Job's Reply to Zophar Continued (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)
Job's argument continues. Some things he knew; other things were a complete mystery to him.
Job's Friends as Quacks (1-5)
Job was making a case for his insight into life’s being as adequate as his friends’, who were condemning his life as hiding some horrific sin. Job, in the previous chapter, put time into painting a vivid picture of God's wisdom and His power to execute His wisdom. Job asserted that he understood just as much as his friends—he was as wise as they were (1-2).
In all of his arguing, Job still had no answer for his own situation. Why would God afflict him so when his life was blameless? Job was not arguing his sinlessness; he readily admitted he was a sinner (7:21; 10:5-6, 13-14; 14:16–17). Job argued that because those sins had been forgiven, he had been declared blameless. This is the heart of the Old Testament Gospel: God would remember no more the confessed sins of those under the blood of sacrifices.
Job was claiming not to be sinless but to be one who had been declared blameless. This was staggering to Job: God seemed to have gone back on His word. Job sought to speak directly to God the Almighty. He wanted to argue his case, not his sinlessness, but his having been declared blameless by God (3).
Job's friends had washed him with lies, leaving his life smeared with innuendo and fabrications. The New Living Translation rightly quotes Job as having called them "Physicians" who were "quacks" (4).
The only wisdom they could hope for would be found in the shutting of their mouths so they could at least appear wise (5).
Job's Advice to His Friends (6-12)
Job was going to make a charge against his friends and argue his case against their advice and their outright accusations (6).
a) Job warned his buddies that they were pretending to defend God's honor and His ways, but they were using falsified evidence. They were, in truth, slanting their evidence to defend the case they imagined God had against Job (7-8).
b) Job warned his buddies that they could not fool God. He was not a man easily deceived by their lack of evidence, and their slanting of testimony would not play out well with God (9-10).
c) Job warned his buddies that God should terrify them, especially after witnessing his own situation. To falsify testimony just to make their version of God appear right was outright foolishness (11).
d) Job then accused his buddies of talking in meaningless cliches, platitudes made out of burned-up old ideas they had made for their defenses out of a wall of clay pots, easy to break down. In other words, “Hey guys, you might want to rethink what you have been saying" (12).
This book opened up with the satan, the accuser, the adversary's accusing Job of motives of which he knew nothing. Here we find Job's friends doing the same thing, accusing Job of motives and sin without evidence. This is one of the main points of this book: there is nothing more demonic anyone can do than to guess at another's guilt.
Job Seeks to Take His Case to God (13-16)
One of Job's friends, or maybe all of them, wanted to rebut Job's attack on them. Job called for them to be silent and to withhold their comments while he continued to speak.
Job then told his friends he would suffer his own consequences for what he had to say to God, but the last thing he wanted was to listen to their prattling on and on anymore (13). Listening to them would be like placing his finger in his teeth and then biting it off and then choking himself to death with his own hands. Job's friends were speaking from a human perspective; they presented no evidence, no logic, just aimless prattle from their flimsy life-theories. Listening to their mortal concepts was outright foolishness (14).
Job instead went to God. Though God was slaying him, yet Job would rather trust God with his life than listen to his friends' nonsense (15).
Then Job made a huge Gospel statement: “This will be the saving moment of my life. God will allow me to present my case before Him, and this is something He would never allow the godless to do." Job surmised God might be slaying him, but if He would listen to him make his defense, then he knew whatever he was suffering was not rendering God's word untrue. If God would just listen to him, His listening would be his vindication, and Job's suffering would not prove to be his condemnation (16).
Job Calls on His Friends to Be Quiet (17-19)
Job then told his friends to remain quiet because Job was going to God with his case. He was going to present to God his case in their hearing (17). Job warned his friends that he would be vindicated (18). If there was anyone who could have presented a case, connecting an unforgiven sin to Job's life, then he would be silent, he would give up his case, and die. Job, however, was fighting for his trust in Yahweh's forgiving love. He did not claim sinlessness; he claimed the only One who could make him blameless had indeed already made him blameless and then announced it so (19).
Job Makes Requests to God (20-22)
Job then asked God for two requests before he came and made his case in front of his friends (20).
First, he asked if God would lift His hand from Job and give him enough rest from his pain to present his case.
Second, he asked if God would take the terrifying dread of Himself away from Job. Job did not want to be so nervous he couldn't even speak (21).
If God would grant these requests, Job told God as soon as He called him into His courtroom, he would come, and as soon as He asked him any questions, he would be forthright with an answer (22).
Job's Case Before God (23-28)
Job asked God for the list of iniquities and sins that were still out against him. Job wanted the details of those remaining unforgiven that were yet prosecutable—which one was the one causing all his suffering? (23)
What sin, not yet forgiven, not yet confessed, not yet made open to God was creating this enemy relationship with God? (24)
Here is the mystery Job was probing: why was He, God, afflicting a person like himself, who was void of significance and absent of defenses? (25)
Job then told God what He must be doing: He must be treating the sins of his youth as though they were without forgiveness. He yet had to inherit the consequences for those iniquities (26).
Job told God that He had treated him like a prisoner:
a) tying a log to his feet to make every movement difficult,
b) putting him under constant surveillance,
c) limiting where he could go.
God had made it almost impossible for Job to present a fully-developed case under his present suffering (27).
Job told God that He had left Job to waste away like a rotten piece of fruit or like a moth-eaten garment (28).