Job 11:1
Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
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(1) Zophar, the third of Job’s friends, has a clearly defined character, distinct from that of the others; he is the ordinary and common-place moral man, who expresses the thoughts and instincts of the many. Eliphaz was the poet and spiritual man, who sees visions and dreams; Bildad was the man who rested on authority and appealed to tradition; Zophar is the man of worldly wisdom and common sense. In some respects he is the most offensive of the three. He is astonished that Job has not been silenced by the replies of the other two, and thinks he can do no less than help to silence him. Thus he at once begins with “a multitude of words,” and “full of talk,” and “lies,” and “mockery.” Zophar stands on a lower level, and drags Job down to it. He refracts his protestations of innocence against himself, and charges him with iniquity in making them. His longing also to come into judgment with God (Job 9:32) he turns back upon himself, being confident that it could not fail to convict him were he to do so.

Job 11:1. Then answered Zophar the Naamathite — How hard is it to preserve calmness in the heat of disputation! Eliphaz began modestly: Bildad was a little rougher: but Zophar falls upon Job without mercy. “Those that have a mind to fall out with their brethren, and to fall foul upon them, find it necessary to put the worst colours they can upon them and their performances, and, right or wrong, to make them odious.” Zophar, highly provoked that Job should dare to call in question a maxim so universally assented to as that urged by his friends, immediately charges him home with secret wickedness. He tells him that he makes not the least doubt, were the real state of his heart laid open, that it would be found God had dealt very gently with him, Job 11:2-7. That he was highly blameworthy to pretend to fathom the depths of divine providence, a task to which he was utterly unequal: that, however his wickedness might be concealed from me, yet it was open and bare to God’s all-seeing eye; could he therefore imagine that God would not punish the wickedness he saw? Job 11:7-11. It would surely be far more becoming in him to submit, and give glory to God, by making an ample confession and full restitution. In that case, indeed, he might hope for a return of God’s goodness to him; but the way he was in at present was the common road of the wicked, whose only hope was annihilation, Job 11:12-20. — Heath and Dodd.

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.A land of darkness - The word used here (עיפה ‛êyphâh) is different from that rendered "darkness" השׁך chôshek in the previous verse. That is the common word to denote darkness; this seldom occurs. It is derived from עוּף ‛ûph, to fly; and then to cover as with wings; and hence, the noun means that which is shaded or dark; Amos 4:13; compare Job 17:13; Isaiah 8:22; Isaiah 9:1.

As darkness itself - This is still another word אפל 'ôphel though in our common version but one term is used. We have not the means in our language of marking different degrees of obscurity with the accuracy with which the Hebrews did it. The word used here אפל 'ôphel denotes a THICK darkness - such as exists when the sun is set - from אפל 'aphêl, to go down, to set. It is poetic, and is used to denote intense and deep darkness; see Job 3:6.

And of the shadow of death - I would prefer reading this as connected with the previous word - "the deep darkness of the shadow of death." The Hebrew will bear this, and indeed it is the obvious construction.

Without any order - The word rendered order (סדרים sedārı̂ym) is in the plural. It is from סדר, obsolete, to place in a row or order, to arrange. The meaning is, that everything was mingled together as in chaos, and all was confusion. Milton has used similar language:

- "A vast immeasurable abyss."

- "dark, wasteful, wild."

Ovid uses similar language in speaking of chaos: "Unus chaos, rudis indigestaque moles."

And where the light is as darkness - This is a very striking and graphic expression. It means that there is no pure and clear light. Even all the light that shines there is dark, sombre, gloomy - like the little light of a total eclipse, which seems to be darkness itself, and which only serves to render the darkness more distressing. Compare Milton:

"A dungeon horrible on all sides round,

As one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames

No light; but rather darkness visible

Served only to discover sights of woe."

Par. Lost, 1.

The Hebrew here literally is, "And it shines forth (יתפע yatopha‛) as darkness:" that is, the very shining of the light there, if there is any, is like darkness! Such was the view of Job of the abodes of the dead - even of the pious dead. No wonder he shrank back from it, and wished to live. Such is the prospect of the grave to man, until Christianity comes and reveals a brighter world beyond the grave - a world that is all light. That darkness is now scattered. A clear light shines even around the grave, and beyond there is a world where all is light, and where "there is no night," and where all is one bright eternal day; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5. O had Job been favored with these views of heaven, he would not have thus feared to die!



Job 11:1-20. First Speech of Zophar.Zophar’s reproof: Job’s words too many, and false, even to mockery, in justifying himself, Job 11:1-4. Should God speak, his wisdom, and justice, and all his perfections would appear infinitely greater than what Job conceived of them Job 11:5-10. God knoweth man; seeth wickedness, and considereth it; but man is ignorant and foolish, and in vain pretendeth to wisdom, Job 11:11,12. If Job would prepare his heart, and pray, and put away his sin, he should again lift up his head, and forget his misery, and his last days be brightest; but the wicked shall perish, Job 11:13-20.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Then answered Zophar the Naamathite,.... The third of Job's friends, that came to visit him; see Gill on Job 2:11; and who perhaps might be the youngest, since his turn was to speak last; and he appears to have less modesty and prudence, and more fire and heat in him; than his other friends; though he might be the more irritated by observing, that their arguments were baffled by Job, and had no manner of effect on him, to cause him to recede from his first sentiments and conduct:

and said; as follows.

Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
Verses 1-20. - Zophar, the Naamathite, the third of Job's comforters (Job 2:11), and probably the youngest of them, now at last takes the word, and delivers an angry and violent speech. He begins by accusing Job of having spoken at undue length, and at the same time, boastfully and mockingly (vers. 2-4). He then expresses a wish that God would take Job at his word, and really answer him, since he is sure that the result would be to show that Job had been punished much less than he. deserved to be (vers. 5, 6). Job's complaints against the justice of God's dealings he meets by an assertion of God's unsearchableness and perfect wisdom, which he contrasts with the folly of man (ver. 7-12). Finally, he suggests that a stricken man, being guilty, should humble himself, put away his iniquity, and turn to God, in which ease he may expect a restoration to favour. Otherwise, he has only to look for wretchedness, failure, and despair (vers. 18-20). Verse 1. - Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said (see the comment on Job 2:11). Job 11:1 1 Then began Zophar the Naamathite, and said:

2 Shall the torrent of words remain unanswered,

And shall the prater be in the right?

3 Shall thy vain talking silence the people,

So that thou mockest without any one putting thee to shame,

4 And sayest: my doctrine is pure,

And I am guiltless in Thine eyes?

5 But oh that Eloah would speak,

And open His lips against thee,

6 And make known to thee the secrets of wisdom,

That she is twofold in her nature -

Know then that Eloah forgetteth much of thy guilt.

When Job has concluded his long speech, Zophar, the third and most impetuous of the friends, begins. His name, if it is to be explained according to the Arabic Esauitish name el-assfar,

(Note: Vid., Abulfeda's Historia anteislamica ed. Fleischer, p. 168.)


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