Job 12:1-14:22 Comments by Stephen Ricker
one tidbit at a time read & study work the soil kind & courteous be serious about books the lion king stay connected to now dig in deep CLICK TO GO TO Bible Study HOME PAGE

Job For the Defense
Comments for Study 6

Job 12:1-14:22
Key verse: 13:15


I. Job's Comeback (12:1-13:19)

>1. What does Job sarcastically comment will happen when his friends die? (12:2) Is his friend's words new to Job? (3) How does he describe his state? (4-5)

Job 12:1 "Then Job replied:"

* Job's response to Zophar is harsher than his previous responses to Eliphaz and Bildad.

Job 12:2 "Doubtless you are the people, and wisdom will die with you!"

* Job punctures Zophar, Bildad, and Eliphaz's puffed-up image of themselves with piercing sarcasm: "Beyond all doubt, you three are so smart that when you die, wisdom will no longer exist on the earth!"

Job 12:3-4 "But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things? "I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called upon God and he answered--a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!"

* Job is saying, "I am diseased, but not without a mind. My mind is working well. You don't have to think for me, even though your thoughts are no great wisdom. I can think. You make fun of me though I am righteous and blameless. But I am equal with you."

Job 12:5 "Men at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping."

* Job makes a statement of truth here. When some look at the misfortune of others, especially those who were in high positions, they look at them anew with contempt. Quoting from Christian Publication's Adult Teaching Guide (June-Aug. 1995) who intern quotes Albert Barnes, "Long-cherished but secret envy begins to show itself; those who wish to rise rejoice in their ruin, and they are looked upon with contempt in proportion to their former honor, rank, and power."

>2. What does Job realize since he is innocent and yet suffering? (6, Ecclesiastes 7:15) If this is true, then why should a believer in Jesus living a righteous life? (2 Cor. 5:10)

Job 12:6 "The tents of marauders are undisturbed, and those who provoke God are secure--those who carry their god in their hands."

* With this sentence Job begins to realize the great error of what he formally believed, which is what his friends still believe; that is suffering equals sin because sin is punished. A marauder is a person who raids to gain plunder. Thus Job is saying, "Those who robed me and are idolaters are now living in comfort and undisturbed. Though they sinned and provoked God's anger, yet they are not suffering for their sin. Obviously," Job concludes, "there is something wrong with the old theology."

A conclusion could be made here that some of the times, if God lets someone to steal, which is a sin, even though God let it happened and used it according to his will, the person is not justified just because it is what God let happened and used.

* Ecclesiastes 7:15 agrees with Job's new revelations, "In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: a righteous man perishing in his righteousness, and a wicked man living long in his wickedness." Since this is true why then should a saved believer in Jesus live a righteous life? 2 Corinthians 5:10 states, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." Yet, I need to stress that this does not mean righteous living alone means there is a reward. The Bible is very clear that we are saved from punishment by faith in Jesus and it is just as clear that once we are saved from punishment we will be rewarded for the good works done in this life. I write of this in my manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires.

>3. What is common knowledge even to animals? (12:7-10) What wisdom does the age have? (12:11-24) What is Job proving by stating all this? (12:3)

Job 12:7-12 ""But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?"

* The "you" in verse 7 is singular. This is directed to Zophar, who has just called him "an empty-headed son of a wild ass." Job puts his friend's "wisdom" in a class below things that are so commonly known that animals, birds, fish, and even the dirt know them. These "dumb" creatures understand that calamities, along with life and breath, come from God (9-10). This is more than Zophar seems to understand; he keeps insisting that calamities are the result of Job's sin. This understanding is as natural as hearing words or tasting meat (11). Zophar is old enough to understand but doesn't (12).

Job 12:13-25 ""To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; the man he imprisons cannot be released. If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. To him belong strength and victory; both deceived and deceiver are his. He leads counselors away stripped and makes fools of judges. He takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth around their waist. He leads priests away stripped and overthrows men long established. He silences the lips of trusted advisers and takes away the discernment of elders. He pours contempt on nobles and disarms the mighty. He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light. He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he sends them wandering through a trackless waste. They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards."

* Basically Job says that wisdom comes from God. Then Job states a long list of the wisdom of the aged. Why is Job stating all these things? To prove as he says in verse 3, "I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things?"

>4. What two things does Job repeat in 13:1-3? Why does Job want to speak to God? Is this a wrong thing? What is his point in 13:4-13? Why did he say it? What risk is he willing to take? (13:14-16) What does this show about his faith?

Job 13:1-3 ""My eyes have seen all this, my ears have heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God."

* Job again states that he is not inferior in knowledge than his three friends. He does not want to despair with his friends, but wants to speak to God who will give him wisdom, answers to his questions.

