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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Job 23

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The Book of Job

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET

CHAPTER 23

THIRD SERIES.

Job 23:1-17. JOB'S ANSWER.

      2. to-day--implying, perhaps, that the debate was carried on through more days than one (see JF & B for Introduction).
      bitter-- ( Job 7:11 10:1 ).
      my stroke--the hand of God on me (Margin, Job 19:21 Psa 32:4 ).
      heavier than--is so heavy that I cannot relieve myself adequately by groaning.

      3. The same wish as in Job 13:3 (compare Hbr 10:19-22 ).
      Seat--The idea in the Hebrew is a well-prepared throne ( Psa 9:7 ).

      4. order--state methodically ( Job 13:18 Isa 43:26 ).
      fill, &c.--I would have abundance of arguments to adduce.

      5. he--emphatic: it little matters what man may say of me, if only I know what God judges of me.

      6. An objection suggests itself, while he utters the wish ( Job 23:5 ). Do I hereby wish that He should plead against me with His omnipotence? Far from it! ( Job 9:19, 34 13:21 30:18 ).
      strength--so as to prevail with Him: as in Jacob's case ( Hsa 12:3, 4 ). UMBREIT and MAURER better translate as in Job 4:20 (I only wish that He) "would attend to me," that is, give me a patient hearing as an ordinary judge, not using His omnipotence, but only His divine knowledge of my innocence.

      7. There--rather, "Then": if God would "attend" to me ( Job 23:6 ).
      righteous--that is, the result of my dispute would be, He would acknowledge me as righteous.
      delivered--from suspicion of guilt on the part of my Judge.

      8. But I wish in vain. For "behold," &c.
      forward. . . backward--rather, "to the east--to the west." The Hebrew geographers faced the east, that is, sunrise: not the north, as we do. So "before" means east: "behind," west (so the Hindus). Para, "before"--east: Apara, "behind"--west: Daschina, "the right hand"--south: Bama, "left"--north. A similar reference to sunrise appears in the name Asia, "sunrise," Europe, "sunset"; pure Babylonian names, as RAWLINSON shows.

      9. Rather, "To the north."
      work--God's glorious works are especially seen towards the north region of the sky by one in the northern hemisphere. The antithesis is between God working and yet not being beheld: as in Job 9:11, between "He goeth by," and "I see Him not." If the Hebrew bears it, the parallelism to the second clause is better suited by translating, as UMBREIT, "doth hide himself"; but then the antithesis to "behold" would be lost.
      right hand--"in the south."
      hideth--appropriately, of the unexplored south, then regarded as uninhabitable because of its heat (see Job 34:29 ).

      10. But--correcting himself for the wish that his cause should be known before God. The omniscient One already knoweth the way in me (my inward principles: His outward way or course of acts is mentioned in Job 23:11. So in me, Job 4:21 ); though for some inscrutable cause He as yet hides Himself ( Job 23:8, 9 ).
      when--let Him only but try my cause, I shall, &c.

      11. held--fast by His steps. The law is in Old Testament poetry regarded as a way, God going before us as our guide, in whose footsteps we must tread ( Psa 17:5 ).
      declined-- ( Psa 125:5 ).

      12. esteemed--rather, "laid up," namely, as a treasure found ( Mat 13:44 Psa 119:11 ); alluding to the words of Eliphaz ( Job 22:22 ). There was no need to tell me so; I have done so already ( Jer 15:16 ).
      necessary--"Appointed portion" (of food; as in Pro 30:8 ). UMBREIT and MAURER translate, "More than my law," my own will, in antithesis to "the words of His mouth" ( Jhn 6:38 ). Probably under the general term, "what is appointed to me" (the same Hebrew is in Job 23:14 ), all that ministers to the appetites of the body and carnal will is included.

      13. in one mind--notwithstanding my innocence. He is unaltered in His purpose of proving me guilty ( Job 9:12 ).
      soul--His will ( Psa 115:3 ). God's sovereignty. He has one great purpose; nothing is haphazard; everything has its proper place with a view to His purpose.

      14. many such--He has yet many more such ills in store for me, though hidden in His breast ( Job 10:13 ).

      15. God's decrees, impossible to be resisted, and leaving us in the dark as to what may come next, are calculated to fill the mind with holy awe [BARNES].

      16. soft--faint; hath melted my courage. Here again Job's language is that of Jesus Christ ( Psa 22:14 ).

      17. Because I was not taken away by death from the evil to come (literally, "from before the face of the darkness," Isa 57:1 ). Alluding to the words of Eliphaz ( Job 22:11 ), "darkness," that is, calamity.
      cut off--rather, in the Arabic sense, brought to the land of silence; my sad complaint hushed in death [UMBREIT]. "Darkness" in the second clause, not the same Hebrew wor as in the first, "cloud," "obscurity." Instead of "covering the cloud (of evil) from my face," He "covers" me with it ( Job 22:11 ).

Commentary on Esther 1 ← Prior Book
Introduction to the Psalms Next Book →
Commentary on Job 22 ← Prior Chapter
Commentary on Job 24 Next Chapter →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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