Job’s Reply to Zophar

Then Job answered:

Pay close attention to my words;

let this be the consolation you offer.

Bear with me while I speak;

then after I have spoken, you may continue mocking.

As for me, is my complaint against a man?

Then why shouldn’t I be impatient?

Look at me and shudder;

put your hand over your mouth.

When I think about it, I am terrified

and my body trembles in horror.

Why do the wicked continue to live,

growing old and becoming powerful?

Their children are established while they are still alive,[a]

and their descendants, before their eyes.

Their homes are secure and free of fear;

no rod from God strikes them.

10 Their bulls breed without fail;

their cows calve and do not miscarry.

11 They let their little ones run around like lambs;

their children skip about,

12 singing to the tambourine and lyre

and rejoicing at the sound of the flute.

13 They spend[b] their days in prosperity

and go down to Sheol in peace.

14 Yet they say to God: “Leave us alone!

We don’t want to know Your ways.

15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him,

and what will we gain by pleading with Him?”

16 But their prosperity is not of their own doing.

The counsel of the wicked is far from me!

17 How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?

Does disaster[c] come on them?

Does He apportion destruction in His anger?

18 Are they like straw before the wind,

like chaff a storm sweeps away?

19 God reserves a person’s punishment for his children.

Let God repay the person himself, so that he may know it.

20 Let his own eyes see his demise;

let him drink from the Almighty’s wrath!

21 For what does he care about his family once he is dead,

when the number of his months has run out?

22 Can anyone teach God knowledge,

since He judges the exalted ones?[d]

23 One person dies in excellent health,[e]

completely secure[f] and at ease.

24 His body is[g] well fed,[h]

and his bones are full of marrow.[i]

25 Yet another person dies with a bitter soul,

having never tasted prosperity.

26 But they both lie in the dust,

and worms cover them.

27 I know your thoughts very well,

the schemes you would wrong me with.

28 For you say, “Where now is the nobleman’s house?”

and “Where are the tents the wicked lived in?”

29 Have you never consulted those who travel the roads?

Don’t you accept their reports?[j]

30 Indeed, the evil man is spared from the day of disaster,

rescued from the day of wrath.

31 Who would denounce his behavior to his face?

Who would repay him for what he has done?

32 He is carried to the grave,

and someone keeps watch over his tomb.

33 The dirt on his grave is[k] sweet to him.

Everyone follows behind him,

and those who go before him are without number.

34 So how can you offer me such futile comfort?

Your answers are deceptive.


  1. Job 21:8 Lit established before them with them
  2. Job 21:13 Alt Hb tradition reads fully enjoy
  3. Job 21:17 Lit their disaster
  4. Job 21:22 Probably angels
  5. Job 21:23 Lit in bone of his perfection
  6. Job 21:23 Text emended; MT reads health, all at ease
  7. Job 21:24 Or His sides are; Hb obscure
  8. Job 21:24 Lit is full of milk
  9. Job 21:24 Lit and the marrow of his bones is watered
  10. Job 21:29 Lit signs
  11. Job 21:33 Lit The clods of the wadi are