Let’s turn in our Bibles to Job chapter 11 for this Job 11 summary. We’ll be studying verses eleven through twenty of this chapter in this article. To study the first ten verses, see our Job 11 commentary article.
Job 11 Summary God is Aware of Wicked Men
But back in our text, Zophar continues and asserts that God is well-aware of wicked men in verse 11.
11 For he knoweth [vain/false/deceitful] men:
he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?
So, the existence of wicked men is no secret or surprise to God. And if God can see wickedness, he surely won’t pass it over in his mind – rather he will consider it and what to do about it.
Job 11 Summary Fools Becoming Wise
And then Zophar makes a rather strange statement that basically amounts to acknowledging that men like this have the potential of becoming wise – but that’s highly unlikely. Verse 12.
12 [For vain man/An idiot/An empty man] [would be/will become] wise,
[though/When] man be born like a wild ass’s colt. [when the foal of a wild donkey is born a man…]
And of course, these statements are being made in response to Job’s claim of being innocent of any supposed sin that would bring God’s punishment on him. And so, we can imagine that Zophar is intending most of what he says to be directed squarely at Job.
Job – then – is the “vain man.” Job has committed wickedness. Zophar is speaking of Job as he insinuates that Job is living a lie and is really wicked.
But Zophar doesn’t want this to be the case for Job – that he would be wicked and that his attaining wisdom would be nearly impossible. He does want Job to become wise.
Job 11 Summary Advice
So, Zophar is going to give Job some advice on getting out of his present sufferings – just like the other two friends have done.
13 [As for you…] If thou [prepare thine heart/prove faithful],
and stretch out thine hands toward him;
So, that’s Zophar’s first suggestion – seek God and pray to him. This sounds an awful lot like Bildad’s suggestion earlier…
And just like we considered when Bildad mentioned this, we again acknowledge that Job has – of course – done this already. And Zophar would have known this if he just asked Job.
Job 11 Summary Forsake Sin
But second – in Zophar’s master plan to restore Job to the place where God will bless him again – Job needs to – of course – forsake his sin. Verse 14.
14 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away,
and let not [wickedness/evil] [dwell/reside] in thy [tabernacles/tents].
And so, in summary, Job must pray and abandon his sin.
Job 11 Summary Good Life
Then God will make life good for Job again – verse 15.
15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without [spot/moral defect/blemish];
yea, thou shalt be [stedfast/securely established], and shalt not fear:
And all Job’s troubles will be forgotten – again, if he simply prays and repents of his sin – verse 16.
16 Because thou shalt forget thy [misery/trouble],
and remember it as waters that [pass/have flowed] away:
Job 11 Summary Dark to Bright
In addition, Job’s dark life will be bright once more.
17 And thine [age/life] shall be [clearer/brighter] than the noonday;
thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
Job 11 Summary Peace and Safety
And, Job will experience nothing but peace and safety – if he just gets with the Retribution Theology plan and starts praying and stops sinning!
18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope;
yea, thou [shalt dig about thee/will be protected], and thou shalt [take thy rest in safety/rest securely/take your rest in safety].
And Job will be returned to his old position of counseling others.
19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid;
yea, many shall [make suit unto thee/entreat your favor/seek your favor].
And actually, we do see people “making suit” to Job or seeking his favor after this.
But that happens at the end of this book. And it doesn’t happen because Job hasn’t been praying but starts to do so – or because he has been sinning and he stops. It happens when God comes and sets things straight and tells these three worthless friends that they need to “make suit unto” Job – or seek Job’s favor so that Job will pray to God for them.
Job 11 Summary Fate of the Wicked
And so, Zophar ends his speech in verse 20 after speaking so glowingly about what will happen to Job once he starts praying and stops sinning – and he’s going to remind Job of the fate of the wicked.
20 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/to breathe their last].
So, that’s all the wicked can hope for. Death. And – according to Zophar – that’s all Job can expect unless he cuts the nonsense and starts praying and stops sinning.
But, of course, as we all know, this is not what is going to help Job. Job does pray. Job has no unconfessed sin that God is punishing him for here.
And so, next time Job will need to respond to Zophar’s frustratingly-unhelpful advice.