Job 23:10
But he knows the way that I take: when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 23:10. But he knoweth the way that I take — My comfort is, that, though I cannot see him, and know all his ways, and the reasons of his dispensations; yet he, being everywhere present, alway sees me, knows my heart and life, and observes the whole course of my conduct, my internal desires and designs, and the counsels of my heart, as well as my outward words and actions. It is a great comfort to those who are upright in their intentions, and mean honestly, that God understands their meaning though men do not, cannot, or will not. When he hath tried me — When he hath proved me by these afflictions, as gold is tried by the fire; I shall come forth as gold — Which comes forth from the furnace pure from all dross. The Hebrew is absolute, בחנני, bechanani, He hath tried me, I shall come forth, &c. They that keep the way of the Lord may comfort themselves when they are in affliction with these three things: 1st, That they are but tried; it is not intended for their hurt, but for their honour and benefit; it is the trial of their faith, 1 Peter 1:7. 2d, That when they are sufficiently tried, they shall come forth out of the furnace, and not be left to consume in it, as dross or reprobate silver. The trial will have an end; God will not contend for ever. 3d, That they shall come forth as gold, pure in itself, and precious to the refiner. They shall come forth as gold approved and improved; found to be good, and made to be better. Afflictions are to us, as we are; those that go gold into the furnace will come out no worse.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.But he knoweth the way that I take - Margin, "is with me." That is, "I have the utmost confidence in him. Though I cannot see him, yet he sees me, and he knows my integrity; and whatever people may say, or however they may misunderstand my character, yet he is acquainted with me, and I have the fullest confidence that he will do me justice."

When he hath tried me - When he has subjected me to all the tests of character which he shall choose to apply.

I shall come forth as gold - As gold that is tried in the crucible, and that comes forth the more pure the intenser is the heat. The application of fire to it serves to separate every particle of impurity or alloy, and leaves only the pure metal. So it is with trials applied to the friend of God; and we may remark

(1) That all real piety will bear "any" test that may be applied to it, as gold will bear any degree of heat without being injured or destroyed.

(2) That the effect of all trials is to purify piety, and make it more bright and valuable, as is the effect of applying intense heat to gold.

(3) There is often much alloy in the piety of a Christian, as there is in gold, that needs to be removed by the fiery trial of affliction. Nothing else will remove it but trial, as nothing will be so effectual a purifier of gold as intense heat.

(4) A true Christian should not dread trial. It will not hurt him. He will be the more valuable for his trials, as gold is for the application of heat. There is no danger of destroying true piety. It will live in the flames, and will survive the raging heat that shall yet consume the world.

10. But—correcting himself for the wish that his cause should be known before God. The omniscient One already knoweth the way in me (my inward principles: His outward way or course of acts is mentioned in Job 23:11. So in me, Job 4:21); though for some inscrutable cause He as yet hides Himself (Job 23:8, 9).

when—let Him only but try my cause, I shall, &c.

But, though I cannot see him, yet my comfort is, that he seeth me and my heart, and all my actions. Or, for, as this particle commonly signifies. So this verse contains a reason why he so vehemently desired that he might plead his cause with or before God.

He knoweth the way that I take; he cannot be deceived nor blinded, either by the artifices of bold accusers or advocates, or by his own misapprehensions or passions, but he exactly knows the way that is with me, i.e. the disposition of my heart, and the whole course or manner of my life.

When he hath tried me; if he would examine me thoroughly, which above all things I desire.

I shall come forth as gold; which cometh out of the furnace pure from all dross. It would appear upon a fair hearing that I am free, though not from all sin, as he had confessed before, yet from that hypocrisy and those gross enormities wherewith my friends charge me. But he knoweth the way that I take,.... This he seems to say in a way of solace to himself, comforting and contenting himself, that though he could not find God, nor knew where he was, or what way he took, nor the reasons of his ways and dispensations with the children of men, and with himself, yet God knew where he was, and what way he took; by which he means either the way he took, being directed to it for his acceptance with God, his justification before him, and eternal salvation; which was his living Redeemer, he looked unto by faith for righteousness and eternal life: or rather the way and manner of life he took to, the course of his conversation, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, in the paths of piety and truth, of righteousness and holiness; and this God knew not barely by his omniscience, as he knows all the ways of men, good and bad; his eyes are upon them, lie compasses them, and is thoroughly acquainted with them; but by way of approbation, he approved of it, and was well pleased with it, it being so agreeable to his revealed will, so pure and holy; thus the Lord knows the way of the righteous, Psalm 1:6;

