Zophar is taken aback at Job’s responses to his friends’ criticisms and says so:
“I hear censure that insults me, and out of my understanding a spirit answers me.”
So, being unable to answer Job’s legitimate question as to what his sin might be, Zophar, goes on the attack, making things up as he goes along. Since Job had been a man of means in the past, he uses his position of wealth as the basis for imagining his crimes (verses 10, 15, 17 and 19). He predicts Job’s violent death, the destruction of his house, and heaven and earth rising up against him (verse 27).
Poetic though he may be, Zophar is cruel and his speech is in the evil spirit. He supposes that Job must have been greedy and oppressed the poor, and losing everything – indeed his very life – is just reward.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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