Zophar Says, “The Triumph of the Wicked Is Short”
20 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said,
“Therefore my disquieting thoughts make me answer,
Because of the uneasiness that is within me.
“I have heard the reproof which insults me,
But the spirit of my understanding makes me answer.
“Do you not know this from the old days,
Since the time that man was placed on the earth,
That the triumphing of the wicked is short,
And the joy of the godless is only for a moment?(A)
“Though his pride reaches the heavens
And his head touches the clouds,
Yet he perishes forever like his own refuse;
Those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’
“He flies away like a dream and cannot be found;
Yes, he is chased away like a vision of the night.
“The eye which saw him sees him no longer,
Neither does his [accustomed] place behold him any longer.
“His sons favor the poor [and pay his obligations],
And his hands give back his [ill-gotten] wealth.
“His bones are full of youthful strength
But it lies down with him in the dust.
“Though evil and wickedness are sweet in his mouth
And he hides it under his tongue,
Though he desires it and will not let it go
But holds it in his mouth,
Yet his food turns [to poison] in his stomach;
It is the venom of vipers within him.
“He swallows [his ill-gotten] riches,
But will vomit them up;
God will drive them out of his belly.
“He sucks the poison of vipers [which ill-gotten wealth contains];
The viper’s tongue slays him.
“He does not look at the rivers,
The flowing streams of honey and butter [to enjoy his wealth].
“He gives back what he has labored for and attained
And cannot swallow it [down to enjoy it];
As to the riches of his labor,
He cannot even enjoy them.
“For he has oppressed and neglected the poor;
He has violently taken away houses which he did not build.
“Because he knew no quietness or calm within him [because of his greed],
He does not retain anything he desires.
“There is nothing left of what he devoured;
Therefore his prosperity does not endure.
“In the fullness of his excess (great abundance) he will be in trouble;
The hand of everyone who suffers will come against him [he is miserable on every side].
“When he fills his belly,
God will send His fierce anger on him
And will rain it upon him while he is eating.(B)
“He may flee from the iron weapon,
But the bow of bronze will pierce him through.
“The arrow is drawn forth and it comes out of his back [after passing through his body];
Yes, the glittering point comes out of his gall.
Terrors march in upon him;
Complete darkness (misfortune) is held in reserve for his treasures.
An unfanned fire will devour him;
It will consume the survivor in his tent.
“The heavens will reveal his wickedness and guilt,
And the earth will rise up against him.
“The produce and increase of his house will depart [with the victors];
His possessions will be dragged away in the day of God’s wrath.
“This is the wicked man’s portion from God,
And the heritage decreed and appointed to him by God.”