Job 23:8
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him.

New Living Translation
I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him.

English Standard Version
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him;

New American Standard Bible
"Behold, I go forward but He is not there, And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;

King James Bible
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If I go east, He is not there, and if I go west, I cannot perceive Him.

International Standard Version
"Look! If I go east, he isn't there! If I go to the west, I don't perceive him.

NET Bible
"If I go to the east, he is not there, and to the west, yet I do not perceive him.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
However, if I go east, he isn't there. If I go west, I can't find him.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Behold, I shall go to the east and not find him; and to the west, but I cannot perceive him;

King James 2000 Bible
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

American King James Version
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

American Standard Version
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there ; And backward, but I cannot perceive him;

Douay-Rheims Bible
But if I go to the east, he appeareth not; if to the west, I shall not understand him.

Darby Bible Translation
Lo, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I do not perceive him;

English Revised Version
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

Webster's Bible Translation
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

World English Bible
"If I go east, he is not there; if west, I can't find him;

Young's Literal Translation
Lo, forward I go -- and He is not, And backward -- and I perceive him not.
Parallel Commentaries
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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 8, 9. - Here Job returns to the complaint of ver. 3. He cannot "find" God. God hides himself. It is in vain that he searches on every side. There is no manifestation, no open vision. Nothing, however, leads him to doubt God's existence, or even his presence where he is unperceived. "Job's conviction of God's absolute presence comes out most strongly when he feels that he cannot discern him" (Cook). Verse 8. - Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; that is, "He is not there to my perceptions." I may believe it, but I have no sensible proof of it, and I cannot demonstrate it. And backward, but I cannot perceive him. In describing locality, the Hebrews, Arabs, and Orientals generally always imagined themselves to be looking eastward, facing the rising sun. Hence the same word is used for" in front," "forwards," and "the east;" for "behind," "backwards," and "the west;" for "the left hand" and "the north;" for "the right hand" and "the south."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,.... Job here returns to what he had said before, Job 23:3; as Jarchi observes, where he expresses his earnest desire after God, that he might know where he was, and come up to his seat; here he relates the various ways he took to find him, and his fruitless search of him. Cocceius thinks, by these phrases "forward" and "backward", are meant times future and past; and that the sense is, that Job looked into the future times of the Messiah, and the grace promised him, his living Redeemer, that should stand on the earth in the latter day; and that he looked back to the ages before him, and to the first promise made to Adam; but could not understand by either the reason why good men were afflicted; and by the "right" hand and "left", the different dispensations of God to men, granting protection with his right hand, and distributing the blessings of his goodness by it; and with his left hand laying afflictions and evils upon them; and yet, neither from the one nor the other could he learn the mind and will of God concerning men, since love and hatred are not to be known by these things: but rather, with the Jewish commentators in general, we are to understand places by these various expressions; even each of the parts of the world, east, west, north, and south; which Job went through, and surveyed in his mind, to find God in, but to no purpose; for, when a man stands with his face to the rising sun, the east is before him, and, if he goes forward, he goes eastward; and behind him is the west, and, if he goes that way, he goes backward; so the eastern sea is called the former sea, and the western, or Mediterranean sea, the hinder sea, Zechariah 14:8; and a man, in this position, will have the north on his left hand, and the south on his right; see Genesis 13:9; now Job says that he went "forward", that is, eastward; but, says he of God, "he is not there", or "is not" (g); meaning not that he was not in being, did not exist; for he most firmly believed the existence of God, or that he was, but, as we rightly supply, he was not there, that is, eastward; and yet the greatest, the most glorious, and most gracious appearances of him were in the east; man was made in the east; the garden of Eden was planted eastward; here God appeared to Adam, both before and after his fall; and it was in the east, Christ, the second Adam, was born; his star appeared in it, and his Gospel was first preached in the eastern parts; in the east Job now lived, and had been the greatest man in it; but now God did not appear to him, as the Vulgate Latin version, not in a kind and gracious manner; nor could he find him at his throne of justice here, as he wished for; he was there, though Job saw him not; for he is everywhere; indeed he is not confined or limited to any place; for, as the heaven of heavens cannot contain him, so much less any part or corner of the earth:

and backward, but I cannot perceive him; or understand where he is, or get intelligence of him, and of the reason of his dispensations, especially concerning himself.

(g) "et non ipse", Montanus, Drusius, Bolducius.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

8. But I wish in vain. For "behold," &c.

forward … backward—rather, "to the east—to the west." The Hebrew geographers faced the east, that is, sunrise: not the north, as we do. So "before" means east: "behind," west (so the Hindus). Para, "before"—east: Apara, "behind"—west: Daschina, "the right hand"—south: Bama, "left"—north. A similar reference to sunrise appears in the name Asia, "sunrise," Europe, "sunset"; pure Babylonian names, as Rawlinson shows.

Job 23:8 Additional Commentaries
Context
Job Responds: He Longs for God
7"There the upright would reason with Him; And I would be delivered forever from my Judge. 8"Behold, I go forward but He is not there, And backward, but I cannot perceive Him; 9When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him; He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.…
Cross References
Job 9:11
When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.

Job 23:9
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.

Job 35:14
How much less, then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him, that your case is before him and you must wait for him,
Treasury of Scripture

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

Job 9:11 See, he goes by me, and I see him not: he passes on also, but I perceive …

Psalm 10:1 Why stand you afar off, O LORD? why hide you yourself in times of trouble?

Psalm 13:1-3 How long will you forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long will you …

Isaiah 45:15 Truly you are a God that hide yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior.

1 Timothy 6:16 Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can …

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