Job 23:2
Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.
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(2) Even to day.—Or, Still is my complaint bitter or accounted rebellion; yet is my stroke heavier than my groaning: my complaint is no just measure of my suffering.

Job 23:2. Even to-day is my complaint bitter — Even at this time notwithstanding all your promises and pretended consolations. For your discourses give me neither relief nor satisfaction. Hence in this and the following chapter Job seldom applies his discourse to his friends, but either addresses his speech to God, or bewails his misery. My stroke is heavier than my groaning — The hand or stroke of God upon me exceeds my complaints.23:1-7 Job appeals from his friends to the just judgement of God. He wants to have his cause tried quickly. Blessed be God, we may know where to find him. He is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself; and upon a mercy-seat, waiting to be gracious. Thither the sinner may go; and there the believer may order his cause before Him, with arguments taken from his promises, his covenant, and his glory. A patient waiting for death and judgment is our wisdom and duty, and it cannot be without a holy fear and trembling. A passionate wishing for death or judgement is our sin and folly, and ill becomes us, as it did Job.Even to-day - At the present time. I am not relieved. You afford me no consolation. All that you say only aggravates my woes.

My complaint - See the notes at Job 21:3.

Bitter - Sad, melancholy, distressing. The meaning is, not that he made bitter complaints in the sense which those words would naturally convey, or that he meant to find fault with God, but that his case was a hard one. His friends furnished him no relief, and he had in vain endeavored to bring his cause before God. This is now, as he proceeds to state, the principal cause of his difficulty. He knows not where to find God; he cannot get his cause before him.

My stroke - Margin, as in Hebrew "hand;" that is, the hand that is upon me, or the calamity that is inflicted upon me. The hand is represented as the instrument of inflicting punishment, or causing affliction; see the notes at Job 19:21.

Heavier than my groaning - My sighs bear no proportion to my sufferings. They are no adequate expression of my woes. If you think I complain; if I am heard to groan, yet the sufferings which I endure are far beyond what these would secm to indicate. Sighs and groans are not improper. They are prompted by nature, and they furnish "some" relief to a sufferer. But they should not be:

(1) with a spirit of murmuring or complaining;

(2) they should not be beyond what our sufferings demand, or the proper expression of our sufferings. They should not be such as to lead others to suppose we suffer more than we actually do.

(3) they should - when they are extorted from us by the severity of suffering - lead us go look to that world where no groan will ever be heard.

2. to-day—implying, perhaps, that the debate was carried on through more days than one (see [517]Introduction).

bitter—(Job 7:11; 10:1).

my stroke—the hand of God on me (Margin, Job 19:21; Ps 32:4).

heavier than—is so heavy that I cannot relieve myself adequately by groaning.

i.e. Even at this time, notwithstanding all your promises and pretended consolations, I find no ease or satisfaction in all your discourses; and therefore in this and the following chapters Job seldom applies his discourse to his friends, but only addresseth his speech to God, or bewaileth himself.

Is my complaint bitter, i.e. I do bitterly complain, and have just cause to do so. But this clause is and may be otherwise rendered, Even still (Heb. at this day) is my complaint called or accounted by you rebellion or bitterness, or the rage of an exasperated mind? Do you still pass such harsh censures upon me after all my declarations and solemn protestations of my innocency?

My stroke, Heb. my hand, passively, i.e. the hand or stroke of God upon me, as the same phrase is used, Psalm 77:2; and mine arrow, Job 34:6.

Is heavier than my groaning, i.e. doth exceed all my complaints and expressions; so far are you mistaken, that think I complain more than I have cause. Some render the words thus, my hands are heavy (i.e. feeble and hanging down, as the phrase is, Hebrews 12:12. My strength and spirit faileth) because of my groaning. Even today is my complaint bitter,.... Job's afflictions were continued on him long; he was made to possess months of vanity; and, as he had been complaining ever since they were upon him, he still continued to complain to that day, "even" after all the comforts his friends pretended to administer to him, as Jarchi observes: his complaints were concerning his afflictions, and his friends' ill usage of him under them; not of injustice in God in afflicting him, though he thought he dealt severely with him; but of the greatness of his afflictions, they being intolerable, and his strength unequal to them, and therefore death was more eligible to him than life; and he complained of God's hiding his face from him, and not hearing him, nor showing him wherefore he contended with him, nor admitting an hearing of his cause before him: and this complaint of his was "bitter": the things he complained of were such, bitter afflictions, like the waters of Marah the Israelites could not drink of, Exodus 15:23; there was a great deal of wormwood and gall in his affliction and misery; and it was in a bitter way, in the bitterness of his soul, he made his complaint; and, what made his case still worse, he could not utter any complaint, so much as a sigh or a groan, but it was reckoned "provocation", or "stubbornness and rebellion", by his friends; so some render the word (x), as Mr. Broughton does, "this day my sighing is holden a rebellion": there is indeed a great deal of rebellion oftentimes in the hearts, words and actions, conduct and behaviour, even of good men under afflictions, as were in the Israelites in the wilderness; and a difficult thing it is to complain without being guilty of it; though complaints may be without it, yet repinings and murmurings are always attended with it:

and my stroke is heavier than my groaning; or "my hand" (y), meaning either his own hand, which was heavy, and hung down, his spirits failing, his strength being exhausted, and so his hands weak, feeble, and remiss, that he could not hold them up through his afflictions, and his groanings under them, see Psalm 102:5; or the hand of God upon him, his afflicting hand, which had touched him and pressed hard upon him, and lay heavy, and was heavier than his groanings showed; though he groaned much, he did not groan more, nor so much, as his afflictions called for; and therefore it was no wonder that his complaint was bitter, nor should it be reckoned rebellion and provocation; see Job 6:2.

