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Bible Commentaries
Job 23

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-17



Verses 1-17:


Verses 1, 2 begin Job’s seventh speech, and his third rebuttal to the late charges from Eliphaz. The phrase "even today" suggests that the debate had been carried on for several days. His spirit was bitter, reflected in his complaint to the Lord, because of his afflictions. He declared that his stroke of suffering had found no relief to that hour. His suffering was more painful than his groanings in the ears of his friends, and he could find no relief, Job 19:21; Psalms 32:4.

Verses 3, 4 lament that Job longed to know where God was through all his sufferings, and how he longed to find Him, even come before His seat, to plead his cause face to face with Him, Job 13:3; Hebrews 10:19-22. Job desired to approach the very throne-seat of the Lord and plead his case before Him, Hebrews 4:14-16. He would then methodically state his case of affliction to the Lord-Judge of the universe, with clear conscience, Job 13:18; Isaiah 43:26.

Verse 5 states that then, in God’s Divine presence, he would be able to understand or comprehend what God was saying to him, through these afflictions, Job 10:2; Job 13:22-23; Job 42:2; Job 42:6. It little mattered to Job what men might say against him, if only he could know why God was judging him, Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Peter 4:12-16.

Verse 6 asks whether or not the omnipotent God would plead against him with his mighty power. He then answers, no. But He would show compassion, a thing Job’s accusers, pretended friends, had not done, Job 9:19; Job 9:33-34; Isaiah 27:4; Isaiah 27:8; Isaiah 57:16; Micah 2:1. He believed that God would strengthen and help him, if only he could come into His presence, Hosea 12:3-4.

Verse 7 declares that there, before the glory throne, the righteous might dispute with the Lord; If so he believed that he would be relieved of his judgmental afflictions, and accounted innocent of charges of wickedness the friends had launched against him, v. 6.

Verses 8, 9 further declare as Job went forward and backward, he could not see the Lord-advocate, either on his right hand or on his left, where the Lord did work and hide himself on every side of him, in all parts of the earth, Psalms 19:1-3; Psalms 139:7-12; 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Verse 10 acknowledges, however, that the Lord knew the way Job went; and when the Lord had tried or tested him, he would come forth like gold, having had all dross removed, Psalms 17:3; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:7; Psalms 139:1-3; Psalms 17:10; Psalms 66:10. The Lord already knew all about him, he confessed, and would cause him to be delivered in the end. This Job knew; And in him he trusted with all his heart, Proverbs 3:5; 2 Timothy 1:12.

Verses 11, 12 recount Job’s testimony of his behavior before the Lord and his fellowman. He declared that his foot had held in line with the way of the Lord, neither bearing to the left nor to the right. Such is the walk of a perfect, mature, or upright servant of the Lord, Psalms 44:8; Matthew 5:48. God has gone before us. We are to follow in His path, as set forth in His Word, Psalms 17:5; Psalms 125:5; James 1:22. He added that he had not gone back (backslidden) from the commandment from the lips of the Lord. Because he esteemed or held highly the words of the Lord, as necessary food for his soul, given to strengthen him, Psalms 119:11; Jeremiah 15:16; Proverbs 30:8.

Verse 13 declares that the Lord is of one mind or purpose. He then inquires, "who can turn him?" The Lord is not fickle or haphazard in what He does; He is sovereign in His purpose and actions, doing whatsoever His soul desires, Job 9:12; Job 34:29; Psalms 115:3; Numbers 23:19-20; Ecclesiastes 1:15; Ecclesiastes 3:14; Romans 9:19; James 1:17.

Verse 14 recounts Job’s acknowledgment that the Lord, in His sovereignty, was progressively performing what was appointed to him, for His glory; Though the purpose of Job’s affliction was hidden with God, Job 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:3. Like Paul, Job knew that somehow God had an holy purpose in permitting him to suffer, Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 12:7-11.

Verses 15, 16 state that Job was therefore troubled and afraid of the Lord’s hand of judgment that was against him, as he was tested by these afflictions. He added that the Lord had made his heart to be soft or faint, had melted his courage. These words were much like those spoken by Jesus, Psalms 22:14.

Verse 17 explains that Job’s fearfulness of the future was because the Lord had not already let him die, before these calamities had come upon him. He therefore trembles at other dark adversity that may yet befall him. Yet, the Lord did not permit him to be tested of Satan beyond what he could bear, even as he did not Joseph, David, the three Hebrew children, or Paul, 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 13:5; Psalms 34:7.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 23". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-23.html. 1985.
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