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21 Then Iyov responded:

“Listen carefully to my words;
let this be the comfort you give me.
Bear with me as I speak;
then, after I have spoken, you can go on mocking.

“As for me, is my complaint merely to other people?
Don’t I have grounds for being short-tempered?
Look at me, and be appalled;
cover your mouth with your hand!
Whenever I recall it, I am in shock;
my whole body shudders.

“Why do the wicked go on living,
grow old and keep increasing their power?
They see their children settled with them,
their posterity assured.
Their houses are safe, with nothing to fear;
God’s rod is not on them.
10 Their bulls are fertile without fail,
their cows get pregnant and don’t miscarry.
11 They produce flocks of babies,
and their children dance around.
12 They sing with tambourines and lyres
and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
13 They spend their days in prosperity
and go down to the grave in peace.

14 “Yet to God they said, ‘Leave us alone!
We don’t want to know about your ways.
15 What is Shaddai, that we should serve him?
What do we gain if we pray to him?’
16 Isn’t their prosperity already theirs?
The plans of the wicked are far from me.

17 “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
How often does their calamity come upon them?
How often does [God] deal out pain in his anger,
18 to make them like straw in the wind,
like chaff carried off by a storm?
19 God lays up for their children
[the punishment for their] iniquity.
He should lay it on [the wicked] themselves,
so that they can feel it!
20 Let their own eyes see their own destruction
and themselves drink the wrath of Shaddai.
21 What joy can they have in their family after them,
given that their months are numbered?

22 “Can anyone teach God knowledge?
After all, he judges those who are on high.
23 One person dies in his full strength,
completely at ease and content;
24 his pails are full of milk,
and the marrow in his bones is moist.
25 Another dies with embittered heart,
never having tasted happiness.
26 They lie down alike in the dust,
and the worm covers them both.

27 “Look, I know what you are thinking
and your plans to do me wrong.
28 You ask, ‘Where is the great man’s house?
Where is the tent where the wicked once lived?’
29 Haven’t you ever questioned travelers?
Don’t you accept their testimony
30 that the evil man is saved on the day of disaster,
rescued on the day of wrath?
31 So who will confront him with his ways?
Who will repay him for what he has done?
32 For he is carried off to the grave,
people keep watch over his tomb,
33 the clods of the valley are sweet to him;
so everyone follows his example,
just as before him were countless others.

34 “Why offer me such meaningless comfort?
Of your answers, only the perfidy remains.”


21 Then Job replied:

“Listen carefully to my words;(A)
    let this be the consolation you give me.(B)
Bear with me while I speak,
    and after I have spoken, mock on.(C)

“Is my complaint(D) directed to a human being?
    Why should I not be impatient?(E)
Look at me and be appalled;
    clap your hand over your mouth.(F)
When I think about this, I am terrified;(G)
    trembling seizes my body.(H)
Why do the wicked live on,
    growing old and increasing in power?(I)
They see their children established around them,
    their offspring before their eyes.(J)
Their homes are safe and free from fear;(K)
    the rod of God is not on them.(L)
10 Their bulls never fail to breed;
    their cows calve and do not miscarry.(M)
11 They send forth their children as a flock;(N)
    their little ones dance about.
12 They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre;(O)
    they make merry to the sound of the pipe.(P)
13 They spend their years in prosperity(Q)
    and go down to the grave(R) in peace.[a](S)
14 Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone!(T)
    We have no desire to know your ways.(U)
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
    What would we gain by praying to him?’(V)
16 But their prosperity is not in their own hands,
    so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.(W)

17 “Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out?(X)
    How often does calamity(Y) come upon them,
    the fate God allots in his anger?(Z)
18 How often are they like straw before the wind,
    like chaff(AA) swept away(AB) by a gale?(AC)
19 It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.’(AD)
    Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it!(AE)
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction;(AF)
    let them drink(AG) the cup of the wrath of the Almighty.(AH)
21 For what do they care about the families they leave behind(AI)
    when their allotted months(AJ) come to an end?(AK)

22 “Can anyone teach knowledge to God,(AL)
    since he judges even the highest?(AM)
23 One person dies in full vigor,(AN)
    completely secure and at ease,(AO)
24 well nourished(AP) in body,[b]
    bones(AQ) rich with marrow.(AR)
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul,(AS)
    never having enjoyed anything good.
26 Side by side they lie in the dust,(AT)
    and worms(AU) cover them both.(AV)

27 “I know full well what you are thinking,
    the schemes by which you would wrong me.
28 You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great,(AW)
    the tents where the wicked lived?’(AX)
29 Have you never questioned those who travel?
    Have you paid no regard to their accounts—
30 that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity,(AY)
    that they are delivered from[c] the day of wrath?(AZ)
31 Who denounces their conduct to their face?
    Who repays them for what they have done?(BA)
32 They are carried to the grave,
    and watch is kept over their tombs.(BB)
33 The soil in the valley is sweet to them;(BC)
    everyone follows after them,
    and a countless throng goes[d] before them.(BD)

34 “So how can you console me(BE) with your nonsense?
    Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”(BF)


  1. Job 21:13 Or in an instant
  2. Job 21:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Job 21:30 Or wicked are reserved for the day of calamity, / that they are brought forth to
  4. Job 21:33 Or them, / as a countless throng went