2 “Listen carefully to what I’m saying. Let that be the comfort you people give me. 3 Put up with me while I speak. After I’ve spoken, you can make fun of me!
4 “I’m not arguing with mere human beings. So why shouldn’t I be angry and uneasy? 5 Look at me and be shocked. Put your hand over your mouth and stop talking! 6 When I think about these things, I’m terrified. My whole body trembles. 7 Why do sinful people keep on living? The older they grow, the richer they get. 8 They see their children grow up around them. They watch their family grow larger. 9 Their homes are safe. They don’t have to be afraid. God isn’t punishing them. 10 Every time their bulls mate, their cows become pregnant. And the calves don’t die before they are born. 11 Sinful people send their children out like a flock of lambs. Their little ones dance around. 12 They sing to the music of tambourines and lyres. They have a good time while flutes are being played. 13 Those who are evil spend their years living well. They go down to their graves in peace. 14 But they say to God, ‘Leave us alone! We don’t want to know how you want us to live. 15 Who is the Mighty One? Why should we serve him? What would we get if we prayed to him?’ 16 But they aren’t in control of their own success. So I don’t pay any attention to their plans.
17 “How often are their lamps blown out? How often does trouble come on them? How often does God punish them when he’s angry? 18 How often are they like straw blowing in the wind? How often are they like tumbleweeds swept away by a storm? 19 People say, ‘God stores up the punishment of evil people for their children.’ But let God punish the evil people themselves. Then they’ll learn a lesson from it. 20 Let their own eyes see how they are destroyed. Let them drink the wine of the Mighty One’s anger. 21 What do they care about the families they leave behind? What do they care about them when their lives come to an end?
22 “Can anyone teach God anything? After all, he judges even the angels in heaven. 23 Some people die while they are still very strong. They are completely secure. They have an easy life. 24 They are well fed. Their bodies are healthy. 25 Others die while their spirits are bitter. They’ve never enjoyed anything good. 26 Side by side they lie in the dust of death. The worms in their graves cover all of them.
27 “I know exactly what you people are thinking. I know you are planning to do bad things to me. 28 You are saying to yourselves, ‘Where is the great man’s house now? Where are the tents where his evil family lived?’ 29 Haven’t you ever asked questions of those who travel? Haven’t you paid any attention to their stories? 30 They’ll tell you that sinful people are spared from the day of trouble. They’ll say that those people are saved from the day when God will judge. 31 Who speaks against them for the way they act? Who pays them back for what they’ve done? 32 Their bodies will be carried to their graves. Guards will watch over their tombs. 33 The soil in the valley will be pleasant to those who have died. Many people will walk along behind their bodies. Many others will walk in front of them.
34 “So how can you comfort me with your speeches? They don’t make any sense at all. Your answers are nothing but lies!”
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