Job 13:24
Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
13:23-28 Job begs to have his sins discovered to him. A true penitent is willing to know the worst of himself; and we should all desire to know what our transgressions are, that we may confess them, and guard against them for the future. Job complains sorrowfully of God's severe dealings with him. Time does not wear out the guilt of sin. When God writes bitter things against us, his design is to make us bring forgotten sins to mind, and so to bring us to repent of them, as to break us off from them. Let young persons beware of indulging in sin. Even in this world they may so possess the sins of their youth, as to have months of sorrow for moments of pleasure. Their wisdom is to remember their Creator in their early days, that they may have assured hope, and sweet peace of conscience, as the solace of their declining years. Job also complains that his present mistakes are strictly noticed. So far from this, God deals not with us according to our deserts. This was the language of Job's melancholy views. If God marks our steps, and narrowly examines our paths, in judgment, both body and soul feel his righteous vengeance. This will be the awful case of unbelievers, yet there is salvation devised, provided, and made known in Christ.Wherefore hidest thou thy face - To hide the face, or to turn it away, is expressive of disapprobation. We turn away the face when we are offended with anyone. See the notes at Isaiah 1:15.

And holdest me for thine enemy - Regardest and treatest me as an enemy.

24. hidest … face—a figure from the gloomy impression caused by the sudden clouding over of the sun.

enemy—God treated Job as an enemy who must be robbed of power by ceaseless sufferings (Job 7:17, 21).

Hidest thou thy face, i.e. withdrawest thy favour and help which thou didst use to afford me; as this phrase is commonly used, as Deu 31:17 Psalm 13:1 102:2, &c.

Holdest me for thine enemy, i.e. dealest as sharply with me as if I were thy professed enemy.

Wherefore hidest thou thy face,.... Not from his cry, because of his sore and grievous afflictions, as Bar Tzemach; nor from helping and saving him from his troubles, as Sephorno; nor from looking on his right ways, as Jarchi; but from his person, withdrawing the manifestation of his face and favour; withholding the discoveries of his love; and denying him the light of his countenance, and sensible communion with him, and enjoyment of him, he had been indulged with; Job formerly had seen the face of God, enjoyed his presence, and walked in fellowship with him; but now he had withdrawn himself from him, and he knew not where to find him; see Job 23:2; a greater blessing cannot be had than the gracious presence of God; nothing gives more pleasure when enjoyed, and nothing more grievous to good men when it is withheld; oftentimes sin is the cause of it, but not always, as in this instance of Job; the end of the Lord in all his afflictions, both inward and outward, was to try his patience, his integrity, and faithfulness; but as Job was for the present ignorant of it, he desires to know the reason of this the Lord's behaviour towards him; as it is what all good men should do in the like circumstances, nothing being more afflicting and distressing to them, and even intolerable; see Psalm 10:11; some think here is an allusion to the behaviour of judges towards such as were condemned by them, they were prejudiced against, and would neither hear nor see them; or to a rite and custom in former times, as Pineda observes, when judges, at the time of pronouncing sentence on a malefactor, used to draw a curtain between them; or to the covering of the face of the criminal, see Job 9:24;

and holdest me for thine enemy? Job had been an enemy to God, as all men are in a state of nature, yea, enmity itself, as is shown by their wicked works; but he was now reconciled unto God, the enmity of his heart was slain, and he had laid down his weapons of rebellion, and ceased committing hostilities against God, and was become subject to him and to his law, through the power of efficacious grace; a principle of love, which is the fruit of the spirit in regeneration, was implanted in him; and he was a true and sincere lover of God, one that feared him, and trusted in him; whose faith worked by love, and so appeared to be of the right kind; and therefore, since he was conscious to himself that he loved God with all his heart, loved his word, his ways, and worship, his people and all that belonged to him, it was cutting and grievous to him to be thought and accounted, or deal with, as an enemy to him; for so he interpreted his conduct towards him; as he afflicted him, he took it to be in anger and fury, and hot displeasure; and as he hid his face from him, he supposed it was in great wrath, viewing him in this light as his enemy.

Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. Wherefore hidest thou thy face] This does not mean, Wherefore dost thou refuse to answer me now? the reference is to God’s severity in afflicting him, as is shewn by the words “holdest me for thine enemy,” cf. ch. Job 19:5, Job 35:2 seq.

Verse 24. - Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy? What is thy reason for withdrawing from me the light of thy countenance, and behaving towards me as though thou weft mine enemy? Job does not believe God to be his enemy. He knows that God will one day be his Salvation (ver. 16); but he recognizes a present alienation, and desires to be made acquainted with the cause of it. Job 13:2423 How many are mine iniquities and sins?

Make me to know my transgression and sin! - -

24 Wherefore dost Thou hide Thy face,

And regard me as Thine enemy?

25 Wilt Thou frighten away a leaf driven to and fro,

And pursue the dry stubble?

When עון and חטּאת, פּשׁע and חטּאת, are used in close connection, the latter, which describes sin as failing and error, signifies sins of weakness (infirmities, Schwachheitssnde); whereas עון (prop. distorting or bending) signifies misdeed, and פשׁע (prop. breaking loose, or away from, Arab. fsq) wickedness which designedly estranges itself from God and removes from favour, both therefore malignant sin (Bosheitssnde).

(Note: Comp. the development of the idea of the synonyms for sin in von Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, i. 483ff., at the commencement of the fourth Lehrstck.)

The bold self-confidence which is expressed in the question and challenge of Job 13:23 is, in Job 13:24, changed to grievous astonishment that God does not appear to him, and on the contrary continues to pursue him as an enemy without investigating his cause. Has the Almighty then pleasure in scaring away a leaf that is already blown to and fro? העלה, with He interrog., like החכם, Job 15:2, according to Ges. 100, 4. ערץ used as transitive here, like Psalm 10:18, to terrify, scare away affrighted. Does it give Him satisfaction to pursue dried-up stubble? By את (before an indeterminate noun, according to Ges. 117, 2) he points δεικτικῶς to himself: he, the powerless one, completely deprived of strength by sickness and pain, is as dried-up stubble; nevertheless God is after him, as though He would get rid of every trace of a dangerous enemy by summoning His utmost strength against him.

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