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. 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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