Job 20 Commentary

Job 20 Commentary

Zophar goes a step further. He references creation and nearly makes the point that because of sin in the Garden of peace and tranquility, suffering and pain exist. The LORD punishes evil. The LORD will always punish evil. It has been this way ever since mankind was placed on the earth.

What about the evil men that we all know have made it big and are successful? Probably Zophar is also thinking of the good times that Job previously enjoyed. Well, it is all temporal. The mirth of the wicked is brief.

Zophar is not at all wrong. His theology here agrees with the rest of the scripture on the transient nature of worldly and ungodly prosperity.

But why is Zophar still condemned by the LORD at the end of the Book of Job? Are we not also risking the wrath of the LORD by agreeing with Zophar?

We are only safe when we read Zophar’s theology out of context – when we reference other scriptures that specifically mention that the prosperity of the wicked is temporal. But when we come back to the context of this book, Zophar is way off the mark. Job is not a wicked man. Therefore, his prosperity isn’t temporal and he will not perish forever, like his own dung.

Serious? Hasn’t Job’s prosperity been cut short? Don’t all these losses mean something to us? That is the point of this book. Material objects that we acquire along the way do not fit the definition of prosperity the God’s way. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.” Before everything else, there is God and there is Job; and after everything is gone, there is God and there is Job. The relationship stays intact. Prosperity is in the relationship.

Here is one man who rejected the clothing of material objects as the foundation of his relationship with the LORD. The Bible is showing us a movie of one man who would reject the devil’s offer of the “kingdoms of the world and their splendor.”

Zophar is also right when he says the wicked man perishes forever, like his own dung. But within the context of this book, Zophar is wrong because Job doesn’t perish at all. He is blameless. Like the blameless of the New Testament, Job will live, even though he dies; and because he lives by believing in Jesus, called redeemer in this book, he will never die. John 11 verse 25.

Zophar’s argument has been undone entirely by Job’s timeless statement: “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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