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Job 21 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Job Answers

21 Then Job answered:

“Listen to what I say.
    Let this be your way of comforting me.
Be patient while I speak.
    Then after I have finished speaking, you may make fun of me.

“My complaint is not against people.
    There is a good reason why I am not patient.
Look at me and be shocked.
    Put your hand over your mouth, and stare at me in shock!
When I think about what happened to me,
    I feel afraid and my body shakes!
Why do evil people live long lives?
    Why do they grow old and successful?
They watch their children grow up
    and live to see their grandchildren.
Their homes are safe and free from fear.
    God does not punish them.
10 Their bulls never fail to mate.
    Their cows have healthy calves.
11 They send their children out to play like lambs.
    Their children dance around.
12 They sing and dance to the sound of harps and flutes.
13 Evil people enjoy success during their lives
    and then go to the grave without suffering.
14 They say to God, ‘Leave us alone!
    We don’t care what you want us to do!’
15 And they say, ‘Who is God All-Powerful?
    We don’t need to serve him!
    It will not help to pray to him!’

16 “Of course, evil people don’t make their own success.
    I would never follow their advice.
17 But how often does God blow out their light?
    How often does trouble come to them?
    How often does God get angry with them and punish them?
18 Does God blow them away, as the wind blows straw
    or as strong winds blow the grain husks?
19 But you say, ‘God is saving their punishment for their children.’
    No! Let God punish the evil people themselves so that they will know what they have done!
20 Let them see their own punishment.
    Let them feel the anger of God All-Powerful.
21 When their life is finished and they are dead,
    they will not care about the family they leave behind.

22 “No one can teach God anything he doesn’t already know.
    God judges even those in high places.
23 One person dies after living a full and successful life,
    a life completely safe and comfortable,
24 with a body that was well fed
    and bones that were still strong.
25 But another person dies after a hard life that has made them bitter,
    never having enjoyed anything good.
26 In the end, both of these people will lie together in the dirt.
    The worms will cover them both.

27 “But I know what you are thinking,
    and I know you want to hurt me.
28 You might say, ‘Show me a good man’s house.
    Now, show me where evil people live.’[a]

29 “Surely you have talked with travelers.
    Surely you will accept their stories.
30 Evil people are spared when disaster comes.
    They survive when God shows his anger.
31 No one criticizes them to their faces for how they lived.
    No one punishes them for the evil they have done.
32 When they are carried to the grave,
    they will have someone to watch over the place they are buried.
33 So even the soil in the valley will be pleasant for them,
    and thousands of people will join their funeral procession.

34 “So your empty words are no comfort to me.
    There is no truth at all in your answers!”


  1. Job 21:28 Show me … live Or “Show me a wicked ruler’s house. Show me where evil people live.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Job 21 New International Version (NIV)


21 Then Job replied:

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

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

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

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

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,
    the tents where the wicked lived?’
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,
    that they are delivered from[c] the day of wrath?
31 Who denounces their conduct to their face?
    Who repays them for what they have done?
32 They are carried to the grave,
    and watch is kept over their tombs.
33 The soil in the valley is sweet to them;
    everyone follows after them,
    and a countless throng goes[d] before them.

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


  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
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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