Job 23:13

13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases.

Job 23:13 in Other Translations

13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
13 But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does.
13 But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind? Whatever he wants to do, he does.
13 "But he is singular and sovereign. Who can argue with him? He does what he wants, when he wants to.
13 But He is unchangeable; who can oppose Him? He does what He desires.

Job 23:13 Meaning and Commentary

Job 23:13

But he [is] in one [mind]
Either with respect to his commandments, every precept remains in full force, he never alters the thing that is gone out of his lips, or delivers out other commandments different from, or contrary to what he has given; and therefore Job thought it his duty to abide by them, and not decline from them; which is the sense of a Jewish commentator F3, connecting the words with the preceding: Or with respect to his dispensations towards Job in afflicting him; which he continued notwithstanding his innocence, because he is a sovereign Being, and does whatsoever he pleases; he is unchangeable in his purposes and decrees; he is not to be wrought upon by any means to alter his fixed course; he is not to be contradicted nor resisted; and this was the reason why he would not be found by him, though he sought him so earnestly and diligently, and why he would not hear him, and would not appear to try his cause, though he knew he was innocent, because he was determined to go on to afflict him; and he never changes his mind, or alters his counsels, on any account whatever. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "for he [is] alone": and so the Targum,

``if he is alone, or the only one;''

there is none with him to advise him, for "with whom took he counsel?" or to persuade him to be of another mind, and take contrary measures, who might be applied to, to use their interest with him to act it, a different manner; but he is alone, there are none with him that have any influence upon him, and can prevail with him to do otherwise than he does; some translate the words, "if he acts against one" F4; against a man in a hostile way, if he sets his face against him, and comes upon him as an enemy; and so Mr. Broughton, "yet when he is against me, who can stay him?" notwithstanding my innocence and integrity, though I keep his ways, and do not go back from his commandments. Some think there is a redundancy of a letter, which we translate "in", and then the words wilt be read thus: "but he [is] one"; the one only living and true God; this is the voice of reason and revelation, "hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord", ( Deuteronomy 6:4 ) ; for though there are three Persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, "these three are one [God]", ( 1 John 5:7 ) ; and so the words are expressive of the unity of the Divine Being; but this seems not to be Job's sense: Aben Ezra says, the truth is, that the letter (b) is not added, is no redundancy, and should be read "he is in one"; but, says he, I cannot explain it, there is a great mystery in it: what the Jew understood not may be more clear and plain to us Christians, who are taught the mystery of the indwelling of the divine Persons in each other, the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father, as they are divine Persons; though in what manner they are we are not able to explain; besides, God was in Christ, as Mediator, reconciling the world, choosing his people in him, and blessing them with all spiritual blessings in him; though the true sense seems to, be what is before given, agreeably to our version, that God is in one mind, purpose, and design; that his decrees are unchangeable and invariable; that he always acts according to them, and never alters them:

and who can turn him?
turn his mind, or cause him to change his counsel, and alter his purposes; or turn his hand, or stop and stay it from the execution of them; it is not to be done by force and power, there is no power equal to his, and much less superior to his; which must be the case, if any could turn him: and though he may be turned by the prayers of his people, and by the repentance of men, so as to repent himself, and not do what he has threatened to do; yet this is no change of his mind and counsels, only an alteration in the course of his providence, or a change of his outward dealings with men, according to his unchangeable will; see ( Isaiah 14:27 ) ( Daniel 4:35 ) ;

and [what] his soul desireth, even [that] he doth:
that is, what he himself desireth earnestly and vehemently; he has done all things in creation according to the good pleasure of his will; and he does all things in providence according to the counsel of it, and as seems best in his sight; and so he does all things in grace, chooses whom he will, predestinates to the adoption of children according to the good pleasure of his will: redeems whom he pleases, and calls by his grace, and brings to glory whomsoever he will be gracious to; see ( Psalms 115:3 ) .


F3 Sophorno.
F4 (dxab awhw) "sed si ipse contra unum agit", Junius & Tremellius; so Piscator, Cocceius.

Job 23:13 In-Context

11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him.

Cross References 2

  • 1. S Job 9:3
  • 2. S Job 10:13; Isaiah 55:11; Psalms 115:3
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