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Job’s Third Speech: A Response to Bildad

Then[a] Job answered and said,

“Truly I know that it is so,
but[b] how can a human being be just before God?
If he wants to contend with him,
he cannot answer him one time in a thousand.
He is wise in[c] heart and mighty in[d] strength;
who has resisted him and succeeded?[e]
He is the one who moves mountains, and they do not know how,
who overturns them in his anger.
He is the one who shakes the earth from its place,
and its pillars tremble.
He is the one who commands the sun, and it does not rise,
and he seals up the stars.[f]
He is the one who alone stretches out the heavens
and who tramples on the waves of the sea.
He is the one who made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He is the one who does great things beyond understanding[g]
and marvelous things beyond number.[h]
11 If[i] he passes by me, I would not see him;[j]
and if he should move on, I would not recognize him.[k]
12 If[l] he would snatch away, who could turn him?
Who could say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
13 God will not turn back his anger;
beneath him the helpers of Rahab bow.
14 How much less[m] can I myself[n] answer him?
How can I choose my words with him,
15 whom I cannot answer, even though I am righteous?
From[o] my judge I must implore grace.
16 If I summon him, and he should answer me,
I do not believe that he will listen to my voice—
17 who crushes me with a tempest
and multiplies[p] my wounds without cause.
18 He will not allow me to catch[q] my breath;
rather, he will fill me with bitterness.
19 If it is a matter of[r] strength, look, he is mighty.
But[s] if it is a matter of[t] justice, who can summon me?[u]
20 Even though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me;
even though I am blameless, yet[v] it would pronounce me guilty.
21 “I am blameless; I do not care about myself;[w]
I loathe my life.
22 It is all one; therefore I say,
‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 When the whip[x] kills suddenly,
he mocks at the despair of the innocent.
24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked;
he covers the face of its judge—
if it is not he, then who is it?
25 “And my days are swifter than a runner;
they flee away; they do not see good.
26 They go by like papyrus skiffs,
like an eagle swoops down on its prey.
27 Though[y] I say,[z] ‘I will forget my complaint;
I will change my expression, and I will rejoice,’
28 I become afraid of all my sufferings;
I know that you do not consider me innocent.
29 If I shall be declared guilty,
why then should I labor in vain?
30 If I wash myself with soap,[aa]
and I cleanse my hands with lye,
31 then you plunge me into the slime pit,
and my clothes abhor me.
32 “For[ab] he is not a mortal like me that I can answer him,
that we can come to trial together.[ac]
33 There is no arbiter between us
that he might lay his hand on both of us.
34 May he remove his rod from me,
and let his dread not terrify me;
35 then I would speak and not fear him,[ad]
for in myself I am not fearful.[ae]


  1. Job 9:1 Hebrew “And”
  2. Job 9:2 Hebrew “and”
  3. Job 9:4 Hebrew “of”
  4. Job 9:4 Hebrew “of”
  5. Job 9:4 Literally “he succeeded”
  6. Job 9:7 Literally “and behind the stars he seals up”
  7. Job 9:10 Literally “until there is not understanding”
  8. Job 9:10 Literally “until there is not number”
  9. Job 9:11 Literally “Look”
  10. Job 9:11 Literally “and I would not see”
  11. Job 9:11 Literally “and I would not recognize him”
  12. Job 9:12 Literally “Look”
  13. Job 9:14 Literally “Also for”
  14. Job 9:14 Emphatic personal pronoun
  15. Job 9:15 Hebrew “To”
  16. Job 9:17 Hebrew “he multiplies”
  17. Job 9:18 Literally “return,” or “regain”
  18. Job 9:19 Literally “for”; see NASB, NIV, NET
  19. Job 9:19 Hebrew “And”
  20. Job 9:19 Literally “for”; NASB, NIV, NET, NRSV
  21. Job 9:19 Or “arraign me”
  22. Job 9:20 Hebrew “and”
  23. Job 9:21 Perhaps the meaning is “but it makes no difference to me” (NLT)
  24. Job 9:23 Or “scourge”
  25. Job 9:27 Or “If”
  26. Job 9:27 Literally “my saying”
  27. Job 9:30 Or “with snow,” or “in snow”
  28. Job 9:32 Or the emphatic “Indeed”
  29. Job 9:32 Literally “we come together in the justice,” or “we come together in the judgment”
  30. Job 9:35 Hebrew “and I will not fear him”
  31. Job 9:35 Literally “not so I with me”