2 “How long will you go on like this? You sound like a blustering wind. 3 Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? 4 Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved. 5 But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, 6 and if you are pure and live with integrity, he will surely rise up and restore your happy home. 7 And though you started with little, you will end with much.
8 “Just ask the previous generation. Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors. 9 For we were born but yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow. 10 But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you the wisdom of old.
11 “Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh? Can marsh grass flourish without water? 12 While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut, they begin to wither more quickly than grass. 13 The same happens to all who forget God. The hopes of the godless evaporate. 14 Their confidence hangs by a thread. They are leaning on a spider’s web. 15 They cling to their home for security, but it won’t last. They try to hold it tight, but it will not endure. 16 The godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine, its branches spreading across the garden. 17 Its roots grow down through a pile of stones; it takes hold on a bed of rocks. 18 But when it is uprooted, it’s as though it never existed! 19 That’s the end of its life, and others spring up from the earth to replace it.
20 “But look, God will not reject a person of integrity, nor will he lend a hand to the wicked. 21 He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. 22 Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the home of the wicked will be destroyed.”
Job’s Third Speech: A Response to Bildad
9 Then Job spoke again:
2 “Yes, I know all this is true in principle. But how can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight? 3 If someone wanted to take God to court,[a] would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times? 4 For God is so wise and so mighty. Who has ever challenged him successfully?
5 “Without warning, he moves the mountains, overturning them in his anger. 6 He shakes the earth from its place, and its foundations tremble. 7 If he commands it, the sun won’t rise and the stars won’t shine. 8 He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea. 9 He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky. 10 He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles.
11 “Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him. When he moves by, I do not see him go. 12 If he snatches someone in death, who can stop him? Who dares to ask, ‘What are you doing?’ 13 And God does not restrain his anger. Even the monsters of the sea[b] are crushed beneath his feet.
14 “So who am I, that I should try to answer God or even reason with him? 15 Even if I were right, I would have no defense. I could only plead for mercy. 16 And even if I summoned him and he responded, I’m not sure he would listen to me. 17 For he attacks me with a storm and repeatedly wounds me without cause. 18 He will not let me catch my breath, but fills me instead with bitter sorrows. 19 If it’s a question of strength, he’s the strong one. If it’s a matter of justice, who dares to summon him[c] to court? 20 Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty. Though I am blameless, it[d] would prove me wicked.
21 “I am innocent, but it makes no difference to me— I despise my life. 22 Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to God. That’s why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ 23 When a plague[e] sweeps through, he laughs at the death of the innocent. 24 The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked, and God blinds the eyes of the judges. If he’s not the one who does it, who is?
25 “My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away without a glimpse of happiness. 26 It disappears like a swift papyrus boat, like an eagle swooping down on its prey. 27 If I decided to forget my complaints, to put away my sad face and be cheerful, 28 I would still dread all the pain, for I know you will not find me innocent, O God. 29 Whatever happens, I will be found guilty. So what’s the use of trying? 30 Even if I were to wash myself with soap and clean my hands with lye, 31 you would plunge me into a muddy ditch, and my own filthy clothing would hate me.
32 “God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. 33 If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together. 34 The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment. 35 Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength.
Job Frames His Plea to God
10 “I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain. 2 I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me— tell me the charge you are bringing against me. 3 What do you gain by oppressing me? Why do you reject me, the work of your own hands, while smiling on the schemes of the wicked? 4 Are your eyes like those of a human? Do you see things only as people see them? 5 Is your lifetime only as long as ours? Is your life so short 6 that you must quickly probe for my guilt and search for my sin? 7 Although you know I am not guilty, no one can rescue me from your hands.
8 “‘You formed me with your hands; you made me, yet now you completely destroy me. 9 Remember that you made me from dust— will you turn me back to dust so soon? 10 You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.[f] 11 You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together. 12 You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love. My life was preserved by your care.
13 “‘Yet your real motive— your true intent— 14 was to watch me, and if I sinned, you would not forgive my guilt. 15 If I am guilty, too bad for me; and even if I’m innocent, I can’t hold my head high, because I am filled with shame and misery. 16 And if I hold my head high, you hunt me like a lion and display your awesome power against me. 17 Again and again you witness against me. You pour out your growing anger on me and bring fresh armies against me.
18 “‘Why, then, did you deliver me from my mother’s womb? Why didn’t you let me die at birth? 19 It would be as though I had never existed, going directly from the womb to the grave. 20 I have only a few days left, so leave me alone, that I may have a moment of comfort 21 before I leave—never to return— for the land of darkness and utter gloom. 22 It is a land as dark as midnight, a land of gloom and confusion, where even the light is dark as midnight.’”
Zophar’s First Response to Job
11 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job:
2 “Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words? Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking? 3 Should I remain silent while you babble on? When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed? 4 You claim, ‘My beliefs are pure,’ and ‘I am clean in the sight of God.’ 5 If only God would speak; if only he would tell you what he thinks! 6 If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom is not a simple matter. Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve!
7 “Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty? 8 Such knowledge is higher than the heavens— and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld[g]— what do you know? 9 It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea. 10 If God comes and puts a person in prison or calls the court to order, who can stop him? 11 For he knows those who are false, and he takes note of all their sins. 12 An empty-headed person won’t become wise any more than a wild donkey can bear a human child.[h]
13 “If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! 14 Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. 15 Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. 16 You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. 17 Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. 18 Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. 19 You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help. 20 But the wicked will be blinded. They will have no escape. Their only hope is death.”
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