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Job 9:13-20 – How Can One Win an Argument with God?


Job wants to argue his innocence before God, but he doubts he will get a fair trial. It is as if God is both the accuser (the prosecuting attorney?) and also the judge.


In Job's mind, God is the one in charge. Nothing happens without God willing it. It is God who has caused all his troubles, even though Job cannot see any reason why he deserves such treatment. But where does Job turn to seek an appeal, a neutral judge who will look at his case impartially? Is there a higher court to which one can turn for relief if God is the one who brings the accusation?

It seems to Job that God is both prosecutor and judge. Since God has already assumed Job is guilty and has caused his great torment, how can God be expected to listen to Job, hear the evidence, and give a fair verdict? The odds are stacked against him, Job thinks. There is no place to turn except to God, but there is little hope that God will act fairly. Job's trust in a loving, protecting, just God has been badly eroded.

Job 9:13-20

13 ‘God will not turn back his anger;
   the helpers of Rahab bowed beneath him.
14 How then can I answer him,
   choosing my words with him?
15 Though I am innocent, I cannot answer him;
   I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.*
16 If I summoned him and he answered me,
   I do not believe that he would listen to my voice.
17 For he crushes me with a tempest,
   and multiplies my wounds without cause;
18 he will not let me get my breath,
   but fills me with bitterness.
19 If it is a contest of strength, he is the strong one!
   If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him?*
20 Though I am innocent, my own mouth would condemn me;
   though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse.

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