Job’s Response

Why Do the Wicked Have It So Good?

21 1-3 Job replied:

“Now listen to me carefully, please listen,
    at least do me the favor of listening.
Put up with me while I have my say—
    then you can mock me later to your heart’s content.

4-16 “It’s not you I’m complaining to—it’s God.
    Is it any wonder I’m getting fed up with his silence?
Take a good look at me. Aren’t you appalled by what’s happened?
    No! Don’t say anything. I can do without your comments.
When I look back, I go into shock,
    my body is racked with spasms.
Why do the wicked have it so good,
    live to a ripe old age and get rich?
They get to see their children succeed,
    get to watch and enjoy their grandchildren.
Their homes are peaceful and free from fear;
    they never experience God’s disciplining rod.
Their bulls breed with great vigor
    and their cows calve without fail.
They send their children out to play
    and watch them frolic like spring lambs.
They make music with fiddles and flutes,
    have good times singing and dancing.
They have a long life on easy street,
    and die painlessly in their sleep.
They say to God, ‘Get lost!
    We’ve no interest in you or your ways.
Why should we have dealings with God Almighty?
    What’s there in it for us?’
But they’re wrong, dead wrong—they’re not gods.
    It’s beyond me how they can carry on like this!

17-21 “Still, how often does it happen that the wicked fail,
    or disaster strikes,
    or they get their just deserts?
How often are they blown away by bad luck?
    Not very often.
You might say, ‘God is saving up the punishment for their children.’
    I say, ‘Give it to them right now so they’ll know what they’ve done!’
They deserve to experience the effects of their evil,
    feel the full force of God’s wrath firsthand.
What do they care what happens to their families
    after they’re safely tucked away in the grave?

Fancy Funerals with All the Trimmings

22-26 “But who are we to tell God how to run his affairs?
    He’s dealing with matters that are way over our heads.
Some people die in the prime of life,
    with everything going for them—
    fat and sassy.
Others die bitter and bereft,
    never getting a taste of happiness.
They’re laid out side by side in the cemetery,
    where the worms can’t tell one from the other.

27-33 “I’m not deceived. I know what you’re up to,
    the plans you’re cooking up to bring me down.
Naively you claim that the castles of tyrants fall to pieces,
    that the achievements of the wicked collapse.
Have you ever asked world travelers how they see it?
    Have you not listened to their stories
Of evil men and women who got off scot-free,
    who never had to pay for their wickedness?
Did anyone ever confront them with their crimes?
    Did they ever have to face the music?
Not likely—they’re given fancy funerals
    with all the trimmings,
Gently lowered into expensive graves,
    with everyone telling lies about how wonderful they were.

34 “So how do you expect me to get any comfort from your nonsense?
    Your so-called comfort is a tissue of lies.”

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