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31 “I have made a covenant with my eyes;
    how then could I look upon a virgin?
What would be my portion from God above,
    and my heritage from the Almighty[a] on high?
Does not calamity befall the unrighteous,
    and disaster the workers of iniquity?
Does he not see my ways,
    and number all my steps?

“If I have walked with falsehood,
    and my foot has hurried to deceit—
let me be weighed in a just balance,
    and let God know my integrity!—
if my step has turned aside from the way,
    and my heart has followed my eyes,
    and if any spot has clung to my hands;
then let me sow, and another eat;
    and let what grows for me be rooted out.

“If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
    and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door;
10 then let my wife grind for another,
    and let other men kneel over her.
11 For that would be a heinous crime;
    that would be a criminal offense;
12 for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon,
    and it would burn to the root all my harvest.

13 “If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves,
    when they brought a complaint against me;
14 what then shall I do when God rises up?
    When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
    And did not one fashion us in the womb?

16 “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
    or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
17 or have eaten my morsel alone,
    and the orphan has not eaten from it—
18 for from my youth I reared the orphan[b] like a father,
    and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow[c]
19 if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
    or a poor person without covering,
20 whose loins have not blessed me,
    and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
21 if I have raised my hand against the orphan,
    because I saw I had supporters at the gate;
22 then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
    and let my arm be broken from its socket.
23 For I was in terror of calamity from God,
    and I could not have faced his majesty.

24 “If I have made gold my trust,
    or called fine gold my confidence;
25 if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
    or because my hand had gotten much;
26 if I have looked at the sun[d] when it shone,
    or the moon moving in splendor,
27 and my heart has been secretly enticed,
    and my mouth has kissed my hand;
28 this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
    for I should have been false to God above.

29 “If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me,
    or exulted when evil overtook them—
30 I have not let my mouth sin
    by asking for their lives with a curse—
31 if those of my tent ever said,
    ‘O that we might be sated with his flesh!’[e]
32 the stranger has not lodged in the street;
    I have opened my doors to the traveler—
33 if I have concealed my transgressions as others do,[f]
    by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
34 because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
    and the contempt of families terrified me,
    so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—
35 O that I had one to hear me!
    (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty[g] answer me!)
    O that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
    I would bind it on me like a crown;
37 I would give him an account of all my steps;
    like a prince I would approach him.

38 “If my land has cried out against me,
    and its furrows have wept together;
39 if I have eaten its yield without payment,
    and caused the death of its owners;
40 let thorns grow instead of wheat,
    and foul weeds instead of barley.”

The words of Job are ended.

Elihu Rebukes Job’s Friends

32 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; he was angry also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, though they had declared Job to be in the wrong.[h] Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were older than he. But when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouths of these three men, he became angry.

Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite answered:

“I am young in years,
    and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
    to declare my opinion to you.
I said, ‘Let days speak,
    and many years teach wisdom.’
But truly it is the spirit in a mortal,
    the breath of the Almighty,[i] that makes for understanding.
It is not the old[j] that are wise,
    nor the aged that understand what is right.
10 Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
    let me also declare my opinion.’

11 “See, I waited for your words,
    I listened for your wise sayings,
    while you searched out what to say.
12 I gave you my attention,
    but there was in fact no one that confuted Job,
    no one among you that answered his words.
13 Yet do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;
    God may vanquish him, not a human.’
14 He has not directed his words against me,
    and I will not answer him with your speeches.

15 “They are dismayed, they answer no more;
    they have not a word to say.
16 And am I to wait, because they do not speak,
    because they stand there, and answer no more?
17 I also will give my answer;
    I also will declare my opinion.
18 For I am full of words;
    the spirit within me constrains me.
19 My heart is indeed like wine that has no vent;
    like new wineskins, it is ready to burst.
20 I must speak, so that I may find relief;
    I must open my lips and answer.
21 I will not show partiality to any person
    or use flattery toward anyone.
22 For I do not know how to flatter—
    or my Maker would soon put an end to me!

Elihu Rebukes Job

33 “But now, hear my speech, O Job,
    and listen to all my words.
See, I open my mouth;
    the tongue in my mouth speaks.
My words declare the uprightness of my heart,
    and what my lips know they speak sincerely.
The spirit of God has made me,
    and the breath of the Almighty[k] gives me life.
Answer me, if you can;
    set your words in order before me; take your stand.
See, before God I am as you are;
    I too was formed from a piece of clay.
No fear of me need terrify you;
    my pressure will not be heavy on you.

“Surely, you have spoken in my hearing,
    and I have heard the sound of your words.
You say, ‘I am clean, without transgression;
    I am pure, and there is no iniquity in me.
10 Look, he finds occasions against me,
    he counts me as his enemy;
11 he puts my feet in the stocks,
    and watches all my paths.’

