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CHAPTER 11

FIRST SERIES.

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 (Pr 10:8, 19).

3. lies—rather, "vain boasting" (Isa 16:6; Jer 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 (De 32:2; Pr 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 (Pr 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 (1Co 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; Ps 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, Ps 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. (Ps 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.

12. vain—hollow.

would be—"wants to consider himself wise"; opposed to God's "wisdom" (see on Job 11:11); refuses to see sin, where God sees it (Ro 1:22).

wild ass's colt—a proverb for untamed wildness (Job 39:5, 8; Jer 2:24; Ge 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 (Pr 16:1) by stretching out the hands in prayer for it (Ps 10:17; 1Ch 29:18).

14. Rather, "if thou wilt put far away the iniquity in thine hand" (as Zaccheus did, Lu 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—(De 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 (Isa 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 (Pr 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 (Ro 5:5, opposed to the previous 'hope'), thou shalt then rest safely" [Gesenius];

19. (Ps 4:8; Pr 3:24; Isa 14:30); oriental images of prosperity.

make suit—literally, "stroke thy face," "caress thee" (Pr 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 (De 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 (Pr 11:7).

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