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"I Have Heard the Rebuke that Reproaches Me" (Job 20) March 19-20

Zophar now speaks for the second and last time. He "took Job's words, especially [Job's] closing words in 19:28-29, as a personal affront. Job had dared to assert that on Zophar's theory of retribution Zophar himself was due for punishment. To Zophar such could only happen to the wicked. Zophar was the most emotional of the three; and he was not about to let Job's rebuke go unanswered, though in chapter 19 Job had earnestly pled for a withdrawal of their charges. Here he had nothing new to say to Job but said it with passion. The speech is full of terrifying imagery" (Expositor's Bible Commentary, note on verses 1-3).

Indeed, Zophar's speech is utterly scathing. Where Job had asked the earth to not cover his blood and stated that he had a witness in heaven (16:18-19), Zophar says that the earth would rise up against the wicked—meaning Job—and that heaven would reveal his sin. In fact, Zophar said that the wicked person would perish forever like his own dung (verse 7), which is buried in the earth.

It is staggering to witness the steeply escalating excoriation and threatening warnings in the speeches of Job's friends. As he scrapes at his painful boils and struggles in agony to understand what is happening to him, crying out to his friends ever more fervently for caring pity and comfort, they instead hammer and bludgeon him worse than before.

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