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Asbury Bible Commentary – 6. Job (12:1–14:22)
6. Job (12:1–14:22)
6. Job (12:1-14:22)

Job resents the assumed superiority of the comforters and sarcastically recognizes that they think they are representative of the race and have a monopoly on wisdom (12:2). He insists that he is their equal (v. 3).

In 12:7-25 the issue is not God's power. All the participants are in agreement here. The debate is over the part moral purpose has in God's actions.

In 13:1 Job is convinced of the randomness of suffering and warns the comforters that they will gain no favor with God by attempting to defend on moral grounds his treatment of Job (13:7-8). Smearing Job with lies (v. 4), they could show greater wisdom by remaining silent (v. 5), and it would be safer for them. It is dangerous to patronize God who might well turn on them (vv. 9-11). Here Job does not dissociate God's actions from moral purpose.

Job is now ready to state his case forthrightly. He considers himself innocent (13:16). He does not expect anyone to challenge this case (v. 19). He knows that he will be vindicated (v. 18). Job becomes defiant. Even at the risk of death (much welcomed) he is going to argue his integrity before God. Nothing is more important to him than that. He would prefer to argue his case with God than with the comforters (v. 3). He seems desperate rather than triumphant and assured.

Job now turns aside from his friends to address God, requesting that God withdraw his hand from him and that he stop frightening him (vv. 20-21) before he summons him (v. 22). Job gives God two choices relative to the format of this encounter. He can either question Job or allow Job to question him (v. 22). When the encounter occurs, God ignores the latter and uses only the former (38:3). To prepare himself, Job wants a list of the charges against him (13:23). Job feels that he is a victim of God's whim (v. 25), although he does seem to allow for the possibility that his sufferings may be due to the sins of his youth (v. 26). If so, those sins were not so serious as to merit his present sufferings.

Beginning with 13:28 Job expresses a longing for the Resurrection. He is clearly groping toward the idea of an afterlife (Pope, 108). He wishes for temporary asylum in sheol, from which state God would subsequently call him (14:13-15). While he yearns for this, the balance of the book indicates that he does not expect it.

Job laments the brevity of life, comparing it to a flower and a shadow (14:1-2). He is astonished that God should take note of and scrutinize an insignificant, defenseless, and unclean creature such as he is (vv. 3-4). He prays again that God will leave him alone (v. 6).

From Job's perspective the human situation is more like a parched riverbed (14:11) than a cut tree (v. 7). The cut tree will sprout again with the coming of rain (vv. 8-9), but the riverbed, probably due to some erosive situation, will remain dry (v. 11).

Even the mountains, noted for their antiquity and longevity, will erode and crumble (14:18-19). So the human creature will yield to death, which will erode the visage (v. 20). In death the only awareness is personal pain (v. 22), with no awareness of posterity (v. 21).