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Zophar’s First Response to Job

11 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job:

“Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words?
    Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking?
Should I remain silent while you babble on?
    When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?
You claim, ‘My beliefs are pure,’
    and ‘I am clean in the sight of God.’
If only God would speak;
    if only he would tell you what he thinks!
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!

“Can you solve the mysteries of God?
    Can you discover everything about the Almighty?
Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—
    and who are you?
It is deeper than the underworld[a]
    what do you know?
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.[b]

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.”

Job’s Fourth Speech: A Response to Zophar

12 Then Job spoke again:

“You people really know everything, don’t you?
    And when you die, wisdom will die with you!
Well, I know a few things myself—
    and you’re no better than I am.
    Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?
Yet my friends laugh at me,
    for I call on God and expect an answer.
I am a just and blameless man,
    yet they laugh at me.
People who are at ease mock those in trouble.
    They give a push to people who are stumbling.
But robbers are left in peace,
    and those who provoke God live in safety—
    though God keeps them in his power.[c]

“Just ask the animals, and they will teach you.
    Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.
Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you.
    Let the fish in the sea speak to you.
For they all know
    that my disaster[d] has come from the hand of the Lord.
10 For the life of every living thing is in his hand,
    and the breath of every human being.
11 The ear tests the words it hears
    just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.
12 Wisdom belongs to the aged,
    and understanding to the old.

13 “But true wisdom and power are found in God;
    counsel and understanding are his.
14 What he destroys cannot be rebuilt.
    When he puts someone in prison, there is no escape.
15 If he holds back the rain, the earth becomes a desert.
    If he releases the waters, they flood the earth.
16 Yes, strength and wisdom are his;
    deceivers and deceived are both in his power.
17 He leads counselors away, stripped of good judgment;
    wise judges become fools.
18 He removes the royal robe of kings.
    They are led away with ropes around their waist.
19 He leads priests away, stripped of status;
    he overthrows those with long years in power.
20 He silences the trusted adviser
    and removes the insight of the elders.
21 He pours disgrace upon princes
    and disarms the strong.

22 “He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness;
    he brings light to the deepest gloom.
23 He builds up nations, and he destroys them.
    He expands nations, and he abandons them.
24 He strips kings of understanding
    and leaves them wandering in a pathless wasteland.
25 They grope in the darkness without a light.
    He makes them stagger like drunkards.

Footnotes

  1. 11:8 Hebrew than Sheol.
  2. 11:12 Or than a wild male donkey can bear a tame colt.
  3. 12:6 Or safety—those who try to manipulate God. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  4. 12:9 Hebrew that this.

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