Job 20 Commentary

Zophar speaks (20:1-29)

On hearing Job’s bold forecast of punishment on his accusers (see 19:28-29), Zophar can hardly control his temper. Not only does he feel insulted, but he is burning with inward rage (20:1-3). His hasty reply is intended to hurt Job by reminding him that the wicked person’s happiness and success are shortlived (4-7). The wealth he unjustly gained will not save him, and his early death will be a fitting punishment (8-11).


The wicked feed on sin, keeping it in their mouths as long as possible to enjoy its taste before swallowing it. But it will be like poison in their stomachs and will kill them (12-16). Their lives of luxury will end, and the money they gained through oppression will be lost (17-19). Because of their greed, God will punish them with poverty and misery (20-23). The sword of God’s anger will pierce them and the fire of God’s wrath will burn them up (24-26). Zophar triumphantly concludes that heaven and earth will unite to destroy those who fight against God (27-29).

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