Job 11:6
And that he would show you the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacts of you less than your iniquity deserves.
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(6) They are double to that which is!—This translation conveys no sense, and is not a translation; see the last Note.

Job 11:6. That he would show thee the secrets of wisdom — The unsearchable depths of his wisdom in dealing with his creatures. That they are double to that which is — That they are far greater (the word double being used indefinitely for manifold, or plentiful) than that which is manifested. The secret wisdom of God is infinitely greater than that which is revealed to us by his word or works: the greatest part of what is known of God is the least part of those perfections that are in him. And therefore thou art rash in judging so harshly of his proceedings with thee, because thou dost not comprehend the reasons of them, and in judging thyself innocent, because thou dost not see thy sins: whereas, the all-knowing God sees innumerable sins in thee, for which he may utterly destroy thee. God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth — Or, as the Hebrew, ישׁה מעונךְ, jashe magnavoneka, may be rendered, gives, or forgives thee part of thine iniquity; doth not deal with thee according to the full demerit of it, but remits thee a part of the punishment due to thee: which he affirms, on an ungrounded persuasion that Job was an ungodly hypocrite. “Strange presumption, says Dr. Dodd, “thus to pronounce positively upon a point of which he could not possibly be a judge. But it happened here, as usual, that this speaker, who sets out with the greatest heat, is the first whose arguments are spent. For, after this vehement speech, he makes but one reply, and it is over with him.” We may however, so far agree with Zophar, as to allow that when, and so far as the debt of duty is not paid, it belongs to justice to insist on the debt of punishment; and that whatever punishment is inflicted upon us in this world, it is less than our iniquities deserve, and that, therefore, instead of complaining of our troubles, we ought to be thankful that we are out of hell.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.And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom - The hidden things that pertain to wisdom. The reference here is to the wisdom of God himself. The sense is this, "you now think yourself pure and holy. You have confidence in your own wisdom and integrity. But this apprehension is based on a short-sighted view of God, and on ignorance of him. If he would speak and show you his wisdom; if he would express his sense of what purity is, you would at once see how far you have come from perfection, and would be overwhelmed with a sense of your comparative vileness and sin."

That they are double to that which is - Noyes renders this," his wisdom which is unsearchable." Dr. Good, strangely enough, "for they are intricacies to iniquity." The expression, as it stands in our common version, is not very intelligible; and indeed it is difficult, to attach any idea to it. Of the words used in the Hebrew, the sense is not difficult. The word כפלים kı̂playı̂m, "double," is from כפל kâphal "to fold,"" to double;" and means a doubling Job 41:5; and then two folds, or double folds, and the sense here is, that the wisdom of God is "double-fold;" that is, complicated, inexplicable, or manifold. It is not spread out and plain, but is infolded, so that it requires to be unrolled to be understood. The word rendered "that which is" (תשׁיה tûshı̂yâh), means properly a setting upright, uprightness - from ישׁע yâsha‛. Hence, it means help, deliverance, Job 6:13; purpose, undertaking, see the notes at Job 5:12; and then counsel, wisdom, understanding, Job 12:16; Isaiah 28:29. It means here, I suppose, "understanding;" and the idea is, that the wisdom of God is "double of understanding;" that is, it is so infolded, so complex, that it greatly surpasses our comprehension. What we see is a small part of it; and the "secrets" of his wisdom - the parts of his wisdom which are not unfolded, are far above our grasp. His wisdom is like a vast roll or volume, only the first and a very small part of which is unrolled so that we can read it. But who can look into that that remains unopened, and penetrate between the involutions, so as to perceive and read it all? It is but little that is now unrolled of the mighty volume - the remainder will be unfolded as years and ages shall pass on, and the entire unfolding of the book will be reserved for eternity.

