וַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃ 23:1
Job 23:1 Then Job responded, and he said,
גַּם־הַיּוֹם מְרִי שִׂחִי יָדִי כָּבְדָה עַל־אַנְחָתִי׃ 23:2
Job 23:2 "Today my musing is indeed rebellious.
My hand is heavy over my groaning."
As I interpret this chapter, Job is not so much responding to Eliphaz, as he is thinking to himself. At first he is imagining his encounter with God (vss. 3 to 6). And he wonders if he would be effective (v.6). Reconsidering, he thinks he would not be able to reach the Almighty (vss. 8 and 9). Then, becoming more fearful at the thought of standing before the Judge, he attempts to reassure himself of his purity (vss. 10 to 12). Next, he realizes that God is all powerful and does according to His plan, not that of a human (vss. 13 and 14). So he is reminded of his great fear (vss. 15 and 16). Finally, in the last verse, he once more regrets that he was not taken away before his calamities hit him. A passionate, troubled, and eloquent soliloquy!
מִי־יִתֵּן יָדַעְתִּי וְאֶמְצָאֵהוּ אָבוֹא עַד־תְּכוּנָתוֹ׃ 23:3
Job 23:3 "Would that I knew, so I could find Him!
I would go as far as His place."
אֶעֶרְכָה לְפָנָיו מִשְׁפָּט וּפִי אֲמַלֵּא תוֹכָחוֹת׃ 23:4
Job 23:4 "I would set in order a cause before Him,
and make my mouth full of arguments."
אֵדְעָה מִלִּים יַעֲנֵנִי וְאָבִינָה מַה־יֹּאמַר לִי׃ 23:5
Job 23:5 "I would consider the words He would answer me,
that I would understand what He would say to me."
הַבְּרָב־כֹּחַ יָרִיב עִמָּדִי לֹא אַךְ־הוּא יָשִׂם בִּי׃ 23:6
Job 23:6 "Would He contend with me with great strength?
No! Surely He would fix on me."
שָׁם יָשָׁר נוֹכָח עִמּוֹ וַאֲפַלְּטָה לָנֶצַח מִשֹּׁפְטִי׃ 23:7
Job 23:7 "There an upright person could be reasoning with Him,
and I would be delivered forever from my punishment."
הֵן קֶדֶם אֶהֱלֹךְ וְאֵינֶנּוּ וְאָחוֹר וְלֹא־אָבִין לוֹ׃ 23:8
Job 23:8 "Behold! I could go forward, but there is no one.
Then backwards, still I cannot perceive Him."
שְׂמֹאול בַּעֲשֹׂתוֹ וְלֹא־אָחַז יַעְטֹף יָמִין וְלֹא אֶרְאֶה׃ 23:9
Job 23:9 "Left to attend to Him, but I cannot observe;
He can turn right, so I would not see."
כִּי־יָדַע דֶּרֶךְ עִמָּדִי בְּחָנַנִי כַּזָּהָב אֵצֵא׃ 23:10
Job 23:10 "For He knows the way with me,
He tests me -- I shall come out as gold."
בַּאֲשֻׁרֹו אָחֲזָה רַגְלִי דַּרְכֹּו שָׁמַרְתִּי וְלֹא־אָט׃ 23:11
Job 23:11 "My foot has settled in His step;
I have kept His way, and I will not turn."
מִצְוַת שְׂפָתָיו וְלֹא אָמִישׁ מֵחֻקִּי צָפַנְתִּי אִמְרֵי־פִיו׃ 23:12
Job 23:12 "It is the commandment of His 'lips,'
and I will not depart.
I treasure the words of His 'mouth'
more than my own prescribed portion."
וְהוּא בְאֶחָד וּמִי יְשִׁיבֶנּוּ וְנַפְשׁוֹ אִוְּתָה וַיָּעַשׂ׃ 23:13
Job 23:13 "But He is One to Himself,
and who can make Him answer!
As His 'soul' desires, so He does."
כִּי יַשְׁלִים חֻקִּי וְכָהֵנָּה רַבּוֹת עִמּוֹ׃ 23:14
Job 23:14 "Surely He could make my prescribed portion peaceful
-- and great things like these are with Him."
עַל־כֵּן מִפָּנָיו אֶבָּהֵל אֶתְבּוֹנֵן וְאֶפְחַד מִמֶּנּוּ׃ 23:15
Job 23:15 "Therefore I should be terrified before Him.
I should diligently consider and I should tremble because of Him."
וְאֵל הֵרַךְ לִבִּי וְשַׁדַּי הִבְהִילָנִי׃ 23:16
Job 23:16 "So God has made my heart weak,
and the Almighty has terrified me."
כִּי־לֹא נִצְמַתִּי מִפְּנֵי־חֹשֶׁךְ וּמִפָּנַי כִּסָּה־אֹפֶל׃ 23:17
Job 23:17 "For I was not annihilated before the darkness,
that He hid the deep gloom from me. "
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