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Job Wants to Argue His Case with God

13 “Look, I have seen all this with my own eyes
    and heard it with my own ears, and now I understand.
I know as much as you do.
    You are no better than I am.
As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty.
    I want to argue my case with God himself.
As for you, you smear me with lies.
    As physicians, you are worthless quacks.
If only you could be silent!
    That’s the wisest thing you could do.
Listen to my charge;
    pay attention to my arguments.

“Are you defending God with lies?
    Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake?
Will you slant your testimony in his favor?
    Will you argue God’s case for him?
What will happen when he finds out what you are doing?
    Can you fool him as easily as you fool people?
10 No, you will be in trouble with him
    if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor.
11 Doesn’t his majesty terrify you?
    Doesn’t your fear of him overwhelm you?
12 Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes.
    Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot.

13 “Be silent now and leave me alone.
    Let me speak, and I will face the consequences.
14 Why should I put myself in mortal danger[a]
    and take my life in my own hands?
15 God might kill me, but I have no other hope.[b]
    I am going to argue my case with him.
16 But this is what will save me—I am not godless.
    If I were, I could not stand before him.

17 “Listen closely to what I am about to say.
    Hear me out.
18 I have prepared my case;
    I will be proved innocent.
19 Who can argue with me over this?
    And if you prove me wrong, I will remain silent and die.

Job Asks How He Has Sinned

20 “O God, grant me these two things,
    and then I will be able to face you.
21 Remove your heavy hand from me,
    and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.
22 Now summon me, and I will answer!
    Or let me speak to you, and you reply.
23 Tell me, what have I done wrong?
    Show me my rebellion and my sin.
24 Why do you turn away from me?
    Why do you treat me as your enemy?
25 Would you terrify a leaf blown by the wind?
    Would you chase dry straw?

26 “You write bitter accusations against me
    and bring up all the sins of my youth.
27 You put my feet in stocks.
    You examine all my paths.
    You trace all my footprints.
28 I waste away like rotting wood,
    like a moth-eaten coat.

14 “How frail is humanity!
    How short is life, how full of trouble!
We blossom like a flower and then wither.
    Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.
Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature
    and demand an accounting from me?
Who can bring purity out of an impure person?
    No one!
You have decided the length of our lives.
    You know how many months we will live,
    and we are not given a minute longer.
So leave us alone and let us rest!
    We are like hired hands, so let us finish our work in peace.

“Even a tree has more hope!
    If it is cut down, it will sprout again
    and grow new branches.
Though its roots have grown old in the earth
    and its stump decays,
at the scent of water it will bud
    and sprout again like a new seedling.

10 “But when people die, their strength is gone.
    They breathe their last, and then where are they?
11 As water evaporates from a lake
    and a river disappears in drought,
12 people are laid to rest and do not rise again.
    Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up
    nor be roused from their sleep.

13 “I wish you would hide me in the grave[c]
    and forget me there until your anger has passed.
    But mark your calendar to think of me again!
14 Can the dead live again?
    If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle,
    and I would eagerly await the release of death.
15 You would call and I would answer,
    and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.
16 For then you would guard my steps,
    instead of watching for my sins.
17 My sins would be sealed in a pouch,
    and you would cover my guilt.

18 “But instead, as mountains fall and crumble
    and as rocks fall from a cliff,
19 as water wears away the stones
    and floods wash away the soil,
    so you destroy people’s hope.
20 You always overpower them, and they pass from the scene.
    You disfigure them in death and send them away.
21 They never know if their children grow up in honor
    or sink to insignificance.
22 They suffer painfully;
    their life is full of trouble.”

Footnotes

  1. 13:14 Hebrew Why should I take my flesh in my teeth.
  2. 13:15 An alternate reading in the Masoretic Text reads God might kill me, but I hope in him.
  3. 14:13 Hebrew in Sheol.

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