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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Job 11

 

 

Verses 1-20

Job 11:1-20. Speech of Zophar.—"Job has shown that the assumption, that on account of the Divine righteousness only human sin can be the cause of misfortune, leads to the worst conclusions as to God's nature. What answer can the friends make?" (Duhm). Job has charged God with a brutal misuse of His strength and a refined cruelty to His creature:

"Oh it is excellent to have a giant's strength

But it is tyrannous to use it like a giant."

Zophar, the youngest and most fiery of the friends, simply sees in Job's questionings about God, a denial of the Divine omniscience. If God treats Job as a sinner, He cannot be in error. Again, therefore, he calls Job to repent.

He begins by criticising Job's verbosity: "words and nothing else" are his defence (Job 11:2 f.). Job declares that his walk is pure (emending "my doctrine" into "my walk," Duhm, Peake). But if God were to accept Job's challenge to meet him, the result would be very different from Job's anticipation (Job 11:5 f.). Let Job know that God by no means remembers against him ail his sin. Zophar here breaks out into a panegyric on the Divine wisdom (Job 11:7-9). God knows the iniquity of the wicked, without considering it, i.e. intuitively (Job 11:11). With Job 11:13 Zophar begins his exhortation. Let Job turn to God and stretch out his hands in prayer to Him, let him put away his sin (Job 11:14). Then follows the promise, Then Job shall be able to lift up his face (cf. Job 10:15) and be steadfast (contrast fluctuating feelings, Job 9:27 f.). His misery shall pass away (Job 11:16 f). He shall be secure, because there is hope (contrast Job's despondence, Job 7:6; Job 9:25, Job 10:20, etc.). He shall search about him (as one does before lying down to rest), and shall sleep in safety (Job 11:18). Many shall seek his favour (cf. Job 29:7-10, Job 29:21-25, and contrast Job 19:18, Job 30:1-10).

Job 11:20 gives the dark reverse to the picture of the happiness of the righteous. "Bildad's prediction of the fate of the wicked is here repeated, but whereas he identified the wicked with Job's enemies, Zophar leaves open the possibility that Job himself may be included in that category, and in the last line significantly alludes to Job's repeated wish that he may die" (Peake).

Job 11:6. Last clause lit., "God brings a part of thy sins into forgetfulness for thee."

Job 11:7. First clause, mg. is to be followed rather than text.

Job 11:10. Zophar takes up Job's own words in Job 9:11 f. Duhm thinks the verse is out of place here altogether: it suits Job's idea of God's arbitrary sovereignty, not Zophar's conception of His unsearchable wisdom. He therefore omits as a marginal note out of place. "Shut up" means "put in prison," "gather for judgment" (cf. Psalms 50:5).

Job 11:12 is very difficult. Perhaps the best translation is: "and so an empty man becomes wise, and a wild ass's colt is born a man." This yields a good connexion with the preceding verse: God chastens the wicked, and so the empty man becomes wise. The change is as if a wild ass's colt were born a man (probably a proverbial illustration). The wild ass is an emblem of Undisciplined freedom (Job 39:5), and thus of rebellion against God (Jeremiah 22:4).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 11:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/job-11.html. 1919.

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