Know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth - The word here rendered "exacteth" (ישׁה yasheh) more properly means "to forget" - from נשׁה nâshâh. It also means to loan on usury, or to borrow; but the sense here is rather that of forgetting. It is not used in the sense of exacting. The true meaning is, "know, therefore, that for thee God hath caused to be forgotten a part of thy iniquity." That is, he has treated you as if he had caused a part of your sins to be out of mind, or as if they were not remembered. Instead of treating you, as you complain, with severity, he has by no means inflicted on you the calamities which you deserve. The ground of this unfeeling assertion is the abstract proposition that God is infinitely wiser than human beings; that he has a deeper insight into human guilt than people can have; and that if he should disclose to us all that he sees of the heart, we should be amazed at the revelations of our own sins. This sentiment is undoubtedly true, and accords almost cxactly with what Job had himself said Job 9:19-22, but there is something very harsh and severe in the manner in which Zophar applies it.

6. to that which is!—Rather, "they are double to [man's] wisdom" [Michaelis]. So the Hebrew is rendered (Pr 2:7). God's ways, which you arraign, if you were shown their secret wisdom, would be seen vastly to exceed that of men, including yours (1Co 1:25).

exacteth—Rather, "God consigns to oblivion in thy favor much of thy guilt."

The secrets of wisdom, i.e. the unknown and unsearchable depths of God’s wisdom and counsels in dealing with his creatures.

That they are double to that which is, i.e. that they are far more and greater (the word double being used indefinitely for manifold, or plentiful, as Isaiah 40:2 61:7 Jeremiah 17:18 Zechariah 9:12) than that which hath a being or existence, i.e. the secret wisdom of God is infinitely greater than that which is revealed to us by his word or works. The greatest part of what is known of God, is the least part of those perfections that are in him. And therefore thou dost rashly and foolishly in passing such a bold censure upon God’s ways, and judging so harshly of his proceedings with thee, because thou dost not comprehend the reasons of them, and in judging thyself innocent, because thou dost not see thy sins; whereas the all-knowing God sees innumerable sins in thee, for which he may utterly destroy thee, though thou discernest them not. But the words are and must be rendered, either thus, that he hath double, i.e. abundant, wisdom, for so this Hebrew word signifies, Job 6:13 12:16 Proverbs 2:7 3:21; or,

that they are double to, or in, that being or essence, to wit, to God, of whom he is here speaking; or, to the being, i.e. to God, who calls himself by the name I am, Exodus 3:14, which signifies being; and who appropriates being to himself, Isaiah 45:18, I am, and there is none else besides me; as elsewhere he is said to be the only wise, and only Potentate, and only immortal being, 1 Timothy 1:17 6:15,16. God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth, Heb. God lends, or gives, or forgives, thee part of thine iniquity, or of thy punishment; so far is he from dealing worse than thou deservest, as thou dost most falsely and wickedly accuse him. And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom,.... Either of sound doctrine, in opposition to his own doctrine he had such a vain opinion of; and then he would see, as he thought, that it was not so pure as he imagined it to be: the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, are the wisdom of God, the produce of it, and in which it is displayed; as in the doctrines of election to grace and glory, of redemption by Christ, of justification by his righteousness, and pardon by his blood; by which all the divine perfections are glorified, the justice and holiness of God, as well as his grace and mercy: and there are "secrets" or mysteries in this wisdom of God, 1 Corinthians 2:6; of mysterious doctrines, which, though revealed, yet the "modus", or manner of them, is not to be searched out and understood; such is the trinity of Persons in the Godhead, the union of the two natures in Christ, the saint's union to God and communion with him, the resurrection of the dead, &c. and these and such like them are only shown by the Lord; men cannot come at them of themselves, by their own natural reason and understanding; it is God that reveals them, in his word, and by his spirit, and gives his people an increasing knowledge of them, 1 Corinthians 2:9; or it may be rather the secrets of the wisdom of Divine Providence, in the government of the world, and the ordering of all things in it according to the counsel of God, may be here meant; there is a great display of the wisdom of God in Providence, and there are secrets in it undiscoverable by creatures; his ways are past finding out, they are in the deep waters, and his footsteps are not known, nor to be traced; though sometimes he makes his judgments manifest, and his mind in them; and what he does now, which men know not, he shows them hereafter; especially his own people, and particularly when in the sanctuary of the Lord, and in the way of their duty, when everything appears right and beautiful they before were ready to complain of; see Romans 11:33; and then it is seen:

