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Iyov responded:

“I wish my frustration could be weighed,
all my calamities laid on the scales!
They would outweigh the sands of the seas!
No wonder, then, that my words come out stammered!
For the arrows of Shaddai find their mark in me,
and my spirit is drinking in their poison;
the terrors of God are arrayed against me.

“Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass?
Does an ox low when it has fodder?
Can food without flavor be eaten without salt?
Do egg whites have any taste?
I refuse to touch them;
such food makes me sick.

“If only I could have my wish granted,
and God would give me what I’m hoping for —
that God would decide to crush me,
that he would let his hand loose and cut me off!
10 Then I would feel consoled;
so that even in the face of unending pain,
I would be able to rejoice;
for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

11 “Have I enough strength to go on waiting?
What end can I expect, that I should be patient?
12 Is my strength the strength of stones?
Is my flesh made of bronze?
13 Clearly, I have no help in myself;
common sense has been driven from me.

14 “A friend should be kind to an unhappy man,
even to one who abandons Shaddai.
15 But my brothers are as deceptive as vadis,
as vadi streams that soon run dry;
16 they may turn dark with ice
and be hidden by piled-up snow;
17 but as the weather warms up, they vanish;
when it’s hot, they disappear.
18 Their courses turn this way and that;
they go up into the confusing waste and are lost.
19 The caravans from Tema look for them,
the travelers from Sh’va hope to find them;
20 but they are disappointed, because they were confident;
on arrival there, they are frustrated.

21 “For now, you have become like that —
just seeing my calamity makes you afraid.
22 Did I say to you, ‘Give me something,’
or, ‘From your wealth, offer a bribe on my behalf,’
23 or, ‘Save me from the enemy’s grip,’
or, ‘Redeem me from the clutches of oppressors’?

24 “Teach me, and I will be silent.
Make me understand how I am at fault.
25 Honest words are forceful indeed,
but what do your arguments prove?
26 Do you think [your own] words constitute argument,
while the speech of a desperate man is merely wind?
27 I suppose you would even throw dice for an orphan
or barter away your friend!

28 “So now, I beg you, look at me!
Would I lie to your face?
29 Think it over, please; don’t let wrong be done.
Think it over again: my cause is just.
30 Am I saying something wrong?
Can’t I recognize trouble when I taste it?


Then Job replied:

“If only my anguish could be weighed
    and all my misery be placed on the scales!(A)
It would surely outweigh the sand(B) of the seas—
    no wonder my words have been impetuous.(C)
The arrows(D) of the Almighty(E) are in me,(F)
    my spirit drinks(G) in their poison;(H)
    God’s terrors(I) are marshaled against me.(J)
Does a wild donkey(K) bray(L) when it has grass,
    or an ox bellow when it has fodder?(M)
Is tasteless food eaten without salt,
    or is there flavor in the sap of the mallow[a]?(N)
I refuse to touch it;
    such food makes me ill.(O)

“Oh, that I might have my request,
    that God would grant what I hope for,(P)
that God would be willing to crush(Q) me,
    to let loose his hand and cut off my life!(R)
10 Then I would still have this consolation(S)
    my joy in unrelenting pain(T)
    that I had not denied the words(U) of the Holy One.(V)

11 “What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
    What prospects, that I should be patient?(W)
12 Do I have the strength of stone?
    Is my flesh bronze?(X)
13 Do I have any power to help myself,(Y)
    now that success has been driven from me?

14 “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend(Z)
    forsakes the fear of the Almighty.(AA)
15 But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams,(AB)
    as the streams that overflow
16 when darkened by thawing ice
    and swollen with melting snow,(AC)
17 but that stop flowing in the dry season,
    and in the heat(AD) vanish from their channels.
18 Caravans turn aside from their routes;
    they go off into the wasteland and perish.
19 The caravans of Tema(AE) look for water,
    the traveling merchants of Sheba(AF) look in hope.
20 They are distressed, because they had been confident;
    they arrive there, only to be disappointed.(AG)
21 Now you too have proved to be of no help;
    you see something dreadful and are afraid.(AH)
22 Have I ever said, ‘Give something on my behalf,
    pay a ransom(AI) for me from your wealth,(AJ)
23 deliver me from the hand of the enemy,
    rescue me from the clutches of the ruthless’?(AK)

24 “Teach me, and I will be quiet;(AL)
    show me where I have been wrong.(AM)
25 How painful are honest words!(AN)
    But what do your arguments prove?
26 Do you mean to correct what I say,
    and treat my desperate words as wind?(AO)
27 You would even cast lots(AP) for the fatherless(AQ)
    and barter away your friend.

28 “But now be so kind as to look at me.
    Would I lie to your face?(AR)
29 Relent, do not be unjust;(AS)
    reconsider, for my integrity(AT) is at stake.[b](AU)
30 Is there any wickedness on my lips?(AV)
    Can my mouth not discern(AW) malice?


  1. Job 6:6 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  2. Job 6:29 Or my righteousness still stands