The First Speech of Zophar

Sometimes the way up is down. John Moorlach learned that lesson. In June of 1994, he ran against incumbent Robert L. Citron for the post of treasurer of Orange County, California. During the campaign, Moorlach condemned Citron’s risky investments. At the time, Moorlach’s … More


Job has heard two points of the sermon from his friends: Man is sinful (Eliphaz), and God is just (Bildad). Zophar, the youngest of Job’s three friends, now finishes the sermon with the third point. God punishes sin, but He gives us less punishment than we deserve. Zophar is very direct and cutting in his accusations, perhaps because he has already heard his two friends speak, and he has also heard Job’s bitter comments directed to them and to God. Things are either black or white to Zophar. He assumes that Job is suffering because of his sin, and he doesn’t like Job’s attitude and thinks he is a disrespectful, complaining old man.

Zophar could be characterized as a man full of worldly wisdom and common sense. He accuses Job of lying and hypocrisy, and can hardly wait for God to give him what he deserves (vv. 1-6). Job has been insisting that God has been too harsh with him, but Zophar feels that God has been too easy on him. This is a profound statement that Zophar makes (vv. 7-10). No man can discover God; God is revealed. The only way you can know about God is what He is pleased to reveal of Himself to us.

Zophar called Job a man who is empty in the head. He says that his chances of becoming wise were no greater than the possibility of a wild donkey giving birth to a man (vv. 11-12).  Zophar responded to Job’s words, not his feelings, and that was a mistake. He advises Job to repent and turn away from his wickedness. He says that if he does, God will forgive him, restore him, and banish all fear and suffering (vv. 13-20). He warned Job that if he did not repent he would die (v. 20).


Zophar explained quite accurately that God knows and sees everything. When I’m tempted to think  “No one will ever know,” I need to remember that I can do nothing without God knowing about it.

Job 11:1-20 (English Standard Version)

Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said: "Should a multitude of words go unanswered, and a man full of talk be judged right? Should your babble silence men, and when you mock, shall no one shame you? For you say, 'My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God's eyes.' But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you, and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom! For he is manifold in understanding. Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves. "Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven--what can you do? Deeper than Sheol--what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. If he passes through and imprisons and summons the court, who can turn him back? For he knows worthless men; when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it? But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey's colt is born a man! "If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last."

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