Job Chapter Thirteen
Now Job will deal with his friends. He makes application of what he has just said in chapter 12 so his temper changes and he begins to more or less tell his friends what he thinks of their attitude toward him.
Read Job 13:1-12
v1-2. “LO, MINE EYE HATH SEEN ALL this, MINE EAR HATH HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD IT. WHAT YE KNOW, the same DO I KNOW ALSO: I am NOT INFERIOR UNTO YOU.”
He understands all of this because his eyes have seen the same things theirs have. His ears have heard the same things theirs have. What they know he knows just as well and his knowledge is not in any way inferior to them and their wisdom. Just who are you to think that you should advise me? Happy are those who not only see and hear, but understand, the greatness, and glory and sovereignty of God.
v3. “SURELY I WOULD SPEAK TO THE ALMIGHTY, AND I DESIRE TO REASON WITH GOD.”
Surely will I speak to the Almighty God, I want to reason with God, surely he will be more reasonable than you have been. Surely he will hear my plea with more mildness, patience and compassion than you have. Job knows in his heart that he stands before God not condemned for some great sin because he has not done a great sin. Job’s confidence seems to have returned, having been spurred by Zophar’s brash condemnation of him.
v4. “BUT YE are FORGERS OF LIES, YE are ALL PHYSICIANS OF NO VALUE.”
They have falsely accused him. They have forged lies to draw a false judgment of Job and his life. They have made suppositions based upon their belief that great affliction is visited only upon those that have great wickedness in their lives. They have jumped to a wrong conclusion and supposed him a hypocrite. They came as friends, they came supposedly as physicians of the soul but their prescriptions were worthless. Actually they were worse than worthless because they neither understood his case, nor knew how to prescribe to him. Pretending to know great things, they added nothing to him and he was no better off as a result of their efforts.
v5-6 “O THAT YE WOULD ALTOGETHER HOLD YOUR PEACE! AND IT SHOULD BE YOUR WISDOM. HEAR NOW MY REASONING, AND HEARKEN TO THE PLEADINGS OF MY LIPS.”
You have said too much already. It would be a credit to you to hush now and say no more. By doing that they would conceal their ignorance:
Proverbs “EVEN A FOOL, WHEN HE HOLDETH HIS PEACE, IS COUNTED WISE: and HE THAT SHUTTETH HIS LIPS is esteemed A MAN OF UNDERSTANDING.”
Or as we may have heard ourselves the old axiom “Better to be silent and thought a fool rather than open our mouths and remove all doubt.” Now he tells them to be quiet and hear his wisdom. They didn’t seem to hear or heed what he said before but now they should both hear and heed or hearken to what he has to say.
v7-8. “WILL YE SPEAK WICKEDLY FOR GOD? AND TALK DECEITFULLY FOR HIM? WILL YE ACCEPT HIS PERSON? WILL YE CONTEND FOR GOD?”
Job tells them that they were wrong to try to speak for God. They valued the idea that they spoke for God, were advocates for him, and had undertaken to justify him and his proceedings against Job. Do you contend for God? God doesn’t need anyone to contend for him. His judgment is not clouded. He isn’t at a loss for something to say. He doesn’t need you to be his spokesmen. He is God and he can speak for himself. He’s not like Baal when Gideon threw down his altar, the men of the city comes to Joash and want Joash to turn his son over to them to punish:
Judges “AND JOASH SAID UNTO ALL THAT STOOD AGAINST HIM, WILL YE PLEAD FOR BAAL? WILL YE SAVE HIM? HE THAT WILL PLEAD FOR HIM, LET HIM BE PUT TO DEATH WHILST it is yet MORNING: IF HE be A GOD, LET HIM PLEAD FOR HIMSELF, BECAUSE one HATH CAST DOWN HIS ALTAR.”
But Baal was not a god who could speak for himself because he was but a figure of wood or of stone devised by the imaginations of men.
v9. “IS IT GOOD THAT HE SHOULD SEARCH YOU OUT? OR AS ONE MAN MOCKETH ANOTHER, DO YE so MOCK HIM?”
Job wants to help his friends understand what they’re really doing. They are trying to impose upon God their analysis of Job’s situation. They, through pretending a zeal of God and his honor are actually mocking God. What did Paul write to the Galatian brethren?
Galatians 6:7-8 “BE NOT DECEIVED; GOD IS NOT MOCKED: FOR WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP. FOR HE THAT SOWETH TO HIS FLESH SHALL OF THE FLESH REAP CORRUPTION; BUT HE THAT SOWETH TO THE SPIRIT SHALL OF THE SPIRIT REAP LIFE EVERLASTING.”
v10. “HE WILL SURELY REPROVE YOU, IF YE DO SECRETLY ACCEPT PERSONS.”
