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God Does Not Punish the Wicked

21 Then Job answered and said,

“Listen carefully to my speech,
And let this be your way of consolation.
Bear with me that I may speak;
Then after I have spoken, you may (A)mock.
As for me, is (B)my musing [a]to man?
And (C)why should [b]I not be impatient?
Look at me, and be appalled,
And (D)put your hand over your mouth.
Even when I remember, I am dismayed,
And (E)horror seizes my flesh.
Why (F)do the wicked still live,
Continue on, also become very (G)powerful?
Their (H)seed is established with them in their presence,
And their offspring before their eyes,
Their houses (I)are safe from dread,
And the rod of God is not on them.
10 His ox mates and does not fail;
His cow calves and does not miscarry.
11 They send forth their little ones like the flock,
And their children skip about.
12 They lift up the tambourine and harp
And are glad at the sound of the pipe.
13 They (J)spend their days in prosperity,
And [c]suddenly they go down to Sheol.
14 They say to God, ‘(K)Depart from us!
We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways.
15 [d]Who is [e]the Almighty, that we should serve Him,
And (L)what would we profit if we entreat Him?’
16 Behold, their prosperity is not in their hand;
The (M)counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17 “How often is (N)the lamp of the wicked put out,
Or does their (O)disaster fall on them?
Does [f]God apportion destruction in His anger?
18 Are they as (P)straw before the wind,
And like (Q)chaff which the storm steals away?
19 You say, ‘(R)God stores away [g]a man’s wickedness for his sons.’
Let [h]God repay him so that he may know it.
20 Let his (S)own eyes see his decay,
And let him (T)drink of the wrath of [i]the Almighty.
21 For what desire does he have for his household [j]after him,
When the number of his months is cut off?
22 Can anyone (U)teach God knowledge,
In that He (V)judges those on high?
23 One (W)dies in his full strength,
Being wholly carefree and at ease;
24 His [k]sides are filled out with fat,
And the (X)marrow of his bones is moist,
25 But another dies with a bitter soul,
Never even eats anything good.
26 Together they (Y)lie down in the dust,
And (Z)worms cover them.

27 “Behold, I know your thoughts,
And the plans by which you do violence against me.
28 For you say, ‘Where is the house of (AA)the nobleman,
And where is the (AB)tent, the dwelling places of the wicked?’
29 Have you not asked those who pass by along the way,
And do you not recognize their [l]witness?
30 That the (AC)wicked is reserved for the day of disaster;
They will be led forth at (AD)the day of fury.
31 Who will declare to his face about his actions,
And who will repay him for what he has done?
32 While he is led forth to the grave,
Men will keep watch over his tomb.
33 The (AE)clods of the valley will [m]gently cover him;
Moreover, (AF)all men will draw up after him,
While countless ones go before him.
34 How then will you vainly (AG)comfort me,
Indeed when your answers remain full of [n]falsehood?”


  1. Job 21:4 Or against
  2. Job 21:4 Lit my spirit
  3. Job 21:13 As in most versions; M.T. are shattered by Sheol
  4. Job 21:15 Lit What
  5. Job 21:15 Heb Shaddai
  6. Job 21:17 Lit He
  7. Job 21:19 Lit his
  8. Job 21:19 Lit Him
  9. Job 21:20 Heb Shaddai
  10. Job 21:21 After he dies
  11. Job 21:24 As in Syr; Heb uncertain; some Heb mss render as his pails are full of milk
  12. Job 21:29 Lit signs
  13. Job 21:33 Lit be sweet to him
  14. Job 21:34 Or faithlessness