Job 20
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

Zophar Speaks: Wickedness Receives Just Retribution

1Then Zophar the Naamathite answered:

2“Pay attention! My thoughts urge me to answer,
    because of the agitation within me.
3I hear censure that insults me,
    and a spirit beyond my understanding answers me.
4Do you not know this from of old,
    ever since mortals were placed on earth,
5that the exulting of the wicked is short,
    and the joy of the godless is but for a moment?
6Even though they mount up high as the heavens,
    and their head reaches to the clouds,
7they will perish forever like their own dung;
    those who have seen them will say, ‘Where are they?’
8They will fly away like a dream, and not be found;
    they will be chased away like a vision of the night.
9The eye that saw them will see them no more,
    nor will their place behold them any longer.
10Their children will seek the favor of the poor,
    and their hands will give back their wealth.
11Their bodies, once full of youth,
    will lie down in the dust with them.

12“Though wickedness is sweet in their mouth,
    though they hide it under their tongues,
13though they are loath to let it go,
    and hold it in their mouths,
14yet their food is turned in their stomachs;
    it is the venom of asps within them.
15They swallow down riches and vomit them up again;
    God casts them out of their bellies.
16They will suck the poison of asps;
    the tongue of a viper will kill them.
17They will not look on the rivers,
    the streams flowing with honey and curds.
18They will give back the fruit of their toil,
    and will not swallow it down;
from the profit of their trading
    they will get no enjoyment.
19For they have crushed and abandoned the poor,
    they have seized a house that they did not build.

20“They knew no quiet in their bellies;
    in their greed they let nothing escape.
21There was nothing left after they had eaten;
    therefore their prosperity will not endure.
22In full sufficiency they will be in distress;
    all the force of misery will come upon them.
23To fill their belly to the full
    God[a] will send his fierce anger into them,
    and rain it upon them as their food.[b]
24They will flee from an iron weapon;
    a bronze arrow will strike them through.
25It is drawn forth and comes out of their body,
    and the glittering point comes out of their gall;
    terrors come upon them.
26Utter darkness is laid up for their treasures;
    a fire fanned by no one will devour them;
    what is left in their tent will be consumed.
27The heavens will reveal their iniquity,
    and the earth will rise up against them.
28The possessions of their house will be carried away,
    dragged off in the day of God’s[c] wrath.
29This is the portion of the wicked from God,
    the heritage decreed for them by God.”


  1. Job 20:23 Heb he
  2. Job 20:23 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. Job 20:28 Heb his
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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