|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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?
Verse 8. - It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? literally, heights of the heavens; what canst thou do? But the meaning is probably that expressed in the Authorized Version. God's perfectness is unattainable by man's thought, as the heights of the heavens are by his feet. Deeper than hell; literally, than Sheol, or the receptacle of the dead (see the comment on Job 10:21). St. Paul speaks of the "deep things," or rather, "the depths" (τὰ βάθη) of God (see 1 Corinthians 2:10). What canst thou know? How small a part of the Divine nature can any man thoroughly comprehend and know!
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do?.... Or, "is higher than the heavens" (i); either the wisdom of God and the secrets of it; the perfection of his wisdom, by which he has made the heavens; or evangelical wisdom, hid in his heart, and which the highest of creatures, the angels, come at the knowledge of only by revelation; and therefore, what can man do to find it out, unless God reveals it? or wisdom displayed in dark providences, which can never be accounted for until the judgments of God are made manifest: or else, "he that is God", as the Vulgate Latin version, is "higher than the heavens"; the heaven is his throne on which he sits, and therefore he must be higher than that; the heavens, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain him; he fills up the infinite space beyond them; how is it possible therefore to find him out, to comprehend him?
deeper than hell; what canst thou know? meaning, neither the grave nor the place of the damned, for both which "Sheol" is sometimes used, but the centre or lowest part of the earth; there is a depth in God, in his essence, in his thoughts, in his wisdom, displayed in nature, providence, and grace, that is unfathomable; we can know nothing of it but what he is pleased to make known; see Psalm 92:5; the Targum of the verse is,"in the height of heaven, what canst thou do? in the law, which is deeper than hell, what canst thou know?''
(i) "altior est altissimis coelis", Junius & Tremellius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. It—the "wisdom" of God (Job 11:6). The abruptness of the Hebrew is forcible: "The heights of heaven! What canst thou do" (as to attaining to them with thy gaze, Ps 139:8)?
know—namely, of His perfections.
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