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Summary: This is a study into Job chapter twenty.

Jewels From Job

Job – Chapter #20

This chapter could be outlined:

1. Short Joy for the Wicked (verses 1-9)

2. Certain Destruction of the Wicked (verses 10-22)

3. The End of the Wicked (verses 23-29)

1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said: 2 "Therefore my anxious thoughts make me answer, Because of the turmoil within me. 3 I have heard the rebuke that reproaches me, And the spirit of my understanding causes me to answer. Job 20:1-3 (NKJV)


Zophar takes his second round of hits at Job.

Zophar says that because of the debate he is uneasy. He is not at rest – and needs to say something – so now we find his comments.

Job has been straight forward with those who were sitting with him. Through all the debate Job has claimed his innocence – yet his friends don’t believe him. In their minds God does not let the things that have happened to Job – happen to the innocent. God would bless the innocent and punish the wicked. That is justice. Since Job was afflicted it meant that he had sinned and should make full amends for his sin in order to restore his health. Job did not claim to be absolutely perfect, but he did deny that his affliction was not caused by sin in his life.

Zophar feels that he must explain further the understanding that he has. Understanding – a rational approach not from passion, but certain knowledge.

4 "Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth, 5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment? 6 Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens, And his head reaches to the clouds, 7 Yet he will perish forever like his own refuse; Those who have seen him will say, ’Where is he?’ 8 He will fly away like a dream, and not be found; Yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night. 9 The eye that saw him will see him no more, Nor will his place behold him anymore. Job 20:4-9 (NKJV)


Zophar looks back in history – to the beginning of time – that it is a fact that the wicked will prosper – but it will only be for a short period of time. How long was it between the sin of Adam and the day that he was held accountable for it? We are not certain – but it was a short time. Genesis says that God came in the “cool of the day”. It was probably the same day – but whatever the time span was the time between the sin and judgment was short. “The joy of the wicked has been brief and the happiness of the godless has lasted only a moment?” Job 20:5 (HCSB) “The good times of the wicked are short-lived; godless joy is only momentary.” Job 20:5 (MSG)

NOTE: The Hebrew word for man in verse four is literally “Adam”.

A wicked man may think he is mighty – but it is only for a moment. He will stand tall – so tall that his head seems to reach to heaven. Success is temporary – no matter how rich, famous, or secure he may be, the wicked person will eventually perish. Zophar used graphic images: he will go away like human excrement. People will then ask, “Where is he? Where did he go?” Here today, gone tomorrow! (Verses 6-7)

In verses 8-9 we find that the wicked will vanish like a dream. There are dreams that I dream and when I first wake up I remember them – but then as the day wears on I start forgetting them. Within a week most of them have been pushed out of memory. There are times that at night I see things that are not there. As the dawn breaks and the light begins to expose that which is hidden in the darkness – I realize that my vision were only in my imagination. These things pass away. Zophar says this is just like the wicked. They will pass away also. No one will see them anymore. “The eye that saw him will see [him] no more, and his household will no longer see him.” Job 20:9 (HCSB)

10 His children will seek the favor of the poor, And his hands will restore his wealth. 11 His bones are full of his youthful vigor, But it will lie down with him in the dust. 12 "Though evil is sweet in his mouth, And he hides it under his tongue, 13 Though he spares it and does not forsake it, But still keeps it in his mouth, 14 Yet his food in his stomach turns sour; It becomes cobra venom within him. 15 He swallows down riches And vomits them up again; God casts them out of his belly. 16 He will suck the poison of cobras; The viper’s tongue will slay him. 17 He will not see the streams, The rivers flowing with honey and cream. 18 He will restore that for which he labored, And will not swallow it down; From the proceeds of business He will get no enjoyment. 19 For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor, He has violently seized a house which he did not build. 20 "Because he knows no quietness in his heart, He will not save anything he desires. 21 Nothing is left for him to eat; Therefore his well-being will not last. 22 In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress; Every hand of misery will come against him. Job 20:10-22 (NKJV)

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