-Job’s third friend, Zophar the Naamthite, finally speaks, but he is the most arrogant and disparaging in his synopsis of the situation. He, like the previous two friends, assumes Job has sin in his heart that has brought on this calamity. He begins with this, “Shall a multitude of words go unanswered, and a talkative man be acquitted?” So much for mercy here, right? Job had just poured out his heart in deep-distressful emotion. Sure, not all he said made sense or could be justified, but such was the state he was in due to the onslaught of Satan’s activities. Job had defended his position, but Zophar, in particular, was not sold on his righteousness. He accused Job of boasting and scoffing. He felt it his duty to speak up and rebuke this. Job had maintained that his teaching was pure, and that he was innocent (Job 6:10; 10:7). Zophar wanted the LORD to speak and display the secrets of His wisdom into this matter, which was the right thing to beseech, but his motives become clear as we find that he only wanted God to open His lips against Job. How insensitive, how gravitas! It is unclear where he is going with his concept of wisdom having two sides and God forgetting a part of Job’s iniquity (Job 11:1-6). When the LORD forgives, He does it completely and His wisdom is a finalized whole (Psalm 103:12, Romans 11:33). Anything else, even if it comes from a friend, should be disregarded. Almost sounds like a post-modern philosopher here if you ask me.
-The next six verses give the reader some good theology if nothing else. Zophar asks, “Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?” The answer is an obvious “No!” His was ways are as high as the heavens and deeper than Sheol. What can man know or do to compete with that? The answer is, “Nothing!” God’s measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea, both of which were immeasurable in the day of this text’s writing. None can restrain God if He decides to pass by, shut up, and/or call an assembly. God knows everything including false men, which again has accusatory tones by Zophar, and He sees all iniquity without investigating. Zophar sees the potential for conversion in verse 12 however, when he states, “An idiot will become intelligent when the foal of a wild donkey is born a man (Job 11:7-12).”
-Zophar tells Job that if he will “direct your heart right and spread out your hand to Him,” and “if iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and do not let wickedness dwell in your tents; then, indeed, you could lift up your face without moral defect.” If Job comes clean, Zophar theorizes, he could have steadfastness and not fear any more. He thinks Job can actually forget his trouble like waters that pass on by. Job’s life could potentially be brighter than noonday (a reference back to Job’s complaint in Job 10:21-22), and his darkness could be like morning when the sun appears. Zophar is convinced that if Job repents with trust, there would definitely be new hope. Job could look around and rest securely. He could lie down and none would disturb him. Many would even entreat his favor. This is all true. But, then he counters back to his judgmental spirit when he chides, “But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and there will be no escape for them; and their hope is to breathe their last (Job 11:13-20).” This last statement is so counterintuitive to the constructs of Scripture. There is absolutely no hope for the one dying with iniquity. The lake of fire will be their destiny (Revelation 20:14-15). Only a Savior can give hope in the afterlife, and that Savior is Jesus Christ. He is the only One who can truly cleanse our sin and unrighteousness and thus give us hope in the afterlife (Titus 3:5-7).
-*Application* Although Zophar may have had the right intentions, the tone of his message was demeaning and counterproductive. Talking down to people is never right, and in this case, Job’s friend was totally wrong. His accusations were unfounded. His perceptions were way off even though many of the things he said were true theologically. We can be like this to if we are not very careful and totally led by God’s Holy Spirit. This is known in our day as a “holier than thou” attitude. No one appreciates it, and it doesn’t achieve the righteousness of God very often. Let’s remember the New Testament principle of “speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).”
Verses to Memorize: Job 11:14, 18