Zophar’s First Speech. 1And Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:
2Should not many words be answered,
or must the garrulous man necessarily be right?
3Shall your babblings keep others silent,
and shall you deride and no one give rebuke?
4Shall you say: “My teaching is pure,
and I am clean in your sight”?
5But oh, that God would speak,*
and open his lips against you,
6And tell you the secrets of wisdom,
for good sense has two sides;
So you might learn that God
overlooks some of your sinfulness.
7Can you find out the depths of God?a
or find out the perfection of the Almighty?
8It is higher than the heavens; what can you do?
It is deeper than Sheol; what can you know?
9It is longer than the earth in measure,
and broader than the sea.
10If he should seize and imprison
or call to judgment, who then could turn him back?
11For he knows the worthless
and sees iniquity; will he then ignore it?
12An empty head will gain understanding,
when a colt of a wild jackassb is born human.*
13If you set your heart aright
and stretch out your hands toward him,
14If iniquity is in your hand, remove it,
and do not let injustice dwell in your tent,
15Surely then you may lift up your face in innocence;
you may stand firm and unafraid.
16For then you shall forget your misery,
like water that has ebbed away you shall regard it.
17Then your life shall be brighter than the noonday;
its gloom shall become like the morning,
18And you shall be secure, because there is hope;
you shall look round you and lie down in safety;c
19you shall lie down and no one will disturb you.
Many shall entreat your favor,
20but the wicked, looking on, shall be consumed with envy.
Escape shall be cut off from them,
their only hope their last breath.
* [11:5] This is another of many ironies (e.g., cf. 11:16–19) that occur throughout the book. Zophar does not know that God will speak (chaps. 38–42), but contrary to what he thinks.
* [11:12] A colt…is born human: the Hebrew is obscure. As translated, it seems to be a proverb referring to an impossible event.