that they are double to that which is! or to "wisdom" (b); as the word is rendered in Proverbs 2:7; that is, to human wisdom; and then the sense is, that the secrets of divine wisdom displayed, whether in the doctrines of grace or in the methods of Providence, being shown and made manifest, would appear to be "double"; that is, vastly, yea, infinitely to exceed the wisdom of men; and that these, which men are apt to arraign as weak and wrong, are the effects of the highest wisdom, or they then appear so "to a man of wisdom" (c); so the supply may be made, as is in Micah 6:9; or else the sense is, were Job let in to the secret wisdom of God more, and into the purity and holiness of his law, which some understand by "that which is", or "wisdom", and render it "according to the law" (d) and see what that requires, and how much short he comes of it, and what and how many were his transgressions and violations of it; it then would be plain to him, that the punishment that God, in wisdom, and according to his righteous law, might inflict upon him, would be double; or, greatly, yea, infinitely exceed those afflictions he was now exercised with, and therefore he had no reason to complain; to which agrees what follows:

know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquities deserve; or punishes, afflicts, or chastises, less than the deserts of sin; see Ezra 9:13; some render it, "God exacteth of thee something of thine iniquity"; so Junius and Tremellius; according to which version the sense is, that sins are debts, and these many; and that payment of part of the debt of punishment for them is only required, which is not truth; for, though there is a debt of punishment due to justice for sin, yet it is not part of it only that is required of the sinner, but the whole, if any; for indeed no part of it is exacted of God's people, since the whole has been exacted of Christ, and he has answered and paid the whole debt, and blotted out the handwriting against them; wherefore the word used has rather the signification of forgetfulness, and may be rendered, either "God hath caused", or "suffered thee to forget part of thine iniquity" (e); or thou couldest never say that thou wert clean in his eye, and free from sin; or, "God himself has forgot part of thine iniquity" (f); in that he has afflicted thee so mildly, and with so much lenity; or, "hath forgotten thee for thine iniquity" (g); forsook him, hid his face from him, laid his hand on him, and sorely chastised him, so that he seemed to be forgotten by him, or he to forget to be gracious to him; all which were owing to his sins, these were the causes of it; or, "will condemn thee for thine iniquity" (h).

(b) "sapientiae", de Dieu, Schmidt, Michaelis; so the Targum. (c) "Viro sapientiae", Drusius. (d) "Secundum legem vel ordinationem", Vatablus. (e) "oblivisci facit te Deus, aliquid de iniquitate tua", some in Mercer so Gersom & Ben Melech, & Gussetius, p. 510. (f) "Quod obliviscatur tibi Deus ab iniquitate tua", Piscator; Vid. Gusset ib. (g) "Quod oblitus tui est propter iniquitatem tuam", Pagninus, Mercerus. (h) So some in Ben Melech.

And that he would shew thee the {c} secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.

(c) Which is not to stand in justifying of yourself: he signifies that man will never be overcome while he reasons with another, and therefore God must break off the controversy, and stop man's mouth.

6. shew thee the secrets of wisdom] Wisdom here is God’s omniscience. Its secrets are not the things known to it, such, for example, as Job’s sins, but its own profound depths and insight.

that they are double to that which is] Or, that it (wisdom) is double in (true) understanding. By double or twofold in regard to true understanding is not meant, double of man’s wisdom or that of the creature in general, but rather, twofold what Job conceived of it, in other words, that, in regard to its true insight, it far exceeded all conception. This translation presents the smallest deviation from the A. V. and is simple. It is an objection to it that it makes “understanding” a quality of “wisdom,” while the former word (on which see note on ch. Job 5:12) would more naturally be but another name for the “wisdom,” as it is in Job’s reply to all this, ch. Job 12:16, cf. Job 11:13. Hence others assume that the word twofold means “many folds,” translating: that folds, complications, belong to (true) understanding,—that is, that (God’s) understanding is manifold.

