Job 11:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
But the witless can no more become wise than a wild donkey's colt can be born human.

New Living Translation
An empty-headed person won't become wise any more than a wild donkey can bear a human child.

English Standard Version
But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man!

New American Standard Bible
"An idiot will become intelligent When the foal of a wild donkey is born a man.

King James Bible
For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But a stupid man will gain understanding as soon as a wild donkey is born a man!

International Standard Version
An empty-headed person will gain understanding when a wild donkey is born a human being!"

NET Bible
But an empty man will become wise, when a wild donkey's colt is born a human being.

New Heart English Bible
An empty-headed man becomes wise when a man is born as a wild donkey's colt.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But an empty-headed person will gain understanding when a wild donkey is born tame.

JPS Tanakh 1917
But an empty man will get understanding, When a wild ass's colt is born a man.

New American Standard 1977
“And an idiot will become intelligent
            When the foal of a wild donkey is born a man.

Jubilee Bible 2000
The vain man shall make himself understood, though man is born like a wild ass's colt.

King James 2000 Bible
For a vain man will be wise, when a man is born a wild donkey's colt.

American King James Version
For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

American Standard Version
But vain man is void of understanding, Yea, man is born as a wild ass's colt.

Douay-Rheims Bible
A vain man is lifted up into pride, and thinketh himself born free like a wild ass's colt.

Darby Bible Translation
Yet a senseless man will make bold, though man be born [like] the foal of a wild ass.

English Revised Version
But vain man is void of understanding, yea, man is born as a wild ass's colt.

Webster's Bible Translation
For vain man would be wise, though man is born like a wild ass's colt.

World English Bible
An empty-headed man becomes wise when a man is born as a wild donkey's colt.

Young's Literal Translation
And empty man is bold, And the colt of a wild ass man is born.
Study Bible
Zophar Rebukes Job
11"For He knows false men, And He sees iniquity without investigating. 12"An idiot will become intelligent When the foal of a wild donkey is born a man. 13"If you would direct your heart right And spread out your hand to Him,…
Cross References
Job 39:5
"Who sent out the wild donkey free? And who loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,

Psalm 39:5
"Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.

Psalm 39:11
"With reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity; You consume as a moth what is precious to him; Surely every man is a mere breath. Selah.

Psalm 62:9
Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath.

Psalm 144:4
Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.

Ecclesiastes 1:2
"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."

Ecclesiastes 11:10
So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.
Treasury of Scripture

For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

For vain. Heb. For empty

Psalm 62:9,10 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a …

Psalm 73:22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before you.

Psalm 92:6 A brutish man knows not; neither does a fool understand this.

Ecclesiastes 3:18 I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that …

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

James 2:20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

would

Job 5:13 He takes the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the …

Job 12:2,3 No doubt but you are the people, and wisdom shall die with you…

Job 28:28 And to man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; …

Proverbs 30:2-4 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding …

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but …

1 Corinthians 3:18-20 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise …

James 3:13-17 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show …

man be

Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, …

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the …

a wild

Job 6:5 Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass? or lows the ox over his fodder?

Job 39:5-8 Who has sent out the wild donkey free? or who has loosed the bands …

Jeremiah 2:24 A wild donkey used to the wilderness, that snuffs up the wind at …

(12) For vain man would be wise, &c., is extremely difficult, because it is hard to distinguish subject and predicate. Literally, it runs, And hollow man is instructed, and the wild ass's colt is born a man. Whether it means that if God did not thus conceal His observation of human actions, the very fool and the most obstinate would become instructed and disciplined, whereas now they are allowed to go on in their folly and obstinacy; or whether it is meant that, notwithstanding the dealings of Providence, hollow-hearted man is still devoid of heart, and every son of Adam at his birth is a very wild ass colt; or whether, again, it is meant that by reason of the Divine discipline the hollow-hearted man is disciplined, and the very wild ass colt is born a man and humanised, it is hard to decide. The uncertainty in part arises from our not knowing the exact meaning of the first verb: whether it is to get understanding or to be deprived of it--for either is possible. Another way of taking the context is to refer the last clause of Job 11:11, not to God, but to man. Man sees not that God sees him, for an empty man will get understanding when a wild ass's colt is born a man--that is, the latter is as likely as the former. One point is pretty clear, that by the wild ass's colt Zophar means Job. However, he suggests that if he will become something better and wiser, and will put away his secret sin, which he is convinced must cling to him, then he shall again know prosperity and be established in it.

