As I had mentioned before, that’s the way our justice system is today instead of innocent until proven guilt, it’s if you look guilty that’s because you are.
Job must be really confused and quite upset and disappointed in You, but he still hasn’t disregarded You, as his friends have.
“Then Job answered and said,
Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.
Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.
Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me” (Job 23:1-6).
Job is seeking a fair trial. In 9:14-20 Job was fearful that he couldn’t find words to argue with God. Now he’s confident that if God would give him a hearing, he would be acquitted (see 13:13-19; also Ps 17:1-3; 26:1-3).
“There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:7-10).
I cannot perceive him…But he knoweth the way that I take – Job is frustrated over his apparent inability to have an audience with God, who knows that he’s an upright man.
Job is here answering Eliphaz’s admonition beginning in 22:21 – Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace. Job replies that this is what he had always done (vv 11-12). He treasures God’s words more than his daily food.
He admits that God is testing him – not to purge away his sinful dross, but to show that Job is pure gold (see Ps 119:11, 101, 168; 1 Pet 1:7).
“My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth” (Job 23:11-13).
Even though Job is not an Israelite, he worships the one true God – there is no other:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deut 6:4-5).
“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Is 44:6).
“I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Is 45:5-7).
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:8).
“But our God is in the heaven’s: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Ps 115:3).
“For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.
Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.
For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:
Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face” (Job 23:14-17).
“Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?
Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.
They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together.
Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.
They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.
They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.
They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.
They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor.
They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;
Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.
Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them” (Job 24:1-12).
Job describes the terrible injustice that often exists in the world. Robbery of both the have (v. 2) and the have-nots (vv 3-4) is equally obnoxious to him. But perhaps his suffering has enabled him to empathize with the poor, who must forage for food (v 5) and reap…corn in the field (v 6).
The scene he depicts is heartrending: The naked shiver in the cold of night (vv 7-8), fatherless infants are snatched from the breast (v 9), field hands harvest food but go hungry (v 10), vineyard workers make wine but suffer thirst (v 11), groans rise from dying and wounded (v 12).
Job can’t understand why God is silent and indifference (vv 1, 12) in the face of such misery, but the fact that God waits disproves the counselors’ theory of suffering.
“They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.
The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.
The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.
In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light.
For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death” (Job 24:13-17).
Job is no more out of God’s favor as one of the victims than the criminal is in God’s favor because of God’s inaction. A description of those who cause the suffering depicted in vv 2-12, the murderer (v 14), the adulterer (v 15), the robber (v 16).
Darkness is their element, the medium in which they thrive (see vv 14-17).
By contrast, God’s law is the light against which they rebel (see v. 13).
“He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.
Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.
The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree” (Job 24:18-20).
Job seems to agree with the counselors here. But it’s also legitimate to translate the verses as Job’s call for redress against evildoers: May their portion be cursed in the earth…may the grave consume…May the womb forget them; may the worm feed sweetly till they are not more remembered and their wickedness is broken as a tree.
“He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow.
He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.
Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways.
They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.
And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?” (Job 24:21-25).
By way of summary, Job says that God Judges the wicked, but He does so in His own good time. Job wishes, however, that God would give the righteous the satisfaction of seeing it happen (v 1).
The Jerusalem Pomegranate
A thumb-sized chunk of ivory in the shape of a pomegranate may be the only archaeological find recovered from Solomon’s temple.
This graceful, six-petaled blossom is engraved with the words “Belonging to the temple of the Lord, holy to the priests.”
Based upon the shape of the Hebrew letters in the inscription, the artifact was initially dated to the 8th century B.C., although that date is now in dispute.
Investigators for the Israel Antiquities Authority have reassessed the artifact and concluded that although the object itself dates to about 1400 B.C. (considerably earlier than the age of Solomon); the inscription is a recent forgery.
The body of the pomegranate has a hole on the bottom in which a rod might have been inserted to form a scepter.
Two ivory scepters dating to the 13th century B.C. have been excavated in a Canaanite temple in Lachish, each topped with a miniature pomegranate.
This implies that the pomegranate was a ritual object used regularly by priests in the ancient Near East, although its use specifically by priests in the Jerusalem temple is now open to question.
Ancient art made rich use of the pomegranate as a decorative motif. In a religious vein, this fruit was used by the Israelites as a sign of the fertility of the Promised Land under the blessing of God (Num 13:23; Deut 8:8).
Chains of pomegranates graced the capitals of the twin bronze pillars flanking the entrance of Israel’s temple (2 Chr 4:13).
They also adorned the hem of the high priestly robes as embroidered blossoms of blue, purple and scarlet alternating with golden bells (Ex 28:33).