Then Job answers, urging Zophar to listen to him before he mocks any further; he will offer his friend “consolation.” He tells his friend to look at him and “lay your hand upon your mouth.” Job himself is filled with dismay. He wonders why the wicked live long lives and have many children, and why their households live without fear. Their children dance and celebrate, and the wicked descend to Sheol in peace.
Job closes the second cycle of speeches with his reply to Zophar. In Job’s reply, he mockingly refers to “consolation” in order to disparage his friends’ so-called comfort of him. He tells Zophar to keep quiet. He then argues that, actually, reality is the opposite of what Zophar says—far from suffering condemnation for their actions, the wicked actually thrive, living and dying happily and in stark contrast to their treatment of others.
In fact, Job continues, the wicked even tell God to leave them alone, because they don’t want to know his ways. Serving God won’t profit them. How often, Job wonders, do the wicked actually suffer God’s wrath? Zophar claims that God stores up their wickedness so that their children will suffer—but why shouldn’t they suffer for themselves?
Job continues to rebut Zophar’s claims that the wicked suffer, arguing that the wicked brazenly disregard God and only look out for their own happiness. Contrary to Zophar’s claims, too, it isn’t just for the descendants of the wicked to suffer—the wicked themselves should be punished for their own misdeeds.
Job continues to insist that the wicked “are spared in the day of calamity” and that even when they die, they are buried with honor. In light of all this, how can Zophar “comfort [him] with empty nothings?” His claims are simply lies.
Job doesn’t just reject Zophar’s “empty” speech but also complains of God’s seeming injustice. It appears to be untrue that the wicked suffer for what they’ve done. Instead, they enjoy rewards, while righteous people (like Job) suffer instead.