In the first section of chapter 13, Job rebukes his three friends soundly, calling them “worthless physicians” in verse four, and declaring their eloquent speeches garbage in verse 12. He accuses them of formulating lies, when they should be comforting him. And he rightly predicts the future, telling them that God will rebuke them for their position concerning the character of man determining his lot in life. Then in verses 13-18, he again declares his righteousness, as well as his trust that God will recognize it.
In verses 20-29, he again addresses God. One commentator called this last section “a new attack on God.” But though he will come to reconsider the wisdom of demanding an audience with God, Job is certainly not launching any attack here. Clearly though, Job is convinced that God must be mistaken about something concerning himself, and he wants his time to plead his case. He even suggests in verse 26 that God may be punishing him for sins he committed in his youth. He was a better man now, and wanted the chance to get the Lord to recognize that fact. But even so, he allows for the possibility that he may really be guilty; and if so, he wants God to tell him what he has done – and that then he should just accept what has happened (verse 19, 23).
These seemingly different and wandering thoughts on Job’s part simply underscore his confusion and pain. He is hurting so badly, and wants to understand why it is so. It is this fact that explains much of the value to us in this book that can be very difficult to take at times. It teaches us much about ourselves.
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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