Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 11:6

And show you the secrets of wisdom! For sound wisdom has two sides. Know then that God forgets a part of your iniquity.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - God Continued...;   Self-Righteousness;   Uncharitableness;   Wisdom;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Zophar;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - God;   Job, the Book of;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Salt;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Double;   Exact;   Job, Book of;   Zophar;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The secrets of wisdom - All the depths of his own counsels; the heights, lengths, and breadths, of holiness. That they are double to that which is, תושיה tushiyah, which we translate that which is, is a word frequent in Job and in the Book of Proverbs, and is one of the evidences brought in favor of Solomon as the author of this book. It signifies substance or essence, and is translated by a great variety of terms; enterprise, completeness, substance, the whole constitution, wisdom, law, sound wisdom, solid complete happiness, solidity of reason and truth, the complete total sum, etc., etc. See Taylor's Hebrew and English Concord., under ישה . In this place the versions are various. Coverdale, following the Vulgate, translates: That he might shewe the (out of his secrite wissdome) how manyfolde his lawe is. The Septuagint, ὁτι διπλους εσται των κατα σε, that it is double to what it is with thee. Mr. Good translates, "For they are intricacies to Iniquity." This is a meaning never before given to תושיה tushiyah, and a meaning which even his own learned note will not make generally prevalent. Perhaps Zophar is here, in mind, comparing the wisdom which has been revealed with the wisdom not revealed. The perfection and excellence of the Divine nature and the purity of his law, are, in substance and essence, double or manifold to the revelation already made.

Less than thine iniquity deserveth - Mr. Good translates, And the knowledge hath withdrawn from thee because of thy sins; and represents Zophar as praying that God would reveal to him the secrets of wisdom, and the knowledge which he had withdrawn from him because of his transgressions. That Zophar intends to insinuate that God afflicted Job because of his iniquities, is evident; and that he thought that God had inflicted less chastisement upon him than his sins deserved, is not less so; and that, therefore, Job's complaining of harsh treatment was not at all well founded.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom - The hidden things that pertain to wisdom. The reference here is to the wisdom of God himself. The sense is this, “you now think yourself pure and holy. You have confidence in your own wisdom and integrity. But this apprehension is based on a short-sighted view of God, and on ignorance of him. If he would speak and show you his wisdom; if he would express his sense of what purity is, you would at once see how far you have come from perfection, and would be overwhelmed with a sense of your comparative vileness and sin.”

That they are double to that which is - Noyes renders this,” his wisdom which is unsearchable.” Dr. Good, strangely enough, “for they are intricacies to iniquity.” The expression, as it stands in our common version, is not very intelligible; and indeed it is difficult, to attach any idea to it. Of the words used in the Hebrew, the sense is not difficult. The word כפלים kı̂playı̂m “double,” is from כפל kâphal “to fold,”” to double;” and means a doubling Job 41:5; and then two folds, or double folds, and the sense here is, that the wisdom of God is “double-fold;” that is, complicated, inexplicable, or manifold. It is not spread out and plain, but is infolded, so that it requires to be unrolled to be understood. The word rendered “that which is” (תשׁיה tûshı̂yâh ), means properly a setting upright, uprightness - from ישׁע yâsha‛ Hence, it means help, deliverance, Job 6:13; purpose, undertaking, see the notes at Job 5:12; and then counsel, wisdom, understanding, Job 12:16; Isaiah 28:29. It means here, I suppose, “understanding;” and the idea is, that the wisdom of God is “double of understanding;” that is, it is so infolded, so complex, that it greatly surpasses our comprehension. What we see is a small part of it; and the “secrets” of his wisdom - the parts of his wisdom which are not unfolded, are far above our grasp. His wisdom is like a vast roll or volume, only the first and a very small part of which is unrolled so that we can read it. But who can look into that that remains unopened, and penetrate between the involutions, so as to perceive and read it all? It is but little that is now unrolled of the mighty volume - the remainder will be unfolded as years and ages shall pass on, and the entire unfolding of the book will be reserved for eternity.

