21 “For God watches how people live; he sees everything they do. 22 No darkness is thick enough to hide the wicked from his eyes. 23 We don’t set the time when we will come before God in judgment. 24 He brings the mighty to ruin without asking anyone, and he sets up others in their place. 25 He knows what they do, and in the night he overturns and destroys them. 26 He strikes them down because they are wicked, doing it openly for all to see. 27 For they turned away from following him. They have no respect for any of his ways. 28 They cause the poor to cry out, catching God’s attention. He hears the cries of the needy. 29 But if he chooses to remain quiet, who can criticize him? When he hides his face, no one can find him, whether an individual or a nation. 30 He prevents the godless from ruling so they cannot be a snare to the people.
31 “Why don’t people say to God, ‘I have sinned, but I will sin no more’? 32 Or ‘I don’t know what evil I have done—tell me. If I have done wrong, I will stop at once’?
33 “Must God tailor his justice to your demands? But you have rejected him! The choice is yours, not mine. Go ahead, share your wisdom with us. 34 After all, bright people will tell me, and wise people will hear me say, 35 ‘Job speaks out of ignorance; his words lack insight.’ 36 Job, you deserve the maximum penalty for the wicked way you have talked. 37 For you have added rebellion to your sin; you show no respect, and you speak many angry words against God.”
Elihu Reminds Job of God’s Justice
35 Then Elihu said:
2 “Do you think it is right for you to claim, ‘I am righteous before God’? 3 For you also ask, ‘What’s in it for me? What’s the use of living a righteous life?’
4 “I will answer you and all your friends, too. 5 Look up into the sky, and see the clouds high above you. 6 If you sin, how does that affect God? Even if you sin again and again, what effect will it have on him? 7 If you are good, is this some great gift to him? What could you possibly give him? 8 No, your sins affect only people like yourself, and your good deeds also affect only humans.
9 “People cry out when they are oppressed. They groan beneath the power of the mighty. 10 Yet they don’t ask, ‘Where is God my Creator, the one who gives songs in the night? 11 Where is the one who makes us smarter than the animals and wiser than the birds of the sky?’ 12 And when they cry out, God does not answer because of their pride. 13 But it is wrong to say God doesn’t listen, to say the Almighty isn’t concerned. 14 You say you can’t see him, but he will bring justice if you will only wait.[a] 15 You say he does not respond to sinners with anger and is not greatly concerned about wickedness.[b] 16 But you are talking nonsense, Job. You have spoken like a fool.”
36 Elihu continued speaking:
2 “Let me go on, and I will show you the truth. For I have not finished defending God! 3 I will present profound arguments for the righteousness of my Creator. 4 I am telling you nothing but the truth, for I am a man of great knowledge.
5 “God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone! He is mighty in both power and understanding. 6 He does not let the wicked live but gives justice to the afflicted. 7 He never takes his eyes off the innocent, but he sets them on thrones with kings and exalts them forever. 8 If they are bound in chains and caught up in a web of trouble, 9 he shows them the reason. He shows them their sins of pride. 10 He gets their attention and commands that they turn from evil.
11 “If they listen and obey God, they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives. All their years will be pleasant. 12 But if they refuse to listen to him, they will cross over the river of death, dying from lack of understanding. 13 For the godless are full of resentment. Even when he punishes them, they refuse to cry out to him for help. 14 They die when they are young, after wasting their lives in immoral living. 15 But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity.
16 “God is leading you away from danger, Job, to a place free from distress. He is setting your table with the best food. 17 But you are obsessed with whether the godless will be judged. Don’t worry, judgment and justice will be upheld. 18 But watch out, or you may be seduced by wealth.[c] Don’t let yourself be bribed into sin. 19 Could all your wealth[d] or all your mighty efforts keep you from distress? 20 Do not long for the cover of night, for that is when people will be destroyed.[e] 21 Be on guard! Turn back from evil, for God sent this suffering to keep you from a life of evil.
Elihu Reminds Job of God’s Power
22 “Look, God is all-powerful. Who is a teacher like him? 23 No one can tell him what to do, or say to him, ‘You have done wrong.’ 24 Instead, glorify his mighty works, singing songs of praise. 25 Everyone has seen these things, though only from a distance.