when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold; as pure as gold, as free from dross as that, appear quite innocent of the charges brought against him, and shine in his integrity. He was as valuable and precious as gold, as all God's people are in his esteem, however reckoned of by others; they are precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold; not that they have any intrinsic, worth in themselves, they are in no wise the better than others by nature; but through the grace of God bestowed on them, which is as gold tried in the fire; and through the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, which is gold of Ophir, and clothing of wrought gold; and, on account of both, they are like a mass of gold, and are the chosen of God, and precious: this gold he tries, the Lord trieth the righteous; and which he does by afflictive providences; he puts them into the furnace of affliction, which is the fiery trial to try them; and hereby their graces are tried, their faith, hope, love, patience, &c. their principles and doctrines they embrace, whether they are gold, silver, and precious stones, or whether wood, hay, and stubble; the fire tries every man's work, of what sort it is, and whether they will abide by them and their profession also, whether they will adhere to it; and by this means he purges away their dross and tin, and they come out of the furnace as pure gold in great lustre and brightness, as those in Revelation 7:13; now Job was in this furnace and trying; and he was confident that, as he should come out of it, he should appear to great advantage, pure and spotless; though it may be he may have respect to his trial at the bar of justice, where he desired to be tried, and be brought under the strictest examination; and doubted not but he should be acquitted, and shine as bright as gold; nay, these words may be given as a reason why God would not be found by him as his Judge to try his cause, because he knew his uprightness and integrity, and that he must go from him acquitted and discharged; and therefore, for reasons unknown to him, declined the judging of him; to this purpose Jarchi interprets the words, which may be rendered, "for he knoweth the way that I take" (a); and therefore will not be seen by me, nor appear to judge me: "he hath tried me"; again and again, and has seen the integrity of my heart, as Sephorno interprets it, and well knows my innocence; see Psalm 17:3; and if he would try me again, "I shall come forth as gold"; quite clear of all charges and imputations; I am able to stand the strictest scrutiny: this he said as conscious of his uprightness, and of his strict regard to the ways and word of God, as follows; but this was a bold saying, and an unbecoming expression of his to God; and of which he afterwards was ashamed and repented, when God appeared and spoke to him out of the whirlwind.

(a) "quia", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Piscator, Michaelis; "nam", Tigurine version, Cocceius, Schultens.

But he knoweth the {f} way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

(f) God has this preeminence about me, that he knows my way: that is, that I am not able to judge his work, he shows also his confidence, that God uses him for his profit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. The reason of God’s thus hiding Himself and refusing to allow Himself to be approached is that He knows Job’s innocence, but is resolved to treat him as guilty and bring him to death (Job 23:13).

But he knoweth the way that I take] Rather, for He knoweth, &c.; lit. the way that is with me, i. e. the conduct I pursue, and the thoughts I cherish. Job refers in these words to his innocency (Job 23:11-12).

when he hath tried me I shall] Rather, if He tried me I should come forth as gold. God refuses to permit Job access to Him, or to plead his cause before Him, because He knows his innocence, and that if He tried him he would come forth as pure gold.Verse 10. - But he knoweth the way that I take; or, the way that is with me. My inability to find God does not in any way interfere with his perfect knowledge of me. God knows both "the way of the righteous" (Psalm 1:6) "and "the way of the wicked," which" he turns upside down "(Psalm 146:9). He is "about our path, and about our bed, and spieth out all our ways" (Psalm 139:2). When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold; i.e. as gold from the furnace, I shall come forth purified, when my trial is over (comp. Psalm 12:6; Isaiah 1:25; Jeremiah 6:29, 30; Jeremiah 9:7, etc.). Job seems at last to have woke up to the conception that there is a purifying power in affliction. 1 Then began Job, and said:

2 Even to-day my complaint still biddeth defiance,

My hand lieth heavy upon my groaning.

