Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 11:13

"If you would direct your heart right And spread out your hand to Him,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Repentance;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Prayer;   Steadfastness;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Zophar;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Mind/reason;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Aright;   Zophar;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

If thou prepare thine heart - Make use of the powers which God has given thee, and be determined to seek him with all thy soul.

And stretch out thine hands toward him - Making fervent prayer and supplication, putting away iniquity out of thy hand, and not permitting wickedness to dwell in thy tabernacle; then thou shalt lift up thy face without a blush, thou wilt become established, and have nothing to fear, Job 11:14, Job 11:15.

There is a sentiment in Proverbs 16:1, very similar to that in the Job 11:13, which we translate very improperly: -

לב מערכי לאדם leadam maarchey leb .

To man are the preparations of the heart:

לשון מענה ומהוה umeyehovah maaneh lashon .

But from Jehovah is the answer to the tongue.

It is man's duty to pray; it is God's prerogative to answer. Zophar, like all the rest, is true to his principle. Job must be a wicked man, else he had not been afflicted. There must be some iniquity in his hand, and some wickedness tolerated in his family. So they all supposed.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

If thou prepare thine heart - Zophar now proceeds to state that if Job even yet would return to God, he might hope for acceptance. Though he had sinned, and though he was now, as he supposed, a hollow-hearted and an insincere man, yet, if he would repent, he might expect the divine favor. In this he accords with the sentiment of Eliphaz, and he concludes his speech in a manner not a little resembling his; see Job 5:17-27.

And stretch out thine hands toward him - In the attitude of supplication. To stretch out or spread forth the hands, is a phrase often used to denote the act of supplication; see 1 Timothy 2:8, and the notes of Wetstein on that place. Horace, 3Carm. xxiii. 1, Coelo supinas si tuleris manus. Ovid, M. ix. 701, Ad sidera supplex Cressa manus tollens. Trist. i. 10,21, Ipsc gubernator, tollens ad sidera palmas; compare Livy v. 21. Seneca, Ep. 41; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 134:2; Psalm 141:2; Ezra 9:5.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-11.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ZOPHAR PROMISES RESTORATION IF JOB WILL CONFESS AND REPENT

"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."[6]

"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 10:21f. Job's future need not be a day of darkness whose very noon is night."[7] 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."[8]

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.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/job-11.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands towards him. In this and the following verses Zophar proceeds to give some advice to Job; which, if taken, would issue in his future happiness, but otherwise it would be ill with him; he advises him to pray to God with an heart prepared for such service; so some render the last clause in the imperative, "stretch out thine handsF23"Expande ad eum manus tuas", De Dieu. towards him"; that is, towards God; for, though not expressed, is implied, whose immensity, sovereignty, and omniscience, Zophar had been discoursing of; and, though stretching out the hands is sometimes a gesture of persons in distress and mournful circumstances, thereby signifying their grief and sorrow, and of others in great danger, in order to lay up anything for safety; and of conquered persons resigning themselves up into the hands of the conqueror; and of such who are desirous of being in friendship, alliance, and association with others; yet it is also sometimes used as for the whole of religious worship, Psalm 44:20; so particularly for prayer, Psalm 88:9; and this was what all Job's friends advised him to, to humble himself before God, to pray for the forgiveness of his sins, and for the removal of his afflictions and deliverance from them; see Job 5:8; in order to which it is proper the "heart should be prepared"; as it is requisite it should be to every good work by the grace of God so to this: and then may it be said to be prepared for such service, when the spirit of God is given as a spirit of grace and supplication, whereby the heart is impressed with a sense of its wants, and so knows what to pray for; and arguments and fit words are put into the mind and mouth, and it knows how to pray as it should; and is enabled to approach the throne of grace with sincerity, fervency, and in the exercise of faith, being sprinkled from an evil conscience by the blood of Jesus, and resigned to the divine will, in all its petitions it is directed to make: now this is the work of God, to prepare the heart; the preparation of the heart, as well as the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord; he is prayed to for it, and it is affirmed he will do it, Proverbs 16:1; but it is here represented as if it was man's act, which is said not to suggest any power in man to do it of himself; at least this is not the evangelic sense of such phrases; for Zophar might be of a more legal spirit, and not so thoroughly acquainted with the evangelic style; but this might be said, to show the necessity of such a preparation, and to stir up to a concern for it, and to expect and look for it from and by the grace of God.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

If thou g prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;

(g) If you repent, pray to him.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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 (Psalm 10:17; 1 Chronicles 29:18).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-11.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;

Heart — To seek God; turning thy bold contentions with God into humble supplications.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-11.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 13. If thou prepare thine heart] viz. To meet God, Amos 4:12, humbly submitting to his justice, and heartily imploring his mercy. The sum of what Zophar saith in the following verses is this: If thou truly repent, thou shall prosper; as if not, thou shall perish. This he might have said more fitly to most of us, who are deeply guilty, saith Lavater, than to Job, who was nothing so sinful as we are, and yet much more penitent. But Zophar calls upon him to quarrel with his faults, and not with his friends, and to break off his sins by repentance, without which, if he should have peace, it would be but like those short interims between the Egyptian plagues.

