Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:
1Zophar the Naamathite said in reply:
אוַיַּעַן צֹפַר הַנַּעֲמָתִי וַיֹּאמַר׃
2In truth, my thoughts urge me to answer (It is because of my feelings
בלָכֵן שְׂעִפַּי יְשִׁיבוּנִי וּבַעֲבוּר חוּשִׁי בִי׃
3When I hear reproof that insults me); A spirit out of my understanding makes me reply:
גמוּסַר כְּלִמָּתִי אֶשְׁמָע וְרוּחַ מִבִּינָתִי יַעֲנֵנִי׃
4Do you not know this, that from time immemorial, Since man was set on earth,
דהֲזֹאת יָדַעְתָּ מִנִּי־עַד מִנִּי שִׂים אָדָם עֲלֵי־אָרֶץ׃
5The joy of the wicked has been brief, The happiness of the impious, fleeting?
הכִּי רִנְנַת רְשָׁעִים מִקָּרוֹב וְשִׂמְחַת חָנֵף עֲדֵי־רָגַע׃
6Though he grows as high as the sky, His head reaching the clouds,
ואִם־יַעֲלֶה לַשָּׁמַיִם שִׂיאוֹ וְרֹאשׁוֹ לָעָב יַגִּיעַ׃
7He perishes forever, like his dung; Those who saw him will say, “Where is he?”
זכְּגֶלֲלוֹ לָנֶצַח יֹאבֵד רֹאָיו יֹאמְרוּ אַיּוֹ׃
8He flies away like a dream and cannot be found; He is banished like a night vision.
חכַּחֲלוֹם יָעוּף וְלֹא יִמְצָאוּהוּ וְיֻדַּד כְּחֶזְיוֹן לָיְלָה׃
9Eyes that glimpsed him do so no more; They cannot see him in his place any longer.
טעַיִן שְׁזָפַתּוּ וְלֹא תוֹסִיף וְלֹא־עוֹד תְּשׁוּרֶנּוּ מְקוֹמוֹ׃
10His sons ingratiate themselves with the poor; His own hands must give back his wealth.
יבָּנָיו יְרַצּוּ דַלִּים וְיָדָיו תָּשֵׁבְנָה אוֹנוֹ׃
11His bones, still full of vigor, Lie down in the dust with him.
יאעַצְמוֹתָיו מָלְאוּ עלומו [עֲלוּמָיו] וְעִמּוֹ עַל־עָפָר תִּשְׁכָּב׃
12Though evil is sweet to his taste, And he conceals it under his tongue;
יבאִם־תַּמְתִּיק בְּפִיו רָעָה יַכְחִידֶנָּה תַּחַת לְשׁוֹנוֹ׃
13Though he saves it, does not let it go, Holds it inside his mouth,
יגיַחְמֹל עָלֶיהָ וְלֹא יַעַזְבֶנָּה וְיִמְנָעֶנָּה בְּתוֹךְ חִכּוֹ׃
14His food in his bowels turns Into asps' venom within him.
ידלַחְמוֹ בְּמֵעָיו נֶהְפָּךְ מְרוֹרַת פְּתָנִים בְּקִרְבּוֹ׃
15The riches he swallows he vomits; Hashem empties it out of his stomach.
טוחַיִל בָּלַע וַיְקִאֶנּוּ מִבִּטְנוֹ יוֹרִשֶׁנּוּ אֵל׃
16He sucks the poison of asps; The tongue of the viper kills him.
טזרֹאשׁ־פְּתָנִים יִינָק תַּהַרְגֵהוּ לְשׁוֹן אֶפְעֶה׃
17Let him not enjoy the streams, The rivers of honey, the brooks of cream.
יזאַל־יֵרֶא בִפְלַגּוֹת נַהֲרֵי נַחֲלֵי דְּבַשׁ וְחֶמְאָה׃
18He will give back the goods unswallowed; The value of the riches, undigested.
