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Bible Commentaries

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Job 11

 

 

Verses 1-12

Zophar Tries to Reprove Job

v. 1. Then answered Zophar, the Naamathite, 2:11, and said,

v. 2. Should not the multitude of words, as just brought out in the speech of Job, be answered? And should a man full of talk, literally, "a man of lips," that is, of many words, a vain and foolish babbler, be justified, be right? Zophar was a man of zealous and violent spirit, and he was very emphatic in his statement that Job must not be allowed the last word in this matter.

v. 3. Should thy lies, rather, "chatter, vain babbling," make men hold their peace? "Men" is emphatic; no one who calls himself a man will remain silent with such talk going on. And when thou mockest, both men and God, in Zophar's opinion, being included in Job's upbraiding, shall no man make thee ashamed? It was necessary that his statements be refuted, lest he consider himself justified.

v. 4. For thou hast said, My doctrine, the moral teaching, the tenets which Job had expounded, is pure, and I am clean in Thine eyes, Job maintained his purity even over against God.

v. 5. But oh, that God would speak and open His lips against thee, since such an action would put an immediate end to Job's boasting, as Zophar confidently believed;

v. 6. and that He would show thee the secrets of wisdom, making known the true, divine wisdom over against Job's doctrine, that they are double to that which is, that God's wisdom immeasurably surpasses everything that men consider wisdom! Know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth, literally, "that God consigns to oblivion [a large part of] thy guilt," leaving it out of account against Job, who would otherwise long have been overwhelmed by God's punishment.

v. 7. Canst thou by searching find out God, reaching the bottom of the mystery of God's wonderful essence? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection, penetrating to the uttermost parts of the divine nature? "The nature of God may be sought after, but cannot be found out; and the end of God is unattainable, for He is both: the perfect or absolute God and the endless or infinite God. " (Delitzsch. )

v. 8. It is as high as heaven, literally, "heights of heaven," namely, those are the distances which extend between man's understanding and God's infinity; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell, far below the realm of the dead the hidden depths of the divine wisdom extend; what canst thou know? Man's utter powerlessness in the face of God's immeasurable essence is here brought out with a force rarely equaled.

v. 9. The measure thereof is longer than the earth and broader than the sea, the length of God's wisdom is unbounded, and its breadth extends far beyond human understanding.

v. 10. If He cut off, passing over, or rushing upon, in anger, and shut up, or gather together, that is, if God arrests a man and calls him to judgment, holds a public trial, then who can hinder Him? Who can turn Him aside, who will oppose Him? God will render judgment, God will pass sentence upon every prisoner whom He summons, in spite of all opposition.

v. 11. For He knoweth vain men, such evil men as try to disguise their godlessness; He seeth wickedness also; will He not, then, consider it? The statement is rather affirmative: God sees wickedness without considering it, although it is open before His eyes; He does not immediately punish the transgressors.

v. 12. For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt, literally, "And a hollow-headed, witless man will gain wisdom, and the foal of a wild ass a man will be born," which means, either: Before an empty head gains understanding, a wild ass's foal will be born a man, or: A witless fool should be filled with understanding, he should be regenerated and made over into a man, though by nature as untamed as the colt of a wild ass. Zophar wanted to make his rebuke as emphatic as possible, even by means of biting comparisons, in order to overcome Job's calm arguments.


Verses 13-20

Zophar Admonishes Job to Repent

v. 13. If thou prepare thine heart, bringing it into the proper condition over against God, and stretch out thine hands toward Him, in a gesture of pleading, of asking for mercy;

v. 14. if iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles, for without this evidence of a repentant heart the Lord would not heed his prayer.

v. 15. For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; having received the assurance of the forgiveness of his sins, his face would show no consciousness of guilt; yea, thou shalt be steadfast and shalt not fear, without wavering, like metals which have hardened in the mold,

v. 16. because thou shalt forget thy misery, all the trouble which was now besetting him, and remember it as waters that pass away, that flow by in a stream and make no lasting impression upon the memory,

v. 17. and thine age shall be clearer than the noonday, literally, "brighter than noon shall be the duration or way of thy life," his entire future life would be lifted out of the darkness of the present misery; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning, that is, if any darkness should come, if any new adversity should befall him, it would nevertheless resolve itself into the brightness of a clear morning.

v. 18. And thou shalt be secure, have the firm confidence, because there is hope, the text emphasizing the real and lasting existence of this hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, looking about through his household to find whether everything was safe and sound; and thou shalt take thy rest in safety, able to lie down and sleep without the slightest worry.

v. 19. Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid, in full peace and security; yea, many shall make suit unto thee, literally, "stroke thy face," flattering him and begging a special favor from him.

v. 20. But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, wasting away in a vain search for help, and they shall not escape, every refuge being taken away from them, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost, death remaining as their last hope, as bringing them deliverance from the evils which were laid upon them. This picture of a hopeful future, as painted by Zophar, was also an unconscious prophecy concerning the deliverance which finally came upon Job.

 


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Bibliography Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Job 11:4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/job-11.html. 1921-23.

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