12 Then Job replied:
2 “Doubtless you are the only people who matter,
and wisdom will die with you!
3 But I have a mind as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know all these things?
Job had enough of his claims, he somewhat sarcastically stated that all “wisdom shall die” with them.
In chapter 4, Eliphaz told a story about a spirit. And he explained that nobody is perfect.
In chapter 8, Bildad preferred traditional ideas. He explained that God only punishes evil people. In chapter 11, Zophar chose to speak about secret wisdom. He thought that Job deserved an even worse punishment for his evil deeds. All Job’s friends agreed that God would not bring such punishment and calamity a good man. So when they saw Job’s troubles, they accused him of secret sin.
Zophar said that he knew some secrets about wisdom (Job 11:6). But Job did disputed this claim. Zophar’s words were too simplistic. He reminded his friends that he understood the principles of which they had spoken (verse 3), but they were irrelevant to his situation. On top of that, he grieved at the pain of becoming a mockery to his friends. He protested his innocence (verse 4).
Job was not morally or intellectually inferior to his friends. He was effectively saying “Who do you think you are?”
though I called on God and he answered—
a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!
5 Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune
as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.
It’s always hard to know what to say when someone is grieving, it’s perhaps even harder when they themselves are going through unprecedented suffering.
I remember thinking a lot about the trauma I brought on my family and walking past the house to see if I could get a glimpse of them. I longed to be back in their presence.
and those who provoke God are secure—
those God has in his hand.
7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
9 Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.
Job noticed that birds and animals also suffer troubles without any reason. He observed that things seemed to work and be sustained. He was convinced that the animals, the birds and fish would testify to the hand of God sustaining them if only they could talk.
But his question was why do marauders and robbers appear to succeed and benefit from life whilst the righteous and innocent appear to suffer for no reason. It did not make sense.
11 Does not the ear test words
as the tongue tastes food?
12 Is not wisdom found among the aged?
Does not long life bring understanding?
13 “To God belong wisdom and power;
counsel and understanding are his.
14 What he tears down cannot be rebuilt;
those he imprisons cannot be released.
15 If he holds back the waters, there is drought;
if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.
16 To him belong strength and insight;
both deceived and deceiver are his.
17 He leads rulers away stripped
and makes fools of judges.
18 He takes off the shackles put on by kings
and ties a loincloth around their waist.
19 He leads priests away stripped
and overthrows officials long established.
20 He silences the lips of trusted advisers
and takes away the discernment of elders.
21 He pours contempt on nobles
and disarms the mighty.
22 He reveals the deep things of darkness
and brings utter darkness into the light.
23 He makes nations great, and destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
24 He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason;
he makes them wander in a trackless waste.
25 They grope in darkness with no light;
he makes them stagger like drunkards.
Old age was respected and revered in Job’s day. The old were wise and were to be listened to (see Job 32:6-7).
The initial verses are speaking of the senses of man being in tune with God as well.
The school of hard knocks is a good teaching ground and perhaps the only way most of us grow and learn. Older people are seasoned by life, they learn how to overcome challenges. Understanding comes from accumulated experience and learning.
Job, despite his questions about his suffering, affirms that God’s power is visible in nature, human society, religious matters, and national and international affairs. Job, however, expressed this in terms of fatalistic despair. Job knew all this and it didn’t help (13:1-2); so he didn’t want to argue with them anymore – he wanted to take his case before God (verse 3).
While his distress clouded this truth at times, Job knew deep down that God was the ultimate reality in his life.
God builds up and God tears down. This is evident the story of the nation of Israel. God made Israel great. He made Solomon the wealthiest man who had ever lived. He became unfaithful to God and God took the kingdom away from his family. Israel fell and was taken into captivity because of their unfaithfulness.
God is much more powerful than any ruler. God gives power to rulers (John 19:11). And God causes their power to end (Daniel 2:21). God appoints new kings (1 Kings 19:15-16). God humbles the proud (Luke 1:51-52).
The wise counsellors, or politicians, kings and kingdoms he can lead away as captives in triumph. Their wisdom can dissipate as a result of their own pride and God’s intervention, power and dignity can be removed in an instant.
The Kings and judges of the earth must remember that they will someday stand before the Judge and King of all the world.
All of mankind is God’s creation. Both the deceiver and deceived are his. Everything in heaven and under heaven is in his hands. Job’s struggle was why doesn’t he intervene to ensure that justice and fairness reign true.
There are no things planned by men that God does not know. They may have planned it in some secret place, but God knows all of their plans. He used one such plot to be the pivotal point in human history!