Zophar Speaks

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

This is why my unsettling thoughts compel me to answer,

because I am upset![a]

I have heard a rebuke that insults me,

and my understanding[b] makes me reply.

Don’t you know that ever since antiquity,

from the time man was placed on earth,

the joy of the wicked has been brief

and the happiness of the godless has lasted only a moment?

Though his arrogance reaches heaven,

and his head touches the clouds,

he will vanish forever like his own dung.

Those who know[c] him will ask, “Where is he?”

He will fly away like a dream and never be found;

he will be chased away like a vision in the night.

The eye that saw him will see him no more,

and his household will no longer see him.

10 His children will beg from[d] the poor,

for his own hands must give back his wealth.

11 His bones may be full of youthful vigor,

but will lie down with him in the grave.

12 Though evil tastes sweet in his mouth

and he conceals it under his tongue,

13 though he cherishes it and will not let it go

but keeps it in his mouth,

14 yet the food in his stomach turns

into cobras’ venom inside him.

15 He swallows wealth but must vomit it up;

God will force it from his stomach.

16 He will suck the poison of cobras;

a viper’s fangs[e] will kill him.

17 He will not enjoy the streams,

the rivers flowing with honey and cream.

18 He must return the fruit of his labor without consuming it;

he doesn’t enjoy the profits from his trading.

19 For he oppressed and abandoned the poor;

he seized a house he did not build.

20 Because his appetite is never satisfied,[f]

he does not let anything he desires escape.

21 Nothing is left for him to consume;

therefore, his prosperity will not last.

22 At the height of his success[g] distress will come to him;

the full weight of misery[h] will crush him.

23 When he fills his stomach,

God will send His burning anger against him,

raining it down on him while he is eating.[i]

24 If he flees from an iron weapon,

an arrow from a bronze bow will pierce him.

25 He pulls it out of his back,

the flashing tip out of his liver.[j]

Terrors come over him.

26 Total darkness is reserved for his treasures.

A fire unfanned by human hands will consume him;

it will feed on what is left in his tent.

27 The heavens will expose his iniquity,

and the earth will rise up against him.

28 The possessions in his house will be removed,

flowing away on the day of God’s anger.

29 This is the wicked man’s lot from God,

the inheritance God ordained for him.


  1. Job 20:2 Lit because of my feeling within me
  2. Job 20:3 Lit and a spirit from my understanding
  3. Job 20:7 Lit have seen
  4. Job 20:10 Or children must compensate
  5. Job 20:16 Lit tongue
  6. Job 20:20 Lit Because he does not know ease in his stomach
  7. Job 20:22 Lit In the fullness of his excess
  8. Job 20:22 Some Hb mss, LXX, Vg; other Hb mss read the hand of everyone in misery
  9. Job 20:23 Text emended; MT reads him, against his flesh
  10. Job 20:25 Or gallbladder