Job 13



Job Continues (13:1–28)

1–3 Job says, “My eyes have seen all this” (verse 1)—that is, all the sovereign acts of God he has mentioned in the preceding chapter (Job 12:13–25). But even though no man can withstand such a wise and powerful God, Job still wants to speak with Him—to argue [his] case with God (verse 3).

4 -12 Then Job rebukes his three friends, calling them worthless physicians (verse 4). He accuses them of being false witnesses for God; he says they speak wickedly and deceitfully and show partiality (verses 7–8). What if God were to examine them! God would not be deceived by their false arguments, their defenses of clay (verses 9–12). Indeed, at the end of the book God does examine Job's three friends, and their “defenses” do crumble like “clay” (Job 42:7–9).

13–19 Job realizes that he is taking a great risk in “arguing his case” with God (verse 14). But still Job places his hope in God's justice. Even if God did slay him, Job would keep on hoping to the end (verse 15). If only he could defend himself to God's face, Job believes this would turn out for [his] deliverance (verse 16). It would prove he was not a godless man (as his friends believed), because no godless man would even dare speak with God face to face.

Then Job tells his three friends to listen carefully to his words (verse 17)—to the words he is going to say to God.

20–23 From this point on and throughout the next chapter, Job addresses God directly—as if he were speaking to Him face to face in a courtroom. He starts by asking God for two things (verse 20): first, that God withdraw His hand of terror from him (verse 21); and second, that God talk with him and show him his offense and sin (verses 22–23).

24–27 Then Job asks God why He is treating him like an enemy (verse 24). “For you write down bitter things against me; you keep a record of all my past sins—you make me inherit the sins of my youth” (verse 26). Job, of course, is mistaken (see Psalm 130:3; 1 Corinthians 13:5); but this is how he feels at the moment. He also feels that God is treating him like a prisoner or a slave—even putting marks on the soles of his feet35 (verse 27).

Many believers go through periods in their lives when God seems to hide [His] face from them (verse 24), when they feel that God is their enemy, their slave master. They know differently, but they are overwhelmed by their feelings. When we suffer without knowing why, it does seem as if God is angry with us. At such times, we must first of all examine ourselves to see if the cause may not be in us. Then, if no cause is found, we must hold on to our faith; we must cling to the hope that in the end God will bring us through to a place of peace and rest. Holding on to our faith in such circumstances is easier said than done, but there is no other way for our faith to be proved genuine (1 Peter 1:6–7).

28 Here Job's mood suddenly changes. He started out with confidence (verses 18,20), but now as he talks with God he becomes aware of his humanness, his frailty; he feels like a garment being eaten by moths. This verse serves as an introduction to Job's continuing words in the next chapter.