Zophar Speaks

20 Then Zophar the Naamathite(A) 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.(B)

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?(C)
Though his arrogance reaches heaven,
and his head touches the clouds,(D)
he will vanish forever like his own dung.
Those who know[c] him will ask, “Where is he?”(E)
He will fly away like a dream and never be found;
he will be chased away like a vision in the night.(F)
The eye that saw him will see him no more,(G)
and his household will no longer see him.(H)
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.(I)

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,(J)
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.(K)
17 He will not enjoy the streams,
the rivers flowing with honey and cream.(L)
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.(M)

20 Because his appetite is never satisfied,[f]
he does not let anything he desires escape.
21 Nothing is left for him to consume;(N)
therefore, his prosperity will not last.
22 At the height of his success[g] distress will come to him;(O)
the full weight of misery[h] will crush him.
23 When he fills his stomach,
God will send His burning anger against him,
raining(P) 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.(Q)
26 Total darkness is reserved for his treasures.
A fire unfanned by human hands will consume(R) him;
it will feed on what is left in his tent.
27 The heavens will expose his iniquity,(S)
and the earth will rise up against him.(T)
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(U) 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


20 Then Zophar the Naamathite(A) replied:

“My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer
    because I am greatly disturbed.(B)
I hear a rebuke(C) that dishonors me,
    and my understanding inspires me to reply.

“Surely you know how it has been from of old,(D)
    ever since mankind[a] was placed on the earth,
that the mirth of the wicked(E) is brief,
    the joy of the godless(F) lasts but a moment.(G)
Though the pride(H) of the godless person reaches to the heavens(I)
    and his head touches the clouds,(J)
he will perish forever,(K) like his own dung;
    those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’(L)
Like a dream(M) he flies away,(N) no more to be found,
    banished(O) like a vision of the night.(P)
The eye that saw him will not see him again;
    his place will look on him no more.(Q)
10 His children(R) must make amends to the poor;
    his own hands must give back his wealth.(S)
11 The youthful vigor(T) that fills his bones(U)
    will lie with him in the dust.(V)

12 “Though evil(W) is sweet in his mouth
    and he hides it under his tongue,(X)
13 though he cannot bear to let it go
    and lets it linger in his mouth,(Y)
14 yet his food will turn sour in his stomach;(Z)
    it will become the venom of serpents(AA) within him.
15 He will spit out the riches(AB) he swallowed;
    God will make his stomach vomit(AC) them up.
16 He will suck the poison(AD) of serpents;
    the fangs of an adder will kill him.(AE)
17 He will not enjoy the streams,
    the rivers(AF) flowing with honey(AG) and cream.(AH)
18 What he toiled for he must give back uneaten;(AI)
    he will not enjoy the profit from his trading.(AJ)
19 For he has oppressed the poor(AK) and left them destitute;(AL)
    he has seized houses(AM) he did not build.

20 “Surely he will have no respite from his craving;(AN)
    he cannot save himself by his treasure.(AO)
21 Nothing is left for him to devour;
    his prosperity will not endure.(AP)
22 In the midst of his plenty, distress will overtake him;(AQ)
    the full force of misery will come upon him.(AR)
23 When he has filled his belly,(AS)
    God will vent his burning anger(AT) against him
    and rain down his blows on him.(AU)
24 Though he flees(AV) from an iron weapon,
    a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him.(AW)
25 He pulls it out of his back,
    the gleaming point out of his liver.
Terrors(AX) will come over him;(AY)
26     total darkness(AZ) lies in wait for his treasures.
A fire(BA) unfanned will consume him(BB)
    and devour what is left in his tent.(BC)
27 The heavens will expose his guilt;
    the earth will rise up against him.(BD)
28 A flood will carry off his house,(BE)
    rushing waters[b] on the day of God’s wrath.(BF)
29 Such is the fate God allots the wicked,
    the heritage appointed for them by God.”(BG)


  1. Job 20:4 Or Adam
  2. Job 20:28 Or The possessions in his house will be carried off, / washed away