וַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃ 12:1
Job 12:1 Now Job responded, and he said,
אָמְנָם כִּי אַתֶּם־עָם וְעִמָּכֶם תָּמוּת חָכְמָה׃ 12:2
Job 12:2 “No doubt that you are the people,
so shall wisdom die with you?”
Ha! Job is mocking all three of his “friends,” not just Zophar. The two pronouns translated as you in this verse are plural. Mocking indeed! He is saying that they talk as if they think they are smarter than anyone. And they are empty of compassion.
גַּם־לִי לֵבָב כְּמֹוכֶם לֹא־נֹפֵל אָנֹכִי מִכֶּם וְאֶת־מִי־אֵין כְּמֹו־אֵלֶּה׃ 12:3
Job 12:3 “I also have understanding, like you.
I am no more inferior than you,
and with whom are there not such things as these?”
Now Job asks contemptuously, “Who doesn’t know of these things of which you so proudly speak?”
שְׂחֹק לְרֵעֵהוּ אֶהְיֶה קֹרֵא לֶאֱלוֹהַּ וַיַּעֲנֵהוּ שְׂחוֹק צַדִּיק תָּמִים׃ 12:4
Job 12:4 “I would be a laughing stock to his neighbor,
calling to God and He answered him.
A righteous one of integrity? A mockery!”
לַפִּיד בּוּז לְעַשְׁתּוּת שַׁאֲנָן נָכוֹן לְמוֹעֲדֵי רָגֶל׃ 12:5
Job 12:5 “A flame of contempt for the thought of one at ease
prepared for those of slipping foot!”
Now Job puts his feelings more succinctly. He has heated contempt for the words of someone who is not hurting and offers such platitudes to one who has fallen.
יִשְׁלָיוּ אֹהָלִים לְשֹׁדְדִים וּבַטֻּחֹות לְמַרְגִּיזֵי אֵל לַאֲשֶׁר הֵבִיא אֱלֹוהַּ בְּיָדֹו׃ 12:6
Job 12:6 “Despoilers' tents can prosper,
and security for the disturbers of God,
for whatever God brings into one's hand.”
וְאוּלָם שְׁאַל־נָא בְהֵמוֹת וְתֹרֶךָּ וְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וְיַגֶּד־לָךְ׃ 12:7
Job 12:7 “Yet nevertheless ask now the beasts,
and any will instruct you,
or any fowl of the sky,
and it will make known to you,
אֹו שִׂיחַ לָאָרֶץ וְתֹרֶךָּ וִיסַפְּרוּ לְךָ דְּגֵי הַיָּם׃ 12:8
Job 12:8 or speak to the earth, and it will instruct you,
or the fish of the sea will declare to you.”
מִי לֹא־יָדַע בְּכָל־אֵלֶּה כִּי יַד־יְהוָה עָשְׂתָה זֹּאת׃ 12:9
Job 12:9 “Who among all these does not know
that the ‘hand’ of the Lord does this?”
אֲשֶׁר בְּיָדוֹ נֶפֶשׁ כָּל־חָי וְרוּחַ כָּל־בְּשַׂר־אִישׁ׃ 12:10
Job 12:10 “That in His ‘hand’ is the soul of every living thing,
and the breath of every thing of flesh!”
It sounds to me like Job has been expressing his belief that the all-powerful God might be arbitrary in His dealings with the world. At least he or the animals or the earth probably believe this.
הֲלֹא־אֹזֶן מִלִּין תִּבְחָן וְחֵךְ אֹכֶל יִטְעַם־לוֹ׃ 12:11
Job 12:11 “Should not the ear examine words,
and the palate taste food for itself?”
Should he just take their words as the truth, or should he examine them the way one tastes the food he eats?
בִּישִׁישִׁים חָכְמָה וְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים תְּבוּנָה׃ 12:12
Job 12:12 “Is wisdom with the aged,
and the length of days, understanding?”
Do they believe they are smart because they are old? Have lived many years?
עִמֹּו חָכְמָה וּגְבוּרָה לֹו עֵצָה וּתְבוּנָה׃ 12:13
Job 12:13 “Wisdom is with Him -- and might.
Counsel and understanding are His.”
No! Only God has the wisdom to understand. No human can fathom Him or His motives.
הֵן יַהֲרוֹס וְלֹא יִבָּנֶה יִסְגֹּר עַל־אִישׁ וְלֹא יִפָּתֵחַ׃ 12:14
Job 12:14 “If He would tear down,
then none could rebuild.
Were He to close up upon someone,
then none could let loose.”
הֵן יַעְצֹר בַּמַּיִם וְיִבָשׁוּ וִישַׁלְּחֵם וְיַהַפְכוּ אָרֶץ׃ 12:15
Job 12:15 “If He would rein in the waters,
then they would become dry.
And were He to send them out,
then they could overflow the earth.”
עִמֹּו עֹז וְתוּשִׁיָּה לֹו שֹׁגֵג וּמַשְׁגֶּה׃ 12:16
Job 12:16 “Strength and sound knowledge are His,
of the sinner and he who leads astray,
מוֹלִיךְ יוֹעֲצִים שׁוֹלָל וְשֹׁפְטִים יְהוֹלֵל׃ 12:17
Job 12:17 Who can make advisors walk barefoot,
and make a fool of judges,
מוּסַר מְלָכִים פִּתֵּחַ וַיֶּאְסֹר אֵזוֹר בְּמָתְנֵיהֶם׃ 12:18
Job 12:18 loosen the bond of kings
or bind a girdle on their loins,
מוֹלִיךְ כֹּהֲנִים שׁוֹלָל וְאֵתָנִים יְסַלֵּף׃ 12:19
Job 12:19 Who can make priests walk barefoot,
and overturn permanent things,
מֵסִיר שָׂפָה לְנֶאֱמָנִים וְטַעַם זְקֵנִים יִקָּח׃ 12:20
Job 12:20 Who can take away speech belonging to trusting ones,
and snatch the judgment of elders,
שׁוֹפֵךְ בּוּז עַל־נְדִיבִים וּמְזִיחַ אֲפִיקִים רִפָּה׃ 12:21
Job 12:21 pouring contempt upon nobles,
and make slack the belt of the powerful,
מְגַלֶּה עֲמֻקוֹת מִנִּי־חֹשֶׁךְ וַיֹּצֵא לָאוֹר צַלְמָוֶת׃ 12:22
Job 12:22 Who can uncover mysteries from darkness,
and draw forth to the light the shadow of death,
מַשְׂגִּיא לַגּוֹיִם וַיְאַבְּדֵם שֹׁטֵחַ לַגּוֹיִם וַיַּנְחֵם׃ 12:23
Job 12:23 Who magnifies, according to nations, or destroys them,
spreads out, according to nations, and guides them,
מֵסִיר לֵב רָאשֵׁי עַם־הָאָרֶץ וַיַּתְעֵם בְּתֹהוּ לֹא־דָרֶךְ׃ 12:24
Job 12:24 Who takes away the heart of the heads of the people of the earth,
and makes them wander in confusion without a path.”
יְמַשְׁשׁוּ־חֹשֶׁךְ וְלֹא־אוֹר וַיַּתְעֵם כַּשִּׁכּוֹר׃ 12:25
Job 12:25 “They may grope the darkness but there is no light,
and He makes them stagger like one drunk. “
Job seems to be the only one among his “friends” who continually acknowledges the power and majesty of the Lord.