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Bible Commentaries
Job 20

Dunagan's Commentary on the BibleDunagan's Commentary

Verse 1

Verse 2

20:2 Zophar cannot remain quiet, he is troubled and disturbed by Job's words. "His disquieting thoughts (not calm reflections, but thoughts that disturb) prompted him to speak again" (Zuck p. 93).

Verse 3

20:3 He feels personally insulted by what Job has said, which is a response to Job's claim that his friends had insulted him often (19:3). 20:3 "And the spirit of my understanding makes me answer": Job had claimed that God had closed their minds to understanding (17:4), but Zophar responds that his superior understanding forced him to reply, he just had to share his insights.

Verse 4

20:4-5 "Do you know this from of old": Zophar argues that Job is so naïve that he is unaware of the most basic truths. From the beginning of time, from the first man, it has been clearly seen that the prosperity of the wicked is short-lived and there are no exceptions to this rule. "It is an eternal principle and everyone knows" (Zuck p. 93).

Verse 6

20:6-9 Notice carefully how much of this speech is aimed directly at Job. The wicked man might mount up to the heavens and touch the clouds in success and influence, but he would immediately perish, like dung, and people who had known him would wonder what had become of him. He would vanish like a dream and be seen no more. "He would be unseen, whereas before he had been looked on with respect and awe, and even the place where he lived would no longer see him" (Zuck p. 94).

Verse 10

20:10 His family would be equally affected, his loss of wealth would result in his sons actually asking beggars for help! This verse may infer that the sons of the wicked will be forced to return to those whom he has made impoverished through his illicit gain" (Strauss p. 200). That is, the wealth is given back because it was acquired through dishonest means.

Verse 11

20:11 Though filled with youthful energy, the wicked will die prematurely. "Prominent, wealthy, energetic that was Zophar's portrait of the wicked. Worthless like dung, fleeting like a dream, absent, poor, perishing in the dust" (Zuck p. 94).

Verse 12

20:12-13 As much as the wicked wants to hold on to the pleasures of sin, like something sweet in his mouth, and as much as he does not want to let it go, he will be forced to give it back.

Verse 14

20:14-15 Like food turning back in one's stomach, the wealthy man is forced to "vomit" (give back) his ill-gotten gains. Sin might be pleasant for the moment, but it will turn to poison.

Verse 16

20:16 "The poisonous greed proved the undoing of the ungodly" (Strauss p. 200). The more a man engages in sin the more poison he is actually ingesting. This is a great point, too bad it was directed at an innocent man! "The rebellious sinner savors wickedness like a sweet delicacy, hesitating even to swallow, yet, when he finally ingests it, it becomes poison within. The consequence of sin is bitter indeed" The sinner who 'sucks up' the gain of others will find it poison in his own system" (Jackson p. 53).

Verse 17

20:17 "Streams with their drinking water, and honey and cream, symbols of prosperity, cannot be enjoyed by sinners" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 743). 20:17-19 Even if the sinner becomes prosperous, it is short-lived and he must give back at death what he has acquired, in fact he is not even allowed to enjoy what he has gained. The reason for all this, according to Zophar, is that any prosperous sinner has acquired such gain by taking advantage of the poor, even taking their houses in order to enrich himself.

Verse 20

20:20 The wicked are always craving more and more wealth and they cannot resist what they desire. The stomach of the sinner always growls for more.

Verse 21

20:21 "Just as nothing was left that he had not devoured, so nothing he had acquired would be left" (Zuck p. 95).

Verse 22

20:22 Just as he reaches the pinnacle of success, everyone turns against him.

Verse 23

20:23 "The wicked fills his belly with wealth, but God rains His anger into his bowels" (p. 95).

Verse 24

20:24 "While trying to elude one death-dealing weapon, another will fall on him. There is no hiding place (Amos 5:19; Isaiah 24:18)" (Strauss p. 202).

Verse 25

20:25 "Pulling out the arrow to try to save himself would do no good" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 743). "Zophar painted a ghastly picture of the end of a man who is the object of God's wrath. Zophar may very likely have been enlarging on what Job had previously said: 'His arrows surround me. Without mercy He splits my kidneys open; He pours out my gall on the ground' (16:13)" (Zuck p. 96).

Verse 26

20:26 Again, no matter how hard to tries to hold on to his treasures, darkness would overtake his treasures, fire would consume him, and his survivors in his tent (wife and children) would not be spared.

Verse 27

20:27 Job had claimed that he had an advocate in heaven (16:18-19), to this Zophar argues that heavens will condemn him, that is, reveal his sin.

Verse 28

20:28 The word "depart" here means to be carried away into exile. "Others will carry away his prosperity into their tents" (Strauss p. 202).

Verse 29

20:29 "This is the wicked man's portion from God, even the heritage decreed to him by God": To Zophar this settled the matter. "How then, as Zophar said, could Job think that his situation was any different? Since he had lost his wealth so suddenly, how else could such a calamity be explained except that he was wicked?" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 743).

Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 20". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dun/job-20.html. 1999-2014.
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