Job 23

1 Then Job answered, 2 “Even today my complaint is rebellious. His hand is heavy in spite of my groaning. 3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! That I might come even to his seat! 4 I would set my cause in order before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would tell me. 6 Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power? No, but he would listen to me. 7 There the upright might reason with him, so I should be delivered forever from my judge. 8 “If I go east, he is not there; if west, I can’t find him; 9 He works to the north, but I can’t see him. He turns south, but I can’t catch a glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take. When he has tried me, I shall come out like gold. 11 My foot has held fast to his steps. I have kept his way, and not turned aside. 12 I haven’t gone back from the commandment of his lips. I have treasured up the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. 13 But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? What his soul desires, even that he does. 14 For he performs that which is appointed for me. Many such things are with him. 15 Therefore I am terrified at his presence. When I consider, I am afraid of him. 16 For God has made my heart faint. The Almighty has terrified me. 17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither did he cover the thick darkness from my face.

(Previous Chapter)    •    (Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

Job appeals from his friends to the just judgement of God. He wants to have his cause tried quickly. Blessed be God, we may know where to find him. He is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself; and upon a mercy-seat, waiting to be gracious. Thither the sinner may go; and there the believer may order his cause before Him, with arguments taken from his promises, his covenant, and his glory. A patient waiting for death and judgment is our wisdom and duty, and it cannot be without a holy fear and trembling. A passionate wishing for death or judgement is our sin and folly, and ill becomes us, as it did Job.

Verses 8–12

Job knew that the Lord was every where present; but his mind was in such confusion, that he could get no fixed view of God’s merciful presence, so as to find comfort by spreading his case before him. His views were all gloomy. God seemed to stand at a distance, and frown upon him. Yet Job expressed his assurance that he should be brought forth, tried, and approved, for he had obeyed the precepts of God. He had relished and delighted in the truths and commandments of God. Here we should notice that Job justified himself rather than God, or in opposition to him, ch. 32:2. Job might feel that he was clear from the charges of his friends, but boldly to assert that, though visited by the hand of God, it was not a chastisement of sin, was his error. And he is guilty of a second, when he denies that there are dealings of Providence with men in this present life, wherein the injured find redress, and the evil are visited for their sins.

Verses 13–17

As Job does not once question but that his trials are from the hand of God, and that there is no such thing as chance, how does he account for them? The principle on which he views them is, that the hope and reward of the faithful servants of God are only laid up in another life; and he maintains that it is plain to all, that the wicked are not treated according to their deserts in this life, but often directly the reverse. But though the obtaining of mercy, the first-fruits of the Spirit of grace, pledges a God, who will certainly finish the work which he has began; yet the afflicted believer is not to conclude that all prayer and entreaty will be in vain, and that he should sink into despair, and faint when he is reproved of Him. He cannot tell but the intention of God in afflicting him may be to produce penitence and prayer in his heart. May we learn to obey and trust the Lord, even in tribulation; to live or die as he pleases: we know not for what good ends our lives may be shortened or prolonged.

Back to Top