Know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth - The word here rendered “exacteth” (ישׁה yasheh ) more properly means “to forget” - from נשׁה nâshâh It also means to loan on usury, or to borrow; but the sense here is rather that of forgetting. It is not used in the sense of exacting. The true meaning is, “know, therefore, that for thee God hath caused to be forgotten a part of thy iniquity.” That is, he has treated you as if he had caused a part of your sins to be out of mind, or as if they were not remembered. Instead of treating you, as you complain, with severity, he has by no means inflicted on you the calamities which you deserve. The ground of this unfeeling assertion is the abstract proposition that God is infinitely wiser than human beings; that he has a deeper insight into human guilt than people can have; and that if he should disclose to us all that he sees of the heart, we should be amazed at the revelations of our own sins. This sentiment is undoubtedly true, and accords almost cxactly with what Job had himself said Job 9:19-22, but there is something very harsh and severe in the manner in which Zophar applies it.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-11.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom,.... Either of sound doctrine, in opposition to his own doctrine he had such a vain opinion of; and then he would see, as he thought, that it was not so pure as he imagined it to be: the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, are the wisdom of God, the produce of it, and in which it is displayed; as in the doctrines of election to grace and glory, of redemption by Christ, of justification by his righteousness, and pardon by his blood; by which all the divine perfections are glorified, the justice and holiness of God, as well as his grace and mercy: and there are "secrets" or mysteries in this wisdom of God, 1 Corinthians 2:6; of mysterious doctrines, which, though revealed, yet the "modus", or manner of them, is not to be searched out and understood; such is the trinity of Persons in the Godhead, the union of the two natures in Christ, the saint's union to God and communion with him, the resurrection of the dead, &c. and these and such like them are only shown by the Lord; men cannot come at them of themselves, by their own natural reason and understanding; it is God that reveals them, in his word, and by his spirit, and gives his people an increasing knowledge of them, 1 Corinthians 2:9; or it may be rather the secrets of the wisdom of Divine Providence, in the government of the world, and the ordering of all things in it according to the counsel of God, may be here meant; there is a great display of the wisdom of God in Providence, and there are secrets in it undiscoverable by creatures; his ways are past finding out, they are in the deep waters, and his footsteps are not known, nor to be traced; though sometimes he makes his judgments manifest, and his mind in them; and what he does now, which men know not, he shows them hereafter; especially his own people, and particularly when in the sanctuary of the Lord, and in the way of their duty, when everything appears right and beautiful they before were ready to complain of; see Romans 11:33; and then it is seen:

that they are double to that which is! or to "wisdom"F2לתושיה "sapientiae", de Dieu, Schmidt, Michaelis; so the Targum. ; as the word is rendered in Proverbs 2:7; that is, to human wisdom; and then the sense is, that the secrets of divine wisdom displayed, whether in the doctrines of grace or in the methods of Providence, being shown and made manifest, would appear to be "double"; that is, vastly, yea, infinitely to exceed the wisdom of men; and that these, which men are apt to arraign as weak and wrong, are the effects of the highest wisdom, or they then appear so "to a man of wisdom"F3"Viro sapientiae", Drusius. ; so the supply may be made, as is in Micah 6:9; or else the sense is, were Job let in to the secret wisdom of God more, and into the purity and holiness of his law, which some understand by "that which is", or "wisdom", and render it "according to the law"F4"Secundum legem vel ordinationem", Vatablus. and see what that requires, and how much short he comes of it, and what and how many were his transgressions and violations of it; it then would be plain to him, that the punishment that God, in wisdom, and according to his righteous law, might inflict upon him, would be double; or, greatly, yea, infinitely exceed those afflictions he was now exercised with, and therefore he had no reason to complain; to which agrees what follows:

