JOB DECLARES HIMSELF FULLY EQUAL TO HIS FRIENDS
Job has spoken at length of God's wisdom and power, now he tells Zophar that his eye has seen all this, his ear has heard it and understood it. What Zophar knew Job knew also: he was not inferior to his critics (vv.1-2). In fact, what Job has said proves him more knowledgeable than they, so his words in verse 2 are an understatement.
In verse 3 he infers that it was no use talking to them: he wanted to speak to the Almighty, to reason with God, who at least would not be a forger of lies, as they were. They were "worthless physicians," he said, and would be wise if they kept silent (vv.4-5). He was seeking to reason and to plead with them, but they were not listening, and instead were speaking wickedly on God's behalf, using deceit in claiming to speak for God. Job knew that God was fully aware that the charges of his friends were not true, so God was certainly not backing them up. Job knew that God was not deceitful, as his friends were proving to be, and when the time came, God would search them out and would surely rebuke them. Of course Job was wondering why God did not intervene immediately, but he asks them a pointed question, "Will not His excellence make you afraid, and the dread of Him fall upon you?" (v.11). Men should deeply fear to misrepresent God whose glory is so high above the heavens. Therefore Job likens their arguments to ashes and to clay (v.12).
JOB PLEADS FOR A LISTENING AUDIENCE
Having exposed his friends' ignorance, Job asks them to keep quiet and listen to him. Actually, he could not give them the answer to the many questions that troubled him, but he could show them that their answers were empty and wrong. At least, he wants time to speak, then "let come on me what may" (v.13), Perhaps he had the faint hope that it might be so. He asks them, "Why do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in my hands?" (v.14). Did his friends consider why he would so expose himself to their ridicule and criticism? Was there not a reason for this? In fact, he declares positively that though God would slay him, yet he would trust Him. Did his trust in God indicate that he was guilty of hidden sin? No! he says, I will defend my own ways, before Him" (v.15).
Would God desert him? No! God would be his salvation. He was fully confident of this, though appearances did not persuade his friends, it was true. If one by sinning was turning away from, God, he would not have such confidence in God as Job had, "for a hypocrite could not come before Him" (v.16). Therefore Job urges his friends (or critics) to listen carefully to what he says. He had not been haphazard in preparing his case for judgment, but was fully certain his case deserved careful consideration, for he says, "I know I shall be vindicated" (v.18). Doubtless it was true he would be vindicated in the eyes of men eventually, but in the eyes of God it is a different matter, as Job acknowledges in chapter 42:5-6, when his case was fully considered before God. Meanwhile he questions who could rightly contend with him, for his friends' contentions were empty. He felt it needful to defend himself - or perish (v.19). How different were his words when God spoke directly to him: "I lay my hand over my mouth" (ch.40:4), that is, he held his tongue.
A PRAYER OF DESPERATION
After answering his friends' accusations, Job resorts again to prayer. Was this not because he could expect no understanding from his friends? Where could he find help but in God?
He asks, "Only two things do not do to me" (v.20). If so, then Job would not try to hide from God. First, "Withdraw your hand far from me," that is, do not continue this trying affliction that Job felt he could not stand; and secondly, "let not the dread of You make me afraid" (v.21). He did not want to be terrified by the contemplation of the glory of God.
Was there not a possibility of some communication with God? Either let God call him and let Job answer, or let Job speak and God respond to him (v.22). He asks God, "How many are my iniquities and sins?" His friends had accused him of sinning, but God knew just how many were his sins. Of course it was not because of Job's sins that he was afflicted, but neither he nor his friends could think of any other reason for it. Was there some hidden guilt that Job was not aware of? Then let God reveal this to Job.
The fact that God did not respond seemed to Job that God considered Job to be His enemy (v.24). He compared himself to a leaf or to dry stubble, not worth any attention. Why would God frighten an object so insignificant? He felt that God was writing bitter things against Him - not literally, but at least in effect, and that he was bringing up the sins of Job's youth, for his more recent sins would not be as flagrant as those of his youth (v.26). Verse 27 intimates that God was confining Job to painful limitations. Verse 28 is true concerning all mankind, but Job was thinking of himself as in a state of decay and complaining about it. But sin is inherent in our nature received from Adam, and we cannot escape the resulting decay, which ends in death.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 13". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany