Job Defends Himself

If You Were in My Shoes

16 1-5 Then Job defended himself:

“I’ve had all I can take of your talk.
    What a bunch of miserable comforters!
Is there no end to your windbag speeches?
    What’s your problem that you go on and on like this?
If you were in my shoes,
    I could talk just like you.
I could put together a terrific harangue
    and really let you have it.
But I’d never do that. I’d console and comfort,
    make things better, not worse!

6-14 “When I speak up, I feel no better;
    if I say nothing, that doesn’t help either.
I feel worn down.
    God, you have wasted me totally—me and my family!
You’ve shriveled me like a dried prune,
    showing the world that you’re against me.
My gaunt face stares back at me from the mirror,
    a mute witness to your treatment of me.
Your anger tears at me,
    your teeth rip me to shreds,
    your eyes burn holes in me—God, my enemy!
People take one look at me and gasp.
    Contemptuous, they slap me around
    and gang up against me.
And God just stands there and lets them do it,
    lets wicked people do what they want with me.
I was contentedly minding my business when God beat me up.
    He grabbed me by the neck and threw me around.
He set me up as his target,
    then rounded up archers to shoot at me.
Merciless, they shot me full of arrows;
    bitter bile poured from my gut to the ground.
He burst in on me, onslaught after onslaught,
    charging me like a mad bull.

15-17 “I sewed myself a shroud and wore it like a shirt;
    I lay facedown in the dirt.
Now my face is blotched red from weeping;
    look at the dark shadows under my eyes,
Even though I’ve never hurt a soul
    and my prayers are sincere!

The One Who Represents Mortals Before God

18-22 “O Earth, don’t cover up the wrong done to me!
    Don’t muffle my cry!
There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me,
    in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name—
My Champion, my Friend,
    while I’m weeping my eyes out before God.
I appeal to the One who represents mortals before God
    as a neighbor stands up for a neighbor.

“Only a few years are left
    before I set out on the road of no return.”

17 1-2 “My spirit is broken,
    my days used up,
    my grave dug and waiting.
See how these mockers close in on me?
    How long do I have to put up with their insolence?

3-5 “O God, pledge your support for me.
    Give it to me in writing, with your signature.
    You’re the only one who can do it!
These people are so useless!
    You know firsthand how stupid they can be.
    You wouldn’t let them have the last word, would you?
Those who betray their own friends
    leave a legacy of abuse to their children.

6-8 “God, you’ve made me the talk of the town—
    people spit in my face;
I can hardly see from crying so much;
    I’m nothing but skin and bones.
Decent people can’t believe what they’re seeing;
    the good-hearted wake up and insist I’ve given up on God.

“But principled people hold tight, keep a firm grip on life,
    sure that their clean, pure hands will get stronger and stronger!

10-16 “Maybe you’d all like to start over,
    to try it again, the bunch of you.
So far I haven’t come across one scrap
    of wisdom in anything you’ve said.
My life’s about over. All my plans are smashed,
    all my hopes are snuffed out—
My hope that night would turn into day,
    my hope that dawn was about to break.
If all I have to look forward to is a home in the graveyard,
    if my only hope for comfort is a well-built coffin,
If a family reunion means going six feet under,
    and the only family that shows up is worms,
Do you call that hope?
    Who on earth could find any hope in that?
No. If hope and I are to be buried together,
    I suppose you’ll all come to the double funeral!”

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