Job 23:7
There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.
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(7) There the righteous might dispute.—He has learnt this marvellous truth, which the Gospel has so effectually brought to light, that it is God the Saviour who is Himself the refuge from God the Judge (John 12:47); and then, in the solemn conviction of His presence, he makes use of the most sublime language expressive of it, being assured, though He may hide Himself with the express purpose of not interfering in his cause, yet that all things work together for good to them that love Him (Romans 8:28), and that when his time of trial is over, he himself will come forth like gold. Job’s case teaches us that if an innocent man is falsely accused, God’s honour is vindicated and maintained by his holding fast his conviction of innocence rather than by his yielding to the pressure of adversity and owning to sins he has not committed, or relaxing his hold on innocence by yielding to irritability.

Job 23:7. There — At that throne of grace, where God lays aside his majesty and power, and judges according to his wonted grace and clemency; the righteous — Such as I trust I am in sincerity and truth; might dispute with him — Humbly and modestly propound the grounds of their confidence and the evidences of their righteousness. So — Upon such a fair and equal hearing; should I be delivered from my judge — From the severe censures of all corrupt and partial judges, such as my friends are, or rather, from the condemnatory sentence of God; for he is supposed to be pleading, not only before God, but with him. This and some such expressions of Job cannot be excused from irreverence toward God, and too great confidence in himself; for which, therefore, God afterward reproves him, and Job abhors himself.

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.There the righteous might dispute with him - One who is conscious of his integrity might carry his cause there, with the assurance that he would be heard, and that justice would be done him. There can be no doubt that Job here refers to himself, though. he speaks in the third person, and advances this as a general proposition.

So shall I be delivered forever from my judge - From him who would judge or condemn me (משׁפטי mı̂shâphaṭı̂y). He does not here refer to "God," as if he would be delivered from him, but to anyone who would attempt to judge and condemn him, as his friends had done. The meaning is, that having, as he confidently expected he would, obtained the verdict of God in his favor, he would be ever after free from condemnation. The decision would be final. There was no higher tribunal, and no one would dare to condemn him afterward. This shows his consciousness of integrity. It may be applied to ourselves - to all. If we can obtain, at the last day, when our cause shall be brought before God, the divine verdict in our favor, it will settle the matter forever. No one, after that, will condemn us; never again shall our character or conduct be put on trial. The divine decision of that day will settle the question to all eternity. How momentous, then, is it that we should so live as to be acquitted in that day, and to have "an eternal sentence" in our favour!

7. There—rather, "Then": if God would "attend" to me (Job 23:6).

righteous—that is, the result of my dispute would be, He would acknowledge me as righteous.

delivered—from suspicion of guilt on the part of my Judge.

There; at that throne of grace, as it is called, Hebrews 4:16, where God lays aside his majesty and power, and judgeth according to his wonted grace and clemency.

The righteous; such as I do and dare avow myself to be, to wit, in sincerity, though not in perfection. Might dispute with him; humbly and modestly propounding the grounds of their confidence, and the evidences of their righteousness. So; upon such a fair and equal hearing.

From my judge; either,

1. From the severe censures of all corrupt and partial judges, such as you my friends are. Or rather,

2. From the damnatory sentence of God; for he is not only pleading before him, but also with him. He would give sentence for me, and against himself. This and some such expressions of Job cannot be excused from reverence towards God, and too great a confidence in himself; for which therefore God sharply reproves him hereafter, and Job abhorreth himself.

There the righteous might dispute with him,.... That is, at his seat, either at his mercy seat, where even God allows sinners to come and reason with him, for pardoning grace and mercy, upon the foot of his own declarations and promises, and the blood and sacrifice of his son, Isaiah 1:18; or at his judgment seat, pleading the righteousness of Christ, which is fully satisfactory to law and justice. Job most probably means himself by the righteous or upright man, being conscious to himself of his sincerity and integrity; and relying on this, he feared not to appear before God as a Judge, and reason his case before him, dispute the matter with him, and in his presence, which was in controversy between him and his friends, whether he was an hypocrite or a sincere good man:

so should I be delivered for ever from my Judge; either from those who judged harsely of him, and were very censorious in the character they gave of him; and from all their condemnation of him, and calumnies and charges they fastened on him; or "from him that judgest me" (f), from anyone whatever that should wrongly judge him, friend or foe; or rather from God himself, his Judge, from whom he should depart acquitted; and so Mr. Broughton renders the words, "so should I be quit for ever by my Judge"; for, if God justifies, who shall condemn? such an one need not regard the condemnations of men or devils; being acquitted by God he is for ever instilled, and shall never enter into condemnation; God's acquittance is a security from the damnatory sentence of others.

(f) "a judicante me", Beza, Pagninus, Montanus, Bolducius, Vatablus, Cocceius.

{d} There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.

(d) When he of his mercy has given strength to maintain their cause.

7. This verse, as rendered in the A.V., seems to mean that in such circumstances (Job 23:3-6) a righteous man might plead his cause before God. Rather the words run literally, then a righteous man would be pleading with him, i. e. then it would appear that the man who pleads with Him (i. e. Job) is righteous. This sense fits into the parallelism of the second clause.

