Job 20

Though wicked men may sometimes prosper, their joy is but for a moment and will quickly end in endless sorrow.

1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,

2 Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste.

3 I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.

4 Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth,

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

6 Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds;

7 Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?

8 He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night.

9 The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him.

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 be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue;

13 Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth:

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

15 He hath 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 rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.

18 That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein.

19 Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not;

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

21 There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods.

22 In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: 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 cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh 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 that 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 unto him by God.

Job 20 – “The Triumphing of the Wicked”

   Zophar is the man who least of all understood Job. The rebuke which Job had just administered, Job 19:28-29, has vexed him, so that he speaks with impatience.
   The theme of Zophar’s speech is the brevity of the prosperity of the wicked. He claims that this is an acknowledged principle, Job 20:4; then proceeds to show it by many striking metaphors.
   Hypocrite; in describing the prosperity and speedy destruction of such, Job 20:5-11, he manifestly applies his words to Job. He refuses to pay any heed to Job’s protestations of innocence. His theology was: God is righteous; he blesses and prospers the good, and destroys the wicked. Job was being destroyed; therefore Job was wicked. Thus often do we in our ignorance misunderstand God and cruelly misjudge man.
   Zophar descends to more particulars. He describes the pleasure which the ungodly has in sin, Job 20:12-13; how his sin becomes his punishment, Job 20:14-22; and how terrible destruction at last visits him, Job 20:23-28, as his portion from God, Job 20:29. Though in all this Zophar was wrong in applying it to Job’s case, and equally wrong in supposing that this life is the place of judgment for the wicked, yet it is important to remember that he was right in seeing a very real connection between sin and punishment. However sweet sin may be to the taste, it is sure to become bitter as the gall of asps ere long. The “pleasures of sin” are but for a season (Hebrews 11:25). —Through the Bible Day by Day

Job 20:29—This is the portion of a wicked man from God.

   Repeatedly in reading this book we are reminded of the strong convictions entertained by thoughtful men among these Eastern peoples, of the sure connection between wrongdoing and its bitter penalty. The friends of the sufferer express their opinions in cold-blooded and unfeeling words; but we can detect their intense convictions beneath all—that special suffering indicates the presence of special sin, and that all wickedness is sooner or later brought to light and punished.
   We are less able to follow the track of God’s providences in these crowded, hurrying days; but there can be little doubt of the connection between wrongdoing and punishment. The law is immutable. As a man soweth, so shall he also reap. The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment. He shall disgorge his wealth; he shall suck the poison of asps in the remorse and bitterness of his soul; the heavens shall reveal his iniquity; and his descendants shall seek favor of the poor. These things are still to be seen among us, in the rise and fall of proud men and their families.
   Let us go into the sanctuary of God, and consider their latter end; and as we contrast it with that of the poorest of His children, we shall find no reason to envy them. Even though no human tribunal sentence them, they carry the harpoon in their heart, and sooner or later it will bring them to a certain and awful doom. It cannot be otherwise God is God. The psalmist said:
       “I have seen the wicked in great power,
       And spreading himself like a green bay tree.
       Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not” (Psalm 37:35-36). —Our Daily Homily