Job Replies: The Wicked Do Prosper

21 Then Job answered and said:

(A)“Keep listening to my words,
    and let this be your comfort.
Bear with me, and I will speak,
    and after I have spoken, (B)mock on.
As for me, is my (C)complaint against man?
    Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be appalled,
    and (D)lay your hand over your mouth.
When I remember, I am dismayed,
    and shuddering seizes my flesh.
(E)Why do the wicked live,
    reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their (F)offspring are established in their presence,
    and their descendants before their eyes.
Their houses are (G)safe from fear,
    and (H)no rod of God is upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without fail;
    their cow calves and (I)does not miscarry.
11 They send out their (J)little boys like a flock,
    and their children dance.
12 They sing to (K)the tambourine and (L)the lyre
    and rejoice to the sound of (M)the pipe.
13 They (N)spend their days in prosperity,
    and in (O)peace they go down to (P)Sheol.
14 They say to God, (Q)‘Depart from us!
    We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.
15 (R)What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
    And what (S)profit do we get if we pray to him?’
16 Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand?
    (T)The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17 “How often is it that (U)the lamp of the wicked is put out?
    That their calamity comes upon them?
    That God[a] distributes pains in his anger?
18 That they are like (V)straw before the wind,
    and like (W)chaff that the storm carries away?
19 You say, ‘God (X)stores up their iniquity for their (Y)children.’
    Let him pay it out to them, that they may (Z)know it.
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction,
    and let them (AA)drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what do they care for their houses after them,
    when (AB)the number of their months is cut off?
22 (AC)Will any teach God knowledge,
    seeing that he (AD)judges those who are on high?
23 One dies in his full vigor,
    being wholly at ease and secure,
24 his pails[b] full of milk
    and (AE)the marrow of his bones moist.
25 Another dies in (AF)bitterness of soul,
    never having tasted of prosperity.
26 They (AG)lie down alike in the dust,
    and (AH)the worms cover them.

27 “Behold, I know your thoughts
    and your schemes to wrong me.
28 For you say, (AI)‘Where is the house of the prince?
    Where is (AJ)the tent in which the wicked lived?’
29 Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
    and do you not accept their testimony
30 that (AK)the evil man is spared in the day of calamity,
    that he is rescued in the day of wrath?
31 Who declares his way (AL)to his face,
    and who (AM)repays him for what he has done?
32 When he is (AN)carried to the grave,
    watch is kept over his tomb.
33 (AO)The clods of the valley are sweet to him;
    (AP)all mankind follows after him,
    and those who go before him are innumerable.
34 How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
    There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

Eliphaz Speaks: Job's Wickedness Is Great

22 Then (AQ)Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

(AR)“Can a man be profitable to God?
    Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right,
    or is it gain to him if you (AS)make your ways blameless?
Is it for your fear of him that he reproves you
    and (AT)enters into judgment with you?
Is not your evil abundant?
    There is no end to your iniquities.
For you have (AU)exacted pledges of your brothers for nothing
    (AV)and stripped the naked of their clothing.
You have given no water to the weary to drink,
    and you have (AW)withheld bread from the hungry.
(AX)The man with power possessed the land,
    and (AY)the favored man lived in it.
You have (AZ)sent widows away empty,
    and (BA)the arms of (BB)the fatherless were crushed.
10 Therefore (BC)snares are all around you,
    and sudden terror overwhelms you,
11 or (BD)darkness, so that you cannot see,
    and a (BE)flood of (BF)water covers you.

12 “Is not God high in the heavens?
    See (BG)the highest stars, how lofty they are!
13 But you say, (BH)‘What does God know?
    Can he judge through (BI)the deep darkness?
14 (BJ)Thick clouds veil him, so that he does not see,
    and he walks on the vault of heaven.’
15 Will you keep to the old way
    that wicked men have trod?
16 They were snatched away (BK)before their time;
    their foundation was washed away.[c]
17 They said to God, (BL)‘Depart from us,’
    and (BM)‘What can the Almighty do to us?’[d]
18 Yet he filled their houses with good things—
    but (BN)the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
19 (BO)The righteous see it and are glad;
    the innocent one (BP)mocks at them,
20 saying, ‘Surely our adversaries are cut off,
    and what they left (BQ)the fire has consumed.’

21 (BR)“Agree with God, and (BS)be at peace;
    thereby good will come to you.
22 Receive instruction from (BT)his mouth,
    and (BU)lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you (BV)return to the Almighty you will be (BW)built up;
    if you (BX)remove injustice far from your tents,
24 if you lay gold in (BY)the dust,
    and gold of (BZ)Ophir among the stones of the torrent-bed,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold
    and your precious silver.
26 For then you (CA)will delight yourself in the Almighty
    and (CB)lift up your face to God.
27 You will (CC)make your prayer to him, and he will hear you,
    and you will (CD)pay your vows.
28 You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you,
    and (CE)light will shine on your ways.
29 For when they are humbled you say, ‘It is because of pride’;[e]
    but he saves (CF)the lowly.
30 He (CG)delivers even the one who is not innocent,
    who will be delivered through (CH)the cleanness of your hands.”

Job Replies: Where Is God?

23 Then Job answered and said:

“Today also my (CI)complaint is bitter;[f]
    my (CJ)hand is heavy on account of my groaning.
Oh, (CK)that I knew where I might find him,
    that I might come even to his (CL)seat!
I would (CM)lay my case before him
    and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know what he would answer me
    and understand what he would say to me.
Would he (CN)contend with me in the greatness of his power?
    No; he would pay attention to me.
There an upright man could argue with him,
    and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.

“Behold, (CO)I go forward, but he is not there,
    and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
    he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
10 But he (CP)knows (CQ)the way that I (CR)take;
    when he has (CS)tried me, I shall come out as gold.
11 My foot (CT)has held fast to his steps;
    I have kept his way and have (CU)not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
    I have (CV)treasured the words of his mouth more than my (CW)portion of food.
13 But he is unchangeable,[g] and (CX)who can turn him back?
    What he (CY)desires, that he does.
14 For he will complete what he (CZ)appoints for me,
    and many such things are (DA)in his mind.
15 Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
    when I consider, I am in dread of him.
16 God has made my (DB)heart faint;
    the Almighty has terrified me;
17 yet I am not silenced because of the darkness,
    nor because thick darkness covers my face.

Footnotes

  1. Job 21:17 Hebrew he
  2. Job 21:24 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
  3. Job 22:16 Or their foundation was poured out as a stream (or river)
  4. Job 22:17 Hebrew them
  5. Job 22:29 Or you say, ‘It is exaltation’
  6. Job 23:2 Or defiant
  7. Job 23:13 Or one

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