job’s words here. He rescued the poor and the orphan. He ministered to the dying and brought hope to the bereaved. He defended the cases in court of those no one cared about and not only actively pursued justice but saw to the violent punishment of the wicked. As I read verse 17, I picture a righteous Don Corleone, a community’s godfather using his reputation to stand for and enforce the right. When you see him coming, step aside; not out of fear, but respect.
Considering the grand business enterprises Job was no doubt engaged in, the immensity of his household and staff, one wonders when Job had the time to sit at the bedsides of the ill, or comfort widows in their loss. And yet, he did. Job was about the business of living, and his life touched everything in the community. Each of us should take a page from Job’s life here.