|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:1-6 Zophar attacked Job with great vehemence. He represented him as a man that loved to hear himself speak, though he could say nothing to the purpose, and as a man that maintained falsehoods. He desired God would show Job that less punishment was exacted than he deserved. We are ready, with much assurance, to call God to act in our quarrels, and to think that if he would but speak, he would take our part. We ought to leave all disputes to the judgment of God, which we are sure is according to truth; but those are not always right who are most forward to appeal to the Divine judgment.
Verse 2. - Should not the multitude of words be answered? A "multitude of words" is often reproved in Scripture, and taken as a sign of either folly (Ecclesiastes 5:8) or sin (Proverbs 10:19). Job had certainly been somewhat unduly verbose, and laid himself open to the taunt here launched against him; but neither had brevity been studied by his other friends in their previous answers (ch. 4, 5, and 8.), nor is it greatly studied by Zophar here. And should a man full of talk be justified? literally, a man of lips which may mean either "a great talker" or "a man who makes many professions." There is a widespread prejudice against a great orator, and a widespread notion that a good cause does net need many words.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire 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" (s), &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" (t), 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.
(s) "an abundans verbis", Beza; "an multus verbis", Mercerus, so Kimchi & Ben Melech; and most Hebrew writers take for an adjective. (t) "vir labiorum", Montanus, Beza, Drusius, Vatablus, Mercerus, Bolducius, Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Zophar assails Job for his empty words, and indirectly, the two friends, for their weak reply. Taciturnity is highly prized among Orientals (Pr 10:8, 19).
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