my ears have heard and understood it.
2 What you know, I also know;
I am not inferior to you.
3 But I desire to speak to the Almighty
and to argue my case with God.
4 You, however, smear me with lies;
you are worthless physicians, all of you!
5 If only you would be altogether silent!
For you, that would be wisdom.
6 Hear now my argument;
listen to the pleas of my lips.
7 Will you speak wickedly on God’s behalf?
Will you speak deceitfully for him?
8 Will you show him partiality?
Will you argue the case for God?
9 Would it turn out well if he examined you?
Could you deceive him as you might deceive a mortal?
10 He would surely call you to account
if you secretly showed partiality.
11 Would not his splendour terrify you?
Would not the dread of him fall on you?
12 Your maxims are proverbs of ashes;
your defences are defences of clay.
Job’s patience with his three friends was wearing thin. He understood everything they were saying, he had lived and taught these things. They refused to believe that he had not sinned and brought this upon himself.
Zophar thought that he had superior wisdom (Job 11:6). And Eliphaz’s advice came from a spirit (Job 4:17). But they did not explain anything that Job did not already know.
Job used the words “I am not inferior unto you” which indicated a growing resentment towards his friends. They were attempting to teach him to repent. He already knew how to do that!
Job had experienced a litany of wounding words from his friends. He declared them a bunch of useless physicians of no value, and all the more desired an audience with God.
Job trusted God. He believed that God is fair and that he would explain Job’s situation.
He was saying that he would rather debate the matter with God than with his friends. He was not afraid of presenting his cause before him, because God would know his heart and his integrity, and would not deal with him in an unmerciful manner as his friends had done.
Job had no intention of trying to prove his innocence to anyone, but God.
In verses 4-19: Job addressed his ineffective counsellors. Silence would be wisdom for them and he would be quite capable of addressing God and presenting his case himself.
Job now turned to the friends and asked them of their own motives. He would like to know if they were examined as closely as he had been, would they be able to stand. They were mocking Job. They should consider their own faults, before they began to find fault in others.
Maybe he accused his friends of becoming his friends, because of his high standing. He had been a wealthy man, when they became his friends. Perhaps he was questioning their motives in becoming his friends. Had they been his friends because of their great admiration for his belief in God, or were they his friends because of his wealth?
Job and his friends were sitting on ashes. And Job was using a piece of pottery to scrape against his boils and give him relief (Job 2:8). Ashes are not useful for any purpose. And cheap pots are not much use either. So Job was suggesting that his friends’ speeches like the ashes and broken pottery were hopeless.
Ashes are easily blown away. They had forgotten the good that Job had done. They were just clay and ashes.
It’s easy to be consumed with what other people think of you. Especially people who you may count as friends. There is a deep desire in all of us for acceptance. I struggled for many years and continue to struggle with how I am viewed by others. Thankfully that particular rug has been pulled from under my feet and I am no longer on some kind of pedestal so I don’t have anywhere to go with that. It is a blessing. The pressure is off. The pedestal was always imaginary anyway.
13 “Keep silent and let me speak;
then let come to me what may.
14 Why do I put myself in jeopardy
and take my life in my hands?
15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face.
16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
for no godless person would dare come before him!
17 Listen carefully to what I say;
let my words ring in your ears.
18 Now that I have prepared my case,
I know I will be vindicated.
19 Can anyone bring charges against me?
If so, I will be silent and die.
Job’s friends warned him not to argue with God. They believed that his issue was one of needing to repent of some hidden sin.
Job however, was confident enough of his position to have no fear in taking it to God and reasoning with him. Job was saying, “I will not be a hypocrite and try to be something that I am not”. He did not wish to be silent and die. He needed to say something.
Job was not absolutely sure what the outcome would be but he needed to be heard and his wrestling with this would not allow himself to just accept it as it was.
20 “Only grant me these two things, God,
and then I will not hide from you:
21 Withdraw your hand far from me,
and stop frightening me with your terrors.
22 Then summon me and I will answer,
or let me speak, and you reply to me.
23 How many wrongs and sins have I committed?
Show me my offense and my sin.
24 Why do you hide your face
and consider me your enemy?
25 Will you torment a windblown leaf?
Will you chase after dry chaff?
26 For you write down bitter things against me
and make me reap the sins of my youth.
27 You fasten my feet in shackles;
you keep close watch on all my paths
by putting marks on the soles of my feet.
28 “So man wastes away like something rotten,
like a garment eaten by moths.
Job asked God to take the pain away, so that he would be able to speak to God as his judge.
He wanted to question God about his sin and wrongdoing. He felt that he had the strength of a windblown leaf or dry chaff both easily blown away by the wind.
He talked about wasting and rotting away maybe thinking about his illness. Perhaps insects were attacking his boils. His body seemed so weak. He was sure that he would die soon. He just wanted to face God and get some answers!