Job's Reply to Zophar (12:1-14:22)
First Round of Speeches
Eliphaz's First Speech (4:1-5:27)
Job's Response to Eliphaz (6:1-7:21)
Bildad’s First Speech (8:1-22)
Job's Response to Bildad (9:1-10:22)
Zophar’s First Speech (11:1-20)
Job's Reply to Zophar (12:1-14:22)
This is Job's longest speech. He was having none of his friends' theological theories. Job refused to back down but reprimanded his friends for their lack of wisdom and then again turned to God to hear his case.
Job Sarcastically Rebuffs His Friends (1-6)
Job began by telling his friends sarcastically that they had insight into everything; when they were gone, there would be none left to turn to for advice (1-2).
Job further slammed his friends for having done nothing more than state the obvious, the common blather everyone uses to try to make sense out of life when life actually does not make sense at all. They presented themselves as having superior knowledge to Job, but Job slammed their assertion as being false (3).
Job blamed his friends for impeaching his words as big jokes spoken from the mouth of a theological illiterate. They asserted all of Job's words worthy of a hearty laugh. Job's friends had basically asserted that Job imagined himself a blameless sufferer and was expecting a justifying answer from God apart from deep-hearted repentance. To Job's friends, this was all great material for a comedy hour (4).
Job further indicted his friends as those who took comfort in their ease and found it entertaining to ridicule the suffering. He told them they were like those standing behind someone on crutches who would give the disabled a good shove just for the fun of watching him fall (5).
Then Job called for his naive friends to wake up and notice robbers and thieves who were free of trials. Further, there were those who cursed God and were surrounded by luxury and appeared to be empowered by God's own hand (6).
Job's friends had answered nothing. Blameless guys like himself suffered, and they all knew of wicked guys who prospered. Their life premises were absurd—built to make themselves feel safe—not intelligently-formed answers equal to address life as it really happens.
Job Cites the Wisdom of the Animal World (7-12)
Job told his friends to turn to the animal world and learn. They were to look to the fowl, the fish, and to all who crawl and walk the earth (7-8). Those animals who cannot reason to form words have the sense to know disaster comes from Yahweh (9).
Here we go, right here, the only time during the dialogues where the name of Yahweh shows up. Yes, His name appeared in chapters 1 and 2, and His name will appear in chapters 38, 40, and 42. However, Job and only Job used the name of Yahweh in dialogue. Here and in 1:21, Job said, "Yahweh gave ..." Here he was claiming Yahweh's name and His hand was giving "disaster." In Job 1:21, Yahweh gives and takes away. Here, Yahweh gives disaster, and the disaster He gives takes away.
Job was revealing his surrender to Yahweh right here. Unlike his friends, Job declared Yahweh to be sovereign over everything, even disasters—even over the disasters that make no sense.
Job's friends, without realizing it, were announcing that it was impossible for God to be truly sovereign because the wicked are punished no matter what, and the righteous prosper no matter what. A law of cause and effect was ruling sovereign in Job's friends' minds.
You are seeing faith shining right here the brightest in Job's reasonings. It doesn't matter to Job if he could or could not comprehend what was going on; he was ever surrendered to Yahweh's sovereignty. Job did not deny Yahweh's sovereignty; he just could not understand it but longed to present his case to get a sovereign-Yahweh kind of verdict.
Job then took a swipe at the assertion that he should listen to the voice of tradition, the great wisdom of former fathers who knew what they were talking about.
Job maintained that all of life was in the hand of Yahweh, even human life (10). Job admitted that wisdom and greater understanding do belong to those of age and life experience (12). However, Job also argues that just because some older, wise person says something, it doesn't mean the ear, heart, and mind should not test out the truth of the words, just as a palate will distinguish tastes (11).
Job Declares God the Source of Wisdom (13)
Job then went to the heart of the matter: all wisdom and the figuring out of mysteries are found in God, who is the source of wisdom and who holds the power to execute wisdom's plans (13).
God's Power and Wisdom Revealed (14-25)
Job recognized that God has the wisdom and the power of ultimate sovereignty to groom and fashion things the way He needs them to be. It might take God time, but in time Job had watched as God's ultimate will prevailed over human immediate sovereignty.
God has the wisdom and power to:
a) have the walls of a city torn down so they can be breached and none can stop their destruction.
b) shut prison doors so no one can escape (14).
c) withhold waters to bring drought upon a land.
d) send cataclysmic floods to overwhelm the dry land (15).
e) control those who lead astray and those who are being led astray (16).
f) strip the experts of their good advice.
g) parse out justice and make fools of their decision (17).
h) enslave those who think they have absolute authority (18).
i) strip away the dignity of those who are famous for their moral excellence.
j) overthrow those who imagine they have absolute power (19).
k) shut the mouth of a king's most trusted advisers.
l) remove discernment and insightful common sense from those who hold permanent positions of influence (20) .
m) cause once-honored celebrities to be looked upon with contempt and then disarm them of their strength (21).
n) bring into the light mysteries unknown, allowing for inventiveness and real depth of knowledge to be unleashed.
o) bring to light the human plans set on death, destruction, and devastation (22).
p) build up nations for global influence while abandoning others, leaving their influence lost (23).
q) strip governments of their ability to know and do what is best for their nation, leaving them to wander and grope for answers in wastelands of moral confusion and despair (24).
r) make addicts of governments, causing them to stagger around like those who live for their next tavern visit (25).