Verse 12. - For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt; rather, and a vain man may get understanding, and the colt of a wild ass become a than (compare the Revised Version, marginal rendering). Zophar seems to mean that, through Divine discipline, such as that described in ver. 10, a vain, foolish, puffed-up man may be reclaimed and become a man of understanding - a stubborn and untamed one, wild as the colt of a wild ass, grow into a real man, i.e. acquire sense and discretion. If this is the meaning, undoubtedly Job is glanced at (so Schultens, Dillmann, and Canon Cook). For vain man would be wise,.... Or "hollow" (r), empty man; empty of all that is good, though full of all unrighteousness; without God, the knowledge, love, and fear of him; without Christ, the knowledge of him, faith in him, and love to him; destitute of the Spirit, and of his grace, having no good thing in him: yet such a man "would be wise"; not desirous of true wisdom, but would be thought to be wise; he in conceit thinks himself that he is very wise, and he would fain have others think so of him; or is, or "may", or "will be wise" (s); may be made wise by the chastisements of God through afflictions, being sanctified to him by the grace of God; though he is a vain man, and also is what is after said of him; afflicting dispensations are sometimes teaching ones, and in the school of afflictions many useful lessons are learnt, whereby men become wiser; see Psalm 94:12; though some understand the word in a very different sense, and interpret it bold, audacious, proud, and haughty; man takes heart (t), and lifts up himself against God, stretches his hand, and hardens his heart against him:

though man be born like a wild ass's colt; foolish and stupid, without understanding of divine and spiritual things; given to lust and wantonness, to serve divers lusts and pleasures; not subject to the yoke of the law of God, stubborn, refractory, and untameable, but by the grace of God; the ass, and especially the wild ass, and the colt of one, being a very stupid creature, and a very lustful and wanton one, chooses to be free, will not bear the yoke, but ranges about in desert places; see Job 39:5; some render the words, "and a wild ass's colt is", or "may be born a man" (u); that is, one that is by his first birth, and by his life and conversation, like a wild ass's colt, is or may be born again, and be made a new man, as Jarchi also interprets it, and so become a wise, knowing, and good man, which is a great truth; but whether the truth in this text, is not so clear: the Targum seems to incline this way;"a refractory, youth that grows wise shall become a great man.''

(r) "concavus", Montanus; "cavus", Drusius; "vacuus", Pagninus, Beza, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis. (s) "fiat vel fit cordatus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Broughton, Beza. (t) "In superbiam erigitur", V. L. "audaciam sumit", Schmidt. (u) "Pullus onager homo nascitur", Cocceius, Schmidt; "nascatur", Schultens. 12. vain—hollow.

would be—"wants to consider himself wise"; opposed to God's "wisdom" (see on [498]Job 11:11); refuses to see sin, where God sees it (Ro 1:22).

wild ass's colt—a proverb for untamed wildness (Job 39:5, 8; Jer 2:24; Ge 16:12; Hebrew, "a wild-ass man"). Man wishes to appear wisely obedient to his Lord, whereas he is, from his birth, unsubdued in spirit.11:7-12 Zophar speaks well concerning God and his greatness and glory, concerning man and his vanity and folly. See here what man is; and let him be humbled. God sees this concerning vain man, that he would be wise, would be thought so, though he is born like a wild ass's colt, so unteachable and untameable. Man is a vain creature; empty, so the word is. Yet he is a proud creature, and self-conceited. He would be wise, would be thought so, though he will not submit to the laws of wisdom. He would be wise, he reaches after forbidden wisdom, and, like his first parents, aiming to be wise above what is written, loses the tree of life for the tree of knowledge. Is such a creature as this fit to contend with God?
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