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Job - Chapter 20

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1 Zophar of Naamath spoke next. He said:

2 My thoughts urge me to reply to this, and hence the impatience that grips me.

3 I have put up with prating that outrages me and now my mind inspires me with an answer.

4 Do you not know, that since time began and human beings were set on the earth,

5 the triumph of the wicked has always been brief, and the sinner's gladness has never lasted long?

6 Towering to the sky he may have been, his head touching the clouds;

7 but he vanishes, like a phantom, once for all, while those who used to see him, ask, 'Where is he?'

8 Like a dream that leaves no trace he takes his flight, like a vision in the night he flies away.

9 The eye accustomed to see him sees him no more, his home will never set eyes on him again.

10 His sons will have to reimburse the poor and his children pay back his riches.

11 His bones used to be full of youthful vigour: and there it lies, in the dust with him, now!

12 Evil was sweet to his mouth, he would shelter it under his tongue;

13 cultivating it carefully, he would let it linger on his palate.

14 Such food goes bad in his belly, working inside him like the poison of a viper.

15 Now he has to vomit up the wealth that he has swallowed, God makes him disgorge it.

16 He used to suck vipers' venom, and the tongue of the adder kills him.

17 No more will he know the streams of oil or the torrents of honey and cream.

18 When he gives back his winnings, his cheerfulness will fade, and the satisfied air he had when business was thriving.

19 Since he once destroyed the huts of the poor, plundering houses instead of building them up,

20 since his avarice could never be satisfied, now all his hoarding will not save him;

21 since nothing could escape his greed, his prosperity will not last.

22 When he has everything he needs, want will seize him, and misery will light on him with all its force.

23 On him God looses all his burning wrath, hurling against his flesh a hail of arrows.

24 If he escapes the weapons of iron, the bow of bronze will transfix him.

25 Out of his back sticks an arrow, from his gall a shining point. The terrors advance on him,

26 all the hidden darknesses are waiting to carry him off. A fire unlit by human hand devours him, and consumes what is left in his tent.

27 The heavens lay bare his iniquity, and the earth rises up against him.

28 The income of his house pours away, like the torrents, on the day of retribution.

29 Such is the fate God reserves for the wicked, the inheritance he assigns to the accursed!

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