The Word Made Fresh
1“I have seen and heard and known about all this. 2I know as much as you do about these things. 3But I want to speak with the Almighty. I want to argue my case before God. 4You just dress things up in lies. All of you are worthless healers. 5So, if you want to be wise, shut up!
6“Hear now what I have to say and listen to my plea. 7If you want to speak for God, then stop saying things that aren’t true. 8Do you think you are pleading God’s case? 9Do you think it will be good for you when God examines what you’re doing? Can you deceive God like you deceive other people? 10If you think you’re flattering God you will surely be rebuked. 11Aren’t you afraid of God’s splendor? Don’t you dread God’s power? 12Your platitudes are worthless. Your arguments can’t hold water.
13“So, shut up now and let me do the talking, then whatever happens to me will happen. 14I’ll take my life into my own hands, and chew on my own flesh for a while. 15Look, I have no doubt that God is going to kill me, but I am going to defend myself to the end. 16And this just might save me; after all, a hypocrite wouldn’t dare face off with God.
17“So, listen closely to what I have to say. 18I have an airtight case. I know I’m right. 19Do any of you accuse me of anything? If you do, I’ll just shut up and die.
20“God, allow me two things and then I won’t keep anything from you. 21First, draw back your hand so I won’t be afraid of you. 22Then call on me and I will answer, or let me question you and you answer. 23How many crimes have I committed? How many times have I sinned? Tell me! 24Why do you hide from me? Do you think I’m your enemy? 25Would you bother a leaf driven by the wind? Would you chase a dry straw? 26Why do you pile up terrible accusations against me and punish me for things I may have done when I was a kid? 27You shackle my feet and watch me like a hawk everywhere I go and track my footsteps. 28A man just wastes away like something rotten, like a moth-eaten shirt.”
1-12: Still on the attack, Job declares again that he is not inferior to his friends in knowledge. Still, he recognizes that arguing with them is pointless; his real complaint is with God. His friends would make more sense if they would just shut up. They can neither explain nor persuade God in anything.
13-19: Just be quiet, he says, and allow me to talk this out. He wants to take his case directly to God even if it kills him. He knows he has a good case, but he also knows that God is a hard sell.
20-28: Speaking directly to God now, Job prays first for God not to terrify him. Then he implores God to tell him what the charges are. It seems to him that God is punishing him for long-forgotten youthful transgressions and he is suffering unfairly because it has not been made clear to him why the punishment is being given.
Job defends himself well. But there is a hint in verse 26 that he is afraid he may have committed some sin in his youth that he has forgotten all about. God forgets nothing, you know. But can anyone make the claim that they have not sinned? Job seems to me to be a bit overconfident of his own character. After all, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).