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Thursday, July 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Job 11

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Job Chapter 11

Job 11:1 "Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,"

Job 11:2 "Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?" Zophar, Job’s third friend, had supposedly come to comfort Job in his sorrows. He was not a comfort. He began this scalding reprimand of his friend Job, by saying that he spoke a multitude of words. A multitude of words in Scripture is spoken of as folly, or even sin. He was speaking to Job, as if he was a foolish sinner. He was saying that all of the talk that Job had done would not justify him.

Job 11:3 "Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?" Zophar was the worst of the three friends. He was accusing Job of lying, and even of mocking God.

Job 11:4 "For thou hast said, My doctrine [is] pure, and I am clean in thine eyes." He had condemned Job in his heart already. He was speaking of Job’s statement that his doctrine was pure. Job knew that he was clean in the eyes of the LORD. We know that he was, too, because that was what God told Satan about Job.

Job 11:5 "But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;"

Job 11:6 "And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that [they are] double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee [less] than thine iniquity [deserveth]." As terrible as the attack of Satan had been on Job, Zophar felt that it was not enough for the sins of Job. Zophar wanted God to speak out loud and condemn Job, where they could all hear it. In God is all Wisdom and Truth. Zophar was saying to Job, that he had no wisdom. He thought if Job had been wise, he would have repented of his sins by now.

Job 11:7 "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" He was asking Job, if he thought that he really could know God? He was saying that the wisdom and knowledge of Job would not help him to know God. He was telling Job, that in no way could he measure up to the expectations of the Almighty God. Zophar was a tormenter, not a comforter.

Job 11:8 "[It is] as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?"

Job 11:9 "The measure thereof [is] longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." This was speaking of the perfection of the Almighty filling the earth and the seas. The following Scripture says it best. Ephesians 4:6 "One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all."

Job 11:10 "If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?" The answer, of course, was no one, not even Satan. We must keep remembering that God gave Satan permission to do this to Job. This was in no way a punishment on Job for sins. This was a proving to Satan and to the on-looking angels that Job was truly a righteous man, and that nothing Satan could do to him would change that. Job 11:11 "For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider [it]?" The worst of this was that Zophar was accusing Job of being vain in his own conceit. He was saying, that Job had been pretending to be a Godly man, but was not faithful to God in his heart.

Job 11:12 "For vain man would be wise, though man be born [like] a wild ass’s colt." Zophar believed that the troubles which had come to Job was because he was vain and puffed up with pride. Zophar believed they came on Job to cause him to repent.

Job 11:13 "If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;"

Job 11:14 "If iniquity [be] in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles." He was giving Job advice here. He wanted Job to put his wickedness far from him, so that God would hear his plea for forgiveness.

Job 11:15 "For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:" After Job had driven his iniquity out of his life, then he could look to heaven and to God for help. He reminded Job that if he was steadfast in the LORD, he had nothing to fear.

Job 11:16 "Because thou shalt forget [thy] misery, [and] remember [it] as waters [that] pass away:" Zophar believed that if Job would repent, his troubles would go away, and he would remember them no more. It would be gone as the water passes away.

Job 11:17 "And [thine] age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning." Zophar was saying, if Job would do as he had suggested, he would not face the darkness of the grave and hell. He would bask in the Light of the LORD which was greater than the noonday sun. He would be renewed in the LORD.

Job 11:18 "And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig [about thee, and] thou shalt take thy rest in safety." Zophar was saying something that really would happen to Job after he was restored. It was not something that Zophar really wanted for Job, however. He said this to remind Job of the wonders of how it used to be. Job’s hope was not in what Zophar had said, or not said, but in the LORD.

Job 11:19 "Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make [thee] afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee." When Job was restored, there would be no warring parties from his neighbors. Instead of stealing from Job, they would be bringing things to him. Again, this was not what Zophar wished for Job, but it was what would happen.

Job 11:20 "But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope [shall be as] the giving up of the ghost." Zophar was speaking this, as if it was the fate of Job. In reality, he was speaking of himself and what would come to him, because he had spoken evil of Job. He was saying that Job had no other hope, but death. He would be needing the prayers of Job to save himself from the fate he just spoke of Job.

Job 11 Questions

1. Zophar had supposedly come to ________ Job.

2. A multitude of words in Scripture is spoken of as _________.

3. _________ was the worst of three friends.