Job 13:4-13 "You, however, smear me with lies; you are worthless physicians, all of you! If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom. Hear now my argument; listen to the plea of my lips. Will you speak wickedly on God's behalf? Will you speak deceitfully for him? Will you show him partiality? Will you argue the case for God? Would it turn out well if he examined you? Could you deceive him as you might deceive men? He would surely rebuke you if you secretly showed partiality. Would not his splendor terrify you? Would not the dread of him fall on you? Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay. "Keep silent and let me speak; then let come to me what may."

* Job accuses his friends of malpractice. He wished that they would be silent as they were in the first seven days. But they didn't. Job believes that if God where to show up he would rebuke them (God did) and they would be frightened (I believe they were). Then Job says, "Shut up and let me say what I want regardless of what will happen to me."

Job 13:14-16 "Why do I put myself in jeopardy and take my life in my hands? Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless man would dare come before him!"

* Job is a man of God. He hopes in God. He speaks to God. He is confident of God and his relationship with God so that he will come before God. He believes that God will deliver him. Job knows he is innocent. He knows God is just. He will take that risk of approaching God because of the remote possibility God will exonerate him.

* "hope in him" -According to Christian Publication's Adult Teaching Guide (June-Aug. 1995): "The original word means "to wait hopefully". The context indicates Job believes it is distinctly possible that if a person approaches God as boldly as he intends, the LORD might reject that person or perhaps even kill him."

II. The Defense (13:20-14:22)

>5. What does Job again state in verses 13:17-19? What two things does he ask of God? (13:20-22)

Job 13:17-22 "Listen carefully to my words; let your ears take in what I say. Now that I have prepared my case, I know I will be vindicated. Can anyone bring charges against me? If so, I will be silent and die. "Only grant me these two things, O God, and then I will not hide from you: Withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors. Then summon me and I will answer, or let me speak, and you reply."

* Job stops addressing his friends and starts to address God. Again he imagines himself in a courtroom presenting his case before God. He believes he will be counted "not guilty" (18). Job will go to court with God if the two conditions are meet.

>6. What questions would he ask God if given the change? (23-25) What does he not understand? (James 2:10) Who then can be with God in heaven? (Matt. 5:8) How is that possible? (Gal. 1:3-5)

Job 13:23-25 "How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin. Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? Will you torment a windblown leaf? Will you chase after dry chaff?"

* In his case Job asks God these questions.

* What Job does not understands yet is stated in James 2:10 "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." And as Jesus taught, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matt. 5:8) Who can then be make pure given that even one sin makes us guilty and impure? Galatians 1:3-5 states how one is made pure, "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

>7. What does Job accuse God of? (26-28) Why does Job believe this?

Job 13:26-28 "For you write down bitter things against me and make me inherit the sins of my youth. You fasten my feet in shackles; you keep close watch on all my paths by putting marks on the soles of my feet. "So man wastes away like something rotten, like a garment eaten by moths.""

* After the questions, especially the ones about being tormented, Job states how God is after him. He states that God has brought up the sins of his youth and punished him for them, even though he has offered sacrifices for them, asking forgiveness and repented of them.

>8. How does Job describe his life in 14:1-6? Why does he say that his life and all men's seems to be unfair?

Job 14:1-6 ""Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. Do you fix your eye on such a one? Will you bring him before you for judgment? Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired man."

* Job, in his case to God, insists God is unfair to make man, whose life is so short and full of trouble, the target of his wrath. He appeals for the chance any hired laborer has of looking forward to relief at the end of the day.

>9. What hope does a tree have that Job believes a man does not have? What hope does he then claim?

>10. If God calls him in the grave what does he hope will happen? Then what does he hope will happen to his sin and his relationship with God? Is Job sure of his new conclusion? What spiritual principle do we see happening in Job? (Rom. 5:3-5)

Job 14:7-22 ""At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As water disappears from the sea or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so man lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, men will not awake or be roused from their sleep. "If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me! If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin. "But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place, as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy man's hope. You overpower him once for all, and he is gone; you change his countenance and send him away. If his sons are honored, he does not know it; if they are brought low, he does not see it. He feels but the pain of his own body and mourns only for himself."

* Job looks forward to the resurrection. He knows in the resurrection God will forget his sins and not bring wrath to him. So he wants to die and be renewed. But then he is saying, "How can that be." The thought of his life story ending with the ultimate failure represented by the grace leaves him with a deep yearning for something better. Job is muddy in his thinking about life after death. What he knows about God tells him that sometime, somehow, God will remember him even in the grave. All he knows for sure is that he has this burning, unquenchable thirst for something more. "If a man dies, surely he will live again!" (14). Job wants his relationship with God restored in the resurrection.

* The following is taking place in Job, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Rom. 5:3-5)