Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 11:2

"Shall a multitude of words go unanswered, And a talkative man be acquitted?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Uncharitableness;   Wisdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Evil;   Silence-Speech;   Speaking, Evil;   Talk, Vain;   Vain Talk;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Zophar;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Justification;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Word;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Zophar;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Should not the multitude of words be answered? - Some translate, "To multiply words profiteth nothing."

And should a man full of talk be justified - שפתים איש ish sephathayim, "a man of lips," a proper appellation for a great talker: he is "a man of lips," i.e., his lips are the only active parts of his system.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Should not the multitude of words be answered? - As if all that Job had said had been mere words; or as if he was remarkable for mere garrulity.

And should a man full of talk be justified - Margin, as in Hebrew “of lips.” The phrase is evidently a Hebraism, to denote a great talker - a man of mere lips, or empty sound. Zophar asks whether such a man could be justified or vindicated. It will be recollected that taciturnity was with the Orientals a much greater virtue than with us, and that it was regarded as one of the proofs of wisdom. The wise man with them was he who sat down at the feet of age, and desired to learn; who carefully collected the maxims of former times; who diligently observed the course of events; and who deliberated with care on what others had to say. Thus, Solomon says, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise;” Proverbs 10:19; so James 1:19, “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.” It was supposed that a man who said much would say some foolish or improper things, and hence, it was regarded as a proof of prudence to be distinguished for silence. In Oriental countries, and it may be added also, in all countries that we regard as uncivilized, it is unusual and disrespectful to be hasty in offering counsel, to be forward to speak, or to be confident and bold in opinion; see the notes at Job 32:6-7. It was for reasons such as these that Zophar maintained that a man who was full of talk could not be justified in it; that there was presumptive proof that he was not a safe man, or a man who could be vindicated in all that he said.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-11.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Should not the multitude of words be answered?.... Zophar insinuates, that Job was a mere babbler, a talkative man, that had words, but no matter; said a great deal, but there was nothing in what he said; that his words were but wind, yea, in effect that he was a fool, who is commonly full of words, and is known by the multitude of them; and whereas he might think to bear down all before him in this way, and to discourage persons from giving him an answer; this Zophar suggests should not be the case, nor would he be deterred hereby from giving one, which he now undertook: some supply it, as Bar Tzemach, "should not a man of a multitude of words"F19הרב דברים "an abundans verbis", Beza; "an multus verbis", Mercerus, so Kimchi & Ben Melech; and most Hebrew writers take רב for an adjective. , &c. a verbose man, a dealer in many words, and nothing else, should not he be "answered?" if he uses nothing but words, and there is no argument in them, they seem not to deserve an answer, unless it be to show the emptiness of them, expose a man's folly, and pull down his pride and vanity:

and should a man full of talk be justified? or "a man of lips"F20איש שפתים "vir labiorum", Montanus, Beza, Drusius, Vatablus, Mercerus, Bolducius, Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis. , an eloquent man, or one that affects to be so; a man of a fine speech, who artfully colours things, and makes a show of wisdom and truth, when there are neither in what he says; is such a man to be justified? he would seem to be in his own eyes at least, if not in the eyes of others, if not answered; he would be thought to have carried his point, to have had the better of the argument, and to have got the victory by dint of words and power of oratory; for this is not to be understood of justification before God; for as no man is heard and accepted by him for his "much speaking", as was the opinion of the Heathens, so neither are any justified on account of their many words, any more than their many works; since, in a multitude of words there are often not only much folly and weakness, but vanities and sins, Proverbs 10:19; there is indeed a sense in which a man is justified by his words, Matthew 12:37; when he confesses Christ, and professes to be justified by his righteousness, and believes in that, and pleads it as his justifying righteousness; he is justified by that righteousness; which is contained in the confession and profession of his faith; but this is not here meant.

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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 11:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man a full of talk be justified?

(a) Should he persuade by his great talk that he is just?
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-11.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?

Answered — Truly, sometimes it should not. Silence is the best confutation of impertinence, and puts the greatest contempt upon it.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-11.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 11:2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?