4. Job said that his doctrine was ________.

5. Job was pure in _______ eyes.

6. As terrible as the attack of Satan on Job had been, Zophar wanted it to be _________.

7. Zophar thought that Job would have ___________, if he had any wisdom.

8. In Job 11:7, Zophar says that Job would never measure up to what?

9. Zophar was a ___________, not a comforter.

10. What did the perfection of the Almighty fill?

11. Quote Ephesians 4:6.

12. Who can hinder God?

13. We must keep remembering that _______ gave Satan permission to attack Job.

14. What was Zophar accusing Job of in Job 11:11?

15. In Job 11:12, what was Zophar saying he believes?

16. Why did he say that Job should put his wickedness far from him?

17. When did Zophar say that Job could look to heaven for help?

18. Zophar says that Job would not face the darkness of hell and the grave, if he would do what?

19. What, that we read in Job 11:18 , really would happen to Job?

20. Did Zophar want this for Job?

21. What was verse 19 speaking of?

22. What would happen to the wicked?

23. Who did Zophar think this wicked was?

24. Who was really the wicked one?

25. Who would have to pray for Zophar to save him?

Verses 1-6

Job 11:1-6

Job 11




Job 11:1-6

"Then answered Zophar the Naamathite and said,

Should not the multitude of words be answered?

And should a man full of talk be justified?

Should thy boastings make men hold their peace?

And when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?

For thou sayest, My doctrine is pure,

And I am clean in thine eyes.

But oh that God would speak,

And open his lips against the,

And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom!

For he is manifold in understanding.

Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less

than thine iniquity deserveth."

"Thou sayest, My doctrine is pure" (Job 11:4). Job had not promulgated any new doctrine, "But Zophar’s point in this seems to be that, in rejecting the theology of his friends, Job was implicitly claiming to have superior understanding."

With a friend like Zophar no man would need an enemy. These brutal words, addressed without feeling either of compassion or sympathy, to Job, of whom Zophar claimed to be a friend, are unsurpassed for sheer stupidity and cruelty. If his words had even been true, which they were not, he should have had the grace to keep his mouth shut instead of telling Job that his terrible sufferings were not only deserved, but that Job’s wickedness demanded even worse sufferings than he was enduring.

Note progression in the speeches of the three friends. Eliphaz spoke only in generalities, implying that Job was a sinner but not actually saying so. Bildad went further and flatly declared that Job’s children had been destroyed because of their sins. To all of this, Job replied emphatically that he was not wicked. Then here Zophar the third friend, "Made a direct attack against Job." He called him a long winded talker that mocked God, accusing him of gross sin and wickedness.

Some scholars have viewed Zophar as "a profound theologian," but this writer finds no evidence whatever of any such excellence in Zophar. He was not wise, but ignorant. He pretended to know God’s wisdom, but he didn’t. As a personal representative of the devil in this encounter he adopted the guise of "the roaring lion," one of the masks of the evil one; and it is not hard to believe that his attack upon Job’s integrity represented the worst that Satan could bring against God’s "perfect man," Job.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 11:1-2. The third one of the "friends" was the next speaker. It should be observed that no attempt was made to meet the arguments of Job; all that Zophar could do was to accuse him of talking too much.

Job 11:3. Accusations of falsehood were all the remarks that could be thought of.

Job 11:4. This verse is a false acccusation, for Job never claimed to be "clean" in the sense that Zophar used it. Thine refers to God and Job knew that he was not perfect in the sight of the Lord. He only claimed that his afflictions were not sent from God as a special punishment.

Job 11:5. The time will come when God will speak, but Zophar will be one against whom he will direct his divine remarks.

Job 11:6. That which is means that the wisdom which is known to man is much less than the wisdom of God. The last half of the verse is the same theory that has been claimed from the beginning.

Verses 7-12

Job 11:7-12

Job 11:7-12


"Canst thou by searching find out God?

Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

It is high as heaven; what canst thou do?

Deeper than Sheol; what canst thou know?

The measure thereof is longer than the earth,

And broader than the sea.

If he pass through, and shut up, and call unto judgment,

Then who can hinder him?

For he knoweth false men:

He seeth iniquity also, even though he consider it not.

But vain man is void of understanding,

Yea, man is born as a wild ass’s colt."

