Job 11, Exegetical Notes from Abner Chou

Job 11 is Abner’s favorite chapter. Zophar is a philosopher/theologian, and his arguments show it.

Job 11:1

Zophar responds to Job, Bildad, and Eliphaz now.

Job 11:2

He’s saying you guys are just yakking but have no insight.

Job 11:3

All this is probably just a demonstration of pride. And he does have a point.

Job 11:4

Zophar, so far, still thinks Job is sinful, positing his purity against Job’s wickedness.

Job 11:5

His point is to look at this from God’s perspective. This is his theological bent coming out. He knows what God will say if they went to court.

Job 11:6

He will tell you there are things concealed you don’t know about. That’s true. Job doesn’t know a lot, and God will say that to him, but he’s wrong because he thinks he knows what is concealed, and because he thinks this proves Job is wrong. “God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves,” or “Know then that God forgets your iniquity.” The idea isn’t that God has amnesia, but that God overlooks things so he doesn’t punish him for the full evil Job has done. (aka: Hey, you should be suffering even more than this. How encouraging!)


Bildad said God causes and effects. Job says God is so complicated we can’t understand him. Zophar is saying God is complicated, and that’s why you’re wrong. He says God’s complication exceeds Job’s view of His complication, therefore, Job is wrong. They are out-complicating each other.

Job 11:7

Zophar shows why God is more complicated than Job has ever seen. The idea here is digging. Have you ever dug up all of God? The next word is boundaries. Have you ever discovered the limits of God? Have you dug the entire earth? Have you seen the entire horizon? You haven’t even seen the limited edge, and you think you can understand this Causer?

Job 11:8

Heaven in the Bible is an inaccessible place, but God’s greatness exceeds even that. Job would need divine power to get to heaven much less exhaust it. God’s transcendence exceeds a mystery. God is both inaccessible and mysterious.

Job 11:9

God transcends creation. This knocks out Bildad’s and Job’s previous arguments.

Job 11:11

Logic: if God sees someone as guilty, then they are guilty; and since he punishes the guilty, if he punishes you, then you must be guilty. But: 1) Job isn’t guilty, and 2) Zophar just tried to figure out God—the very thing he said no one can do. Nice. He should have just said No one can figure God out so let’s just stop trying. Sorry bud. Thanks for coming out.

Job 11:12

Wow. He says, Job you are a stupid man, and you will become smart when pigs fly. A donkey will give birth to a person before you will ever become smart. Zophar doesn’t have a consistent humility, because if God is so far above us, we should bow, not keep talking about what you think you know and putting others who aren’t so enlightened down. This is the pitfall of theologian/philosophers, because we claim to know things we really don’t know, and as a result we can really damage people.

Job 11:13-20, the nature of repentance

Job 11:13

The action of repentance. Zophar lays out a theological treatise about repentance. And he is right. Totally. He goes wrong by saying that Job needs to repent—But, it’s some of the most profound words on repentance in the Scripture.

(Repentance must come from your heart—the inside—but it effects the extremities [all the way to the hands—the palms, actually]. From the inside all the way to the outside, you must turn.)

Job 11:14

On top of that, there must be radical transformation. If it’s in your tent, your close vicinity, you have to get rid of it. Get totally away.

Job 11:15

Lifting up the face is a relationship issue. He will be right before God if he repents. The irony is Job is already right before God. He maintained his integrity. Again, a good argument with a bad application doesn’t equal wisdom.

Job 11:16

You will forget your problems.

Job 11:17

This harkens back to Job’s dark language. Zophar says that will turn to light.

Job 11:18

Job said earlier he didn’t like to sleep because he was afraid. Zophar said he would have peace, a clean conscience.

Job 11:19

Many will court your favor. The exact opposite relationship his friends have with him now. Yeah, right. How nice.

Job 11:20

A very stern warning. The wicked will be destroyed. If Job won’t repent, he will die; that’s a guarantee. That’s how we know God works, because he is so complicated (how ironic).

Other Notes

This entire debate system is kind of like The Bachelor TV show, but of ideas. Idea 1: Eliphaz; Idea 2: Bildad; Idea 3: Zophar. Come on Job, just choose an idea, a worldview to believe! Job’s friends are positing options, but they have no concrete evidence they are right over the others.