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Job 21-22 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Job Replies: The Wicked Often Go Unpunished

21 Then Job answered:

“Listen carefully to my words,
    and let this be your consolation.
Bear with me, and I will speak;
    then after I have spoken, mock on.
As for me, is my complaint addressed to mortals?
    Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me, and be appalled,
    and lay your hand upon your mouth.
When I think of it I am dismayed,
    and shuddering seizes my flesh.
Why do the wicked live on,
    reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their children are established in their presence,
    and their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
    and no rod of God is upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without fail;
    their cow calves and never miscarries.
11 They send out their little ones like a flock,
    and their children dance around.
12 They sing to the tambourine and the lyre,
    and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
13 They spend their days in prosperity,
    and in peace they go down to Sheol.
14 They say to God, ‘Leave us alone!
    We do not desire to know your ways.
15 What is the Almighty,[a] that we should serve him?
    And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
16 Is not their prosperity indeed their own achievement?[b]
    The plans of the wicked are repugnant to me.

17 “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
    How often does calamity come upon them?
    How often does God[c] distribute pains in his anger?
18 How often are they like straw before the wind,
    and like chaff that the storm carries away?
19 You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.’
    Let it be paid back to them, so that they may know it.
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction,
    and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.[d]
21 For what do they care for their household after them,
    when the number of their months is cut off?
22 Will any teach God knowledge,
    seeing that he judges those that are on high?
23 One dies in full prosperity,
    being wholly at ease and secure,
24 his loins full of milk
    and the marrow of his bones moist.
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul,
    never having tasted of good.
26 They lie down alike in the dust,
    and the worms cover them.

27 “Oh, I know your thoughts,
    and your schemes to wrong me.
28 For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince?
    Where is 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 the wicked are spared in the day of calamity,
    and are rescued in the day of wrath?
31 Who declares their way to their face,
    and who repays them for what they have done?
32 When they are carried to the grave,
    a watch is kept over their tomb.
33 The clods of the valley are sweet to them;
    everyone will follow after,
    and those who went before 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 Eliphaz the Temanite answered:

“Can a mortal be of use to God?
    Can even the wisest be of service to him?
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty[e] if you are righteous,
    or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?
Is it for your piety that he reproves you,
    and enters into judgment with you?
Is not your wickedness great?
    There is no end to your iniquities.
For you have exacted pledges from your family for no reason,
    and stripped the naked of their clothing.
You have given no water to the weary to drink,
    and you have withheld bread from the hungry.
The powerful possess the land,
    and the favored live in it.
You have sent widows away empty-handed,
    and the arms of the orphans you have crushed.[f]
10 Therefore snares are around you,
    and sudden terror overwhelms you,
11 or darkness so that you cannot see;
    a flood of water covers you.

12 “Is not God high in the heavens?
    See the highest stars, how lofty they are!
13 Therefore you say, ‘What does God know?
    Can he judge through the deep darkness?
14 Thick clouds enwrap him, so that he does not see,
    and he walks on the dome of heaven.’
15 Will you keep to the old way
    that the wicked have trod?
16 They were snatched away before their time;
    their foundation was washed away by a flood.
17 They said to God, ‘Leave us alone,’
    and ‘What can the Almighty[g] do to us?’[h]
18 Yet he filled their houses with good things—
    but the plans of the wicked are repugnant to me.
19 The righteous see it and are glad;
    the innocent laugh them to scorn,
20 saying, ‘Surely our adversaries are cut off,
    and what they left, the fire has consumed.’

21 “Agree with God,[i] and be at peace;
    in this way good will come to you.
22 Receive instruction from his mouth,
    and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty,[j] you will be restored,
    if you remove unrighteousness from your tents,
24 if you treat gold like dust,
    and gold of Ophir like the stones of the torrent-bed,
25 and if the Almighty[k] is your gold
    and your precious silver,
26 then you will delight yourself in the Almighty,[l]
    and lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
    and you will pay your vows.
28 You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you,
    and light will shine on your ways.
29 When others are humiliated, you say it is pride;
    for he saves the humble.
30 He will deliver even those who are guilty;
    they will escape because of the cleanness of your hands.”[m]

Footnotes:

  1. Job 21:15 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  2. Job 21:16 Heb in their hand
  3. Job 21:17 Heb he
  4. Job 21:20 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  5. Job 22:3 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  6. Job 22:9 Gk Syr Tg Vg: Heb were crushed
  7. Job 22:17 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  8. Job 22:17 Gk Syr: Heb them
  9. Job 22:21 Heb him
  10. Job 22:23 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  11. Job 22:25 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  12. Job 22:26 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  13. Job 22:30 Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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