Add parallel Print Page Options

20 Tzofar the Na‘amati replied,

“My thoughts are pressing me to answer;
I feel such an urge to speak!
I have heard reproof that outrages me,
but a spirit past my understanding gives me a reply.

“Don’t you know that ever since time began,
ever since humans were placed on earth,
that the triumph of the wicked is always short-lived,
and the joy of the ungodly is gone in a moment?
His pride may mount to the heavens,
his head may touch the clouds;
but he will vanish completely, like his own dung —
those who used to see him will ask, ‘Where is he?’
Like a dream he flies off and is not found again;
like a vision in the night he is chased away.
The eye which once saw him will see him no more,
his place will not behold him again.
10 His children will have to pay back the poor;
his hands will restore their wealth.
11 His bones may be filled with [the vigor of] his youth,
but it will join him lying in the dust.

12 “Wickedness may taste sweet in his mouth,
he may savor and roll it around on his tongue,
13 he may linger over it and not let it go
but keep it there in his mouth —
14 yet in his stomach his food goes bad,
it works inside him like snake venom;
15 the wealth he swallows he vomits back up;
God makes him disgorge it.
16 He sucks the poison of asps,
the viper’s fangs will kill him.
17 He will not enjoy the rivers,
the streams flowing with honey and cream.
18 He will have to give back what he toiled for;
he won’t get to swallow it down —
to the degree that he acquired wealth,
he won’t get to enjoy it.

19 “For he crushed and abandoned the poor,
seizing houses he did not build,
20 because his appetite would not let him rest,
in his greed he let nothing escape;
21 nothing is left that he did not devour;
therefore his well-being will not last.
22 With all needs satisfied, he will be in distress;
the full force of misery will come over him.

23 “This is what will fill his belly! —
[God] will lay on him all his burning anger
and make it rain over him, into his insides.
24 If he flees from the weapon of iron,
the bow of bronze will pierce him through —
25 he pulls the arrow out of his back,
the shining tip comes out from his innards;
terrors come upon him.

26 “Total darkness is laid up for his treasures,
a fire fanned by no one will consume him,
and calamity awaits what is left in his tent.
27 The heavens will reveal his guilt,
and the earth will rise up against him.
28 The income of his household will be carried off;
his goods will flow away on the day of his wrath.
29 This is God’s reward for the wicked,
the heritage God decrees for him.”


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