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Job 21-22 Common English Bible (CEB)

Grant me a hearing

21 Then Job answered:

Listen carefully to my remarks
    and let that comfort you.
Bear with me so I can speak, I myself;
    and after my reply you can mock.
Are my complaints against another human;
    why is my patience short?
Turn to me and be appalled;
    lay your hand over your mouth.
If I recall it, I’m scared;
    shaking seizes my body.

The success of the wicked

Why do the wicked live,
    grow old, and even become strong?
Their children are always with them,
    their offspring in their sight,
    their houses safe from dread,
    God’s punishing stick not upon them.
10 Their bull always breeds successfully;
    their cows give birth and never miscarry.
11 They send forth their little ones like sheep;
    their infants bounce around.
12 They raise drum and lyre,
    rejoice at the sound of a flute.
13 They spend their days contentedly,
    go down to the grave[a] peacefully.
14 They say to God, “Turn away from us;
    we take no pleasure in knowing your ways;
15     who is the Almighty[b] that we should serve him,
        and what can we gain if we meet him?”
16 Look, isn’t their well-being the work of their own hands?
    A sinner’s logic is beyond me.

Desired vindication

17 How often does the lamp of the wicked flicker
    or disaster come upon them,
    with its fury inflicting pain on them?
18 Let them be like straw in the wind,
    like dry grass stolen by a storm.
19 God stores up his punishment for his children.
    Let him destroy them so they know.
20     Let their own eyes witness their doom.
    Let them drink from the Almighty’s wrath.
21 What do they care about their household after they die,
    when their numbered days are cut off?

A common fate

22 Will they instruct God—
    he who judges the most powerful?
23 Someone dies in wonderful health,
    completely comfortable and well,
24     their buckets full of milk,
    their bones marrow-filled and sound.
25 Another dies in bitter spirit,
    never having tasted the good things.
26 They lie together in the dust
    and worms cover them.

Further disagreement

27 Look, I know your thoughts;
    your plans harm me.
28 You say, “Where is the official’s house?
    Where is the tent, the dwelling of the wicked?”
29 Haven’t you asked travelers
    or paid attention to their reports?
30 On the day of disaster the wicked are spared;
    on the day of fury they are rescued.
31 Who can criticize their behavior to their faces;
    they act, and who can avenge them?
32 They are carried to their graves;
    someone keeps guard over their tombs.
33 The soil near the desert streambed is sweet to them;
    everyone marches after them—
    those before them, beyond counting.
34 How empty is your comfort to me;
    only deceit remains in your responses.

Job’s sins

22 Then Eliphaz from Teman answered:

Can a human being be useful to God?
    Can an intelligent person bring profit?
Does the Almighty delight in your innocence?
    Does he gain when you perfect your ways?
Does he rebuke you for your piety,
    bring you in for judgment?
Isn’t your wickedness massive,
    your iniquity endless?
You have taken payments from your family for no reason;
    stripped the naked, leaving no clothes;
    denied water to the thirsty,
    withheld bread from the starving.
(The powerful own land;
    the favored live in it.)
You have sent widows away empty;
    crushed orphans’ resources.
10 For this reason, snares surround you;
    sudden dread brings panic to you
11     or a darkness that you can’t see;
    rushing water will cover you.

God’s activity

12 Isn’t God in the heights of heaven;
    see how high the topmost stars are?
13 You say: “What does God know?
    Can he judge through thick clouds?
14     Clouds conceal him so he can’t see
        while he walks on heaven’s rim.”
15 Will you keep the ancient way
    traveled by sinful persons,
16     who were snatched prematurely
    when a river flooded their foundations,
17     who say to God, “Turn away from us;
            what can the Almighty do to us?”
18 Yet he filled their houses with good things;
    a sinner’s logic is beyond me.
19 The righteous see and rejoice;
    the innocent mock them:
20     our enemies are certainly cut off;
    fire will devour what’s left of them.

Turn to God

21 Get along well with God and be at peace;
    from this something good will come to you.
22 Receive instruction from his mouth;
    put his words in your mind.
23 If you return to the Almighty,[c] you will be restored;
    if you keep wrongdoing out of your tent.
24 Lay your prized possession in the dust,
    your gold from Ophir on a rock in a desert streambed.
25 The Almighty will be your prized possession,
    silver piled up for you.
26 Then you will take pleasure in the Almighty;
    lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you;
    you will fulfill your solemn promises.
28 If you decree something, it will stand;
    light will shine on your ways.
29 When they’re humbled, you will say: “Cheer up;
    God will rescue the lowly.
30     He will deliver the guilty;
    they will be saved by your pure hands.”


  1. Job 21:13 Heb Sheol
  2. Job 21:15 Heb Shaddai or Mountain One
  3. Job 22:23 Heb Shaddai or Mountain One; also in 22:25 and 24:1
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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