know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquities deserve; or punishes, afflicts, or chastises, less than the deserts of sin; see Ezra 9:13; some render it, "God exacteth of thee something of thine iniquity"; so Junius and Tremellius; according to which version the sense is, that sins are debts, and these many; and that payment of part of the debt of punishment for them is only required, which is not truth; for, though there is a debt of punishment due to justice for sin, yet it is not part of it only that is required of the sinner, but the whole, if any; for indeed no part of it is exacted of God's people, since the whole has been exacted of Christ, and he has answered and paid the whole debt, and blotted out the handwriting against them; wherefore the word used has rather the signification of forgetfulness, and may be rendered, either "God hath caused", or "suffered thee to forget part of thine iniquity"F5כי ישה לך אלוה מעונך "oblivisci facit te Deus, aliquid de iniquitate tua", some in Mercer so Gersom & Ben Melech, & Gussetius, p. 510. ; or thou couldest never say that thou wert clean in his eye, and free from sin; or, "God himself has forgot part of thine iniquity"F6"Quod obliviscatur tibi Deus ab iniquitate tua", Piscator; Vid. Gusset ib. ; in that he has afflicted thee so mildly, and with so much lenity; or, "hath forgotten thee for thine iniquity"F7"Quod oblitus tui est propter iniquitatem tuam", Pagninus, Mercerus. ; forsook him, hid his face from him, laid his hand on him, and sorely chastised him, so that he seemed to be forgotten by him, or he to forget to be gracious to him; all which were owing to his sins, these were the causes of it; or, "will condemn thee for thine iniquity"F8So some in Ben Melech. .

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And that he would shew thee the c secrets of wisdom, that [they are] double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee [less] than thine iniquity [deserveth].

(c) Which is not to stand in justifying of yourself: he signifies that man will never be overcome while he reasons with another, and therefore God must break off the controversy, and stop man's mouth.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

to that which is! — Rather, “they are double to [man‘s] wisdom” [Michaelis]. So the Hebrew is rendered (Proverbs 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 (1 Corinthians 1:25).

exacteth — Rather, “God consigns to oblivion in thy favor much of thy guilt.”

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-11.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Secrets — The unsearchable depths of God's wisdom in dealing with his creatures.

Double — That they are far greater (the word double being used indefinitely for manifold, or plentiful) than that which is manifested. The secret wisdom of God is infinitely greater than that which is revealed to us by his word or works: the greatest part of what is known of God, is the least part of those perfections that are in him. And therefore thou dost rashly in judging so harshly of his proceedings with thee, because thou dost not comprehend the reasons of them, and in judging thyself innocent, because thou dost not see thy sins; whereas the all-knowing God sees innumerable sins in thee, for which he may utterly destroy thee.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-11.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 11:6 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].

Ver. 6. And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom] This may be understood as God’s law (saith Diodati), or as the hidden ways of his providence; which if God would show Job, he should at once see that he mistook much, and knew little of those many mysteries that are both in the word and works of God, in all divine dispensations, which are such as none can unriddle but God himself; neither can we see them till he show them. It is well observed, that the word here rendered show signifieth to interpret and expound that which is dark, mysterious, and enigmatical; and till God show us in this sort we remain ignorant both in the book of the creatures and in the book of the Scriptures. Oh, pray that ye may be all taught of God, that he would show you great and mighty things which you know not, Jeremiah 33:3, that he would so open your eyes, that ye may behold wondrous things out of his law, Psalms 119:18.

That they are double to that which is] Sunt enim Deo iudiciorum duo genera, so the Tigurines translate the words, for God hath judgments of two several sorts, viz. open and secret, such as thou with all thy skill canst not dive into. The Hebrew is, doubles to the being; that is, saith one, manifold more than is by thee apprehended; and although God hath afflicted thee according to what he hath revealed, yet he might afflict thee more if he should proceed according to the height of his secret wisdom; thy plagues should be double to that which is, if God should deal rigorously with thee; there is reason therefore thou shouldest be patient, since thy sins are far more than thy sufferings.

