Zophar the Naamathite‼️Zophar was a friend of Job and in chapter 11 he launches defending God and expatiates on all aspects of His glory.In the first flush it seems true. It is not the contents which Zophar utters which irks and draws a fitting response from Job, at chapter 13 of the book as much as the mettle of the person who said it & the person to whom it was addressed.Hypocrisy is not revealed better in any other piece of literature I’ve ever read.Job’s predicament of having been subjected to the misfortunes that he was going through was not because of the “fault theory” or even “randomness of events”, there was a testimony by the Creator on Job, which was assailed by the Creator’s antipode, the Devil, on the grounds that Job stood protected by God, the Creator, and consequently Job was merely ‘grateful’ and once the protection of God was removed, Job would not be ‘perfect’.God, allows Satan to assault Job serially after God removes the protection gradually till Job is denuded of all protection except Job’s life.It is in these circumstances that Job’s three friends find him and Zophar requires Job to ‘repent’.Job’s justification is known to the readers as his misfortunes were not the cause of his faults.Zophar eulogises God and tells Job to repent.Chapter 13 shows that Job couldn’t find anything to repent. Zophar should have left it at that, but he exalts God and His virtues.Job demolishes Zophar’s arguments by saying the Zophar was not worthy of talking of God.It is not uncommon to find priests walking into houses and telling people to repent, neither leading worthy lives of making such a demand on innocent people and rounding off their demands by exalting God.Maybe Zophar’s averments would have worked with lesser mortals, but Job was of a sterner stuff. Job’s answer thus is amazing:7 Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?
8 Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?
9 Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?
10 He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.
11 Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?
Job’s assertion is: be worthy of talking and taking up for God and just don’t do it because an institution has vested you with temporal authority. Spiritual humility is fundamental.Jesus’ challenge at Luke 13: that do you think that the tower fell on them in Siloam and you have been spared is because you are more righteous? Is similar to what Job told Zophar, Bildad and the other friend.
The New Living Version of the Bible runs as follows and is easier to comprehend:
Are you defending God with lies?
Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake?
8Will you slant your testimony in his favor?
Will you argue God’s case for him?
9What will happen when he finds out what you are doing?
Can you fool him as easily as you fool people?
10No, you will be in trouble with him
if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor.
11Doesn’t his majesty terrify you?
Doesn’t your fear of him overwhelm you?
12Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes.
Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot.
13“Be silent now and leave me alone.
Let me speak, and I will face the consequences.
Interpreting, without factoring the text or the context or the person to whom it applies, is terrible!