Zophar's Second Speech
Zophar's "wisdom" compels him to respond to Job - "Therefore my anxious thoughts make me answer, because of the turmoil within me. I have heard the rebuke that reproaches me, and the spirit of my understanding causes me to answer" (Job 20:2,3). Zophar believes that Job needs to get reacquainted with an age-old truth of the past: "the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment" (Job 20:4,5). This is Zophar's central idea in this speech and he elaborates on it in the following verses:
"Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens, and his head reaches to the clouds, yet he will perish forever like his own refuse; those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?' He will fly away like a dream, and not be found; yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night. The eye that saw him will see him no more, nor will his place behold him anymore. His children will seek the favor of the poor, and his hands will restore his wealth. His bones are full of his youthful vigor, but it will lie down with him in the dust" (Job 20:6-11).

Zophar believes that the wicked will not prosper for very long (and he applies this to Job himself a little later). Although he is mistaken in his belief that Job is a wicked man, at least we can credit Zophar with considering that the wicked could prosper for a short time.

Zophar believes that God's delayed punishment is only to teach the wicked a lesson. When he says in Job 20:12, "The evil is sweet in his mouth," he means that the wicked are allowed to enjoy the pleasures of sin--but only for a season. God will eventually deal justly with the wicked man. Soon the "food in his stomach turns sour; it becomes cobra venom within him. He swallows down riches and vomits them up again; God casts them out of his belly."

This type of person is never satisfied with what he has. "He will not see the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream. He will restore that for which he labored, and will not swallow it down; from the proceeds of business he will get no enjoyment" (Job 20:17,18). The wicked will suffer for their evil deeds.

"For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor, he has violently seized a house which he did not build. Because he knows no quietness in his heart, he will not save anything he desires. Nothing is left for him to eat; therefore his well-being will not last. In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress; every hand of misery will come against him. When he is about to fill his stomach, God will cast on him the fury of His wrath. And will rain on him while he is eating" (Job 20:19-23).

Zophar continues describing the plight of the wicked - "He will flee from the iron weapon; a bronze bow will pierce him through. It is drawn, and comes out of the body; yes, the glittering point comes out of his gall. Terrors come upon him; total darkness is reserves for his treasures. An unfanned fire will consume him; it shall go ill with him who is left in his tent. The heavens will reveal his iniquity, and the earth will rise up against him." This may be a veiled reference to Job's comment back in 16:18ff. Zophar does not believe that heaven and earth will testify in Job's favor!

Job 20:28,29 is a clear application to Job - "The increase of his house will depart, and his goods will flow away in the day of His [God's] wrath. This is the portion from God for a wicked man, the heritage appointed to him by God." Job, God only allowed you to prosper a little while; now you've lost all that you accumulated and trusted in. Zophar is mistaken in this assessment of Job. It should be observed how merciless the judgment of God is in Zophar's mind! He doesn't even mention anything about the possibility of restoration to God! The friends still think Job is a terrible sinner and is getting what he deserves.