Know, then, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth] This is a meditation that may be of special use, as to humble us, so to stanch murmuring, and to strengthen patience under present pressures. See Ezra 9:13, with the note. Junius rendereth it, acknowledge at least that God exacteth somewhat of thee for thine iniquity; somewhat it is, and but somewhat, since hell is the just hire of the least sin, and it is the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed, Lamentations 3:22.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 11:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-11.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 11:6. That he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom That he would even tell thee to thy face the secrets of thy craftiness; for they are double to thy real worth. Know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity. Heath. It is plain that the thing to be discovered was the wickedness of Job, which had hitherto, in the judgment of these friends, been covered by his hypocrisy; and, in truth, there was little reason to lay open the hidden treasures of God's wisdom to demonstrate this. Supposing Job (as they did) to be really a hypocrite, there was no more to do than to strip off the disguise, and his wickedness would at once appear: and this is what Zophar wishes to be done.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 11:6". 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

The secrets of wisdom, i.e. the unknown and unsearchable depths of God’s wisdom and counsels in dealing with his creatures.

That they are double to that which is, i.e. that they are far more and greater (the word double being used indefinitely for manifold, or plentiful, as Isaiah 40:2 61:7 Jeremiah 17:18 Zechariah 9:12) than that which hath a being or existence, i.e. the secret wisdom of God is infinitely greater than that which is revealed to us by his word or works. The greatest part of what is known of God, is the least part of those perfections that are in him. And therefore thou dost rashly and foolishly in passing such a bold censure upon God’s ways, and judging so harshly of his proceedings with thee, because thou dost not comprehend the reasons of them, and in judging thyself innocent, because thou dost not see thy sins; whereas the all-knowing God sees innumerable sins in thee, for which he may utterly destroy thee, though thou discernest them not. But the words are and must be rendered, either thus, that he hath double, i.e. abundant, wisdom, for so this Hebrew word signifies, Job 6:13 12:16 Proverbs 2:7 3:21; or,

that they are double to, or in, that being or essence, to wit, to God, of whom he is here speaking; or, to the being, i.e. to God, who calls himself by the name I am, Exodus 3:14, which signifies being; and who appropriates being to himself, Isaiah 45:18, I am, and there is none else besides me; as elsewhere he is said to be the only wise, and only Potentate, and only immortal being, 1 Timothy 1:17 6:15,16. God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth, Heb. God lends, or gives, or forgives, thee part of thine iniquity, or of thy punishment; so far is he from dealing worse than thou deservest, as thou dost most falsely and wickedly accuse him.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 11:6". 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

b. Would that God might appear, even as Job desired, for then the divine insight would disclose Job’s deep guilt, and the many transgressions which still remained unpunished. The danger to Job lies not in God’s almightiness, as he claims, but in the deeps of God’s manifold knowledge, Job 11:5-6.

6.The secrets of wisdom — Prof. Lee devotes several pages to showing that the wisdom referred to is Christ, who is called the wisdom of God. This is one of the many instances which commentators upon this book furnish of forced spiritual interpretations.

