Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Naamathite. Septuagint, “the Minean,” in Arabia Felix, or rather of the Meonim, not far from the Themanites, Judges x. 11. Sophar was probably a descendant of Sepho, styled by Septuagint Sophar, (Genesis xxxvi. 11., and 1 Paralipomenon i. 36.) brother of Theman, and grandson of Eliphaz, the son of Esau. (Calmet) — He speaks with greater insolence than the two others, (Pineda) and inveighs against Job, insisting that he can be punished thus only for his crimes. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. Much. The speeches of Job seemed tedious to him, because he was not of his opinion. (Menochius) — He might have applied to himself and his friends the fault of talking too much, as they all spoke many things to no purpose, whereas Job went straight to the point. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Men. Hebrew, “shall thy lies make men keep silence?” Septuagint, “Blessed be the short-lived son of a woman. Speak not much, for there is no one to give sentence against thee.” (Haydock) — Mocked, by not acquiescing to their solid arguments, (Menochius) and speaking with much animation. (Pineda)
Ver. 4. Sight. Job had just said the reverse, chap. ix. 2. (St. Chrysostom)
Ver. 6. Law. Hebrew Thushiya, (Haydock) “the essence” of any thing. Hence it is explained, “law, strength, comfort,” &c. We might translate, “and that the reality of thy crimes deserved double punishment,” &c. The obligations of the natural, and also of the written law of Moses, with which Job was (Calmet) perhaps (Haydock) acquainted, (chap. xxii. 22.) are very numerous and difficult. The ways of Providence are not easily understood, though some are obvious enough. He rewards and punishes. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “for it is double of what has come against thee, and then thou wouldst know that thy sins are justly requited.” Protestants, “that they are double to that which is: Know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth,” 1 Esdras ix. 13. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Perfectly? If not, it is rash to find fault. (Menochius)
Ver. 11. It? to inflict punishment. Septuagint, “he will not overlook.” (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Is. Hebrew, “is he heart? or wise, (Calmet) he who is born like a,” &c. Shall he assert his independence, or pretend to be wise? (Haydock) — The Hebrews place wisdom in the heart, as we do courage, chap. xii. 3., and Proverbs ii. 2., &c. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. But. Hebrew, “If thou direct thy heart, &c. Thou mayst lift up thy face,” (ver. 15.; Haydock) without fear, 2 Kings ii. 22. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Iniquity. Of this Job was not conscious, and therefore could not confess it. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Without. Septuagint, “as clean water, thou shalt put away corruption, and shalt not fear.”
Ver. 17. Brightness. Septuagint, “But thy prayer, like the day-star and life, shall arise to thee from the south, or as at noon-day.” Hebrew, “Thy age (Haydock) shall appear clearer than the noon-day, and darkness like the morning.” Prosperity shall succeed, (Calmet) when thou shalt think all lost. (Menochius)
Ver. 18. Secure, dying full of hope. (Chaldean) Hebrew, “thou shalt dig,” (for water, which was there a great treasure, Genesis xxi. 25., and xxvi. 15.) or to fasten down thy tent, (Calmet) “and rest secure.” (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Face. Luther translates “shall flatter thee.” The Dutch version, which is taken from Luther’s, has mistaken a letter, and rendered “shall flee before thee,” which shews the danger of translating without recurring to the originals. (Amama)
Ver. 20. Soul, because hope deferred causeth pain to the soul, Proverbs xiii. 12. (Menochius) — Hebrew, “their hope shall be the sorrow, or the breathing out of the soul.” (Calmet) — Protestants, “the giving up of the ghost.” Marginal note, “a puff of breath,” chap. xviii. 14. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Sophar reproveth Job for justifying himself, and inviteth him to repentance.
1 Then Sophar, the Naamathite, answered, and said:
2 Shall not he that speaketh much, hear also? or shall a man full of talk be justified?
3 Shall men hold their peace to thee only? and when thou hast mocked others, shall no man confute thee?
4 For thou hast said: My word is pure, and I am clean in thy sight.
5 And I wish that God would speak with thee, and would open his lips to thee,
6 That he might shew thee the secrets of wisdom, and that his law is manifold, and thou mightest understand that he exacteth much less of thee, than thy iniquity deserveth.
7 Peradventure thou wilt comprehend the steps of God, and wilt find out the Almighty perfectly?
8 He is higher than heaven, and what wilt thou do? he is deeper than hell, and how wilt thou know?
9 The measure of him is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.
10 If he shall overturn all things, or shall press them together, who shall contradict him?
11 For he knoweth the vanity of men, and when he seeth iniquity, doth he not consider it?
12 A vain man is lifted up into pride, and thinketh himself born free like a wild ass’s colt.
13 But thou hast hardened thy heart, and hast spread thy hands to him.
14 If thou wilt put away from thee the iniquity that is in thy hand, and lot not injustice remain in thy tabernacle:
15 Then mayst thou lift up thy face without spot, and thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt not fear.
16 Thou shalt also forget misery, and remember it only as waters that are passed away.
17 And brightness like that of the noon-day, shall arise to thee at evening: and when thou shalt think thyself consumed, thou shalt rise as the day-star.
18 And thou shalt have confidence, hope being set before thee, and being buried thou shalt sleep secure.
19 *Thou shalt rest, and there shall be none to make thee afraid: and many shall entreat thy face.
20 *But the eyes of the wicked shall decay, and the way to escape shall fail them, and their hope the abomination of the soul.
19: Leviticus xxvi. 6.
20: Leviticus xxvi. 16.