Chapter 31 ends with the phrase, “The words of Job are ended.” Chapter 32 begins with the statement, “So these three men ceased to answer Job…” There is a sense of awkward silence. Job had presented his case and challenged anyone to prove him guilty. He called down curses on himself from God if he had sinned in any way that caused his suffering. He was especially concerned with defending himself from Eliphaz’ claim that Job suffers because he has committed the sin of the rich, ie, oppressing the poor. Job asserts that he’d never used his wealth and his position to take advantage of those less fortunate.

What does this silence mean? The three friends had taken Job through three rounds of debate, each one getting more pointed. The final round of debate appears to have been nothing more than a shouting match. Maybe there just wasn’t anymore to be said. Possibly, the silence is a vindication of Job’s claim. Job had taken his case public with an oath of innocence. He shifted the burden of proof to Eliphaz and the people he supposedly had wronged. When no witnesses stepped forward to speak, Eliphaz lost his case.

It might appear that Job won his case against his three condemning friends. But it will now be revealed that he loses his case with God. He might be better informed, and innocent of the charges of his friends, but can he claim innocent perfection before God? Of course not. Isaiah 64:6 makes it clear that to God “all of our righteousness is as filthy rags.” There is none who can stand up to God’s scrutiny, no not one!

Job claimed that he was right and God was wrong! Max Lucado reminds us “God is never wrong. He has never rendered a wrong decision, experienced the wrong attitude, taken the wrong path, said the wrong thing, or acted the wrong way. He is never too late or too early, too loud or too soft, too fast or too slow. He has always been and always will be right. He is righteous.”

“I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (Job 42:5)