Job says that God will be so displeased with their accusations against him, because they had done so trying to speak for him, that he will resent them as a great provocation. This would be the same as any prince or great man if some evil or some untruth were committed in his name.
v11. “SHALL NOT HIS EXCELLENCY MAKE YOU AFRAID? AND HIS DREAD FALL UPON YOU?”
Job asks his friends, don’t your fear the majesty of God? You that claim to have such a great knowledge of God and profess to be religious and claim to fear him. How can you talk as though you’re speaking for him? What gives you this liberty? Who gives you this authority?
Nehemiah 5:9 “ALSO I SAID, IT IS NOT GOOD THAT YE DO: OUGHT YE NOT TO WALK IN THE FEAR OF OUR GOD BECAUSE OF THE REPROACH OF THE HEATHEN OUR ENEMIES?”
v12. “YOUR REMEMBRANCES are LIKE UNTO ASHES, YOUR BODIES TO BODIES OF CLAY.”
All that in you which you hope to be remembered when you are gone are like ashes, worthless and weak, and easily trampled on and blown away. Your bodies are but clay, molding and coming to nothing. Your memories, you think, will survive your bodies but not for long because they are like ashes that will be shoveled up with the dust.
Read Job 13:13-22
v13. “HOLD YOUR PEACE, LET ME ALONE, THAT I MAY SPEAK, AND LET COME ON ME WHAT will.”
Job in this part of his response to Zophar seems to get some of his strength, some of this integrity back. He becomes much more firm with them in a way that is both commendable and makes the passion of his responses excusable. He wants them to hold their peace, let him alone when he is trying to speak. He wants them to allow him to speak in his own defense, think what you please about what is said, but hear me out.
v14. “WHEREFORE DO I TAKE MY FLESH IN MY TEETH, AND PUT MY LIFE IN MINE HAND?”
complains of the extremity of pain and misery he was in and asks “why do I
suffer such agonies? I cannot but wonder
that God should lay so much upon me when he knows that
I am not a wicked man. His misery is so
strong that he feels like taking his flesh in his own teeth because of way it
has betrayed him. He sees himself at the
brink of death and his life in his hand.
He feels much the same as Saul did when he learned that
I Samuel 28:20-21 “THEN SAUL FELL STRAIGHTWAY ALL ALONG ON THE EARTH, AND WAS SORE AFRAID, BECAUSE OF THE WORDS OF SAMUEL: AND THERE WAS NO STRENGTH IN HIM; FOR HE HAD EATEN NO BREAD ALL THE DAY, NOR ALL THE NIGHT. AND THE WOMAN CAME UNTO SAUL, AND SAW THAT HE WAS SORE TROUBLED, AND SAID UNTO HIM, BEHOLD, THINE HANDMAID HATH OBEYED THY VOICE, AND I HAVE PUT MY LIFE IN MY HAND, AND HAVE HEARKENED UNTO THY WORDS WHICH THOU SPAKEST UNTO ME.”
v15. “THOUGH HE SLAY ME, YET WILL I TRUST IN HIM: BUT I WILL MAINTAIN MINE OWN WAYS BEFORE HIM.”
Even if God would take his life he will trust him and maintain the same kind of life before God as he always has. He will never part with the satisfaction that he had in having walked uprightly with God; for, though he could not justify every word he had spoken, yet, in general, his ways were good, and he would maintain that uprightness.
v16. “HE ALSO shall be MY SALVATION: FOR AN HYPOCRITE SHALL NOT COME BEFORE HIM.”
He declares that God will be his salvation and that a hypocrite (or a godless man ASV), such as his friends have charged him with becoming, would not dare to come before the Almighty.
v17. “HEAR DILIGENTLY MY SPEECH, AND MY DECLARATION WITH YOUR EARS.”
So he challenges them again to hear his speech, listen diligently to what he tells them with their ears. None but he and God himself knows his heart and he will confirm this to them if they will but listen.
v18. “BEHOLD NOW, I HAVE ORDERED my CAUSE; I KNOW THAT I SHALL BE JUSTIFIED.”
