The Trial of Job

Chapter 20

Zophar shows the state and portion of the wicked, 1-29.

1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said,

"Therefore, my thoughts cause me to answer,/
and for this I make haste.

I have heard the correction of my reproach,/
and the spirit of my understanding causes me to answer.

Do you not know this of old,/
since man was placed upon earth,

That the triumphing of the wicked is short/
and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?

Though his excellence mounts up to the heavens/
and his head reaches to the clouds,

Yet he shall perish forever like his own dung./
Those who have seen him shall say, 'Where is he?'

He shall fly away as a dream and will not be found./
He shall even be chased away as a vision of the night.

Also the eye which saw him shall see him no more,/
neither shall his place behold him anymore.

10 His children shall seek to please the poor,/
and his hands shall restore their goods.

11 His bones are full of the sin of his youth,/
which shall lie down with him in the dust.

12 Though wickedness may be sweet in his mouth,/
though he may hide it under his tongue,

13 Though he may spare it and not forsake it,/
but keep it still within his mouth,

14 Yet his food in his bowels is turned,/
it is the gall of asps within him.

15 He has swallowed down riches and he shall vomit them up again./
God shall cast them out of his belly.

16 He shall suck the poison of asps./
The viper's tongue shall slay him.

17 He shall not see the river, the floods,/
the brooks of honey and buttermilk.

18 That for which he labored he shall restore/
and shall not swallow it./
According to his substance the restitution shall be,/
and he shall not rejoice in it.

19 For he has oppressed and has forsaken the poor./
He has violently taken away a house which he did not build.

20 Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly./
He shall not save of that which he desired.

21 None of his food shall be left;/
therefore, no man shall look for his goods.

22 In the fullness of his sufficiency he shall be in distress./
Every hand of the wicked shall come upon him.

23 When he is about to fill his belly,/
God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him/
and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.

24 He shall flee from the iron weapon,/
and the bow of steel shall strike him through.

25 It is drawn and comes out of the body./
The glittering sword even comes out of his gall./
Terrors are upon him.

26 All darkness shall be hid in his secret places./
A fire not blown shall consume him./
It shall go ill with him who is left in his tabernacle.

27 The heaven shall reveal his iniquity,/
and the earth shall rise up against him.

28 The increase of his house shall depart,/
and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.

29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God/
and the heritage appointed to him by God."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 20[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

Zophar and his friends, not satisfied with Job's confession of faith, he in his turn replies, and in his preface gives his reasons why he made any answer at all, and was so quick in it (verses 1-3); and appeals to Job for the truth of an old established maxim, that the prosperity of wicked men and hypocrites is very short lived (verses 4-5); and the short enjoyment of their happiness is described by several elegant figures and similes (verses 6-9); such a wicked man being obliged, in his lifetime, to restore his ill gotten goods, and at death to lie down with the sins of his youth (verses 10-11); his sin in getting riches, the disquietude of his mind in retaining them, and his being forced to make restitution, are very beautifully expressed by the simile of a sweet morsel kept in the mouth, and turned to the gall of asps in the bowels, and then vomited up (verses 12-16); the disappointment he shall have, the indigent and strait circumstances he shall be brought into, and the restitution he shall be obliged to make for the oppression of the poor, and the uneasiness he shall feel in his own belly, are set forth in a very strong light (verses 17-22); and it is suggested, that not only the hand of wicked men should be upon him, but the wrath of God also, which should seize on him suddenly and secretly, and would be inevitable, he not being able to make his escape from it, and which would issue in the utter destruction of him and his [family] in this world, and that to come (verses 23-28). And the chapter is concluded with this observation, that such as before described is the appointed portion and heritage of a wicked man from God (verse 29).

[v.10] - "His children shall seek to please the poor" - In other words, "the poor shall oppress his children."

[v.23-29] - LXX: "23 If by any means he would fill his belly, let [God] send upon him the fury of wrath; let him bring a torrent of pains upon him. 24 And he shall by no means escape from the power of the sword; let the brazen bow wound him. 25 And let the arrow pierce through his body; and let the stars be against his dwelling-place: let terrors come upon him. 26 And let all darkness wait for him: a fire that does not burn out shall consume him; and let a stranger plague his house. 27 And let the heaven reveal his iniquities, and the earth rise up against him. 28 Let destruction bring his house to an end; let a day of wrath come upon him. 29 This is the portion of an ungodly man from the Lord, and the possession of his goods [appointed him] by the all-seeing [God]."