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23:2 Job knows that his friends view his complaining as rebellion against God, but Job will continue to complain despite their displeasure, yet such complaining or groaning does not remove his suffering. God's hand is still heavy on Job even though Job is crying out for relief.
23:3 His friends had exhorted him to return to God (22:23), and Job responds, "I want to see God, I want to talk to Him!" The problem is that God is not allowing Job to find Him. "Strahan correctly observes that a major distinction between Job and his friends is that he desires to see God; they do not. Job aspires to appear before God's dwelling place, His judgment seat" (Strauss p. 234).
23:4 Here is another courtroom scene (9:13-21). Job is no longer afraid that God would refuse to hear him or trip him up. He would prepare his case and present it to God.
23:5 Job would respectfully listen to God's explanation.
23:6-7 Would God refuse to listen to him or blast him into nothingness? No, Job is convinced that his reasoning would persuade God. "Earlier Job had stated that it would be pointless to present his case before God (9:14-16), but now he is certain that an upright man, meaning himself, could present his case, and the Judge would acquit him and his troubles would terminate" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 746).
Point to Note
Many people have a similar desire for an imaginary day in court with God. They feel that somehow God has wronged them or someone else in this life. They are persuaded that their arguments are sound and that God would either concede to their point of view, "admit His errors" or be put in His place. Job will have his day in court with God (38), but it will not go as Job planned.
23:8 Job searches in all directions for God, yet this search is in vain. In contrast, the writer of Psalm 139 will declare that God is everywhere. "Jehovah seems to be playing some kind of hide-and-seek game with him" (Jackson p. 59).
23:9-10 This verse is usually taken to mean that though God eludes him, He does know about Job. Some feel that Job here is saying that God is intentionally eluding Job because He knows that Job is innocent, for once He had heard Job's cause He would be forced to admit an injustice had been committed.
23:10 "When He had tried me, I shall come forth as gold": It is true that the person who goes through trials and remains faithful is purified like gold (1 Peter 1:6-7), but Job seems to mean here that if God did examine him, if he did have his day in court, that Job's innocence would be vindicated and he would shine as gold. It would be evident that he was gold and he would shine. "No problem of low self-esteem here! No doubt the reference to gold was a retort to Eliphaz's earlier words about gold (22:25)" (Zuck p. 108).
23:11-12 Here is the proof that Job offers that he would shine as gold, for he had been faithful. He was not following the ancient path of the wicked (22:15). "Furthermore, Job need not start against to receive 'instruction from His mouth' (22:22), because Job had not departed from 'the command of His lips'. Instead, he had placed higher value on God's words than on daily food" (p. 109). Compare with last statement with Psalm 119:11ff and Matthew 4:4. Do we relish the Word of God more than our daily food-or our daily anything?
23:13-14 God is unique, He stands in a category or class by Himself. He also does what He wishes, including what He has in mind for Job. Here Job realizes that God may have many plans for him, including more suffering
23:15 Now Job seems to backtrack on his desire to appear before such a majestic and sovereign God. The invisible and mysterious workings of God are unsettling to Job.
23:16-17 Contrary to the claims of Eliphaz, Job is not terrified by reaping the consequences of supposed hidden sins, rather, Job is terrified by God's power and His workings. "Despite Job's bold demand for a court hearing, He had to admit that God could be restrained by no one, and that what God desires, He does. Job upstaged Eliphaz by pointing out that repentance would not make it possible for Job to have all his plans confirmed (22:28), because it was God who was carrying out in Job's life what God had decreed for him" (Zuck p. 109).
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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 23". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14