The last time we heard from Job, he had asked his friends to pity him, give him words of comfort, understand how much he was suffering.
But it’s obvious from Zophar’s words here that he heard none of that. He was so upset by Job’s assertion that he really had done nothing to deserve what’s happened to him that he heard nothing else. And he continues his point that it is wicked men who suffer the things that have come upon Job. He ends his speech with, “This is a wicked person’s lot from God, their heritage decreed by God.”
When Zophar is through, Job asks his friends to have patience and listen to him without interrupting. He’s in pain physically from the boils all over his body, and he’s suffering emotionally because all of his children have been killed and his wife has even turned away from him. His spirit is broken because he feels like God has attacked him with no reason. So he is weak and it’s hard to speak, and he just wants his friends to listen and let him say what he has to say. And then when he’s done, then they can continue to mock, if they so desire.
He counters Zophar’s speech about the fate of the wicked by saying that the wicked often do very well, even to the day they die. They have good lives. They see their children grow and prosper. They mock God.
But the wicked and the good both end in the grave.
He ends by saying that they have failed in their efforts to comfort him, and that their words are full of lies.
Not long ago we read through the book of Ecclesiastes. When we started reading it, I suggested that you withhold judging its message until we got all the way through it. The same thing needs to be said here. We are exactly halfway through the book of Job with the completion of chapter 21. So hang on until the end before forming any conclusions.