יחמֵשִׁיב יָגָע וְלֹא יִבְלָע כְּחֵיל תְּמוּרָתוֹ וְלֹא יַעֲלֹס׃
19Because he crushed and tortured the poor, He will not build up the house he took by force.
יטכִּי־רִצַּץ עָזַב דַּלִּים בַּיִת גָּזַל וְלֹא יִבֶנֵהוּ׃
20He will not see his children tranquil; He will not preserve one of his dear ones.
ככִּי לֹא־יָדַע שָׁלֵו בְּבִטְנוֹ בַּחֲמוּדוֹ לֹא יְמַלֵּט׃
21With no survivor to enjoy it, His fortune will not prosper.
כאאֵין־שָׂרִיד לְאָכְלוֹ עַל־כֵּן לֹא־יָחִיל טוּבוֹ׃
22When he has all he wants, trouble will come; Misfortunes of all kinds will batter him.
כבבִּמְלֹאות שִׂפְקוֹ יֵצֶר לוֹ כָּל־יַד עָמֵל תְּבוֹאֶנּוּ׃
23Let that fill his belly; Let Him loose His burning anger at him, And rain down His weapons upon him.
כגיְהִי לְמַלֵּא בִטְנוֹ יְשַׁלַּח־בּוֹ חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ וְיַמְטֵר עָלֵימוֹ בִּלְחוּמוֹ׃
24Fleeing from iron arrows, He is shot through from a bow of bronze.
כדיִבְרַח מִנֵּשֶׁק בַּרְזֶל תַּחְלְפֵהוּ קֶשֶׁת נְחוּשָׁה׃
25Brandished and run through his body, The blade, through his gall, Strikes terror into him.
כהשָׁלַף וַיֵּצֵא מִגֵּוָה וּבָרָק מִמְּרֹרָתוֹ יַהֲלֹךְ עָלָיו אֵמִים׃
26Utter darkness waits for his treasured ones; A fire fanned by no man will consume him; Who survives in his tent will be crushed.
kol KHO-shekh ta-MUN litz-pu-NAV t'-a-kh'-LAY-hu AYSH lo nu-PAKH yay-RA sa-REED b'-a-ho-LO
כוכָּל־חֹשֶׁךְ טָמוּן לִצְפּוּנָיו תְּאָכְלֵהוּ אֵשׁ לֹא־נֻפָּח יֵרַע שָׂרִיד בְּאָהֳלוֹ׃
20:26 Who survives in his tent will be crushed
Zophar asserts that anyone associated with an evil person will be punished as a result of that association. Why is it so important to avoid associating with evildoers? Associating with a sinner can cause a desecration of God’s name, since righteous people are thought to be less virtuous due to these inappropriate associations. Furthermore, a righteous person must avoid being influenced by evildoers, lest they lead him to sin. This idea is applied by Rashi (Numbers 3:29) to explain why the tribe of Reuven joined the rebellion of Korach, who was from the Kehat family of the tribe of Levi. “Since the tribe of Reuven was settled in the south when they camped, thus being neighbors of Kehat and his children who were also camped in the south, they joined with Korach in his rebellion. Woe to the wicked, and woe to his neighbor!”
27Heaven will expose his iniquity; Earth will rise up against him.
כזיְגַלּוּ שָׁמַיִם עֲוׂנוֹ וְאֶרֶץ מִתְקוֹמָמָה לוֹ׃
28His household will be cast forth by a flood, Spilled out on the day of His wrath.
כחיִגֶל יְבוּל בֵּיתוֹ נִגָּרוֹת בְּיוֹם אַפּוֹ׃
29This is the wicked man's portion from Hashem, The lot Hashem has ordained for him.
כטזֶה חֵלֶק־אָדָם רָשָׁע מֵאֱלֹהִים וְנַחֲלַת אִמְרוֹ מֵאֵל׃