2 ‘My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer because I am greatly disturbed. 3 I hear a rebuke that dishonours me, and my understanding inspires me to reply.
4 ‘Surely you know how it has been from of old, ever since mankind[a] was placed on the earth, 5 that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment. 6 Though the pride of the godless person reaches to the heavens and his head touches the clouds, 7 he will perish for ever, like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, “Where is he?” 8 Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found, banished like a vision of the night. 9 The eye that saw him will not see him again; his place will look on him no more. 10 His children must make amends to the poor; his own hands must give back his wealth. 11 The youthful vigour that fills his bones will lie with him in the dust.
12 ‘Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue, 13 though he cannot bear to let it go and lets it linger in his mouth, 14 yet his food will turn sour in his stomach; it will become the venom of serpents within him. 15 He will spit out the riches he swallowed; God will make his stomach vomit them up. 16 He will suck the poison of serpents; the fangs of an adder will kill him. 17 He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream. 18 What he toiled for he must give back uneaten; he will not enjoy the profit from his trading. 19 For he has oppressed the poor and left them destitute; he has seized houses he did not build.
20 ‘Surely he will have no respite from his craving; he cannot save himself by his treasure. 21 Nothing is left for him to devour; his prosperity will not endure. 22 In the midst of his plenty, distress will overtake him; the full force of misery will come upon him. 23 When he has filled his belly, God will vent his burning anger against him and rain down his blows on him. 24 Though he flees from an iron weapon, a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him. 25 He pulls it out of his back, the gleaming point out of his liver. Terrors will come over him; 26 total darkness lies in wait for his treasures. A fire unfanned will consume him and devour what is left in his tent. 27 The heavens will expose his guilt; the earth will rise up against him. 28 A flood will carry off his house, rushing waters[b] on the day of God’s wrath. 29 Such is the fate God allots the wicked, the heritage appointed for them by God.’
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