Double to that which is — Michaelis and Dillmann render it, “double to (man’s) wisdom,” that is, God’s wisdom vastly exceeds ours: (Gesenius, p. 704:) others, “because there are complications of his wisdom;” that is, it is complicated, occult, inexplicable, and at the same time varied and infinite. Zockler’s reading is preferable “that it (wisdom) is twofold in true knowledge.” is dual in form, but used absolutely for manifold — fold upon fold! Compared with God’s, all human wisdom is vain, because one-sided. For the rendering of the difficult word toushiyyah, true knowledge, see Job 5:12; Job 12:16. God exacteth of thee, etc. — Literally, God brings into forgetfulness to thee a part of thy fault; (Furst, Dillmann;) God remits to thee of thy guilt. This is evident from the smallness of Job’s sufferings compared with his deserts. God is as infinite in mercy as he is in knowledge. “He forgives more than he punishes.” (Comp. Psalms 103:10.) The truth is a precious one, but as applied to Job it was offensive.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "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 11:6. That he would show thee the secrets of wisdom — The unsearchable depths of his wisdom in dealing with his creatures. That they are double to that which is — That they are far greater (the word double being used indefinitely for manifold, or plentiful) than that which is manifested. The secret wisdom of God is infinitely greater than that which is revealed to us by his word or works: the greatest part of what is known of God is the least part of those perfections that are in him. And therefore thou art rash in judging so harshly of his proceedings with thee, because thou dost not comprehend the reasons of them, and in judging thyself innocent, because thou dost not see thy sins: whereas, the all-knowing God sees innumerable sins in thee, for which he may utterly destroy thee. God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth — Or, as the Hebrew, ישׁה מעונךְ, jashe magnavoneka, may be rendered, gives, or forgives thee part of thine iniquity; doth not deal with thee according to the full demerit of it, but remits thee a part of the punishment due to thee: which he affirms, on an ungrounded persuasion that Job was an ungodly hypocrite. “Strange presumption, says Dr. Dodd, “thus to pronounce positively 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.” We may however, so far agree with Zophar, as to allow that when, and so far as the debt of duty is not paid, it belongs to justice to insist on the debt of punishment; and that whatever punishment is inflicted upon us in this world, it is less than our iniquities deserve, and that, therefore, instead of complaining of our troubles, we ought to be thankful that we are out of hell.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 11:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-11.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Law. Hebrew Thushiya, (Haydock) "the essence" of any thing. Hence it is explained, "law, strength, comfort," &c. We might translate, "and that the reality of thy crimes deserved double punishment," &c. The obligations of the natural, and also of the written law of Moses, with which Job was (Calmet) perhaps (Haydock) acquainted, (chap. xxii. 22.) are very numerous and difficult. The ways of Providence are not easily understood, though some are obvious enough. He rewards and punishes. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "for it is double of what has come against thee, and then thou wouldst know that thy sins are justly requited." Protestants, "that they are double to that which is: Know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth," 1 Esdras ix. 13. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-11.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"Sound wisdom has two sides": Literally this means "double folded over", i.e. such wisdom is difficult to penetrate and is beyond Job. If God would speak to Job, He would really show Job what true wisdom is. 11:6 "Know then that God forgets a part of your iniquity": :"You would see, Job, how stupid you are. In fact, God is letting you off easy. You are getting less punishment than you deserve; God is being nice to you" (Zuck p. 53). Zophar argues that the very fact that God has not spoken and rebuked Job is proof that God is being merciful.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-11.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

double: i.e. manifold.

that which is. Compare note on Proverbs 2:7.

exacteth. Theology. Zophar"s mistake. God is no exactor.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "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

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.

And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! - rather, 'they are double to (man's and so double to thy) wisdom' (Michaelis). So the Hebrew [ tuwshiyaah (Hebrew #8454)] is rendered, Proverbs 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. "The foolishness of God is wiser than men" (1 Corinthians 1:25). Then you would see sin in yourself where now you see none.

Exacteth - rather, 'God consigns to oblivion in thy favour [ yasheh (Hebrew #5382) l

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-11.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) They are double to that which is!—This translation conveys no sense, and is not a translation; see the last Note.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
shew thee
15:8,11; 28:28; Deuteronomy 29:29; Psalms 25:14; Daniel 2:28,47; Matthew 13:35; Romans 16:25,26; 1 Corinthians 2:9-11; Ephesians 3:5
God exacteth
Ezra 9:13; Psalms 103:10; 106:43-46; Lamentations 3:22
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 11:34 - Howbeit;  Job 12:2 - ye are the people;  Job 12:22 - discovereth;  Job 23:2 - heavier;  Job 28:7 - a path;  Job 33:23 - to;  Job 34:23 - he will;  Job 42:7 - ye have;  Ecclesiastes 1:15 - crooked;  Isaiah 19:12 - let them;  Lamentations 3:39 - a man

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 11:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-11.html.