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20 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered,

“Therefore my thoughts answer me,
    even by reason of my haste that is in me.
I have heard the reproof which puts me to shame.
    The spirit of my understanding answers me.
Don’t you know this from old time,
    since man was placed on earth,
that the triumphing of the wicked is short,
    the joy of the godless but for a moment?
Though his height mount up to the heavens,
    and his head reach to the clouds,
yet he will perish forever like his own dung.
    Those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’
He will fly away as a dream, and will not be found.
    Yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
The eye which saw him will see him no more,
    neither will his place see him any more.
10 His children will seek the favor of the poor.
    His hands will give back his wealth.
11 His bones are full of his youth,
    but youth will lie down with him in the dust.

12 “Though wickedness is sweet in his mouth,
    though he hide it under his tongue,
13 though he spare it, and will not let it go,
    but keep it still within his mouth;
14 yet his food in his bowels is turned.
    It is cobra venom within him.
15 He has swallowed down riches, and he will vomit them up again.
    God will cast them out of his belly.
16 He will suck cobra venom.
    The viper’s tongue will kill him.
17 He will not look at the rivers,
    the flowing streams of honey and butter.
18 He will restore that for which he labored, and will not swallow it down.
    He will not rejoice according to the substance that he has gotten.
19 For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor.
    He has violently taken away a house, and he will not build it up.

20 “Because he knew no quietness within him,
    he will not save anything of that in which he delights.
21 There was nothing left that he didn’t devour,
    therefore his prosperity will not endure.
22 In the fullness of his sufficiency, distress will overtake him.
    The hand of everyone who is in misery will come on him.
23 When he is about to fill his belly, God will cast the fierceness of his wrath on him.
    It will rain on him while he is eating.
24 He will flee from the iron weapon.
    The bronze arrow will strike him through.
25 He draws it out, and it comes out of his body.
    Yes, the glittering point comes out of his liver.
    Terrors are on him.
26 All darkness is laid up for his treasures.
    An unfanned fire will devour him.
    It will consume that which is left in his tent.
27 The heavens will reveal his iniquity.
    The earth will rise up against him.
28 The increase of his house will depart.
    They will rush away in the day of his wrath.
29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God,
    the heritage appointed to him by God.”


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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