And stretch out thine hands toward him] Heb. And spread thy palms to him: so in prayer for pardon of sin and power against sin; for this stretching out, or spreading of the hands, is a prayer gesture, wherein God’s people come forma pauperis, holding out the hand to receive mercy, as beggars do an alms; or as men beg quarter for their lives with hands held up; or, lastly, as he that is fallen into a ditch, or deep pit, and cannot get out, lifteth up his hands, and crieth out for help. See Exodus 17:11-12, Leviticus 9:22, 1 Kings 8:22, Psalms 141:2. It appeareth that the ancients prayed not with their hands joined together or a little way lifted up, but with their arms stretched abroad, and the palms of their hands turned up towards heaven.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 11:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-11.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

O Job, thy business is not to quarrel with thy Maker, or his works, but to address thyself to him.

Prepare thine heart, to wit, to seek God, as it is expressed, 2 Chronicles 19:3 30:19 Psalms 78:8. If thou prepare thy heart by sincere repentance for all thy hard speeches of God, and sins against him, and with a pure and upright heart seek unto him; without which thy prayers will be in vain. Or,

If thou directest, or rectifiest, thine heart, turning thy bold contentions with God into humble and sincere supplications to him.

Stretch out thine hands, i.e. pray, which is here described by its usual gesture; as Job 15:25 Psalms 88:9.

Towards him, i.e. to God, as appears both from the nature of the thing, and from the context.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 11:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-11.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Third division, in three strophes: AN EXHORTATION TO REPENTANCE AND NEWNESS OF LIFE, Job 11:13-20.

a. Repentance toward God, and the putting away of sin, are the conditions of spiritual confidence and security, Job 11:13-15.

13.Prepare’ heart — Zophar has just spoken (Job 11:12) of “getting a heart,” (becoming wise,) but this is not to be secured without the putting forth of effort. As if the pointed reference were not enough, the emphatic thou defines whom he meant by the cruel taunt of the preceding verse.

And stretch’ thine hands — The stretching out of the hands toward heaven in prayer was a very ancient and appropriate mode of worship. It symbolized an earnestness of desire that would not be satisfied with folded arms or hands, but that stretched them forth toward heaven as far as possible, as if it would drag a blessing down. Or, as Witsius, (on prayer, page 93,) suggests, it may denote sincerity, the attribute being that of one who would lay open what was hid. Or it may indicate hope, which relinquishes every other object and turns to God.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-11.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 11:13. If thou prepare thy heart — Thy business, O Job, is not to quarrel with thy Maker, or his works; but to address thyself to him by prayer and supplication, sincerely repenting of all thy hard speeches, and other sins against God, and seeking him with a pure and upright heart; without which thy prayers will be in vain.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 11:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-11.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

But. Hebrew, "If thou direct thy heart, &c. Thou mayst lift up thy face," (ver. 15.; Haydock) without fear, 2 Kings ii. 22. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-11.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

As Job"s other friends had stressed (5:8f; 8:5-7; 20-22), Zophar also encourages Job to repent. According to Zophar three steps were needed to be restored, "direct your heart aright", "spread out your hand to Him" (prayer), and the renunciation of sin. "If God would meet those conditions then God would bless Job with a clear conscience, steadfastness, confidence, no remembrance of trouble, joy, hope, rest, no disturbance, popularity, and leadership" (Zuck p. 54). "For twentieth-century Christians, these promises have a familiar ring. "Prosperity" religion is being marketed through the media and over the pulpit as the evidence of faith. Success, status, and security are promoted as automatic results of dependence upon God" (McKenna p. 104). Unfortunately such a marketing system only brings people to God who are asking the question, "What can you do for me?" "A mature faith is a growing relationship, not a reward system. As mutual trust develops between God and us, He permits us to be tested and we remain true. Keep in mind that Job is suffering because God has confidence in him, not because of his sin" (p. 104). If we are simply serving God for earthly rewards or what we can get, then when suffering comes we will be tempted to curse God and die. Actually, Zophar is somewhat agreeing with Satan, that is, repent and get back to the hedge!

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-11.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

If thou prepare. This was Zophar"s false theology.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him. 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. "Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine car to hear" (Psalms 10:17; 1 Chronicles 29:18).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-11.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
prepare
5:8; 8:5,6; 22:21,22; 1 Samuel 7:3; 2 Chronicles 12:14; 19:3; Psalms 78:8; Luke 12:47
stretch
Psalms 68:31; 88:9; 143:6
Reciprocal: Exodus 9:29 - spread;  1 Kings 8:22 - General2 Chronicles 6:12 - spread forth;  2 Chronicles 30:19 - prepareth;  Ezra 7:10 - prepared;  Job 15:11 - the consolations;  Job 22:23 - return;  Job 36:11 - spend;  Psalm 44:20 - stretched;  Psalm 126:6 - that goeth;  Proverbs 3:25 - Be;  Isaiah 1:16 - Wash;  Lamentations 3:40 - search

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 11:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-11.html.