2 “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God? 3 Though they wished to dispute with him, they could not answer him one time out of a thousand. 4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? 5 He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. 6 He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. 7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. 8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. 9 He is the Maker of the Bear[a] and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. 10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. 11 When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him. 12 If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ 13 God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.
14 “How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? 15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy. 16 Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing. 17 He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. 18 He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery. 19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him[b]? 20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.
21 “Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life. 22 It is all the same; that is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ 23 When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent. 24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it?
25 “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. 26 They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey. 27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,’ 28 I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent. 29 Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain? 30 Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with cleansing powder, 31 you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me.
32 “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. 33 If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, 34 someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. 35 Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.
10 “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I say to God: Do not declare me guilty, but tell me what charges you have against me. 3 Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the plans of the wicked? 4 Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees? 5 Are your days like those of a mortal or your years like those of a strong man, 6 that you must search out my faults and probe after my sin— 7 though you know that I am not guilty and that no one can rescue me from your hand?
8 “Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? 9 Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? 10 Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, 11 clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? 12 You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.
13 “But this is what you concealed in your heart, and I know that this was in your mind: 14 If I sinned, you would be watching me and would not let my offense go unpunished. 15 If I am guilty—woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in[c] my affliction. 16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me. 17 You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger toward me; your forces come against me wave upon wave.
18 “Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me. 19 If only I had never come into being, or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave! 20 Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy 21 before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and utter darkness, 22 to the land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder, where even the light is like darkness.”
11 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
2 “Are all these words to go unanswered? Is this talker to be vindicated? 3 Will your idle talk reduce others to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock? 4 You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.’ 5 Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you 6 and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.
7 “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? 8 They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? 9 Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.
10 “If he comes along and confines you in prison and convenes a court, who can oppose him? 11 Surely he recognizes deceivers; and when he sees evil, does he not take note? 12 But the witless can no more become wise than a wild donkey’s colt can be born human.[d]
13 “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, 14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, 15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. 16 You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. 17 Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. 18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. 19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. 20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp.”
12 Then Job replied:
2 “Doubtless you are the only people who matter, and wisdom will die with you! 3 But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things?
4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered— a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless! 5 Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping. 6 The tents of marauders are undisturbed, and those who provoke God are secure— those God has in his hand.[e]
7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. 11 Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? 12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?
13 “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. 14 What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; those he imprisons cannot be released. 15 If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. 16 To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his. 17 He leads rulers away stripped and makes fools of judges. 18 He takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth[f] around their waist. 19 He leads priests away stripped and overthrows officials long established. 20 He silences the lips of trusted advisers and takes away the discernment of elders. 21 He pours contempt on nobles and disarms the mighty. 22 He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light. 23 He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. 24 He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste. 25 They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.
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