Job desires to present his case before God in many chapters, one being 13:3. However, in 9:20 he recognizes that if he did this, he would condemn himself and God would prove him wrong.

Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.

So why does he still want to do this if he knows God can still prove him perverse?


That! is the whole point of the extended debate between Job and his three "friends". Job readily acknowledges his mortality and sinfulness (v2). By contrast, the friends appear to be saying that if one believes as they do then Job would be OK (ch 8).

As for Job, he just wants an end to all the suffering and to have his day with God so that he could ask for mercy (v15) and realises that he cannot justify himself. Therefore, it appears that Job wants this torment of his friends to end and their legalistic misrepresentation of God's character to stop.

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  • So Job relents to do something he knows is futile (9:20) with God, but he does it anyway selflessly for his friends and their legalistic misrepresentation of God? – Buzz Speedo Jul 19 '19 at 22:37
  • Not quite. His pursuit is not futile - he wants the whole problem resolved by divine wisdom which he readily recognises he does not have. – user25930 Jul 20 '19 at 0:18
  • Well, initially he acknowledges it is futile that he is sinful and God can do whatever He wants. God knows exactly what's going on. Yet knowing this isn't enough for Job I believe because the suffering continues. He is desperate for both understanding and relief. Yes? In chapters 12-13 it appears Job is almost sarcastic. Everybody knows these moral commonplaces (12:3)!Your maxims are proverbs of ashes (13:12)! Worthless physicians are you all (13:4)! – Buzz Speedo Jul 20 '19 at 0:41
  • Agreed - Job wants resolution of both his physical suffering and his mental anguish – user25930 Jul 20 '19 at 21:22
  • Thank you. I appreciate your feedback. – Buzz Speedo Jul 20 '19 at 22:44

Excellent question!

I think in 9:20 Job is not acknowledging that God is right and that he is sinful, on the contrary Job is convinced that God is not treating him fairly and that injustice is being done to him. Job is merely saying that God as a tyrant and dishonest judge has the power to make him appear sinful even if he is really innocent. So I think in 13:3 Job is merely expressing his wish to get even with God and tell him how he feels about him and how bad he's treating his mortal human beings. At the same time Job is well aware that God would make him look bad, cause in Job's view God is a despot, but Job is fine with that as long as he can confront God and give him a piece of his mind. That's just one way of looking at it.

Hope this answer is useful to you.

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  • And yet in 23:6 he seems to be sure that God would judge him fairly, so apparently his desire to speak with God wasn't just to give him a piece of his mind... or do you think he changed his mind in 23:6, and in 13:3 he does just want to give him a piece of his mind? – b a Jul 22 '19 at 19:49
  • @ba good point. But that would be beyond scope of the question. 23:6 indeed seems to contradict 9:20, but that is not what the OP asked, and it should be posted as separate question. – Bach Jul 22 '19 at 23:55

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