Job 11:13
If you prepare your heart, and stretch out your hands toward him;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 11:13. If thou prepare thy heart — Thy business, O Job, is not to quarrel with thy Maker, or his works; but to address thyself to him by prayer and supplication, sincerely repenting of all thy hard speeches, and other sins against God, and seeking him with a pure and upright heart; without which thy prayers will be in vain.11:13-20 Zophar exhorts Job to repentance, and gives him encouragement, yet mixed with hard thoughts of him. He thought that worldly prosperity was always the lot of the righteous, and that Job was to be deemed a hypocrite unless his prosperity was restored. Then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; that is, thou mayst come boldly to the throne of grace, and not with the terror and amazement expressed in ch. 9:34. If we are looked upon in the face of the Anointed, our faces that were cast down may be lifted up; though polluted, being now washed with the blood of Christ, they may be lifted up without spot. We may draw near in full assurance of faith, when we are sprinkled from an evil conscience, Heb 10:22.If thou prepare thine heart - Zophar now proceeds to state that if Job even yet would return to God, he might hope for acceptance. Though he had sinned, and though he was now, as he supposed, a hollow-hearted and an insincere man, yet, if he would repent, he might expect the divine favor. In this he accords with the sentiment of Eliphaz, and he concludes his speech in a manner not a little resembling his; see Job 5:17-27.

And stretch out thine hands toward him - In the attitude of supplication. To stretch out or spread forth the hands, is a phrase often used to denote the act of supplication; see 1 Timothy 2:8, and the notes of Wetstein on that place. Horace, 3 Carm. xxiii. 1, Coelo supinas si tuleris manus. Ovid, M. ix. 701, Ad sidera supplex Cressa manus tollens. Trist. i. 10, 21, Ipsc gubernator, tollens ad sidera palmas; compare Livy v. 21. Seneca, Ephesians 41; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 134:2; Psalm 141:2; Ezra 9:5.

13. The apodosis to the "If" is at Job 11:15. The preparation of the heart is to be obtained (Pr 16:1) by stretching out the hands in prayer for it (Ps 10:17; 1Ch 29:18). O Job, thy business is not to quarrel with thy Maker, or his works, but to address thyself to him.

Prepare thine heart, to wit, to seek God, as it is expressed, 2 Chronicles 19:3 30:19 Psalm 78:8. If thou prepare thy heart by sincere repentance for all thy hard speeches of God, and sins against him, and with a pure and upright heart seek unto him; without which thy prayers will be in vain. Or,

If thou directest, or rectifiest, thine heart, turning thy bold contentions with God into humble and sincere supplications to him.

Stretch out thine hands, i.e. pray, which is here described by its usual gesture; as Job 15:25 Psalm 88:9.

Towards him, i.e. to God, as appears both from the nature of the thing, and from the context. If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands towards him. In this and the following verses Zophar proceeds to give some advice to Job; which, if taken, would issue in his future happiness, but otherwise it would be ill with him; he advises him to pray to God with an heart prepared for such service; so some render the last clause in the imperative, "stretch out thine hands (w) towards him"; that is, towards God; for, though not expressed, is implied, whose immensity, sovereignty, and omniscience, Zophar had been discoursing of; and, though stretching out the hands is sometimes a gesture of persons in distress and mournful circumstances, thereby signifying their grief and sorrow, and of others in great danger, in order to lay up anything for safety; and of conquered persons resigning themselves up into the hands of the conqueror; and of such who are desirous of being in friendship, alliance, and association with others; yet it is also sometimes used as for the whole of religious worship, Psalm 44:20; so particularly for prayer, Psalm 88:9; and this was what all Job's friends advised him to, to humble himself before God, to pray for the forgiveness of his sins, and for the removal of his afflictions and deliverance from them; see Job 5:8; in order to which it is proper the "heart should be prepared"; as it is requisite it should be to every good work by the grace of God so to this: and then may it be said to be prepared for such service, when the spirit of God is given as a spirit of grace and supplication, whereby the heart is impressed with a sense of its wants, and so knows what to pray for; and arguments and fit words are put into the mind and mouth, and it knows how to pray as it should; and is enabled to approach the throne of grace with sincerity, fervency, and in the exercise of faith, being sprinkled from an evil conscience by the blood of Jesus, and resigned to the divine will, in all its petitions it is directed to make: now this is the work of God, to prepare the heart; the preparation of the heart, as well as the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord; he is prayed to for it, and it is affirmed he will do it, Proverbs 16:1; but it is here represented as if it was man's act, which is said not to suggest any power in man to do it of himself; at least this is not the evangelic sense of such phrases; for Zophar might be of a more legal spirit, and not so thoroughly acquainted with the evangelic style; but this might be said, to show the necessity of such a preparation, and to stir up to a concern for it, and to expect and look for it from and by the grace of God.

(w) "Expande ad eum manus tuas", De Dieu.

If thou {g} prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;

(g) If you repent, pray to him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. If thou prepare thine heart] Thou is emphatic, and meant by the speaker to place Job in a different class from the “hollow man” described in Job 11:12. Job hardly accepted the good intention, cf. ch. Job 12:3. “To prepare the heart” may mean, to bring it into a condition of right thought and feeling towards God. The word might also mean “fix thy heart,” let it no more be driven to and fro amidst false feelings and views, Psalm 10:17; Psalm 51:10; Psalm 57:7; Psalm 78:37.

and stretch out] In prayer, and seeking help, Exodus 9:29; Isaiah 1:15; cf. Job 8:5.

13–20. Zophar turns to Job in exhortation and promise.Verse 13. - If thou prepare thine heart. Having indicated God's righteousness by these general remarks (vers. 7-12), and implied that Job's complaints are vain and futile, Zophar, in conclusion, addresses Job once more directly: "If thou (אתּה) prepare thine heart," cleanse it, that is, of all defilement, direct it, and set it straight (see Psalm 78:8) before God, then such and such results (set forth in vers. 15-19) will follow. And stretch out thine hands toward him. The outward act of worship must follow the inward movement of the heart, for the turning to God to be complete. 7 Canst thou find out the nature of Eloah,

And penetrate to the foundation of the existence of the Almighty?

8 It is as the heights of heaven-what wilt thou do?

Deeper than Hades-what canst thou know?

9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth,

And broader than the sea.

The majority of modern commentators erroneously translate חקר searching equals comprehension, and תּכלית perfection, a meaning which this word never has. The former, indeed, signifies first in an active sense: finding out by search; and then also objectively: the object sought after: "the hidden ground" (Ewald), the depth (here and Job 38:16; also, according to Ew., Job 8:8, of the deep innermost thought). The latter denotes penetrating to the extreme, and then the extreme, πέρας, itself (Job 26:10; Job 28:3). In other words: the nature that underlies that which is visible as an object of search is called חקר; and the extreme of a thing, i.e., the end, without which the beginning and middle cannot be understood, is called תכלית. The nature of God may be sought after, but cannot be found out; and the end of God is unattainable, for He is both: the Perfect One, absolutus; and the Endless One, infinitus.

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