With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (√VII. Job’s Response to Zophar – Chs. 12-14))

05 Jan

Job may well already be exhausted from responding to his two friends. But when Zophar speaks, telling Job that he is a mere talker, Job takes three chapters to answer this third friend.

VII. Job’s Response to Zophar – (Ch. 12)

There is a time and a place for sarcasm — and Job has found it in responding to Zophar! He addresses all three friends and says “doubtless you are the only people who matter and wisdom will die with you!” (v. 2). Job adds that he has a mind as well and that his thinking is not inferior to theirs. Job says he has become a mere laughingstock to his friends “though [I am] righteous and blameless!” (v. 4).

If one were to consult creation (the animals and the earth), they would all acknowledge the Lord’s actions behind Job’s dilemma. “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind,” Job says (v. 10). There is no doubting the sheer power of the Lord over creation (vv. 15), over rulers (v. 17), and over religious leaders (vv. 19-20). He has complete power over light and darkness (v. 22) and either makes nations great or destroys them (v. 23). He can even take away the reasoning powers of rulers and make them intellectually stagger like drunkards (v. 25). For Job the power of the Almighty is undoubtable.

VII. Job’s Response to Zophar – (Ch. 13)

Job expresses his desire to argue his case with God (v. 3). But his friends are smearing him with lies, leading Job to say, “worthless physicians, all of you!” (v. 4).

He says that as they are arguing the case for God they are speaking wickedly on His behalf (vv. 7-8). In dismissing their wisdom, Job says, “Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay.” (v. 12).

Job could honestly say, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” (v. 15). But he still wants to defend his ways to God’s face. He has prepared his case and knows he will be vindicated (v. 18).

He asks for two things from the Lord: (1) stop frightening me with your terrors, and (2) summon me to give my defense (vv. 20-22). He challenges the Lord to show him his offenses. The Lord has been hiding His face and treating Job as His enemy (v. 24). His life is wasting away like something rotten, like a garment eaten by moths (v. 28).

VII. Job’s Response to Zophar – (Ch. 14)

Job speaks of the frailty of human life and that one’s days are numbered (v. 5). He asks that God would leave him alone, for there is more hope for a chopped down tree than for a man “who breathes his last and is no more” (v. 10).

Job charges God with destroying a person’s hope (v. 19), overpowering them once for all, changing their countenance and sending them away. And they are left only to mourn themselves (v. 22).

With this bleak view of life and of the ways of God, Job concludes his response to Zophar. But the book doesn’t end here. Eliphas is ready for a second round with Job!

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Posted by on January 5, 2023 in the book of Job


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