Job’s Reply to Zophar (21:1-34)
Job responded to Zophar by telling him that he was out of touch with reality. The
wicked do prosper and the righteous do suffer! The wicked are not always overtaken by punishment and the righteous do not always enjoy prosperity. Some become very powerful (21:7), enjoy large families (21:8) and secure homes (21:9), prosper (21:10, 13), and enjoy their children and music (21:11-12), and all the while scorning God to their dying day. Job was pointing out that if even a few cases of the lifelong success of the ungodly could be pointed out, the argument of his friends was flawed.
Job argued that while the wicked may or may not see the punishment of God, their children will certainly see it. “But,” argued Job, “what good does that do? Surely it doesn’t matter to the wicked man after he is dead and gone!” Job’s point was that not all injustices are righted in this life.
Job said that in some cases the wicked die happy while others (including the righteous) die bitter deaths, never having tasted anything good in life. And, in the long run, both the wicked and the godly will end up in the same pit where they will be eaten by worms.
Job anticipated the response of his friends (21:27-28). He said they would probably say that the wicked are reserved for calamity. Job told Zophar and his friends to face the fact that there are cases where wicked men live prosperous lives, are buried with honor, and remembered with fondness. In light of these cases, of which even foreign travelers could testify, Zophar’s argument was off the mark and offered no comfort to Job.