(x) "exacerbatio", Montanus, Vatablus, Schmidt; "exasperatio", Mercerus, Drusius; "pertinacia", Bolducius; "contumacia habetur", Cocceius; "rebellionem haberi", Junius & Tremellius; "rebellio est", Piscator, Codurcus. (y) "manus mea", Montanus, Vatablus, Mercerus, Drusius, Michaelis.

Even to day is my complaint {a} bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.

(a) He shows the just cause of his complaining and concerning that Eliphaz had exhorted him to return to God, Job 22:21 he declares that he desires nothing more, but it seems that God would not be found of him.

2. The A. V. is almost certainly wrong in its rendering of this verse, though a more satisfactory rendering is hard to give. The text is probably faulty. Literally tendered according to the usual meaning of the words the verse reads, even to-day is my complaint rebellion, my hand is heavy upon my groaning. The A. V. has assumed, after the Vulgate, that the word usually meaning “rebellion” (mri) is a form of the word “bitter” (mar), or that the latter word should be read. It has also assumed that “my hand” may mean the hand (of God) upon me, i. e. “my stroke.” But this is scarcely possible; “my arrow,” ch. Job 34:6, being no true parallel. Further, it has assumed that the well-known phrase “to be heavy upon,” e.g. Psalm 32:4, may mean “to be heavy above,” i. e. heavier than my groaning. This also is scarcely to be believed. On the other hand it is difficult to extract sense from the literal rendering given above. The expression “my complaint is rebellion” may be used from the point of view of the three friends: even to-day (still) is my complaint accounted rebellion, though my hand lies heavy upon my groaning, i. e. represses it; the meaning being, that Job was accounted rebellious by his friends, while in fact his complaint and groaning in no way came up to the terrible weight of his calamities—the same idea as in ch. Job 6:2. Then the following verses proceed to describe the cause he has for complaint. Or the words “my complaint is rebellion” may express Job’s own feeling: “I refuse to submit to my afflictions, or acknowledge that they are just.” In this case the next words: “my hand lies heavy on my groaning” must mean “my hand presses out my groaning in a continual stream.” But this is an extraordinary sense to put on the phrase “to lie heavy upon.” Others, assuming that the text is corrupt, make alterations more or less serious in words, as “His hand” for “my hand” in the second clause. So already the Sept.26 For then thou shalt delight thyself in the Almighty,

And lift up they countenance to Eloah;

27 If thou prayest to Him, He will hear thee,

And thou shalt pay thy vows.

28 And thou devisest a plan, and it shall be established to thee,

And light shineth upon thy ways.

29 If they are cast down, thou sayest, "Arise!"

And him that hath low eyes He saveth.

30 He shall rescue him who is not guiltless,

And he is rescued by the purity of thy hands.

כּי־אז might also be translated "then indeed" (vid., on Job 11:15), as an emphatic resumption of the promissory והיה (tum erit), Job 22:25; but what follows is really the confirmation of the promise that God will be to him a rich recompense for the earthly treasures that he resigns; therefore: for then thou shalt delight thyself in the Almighty (vid., the primary passage, Psalm 37:4, and the dependent one, Isaiah 58:14; comp. infra, Job 27:10), i.e., He will become a source of highest, heartfelt joy to thee (על as interchanging with בּ by שׂמח). Then shall he be able to raise his countenance, which was previously depressed (נפלוּ, Genesis 4:6.), in the consciousness of his estrangement from God by dearly cherished sin and unexpiated guilt, free and open, confident and joyous, to God. If he prays to Him (תּעתּיר may be thus regarded as the antecedent of a conditional clause, like יברח, Job 20:24), He will hear him; and what he has vowed in prayer he will now, after that which he supplicated is granted, thankfully perform; the Hiph. העתּיר (according to its etymon: to offer the incense of prayer) occurs only in Exodus 8-10 beside this passage, whereas גּזר (to cut in pieces, cut off) occurs here for the first time in the signification, to decide, resolve, which is the usual meaning of the word in the later period of the language. On ותגזר (with Pathach, according to another reading with Kametz-chatuph), vid., Ges. 47, rem. 2. Moreover, the paratactic clauses of Job 22:28 are to be arranged as we have translated them; קוּם signifies to come to pass, as freq. (e.g., Isaiah 7:7, in connection with היה, to come into being). That which he designs (אמר) is successful, and is realized, and light shines upon his ways, so that he cannot stumble and does not miss his aim, - light like moonlight or morning light; for, as the author of the introductory Proverbs, to which we have already so often referred as being borrowed from the book of Job (comp. Job 21:24 with Proverbs 3:8), ingeniously says, ch. Job 4:18 : "The path of the righteous is as the morning light (כּאור נגהּ, comp. Daniel 6:20), which shineth brighter and brighter into the height of day (i.e., noonday brightness)."

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