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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Job 20

Verse 1

XX.

(1) Then answered Zophar.—Zophar retorts with yet greater vehemence than before, and assumes a more ornate and elaborate style, still reiterating the former burden of the speedy doom of the wicked man.

Verse 2

(2) Therefore.—That is, because of the eagerness that is in him. His spirit is stirred in him, and impels him to reply.

Verse 3

(3) I have heard the check of my reproach.—Rather, I have heard, or, I hear the reproof of my shame: that is, a reproof that puts me to shame, or is intended to do so.

The spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.—Or, more literally, Out of my understanding my spirit answereth me, or causeth me to answer. He professes to be moved by an impulse within, which he cannot but obey.

Verse 5

(5) The triumphing of the wicked is short.—He affirms that the destruction of the wicked is not only certain, but speedy. (Comp. Psalms 103:16 and Job 7:8; Job 7:10.)

Verse 10

(10) His children shall seek to please the poor.—That is, shall seek their favour by making good what had been taken from them, or otherwise; or it may be rendered, the poor shall oppress his children.

Verse 11

(11) His bones are full of the sin of his youth.—Rather, of his youth, or youthful vigour, as in Job 33:25 : “He shall return to the days of his youth,” and Psalms 89:46 : “The days of his youth hast thou shortened.” “Though he is in the full vigour of life, yet it shall lie down with him in the dust.”

Verse 12

(12) Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth.—He draws a picture of the wicked man after the pattern of a gourmand or glutton, which, if it were intended to apply to Job, was a fresh instance of heartless cruelty, as well as of an entire want of discernment of character, and of unfitness for the office of judge he was so ready to assume. It is possible that the reproach here aimed at Job was that of inordinate love of riches, which Zophar extracts from the bare fact of his having been a wealthy man.

Verse 17

(17) The brooks of honey and butter.—He uses language which might lead one to suppose he was familiar with the promise of Canaan, except that, as the phrase is not precisely identical it may perhaps rather show a community of proverbial language, and that the land flowing with milk and honey may have been an expression in use, and not one original with the Pentateuch.

Verse 18

(18) That which he laboured for shall he restore . . .—The latter part of this verse is probably right; but it may be, “According to the substance that he hath gotten he shall not rejoice.”

Verse 19

(19) Because he hath oppressed and forsaken . . .—For these insinuations there was not a vestige of ground, but Job formally rebuts them in Job 31:0

Verse 20

(20) Quietness in his belly.—“Because he knew no quietness within him, (Comp. Isaiah 57:20-21.) he shall not save ought of that which he desireth.”

Verse 21

(21) There shall none of his meat be left.—Rather, There was nothing left that he devoured not, therefore his prosperity shall not endure.

Verse 22

(22) The hand of every one that is in misery shall come upon him: i.e., in retaliation, or possibly, but less probably, every blow of a miserable man, which can render a man miserable, shall come upon him.

Verse 24

(24) He shall flee from the iron weapon, and.—That is, if he escaped one mischance, another should overtake him.

Verse 25

(25) Yea, terrors overtake him.—Even when he has escaped a second and a third calamity, terrors shall still be upon him. This was all perfectly true in a sense, yea, even a truism, but it was utterly false in its application to Job himself.

Verse 26

(26) All darkness shall be hid in his secret places.—Rather, All darkness, every kind of disaster, is laid up for his secret treasures.

A fire not blown.—By human hands, &c.

Verse 27

(27) The heaven shall reveal his iniquity.—All nature shall combine to bring about his ruin, which is, in fact, decreed by God. We here take leave of Zophar, who does not reply again; he has exhausted himself, notwithstanding Job 20:2.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/job-20.html. 1905.