Job 23

Job’s Seventh Response

Chapter 23

If Only I Knew Where To Find God![a] 1 Job then answered with these words:

2 “My complaint remains bitter;
despite my groans, God’s hand lies heavy on me.
3 Oh, if only I knew where to find him
so that I might discover his dwelling.
4 I would present my case before him
and state arguments in my defense.
5 “Then I would learn what he would answer me,
and contemplate his words to me.
6 He would not use his power to contend with me;
he would only need to consider my arguments.
7 There an upright man could reason with him,
and I would receive a verdict of acquittal.
8 [b]“But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I cannot behold him.
9 When I seek him in the north, I cannot find him;
when I turn to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.

God Has Caused My Courage To Fail[c]

10 “And yet he is aware of everywhere I go;
if he were to test me, I would emerge like pure gold.
11 My footsteps have not strayed from the path he established;
I have followed his way and never turned aside.
12 I have not strayed from the commandments of his lips;
I have treasured in my heart the words of his mouth.
13 But once he has made a decision, who can oppose him?
Whatever he desires, that he does.
14 He will not turn aside from what he has planned for me,
as is true of all his other decrees.
15 “That is why I am in such fear of him;
whenever I think of him, I am terrified.
16 God has caused my courage to fail;
the Almighty has filled me with dread.
17 For darkness hides me from him,
and obscurity veils his presence from me.

Footnotes

  1. Job 23:1 Contrary to what Eliphaz believes, Job does not wish to escape the hand of God. He asks only that he may encounter God in order to set his case before him and let God know that an honest man is in his presence. But God is far off and inaccessible (see Job 9:11-12; Ps 139:7-10).
  2. Job 23:8 No matter in which direction Job goes, he cannot find God; see, in contrast, the words of the psalmist in Ps 139:7-10.
  3. Job 23:10 God knows that Job is righteous and faithful. However, God does not make allowances for him. He has taken sides and acts with disquieting freedom; because of this, Job is troubled in his faith and filled with terror. It is the very expression of the “night” through which every mystic must pass.

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