Bible Book List

Job 20 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Zophar Speaks: Wickedness Receives Just Retribution

20 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered:

“Pay attention! My thoughts urge me to answer,
    because of the agitation within me.
I hear censure that insults me,
    and a spirit beyond my understanding answers me.
Do you not know this from of old,
    ever since mortals were placed on earth,
that the exulting of the wicked is short,
    and the joy of the godless is but for a moment?
Even though they mount up high as the heavens,
    and their head reaches to the clouds,
they will perish forever like their own dung;
    those who have seen them will say, ‘Where are they?’
They will fly away like a dream, and not be found;
    they will be chased away like a vision of the night.
The eye that saw them will see them no more,
    nor will their place behold them any longer.
10 Their children will seek the favor of the poor,
    and their hands will give back their wealth.
11 Their bodies, once full of youth,
    will lie down in the dust with them.

12 “Though wickedness is sweet in their mouth,
    though they hide it under their tongues,
13 though they are loath to let it go,
    and hold it in their mouths,
14 yet their food is turned in their stomachs;
    it is the venom of asps within them.
15 They swallow down riches and vomit them up again;
    God casts them out of their bellies.
16 They will suck the poison of asps;
    the tongue of a viper will kill them.
17 They will not look on the rivers,
    the streams flowing with honey and curds.
18 They will give back the fruit of their toil,
    and will not swallow it down;
from the profit of their trading
    they will get no enjoyment.
19 For they have crushed and abandoned the poor,
    they have seized a house that they did not build.

20 “They knew no quiet in their bellies;
    in their greed they let nothing escape.
21 There was nothing left after they had eaten;
    therefore their prosperity will not endure.
22 In full sufficiency they will be in distress;
    all the force of misery will come upon them.
23 To fill their belly to the full
    God[a] will send his fierce anger into them,
    and rain it upon them as their food.[b]
24 They will flee from an iron weapon;
    a bronze arrow will strike them through.
25 It is drawn forth and comes out of their body,
    and the glittering point comes out of their gall;
    terrors come upon them.
26 Utter darkness is laid up for their treasures;
    a fire fanned by no one will devour them;
    what is left in their tent will be consumed.
27 The heavens will reveal their iniquity,
    and the earth will rise up against them.
28 The possessions of their house will be carried away,
    dragged off in the day of God’s[c] wrath.
29 This is the portion of the wicked from God,
    the heritage decreed for them by God.”


  1. Job 20:23 Heb he
  2. Job 20:23 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. Job 20:28 Heb his
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Job 20 New International Version (NIV)


20 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

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

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

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

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


  1. Job 20:4 Or Adam
  2. Job 20:28 Or The possessions in his house will be carried off, / washed away
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Viewing of
Cross references