3 Oh that I knew where I might find Him,

That I might come even to His dwelling-place!

4 I would lay the cause before Him,

And fill my mouth with arguments:

5 I should like to know the words He would answer me,

And attend to what He would say to me.

Since מרי (for which the lxx reads ἐκ τοῦ χειρός μου, מידי; Ew. מידו, from his hand) usually elsewhere signifies obstinacy, it appears that Job 23:2 ought to be explained: My complaint is always accounted as rebellion (against God); but by this rendering Job 23:2 requires some sort of expletive, in order to furnish a connected thought: although the hand which is upon me stifles my groaning (Hirz.); or, according to another rendering of the על: et pourtant mes gmissements n'galent pas mes souffrances (Renan. Schlottm.). These interpretations are objectionable on account of the artificial restoration of the connection between the two members of the verse, which they require; they lead one to expect וידי (as a circumstantial clause: lxx, Cod. Vat. καὶ ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ). As the words stand, it is to be supposed that the definition of time, גּם־היּום (even to-day still, as Zechariah 9:12), belongs to both divisions of the verse. How, then, is מרי to be understood? If we compare Job 7:11; Job 10:1, where מר, which is combined with שׂיח, signifies amarum equals amartiduo, it is natural to take מרי also in the signification amaritudo, acerbitas (Targ., Syr., Jer.); and this is also possible, since, as is evident from Exodus 23:21, comp. Zechariah 12:10, the verbal forms מרר and מרה run into one another, as they are really cognates.

(Note: מרר and מרה both spring from the root מר [vid. supra, p. 396, note], with the primary signification stringere, to beat, rub, draw tight. Hence Arab. mârrâ, to touch lightly, smear upon (to go by, over, or through, to move by, etc.), but also stringere palatum, of an astringent taste, strong in taste, to be bitter, opp. Arab. ḥalâ, soft and mild in taste, to be sweet, as in another direction חלה, to be loose, weak, sick, both from the root Arab. ḥl in ḥalla, solvit, laxavit. From the signification to be tight come amarra, to stretch tight, istamarra, to stretch one's self tight, to draw one's self out in this state of tension - of things in time, to continue unbroken; mirreh, string, cord; מרה, to make and hold one's self tight against any one, i.e., to be obstinate: originally of the body, as Arab. mârrâ, tamârrâ, to strengthen themselves in the contest against one another; then of the mind, as Arab. mârâ, tamârâ, to struggle against anything, both outwardly by contradiction and disputing, and inwardly by doubt and unbelief. - Fl.)

But it is more satisfactory, and more in accordance with the relation of the two divisions of the verse, if we keep to the usual signification of מרי; not, however, understanding it of obstinacy, revolt, rebellion (viz., in the sense of the friends), but, like moreh, 2 Kings 14:26) which describes the affliction as stiff-necked, obstinate), of stubbornness, defiance, continuance in opposition, and explain with Raschi: My complaint is still always defiance, i.e., still maintains itself in opposition, viz., against God, without yielding (Hahn, Olsh.: unsubmitting); or rather: against such exhortations to penitence as those which Eliphaz has just addressed to him. In reply to these, Job considers his complain to be well justified even to-day, i.e., even now (for it is not, with Ewald, to be imagined that, in the mind of the poet, the controversy extends over several days, - an idea which would only be indicated by this one word).

In Job 23:2 he continues the same thought under a different form of expression. My hand lies heavy on my groaning, i.e., I hold it immoveably fast (as Fleischer proposes to take the words); or better: I am driven to a continued utterance of it.

(Note: The idea might also be: My hand presses my groaning back (because it would be of no use to me); but Job 23:2 is against this, and the Arab. kamada, to restrain inward pain, anger, etc. by force (e.g., mât kemed, he died from suppressed rage or anxiety), has scarcely any etymological connection with כבד.)

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