Job’s Discourse on the Wicked

21 Then Job answered and said:

“Listen carefully to my speech,
And let this be your [a]consolation.
Bear with me that I may speak,
And after I have spoken, keep (A)mocking.

“As for me, is my complaint against man?
And if it were, why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be astonished;
(B)Put your hand over your mouth.
Even when I remember I am terrified,
And trembling takes hold of my flesh.
(C)Why do the wicked live and become old,
Yes, become mighty in power?
Their descendants are established with them in their sight,
And their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
(D)Neither is [b]the rod of God upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without failure;
Their cow calves (E)without miscarriage.
11 They send forth their little ones like a flock,
And their children dance.
12 They sing to the tambourine and harp,
And rejoice to the sound of the flute.
13 They (F)spend their days in wealth,
And [c]in a moment go down to the [d]grave.
14 (G)Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us,
For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.
15 (H)Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?
And (I)what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’
16 Indeed [e]their prosperity is not in their hand;
(J)The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17 “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
How often does their destruction come upon them,
The sorrows God (K)distributes in His anger?
18 (L)They are like straw before the wind,
And like chaff that a storm [f]carries away.
19 They say, ‘God [g]lays up [h]one’s iniquity (M)for his children’;
Let Him recompense him, that he may know it.
20 Let his eyes see his destruction,
And (N)let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what does he care about his household after him,
When the number of his months is cut in half?

22 “Can(O) anyone teach God knowledge,
Since He judges those on high?
23 One dies in his full strength,
Being wholly at ease and secure;
24 His [i]pails are full of milk,
And the marrow of his bones is moist.
25 Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul,
Never having eaten with pleasure.
26 They (P)lie down alike in the dust,
And worms cover them.

27 “Look, I know your thoughts,
And the schemes with which you would wrong me.
28 For you say,
‘Where is the house of the prince?
And where is [j]the tent,
The dwelling place of the wicked?’
29 Have you not asked those who travel the road?
And do you not know their signs?
30 (Q)For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom;
They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.
31 Who condemns his way to his face?
And who repays him for what he has done?
32 Yet he shall be brought to the grave,
And a vigil kept over the tomb.
33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him;
(R)Everyone shall follow him,
As countless have gone before him.
34 How then can you comfort me with empty words,
Since [k]falsehood remains in your answers?”


  1. Job 21:2 comfort
  2. Job 21:9 The rod of God’s chastisement
  3. Job 21:13 Without lingering
  4. Job 21:13 Or Sheol
  5. Job 21:16 Lit. their goal
  6. Job 21:18 steals away
  7. Job 21:19 stores up
  8. Job 21:19 Lit. his
  9. Job 21:24 LXX, Vg. bowels; Syr. sides; Tg. breasts
  10. Job 21:28 Vg. omits the tent
  11. Job 21:34 faithlessness

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