16 Then Job reiterated his innocence.
2 Job: All the things from you sound the same.
You are all terrible as comforters!
3 Have we reached the end of your windy words,
or are you sick with something that compels you to argue with me?
4 If we were to trade places,
I could rattle on as you do.
I could compose eloquent speeches as you do
and shake my head smugly at you and your problems.
5 But I believe I would use my words to encourage you;
my lips would move only to offer you relief.
6 And yet, I am not you, you are not me,
and my words are of no real use:
When I speak, my pain is not relieved;
if I remain silent, it does not go away.
7 God has drained me utterly;
He has made those near to me desolate—killed my family and my servants.
8 You have shriveled me up;
my withered form stands as a witness against me;
my body, haggard and thin, testifies to my face.
9 In anger He hunts me down and tears at me;
in rancor His teeth grind on my flesh;
His eyes are locked on me as a foe,
eager to destroy still more of me.
10 My foes taunt me, their mouths gape in derision,
they slap my cheek in disgust, and they conspire against me.
11 God has forsaken me to young thugs
and flung me into the hands of evildoers who lie in wait for me.
12 I was living a good life—a quiet, peaceful life—
when He began to beat on me;
He throttled my neck, tore me apart,
and then propped me up
at the far end of the field, making me a target.
13 His archers have now gathered around me.
In cold blood He splits my belly open and spills my bile on the earth.
14 He charged like a soldier storming a stronghold
until my walls were breached, broken down, one after another.
Job in his despair and frustration responds as he and his friends have been taught by previous generations to display grief: by donning sackcloth and covering the head with dust to show devastation, as if everything has been lost even to the point of death.
15 Job: Well, I have sewed the sackcloth to my very skin
and buried my mighty forehead in the dirt.
16 My face, red and hot, boils over in tears;
the shadow of darkness lies heavy on my eyelids,
17 No matter that my hands are free of violence,
and my prayer is pure.
18 O earth, do not conceal my blood!
And when they seek to silence my cry, refuse a place for its burial.
19 Look! Even at this very moment, my witness is there, in heaven;
my advocate is seated on high.
20 My only friends scoff at me; they persist in mocking me;
even now my eyes well up in tears to God,
21 Appealing to God as a mere man,
as a human being might for the sake of his friend.
22 Only a few years left now,
and I will go down the path from which I cannot return.