Zophar reproves Job. (1-6) God's perfections and almighty power. (7-12) Zophar assures Job of blessings if he repented. (13-20)
Verses 1-6 Zophar attacked Job with great vehemence. He represented him as a man that loved to hear himself speak, though he could say nothing to the purpose, and as a man that maintained falsehoods. He desired God would show Job that less punishment was exacted than he deserved. We are ready, with much assurance, to call God to act in our quarrels, and to think that if he would but speak, he would take our part. We ought to leave all disputes to the judgment of God, which we are sure is according to truth; but those are not always right who are most forward to appeal to the Divine judgment.
Verses 7-12 Zophar speaks well concerning God and his greatness and glory, concerning man and his vanity and folly. See here what man is; and let him be humbled. God sees this concerning vain man, that he would be wise, would be thought so, though he is born like a wild ass's colt, so unteachable and untameable. Man is a vain creature; empty, so the word is. Yet he is a proud creature, and self-conceited. He would be wise, would be thought so, though he will not submit to the laws of wisdom. He would be wise, he reaches after forbidden wisdom, and, like his first parents, aiming to be wise above what is written, loses the tree of life for the tree of knowledge. Is such a creature as this fit to contend with God?
Verses 13-20 Zophar exhorts Job to repentance, and gives him encouragement, yet mixed with hard thoughts of him. He thought that worldly prosperity was always the lot of the righteous, and that Job was to be deemed a hypocrite unless his prosperity was restored. Then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; that is, thou mayst come boldly to the throne of grace, and not with the terror and amazement expressed in ch. 9:34 . If we are looked upon in the face of the Anointed, our faces that were cast down may be lifted up; though polluted, being now washed with the blood of Christ, they may be lifted up without spot. We may draw near in full assurance of faith, when we are sprinkled from an evil conscience, ( Hebrews 10:22 ) .
Job 11:1-20 . FIRST SPEECH OF ZOPHAR.
2. Zophar assails Job for his empty words, and indirectly, the two friends, for their weak reply. Taciturnity is highly prized among Orientals ( Proverbs 10:8 Proverbs 10:19 ).
3. lies--rather, "vain boasting" ( Isaiah 16:6 , Jeremiah 48:30 ). The "men" is emphatic; men of sense; in antithesis to "vain boasting."
mockest--upbraidest God by complaints, "shall no man make thee ashamed?"
4. doctrine--purposely used of Job's speeches, which sounded like lessons of doctrine ( Deuteronomy 32:2 , Proverbs 4:2 ).
thine--addressed to God. Job had maintained his sincerity against his friends suspicions, not faultlessness.
6. to that which is!--Rather, "they are double to [man's] wisdom" [MICHAELIS]. So the Hebrew 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 ( 1 Corinthians 1:25 ).
exacteth--Rather, "God consigns to oblivion in thy favor much of thy guilt."
7. Rather, "Penetrate to the perfections of the Almighty" ( Job 9:10 , Psalms 139:6 ).
8. It--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 )?
know--namely, of His perfections.
10. cut off--Rather, as in Job 9:11 , "pass over," as a storm; namely, rush upon in anger.
shut up--in prison, with a view to trial.
gather together--the parties for judgment: hold a judicial assembly; to pass sentence on the prisoners.
11. ( Psalms 94:11 ).
consider--so as to punish it. Rather, from the connection, Job 11:6 , "He seeth wickedness also, which man does not perceive"; literally, "But no (other, save He) perceiveth it" [UMBREIT]. God's "wisdom" ( Job 11:6 ), detects sin where Job's human eye cannot reach ( Job 11:8 ), so as to see any.
would be--"wants to consider himself wise"; opposed to God's it ( Romans 1:22 ).
wild ass's colt--a proverb for untamed wildness ( Job 39:5 Job 39:8 , 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.
13. 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 ( Psalms 10:17 , 1 Chronicles 29:18 ).
14. Rather, "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," &c.
15. 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 "lift up his face."
spot--( Deuteronomy 32:5 ).
steadfast--literally, "run fast together," like metals which become firm and hard by fusion. The sinner on the contrary is wavering.
16. Just as when the stream runs dry ( Job 6:17 ), the danger threatened by its wild waves is forgotten ( Isaiah 65:16 ) [UMBREIT].
17. age--days of life.
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 ( Proverbs 4:18 ).
shine forth--rather, "though now in darkness, thou shall be as the morning"; or, "thy darkness (if any dark shade should arise on thee, it) shall be as the morning" (only the dullness of morning twilight, not nocturnal darkness) [UMBREIT].
18. The experience of thy life will teach thee there is hope for man in every trial.
dig--namely, wells; the chief necessity in the East. Better, "though now ashamed ( Romans 5:5 , opposed to the previous 'hope'), thou shalt then rest safely" [GESENIUS];
19. ( Psalms 4:8 , Proverbs 3:24 , Isaiah 14:30 ); oriental images of prosperity.
make suit--literally, "stroke thy face," "caress thee" ( Proverbs 19:6 ).
20. A warning to Job, if he would not turn to God.
The wicked--that is, obdurate sinners.
eyes . . . fail--that is, 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."
giving up of the ghost--Their hope shall leave them as the breath does the body ( Proverbs 11:7 ).