Job’s Reply to Zophar

21 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(A) against a man?
Then why shouldn’t I be impatient?
Look at me and shudder;(B)
put your hand over your mouth.(C)
When I think about it, I am terrified
and my body trembles(D) 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;(E)
no rod from God strikes them.(F)
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.(G)
13 They spend[b] their days in prosperity(H)
and go down to Sheol in peace.
14 Yet they say to God: “Leave us alone!
We don’t want to know Your ways.(I)
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him,
and what will we gain by pleading with Him?”(J)
16 But their prosperity is not of their own doing.
The counsel of the wicked is far from me!(K)

17 How often is the lamp(L) 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(M) a storm sweeps away?
19 God reserves a person’s punishment for his children.(N)
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!(O)
21 For what does he care about his family once he is dead,(P)
when the number of his months has run out?(Q)

22 Can anyone teach God knowledge,(R)
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(S) soul,
having never tasted prosperity.
26 But they both lie in the dust,
and worms cover them.(T)

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(U) 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(V) 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


21 Then Job replied:

“Listen carefully to my words;(A)
    let this be the consolation you give me.(B)
Bear with me while I speak,
    and after I have spoken, mock on.(C)

“Is my complaint(D) directed to a human being?
    Why should I not be impatient?(E)
Look at me and be appalled;
    clap your hand over your mouth.(F)
When I think about this, I am terrified;(G)
    trembling seizes my body.(H)
Why do the wicked live on,
    growing old and increasing in power?(I)
They see their children established around them,
    their offspring before their eyes.(J)
Their homes are safe and free from fear;(K)
    the rod of God is not on them.(L)
10 Their bulls never fail to breed;
    their cows calve and do not miscarry.(M)
11 They send forth their children as a flock;(N)
    their little ones dance about.
12 They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre;(O)
    they make merry to the sound of the pipe.(P)
13 They spend their years in prosperity(Q)
    and go down to the grave(R) in peace.[a](S)
14 Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone!(T)
    We have no desire to know your ways.(U)
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
    What would we gain by praying to him?’(V)
16 But their prosperity is not in their own hands,
    so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.(W)

17 “Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out?(X)
    How often does calamity(Y) come upon them,
    the fate God allots in his anger?(Z)
18 How often are they like straw before the wind,
    like chaff(AA) swept away(AB) by a gale?(AC)
19 It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.’(AD)
    Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it!(AE)
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction;(AF)
    let them drink(AG) the cup of the wrath of the Almighty.(AH)
21 For what do they care about the families they leave behind(AI)
    when their allotted months(AJ) come to an end?(AK)

22 “Can anyone teach knowledge to God,(AL)
    since he judges even the highest?(AM)
23 One person dies in full vigor,(AN)
    completely secure and at ease,(AO)
24 well nourished(AP) in body,[b]
    bones(AQ) rich with marrow.(AR)
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul,(AS)
    never having enjoyed anything good.
26 Side by side they lie in the dust,(AT)
    and worms(AU) cover them both.(AV)

27 “I know full well what you are thinking,
    the schemes by which you would wrong me.
28 You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great,(AW)
    the tents where the wicked lived?’(AX)
29 Have you never questioned those who travel?
    Have you paid no regard to their accounts—
30 that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity,(AY)
    that they are delivered from[c] the day of wrath?(AZ)
31 Who denounces their conduct to their face?
    Who repays them for what they have done?(BA)
32 They are carried to the grave,
    and watch is kept over their tombs.(BB)
33 The soil in the valley is sweet to them;(BC)
    everyone follows after them,
    and a countless throng goes[d] before them.(BD)

34 “So how can you console me(BE) with your nonsense?
    Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”(BF)


  1. Job 21:13 Or in an instant
  2. Job 21:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Job 21:30 Or wicked are reserved for the day of calamity, / that they are brought forth to
  4. Job 21:33 Or them, / as a countless throng went