Job's response does not seem to be directed to the comforters but appears to be a soliloquy directed to God. He longs to find God (23:3), underscoring his belief that God has deserted him (vv. 8-9). In spite of his protestations and his refutations of the comforters' positions, he is inclined to associate God's presence with pleasantness and prosperity. The absence of these indicates the absence of God.
While he cannot find God, Job is certain that God can find him (23:10). He is confident of his own integrity and that he will pass the present test he is experiencing. His mettle is being tested, and Job expects vindication rather than pardon and grace. Such an expectation must be kept within the context of Job's struggles with the comforters. Job obviously needs grace (as do all persons), but to refute the fallacious position of the comforters, he seeks vindication, which he will receive at the end of the story.
Job notes here the sovereignty of God, its implications, and his response to it. God does what he pleases (23:13); and what God has decreed for him, Job will experience (v. 14). This frightens Job (vv. 15-16) but does not silence him (v. 17). Significant shifts are discernible in Job's attitude toward God in this chapter, but as Andersen (p. 211) observes, Job's dread here is an essential part of his faith.
Job now returns to an earlier emphasis. The comforters' insistence that God regularly administers justice in the world is not supported by facts (24:1). Job cites several wrongs perpetuated against the defenseless, wrongs that are clearly forbidden by laws given to Israel by the Lord, but that are committed with impunity and without redress (vv. 2-4). While the perpetrators escape judgment, believing that no one sees their wrong doing (vv. 13-17), the defenseless poor lack food (v. 6), clothing (v. 7), and shelter (v. 8). Their children are removed by force as payment for debts (v. 9). Yet in spite of their cries, God remains inactive (v. 12). The claim of the comforters that the wicked inevitably come to a bad end (vv. 18-24) is simply not verified by empirical data. Job is certain that he is correct (v. 25). Indeed, it is difficult to establish a precise relationship between cause and effect. Evil is not always punished, nor are the poor always delivered. Job is aware of randomness here.
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