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Zophar Answers Job

20 Then Zophar from Naamah answered:

“You upset me, so I must answer you.
    I must tell you what I am thinking.
You insulted me with your answers!
    But I am wise and know how to answer you.

4-5 “You know that the joy of the wicked does not last long.
    That has been true a long time, ever since Adam was[a] put on earth.
    Those who don’t know God are happy for only a short time.
Maybe an evil man’s pride will reach up to the sky,
    and his head will touch the clouds.
But he will be gone forever like his own body waste.
    People who knew him will say, ‘Where is he?’
Like a dream, he will fly away, never to be found.
    He will be chased away like a bad dream.[b]
Those who knew him before will not see him again.
    His family will never again get to see him.
10 His children will have to give back what he took from the poor.
    His own hands will give up his wealth.
11 When he was young, his bones were strong,
    but, like the rest of his body, they will soon lie in the dirt.

12 “Evil tastes sweet in his mouth.
    He keeps it under his tongue to enjoy it fully.
13 He hates to let it go
    and holds it in his mouth.
14 But that evil will turn sour in his stomach.
    It will be like a snake’s bitter poison inside him.
15 The evil man will spit out the riches he has swallowed.
    God will make him vomit them up.
16 What he drank will be like a snake’s poison;
    it will kill him like the bite of a deadly snake.
17 He will never again enjoy so much wealth—
    rivers flowing with honey and cream.[c]
18 He will be forced to give back his profits.
    He will not be allowed to enjoy what he worked for,
19 because he hurt the poor and left them with nothing.
    He took houses he did not build.

20 “The evil man is never satisfied.
    But the things he wants cannot save him.
21 After filling himself, there is nothing left.
    His success will not continue.
22 Even while he has plenty, he will be pressed down with trouble.
    His problems will come down on him!
23 If he does get all he wants,
    God will throw his burning anger against him.
    God will attack him and rain down punishment on him.
24 Maybe he will run away from an iron sword,
    but then a bronze arrow[d] will strike him down.
25 It will go through his body
    and stick out of his back.
Its shining point will pierce his liver,
    and he will be shocked with terror.
26 All his treasures will be lost in darkness.
    He will be destroyed by a fire, a fire that no human started.
    It will destroy everything left in his house.
27 Heaven will prove that he is guilty.
    The earth will be a witness against him.
28 His house and everything in it will be carried away
    in the flood of God’s anger.
29 That is what God will do to those who are evil.
    That is what he plans to give them.”


  1. Job 20:4 Adam was Or “people were.”
  2. Job 20:8 bad dream Or “vision of the night.”
  3. Job 20:17 rivers … cream A figure meaning a plentiful supply of rich food. The word translated “cream” could mean butter, curds, or yogurt.
  4. Job 20:24 bronze arrow Literally, “bronze bow.” Or “powerful bow,” possibly a bow made of sinew, wood and horn.


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

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