Job 23 Commentary

Job’s reply to Eliphaz (23:1-24:25)

Again Job says that he is not rebelling against God or running away from him as his friends claim. On the contrary he wants to meet God, so that he can present his case to him and listen to God’s answer (23:1-5). He is confident that God will declare him innocent of the charges people have made against him (6-7).

No matter where Job has searched for God, he has not found him. He cannot see God, but God can see him. God knows he is upright, and one day, when this time of testing has proved him true, God will announce his righteousness to others (8-12). But until that day arrives, Job must bear his suffering.

Nothing will change God’s mind, and Job is terrified as he thinks of what God may yet require him to go through (13-17).


Job wishes there were set times when God the judge was available for the downtrodden to bring their complaints to him and obtain justice (24:1). The poor and helpless are oppressed by the rich and powerful. Driven from their homes they are forced to wander like animals in the wilderness, eating whatever food they can find and sleeping under trees and rocks (2-8). If caught they are forced to sell their children as slaves or become slaves themselves. Yet God ignores their cries for help (9-12).

Meanwhile murderers, sex perverts and thieves, who rely on the cover of darkness to carry out their evil deeds, seem to escape unpunished (13-17).

The friends say that these wicked people will quickly be swept away in judgment (18-20), but from Job’s observations, God allows them to go on living in comfort and security. When they die, their deaths are no different from the deaths of others (21-24). Job challenges his friends to prove him wrong in what he says (25).

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