|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:8-12 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.
Verse 12. - Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips. Professor Lee rightly observes that this declaration "takes it for granted that, at least, some precepts of God had been revealed before this time" ('Book of Job,' p. 370). Them were "commandments" which Job recognized as having proceeded from God, and "words" which he looked upon as being the utterances of his mouth. This is strong evidence of a primeval revelation which, if not reduced to writing, had, at any rate, been handed down by tradition to Job's day. Genesis 3:14-19 and Genesis 9:1-7 may afford the true explanation of this difficulty. I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. This is scarcely strong enough. Job says, "I have treasured up taken to myself, and preserved the words of his mouth," either "more than my necessary food" or "more than my own law." If the former rendering be preferred, there is no need of explanation; if the latter, we must regard "my own law" as meaning "the law of my own mind, my own will, the will of the natural man" (Cook).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips,.... From any of the commandments his lips had uttered; meaning not the ten commandments given to Israel, which perhaps as yet were not given, or had not come to the knowledge of Job; some speak of the seven commandments, given to the sons of Noah; See Gill on Genesis 9:4. It seems to design any and every commandment that God had given to Noah or Abraham, or any of the patriarchs, before the times of Job, and which he had knowledge of, and which he carefully observed, kept close to, and did not deviate from; but made it the rule of his walk and practice:
I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food; the words of the Lord, the doctrines of grace that came from his mouth, are food for faith; there are in them milk for babes, and meat for strong men; they are savoury, salutary, and wholesome words, by which the people of God are nourished up unto eternal life; and they are esteemed by them more than the food that is necessary and convenient for their bodies; see Proverbs 30:8; for as the soul is preferable to the body, so the food of the one is preferable to the food of the other, and is sweeter, as the words of God are, to the taste of a believer, than honey, or the honeycomb: or "I have hid or laid up, the words of his mouth" (b); he had laid them up in his heart, in order to meditate upon them, and receive comfort and spiritual nourishment from them when he should want it, as men lay up their food in a proper place against the time they want it for their support and refreshment; and Job was more careful to lay up the one than the other; see Psalm 119:11; here Job meets with, and has respect unto, the advice of Eliphaz, Job 22:22; and signifies that he had no need to have given him it, he had done this already.
(b) "abscondi", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Bolducius; "recondidi", Tigurine version, Beza, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens; so Broughton.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. esteemed—rather, "laid up," namely, as a treasure found (Mt 13:44; Ps 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 Pr 30:8). Umbreit and Maurer translate, "More than my law," my own will, in antithesis to "the words of His mouth" (Joh 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.
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