2 “Would a wise person answer with empty notions or fill their belly with the hot east wind? 3 Would they argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value? 4 But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God. 5 Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty. 6 Your own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against you.
7 “Are you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the hills? 8 Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? 9 What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have? 10 The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, men even older than your father. 11 Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? 12 Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, 13 so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth?
14 “What are mortals, that they could be pure, or those born of woman, that they could be righteous? 15 If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, 16 how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!
17 “Listen to me and I will explain to you; let me tell you what I have seen, 18 what the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors 19 (to whom alone the land was given when no foreigners moved among them): 20 All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him. 21 Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. 22 He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness; he is marked for the sword. 23 He wanders about for food like a vulture; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. 24 Distress and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack, 25 because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty, 26 defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield.
27 “Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh, 28 he will inhabit ruined towns and houses where no one lives, houses crumbling to rubble. 29 He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the land. 30 He will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots, and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away. 31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return. 32 Before his time he will wither, and his branches will not flourish. 33 He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive tree shedding its blossoms. 34 For the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes. 35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their womb fashions deceit.”
2 “I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you! 3 Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? 4 I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. 5 But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
6 “Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. 7 Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household. 8 You have shriveled me up—and it has become a witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me. 9 God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes. 10 People open their mouths to jeer at me; they strike my cheek in scorn and unite together against me. 11 God has turned me over to the ungodly and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked. 12 All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target; 13 his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground. 14 Again and again he bursts upon me; he rushes at me like a warrior.
15 “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin and buried my brow in the dust. 16 My face is red with weeping, dark shadows ring my eyes; 17 yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure.
18 “Earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! 19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. 20 My intercessor is my friend[a] as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.
22 “Only a few years will pass before I take the path of no return.
17 1 My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me. 2 Surely mockers surround me; my eyes must dwell on their hostility.
3 “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me? 4 You have closed their minds to understanding; therefore you will not let them triumph. 5 If anyone denounces their friends for reward, the eyes of their children will fail.
6 “God has made me a byword to everyone, a man in whose face people spit. 7 My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow. 8 The upright are appalled at this; the innocent are aroused against the ungodly. 9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.
10 “But come on, all of you, try again! I will not find a wise man among you. 11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart 12 turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near. 13 If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness, 14 if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’ 15 where then is my hope— who can see any hope for me? 16 Will it go down to the gates of death? Will we descend together into the dust?”
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