Job 20:1 ¶ Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
Job 20:2 Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste.
Job 20:3 I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.
Zophar takes the stage for his second punch at Job. He says that he has to speak up because he is greatly disturbed at Job’s insults and must defend himself.
Job 20:4 Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth,
Job 20:5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?
Job 20:6 Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds;
Job 20:7 Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?
Job 20:8 He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night.
Job 20:9 The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him.
Zophar hopes to make Job realize the error of his assessment of his situation while shaming him in the process. He states that surely Job knows that since man was first placed on the earth, the joy (from Hebrew for “triumphing”) of the ungodly is only temporary. That is true from a spiritual perspective.
Though full of pride for a time, he will be destroyed and forgotten. Forgotten from an eternal perspective is true, but not necessarily so in the current age.
Job 20:10 ¶ His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their goods.
There were certainly some different thoughts on the translations of this verse. Most translations give the idea the wicked man’s children will end up begging from the poor in consequence of their father’s sin. Again, this is not true in this age.
Clarke states it well: “They shall be reduced to the lowest degree of poverty and want, so as to be obliged to become servants to the poor.”
Job 20:11 His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.
Job 20:12 Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue;
Job 20:13 Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth:
Job 20:14 Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him.
Zophar posits that though the wicked may enjoy their sin for a season, he will surely face its poisonous consequences. That is certainly true from an eternal perspective.
Job 20:15 He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly.
Job 20:16 He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper’s tongue shall slay him.
Job 20:17 He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.
Job 20:18 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.
Zophar notes that all the riches the wicked man amasses will not make him happy. I think there are many that would testify to the truth of this statement.
Clarke adds some insight on verse 16: “That delicious morsel, that secret, easily-besetting sin, so palatable, and so pleasurable, shall act on the life of his soul, as the poison of asps would do on the life of his body. The poison is called the gall of asps, it being anciently supposed that the poison of serpents consists in their gall, which is thought to be copiously exuded when those animals are enraged; as it has been often seen that their bite is not poisonous when they are not angry.”
Job 20:19 Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not;
Job 20:20 Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired.
Job 20:21 There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods.
Job 20:22 In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: every hand of the wicked shall come upon him.
Job 20:23 ¶ 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.
Zophar points out that the wicked man oppressed the poor to satisfy his greed. A man who would stoop that low will never be satisfied and always want more, and he will eventually face judgment. Basically true.
Knowing that his friends have continued to call Job a wicked man implies that they considered him guilty of all these things that they associated with the wicked man. What a sad excuse for “friends.”
Job 20:24 He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.
Job 20:25 It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him.
Job 20:26 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.
Job 20:27 The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him.
Job 20:28 The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.
Zophar declares that the wicked man will face the judgment of God when he least expects it. He cannot escape it. He will lose all of his ill-gotten gains because you can’t take it with you when you die.
Many commentators note that in verse 28 Zophar is making a direct reference to Job as a wicked man.
Job 20:29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.
Zophar closes by basically saying, “I’m right and you are wrong. I rightly represent God and you don’t.”
How blessed we are as Christians to be able to store up treasures in heaven that will far surpass anything we could amass in this lifetime. Those that reject the LORD, however, face a future of eternal torment.
Matthew 6:20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal….”
Revelation 20:10–15 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever….And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Stedman made an interesting observation concerning Job’s three friends and what we can learn from them.
“Here we have three Pharisees who are assaulting Job….and I think as we read them we can see how often they represent what our attitudes have been. This is one of the reasons why this book was written, to show us how wrong these friends were. At the end of the book, God plainly says that these men did not treat Job in the right way, that they are wrong.
This is a revelation to us that Pharisaism is one of the most deadly enemies of the truth today. In many ways the church has fallen into Pharisaism, a kind of outward rightness with an inward wrongness. So as we look at these men we can perhaps recognize some features about ourselves and some things we need to correct.”