Remember the snarling wolf from two posts back? Job is a bit like the response of this territorial (and really big!) eagle pictured above. Job continues to respond to his insulting friend. He really responds!
Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you. Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom. Job 13:1-5
I see, hear, and understand everything that you do. You’re not such hot stuff! Hey, I am willing to speak to God and find out what is happening to me. But you my friends are liars and lousy healers. Stop talking and that will be the first smart thing you have done!
Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips. Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him? Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God? Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him? He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons. Job 13:6-10
Job could be asking this: So hear this; does God need you to lie for him? Are you representing him like he needs a lawyer? (They are acting like lawyers, aren’t they?) Do you really want to be doing that when God himself comes looking for you to account for your actions? Or are you a comedian making fun of God? If you honor the evil people who prosper in the world God will come to collect his revenge from you.
Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you? Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay. Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will. Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand? Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. Job 13:11-15
Job suggests that the presence of God will be pretty intimidating. The one who formed us and our universe has power in his presence, to make us feel like ashes or clay again. Job wants his quiet to speak for himself. He’s willing to face the fear of God without fear. He wants to continue to be right before God, because he trusts him.
He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him. Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears. Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified. Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost. Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee. Job 13:16-20
Job expects to be safe because God will not allow a false accusation to approach him. He makes a firm stand and challenges all to argue more. If he were to be silent it would kill him. For two actions Job might be shamed onto silence. He elaborates.
Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid. Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me. How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy? Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? Job 13:21-25
First stop making accusations and then specify what sins I have committed, Job may be saying here. Why be a hidden sniper trying to destroy a weak opponent?
For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet. And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.Job 13:26-28
If you write that I am evil and still in the mistakes of my foolish youth then you lock me into my shame as one in stocks. I am scarred so my footprints in life betray the passage of a sinner to all who see them. My life frays and disintegrates as a moth eaten garment.
Job lashes out against the unfair character assassination brought against him by his friend. He identifies the attempt this false friend has made to deprive him of his honor and so dishonors this hypocrisy. Our eagle strikes a blow against the fox that would steal the honor of his life.