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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Job 11

 

 

Verse 1

Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 2

Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?

Should not the multitude of words be answered? Zophar assails Job for his empty words, and indirectly the two friends for their weak reply. Taciturnity is highly prized among Orientals. "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise" (Proverbs 10:8-19).


Verse 3

Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?

Should thy lies make men hold their peace? - "lies" - rather, vain boasting [ badiym (Hebrew #907)] (Isaiah 16:6; Jeremiah 48:30). The "men" is emphatic; men of sense [ m


Verse 4

For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.

Thou hast said, My doctrine is pure - purposely used of Job's speeches, which sounded like lessons of doctrine. "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew" (Deuteronomy 32:2; Proverbs 4:2).

And I am clean in thine eyes - addressed to God. Job had maintained his sincerity against his friends' suspicions, not faultlessness.


Verse 5

But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 6

And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.

And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! - rather, 'they are double to (man's and so double to thy) wisdom' (Michaelis). So the Hebrew [ tuwshiyaah (Hebrew #8454)] is rendered, Proverbs 2:7. God's ways, which you arraign, if you were shown their secret wisdom, would be seen vastly to exceed that of men, including yours. "The foolishness of God is wiser than men" (1 Corinthians 1:25). Then you would see sin in yourself where now you see none.

Exacteth - rather, 'God consigns to oblivion in thy favour [ yasheh (Hebrew #5382) l


Verse 7

Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? [ takliyt (Hebrew #8503)] - rather, 'Penetrate (reach) to the perfections of the Almighty' (Job 9:10); "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me: it is high, I cannot attain unto it" (Psalms 139:6).


Verse 8

It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

It is as high as heaven - the "wisdom" of God (Job 11:6). The abruptness of the Hebrew is forcible: 'The heights of heaven! What canst thou do?' as to attaining to them with thy gaze (Psalms 139:8).

What canst thou know - namely, of His perfections.


Verse 9

The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 10

If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?

If he cut off , [ yach


Verse 11

For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?

For he knoweth vain men. "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity" (Psalms 94:11).

Vain , [ shaaw' (Hebrew #7723)].

Will he not then consider it? - so as to punish it. Umbreit translates from the connection, Job 11:6, 'He seeth wickedness also, which man does not perceive'-literally, 'But no (other, excepting Him) perceiveth it.' God's "wisdom" (Job 11:6) detects sin where Job's human eye cannot reach (Job 11:8) so as to see any. This is why he wishes God would show Job the secrets of sincere wisdom.


Verse 12

For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

Vain man - hollow or empty [ naabuwb (Hebrew #5014)].

Would be wise - wants to consider himself "wise:" opposed to God's "wisdom" (remark, Job 11:11); refuses to see sin where God sees it (Romans 1:22). The translation of Umbreit and Maurer is-`For thus (namely, by God's judgments, Job 11:10), vain (empty) man becomes wise, and the wild ass' colt (an image for wild untamed man, Genesis 16:12; Hosea 8:9) becomes a man' (a sensible man). The objection to this translation of the latter clause is that "is born" in the Hebrew is emphatical, and cannot mean merely 'becomes:' so that I would either retain the English version or translate as Umbreit, excepting that for 'becomes,' in the last clause, I would translate 'is born into' [ yiwaaleed (Hebrew #3205)] (John 3:3-7).

Wild ass' colt - a proverb for untamed wildness (Job 39:5-8; Jeremiah 2:24; Genesis 16:12; Hebrew, 'a wild-ass man.') Man wishes to appear wisely obedient to his Lord, whereas he is, from his birth, unsubdued in spirit.


Verse 13

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him. The apodosis to the "If" is at Job 11:15. The 'preparation of, the heart' is to be obtained (Proverbs 16:1) by 'stretching out the hands' in prayer for it. "Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine car to hear" (Psalms 10:17; 1 Chronicles 29:18).


Verse 14

If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.

If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away. Umbreit translates-`If thou wilt put far away the iniquity in thine hand' (as Zaccheus did, Luke 19:8). The apodosis or conclusion is at Job 11:15, "then shalt thou," etc. The English version is better: so this (Job 11:14) is a parenthesis between Job 11:13 and Job 11:15 : in Job 11:13 prayer is put as the condition, and in Job 11:15 deliverance from fear is declared to be the blessed consequence: but one precaution Job needs to take in order that his praying to God may not be vain-namely, he must put away all iniquity: this is inserted in Job 11:14 as a parenthesis between the protasis, Job 11:13, and the apodosis, Job 11:15. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalms 66:18).


Verse 15

For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:

For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot. Zophar refers to Job's own words (Job 10:15), "Yet will I not lift up my head," even though righteous. Zophar declares, if Job will follow his advice, he may yet 'lift up his face.'

Spot - i:e., without the spot or slur which thy present calamity attaches to thee.

