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16 Job’s reply:

“I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters all of you are. Won’t you ever stop your flow of foolish words? What have I said that makes you speak so endlessly? But perhaps I’d sermonize the same as you—if you were I and I were you. I would spout off my criticisms against you and shake my head at you. But no! I would speak in such a way that it would help you. I would try to take away your grief.

“But now my grief remains no matter how I defend myself; nor does it help if I refuse to speak. For God has ground me down and taken away my family. O God, you have turned me to skin and bones—as a proof, they say, of my sins. God hates me and angrily tears at my flesh; he has gnashed upon me with his teeth and watched to snuff out any sign of life. 10 These ‘comforters’ have gaping jaws to swallow me; they slap my cheek. My enemies gather themselves against me. 11 And God has delivered me over to sinners, into the hands of the wicked.

12 “I was living quietly until he broke me apart. He has taken me by the neck and dashed me to pieces, then hung me up as his target. 13 His archers surround me, letting fly their arrows, so that the ground is wet from my blood. 14 Again and again he attacks me, running upon me like a giant. 15 Here I sit in sackcloth; and have laid all hope in the dust. 16 My eyes are red with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death.

17 “Yet I am innocent, and my prayer is pure. 18 O Earth, do not conceal my blood. Let it protest on my behalf.

19 “Yet even now the witness to my innocence is there in heaven; my advocate is there on high. 20 My friends scoff at me, but I pour out my tears to God, 21 pleading that he will listen as a man would listen to his neighbor. 22 For all too soon I must go down that road from which I shall never return.

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