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11:1-2 "Zophar was angered because Job was so talkative" (Zuck p. 53). "Like a leopard springing from ambush upon its unsuspecting prey, Zophar enters the debate clawing and scratching for Job's jugular vein. As the youngest of the three friends, he has been biding his time and building his rage" (McKenna p. 99).
11:3 Zophar does not merely consider Job's speech to be empty and unnecessary, but that his speeches are boasting and scoffing. Job is far more than merely a windbag, he is a blasphemer. Job has denied that the righteous are always rewarded and the wicked are always punished in this life and to Zophar this is nothing more than scoffing at the truth.
11:4 He is also upset because Job has been trying to justify himself and proclaim his innocence.
11:5 "I would that God would speak": Zophar wishes that God would actually intervene and answer Job (9:3,16). "Then God would speak against Job, not for him" (Zuck p. 53).
11:6 "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.
11:7-9 This is a wonderful description of God's wisdom and it may have been intended as a rebuke to Job's claim of wisdom (9:4). "Zophar pointed out that the Lord's mysterious, plummetless, unknowable wisdom exceeds the height of the heavens, the depths of the grave, the length of the earth, and the breadth of the sea. How then could Job possibly oppose God in court?" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 733). Zophar's comments here are true, the problem is that Zophar is contradicting himself. "If God's ways are unknowable, how could Zophar know that God was overlooking some of Job's sin?" (Zuck p. 54). He claims that God's ways are unsearchable, yet he assumes that he knows exactly why Job is suffering.
11:10 He agrees with Job that no one can restrain God (9:12).
11:11 "Without investigating": Job had argued that God brings suffering upon the innocent as well as the guilty (9:22), and Zophar seems to have interpreted this argument as meaning that God does not know the difference between the righteous and the wicked. "God does not need to investigate man's condition in order to understand it; He knows immediately" (Strauss p. 107). The verse also seems to infer that Job is a "false man".
11:12 "An idiot will become intelligent when the foal of a wild donkey is born a man": Zophar is here calling Job a nitwit, the word "idiot" means a man who is hollowed out, i.e., empty in the head. "The chances of Job's becoming wise were no greater than the possibility of a wild donkey, considered the most stupid animal, giving birth to a man!" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 733). "In contemporary language he declares that wisdom will elude Job, 'till hell freezes over'" (McKenna p. 103).
11:13-19 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!
11:20 However if Job refused to repent then any hope he had would die with him. "These first speeches of Job's compatriots offered no comfort. Though their generalities about God's goodness, justice, and wisdom were true, their cruel charge that Job repent of some hidden sin missed the mark. They failed to see that God sometimes has other reasons for human suffering" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 733).
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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 11". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
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