Job 11:12
New International Version
But the witless can no more become wise than a wild donkey’s colt can be born human.

New Living Translation
An empty-headed person won’t become wise any more than a wild donkey can bear a human child.

English Standard Version
But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man!

Berean Study Bible
But a witless man can no more become wise than the colt of a wild donkey can be born a man!

King James Bible
For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

New King James Version
For an empty-headed man will be wise, When a wild donkey’s colt is born a man.

New American Standard Bible
“An idiot will become intelligent When a wild donkey is born a human.

NASB 1995
“An idiot will become intelligent When the foal of a wild donkey is born a man.

NASB 1977
“And an idiot will become intelligent When the foal of a wild donkey is born a man.

Amplified Bible
“But a hollow (empty-headed) man will become intelligent and wise [Only] when the colt of a wild donkey is born as a man.

Christian Standard Bible
But a stupid person will gain understanding as soon as a wild donkey is born a human!

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But a stupid man will gain understanding as soon as a wild donkey is born a man!

American Standard Version
But vain man is void of understanding, Yea, man is born as a wild ass's colt.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And a man who is pure is encouraged, and he who is mighty helps a man

Brenton Septuagint Translation
But man vainly buoys himself up with words; and a mortal born of woman is like an ass in the desert.

Contemporary English Version
but it's easier to tame a wild donkey than to make a fool wise.

Douay-Rheims Bible
A vain man is lifted up into pride, and thinketh himself born free like a wild ass's colt.

English Revised Version
But vain man is void of understanding, yea, man is born as a wild ass's colt.

Good News Translation
Stupid people will start being wise when wild donkeys are born tame.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But an empty-headed person will gain understanding when a wild donkey is born tame.

International Standard Version
An empty-headed person will gain understanding when a wild donkey is born a human being!"

JPS Tanakh 1917
But an empty man will get understanding, When a wild ass's colt is born a man.

Literal Standard Version
And empty man is bold, And man is born [as] the colt of a wild donkey.

NET Bible
But an empty man will become wise, when a wild donkey's colt is born a human being.

New Heart English Bible
An empty-headed man becomes wise when a man is born as a wild donkey's colt.

World English Bible
An empty-headed man becomes wise when a man is born as a wild donkey's colt.

Young's Literal Translation
And empty man is bold, And the colt of a wild ass man is born.

Additional Translations ...
Context
Zophar Rebukes Job
11Surely He knows the deceit of men. If He sees iniquity, does He not take note? 12But a witless man can no more become wise than the colt of a wild donkey can be born a man! 13As for you, if you direct your heart and lift up your hands to Him,…

Cross References
Job 39:5
Who set the wild donkey free? Who released the swift donkey from the harness?

Psalm 39:5
You, indeed, have made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing before You. Truly each man at his best exists as but a breath. Selah

Psalm 39:11
You discipline and correct a man for his iniquity, consuming like a moth what he holds dear; surely each man is but a vapor. Selah

Psalm 62:9
Lowborn men are but a vapor, the exalted but a lie. Weighed on the scale, they go up; together they are but a vapor.

Psalm 144:4
Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

Ecclesiastes 1:2
"Futility of futilities," says the Teacher, "futility of futilities! Everything is futile!"

Ecclesiastes 11:10
So banish sorrow from your heart, and cast off pain from your body, for youth and vigor are fleeting.


Treasury of Scripture

For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

For vain.

Psalm 62:9,10
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity…

Psalm 73:22
So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.

Psalm 92:6
A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

would

Job 5:13
He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.

Job 12:2,3
No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you…

Job 28:28
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

man be

Job 15:14
What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Ephesians 2:3
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

a wild

Job 6:5
Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?

Job 39:5-8
Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass? …

Jeremiah 2:24
A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her.









(12) For vain man would be wise, &c., is extremely difficult, because it is hard to distinguish subject and predicate. Literally, it runs, And hollow man is instructed, and the wild ass's colt is born a man. Whether it means that if God did not thus conceal His observation of human actions, the very fool and the most obstinate would become instructed and disciplined, whereas now they are allowed to go on in their folly and obstinacy; or whether it is meant that, notwithstanding the dealings of Providence, hollow-hearted man is still devoid of heart, and every son of Adam at his birth is a very wild ass colt; or whether, again, it is meant that by reason of the Divine discipline the hollow-hearted man is disciplined, and the very wild ass colt is born a man and humanised, it is hard to decide. The uncertainty in part arises from our not knowing the exact meaning of the first verb: whether it is to get understanding or to be deprived of it--for either is possible. Another way of taking the context is to refer the last clause of Job 11:11, not to God, but to man. Man sees not that God sees him, for an empty man will get understanding when a wild ass's colt is born a man--that is, the latter is as likely as the former. One point is pretty clear, that by the wild ass's colt Zophar means Job. However, he suggests that if he will become something better and wiser, and will put away his secret sin, which he is convinced must cling to him, then he shall again know prosperity and be established in it.

Verse 12. - For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt; rather, and a vain man may get understanding, and the colt of a wild ass become a than (compare the Revised Version, marginal rendering). Zophar seems to mean that, through Divine discipline, such as that described in ver. 10, a vain, foolish, puffed-up man may be reclaimed and become a man of understanding - a stubborn and untamed one, wild as the colt of a wild ass, grow into a real man, i.e. acquire sense and discretion. If this is the meaning, undoubtedly Job is glanced at (so Schultens, Dillmann, and Canon Cook).

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
But a witless
נָ֭בוּב (nā·ḇūḇ)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 5014: To pierce, to be hollow, foolish

man
וְאִ֣ישׁ (wə·’îš)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 376: A man as an individual, a male person

can no more become wise
יִלָּבֵ֑ב (yil·lā·ḇêḇ)
Verb - Nifal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 3823: Transport, stultify, to make cakes

than the colt
וְעַ֥יִר (wə·‘a·yir)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 5895: A young ass, an ass-colt

of a wild donkey
פֶּ֝֗רֶא (pe·re)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 6501: A wild donkey

can be born
יִוָּלֵֽד׃ (yiw·wā·lêḏ)
Verb - Nifal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 3205: To bear young, to beget, medically, to act as midwife, to show lineage

a man!
אָדָ֥ם (’ā·ḏām)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 120: Ruddy, a human being


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OT Poetry: Job 11:12 An empty-headed man becomes wise when (Jb)
Job 11:11
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