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Job 31:35-37 – If Only I Knew the Indictment, I Would Wear It Proudly

Summary

Job has proclaimed his innocence throughout the book, convinced that he does not deserve what has happened to him. Here, at the end of his final monologue, he grants that he may be guilty of something, but he does not know what it is.

Analysis

The retributive system still dominates Job's thinking about why people suffer. Good people should not have to endure the kind of pain that he has experienced. Tragedies should only come to those who deserve them. Job's friends have tried desperately to find some sin in Job that would justify his suffering as punishment. Job has reacted by claiming to be innocent and, therefore, Job blames God for abandoning God's own system of justice.

In spite of his insistence that he is innocent, Job, in this passage, admits that he may have done something terrible, something worthy of such treatment by God, but he does not know what it could be. If only God would tell him! A defendant should have the right to hear the charges against him. Up to now, God has been silent. If he only knew his fault, Job would not be ashamed to admit it. But he cannot confess to a crime that he does not think he has committed.

Job 31:35-37


35 O that I had one to hear me!
   (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty* answer me!)
   O that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
   I would bind it on me like a crown;
37 I would give him an account of all my steps;
   like a prince I would approach him.

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10 February 2011

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