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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Job 20

Verses 1-29

JOB - CHAPTER 20

ZOPHAR’S SECOND ADDRESS TO JOB

Verses 1-29:

Verses 1-3 begin Zophar the Naamathite’s second direct address to the cause of Job’s loss and afflictions. He asserts that he has calmly listened to Job’s address, considered what he had said, and thoughtfully and deliberately prepared himself to answer Job, coming directly to the point, Job 4:13. He stated that he had heard Job’s scolding, castigation, or reproof of Job 19:29 and would now answer with calm and rational spirit.

Verses 4-6 inquires of Job if he were not aware, from the way he acted and the things he had said, that the triumph of the wicked (such as he was) and the joy of the hypocrite or ungodly one, such as he appeared to be, was short, temporary, or fleeting, Exodus 15:9-10; Psalms 37:35-36; Judges 16:21; Judges 16:30; Ezra 5:11-12; Acts 12:22-23; He added that though the ungodly hypocrite had been high and exalted to the heavens, he would have his head fall back below the clouds, by Divine judgment. While the concept was true the conclusion and inference and insinuation against Job was untrue, because his suffering was not because of any ungodly or hypocritical living, but for the glory of God, Job 2:6-10; James 4:12-16. See also Isaiah 14:13; Obadiah 1:3-4.

Verse 7 states that the ungodly, pride-filled hypocrite who had walked with his head in the clouds, exalting himself to heaven, as he suggested Job had done, would surely perish like dung of the barnyard or of the field of flowers, until his former acquaintance would ask, where is he now? Psalms 83:10; Psalms 1 Kg 14:10.

Verses 8, 9 assert further that such a person will fly away, drift or vanish out of sight, so that the eye can not focus on or see him any more, like a vision that has come and gone forever; Neither shall he be found in his former state on earth any more, Psalms 90:10; Isaiah 29:7; Psalms 73:20; Psalms 103:16; Job 28:7; Job 7:10.

Verse 10 states that his children (Job’s grandchildren) near relatives who survived, would be slaves to the poor, restore to them their goods, try to please those whom Job had defrauded to secure his wealth, as retribution for sins of their forefather, Exodus 20:4-5. Zophar was dogmatically certain, though wrongly so, that Job was a prime sinner who was justly suffering and would cause his children after him to suffer in righteous retribution for his sins, Psalms 25:7.

Verse 11 recounts Zophar’s direct charge that Job’s bones were full of, infected because of, the sins of his youth, for no other reason. Though he judged unjustly, without knowing the facts; He certified that these sins would hound him into the dust of death, Job 17:16; Job 19:20; Psalms 90:8; Job 13:26; Jeremiah 3:25; Revelation 22:11.

Verses 12.14 declare that though Job had hidden wickedness sweetly, deceitfully, in his mouth, under his tongue, rolled it over in his mouth smoothly, as a wine taster rolls and swigs wine slowly for the best of taste, holding it long before he drinks it, yet the meat or food in his bowels is turned, (soured) like bitter gaul or poison snakes biting him in his belly. This is Job’s present state, as seen by Zophar, the self-righteous Naamathite, feigned friend of Job from afar, Proverbs 20:17; Proverbs 20:28; Jeremiah 2:21; Revelation 10:9-10.

Verse 15 adds that Job had swallowed down, gorged himself, on his ill-gotten wealth, and now must disgorge, regurgitate, or vomit it up. For God, he would cast it out of his belly; How dangerous an half truth can be, in the hands of the conceited, the presumptuous! Proverbs 23:8; Matthew 27:3-4.

Verses 16,17 further predict that Job will suck the venom of asps from his belly, or strangle trying to do so, for the viper’s "tongue shall slay him." Verse 17 explains that Job should never again see the rivers, floods, or flowing of brooks of honey and butter again, as in the past. This refers to the pouring of honey and cream and milk of plenty, from jars of plenty, where it was more plentiful and fluid in the east, Job 29:6; Exodus 3:17. See also Numbers 14:23; Numbers 2 Kg 7:2; Jeremiah 17:6.

Verse 18 goes on to declare that even what Job had labored for he would restore (give up) and not swallow it down or digest it for strength. He should make restitution through his surviving family relatives and never have occasion to rejoice in what he once accumulated, Zophar asserted, as if he was only reaping what he had sown, Galatians 6:7-8; He seemed totally unaware that Job’s loss might be for testing, for the glory of God, as Joseph’s was, Genesis 50:20-21; James 4:12-16.

Verses 19, 20 charge that because of Job’s oppression and neglect of the poor, his crushing the poor, and his violently taking houses that he did not build, he would never have quietness in his belly, peace in his soul, or have anything that he desired to save from destruction and loss, Ecclesiastes 5:13; See also 2 Chronicles 16:10; Isaiah 5:8; Micah 2:2. All he had was gone forever.

Verses 21, 22 add that none of his food accumulated or eaten will be left, so that no man should look for his goods. All had been or would be destroyed. He was to die with his belly empty, with gnawing hunger, justly, according to Zophar’s prophecy. In the fullness of his abundance he had been brought to this straight, hard way, or mighty fall. And every hand of the wicked was to come upon his remaining relatives to take revenge for what Job had done to them, Psalms 7:10-13. This was Zophar’s false prophecy.

Verse 23 further prophesies that when Job attempts to eat, to satisfy his hunger, God will cast the fury of his anger upon him, like a cloudburst of rain, while he is eating, to interrupt his satisfaction of his hunger, Numbers 11:33; Psalms 78:30-31.

Verses 24, 25 add that Job will live to flee from the iron weapon or brass weapon of the enemy, it will strike him through. It is drawn, Isaiah 24:18; Jeremiah 48:43; Amos 5:19. God draws the sword against him, and it is thrust through the very vitals and gaul of Job’s body, striking the added terror of death, Job 18:11; Psalms 73:19; Psalms 88:16.

Verse 26 declares that all dark deeds of man are kept in store in God’s secret places, records, until the judgment hour, when a fire not yet blown or stirred up will consume him, so that it would not go well with him who was still afflicted in his decaying tabernacle, Psalms 21:9; Judges 1:13; Matthew 3:12.

Verse 27 adds that the heavens will disclose, pull the cover from over his iniquity, wicked deeds, and the earth would rise up as witness and judge against him, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Isaiah 26:21.

Verse 28 concludes Zophar’s damning condemnation against Job. He declares that the increase of his house (family unit) would depart and his goods, few left to his relatives would flow away in the hour of his final just judgment for his sins. Then dogmatically he asserted that "this" is or exists as the portion of a wicked man, under the hand of God’s wrath, as Job was. This he concluded was the kind of heritage the living God had appointed as pay for his deeds of wicked hypocrisy, Job 18:21; Job 27:13; Job 31:2-3; Psalms 11:5-6; Matthew 24:51.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 20". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-20.html. 1985.