2 “Do you think this is just? You say, ‘I am in the right, not God.’ 3 Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,[a] and what do I gain by not sinning?’
4 “I would like to reply to you and to your friends with you. 5 Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you. 6 If you sin, how does that affect him? If your sins are many, what does that do to him? 7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand? 8 Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only other people.
9 “People cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. 10 But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, 11 who teaches us more than he teaches[b] the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than[c] the birds in the sky?’ 12 He does not answer when people cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked. 13 Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it. 14 How much less, then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him, that your case is before him and you must wait for him, 15 and further, that his anger never punishes and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.[d] 16 So Job opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he multiplies words.”
36 Elihu continued:
2 “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf. 3 I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker. 4 Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you.
5 “God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose. 6 He does not keep the wicked alive but gives the afflicted their rights. 7 He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever. 8 But if people are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, 9 he tells them what they have done— that they have sinned arrogantly. 10 He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. 11 If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. 12 But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword[e] and die without knowledge.
13 “The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help. 14 They die in their youth, among male prostitutes of the shrines. 15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.
16 “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food. 17 But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked; judgment and justice have taken hold of you. 18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside. 19 Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts sustain you so you would not be in distress? 20 Do not long for the night, to drag people away from their homes.[f] 21 Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction.
22 “God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him? 23 Who has prescribed his ways for him, or said to him, ‘You have done wrong’? 24 Remember to extol his work, which people have praised in song. 25 All humanity has seen it; mortals gaze on it from afar. 26 How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.
27 “He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams[g]; 28 the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. 29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion? 30 See how he scatters his lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea. 31 This is the way he governs[h] the nations and provides food in abundance. 32 He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark. 33 His thunder announces the coming storm; even the cattle make known its approach.[i]
37 “At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. 2 Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. 3 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. 4 After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. 5 God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. 6 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ 7 So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor.[j] 8 The animals take cover; they remain in their dens. 9 The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. 10 The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. 11 He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them. 12 At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them. 13 He brings the clouds to punish people, or to water his earth and show his love.
14 “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. 15 Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? 16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge? 17 You who swelter in your clothes when the land lies hushed under the south wind, 18 can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?
19 “Tell us what we should say to him; we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness. 20 Should he be told that I want to speak? Would anyone ask to be swallowed up? 21 Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean. 22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty. 23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. 24 Therefore, people revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?[k]”
The Lord Speaks
38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels[l] shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, 9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10 when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, 11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, 13 that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? 14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment. 15 The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? 17 Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness? 18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? 20 Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? 21 Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, 23 which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? 24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? 25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, 26 to water a land where no one lives, an uninhabited desert, 27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? 28 Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? 29 From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens 30 when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 “Can you bind the chains[m] of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt? 32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[n] or lead out the Bear[o] with its cubs? 33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s[p] dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? 36 Who gives the ibis wisdom[q] or gives the rooster understanding?[r] 37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens 38 when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions 40 when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? 41 Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?
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