Job 20
Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
Job 20:12-13

Zophar, the Naamathite, mentioneth a sort of men in whose mouths wickedness is sweet. 'They hide it under their tongues, they spare it, and forsake it not, but keep it still in their mouths.' This furnisheth me with a tripartite division of men in the world.

The first and best are those who spit sin out, loathing it in their judgments, and leaving it in their practice.

The second sort, notoriously wicked, who swallow sin down, actually and openly committing it.

The third, endeavouring an expedient between heaven and hell, neither do not deny their lusts, neither spitting them out, nor swallowing them down, but rolling them under their tongues, epicurizing thereon in their filthy fancies and obscene speculations.

—Thomas Fuller.

Job 20:19

What right have we to complain of the indifference of the universe, what right have we to declare it unintelligible and monstrous? Why this surprise at an injustice in which we ourselves have taken so active a part?... Poverty, for example, which we continue to rank among the irremediable ills, such as shipwrecks and plagues; poverty, with all its crushing sorrows and transmitted degeneration—how often may this be ascribed to the injustice of the elements, and how often to the injustice of our social condition, which is man's crowning injustice? When we see undeserved misery, need we look to the skies for the reason of it, as if a flash of lightning had caused it?

—Maeterlinck in The Buried Temple.

The hidden and awful Wisdom which apportions the destinies of mankind is pleased so to humiliate and cast down the tender, good, and wise; and to set up the selfish, the foolish, or the wicked. Oh, be humble, my brother, in your prosperity! Be gentle with those who are less lucky, if not more deserving. Think, what right have you to be scornful, whose virtue is a deficiency of temptation, whose success may be a chance, whose rank may be an ancestor's accident, whose prosperity is very likely a satire.

—Thackeray, Vanity Fair, chap. LVII.

Job 20:27

Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge and fox and squirrel and mole. Some damning circumstance always transpires.


Reference.—XXI. 2.—H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2183.

Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste.
I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.
Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth,
That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?
Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds;
Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?
He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night.
The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him.
His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their goods.
His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.
Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue;
Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth:
Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him.
He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly.
He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him.
He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.
That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein.
Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not;
Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired.
There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods.
In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: every hand of the wicked shall come upon him.
When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.
He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.
It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him.
All darkness shall be hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle.
The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him.
The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.
This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.
Nicoll - Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

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