2 “Listen carefully to my words; let this encourage all of you. 3 Bear with me and let me speak! Then, after I’ve spoken, you’ll be free to mock me. 4 After all, isn’t my complaint against a human being? If so, why shouldn’t I be impatient? 5 Look at me, be appalled, and then shut up! 6 When I think about this,[a] I’m petrified with terror and my body shudders uncontrollably.”
The Wicked Prospers
7 “Why do the wicked live to reach old age and increase in power and wealth, too? 8 Their children grow up while they’re alive, and they live to see their grandchildren. 9 Their houses are safe from fear, and God’s chastisement[b] never visits them. 10 Their bull breeds without fail, and their cows calve without miscarriages. 11 They release their children to play like sheep; their young ones[c] dance about, 12 singing[d] with tambourines and lyres as they rejoice to the sound of flutes. 13 They grow old[e] in prosperity, as they descend peacefully into the afterlife.[f]
14 “They say to God, ‘Turn away from us! We have no desire to know your ways. 15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? Where’s the profit in talking to him?’ 16 Behold! Their prosperity isn’t in their control! The counsel of the wicked will remain far from me.”
God will Punish the Wicked
17 “How often do the wicked have their lights put out? Does calamity ever fall on them? Will God[g] in his anger ever apportion their destruction? 18 May they become like a straw, blown away before the wind; like a chaff that’s swept off by a storm. 19 God stores up their iniquity to repay their children; making them[h] repay so that they may be aware. 20 Their own eyes will see their destruction; and they’ll drink the wrath of the Almighty. 21 What will they care for their household after them, when the number of his months comes to an end?”
Death Levels Everyone
22 “Can God learn anything? After all, he will judge even the exalted ones. 23 Such persons will die in their full vigor, completely prosperous and secure. 24 His buckets are filled with milk, his bone marrow is healthy.[i] 25 Others die with a bitter soul, never having tasted the good life.[j] 26 They both lie down in the dust; and worms[k] cover them.”
Job Suspects His Friends of Treachery
27 “Look! I know your thoughts, your plans[l] are going to harm me. 28 You ask, ‘Where is the noble person’s house?’ and ‘Where are the tents where the wicked live?’ 29 Haven’t you asked travelers on the highway? Don’t you accept their word 30 that the wicked person is spared from times of calamity, that he is rescued on the day of wrath? 31 Who will expose his conduct to his face? Who will repay him for what he has done 32 when he is carried away to the cemetery and guardians are placed to watch his tomb? 33 The runoff from the streams will seem sweet to him; everyone will follow after him; countless crows march ahead of him. 34 How then, can you console me so worthlessly? What is left of your answers is treachery.”
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