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Zophar Speaks: Job’s Guilt Deserves Punishment


Then Zophar the Naamathite answered:


“Should a multitude of words go unanswered,

and should one full of talk be vindicated?


Should your babble put others to silence,

and when you mock, shall no one shame you?


For you say, ‘My conduct is pure,

and I am clean in God’s sight.’


But O that God would speak,

and open his lips to you,


and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom!

For wisdom is many-sided.

Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.



“Can you find out the deep things of God?

Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?


It is higher than heaven—what can you do?

Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?


Its measure is longer than the earth,

and broader than the sea.


If he passes through, and imprisons,

and assembles for judgment, who can hinder him?


For he knows those who are worthless;

when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it?


But a stupid person will get understanding,

when a wild ass is born human.



“If you direct your heart rightly,

you will stretch out your hands toward him.


If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,

and do not let wickedness reside in your tents.


Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish;

you will be secure, and will not fear.


You will forget your misery;

you will remember it as waters that have passed away.


And your life will be brighter than the noonday;

its darkness will be like the morning.


And you will have confidence, because there is hope;

you will be protected and take your rest in safety.


You will lie down, and no one will make you afraid;

many will entreat your favor.


But the eyes of the wicked will fail;

all way of escape will be lost to them,

and their hope is to breathe their last.”


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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, Heb 10:22.