The things Zophar said in this passage were just as applicable to himself as they were to Job; but men with a plank in their own eye love to gouge for the mote in their brother’s eye. In the last analysis, God Himself finally opened his lips, as Zophar suggested in Job 11:5, flatly declaring that Zophar and Job’s other friends had not spoken "that which was right" about God (Job 42:7). How wrong he was!

Some of the generalities Zophar here uttered about God were of course true; but his thinly veiled suggestions that Job was ignorant (Job 11:8), that he could not hinder God (Job 11:10), that Job was one of the "false men" (Job 11:11), that God could see Job’s sin (Job 11:11), that Job was a vain man void of understanding (Job 11:12), and that he was as ignorant as a wild ass’s colt (Job 11:12) - all of this speech by Zophar must have been a very bitter thing for Job to hear.

Zophar had pretended to know that Job was a sinner, but without any evidence whatever. "So in these verses (Job 11:7-12), Zophar supported his charges by appealing to God’s infinity"!

The greatest insult of all from Zophar is in Job 11:12, which in the RSV is rendered thus: A stupid man will get understanding when a wild ass’s colt is born a man. "This is a statement of the utter impossibility of a stupid man’s attaining wisdom."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 11:7. Job never made any such claim as was implied by this question. Not knowing all about God would not prevent him from knowing more than did his friends.

Job 11:8. Hell is from a word that has a figurative meaning in this place intended to represent the opposite of heaven. The idea is that God is higher and deeper than all other beings or things.

Job 11:9. This verse was said for the same purpose as the preceding one. But Job already believed what it said and thus the remarks of Zophar were unnecessary.

Job 11:10. The ability of God to control things is the subject of the forepart of the verse. In view of his great might it would be foolish to attempt any hindrance to the Lord, a truth known to Job as well as to Zophar.

Job 11:11. God knows all about vain or empty men and can see through all their wickedness in whatever form it may exist.

Job 11:12. Some men are as vain or empty as a wild ass’s colt, yet they will pretend to be wise. This was said as a reproach upon Job but was false.

Verses 13-20

Job 11:13-20

Job 11:13-20


"If thou set thy heart aright,

And stretch out thy hands toward him;

If iniquity be in thy hand, put it away,

And let righteousness dwell in thy tents.

Surely then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot;

Yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt not fear:

For thou shalt forget thy misery;

Thou shalt remember it as waters that are passed away.

And thy life shall be clearer than the noonday;

though there be darkness, it shall be as the morning.

And thou shalt be secure because there is hope;

Yea, thou shalt search about thee, and shalt take thy rest in safety.

And thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid;

Yea, many shall make suit unto thee.

But the eyes of the wicked shall fail,

And they shall have no way to flee;

and their hope shall be the giving up of the ghost."

"If thou set thy heart aright" (Job 11:13). "The word thou in this place is emphatic, carrying the implication that, "If thou with all thy wickedness, if even thou, wilt abandon it, thou shalt be restored."

"Though there be darkness, it shall be as the morning" (Job 11:17). "This is a remarkable antithesis to what Job had said back in Job 10:21 f. Job’s future need not be a day of darkness whose very noon is night." It may be, if only Job will confess and repent, a brighter day than any ordinary day at noon, "Whose very night is as bright as the morning."

What comfort could such an exhortation have been to a man who knew nothing that he could confess and whose repentance, if he had pretended any, would have been the utmost hypocrisy?

We cannot escape the conviction that Satan here played one of his trump cards in his vain effort to shake the integrity of Job. Zophar and the other friends of Job, of course, were unaware that they, in these confrontations, were primary agents of the devil himself.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 11:13-15. This paragraph is a concise and direct statement of the position of the friends of Job. He was being afflicted for his sins, and if he would repent and make proper amends he would restore himself in the sight of God.

Job 11:16. After Job would have restored himself to God’s favor by proper acknowledgment, he would feel so good that all his past misery would be forgotten.

Job 11:17-18. Zophar unconsciously uttered a prophetic statement of the final state of Job. (Job 42:12.) But that state did not come to him as a result of doing what the three friends were demanding of him.

Job 11:19. Many shall make suit unto thee. This was another unconscious prophecy and the fulfillment may be seen in Job 42:8.

Job 11:20. This was a true statement but had no bearing on Job’s case. The friends of Job made so many remarks that were unrelated to the controversy under consideration, and the real issue was thereby thrown into confusion.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 11". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-11.html.
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