Here, as in the first cycle, Job answered not merely Zophar, but the whole argument. First of all, he set over against their statement and illustrations the fact patent to all that often the wicked are prosperous. This prosperity he described in detail. It is personal, they "live," and "wax mighty." It is continued to their children, who are established. It is manifest in their possessions, "their houses are safe." Their increase is successful. It is seen in their habits, in the dance and the song, and the general circumstances of prosperity. It is evident in their death, for not through long suffering, but in a moment, they go down to Sheol. All this is true in spite of their godlessness. They have exiled God, have not sought His knowledge, have become agnostic, and have denied the benefit of prayer. This prosperity, Job declared, is not due to themselves. His inference is that God had bestowed it, and therefore had not punished the wicked as they have declared He does.
Continuing his answer, Job declared their philosophy to be wholly at fault by asking how often is it true that "the lamp of the wicked is put out." He surmised that they might reply that the judgment falls upon their children, and repudiated such suggestion by declaring that the man who sins is the man who should be punished, and that God has no pleasure in the punishment of posterity. He ended his answer by addressing himself to them more personally. With a touch of satire he suggested that they had learned their philosophy from travelers, and declared their conclusions to be wrong. Therefore their attempted comfort was vain, seeing that their answers contained falsehood. Thus ends the second cycle.
Second Sunday after Epiphany