Verse 7. - There the righteous might dispute with him. There, before his high tribunal (ver. 3), the upright man (ישׁר) might argue or reason with him, appealing from his justice to his mercy - from God the Judge to God the Saviour (Loathes), vindicating his integrity, acknowledging his transgressions, and pleading that they were sins of infirmity-and at last obtaining from God the acquittal anticipated in the second clause of the verse. In the absence of any revelation of an Advocate who will plead our cause before God for us, Job would seem to have been justified in expecting such a liberty of pleading his own cause as he here sets forth. So should I be delivered for ever from my Judge. The "Judge of all the earth" will certainly and necessarily "do right." Job's conscience testifies to his substantial integrity and uprightness (comp. 1 John 3:21). He is, therefore, confident that, if he can once bring his cause to God's cognizance, he will obtain acquittal and deliverance. Job 23:7The question arises here, whether the שׁם which follows is to be understood locally (Arab. ṯamma) or temporally (Arab. ṯumma); it is evident from Job 35:12; Psalm 14:5; Psalm 66:6; Hosea 2:17; Zephaniah 1:14, that it may be used temporally; in many passages, e.g., Psalm 36:13, the two significations run into one another, so that they cannot be distinguished. We here decide in favour of the temporal signification, against Rosenm., Schlottm., and Hahn; for if שׁם be understood locally, a "then" must be supplied, and it may therefore be concluded that this שׁם is the expression for it. We assume at the same time that נוכח is correctly pointed as part. with Kametz; accordingly it is to be explained: then, if He would thus pay attention to me, an upright man would be contending with Him, i.e., then it would be satisfactorily proved that an upright man may contend with Him. In Job 23:7, פּלּט, like מלּט, Job 20:20 (comp. פּתּח, to have open, to stand open), is intensive of Kal: I should for ever escape my judge, i.e., come off most completely free from unmerited punishment. Thus it ought to be if God could be found, but He cannot be found. The הן, which according to the sense may be translated by "yet" (comp. Job 21:16), introduces this antithetical relation: Yet I go towards the east (הן with Mahpach, קדם with Munach), and He is not there; and towards the west (אחור, comp. אחרנים, occidentales, Job 18:20), and perceive Him not (expressed as in Job 9:11; בּין ל elsewhere: to attend to anything, Job 14:21; Deuteronomy 32:29; Psalm 73:17; here, as there, to perceive anything, so that לו is equivalent to אתו). In Job 23:9 the left (שׂמאול, Arab. shemâl, or even without the substantival termination, on which comp. Jesurun, pp. 222-227, sham, shâm) is undoubtedly an appellation of the north, and the right (ימין, Arab. jem̌̂n) an appellation of the south; both words are locatives which outwardly are undefined. And if the usual signification of עשׂה and עטף are retained, it is to be explained thus: northwards or in the north, if He should be active - I behold not; if He veil himself southwards or in the south - I see not. This explanation is also satisfactory so far as Job 23:9 is concerned, so that it is unnecessary to understand בּעשׂתו other than in Job 28:26, and with Blumenfeld to translate according to the phrase עשׂה דרכּו, Judges 17:8 : if He makes His way northwards; or even with Umbr. to call in the assistance of the Arab. gšâ (to cover), which neither here nor Job 9:9; Job 15:27, is admissible, since even then שׂמאול בעשׂתו cannot signify: if He hath concealed himself on the left hand (in the north). Ewald's combination of עשׂה with עטה, in the assumed signification "to incline to" of the latter, is to be passed over as useless. On the other hand, much can be said in favour of Ewald's translation of Job 23:9: "if He turn to the right hand - I see Him not;" for (1) the Arab. gṭf, by virtue of the radical notion,

(Note: The Arab. verb ‛ṭf signifies trans. to turn, or lay, anything round, so that it is laid or drawn over something else and covers it; hence Arab. ‛ṭâf, a garment that is cast round one, Arab. ta‛aṭṭafa with Arab. b of a garment: to cast it or wrap it about one. Intrans. to turn aside, depart from, of deviating from a given direction, deflectere, declinare; also, to turn in a totally opposite direction, to turn one's self round and to go back. - Fl.)

which is also traceable in the Heb. עטף, signifies both trans. and intrans. to turn up, bend aside; (2) Saadia translates: "and if He turns southwards (‛atafa gunûban);" (3) Schultens correctly observes: עטף significatione operiendi commodum non efficit sensum, nam quid mirum is quem occultantem se non conspiciamus. We therefore give the preference to this Arabic rendering of יעטף. If יעטף, in the sense of obvelat se, does not call to mind the חדרי תּמן, penetralia austri, Job 9:9 (comp. Arab. chidr, velamen, adytum), neither will בעשׂתו point to the north as the limit of the divine dominion. Such conceptions of the extreme north and south are nowhere found among the Arabs as among the Arian races (vid., Isaiah 14:13);

(Note: In contrast to the extreme north, the abode of the gods, the habitation of life, the extreme south is among the Arians the abode of the prince of death and of demons, Jama (vid., p. 421) with his attendants, and therefore the habitation of death.)

and, moreover, the conception of the north as the abode of God cannot be shown to be biblical, either from Job 37:22; Ezekiel 1:4, or still less from Psalm 48:3. With regard to the syntax, יעטף is a hypothetical fut., as Job 20:24; Job 22:27. The use of the fut. apoc. אחז, like אט, Job 23:11, without a voluntative or aoristic signification, is poetic. Towards all quarters of the heavens he turns, i.e., with his eyes and the longing of his whole nature, if he may by any means find God. But He evades him, does not reveal Himself in any place whatever.

The כּי which now follows does not give the reason of Job's earnest search after God, but the reason of His not being found by him. He does not allow Himself to be seen anywhere; He conceals Himself from him, lest He should be compelled to acknowledge the right of the sufferer, and to withdraw His chastening hand from him.

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