26 “Look, God is greater than we can understand. His years cannot be counted. 27 He draws up the water vapor and then distills it into rain. 28 The rain pours down from the clouds, and everyone benefits. 29 Who can understand the spreading of the clouds and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven? 30 See how he spreads the lightning around him and how it lights up the depths of the sea. 31 By these mighty acts he nourishes[f] the people, giving them food in abundance. 32 He fills his hands with lightning bolts and hurls each at its target. 33 The thunder announces his presence; the storm announces his indignant anger.[g]
37 “My heart pounds as I think of this. It trembles within me. 2 Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice as it rolls from his mouth. 3 It rolls across the heavens, and his lightning flashes in every direction. 4 Then comes the roaring of the thunder— the tremendous voice of his majesty. He does not restrain it when he speaks. 5 God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power.
6 “He directs the snow to fall on the earth and tells the rain to pour down. 7 Then everyone stops working so they can watch his power. 8 The wild animals take cover and stay inside their dens. 9 The stormy wind comes from its chamber, and the driving winds bring the cold. 10 God’s breath sends the ice, freezing wide expanses of water. 11 He loads the clouds with moisture, and they flash with his lightning. 12 The clouds churn about at his direction. They do whatever he commands throughout the earth. 13 He makes these things happen either to punish people or to show his unfailing love.
14 “Pay attention to this, Job. Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God! 15 Do you know how God controls the storm and causes the lightning to flash from his clouds? 16 Do you understand how he moves the clouds with wonderful perfection and skill? 17 When you are sweltering in your clothes and the south wind dies down and everything is still, 18 he makes the skies reflect the heat like a bronze mirror. Can you do that?
19 “So teach the rest of us what to say to God. We are too ignorant to make our own arguments. 20 Should God be notified that I want to speak? Can people even speak when they are confused?[h] 21 We cannot look at the sun, for it shines brightly in the sky when the wind clears away the clouds. 22 So also, golden splendor comes from the mountain of God.[i] He is clothed in dazzling splendor. 23 We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty; but even though he is just and righteous, he does not destroy us. 24 No wonder people everywhere fear him. All who are wise show him reverence.[j]”
The Lord Challenges Job
38 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
2 “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? 3 Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. 5 Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? 6 What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone 7 as the morning stars sang together and all the angels[k] shouted for joy?
8 “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, 9 and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? 10 For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. 11 I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!’
12 “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? 13 Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness? 14 As the light approaches, the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal; it is robed in brilliant colors.[l] 15 The light disturbs the wicked and stops the arm that is raised in violence.
16 “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you explored their depths? 17 Do you know where the gates of death are located? Have you seen the gates of utter gloom? 18 Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know!
19 “Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? 20 Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there? 21 But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!
22 “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail? 23 (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war.) 24 Where is the path to the source of light? Where is the home of the east wind?
25 “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain? Who laid out the path for the lightning? 26 Who makes the rain fall on barren land, in a desert where no one lives? 27 Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground and make the tender grass spring up?
28 “Does the rain have a father? Who gives birth to the dew? 29 Who is the mother of the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens? 30 For the water turns to ice as hard as rock, and the surface of the water freezes.
31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars— binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? 32 Can you direct the constellations through the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? 33 Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?
34 “Can you shout to the clouds and make it rain? 35 Can you make lightning appear and cause it to strike as you direct? 36 Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind? 37 Who is wise enough to count all the clouds? Who can tilt the water jars of heaven 38 when the parched ground is dry and the soil has hardened into clods?
39 “Can you stalk prey for a lioness and satisfy the young lions’ appetites 40 as they lie in their dens or crouch in the thicket? 41 Who provides food for the ravens when their young cry out to God and wander about in hunger?
35:13-14These verses can also be translated as follows: 13 Indeed, God doesn’t listen to their empty plea; / the Almighty is not concerned. /14 How much less will he listen when you say you don’t see him, / and that your case is before him and you’re waiting for justice.
35:15As in Greek and Latin versions; the meaning of this Hebrew word is uncertain.
36:18Or But don’t let your anger lead you to mockery.
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