11 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
2 “Are all these words to go unanswered?
Is this talker to be vindicated?
3 Will your idle talk reduce others to silence?
Will no one rebuke you when you mock?
4 You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless
and I am pure in your sight.’
5 Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
that he would open his lips against you
Zophar now enters the conversation. He joins Job in desiring an audience with God, but for the opposite reason, so that “God would speak” clearly to Job about the depth of his “iniquity” and his need to repent. He was indignant at Job’s protests of innocence.
Zophar is full of condemnation. He clearly assumes that Job is guilty, calling him a talker, a liar and a mocker. Job’s friends took his claims of integrity to the extreme – as if he was saying he was sinless – and then attacked him for it.
Job’s explanation in Job 10:13-17 suggested that God may be cruel. So Zophar wanted to remind Job that, in fact, God is kind.
Zophar was not sure that Job was a good man. So, Zophar encouraged Job to stop any evil behaviour. Then, Zophar said, God would help him.
Zophar’s words seem angry. Job’s speech upset Zophar. Eliphaz wanted to encourage Job (Job 4:3-6). Bildad wanted to correct Job (Job 8:2-4). But Zophar wanted to warn Job with fire and brimstone.
It’s possible that Zophar was the youngest of Job’s visiting friends since his turn was to speak last. 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 great effect on him.
The allegations against Job moved to a new level. Not only was Job guilty and unrepentant, he was also an empty talker.
In fact, Job’s long-winded defence of his innocence and God’s apparent injustice was sin worthy of a very stiff rebuke, in Zophar’s mind.
Zophar was accusing Job of drawing out his case with long, tedious discourses, consisting of empty words, without weight or reason.
Silence was not an option to Zophar as it would seem to approve of Job’s errors or would appear to suggest that his cause was valid because he used more words. It’s a naïve line of thinking suggesting that perhaps this was a young man. The power of silence in a situation of correction can be very powerful.
It appears that Job’s friends thought that Job was saying that he was without sin but Job never claimed sinlessness; in fact, he acknowledge that he had sinned (Job 7:21; 13:26). But he still maintained his innocence of any great transgression or attitude of unrepentance, affirming his sincerity and integrity as a man of faith and obedience to God. This claim infuriated Zophar, and he wished God Himself would confirm the accusations of Job’s friends (verse 5).
I read in one commentary a quote:
“Such a remark might have considerable value if spoken while looking into the mirror. But from a man who is not suffering, to a man who is suffering, this remark is cruel and utterly without any value at all.” – Andrew W. Blackwood
7 “Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
8 They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know?
9 Their measure is longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.
10 “If he comes along and confines you in prison
and convenes a court, who can oppose him?
11 Surely he recognizes deceivers;
and when he sees evil, does he not take note?
12 But the witless can no more become wise
than a wild donkey’s colt can be born human.
Zophar wanted God to speak out loud and condemn Job, where they could all hear it. In God is all Wisdom and Truth. Zophar was saying to Job, that he had no wisdom, if Job had wisdom, he would have repented of his sins by now.
Zophar’s words in verses 7-9 are like God’s words in Job 38:4-5 and Job 38:19. God said these things to teach Job about God’s greatness. But Zophar wanted to condemn Job.
Zophar was saying, ‘God is awesome. He would not do anything wrong. Job, you are suffering. therefore, without doubt you must be an evil man. You have no right even to speak to God. You do not deserve to ask God why you are suffering.’
The full meaning of verse 8 is somewhat skewed but the idea that is being put across is perhaps “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.”
The bottom line is that Job is being asked “What can you know?”How small a part of the Divine nature can any man thoroughly comprehend and know!
Length is generally ascribed to the earth, and width to the sea. The ends of the earth are used for a great distance, and the sea is called the great and wide sea (see Psalm 72:1). But God and his perfections, particularly his wisdom and understanding, are infinite (Psalm 147:5).
He will not admit to any dimensions; His love, His wisdom, has a height which cannot be reached, a depth that cannot be fathomed, and a length and breadth that are immeasurable (see Eph. 3:18). It follows suit that his Geography is limitless too. This rings true when all we know about the Universe and deep space seems to unveil more and more breath taking beauty and mystery. Spend some time looking at some of the Hubble telescope pictures and the statistics of space and you will be filled with wonder,
It appears that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and incomprehensible; and since he is to be found in Christ, and in him only, it is pure vanity and pride for us to seek for him elsewhere.
This was speaking of the perfection of the Almighty filling the earth and the seas. The following Scripture says it best.
In his rhetorical question in 9:12, Job had compared his own cries to the braying of a wild donkey (6:5). Here, Zophar echoes his question but draws the opposite conclusion and accuses Job of being foolish and “empty-headed” (Psalms 10:14: 39:5).
Though men know but little of God, and therefore are very unfit judges of his counsels and actions, yet God knows man exactly. He knows that every man in the world is guilty of pride, vanity and folly, and therefore sees sufficient reason for his severity against the best men.
The worst of this was that Zophar was accusing Job of being vain in his own conceit. He was saying that Job had been pretending to be a Godly man, but was not faithful to God in his heart.
Zophar believed that the troubles which had come to Job was because he was vain and puffed up with pride. Zophar believed they came on Job to cause him to repent.
13 “Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,
14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.
16 You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
17 Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.
18 You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favour.
20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
and escape will elude them;
their hope will become a dying gasp.”
Zophar continued the conversation in a rather condescending manner. He asserted that God operates on the basis of some kind of mutual exchange. “You give Me something, and I will give you something.” But of course God does not operate this way. His creation has nothing to give Him that is worth any value (Isa. 64:6).
Zophar avoided directly calling Job wicked, but succeeded with ever increasing velocity by being indirect. In the end, he told Job that his sin would bring about his death.
Job was well-known for his good character (Job 29:11-12). So Zophar assumed that Job’s evil deeds must be secret.
Zophar effectively was saying that Job’s only hope was repentance or death.