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Job 10-13 Listen
Job's not paranoid; all his problems are real! (Job 10)
1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
2 I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.
3 Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?
4 Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?
5 Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man’s days,
6 That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?
7 Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.
8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.
9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?
10 Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.
12 Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
13 And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.
14 If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.
15 If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;
16 For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me.
17 Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.
18 Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!
19 I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.
20 Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,
21 Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;
22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.
This chapter is a continuation of Job's third speech which began in Job 9 (see notes), a response to Bildad's speech. For an outline of the Book of Job, click here. Job's at it again - expressing unbearable grief. Job's speech shifts gears in verse 2 as he appears to be addressing God himself with his thoughts. As he cries out to God, it is interesting that he's not asking for healing or restoration; he just wants to know "why!" Maybe it's just me, but if I was covered with oozing sores, I'd be asking for a little physical healing, but Job (verse 2) is just intent on knowing - "...shew me wherefore thou contendest with me." The remainder of chapter 10 is Job addressing God in the presence of his friends. So, let's go over the dilemma again: Job's theology (and that of his friends) consists of the doctrine that when bad things happen, it's because of sin; God is punishing.
This concept of trial, without the presence of sin, is a completely foreign doctrine to all of them. Job's problem? He was a man who was meticulous about shunning sin and serving God. In his mind, his theology of God has crash landed. Now, from his friends' perspectives, he must be a closet sinner - a theory that even seems a little amusing to them; they seem to take a little pleasure in believing that goody-goody Job was, in reality, not as righteous as they thought. From Job's perspective, he's more interested in understanding his circumstances than physical restoration.
Nowhere in the whole book does Job ask God for healing or restoration - just answers. In this chapter he presents himself as a marked man without hope. He doesn't feel he has a chance as we see in verse 16, "Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me." Then in verse 19 he does his death-wish routine again, "I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave. "
1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?
3 Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?
4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.
5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;
6 And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.
7 Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.
10 If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?
11 For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?
12 For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.
13 If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
14 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
16 Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
17 And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.
20 But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.
Here's a man who doesn't mince words; he goes right after Job - right to his integrity and truthfulness; it's Zophar's first speech to Job. In verses 1-2 he accuses Job of foolish talk and insists that Job should be shamed. In verse 3 he says, "Should thy lies make men hold their peace?" He just called Job a liar! He disputes Job's righteousness and suggests that God himself should speak out against Job's sin; then everybody would know the truth about Job. Look at verse 11, "For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?" Did he just suggest that Job is wicked and vain? This guy's a friend? He certainly can spin a put-down though; look at verse 12, "For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild asss colt." Did he just label Job a witless, empty-headed man with as much chance to become wise as a wild donkey has to be born tame? Here's the bottom line on chapter 11. Zophar eloquently tells Job to his face that he's a liar. Zophar's advice is clear in verses 13-14: all of Job's troubles will be behind him if he will just confess to sin and ask God for forgiveness.
1 And Job answered and said,
2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.
3 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?
4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.
5 He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.
6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.
7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?
10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
11 Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?
12 With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.
13 With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.
15 Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.
16 With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17 He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.
18 He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.
19 He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.
20 He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.
21 He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.
22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.
23 He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.
24 He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.
25 They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.
Here's Job's response to Zophar's speech of chapter 11; this speech (Job's fourth) goes all the way through chapter 14. I like verse 2, "No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you." In other words, Job sarcastically replies, "You guys think that you are the only wise people in the world!" Nice cut, Job! Job is quick to point out that he is not inferior to them in the knowledge of God. He still maintains his innocence in verse 4, "I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn." He goes on to point out in verse 6 that idolaters and sinners are prospering while he, a righteous man, is suffering. Then he spends the rest of this chapter extolling God. He seems to be saying that God's ways are way too complex to be presented with the simplicity he's hearing from his friends. He doesn't have the answer to his suffering, but he's certain that his friends don't either.
Job lashes out at his friends and their senseless counsel (Job 13)
1 Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.
2 What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.
3 Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.
4 But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.
5 O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom.
6 Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.
7 Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?
8 Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?
9 Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?
10 He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.
11 Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?
12 Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.
13 Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.
14 Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?
15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
17 Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.
18 Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.
19 Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.
20 Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee.
21 Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.
22 Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me.
23 How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.
24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?
25 Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
26 For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.
27 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.
28 And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.
Here's a continuation of the speech Job began in chapter 12. Here, he makes reference to all his friends sitting around and giving advice about which they know nothing. In verse 2 he points out, "You guys don't know anything that I don't know!" Given the opportunity (verse 3), he felt he could prove his case before God. Hey! Job! Tell us what you really think about the advice you're getting from your friends! Job 13:4, "But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value." Obviously, Job is just a little irritated with his friends - wouldn't you say? He gently tells them to "shut up" in verse 5?
What a testimony in verse 15, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him." No matter what happens, Job will serve God. When you contrast that statement to Satan's mission here, that verse takes on new meaning. Recall from Job 2:5 (see notes) that Satan had told God that he could cause Job to "curse thee to thy face." Well...Satan...think again! By verse 18 he proclaims that he is confident he shall be justified. Zophar seems to have provoked a more determined monologue from Job - less pity, albeit his attitude seems to have grown less patient with his three friends here. This speech continues into Job 14 (see notes).
Here's the lesson of these 4 chapters...and the whole book for that matter: DON'T GUESS WHEN YOU ARE GIVING COUNSEL TO OTHERS! It turns out that these so-called counselors were DEAD WRONG! One valuable outcome from reading the Book of Job should be that we will take great care in making certain that any counsel we offer is completely scriptural.