Know therefore] i. e. then shouldst thou know. The imperative is a more vivid way of expressing the future, see on ch. Job 5:1.

exacteth of thee less, &c.] This gives the general sense, though the translation seems to rest both on a false etymology and a false idea of construction. Literally the words mean: God bringeth into forgetfulness for thee some of thy guilt, that is, remembereth not against thee all thy guilt. Others (e.g. Hitz.): God causeth thee to forget thy guilt. The general meaning is, that if God would appear and speak and reveal His knowledge of Job’s sins, Job would be brought to know that he was guilty—perhaps even that his afflictions were far below his guilt. This is a harder word than has yet been uttered against Job.Verse 6. - And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom! In God are "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hid away" (ἀπόκρυφοι Colossians 2:3). Zophar wishes that he would reveal to Job this wisdom, or a portion of it, as, in that case, all his pride and self-confidence would be confounded and fall away. That they are double to that which is! This phrase is very obscure. Some translate, "For he (i.e. God) is twice as wise as thou;" others, "That it (i.e. wisdom) is manifold in effectual working;" others, again, "That they (i.e. the treasures of wisdom) are double (or manifold) in substance." Perhaps this last rendering is to be preferred. The treasures of wisdom that are hid away in God have many depths, secret and unexplored; they "lie, as it were, fold over fold, in unexpected complexities, defying the shallow and unscrutinizing gaze" (Professor Stanley Leathes). If they were revealed to Job, they would astonish, confound, silence, him. Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth. "Be sure," i.e., "that God, so far from inflicting on thee a more severe punishment than thou deservest, in reality excuses much of thy guilt, and punishes thee less than is thy due." This is Zophar's conclusion from his general knowledge of God's dealings with man (comp. Ezra 9:13). 18 And wherefore hast Thou brought me forth out of the womb?

I should have expired, that no eye had seen me,

19 I should have been as though I had never been,

Carried from the womb to the grave.

20 Are not my days few? then cease

And turn from me, that I may become a little cheerful,

21 Before I go to return no more

Into the land of darkness and of the shadow of death,

22 The land of deep darkness like to midnight,

Of the shadow of death and of confusion,

And which is bright like midnight.

The question Wherefore? Job 10:18, is followed by futt. as modi conditionales (Ges. 127, 5) of that which would and should have happened, if God had not permitted him to be born alive: I should have expired, prop. I ought to have expired, being put back to the time of birth (comp. Job 3:13, where the praet. more objectively expressed what would then have happened). These modi condit. are continued in Job 10:19 : I should have been (sc. in the womb) as though I had not been (comp. the short elliptical

(Note: כלא is there equals לא כאשׁר, like ללא, Isaiah 65:1 equals לא לאשׁר [vid. Ges. 123, 3], and כּ is used as a conjunction as little as ל (vid., on Psalm 38:14).)

expression, Obadiah 1:16), i.e., as one who had scarcely entered upon existence, and that only of the earliest (as at conception); I should have been carried (הוּבל, as Job 21:32) from the womb (without seeing the light as one born alive) to the grave. This detestation of his existence passes into the wish, Job 10:20, that God would be pleased at least somewhat to relieve him ere he is swallowed up by the night of Hades. We must neither with the Targ. translate: are not my days few, and vanishing away? nor with Oetinger: will not my fewness of days cease? Both are contrary to the correct accentuation. Olshausen thinks it remarkable that there is not a weaker pausal accent to ימי; but such a one is really indirectly there, for Munach is here equivalent to Dech, from which it is formed (vid., the rule in Comm. ber den Psalter, ii. 504). Accordingly, Seb. Schmid correctly translates: nonne parum dies mei? ideo cessa. The Keri substitutes the precative form of expression for the optative: cease then, turn away from me then (imper. consec. with waw of the result, Ewald, 235, a); comp. the precative conclusion to the speech, Job 7:16., but there is no real reason for changing the optative form of the text. ישׁית (voluntative for ישׁת, Job 9:33) may be supplemented by ידו, פניו, עיניו ,פ, or לבו (Job 7:17) (not, however, with Hirz., שׁבטו, after Job 9:34, which is too far-fetched for the usage of the language, or with Bttch., מחנהו, copias suas); שׁית can however, like שׂים, Job 4:20, signify to turn one's self to, se disponere equals to attend to, consequently מן שׁית, to turn the attention from, as מן שׁעה, Job 7:19, Psalm 39:14 (where, as here, ואבליגה follows).


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