Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
11:1 Then answered - 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.
Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?
11:2 Answered - Truly, sometimes it should not. Silence is the best confutation of impertinence, and puts the greatest contempt upon it.
Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?
11:3 Lies - Both concerning thy own innocency, and concerning the counsels and ways of God. Mockest - Our friendly and faithful counsels, chap.6:14,15,25,26.
For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.
11:4 Doctrine - Concerning God and his providence. Clean - I am innocent before God; I have not sinned either by my former actions, or by my present expressions. But Zophar perverts Job's words, for he did not deny that he was a sinner, but only that he was an hypocrite.
But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;
11:5 Speak - Plead with thee according to thy desire: he would soon put thee to silence. We are commonly ready with great assurance to interest God in our quarrels. But they are not always in the right, who are most forward, to appeal to his judgment, and prejudge it against their antagonists.
And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.
11:6 Secrets - The unsearchable depths of God's wisdom in dealing with his creatures. Double - 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 dost rashly 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.
Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
11:7 Find out - Discover all the depths of his wisdom, and the reasons of his actions?
It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.
If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?
11:10 Cut off - A person or family. Shut - Its a prison, or in the hands of an enemy. Gather - Whether it pleaseth God to scatter a family, or to gather them together from their dispersions. Hinder - Or, who can contradict him, charge him with injustice in such proceedings?
For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?
11:11 Knoweth - Though men know but little of God, yet God knows man exactly. He knoweth that every man in the world is guilty of much vanity and folly, and therefore seeth sufficient reason for his severity against the best men. Wickedness - He perceiveth the wickedness of evil men, though it be covered with the veil of religion. Consider - Shall he only see it as an idle spectator, and not observe it as a judge to punish it?
For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.
11:12 Man - That since the fall is void of all true wisdom, pretends to be wise, and able to pass a censure upon all God's ways and works. Colt - Ignorant, and dull, and stupid, as to divine things, and yet heady and untractable.
If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
11:13 Heart - To seek God; turning thy bold contentions with God into humble supplications.
If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
11:15 Lift up - Which denotes chearfulness, and holy boldness. Without spot - Having a clear and unspotted conscience. Steadfast - Shall have a strong and comfortable assurance of God's favour.
Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
11:16 As waters - Thou shalt remember it no more, than men remember a land - flood, which as it comes, so it goes away suddenly.
And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
11:17 Shine - Light in scripture commonly signifies prosperity and glory. Thy comfort, like the morning - light shall shine brighter and brighter, until the perfect day.
And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
11:18 Secure - Thy mind shall be quiet and free from terrors, because thou shalt have a firm and well - grounded confidence in God. Dig - Either to fix thy tents, which after the manner of the Arabians were removed from place to place: or to plough the ground, as he had done, chap.1:14, or to make a fence about thy dwelling.
Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.
But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.
11:20 Fail - Either with grief and tears for their sore calamities: or with long looking for what they shall never attain. Their hope - They shall never obtain deliverance out of their distresses, but shall perish in them. Ghost - Shall be as vain and desperate as the hope of life is in a man, when he is at the very point of death.