2 “I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! 3 Won’t you ever stop blowing hot air? What makes you keep on talking? 4 I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you. 5 But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief. 6 Instead, I suffer if I defend myself, and I suffer no less if I refuse to speak.
7 “O God, you have ground me down and devastated my family. 8 As if to prove I have sinned, you’ve reduced me to skin and bones. My gaunt flesh testifies against me. 9 God hates me and angrily tears me apart. He snaps his teeth at me and pierces me with his eyes. 10 People jeer and laugh at me. They slap my cheek in contempt. A mob gathers against me. 11 God has handed me over to sinners. He has tossed me into the hands of the wicked.
12 “I was living quietly until he shattered me. He took me by the neck and broke me in pieces. Then he set me up as his target, 13 and now his archers surround me. His arrows pierce me without mercy. The ground is wet with my blood.[a] 14 Again and again he smashes against me, charging at me like a warrior. 15 I wear burlap to show my grief. My pride lies in the dust. 16 My eyes are red with weeping; dark shadows circle my eyes. 17 Yet I have done no wrong, and my prayer is pure.
18 “O earth, do not conceal my blood. Let it cry out on my behalf. 19 Even now my witness is in heaven. My advocate is there on high. 20 My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God. 21 I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends. 22 For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return.
Job Continues to Defend His Innocence
17 “My spirit is crushed, and my life is nearly snuffed out. The grave is ready to receive me. 2 I am surrounded by mockers. I watch how bitterly they taunt me.
3 “You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me. 4 You have closed their minds to understanding, but do not let them triumph. 5 They betray their friends for their own advantage, so let their children faint with hunger.
6 “God has made a mockery of me among the people; they spit in my face. 7 My eyes are swollen with weeping, and I am but a shadow of my former self. 8 The virtuous are horrified when they see me. The innocent rise up against the ungodly. 9 The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.
10 “As for all of you, come back with a better argument, though I still won’t find a wise man among you. 11 My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. 12 These men say that night is day; they claim that the darkness is light. 13 What if I go to the grave[b] and make my bed in darkness? 14 What if I call the grave my father, and the maggot my mother or my sister? 15 Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? 16 No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!”
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