Stedfast - literally, molten, or run fast together, like metals which become firm and hard by fusion (Job 37:18). The sinner, on the contrary, is wavering.


Verse 16

Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:

Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away. Just as when the stream runs dry (Job 6:17), the danger threatened by its wild waves is forgotten. "The former troubles are forgotten; they are hid from mine eyes" (Isaiah 65:16). (Umbreit.)


Verse 17

And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.

Thine age (days, or life) shall be clearer than the noon-day - namely, of thy former prosperity; which, in the poet's image, had gone on increasing, until it reached its height, as the sun rises higher and higher until it reaches the meridian. "The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18).

Thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning - rather, 'Though now thou art in darkness, thou shalt presently be as the morning' (Gesenius). Or else, 'Thy darkness (i:e., if any dark shade should arise on thee, it) shall be as the morning,'-only the dullness of morning twilight, not nocturnal darkness. (Umbreit). [ taa`upaah (Hebrew #5774) means darkness, not "shine forth," as English version: from `uwp (Hebrew #5774), to cover. However, many Jewish rabbis explain as the English version, 'Thou shalt fly forth from the darkness of thy calamities' - i:e., "shine forth." `uwp (Hebrew #5774) means primarily to fly.]


Verse 18

And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.

Thou shalt be secure, because there is hope. The experience of thy life will teach thee there is "hope" for man in every trial; in opposition to Job's having said that he was "without hope" (Job 7:6 ).

Thou shalt dig - namely, wells, the chief necessary in the East. Better, 'Though now ashamed (Romans 5:5, opposed to the previous "hope"), thou shalt then rest safely' [haapartaa] (Gesenius). Ewald takes it, 'If thou shalt take a survey (of thy goods and flocks, thou shalt miss none: and so) thou shalt take thy rest in safety.'


Verse 19

Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.

Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid. (Psalms 4:8 ; Proverbs 3:24; Isaiah 14:30.)

Lie down - image from a quadruped couching down to rest (Genesis 49:14) - Oriental images of prosperity.

Yea, many shall make suit unto thee - literally, 'stroke thy face,' 'be sweet to,' 'caress thee' (Proverbs 19:6).


Verse 20

But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.

But the eyes of the wicked shall fail. A warning to Job, if he would not turn to God.

The wicked - i:e., obdurate sinners.

Eyes ... fail - i:e., in vain look for relief (Deuteronomy 28:65). Zophar implies Job's only hope of relief is in a change of heart.

They shall not escape - literally, 'every refuge shall vanish from them.' So Psalms 142:4, 'Refuge perished from me,' margin.

Their hope shall be as the giving up the ghost - their hope shall leave them as the breath does the body. "When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish" (Proverbs 11:7).

Remarks:

(1) If we desire the good of him whom we would reprove, we must speak meekly and lovingly, not with exaggeration, harshness, and injustice. If Job used, so he had done, a "multitude of words," love might have suggested that it was not without some palliation: his sufferings were many and acute. To have recognized this in the first instance, as well as his past integrity of character, would have prepared the way for reproving him in those respects wherein his present temper and words were really reprehensible.

(2) Not "the multitude of words" but the power of the Holy Spirit, can assure any man of his justification (1 Thess (2) Not "the multitude of words" but the power of the Holy Spirit, can assure any man of his justification (1 Thessalonians 1:5). Man's protestations of his own purity and cleanness (Job 11:4) only ensure his condemnation. His true wisdom is to hasten before the throne of mercy with full acknowledgment of his guilt and uncleanness.

(3) However severe our trials be, we may take one thing as sure, namely, that God always "exacteth less of" us than our "iniquity deserveth" (Job 11:6).

(4) We are too apt to form our estimate of sin in general, and of our own sin in particular, by the low standard of our own intellectual and mortal comprehensions. The antidote to this tendency is that we should call to mind the infinitude of God's wisdom (Job 11:7, etc.), and the far-searching ken of His omniscience, which sees sin in man where man himself suspects none. Our wisdom is to cry to God, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalms 139:23-24).

(5) Man, by nature "empty," and wild (spiritually) as the wild ass' colt is physically, ceases from his folly when he turns to God with uplifted hands and prepared heart (Job 11:13; Lamentations 3:41): but in doing so he must see that no iniquity still cleave to his hand, and no wickedness be harboured in his dwelling (Job 11:14): for if we regard iniquity in our heart-and we must do so if we suffer it externally in our hands or dwelling-the Lord will not hear us.

(6) All good things, here imperfectly, hereafter perfectly, shall be the portion of him who walks closely with God. The believer can "lift up his face without spot" to God, as a reconciled Father, in trust. Fear gives place to love. Soon former troubles shall be for ever forgotten (Job 11:16), or only remembered to enhance the joy of present salvation: "The righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43; Job 11:17); and whereas "the hope of the wicked shall be as the giving up of the ghost," the godly shall rest in secure blessedness forever.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 11:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-11.html. 1871-8.

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