Zophar’s Second Speech

The Rich Young Ruler obviously made a wrong choice, but think about this. No matter how much wealth he had, he could not ride in a car. have any surgery, turn on a light, buy penicillin, hear a pipe organ, watch TV, wash dishes in running water, type a letter, fly in an airplane, … More


Zophar is the last man to speak in this round. I suppose today we would say that Zophar has the scientific mind. He thinks you pour life into the test tube and it will always come out a certain way. Ignoring Job’s plea for pity, Zophar merely reacts against what he considers to be personal insults by Job (vv. 1-3). He then launches into another discourse on the supposed prosperity of the wicked. He argued that from the beginning of human history any joy experienced by a sinner is brief (vv. 4-5). His stature, be it ever so lofty, has nothing to do with the outcome (v. 6) If he is wicked, he will perish, never to be seen again (vv. 7-9). Repeatedly, Zophar mentions wealth (vv. 1, 15, 18, 20-22, 26) and how it is very temporary. He seems to suggest that Job acquired his riches dishonestly (v. 10). A wealthy man, if wicked will find that his energy will be buried with him. He goes on to say that a sinner may enjoy wealth gained in sin, but like sour food he will lose it (vv. 11-15).

In fact, he says that wealth becomes like poisonous snake venom (v. 16) which has bitter consequences. He will not survive long enough to look upon the plenty for which he labored (v. 17) and if he does he can not hold on to it (v. 18). It is the fruit of oppression and violence and is destined to be lost (v. 19). The less the wicked enjoy, the more they have to sin in order to recapture the old thrills and the more they destroy their ability to enjoy anything. Their death is painful (vv. 20-29). Wicked men will never be able to satisfy their greed (v. 20). They will devour the weak, until there are none to devour. and that will end their prosperity (v. 21). Although nothing could escape his greed, he will be reduced to poverty (vv. 22-23). The evil man will try to run away, but God will come at him with a sword and shoot at him with a bronze-tipped arrow that will pierce him (vv. 24-25). Then fire falls around him and a flood catches up with him which destroys everything (vv. 26-28). This is what God has assigned to those who live in sin (v. 29).


Although Zophar was wrong in directing false accusations against Job, he was correct in talking about the final end of evil people. At first sin may seem enjoyable and attractive and brings temporary gain but if I continue to practice it, God’s justice will prevail. God’s judgment is certain.

Job 20:1-29 (English Standard Version)

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