2 “Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should [a]a man full of talk be vindicated? 3 Should your empty talk make men [b]hold their peace? And when you mock, should no one rebuke you? 4 For you have said, ‘My doctrine is pure, And I am clean in your eyes.’ 5 But oh, that God would speak, And open His lips against you, 6 That He would show you the secrets of wisdom! For they would double your prudence. Know therefore that God [c]exacts from you Less than your iniquity deserves.
7 “Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? 8 They are higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than [d]Sheol—what can you know? 9 Their measure is longer than the earth And broader than the sea.
10 “If He passes by, imprisons, and gathers to judgment, Then who can [e]hinder Him? 11 For He knows deceitful men; He sees wickedness also. Will He not then consider it? 12 For an empty-headed man will be wise, When a wild donkey’s colt is born a man.
13 “If you would prepare your heart, And stretch out your hands toward Him; 14 If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, And would not let wickedness dwell in your tents; 15 Then surely you could lift up your face without spot; Yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear; 16 Because you would forget your misery, And remember it as waters that have passed away, 17 And your life would be brighter than noonday. Though you were dark, you would be like the morning. 18 And you would be secure, because there is hope; Yes, you would dig around you, andtake your rest in safety. 19 You would also lie down, and no one would make you afraid; Yes, many would court your favor. 20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And they shall not escape, And their hope—[f]loss of life!”
Job Answers His Critics
12 Then Job answered and said:
2 “No doubt you are the people, And wisdom will die with you! 3 But I have [g]understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Indeed, who does not know such things as these?
4 “I am one mocked by his friends, Who called on God, and He answered him, The just and blameless who is ridiculed. 5 A [h]lamp is despised in the thought of one who is at ease; It is made ready for those whose feet slip. 6 The tents of robbers prosper, And those who provoke God are secure— In what God provides by His hand.
7 “But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; 8 Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you. 9 Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this, 10 In whose hand is the [i]life of every living thing, And the breath of [j]all mankind? 11 Does not the ear test words And the [k]mouth taste its food? 12 Wisdom is with aged men, And with [l]length of days, understanding.
13 “With Him arewisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding. 14 If He breaks a thing down, it cannot be rebuilt; If He imprisons a man, there can be no release. 15 If He withholds the waters, they dry up; If He sends them out, they overwhelm the earth. 16 With Him are strength and prudence. The deceived and the deceiver are His. 17 He leads counselors away plundered, And makes fools of the judges. 18 He loosens the bonds of kings, And binds their waist with a belt. 19 He leads [m]princes away plundered, And overthrows the mighty. 20 He deprives the trusted ones of speech, And takes away the discernment of the elders. 21 He pours contempt on princes, And [n]disarms the mighty. 22 He uncovers deep things out of darkness, And brings the shadow of death to light. 23 He makes nations great, and destroys them; He [o]enlarges nations, and guides them. 24 He takes away the [p]understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, And makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. 25 They grope in the dark without light, And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.
Job Defends Himself
13 “Behold, my eye has seen all this, My ear has heard and understood it. 2 What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. 3 But I would speak to the Almighty, And I desire to reason with God. 4 But you forgers of lies, You are all worthless physicians. 5 Oh, that you would be silent, And it would be your wisdom! 6 Now hear my reasoning, And heed the pleadings of my lips. 7 Will you speak [q]wickedly for God, And talk deceitfully for Him? 8 Will you show partiality for Him? Will you contend for God? 9 Will it be well when He searches you out? Or can you mock Him as one mocks a man? 10 He will surely rebuke you If you secretly show partiality. 11 Will not His [r]excellence make you afraid, And the dread of Him fall upon you? 12 Your platitudes are proverbs of ashes, Your defenses are defenses of clay.
13 “Hold[s] your peace with me, and let me speak, Then let come on me what may! 14 Why do I take my flesh in my teeth, And put my life in my hands? 15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. 16 He also shall be my salvation, For a hypocrite could not come before Him. 17 Listen carefully to my speech, And to my declaration with your ears. 18 See now, I have prepared my case, I know that I shall be vindicated. 19 Who is he who will contend with me? If now I hold my tongue, I perish.
Job’s Despondent Prayer
20 “Only two things do not do to me, Then I will not hide myself from You: 21 Withdraw Your hand far from me, And let not the dread of You make me afraid. 22 Then call, and I will answer; Or let me speak, then You respond to me. 23 How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin. 24 Why do You hide Your face, And regard me as Your enemy? 25 Will You frighten a leaf driven to and fro? And will You pursue dry stubble? 26 For You write bitter things against me, And make me inherit the iniquities of my youth. 27 You put my feet in the stocks, And watch closely all my paths. You [t]set a limit for the [u]soles of my feet.
28 “Man[v] decays like a rotten thing, Like a garment that is moth-eaten.
Job Speaks of Life’s Woes
14 “Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of [w]trouble. 2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue. 3 And do You open Your eyes on such a one, And bring [x]me to judgment with Yourself? 4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one! 5 Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass. 6 Look away from him that he may [y]rest, Till like a hired man he finishes his day.
7 “For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its tender shoots will not cease. 8 Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground, 9 Yet at the scent of water it will bud And bring forth branches like a plant. 10 But man dies and [z]is laid away; Indeed he [aa]breathes his last And where ishe? 11 As water disappears from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dries up, 12 So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep.
13 “Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. 15 You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands. 16 For now You number my steps, But do not watch over my sin. 17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You [ab]cover my iniquity.
18 “But as a mountain falls and crumbles away, And as a rock is moved from its place; 19 As water wears away stones, And as torrents wash away the soil of the earth; So You destroy the hope of man. 20 You prevail forever against him, and he passes on; You change his countenance and send him away. 21 His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; They are brought low, and he does not perceive it. 22 But his flesh will be in pain over it, And his soul will mourn over it.”
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