12 “But in this you are not right. I will answer you:
    God is greater than any mortal.
13 Why do you contend against him,
    saying, ‘He will answer none of my[l] words’?
14 For God speaks in one way,
    and in two, though people do not perceive it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on mortals,
    while they slumber on their beds,
16 then he opens their ears,
    and terrifies them with warnings,
17 that he may turn them aside from their deeds,
    and keep them from pride,
18 to spare their souls from the Pit,
    their lives from traversing the River.
19 They are also chastened with pain upon their beds,
    and with continual strife in their bones,
20 so that their lives loathe bread,
    and their appetites dainty food.
21 Their flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen;
    and their bones, once invisible, now stick out.
22 Their souls draw near the Pit,
    and their lives to those who bring death.
23 Then, if there should be for one of them an angel,
    a mediator, one of a thousand,
    one who declares a person upright,
24 and he is gracious to that person, and says,
    ‘Deliver him from going down into the Pit;
    I have found a ransom;
25 let his flesh become fresh with youth;
    let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
26 then he prays to God, and is accepted by him,
    he comes into his presence with joy,
and God[m] repays him for his righteousness.
27     That person sings to others and says,
‘I sinned, and perverted what was right,
    and it was not paid back to me.
28 He has redeemed my soul from going down to the Pit,
    and my life shall see the light.’

29 “God indeed does all these things,
    twice, three times, with mortals,
30 to bring back their souls from the Pit,
    so that they may see the light of life.[n]
31 Pay heed, Job, listen to me;
    be silent, and I will speak.
32 If you have anything to say, answer me;
    speak, for I desire to justify you.
33 If not, listen to me;
    be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

Elihu Proclaims God’s Justice

34 Then Elihu continued and said:

“Hear my words, you wise men,
    and give ear to me, you who know;
for the ear tests words
    as the palate tastes food.
Let us choose what is right;
    let us determine among ourselves what is good.
For Job has said, ‘I am innocent,
    and God has taken away my right;
in spite of being right I am counted a liar;
    my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
Who is there like Job,
    who drinks up scoffing like water,
who goes in company with evildoers
    and walks with the wicked?
For he has said, ‘It profits one nothing
    to take delight in God.’

10 “Therefore, hear me, you who have sense,
    far be it from God that he should do wickedness,
    and from the Almighty[o] that he should do wrong.
11 For according to their deeds he will repay them,
    and according to their ways he will make it befall them.
12 Of a truth, God will not do wickedly,
    and the Almighty[p] will not pervert justice.
13 Who gave him charge over the earth
    and who laid on him[q] the whole world?
14 If he should take back his spirit[r] to himself,
    and gather to himself his breath,
15 all flesh would perish together,
    and all mortals return to dust.

16 “If you have understanding, hear this;
    listen to what I say.
17 Shall one who hates justice govern?
    Will you condemn one who is righteous and mighty,
18 who says to a king, ‘You scoundrel!’
    and to princes, ‘You wicked men!’;
19 who shows no partiality to nobles,
    nor regards the rich more than the poor,
    for they are all the work of his hands?
20 In a moment they die;
    at midnight the people are shaken and pass away,
    and the mighty are taken away by no human hand.

21 “For his eyes are upon the ways of mortals,
    and he sees all their steps.
22 There is no gloom or deep darkness
    where evildoers may hide themselves.
23 For he has not appointed a time[s] for anyone
    to go before God in judgment.
24 He shatters the mighty without investigation,
    and sets others in their place.
25 Thus, knowing their works,
    he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed.
26 He strikes them for their wickedness
    while others look on,
27 because they turned aside from following him,
    and had no regard for any of his ways,
28 so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him,
    and he heard the cry of the afflicted—
29 When he is quiet, who can condemn?
    When he hides his face, who can behold him,
    whether it be a nation or an individual?—
30 so that the godless should not reign,
    or those who ensnare the people.

31 “For has anyone said to God,
    ‘I have endured punishment; I will not offend any more;
32 teach me what I do not see;
    if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?
33 Will he then pay back to suit you,
    because you reject it?
For you must choose, and not I;
    therefore declare what you know.[t]
34 Those who have sense will say to me,
    and the wise who hear me will say,
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge,
    his words are without insight.’
36 Would that Job were tried to the limit,
    because his answers are those of the wicked.
37 For he adds rebellion to his sin;
    he claps his hands among us,
    and multiplies his words against God.”

Footnotes

  1. Job 31:2 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  2. Job 31:18 Heb him
  3. Job 31:18 Heb her
  4. Job 31:26 Heb the light
  5. Job 31:31 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  6. Job 31:33 Or as Adam did
  7. Job 31:35 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  8. Job 32:3 Another ancient tradition reads answer, and had put God in the wrong
  9. Job 32:8 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  10. Job 32:9 Gk Syr Vg: Heb many
  11. Job 33:4 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  12. Job 33:13 Compare Gk: Heb his
  13. Job 33:26 Heb he
  14. Job 33:30 Syr: Heb to be lighted with the light of life
  15. Job 34:10 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  16. Job 34:12 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  17. Job 34:13 Heb lacks on him
  18. Job 34:14 Heb his heart his spirit
  19. Job 34:23 Cn: Heb yet
  20. Job 34:33 Meaning of Heb of verses 29–33 uncertain

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