Ver. 2. Should not the multitude of words be answered?] Should not he who speaketh what he will, hear what he would not? Nunquid qui multa loquitur, non et audiet? (Vulg.) Yes, Job shall now, or you will want of your will; but if Job have talked more than his part came to (the truth is, his speeches are longer than any of those of his three friends, which are all, except that first made by Eliphaz, Job 4:1-21, Job 5:1-27, comprehended in one chapter, whereas his take up by two, three, or more), he may well be excused, considering the sharpness of his disease, the ungentleness of his friends, and the sense of God’s displeasure, which his soul laboured under. Zophar and the rest looked upon him as a wretched hypocrite, and were angry that he would not yield himself so; they accused his former conversation as wicked; what way he had therefore to defend and assert his own integrity, but by words? And must he yet pass for a prattling fellow, a man of lips, a very wordy man, one that loveth to hear himself talk, because he will not be by them outtalked, and overly borne by their false charges? Most sure it is, that profane and profuse babblings are to be avoided, and to bring fulness of matter in fewness of words it is very commendable. Quam multa quam paucis! said Cicero of Brutus’s laconical epistle; how much is here in a little! but, 1. Every man cannot be a short spoken Spartan. It is reported that in Luther’s house was found written, Melancthon hath both matter and words; Luther hath matter, but wants words; Erasmus hath words at will, but wants matter. Every one hath his own share: all are not alike gifted. 2. He is to be accounted talkative who uttereth unprofitable words, and far from the purpose, beside the point; and so Zophar himself was to be blamed in this whole discourse of his, wherein he talketh much, but speaketh little. Concerning the infinite and unsearchable wisdom of God, he argueth truly and gravely, but yet nothing fitly to convince Job, who himself had said as much and more of the same subject. The counsel also that therehence he giveth Job doth little or nothing concern him; it being the same in effect that Eliphaz and Bildad had said before him: Zophar therefore was the locutuleius, the talkative man here mentioned, rather than Job, the lips man, adversus sua ipsius vitia facundus satis; and as Bion was wont to say, that the grammarians of his time could discourse well about the errors of Ulysses, but not at all see their own; so it befell Zophar.

And should a man full of talk be justified?] Heb. A man of lips, so called, as if he were made all of lips, and had no other members. Shall such a one be ever a whit the better thought of? Not among wise men surely, whatever he may amongst his fellow fools; for in multiloquio stultiloquium: in much speaking is much foolishness, some gravel and mud passeth away with much water; some vanity with much talk; it is no wisdom for a man to lay on more words than the matter will well bear. A good orator, saith Plutarch, will see that his words and his matter be matches. And Hesiod saith, that words, as a precious treasure, should be thriftily husbanded and warily wasted: especially since an account is to be rendered, as our Saviour assureth us, Matthew 12:36; yea, by thy words (he saith not, for thy words) thou shalt be justified, and by thy words (if superfluous and sinful, waste and wicked) thou shalt be condemned, Matthew 12:37.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 11:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-11.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 11:2. Should not the multitude of words be answered? The three friends of Job, though they all agree in persecuting him, yet differ somewhat in their character. The speeches of Eliphaz appear artful and insinuating; those of Bildad, grave and mild; of Zophar, fierce and violent: the two former had observed some decorum in their reprehensions of Job; the zeal of the last transports him beyond all bounds: Should not the multitude, &c. to the end of Job 11:6. Strange rashness and presumption! thus to pronounce upon a point of which he could not possibly be a judge. But it happened here, as usual, that this speaker, who sets out with the greatest heat, is the first whose arguments are spent. For, after this vehement speech, he makes but one reply, and it is over with him. See on chap. 25: and Peters.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 11:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-11.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Dost thou think to carry thy cause by thy long and tedious discourses, consisting of empty words, without weight or reason? Shall we by our silence seem to approve of thy errors? or shall we think thy cause the better, because thou usest more words than we do?

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 11:2". 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

First division, double strophe — THE APPEARANCE OF GOD WOULD MAKE KNOWN THE TRUTH THAT JOB HAD BEEN TREATED MUCH MORE MILDLY THAN HE DESERVED, Job 11:2-6.

a. Job’s false and boastful assumption of innocence. Job 11:2-4.

2.A man full of talk — Literally, a man of lips. A sneer at Job for loquaciousness, or an insinuation, perhaps, that he is insincere, a man of lips rather than of heart. Theocritus called an oration of Anaximenes a river of words with a drop of sense.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "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 11:2. Should not the multitude of words be answered? — Truly, sometimes it should not. Silence is the best confutation of impertinence, and puts the greatest contempt upon it. Zophar means, Dost thou think to carry thy cause by thy long, tedious discourses, consisting of empty words, without weight or reason? And should a man full of talk be justified? — Shall we, by our silence, seem to approve of thy errors? Or, shall we think thy cause the better because thou usest more words than we do?

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 11:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-11.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Much. The speeches of Job seemed tedious to him, because he was not of his opinion. (Menochius) --- He might have applied to himself and his friends the fault of talking too much, as they all spoke many things to no purpose, whereas Job went straight to the point. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Should . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

man. Hebrew. "ish.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "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

Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?

Should not the multitude of words be answered? Zophar assails Job for his empty words, and indirectly the two friends for their weak reply. Taciturnity is highly prized among Orientals. "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise" (Proverbs 10:8-19).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-11.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?
the multitude
16:3; 18:2; Psalms 140:11; Proverbs 10:19; Acts 17:18; James 1:19
full of talk
Heb. of lips.
Reciprocal: Job 8:2 - How long;  Job 12:2 - ye are the people;  Job 13:7 - GeneralJob 15:2 - a wise man;  Job 16:2 - heard;  Job 16:4 - up words;  Job 24:25 - who will make;  Job 34:37 - multiplieth

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 11:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-11.html.