He will stand before God justified, and no permanent spiritual condemnation can be brought upon him. Jesus said that we can know the truth and the truth will make us free. We can know whether we are of God or not, because we can know God’s revelation and our standing in light of that revelation. If we are upright and have that assurance that we are upright it really doesn’t matter what happens to us in this physical world. Because we’re like Paul wrote to the Roman brethren:
Romans “AND WE KNOW THAT ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD, TO THEM WHO ARE THE CALLED ACCORDING TO his PURPOSE.”
v19. “WHO is HE that WILL PLEAD WITH ME? FOR NOW, IF I HOLD MY TONGUE, I SHALL GIVE UP THE GHOST.”
If he held his peace he would but betray his cause. So who is he that would plead (contend ASV) with me. If I hold my tongue now I might as well give up the ghost, and reserve myself to every man’s eventual end.
v20-22. “ONLY DO NOT TWO things UNTO ME: THEN WILL I NOT HIDE MYSELF FROM THEE. WITHDRAW THINE HAND FAR FROM ME: AND LET NOT THY DREAD MAKE ME AFRAID. THEN CALL THOU, AND I WILL ANSWER: OR LET ME SPEAK, AND ANSWER THOU ME.”
Here Job even wishes to argue his case before almighty God himself. In verse 3 we read that he desired to reason with God, and he’s still of the same mind. He will not hide himself, that is, he will not shrink from the trials that he is suffering but he asks for two things. First, remove this extreme pain; I can stand it enough to talk to my friends but, Lord God, I need to have a clearer mind and less distraction to talk to thee. Second, remove this awful dread, this fear of thy tremendous power and majesty. Man does and should tremble before the Almighty God, but Job is seeking to converse with God. He says, call me, I will answer or let me speak and then answer me but I cannot do that without invitation with the depth of understanding that I have of your might, power and majesty.
Read Job 13:23-28
v23. “HOW MANY are MINE INIQUITIES AND SINS? MAKE ME TO KNOW MY TRANSGRESSION AND MY SIN.”
What is the first thing that Job wants to know? God tell me where, how and when I have sinned. What are the numbers and what are the particulars surrounding them. His friends were quick enough to assume that he was a wicked man and chastise him but he wants to hear it from God.
v24. “WHEREFORE HIDEST THOU THY FACE, AND HOLDEST ME FOR THINE ENEMY?”
Why do hide your face from me and count me as one of your enemies? We can understand that kind of hurt can’t we. You have abandoned me. You have turned your back on me when I needed you the most. Why have you done this? Job is feeling the same kind of rejection that Jesus felt on the cross isn’t he?
Matthew 27:45-46 “NOW FROM THE SIXTH HOUR THERE WAS DARKNESS OVER ALL THE LAND UNTO THE NINTH HOUR. AND ABOUT THE NINTH HOUR JESUS CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE, SAYING, ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI? THAT IS TO SAY, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?”
Why was there darkness in the land? There was darkness because God who is light had removed himself from their presence. Jesus was bearing the sin of all mankind for the entire span of time on this earth and God cannot look upon sin, God cannot tolerate sin. (Habakkuk 1:13) Job feels the same kind of abandonment that Jesus did.
v25. “WILT THOU BREAK A LEAF DRIVEN TO AND FRO? AND WILT THOU PURSUE THE DRY STUBBLE?”
God I can’t stand before you. I’m as a leaf whipped by the wind or as dry stubble you would walk over. Job is coming before God as we should in prayer, humble in mind and heart, knowing and recognizing God’s greatness.
v26. “FOR THOU WRITEST BITTER THINGS AGAINST ME, AND MAKEST ME TO POSSESS THE INIQUITIES OF MY YOUTH.”
God, I know you know the sins of my youth. Your know the things that I’ve done perhaps many years ago and have long since repented, are you punishing me now for them? The sins of impetuous youth, things that we would like to bury and forget that come back to haunt our minds. What was it that David begged God?
Psalms 25:7 “REMEMBER NOT THE SINS OF MY YOUTH, NOR MY TRANSGRESSIONS: ACCORDING TO THY MERCY REMEMBER THOU ME FOR THY GOODNESS' SAKE, O LORD.”
v27-28. “THOU PUTTEST MY FEET ALSO IN THE STOCKS, AND LOOKEST NARROWLY UNTO ALL MY PATHS; THOU SETTEST A PRINT UPON THE HEELS OF MY FEET. AND HE, AS A ROTTEN THING, CONSUMETH, AS A GARMENT THAT IS MOTH EATEN.”
You put my feet in the stocks, you’re punishing me severely. Even when I did sin as a young man you have never rendered this kind punishment on me. Why God, are you laying your hand so heavily on me now? You’re causing me to waste away like an old moth eaten piece of cloth or one that is just rotting away. God you’re treating me terribly and I need to know why?