Job's Response to Bildad (9:1-10:22)
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)
It seems like Job slowed down here for a bit and began to reason through some of Eliphaz's and Bildad's logic (1).
How Can a Case Be Won? (2-4)
In principle, Job agreed with Bildad; God would not cast the innocent away, nor does He enable the wicked. Job's problem was, how could he defend his case before God? The case being that the suffering did not match the crime (2). Job wanted to go to court; he wanted to present his case to God. All his suffering was declaring him grossly guilty; all the evidence in his own heart was declaring God as having over-sentenced him and not being consistent with His word.
Job concluded the odds of getting a court date with God were an absurdity. Then Job thought about being in court with God. If he were to ask 1,000 questions, Job realized he would be unfit to give a reasonable answer to even one of them (3).
Job felt he had a case, but God was too mighty, too wise for him or anyone to challenge successfully. Even if Job could subpoena God, He would be too much for Job to cross-examine (4).
How Can God Be Confronted? (5-13)
Job then took a moment to consider God's power. He topples mountains when He wishes; He shakes the earth and rearranges geography in a glimpse of anger (5-6). God conceals the sun and seals up the stars in the darkness of storms, for the One who made the heavens stirs up the squall to hurricane force, typhoon might, and monsoon torrent (7).
The God who created the constellations is also the God too marvelous for human deciphering; His miracles are too limitless to calculate (9-10).
Job declared God to be so great that He can be felt but never grasped, never seen to be studied. He is present, but His movements, all of them, remain a mystery (11). Job described God as irresistible—when He comes for a life, He cannot be resisted. Who would dare question His power, thinking they would understand His answer? (12)
Job viewed God's anger to be so great that no force on earth could withstand Him, even the waves and storms helping to protect Rahab the dragon would be useless before God. He would easily find and crush the dragon beneath His feet (13).
How Can I Be Proved Innocent? (14-24)
Due to God's phenomenal power, how could Job choose the right words to use before God, even if he were to get God in a courtroom? (14)
Job held to the facts: he was in the right, yet in pondering the situation he thought, “When God has made up His mind, how could he argue his own case and win?" He would need to appeal to God, his accuser, for mercy—there was no other alternative (15).
Job then considered further: if he did get a court date, he still would not be able to hope for any justice, even a fair hearing. How could Job tell mighty God, the One who had crushed him with tempest and wounds, "You did so without cause (16-17). You, God, did not let me catch a break, but You filled me with bitterness, and it was not deserved" (18)?
In a courtroom, Job realized he would be thoroughly intimidated by His might and too timid to subpoena Him (19).
The wonder of being in a courtroom with God would be so intimidating that Job imagined he would do the ridiculous and declare himself guilty and find a reason to prove himself wrong even though he was not. God's perfection would make him, in the end, side with God's verdict, even though he would disagree (20).
Job then declared his innocence, but he was past caring for his despised life. Either way and every way, he would end up guilty (21). Innocent or guilty, it would all turn out the same way before God—His might and perfection cannot be penetrated. How could God end up saying, "I'm wrong" when He is perfect? Job, now in utter hopelessness, declared God as One who treats the blameless and the wicked the same. He destroys them both so the blameless have no advantage. Job accused God of not caring for the innocent when they suffer (22-23). Of course, this is all the painful banter of a deeply hurting soul, for Jesus declared not even a cheap bird fails to receive God's caring notice (Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:6).
Job did not just charge God with permitting injustice, but Job accused God of allowing injustice to get the upper hand. He accused God of blinding justice against the innocent. Job could see no other answer (24).
Who Can Mediate My Case? (25-35)
Job here reached his low. He would bend back God's character, tracing it to how he interpreted his own circumstances.
His days went by faster than a runner, carrying no joy or happiness (25).
Job compared his life to a skiff or raft made of papyrus reeds. These vessels were extremely fast, much like an accelerating eagle swooping down on its prey (26).
Job then decided to forget about his complaints, to put away his sad face and paint it cheerful. To pretend, in essence, that the suffering didn't happen or wasn't that bad (27). Even then, Job feared God would intensify his pain because God had found Job to be what Job had not found himself to be—guilty. His happy face might be misunderstood as not taking God's dealings seriously (28-29).
If Job had decided to clean up and wash off the best he could, even if he would wash up with snow, the symbol of perfect purity, Job here presumed God would still plunge him into another trial, having not found Job fully cleansed of his guilt nor fully purified by trial.
Job assumed God would just dirty him up, tossing him into some ditch of difficulty, turning Job's newly-laundered cheering-up attire into loathing even having to be connected to his body.
Job's perspective of God was that He had predetermined Job's guilt and northing was going to change His mind (30-31).
Job concluded that because God was not a man, He either could not hear Job's case from Job's mouth or He could not understand Job's case, Himself not being mortal (32).
Job then reached out in great longing and asked for what every person living longs for—God to put Himself into some kind of human form. He could then somehow be an Arbiter, a Mediator, bringing both parties together. If God could somehow make Himself a Mediator, He could make God visible to Job and Job understandable to God (33).
Job was looking for a Mediator to bring him and God together, and to have God lay down His rod of affliction and give Job some rest from His fear. Then, in that moment of rest, free from being terrorized by God's punishment, Job could speak (34). Job would have just enough room to formulate his thoughts and say what was truly on his mind and in his heart. Then Job admitted that apart from a Mediator, an umpire to referee the discussion, he had no strength in himself to continue on trying to take his case to God (35).