12 “Now a word was secretly brought to me, And my ear received a whisper of it.
13 In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men,
14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones shake.
15 Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair on my body stood up.
16 It stood still, But I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; There was silence; Then I heard a voice saying:
17 ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?
18 If He puts no trust in His servants, If He charges His angels with error,
19 How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, Who are crushed before a moth?
20 They are broken in pieces from morning till evening; They perish forever, with no one regarding.
21 Does not their own excellence go away? They die, even without wisdom.’
It appears to me, while not all that well-read on Job, that Satan's testing and persecution of Job continues beyond chapters 1-2, changing and taking on the form of pseudo-wisdom in Job's counselors. It is especially poignant in these verses. The spirit of vs 15 is Satan, and he speaks words of despair, mixed, as usual, with half-truth: "You can't be righteous before God! You'll always be a sinner. So just give up, curse God, and die." Many give in to temptation by listening to these words. In the press of tempting sin, the straw that breaks the camel's back is often despair: I'll give in eventually, so why not now? It is Job's resistance to this, his stubborn yet godly insistence on meeting with God, that vindicates him, in the end. He continues to turn TO the Lord, instead of turning from Him, even when he crosses the line and accuses God of wronging him.