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Job 20 - Zophar Speaks: Wickedness Receives Just Retribution

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.”


a. Job 20:23 Heb he

b. Job 20:23 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain

c. 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.



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